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Tau Online Newsletter

Mini of the Month

Gareth's Whirldwind

faol's Veterans. Check our forums for more information.

Quote of the Month

"Three days ago, Por'Ui, I was fighting through hell. For a day and a night I waded through seas of corpses, blood splattering my armour and bones cracking beneath my feet. I watched friend and foe alike die in merciless cannonades, and the howls of pain and fear rang so loud I thought I'd never stop hearing them. After three hours with you, Por'Ui, I'd give anything to go back into hell."

- Shas'O Tau'N Shi'era Nan'cova Kais

Member Quote of the Month

"Quite simple really, the Orks are speaking properly, it's everyone else that's wrong."

- Foxx

Forum Statistics

For the month of March:

New Topics: 1,700
New Posts: 31,500
New Members: 220
Page Views: 1,300,000
Most Visitors Online at Same Time: 126

In Total:

Topics: 39,200
Posts: 625,000
Members: 5,820
Most Visitors Online at Same Time: 278

Thanks for Reading

The 29th Monthly Tau Online Newsletter is here!
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Recent News

Competition News

Another month rolls by here on the Competition machine of Tau Online and I am proud to bring you the result of the Elites painting competition and the Fluff Writing Competition. Both showcasing two very different talents displayed by many members here, the Best Elites of Tau Online going to Sparky for his breathtakingly detailed Dreadnought:


A very high standard of entrants and another popular competition as we go through our Force Organisation Chart series! Next stop will be the chance to crown the best painted troop's of Tau Online so get your entries to me by the 21st of May if you want to stand a chance of winning a prize!

The Fluff Competition was (like the Elites Competition actually) a very close affair with many great entries to choose from. The other judges and I greatly enjoyed reading every story, however in the End we chose Wargamer's, 'Angels' -

I remember the day the Angels came.

I was but a boy, a slave, bound from birth to serve my lords without question. It was a terrible life, and I hated every moment of it. No, hated wasn’t the right word… it was only afterwards I hated it. Back then, eight years old, I never knew there could be any other way.

My Mother told me that I would not always live in chains. She told me that the Emperor was watching me, and that I had to show him I was brave and strong, kind and faithful. If I did that, she said, he would rescue me. I was six years old when she said that. Not long after, she vanished. I say ‘vanished’, but what actually happened was during one of the regular sessions of rape she endured at the hands of Governor Svelt he got a little carried away. She was in the Sanctum Apothecaria for three days before she died of internal haemorrhaging. I didn’t know that then, I only found out when I was twenty-three and sifting through data-files of the aftermath.

The Angels came like a gift from heaven. It was my birthday, though no-one but I would celebrate that. I’d woken up at dawn, used a stub of pencil to circle the date in my hand-made calendar, cried, wiped the tears away and dressed for another day of servitude. I stepped out of the door, expecting it to be a day like any other.

For the rest of the story and a chance to see all of the others, please go here -

Just a final note, there will also be an artwork competition in May, a chance to show off your drawing or computer generated expertise and be crowned the best artist on Tau Online! Entries to me by the 21st of May please.

Take a look in the contests board today to see what is going on!

Ciao for now!


Top Threads

Top Five Tau Threads

Top Five non-Tau Topics this Month

Interview: With Vash113, by Tau Online

Vash113 is one of the Tau board moderators. He's been a member with Tau Online since Dec. 2004 - so coming up to 2.5 years now :-) Anywhoo, the Tau Online community has decided that we'll be interrogating Vash this month...

1. (Q) What attracted you to this site and how have you found it so far?
A: I started on the site Kovash Tauva but it wasn't very active, so I went searching for a larger, more active Tau forum. I tried Librarium and that was a no go, and then I finally came to Tau Online. A little known fact is that I have 2 profiles on TO, the first didn't start out so well so I made the second and still use it today.

