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Old 07 Jul 2007, 09:47   #1 (permalink)
Shas'El
 
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Default Project TAU

Recently there has been a rash of Tau posts concerning fertility, reproduction, and general life styles. GW has had no real official word on the subject, and since this website was responsible for so many Fluff advancements during the Medusa campaign- I thought that it would be wise to lay down some canon here that every member can agree on. This being said, members will be able to insert this into their own personal fluff and in the next big campaign over 100 members can have some unified background which will hopefully answer some of those questions on the Tau and make for a better 40k faction.

So, that being said- some ground rules.

No explanations as to where the Tau are from- in fact, no concrete facts about O'shova, the Ethereals or any founding relationships with Old Ones or Eldar. If we do this we instantly invalidate ourselves as we've answered 'mystery' facts GW has deliberately left out (it would be like trying to explain what Cypher is doing-everyone's got a theory).

So, we'll do this in shifts until we can get a well thought out answer and then move on to the next question.

the first question will be lite- we'll move to harder ones after:

WHAT IS A TAU SEPT:
HOW DOES A TAU SEPT WORK? WHO ARE THE LEADERS-IS IT A SET COUNCIL? HOW MANY WORLDS AND STAR SYSTEMS IN A SEPT-generally speaking?

essentially we want to flesh out what a Sept does and how it runs.

some background information: Aun'O Kath'lan is the highest ethereal on T'au and Aun'va'denta is the highest of the 3rd sphere.
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Old 07 Jul 2007, 12:46   #2 (permalink)
Shas'El
 
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Default Re: Project TAU

hmm, interesting questions.

firstly i always assumed a sept was a solar system I that there was a sun and several planets, just because our solar system only has 1 inhabitable planet doesn't mean there aren't other solar systems that have more than 1. the sept would be named after the chief planet, i.e. vior'la sept. though this veiw could be in question.

as for governing of a sept, i always assumed local government would be a coalition of all the castes headed by an ethereal council of sometype. although places like the Vior'la sept are known for their Fire caste they do have earth, water and air castes as well. much like is described in the codex.

"Coalition (Tau: Shan'al), the four commands are drawn together into a strategic organisation referred to as a coalition, and presided over by an ethereal or council of such."

although the codex uses the example of a colonisation fleet, i believe the same principle is used in established colonies such as Vior'la or Tau'n.

hope this is ok
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Old 07 Jul 2007, 12:48   #3 (permalink)
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Default Re: Project TAU

I see the "Sept Worlds" sort of like a police force element. When other worlds within the Sept are threatened, the Sept World deploys to protect them.
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Old 07 Jul 2007, 13:06   #4 (permalink)
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Default Re: Project TAU

I have always figured each Sept world to be a world of incredible wealth and prosperity, working with smaller colonies to grow in cultural strength. A good example would be the city states of Ancient Greece. Major cities working with smaller villages and towns to spread their culture and prosperity. When a sept gets too large, they send out colonists to new worlds.


Each sept has its own Ethereal council, which in turn answers to the Ethereal Council on T'au. The politics for each sept depend on the composition of its people, some are more dominated by the earth or water caste, others by the fire caste. I have always seem them working on their own towards their ideal of the greater good, as dictated by the Ethereals of the world. Since the Ethereals are always in communication with T'au, the ideal does not stray too far.

Under the Ethereal council is a political group of elders from each caste which advise and report directly to the Ethereal council for their sept. there is no multiparty system since the position tends to be given to seniority, skill and rank.

Under them are the people who live out their everyday lives. Running businesses, raising families, living the Tau equivalent of the 'good life'. their lives are influenced by the septs individual culture. If it is a world where the Earth caste has great influence, you can expect remarkable public works, buildings, statues and sculptures throughout the city. If its the Water Caste, you can expect great universities and schools of political thinking. The Air caste having flight training schools and orbital cities, and the fire caste having military training sites all over the world itself.

The worlds which work with the septs are usually agricultural, research, or military outposts which are too small to survive on their own, but like Carthage and Syracuse, may grow to be larger then their parent state.

Septs are also the primary military training and staging grounds for the tau empire. if you look at the map you can see that they are well dispersed through the empire, and superbly positioned to defend their worlds. They also have the resources to field large armies and fleets independantly, something smaller colonies cannot do.

