"Lord Admiral is not afraid of chickens! Okay, he may be a little bit afraid of chickens."
- – Random Imperial Navy personnel after encountering a Kroot Warsphere.
The Warsphere is the last vestige of the power and advancement of the Kroot prior to their move-away from technology. They are effectively flying towns comprising a central section primarily housing the main warp engine and outer sections with manoeuvring thrusters.
It is armed with 6 Kroot Double-Barrel Missile Pods.
- Width: 9km
- Diameter: 4.5km
- Mass: 75 megatonnes; approx
- Crew: 105,000 crew; approx
- Acceleration: 1.2 gravities max sustainable acceleration; approx
Introduction and Origins
Kroot Warspheres are giant spaceships built and used by the xenos species known as Kroot. It is the main spaceship of the kroot race, and thus, their only way to explore the galaxy without the aid of the Tau Empire. A Warsphere is a fairly primitive spacecraft when compared to the vehicles of other races, but it's the most technologically advanced construction the Kroot have. How the primitive kroot can build them is up to speculation, but most members of the Ordo Xenos and Earth Caste scientists theorize that, after centuries of ork consumption, the kroot have gained an inherent knowledge of technology, just as ork mekboys do. As such, they are able to instinctively build spacecraft good enough for space travel, and that is aided when they combine it with Tau technology. In fact, kroot warspheres have a massive advantage over tau crafts, due to them having a slow, but functional, Warp-Drives. With Tau not having mastered this tech, kroot have a definitive advantage in regards to mobility, even though everything else is inferior to almost any tau vessel. This makes Earth Caste scientists very mad, being utterly unable to understand how the warspheres work at all, which, in turn, makes kroot cackle hysterically when asked. The fact that the kroot don't need navigators to jump into the Warp and yet they don't get attacked by daemons (for the most part) suggests that the ork theory is more correct than originally thought, due to them also being capable of creating ships capable of moving through the Immaterium. According to some sources, the kroot possess some sort of sixth sense to navigate through the Warp and not end up lost, usually finding inhabitable planets at the end of their travels, probably to find the rarest DNA strains to add to their genome. This could also be a reference to many bird species having some sort of "inner compass" to make them find their destination through kilometers and kilometers during their migrations.
Functionality and design
Design-wise, warspheres are effectively giant egg-shape spacecraft comprised of various ring-like structures around a center that houses most of the engines and navigation personnel. The size of the ship allows it to be a fully functioning flying town for thousands and thousands of Kroot. The size of these things is ridiculously big, usually surpassing in size to all tau vessels and most of the Imperium's biggest ships. The question of how they can build such massive structures when they don't have any sort of orbital construction facilities is beyond our understanding, and probably just GW not really caring about things as gravity (or maybe they are just going by the ork theory, which probably makes Earth Caste scientists even more baffled). It also has the neat function of being able to bury itself once landed, and serve as some sort of colonial structure for the kroot to start colonizing the planet. However, the warspheres are far from perfect: in regular space, they are very slow and their weaponry is not that effective, due to their power output systems being very primitive. As such, they are relatively vulnerable, due to being a massive target that can't defend itself very well. Kroot won't use these crafts unless they are either paid really well, they are guaranteed their protection with guardian ships or they are in the process of colonising a planet.
Curiously enough, their size and overall shape actually make the Warshpere the most scientifically plausible spaceship out of any faction in WH40k. This is because the ship is designed with several rotating rings. As the rings constantly rotate, it creates centrifugal force, allowing the Warsphere to have a cheap and relatively cost-effective artificial gravity. Moreover, its spherical shape makes the ship compact and extremely durable against gravitational stress, which means it could probably handle the Roche limit better than most conventional cigar-shaped vessels we see in Sci-Fi.
The Warsphere in Battlefleet Gothic
For a battleship sized habitat platform with guns and engines slapped on, it performs about as well as you would expect. Costing the same price as a Space Marine Strike Cruiser, the Kroot Warsphere has firepower on par with a Light Cruiser (albeit with 360-degree coverage), average armour, cruiser grade shields, grand cruiser level hull strength and a respectable turret rating. It is also extremely slow, extremely fat, and only has a roughly 16% chance of successfully changing its direction of travel each round. Overall, while the Warsphere isn't a terrible ship, its configuration is awkward enough that it has little place in an offensive action alongside a conventional fleet.
The Warsphere in Battlefleet Gothic: Armada
Tau can deploy Kroot Warspheres as an auxiliary ship, equivalent to battleship class for other factions (highest tier of ships).
In theory, warspheres bring much-needed boarding capabilities (space melee) and are relatively cheap (similar cost to their mid-tier ships and half the cost of their top tier ships). Being able to take two tanky, cheap spheres and support them with mid-tier ships that are already quite powerful sounds great on paper, in reality, kroot spheres are horrible.
- problem is their movement, as repeatedly mentioned they are very slow (as in slow-as-molasses), they won't be able to arrive at objectives on time, and they won't be able catch-up with anything to properly board it.
- spheres are no battleships bristling with weapons, their only weapons are mediocre missiles, not enough to attack nor defend.
- unique mechanics are fun, but not this time. Kroot warsphere automatically leaves the battle when they reach 30% health, you have no way to stop it, this may weaken your fleet (warspheres are useless you probably won't even notice) and you might lose this ship in deep space having to either pay or wait for several turns for it to return. Second is a special movement system, spheres can move only in one direction, you need to use special energy to change direction, other factions can use this energy to increase their forward movement or make fast evasive manoeuvres. This gives your opponents the advantage to take your already weak sphere apart (Eldar manoeuvres, chaos range, orks will ram you etc..)
TL;DR While being a cheap and interesting idea, they will never achieve the only goal they were made for. Demiurg Strongholds (flying rape) while twice as expensive completely outshine the warspheres, while lower-tier ships are powerful enough to handle situations without kroot support and are too important and effective to waste them supporting the warsphere (as they would in the real-world).
|Vessels of the Tau Kor'Vattra and its Auxillaries.|
|Space Station||Tau Space Station|
|Battleships||Battleship (Tau Merchant - Or'Es El'Eleath |
Stronghold - Warsphere)
|Cruisers||Light Cruiser (Tau Merchant - Tau Protector) |
Cruiser (Tau Merchant - Tau Protector - Bastion)
|Escorts||Escort (Tau Merchant - Tau Protector - Nicassar Dhow)|
|Titans||KX139 Ta'Unar Supremacy Armour|