2. (Q) Which armies do you collect, how big are they and how long has it taken to accumulate them?
A: I currently collect 6 armies. My Mechanized Tau, the Or'es Shi cadre, is at 2250pts and can max out at 2500pts. That was my first army, after that I acquired an Ultramarines 7th Company army just last year, which is now over 2000pts. I also have almost 1200pts of Grey Knights, 2000+ points of Blood Ravens (5th Company), and 2500pts of Dark Angels (6th Company). One of my latest armies is an Imperial Fists 1st Company at 1650pts currently. Lastly and most recently is a very small Raven Guard force, its only about 4-500pts but I'll be adding to it very soon. It's been about 5 years since I started the hobby though I haven't been keeping a set count.

3. (Q) Any advice for the rest of the community?
A: Be friendly and take your time, when debating think about whether you really want to make a post even when it's already written, or whether it needs editing or deleting. Taking your time can solve a lot of problems in debates that can get heated. More so take your time with the site in general, help out, give advice and over time your post count will rise and so will your karma most likely. There isn't a contest to beat Mal in karma or anything.

4. (Q) Can you tell use something more about the armies you have? How many points? What kind of models? Playing style? Anything special about them? Gaming experience? And why those armies?
A: Well my Tau are mechanized and very aggressive, I don't use them as VP denial or to hide really, my Tau force comes gunning straight for the enemy weapons blazing and when the smoke clears they are usually all that's left. My Shas'O is a Helios, he has been a Helios even since the days when people thought Helios was utterly suicidal and foolish and has racked up more character kills than any of my other commanders, more than most other HQs I've seen personally too. Insta killing marine commanders is just fun. My Ultramarines is a little bit of everything, they were a small force I could bring to college with me but since then I've gotten a lot more of them and a lot more armies period. The Blood Ravens are a nutty army, my 1000pts list contains only 22 marines and a Land Speeder. The Imperial Fists are a Lysanderwing, a very few scouts and a ton of Terminators all deep striking, a just for fun army. Dark Angels I have mostly cause of the new codex and models looked so great and are plasma and gun heavy. The Grey Knights are also just a for fun army and is really small at the moment. Also as of a few days ago I now have a small Raven Guard force, its only 10 scouts and a Captain at the moment but Ill get some assault marines soon. As for gaming experience I've been in the hobby for about 5 years now and fought almost every type of marines imaginable, which is probably why I have so many marine armies now. Those armies I have because there is something about the chapter I like, I intend to have at least a combat patrol or maybe even a 1000pt force of every first founding chapter, I'm off to a good start too.

5. (Q) What exactly keeps you interested in 40k? Is it simply the accessibility and known player base around, or something more?
A: The fluff and customization is what keeps me interested I think. Few other games allow you the freedom of customizing your force as greatly as table top games do and 40k is one of the more wide spread of those games. The fluff is also an interesting point and I'm gradually reading through as many Black Library books, and other fluff sources as I can. It's getting to the point where I know more about the background of my opponent's army than they do.

6. (Q) That directly leads to the next question, which is, do you have any other wargames that you play or are interested in?
A: I've been considering getting into Warhammer Fantasy with Brettonians and I may still but first I really need to finish all the painting I currently have without adding a new project. Warmaching, Battlefleet Gothic and Epic are all slightly interesting but the player base here is too small to make them very viable gaming options.

7. (Q) What is it about TauOnline that not only attracted you, but inspired you to want to help by accepting the glorified janitor position with the rest of the floor sweepers? Is it all fun and games, or does it honestly feel like work? And if so, why do you do it?
A: I've been very busy lately but now that I'm getting more time to get on the site again I find Khanaris usually gets to most things before I do and makes me oddly superfluous, sometimes it can be irritating to deal with a troublemaker or "newbie" but those tend to be exceptions and that's a good thing. As for why I accepted the position, its simply that I like to help out where I can and thus cleaning up the site didn't seem like a bad idea, and it still doesn't. Its also been a positive choice as now I've gotten to know the staff better and been able to better appreciate what they do.

