Last chancers: Kill Team Analysis and discussion

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Connor MacLeod
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Last chancers: Kill Team Analysis and discussion

Post by Connor MacLeod » 2008-06-05 04:10pm

Yes.. I finally got around to it. This was much delayed, mainly because I started working on the Imperial armour stuff, and that's requierd putting in a huge buttload of hours to transcribe (the other four aren't going to be any better.. ugh) So, I am nearly a week late in doing this. Oh well.

This wasn't as good as the first novel, but it was still neat. and I take pleasure in seeing much of the tau wank rebuffed here, by Gav Thorpe no less. And its still better than Anniilhation squad.

I've also appended the short story between Kill Team and 13th Legion, although mainly because there wasn't much in there I found of interest, since it mainly takes place on a prison planet.

Short story: Liberty

Page 284

- Only thing of note: they don't take the shoelaces or shoes away from the prisoners (or socks, as we saw with Kronin when he choked another Last chancer. Rather odd thing. I'm pretty sure some prisons make a policy of doing that in cases of dealing with psychotic prisoners (like Kage.)

Then again, this IS the Imperium... why the fuck should they care about prisoners? Its probably something viewd as a "survival of the fittest" tactic to provide the best penal legion soldiers to the Imperium's use. (Kinda like Sardukar, I suppose, just they're not viewed as being elite.)

Kill Team

Page 321 -
'Next we have Trooper Quidlon, formerly of the New Bastion 18th regiment, who is here because of his inability to curb his curiosity and pay attention to the warnings of his superiors/ The first thing that springs to mind when looking at Quidlon is 'square'. He's short, has broad, straight shoulders, a lantern jaw and a flat head. Even his ears are almost square. Standing to attention, perfectly immobile, you might think he was a sculpture by an apprentice who hasn't worked out the finer points of the human form yet.

'It seems he can't stop messing about with machinery/ I continue hastily at the Colonel's prompting stare, pulling my thoughts away from the young soldier's strange appearance. 'Following several com­plaints from servants of the Adeptus Mechanicus and despite reprimands from his senior officers, Quidlon here continued to make unauthorised alterations to the weapons and vehicles of his tank platoon. Fed up with him, and wisely not wanting to start a feud with the tech-priests, his superiors eventually charged him with insubordination/

"Why did you not heed the warnings you were given?' the Colonel asks Quidlon, the first time he's spoken directly to any of the prison­ers since he came in.

'I like to know how things work, sir, and the changes I made didn't do any harm, they made the engines and guns work better/ the trooper replies quickly, the words coming out in tumbled bursts, like a stubber firing on semi-auto.
Introduction of Trooper Quidlon. Assigned to the last chancers penal battalion for making "unauthorised" enhancements to vehicles and weaponry in his regiment. Complaints filed with Adeptus Mechanicus techpriests and reprimanded several times by his superiors. Why do I mention him? Well, aside from demonstrating how whiny the AM get when other people try to do stuff out from under the thumb of the AM (IE like the Blood Angels or Space Wolves)

Aside from that, Quidlon seems quite knowledgable about the devices in question (he's insatiably curious and intelligent.) and serves as the team's mechanic/engineer. Evidently not *everyone* is as blindly supersitious about technology (if he'd not been in the Guard, or probabyl serving in a laxer regiment, he'd probably be a techpriest himself. Or might be able to get away with it on an Agri-world, like in fifteen hours. Or been like hte Valhallan guardsman who was a former techpriest. I think one of the Ghosts was also.)

I should note that Quidlon is noteworthy only because he got caught at it. There are a number of examples of people being allowed to learn about or employ machinery when AdMech rules are lax (Fifteen hours comes to mind as a mild example, as does Death or Glory when a enginseer chick "recruits" ad-hoc members from refugees. A more extreme example would be hive Worlds like Necromunda, where in the Underhive the AdMech and "machine spirits" are virtually unheard of, and rarely adhered to.)

Page 322
'I remember this one/ the Colonel says, pushing me to one side and squaring off against Trost. 'I remember this one very well. Trost, covert agent of the Officio Sabatorum. He has probably killed more people than everyone in this tower put together, including you and me, Kage.
- mention of an Officio Sabatorum agent. Never heard of those, but I gather they're experts on sabotage and terrorisim, specialising in poison, chemical weapons, and explosives, from surfing the web.

And, apparently, they're quite capable/skilled at killing LARGE numbers of people as well (no surprise given their specialities)

Page 325
Take your punishment like a soldier/1 hiss at him, sickened, level­ling the bolt pistol at his left eye. One smooth pull of the trigger is all it takes, the crack of the bolt's detonation ringing off the walls as the explosive round blows Regis's skull apart, spattering my legs with blood and shards of bone. I step back, the pistol smoking slightly, and look at the others.
- Bolt pistol round at point blank, blows skull apart. No fragmentation or ricochet (Kage was standing over the body holding it down.) See bolter analysis for exact calcs.

Note that while it doesn't explicitly indicate whether or not these are explosive rounds. If they weren't, it was probably some sort of fragmenting or "scatter-shot" bullet (like a glaser round) due to lack of overpenetration and the destruction involved. Or its one of the "lower power" examples of the explosive bolter rounds.


Page 334
It's the first day of real training, aboard the ship Laurels of Glory. A fine vessel, and no mistaking. Purpose built for storm troopers, the Colonel informs me, the Laurels of Glory has got just about everything you might want. Right now, we're stood in one of the combat bays. The ship has fourteen, each of them rigged out to represent all sorts of warzones and maintained by a veritable army of tech-priests. There's a jungle bay, a city bay, a desert bay, a nightworld bay, shoot­ing ranges, drill quadrants, even a beach in one of them. I've not actually seen any of them yet, so I'm kind of curious to see how you can make a jungle on a spaceship. Trees made out of planks, per­haps? The best thing is that there's an armoury you could overthrow a hive city with, housing all kinds of lethal kit that I'm just itching to get my hands on. But that's for later; for now we start with the basics.
- mention of the Laurels of Glory, a troop transport dedicated to use by storm troopers (storm trooper regiments? This seems like 2nd edition era stuff mainly.). Then again I recall some mention of dedicated storm trooper battalions or regiments (as well as entire Grenadier regiments) in the 3rd ARmageddon war website stuff when it was still up. It wouldn't surprise me if the Imperium still fielded either or both in some form.

Of further note is that the ship has fourteen combat bays, each diesgned to replicate a variety of warzones and combat enviroments in realistic detail (As we see later.) This would tend to suggest this is a very LARGE ship, quite possibly (likely?) several kilometers long (at least).

Page 338 -
"No, I've never had to stab a man/ he admits. 'I use explosives, gas and poison. If I had to fight man-to-man that meant I'd been dis­covered, which meant my mission had failed. I never failed a mission."

'I'm sure those three admirals thought highly of you as they died/ I sneer.
'The mission was still completed. Normally a few additional deaths are allowed. he states coldly. I focus my attention on Strelli and point the knife at him.
The Sabatorum agent Kage has recruited confirms use of explosives, gasses, and poisons to achieve his goals. And that "collateral damage" is considered acceptable.


Page 339

- Kage begins teaching the other recruits various combat techniques (knife fighting and marskamnship) as well as wilderness survival camoflage techniques, field navigation, and "all the other stuff" Guardsman seem to learn as standard.

Page 346

- Kage issues each recruit 100 "rounds" with their lasguns. An oddly low amount, considering ammo pack capacity (at least twice that might be expected.) Given "whole number" rounds, that probably means 2 50-shot packs. Perhaps this is largely because of training purposes. Or, perhaps they only have a single powerpack that is 100 rounds. Kage only states "ammunition for one hundred rounds", never specifying how many powerpacks. (Hell, maybe they're high-powered weapons that have only 25 shots per powepack.)

Page 346
Anyway, we're all decked out in battledress and heading into the training bay. We pass through a couple of airlocks monitored by white-robed tech-priests, whose job it is to maintain the stable envi­ronments inside each of the bays. At the end of it a large double-doored portal rolls open.

