Tau Water Caste

Compared to othe races in the unverse, the Tau are a vibrant young race who believe that " the greater good" , is the blueprint for a brighter galaxy. Those who can negotiate peace are just as important as those who can wage war, and nobody is excels better at negotiation then the Tau Water caste. Boxed set contains 1 Tau Water Caste figure.

Tau Water Caste Special Abilities

Blunt: All Tau have virtually no psychic presence in the Warp. To the daemon, they appear as a shifting will-o-the-wisp rather than the burning fire that represents a human's soul. As such, Tau can never have psychic powers. All daemons, daemonhosts and other denizens of the Warp attempting to detect a Tau have -50% to their Awareness rolls and must roll even when the Tau is in plain sight. If they fail this detection roll, they must act as if they had no knowledge of the Tau's presence.

Persuade: The Water Caste Envoy has perfected the art of persuading other individuals to acquiesce to his requests, whether through bargaining, cajoling or even issuing threats. The Tau may attempt to Persuade any other character with a Sg of above 20. The GM is the final arbiter of whether a character may be Persuaded or not, but bear in mind that unless the Water Caster envoy has a polyglot hedron, he may not be able to speak the language of the character to be Persuaded. Characters must be able to hear the Water Caste envoy to be eligible for Persuasion. Needless to say, this is far easier to accomplish under non-combat conditions.

It costs one action to attempt to Persuade another character. Both characters must roll a D100 and add their Sagacity characteristic each time the Water Caste Envoy wishes to use the Persuade skill. The Envoy may add +20 to his roll if the opposing character is not aware of any combat taking place.

If at any time the Tau character's Persuade total does not exceed that of the opposing character there is no effect and the opposing character may act as normal.
If the Tau character's total exceeds that of the opposing character, then the opposing character will stop to listen and may not attack any other character in any way during his next turn unless he himself is under direct attack.
If a successful Persuade total exceeds that of the opposing character on two consecutive actions, the opposing character will give the Tau his undivided attention and cease all other activity for the duration of his next turn unless under direct attack.
If the Tau successfully performs Persuade actions on the same character for three consecutive actions, the Tau may request that the opposing character performs actions for him instead of for himself or his original master, which he will agree to if he is not being attacked and if it does not directly cause damage or humiliation to the character in question (GMs should be quite firm about this, so no asking that Space Marine to behave like a chicken!).

Once a character has been under the effects of persuasion for three consecutive actions, the only way the effects can be neutralised is if the Water Caste or his allies attack the character under the effects of persuasion.

For example, a Water Caste Envoy who has successfully persuaded a Desperado character for three turns might ask that the Desperado switches sides for the remainder of the battle, but could not ask him to shoot himself.

The GM should award or deduct up to 30 to the Persuade roll depending on how convincing and appropriate the player's cover story is in that situation. To follow the example above, the promise of a truckload of Imperial credits and a harem full of beautiful women should do the job...

Tau Water Caste Characters

Equipment: Water Caste envoys almost always wear robes of office (2 armour on all locations except head), and may carry a gizmo and/or have an escort drone with them. Tau Water Caste may also have practically any item of equipment up to and including legendary items, but will not use the items themselves or loan them out unless there really is no other alternative; they are for trade, not for use in battle.

Special Abilities: The Tau Water Caste will always have the special abilities Blunt and Persuade. They are also likely to have one or more of the following skills: Tutor, Mentor, Leader, Force of Will.

The negotiator

The Tau are the youngest and arguably most vibrant race in the Warhammer 40,000 universe, united in their beliefs and with an understanding of technology that far surpasses that of Humanity. The element-based castes of the Tau race, each specialising in certain spheres from diplomacy to outright war, work together in harmony to pursue the Greater Good. The Water Caste are consummate diplomats, manipulators and fences, able to procure a rare plasma weapon for a handful of Kroot toenail clippings or talk a drug-crazed mutant into quiet subservience before convincing it to savagely assault its former master.
The Tau Castes