8. (Q) If you could have a Cities of Death omega level battle against two people on TauOnline, who would they be?
A: Interesting question, that would probably be Wargamer and MalVeaux, I'd probably have my rear handed to me but I bet it would be a great learning experience.

9. (Q) What direction is life taking you? What does Vash do in real life, or what will Vash do in real life after school if Vash is in school? And aside from those plans, do you plan on sticking with wargames deep into the uknown future?
A: Life is proving to be interesting and troublesome as usual. College is an... experience. With finals coming up and the summer almost upon me I need to find a job. I'm currently going to school at the University of Mary Washington and its an interesting place, the Male to Female ratio is also quite enjoyable and the small classes are also nice. As for Wargames I definitely intend to keep playing 40k and possibly other games long into the future, but while its all well and good to say that, a lot can happen in a short space of time so nothing is certain, but I certainly intend to.

10. (Q) Why 113? Why not be more hip and say Vash10.63sqared?
A: Ok... well, about 5 or 6 years ago when I first started using AIM and playing Online games and what not I needed a screen name, since I had been watching Trigun at the time and it was 1 AM when I was making my profile on Americas Army Online I chose the name Vash_the_Stampede113 since all other variations had been taken and I needed a number, the first number that popped to mind was the number of my Boy Scout Troop, Troop 113. Later when I joined a clan I had to add the clan sig and the name was too long so it got shortened to [TANGO]Vash113. For the clan forums I just used the name Vash113. Later when I joined Kovash Tau'va I used the name Shas'O Younge Blood (notice the improper spelling) but when I came to TO I was rather new to this whole... online forum thing and didn't make a good impression, abandoning the name Shas'O Younge Blood, I once again went back to the name I used most everywhere else and just went with Vash113. So there it is, does that answer your question?

11. (Q) How do you write such good fluff for your batreps? Do you cheat a little?
A: I'm not sure how I could cheat. I just read and write a lot of fluff. A writing exercise to improve my fluff writing was to add story to my battle reports, I did a lot of that with my Tau and their battles and I've now had lots and lots of practice. It also doesn't hurt that I read a lot of Black Library books and older fluff sources too.

Thanks :-)

- Tau Online

Feature: From the Webway by Elf Boy

Since I did an april fools thing last month, I decided to revisit the theme I was going to do then. So here's some info on the new foundation paints from GW.

The foundation paints add 18 new colors to the overall range of GW paints. GW has said many thing that makes it sound exciting but also just describes normal paint. the main difference in it is that the is a lot more pygment in them than other paints. This is supposed to create a more potent basecoat color that will cover a miniature with fewer coats. Other than that they aren't very special. But it will make for easy basecoats which is nice. For the more experience painters this isn't all that exciting but this will make painting models a lot easier for the new hobbyist painters out there. They should be selling for just over 3 U.S. dollars which costs a little bit more than the normal paints.

A new thing I've decided to add to the webway is a rating. This rating will be on a one to ten scale of how good this will be.

I give the new paints a 5/10. Good for newby painters, but not too spectacular for the advanced painters. And the boosted price isn't something to look forward to.

