'Shovah, or Commander Farsight as translated from the Tau language, was a great hero of the alien Tau empire. His exploits against the Orks won him a reputation as a renowned campaigner protecting the other Tau castes for the Greater Good.
But O'Shovah has become the greatest enigma ot the emergenl Tau race. In a society renowned for its dedication and sense of duty he has become a renegade and defied the ruling caste, the Ann, or Ethereals.
The Tau are a young race in galactic terms, but their rise to power has been meteoric. Their nascent empire, which lies in the Eastern Fringe, has survived Ork invasions, Tyranid assaults and an Imperial crusade, while stilt vigorously expanding to absorb several other minor races. Their science and technology has also advanced rapidly, ensuring their explorers and colonists are always well-equipped and well-armed to deal with any difficulties they encounter. Tau society is a tightly structured caste system of warriors, workers, intermediaries and travellers keyed to four elements; fire, earth, water and air respectively. These are ruled by an enigmatic fifth caste, the Ethereals.
Over the last few centuries the Tau castes have been completely unified, enabling them to push their boundaries further and to reap richer rewards from it. But the galaxy is a dangerous place, and the Tau race has yet to encounter its full horror. In the aftermath of the Imperium's abortive Damocles Gulf Crusade in 742.M41 a Tau Fire caste commander, Shas'o Viorla Shovah Kaius Montyr, led an expeditionary force which broke away from the main Tau empire and established a series of fortified Tau colonies at the far side of the Damocles Gulf. The underlying reason for the split has intrigued certain (admittedly obscure) scholar-adepts in the Imperium for centuries. As more information has come to light the actions of Commander Farsight have become the source of grave concern for certain members of the Inquisition who perceive a distinct threat to the Divine Rule of the Emperor of Mankind.
Firstly, Tau forces for the Farsight enclaves have frequently acted as mercenaries, selling their considerable martial prowess to any aggressor willing to pay the price in raw materials they demanded. Secondly, intelligence from within the Tau empire has identified Farsight 'sympathisers' within the ranks of the Fire warriors, those who claim to understand the actions of the renegade commander in the context of the Tau central tenet of faith, that of acting 'for the Greater Good'. Thirdly, the place where it all began holds deep and dark significance.
Inquisitors fear that O'Shovah and the colonies he established have been corrupted in some way. Members of the Ordo Malleus naturally sway towards the insidious influence of Chaos as being at the heart of it, citing the likelihood of a possessing daemon or accursed artefact, or even a silver-tongued worshipper of the Ruinous Powers planting Ihe seed of corruption in Farsight's expedition. Those of the Ordo Xenos contend that xeno corruption is just as likely, Tyrannic organisms have been known to overthrow entire civilisations from within by subversive genetic corruption. Likewise there are many known alien entities which are capable of enslaving other races - parasites, vampires and symbiotes which can control their hosts or prey.
The Ordo Hereticus see O'Shovah's actions as those of a crisis of faith, a crumbling of ideology. They believe something caused O'Shovah to question the very basis of the powers he served. For some reason, perhaps revenge or power lust, fear or disgust, he made the fateful decision to use his personal power to betray his masters and strike out on his own. Treachery begets heresy, so they also fear something as insidious as corruption by an idea, and that if the Tau prove vulnerable to disruptive concepts many more will follow his path with unpredictable results. To date there is no record of Tau with psychic powers, but such an uncharacteristic change in motivations and personality may also indicate O'Shovah being awakened to some power of the wyrd buried deep in the Tau psyche.
Less biased observers point to the simplest conclusion of all, that O'Shovah still serves the empire. Many times commanders take on the guise of pirate lord, mercenary or renegade to achieve some end that is desired by their masters but which has to appear otherwise. All agree that O'Shovah's apparent rebellion is a disturbing twist in the rapid expansion of the Tau. It is hoped that a recent expedition by Inquisitor Artelles to the world of Arthas Moloch, seen by all as lying at the heart of the matter, will uncover more clues.
To many in the Tau empire itself O'Shovah is a virtual non-entity now, an old soldier that disappeared into the void and never came back, one among many in the histories being written of the Tau's expansion. For the Tau it is a time of heroic endeavours, and the apparent end of one has obscured successes of others. Those who know of the Farsight enclaves seldom speak of them. When they do, O'Shovah's sympathisers emphasise the impossibility of returning across the vast region of the Damocles Gulf after his pursuit of the Orks to their lairs after ten years of battle and pursuit. Mis fiercest detractors fear this is a sign that the Fire caste harbours a desire to overthrow the Ethereals and rule the empire in their stead. Almost nothing is known of the distant enclaves in recent decades, but there are persistent rumours that their mercenary forces have even clashed with the Tau empire, a truly repellent concept to the devoted followers of the Greater Good.
(TAU: O'SHOVAH OR SHAS'O-VIOR'LA-SHOVAH-KAIUS-MONT'YR)
O'Shovah. or Commander Farsight, is alleged to still lead the Farsight Enclave although this would mean he has lived for at least three centuries, considerably beyond the ordinary span of the Tau Fire caste. It may be that another has taken up his mantle, or that the real commander is extending his life through some technological process. One thing that is certain is that the breakaway Farsight Enclave maintains a strongly martial tradition closely based on the Vior'la sept (lit; 'Hot-blooded), O'Shovah's birthplace.
Special Character: A Tau army may include Commander Farsight as a special character. If you decide to take him then he counts as one the HQ choices for the army. Me must be used exactly as described below and may not be given extra equipment from the Tau armoury.
Wargear: XV8 Crisis battlesuit, shield generator, plasma rifle and dawn blade (see below).
Dawn blade: The dawn blade is an alien artefact which O'Shovah gained on the dead world of Arthas Moloch. It's sculpted surface flickers with unknown energies which paint glittering arcs of destruction as it is swung. The dawn blade makes O'Shovah count as a monstrous creature in hand to hand combat, so he ignores Armour saves and rolls 2D6+5 for armour penetration against vehicles.
Ork tighter: O'Shovah's fame was won battling against Orks and he has denounced the normal Tau philosophy of using ranged combat almost to the exclusion of all else. Fire caste warriors of the Farsight Enclave train heavily in hand to hand combat and any Tau model in an army led by O'Shovah may improve their WS and I characteristics by +1 each for a total cost of +5 pts.
Breakaway Faction: O'Shovah and his followers have chosen to separate themselves from the Tau empire. As such their resources are more limited and their forces generally less well equipped. As such the following units are not available to an army led by O'Shovah; Ethereal caste members, Gun Drone squadrons, Kroot, Kroot Hounds and Krootox. The following units count as 0-1 in an army led by O'Shovah; Stealth armour, Pathfinder squads, Hammerhead, Broadside armour.
Independent Character: Unless accompanied by a bodyguard, O'Shovah is an independent character and follows all the special rules as detailed in the Warhammer 40,000 rulebook.
Bodyguard: O'Shovah may be accompanied by a bodyguard as detailed for a Commander in the Codex army list. If O'Shovah is accompanied by a bodyguard they must all be given the Ork Fighter upgrade noted above.