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Known technology of the Tau Empire (and its comparison to Imperial technology)
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Old 26 Aug 2008, 14:24   #1 (permalink)
Shas'Saal
 
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Default Known technology of the Tau Empire (and its comparison to Imperial technology)

Hey folks, i am gonna do this happy little list, feel free to comment and flame as appropriate. Please note that this is not a Tau "elevating" moment, i just like to compare and contrast things.

my sources mostly span the games, and steer clear as much as i can from the books (i don't consider most of them to be cannon fluff).


Known Technology:

Plasma Technology, Level of understanding: High.

Everyone loves plasma. The glorious AP2 weapon that waxes a marine in one shot. The tau appear to have a very strong grasp of plasma technology, to the point of making it a safe and efficient power suit weapon. While it lacks the sheer punch of an Imperial plasma rifle (or plasma cannon for that matter), or the rate of fire of the eldar Star Cannon, it is a good middle ground. The level of advancement of this weapon is rather clear, the tau do not seem to have the power technology, or safety technologies, to reduce it down to a troop-carried weapon and maintain its strength.

Imperial Comparison: Imperial plasma technology is the clear winner here, even if the technology is not understood. The Imperium of man have managed to make a broad variety of plasma weaponry of all shapes and sizes. While many of these (like the massive plasma blast guns) are slowly being lost as the technology is forgotten, ancient STC data wins out (even if they don't know how to turn down the output settings, resulting in fried guardsmen).

Offshoot technology: Pulse Weaponry.

When the Tau attempted to reduce the size of plasma weaponry they must have encountered two major problems, one is power generation (to activate the plasma), and safety concerns (fire warriors should not be killed by their own guns). The Tau empire is small, and Tau philosophy does not permit the practice of 'expendable troops'. So the result was plasma pulse technology, which uses a lower-energy plasma accelerated by their advanced linear accelerator technology. The result is a series of weapons with incredible range and strength, safe to the user, and easily mass-produced.
Sources: Tau Empire Codex, Fire Warrior video game, Dawn of War: Dark Crusade

Linear Accelerator Technology (Aka, mass drivers, rail guns, etc.)
The ability to accelerate an object with magnetic fields is really the crowning jewel of the earth caste. Not only have they taken this level and integrated it into just about every piece of weaponry they have, they successfully miniaturized the technology into an effective troop weapon. In order to find equivalent technology on the imperial side you need to scale up to space combat with the Nova cannon and Bombardment cannon. They even use it to fire their massive Gravitic launchers, which propel drone guided missiles at enemy space ships.

Imperial comparison: Tau technology is the clear winner in this situation, by successfully scaling down massive space ship based cannons into a weapon a pathfinder can use.

Offshoot technologies: Pulse technology

Powered Armor Technology. (Crisis, broadside, stealth suits)

One of the most hotly contested areas of technology in comparison to imperial tech. One critical thing that must be taken into account is that the proper ability comparison must be done between equivilent suits, and the best match is a space marine tactical suit, and a tau stealth suit.

Imperial comparison: From what i can tell, and see, Tau technology is a winner. A stealth suit can simply do more for a tau then a power armor can do for a human. Jet pack technology, stealth technology, strength bonus, better armor, subsystem hard points, and drones just make a better suit. The imperials do better in production however, they can build more then the tau.

Thats all for now, add your own if you wish!
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Old 26 Aug 2008, 14:34   #2 (permalink)
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Default Re: Known technology of the Tau Empire (and its comparison to Imperial technolog

Some of these comparisons are very tricky to do accurately. For example, Power Armour does enhance the user's strength, just not in 40K. You could likewise argue that the +1 Str bonus granted by a Stealth Suit is just to make them stand out a bit more from Fire warriors, and on a "realistic" scale (Inquisitor or Dark Heresy) the boost to the user's physical strength would be similar, or even less than that given by Power Armour.

