Tag: Tau

Shadow War: Armageddon

Shadow War: Armageddon

I’m a rather infrequent Warhammer 40k player, but I have a Tau army that I’ve been monkeying with painting amidst all the Warmachine/Hordes and Bolt Action in my painting queue. With the release of the new Necromunda rules, I mean Shadow War: Armageddon rules, I wanted to get a team finished up and ready for some games.

Given that this rule set really is just a return to Necromunda, I wanted to give my Tau the right feel for wars in the Hive stacks. Thus, I had to ensure that they had the proper mohawks to fit in with the local gangs.

3 Tau Pathfinders Shadow War Armageddon Mohawks Kill Team Necromunda Eschers Goliaths

I figured that the Water Caste must have studied up on Hive Gang operations before committing the team, and recognized that many Hive Gangs in Necromunda (their study site) used raised tufts of hair down the centers of their heads to identify themselves. Given that the Tau would certainly want to be culturally respectful, they had to don such garb themselves. 

4 Tau Pathfinders Full Kill Team Shadow War Armageddon

 

Here’s the full force for the game. It’s the Pathfinders with mohawks, plus the Recon Drone, a Juvie Tau armed with only a combat knife (my Tau dock worker), and the Tau local operations translator human that I’ve used before. 

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40K: Protest

40K: Protest

Part three of a continuing project log of my 40k Tau army and their efforts to retain control of the United Systems of Atreidia, against the gradual uprising posed by my buddy Enrico’s Terran, Chaos, and Genestealer Cult forces. Check out part one and part two if you’re inclined. 

The Story So Far:

To say that the rhetoric among the citizens of Atreidia was getting violent would be an understatement. Groups of Terran citizens took to the streets to protest Tau occupation, Tau taxation, and Tau development policies. Again, the segments of the city that were in process of being rebuilt after a massive acid typhoon were where the sentiment was strongest, as off-world xenos laborers were being shipped in to take many construction jobs. The Tau tried to explain that the Vespid workers they were employing could better handle the conditions of acid residue labor, but it fell on deaf ears. One popular voice demanded that the Vespid pay for their work privilege, and pay for a full protective shieldwall on that side of town themselves.

Tau Chaos Khorne Daemonkin Cover Photo March

That sparked a march in the sector, which drew a variety of people interested in the proceedings. While some were the most virulent of anti-Tau proponents, many others were simply lured in by economic crisis or the sheer charisma of the organizers.

1 Counter Protest Tau

Trouble began when an off-duty Tau Fire Caste Warrior showed up at the protest. Unarmored and unarmed, he nonetheless began yelling back at the crowd and preventing their marching. The situation turned ugly quick, with cries about freedom of speech clashing with his own shouts about how good the Terrans have things under Tau guidance and they should all just go home. It was then that someone in the crowd threw a rock, striking the arguing Tau in the head and knocking him out cold.

2 Tau Suppression Fire

Tau military units had been monitoring the protest, suspecting that additional infiltrators from the desert group that was organizing resistance were among them. When a Tau was injured by the crowd, the forces responded with an attempt to disperse the masses. Their DS8 Tactical Support Turrets had been loaded with gas shells, which would launch a ultimately harmless but quite unpleasant plant pollen into the crowds. The stinging itch was calculated to disperse the protesters without causing undue harm. And thus, they fired on the crowd.

3 The Daemon Emerges

It was the organized munitions launching into the group that finally turned outrage into pure hatred. The entire crowd surged with a wave of anger. It was the moment that the demagogue amid the crowd was waiting for. He and his followers were in tune with that anger, and savored the crackling energy it released into the air. The ritual sigils from ancient Terran myth that they had smeared on themselves using the blood of desert bovines began to hum with power. In seconds, they were reborn. The demagogue’s robes tore free, and strange brass armor began to grow from his skin. Around him, the faithful were sprouting all manner of change–their muscles enlarging with madness and strange growths protruding from their bodies. They had become possessed by the spirits of pure anger.

