Do you prefer the old Tau lore or the new stuff?
By - DragonWatcher0
I'm ok with some grey areas with the Tau. The mind control helmets on vespid and Farsight's break with the Empire were fine. The new stuff where they massacre their human allies is dumb.
The mind control helmets read like Imperial propaganda to me. They met a species, and made a device that perfectly controlled the minds of the diplomats that put them on, and then those diplomats somehow convince thousands or millions of other Vespid to put them on and keep them on without major complaint... Think about that...
I'm imagining some inquisitor being like Wait... the translator was obviously a mind control device, that they then mass manufactured and easily forced on a planet-wide population. That makes much more sense to me than diplomacy ever working.
That's why I liked the old lore like that. It was fluid enough that if you wanted to believe that the Tau & Vespid alliance was all above board you could. If you wanted things to be darker you go that way too.
Has there ever been a story that heavily details Vespid life or an interaction between vespid and tau and thoughts on one species by the other?
Not that I'm aware of. Most of the Vespid lore I know is straight from the codex.
Read Liber Xenoligus- they're awesome and show how everyone just thinks vespid are the coolest, including Kroot.
I thought they just put them on the hive leaders ?
Yes, but the rumor is that once on the leaders they were able to force the rest of the population to comply with Tau rule.
And even that notion alone is kinda silly. Either an advanced civilization had all of its world leaders in a room and Tau figured out their neurology so quickly and easily that they mind controlled every one of them, or somehow a few mind controlled Hive Leaders managed to put 'translator devices' on other world leaders without their complaint even after the other Hive leaders returned insisting on the joining of their culture with an alien influence. It's just incoherent.
I mean, the greater good is literally a "join or die" culture, so if any hive leaders absolutely refused to put on the translators...
Then you'd think there would have been a major conflict between the Vespid and Tau but there wasn't. The storyline makes no sense. Also, while Tau have annexed worlds they've also let a lot of races not join or just join in a mutually beneficial association while still being independent in their governance, like the Demiurg. Where they do take worlds seems to mostly be when the world in question is one dominated by a pretty fucked up power, easily explained as wars of liberation. I'm not saying the Tau are squeaky clean. I'm saying they're way more interesting as an idealistic upstart being confronted with realpolitik than being shoehorned into incoherent Scifi villainy.
Wasn't the lore that they were at war until that was developed because there was no way of communicating so that the vespids could join like others did?
I've never heard that and it's not on the warhammer wiki. Source?
Guess I was missremembering, could have sworn that was what it said but I guess I remembered the water caste difficulties and thought it was one of their other wars for a second.
No, it's not. There are client species (Demiurge, Tallarians, human factions, even orks) that are not "member" species (Kroot, Vespid, Nicassar) They are treated differently.
The Ulum were a trading partner- the Tau are not a join or die culture.
They basically got rid of the mind control helms in Liber Xenologus (the new one)
Is that the genocide op is talking about?
Maybe? I'm referring to stuff that came out with the Psychic Awakening book the Greater Good. There was a short story about some humans who defected to the Tau, and were attacking some IG. They were losing when suddenly some battlesuits showed up and destroyed the IG. When the surviving defectors went to thank the Tau the battlesuits turned their guns on them. When they asked why the suits said it was because the humans tainted the Greater Good.
The book further elaborated that a sizable portion of the Tau hated the humans. The book said that the humans had basically replaced their Emperor worship with worship of the Greater Good. This disgusted the Tau and was making them openly hostile to the humans.
I’ve read that story. It’s in the Shas’O book I believe. The Guardsmen even comments that the words he heard spoken by the Tau were exactly the sort of thing he had heard and expected from the imperium, not the Tau empire. It seems like even the author was acknowledging that GW is turning the Tau into another imperium
That was the 4th Sphere- it's the grimdarkest Tau after Farsight went more noblebright. They were chastised for this and the matter was concluded. It's not ongoing, but the Tau have committed genocides before- predominantly the students of Farsight and Farsight himself.
Yes, the T'au have committed genocide. Normally it's not against their allies. I'm pretty sure the Greater Good takes place after the 4th Sphere was found. There is a short story that ends with T'au murdering humans who defected to the T'au Empire.
