Subject: On the subject of the Tau...
Posted on: 2023-03-17 17:48:06 UTC
They're fine. They don't feel as alien as some of the other races. They sometimes feel like a Gundam script got bitten by a radioactive Warhammer. That's not to say they are bad, just incongruent with the tone of much of the universe. That's why I like the choice of the Scar Lords as the antagonists in the book I'm reading. It draws a lot of attention to the tonal dissonance.
I've encountered them a couple of times in various novels, but I'm currently reading my first Tau-centric novel: Farsight - Crisis of Faith. I like the character of Commander Farsight. He's smart enough to see through the Tau propaganda machine, but too much of a good soldier to say anything against it.
In any other series, I would say the Tau are definitely headed for a civil war between the castes. However, the existential threat posed by the Imperium, and eventually by Chaos (when the Tau finally figure out what that is), will likely keep them together. The interesting thing about a potential civil war would be that the Fire (warrior) caste would likely be on the more just side, with the Water (scholars, ambassadors, merchants) caste opposing them, which usually isn't the way these things go. Air (pilots) and Earth (engineers and laborers) could split over this schism. The Ethereal caste (leaders) would absolutely use the Water caste as a meat shield.
If I've learned one thing in this book, it is don't trust the Ethereals. When they say something is for the Greater Good, the list of beings that encompasses is very small and almost purely Ethereal. I'm also becoming suspicious that potentially they are psykers, and they have decided the rest of the Tau don't need to know what that is.