4 Summoning Reinforcements

With horrifying confidence, the new form of the demagogue waved an arcane pattern in the air, and two pools of energy formed on the city streets. Striding from one nearby were a cadre of strange, armed and armored figured, their armor colored blood red. The far one shimmered and beings exited as well, but the distance of their arrival and strange, cloven-footed forms had trouble being recorded on Tau viewscreens.

5 The Civilians Scatter

With screams of panic, the protesters abandoned their signs and fled for their lives. Judging the new arrivals to be a threat, simply because of their mad dash at the Tau lines, the Tau security forces opened fire. The fleeing protesters were struck by errant bullets from the Tau, but those protesters that neared any of the new arrivals’ positions met and equally grisly fate as they lashed out indiscriminately at all life near them.

6 Brave Resistance

The Tau used what redeploying methods they could to buy more time against the onslaught–the Breacher team that took cover in their Devilfish emerged again to deliver a close proximity burst at the armored foes. Yet their numbers were small, and the Devilfish and Piranha that were helping patrol the sector didn’t carry the kind of ordinance needed to repel such desperate foes.

7 Strange Alien Allies

The distant creatures that had arrived finally made it to the Tau lines, and the Ethereal Commander Lisbet W’ren looked on at the strange alien race that seemed to be working with these Terrans. They had cruel hooves for feet, strange elongated heads, red blistered skin, and carried wicked blackish swords. Ethereal Commander Lisbet had never seen such creatures, despite contributing to over thirteen colonization missions personally. Their deadly strikes made short work of the nearby drones.

8 Tau Ethereal Versus Khorne Herald

Pressed between the jaws of two forces, Commander Lisbet tried a desperate gamble. She rushed forward to try and stop the threat of the warped demagogue with her own honor blade. While she managed to fend him off for a bit, his deadly strength proved too much for her under-armored form. She fled on foot, with small drops of blue blood littering the path she took as she ran. She glanced back, seeing that every one of her Fire Warriors had fallen in brave service–only the crews of the vehicles had survived besides herself.

9 Khorne Daemonkin Herald of Khorne Olim Yia Maw of Rage

As the Tau fled, the demagogue climbed up a structure. The portable microphone and amplifier he had been using when in the crowd was now strangely fused to his new body. He lifted the skull-shaped microphone to his mouth, and his shout reverberated around the entire sector. “I am Olim Yia, prophet of what is to come. Join us Terrans. Resist the Tau and embrace what is fundamental to your nature, what ancient power runs in your blood. Embrace your true Terran feelings of hatred and anger. The Tau do not understand them with their alien fishbrains. It’s what sets us apart, and through our natures we can become strong. Join me, join us, join the great spirit of Khorne that lurks in every Terran’s soul. You can feel him there, calling you even now. Give in, and we can ‘Make Atreidia Great Again!'”

Thus was born the first of the revealed prophets, Olim Yia, the Maw of Rage.

Tau Project Log

Tau Full Force June 2016

Like I mentioned last time, my goal was to at least have a force org chart filled. So a Breacher Squad, an Ethereal, a Piranha, and two DS8 turrets were what I focused on to get there. A very small force (around 450 points) but still enough for a regular game.

Tau Ethereal Wargame Exclusive Alternate Sculpt Widow of Vengeance

The Tau Ethereal I added is a resin model from Wargame Exclusive, a company from the Ukraine (at least that’s where it was shipped from) that does creative sculpts of various models in the 40k universe that don’t have models created by GW (such as Tau models with some persona and character to them, including female Tau). I really liked a number of their models, and while some are a little cheesecake, I figured that the diversity in the model would look really nice amidst the army–and I think it came together nicely.

Tau Piranha with Fusion Blaster

Finally, I’m really proud of the look of the Tau Piranha that I finished up, so I couldn’t resist a close up (there wasn’t one in the “footage”, as it mostly swooped around and missed its shots).