I'm looking at the book and it's a little vague- but it seems to be taking place after the 4th Sphere- which would make these Tau have the reason to kill aliens.
It's originally a 200 year period in between 4th and 5th. Now, with the retcon. Who knows.
somewhat, there is also an example of the tau killing an entire planetary population so the tau can have it.
The old Tau made 40k truly grimdark. There cannot be dark without light, and there cannot be grimness without hope. The Tau represented the light that could never win. The Tau were the hope that burned brighter than any other, but was destined to be extinguished. That is truly grimdark.
IMO what was really grimdark about the Tau was that, from day one, they were the generic Evil Empire from every other scifi universe. But in 40k that's the closest you get to having good guys.
I much prefer the old Tau lore and I'm kinda sad that only the Farsight Enclaves now echo that old lore.
Having them be a young, naive and well-intentioned race surrounded by a dozens of factions that could snuff them out if they cared to try made you want to root for them as underdogs.
Now with the mind control, genocide and the iron fist with which the ethereals rule over all facets of Tau life, I just find myself wanting to go back to the 'good old days' of them being one of the very few genuinely good factions (alongside Salamanders and whoever else I might be forgetting)
I politely disagree. I think that the new FSE lends creedence to the "Tau are the good guys." vibe that the old tau had.
Old tau lore always felt too shoehorned for me and like a black dot on a white piece of paper. Sure you can ignore it but it is still always there and out of place regardless.
New tau lore is more robust and feels less like a single paragraph foot note with no substance to explain the races existence and more like proper history to a burgeoning intergalactic society. The Tau are a NEW RACE, very young, naive and somewhat unaware of the grim realities of the entire galaxy. So it makes sense for there to still be large in-faction fighting, especially when it comes to the ideals of true freedom and what the real greater good is.
I'm trying to get at the point that there can't be a single unified Tau that is just good for goods sake because how on terra could you love unconditionally on that scale in a universe as cold as 40k, the imperial Warmachine and the necron hordes care not for our xenos kindness! But a fraction of a faction who has witnessed and experienced the grim truth of their supposed benevolent rules would WANT to seperate and make their own utopia that doesn't make the same mistakes as their predecessors, and is a faction I empathize with substantially more than "I'm good bekoz good" because there is meaning and purpose to their kindness.
Just editing in some context: I've been a Tyranids/Knights player for the best part of the last 15 years but ONLY properly got into tau lore (and collecting my own 2k tau army) through FSE because I could personally connect to that a lot more!
You raise a good point, however I would rebut that there is a huge difference between a faction that is naive of the surrounding factions and aims to unite as many races as possible under a common purpose, and a faction that seeks to accomplish that goal through more nefarious means like mind control, indoctrination and maintaining an extremely rigid and authoritarian regime. In the former there is a vision of hope that such a unison could potentially lead to a better world to live in/on (ie: the actual Greater Good), but in the latter there isn't even the chance of that being the case and the 'Greater Good' mainly seems to involve the Tau being in charge of all races with the Ethereals in turn being in charge of all the Tau.
I guess that is the core difference I see between the old and new lore and why I prefer the old over the new.
True but you are forgetting that we are readers and know infinitely more than any single entity in 40k (tzeench aside maybe...) So to everyone except *possibly* Farsight himself and some radical inquisitors there are an extremely limited number of individuals who actually know anything about how the Tau is run or the hinted-at mindcontroling. So the greater good ideal is still totally valid within the new lore as the average Tau citizen has no reason to believe it is nefarious.
You mention how could the Tau still try to love other species and treat them as equals in a universe as cold as 40k but don’t forget to the Tau the 40k universe isn’t really that cold and uncaring. Most of the alien races they have come into contact with have been reasonable or decent and reaffirm their belief that a coalition of races under the Greater Good is the way of the future and has been mostly working. The kroot, nicassar, vespid, tarellians, demiurg, etc have all joined and become meaningful members of the Tau empire. Even a number of the fringe human worlds have treated the Tau with respect as equals and willingly joined the Tau empire. The imperium is evil and they know this but to them that doesn’t mean humanity is evil and unable to join the Greater Good. They see the humanities reluctance to join the Tau and the Greater Good as more of an issue of ignorance than willful malice in some cases. The only 2 races they have come into contact with that are unable to join the Greater Good are the Orks and the Tyrannids. When you compare that to the number of races that have joined and where the Greater Good has worked it makes sense they would believe their ideology is successful. Where we focus on the fall of cadia, the Tau focus on the alliance and joining of themselves and the kroot against the orks.
