T'au (5e Race)

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A race of naïve, idealistic Xenos. The T'au claim to fight not for the sake of conquering, but for the "Greater Good".

Physical Description[edit]

The T'au are humanoid in shape, although they have hoofed feet and four-digit hands (three fingers and one thumb). Their skin is grey-blue, rough in texture, leathery, and exudes almost no moisture. Their faces are flat, wide around the eyes, with an "I"-shaped slit running from the center of the forehead to where a human's nose would be. T'au don't have many anatomical differences between genders, the most significant distinction being the shape of the groove in the center of their face. Female T'au typically have a "Y" shaped groove, whilst male T'au have a plain, straight groove on their faces. They come in a wide variety of builds and sizes accord to which caste they belong to.


The T'au were not too long ago a primitive species of hunters gatherers and sometimes farmers living simple lives. Following a dark age of war and disease however, a mysterious group of T'au known as the Ethereals had suddenly unified the entire species. The T'au have rapidly and alarmingly developed advanced spacefaring and weapons technologies the likes of which are unprecedented in a species so relatively young, and the T'au have used these advancements to devastating effect. The T'au have colonized a decent portion of the galaxy, and have ambitions of ruling the entire galaxy. Not for mere territorial gain, but for, as they put it, the "Greater Good".

The Greater Good, or "Tau'va," is the central philosophy that unites all Tau. It teaches that every sentient being is equal and plays an important part in Tau society. It tells its adherents to put away petty squabbles and unnecessary things to unite for the greater good of the rest of the race. The Tau have no desire to destroy another intelligent species' religion or culture - but that doesn't necessarily mean that the Tau respect the right to live. While many embrace this ideology (even some human settlements have willingly joined the Tau Empire) other races fiercely resist adhering to the Greater Good to pursue their own freedoms, much to the dismay of the Tau, who see these desires as selfish and unenlightened.


T'au society is split into 5 distinct castes, each both physically and culturally different from the other. The fire caste is the most physically well-rounded and athletic, making them ideal soldiers. The Earth caste is skilled with all manner of agriculture, manufacturing, and engineering. Their scientists produce all of the T'au's battlesuits, food, and more. The water caste is characterized most by their charisma as merchants and diplomats. The air caste is comprised of almost unnaturally thin and lithe T'au who almost exclusively serve as aircraft pilots. All of the castes are equal, except for the final caste: the Ethereal caste. They are the spiritual leaders of the T'au, and hold absolute authority. If an ethereal demanded a T'au commit suicide, the T'au would almost certainly do so without question.

Of note are the T'au's tactical philosophies in warfare. Two distinct styles of T'au warfare can be identified: one being the Mont'ka or "killing blow", and the other being Kauyon. The Mont'ka strategy revolves around charging the enemy to swiftly eliminate high-priority targets. The other involves carefully luring enemies into traps.

Though their ultimate goal is total conquest of the galaxy, the T'au almost always send diplomats first to attempt to convert a given planet to the T'au Empire. Only when such diplomatic solutions are rejected do the T'au consider bringing out their military might.

T'au Names[edit]

T'au do not take names. Instead, they earn titles based on their achievements. At base, however, a T'au will be identified by the caste they belong to as well followed immediately by their rank within that caste. This is then followed by the T'au's "sept" or the planet they were born on. T'au can earn multiple names, and as a result some are forced to go by a shortened moniker. Such is the case with the famed rebel Commander Farsight, who's full name is comprised of not only his caste, rank, and sept, but also no less than 3 individual names. An example of a full name for a T'au that hails from the planet T'au, is of the fire caste, bears the rank of warrior ('la), and bears the title "Kais" (skillful) would be written as follows: "Shas'la T'au Kais". As a result there is no distinction between male T'au names or female T'au names.

T'au Traits[edit]

Communist space aliens.
Ability Score Increase. Your Dexterity score increases by 1, and your Strength score decreases by 1.
Age. T'au are thought to mature and age at nearly the same rate Humans do.
Alignment. T'au tend strongly toward lawful alignments. Whether they are good, neutral, or evil is entirely subjective, though they do tend to be more benevolent and naïve than other races.
Size. A T'au's height and build is based entirely on their caste. Nevertheless, all T'au are medium in size.
Speed. Your base walking speed is 30 feet.
For the Greater Good. When a creature you can see makes a melee attack against an ally that is within 10 feet of you, and you are wielding a ranged weapon, you may use your reaction to make a ranged weapon attack against that creature. Treat this attack as an attack of opportunity.
Warp Resistance. Tau have virtually no psychic presence or affinity, and as such have a resistance to psychic abilities. You have resistance against psychic damage and advantage on all Intelligence saving throws against magic. In addition, magic or abilities that detect thoughts or the presence of intelligent minds cannot sense you unless you allow them to.
Ranged Supremacy. Whenever you make a ranged weapon attack at long range, you can choose to gain advantage on the roll instead of the disadvantage normally imposed by attacking at long range. After you use this trait you can't use it again until you complete a short or long rest.
Delicate Build. You count as one size smaller when determining your carrying capacity and the weight you can push, drag, or lift.
Languages. You can speak, read, and write Common and T'au.
Subrace. A T'au will hail from either the fire caste, earth caste, water caste, air caste, or ethereal caste.