For the battle itself, we used a limited number of turns plus HQ kill as the deciding factor. In addition, we built up rules for the fleeing members of the demonstration group: missed ranged hits by Tau would potentially kill them, while missed melee strikes from Khorne models may kill them. Whichever side killed the most civilians would get the worse of things in the “press”–and sadly the Tau missed more shots and thus contributed to more injured or dead overall.

40K: Entrances

40K: Entrances

Part two of a continuing project log of my 40k Tau army and their efforts to retain control of the United Systems of Atreidia, against the gradual uprising posed by my buddy Enrico’s Terran, Chaos, and Genestealer Cult forces. Check out part one here if you’re inclined. 

The Story So Far:

Unrest is up in the United Systems of Atreidia, complicated by economic downturn. In particular, the dust wastes that lie between the three main cities on the central planet have suffered a severe reduction in arability. Tau scientists have pointed out that the actions of the Terran in the wastes, particularly carbon-based fuel usage, has increased this effect, the Terrans insist on denying their culpability. Instead, streams of wastelanders are seeking entrance to the city looking for better work. Yet not all wastelanders have pure intentions.

1 Tau Checkpoint and Desert Pilgrims

The lines grew long at checkpoint 72-R. Security was tight, as the local populace of the city was still resenting the unfortunate events of a week prior. The Shas’ui of the Strike Squad that patrolled this city entrance swapped out his Gun Drones for a more peaceful Shield Drone in hopes of quelling the concerns of the populace. He watched from a vantage point in an abandoned construction project as a group of wastelanders approached the city seeking entry.

2 Tau inspection and cult leaders

The two Tau Fire Warriors stationed at the entrance stopped the head of the column, two men in heavy robes leading a large and over-burdened pack animal. The Tau were allowing entry in orderly fashion, but demanded that all weapons and contraband items be confiscated upon entry.

3 Chaos Cult elements waiting in the city

Little did they know that the two pilgrim leaders, and the group of wastelanders that followed them, were coming to join up with resistance elements inside the city. A new story was spreading about human resistance. Some viewed it as one grand old movement opposing the Tau order, while others talked of divisions and factions within the group. Needless to say, their rhetoric was clearly in opposition to the Tau arrival. In fact, recently they were publicizing the fact that a high-ranking Tau Water Caste official had been transmitting classified transmissions over a private Comms relay server. These transmissions were intercepted by the Terran leaders, and were rumored to contain sensitive cost-benefit analysis of Tau Gun Drone usage: how many civilians were tolerable losses given the benefits of automated defense.¹

4 Tau vs Chaos Cultist first attack

Given the charged tension, the demands of the Tau border security to surrender all weapons struck the match. When the Tau denied entrance and insisted on starting a scan protocol for weaponry, one of the wastelanders knew that their armaments–designed to help arm Terran resistance agents in the city–would be confiscated. Thus, he decided to attack, and began firing his autopistol wildly toward the Tau.

5 Workers and Tau Drones

The squad manning the border checkpoint was supported by a Devilfish personnel carrier, which immediately began scanning the crowd for threats. Very quickly the call sounded over the Tau communication systems: “There’s a bomb! One of them has a bomb!” The Shas’ui trained his markerlight at the pack animal, presuming the weapon was large and carried on its back. The Devilfish scrambled its Gun Drones and moved to block the roadway. Nearby Terran repair workers watched everything unfold with shocked disbelief. Even though the wastelanders had shot first, seeing Gun Drones moving and firing at Terrans incensed the passers-by.

1 ANN Newsflash Tau Game 2

The calculation to take out the bovine was a mistake on the Tau’s part, as they underestimated the fervor of the Terrans who opposed them. With a cry, one of the two hooded pilgrims ran forward and produced a demolition charge from under his robes. He threw it onto the Devilfish, but it bounced back toward him before detonating: killing him instantly, but still managing to damage the Tau vehicle.

