Generally reader/editor of Homebrew stuff on this sight. NY based Annon, most of my personal work is over on gittp and based in D&D. Working on a new version of the Tau... because they aren't awesome enough yet.
It all went downhill after the torchstar affair. A whole shipment of riptides... let that sink in for a moment. Aun'Va had not bothered himself over farsight
Fire warriors were remade as there element, short lived and destructive. It was a modification of there genetics, a long running earth caste project. Genetic engineering had always been a part of the Tau's development, but this was beyond anything ever attempted before. By sacrificing long term health, gestation periods and maturation time could be massively reduced. If you were willing to ensure debilitating insanity in a matter of months, you could make a Fire warrior's combat training genetic. This project went ignored for years due to the suspected backlash by the Fire Caste, and the lack of nuerochip technology. Now it seemed necessary to prevent an eventual Coup De'at.
Most of the current Fire Caste was put into Stasis to give a constant source of tactical data to make new Nurochips. These were used to supplement the new commanders tactical skills, as they no longer had the time to train in them. Though particularly promising new commanders had their memories recorded, keeping the tactics of the engram chips at least slightly up to date.
Ghost in the shell: the hollow mantel.
What to do with the battle suits. The new Fire Caste was too reckless to risk being given such expensive hardware. Engrams were again the answer. Now battle suits were filled with personality amalgams of older heroes of the Fire Caste. Commander puretide's engram was to old to be used this way, but many others were available. Now every battle suit is generally effectively being run by a grandmaster in battle suit combat. Yet there have been... issues with this. The engrams aren't perfect, and tend to have problems with critical thinking. The skills are there, but it is like the suits are being piloted by Alzheimer's paitiants. The earth caste has figured out how to fix this problem, but it just created another one. To improve the engrams processing speed, they have to reduce the data stored on the engrams. So some tactical skill is lost, in exchange for reaction time. Generally the suits systems are tweaked for the combat ahead.
What does all of this mean mechanically?
A mutation like system for commanders, Suits are walkers with some in HQ slots and some in lower slots, FW go cultist swarm but guns cost points. Give them cheap gets hot power weapons... like lots of them. Add a scavenge special rule so that when people die others can take their stuff. Riptides just have a free nova option each round, that are all kinda nice. As a walker it's easier to kill, so it is easier to let it get away with less gets hot.
Drones... Drones are a bigger deal. They let your suits take numbers of troops, and with some support you can bring really silly amounts of drones. You can take several drone controllers in place of weapons on a suit. Each lets you bring 2 drones with cool shit. Shield drones are way cheaper, and other weapons systems are available on drones. Like flamers and shit.
Now, my new Tau
Fractile AI: New bit of special tech for the suits. Lets the users BS/WS/I be used for the drones. Like they are coppied to each drone. Rather expensive, but gets the buff stick job done.
Army wide special rules. Expendable: Firewarriors cost nothing to make, so are sacrificed freely. Steal from cultists. Scavange: When a model dies, if there is an identical model in the unit that could feesably use that models wargear, you can replace that model with the dead model.
Comander: Also a walker... but worth it. Can drop dumb amounts of fire power if geared one way, or
Riptide: See Deamon prince. Now a walker, but gets free Nova charge. Option to juggle between sensitivity and leadership, so better BS/WS or better Ld and force multiplier. Option to take colossal SMS, and really big flamer with torrent. At the same time, can act as a mobile comand post... like a really big etherial.
Drone Squadron (bodyguard style Drones)
Fire Warriors: Firewarriors, but with the option of buying bodies without guns, and the scavenge rule. More like cultists... make a cheap base option with upgrades. Start as Heroes: Really, really cheap units with only melee weapons and grenades. Also the expendable special rule. Upgrades like having guns and shit.
Crisis Team: Become the heavy infantry option, while also being light walkers. More options, like drone controllers instead of guns. Access to lots of wargear.
Stealth suits: Smaller crisis suits with similar levels of gear. get stealth and shrouded and invulnerable save. Build up roll of stealth support with heavy weapons options. Basically more expensive crisis suits with better gear.
Pathfinders: Make sneaky as fuck. Like steal a lot the unseen's shit. Showing up anywere, and lighting fuckers up. Add suicidal options like carrying a breifcase nuke.
Broadside: Now a walker, gets interceptor and some good stuff. Easier to load down with dumb amounts of firepower. Use model from before with double railguns and shit. Options to carry ton's of smart missile systems. Also options for lots of blast shots. Replacing riptide as the dreadnaught stand in.
Sunshark Bomber: Add option for heavier ordinance bomb generator. Other option being a krakk missile like.
Razorshark strike fighter: .
Flying Fish: Flying Devilfish.
Hamer Head: add the option to take a really large SMS with blast templates.
Sky ray: Add the option to call in orbital strikes like a hammer of dawn.
ManOWar: Gun ship thingy, with the option to take a really silly amount of drones. Can also act as a transport. Well armored, and let the drones give it a good cover save. Shit has to kill it's drones first most of the time. The Landraider of the Tau.
Auxiaries(can be allied in):
Kroot Shaper: Buffed shaper, can buff kroots a bit.
Vespid Strain leader: What it says on the tin.
Rogue trader: Tons of wargear options, solid leadership, and fairly cheap stock. With enough points, he can do whatever... though generally it is cheaper to use a unit meant to do that.
Water Caste: Watered down etherial, does simaler buffing on mercenaries by offering cash and shit.
Entourage: Body guard unit, lots of options.
Kroot: Just the base models, without the option to take a shaper. Can now take a normal sargent.
Grunts: The catch all term for cheap mercenaries. Like human's working for a rogue trader, Free bootaz, and smaller alien allies. Generally use the same rules.
Dedicated Transport: Civilian Vehicle.
Big Grunts: Grunts, but bigger. Heavy infantry with better wargear options. Option to go semi terminator for a cost.
Suits: Odd amalgam of alien tech and Tau battle suit. Basically a suit for Mercs. Variety of load outs using different races(Orks get excessive Dakka, Humans have power weapons and shit, Vesipids have a big netron blaster, ect.)
Kroot Hounds: Beast melee unit. Really cheap(like silly cheap), meant to be thrown in volume at the enemy/draw fire. Also a tarpit unit. Taken in numbers to rival cultisit swarms.
Civilian vehicle: transport for troops, with options to take guns/more armor. Another modular unit.
Heavy weapons team.