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On June 28, 2010, a group of Fa/tg/uys began work on a Tau supplement for Dark Heresy. From fluff to crunch, every aspect is being considered. A release date for playable rules hasn't been determined yet, but it is still a distinct possibility.

Development Team: Pvt. Chuck Turner, Wolesz.

We have an IRC for discussion of rules found here. The channel name is #TauDH

Character Creation[edit]

Base Stats[edit]

From top left: Fire, Water, Air, Earth, Demiurg, Gue'vesa, Kroot, Vespid
Caste WS BS S T Ag Int Per WP Fel
Fire 15 20 20 20 20 20 20 25 20
Air 15 20 15 15 30 20 25 20 20
Water 15 15 15 20 20 25 20 20 30
Earth 15 20 20 25 15 25 20 20 20
Kroot 25 20 25 20 25 15 20 15 15
Vespid 20 20 20 20 25 20 20 15 20
Demiurg 20 20 20 25 10 25 20 20 20
Gue'vesa 20 20 20 20 20 20 20 20 20

All Tau characters begin with the skills Speak Language (Tau), Common Lore (Tau Empire), Common Lore (Greater Good), Common Lore (Mon'Tau), and treat Literacy as a Basic skill.

Choose Homeworld[edit]

Tau Empire
  • Traits: Serve with Pride (The Tau are born into their castes, and naturally fit for their purpose. This, however often makes them neglect the other aspects of life. Depending on their caste, the Tau PC can add up to 3 points to a specified characteristic, while subtracting the same amount from another. Fire: BS - Fel/Int ; Earth: Int - Ag ; Air: Ag - T ; Water: Fel - WS/Str)
  • Strength In Unity (A perfect machine can be built of imperfect parts, and the Tau caste system is a proof of that. Once per session, a Tau player may use a Skill of a Tau teammate as a basic Skill, or as though they were trained in it if it's already considered basic)
  • Dark Millennium Naïveté (The Tau are a people who are constantly deceived, as much by the Ethereals for their sanity's sake, as by their common optimism and inability to see the galaxy in its true colors. They take a -5 to all test regarding the less pleasant aspects of the universe. The Jaded Talent can be purchased only at GM's discretion)

A player may, if they choose so, sacrifice the Serve With Pride trait, and apply one of the Home World templates found below.

(Note that for Gue'vesa, home worlds would be found in the Dark Heresy core book)

  • Traits: Elders (Other Tau look up to those of this Sept as naturally wise. They get a +5 bonus to Fel when dealing with other Tau)
  • Skills: Speak Language (Low Gothic), Scholastic Lore (Tau Society)
  • Traits: Hot Blooded (Tau from this Sept must pass a WP test in order to disengage from combat), Natural Born Fighters (Have +5 WS, +5 S, but -5 Fel and -5 WP)
  • Skills: Awareness
  • Traits: Xenos Contact (Tau for this Sept have had the most contact with other races, and therefore get a +10 to their fellowship when dealing with anyone who is not Tau)
  • Skills: Speak Language (Low Gothic), Barter or Charm
  • Traits: Born to Fly (Tau from this sept can re roll any failed drive or pilot checks. The re rolled result stands.)
  • Skills: Drive (Vehicle of choice), or Pilot (Military Craft)
  • Traits: Disciplined (Sa'cea Tau are more likely to keep their cool in and out of combat, giving them +5 WP)
  • Skills: Command


Name Class Range RoF Dam Pen Clip Rld Special Wt Cost Availability
Pulse Rifle Basic 150m S/2/5 2d10 E 4 30 Full Reliable, Unwieldy 5kg N/A Very Rare

(Common for Tau)

Pulse Carbine Basic 75m S/2/5 2d10 E 4 20 Full Reliable,

Carbine (-10 one handed penalty)

3.5kg N/A Very Rare

(Common for Tau)

Pulse Pistol Pistol 35m S/2/- 2d10 E 4 15 Full Reliable 1.5kg N/A Very Rare

(Average for Tau)