Old tau were an expansionist and authoritarian group, but compared to the imperium, they were very nice. *This is great,* it shows how dark the world truly is and is a great contrast. Meanwhile new tau lore is needlessly dark and has too much twirly mustache evil. It just makes the setting blander, as why would you care about tau if they were just a reshuffled imperium that has a different art style.
I liked the old lore better, as they felt refreshing. I think it’s better to have a faction which adds contrast to the setting rather than just a smaller imperium run by aliens.
I also liked that there was more emphasis on them being a multi-species empire. They reminded me of the Covenant from Halo, and to me this was something which made them cool and unique in the 40k setting. These days auxiliary races don’t really seem relevant anymore.
New lore is dumb and boring imo it moves them to basically “blue imperium” which is hyperdumb
I prefer the old lore, it's also hard to enjoy the new lore because it's largely incoherent and inconsistent. Though that lends credence to my head canon (which is echoed by gw statements) that no lore is totally trustworthy and a lot of what is out there about Tau E-vil is Imperial propaganda.
I liked the old lore because it felt like a group with good intentions having to make concessions to a dark universe. Although I seem to remember the old lore alluded to a certain darkness behind the scenes in the upper echelons of their society. I don't mind their newer lore though.
I don't really agree with your assessment of the change, but I preferred when Tau thought big battlesuits were silly.
Err, I’ve read every codex since 3rd and there were some subtle insinuations even in the earlier ones about farsight’s blade and ethereal control. Dunno what new lore you’re bringing up on top of that but it has always seemed clear to me that MAYBE not everything was on the up and up. Vague enough that you could decide which version of the empire you liked best.
Exactly, Tau lore really hasn’t changed all that much. I think people are mixing up specific stuff like some Tau septs being xenophobic due to their experiences with the warp and certain wars like Mu’galath Bay with a sort of retcon. The lore just progressed, it just only progressed in a mirror with the Imperium so it’s kind of weird more than anything. Tau have always been a caste society which blindly follows the Ethereal caste for mysterious reasons outside of the FSE.
I think the old lore was actually something fresh and new for the 40k universe and it actually made it into a good contrast with most other settings. The classic one evil race fighting against a number of good races is completely turned on it’s head to be 1 good race fighting for survival against a huge number of evil races.
I also think it allowed for some more interesting stories and a sort of commentary of what’s happening in the 40k universe. The Tau learning about all the horrible things in the 40k universe would be interesting because they would react much in the same way we would allowing them to be more relatable.
Imagine how interesting a conversation between the old lore Tau ethereals and the silent king would be. The Tau and necrons are essentially the same race that just went down different paths in life. Relatively fragile races with shorter lifespans that focus on using their technology to overcome that while having a caste/hierarchy of leaders. From a story perspective the Tau are necrontyr that wouldn’t have taken the Ctans deal. There’s all kinds of these interactions between many of the races. The hateful imperium vs the hopeful Tau empire. The dying eldar vs rising Tau. The selfish followers of chaos vs the more selfless soldiers of the Greater Good. All sorts of contrasts to really play stories and lore off of that are much harder to do when the Tau become generic 40k bad guys #12.
As someone who was partly involved in the design of the Tau Lexicon- i can say pretty confidently that almost everyone wanted the Tau to be the foil to the rest of the universe until Kelly wrote the farsight books and confused everyone.
There was also a really interesting rising plot around Medusa V and the Third Sphere in 2006 in which the Tau were going to basically bring an artificial intelligence back into the 40k universe to the horror of everyone... And it was going to be benevolent.
Now we get ... greater good god... such horseshit.
I prefer the new lore. It's more realistic and believable.
T'au were always an oppressive, totalitarian regime, where individual rights and desires mean nothing, everything in service to the Greater Good. At least the new lore acknowledges this better.
Sadly, it's not t'au players who decide what 'lore' is good or what is bad.
‘Empire’ and ‘Good guys’ tend to not go together, so let’s say I prefer the new lore
They weren't an empire in the old lore. They were a commonwealth.
