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[This post is very long, but not very heavy going. Please don’t be put off by the size!]

[WARNING: THIS IS 100% OPINION! I am not saying the following post holds all the answers or is 100% right, I am very open minded about it and I am more that happy for it to be discussed and disagreed with, in fact, that is the reason why I have posted it!]

Looking at things written about on this subject in the past, I believe this could be quite 'controversial'. Some discussions I have read have become very heated, and I feel that this have the potential to be similar. I would ask people to remain level headed and post constructive arguments, rather than just saying 'I know more about Tau/ Chaos fluff than you could ever imagine!' (I read a 15 page post on the subject before writing this, and about 10 pages of it was simply that!). From what is out there, I think that this concept has not being discussed fully and I will try to resolve the issue, if it ever will, with your help.

I feel this is very possible that Tau can turn to Chaos on the small scale (by small scale I mean both individually and 'combat patrol' size armies). I am going to use the Tau and Chaos codex’s to re- enforce my arguments, as they are things most people already have, have knowledge or can easily find a copy. The fluff in codex's is also nearly non- disputable (I say 'nearly' just in case there are few rare examples I don’t know about), which, if I base my arguments off of, they will be much stronger.

Firstly in going to look at the Chaos codex, to see if it is in fact possible for Chaos to consume Tau.
Page 8 of the Chaos codex talks about the creation of the Chaos Gods. It talks about emotions and events ('their hopes and dreams...rage and wars...love and hatred') 'feeding the Chaos Gods and nurturing their power'. It also says 'A Chaos God can only grow in power through the actions and thoughts of morals'. Therefore, the more morals acting in the name of the Gods, the stronger they will become, and the Chaos Gods want to become as strong as possible. It is therefore in the Gods favour to have as many followers as possible.
When it comes to Chaos Tau, why would the Chaos Gods not want them as followers? Even if their minds barely registered in the warp (second to last paragraph, page 6 in Tau Codex), they would still beneficial, even if only marginally. True, it would hardly be worth it for the Gods to actively seek them as followers, but if the Tau offered themselves up, for whatever reason, why would the Gods look a gift horse in the mouth?

From this, I conclude that it is possible for Chaos to consume Tau, but would the Tau ever act in such a way to please the Chaos Gods?

In the Tau codex, on page 5, it talks about the time before the Ethereal's, the Mont'au, roughly translated to 'dark times'. This was a time of great war and disease, where the Tau were brought to near extinction:

'As the savagery of the fighting escalated, it seemed as though the Tau race would surely extinguish itself in the fires of this own barbarity.' (Tau codex, bottom of 'Advanced Evolution', page 5)

This shows that the Tau can be brutal, even to their own, without the guiding presence of the Ethereal's. If the guiding light of the Ethereal's was not present and were cut off from the main body of Tau, it could be very possible that the Tau could act in a very bloodthirsty and barbaric way.

But why would the Tau turn to Chaos?

I am going to look at each God individuality, and what they could offer the Tau, what the Tau can offer them, and how realistic this would be. I have put them in the order I see as the most plausible.

Khorne could offer an ambitious warrior who wish's to carve out an empire of his/her own, Khorne giving the soldiers and skill to do so. Khorne, in return, would demand that blood would be spilled in his name, which if an empire is being built and war waged, isn't a huge demand for the Tau. This seems to be a good bargain for both Tau and God, as Khorne 'cares not from whence the blood flow, only that it does.' (Codex: Chaos, page 9). Why would he care who is making the blood flow and for what reason?

Tzeentch could give the a Tau an number of rewards, the limit of the Tau' s dreams and aspirations being the only thing holding him back. Alternately, Tzeentch could offer the Tau knowledge in return of his services. Tzeentch would get another pawn in his game of fate that entangles the universe. To me, this seems very plausible.

Nurgle would offer a Tau a body that could resist illness, starvation and death, which is going to be very tempting! Though what Nurgle could get in return in not clear. The Tau could, in return for his/her resilient body, could become the bearer of a terrible plague that would infect others, much like the destroyer plague. Nurgle is a welcoming God, and I think this is plausible that he would accept Tau, though I think what use he would have for them need to be exploded more.

Slaanesh could offer a sense of individuality to the Tau and give them new found pleasures and experiences. As the pleasures get old, the Tau would turn to more and more horrific acts to amuse themselves. I can't think of a good use the Tau would be for Slaanesh, other that must more warriors and followers, though Slaanesh does not really interest me, so if someone else could ponder this it would be great!