Rail Rifle Basic 200m S/-/- 2d10+6 I 5 10 Full Accurate, Unwieldy,

Telescopic Sight

6kg N/A Very Rare

(Scarce for Tau)

Cyclic Ion Blaster Basic 75m -/3/10 1d10+4 E 5 50 Full Unstable 4.5kg N/A Very Rare
Fusion Blaster Basic 30m S/-/- 2d10+4 E 12 5 2Full 7kg N/A Rare
Burst Cannon Basic 75m S/3/10 2d10 E 4 30 Full Reliable 4.5kg N/A Very Rare

(Scarce for Tau)

Kroot Rifle Basic/Melee 100m S/2/- 1d10+5 E or

1d10+2 R

3 20 Half Primitive, Balanced 3kg N/A Very Rare

(Common for Kroot)

Honor Blade Melee N/A N/A 2d10+3 R 2 N/A N/A Balanced 3kg N/A Very Rare (Average for Ethereals)
Bonding Knife Melee N/A N/A 1d10 R 2 N/A N/A Balanced, Mono,

Unique (One per Team)

2kg N/A Scarce
EMP Grenade Thrown 3xSB N/A 2d10 E Ignores Armor N/A N/A Only affects electronic equipment, Blast (4) 0.5 kg N/A Rare (Average for Fire)

Name Function
Blacksun Filter Allows character to re-roll one failed Awareness test per round, and they count as being able to see in absolute darkness. They take no penalties to hit based off of lack of light.
Drone Controller Allows the character to control one Drone, as per the Drone rules. Can be upgraded with Drone Controller upgrades.
Hard-Wired Drone Controller Allows the character to control one Drone, as per the Drone rules. Can be upgraded with certain Drone Controller upgrades, as noted in their particular entries.
Multi-Tracker Allows a character to use the Aim Half-Action while firing two Pistol weapons, or two Carbine weapons while accounting for the cumulative -10 penalty for each.
Target Lock Doubles the BS bonus for any Aim action.

Please note that there are official rules for Tau weaponry in the Deathwatch book. We decided, however, that they were set for a much higher power level, and so we kept out own rules. GMs can feel free to use the official rules, if they intend to run a higher powered game.

Drones(alpha rules)[edit]

Drones have the Machine(2), Size(Scrawny)and Flyer traits.
A character without the Drone Programming Skill cannot control more than one drone at a time.

A Drone consists of:

  • Chassis(The main piece housing the computer hardware, sensors etc.)
  • Equipment Slots(Where the drone's um, equipment goes)
  • Thruster(The thing making it fly obviously)
  • Battery (What powers the thing)
  • Relay (for communication with the operator)

Those are also hit locations.

Drone Stats[edit]

The Drones have 0 WS and S.
Their T and wounds are determined by the Chassis.
The Ag and flight speed is determined by the Thruster.
The BS and Per depends on the sensors you put in the drone.
The Int depends on the drone's Program.
If a Fel or WP test would be made at any time, use the operator's stat.

Controlling Drones[edit]

A single drone can be told what to do as a Free Action. You can give a command to all your drones as a Half Action. Commands are:

  • Attack: The Drone attacks a chosen target with any weapon it has. If the target is out of range, the drone will try to get closer The user can specify the rate of fire and which weapons are used, if the drone has more than one. If unspecified, it defaults to the lowest possible number of shots from its strongest weapon.
  • Protect Me: The Drone will spend the time until the user's next turn in closest possible proximity to them, trying to get in between the user and anything harmful.
  • Move to a location
  • Use Equipment: The drone uses a piece of equipment it has specified by its owner. Should the task require a test, test the Drone's characteristic or corresponding Skill, unless it's remotely controlled.
  • Enter a Mode: This is different from the other orders, as the Drone can have only one Mode at a time, and continues to behave along its Mode's guidelines. It can be given orders while in a Mode, and returns to the Mode's defined stance after carrying them out. All Drones' default mode is Follow, which is switched to "Standby" if the AI decides it won't receive any orders in some time(the reason might be, for example, the owner sleeping).

