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My Sept's Fluff - A little unorthodox, lots of history
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Old 05 Nov 2007, 20:09   #1 (permalink)
Shas'O
 
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Default My Sept's Fluff - A little unorthodox, lots of history

I was uncertain whether to post this here or in the Fluff boards, as they seem to mostly be stories but this is a bit more of a dossier on the Sept itself. It can always be moved if I'm in the wrong.

There are a couple of instances in this that some people may disagree with. The first is the notion of being corrupted by a C'Tan, or made into a pawn of the Necrontyr - I got the inspiration from here http://uk.games-workshop.com/tau/converting-farsight/3/, and even he says it's insane, but I thought it was a cool idea! - and the second is that of accelerated promotion and desperate tactics. Of course you can disagree, but I think they fit this background.

I'm also in the process of writing a "guide" to how you might go about creating a sept (inspired by Wargamer's one on SM Chapters, though I know the Tau are nowhere near as abundant as the Chapters are), which I'll post here, and even if this particular set of background isn't to your taste I think the guide (which will be more general) should go down well *crosses fingers.*

So, without further ado, my Sept and its history:

Dossier on “Shas’etra,” Sept of the “Setting Sun”
Planet
Shas’etra was colonised early during the Tau’s second sphere of expansion. It was favoured by the race for almost half of the planet’s surface is of a similar climate to the homeworld, T’au, and the rest of the world is still hospitable for their species. The name “Shas’etra,” literally “Sun that sets,” comes from the fact that the principle landing site in the most suitable area of the planet to support Tau life is in the shade of a gigantic mountain range, easily visible from space, and the first and largest settlement on the planet is in the shade of these peaks. The planet’s rotation is such that the sun rises behind these mountains, and therefore in the most densely populated areas on the planet it seems as though the sun never rises, it only sets. This area is of a similar desert climate to the Tau homeworld, but the antipodal to the settlement is a frozen wasteland, and the remainder of the planet on that side is forested.

Peoples
Prior to the Tau colonisation no sentient species lived on Shas’etra and the entirety of the creatures on the planet were mammalian in nature: ranging in size from tiny rodents all the way up to towering beasts with immense necks in the ice cap regions as tall as a cathedral.

“These gargants prove a distinct challenge to the hunter, for their power is matched by their reflexes. On T’au creatures this large were mainly herbivorous, but these monsters use their powerful necks and rock-like teeth to snake down to the ground and wrench an unsuspecting hunter, Tau or beast, from their hiding place. If a Fire Warrior team can successfully hunt one of these creatures, the largest enemy war machine will prove little challenge to them.”
- Shas’El Shas’etra Serra Myr’s personal reflections on the fauna of Shas’etra


Shas’etra is now known primarily for its Fire Warriors (see below), but at the time of colonisation it was predominantly an Earth Caste settlement. It was only due to the skill of the scientists and artisans that the mountainside city could be constructed so reliably, though now rockslides and avalanches are mercifully less common.

Even in recent years the Shas’etra Earth Caste has shown its worth with the design of the Crossfire Warsuit, as well as having scientists and engineers with hands in the construction of other machines such as the Remora Stealth Drone and even the Custodian Class carrier.

Politics
Shas’etra seems to have less Ethereal Caste members than other Tau worlds, though not to their detriment. The planetary council favours delegates from the four primary castes and encourages independent thought. Of course the importance of the Ethereal Caste is never questioned, but sometimes their ability to dictate terms on subjects they know nothing about (such as guerrilla warfare or the inner workings of a moisture farm) frustrates Shas’etra’s high-ranking leaders and wherever possible the fifth caste is bypassed.

The O’Ho’lans’ World Disaster
Key to understanding the mindset of Shas’etra’s Tau and the rise of the colony in recent years is knowledge of the O’Ho’lans’ world disaster.