It is also difficult to outright say Imperial have "better" Plasma weapons. Imperials have more powerful Plasma, and on that note the Eldar far surpass both parties (able to produce Imperial level power with none of the danger), but the Tau weapons are certainly the better choice in terms of reliability and ease of manufacture. Yes, the Pulse Rifle might not realistically threaten a Space Marine (Fluffwise), but nor is it going to overheat and cook the gunner's hands off... and it will certainly punch a bloody big hole through a Human or Human-equivalent target, armoured or not!


In all honesty, I think the only advantage the Tau have technologically is their lack of size. If the Tau Empire had to equip a million Shas on a million worlds, there is no way in hell they would be marching to war with Pulse Rifles and Shas-Armour. They'd need battle gear you can assemble anywhere, with anything, in ten minutes flat, that can be reloaded anywhere, repaired anywhere, and that can survive extreme misuse without fail.

In short, Tau would have Lasguns and Flak Armour.
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Old 26 Aug 2008, 14:36   #3 (permalink)
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Default Re: Known technology of the Tau Empire (and its comparison to Imperial technolog

My God will you be flamed...

Rejecting the books in favor of games as canon? You'd better hope some of our more dedicated members don't see this.


Oh yes, Tau also use plasma tech in a man-portable form.
It's called pulse weaponry.
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Old 26 Aug 2008, 14:46   #4 (permalink)
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Default Re: Known technology of the Tau Empire (and its comparison to Imperial technology)

Quote:
my sources mostly span the games, and steer clear as much as i can from the books (i don't consider most of them to be cannon fluff).

But, they are! even that tripe by Goto.

Quote:
In all honesty, I think the only advantage the Tau have technologically is their lack of size. If the Tau Empire had to equip a million Shas on a million worlds, there is no way in hell they would be marching to war with Pulse Rifles and Shas-Armour. They'd need battle gear you can assemble anywhere, with anything, in ten minutes flat, that can be reloaded anywhere, repaired anywhere, and that can survive extreme misuse without fail.
Rubbish. Fluff sources already tell us that the pulse rifle is reliable, easy to make and maintain. If they had to equip larger forces they could do so.
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Old 26 Aug 2008, 14:56   #5 (permalink)
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Default Re: Known technology of the Tau Empire (and its comparison to Imperial technolog

Quote:
Originally Posted by Elle
Rubbish. Fluff sources already tell us that the pulse rifle is reliable, easy to make and maintain. If they had to equip larger forces they could do so.
Define "larger". Just because they can ship something across a largely insignificant distance does not automatically mean, if you increased their production to scale, they could universally equip the Imperium.

The Tau Empire is very tight knit. Crossing Damocles takes months, probably as long if not longer than it takes to cross the Empire. Think about it - say on T'au a new Pulse Rifle was developed. It'd take a week to get it to Bork'an, two months to get to Roane, six months to Kar Duniash, two years to Baran, a decade to Terra, and by the time it reaches Ultima Macharia three newer, better versions have been developed, built and scrapped again.

90% of the Empire would be using obsolete gear.

This is the whole point behind the Lasgun - it is, in every sense, idiot proof. The Pulse Rifle is not, and that is why an Imperium-sized force would never use it.
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Old 26 Aug 2008, 15:02   #6 (permalink)
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Default Re: Known technology of the Tau Empire (and its comparison to Imperial technolog

Quote:
Originally Posted by Wargamer
Quote:
Originally Posted by Elle
Rubbish. Fluff sources already tell us that the pulse rifle is reliable, easy to make and maintain. If they had to equip larger forces they could do so.
Define "larger". Just because they can ship something across a largely insignificant distance does not automatically mean, if you increased their production to scale, they could universally equip the Imperium.

