What GW games do you own or play?
Warhammer 40K
Epic 40K
Battlefleet Gothic
Blood Bowl
Warhammer Quest
40K - Squats


he first human colonists reached the worlds around the Galactic core in the far distant past. Here they found vast mineral wealth including compounds smelted in the furnaces of dying suns. They discovered strange substances formed at the Galaxy's birth before the stabilisation of the laws of physics. The discovery of these almost limitless resources came at just the right time, for Earth's own mineral wealth was by now long exhausted. The exploration and exploitation of the galactic core became imperative for mankind's survival. It was a gamble that paid off. Thousands of specially adapted spacecraft were dispatched to reap the harvest and with them went hundreds of thousands of miners, engineers and explorers. Soon the galactic core became the most densely settled part of the galaxy.

The stars of the galactic core are ancient and dim in comparison with the sun and other stars of the spiral arms. The worlds that spin around these core stars are huge and rocky, rich in minerals but in all other respects barren and lifeless. Daylight levels are low so the worlds are shadowy, sombre places which are inimical to plant life and so impossible to terraform. The gravity of these worlds is great, usually two or three times that of Earth and sometimes even more. Grey, cheerless and inhospitable. it is harder to imagine anywhere less likely to nurture human existence.

The original colonists were hard miners and explorers, tough frontiers folk who dreamed of finding fabulous wealth and returning back to Earth. They dug homes for themselves in the rocky landscape, creating self-contained communities from the tunnels and load-chambers of exhausted mines. Although huge cargo ships brought food with the colonists, the only way to feed the growing population was to grow nutritive algae in artificially lit hydroponic tanks deep below ground. Dried and processed. this provided a basic material that could be ground into flour, retextured into coarse synthetic foods, or even brewed into crude but highly potent ale.

The high gravity. harsh environment, and monotonous diet gradually had their effect upon the settlers. They became tougher, more resilient, physically shorter and more compact. This process must have taken many thousands of years, during which time the new race began to develop a distinctive cultural identity. It also acquired a new name - Squats - which aptly described their rapidly evolving physique.

The Time Of Isolation

At some time in the distant past the galactic core was cut off from the rest of human space by devastating warp storms. Many worlds were swallowed by the warp and disappeared forever, others were trapped in stasis and became lost. Most survived although they were separated from Earth and all contact was lost with the rest of the galaxy. During this time of isolation and danger the Squat worlds still in contact with each other began to organise for their mutual defence. It was at this time that the Squats began to refer to their worlds as the Homeworlds.

The Homeworlds remained isolated for thousands of years and their inhabitants learned to survive in a universe that was becoming increasingly hostile. With their planets inaccessible to the human fleets the Squats built their own spacecraft and developed their own weapons to fight off marauding Chaos warbands and plundering Ork Warlords. Some of the Homeworlds were lost to invasion, others were destroyed by environmental instability, and few were devastated by internal strife. Those that survived grew and prospered. Settlements were enlarged and fortified into impregnable strongholds.

Left to fend for themselves the Squats were obliged to develop their own technological base. Not only had they to re-invent complex machines such as spacecraft and advanced weaponry, but they had to keep their life-support systems and hydroponic units active. Without air, heat and food the Squat communities would not be able to survive, and such matters became a priority for thein. Fortunately the natural expertise of these hardy miners enabled them to exploit the materials at hand. and they quickly developed alternative technologies to make up for the lack of supplies from Earth.

The warp storms that isolated the Homeworlds lasted for many thousands of years and were only dissipated just over ten thousand years ago. This freed human and Squat spacecraft to travel to and among the Homeworlds again, and contacts were quickly re-established between the former colonies and the newly founded Imperium.

During their isolation the Squats had changed. They were no longer human and their civilisation had taken a divergent path that gave them many advantages over the Imperium. Today the Homeworlds and the Imperium trade for their mutual benefit and, for the most part, enjoy peaceful relations. Squats and humans share many common enemies, including Orks, so it is in both races' interests to co-operate wherever possible.
However, relations have not been entirely peaceful by any means. Squats are intensely proud, bluff and straightforward. they take great hurt at any slight to their honour or double- dealing (especially in matters of trade) and are likely to be stubborn in pursuit of retribution.

