I'm back after a soggy but fun weekend spent in North Carolina (but not on the trail sadly). Our decision not to go was justified when after a drizzly Saturday, it started raining that evening. During the night it started pouring...and continued to do so thru to early Monday morning. Watching it rain during breakfast Sunday morning, we determined that we probably would have used the tents Saturday night as at the approximate time of set up, it wasn't too bad out. However taking them down and gearing up in a downpour, meant that by that point Sunday morning, everything we would have had with us would have been cold, wet, and it only would have gotten worse as the day wore on. As such backpacking has been tentatively rescheduled for the fall.
On the geek front, one thing I've been pondering a lot about here of late is what to do with my Grymn. They're too cool looking to live permanently on the shelf, and thus I've come up with a use for them in 40k: as 'counts as Tau'. Now, before you guys go hopping up on the 'jumping on the bandwagon' soap box with your cries of 'foul!', given what few minis I have (both at home & on order) for the Grymn, most of the Tau 'goodies' aren't applicable. Rather the idea is just to use them for fun, and probably only at home.
|Twin-burst cannon and...fusion blaster?|
The Grymn troopers themselves have been the most challenging to fit into the 40k mold. First of all they're tiny (they are branded as space dwarfs by their creator). Standing shoulder height to a Fire Warrior means that behind any sort of cover, they disappear from sight and can't be targeted. The problem with that is in order to attack the enemy, they have to pretty much stand out in the wide open in order to see anything.
Another (and ironically the biggest) issue is their tiny guns. They're scaled to be about the size of a bull pup style of assault rifles for the tiny Grymn, but they're pistol sized for anything in 40k. So, I've decided that the Grymn will be 'counts-as' Fire Warriors that are armed with pulse pistols rather than pulse rifles or carbines.
At this point I'm sure some, if not all of you are asking:
'Fire warriors with pistols only? What is the point in even using them?'
|Note the unused Core Probe Launcher|
I'm also pleased with my way of working the Grymn into the Tau Empire, as well as explaining the otherwise unusable LAWs and lap top that are modeled onto the minis. Like any self respecting Dwarf race, 40k, fantasy or otherwise, these little guys are miners at heart, and their equipment reflects it.
|The Squad Engineer, still my favorite Grymn sculpt.|
The Grymn are a diminutive humanoid race that joined the Tau Empire early in the second sphere expansion. Those few encountered by the Imperium (usually Rogue Traders) normally mistake the Grymn as Ratlings. This mistake offends both the Grymn & Ratlings (if the latter ever hear of it) equally as all contact between the two races has been hostile (this mistake often leads to the loss of all hopes of iridium trade contracts).
The Grymn homeworld (also named 'Grymn') is located deep within Tau Empire, and is not threatened by invasion due to its location. Grymn is actually a mountainous, fairly desolate, high gravity moon that orbits an enormous gas giant. The Grymn's system's star is too far away to provide a habitable zone for Grymn, however the gas giant radiates enough heat (though not much in the way of light) to make Grymn habitable, if not exactly pleasant. The moon of Grymn is also the Tau Empire's primary source for the experimental Iridium alloy.
The mining of needed ores, refining, production of the iridium alloy and the application thereof, are the primary contributions of the Grymn to the Tau Empire. However iridium exports to the Tau are far less than the Tau would prefer. Not wanting their already bleak little world to become an environmental wasteland of industry (as is so common in the Imperial worlds of the same nature), the Grymn have not allowed the Tau's Earth Caste engineers to expand, or assist in their iridium production efforts.
The mineral resources needed for iridium manufacture do exist outside of those on Grymn, however they are quite rare and difficult to find. Earth Caste engineering expeditions have located some small deposits, but most are found by the expertly trained Grymn prospecting detachments (the quasi-military of the Grymn) which often accompany tau expeditionary fleets. Those deposits discovered by the Grymn (whether in whole or only in part of those needed for the alloy) are jealously hoarded and 'claimed' as Grymn territories, much to the Tau's chagrin. While these Grymn holdings do continue to stifle the Tau's access to Iridium, the heavy Tau presence required to safe guard these new settlements, ensure that virtually all production goes to Tau use.
Iridium Armor (the most common application of the alloy) is still in 'experimental use' among the Tau Fire Caste, however all Grymn armor is of Iridium manufacture. As such, all members of the Grymn Prospectors are armored to the same level of protection as the Average Tau Fire Warrior, despite the light weight appearance of their armor. Communications gear is contained within the prospectors' helmets, and information is projected onto the inside of their helmet visors.
Prospectors are also issued with core probe launchers as standard. These single use, ground penetrating probes are fired into the ground (they have no military application aside from the accidental discovery of the occasional hidden bunker). Penetrating the soil and eventual bed rock via an ion charge, the probe emits an electromagnetic radiation pulse that determines ground composition elements, and beams back all relevant data to the squad's Engineer on the surface. The data returns are filtered, catalogued and if necessary passed on to the Master Engineers, and potentially the Grymn vessels in orbit the if the returns are especially promising.
As such, combat is not the prospectors' primary role. This results in the Grymn Prospector's armament being far less capable than that of a Tau Fire Warrior. The Grymn's primary hand held weapon is the Grymn carbine. Pistol sized to a human or even a Tau, the carbine is actually rifle sized to the Grymn. With the help of Earth Caste Engineers, the Grymn carbine's ammunition was improved to be the equivalent of a Tau pulse pistol. Given their small size, the Grymn see the battlefield from their prospective, and combat ranges are down-sized accordingly. Unfortunately for the Grymn, their enemies do not share this perspective, often leaving them to be well out of range if separated from their Tau allies.
Hand to hand combat is commonly trained for among the Grymn as Prospectors may sometimes need to fight for their newly discovered deposits in any way possible. However once again their small size works against them. The Grymn can equal the aggressive nature of a human, however from the human point of view, hand-to-hand fighting with a Grymn is like fighting with a child. As such, despite having no aversion to that method of warfare, the Grymn rarely fare any better in close combat than does the Average Tau Fire Warrior.
Taking a page from the Fire Caste, Master Engineers (Grymn Commanders) have adapted their Mawe walkers for command purposes in addition to providing heavy support. Mawe Walkers are now exclusively piloted by the Master Engineers who lead Prospector detachments (originally the Mawe was a heavy engineering vehicle). The Mawe walker's name is taken from a variety of quadruped creatures native to Grymn. Like the Orkoid 'squig' subspecies (to which the 'Lesser Mawe' bares a vague resemblance), Mawes are ubiquitous and used by the Grymn for nearly every imaginable use. The weaponry carried by, and capabilities of the Mawe walker is comparable to that of the 'Crises suits' of Tau Manufacture. The Mawe's standard iridium armor, lack of any sort of jet pack propulsion systems, and smaller stature are the only notable differences.
Occasionally, Grymn Prospector detachments will operate separately from their Tau Empire compatriots. It is quite rare, though not unknown for Grymn expeditions to unknowingly (or otherwise) stray beyond the Tau Empire. Within the Tau Empire, the Grymn have little to fear, however on the war torn battlefields of the 41st Millennium, when fighting on their own the Grymn tend to find themselves on the losing end of combat against virtually any opponent.