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4th Stage Expansion?
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Old 02 Dec 2007, 19:24   #1 (permalink)
Shas'Saal
 
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Default 4th Stage Expansion?

Do people believe a Tau 4th stage expansion is imminent? Or given the approach of the splinter fleets of Kraken and the fact thatif the tau want to expand any further they are going to have to start into Imperial territory, and likely suffer the repercussions of a Damocles mk2.
Have the Tau reached an impasse where they are commited to defence? are they going to be able to launch an expansion capable of stripping the Imperium of a few worlds? or has the new Tau fleet adressed the balance and the 4th stage expansion a tantalising close opportunity?

When where and how effective will the 4th stage be?
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Old 02 Dec 2007, 19:52   #2 (permalink)
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Default Re: 4th Stage Expansion?

Well, it's certainly not going to happen for a while. The current 3rd phase worlds have to be fortified, developed and populated sufficiently before anything else major happens. This may take years, decades, or even centuries (there were centuries between the 2nd and 3rd spheres). Also during this time they will prepare Imperial and other alien worlds for integration, by opening diplomatic relations / negotiating trading contracts / sowing the seeds of rebellion. This also takes time. The Tau cannot afford to overstretch themselves at this stage - they are spread relatively thinly after the big push of the 3rd phase, so any further advances would leave them very much open to attack.

Of course, none of this means that they won't try and colonise or integrate any worlds during this consolidation phase. Lightly-defended, isolated systems will no doubt be picked off piecemeal as they present themselves, and exploration teams will no doubt continue to find new uninhabited worlds in the darkness of wilderness space, ripe for colonisation.

And I don't think any of us can say how effective the 4th phase expansion will be. A lot may happen in the intervening years.
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Old 02 Dec 2007, 19:53   #3 (permalink)
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Default Re: 4th Stage Expansion?

they were planning it up until medusa V, and then after all that happened, they changed their minds, and decided to consolidate the 3rd phase planets.
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Old 02 Dec 2007, 19:55   #4 (permalink)
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Default Re: 4th Stage Expansion?

Which is what they should have been doing regardless of the Medusa V results. All the talk about the 4th sphere was merely down to overconfidence after the success of the 3rd.
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Old 02 Dec 2007, 19:58   #5 (permalink)
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Default Re: 4th Stage Expansion?

A fourth phase expansion now would result in the extinction of the Tau.

It really is that simple. As threat after threat is piling upon the Tau, and they grow ever closer to Imperial space proper, the need to fortify their borders is growing, and as basic mathematics states, the larger your border, the more men needed to fortify it. Before the Tau can push out, they must first form a solid guarding force, build up secondary and tertiary counter-forces, and then create a spearhead army for assaults. Whilst that may sound rather over-cautious, please do remember that the Damocles Gulf Crusade's vanguard fleet fought its way to Dal'yth before it was halted. If the speartip can puncture the heart of the Tau Empire, imagine what the full thing can do...
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Old 02 Dec 2007, 20:21   #6 (permalink)
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Default Re: 4th Stage Expansion?

Yeah, it will be years before another expansion. Most of the core third phase colonies are fortified but the outer ones aren't yet. Also, the Tau are going to need warp travel if they go much further, or they will be to spread out. I know the Earth and Air Castes are working furiously on it though, but it may be impossible without warp navigators.
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Old 02 Dec 2007, 20:23   #7 (permalink)
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Default Re: 4th Stage Expansion?

Well, the last I'd heard they were able to improve their Warp Dive systems from 1/5th of average (whatever that is) Imperial Warp Drives, up to 1/3. So they're making progress, and who knows? By the time the 4th phase rolls around, they might even have faster drives than the Imperium, with none of the side-effects of warp travel.
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Old 02 Dec 2007, 20:31   #8 (permalink)
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Default Re: 4th Stage Expansion?

They should be a long long way from the 4th Expansion (next Tau codex update, which should be years from now). The Tau have done much in the 3rd expansion and so really they do need to stop and think. The time of war is over and the time for construction and enemy at the gates has arrived.

What I would like to see is Tau fluff take a massive beating from a major splinter fleet invasion to slap Aun'va B**** in the face. Let the Tau learn some more horror about the universe like they did about the warp at Medusa V. It would be nice to show up the Tau being naive in a universe on which they are hardly a smudge.

You cannot have the Tau expand continuously because its like the Roman empire the more you expand the more you have to rely on locals and they might not be up to stretch, particularly Imperial citzens.

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Old 02 Dec 2007, 20:44   #9 (permalink)
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Default Re: 4th Stage Expansion?

I thought the Tau were still in the 3rd Phase of expansion as of the current timeline. The "4th Sphere" stuff was just a few players during the Medusa campaign mouthing off. That is the only time it has ever come up. But the 4th Sphere won't necessarily result in the extermination of the Tau. My guess is that the transition from calling their new worlds "3rd Sphere" to calling them 4th Sphere" will just come as a result of a policy change by the Ethereals, possibly due to new leadership in the Fire Caste. The Tau are expanding all the time, or at least they are trying to. The Spheres are just a way they have of describing it.

So my guess is that the 4th Sphere will happen whenever Shadowsun is replaced or the Ethereals need to rally the morale of the Empire for some reason. And as with the previous spheres, it may take a few Imperial worlds, but it will also be investing a lot of uninhabitated planets, worlds occupied by unaligned xenos, or possibly Ork worlds.

But the codex makes the Damocles Gulf Crusade pretty clear. The entire crusade was stalled at Dal'yth, aside from what they left behind to garrison worlds along their path. That was the full thing. Keep in mind that they didn't exactly fight their way out when the recall was sounded. So I am not sure what you are on about as far as scaling issues. The last of the Rogue Star books should clear up the specifics, whenever Hoare gets around to finishing it.
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Old 02 Dec 2007, 21:34   #10 (permalink)
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Default Re: 4th Stage Expansion?

4th sphere expansion is no where in sight, IMO. The Tau have just completed the successful 3rd sphere expansion (which I believe was a result of the EoT campaign). Note that they are already moving into Imperial space and taking Imperial colonies. This was due thanks to the Imperials diverting massive resources towards the EoT, and IIRC the 3rd sphere colonies are already well fortified. As for further expansion, I don't see what would stop the Tau. They may not officially claim a 4th sphere expansion, but I'm sure their water caste envoys are always going on the prowl looking to talk up another world into rebellion, as this is exactly what they did before the Damocles Gulf Crusade. IMO, the 3rd sphere announcement only announced that the Tau were using military force to take worlds, otherwise it's politics as usual, and the Tau are indeed looking to prep other worlds for conquest.
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