|Deathwatch | Published 12 December 2011|
“Every one of these worlds belongs to Him-on-Terra already; they merely require His servants to enforce that dominion over them. Any soul who claims otherwise is a coward and a traitor, worthless to the Imperium except as an example to others whose belief may falter.”
–Excerpt from Volume IV of Lord Militant Achilus’ memoirs
Last month, we announced the upcoming release of The Jericho Reach, a supplement for Deathwatch that provides in-depth information on the struggles of Kill-teams currently operating throughout the Reach. Each chapter delves into detail on the personalities, planets, and themes of a specific salient, while providing players and Game Masters alike with important resources for integrating the setting more deeply into their campaigns.
In our last preview, we looked at the Acheros Salient, where the Battle-Brothers of the Deathwatch wage a bloody war against the Chaos-worshipping forces of Stigmartus. Today, we’ll turn our attention to the Canis Salient and the Deathwatch’s struggle against the Tau. We’ll also get an early look at one of the most strategically important Imperial worlds in the Salient, Wrath.
Enemies on all sides
The territory covered by the Canis Salient includes dozens of worlds stretching from the edge of the Iron Collar to the Black Reef, with most of those worlds having been claimed in the earliest years of the Achilus Crusade. These territories, long established under Imperial rule in all but a few cases, are still far from stable and prosperous parts of the Emperor’s domain due to the sedition and unrest spread by the Achilus Crusade’s oldest enemy, the Tau Empire.
Now the Tyranid menace, which has so swiftly undone decades of triumphant conquest within the Orpheus Salient, presses upon worlds at the edge of the Canis Salient, threatening Imperial and Tau forces alike.
While some will give no quarter and show no mercy to the Tau even in the face of the Great Devourer, others have begun to feel that standing side-by-side with the Tau against the Tyranid menace may be the only way for the Achilus Crusade to survive. Such a heretical course of action has caused no end of controversy, and the Salient’s Lord Commander Ebongrave has begun a paranoia-fueled (and resource-draining) witch hunt to track down anyone subscribing to these beliefs.
But although the Tau menace is generally contained to the Greyhell Front, the planets of the Canis Salient still face threats from all sides. Instrumental in defending Imperial interests in the Salient, Wrath boasts a massive surveillance network capable of keeping tabs of dozens of worlds. Download our three-page excerpt (pdf, 1.2 MB) to learn more, and look for The Jericho Reach on store shelves in the first quarter of 2012!
Deathwatch is a roleplaying game in which players take on the roles of the bio-engineered super-soldiers known as Space Marines. United with their battle-brothers, players will complete extraordinary missions involving some of the greatest heroes and deadliest opponents the Warhammer 40,000 universe has to offer.
As far as good and evil goes: A man is sitting in a bar and people around him are shouting thier opinions. One of them says "I prefer the French because I cant stand the Germans they are fascists" another says " I like the Russians because I hate the Americans those Imperialist capitalist pigs" etc etc etc After a while some one asks the man:"Well who do you like?
The Americans? man answers no!
The French? man answers No!
The Germans? man answers No!
The English?man answers No!
Tell us then who do you like? The man answers: My Friends!!!!!!
Good stories in the 40k world should never be black or white just shades of grey
Actually that's not entirely true. Even the Tau are afflicted with a hefty chunk of moral ambiguity (just like every other faction in the 41st millenium).
You see, while they might practice a collectivist policy which include all living races of the galaxy who are willing to join the Tau empire, the Tau themselves are still of the opinion that it is them and ONLY them who should be the "leaders" of said empire (meaning all other living races are considered inferior or otherwise unfit to guide how the empire should be ruled) which is just a more friendly way of subjugation when you think about it.
Also there are a few fluff sources that even puts the whole "Greater Good"-ideal and the Tau's "voluntary willingness" to adopt that ideal into question (im refering to the Black Library book "Xenology" now where an Imperial Inquisitor was building a menagerie of sorts which included specimens of most living, sentient beings in the galaxy, including a Tau ethereal).
The imperial researchers found out that the Ethereals possess a sort of pheromone organ (discovered through a vivisection of the specimen), which they use to great effect when it comes to making other non-Etheral Tau accept their opinions and orders. I.e the Ethereals are effectively using a kind of mind-control over non-Ethereal Tau to get their way, and this is one of the primary reasons why the Tau seem so united in their "greater good" ideal.