“The presence of Shas’etra at the O’Ho’lans’ World Disaster potentially halted major, crippling repercussions throughout the entire Empire. However, we cannot and will not condone actions leading to loss of Tau life on this scale. Shas’etra has been warned, and the issue is behind us now, for the Greater Good.”
- Aun T’au T’ess’a’don , relaying the “official” point of view on the disaster


O’Ho’lans World, so named after the Tau commander who committed the giant force there, should have been an easy take for the Empire. A planet rich in resources and low in resistance should have been a prized jewel. For some reason unknown to all Shas'O Tau'n Ho'lans Kais Ro'tarc, overall commander of an entire Battle of Tau forces, committed all the warriors in his command (including a large portion from Shas’etra) to the planet.

Once there a massive planetwide sweep was conducted by all the forces present, as if looking for something. Giant constructions of some ancient civilization were left standing in the forests, overgrown but still resplendent of the glory of whatever race built them. The instant a Fire Warrior squad from Shas’etra, led by then Shas’ui Vior’ves, explored one of these tombs on the instruction of O’Ho’lans himself, everything started going wrong.

The Imperial frigate Penitent Dawn entered orbit, trading fire with the Air Caste fleet left behind while the rest pressed onward in their expansion. The Imperial presence was at this stage entirely unexplained, for there were no human colonies on the planet to begin with. The fact was that the Imperials were pursuing a renegade Adeptus Mechanicus vessel that had crashed into the planet’s side months earlier: the ship had fragmented such on atmospheric entry that it had been unrecognizable as human technology to the Tau explorers. Once orbital landers from the Penitent Dawn touched down on the surface, it mattered not that the battle in space resulted in the final death of the Imperial ship for entire regiments of Guard, replete with their tanks and countless men, were now committed to the planet. O’Ho’lans issued the call for the monument search to be postponed to eradicate or convert this Gue’la menace.

As the first and only squad to enter the one of the constructions, Vior’ves’ unit found their communications blocked and did not receive the message to withdraw and engage the humans. Deep within the monolith Vior’ves and her team awoke a horror that should have been left to lie.

Tall black skeletons with weapons that fired an unholy kind of energy capable of rending a tank in two emerged from the gateways of all the constructions, and the majority of the Fire Warriors grouped under Vior’ves’ command were slaughtered. Only her own squad, a fraction of its former strength, escaped to the outside. And once there, they met with the largest engagement ever seen to the Fire Caste of Shas’etra. O’Ho’lans desperately called for more aid, despite the sentiments from other Shas’O’s on the planet that he had planned this atrocity all along.

“It was on Ho’lans’ orders that we investigated these damned creations in the first place. We would have been lost even if the humans hadn’t come here – perhaps we should be thankful to the Gue’la for diverting these death-beasts attentions away from us, perhaps it will allow us to live longer. The other colonization fleets will never reach us in time, and I have no idea how much longer we can hold out. Two more bases fell yesterday, and these horrors have a seemingly endless supply of reinforcements from beneath the planet’s surface. Not that they need it – no matter how much pulse rifle fire we pour into them, they can always just get back up! We should never have come here.”
- Shas’O Shas’etra Serra Myr’s last received voice-log


In the last moments of the planet’s life, O’Ho’lans and the Tau’n forces under his command fled the planet with the last remaining transport ships, leaving the Shas’etra contingent to die in his interpretation of the “Greater Good.” As Necron ships began to rip through the surface crust of the planet, sending massive seismic repurcussions across the whole world, the humans and Tau on O’Ho’lans’ world knew that their time was up. In desperation, Vior’ves and her team embarked on a suicide mission to the central core of the largest tomb structure on the planet with the hope to ignite its matrix and create a chain reaction throughout the network, ripping the world asunder and destroying everything on it in the hope that the Necron threat would be stopped here.

“It doesn’t matter if we all die, because if we don’t do this we’ll be dead anyway. We must stop them here, for the Greater Good.”
- Shas’ui Shas’etra Vior’ves on her decision to destroy the planet


The plan worked, and the team made it to the surface presented with a world wracked with arcane energies and the stench of death. Preparing to meet the end having halted this evil, the remaining Shas’etra forces caught a glimmer of hope as massed Tau’n transport vessels flocked down to the surface amidst the coruscating green energy of the matrices going nova, rescuing all Tau and humans they could find. There was still a chance to escape.