It's amazing. On one side of the door is metal mesh decking. On the other side steps lead down into rolling hills and fields. I can see a small pre-fabricated farmhouse a few hundred metres to my left, smoke drifting lazily out of its chimney. We walk down the wide stairwell on to the grass, gazing around us like first-timers in a brothel. With a clang, the doors slam closed behind us.
I assume the walls have some kind of image painted on to them, because the agri-world landscape stretches as far as the eye can see. Above our heads, small puffy clouds dot a deep blue sky.

I blink in disbelief as I notice the clouds are drifting across the ceiling.

'Last Chance...' Iyle whispers in awe. 'Sorceries of the machine god/

He's looking behind me and I turn to see what he's staring at. The doors have disappeared, as have the steps. As in every other direction, the hills stretch as far as the horizon. In the far distance I can just make out the purple slopes of a mountain range, topped with snow. The others are murmuring suspiciously, shrinking back from the open sky above.

'Yes, magic, the most powerful techno-magic/1 say quietly in agree­ment, awed and afraid at the nature of our surroundings.

This is unbelievable...' gasps Quidlon, dropping to his knees and running his fingers through the grass. 'It feels real, and even smells real.'
I notice that he's right. It smells like an agri-world. There's even a faint breeze blowing from our left. Fresh air, on a ship where the air gets constantly cycled through great big refiners, breathed millions and millions of times before until it's almost thick with age. I was expecting something pretty special, after the Colonel told me there were only a couple of dozen of these ships in the entire navy, but nothing as extravagant as this. His powerful contacts have been work­ing hard for him again.

'It is real/1 say ominously, a sudden shiver of unnatural fear cours­ing through me. 'I think it's been grown here by the tech-priests.'

This is wrong, a voice at the back of my mind tells me. Ships don't have woods and meadows on board them. They have engines, and guns, and they're built out of metal, not dirt. At that point a voice blares out, seemingly from the air itself, shattering the illusion.

'This is Warrant Officer Campbell/ the heavenly voice tells us. Tech-priest Almarex will be monitoring you in training bay six. If you need to contact him, adjust your comm-sets to shipboard fre­quency seventy-three. When you wish to leave, return to this point and transmit a signal on shipboard frequency seventy-four and the doors will open. Oh, and a word of warning. Our climate regulators predict rainfall for most of the night, so set up a good camp. Good luck with your training/

'Rainfall?' Tanya laughs nervously. 'We're going to get rained on aboard a starship? There's a first/

'No fauna though/ Quidlon continues, looking around.

'No what, Brains?' asks Trost, who's sat on his pack, tossing a grenade from hand to hand.

'No fauna/ Quidlon repeats himself, squinting up into the sky.

What Brains means is there aren't any animals here/ Stroniberg explains, squatting down next to the ex-Officio Sabatoram agent. 'No birds, no animals, no insects. Only vegetation/

Why didn't he just say that!' complains Trost, ripping up a hand­ful of grass and letting it scatter between his fingers.

- the training bay is at least a "few hundred meters" across. It also has real grass, ,real weather, and can mimic other aspects of terrain (horizon, distance, etc.) Sorta like a holodeck in some ways, I'm guessing. Naturally Kage and the others (except Quidlon) are awed and shocked by this, although if anyone thinks about it, its not impossible given the size of Imperium warships and something as simple as a hydroponics bay. Given the size of the bay, this tends to suggest/reaffirm that the ship itself is a multi-km long vessel.

Page 349
- Quidlon asks what kind of support can be expected, and mentions "air support, artillery, tanks". Evidently even though regiments tend to be separate (armor and infantry regiments separate) and the Navy covers air support, it seems that they can be usually expected ot operate in conjunction, ,if Quidlon and the others were asking for it. (Why bother asking for something that rarely is provided in most combat situations?) Nevermind that we do have other examples or sources that provide other examples (naturally).

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Connor MacLeod
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Post by Connor MacLeod » 2008-06-24 03:17am

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Page 357-358
“I think we caught this before too much damage could be done to your brain, and Biologis Alanthrax” he indicates the other man, who is still regarding me dispassionately, much as he might look at an interesting specimen, “was able to perform the surgery and release the vapours before they became fatal”

Surgery? What in the Emperor's name have these blood fiends done to me? I guess my expression must show what's passing through my mind, as Stroniberg lays a hand on my arm, to try and comfort me I guess. I flick it irritably away with my fingers, one of the few parts of me that I can actually move.

“It is a fairly standard practice, though not common” he tries to reas­sure me. “Biologis Alanthrax has performed it several times before, with almost fifty per cent of his charges making full recoveries. It is a
simple matter of temporarily removing a portion of your skull, mak­ing an incision into the affected area to release the vapours and then bone-welding the cranium back in place.”
Kage has had some battle psychosis breakdown, and one of the ship A-M specializing in biology made an "incision" in his brain to release "built up vapours". The procedure is not unusual, and has an almost fifty percent "full recovery" rate. Rather odd and kind of silly, given the usage and existence of mind-impulse links (which seem far more sophisticated than mere brain surgery. Hell I'm pretty sure the links involve some measure of brain surgery regarding the implant.)

Page 364

- use of a lascutter to burn a hole through the door (or cut through a section). The lascutter melts the metal rather easily.

Page 364-365
Bending over him, I see the bullet hole in his left cheek. I roll his head to the side and half his skull comes away in fragments. I feel something pluck weakly at my arm. He's still alive!
Damage from a “marskman rifle”

Page 383
My return shot catches him low in the right leg, blowing the limb off below the knee and sending
him spinning, the shotgun whirling from his grasp as he pirouettes to the ground, the stump spraying crimson across the decking. Gun-smoke drifts up my nostrils, an acrid stench mixing with the tang of fresh blood.
- Naval shotgun blows leg off of Armsman.

Page 393

- plasma engines/plasma cores can be ejected from shuttles if they are going to overload/explode.

Page 396
- Inquisitor Oriel can make Kage expose himself and drop his weapon without him realizing it or becoming a zombie.

Page 407

- the Laurels of Glory's shuttle bay is 200 meters long.

Page 411
I try to work out what the ship is made from, but it's impossible. There's no welding that might indicate metal; the coloration seems to be part of the material itself, no brushstrokes or drips from paint. I wander along one wall and let my hand briefly brush along it, feel­ing a slight sensation of warmth from the wall itself.
- Kage notes that the interiors of Tau vessels betray no indications of welding (or metal in their construction.)

Page 414

- Tau warships seem to have voice-interactive AI's, kind of like the main computer on the Star Trek enterprise.

Page 422
This is like no engine I've ever seen before. Where are the cables and pipes? There seem to be no moving parts at all, no pistons, no cams or gears, nothing to indicate the roaring energies this thing must have to produce to keep a ship this size functioning. The calm­ness of the ship is very unsettling, when you're used to the bangs, grinding noises, rattles and hums of an Imperial starship.

“Here is our primary power plant” Por'la'kunas announces with just a hint of pride. “There are two sub-stations on the lower levels in case of emergency or battle, but this plant provides enough power for nor­mal usage.”

“'Battle?” the Colonel asks, too quickly to be entirely casual.

“As your own Imperial Navy is no doubt aware, this area of space is plagued by roaming bands of pirates” the translator replies smoothly. “Of course, such considerations are not an issue within our own empire”

I bet, I think bitterly. These tau think they're so clever, I'm going to enjoy knocking off one of their top leaders.

Oriel wanders closer and looks over the shoulder of one of the tau, who's dressed in a similar tight-fitting garment as our guard back at the living quarters, except his is dark grey. The tau bows his head and steps aside for us to crowd around the screen. Only, it isn't a screen as far as I can tell, it really is a window. I gaze into the green glow, my eyes adjusting to the brightness, and realise I'm looking into the heart of the reactor itself. It's full of something like a gas or fluid, with strange eddies and currents merging and break­ing apart in a constant flow. It's quite entrancing actually, looking at the ever-shifting shapes coalesce and disappear. Bright, star-like points dip and weave in the energy currents, like tiny suns caught in a storm.
- the tau Engine has no "pipes, moving parts, cables, cams or gears." unlike other (Imperium) engines Kage claims to have seen. And it is much quieter than Imperium engines. Makes you wonder what Kage is thinking of.