In what sort of situation would this happen?

Anywhere were there is no Ethereal’s present and the Tau are cut off for a long period of time and/or are in desperate need. This is quite a specific set of circumstances, but it is very similar to how many Space Marines fall from grace, the faith in the emperor being lessened by not having a functioning Chaplain in the ranks and little to stop the Space Marine deserting.

So what do you think of all this? Plausible, or a load of rubbish that could never happen? What do you think could and couldn’t work? Have anything to add?

Thanks very much for reading, it is greatly appreciated.

[I wish I could this much time and effort into my homework…]
 

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Whether such a thing would officially happen would probably hinge on further revelation of Farsight's rebellion--he may or may not be in league with Chaos.

There are two things weighing against Tau employing Chaos. The first reason is that things are going well for them at the moment. Their Empire is expanding steadily, not fighting any major wars, gaining allies/vassals and progressing technologically. Even if you freed a Tau from an Ethereal's influence, he would probably still think the Ethereals are really nice guys...and with good reason, too.

The second reason is that Tau's weak connection to the Warp goes both ways. Assuming they did want to invoke Chaos, it would be difficult. There are no instances of daemonic possession in Tau fluff, for example. You can have all the sorcerous intent you want but, without a good warp-connection, you would have to use an intermediary...and I can't see a Tau using a typically insane, arrogant, mutated and/or lobotomized human psyker to communicate with a creature from another reality, let alone direct power. They might hire some Chaos Marines as mercenaries but that isn't the same thing as joining Chaos. Neither side can make direct use of the other.

Tzzentch is probably doing something with the Tau indirectly but not because he stands to gain anything from doing so. Scheming is merely what he does.

...it is very similar to how many Space Marines fall from grace...
Not at all. The Heresy was caused by disloyalty, not abandonment, desperation or lack of leadership. The Dark Gods make Horus & Co. an offer, they accepted and many Marines either agreed or simply continued to obey orders. Hence my original comment about Farsight.

I wish I could this much time and effort into my homework…
Ain't that the truth. Why can't property law be as interesting as eternal damnation?
 

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No. I am of the opinion that there is just not any way that the Dark Gods would even look at the Tau. Barring Tau/Necrontyr conspiracies, the Tau's negligible connection to the warp means that it just isn't cost-effective to commune with the Tau, who have no inclination or capacity to reciprocate. The Ethereals exhibit some kind of control over the other castes (allegedly pheromones) and the last time that they got near the Warp (Damocles Gulf crusade?) they took one look and bricked themselves. They try and just skim the Warp to avoid monstrous, gibbering, rabid daemons. Slower, but there are no constructs eating your face.
 

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Son of LO
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I'm not going to leap out and say 'chaos tau.. noooooo!' but I personally don't think it makes much thematic sense. Tau, of all races (besides perhaps the Necrons) are incredibly material in focus. They're raised to believe fanatically that the world is rational, makes physical sense and is absolutely not subject to the whim of ancient powers from beyond the edge of time and space.

As far as I know, the existence of the warp is pretty much a classified secret in the Tau empire, and the only bits of fluff in which Tau interact with Chaos focus on the complete shock, non-comprehension and revulsion Tau feel in the presence of Chaotic or corrupted beings. Chaos is pretty much everything their society stands against, and regardless of whether an ethereal is present to dose everyone with soothing pheremones at the time, Tau are raised to be utterly terrified and horrified at the kind of emotions and impulses which fuel chaos. Look at the utter despair they feel when an ethereal dies, that's not a random emotion, it's a genuine ingrained fear of slipping back into barbarism.

The biggest problem, as mentioned, is communication. Tau have little to no connection to the warp and, for the most part, dismiss any thoughts of a dimension of madness and horror populated by slavering malevolent entities as a primitive human superstition. How would the Chaos gods ever communicate with them?

I think the most likely Farsight explanation is that he has an extreme case of battlesuit neurosis which renders him immune to pheremonal control. It doesn't have to be chaotic at all, none of us are constantly being soothed into compliance by mind-altering pheremones and we don't all automatically devolve into crazed cannibalistic axe murderers just because it would be easier to chop our neighbors to bits and eat them than trek three miles across town to the supermarket. Just because you have (relative) free will doesn't mean you're going to fall to chaos.
 