Fluff: Master's Grace by Farseer Tyross

The armoured hulk of a Dreadnought loomed to the fore as the death procession moved along, slowly towards it. Medical Servo-skulls darted back and forth, administering chemicals and sowing ruined tissue together, whilst the honour guard moved the plinth with the near dead form of Hueran Tigerian, Chapter Master of the Fists of Flame.
A small army of Apothecaries were in attendance of this event, to safeguard the Rites of Entombment went well. Several Techmarines were also present, but they were busy attending to the Dreadnought's systems, ensuring that the appropriate rituals had been performed in readiness for the coming event.
"Everything is ready, Mars Aran" spoke Luthian. Luthian was Tigerian's most trusted and favoured Apothecary, and the Chief Librarian glanced over to the Techmarine known as Xeano. Nodding he was ready for the ritual, Mars Aran turned to the vast hall filled with Fists of Flame Space Marines.
"It has fallen to me to lead this ceremony, in accordance with the Codex: Astartes and our own holy teachings. We are in a time of passage, and of transition. I shall lead the Rites of Internment of Hueran Tigerian, our beloved Chapter Master." The Chief Librarian's voice faltered with emotion, but out of the corner of his eye, Chaplain Xraino of the 1st Company nodded. He continued on despite the sadness in his heart, "He will be placed in the armoured Dreadnought so he may continue to make war upon the enemies of Mankind, and in so doing so, he has given up his authority of actively lead our Chapter. Therefore, authority of the Tigerian's position has fallen to me, and from this day forth, I am acting Chapter Master" boomed the Librarian, using his helmet vocaliser to amplify his voice so that even the furthest attending Space Marines could hear clearly.
A voice broke across Aran's vox link. It was Xraino, "the plinth has reached the Dreadnought. It is about to begin" rang through the Librarians' ear. "And so it begins" boomed the Librarian to the audience as he turned around to face the half-dead corpse of the Chapter Master.
Half of the assembled Honmour Guard which held the plinth aloft dropped to their knees, allowing plinth to tilt forward. In a show of strength, the rear Honour Guard forced the aft edge of the plinth up into place, allowing the plinth to assume a vertical position right in front of the Dreadnought's open hull. The Chapter Master hung on heavy gauge chains which held him in position on the plinth, despite the now vertical orientation of it.
"I'll take it from now" spoke Techmarine Xeano as he stepped forward, and gripped the plinth on specially made restraining straps, taking the full weight of the Chapter Master and the plinth on two powerful claws built into his servo-harness. Stepping forward towards the Dreadnought, the Techmarine lined the plinth up with the opening and slid it into place. With a twist of three seals, the Chapter Master and the plinth were sealed in place
He nodded to his attendant Techmarines and two of them activated two large switches. The rush of liquids filled the hall as green liquids rushed down through thick clear cables into the Dreadnought.
Through the armoured slit cut into the plinth which now formed the front of the Dreadnought's sarcophagus, Xeano could see the fluids drain into the Dreadnought and fill the sarcophagus.
Xeano plugged a number of cables into the front door of the sarcophagus, and ensured that the seals were holding the fluids properly. Everything was seemed aright.
"Activate the Dreadnought" voiced Xeano, and a few seconds later, the Dreadnought shuddered as the generators built into the Dreadnought came online. The lead Apothecary stepped forward and placed a specially adapted cable into a socket in the side of the Dreadnought and plugged the other end into his Narthecium. Runes flashed across the screen on his Narthecium and he triggered a number of switches before giving his report "Everything is alright with the former Chapter Master, his vitals are stable and he is ready to be brought out of chemical induced sleep…"

Feature: How to Write Fluff by Wargamer

Fluff Writing isn't exactly an easy thing to do. That is, it's not easy to do well. There's no hard and fast way to create a great piece of work; sometimes an author will love a piece that everyone dislikes, or hate a piece that everyone enjoys. This topic, therefore, is intended to give a guide on how to create solid, enjoyable Fluff pieces.

Know your Subject Matter:
This is the golden rule of Fluff; you must know what you're writing about, and know it well!

Let us imagine you want to write about Tau fighting Space Marines. You will need to have a good idea of how both of these work. It's often very easy, with Tau fluff especially, to spot when someone isn't savvy on their species. Don't just read your Codex and try to write, go hunting for background! Read as much as you can about Tau biology, Tau technology, Tau customs and Tau tactics. Always ask yourself questions; what would Tau do here? How would a Firewarrior react to this? Would they be expecting the Marines to do that?

The better you know your fluff, the better fluff you can write, simple as that.

Detail, Detail, Detail!
This cannot be stressed enough; you must give detail!

