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Dark Crusade: The Fluff
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Old 31 Oct 2006, 05:33   #1 (permalink)
Shas'O
 
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Default Dark Crusade: The Fluff

[size=15pt]Dark Crusade: The Fluff[/size]

While games are rarely canon fluff I was surprised and very pleased with the general accuracy of the fluff in Dawn of War and its expansions. On top of that the only Tau perspective fluff we have aside from the codexies is Firewarrior. Since many people dont like the fluff in Firewarrior that does not leave us with much. For the Emperor, Rogue Star and Kill Team all include Tau but as the enemy and not from a Tau perspective. So with that in mind the Tau perspective plot of Dark Crusade is a very interesting bit of material and one of very few we have even if it is not officially acceptable. After having played through the campaign a few interesting aspects of fluff came up that I think could use some descussion here, however note that if you have not played the game the information might spoil some of the plot so if you have not played the game yet and do not wish to have any of the plot spoiled read no further. So to begin there were 3 incidents that cought my eye. They were as follows:

Routing the Orks
Tau and Imperial Tech
Facing Chaos


Thereare quite a few other interesting events that throw different aspects of Tau fluff into more light they are mostly on par with what we already know. However the above 3 events brought some new situations to the mix and showed the interactions and policies of the Tau in an interesting way.

Routing the Orks

When in the campaign the player gets around to attacking the Ork main base on Kronus one encounters and interesting situation. The Orks were well dug into the swamps and hunting them all down had proved too much for even O'Shovah. It is this which O'Kais finds himself facing, while the aun'el wish the orks eradicated O'Kais instead opts for disrupting the Orks leadership and crumbling the alliances of the Waaagh splitting the orks into their infighting clans once more. Should the player prove successful then just that happens, the Orks fall apart and the Waaagh is crushed. However the Orks are not eradicated from the dense jungles and swamps. While O'Kais is willing to let it be with other threats to face the aun is not satisfied. Despite the larger picture of the combat on Kronus the aun directs large numbers of Kroot and Firewarriors to the task of hunting down the Orks. This is of note because the aun openly disagrees and acts against the advice and position of the commanding Shas'O in military matters. One of the few glimpses of such interactions in any Tau fluff we so far have.

On a side note the Kroot also play an interesting part in this segment. In hunting down the Orcs the Kroot interact with the local ecosystems in a rather strange way adapting them to resemble Pech far more. We all know Kroot absorb DNA and as scavengers and eaters of the dead work and co exist with the local ecosystems but no other fluff suggests the Kroot actively altering the environment in such a way.

Tau and Imperial Tech

The Pavonis space port on Kronus is singular and an intriguing aspect of the game not because of its function but because of its fluff. The space port is outfitted with advanced sensor systems created from merging Tau and Imperial technology. This merger works to accurately predict and analyze the positions of the orbiting ships to allow transports to navigate past anti aircraft fire from orbit. Such a system may be possible by other means but the example of Tau and Imperial tech being put to use together and integrated into one system I have not seen anywhere else in the fluff. We know the Tau reverse engneer tech but I have not seen any other examples of the Tau using other tech with their own. This example brings some new ideas and questions with it.

Facing Chaos

The Word Bearers were the first legion to turn to chaos and so it is fitting that they are the ones spreading the taint of chaos to Kronus and what a taint it is. With massive alters to the blood god spread all over a large peninsula culminating in a massive warp gate allowing an endless tide of horrors to arrive on the planet the Tau were faced with a great challenge here and not all of it martial. The details are insignificant, what is important is that in the end when the battle is over the results were most intriguing. Namely that despite such powerful warp energy and sorceries not a single Tau fell to chaos. The Kroot that ate the dead of the tainted were hunted down ruthlessly aswell. What is more noteworthy however is not that no Tau fell to chaos its that they all struggled to understand the horrors they had seen. Doubt and questions to elaborate more on the debriefing of the mission. The Aun were quick to act in basically giving psych treatement to all the soldiers that fought there but the results are obvious. Whether the Tau are really practically suceptible to chaos taint the mere fact of fighting the ruinous powers threatens to shake the faith of the Fire caste in the greater good. At least that is my interpretation of this.