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I'm not going to leap out and say 'chaos tau.. noooooo!' but I personally don't think it makes much thematic sense. Tau, of all races (besides perhaps the Necrons) are incredibly material in focus. They're raised to believe fanatically that the world is rational, makes physical sense and is absolutely not subject to the whim of ancient powers from beyond the edge of time and space.

As far as I know, the existence of the warp is pretty much a classified secret in the Tau empire, and the only bits of fluff in which Tau interact with Chaos focus on the complete shock, non-comprehension and revulsion Tau feel in the presence of Chaotic or corrupted beings. Chaos is pretty much everything their society stands against, and regardless of whether an ethereal is present to dose everyone with soothing pheremones at the time, Tau are raised to be utterly terrified and horrified at the kind of emotions and impulses which fuel chaos. Look at the utter despair they feel when an ethereal dies, that's not a random emotion, it's a genuine ingrained fear of slipping back into barbarism.

The biggest problem, as mentioned, is communication. Tau have little to no connection to the warp and, for the most part, dismiss any thoughts of a dimension of madness and horror populated by slavering malevolent entities as a primitive human superstition. How would the Chaos gods ever communicate with them?

I think the most likely Farsight explanation is that he has an extreme case of battlesuit neurosis which renders him immune to pheremonal control. It doesn't have to be chaotic at all, none of us are constantly being soothed into compliance by mind-altering pheremones and we don't all automatically devolve into crazed cannibalistic axe murderers just because it would be easier to chop our neighbors to bits and eat them than trek three miles across town to the supermarket. Just because you have (relative) free will doesn't mean you're going to fall to chaos.
Yeah... so like I said but argued in a more rational way, using actual evidence, rather than in an almost offended, "not another one" sort of way. I like yours better.
 

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Discussion Starter · #6 ·
Basically, the reason why I posted this was because I wanted to have evil Tau. My Tau at the moment have urban combat armour, mostly black with grey with red bits and a white gun. Its quite a dark, sinister look, and that's what got me started on the Chaos idea. Also, I had an awesome picture of a battle suit with two great big chain axes in each hand and juggernaut like head on his upper chest in my appear in my mind, which couldn't be ignored!

Basically, I want the Tau to look like Chaos, but it's difficult for them to be possessed by Chaos, and so I have come up with this bit of fluff:

The unsuspecting Khorne ship hung silent in the sky as the Tau ships raced towards it, the fire warriors on board getting to board the enemy, excepting unimaginable horror's on-board. The Ethereal's wanted the ship captured rather than destroyed, it was a unique chance for they to study any weakness's the ship may have and possibly find future Chaos plans.
The reason why the Khorne ship did not attempt to fire upon the attacking Tau ships was made clear with the Tau boarded. They were met with the sight of hundreds of dead Space Marines, with the marking of Khorne, hacked to dead and lining the corridors for hundreds of miles. As the Tau ventured further in, why found the few survivors still alive attacking one another in great fits of rage. It appeared that the berserker's had been without battle for a long while, and in devotion to their God Khorne, had turned on each other in sacrifice. When it was clear that their was no real fight to be had, the Ethereal's sent more Tau on board, both of Fire and Earth caste, to hasten the search for information. But what they did not know was that the ship was set to warp jump in a matter hours, which it did, separating the Tau on board the Chaos ship from their Ethereal's, still on the Tau ships, who could not follow due to the Tau's lack of the Navigator gene.

Billions of miles from home, the Tau were trapped in their Chaos tomb in a large patch of empty space, unable to control the Chaos ship, leaderless; alone. The lower rank warrior's turned to their respecting superiors for guidance. At first, the Tau worked together, but supplies started to become low, so did the trust between the Tau. They started to divide the ship between them, each group having a small area with they were allowed to stay in; and no else was allowed to enter.

Whatever provoked the great battle between the Tau is not clear, it could have been one attacked another for more supplies, or simply a small argument between a couple of rival Tau, but whatever happened, Tau was put against Tau in a bitter kin strife. Tau sunk as lower as eating the long dead Space Marines, and even cannibalism, to stay alive. The meaning of 'for the greater good' was lost, simply meaning victory over the other Tau. The war raged on and on, a whole new generation was born, knowing nothing of the outside universe, and living in a constant turf struggle.

