Deathwatch: Scything Talons
The Tau Empire is a rapidly expanding xeno race. Originating from the Ultima Segmentum, their rapid rate of evolution and dynamic expansion has become a minor cause of concern for the Imperium. Though their fledgling empire is no more than a tiny speck in the galaxy, their military capability and technology, coupled with their dedication to their ideology, is the primary cause of their alarming outward growth.
Tau society is strictly caste-oriented. The Tau have five social castes, all distinctly different in terms of racial traits. The Air Caste offer messengers, pilots, communication experts, and naval ratings and officers. The Water Caste, provide white collar work as traders, ambassadors, diplomats, politicians, public servants, and the like. The Earth Caste serve as artisans, engineers, builders, diplomats, and anything related to manufacturing or resource production. The Fire Caste is the military, with their infamous Fire Warriors and Battlesuit pilots the most commonly encountered Tau species the Imperium faces. The Ethereal caste breeds born leaders and commanders, their every word valued and obeyed by the rest of the castes.
The Tau often enjoin races they encounter to join in their hegemony, an offer made all the more persuasive when the Tau’s superior firepower threatens your race’s very existence. As such, the Tau fold lesser xenos races into their society as itinerant laborers fit for menial work or as auxiliary soldiers meant for screening duties. Tau nevertheless treat them as no less than equals, though this does not excuse them from potentially harsh labor and living conditions. Some races that have acquiesced to Tau rule include the Vespid, the mercenary Kroot, and even some treacherous Imperial citizens.
Tau society places a high value in personal honor and the keeping of promises. Rituals that bind individuals and groups in contracts, or bonds made for honor, are not uncommon. To renege on a promise is a betrayal not only of honor, but of the Greater Good.
Ideology: The Greater Good
The Tau are united by a belief in what they call “The Greater Good”, a doctrine that emphasizes collectivism, personal sacrifice for the empire-state, and the importance of the many over the few. Under the Greater Good, all must do their part, for all are important. Every Tau finds fulfillment in life from their place in society and little else.
Tau combat doctrine traditionally emphasizes two things: either a carefully coordinated defense in depth, or a quick and overwhelming strike. Both proscribe the use of overwhelming firepower, of which the Tau are inveterate adepts at. With pulse rifle and railgun, they pummel the enemy with their fire superiority, using screening troops of Kroot or Vespids to prevent the enemy from closing in at them, where their lackluster close combat skills are exposed. Like the Imperium and the Eldar, combined arms warfare is closely emphasized, and on the tactical level, they are masters of small-unit tactics and movement under fire.