In the WH40k universe the imperium of man has become technophobic, in the sense that anything Xenos (alien, i.e. non-human) is shunned and banned.

The Tau have no such distaste, and have adapted and integrated other races and their technology into their empire. I was wondering if it is documented however that they've been able to reverse engineer advanced technology, such as Necron or Eldar technology.

I'm asking as when I searched on this issue I found a case of someone from the imperium attempting this and being exploded in the face.


Technically? Yes. However, it's worth noting that besides the Necrons, there is no higher tech that the Tau could use. They have no psychic presence to speak of, so they'd be totally unable to use Eldar or Ork technology. (Inasmuch as Orks have "technology"). Imperial, Chaos, and Dark Eldar technology is inferior to Tau.

They could maybe learn things from the Necrons, but since most of Necron technology is made of "living metal", nano-tech that is actively hostile to life, it's unlikely that they'd get the opportunity.

  • You probably meant something else in "[Tau]'d be totally unable to use Tau or Ork technology" :) Also, what about Tyranid tech? (kidding!) – Andres F. Aug 23 '12 at 2:26
  • Makes me wonder... if Tau tech is superior to all other non-psi, inorganic tech in the 40K universe, would they be able to win every battle of non-psi, non-demonic forces? Assuming equal numbers on both sides? Say, a battle of tanks or spaceships without demonic stuff. – Andres F. Aug 23 '12 at 2:28
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    No, because tactics, skill, morale, terrain, position on the field, strategy as well as technology available for the battle all determine how well, a particular battle may go between two forces. Superior technology is a factor, but it is not the ONLY factor. – Thaddeus Howze Aug 23 '12 at 3:34
  • @AndresF. I of course meant (and corrected it to) Eldar and Ork tech, on account of them being massively psychic and having most or all of their tech rely on that. – rsegal Aug 23 '12 at 4:30
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    @Thaddeus Oh, right. Tactics. That minor detail! :P – Andres F. Aug 23 '12 at 12:43

rsegal said " Imperial, Chaos, and Dark Eldar technology is inferior to Tau." That is completely untrue. For a lesser example, the Tau personal shields are projected by shield drones and are rather ineffective compared to their Imperial counterpart. Said counterpart can be made as small as a cuff button. For the Dark Eldar, well, I sure don't see any Tau running around with Darklight Blasters, do you? People often make this mistake about the Tau. They think that because the Tau look more advanced than everyone else, that they are more advanced. They are anything but. Even their railguns are, fluff-wise, only about as powerful as a Leman Russ's battlecannon. No, seriously, fluff says that the Hammerhead and the Leman Russ are equals. The fact that they are still equals shows that the Tau cannot reverse-engineer it. Otherwise they would have applied whatever makes it so good to their own tech and thus their Hammerhead would become superior to the Leman Russ. It's not, so they can't. If it were that easy then the Imperium would have been destroyed long ago by the tens of thousands of aliens species it is at war with at all times.

By the way, the Leman Russ is just a re-purposed tractor and it is the equal of the Tau's most powerful tank. That, if nothing else, should drive home how much more advanced the Imperium is.

Ork tech can't really be understood by anyone. Even the Ork who made it. A bit of lore has an Ork shoota cut open and the examiners are shocked to find it is hollow. It only looks like a gun, but the Ork thinks it's a gun, so it works like one. Chaos tech likewise can't be reverse-engineered because it mostly runs on lulphysics and daemons. Necron tech is simply too advanced for anyone but the highest ranking Magi of the Mechanicus to understand. The Eldar use tech given to them from the Old Ones, so they couldn't reverse-engineer a bow-and-arrow. Speaking of which, he Tau would fail at reverse-engineering Craftworld Eldar tech because what isn't run by a psychic presence is too advanced for them to even begin to comprehend.

This is all assuming the piece of tech doesn't happen to be really, really old. Old enough to have a machine spirit that literally twists reality to shoot you in the face with a laser while your holding it in the opposite direction. No, seriously.

To be fair, though, what constitutes "Imperial technology" ranges anywhere from hitting two rocks together and newly discovering fire to flinging black-holes through time and personal teleporters that can be conveniently hidden on your person.

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    It's well accepted that the Imperials have examples of technology that are the equal even of Eldar and possibly Necron tech, but in terms of what's generally available, Tau have better tech. The LR is good, but its armor advantage is that it's a small mountain of armor instead of a fast, armored hovercraft, and its gun is shorter range. Much less tactically viable. And yeah, nobody else can use Ork-nology, because it relies on their latent psychic powers. Eldar tech is all knowingly based in their psychic powers, and the Tau wouldn't be able to activate it, just like with the Orks. – rsegal Oct 4 '13 at 18:52
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    Depends on what you mean by "generally available". Most of the super-tech (uber-tech being horded by technophiles) is available in the Imperium to whoever has the money for it. So it is "generally available" just freakishly expensive. Given that the most advanced stuff is only made by the Mechanicus, I wonder how much of what they sell is genuinely an "ancient artifact" and how much of it is made-to-order with a side of bull to milk more coin... Since they always have an "artifact" laying around for whoever has enough thrones to pay for it. – Axcel Nov 20 '13 at 18:38

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