After many years, only one faction remained. When the ship was first divided, one of the groups were gifted with the best the Earth caste could get. Rather than simply dismiss the Chaos weapons around them as crude, as the other's did, they studied them, hacking the ships computers and dismantling the Khorne chain axes to see how they worked. The commanders allowed them to do this as the low supplies of ammunition and the natural choke points of the ship meant that the usually Tau tactics of avoiding close combat were ineffective.

The commanders faith in the research paid off. They mounted the Khorne chain axe's on their guns like heavy duty bayonets, which were highly effective at cutting though the enemies armour. Soon after these were deployed, all other Tau had submitted to or had been killed by the newly named "Son's of Khorne", in honour of who inspired their victory. [I am shocked that were is no Chaos chapters already called this!].

Whilst they had destroyed all opposition, the Son's of Khorne were still trapped on the ship, and set about to decode the computers so that they were able to pilot and control the ship. The more they de- coded, the more they found out about the God of War, and the more they liked. The years of struggle and knowing nothing of war had led the Tau on- board to respect the fiercest of warriors, and while the old Tau code would have shunned what terrible acts that they had committed, Khorne welcomed it. So it seemed natural for the Tau to start to worship Khorne, and change their battle cry to 'Blood for the Greater God!'

The Fire caste practically enslaved the Earth caste, forcing them to work for days on end in retched conditions to de- code the Chaos ship. They soon found out how the ship could create it's own food supplies, but it didn't stop the Tau from eating the thousands of dead berserker's found on- board, thinking that by eating them, it would bring them closer to Khorne. As the new generations were born on the ship, the facts of the great battle started to be twisted. It did not take long for the Tau to tell their children that Khorne himself had come to the ship in their aid, and later generations thought that they were descendants of Khorne himself!

The truth of the matter was that Khorne hardly knew of the Tau race's existence at all. The Tau's mind hardly registers in the warp, meaning that Chaos is largely uninterested in them. The Tau, however, were ignorant of this, thinking that they were the most blessed in all the universe, willing to do anything their 'father' asked of them.

It was also around this time that the Tau found out about the lobotomy that the World Eaters had perfected, creating fearless warriors who got their greatest rush from killing. The weakest on the ship were the first to be experimented on, perfecting the operation on those who did not matter. Eventually, after many 'test subjects' had been killed, they found away to perform a similar operation on the Tau brain, creating thousands of warriors that did not fear death and felt ecstasy in killing, dedicating themselves to 'father Khorne'.

The Earth caste were pressed even harder after this, the more aggressive Tau wanting to kill in the name of Khorne, and after any hundreds of years, the Tau were finally able to control the ship they had called home for generations, attacking merchant and military ship's alike, not for the plunder, but in the name of a God that did not know or care for them.

'Blood for the Greater God!'

So basically they have no connection to the warp, but because of their little understanding of it they think that they do. They are more cultists rather than warriors for Chaos.

I quite excited about this and I think I am going to write up an army list/ chaos tau codex based on this. I may also thinking of other fluff ideas for the other Gods, such as Tau catching a Nurgle plague that places them under a Chaos Lords direct control or some breakaway Tau simply start enjoy their new found freedom to the extreme (effectively Slaanesh).Praxiss, on the dakkadakka forum suggested the idea that Tzeentch a came to the the Tau as a dead Ethereal in their dream's which may not be 100% fluff wise, but think sound quite cool.

Right, I'm going to play in the snow now, hope you enjoyed my little story ;)

PS. I remember somewhere that of some fluff where a Tau did get possessed by Chaos, but he was very mentally unstable and the daemon was very strong. Basically, I think it is possible, but not really worth the effort for the daemon, and that's way it rarely happens.
 

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Okay, that was some decent fluff. It reads pretty well but there a couple of things I'd like to point out. First, you really need to take some time to learn how to use apostrophes. Secondly,
At first, the Tau worked together, but supplies started to become low, so did the trust between the Tau. They started to divide the ship between them, each group having a small area with they were allowed to stay in; and no else was allowed to enter.
.. I just don't think this would happen. Tau don't seem to have that mentality, it always seems to be "us v them", not "us v us".

As for the whole concept of Chaos Tau, I do think it could happen, but it would only ever be a one-way thing. Tau could, under some circumstances, possibly dedicate themselves to one of the major Chaos powers (Khorne seems likely, due to the large numbers of dedicate Fire Caste) but I don't think Khorne would reciprocate. Tau wouldn't be able to communicate with him in any way other than through an intermediary. They would 'worship' him in the way they are able but ultimately not receive any gifts or favours. With their lack of connection to the warp, it just wouldn't happen.
 