6 Death Toll Chaos Cultists vs Tau Devilfish

The Tau at the checkpoint were easily overpowered by gunfire from the wastelanders and attacks from incensed Terran civilians. Only the crew of the Devilfish managed to continue the fight. It tank shocked its way out of the streets and into the wasteland for more room to maneuver. Wastelander, cultist, and angry citizen alike scattered and then renewed their assault on the craft. They charged it, attempting to blast it open with whatever they could–including all manner of repair tools supplied by the work crews that rose to violence. In another Tau miscalculation of necessary use of force and the value of automated systems, the flechette discharger housed on the Devilfish began spraying the attackers with flying metal spurs, injuring and killing many of them who assaulted it.

7 Worker and child flee the scene

One lone workman, grabbing a child and dragging them along from the scene, fled from the carnage dished out by both sides. The streets ran red and blue with blood from both races. As the worker fled, he heard a blast in the distance. A lucky shot to the rear of the tank from a flamethrower managed to destroy the Tau craft. It would take hours before the Tau could secure the entrance point, and another two waves of anti-Tau wastelanders and their armaments would make their way into the city in the meantime.

8 A Clue the Tau missed

In the aftermath, the Tau treated the clean-up as another instance of shovel-ready projects to employ the Terrans of the city. This was a critical mistake, not only for shoving the death toll in the Terrans’ faces. Also because the Tau missed a critical clue as to the nature of their foe. The pilgrim leader who didn’t throw the demo charge, lay dead on the pavement with a pulse rifle shot to his head. Yet as the workmen pulled his corpse away, his right arm was exposed–a strange, pincer-like claw was at the end of his hand, while the strange red symbol that was spreading through the resistance movement was worn on a lanyard around his neck. Things were brewing, both in the wasteland and the city, and the Tau remained unaware.

 

¹ Thanks to GeorgeJetson of the Advanced Tau Tactica forums for the idea on this!

Tau Project Log

Tau Devilfish and Shield Drone

Slowly but surely I’m painting up more stuff for these games. This week I finished a Devilfish and a Shield Drone. I wanted to get a vehicle completed, as I wanted to make sure the color scheme worked okay at that larger scale. I’m pretty happy with how it turned out. The next battle I’ll actually have a regular force organization chart filled!

For this battle, we again used the Combat Patrol Rules where each model is independent. The wastelanders outside and the cultists inside were all unmarked Chaos Cultists. One of the two pilgrims was also equipped with a Demolition Charge. Again, the groups of citizen workers would start attacking the Tau if they made a leadership test by their groups. We also recognized that the Devilfish was pretty impervious, so we made a special rule for the scenario that both cultists and workmen could harm it in melee with an attack roll of 6, followed by a damage roll of 6, representing bringing work-designed rather than weapon-designed tools, or crude wasteland bombs, to bear on the Devilfish. It also made for a reason to attempt to charge the vehicle, and try to live through the deadly flechettes. As I said just above, next week will be the first battle we do where both sides have a somewhat regular command structure (HQ and two Troops plus FOC elements).

Genestealer Chaos Cult

One last note and spoiler. Rico started out working on expanding his excellent Khorne Daemonkin army as a part of this story. However, we’re both old (oooooold) 40k players, and he dug out on idea from an ancient compendium: the original compilation of the rules for Genestealers. I didn’t realize this, but they were divided between Genestealer Invasion Force and Genestealer Cult. And the “Cult” part was an actual Chaos Cult that they used to advance their power. All those classic photos of the Genestealer Cult with the two custom limos, if you look close you see the symbols of Khorne and a Daemonsword and everything. Thus, Rico wanted to do an homage to that force, and add the Genestealer Cult as allies to his Khorne Daemonkin forces. It sounds amazing, and it’s all the funnier for the campaign as it represents a diverse faction for satire: are the demagogues that lead them actually believers in the principles of Khorne? Or are they merely running under that banner for their own ends?

40k: First Spark

40k: First Spark

Part one of a continuing project log of my 40k Tau army and their efforts to retain control of the United Systems of Atreidia, against the gradual uprising posed by my buddy Enrico’s Terran and Chaos forces. 