By being charged with the military strength of the area, they are also charged with the protection of the worlds in their areas, and are expected to respond immediately to any distress signal, usually to evacuate civilians, then plan a retaliation (remember the Taus willingness to give ground if it provides a better target?).

That, my friends, is how a sept works.

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Old 07 Jul 2007, 15:14   #5 (permalink)
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Default Re: Project TAU

I see Septs as a series of nearby solar systems, not just a single one, name for its primary solar system. The Sept would, in my mind, comprise no more than 3 to 5 solar systems. The number of systems included would partially be dependent on the number of habitable worlds. This accounts for the vast difference in the space covered by the Au'taal Sept and the Vash'ya Sept for example.

The Sept is run by a council of 5 'Os, one from each of the casts and presided over by the Aun'O. Individual Worlds with major significance may themselves be run by local 'Os of lesser status, but are likely run by 'Els if they are middling to smaller significance worlds. In a given council, 'Els and 'Os might sit together on the council if a planet has a particularly large or small presence of a particular caste. Order and plans are made within the council and passed down through the ranks ass appropriate. If decrees need to be made then they are done so.

Beneath the council areas are subdivided and an 'El may be in charge of his cast in a city on a planet in a sept. If it is simply a school for Water caste personnel, then it is run by the water caste and inspected by the appropriate superior council periodically. Any area that is a conglomeration though of various castes, is handled in a council manner presided by the Aun in the same way that the Planetary or Sept governments work, but on smaller scale.

Membership in a council is determined by a combination of seniority and merit and is a position that is held until further promotion, death or removal by a higher authority. The latter would be extremely rare.
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Old 07 Jul 2007, 16:55   #6 (permalink)
Shas'El
 
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Default Re: Project TAU

I am currently in agreement that a Sept is a series of solar systems based around a heavily populated central world to which the Sept takes its name.

I would imagine the council that runs each Sept has a level of autonomy however. If the Tau military machine is any indication the Tau put a lot of faith in the ability of its people. Remember that the Tau don't have FTL communication- so each Sept my have its own culture and its own command structure which oversees everything. I don't think, however, that the Ethereal caste member is the Master of a Sept. Every bit on Ethereal Tau interaction shows them as advisers, not leaders (obviosly their word carries weight). That being said I would imagine that marshal worlds like Vior'la might have a stronger Shas'O in control of affairs while a planet like Dal'yth is probably more run by a Por'O.

In regards to armies, I would imagine that each Septs cadres are more fluid, traveling throughout the Empire to assist where necessary- with an series of cadres that serve as a garrison defense force for the Sept.
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Old 07 Jul 2007, 18:57   #7 (permalink)
Shas'El
 
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Default Re: Project TAU

i think most of us understand a Sept- ok, time for a little bit of a harder question-

Can we agree on Tau burial? How does each caste bury their dead? In the fluff it alread ysays that the fire caste burn their dead- but what about the others?

Wow-- scratch that,we can get back to this, glad to see some topics other members would like- Elliot-
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Old 07 Jul 2007, 19:05   #8 (permalink)
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Default Re: Project TAU

Nice, there's a high degree of homogeneity between answers. We all seem to have a rough consensus on septs - or, at the least, agree to disagree on their sizes. I used this discusion as a springboard into the topic of Tau colonization. (Sorry, Calmsword, to not follow your suggested topic, but I've been working on this post a bit.)

[hr]

From the codices, we can safely assume that a sept:
- At the time of the First Phase, there were "eight heavily settled systems known as septs. These formed the the hub of the empire, with colonies, outposts, and waypoints established throughout Tau space."
- Is at least one , important planet.

Septs are not necessarily larger than one system - it sounds as if the vast majority of Tau space is taken up by small colonies and outposts. Granted, colonies are undoubtedly influenced by the sept that founds them, and given the nature of Tau FTL capabilities, these colonies are almost certainly in close proximity to their "home" sept. But it is unclear exactly what kind of administrative control the "home" sept has over these colonies.