Also note that the reactor seems to be your usual "magic crystal" type technology (in this case its filled with "a gas or fluid" with strange eddies and seems to constantly change and shift like some sorrt of fog or liquid. Doesn't seem particularily blinding or bright, so how it produces energy is a complete mystery.

Page 425
'It appears you have arrived on the bridge at a fortuitous time/ he tells us with a slight nod. 'Shortly we will undergo the transition into vash'aun'an, which I believe you call "warp space".
He directs our attention to the large screen, which pans across the stars before settling on a reddish blob. As the ship powers closer, the blob expands into a spiral pattern erratically expanding and con­tracting in on itself. It shifts colour too, and sometimes disappears from sight altogether. The captain explains something to Por'la'ku­nas.

“Ahead is the sho'kara” the water caste tau informs us with due grandeur. “Which you might called the lens or window, perhaps. We will pass through the sho'kara into warp space and ride the currents within”

“You have to use these warp holes, or lenses or whatever, to enter the warp?” asks Oriel, feigning only slight interest.

“The flo have yet to find a successful method of creating an artificial sho'kara” admits Por'la'kunas sheepishly. However, he rallies well. “It will only be a matter of time before the problems they have so far encountered are resolved”

“And when inside the warp, you navigate how?” Schaeffer asks.

“I am unsure of the details, I will confer with El'savon” he answers slowly, obviously a little put out by this sudden line of questioning. I guess warp travel isn't one of the things they've mastered yet, not that anyone can really master it if you ask me. However, it's obvious from Por'la'kunas's reaction that he'd rather not discuss this short­coming. After a long discussion with the captain, during which the interpreter does most of the talking, Por'la'kunas turns back to us. He pauses for a couple of seconds, obviously collecting his thoughts and working out what to say.
“The captain informs me that the ship navigates along an extensive network of pre-designated pathways” he announces, not quite hiding his faltering confidence. He glances back at the captain once before continuing. “El'savon says that powerful beacons allow him to travel between our planetary systems with great speed and accuracy. For instance, we shall be arriving at Me'lek, our destination, within six rot'aa. From what I know of your time partitioning, that will be approximately four of your human days”
The Tau appear to have to use pre-existing "warp gates" or natural rifts (smaller versions of the Eye of Terror, ,if I remember the other sources correctly. in order to travel between systems ( something like Wing commander jump points.) They also rely on a beacon network for navigation. Also note that a Tau "day" equivlaent is worth 2/3 of a human day (6 tau days = 4 human days.)

Also, if we assume 10 LY or so between systems, the speed might work out to ~900c, or some multiple of that (2-3 thousand c if its 20-30 LY, for example) Not terribly fast by what the Imperium can achieve, but they make no mention of etherdrive either. Perhaps they wish to keep that secret from Oriel and his retinue.

Page 426
“A kor'vesa-piloted vessel is used for communication between ships in transit and our worlds, and also for the sending of messages to the widespread outposts of our sizeable empire” Por'la'kunas duly informs us, using the opportunity to try and scare us away by talking about the size of the Tau Empire.
- the Tau have to use courier drones/vessels in order to communicate between worlds.

Page 429

- The tau seem to rely a great deal on proximity/motion sensors for acitivating things like showers, ,dryers, opening doors, etc.

Page 433

- drone controlled pod. It should be noted that Tau drones were likened to servo-skulls, but "lacking a soul" (which to the Imperium is important, of course.)

Page 436

- tau vibro-kinfe, used to cut bread.

Page 440
The machines are about three and a half, maybe four metres tall, and broadly humanoid in shape. Judging by their shape, and assum­ing they actually have pilots, I'd say the driver sits in the main body, the flat, many-lensed head atop the broad form just some kind of remote link. The arms are stocky and heavyset, and armoured plates cover the shoulders and thighs. The lower legs are actually made of open struts, though everything else is encased in heavy-looking, gen­tly faceted armour. Each machine also has an extended back pack from which protrude rows of nozzles, possibly some kind of jet device. They're obviously war machines of some sort; the devices mounted on their arms are unmistakably weapons of different designs. Several of the battle suits also have weapons mounted on one shoulder, long-barrelled guns and rocket pods in the same effi­cient clutterless design of all the tau machines I've seen so far. Several of them have drones hovering around them, which flicker with some kind of energy field.
- Tau battle-suits are 3.5-4 meters tall, by Kage's estimate.

Page 441
Behind them are ranked up another few dozen warriors, not in battle suits, but still well armed and armoured. Their uniforms are made from a light, billowing material, over which they've got plated carapace armour on their chest and thighs, and thick shoulder guards protecting their upper arms. All of them are wearing helmets, fully enclosed with a small cluster of differ­ent sized lenses instead of a proper visor. They too sport the grey and orange camo scheme, except for their helmeted heads which are differ­ent shades of blue, yellow and red, possibly to identify individual squads.

If this is supposed to be a show of strength, it's working on me. I certainly wouldn't want to face this lot. They're armed with long rifles, about two-thirds my height. I suspect those guns have got enough punch to put a hole in the back of a battle tank. I mentally kick myself then. I will be facing this lot, I tell myself, not long from now. Well, not this bunch exactly, but others like them. I pull myself together, telling myself that healthy respect for the enemy is one thing, but actually they're not so scary as say an ork or a tyranid. I'm almost convinced by my own arguments. Almost.
Tau fire warriors. They also carry long rifles of an unknown type 2/3 their height (a litter over a meter long.) They may be rail rifles, but possibly not. Kage gets the impression that the rifles would punch through battle tank's rear armor, though that is merely Kage's supposition.

The armor also looks impressive (Carapace?) but it isnt much better than flak, as we know from this novel and the Fire Warrior novel as well.

Page 444

- Tau hovercars, like their vehicles and ships and drones, have artificial brains that respond to verbal commands.

Page 446

- one Tau "month-equivalent" is worth two human months.

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Post by Connor MacLeod » 2008-06-29 07:31pm

Page 453
"I come from a city that stretches three kilometres into the skies of Olympas," I tell the tau, trying to make it sound as impressive as I can. There's no point letting them think they're the only ones who can build a fancy city. "The lower levels are delved a similar distance into the rock. A billion humans live in that one city, and there are thirteen such cities on my world."

"That cannot be," argues Shas'elan. "That is more humans on one world than there are tau in this sept!"
Two things of note here. First, according to what info I can figure out, there are approximately twenty or so Tau Septs. This means that the Tau have fewer than a trillion souls in their Empire all told. Probably fewer than 500 billion. Whereas the Imperium, with its tens of millions of worlds, thousands if not millions of hive worlds, runs up into the quadrillions easily. Hell major hives like Necromunda alone outnumber the Tau (or the Hive populations mentioned in the 3rd edition rules.)

Secondly, The Hive world KAge comes from has cities that delve 3 km into the crust, and go up at least that high. It gives us an intresting indication of the scope of Exterminatus, because it gives us an idea of how deeply one must reach on a world to ensure extermination (mines too can go that deep.. nevermind underwater cities or such.)

It should also be noted that the Tau Fire Warrior seems shocked and angry to discover just how many humans live on a hive world (and implied how many hive worlds there are.) - one has to wonder just how much information is given to the Tau at large about the Imperium, if they find the concept of Hive Worlds incredulous. (And you people wonder why I laugh at the idea of the Tau invading a hive world)


Page 454 - the Tau claim to have superior acceleration to "alien" vessels (at least Imperium ships, it would seem.). The degree by which this might be true (if it even is so) is unknown.

Page 457 - the Last Chancers are taking (precise?) gunfire from at least 300 meters away (tau weapons.. presumably pulse or rail in nature.)

Page 458 - Hammerhead grav tank main guns are 3-4 meters long, which would mesh with the scalings.

PAge 458
No sooner have they arrived on their feet than they open fire. As the hovering cranes lift themselves out of the line of fire, salvoes of missiles erupt from shoulder-mounted pods on two of the suits. The other three leap forwards, powering away into the air with hissing bounds, their multiple weapons spitting bullets and plasma bolts into the half-built dome.
By "bullets" I take it to mean that the Battlesuits are firing their burst cannon. Which tends to lend credence to the idea that pulse weaponry is a form of projectile weapon, as I've conjectured before.