The Tau empire is expanding at an incredible rate, the entire race working together to secure their continued success, and they believe their destiny is to spread their influence across the stars. But it was not always this way. The Tau race was once consumed by a bitter civil war that all but destroyed them. When the race was young, the four castes of the Tau developed as separate branches of the same species. The Air Caste dwelt in the lofty mountain ranges of T'au, the race's home planet, using their membranous patagia to soar aloft on thermals. The Earth caste constructed dwellings and settlements on the plains, exhibiting a natural flair for creation and the application of science. The Fire Caste, aggressive and hot-blooded, simply took by force what they could not otherwise obtain. But most advanced of all were those Tau who realised long before the Tau race begun to tear itself apart that it would profit most of all from unity. They worked hard to ensure that what one tribe could not produce, another could supply, and specialised as traders, arbitrators and negotiators between the tribes. They were the Water Caste, but their philosophy was ahead of its time, and great strife was to befall the Tau race before their true value became clear.

It was the Ethereal Caste that pioneered the notion of the Greater Good, that it was honourable and right for a Tau to put his self-interests and even survival aside for the betterment of the race as a whole. Needless to say, being so effortlessly surpassed in their own field forced the Water Caste to swallow a considerable amount of pride, especially as the harmony the Ethereals preached had been the Water Caste's manifesto from the beginning (albeit for less altruistic motives). Although the head councils of the Water caste knew they could only benefit from the status quo imposed by the Ethereals, it took rather longer for them to learn to revere the Ethereals than the rest of their race. In the present day, they are as much a part of the harmony of the Tau as any other caste.

Why use a Water Caste Tau in Inquisitor...

By now you're more than likely asking why you should include a Tau of the Water Caste in your games of Inquisitor. After all, he's not from the Warrior caste, so he won't be able to use all that funky Tau weaponry, so he won't be the most useful member of the warband on the tabletop, right? Wrong. A skilled Water Caste envoy is a consummate manipulator and can accomplish what it would take a cadre of Fire Warriors to achieve in a fraction of the time and with a minimum of bloodshed. For this reason they exist at the vanguard of the expansionist Tau empire. As all Inquisitor players should know full well, it's a very big mistake to judge a book by its cover.
...As a player?

The Tau Water Caste envoy is not for the type of player who is used to charging their pet Space Marine full pelt into combat. The nature of the Water Caste means they are a lot more subtle and excel in areas that other characters virtually ignore. The skills that the Water Caste train in revolve around the criminally underused Sagacity characteristic, and each and every one of the Water Caste has this trait in spades. After all, that's their genetic predisposition and their job. However, you can bet your gizmo that your mate's psychopathic regenerating mutant from hell has only ever used a book when short of toilet paper, and with a successful use of the new Persuade skill the Water Caste can run rings around him (provided he can stay out of arm's reach long enough, that is) and may even end up with the bad guy fighting for him rather than against him.
...As a GM?

The Tau Water Caste are excellent characters to use as non-player characters (NPCs). They can act as the player characters' employers, setting objectives and missions. They can be a liability that the characters must protect in-game in order for the Tau to use his unique abilities and connections to get them what they need. They can be rescued to ensure a lasting state of peace with the encroaching Tau empire. They can be the target of an assassination attempt that the PCs must prevent, or even the object of an assassination mission with the information held in the Tau's holographic projector too important to reach the light of day. The possibilities really are endless, and a GM will quickly find that the Water Caste have a reason to be practically anywhere, for a multitude of reasons, on both sides of the law. Besides, having an NPC who is not armed to the teeth is always good for the realism of your campaign; not everyone is a gun-toting maniac in the 40K universe.

Almost everyone, but not quite.

Tau Escort Drones

The Tau Water Caste are often accompanied by small drones that incorporate both defensive and offensive capabilities, albeit minor ones. These drones are nimble and compact, propelled by small but efficient anti-grav units, and are similar in design to the larger drones used by the Tau in battle. They act not only as protectors for their masters, but also as tools of their trade; escort drones can be programmed to record and deliver complex messages, guide prospective clients to the Water Caste envoy, and record every exchange that takes place for later dissection and study so that future transactions can be better tailored to the individual in question.

Tau Escort Drones follow the rules for Servo-skulls, with the following exceptions:

Escort drones generate D6+2 forcefield protection for both themselves and their masters whilst still active.