[hr]

The biography of Aun'shi gives us a small insight into the founding of a new colony, and the role the ethereal caste plays in colonization.
- Aun'shi led a Tau colony force to a world he named Kel'tyr... Within four years, the world was flourishing, the Fio building many fine towns across the main continental mass. Fio'vash was one such town, a mining outpost in the low foothills of a mineral rich mountain range some four hundred miles to the east of the capital.
- When the settlement of Fio'vash comes under Ork assault, they Tau defenders make their last stand in an "Ethereal shrine" at the town's center.

[hr]

Also available to us is the account of "The War at the Place of Union", available at the Games Workshop Website.
- This expeditionary force was led by Water caste explorer Por'o Dal'yth Kiv'rai. O'kiv'rai had previously discovered two artefact-worlds now under Ethereal caste interdiction.
- The piece makes specific reference to "Earth caste colonists." Whether they are the only caste considered to be colonists is unclear, but it seems as if this caste - unsurprisingly - makes up the backbone of Tau colonization efforts. Futhermore, O'kiv'rai does have "Earth caste advisors."
- O'kiv'rai appears to have complete command of this expedition. He also appears to have great military acumen, timing the Tau fleet's engagement to the instant.
- To begin negotiations with the Kroot, O'kiv'rai goes in person to the planet's surface, escorted by "the fleet's finest Fire caste hunter cadre."
- No reference is made to any direct Ethereal command. It is mentioned that under normal circumstances, O'kiv'rai would have waited till he received permission from the Ethereal caste to make representations to the Kroot.
- It took 80 kai'rotaa for reinforcements to arrive. If we accept that each kai'rotaa is about 50 terran days, that is 11 terran years without aid! This speaks volumes about the resources and self-sufficency each colony fleet is expected to posses. (I am willing to accept, however, that the author mistook "kai'rotaa" for "rotaa", and that this was only a period of 80 days. Given the events of the story, this would seem to make more sense.)
- After the salvation of Krath, Fire Warriors from Sa'cea spend the next 12 Tau'cyr ridding the entire planetary cluster of the Orks.

[hr]

In the piece Cleanse the Xenos, it is mentioned that "what the Tau call a second phase colony world, basically a mechanised mining and ore extraction facility with a Fire Warrior garrison and a handful of non-combatant engineers."
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Old 07 Jul 2007, 19:35   #9 (permalink)
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Default Re: Project TAU

No worries-

Tau colonization efforts seem to be headed by a Water Caste envoy in conjunction with Earth Caste workers and advisor's (so perhaps a mix of the two) there is a Fire Caste defense contingent and Air Caste crew for the ships- but no ethereals- which makes sense.
Tau Exploration is almost always a risk, especially now that excursions are into the greater Imperium, so it would make sense that the Aun would not go on this missions- until colonization if the Fio'vash was any indication.

(note: Fio'vash is located in the Bork'an Sept)

The reasoning behind Septs being more than one system is based on two factors- the first is that there is concrete evidence of colonies existing in Sept borders and every map shown of the Empire shows territories given to Septs= spheres of influence.

I don't know if 11 years without aid is so impossible- remember that the Tau don't have speedy Warp travel and they were in uncharted space (no beacons). The Tau don't have anything equivalent to the astronomicon. Besides, there is great detail expended on how many roles a Tau vessel has- a science ship, colonization vessel, a warship. it makes sense that they can last for extended periods.

And on Second Phase colony- i don't think it means Second Colonization Phase, just that its working toward a third-forth phase colony and then maybe one day a Sept.
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Old 07 Jul 2007, 19:58   #10 (permalink)
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Originally Posted by calmsword

I don't know if 11 years without aid is so impossible- remember that the Tau don't have speedy Warp travel and they were in uncharted space (no beacons). The Tau don't have anything equivalent to the astronomicon. Besides, there is great detail expended on how many roles a Tau vessel has- a science ship, colonization vessel, a warship. it makes sense that they can last for extended periods.
i have to disagree with you there calmsword, although i already respect ur well refined judgement, the dex describes tau as not normally needing to use the warp to cross through thier empire. also i have difficulty believing that an entire army of kroot plus a tau colonisation force lasted 11 years fighting a, not small but neither large force of orcs. or could even spend that amount of time fighting. i personally agree with the 80 days which is about 3 months, that seems reasonable enough. not 11 years.

indeed it takes about twice that time for the imperium to react and the tau empire is tiny in comparision to the imperium, not to mention more organised. short of a warp storm there is no way it could last 11 years
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