Many people seem to think that Detail spoils the story by slowing it down, but let me give you an example. I'm going to describe a Tau fighting a Space Marine; once with detail, once without.

Non-Detail version:
The Space Marine was terrifying. Kais ducked as the Bolter roared, and ran for cover, seeking somewhere to hide and return fire.

Detail version:
The Space Marine was terrifying. Standing twice the height of a Tau, it was a god of war, striding through the carnage without fear. Its ceramite armour shone in the flame-light, its boots crushed the rubble beneath it. Pulse fire sparked and rebounded harmlessly off it. The Marine advanced through fire that would have slaughtered a platoon of Guardsmen, or forced the mightiest Ork to seek cover. It was fearless, it was unstoppable, it was coming for him...
Kaid ducked as the Bolter roared, and ran for cover. He tripped and skidded, heart pounding, convinced the next thunder-clap of the Bolter would bring his death. He dove forwards behind a ruined wall, seeking somewhere to hide from which he could return fire.

I think we'll all agree, the second version is much more exciting!

However, remember not to go too overboard; detail really can bog you down, so try to interspace it properly. When something important happens, give it lots of detail. If you follow that rule, you'll do alright.

Show, don't Tell:
They say a picture is worth a thousand words, and I guess that's true. The question is then, how do you draw a picture with words? Simple; describe the scene.

For example, don't tell your readers your main character is scared. Instead, describe how he is acting. Think about how you would act if you were scared, if a Space Marine was marching toward you hell-bent on blasting you to pieces. Would you curl up into a ball? Tremble? Cry? Odds are your breathing would become more rapid, maybe you'd hyperventilate...

Describing the scene, rather than telling the scene, makes the story more immersive, and allows the reader to relate to your characters. For example, Dan Abnett in Necropolis mentions how one of the officers "loses control of his bladder." We aren't told that he's scared, but because we know he's seconds away from a fight we can assume that the man is terrified. What's more, it tells us how terrified he is; wetting yourself in fear is a big step from just feeling nervous!

As tempting as it may be, generally speaking you should not use other people's characters. This can be anyone from Farsight and Shadowsun, created by GW, to character such as O'Sun'yi or O'Nan'cova, created by your fellow members.

The reason for this is quite simple; constraints. If you write about your own characters, you can do what you want. If you start including other people's characters, you have to maintain continuity, plus you can't just go killing them off.

Note that you can reference characters, and indeed I'd personally love it if people did this. For example, you could put something like "Kais had always admired Commander Farsight, and still believed he was loyal to the Empire," or "The Shas'El had fought beside Shadowsun on Medusa; nobody hated the Tyranids as much as he did."

Where other people's characters are concerned, there's never any harm in asking if you can use them. They might even be able to give some pointers. Wink

Fluff: Chapter II - The Politics of War by Wargamer

This fluff piece is part II - part I was in last month's newsletter issue.

"You know what must be done, I trust?"
El'Nan'cova nodded. "Yes, Aun," he answered respectfully, "I have been briefed in detail. With all respect, I would prefer not to have any further talk on the matter."
The Aun nodded. "Battle is cruel, Shas'El, but I am also told there is a certain simplicity about it. I have often noted that, somewhere between the coldness of preparation and the madness of the fight a warrior may find a sort of peace no other can ever know..."
El'Nan'cova remained carefully silent.
"Find your peace, El'Nan'cova."
The Aun bowed slightly. El'Nan'cova bowed lower, and watched as the venerable figure departed.
"El'Kais," he muttered. "Why can't I just be El'Kais?"