New lore just doesn't make any sense... like, categorically. It's just one author trying to be fancy and make Horus Heresy Two, now with a bunch of blue.
I thought they were always the ‘Tau Empire’
Not until the second codex
(couldn't find a pic but here's a link to the first codex)
I prefer the new one
40K is a universe where everything is shit, hopeless and corrupted.
The squeaky clean technological enlightened empire being not so squeaky clean fits the 40k universe.
I think they could make it more interesting by giving each sept more named characters and more personality like for the space marines, and create more division within the appearance of unity, to make it more interesting, layered and a good basis for stories.
Also kind of makes sense that in a setting like 40k they slowly go from a genuinely good faction to just like everyone else. It would be dumb if after all the shit they’ve already faced they were still the same, now that they’ve advanced enough to venture out and explore the universe they need to change and adapt to their surroundings.
Or, be an example of how good can prevail even in this darkness... you know, how the Primaris Marines have suddenly become the good guys.
You know... Like that... like when we had an original storyline that got robbed.
> The squeaky clean technological enlightened empire being not so squeaky clean fits the 40k universe.
Tau were never clean. They just weren't genocidal lunatics doing stupid stuff because EVERYONE NOT US MUST DIE.
I want some in between stuff. And for the farsight enclaves to be a bit darker, their lore is a bit to much "everything is the tau empires fault"
I thought the point of the Tau was that they were naive idealists who were about to be ground down into a totalitarian nightmare by the horrors of the galaxy. Basically the human empire when it first entered the galactic stage. I always thought that that was very cool
Again- or they rose against the madness of 40k and continued to strive toward their ideals. Even Farsight thinks he's fulfilling the greater good.
A faction that is genuinely good guys was a refreshing change for 40k
I prefer the original idea of them being genuinely good, but I get why the lore was altered - it didn't fit in the grim dark setting.
I would have preferred they went in a different direction though to achieve that darker tone, maybe becoming jaded over time as they encountered darker things like Dark Eldar, Necrons and Chaos, and as a result doing things just out of necessity that went against their own philosophy.
I really enjoy the lore behind Puretide and his pupils for this reason, as I think he knew all those years ago that the Ethereals were shitty, and Farsight always questioned things, always went against the grain.
I think I'd be nice if Shadowsun and Kais got some more lore and have them question the Ethereals, gradually having more and more Tau joining the enclaves to eventually overthrow the Ethereals.
Could also also be in the sense of more Tau doubting the Ethereals, not just named characters, as if they're losing their hold on the people.
>For those of you who don't know, in their inseption the Tau were just the good guys.
They never were the good guys. From day one Tau were the embodiment of things like the US bringing democracy to your country's oil: an expansionist empire with technologically advanced forces killing anyone that stands in their way with just enough propaganda to make themselves feel good about it. They were only "good" because, in a world of genocidal lunatics, they were pragmatic enough to let enemies surrender and become slaves instead of suffering needless losses to bring a war of extermination to its conclusion.
The only people who thought the Tau were the good guys either never thought about it much or are the kind of IRL assholes who think that colonialism is a great thing as long as you're on the winning side.
Good guys in as far as 40k goes - the imperium of man is as xenophobic as it gets, enslaves a lot of its populace, neglects another very large portion, lobotomises any who fail, and is willing the glass an entire planet if they can't fight the threat.
They're also religious to a comical degree despite the crusades being to rid the galaxy of religion.
And these are themed as the classical 'heroes' of the setting...
Tau were framed as young, naïve, but technologically advanced and wanting to explore - naturally they wouldn't have remained that way, but it would be better if they gradually became jaded over time rather than the Ethereals being shitty.
I don't think anyone expects any faction to remain good in a grim dark setting, but the way Tau were made to fit the grim dark setting was, in my opinion, clumsy.
Again, Tau were never good. You may not have paid enough attention to the fluff in the past to understand all of the references but from day one the Tau were presented as clearly evil, with their only redeeming quality being that they were *smart and pragmatic* evil and not raving lunatics with chainsaw swords.
The issue here is not good vs. evil, it's that GW is being clumsy and dumbing down all of the newer fluff. Because apparently GW thinks people are too stupid to understand things like "the greater good" being US "manifest destiny" expansionism and genocide with giant anime robots. And so, instead of letting things be subtle and implied, GW feels the need to beat everyone over the head with TAU ARE ALSO EVIL GUYS.