Drone Modes:[edit]

The modes a Drone can enter are determined by its Program.

  • Follow - The Drone does nothing but follow its owner, maintaining a close proximity and waiting for orders.
  • Task - The Drone must be issued an order while entering this mode. It will continue to carry it out until it's finished or the Drone is recalled(user's choice).
  • Standby - The Drone stays in place, shutting down unnecessary systems and lowering the energy use. It can be "woken up" with a command, and needs a turn to activate fully.
  • Combat - The Drone follows the owner and engages on targets in sight. Target preferences can be set.
  • Guard - The Drone attacks anyone trying to harm its owner. Tolerance levels can be set.
  • Scout - The Drone sets out to the specified coordinates, trying to gather as much information as possible.
  • Sentry - The Drone protects a defined place. Tolerance levels can be set.
  • Watch - The Drone conceals itself if possible and monitors the specified area, providing any intel it gains.
  • Remote Control - The Drone is controlled by the operator himself. Only with suitable gear.
  • Custom Order - The operator tells the AI what to do, and it follows along the best interpretation it can provide.


A Drone's program determines its purpose, as well as the actual intelligence in the Artificial Intelligence. It covers: Skills and Talents for the Drone, its Int when not remotely controlled, what modes can it enter, and possible user preferences.

Example Programs:[edit]


  • Skills:Logic, one Trade as an option
  • Talents:None
  • Int:20
  • Possible Modes: Follow, Task, Standby, Remote control

Military gunner[edit]

  • Skills:Awareness, Dodge, Logic
  • Talents:Weapon Training in any mounted weapon
  • Int:25
  • Possible modes: Follow, Standby, Combat, Remote Control

Military recon[edit]

  • Skills:Awareness, Concealment, Dodge, Logic, Silent Move
  • Talents:Talented(Awareness)
  • Int:30
  • Possible modes: Follow, Standby, Scout, Watch, Remote Control

Military guard[edit]

  • Skills:Awareness, Dodge, Logic, Scrutiny
  • Talents:Paranoia, Rapid Reaction, Talented(Awareness)
  • Int:30
  • Possible orders:Follow, Standby, Combat, Guard, Sentry, Remote Control

Military personal drone[edit]

  • Skills: Awareness, Dodge, Logic
  • Talents:Weapon Training in any mounted weapon
  • Int:40
  • Possible modes: Follow, Standby, Combat, Guard, Remote Control, Custom Order

Earth-caste worker[edit]

  • Skills:Demolition, Logic, Tech-Use, Trade(Miner, Wright)
  • Talents:Foresight, Talented(Logic)
  • Int:40
  • Possible modes: Follow, Standby, Task, Remote control


  • Skills:Logic, Medicae, Chem-Use
  • Talents:Talented(Medicae)
  • Int:40
  • Possible modes: Follow, Standby, Task, Remote control

Drone Parts[edit]

Chassis WS BS S T W Per Equipment Slots
Civilian 0 10 0 25 4 25 2/S
Police 0 20 0 30 6 35 3/S, or 1/S + 1/M
Military 0 30 0 40 8 40 1/S + 2/M or 1/L
Combat 0 40 15 45 10 40 2/S + 2/L