Escort drones are fitted with simple projector arrays that can display information onto a flat screen. With typical Tau ingenuity, these also incorporate twin pulse-pistols (in fact this takes up 90% of the projector array's bulk!). The Escort Drone has a BS of 50. The pulse-pistols have the following profile:

The Gizmo
After looking at the weird object that the Tau Water Caste Envoy is holding, you're probably wondering what it is and what it can do. Well, that's simple. It's a gizmo, and there are several possibilities as to why the Water Caste Envoy has it with him. At the beginning of each game, randomly determine what function the gizmo has on the chart below. Alternatively, let the GM decide on your behalf; if this option is chosen, the gizmo will have two functions instead of just one (however it can only be used to perform one function in any given turn). Of course, there's no reason why your Water Caste envoy can't try and convince the other characters that it's capable of one of the other options as well…

1. "He's Holding a Thermal Detonator!"

The gizmo that the Envoy has had tucked away under his robes is an Apocalypse grenade, an immensely powerful explosive device capable of levelling an entire city block. Or at least that's what he tells the hostiles closing on him…

There are two ways you can use this option; either the Envoy informs the other characters that a simple trigger word from him will detonate the device, bluffing his way to safety, or the gizmo really is a powerful explosive.

In the first case, the Envoy must spend an action revealing the gizmo and all subsequent actions instructing those around him what it is capable of doing. Make a Persuade roll for the Envoy versus all of the characters in earshot (roll separately for each character) whilst the red luminas on the gizmo wink evilly. The Tau must continue to make these Persuade rolls at the beginning of each of his turns (GMs discretion as to whether the enemy character will pay any attention - a Genestealer is unlikely to care!). Whilst he succeeds in passing these rolls, any enemy affected by this Persuade action must stay frozen in place and put down their weaponry, abandoning all further actions other than to disarm or to move away from the Envoy until the Tau fails to Persuade that character, at which point the effects are nullified. Friendly models will be aware of what the Tau is up to, and may act normally, though if an enemy model sees that another character is doing anything other than backing away or disarming, any Persuade results are discounted and they are free to act normally.

The second option is that the gizmo is really an explosive device, the fabled Apocalypse grenade, in which case use the following profile:

The grenade will only explode once the trigger word is spoken, allowing the envoy to place the gizmo in an appropriate place for a delayed blast. It will only respond to the Tau's speech pattern. This trigger word must be decided upon before the game.

"When triggered, this device will flatten everything in a half-mile radius. I am quite prepared to die for the betterment of my race. Whilst you put down your weaponry, ask yourself if the same can be said of you!".
2. HPD (Holographic Projector Device)

The gizmo is capable of projecting a sophisticated hologram, using a refined version of the technology employed in the Tau XV15 Stealth Suits. Designed specifically for the Water Caste, it can project holograms of others (such as the Tau's employer) or even the Tau himself to distract and befuddle his enemies. Many lucrative deals have been clinched in this way with the envoy hidden safely nearby in case things don't work out…

There are two patterns of HPD: Messenger pattern and phimera Pattern. A Messenger pattern HPD plays a prerecorded message. In the heat of battle, it is advantageous for the Tau to use this function to project an image of a fearsome warrior charging forward, thereby distracting his foe.

Holograms - Before the game, the Tau player picks a model that is not in play as his holographic ally. When the gizmo is activated (costing one action), the Tau player places that model anywhere within line of sight of his model and subsequently controls it as a separate character with a speed of 3 and an initiative of 55. Any character perceiving the hologram must take a Sagacity test at -50% or treat the hologram as if it was exactly as it appears to be. The hologram may not attack in any way, and can only move in straight lines and play prerecorded speech (a deafening scream being favourite). The hologram must always remain within line of sight of the gizmo (note that the gizmo may be left in place whilst the Tau acts normally). The hologram cannot be damaged, but any character that attacks it successfully may act as normal from that point on; the game is up.

A Chimera pattern HPD projects the image of the Water Caste Envoy himself. This takes two actions to employ and may only be used when the Tau is hidden. Place a marker where the Tau has gone into hiding and then place the Tau model anywhere within line of sight of that point. Use the hologram rules above for this projection. If you have two Water Caste models, the gizmo may be left in place and the owner can act normally as his doppleganger distracts the enemy.
3. Man-portable Disruption Pod

Some Tau vehicles are equipped with Disruption Pods- sophisticated scrambler devices that blur and contort the outline of their hull, making it more difficult for enemy weapons to draw a bead on them. The gizmo incorporates a small, man-portable version of the disruption pod, distorting the image of the envoy and making it extremely difficult to draw a bead on him.