Now all that said one more thing that was not exactly a specific event was the way the Tau treated the humans on the planet. With strange medical "experiments?" and possible sterilization aswell as "re-education" and of course gue'vesa military units the Tau interaction with the Human population even once the planet is firmly in Tau control is quite interesting. The human birth rate on the planet dropped drastically when the Tau take full control even from when the Tau had been co existing with the Imperials. Sterilization was one hypothesis from the conclusion but it was not stated as a fact. What is obvious though is that the humans have trouble accepting the Tau ways and while the Tau are not overtly agressive in turning the humans to the greater good they are also not willing to allow the Imperials to remain outside control as the few Imperial holdouts were in poverty and despair. The Tau seem to recognize that the Humans arent going to grasp the concept of the Greater Good very firmly and work to correct that but how they go about it is interesting as demonstrated throughout the Tau perspective of Dark Crusade.

With that finished and my ramblings on the fluff shown in the game what do you all think of the fluff in the Dark Crusade? Are there any other aspects/events of importance to note? Do you disagree with my impressions?
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Old 31 Oct 2006, 09:10   #2 (permalink)
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Default Re: Dark Crusade: The Fluff

Quote:
Originally Posted by Vash113
On a side note the Kroot also play an interesting part in this segment. In hunting down the Orcs the Kroot interact with the local ecosystems in a rather strange way adapting them to resemble Pech far more.
This was interesting. I intepreted it to mean that some of the Kroot or their related species fed on the native wildlife for long enough that they adapted and supplanted them in their specific ecological niches. After a few years, the wildlife would all resemble that of Pech, with obvious advantages to the Kroot (who are at home in such an environment).

Quote:
Originally Posted by Vash113
Namely that despite such powerful warp energy and sorceries not a single Tau fell to chaos. The Kroot that ate the dead of the tainted were hunted down ruthlessly aswell.
This is consistent with previous fluff. The Tau are practically impossible for chaos to corrupt, due to their almost nonexistent presence in the warp. There is a short story, on the other hand, about Kroot consuming the corpses of chaos worshippers and being corrupted shortly thereafter.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Vash113
Now all that said one more thing that was not exactly a specific event was the way the Tau treated the humans on the planet. With strange medical "experiments?" and possible sterilization aswell as "re-education" and of course gue'vesa military units the Tau interaction with the Human population even once the planet is firmly in Tau control is quite interesting. The human birth rate on the planet dropped drastically when the Tau take full control even from when the Tau had been co existing with the Imperials. Sterilization was one hypothesis from the conclusion but it was not stated as a fact.
I believe it also mentioned that one squad of Kasrkin escaped from their imprisonment and operated as a guerilla band, but that many other humans accepted the Tau philosophy and provided intelligence that assisted the Tau in other systems. Apparently, there are both advantages and disadvantages of the Tau approach of trying to convert captured populations, rather than simply slaughtering them.

The possibility that the Tau deliberately inhibited human reproduction was only mentioned, rather than confirmed, but it's not inconsistent with their character either. They're not good guys - just nice by comparison to the other factions in 40k. The Imperium, for example, upon recapturing a population who had rebelled against them (as that of Kronus did against the Tau), would execute at least the ringleaders, if not the entire population.

I'm playing through the game as the Orks, currently. It's not so heavy on the serious fluff, but it's quite amusing.
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Old 01 Nov 2006, 00:47   #3 (permalink)
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Default Re: Dark Crusade: The Fluff

I just started playing through not too long ago, and I've only knocked out the Orks and Necrons so far (working on Chaos now) but I did find the part about the Kroot taking over the jungles interesting. I never really thought anything about the Aun'El sending the FWs and Kroot out, but you're right, O'Kais outranks the Aun'El, yet still was overruled by him. Just goes to prove that not everyone is equal in the Empire.
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Old 01 Nov 2006, 04:45   #4 (permalink)
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Default Re: Dark Crusade: The Fluff

The human population, when the tau win, becomes "only a footnote" after a few generations. Most of the human population was elated to have the imperials return to rescue them from the tau, and when the tau won, things got ugly. The tau knew they couldn't trust most of the humans, and simply phased out the "human problem" using eugenics. Evil, yes. Completely in sinc with the 40k universe? double yes!
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Old 01 Nov 2006, 05:34   #5 (permalink)
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Default Re: Dark Crusade: The Fluff

I think Khaldun is on to something (except for the evil bit).