Page 465

- although not psykers themselves, the Tau evidently use psychically attuned races (eithre servant races or mercenaries.) for various purposes like security. Repetitive thoughts, like nursery rhymes (or lasgun maintenance drill) seem to have some partial effect in fooling some psykers (or rather, in assisting another psyker like Oriel deflect mind probes.) Thinking about psykers will make it easier for them to read another's mind.

Page 466

- Psykers (like Oriel) evidently can influence or read Tau psychically, as we observe a number of times in the book. (clouding minds, ,etc.)

Page 479

- The Kroot "consume" slain foes (bodies of their enemies are considered part of their price for being mercenaries.), believing they can absorb the prowess/skills of their enemy. Supposedly some magi among the AM believe that the Kroot are capable of absorbing information from their "food", and passing it on to successive generations (genetically?). Oriel believes this is implausible. I'm inclined to agree, because it sounds like wonky genetics to me.

As it is we learn this is true after a fashion, so like most bizarrities of this in 40K (IE Tyranids) we blame the Warp or some other similar magical deus ex machina.

PAge 485-486
"With barely more than a whine, it descended, sophisticated anti-grav motors kicking in rather than loud and clumsy jets. The hull shimmered and rippled, the darkness around it distorted by an energy field which extended for several metres around it. Oriel have a silent prayer to the machine god, hoping that the infernal tau surveyors had been fooled by the specially constructed stealth shield. The tech-priests had assured him this woudl be the case, but he was never one to rely heavily on the artifices of the Adeptus Mechanicus.

...

As he stepped off the ramp, it hissed back into place and the shuttle shimmered, the cloaking field activating fully, causing the small craft to disappear from view. Within a few seconds the small transport, whcih was barely 3 meters high and five meters long, was invisible.
Evidence of the scale and sophistication of Imperial cloaking technology. It can be miniaturized down to small craft size, and mask the vessel from detection by sensors as well as visual detection.

Page 491

- Quidlon believes he'll be able to continue traveling throughout the galaxy (if he earns his "Last Chance"), either by serving with Oriel or by signing on a ship (as a mechanic I would imagine.) The Squat Grimm in Inquisition War did something similar.


Page 497
At the back of the carriage is a small triangle of steps leading down to either side. I point Trost to the right hand flight and he nods, heft­ing a grenade in his hand. Tanya peels off to our left, diving prone and taking up a firing position along a sand drift. The hatchway at the top of the steps opens and the door hisses upwards. A tau in a fire warrior's uniform sticks his head out and the Colonel fires, the bul­lets impacting into the alien and flinging him backwards.

With a skill born of years of practice, Trost lobs a grenade straight through the opening and there's panicked shouting from inside. The detonation blasts out the back five windows and hurls a body out of the door. About two seconds later an accompanying explosion takes out the front half of the train. Trost reaches the steps first and throws himself up, firing with his lasgun as he jumps inside. I go in next, fir­ing the autogun to the right, one-handed, pulling myself through the hatch with my spare hand. Glass crunches under my feet and I see tau bodies strewn all over the benches that ran the length of each side of the transport. One or two move and we fire into them, and I hear the Colonel jump up behind me, his autopistol at the ready.

The others burst in from the front and we stand there looking at each other and the three dozen or so corpses lying between us. A few more start to come round so we begin the grisly job of executing them all, pulling off their helmets and putting a round into every sin­gle head. Tanya joins us, but keeps her finger away from the trigger of her sniper rifle.

Tau body armor doesn't seem particularily good at stopping lasgun fire, autogun fire, or frag grenades. The last chancers (about eight, including Oriel) take out several dozen Fire warrios in a short period of time. This tends to suggest most tau body armor is roughly equal to flak - a bit better perhaps at blocking lasguns, but not nearly as good at bullets (cf Straight Silver and Storm of Iron)

Interestingly, Kage can fire his autogun with one hand, which suggests that its recoil is not particularily powerful, and/or its a very compact sort of weapon.


Page 499
There are a few tau fire warriors stationed there and I can imagine their surprise as the train glides gently to a halt, its windows smashed.
We don't give them a chance to react.

I rise up slightly, still with the autogun on the window frame, and open fire with a short burst, gunning down the nearest tau, the bul­lets kicking across his stomach and chest, ripping chunks out of his armoured breastplate. The Colonel aims low at another, the row of bullet impacts from his pistol stitching a line along the wall before kneecapping the warrior. Oriel is jumping through the door, firing as he leaps, scoring a cluster of perfect hits on the helmet of a third war­rior.

I propel myself out of the back door and roll left to the opposite of the now-stationary carriage, using its back end for cover. A fire war­rior turns to run through one of the archways, but I get a bead on him first, the shots taking him high in the back and pitching him for­ward. He rolls and clambers to his feet, still alive and kicking, and returns fire with his bulky carbine, chewing a massive chunk out of the side of the train and forcing me to duck back.

Glancing out, I see Quidlon fire from inside, his fusillade of las-bolts slamming into the fire warrior and spinning him down again.
Just then, a dull boom sounds from our right, Trost's charges going up. A piercing wail fills the air as warning sirens screech into life.
Again sustained autogun/lasgun fire seem quite capable of penetrating tau body armor (at least for the standard fire warriors.)

PAge 501

- again lascutter used to melt through a door.



Page 501
I look that way, and half a dozen of the things come flitting down through the leaves. They're domed discs about a metre across, with thick aerials protruding from their curved tops, each underslung with a pair of linked guns that track and swivel as they scan the jungle for us. Tanya opens fire, plucking the closest out of the air with a single shot, its fractured casing spinning to the ground trailing sparks. Quidlon and I shoot next, a converging salvo of las-bolts and bullets that sends three more of the drones out of control, smashing into trees and plunging into the bushes.

The two that are left return fire and we duck for more cover as the shells smash fist-sized chunks from the tree trunks, hurling bark everywhere and spattering me with sweet-smelling sap. I roll side­ways through the ferns, flattening leaves, and finish on my back, firing up. The shots ricochet off one of the drones, causing it to jud­der in its flight, but it recovers and dips down out of sight. Smart little beggar. A swathe of falling ferns is the only warning I get of the drone's shots and I roll to my feet and dive sideways, landing awk­wardly behind a fallen log. The shells strip through the leaves at knee height, splintering along the log - the drone must be hovering just above the ground. One of them hits a more rotten patch of wood and passes straight through, scoring a bloody cut across the back of my right leg just below the knee, but missing the bone. I bite back the pain and fire back blindly, resting the autogun on the log and squeez­ing off the remainder of the magazine.
Tau drones. as I recall, they're generally armed with pulse weaponry (Carbine equivalents), but in this context they don't seem particularily powerful (fist size holes in trees.. probably double/triple-range kilojoule outputs, low MJ at best, if we use the ROTJ tree example on turbolaser commentaries as an example.
One preusmes, however, this is just an example of Tau weaponry employing variable settings.

Also, drones are not much more resilient to lasguns and autoguns than the tau fire warrior body armor is.

Page 502
"check your direction-finder, idiot," I tell Quidlon, and he pulls the magneto-compass from his belt, turning its dials to align properly. He gives it a shake and adjusts it again.

"Its no use," he says, shaking his head. "I think the tau have got some kind of interference generator, or perhaps just the structure of the dome is jamming the scanning beams.
A (presumably) Guard issue compass/direction finding device. It seems to be an electronic/sensor type device (GPS like?) Anyhow, its an indicator of how "not-primitive" Guard tech can be (as if we needed further examples..)

Page 503
"Now!" I shout, dropping down, the gun blazing in my hands. At this range I can't miss and the drone explodes into a shower of flam­ing shrapnel. The tau turn, but I'm on them, swinging the butt of the autogun into the helmeted face of the closest, smashing the small cluster of lenses that are where his eyes should be. The next in line raises his rifle to blast me apart but I kick the muzzle aside and the shot tears through his comrade, nearly slicing him in half. I reverse the kick and power my boot into the tau's chest, smashing him on to his back, and then leap on him, driving the autogun under his chin and pulling the trigger.
The top of his helmet explodes across the ferns in a bloody spray.

