|Previous Edition Warning: This article discusses a topic from a previous edition of Warhammer 40,000.|
Its canonicity is in question but was once considered canon.
Squats (Homo sapiens rotundus) were short, stocky and tough abhumans. Of all the abhuman types, they most closely resembled humans. Squats were the descendants of humans who colonised the worlds around the galactic core in the far distant past. These worlds are some of the oldest in the galaxy, formed when the laws of physics had yet to be stabilised.
The Squat ancestors were human colonists that reached the mineral rich worlds around the galactic core, during the time of the initial expansion beyond Earth's own system, long before the emergence of the Emperor. The colonisation came at the right time, as Earth's own mineral wealth was depleted. The worlds at the galactic core were rich in rare and unique minerals, but in terms of life were barren and unsuited for colonisation. These worlds are dark and bleak. Their gravity is great, usually two or three times that of Earth. Their atmospheres are either thin or non-existent. Even those planets with atmospheres are blasted by tremendous storms.
These planets became Mining Worlds. Colonists were forced to become self-sufficient, providing their own underground grown food. Due to the completely hostile nature of the surface the colonists formed underground societies. During the long isolation of the Age of Strife, the Squat race developed, evolving to suit their environment, becoming tougher, more resilient and physically shorter.
Some say the real history of the Squats begins in the Age of Strife when their worlds were cut off from Terra and the race developed, but their actual origins begin much earlier during the Dark Age of Technology, or as the Squats called it, the Age of Founding.
Relations with the Imperium
The Imperium first encountered the Squats during the age of reunification called the Great Crusade as the Emperor's forces reached the worlds near the galactic core. Many of these worlds were the Squat homeworlds. Stubborn, insular and fiercely independent, war between the Squats and the Imperial forces was inevitable. High casualties suffered by the Space Marine Legions led to the development of the Mk. III Power Armour, suitable for the conditions being fought in - confined tunnel complexes with little cover.
The Squat homeworlds have long been part of the Imperium, but enjoy a level of autonomy greater than the ordinary self-governed Imperial world. The Homeworlds, while governing themselves without interference from the Adeptus Terra, are expected to follow Imperial policy on wider issues. The relationship between the Homeworlds and the Imperium is generally peaceful, although through history has been punctuated by bouts of war and bitterness. The Squats and the Imperium trade to their mutual benefit. Both races also share many enemies, especially Orks, making it in their best interests to cooperate. The Squats do not follow the Imperial Cult, rather they revere their ancestors. Squats fighting alongside the Imperial Guard often adopt the Emperor into their beliefs, as a guardian of their ancestors.
Squat technology is based upon the heavy mining equipment they brought with them to the Homeworlds. During their isolation from the rest of humanity they adapted it for other uses, notably exo-armour which was engineered from heavy mining suits. Squats continued to innovate and invent while humanity sank into a Dark Age. As a result, the Squats have developed technologies such as neo-plasma and warp cores far in advance of anything the Imperium owns. Some Squat technologies were absorbed into the Imperium, especially tunnelling vehicles and weaponry such as the Termite.
In Warhammer 40,000 Squats had a similar armament to Imperial armies, coming with las and bolt weaponry as standard. Armies also included squads in exo-armour supported with bikes and trikes. Squats were characterised in Epic with colossal war machines, including the Land Train (which supported many different cars, including the Dragon Car, the Berserker Car, the Mortar Car and the Rad Bomb car), Leviathan (used as a mobile infantry transport, capable of holding almost a hundred squats within), Cyclops (a spaceship weapon mounted on a Colossus chassis and used originally to devastate rival Squat warlord's war machines) and Colossus.
Squat history is divided into five ages, each marked by a dramatic change in both galactic conditions and Squat society. These ages are:
Age of Founding
The Age of Founding is equivalent to the Dark Age of Technology for humanity. This is not technically the first period of the Squats as they had yet to evolve, but is the time of the founding of the colonies that would become the Squat Homeworlds. Almost twenty thousand years ago contact between these planets and Terra was almost continuous, testament to the importance of these colonies. Terra also kept the worlds well supplied with that which they could not produce for themselves in adequate amounts, primarily food. This period lasted until the Age of Strife.
Age of Isolation
The Age of Isolation corresponds with the earlier part of the Age of Strife - around eighteen thousand years ago. The galactic core was cut off from the rest of human space by the devastating Warp storms of the Age of Strife. 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. Those that survived grew and prospered. Settlements were enlarged and fortified into impregnable Strongholds. They soon developed alternative technologies to make up for the lack of supplies from Earth.
During the isolation the complex system of Engineer Guilds developed. These Guilds were responsible for preserving technical knowledge and skills as well as training technicians, miners and other specialists necessary for the Strongholds. The Guilds transcended the Strongholds, allowing every Stronghold to benefit from the preserved knowledge as well as new advances in technology.
During this age the Leagues first began to develop from Strongholds allied for trading and defence purposes.
Age of Trade
At the beginning of the Age of Trade, some strongholds were attacked, but the aliens quickly realised that the Squats were determined and tenacious fighters, and that trade was a more practical arrangement. The Squats took full advantage of their tremendous mineral wealth, which they traded for weapons, foodstuffs and high-technology systems. To this day, Squat hydroponic plants, developed with Eldar help, are among the most efficient food sources in the Imperium. The Squats remained carefully neutral in the numerous conflicts between Eldar and Orks, maintaining trade links with both sides. There were inevitably small wars from time to time, but for the most part the Squats' complex structure of treaties and trade agreements maintained a stable peace.