“Ho’lans’ fleet was nowhere to be seen when we finally arrived in the system to answer his call for aid. It was clear that the planet had little time left, and we saw to it that we did all in our power to save lives. I cannot pass judgement on Vior’ves’ decision to destroy the entire planet: it is certain that many lives were lost in the process, but it is uncertain how many lives she saved by preventing the Necrons from reaching the Empire. I believe she did the right thing, but the Ethereals will have the final say.

Some disagreed with my decision to rescue the humans also, but this is not the first time we have seen Gue’la sent to die for no real purpose and in the past they have proven a valuable addition to the Empire. I made a judgement call to save lives and even though pilots were lost in the recovery operation it is nothing compared to the massed deaths that the entire campaign caused. I believe that I did what was right.”
- Kor’O Tau’n Mont’yr Dar’gen, leader of the rescue operation

“When ruddy great cracks started appearing in the planet, by the Emperor, I knew we were finished. If the Tau hadn’t rescued the regiment, I wouldn’t even be able to make this log. The Imperium feeds us all this stuff about the xeno menace and their wish to extinguish Mankind, but in the case of these aliens it’s just not true. The only reason we’d rescue aliens from a dying world would be to torture and question them, but they saved us just to prevent the loss of life. They gave us a place to live and the only obligation we have in return is to work for the good of the Empire and to defend Shas’etra from attack. We’re allowed to worship who we wish – I am no traitor to the Emperor, but even so this xeno Empire has done more for me and the rest of the men than the Imperium ever has.”
- Captain Kristopher Reikmann of the Garellian 25th


Many lives were saved that would have been lost, but even so the death toll at O’Ho’lans’ World was great. The Necron danger in that sector had been stopped and the Tau had gained valuable insight into fighting these ancient horrors, but that knowledge had come at a terrible price. O’Ho’lans himself was lost and he and his fleet have not been seen since the disaster: the Empire fears the worst.

Post-O’Ho’lans’ World Shas’etra
Despite losing many soldiers and workers in the cataclysm, Shas’etra has been strengthened by the experience, as well as by the reinforcement from the human survivors. Shas’etra’s Fire Warriors are often deployed against Necron incursions, due to their knowledge of the opponent’s weak points. As well as this Shas’etra veterans have gained much service against several other forces, and are known for being able to get the job done, no matter the cost. They act for the Greater Good of the Empire, not just the unit, and tend to be fearless in the face of most any foe. Some more traditional Tau generals believe Shas’etra to be reckless, but many of the more recently colonised septs appreciate that Shas’etra have a greater understanding of the galaxy before them, and the knowledge that it is not a nice place. Sometimes you have to accept any challenge, no matter the odds, because if you don’t all will be lost. The traditional generals seem to ignore the fact that Shas’etra does seem to win many of its battles.

To make up for the loss in personnel at the O’Ho’lans' World Disaster several Fire Warriors and Earth Caste members were given accelerated promotion. The most prominent of these is the now-supreme commander of Shas’etra’s armies, Shas’O Shas’etra Vior’ves Kais Ga’lan’d.

Human Auxiliaries
Unlike some worlds in the Tau Empire that have been given to humans simply because the humans were willing to fight for them on the conditions that they join the Empire, the human survivors from O’Ho’lans’ World were integrated directly into Shas’etra itself. For the most part the settlements are separate in themselves, but travel between Tau and human towns is free and welcomed: most Tau on Shas’etra have at least a limited grasp of Imperial Gothic, and most have a conversational mastery of the language, while the Water Caste have a complete knowledge. Some humans have begun studying the language of the Tau, and while it is proving most difficult they are learning quickly. Newborn humans are taught both languages, and eventually Shas’etra will have a completely bilingual society.