I look up to see Quidlon driving his knife up into the groin of another fire warrior while Trost smashes a rock over the head of another. The two remaining aliens turn and flee, but Quidlon snatches up his lasgun and cuts them down with an intense salvo of bolts before they get out of sight. I take a pause to catch my breath, looking at the mutilated bodies. Rather them than me.
1.) TAu fire warrior with a rifle (not identified, but presumably a pulse rifle.. rail rifles tend to be a bit bigger) but Kage beliefs it would "blast him apart" and it does nearly cut the Fire warrior "in half" body armour and all. If it were a pulse rifle, and we know they cauterize wounds like lasguns (fire warrior), we can do a rough calc.

Blasting them apart would be roughly botler like firepower (grenade level damage in other words) at least, but with cauterization it could be more (say 20-30 kg for the torso alone would probably at least raise the calc to double digit MJ). Slicing someone in half, the observed feat... assuming it affects 2/3 of the torso (say 20 cm diameter cylinder through the torso) means 5 or so kg at least affected.. so 5-6 MJ.

Secondly, again we see that Fire warrior armour just isn't up to handling autogun/lasgun fire (At least at close range). Knives seem to be able to penetrate them as well (which also happens in a picture from "cities of Death", when a Vostroyan drives his bayonet through a Fire Warrior's chest. and out the back.


Page 505

- Tau have personal invisibility cloaks/shields (like the mirror shields in Eisenhorn.) These are the stealthsuit teams mentioned in the codex and other sources, I believe.


PAge 508
The thigh panels flip back up into place, sealing shut with a clang, and then with a whining of motors the main canopy drops down. The last I see of Quidlon is his wide grin. The suit sits there motion­less for a moment, and I wonder if he really has worked it all out.
Then the war machine begins to judder, shaking violently for a cou­ple of seconds. With a hiss, the chest plate opens up again. The canopy hinges away to reveal a charred corpse in the seat, still smok­ing, burnt lips peeled back from grinning teeth. There's a few crackles of energy still playing around two rods inserted into either side of Quidlon's head. Silently, the rods withdraw back into the sides of the cockpit. The thighs peel downwards revealing his rav­aged legs, pieces of material burnt onto the bone. The stench of burnt flesh fills my nostrils and I gag. I gulp heavily to stop myself throwing up.
'You stupid piece of sump filth!' I bellow at Quidlon's husk of a body. Losing my senses completely, I fire a few shots into the corpse, causing it to collapse into a pile of bones and ashes which spill out from the suit. I spit on the pile and then kick at it, scattering ashes and chunks of shattered bone around me. 'Stupid, fraggin', stupid, son of a bitch, stupid fragger!' I scream hoarsely, punctuating my shouting with kicks, before pulling myself together.
I stand there panting and look at the slightly smoking battle suit. I pull a grenade from my belt and toss it onto the seat, before stepping back. The explosion tears the cockpit apart, throwing out shattered glass and pieces of instrument panel that drop amongst Quidlon's burnt remains. Realising I haven't got too many grenades, I use my autogun on the other four, spraying short bursts of bullets into each one, my firing rewarded by sparks of electricity and small fires break­ing out across the various control panels.
Quidlon tries to employ one of the Tau battle suits, which promptly fries him (while inside the suit) to ashes. Note that despite basically cremating him,the interior is relatively untouched. However' one of Kage's frag grenades does destroy the interior of said battlesuit rather nicely.

This would suggest good thermal resistance (high MJ/low GJ) but sucky mechanical/Kinetic resistancec.

PAge 508
More gunfire draws my attention back to the tower, and I turn on my heel and leg it. Glancing to my left I see fire warriors coming into the surrounding chamber, and fire off a few bursts of shots, taking one of them down and forcing the others back out of sight. I reach the tower and Trost is there, firing from the other doorway. I look over his shoulder and see three more downed fire warriors sprawled halfway across the concourse.
As if we didnt need another example demonstrating the resistance of Fire Warrior armor.

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Post by Falkenhayn » 2008-06-30 04:45pm

What do you make of the actions of our friendly neighborhood Deathwatch Marine? Given the nature of the Tau's arms, and the fact that this was a headquarters and special mission, there's a decent chance that he was using Kraken Bolts, or some other specialist AP ammo type. His marksmanship however, was still first class, and the whole episode is a lesson on how the Tau apparently become less and less effective as range decreases.

Also, what happens to his armor may well be the SM equivalent of the Eisenhorn v Cyberwitch incident.
Many thanks! These darned computers always screw me up. I calculated my first death-toll using a hand-cranked adding machine (we actually calculated the average mortality in each city block individually). Ah, those were the days.
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Post by Darmalus » 2008-06-30 05:20pm

Tau body armor doesn't seem particularily good at stopping lasgun fire, autogun fire, or frag grenades.
Doesn't that describe the majority of the IG infantry weapons? Wouldn't this mean the Tau are getting less return for their investment than the Imperium? Would this be a result of economies of scale (obviously in the IoM's favor), or that the Tau have to use lighter (and thus more fragile) equipment due to their weaker frames?

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Post by Teleros » 2008-06-30 07:23pm

I think they're just not as technologically advanced as the Imperium (or at least, as advanced as the Imperium can be :P ). Say what you will about the Imperium's attitude to technology, but they've had tens of thousands of years to get where they are now, whereas the Tau have had just a few thousand (5? 6? Less? Can't remember).
Also, even if the Tau can capture Imperial flak / carapace armour and such, they may not have the capabilities to reverse engineer it, or at least in sufficient quantities.
Finally, the sheer scale of the Imperium also allows for many more researchers & scientists than in the Tau Empire - the Imperium may not come up with much new stuff ATM, but improving an existing technology is another matter.

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Post by Connor MacLeod » 2008-07-01 12:23am

Falkenhayn wrote:What do you make of the actions of our friendly neighborhood Deathwatch Marine? Given the nature of the Tau's arms, and the fact that this was a headquarters and special mission, there's a decent chance that he was using Kraken Bolts, or some other specialist AP ammo type. His marksmanship however, was still first class, and the whole episode is a lesson on how the Tau apparently become less and less effective as range decreases.
It won't matter much if he's using regular or Kraken rounds in terms of bolters penetrating battlesuit armour. as Tanya's sniper rifle demonstrates, Battlesuits don't have (comparatively speaking) a great deal of resistance to powerful projectiles. And Tanya is a human.

I'll deal with the Deathwatch marine in the next (last?) update.

I was rather impressed by how resilient to burst cannon fire SM power armour is, considering that plasma weapons and meltaguns can destrroy it pretty easily. Or thirty hellguns, for that matter :P
Also, what happens to his armor may well be the SM equivalent of the Eisenhorn v Cyberwitch incident.
Not nearly that insane, or in needs of quantification. Burst cannon are kind of "spray and pray" antipersonnel weapons - high ROF, but not neccesarily very concentrated firepower (like a multilaser vs a lascannon.) On top of that, its at very close range and against a rather fast-moving target (the length of a Space Marine's stride was telling here, it implies a VERY fast running/walking speed from a standing start.), which is also going to hamper accuracy.

Space Marine armour is also designed/angled to deflect fire, especially projectile weaponry, so some rounds would doubltess "ricochet" off the armour rather than strike directly.

Burst cannon are antipersonnel weapons, not anti-armour. This means that high firepower isn't neccesarily an advantage.

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Post by Connor MacLeod » 2008-07-01 12:32am

Darmalus wrote: Doesn't that describe the majority of the IG infantry weapons? Wouldn't this mean the Tau are getting less return for their investment than the Imperium?
Not really. flak has been demonstrated to be really resistant to rounds from bolt-actionr rifles (Storm of Iron and Straight Silver), and Carapace can stop heavier rounds (bolter round in Wolf's honour, ork slugga rounds in Rebel Winter, stubber rounds in the Munitorum manual). Against basic energy weapons (lasguns) "soft" flak is merely making such wounds survivable, but hard flak (inserts or whatever you want to call it) can probably stop some las rounds like the helmet can (uplifting primer, 13th legion, Chaos Child, ,etc.) Carapace, of course, can stop multile las-rounds (CAin novels most notably) but maximum settings can even punch through carapace (Rebel Winter and First and Only.)