Fire Caste[edit]

The Fire Caste is the military caste of the T'au Empire. The T'au of this caste are tall and have relatively stronger and more muscular frames than their counterparts in the other Tau castes. This distinction was formed by the Fire Caste's origin on the plains of T'au, the T'au homeworld, where they were predators and warriors.

The Fire Caste are professional soldiers. In some ways, their training regimen begins moments after their birth, for the great communes are fully given over to raising the best soldiers and nothing else. Discipline, fitness, hard work and following orders are drilled into the growing warriors. It is customary for teams to be raised and trained together, allowing the troops to form strong connections -- a comradeship-in-arms that will serve them well no matter where in the T'au Empire they are sent off to fight.

Ability Score Increase. Your Strength score increases by 2.
Armor Training. You gain proficiency with light and medium armor and your speed is not reduced by wearing heavy armor.
Weapon Training. You gain proficiency with two ranged weapons of your choice.

Earth Caste[edit]

The Earth Caste is composed not only of laborers and technicians, but also artisans, scientists and engineers. They are usually credited with the significant leaps in technology that the Tau Empire has enjoyed. The members of the Earth Caste form the foundations upon which the Tau Empire is built. The inhabitants of this caste are generally short and stout of build.

Ability Score Increase. Your Intelligence score increases by 2.
Artisan's Expertise. You gain proficiency with two kinds of artisan's tools of your choice. Whenever you make any ability check that uses either of the chosen proficiencies, you can roll a d4 and add the number rolled to the ability check.
Craftsman's Attunement. The maximum number of magic items you can attune to at once increases by one.

Water Caste[edit]

The Water Caste is primarily composed of Tau merchants and diplomats. They are tasked with seeking and maintaining diplomatic relations with the other species of the Tau Empire, as well as maintaining the ease of communication and cooperation between the other castes. The Water Caste are generally taller and slimmer than other Tau, and favor diplomatic training and social grace over confrontation or combat. They are more capable in communicating in the languages of other intelligent races than most other Tau. From the time when the Tau discovered the Imperium of Man, there are several accounts where Water Caste ambassadors were dispatched to Imperial worlds, and those worlds were turned over to the Greater Good without a fight to become new Tau Septs.

Ability Score Increase. Your Charisma score increases by 2.
Polyglot. You can speak, read and write two extra languages of your choice.
Master Negotiator. You gain proficiency in the Persuasion and Insight skills. Whenever you make a Persuasion or Insight check, you can roll a d4 and add the number rolled to the ability check.

Air Caste[edit]

The Air Caste of the Tau function not only as messengers, but also as the bulk of the Tau Navy. The Tau of the Air Caste are even taller and more slender than the Water Caste, with long, skinny appendages and hollow bones. These traits are attributed to their lives lived mostly in low to zero-gravity starships and space stations. This is exacerbated by Air Caste reluctance, if not outright refusal to land on planets, as their skeletons have atrophied to the point where injury and broken bones are commonplace when they spend time in a gravity well. The Air Caste have membranes stretching between their limbs, which allow them to glide on air currents. Tau pilots are recognized as superior to human pilots due to their better fighter craft, though they lack a normal Imperial pilot's level of combat experience.

Ability Score Increase. Your Dexterity and Wisdom scores each increase by 1, and your Constitution score decreases by 1. As normal, you cannot raise an ability score above 20 in this way.
Natural Pilot. You gain proficiency with navigator's tools and air and space vehicles.
Light As Air. You have membranes between your limbs that you can use as wings to slow your fall or allow you to glide. When you fall and aren't incapacitated or wearing armor, you can subtract up to 100 feet from the fall when calculating falling damage, and you can move up to 2 feet horizontally for every 1 foot you descend.
Do A Barrel Roll. You can disengage as a bonus action.

Ethereal Caste[edit]

This subrace grants a position of extreme authority that may affect story and gameplay. Take caution when using this material.

The Ethereals are the political and religious leaders of the Tau. They resemble the Fire and Water Castes physically, but are marked by a diamond-shaped ridge of raised bone in the center of their foreheads. Their origins are unknown, and most Tau will never refuse a request by an Ethereal. They are sometimes also found on the battlefield, but whether as leaders or observers remains to be seen.

Ability Score Increase. Your Wisdom score increases by 2.
Greater Than Good. You are one of the natural leaders of the Tau- for all intents and purposes, you are the Greater Good. Whenever you make a Charisma check against a Tau of a caste other than yours, you are considered proficient in the related skill and add double your proficiency bonus to the check, instead of your normal proficiency bonus.
Ethereal Control. You know the guidance and friends cantrips. You can cast the command spell once with this trait and regain the ability to do so when you finish a long rest. When you reach 3rd level, you can cast the calm emotions spell once with this trait and regain the ability to do so when you finish a long rest. Wisdom is your spellcasting ability for these spells.

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