The war-cry of the Orks was great and terrible, a thunderous roar that seemed to shake the ground itself with its fury. As one, bursting forth like natures wrath, thirty thousand greenskin warriors thundered from their hiding places, and charged towards the Tau lines.
"Here they come again!"
El'Nan'cova watched calmly as the Orks approached. It was almost unfair, staring stoically as the brutish warriors hurled themselves at their deaths. Crude punji-pits and spiking wracks claimed some, but the Kroot's traps were little more than a distraction; the real traps lay just beyond. With burning blasts that turned the horizon viral blue, the pulse-mines detonated amongst the Orks, firing themselves up to chest height before engulfing everything around them in their blasts. As if awakened by the thunderous explosions, swarms of Gun Drones sprouted from the ground, their weapons raking point blank into the tide.
"Impressive," Ui'Taish said, her voice filled with admiration.
El'Nan'cova turned to her. "We do not often seek static warfare, but that doesn't mean we should not excell at it when it is suitable."
The death toll was heavy, but some Orks made it through. El'Nan'cova knew they would; they had the numbers on their side.
"Line Warriors!" the Shas'El's voice was heard in every comm-piece, "do not fire until the order is given!"
To the defenders, it seemed a hopeless fight. The Tau barricade was a concave wall, built to shield a natural flow-way in the hillside that was flanked either side by steep, shifting skree. There were gaps where the wall met the drop, wide enough to allow vehicles to pass. The southernmost opening was blocked by a pair of Broadside Battlesuits, the other by a Hammerhead Gunship. Between them stood a long line of Firewarriors, and a small cluster of Battlesuits. They waited, and the Orks drew closer, covering the distance with shocking speed. They had no vehicles, however, save for clanking, hissing Dreadnoughts and "Killa Kans". The terrain was steep and unpredictable, unsuitable for wheel or track.
"Kais..." Ui'Taish hissed, "I think it's time to fire."
"Not yet..."
The Orks were so close now that the Shas'La on the wall could make out the murderous glint in the enemy's eyes. Each one felt nervous, wanting to fire, unsure why the foe was being allowed to get this close...
"This is Kor'El Tau'N Taism, air-strike inbound!"
"Down!" El'Nan'cova commanded, "Artillery, open fire!"
A salvo of rockets blackened the sky. Half a dozen Sky-rays, fitted with Hi-Ex missile payloads, thundered their charges into the air. El'Nan'cova had assisted each gunner to pre-log his firing co-ordinates, ensuring the missiles found their mark. The blasts killed countless Orks, massive shockwaves of shrapnel slicing the greenskins apart. A heartbeat later, trackers lit up the sky as the Air Caste dove in. Ion-charges were dropped from belly holsters, drones flipped out of Tigersharks like chaff, and Railgun Submunitions blew craters into the ground, scattering dismembered corpses with their blossoming explosions.
"Line-Warriors! Stand and repel!"
The Shas rose, and fired. The Orks were in total disarray now, assaulted from above by Kor fighters and blasted by Artillery. Through the contrails of the fighters descended Orca transports, their drop bays wide open to allow the Crisis Suits within to deploy straight into the fray. It was overkill. With no cohesive leadership, and nothing to hold their morale, the Orks had dissolved into scattered, fleeing mobs.
"We have them!" El'Nan'cova roared over the cheers of his men. "All units, advance! Press the attack! We crush them now with one swift blow!"

Hobby: Storing models. Improvisation by JD

Well... a lot of people have trouble storing their minis or making them easy to transport. But, a few simple improvised cases/containers can make this easy.

1- Chinese food containers. Using tissue as a lining to prevent chipping and adding to the protection of the models. This will hold around 20 basic marines using two layers of models seperating them with again tissue.

2- Egg cartons. A brillient little way to store your small based characters. It's seperates them, preventing them from breaking againt eachother, and keeps them pretty much in the one spot so they wont move around.

3- Battle Force boxes. Using a foam lining this makes for a great way to transport models safely. It also looks good.

4- Electronics boxes. Boxes such as the ones so comperter parts come in make for a larger version of the chinese container.

5- Margerine containers. Again using tissue to line the container these can make a good container for things like dreads and sentinels.

Pretty much anything that has a lid can be made safe for models using foam or tissue. It might not look that great but it's cheap as chips.

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