The Story So Far:

Some people ask what the spark was that started the Atreidia revolt. Certainly the initial seeds were planted eleven cycles ago when the Tau first arrived and made their compacts with the system to provide technology and improvements in exchange for military presence in their expansion. However, a much closer flash point moment happened recently when a Tau Fire Caste patrol got into trouble, and one death led to many more.

2 Tau with interpreter

Tau patrol 271-R was working with a local Terran interpreter to help root out some local gang activity. The Shas’ui was assigned four other Fire Warriors to the patrol, along with two Gun Drones for security and monitoring purposes. At a busy intersection in the part of the city where an acid typhoon had rotted away some buildings, creating the perfect slum conditions where gangs could hide, they conducted their interviews of the working people who passed through the area.

1 ANN Newsflash Tau Game 1

Sadly, a young child and his sister were out in the street nearby. According to eyewitness accounts, the boy had a small street cleaning device and was attempting to scrape a subsistence wage through community beautification “shovel-ready” projects. A passing Tau Drone registered the cleaning device incorrectly, and security protocols were initiated incorrectly. Security film footage later released on the Atreidia News Network shows the Drone bleating a warning out twice, but the noise of the cleaning device may have made the child miss the warning. As the child turned toward the Drone, the hostility matrix was triggered and the Drone fired. The child died instantly, with his sister watching on and mother nearby.

3 After the Drone strike Tau

The Shas’ui recognized the malfunction of the Drone, and endeavored to apologize to the mother and child and promise both improved revision of the Drone protocol as well as full restitution from the Tau government for both loss of life and grieving. The mother, a poor scrap-cleaner from the ruined area, was inconsolable. Also, the excessively legalistic way of the Tau language was poorly translated by the fresh Terran interpreter, making the mother wail all the more.

4 Angry civilians

A group of local laborers were nearby and not only saw the shooting but also heard the mother’s crying. This particular group had recently been threatened with reduced work hours at the manufactorium where they worked because a contingent of Vespid workers, who needed less sleep cycles, were inbound from the neighboring system–which made them all the more incensed at the Tau and the young child’s death. One of their number started the chaos by approaching the Terran interpreter and starting a shoving match with him.

5 Known Chaos Cultists of Khorne

Meanwhile, one of the Terrans-first hate groups that had organized as a gang was nearby. Their leaders had been preaching a story of anger and rage against the Tau, and this armed group was ready to act. The shoving match, and seeing the Tau Drones responding with further security protocol warnings, gave them the opening they needed to embrace their anger and attack.

7 Tau vs Khorne Cultists

The rest of Tau patrol 271-R was trying to get back to their Shas’ui when the armed gang of angered citizens struck. Opening up with shotguns and autoguns, bullets flew at the outnumbered Tau patrol. The Fire Warriors’ instincts kicked in, and their return fire with pulse rifles hit with deadly accuracy against the unarmored rabble. The noise of shooting and the sight of Tau firing their weapons at Terrans caused the situation to escalate quickly. One of the Tau was killed by a gout of fire from a flamer carried by one of the gang members.

6 Civilians attack the interpreter

The group of Terran workers turned into an angry mob instantly. The Terran interpreter was beaten senseless at their hands. They seemed enraged at his collaboration with the xenos who had killed the child, and now were firing on people they took as citizens.

8 The last of the Tau are beaten

It devolved into chaos in the streets, with the sheer numbers of Terran citizens being too much for the small patrol of Tau to handle. With wrenches, tools, and servo-assisted work fists, the Fire Warriors were beaten and killed by the rampaging mob. With the images broadcasted on the news network across the system, resentment and anger began building among the populace. Meanwhile, the Tau had lost five Fire Warriors themselves, and had a brewing bout of anti-colonial resistance on their hands.

Looking back at all the bloodshed and war that came through the Atredian campaign, this little moment of spark was what set everything in motion in the years to come.