Drone Equipment Name Drone Equipment Slot Size Equipment Function
Gripping Arm Small Gives the Drone a gripping arm, which can grip and carry any item less than 2 kg, to be picked up or dropped as a half-action.
Tool Arm Small Gives the Drone a tool arm, which allows them to perform basic machine maintenance using the operators Tech-Use skill, with a -10 penalty.
Probe Arm Small Gives the Drone a probe arm, which can physically analyze any substance and determine what it is, and store the information on it's internal memory.
Jack Arm Small Gives the Drone a jack arm, which allows it to plug into and interact with any electronic equipment that possesses the correct port.
Recording Drive Small Lets the Drone record what it sees, and store the video footage for later in it's internal memory.
Vocabulator Small Lets the Drone pronounce rudimentary sounds, and speak basic Tau.
Radio Antennae Small Lets the Drone pick up radio and other signals to relay immediately.
Internal Storage Cavity Small Lets the Drone store up to 5kg of reasonable cargo inside of it's chassis, to be stored and retrieved as Full actions.
Internal Radar Medium Allows the Drone to pick up the location of any creature or object that is in movement within a 50m radius, and display them on a holographic circle.
Blowtorch Small Equips the Drone with a blowtorch, that can be used to ignite things or cut through thick metal, given 1 minute per 5 inches of thickness, for every foot's length it must cut.
Laser Cutter Medium Equips the Drone with a laser cutter, that can slice through thick metal given 5 seconds for every foot's length it must cut, but runs out of power after 1d10 uses.
Infrared Scanning Apparatus Medium Allows the Drone to see in the infrared spectrum, viewing heat signatures from objects and beings.
Sonar Ping Medium Gives the Drone "Sonar" vision, and allows it to pick up the position of any object or being at a single point in time in a 20m radius. It can make one "ping", refreshing it's view of it's surroundings, every round.
Anti-Grav Lifting Device Large Allows the Drone to carry up to a 15kg load, which can be picked up and dropped as a Half-Action.
Submersible Equipment Large Allows the Drone to submerge without damaging it's systems. Any damage it takes while equipped with this equipment makes it unusable until repaired.
Energy Recharger Large Allows the Drone to recharge the battery of various Tau items, and even some Energy-based weapons. Doing so will deactivate the Drone for 1 hour.
Air Filter Large Turns the Drone into a mobile air filter, with gas-masks hanging down to be used by up to 4 people. While they are wearing the masks, they are immune to the effects of toxic fumes and gases.
Weapon Mount Large Allows the Drone to serve as a firing platform for any single Tau-built weapon of 6kg or less, which it may fire as a Full action. The Drone may not reload on it's own.
Searchlight Small Gives the Drone a small searchlight, which shines in a 200m cone in whatever direction the Drone is facing. It can also be converted to a lantern, that shines in a 50m radius.
Medical Equipment Medium Gives the Drone a general medical kit to carry, with basic surgical tools and chemicals. Any character adjacent to the Drone may re-roll failed Medicae and Chem-Use rolls, up to 1d10 times.
High Resolution Lens Small Allows the Drone to make a Scrutiny test, using its operator's Scrutiny skill without the normal penalty.

Propeller Type Ag Speed Special rules
Small 30 4
Standard 35 6
Scout 45 6 Silent:Opponents suffer a -10 Per penalty on tests to hear it.
Heavy duty 30 6 Stabilized:The drone has the Auto-Stabilized trait. Non-critical hits do not make it shake in any way.

New Mechanics[edit]


