Today I want to talk a bit about an upcoming project of mine - the Squats. As some of you may know, Space Dwarfs are one of my dream-projects and GW's upcoming release of Kharadron Overlords will give me enough material to convert my own Squats or use as cross-over models for both systems. So let's talk about the basics - what are the Squats fluff wise and what I want to do with mine!
The Fluff - Squats, and Empire within an Empire
"Do not underestimate the Squats. They survived for millennia cut off from the Imperium and assailed from all sides. Their determination and resilience is an example to all."
- Leman Russ, Primarch of the Space Wolves Legion
Once settled, these planets became rich Mining Worlds. The colonists were forced to become self-sufficient, providing their own underground hydroponically-grown food. Due to the hostile nature of these worlds' surfaces, the colonists formed underground societies. During the long isolation of Mankind produced by the Warp Storms of the Age of Strife, the Squat race genetically adapted to their new homes, evolving or genetically engineering themselves to better suit their environment, becoming far tougher, more resilient and physically shorter with a denser skeletomuscular system than found in the baseline human genome. The Squats had some of the best scientists and engineers in history who explored the frontiers of human science and technology without the constraints of religion and ritual, in contrast with the dogma-bound humans of the Mechanicum who followed a very different path on Mars during the same period.
What I want to do with my version of Squats
The fluff above will be the base for my Squats - abhumans, part of the Imperium but still independend (basically an empire within an empire, similiar to the Mechanicum). They will also split during the heresy - some of them will stay true to the Empire, while others will want to do their own thing or even turn to Chaos (it's whispered some Squat homeworlds have secret cults of the daemonic Hashut going on hidden under their surfaces ...).
I'll try to re-use most if not all of the old 1st/2nd edition fluff about them - but probably not everything. If you look at the state of some other factions during Rogue Trader - especially Orks, Guard and Eldar - you will see that most of them used similiar stuff than Space Marines - Boltguns, Dreadnoughts, Rhinos and Land Raiders (Yes, Harlequin Land Raiders were a thing!). The same goes for Squats back then. They had rhinos, boltguns and bikes.
My Squats will be a little bit more unique - they are supposed to be their own faction, like Solar Auxilia or Mechanicum, not just Imperial Army/Marines 2.0. I want to follow Forgeworlds' way of doing the Legio Custodes - new unique looking stuff instead of "just" Land Raiders and Rhinos. I imagine them mostly using their own weapons and tanks/airships. The boltgun for example was a Terran' weapon so they should have limited access to it at the time of the Great Crusade. I think they would have their own weapon and variations - better plasma stuff, grav and anti-grav engines, laserweapons. I guess some of the squat core-STC's would be used on other imperial weapons and tanks (maybe it was the Squats assaultcannons that actually made the kheres pattern working?!).
At that point I would like to share a comment from Jervis Johnson about the removing of the Squats:
Anyway, the Squats made it into 2nd edition, and since we were doing army books for each of the races, we started to try and figure out what to do with them. Unfortunately we just couldn't figure out a way to update them and get them to work that we felt was good enough. The 'art' of working on an army as a designer is to find the thing that you think is cool and exciting about an army, and work it up into a strong theme. This 'muse' didn't strike any of us, and so, rather than bring out a second-rate product simply re-hashing the old background, we kept doing other army books instead, with stuff we did feel inspired by.
Now, while this was all going on for 40K, we were actually doing some rather good stuff for the Squats in Epic. On this scale there was a natural tendency to focus on the big 'hand-made' war machines the Squat artisans produced, and this created an army with a feel that was very different to the biker hordes in 40K. However, this tended to reinforce the problems we saw in the Squat background rather than alleviate them, underlining what we *should* have done with the Squats in 40K."
With that in mind I really want to do them justice - making them a proud army that will fight alongside Space Marines, Mechanicum and Solar Auxilia against Xenos and Traitors during the Great Crusade, the Horus Heresy and beyond! I also want to create rules for them sometimes next year - with the help of Drake, once any rules changes for 40k's next edition are clear.
If there are any wishes you have for my Squats - write it in the comments below. I'm currently still in the "brain storming phase", so any help is welcome :)