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Hmmm.

First of all, on all but the last point, seconded Ravendove.

If you want to have a more sinister Tau army, why not simply say that for some reason, their leader is more of a shoot-first-ask-questions-later sort of guy, and is more of a Tau-manifest-destiny type than a share-the-galaxy type. That in itself would make him pretty sinister. Then have him do cruel things to captives; enough that civilians would rather fight and die in combat than be captured. When rumor has it that your force is approaching, no conscription is necessary. The civilians volunteer en masse.
 

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Discussion Starter · #9 ·
Tau don't seem to have that mentality, it always seems to be "us v them", not "us v us".
Yeah, I was think of putting a specific example to paper, but I felt it was not necessary to tell the whole story. I also felt that if I kept it vague it could be open to discussion if I shared it with people and, say, wanted to make a 'Tau turf war campaign' of it.

The Tau would be under a lot of stress, and they could misunderstand things. Something like some food getting lost and a Tau claims someone's hidden it for themselves could kick it off. The ship itself, if possessed by a daemon, could play tricks on them, turning them on each other.

I'll leave it to peoples imagination.

If you want to have a more sinister Tau army, why not simply say that for some reason, their leader is more of a shoot-first-ask-questions-later sort of guy
I felt it was to similar to commander Farsight and generic rebel Tau. Plus, I really like the Khorne battlesuit I've started to make!
 

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While I admit I've only really skimmed what you've posted (And kind of liked it to be honest) I just thought I'd toss you an idea I had that I've never really put a lot of effort in to developing.

You'll have to excuse me if this all sounds horribly vague, I seem to be drawing blanks on my Tau fluff at the moment...

Basically, I think there was a little bit of info in one of the codex's (why can I never remember the plural of that word!) that mentioned Commander Puretide, and how he was a genius and a master of all aspects of combat or some such. Supposedly he trained both Farsight and Shadowsun, although they both only seemed to adopt one aspect of his teachings. I think.

So, by that reasoning, there could be any number of Puretide's teachings which your commander could adopt and which could form a theme for your army.

I've used this reasoning to rationalise my commander wanting to use terror and intimidation on the battlefield, to justify modification of his and other battlesuits in the army to bear images and icons of death and distruction which in turn will (hopefully) sow fear and hesitation in the enemy, giving his soldiers the upper hand.

It's borrowing a little from the Night Lords, I think, but perhaps not quite to the same extent...

So perhaps this may be of some use to you, although you may also be happy with what you've written!
 

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I like the fluff, I really do. It does show how strong the Ethereal control is, by having the Tau degenerate back to their original state of harshness. And since a human cruiser is over a dozen kilometres long, and since the Tau have such a short lifespan (40 years), it is percievable that they could get a new generations so quickly.

The only thing I would have trouble with is the Tau started to worship a Chaos god. You can't really go from pure, state-indoctrinated atheism to pure anarchist devotion in a single generation, even if the circumstances are dire. Maybe have the ship-borne Tau go through more generations, or have them suffer from the prolonged warp and chaos-taint exposure. They have little warp presence, but constant exposure over such a long time would affect someone with even a tiny presence.
 

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Personal Opinion, Chaos has little interest in the Tau. They have little signature in the Warp, making them a parltry snack to daemons, they do not have an interest in Warp travel after Medusa IV. Plus their greater good is their religion, not likely to be unseated by a Chaos cult.


I by no means think your story is bad, this is just my opinion when i think of Chaos and Tau.
 

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LO's unofficial Jester
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I think generally Chaos does have little interest in the Tau but then this is Chaos we are talking about, the Chaos don't necesarily act in a rational way, especially not Tzeentch.

The Tau does have a weak connection to the warp but it is still there, they are not Pariahs. I think Chaos would see the corruption of the Tau as an interesting challenge or diversion.

On an individual basis the warp is a strange place and there are areas of the Galaxy that are more closely connected to it than others. I could see a Fire Warrior stumbling on a long forgotton Temple and messing around with some artifact or other sprouting an extra limb or two.

Basically its unlikely that the Tau society as a whole is going to be summoning deamons any time soon but its not impossible for a small Chaos coven to start.
 
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