Tau Society and Physiology
Tau society and physiology revolve around the Sept they are part of. Each caste could almost be considered a subspecies of their own, such are the variations between the caste members.
The Tau are the most open and tolerant of the races in the galaxy, which means that they prefer not to destroy all other races on sight and are nowhere near as vigilant as the Imperium. They are appreciative of the ways of the humans, Eldar, and other sentient races, but hold their own values as superior above all others.
Their tolerance also extends to themselves, as the Tau recognize even lowly Fio’la workers as being as important to the operation and well-being of the Empire as Shas’vre Battlesuit leaders or even the highest Aun’o.
Tau names are generally seen in the Imperium as long, complicated, and unwieldy, but they can be broken down into the following:
- Caste and rank within that caste.
- Sept of birth.
- Personal name (which is often determined/extended by their notable actions or achievements)
Every Tau is humanoid in shape, with two arms, two cloven feet, and a single head. Their grey-blue skin is leathery and tough and exudes no moisture, owing to the generally dry conditions of their homeworld. Their faces are flat, wide around the eyes, and their olfactory organs are located inside their mouths. Their eyes can see into the infrared and ultraviolet. Tau eyesight is good, but they focus on distant objects slower than humans. The Tau are not very good in close combat, as they find the whole concept uncivilized.
It has also been suggested by several Imperial observers that Tau blood is bluish-purple, explaining that the blood contains trace amounts of cobalt, rather than iron as common in humans.
Tau and the Warp
The Tau have no psykers whatsoever among their ranks, for their souls are so feeble they barely register in the Warp at all. They are largely oblivious to the malevolent forces of Chaos, who in turn take no interest in the crumbs that are Tau souls. No Tau has ever been corrupted by Chaos.
Because they have no Navigators, Tau ships cannot travel through the heart of the Warp like Imperium ships do. Instead, they make shallow “dives” into the Warp, a much slower form of travel. Because they have no astropaths, the Tau are reliant on messenger ships to communicate across the stars. These handicaps greatly slow the expansion of the Tau Empire.
Tau warfare is carried out almost exclusively by the Fire Caste, with support from the Air Caste in the form of transportation and air support. The Tau draw their tactics from their age-old methods of hunting. Each force is usually drawn from the same Sept, and is called a Hunter Cadre.
The Tau prefer to carefully plan their assaults and tend to fight only after carefully coordinating all available troops. They also prefer to fight offensively, concerned more with the destruction of the enemy than the taking and holding of ground. The Tau believe that territory is much easier to hold when all enemies are dead. Instead of trying to defend a base or city, the Tau would rather dismantle all the important technology, evacuate, and come back to defeat the occupying force at a later time when their army is sufficient for the task.
The two primary Tau tactics are the Mont’ka (Killing Blow) and Kauyon (Patient Hunter). The Mont’ka is a carefully planned attack designed to wipe out critical enemy defenses or units in single, well-placed strikes. Once the strongest points of enemy resistance are crushed, the remainder of the force can generally be finished off more easily. The Kauyon is essentially an ambush, where the enemy is drawn by use of a “lure” into a carefully prepared killing zones.
The Tau have a formidable standing army but also make use of auxiliary units including the Kroot, Gue’vesa Auxiliaries, and Vespid, sometimes using them as the lure in the Kauyon attack method.
Tau Space Fleet
The Tau space fleet is known as the Kor’vattra and is made up of a variety of heavily armed vessels and fast moving scouts as well as fighters and bombers.
The Tau are very much a ranged-combat oriented army. A common tactic is to engage the enemy at the maximum range of their weapons, which typically have a longer range and greater firepower than the equivalent weapons of other armies. Tau players usually try to take out the strongest weapons of the enemy as well as keeping enemy troops from reaching the Tau lines, as most Tau units are weak in close combat. A more prevalent tactic amongst Tau veterans is the “Mecha-Tau” approach, which utilizes the inherent mobility and speed of Tau vehicles and battlesuits to confuse and overwhelm the enemy by engaging them at all levels of the battlefield.
The Tau army is highly specialized, with each element normally having a specific task in support of the rest of the force. Fire Warrior teams make up the line troops while forward scouts known as Pathfinders scout enemy positions and provide fire support with Rail Rifles and markerlight target designators. The Tau also deploy Broadside Battlesuits and Crisis Battlesuits in supporting roles, providing specialized weapons to deal with any hot spots on the battlefield or providing heavy anti-tank fire. Stealthsuit teams operate independently of the main force, unleashing devastating fire from hidden positions.
The Tau also make extensive use of small, A.I.-controlled drones, typically equipped with guns or forcefields. Drones can be used to protect teams of Fire Warriors and battlesuits or support tanks, and can even be grouped into independent squadrons.
The basic weapons of the Fire Caste propel particles that break down into plasma pulses as they are fired. This is commonly used in the long-range pulse rifle and more portable Pulse Carbine, the latter of which sports an underslung grenade launcher. A rapid-fire variation of the pulse carbine, known as the burst cannon, is also used on vehicles and battlesuits.
The Tau are known to use ion cannons and railguns in their ships as well as their vehicles with various guided and unguided missiles. They also arm their battlesuits with a variety of weapons, ranging from burst cannons and Missile Pods, to Fusion Blasters, Plasma Rifles, and flamers.