Most worrying for the Imperium is the degree of armour that defected along with the Garellian 25th. At least three Basilisks, and two Leman Russes were handed willingly to the Tau, and with the engineers of the Imperial Guard and the Tau Earth Caste it is entirely possible that, given the Tau’s complete lack of superstition regarding technology, the battle tanks may be replicated by Tau forces.

The Fate of O’Ho’lans
While detailed speculation as to the fallen commander’s fate and the reasons for his suicidal mission to the planet which now bears his name should be reserved for a dossier on the Tau himself rather than on another sept that he did not even belong to, the future and motives of Ho’lans tie in to Shas’etra’s most ongoing mission.

The main belief regarding the renegade general is that he went the same way as O’Shovah , though while the jury is still out on Shovah’s motives most now believe in the affirmative that Ho’lans was a pawn of the Necrontyr ; the main question is therefore for how long before the disaster was he in their thrall? All Tau have no presence in the warp, and it is possible that the C’tan and their dread servants wish to expand on the technology that created the Pariah. Which C’tan it was that brought Ho’lans under its control is still uncertain.

When O’Ho’lans fled the world even before its death sentence had been signed it is unknown whether he had broken free of C’tan control and was fleeing in shame or whether he was called away for another purpose. It is known however that when he fled he took a large contingent of Tau’n Fire Warriors and Air Caste with him, and their fates too are unknown.

Due to his hand in the history of Shas’etra, Shas’O Vior’ves will always pursue any lead regarding Ho’lans but has yet to confront the Tau responsible for the deaths of so many of her people. It worries her also that, just like with Shovah, the Ethereal Caste have more or less “let him go.” The separatist attitude of some renegade generals is probably a serious cause for concern amongst the Council on T’au, but evidently the focus on consolidation and expansion is more important. Perhaps they hope that these defectors, hailed as great generals both before and after their departures from the Empire, will see sense and return. If both Ho’lans and Shovah are under Necrontyr control, the Empire’s days could well be numbered for who knows how many others may fall to dark corruption?

“We must stand united, or the Empire will fall. We must act as one unit, and be unafraid of consequences for those who save more lives. Shas’etra will fight the darkness as long as it encroaches, and we shall spread the light of the Greater Good into the inky blackness of the stars. And if Ho’lans’ can be found, then we shall be the ones to dispense the justice.”
- Shas’O Shas’etra Vior’ves Kais Ga’lan’d on the ongoing mission of the Empire

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Well I'd rather not play the game at all than play it like they did! :P
Crikey! This crazy clown causes commotion like the coming of Christ. Contained in a circle corrupted by crackheads and carnal cravings, he creates no concession to callous cheaters concentrating on nought but cock. Certainly, still a curious and cordial cavalier in the countenance of crazed cads, curs and creeps who condemn courtesy as something corny. No cloud could collapse his crushing crescendo of comical crowing and crimson coiffure. This conjecture on culture comes circumlocutive, consequently...

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Old 05 Nov 2007, 23:09   #2 (permalink)
Shas'El
 
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Default Re: My Sept's Fluff - A little unorthodox, lots of history

hey-

First off- you should pick a world within a Sept since Septs are major clusters of worlds- and they've all been listed.

otherwise- awesome fluff, keep working on it!
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Old 06 Nov 2007, 00:25   #3 (permalink)
Shas'Ui
 
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Default Re: My Sept's Fluff - A little unorthodox, lots of history

Quote:
Originally Posted by calmsword
hey-

First off- you should pick a world within a Sept since Septs are major clusters of worlds- and they've all been listed.

otherwise- awesome fluff, keep working on it!

He could also pick a world outside a Sept (more likely givien his fluff), for example a well develped but isolated world outside existing Septs but not major enough in itself to qualify for Sept status.
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Old 06 Nov 2007, 08:19   #4 (permalink)
Shas'O
 
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Default Re: My Sept's Fluff - A little unorthodox, lots of history

I thought there were about four Septs that hadn't been named?