Age of Wars
The Age of Trade lasted for nearly three millennia, but finally collapsed when an enormous Ork battle-fleet, under the command of Grunhag the Flayer, attempted a full-scale invasion of the Homeworlds. Losses on both sides were astronomical, with vicious tunnel-fights through the mine workings and bloody pitched battles in the Squats' underground settlements. The Squats appealed to their Eldar trading partners for help against the invading Orks, but none was received.
The Age of Wars, as it became known, is regarded by the Squats as the blackest chapter in their history, and the double betrayal by Orks and Eldar gave rise to a cultural enmity which still persists. Many strongholds were wiped out by the Orks, and the traditional epic ballad known as The Fall of Imbach commemorates one such destruction. Even today expeditions are mounted from the Squat Homeworlds in search of lost strongholds, and these expeditions are often accompanied by Adeptus Mechanicus priests, eager to rediscover lost Squat technology.
Age of Rediscovery
The Age of Rediscovery was the most recent phase of Squat history, corresponding to the Great Crusade and the current Age of the Imperium. As the Imperium recovered from the Age of Strife and began to reunite the scattered worlds of humanity, the Squat Homeworlds were rediscovered and contact with the Imperium was established.
The Imperium found that a distinct culture had developed on the Homeworlds, and that the Squats had moved outwards through the galaxy, extending their domains. Often they settled harsh planets similar to their own Homeworlds, but they also occupied more conventional worlds able to support normal Human civilization.
Age of the Imperium
The Squat Homeworlds were almost unique in the Imperium - though they were a part of the Imperium, they were not directly controlled by the Administratum. Instead, they are allowed a certain amount of autonomy, being ruled by their strongholds and Leagues just as they were before the Age of Rediscovery. The experiences of the previous millennia has left the Squats with a strong sense of cultural unity and a fiercely independent nature, and instead of rejoining the Imperium as subject worlds, the Homeworlds negotiated a series of treaties which enabled them to keep their independence. The racial character of the Squats - hard-working, tenacious, honourable, and inimical to alien races - was almost perfect from the Imperial point of view, and the Imperium was content to allow them a great degree of self-government.
Both the Imperium and the Squats benefit from this arrangement: the Homeworlds provide troops for the Imperial Guard. The Imperial Guard also provides military support to the Homeworlds when necessary, as they would any other threatened Imperial worlds. Additionally the Squats trade their mineral wealth exclusively with the Imperium.
The Adeptus Mechanicus are highly interested in the Squats and the Homeworlds for several reasons: Squats possess a high level of technical expertise which seems to come naturally to the race. Additionally, the Homeworlds as a whole possess the greatest amount of surviving STC equipment in the Imperium.
The Squats are said to allow the Adeptus Mechanicus free access to Squat technology. However it is also said the Squats keep their technology from other races, regarding the Adeptus Mechanicus as little more than sorcerers mired in superstition.
During their long isolation the Squats were forced to become self-sufficient in order to survive the barren environments of their Homeworlds. They have also managed to maintain technological knowledge and expertise, which has allowed the race to continue to progress technologically. Accordingly the Squats have developed their own advanced technologies, which not even the most technically-adept of the Tech-priests understand. These include the neoplasma reactor powered by a warp-core and held in thrall by a zero-energy containment field. No other race has developed this technology and the Adeptus Mechanicus gave up on their experiments with warp-cores after the infamous Contagion of Ganymede. Some of the technology developed by the Squat engineers is considered too dangerous and remains unused. Several of the weapons now in regular Imperial service were originally developed by the Squats: this includes the Leviathan super-heavy assault transport, Thunderfire cannon, Thudd gun and Mole mortar.
In war, the Squats used squads of motorcycles supported by massive artillery barrages from juggernaut war machines such as the Land Train, Colossus, Cyclops and Leviathan. They also used advanced armour, such the heavy exo-armour.
At first the disappearance of the Squat army from the game rules was explained by a background story describing that the race had been devoured by the Tyranids (in effect this still kept them as part of the background). The story went that the Squat race had been virtually destroyed, and the few remaining Homeworlds were annexed by the Imperium over the hundreds of years after the attacks. Only a few scattered and embittered remnants of Squats survive throughout the Imperium.
Currently however Games Workshop have taken the stance that the Squats never existed - older republished novels have been edited to remove all references of Squats. In other cases books have not been republished due to the stories featuring Squat characters or other obsolete races. However, the Warhammer 40,000 6th Edition Rulebook explicitly names them as an abhuman race officially recognized by the Imperium.
Despite this, certain miniature companies have been producing Space Dwarf models, and some players have even converted the rules of Warhammer 40,000 to allow them to play, though official GW stance remains that Squats are not a legal army in the game.
- 1: Warhammer 40,000: Compendium (Squats Army List)
- 2: Codex Imperialis, pg. 73
- 3: Warhammer 40,000: Compilation, pg. 21
- 4: Codex Titanicus (2nd Edition), pg. 60
- 5: Warhammer 40,000 6th Edition Rulebook, pg. 405
- Extinction of the Squats, Jervis Johnson
- Olleys Armies (Miniatures company of former GW miniature sculptor)