The Homeworlds

There are several thousand Homeworlds and it is very likely that there are worlds still awaiting rediscovery after the Time of Isolation. Each world has one or more Strongholds, and each Stronghold is more-or-less an independent community with its own laws, traditions and armed forces. If a world has several Strongholds, as most do, it is usual for one to be preeminent, so that it has nominal rule over the other lesser Strongholds. Each of these communities is built over a labyrinth of mine workings which delve deep into the rocky planet. Strongholds are vast and contain everything the Squats need to maintain their civilisation, including workshops, hydroponic plants, power Generators and atmospheric pumps.

The size and inhospitable environments of the Homeworlds mean that their surfaces are mostly barren and uninhabited. The Strongholds themselves are havens amongst plains of solid rock and seas of shale and dust. Their atmospheres are mostly composed of inert gases. so it is only possible to survive inside the Strongholds or in one of the outposts dotted over the planet.

Outposts are built for many reasons. Some are simply watch towers whose role is to observe the atmospheric approaches, others house batteries of huge lasers that defend the planet from attack. The most common types of outpost are mines. The Strongholds are situated over the original mine sites. Although these can still be worked it is very time consuming and expensive to do so as the remaining deposits lie deep underaround. It is more practical for the Squats to build new mines in ore-rich regions.

To reach their mines the Squats use huge mobile fortresses called Land Trains whose vast tracks enable them to cross the daunting continental shelves and seas of dust. This is a dangerous business, for most of the Homeworlds have thick layers of finely pulverised rock which flow and move very much like water.

It is possible to cross these dust seas, but accidents are common, and Land Trains can sink without trace if they venture into deep dust. The dust itself often has a high ore content and can be mined by factory Land Trains equipped with massive scoops and towing powered track-cars or ore, supplies, or living quarters. The Iron Sea of Grindel is one such region, and the greatest single source of ferrous ore in the entirety of the Homeworlds. Other dust seas are composed of chromium compounds, silica or tiny mineral crystals.

The weather systems of the Homeworlds are unpredictable and, like the planets themselves, on a massive scale. Storms can whip the dust seas into abrasive winds that will reduce a man to bone within seconds and nothing but atoms in the wind within a few seconds more. Such storms can spring up suddenly and without warning, and can last for days or even weeks on end.

Occasionally a dust storm will cover a whole world, plunging it into darkness as the roiling clouds blot out the dim light of the sun completely. At such times it is impossible for aircraft to fly or spaceships to land. The Squats have become used to their harsh worlds and can sense the subtle changes in the breeze that herald a storm. Deep below ground in their Strongholds the Squats are safe from the turmoil above and can survive for years if need be.

The 700 Leagues

Although each Squat Stronghold is independent they have developed relations with each other. Some Strongholds have been allies for thousands of years, and interchange of peoples and cultures has made them virtually one nation. Others are loosely federated to their neighbours and share the duty of patrolling local space and defending outlying planets against the Orks and Chaos. These alliances are usually formed for defence or trading purposes, but they also define power blocks within the Homeworlds, where the most powerful rivals gather together the other Strongholds into mutually supportive Leagues.

Each League is led and dominated by a single powerful Stronghold, and includes other Strongholds which either rely upon their leader for trade and defence, or which identify themselves with their League on cultural or historic grounds. There are currently approximately 700 Leagues in all, the most powerful being the influential League of Thor which includes over 300 Strongholds. The other Leagues are less powerful, and the smallest is the League of Emberg which lies close to the Eye of Terror and includes only four Strongholds.

Other Leagues include the League of Kapellar, which is actually the largest in size, and the League of Norgyr which lies closest to Earth. Although these Leagues, and many others, are permanent institutions, others represent looser or temporary alliances between Strongholds. The total number of Leagues therefore varies, but the most influential remain fairly constant and form the largest united political institutions of the Squats.

Although the Squats have a strong sense of mutual preservation it has been known for rival Leagues to go to war against each other. Such occasions can lead to lasting enmity. for Squats are inclined to remember deeds of infamy for many generations. The League of Thor and League of Grindel fought an unusually bitter war some 2,000 years ago when settlers from both sides clashed over the exploration of the Lost Stronghold of Dargon. The war that followed resulted in the destruction of several Strongholds and the capture of Thungrim and Bruggin by the League of Thor. Peace only came with the huge Ork invasion of Grunhag the Flayer which obliged all the Leagues to co-operate against their mutual foe. Although the war ended with the rout of the Orks the two Leagues have remained distrustful rivals and both sides consider themselves owed heavy debts of blood and honour.