The Man-Portable Disruption Pod confers the following benefits:

No placed shots may ever be attempted on the Tau carrying the gizmo, hence the location rolled always stands, regardless of skills, wargear, dice roll etc.
Any character that aimed at a model carrying a Disruption Pod will only get +5% added to their chances to hit instead of the usual +20%.
Any character attacking the Tau with the Disruption Pod in close combat is at a -20% to hit in addition to other modifiers.
All ranged weaponry that is used to target the bearer of the Disruption Pod counts as being two range categories further away than they actually are (unless that would increase the chances of hitting!). For instance, a sawn-off-shotgun (range A) fired 12 yards from a character with a Disruption Pod counts a -40% penalty to hit instead of the usual -20%.

4. Alpha-Category EMP Device

Tau electro-magnetic pulse technology is used mainly by the Fire Caste to disable enemy armour. However, such powerful surges of energy can be used to disable all manner of machines from the humble blast door to the mighty Land Raider, and Alpha category EMP devices, although extremely rare, are said to be able to shut down anything up to an entire hab-block's power supply for a short time.

The gizmo incorporates an Alpha-category EMP device which can be triggered by the expenditure of a single action. When it is triggered, no electronic devices may function within 6D6 yards of the character that activated the device for the next D6+1 turns. This has the following effects:

Power weapons are rendered as normal weapons of the same type for the duration of the pulse. Hence, a power axe would do the same amount of damage as a normal axe, an electro-flail the same as a usual flail, and so on.

Power armour is rendered entirely dysfunctional, robbing its owner of any characteristic bonuses or special abilities conveyed by it for the duration of the pulse. The full weight of the armour will also act as a massive encumbrance to the wearer, reducing his or her speed by 1. Force fields are nullified whilst the EMP is in effect.

Any bionic parts will not function at all for the duration of the EMP pulse. Therefore a character with bionic legs will not be able to move faster than a crawl as he drags himself along, a character with bionic eyes will be rendered blind, and Emperor help a character with bionic lungs…

The following items of wargear are rendered completely useless for the duration of the pulse: all lasguns and laspistols, multi-lasers, digital weapons, lascannon, plasma blaster, plasma gun, plasma pistol, Xenarch death-arcs, Gauss flayers, Neural shredders, chainblades, chain weapons, shock mauls, Dark Eldar Agonisers, Electro-flails, Neural whips, smoke grenades, Blind grenades, photon flashes, haywire grenades, stasis grenades, all force shields and fields of any type, temporal phase distort generators, all auspexes and gunsights, cyber-mastiffs, psyber-eagles, psychic hoods, servo-skulls, cogitator banks, mechadendrites, vehicle engines and any other electronic device at the GM's discretion. Needless to say, the Adeptus Mechanicus aren't too keen on EMP devices…

5. Polyglot Hedron

The gizmo is the signature linguistic device of the Water Caste that instantly translates and transmits whatever the Envoy says in the native tongue of the character he's dealing with. This invariably has a positive effect on any deals the Water Caste Tau intends to close.

The Tau only needs to sub-vocalise the words he is forming for the gizmo to pick up and broadcast them, so the net result is that it seems the Tau is chatting away fluently in the language of those he is facing. Alternatively, he can speak out loud in Imperial Gothic so that his companions can understand what he is saying even as the gizmo translates his words into the requisite alien tongue. Even when the Tau is speaking to an individual whose first language is Imperial Gothic, the Polyglot Hedron picks up the appropriate dialect, and broadcasts the envoy's speech in that pattern. A Tau envoy with this device may add +20 to his Sagacity for any Persuade tests whilst the Polyglot Hedron is active.

6. Archeotech

This arcane gizmo is an item of indeterminate function but immense value,a relic of a glorious age of technology unearthed from the deepest strata of the underhives that the Tau has managed to swindle out of some unfortunate prospector. Up till now, the Water Caste envoy has been unaware of its function, and has not attempted to use it, preferring to let the Earth Caste give it a thorough examination. However, in the heat of battle, sometimes the element of choice is removed…

Note that this function may not be combined with any other. The Archeotech may be activated by expending an action. Take a Sagacity test at -20%, if it passed the Archeotech is active. Roll a D6 on the chart below to determine its function:

The Archeotech emits a symphony of beautiful music, but has no useful game effect.