Roll Result
01-10 Mistrust: This character has seen problems and flaws in the philosophy behind the Greater Good and has grown to question the motives and actions of all around him. Reduce Fellowship by 1d10.
11-15 It's Full of Stars: The character has seen more than he had ever imagined or was taught would exist, and he does truly dreads the thought of seeing such sights again. The character's Perception is reduced by 1d10.
16-20 Close-Minded: The character has had the beliefs that once supported him destroyed by undeniable proof to the contrary, but he or she still attempts to maintain them through blind adherence to dogma. Reduce this character's Intelligence by 1d10.
21-22 Insubordination: This character has begun to chafe under the constant unjust attentions or actions of his Ethereal masters and will refuse or twist orders that he or she feels are wrong. These actions need not always be obvious but should cause serious repercussions if discovered.
23-25 Hopeful: This character has seen past the current concept of the Greater Good... and on to what the Tau Empire could truly be! He or she advocates complete racial equality, exploration and incorporation of alien philosophy, or perhaps freedom to choose one's own path independent of caste. The character might not openly preach these beliefs, but he or she should likewise not shy away from professing them: They are obvious, after all!
26-30 Hesitance: The Tau has started wondering whether everything the Ethereals plan out is as foolproof as it seems, and delays action to mull it for himself. The Tau only rolls 1d5 on Initiative, and must make a Challenging (+0) Willpower test to perform risky actions without spending a dangerous (A few seconds to a few minutes) amount of time considering their potential negative outcome.
31-33 Disillusioned: The character has begun to question the right of the Ethereals to lead the Tau and their portrayal of the Greater Good. He generally keeps these thoughts to himself and close friends, but if his superiors found out then the consequences would be dire indeed!
34-45 Deviant Obsession: Something this character experienced during the last mission changed him or her forever. This is the same as the Obsession Disorder from the mental disorders table but the character is obsessed with some horrific or exotic outlier experienced previously, such as the Sorcery after fighting Tzeentchian cultists or Space Marines after experiencing the shock of their drop-pod assault.
46-50 Façade: The character, though in truth frightened and confused at the world around them, tries to act calm and optimistic, for the perceived good and comfort of others. How difficult it is for them to maintain the act becomes ever harder...
51-55 Caste Supremacy: After all the suffering he's been through, this character knows his caste does all the most important, dangerous work, and he wants you to acknowledge it, too. This character takes a -10 penalty to Fel tests dealing with characters or NPCs of a different caste.
56-60 Demanding: This character wants an explanation, right now. He wants to know the rationalization behind the terrors he has witnessed, wants them put into comforting terms he understands. Until he gets them, he believes he has every right to be angry or uncooperative with others.
61-63 The Horror!: This character is wracked by guilt over his actions or horrific memories of things that the Ethereals say do not exist. See Horrific Nightmares on the mental disorders table.
64-70 Reeducated: The character has expressed views differing from those considered "correct" and has been taught the error of his ways. This may be roleplayed or happen off screen between missions. The character's Willpower is reduced by 1d10.
71-75 Purist: This character has come to believe that only the Tau should be full members of the Greater Good and is disdainful of aliens, even those within the Empire. -10 penalty to Fellowship Tests when dealing with aliens and Non-Caste Tau.
76-80 Unsure: The character has experienced things far beyond what were taught to him in training and has no idea how to cope. Every time the character deviates from explicit orders he must Test Willpower or be at -10 to all Tests while undertaking the activity.
81-83 World Weary: The character is a broken shell of the person he or she once was, having seen too much, been deceived too often, and lost faith one too many times. The days seem bleak and pointless, food has no taste, and it is all he or she can do to get out of bed in the morning. Double all negative effects for Fatigue levels. The character gains the Jaded talent and reduces his/her Willpower permanently by 1d10.
84-90 Prejudiced: This character has come to see a particular species, race, caste, or ethnic group as inferior. He or she sees them as completely unworthy of inclusion within the Tau Empire and will never aid them without explicit orders or a vital cause, and even then will only do so begrudgingly. The character gains Hatred for the group in question.
91-93 Cleanse, Purge, Kill: This character has witnessed things of such deviation and horror that he has rejected the policy of inclusion inherent in the philosophy of the Greater Good. The character must Test Willpower to allow any sort of threat to remain alive or viable when possible to end it.
94-00 Xenophile: The character believes that perhaps the Tau are not as strong as he once thought and must attempt to learn everything possible when presented with technology, customs, or any form of exotic non-Tau knowledge.

Now In "Official" Flavor[edit]

In the time-honored tradition of /tg/ not getting shit done, this project appears to have been abandoned circa the summer of 2012 (though the rules above are largely playable, and you should feel good for using them). However, in the summer of 2014, Fantasy Flight Games threw us a bone and released two download-exclusive modules for Rogue Trader, one being an prewritten adventure where you're supposed to collaborate with the Tau, and another that's a full-fledged guide for rolling up Tau characters. The bad news is that you're limited to Fire Warriors, so no Air Caste pilots, Water Caste face, Ethereal Caste mind control, and most importantly none of the Earth Caste hips. The good news is you get a full armoury from the 6th edition Codex, battlesuits, drones, even motherfucking hammerheads, so it's all good.