The Tau Empire is very tight knit. Crossing Damocles takes months, probably as long if not longer than it takes to cross the Empire. Think about it - say on T'au a new Pulse Rifle was developed. It'd take a week to get it to Bork'an, two months to get to Roane, six months to Kar Duniash, two years to Baran, a decade to Terra, and by the time it reaches Ultima Macharia three newer, better versions have been developed, built and scrapped again.

90% of the Empire would be using obsolete gear.

This is the whole point behind the Lasgun - it is, in every sense, idiot proof. The Pulse Rifle is not, and that is why an Imperium-sized force would never use it.
Not to mention that those idiots can't get past their own technobabble garbage rituals to reverse-engineer and make pulse weapons in the first place...
Maybe a rogue, but then his works would likely be destroyed and /or lost. They certainly wouldn't use the tech on any larger scale.

Heh, I can see it now...the Techpriests making a weapon that rivals and exceeds (at least on the Table-top, fluff hasn't exactly been rampant for Tau) bolters, that is also much easier to make... Yeah, that'd go over just fine with the SM's.
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Old 26 Aug 2008, 16:00   #7 (permalink)
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Default Re: Known technology of the Tau Empire (and its comparison to Imperial technology)

You don't need to look at Imperial Guard. There are a fewer Space Marines than there are Fire Warriors. And yet Space Marines are still using the bolter, for the most part.

Besides, the Tau are a scientific race. If they had to splinter their empire and maintain seperate lines of supply and technology, any of the sections would be able to conduct research and development on their own. There is nothing to say that they would choose to downgrade to inferior systems just to maintain standardization.

The Pulse Rifle would definitely threaten Space Marines, in the background just as well as in the game. It is the most powerful basic infantry weapon used by any race in terms of shear firepower. For the Emperor described the effects quite clearly. The Pulse Rifle is a light plasma gun, with higher rate-of-fire and longer range.

The biggest technological advantage the Tau have is that their approach to technology is still scientific. They can take the physics they are learning and apply that to the problems they are facing at the moment. The Eldar and the Imperium lost this ability thousands of years before the current era. Most of them are content to use the solutions passed down to them and hope that they will be up to the challenge.

An Imperial army armed with nothing but Plasma Guns would have impressive firepower, but they would spend most of their free time in the medical tent or the machine shop. They don't have the ability to lower the power the of the Plasma Gun to make them safe, because they don't understand how they work. The original human civilization that produced the Plasma Gun could have done so. They were more advanced than the Tau are now. But they didn't, so the civilization their inherited their technology makes do with what they could find.

So while we don't have good constraints on the complexity of Tau technology, its application is frequently superior to that of the enemy. And as stated, most of these relative comparisons are nothing more than fanboys trying to play up a faction they like. GW has not given us enough information to make them objectively. The Tau are "high-tech" because GW wrote them to be. The balance is preserved because all of the races in 40k are capable of things in war that can not be matched by any of the others.
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Old 26 Aug 2008, 16:08   #8 (permalink)
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Default Re: Known technology of the Tau Empire (and its comparison to Imperial technolog

I was kidding with my post above. :P

Not so much in the sarcasm way of kidding as deadpan. Which normally translates well across the net.
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Old 26 Aug 2008, 17:22   #9 (permalink)
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Default Re: Known technology of the Tau Empire (and its comparison to Imperial technology)

Also, don't Tactical Marines and XV8s have the same saves/toughness...? So wouldn't they be the best comparison?
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Old 26 Aug 2008, 18:34   #10 (permalink)
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Default Re: Known technology of the Tau Empire (and its comparison to Imperial technology)

Quote:
Originally Posted by 3v!L Tak'Ukos
Also, don't Tactical Marines and XV8s have the same saves/toughness...? So wouldn't they be the best comparison?
Space Marines are genetically engineered super-soldiers. Their armour does not enhance their stats in 40K (shown because Humans in Power Armour don't get stat boosts).
The XV8 and variants all grant a massive strength boost, and a Toughness bonus (or, more likely, they have a set strength that the user obtains).
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