There is no good in 40k, but in such a grim dark setting where Dark Eldar do what they do, Necrons are rising from their slumber, Chaos is up to their shenanigans, Orks are up to mischief and Tyranids are eating planets, a naïve expansionist empire with a delusion of uniting the galaxy is as close as it gets to good.
Dark Eldar are legitimately, unapologetically evil.
Tau have a sinister side, not evil.
Well when the Tau empire treats humans better than their own government does I think you can say they are the good guys in that universe. They aren’t wholly good because of course not but they also didn’t see other races as lesser than themselves, just misguided or ignorant. For example in one of the codexes it says that the vespid have become full members of the empire including it’s armies and the Tau now see them as equals in terms of honor and civilization, especially the fire caste that fight alongside the vespid. Good luck finding that in the imperium or even the eldar, not to mention all the wipe the galaxy out evil races.
The Tau in the old lore were never evil just to be evil. Even in real life governments funded on strong ideals and morals still commit evil acts when they feel they need to. The Tau however only used means like war as a last resort and try for the most peaceful and diplomatic solution whenever possible. You could live a life of comfort and safety as a human in the Tau empire. Things like relocating humans and their families that defected to the empire away from the imperial border so that the imperium could not take retribution or make examples of them.
Being normal real-world evil in a world full of over the top fantasy evil does not make the Tau good. They were directly taken from real-world things that everyone with a functioning conscience acknowledges as evil.
And the Tau don't use diplomacy because they care about peace and idealism, they do it for the pragmatic reason that they're a relatively small power and diplomacy is a good way of conserving their forces and avoiding damage to the territory they want to claim. It's just like how, in the US "manifest destiny" genocide, US forces were perfectly happy to allow the current residents of the territory they wanted an opportunity to surrender peacefully and remove themselves. But in both cases the message was very clear: surrender or die.
The Tau have bio weapons capable of wiping out humans without ever risking any troops. Instead they invite the humans to join in the Greater Good to work together. In the old lore it wasn’t even confirmed that anything they actually did that was so called evil was actually true. Much of it even in the codexes comes from assumptions by ad mech scholars which are pretty obviously biased towards “the xenos are evil.” The idea of the vespid helmets being mind control or just a translator is looked at from the perspective of the imperium and I bet you can tell which one they are going to believe. Why treat humans so much better than the imperium and give them the freedom to practice their religion if they could just as easily treat them as slaves like the imperium does instead. Why give them new equipment when they could just keep using what they already have unless the Tau truly believe they are working the good of all. They resort to violence under the idea of the ends justify the means where they use force now so that the Greater Good can eventually spread to everyone in the galaxy and improve the lives of all. They also saved the kroot from being destroyed by an ork invasion. They could have easily let the two factions wear each other down and then swoop in and claim the territory for themselves but they instead helped the kroot fight back the orks and reclaim their homes and planets for themselves instead of being resettled by the Tau
> Instead they invite the humans to join in the Greater Good to work together.
Because having a slave caste providing labor and resources to the empire is better than having a dead planet. It was very clear that while everyone is equal under the greater good the Tau are more equal than everyone else.
> In the old lore it wasn’t even confirmed that anything they actually did that was so called evil was actually true.
Well yes, because in the old lore GW assumed you were smart enough to make the connection with the real-world evil they were referencing without explicitly beating you over the head with it.
>Why treat humans so much better than the imperium and give them the freedom to practice their religion if they could just as easily treat them as slaves like the imperium does instead.
Because the Tau are pragmatic enough to understand that loyal servants are more productive and require less resources to keep them in line. And because the Imperium is a bunch of sadistic lunatics so even pragmatic slavery looks good in comparison. But the Tau are an Amazon warehouse, not a Marxist utopia.
>Why give them new equipment when they could just keep using what they already have unless the Tau truly believe they are working the good of all.
Because workers with good equipment are more productive than if they have to use the best 1900s garbage that a bunch of backwards religious zealots insist is the sacred law.