Tau weaponry though on a "per shot" basis is better than a lasgun or autogun, and alot of their targeting sensor gear is probably at least as good as what the IG can field, and generally better integrgated/more common/standardized. That will offset any "durability" advnatage the Guard gets from its body armour, even carapace.
Would this be a result of economies of scale (obviously in the IoM's favor), or that the Tau have to use lighter (and thus more fragile) equipment due to their weaker frames?
What it probably reflects is that their military optimizes for their tactics: mobility, extreme firepower, and coordinated/long range attack. (Their huhnter mentality, again.) Their armour probably *is* lighter, ,but more for mobility purposes than actual firepower.

I'll note that I'm not sure if Tau weaponry can be fired on "automatic" the way lasguns (at least some) do, or have a burst mode. They may very well only be semi-automatic (which would be consistent with their long range/hunter philosohpy.)

I don't doubt that IG tech is probably more durable either, but I dont think it actually affects the qualitative differencese any, it just reflects the nature of purpose. (The Tau optimize for partticular kinds of warfare, the Imperium is more "generalist/multipurpose".)

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Post by Connor MacLeod » 2008-07-01 12:38am

Teleros wrote:I think they're just not as technologically advanced as the Imperium (or at least, as advanced as the Imperium can be :P ). Say what you will about the Imperium's attitude to technology, but they've had tens of thousands of years to get where they are now, whereas the Tau have had just a few thousand (5? 6? Less? Can't remember).
Its not so much technical advancement as technical consistency. They don't have an Adeptus Mechanicus to screw around with things or hoard technology. Tau troops will generally field with better integrgated technology like night vision gear, targeting gear, etc. built into their helmets and equipment.

A Guard regiment COULD field something somewhat similar, but it depends on planet of origin, the supply lines/resource bases to draw on, and possibly even on whether or not the munitorum thinks they need such equipment, or other factors, so it may or may not be there.

In other cases its a matter of tradeoffs (Tau plasma weapons are less powerful but more reliable. the IG version, of course, is more powerful but less reliable. Which makes sense given that IG are probably considered by the Munitorum to be more expendable, they consider the incerase in firepower at the expense of reliability an acceptable tradeoff.)
Also, even if the Tau can capture Imperial flak / carapace armour and such, they may not have the capabilities to reverse engineer it, or at least in sufficient quantities.
It can depend more on just reverse engineering. Then again its possible the only difference between Tau and Imperial armour is one of weight and thickness.
Finally, the sheer scale of the Imperium also allows for many more researchers & scientists than in the Tau Empire - the Imperium may not come up with much new stuff ATM, but improving an existing technology is another matter.
Sort of.. this is again offset by the existence of the AdMech and their "unique" approach to technology.

The scale of the Imperium also works against it, as it complicates supplying and equipping regiments consistently - technology can flucutate wildly across the Imperium, and even two similar worlds in terms of tech level might have differences in the kinsd of gear they can use/deploy.)

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Post by Falkenhayn » 2008-07-01 03:09am

Connor MacLeod wrote: It won't matter much if he's using regular or Kraken rounds in terms of bolters penetrating battlesuit armour. as Tanya's sniper rifle demonstrates, Battlesuits don't have (comparatively speaking) a great deal of resistance to powerful projectiles. And Tanya is a human.

I'll deal with the Deathwatch marine in the next (last?) update.

I was rather impressed by how resilient to burst cannon fire SM power armour is, considering that plasma weapons and meltaguns can destrroy it pretty easily. Or thirty hellguns, for that matter :P
The SM was essentially laying three bolts to the chest, damn near on top of each other, at moving targets, while being hosed with Burst Cannons. If Mr. Thorpe wanted to take the starch out of the Tau, he succeeded. If anything, it puts more weight behind the Wolfblade accounts of SM physicality (Blurring at top speed, Backhanding normal humans across rooms in the air), which I'd assumed were outliers.

I'd have to go and re-check the incident, the plasma gun Crisis may have been destroyed in during Brightsword's assassination, or left the area when the Colonel and co. played possum, though it seems like those Shas'vre should have been there.

Space Marine armour is also designed/angled to deflect fire, especially projectile weaponry, so some rounds would doubltess "ricochet" off the armour rather than strike directly.

Burst cannon are antipersonnel weapons, not anti-armour. This means that high firepower isn't neccesarily an advantage.
This is the ubiquitous picture of Marneus Calgar, disregarding the Force Commander caption.

Image

And this picture from the BBB, by our pals, the Black Templars. You may as well have asked for "Incredible Cross Sections: SM Armor".

Image

The should armor, besides being fucking massive, is clearly layered and suspended, so I'm thinking an kinetic absorption/ablative function, though more the first. The fact that the Deathwatch's "outer pauldron" flies off and he appears to care not at all lends credence. The battle damage reveals a composite construction, with what looks to my untrained eye to be a radiating matrix underneath an outer layer of ceramite.

The chest is two piece construction, with a reinforced pectoral plate overlapping a placard. Besides all of these redundant protective measures on vital areas (Both hearts and all three lungs) I vaguely remember details from Angels of Darkness about actuator driven shoulder protection that angles automatically relative to income fire for best (p)deflection. It's the only explanation to references of "auto-reactive" armor I've come across.

There's a lot of credit that I'm going to have run on credit while I track the salient details down, so take a non-response as a failure to support my qualified assertions.
Many thanks! These darned computers always screw me up. I calculated my first death-toll using a hand-cranked adding machine (we actually calculated the average mortality in each city block individually). Ah, those were the days.
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Post by Connor MacLeod » 2008-07-03 04:38pm

After this.. done with Kill Team. Then its off to the Rogue Trader novels.. and that... Gaunt's Ghosts.

Page 509
'He's heading for the armoury, stop him!' I hear Oriel's bellow, and see the inquisitor and the Colonel dashing into view from another archway, auto pistols spitting bullets, bloodied chainswords in their hands. Moerck follows them, firing shots at the fire warriors dashing across the chamber, taking a couple of them down
Moerck is uising a lasgun,, again showing that lasguns can quite effectively breach Fire Warrior armour.

Page 512
Biting back a shout of pain, I bring round my autogun and open fire, spraying bullets at Brightsword. They ricochet harmlessly off his battle suit in a random pattern of sparks, leaving tiny little dents but having no other effect
KAge's autogun can't breach Battlesuits.


Page 512
I feel the ground tremble under my feet as the five battle suits advance, striding between the smoking wrecks of the ones in front of the doors. They pound straight towards us with their guns brought up. Brightsword's is easy to pick out: more decorated than the others, an intricate tau design on the front plate. A multi-barrelled cannon on his right arm swings in our direction, a missile pod mounted on his shoulder angling up towards the tower. On his left arm is a shield-like device which I can see crackling with energy. His body­guard are armed with the same multi-barrelled guns, and a mix of other lethal-looking weaponry. I feel my legs buckle under me and I drop to my knees. Everything seems to slow down. I see the four bar­rels of Brightsword's gun begin to spin, building up speed, and then he opens fire with an explosive burst of light, the shells tearing into the wall just behind me.
Tau battlesuits seem to be able to equip some sort of arm-mounted energy shield. And again, Again, indication that Pulse weaponry is some sort of hybrid plasma/projectile weapon.

Page 512
. The battle suit with the flamer stomps around the corner, weapons tracking from side to side seeking a target. It aims at the fleeing Last Chancers, not noticing me, and I open fire with the few bullets left in my maga­zine, aiming for the canister of flamer fuel on its left arm. The canister explodes, setting fire to the left side of the armoured suit and hurling molten shrapnel across the floor. The suit's pilot ignores the damage, turning on me with the cannon. I take the only
route open and dive between the battle suit's legs, just as the gun opens fire.
Battlesuits seem resistant to lasgun and autogun fire (obviously), but also remain relatively undamaged by exploding (heavy?) flamer tanks at point blank range (hot enough to create molten shrapnel, presumably from the tank.)


