T’au Codex Reveals – Fate of the Fourth Sphere

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The T’au Codex has a ton of cool lore about everyone’s favorite herd creatures turned Mecha Pilots.

In the midst of all the nerfs, buffs, and Warlord traits that are amazingly named, but of questionable utility, the T’au Codex has also given us a look at the development of the ill-fated Fourth Sphere Expansion and what has been going on since the Cicatrix Maledictum cut the galaxy in half.

Let’s dive in–first, here’s a look at what exactly happened when the Fourth Sphere tried to expand out past the raging warp storms that isolated the Tau Empire in the Damocles Gulf.

Things looked pretty bleak for the old Tau empire until they decided to take a whole bunch of prototype ‘slipstream drives’ and activate them at once. And it went about exactly as you might expect a whole bunch of anti-matter explosions in one place might go:

They tore open a warp-rift and got et by daemons. Good thing the Ethereal exist and can calm the populace without fail. It would be terrible if anything should ever happen to threaten that! And with that, the Tau join the ranks of everyone else who ever tries anything in 40K–they lose millions of lives and accomplish nothing.



That’s right, a lone Drone proved that not only ate they the best and most powerful unit in the Codex, but that also there’s apparently a stable Wormhole that connects two different parts of the Galaxy.

This is where the 5th Sphere begins. Fortunately the Tau are all reasonable, and if any are out of line the Ethereals, now once again in contact with their far flung outposts, can bring them in line lest they go crazy and start killing any non-Tau allies that they might pick up.

That would just be real dire.

Sure is a good thing that would never happen.

  • Regal Giant

    Teehee racist Tau

  • denzark

    Well they are commies, shouldn’t be surprised if they go all Stalin once in a while- fluff even uses the word ‘purges’.

    • Moonsaves

      They’re far from Communist, utilising a caste system and all that.

      • euansmith

        Yeah, they are more like Soviet Socialists, with a job for everyone and everyone in their job. 😉

      • Jennifer Burdoo

        They remind me strongly of the British Raj, complete with Sepoy troops.

        • af

          Definitely! Complete with the “Tau’s Burden” of bringing civilization to a galaxy of savages.

      • Krargan

        It’s okay. Ka’rool Ma’ux will come along and write the Fire Manifesto and change the system.

    • Cergorach

      This is what happens when you ram Tau to the warp… The same thing that happens when you ram humans through the warp… BAD THINGS!

      I wonder when we can expect the first Tau marked of Khorne… OR Slaanesh…

      • af

        Didn’t the fluff use to say the Tau were immune to the warp? Or was that the Necrons? Or the Tyranid!? I’m confused 🙁

        (And would immunity to the warp confer immunity to the taint of Chaos, anyway?)

        • They never were immune, they are just very resistant because their minds aren’t active in the warp and chaos needs negative emotions to take root. Fear, hate, despair. Tau usually are too satisfied with their lives to have those.

          • Spacefrisian

            They do register in the warp, been part of there lore for ages. And a water caste dude was possessed by a Tzeentch daemon already.

    • af

      Seem more like mystical cult to me. It’s a shame they went grimdark with the Tau. I liked the notion of a militaristic but “honorable” faction which honestly seeked peace and prosperity, at odds with the xenophobic Imperium. The irony that the “good” faction in 40K wasn’t human. A pity they didn’t go this way.

      Still, even all grimdarked up, the Tau are better than the Imperium. Lobotomy you say? The Imperium practices that for breakfast!

      • Drpx

        The Tau just happen to be in the early stage of development for a race in 40k. Humans, Eldar and even the Necrons were like this at one point before they got out into the galaxy and discovered it was full of Lovecraft horrors.

        • af

          Agreed, it’s logically consistent. But it’s also boring: if *every* race goes down the same path, everything turns samey. It feels like a missed opportunity to me, in favor of the lazy route of grimdarking it all up.