Either way, it makes little difference - it's just a name, really!
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Restayvien
Well I'd rather not play the game at all than play it like they did! :P
Crikey! This crazy clown causes commotion like the coming of Christ. Contained in a circle corrupted by crackheads and carnal cravings, he creates no concession to callous cheaters concentrating on nought but cock. Certainly, still a curious and cordial cavalier in the countenance of crazed cads, curs and creeps who condemn courtesy as something corny. No cloud could collapse his crushing crescendo of comical crowing and crimson coiffure. This conjecture on culture comes circumlocutive, consequently...

You may call me Circus.
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Old 06 Nov 2007, 10:03   #5 (permalink)
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Default Re: My Sept's Fluff - A little unorthodox, lots of history

Awesome!

Your Gue'la fluff is creepily similiar to mine, except the Tau saved loads of (civilian) humans from a planet that was about to be set to Exterminatus by the Inquisition.

Inspired me to write some more, this has. ;D
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Old 06 Nov 2007, 11:47   #6 (permalink)
Shas'O
 
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Default Re: My Sept's Fluff - A little unorthodox, lots of history

I was thinking that if I started a Necron army, for a Lord model I'd create some kind of warped, twisted, Necron-ised Battlesuit (still using just standard Necron Lord rules, or perhaps Destroyer Lord) to represent what Ho'lans has become.
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Restayvien
Well I'd rather not play the game at all than play it like they did! :P
Crikey! This crazy clown causes commotion like the coming of Christ. Contained in a circle corrupted by crackheads and carnal cravings, he creates no concession to callous cheaters concentrating on nought but cock. Certainly, still a curious and cordial cavalier in the countenance of crazed cads, curs and creeps who condemn courtesy as something corny. No cloud could collapse his crushing crescendo of comical crowing and crimson coiffure. This conjecture on culture comes circumlocutive, consequently...

You may call me Circus.
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Old 06 Nov 2007, 15:26   #7 (permalink)
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Default Re: My Sept's Fluff - A little unorthodox, lots of history

Totally awesome circus freak, you have a real talent there ^_^ i'll be watching for your other work
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Old 06 Nov 2007, 18:04   #8 (permalink)
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Default Re: My Sept's Fluff - A little unorthodox, lots of history

Some interesting concepts, although many of them do seem to have a similar ring to my own Tau'va: Ancients (best example, the concept of "blowing the core" on a Necron Tomb to destroy the Necrons, although I suppose that idea in itself is about as old as the Necron Codex. :).

Another minor point is the "anti Aun" sentiment; the Aun do not advise beyond their knowledge. An Aun would not tell the Fio how to build a tower, nor the Shas how to guard one. However, they would know that neither Fio or Shas would approach the problem of defending said tower the same way. The Aun, therefore, exists to find compromise.
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Old 06 Nov 2007, 18:08   #9 (permalink)
Shas'O
 
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Default Re: My Sept's Fluff - A little unorthodox, lots of history

I hadn't heard of the idea before I wrote this, but then again I did expect it to be the "typical" reaction as it is quite often used in sci fi!

Yes, the bit about the Ethereals is the bit I like least. I know I dislike them myself, and that may have wormed its way into this. The sensible thing, really, would be just to not have mentioned it =)

I've just started a full write-up on Ho'lans, as I think I will convert a Crisis suit to use him as a Lord in the Necron army I've been planning for a long time. I'll post the fluff in the Necron section, but link to it here.

EDIT:

I finished the fluff on O'Ho'lans, including what happened to him and where he is now. It can be found here http://forums.tauonline.org/index.ph...#msg1058457670. Just in case any of you guys are interested in reading it but wouldn't normally pay the Necron forums a visit =)
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Restayvien
Well I'd rather not play the game at all than play it like they did! :P
Crikey! This crazy clown causes commotion like the coming of Christ. Contained in a circle corrupted by crackheads and carnal cravings, he creates no concession to callous cheaters concentrating on nought but cock. Certainly, still a curious and cordial cavalier in the countenance of crazed cads, curs and creeps who condemn courtesy as something corny. No cloud could collapse his crushing crescendo of comical crowing and crimson coiffure. This conjecture on culture comes circumlocutive, consequently...

You may call me Circus.
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