This is also the reason why the Tau character Commander Farsight ("O'Shovah") went rogue with his forces (he had been separated from Ethereal pheromonic influence for too long and realized that that he had an opinion of his own and that the Ethereals are manipulating their Tau subjects).
So if we consider the facts for a moment here: we have the Tau who are mostly convinced that they are the only fit race to rule over all others (even if they are willing to accept and adopt other living races into their empire so long as it happens peacefully and the other races completely surrender to Tau authority), and in turn the Tau themselves are being ruled and manipulated by a very small group of select few individuals (the Ethereals) who are not above using mind-control to get their way.
I'd agree with the notion that the Tau are the most "good" one of the larger empires of the 40k-setting, in comparison to the hyper facist dictatorship The Imperium and the daemonworshipping, human-sacrificing nutjobs of Chaos. Heck even the Eldar (who consider themselves ancient and wise) are a bunch of elitist pricks who have no problem murdering entire civilisations of other sentient being just because the happened to set up a colony on one of their precious "maiden worlds" (the notion that the colonists in question might not have known that the world was claimed by the eldar is just considered to be a "trivial detail" in the minds of such pointy-eared scum). And the Orks, Necrons and Tyranids... Well, they're Orks, Necrons and Tyranids (need I say more?:P)
BUT! I won't agree with the idea that the Tau are some kind of "genuine" good guys. They're a scheming, Machiavellian bunch with dangerous delusions of grandeur.
And I, of course, love them for it. As I said before, one of the things that makes the WH40K-setting so good is the fact that ALL factions suffer from moral ambiguity in one way or another. No faction is inherently "good", but no factions is inherently "evil" either. Reading some stuff from the Black Library I can assure you that even the minions of Chaos can sometimes come across as rather sympathetic folk, just as easily as they can come across as destructive and psychotic murderers. :)
The Tau are the "goody-goody" race for you! Their Greater Good attempts to actually encompass all (living) races, even Humanity, even the Dark Eldar! They really do have the mentality that they can help everyone but simply showing how the ways of the Tau will lead to peace and prosperity for the entire galaxy!
Check into the fluff text (from GW) and you'll see this to be true.
And with good reason Marquee. This book is awesome. I cannot wait for it to come out.
Excellent - alot of interest from our customers on this book. Looking forward to its release.
While of course a GM can tweak the setting any way they want, I agree that the grim-dark moral ambiguity is what attracts me to 40K rather than to Star Wars or Star Trek (which is pretty much at the other end of the spectrum). Conspiracy theories, Bolshevik-style "greater good", and Hobbesian politics make for some great character dilemmas.
I heard, though, that the Tau were originally developed in response to a perceived demand by consumers for a lighter side to all the darkness. That, and for something with a slight Japanime look to it.
+1 to Varnias
Couldn't have put it better myself.
Why would you want that in he 40K-setting?
One of the aspects of he 40K-setting that makes it good and stand ou from other sci-fi/fantasy settings is the very fact that each of the warring factions are shrouded in moral ambiguity. No side is inherently good in it, and that makes i good because it emulates the real world and how warring factions in the real world would be like.
Whether we're talking sci-fi or fantasy (warhammer 40k being a bit of both) it's arguably a sort of truth that the best pieces of fantasy and/or sci-fi are the ones that strike the readers as believable. I.e yeah they contain fantastic elements that do not exist in the real world, BUT the composition and the way these elements are being dealt with combined with the backdrop of he setting makes it very consistent, rich and believable for the casual reader.
If 40K had a bunch of blatant "good guys" who weren't manifestations of moral dilemmas, then the setting itself would stop being believable and thus be of a more poor quality overall. So consider these passages to be my way of saying that I really disagree wih your sentiments on that part.
Whatabout the Ct'han?
Personally, I find the Tau to be much more of a "good race" than the Space Marines, who really are nothing more than religious fanatics - though I suppose that whole "greater good" creed of the Tau is mainly focused on their own "greater good" than the entire galaxy's needs - so they're hardly above reproach, too. Sometimes I wish that W40k had at least one, verifiably, blatantly good race in it. Sigh.