The Archeotech is a powerful force field that springs into place around the Tau, surrounding him in a blue sphere of crackling light. This provides 2D10+2 force field protection against all types of hits, including those made at arms length, but is of no use when the attacker is any closer.

The Archeotech is a stable anti-gravitic propulsion unit that bears the Tau into the air. He can move around as normal by manipulating the nodes on the side of the gizmo, can be shot at as normal, but cannot be affected in close combat unless the attacker has a weapon with a reach of 4; he's just too high up! The Tau can ascend and descend at will at roughly 3 yards per action and will never take damage from falling whilst it is activated.

The Archeotech is a personal teleport unit. When activated, move the Tau anywhere on the board and scatter him D10 yards in a random direction. It will not teleport him into a place it is impossible for him to enter and survive (such as a bulkhead, off the board edge or into another character) and will stop him 1 yard short if this would be the case. The Tau can teleport as many times per turn as he has actions.

The Archeotech uses sophisticated field technology to create a localised anomaly in the gravity field around the bearer. When triggered, all characters within 5D6 yards of the Water Caste are affected as if hit by a graviton gun (roll each turn). If the Tau moves then this field will move with him.

Por'la Vior'la Kais'uam, Water Caste Envoy

The Water Caste envoy Por'la Vior'la Kais'uam, like many of his race, has an ambition and drive far above his current station. Although elements of his name roughly translate as 'skilful mediator' and 'water caste bureaucrat', Por'la has the fiery temperament and outgoing nature typical to those from the sept world of Vior'la. Though young by Tau standards, Por'la is extremely well-travelled, having fled the Tau sept worlds and crossed vast tracts of space to distant Karis Cephalon. The reasons behind this self-imposed odyssey hail back to one of the most important and bloody eras in Tau history - the Damocles Gulf Crusade.

Ever since the crucial and near-unprecedented outcome of the Damocles Crusade, an Imperial purge of Tau space that ended not in sustained genocide as with other Crusades but with a shaky peace treaty, Por'la's family have been extremely well respected. The Water Caste envoy is a direct descendant of Por'O Vior'la Ko'vash M'yen Shi (lit. Strives for Unforseen Victory), the Water Caste Ambassador primarily responsible for implementing the peace treaty with the Imperial forces after the armies of the two races had ground each other to a standstill during the latter stages of the crusade. Those scholars who know anything of Imperial history know well that this was no mean feat, and that it was the first time in several millennia that an Imperial Crusade has ended before its bloody conclusion. Thus Por'la has grown up as the latest in the most celebrated Water Caste bloodline of the Tau Sept Worlds. It is no small wonder he chose to leave when the most recent of his now-legendary Initiatives garnered a little too much attention from those keenly watching his progress.

Por'la has inhereted his bloodline's natural flair for relating to the other castes of Tau society, so much so that his mentors suspect he prefers the company of the other castes to that of his peers. He has always aspired to the honorific Vash'ya, literally 'between spheres', a suffix bestowed on those who have forged strong bonds with castes other than that of their birth. As a nascent envoy, Por'la had strong connections to both the Earth and Fire Caste, and had many friends within the ranks of the Tau army. These included Shas'ui Mal'caor, the quartermaster of the Fire Warrior Hunter Cadre with which he was posted to the sept world of Tash'va. The two had become fast friends after the diplomatic coup known as the Ria'tan Convocation whereby the Savage Blade, a large faction of Kroot Mercenaries led by the rogue Master Shaper Jhongor Omotu, were brought back into the arms of the Tau empire. The Tau fleet were relieved not to have to waste resources joining in battle with the immense warsphere of this splinter faction of Kroot, although the Earth Caste was a little shocked to find that they had been pledged to upgrade the Kroot vessel's defensive capabilities over the next Tau'cyr. Nonetheless, Por'la impressed his superiors with what they euphemistically termed 'exceptional initiative'. He had broken a few rules, but the end result had most definitely been for the Greater Good, and with the incursions of the Tyranids in the south-east galactic quarter of the Sept Worlds his omissions toward protocol were ignored. However, the young Tau let his success go to his head.