Tau Project Log

9 Painted Tau

In addition to finishing the Terran interpreter model (seen in pictures above), I settled on a color scheme for my Tau and got a first unit of Troops finished up. Five members of a Fire Warrior Strike Squad, with two Gun Drones. The Shas’ui has a Pulse Carbine with markerlight and target lock. I’m pretty happy with the color scheme, inspired somewhat by the N’dras paint color suggestion GW had on the back of the Stealth Suit box. It was just enough to run our small mission above.

The mission was pretty simple, and used classic Combat Patrol rules where each model activated independently. For the interpreter and the Terrans, we used the stats of Chaos Cultists but armed only with hand weapons. Working people were weapon skill 2 however, and the few children models (manufactorium apprentices) were additionally strength 2 and toughness 2. The gangers were simply Chaos Cultists unmarked. We placed the citizens in groups around the board, and each group did leadership tests to “hear” the situation, and would activate accordingly. The Tau waited to fire weapons or fight until the Terrans acted first, and the Shas’ui spent time using leadership tests to try and order the bereaved woman and her child to flee the area of danger when things started to get out of hand.

40k: Make Atreidia Great Again

40k: Make Atreidia Great Again

So a good friend of mine, Rico, and I are long-time 40k players. And while I’m very excited about Warmachine and Hordes recently, both of us have been discussing a want to fiddle with some 40k as well. So we decided to effectively do a two person, story-driven campaign to motivate both of us to paint up a full army for 40k. When we play, we usually end up talking politics, so we thought: why not something political? So, here is the official beginning of our campaign. 

Tau SymbolThe story so far:

 

For eleven cycles now, the three-planet system of Atreidia has seen some great changes. Consisting of three planetoids in close orbit together around a sun, the peoples of Atreidia were long ago human colonists from Terra. Yet the activity of the Maelstrom separated them from the Imperium of Man for millenia, and the small size of their planetoids meant that Imperial exploration of the Ultima Segmentum only stopped briefly at their system to reinstate rule of the Emperor, installing a planetary governor, then moving on. At that point, the Atreidians had developed rudimentary space travel of their own, and had colonized the two near planetoids as well as Atreidus Prime–calling themselves the United Systems of Atreidia (USA).

Chalkboardwar United System of AtreidiaImperial star charts map the United Systems of Atreidia where the green N’dras sept marker rests in the lower right. 

Then eleven cycles ago, the Tau arrived. They first came with a Water Caste ambassador and a small retinue, then with only slightly more force. The population, far from Imperial center and even farther from concern, was quickly brought under Tau rule as they were unable to organize even passing defense. And while some citizens have come to embrace the Tau philosophy and system of rule, others resent the imposition on their rights and freedoms. New taxation provided many services that the human population lacked in the past, but the arrival of the Tau and other immigrant races from their Empire also spread a great deal of xenophobia and mistrust. As discord became more widespread, violence followed. And in the wake of that, the Tau increased their security presence in the system.

Tau Propaganda PosterNow, a movement has started underground to violently resist the Tau oppression. Rumors tell of a charismatic, angry leader that is spreading the word of a new set of goals and leadership for the people of the United Systems of Atreidia. The slogan “Make Atreidia Great Again” has been appearing on graffiti across the planets. Those who are closer to the movement speak of the quasi-religious overtones being adopted by the human resistance. They speak of something buried in the race-memory of man and of ancient practices that are unique to mankind’s culture and unknown by the Tau. The more citizens connect with these ideas, the more unbridled rage and anger seems to suffuse their speeches and their actions. To identify each other, adherents have been crafting symbols of their affiliation: small wooden or brass carvings dyed red.

Khorne_Mark

With this level of unrest, it’s only a matter of time until war sparks in the streets and full revolt happens across the United Systems of Atreidia. Will the promises of better life through cooperation and governmental action win, or will the raw fury of unbridled nationalism and chaotic rebellion triumph?