          Maybe the writers are trying to go nihilistic on us? “Everything is hopeless, life is meaningless, the only way to win is not to play, drop your toy models and go outside?” 😛

          • Drpx

            The fluff was just supposed to be a setting you RPed in with your games, but everyone insisted on the story moving forward, so now the Imperium has to get lighter and the Tau have to get darker.

          • af

            I don’t disagree with the Imperium going lighter, though I kinda liked them being hateful Space Nazis. I disagree with every other faction turning into Space Nazis as well. Oh well.

          • euansmith

            Now they are just taller, better proportioned hateful Space Nazis. 😉

          • LankTank

            The main theme of 40k is There is no hope, only war. I think it actually makes the Tau more interesting. You can see the efforts to keep decency and morality in focus against all adversity. And as Tau are the snap shot into the other races past, its also interesting too see the same ethical challenges they endured and whether or not the Tau unlike everyone else can endure

          • af

            I know that’s the theme of 40K, which is why I mentioned the grimdark. I want the Tau to retain that core of decency precisely because it sets them apart — everything inevitably degenerating into evil makes for an utterly boring setting in my opinion. The Tau can be good and there still can be conflict: because other races force it, because the Tau are wrong about some stuff, because of misunderstandings, etc. No need for them to turn grimdark.

      • euansmith

        Mmmmm… prefrontal lobe, on toast…

      • Douglas Nelson

        I get the feeling that the fourth expansion felt abandoned and had to fight hard just to survive. Not so much a cult but just bitter survivors that had to fight every nightmare the galaxy threw at them with no support.

        The Tau got a taste of what it is like to be an Astra Militarium regiment.

        • af

          Oh, sure! By “mystical cult” I meant the Tau as a whole. The rest of my comment is disconnected to that first sentence 🙂

          I do not dislike the idea that some portion of the Tau becomes wayward and extremist — a bit like Colonel Kurtz in Apocalypse Now — but please no outright evil or Chaos taint… otherwise, it’s same old same old.

          • Douglas Nelson

            Okay. I agree. Tau should remain the hopeful and “naive” race. No Chaos taint or anything like that. Just aliens going nuts and ruthless due to the brutality of war. (On occasion.)

      • Spacefrisian

        You realy need to watch the gundam serie than, the parts involving Zeon.

      • Crevab

        I would have been fine with the Tau going grimdark if GW had shown the hows and whys without the hamhandedness and rewrites.

        The stories are already there for crying out loud. Tell us how the Tau happily absorbed human Damocles colonies until their nonexistent control of the mutant population led to a planet getting Psyker nom’d on live T”au TV. Ta-da, you’ve created mistrust and repression between species.

        Not adding in that the first race the Tau met immediately “died off” or bullpucky like, “welp, the Adeptus Mechanicus can create their own warp storms, better outfit our largest fleet with untested warp drives”

        • LankTank

          That is far nore interesting than just the usual plot mover of “eerrrrm dere is werp sturmz and dey teleport you to a place and sumthing happenz”
          “But that doesnt fit in with the time line?”
          “Eerrmm de werp sturmz move thu time”
          “…. great”

        • Robert Baker

          Actually, in this case it shows, I think, that the Ethereals and their tendency towards brutal methods of control are RIGHT. In fact, the Farsight Enclaves may allow slightly more deviation, but they might now be viewed as having replaced the Ethereal caste with their own subcaste of the Fire caste exemplified by Farsight and the 8 which serves to rein in the rest of the T’au in the FSE just like the Ethereals do with the standard Tau Empire.

    • Miguel Angel Castro

      Ay Dios Mio! They’re a Caste based Authoritarian Federation not communist.

      • Ryan Miller

        Fascism is the force full removal of certain thoughts words and actions from society. Communism is a form of socialist economy. They can be socialist and the fascist just like the Nazi party!

        • Miguel Angel Castro

          Plato’s Republic with a mix of the Indian Caste society

        • af

          Not to derail this thread, but nobody seriously believes the Nazis were socialist. They had “socialist” in the name, true, but much like North Korea calling itself “People’s Democratic Republic”, it didn’t mean anything. The NSDAP wasn’t a “workers” party either, for that matter.