Shortly after the Ria'tan Convocation, Por'la uncovered information relating to a nascent Tyrannic cult within the families of Tash'va. The cult had perverted the Tau life-ritual of the Ta'lissera, a sacred bonding ceremony, into something far worse that culminated in the genestealer's kiss. Enraged, and confident that he could take the initiative and tackle the problem on his own, Por'la called upon a pack of Savage Blade Kroot still planetside and 'acquired' enough pulse carbines and photon grenades from his quartermaster friend's property to ensure every member of the carnivore squad was armed to the teeth. Unleashed upon the cult's underground headquarters, the Kroot reaped a massive toll of blood from the corrupted Tau, putting the place to flame and feasting on the few Tau that had merely been hypnotised instead of contaminated by the insidious genestealer cult. The action was a bloody and a swift success, but the Tau Fire Caste was enraged at having been bypassed in favour of a group of unpredictable mercenaries, and the relatives of the Tau needlessly killed in the operation would not be content with Por'la's half-hearted apologies. After all, Por'la knew what he had done was for the Greater Good, and felt no need to repent. To add insult to injury, getting the high-tech weaponry back from the Kroot proved rather more difficult than securing it in the first place, and was eventually written off rather than endanger the volatile Kroot warband's renewed oaths of loyalty.

Despite a lengthy and successful cover-up by those high-ranking Tau that would not see the line of Ko'vash Myen Shi scandalised, Por'la was still on thin ice. The ambitious Tau's fate was sealed, however, when he was liaising with the Ria'tan Hunter Cadres during the time a state of emergency was called at their base. Tyranid vanguard creatures had been sighted two decs to the north, usually a sign of impending Tyranid invasion. Having suffered heavy casualties in previous engagements, the Fire Caste was dangerously under strength and, in their haste, left Por'la to his own devices in the compound. It was not long before Por'la heard the screams broadcast from the compound's comm-links, and after calling up a remote tactical analysis program, the young Tau began to panic. The Fire Caste were being systematically butchered by the Tyranid swarm raining down from orbit, and were unlikely to see the dawn. After an agonising period of indecision, Por'la decided that whatever the cost he could not sit by and allow his fellow Tau to be rendered down in Tyranid digestion pools and assimilated. Deciding to take the initiative once more, he sent a prearranged alarm signal to his contact in the Savage Blade, promising great reward to any who came to the Fire Caste's aid.

Within three hours, a massive warband of Kroot and several packs of Kroothounds had accumulated within the hangar, leaping and climbing over the Tau vehicles and heavy weaponry. Por'la quickly lost all control of the situation as his delicately-tuned speeches were drowned out by the excited whoops and chirrups of the Kroot mercenaries, many of whom were quite familiar with the weaponry and technology of the Fire Caste. The Kroot force took everything they could find, some of them even attempting to drive the damaged Hammerheads out of the repair bays. At the head of a ramshackle army of exceptionally well-armed Kroot, Por'la rode to the aid of the beleaguered Hunter Cadre.

Although the precise details of the resultant military action are withheld from all those of Shas'vre rank or less, it is widely believed that without the intervention of Por'la's improvised force, the Tau lines would not have held. The cost in Kroot lives and Tau wargear was galling, but the Hunter Cadres were able to hold out long enough for Manta Missile Destroyers from nearby Ui'Shosa to reach the scene with reinforcements. The resultant military action was decisive and swift, and many of the Ria'tan Fire Warriors made it back alive.

Although a financial settlement was eventually reached with the Savage Blade, Por'la knew full well the scale of the protocol breach he had committed by his actions. He quickly 'volunteered' to leave the Sept Worlds as a pioneer for the Tau expansion, in essence fleeing to the darkest galactic backwater he could find, as many believed he had tainted the honour of his bloodline. Por'la left as soon as he had stuffed the cargo hold of his ship with as much Tau weaponry and technology as possible. One day, he hopes to return triumphant and erase the stigma of his actions, having proved his capability to think outside of proscribed Tau doctrine to be a valid path to the Greater Good.

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