The Guilds

When their civilisation was isolated from the rest of human space the Squats found it necessary to preserve the engineering skills and knowledge they possessed for future generations. Their lives depended upon maintaining their Strongholds, generating air and food. and defending their worlds from attack. To this end they evolved a complex system of Guilds. The Guilds drew together all the information and knowledge available and set about recording it for future generations. As the years passed the Guilds became the repositories of knowledge, and Guild training produced all the engineers, miners, and other specialists vital to keep the Strongholds running. With the passage of centuries the Guilds spearheaded research into alternative technologies and invented many of the machines that remain unique to them.

The Guilds extend across all Stronaholds and Leagues allowing information to spread throughout the Homeworlds. Initially this was necessary because knowledge and specialist skills were scattered throughout the Homeworlds and had to be drawn together just to enable the Strongholds to survive. As the Guilds developed, they sought to maintain the free passage of information despite the rivalries of individual Homeworlds. Today the Guilds have become the common factor that unites all the Strongholds, enabling each to benefit from advances in technology and discoveries of ancient knowledge. Although individual Squat Guildsmen are loyal to their own Stronghold they also owe loyalty to their Guild and to the dissemination of knowledge.

The Guild has succeeded in developing several technologies which are exclusive to the Squats, and are not even understood by the Technomagi of the Adeptus Mechanicus on Mars. These include the neoplasma reactor powered by a warp-core and held in thrall by a zero-eneray containment field. No other race has developed this technology, and the Adeptus Mechanicus gave up their experiments with warp-cores after the infamous Contagion of Ganymede. The Squats have mastered many other technologies, and have developed still others which they consider too dangerous to use. Although the Guild makes its discoveries available to its own members it keeps its knowledge from other races. In particular the Squats regard the Technomagi of the Adeptus Mechanicus as little better than sorcerers wallowing in superstition and ignorance. This is not entirely true, but the Squats have a practical and straightforward attitude to technology which is very different from the neo-arcana of the Imperium.

Squats have long memories and never forget an act of treachery or a broken promise. The relationship between the Homeworlds and the Imperium has always been strained, and the history of the two peoples is studded with bouts of war and ill-feeling. Squats are not diplomatic by nature, their brutal manners and fierce tempers do not always inspire confidence in men. Eldar regard them as little more than beasts and only barely preferable to Orks. But the Squats care little for the effete ways of men or the mincing delicacies of the Eldar. Squats are robust in body and bluff in manner, and consider other races fragile and lacking in the good, honest Squat virtues of comradeship and directness.
The Ork Wars

The Homeworlds lie close to two of the most dangerous adversaries in the galaxy, the Chaos warbands of the Eye of Terror and the extensive Ork empires of the northern spiral. The Squats have never relented in their struggle against Chaos, and lose no time in tracking down and destroying Chaos raiders. The main threat from Chaos has always been in space, where Chaos warbands attack ships as they move through the warp.

The other great enemy of the Squats are the Orks, although this was not always the case. At one time the Squats were content to leave the Orks alone and even to trade with them to some extent. The Homeworlds are inhospitable to Orks in any case so there was never any great clash of interests between the two races. This state of affairs did not last for very long!

The Squat records of their early history are confused and incomplete, but it is clear that after a short period of mutual trading the Squats found themselves suddenly attacked by massive Ork forces. Caught by surprise several Strongholds fell to the Ork invaders, and only a last ditch defence eventually brought the green-skinned aliens to a halt. The Squats were appalled at the massive loss in life but also by the unashamed treachery of the Orks. The Squats have never forgotten this lesson. Some of the more enduring Squat folk legends tell of the hopeless defence of a beleaguered fortress or a stranded Land Train during the Ork attack, Many wars have been fought against the Orks since the first Ork attack, all bitter conflicts fought to the last proud warrior.

[contact] [submit material] [advertise]
© 1998-2001 The Vault