There is plenty of fluff to suggest that the Tau are more than willing to subsume humans into the Empire. Why then would they sterilize/breed out the humans on Kronus? They conquered Kronus a while back and brought the Greater Good to the people. Even before the Imperials retook the planet there were sporadic revolts. Rejoicing when the Imperials arrived simply confirmed for the Tau that Kronus' humans would never fully integrate with the Greater Good. So, when they retook the planet they took action >

I honestly do not believe that makes the Tau evil. It's one of the MOST humane ways to remove a troublesome population. The Tau actions on Kronus indicate that they are practical.
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Old 01 Nov 2006, 06:09   #6 (permalink)
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Default Re: Dark Crusade: The Fluff

The tau used eugenics. That's reminiscient of Hitler's "final solution to the jewish problem". Only this time it's the Tau's "final solution to the human problem". Sure, they may not have gassed the humans. But they show a scene of a kroot knarloc literally EATING some poor, captive guardsmen. By 40k standards, the tau are pretty good. But by our standards, it doesn't get much worse.

Sure, it was practical. But that doesn't make it any less evil.
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Old 01 Nov 2006, 08:03   #7 (permalink)
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Default Re: Dark Crusade: The Fluff

I wonder about the eugenics thing. the tau might just be a bit scared of the kind of resource-use and out of control (except by IG conscription) hive-worlds those humans are 'bound' to mate into existance within a few generations.

The sterilisation is only hinted at, and from what I've played so far, and mostly from imperial points of view... What other things might cause this?

*How fast do tau breed? If they're relatively short-lived they might simply outbreed humans (its tough, but rodents and orks do it!).

*The presence of multiple 'official'/accepted empire races on the planet might mean the human presence is simply less significant by sheer numbers; if you've got a billion humans, but also 500 million kroot, some vespid, another billion tau, and so on, then obviously one would say its not really a 'human' planet anymore.

*Women? You know, human females? Just how many of them are there/were? Maybe some of those better versed in imperial fluff could answer this. Organised religions like the emperor-worshippers tend to be sexist, to say the least. How many are there in the imperial guard? How many were on the world to begin with? Could have something of an impact on human population growth on the planet might it not?

The tau commander was certainly a little less... genocidally zealous and xenophobic than the others that's for sure.
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Old 01 Nov 2006, 09:31   #8 (permalink)
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Default Re: Dark Crusade: The Fluff

It's also possible that a disproportionately high proportion of the planet's human males were killed off during the war, because they were the only ones likely to be conscripted to fight alongside the Imperial Guard. If the humans on Kronus maintained a custom of monogamy, it would take a generation or two for the gender balance to be restored, during which the population could decrease.
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Old 01 Nov 2006, 10:05   #9 (permalink)
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Default Re: Dark Crusade: The Fluff

Also, a note to keep in mind is that the Tau might have viewed the majority of Kronus' human population siding with the Imperials once again might be construed as a vast betrayal of the Greater Good. As xenos' advocate, the human dissatisfaction might have arose from the hope that industrial conditions would "immediately" change for the better, that the hateful overseers and/or supervisors would all be replaced (or eaten. Or shot. Or <insert gruesome fate here&gt

When everything did not immediately become candy and roses, human sentiment might have taken an ugly turn very, very fast. The Kronus population (presumably heavy on the Shas and not on the other castes) might not have had the resources to combat the angry mood, particularly if it was fanned by guerilla Commissars and other anti-Tau populists hidden amidst the population. The Tau might not have had time to peaceably settle matters, and were forced to other means.

In this case, sterilizing populations that turned against the Tau wholesale might have been seen as the more humane punishment, rather than just shooting the lot for "heresy" and betrayal.... Not that it is any less horrible for that. To wit, I'd use it as a more extreme example of matters on a planet full of leaders given to extremes!
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Old 01 Nov 2006, 11:40   #10 (permalink)
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Default Re: Dark Crusade: The Fluff

Why is sterilizing a dissident population evil? What should they have done that is MORE humane?
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