Page 513
As I drag myself to my feet, Brightsword swings quickly, pivoting on one foot, the barrel of his cannon smashing into my chest and hurling me against the tower wall. I feel something break inside me, a couple of ribs probably, and my breathing becomes tight and short. The tau commander brings his arm back for another punch and I drop to one side, the blow smashing chips from the wall and show­ering me with dust.
The others direct their fire on Brightsword as he looms over me, las-bolts and bullets pinging around us.
Again, lasfire and autogun fire does fuck all against battlesuits

Page 513
I break for the cover of the smouldering tower and jump inside just as Brightsword turns and fires, the bullets tearing up great chunks of the floor behind me. Inside, the tower is littered with rubble from the destroyed steps, dirty great cracks in the walls. My foot has gone numb and I sprint lopsidedly out of the other door, limping heavily.
Yet another indication that pulse weaponry is a projectile weapon.

Page 513-514
Strangely, I don't feel so scared now though. It's like I know some­how that he's not going to kill me. Then I hear a sharper crack over the zip of lasguns and rattle of autoguns. Something slams into the shield, causing it to detonate in a bright shower of blue sparks, falling to the ground in three shattered pieces. More shots ring out, armour-piercing shells punching neatly through the battle suit in a tight cluster at the centre of the main chestplate.
The tau commander forgets me and turns on the others, swinging the burst cannon around to a firing position. The next incoming shot
hits one of the barrels end on, causing it to split, and as he fires, the gun ruptures, shearing off the whole arm, which spins past and clangs to the ground just to my right. More shots in rapid succession cut through the struts of his right lower leg, causing it to buckle under the weight of the suit and toppling him down to one side.

There's a hiss from the battle suit, and a moment later a section of the body is punched away on four small jets, hurling Brightsword from the crippled machine. The four bodyguards are leaping towards the Last

Chancers, who are heading for the far end of the chamber, propelling their battle suits forward in long leaps on their jump jets. I look back at the escape pod and see the hatch swinging open. The others are cut off, the bodyguard in between them and Brightsword.
- The Battlesuit is penetrated by armor-piercing shells (high caliber ones) fired from the Last chancer's sniper's heavy rifle (a woman.) At a guess, we're probably talking antimmaterial rifle grade firepower. The shots destroy the shield and penetrate the center of the main chestplate.


Page 515

- again Oriel uses his psyker powers to fool the Tau.

Page 516

- Oriel and Kage intend to take out two drones one hundred meters away. Oriel has his autopistol, Kage his autogun. This sets a minimum range on the autopistol (100 metres, or twice a range of a real life pistol.)

Page 518
'What's that?' Tanya asks, loading large calibre bullets from her bandoleer into the sniper rifle in her hands.
We can't be sure what "Large Calibre" means, but I'd think its a safe bet it might hint at the weapon being either a powerful calibre like a .308 or .30-06 or some other bolt-action round, or perhaps a .50 calibre or AMR grade round.


Page 518-519
I can just about make out the flickering trails of the bolts as they scream across the open ground, three of them impacting in quick succession on the closest of the battle suits, the one whose flamer I destroyed earlier, tearing great gouges out of the armour and knock­ing it backwards. Still advancing steadily, the Space Marine opens fire again, three more shots, three more perfect hits that set off a chain
reaction in the suit, causing it to explode in a shower of shrapnel and burning body parts of the pilot.

The rest of the Last Chancers open fire on the tau furthest from the Space Marine, as the other two turn towards their attacker. Their can­non fire dims even the searchlights, and I see the shells converging on the Space Marine. Their impact would have shredded a normal man and hurled his bloody carcass a dozen metres, but the Space Marine is simply forced down on to one knee under the cannonade. Cracks and dents appear in his armour under the fusillade, and a shoulder pad goes spinning off, trailing sparks from its powered mounting. Unbelievably, the Space Marine pushes himself to his feet, ignoring the shells ripping up the ground around him and scoring across his breastplate, and returns fire, his bolts ripping through the burst cannon of one of the battle suits.

'For the Emperor!' I hear him bellow in a voice like a god's. He tosses away his bolter and grabs the power sword two-handed, break­ing into a charge, his long strides covering over three metres every step, his boots cracking the concourse under his weight. The nearest battle suit, now one-armed, takes a step back, readying itself for a jump, but somehow the Space Marine gets there before the jets fire, swinging the sword in a crackling arc that severs one of the battle suit's legs and topples it to the ground. Without a pause, the Space Marine spins and delivers another blow, the glowing blade of his sword carving a massive rent in the body of the suit, shearing it wide open.

The battle suit the others are targeting launches itself into the air on a short trail of fire, its missile pod igniting as it does so, the salvo screaming towards us on smoky trails.
A grreat many things going on:

Deathwatch space marine (presumably Deathwatch chapter, given that Oriel is Ordo Xenos.) is described as "two and a half meters tall, and nearly a meter broad across the chest".

The Deathwatch marine's bolter damages tau battlesuit armor and knocks it backwards. Three more shots (perfect hits) that set off a chain reaction in the suit, causing it to "explode in a shower of shrapnel and burning body parts of the pilot."

Two battlesuits turn and fire on the Space Marine with bolt cannon, at least briefly. The combined fire is described as being able to throw a shrdded body a dozen metres, which suggests a combined momentum form the barrage of hundreds, if not thousands of kg*m/s. This gives us a great deal of indication about the durability of space marine, armour, especially against thermal damage (pulse rounds are goign to be at least equal to lasgun shots, if not somewhat stronger. This also tells us a bit about the probable mass of a space marine, since he's not bowled over by the impacts.

- from a standing start the Space Marine covers three metres with every "long stride" Assuming two or three such strides each second, a Space Marine can move (from a standing start) at at least 6-9 m/s. which is roughly between 20-35 kph. It could be higher though

- Space Marine power swords can easiyl shear through Tau battle suits.

Page 519
'Get down!' Moerck shouts and I hurl myself to the floor, hands clasped over my head. The front wall of the building implodes inwards in a shower of shattered bricks and mortar dust, lumps of debris landing heavily on my back. I glance up and see Tanya at one of the windows, kneeling on one leg, her sniper rifle tucked tight against her shoulder, aiming up into the air. Even as the dust settles around her, she fires a shot, ejects the spent casing, tracks further up and fires again. In all, she looses off five shots in the space of a few seconds.
The sniper girl fired on the fleeing battlesuit. 5 shots in a "few" seconds suggests a rate of fire of around 2-3 shots per second - aimed shots, no less. For aimed shots, this would tend to suggest some interesting things from a reactions-accuracy point of view (she's firing off one-two shots a second, highly accurate aimed fire, against a mobile, moving target.

Also, by contrast a "non-sniper" weapon should be considerably faster (Seveal times so) including a lasgun. :P

Page 521
I stumble around the corner, almost running face first into a tau fire warrior emerging from a door to my left. I react quicker, smashing my autogun across his face, snapping his helmet backwards. His rifle tumbles from his grip and I snatch it up. Behind him are three more fire warriors, but startled, they fail to act, and I pull the trigger on the rifle. It has no kick to it at all, the heavy shell smashing straight through the closest tau and punching the next in line from his feet. The third brings up his rifle, but far too late. The next shot almost takes his head off completely, his body flopping messily to the ground. I step clumsily over the bodies and crash through the door­way.
- Kage snatches a Tau rifle and fires. It has "no recoil", but the heavy shell punches straight through one Tau fire warrior and kicks the one behind him off its feet.

We dont know if its a pulse rifle or rail rifle. If its the former the "knock back" effect might be from some explosive vaporization reaction-forces effect (vaporize part of the front, causing the vapor stream to shove the tau backwards.) If its a rail rifle, then this probably means the rifle has some sort of "inertial damping" to keep Kage from being fucked over himself. Given probabilities, I go with the first solution.

page 528
Just then something flashes inside, through the opening: a bolt of light that catches one of the battle suits in mid-jump, turning it into a fiery ball of slag.

...