>They could have easily let the two factions wear each other down and then swoop in and claim the territory for themselves but they instead helped the kroot fight back the orks and reclaim their homes and planets for themselves instead of being resettled by the Tau
And I'm sure this has no connection whatsoever to the fact that the Kroot are now very useful troops serving the goals of the Tau Empire...
You keep calling humanity a slave caste which is not how the Tau function. Humans are allowed to join the caste that best suits their skills. You don’t put slaves in charge of researching or engineering your weapons. Humans are allowed to do and worship as they please as long as they uphold their duty to the empire. That’s a pretty good deal for so called slaves. The only real preferential treatment Tau get over the other races is in military matters which is in part because of the purists in the fire caste rather than any system put in place. Tau get battlesuits because they were designed for the Tau. Tau become commanders because they studied the teachings of puretide and humans, kroot, vespid, etc have not.
In the old lore it was always vague enough in a way that you could take things either way as opposed to now where they beat you over the head with Tau commanders massacring the auxiliaries under their command. GW also has said that much of what we know about the xeno races is from the imperiums perspective and so is likely imperial propaganda. Which would make sense if your people are joining a foreign power you would do everything in your power to demonize and discredit that foreign power.
Who said anything about marxism? That Tau are inherently at odds with marxism seeing as they have a caste system and a ruling class. There is no mobility between castes only upward sin your own. If allowing people to do and believe whatever they want as long as they follow the rules and do their duty to the empire is slavery then the Tau are just as much slaves as the humans are. Also you are looking at it from a 21st century western point of view. From the point of view of anyone living in the 40k universe the Tau empire is a utopia. When most people don’t know if they will live the next day whether from gangs, foreign armies, or just poor living conditions/work safety the Tau providing safety, tons more freedom, better living conditions, and a guaranteed place in the empire is the best option you can ever hope for.
The Tau provide better equipment through trade even before places join the empire. That doesn’t help them with their production and while it could help them assimilate the foreign planet it could just as easily be for nothing if the planet refuses to join or the imperium finds out and sends forces to destroy all their equipment and remove their sympathizers. Besides if humans and other members of the empire are working the same jobs with the same equipment then the empire must obviously not see a difference between them as a population. Plus demiurg are still allowed to carry out private mining, kroot still sell their services as mercenaries outside the empire, and humans still can captain trade with other planets outside the empire.
When the Tau got involved how would they know that the kroot would be useful as soldiers to them. They saw melee combat as primitive and wasteful. At the time they probably weren’t looking for melee auxiliaries and even after the kroot joined the empire the purists in the fire caste wouldn’t allow them to be attached to their armies for a time. They only eventually were allowed to become part of the Tau armies once they realized the kroot would be valuable front line forces. The teachings of the fire caste also teach against the idea of any troops, auxiliary or Tau, being expendable so they aren’t used as cannon fodder.
> From the point of view of anyone living in the 40k universe the Tau empire is a utopia.
And this is the key point. Tau are not good, they're merely less evil than other factions. But a murderer is not good just because another murderer tortured their victims before killing them.
The simple fact here is that the Tau were only "good" if you ignore all of the real-world references GW was clearly making in designing them. You can object all you like but the only thing that has changed is that GW is now explicitly beating you over the head with the "Tau are evil" fluff instead of leaving it implied and assuming you're smart enough to get the references.
I like elements of the new lore, the vespid mind control can be justified from a twisted point of view, that race was unwilling to join the greater good. in most cases tau society demands that it be destroyed, in the case of the vespid they use the hive based society to peacefully integrate that species into the greater good...by force.
and the ethereals having an authoritarian grip on other tau is also fine because thats simply how a caste system operates in most cases, which makes the FSE a reasonable group to splinter off since they wish to abolish that part of their society, both groups can be seen as fighting to improve the lives of the galaxy, just with different approaches FSE being faster (which reflects their style in a few ways) while the empire is doing it in a much more slow manor.
but the 4rth sphere is questionable but at least it makes sense as id probably be rascist if i saw that literally every other race could explode into demons at a moment's notice so that sounds like a bad, but reasonable reaction
and the human slaughtering is just in poor taste as that doesn't make any sense given literally everything else about the lore.
The vespid mind control was imperial propaganda and after Libra Xenoligus it's basically ignored showing the Vespid are fully in control of their actions and are actually quite melancholy.