        • Vanders

          Communists in Russia and China did a rather decent job of removing certain words and actions from society. China galvanised an army of youths specifically for that purpose!

  • So Kroot got the boot…And now we can have Codex Kroot~

    • af

      Let’s hope not! The Space Marine-ification of 40K: everything split into needless codexes for every minor subfaction. Next we’ll have a codex per Sept…

      • stinkoman

        Dont give them ideas, you want GW to break tau 5x over?

    • LankTank

      Yup. Kroot and their new power armoured imperium loving allies. Codex Kroot marines… minus the kroot

  • So..Chaos-Tau? Yay?

    • Kabal1te

      I hope so. Tau models need more spiky bits. Besides a chaos riptide would look amazing.

      • Graham Bartram

        No, it would be very dull and predictable.

        • Kabal1te

          I don’t understand that view really, seeing Chaos afflict this new young race opens the door for new and exciting concepts especially given what they could do with the whole tau have minimal warp presence thing that makes them resistant to chaos. It could make for a nice take on something along the lines of what genestealer cults are to both nids and IG. A corrupted tau that can still ally with tau but also plays along with chaos would be in my opinion fun to see on the table both visually and how it would play, and lore wise it would really add a more interesting facet to the tau which I personally find to be one of the less interesting factions from a story point of view. As it stands their “we’re new and we aren’t affected by the warp and our shiny technology is the bestest and we are the greater good” makes them really look like the Marry Sue faction of 40k.

          • af

            “Mary Sue” means “can do no wrong, preferred by the author, and possibly a stand-in for him/her”. Nothing of the case seems like the case for the Tau — for example, witness the multiple people whining that the new codex makes them unplayable.

            An upstart race whose goals are not extermination and which is not corrupted by Chaos makes them unique and a breath of fresh air, not Mary Sues…

            All Grimdark All The Time is boring.

    • af

      I hope not. Everything chaosed up looks boring 🙁 It’s the lazy way out.

      • Graham Bartram

        This is soooo true.

      • euansmith

        Would Tau-Beastmen get a “human leg” mutation?

  • Crevab
  • Drpx

    Bet Farsight had a good chuckle at this.

  • Luca Lacchini

    Hello new toys. Welcome to the corruption of your soul.

    And you thought Necrons, Tyranids and Orks were the worst the galaxy had to offer, while humans were just misguided and corrupted.
    No, new toys. YOU are your new big opponent. YOU are miguided. YOU are corrupted.

    • af

      Boring 🙁

      • LankTank

        The Orks are corruptible. But its just very hard as usually even if they go Plague orks they still just act orky. Gork and Mork just cant be replaced

  • eMtoN

    Why did the 4th expansion only send a single drone back? Also – why did they have that drone just orbit the wormhole instead of actually sending it to the home worlds? It looks like the fleet didn’t really want to be found but where simply covering their butts in case someone did stumble on them.

    • Kabal1te

      Given it was a drone drifting alone in space it is possible that the 4th sphere wasn’t sure where the other end of the wormhole would come out at and didn’t want to risk a ship. The drone also may not have had the power to get all the way back to the home worlds on its own. There are plenty of possible explanations.

      • eMtoN

        Ok, I’ll give you the lack of power option. That makes the most sense. But if I didn’t know where a WH exited I don’t think I’d send a map to where I was. Surely they know the universe is pretty unforgiving of that stuff.

  • Witch Beatrice

    LOL Tau are like Star Trek Dep Space Nine’s Dominion! haha screw the loss of proud Jemhaddar we can send our auxillaries the Breen and especially the Cardassians to die first and expunge their worlds later.

  • TheWanderingJewels

    I sense GrimDerp

  • Vanders

    Oh Emperor, I hope this doesn’t end in Chaos Tau or grimdark Tau. Tau have always been the “good” guys in the context of the 40k galaxy. Something different from the closed and selfish factions that make up every other races. We need at least one positive faction.

  • DaveTycho

    So Farsight enclaves 2.0 without Aun’Va decrying them as renegades.