One of them [guardsman] sets up a lascannon, steadying it on its tripod, before firing again at the tau, the bolt of energy going wide this time.
Tau battle suit hit by heavy weapons team lascannon, man portable Guard weapon. "Fiery ball of slag" implies the suit has been melted. Which, if going by Taros campaign, is probably a Crisis suit, so it masses around 2-3 tonnes. Assuming iron composition, this probably means somewhere between 2-4 gigajoules of energy per shot, at least.

Page 528
"What the frag?" I exclaim, dragging myself over a jagged piece of debris and looking out through the massive rent in the dome wall.

Outside is a warzone, and no mistake. Small tau buildings stretch into the desert from this side of the dome, some of them reduced to rubble, others burning. Explosions light up the sky all over the town-scape, as Imperial drop ships plummet groundwards, bombs and missiles heralding their approach, cratering the wide roads and smashing the buildings to pieces. Imperial Guardsmen are running everywhere, fighting with tau fire warriors and battle suits. A Ham­merhead tau tank glides into view, its nose-mounted cannons chattering wildly, mowing down a squad of guardsmen advancing through the burning ruins of a tau building. I look over at Oriel as a platoon of guardsmen run past dressed in mismatched uniforms, car­rying all sorts of weapons. One of them sets up a lascannon, steadying it on its tripod, before firing again at the tau, the bolt of energy going wide this time. The tau are returning fire, explosions rip­ping along the ground towards us. We break into a run again and I find myself next to the inquisitor.

"You know anything about this?" I ask him, knowing the answer already.

"More forces I had in orbit in case Coldwind got a sudden rush of intelligence" he says with a smile, which changes to a wince as a rocket explodes close by, showering us with dust and pieces of rock. We're not safe yet, and the Colonel leads us through the breach.

We make it out into the open, but it's no safer here than inside, there are aliens everywhere - squadrons of battle suits advancing from the left, fire warriors piling out of the back of three hovering APCs to our right.

"Make for open ground, more drop ships will be landing," the Colonel tells us, pointing to a gap between two shattered buildings just ahead. We dash from cover to cover through the crossfire between the two forces, in as much danger from friendly fire as from the tau. We run into a squad setting up a communications unit in the shell of a cracked tau dome, a small subsidiary building only seven or eight metres high. I recognise the officer in charge, he's the leader of the mercenaries we met in the bar, still wearing his white arm­band.

"Well, Emperor damn my soul" he laughs, seeing us. "I suggest you stick to starting bar room brawls in the future!"

"Captain Destrien, I presume" Oriel says, nodding to the officer. 'I am Inquisitor Oriel of the Ordo Xenos. I believe you have been wait­ing for me"

"When I got the signal to start the assault, I could hardly believe it" he declares, serious now, folding his muscled arms across his chest. His jaw drops as Dionis strides in behind us. "Well, if I ain't seen it all now"

Out of a blasted doorway I can see the open desert surrounding the battle dome, now littered with drop ships as more troops land, dozens and dozens of men and women pouring down the gangways. Tank carriers land, their heavy ramps dropping quickly, Leman Russ rumble out of the holds, their battle cannons turning towards the tau force as soon as their tracks hit the sand.

There's a rush of air, and sand is billowed up from the ground only a dozen metres away as a drop ship lands close by, its jets kicking up a dust storm that swirls into the buildings. I turn my attention back to Oriel, who's just finished talking to the captain.

"We have had enough fighting for one day, and I need a rest" he tells us all wearily, his shoulders sagging. "We'll commandeer that drop ship and get back to orbit"

"It'll be safer in orbit?' Tanya asks. 'I thought Brightsword had a fleet"

"The fleet's already left, and we have forces boarding the two orbital stations as we speak" Captain Destrien tells us, glancing at Oriel. "Whoever came up with this plan certainly thought everything through."
- note that the Drop ships seem to be landing their troops within the warzone's immediate vicinty as well as providing suppressive ground fire (both on landing and when landed.)

And, even more importantly, notice the Tau are getting their asses kicked. I've said it before, I'll say it again. The Tau's method of combat is not inherently superior to the Guard. It is over-specialized, and it relies on (more often than not) the beneift of time, planning, space to manuver, and (usually) luck and the Imperium not considering the tau important enough to stomp on.

Qualitatively, the two are largely a match for each other, so usually it comes down to numbers and/or tactics. And this time, the Tau come out on the bad end of tactics. In this case, the Imperial forces (at least a regiment) manages to drop down directly (with fire support) on the tau positions, achieving surprise, and deploy rapidly. This has the two-fold benefit of denying the tau time to prepare or plan (or evacuate or escape), and it denies them range and mobility. As we can see, it proves highly effective. This is a classic case of how the Guard CAN beat the tau, and we know such tactics aren't unusual - dropship deployment is common in the Cain novels and in the Sabbat World Crusade attacks also.

I'll want folks to keep this in mind when I eventually get around to covering Taros, because the two examples allmost contrast in terms of the tactics the Guard used vs what the Tau could do, and will further serve to illustrate the point.

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Connor MacLeod
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Post by Connor MacLeod » 2008-07-03 04:47pm

Falkenhayn wrote:The SM was essentially laying three bolts to the chest, damn near on top of each other, at moving targets, while being hosed with Burst Cannons. If Mr. Thorpe wanted to take the starch out of the Tau, he succeeded. If anything, it puts more weight behind the Wolfblade accounts of SM physicality (Blurring at top speed, Backhanding normal humans across rooms in the air), which I'd assumed were outliers.
Angels of Darkness gives more on Space Marine capabilites, as do a few other short stories and such (with regard to strength and reflexes) so the account in the Space Wolve novels (or Kill Team) didn't really shock me all that much. It all rather proves to be interestingly consistent, IMHO.
This is the ubiquitous picture of Marneus Calgar, disregarding the Force Commander caption.

-snip image-

And this picture from the BBB, by our pals, the Black Templars. You may as well have asked for "Incredible Cross Sections: SM Armor".

-snip image-

The should armor, besides being fucking massive, is clearly layered and suspended, so I'm thinking an kinetic absorption/ablative function, though more the first. The fact that the Deathwatch's "outer pauldron" flies off and he appears to care not at all lends credence. The battle damage reveals a composite construction, with what looks to my untrained eye to be a radiating matrix underneath an outer layer of ceramite.

The chest is two piece construction, with a reinforced pectoral plate overlapping a placard. Besides all of these redundant protective measures on vital areas (Both hearts and all three lungs) I vaguely remember details from Angels of Darkness about actuator driven shoulder protection that angles automatically relative to income fire for best (p)deflection. It's the only explanation to references of "auto-reactive" armor I've come across.

There's a lot of credit that I'm going to have run on credit while I track the salient details down, so take a non-response as a failure to support my qualified assertions.
A number of sorucecs give indicators about the composition/construction of Space Marine armour and how its designed for maximum durability. I'll probably get around to covering those at some poitn as well. Ablative functions are mentioned I believe.. and there's at least an "inch thick" layer of ceramite as well.
Its those sources in fact that indicated to me the deflective qualities.

As for tue auto-ractive plates, I remember them being able to adjust as well, though some (older?) soruces I recall also indicated they stored ammo in them, and the recent IA books (Taros campaign) indicated they actualyl can behave like reactive armour

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Post by Falkenhayn » 2008-07-06 04:25am

Not so old. AoD is copywritten to 2003.
Angels of Darkness, pg. 27

Thick plates of dense alloys covered with ablative ceramite protected his entire body...

...His skull helmeted head was flanked by two immense should pads, mounted on actuators that constantly changed their position, allowing him free movement and all around visibility , but providing a near impenetrable shield against attack from the flank...

...Hundreds of relays within the armor bolstered his already acute senses, feeding him a constant stream of information from extra senses, his specially developed brain assessing them all subconciously as a normal man might look with his eyes and hear with his ears.
Many thanks! These darned computers always screw me up. I calculated my first death-toll using a hand-cranked adding machine (we actually calculated the average mortality in each city block individually). Ah, those were the days.
-Stuart
"Mix'em up. I'm tired of States' Rights."
-Gen. George Thomas, Union Army of the Cumberland

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