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Squats battle Orks[4]

Squats (Homo Sapiens Rotundus)[5] are short, stocky, tough and long-lived abhumans.[2a],[2e] They constitute the most widespread and important of the abhuman races.[2f]

History

Colonization of the galactic core

When the worlds around the galactic core were first colonized by humans in the far distant past they discovered vast, almost limitless mineral deposits. These resources included compounds that had been smelted in the furnaces of dying stars and also strange substances that had been formed when the galaxy was born and before the laws of physics had stabilized. The discovery of these materials was very auspicious as the resources of Earth had been long exhausted and as a consequence the exploration and exploitation of the galactic core had been deemed imperative for the survival of humanity.[2a]

Hundreds of thousand of miners, engineers and explorers in specially adapted spacecraft were sent to exploit the newfound wealth of the core which quickly turned into one of the most densely populated parts of the galaxy. Due to the inhospitable physical characteristics of the worlds here (see further down) they are generally considered to be quite unlikely places for human colonization and life. The original colonists coming to these worlds were hardy frontiers folk. These tough miners and explorers dreamt of reaping fantastic riches and then return to Earth.[2a]

The colonists settled down and created self-contained communities by digging and drilling underground homes into the rocky surface of their new worlds and linking up the exhausted mines' tunnels and load-chambers. To feed the increasing population it was not possible to rely on the food brought along on huge cargo ships. It was necessary to construct artificially lit hydroponic tanks in the depths of the planets and cultivate nutritive algae there. These algae were then dried and processed and served as the base material for all kinds of food such as flour, coarse synthetic food and even crude but very potent ale.[2a]

The advent of the Squat race and culture

Over the course of probably thousands of years the physical appearance of the settlers of the galactic core rapidly changed and they began to develop into a new race. Adapting to the hostile environment, the monotonous diet of algae-derived food and specifically the high gravity of their worlds the colonists became shorter, more compact, more resilient and tougher. This was also accompanied by the development of a distinctive cultural identity, eventually even acquiring a new name: the Squats.[2a]

The Time of Isolation and the Homeworlds

At an unspecified point in the distant past devastating Warp storms cut off the galactic core from the rest of human-inhabited space, causing havoc and destruction amongst the worlds of the Squats: The Warp swallowed a huge number of planets, other were trapped in Stasis and were lost. But the majority of the Squat worlds survived but were isolated from Earth and the other parts of the galaxy, forcing the worlds who were still in contact with each other to organize for their mutual defence. This was also the time when the Squats began to refer to their worlds as Homeworlds.[2a]

This isolation lasted for thousands of years and during this time the universe became more and more hostile. Cut off from human fleets the Squats resorted to building their own spaceships and weapons to fend off Orks and Chaos warbands. Not all Squat worlds survived this time of turmoil, some were invaded and lost, others were destroyed by environmental instability and some were ravaged by infighting. Those worlds who did manage to come through on the other hand prospered and grew and the settlements turned into big and fortified Strongholds.[2a]

The End of the Isolation and the Reestablishment of contact

The Warp storms isolating the Squat worlds finally abated about ten thousand years ago and space travel between the Homeworlds but also to the other parts was reestablished. Contact between previously cut off colonies and the newly founded Imperium was also quickly restored.[2a]

The Squat civilization and culture

During their time of isolation from the rest of humanity which lasted thousands of years the original human colonists evolved so much that they are no longer considered human and the Squat civilization took a divergent path. This adaptation gave the Squats many advantages over the Imperium of Mankind when contact was reestablished.[2a]

Squat society and life

Squat Emblem[Needs Citation]

Planetary characteristics

The stars in the galactic core are very old and - in comparison with our sun and other stars of the spiral arms - dim. The worlds orbiting these stars are big and rocky and rich in minerals. But they are also barren and lifeless. There is not much daylight and as a consequence these worlds are grey, shadowy, sombre, cheerless and inhospitable places that are hostile to plant life and therefore impossible to terraform. In addition to these characteristics they also possess a huge gravity that usually is two or three times that of Earth or even higher.[2a] The atmospheres of these worlds is mostly made up of inert gases, meaning that outside of the Strongholds the environment on the vast Homeworlds is hostile, barren and - apart from the outposts that are strewn across the planet's surface - unpopulated.[2b]

There are daunting continental shelves and seas of dust as most Homeworlds feature thick layers that are made up of finely pulverized rock. This material behaves very much like water, flowing and moving. This dust often contains high degrees of ore that can be mined with specialized equipment (see Squat technology), one example being the Iron Sea of Grindel which constitutes the single biggest source of ferrous ore in all the Squat Homeworlds. But there are also dust seas that are made up of silica, chromium compounds or small mineral crystals.[2b]

The weather on the Homeworlds is unpredictable and fits the vast size of the planets. The dust seas can be whipped up into lethal and abrasive dust storms that are able to completely desintegrate men in mere seconds. These storms that sometimes can blow for days or even weeks can appear rapidly and without warning. In extreme circumstances these dust storms can envelop the whole planet and blot out all the scarce light. Under these conditions no air travel or spaceship landings are possible. The Squats have learned to recognize the subtle changes in the breeze that precedes a dust storm.[2b]

The other danger lies in the location of the Homeworlds as their vicinity features two big threats: the Eye of Terror and its marauding Chaos warbands and the extensive Ork empires of the nothern spiral of the galaxy.[2c]

The Homeworlds and the Strongholds

Today there are several thousand known Squat Homeworlds, but it is not improbable that some of their worlds have not yet been rediscovered after the Time of Isolation. Every Squat world has at least one Stronghold - settlements which are to greater or lesser extent independent from each other and whose communities live by their own traditions and laws.[2b] They are each ruled by a Lord.[2e] Each Stronghold also maintains its own military forces. On worlds with more than one Stronghold usually one Stronghold dominates the others and exerts the nominal rule over the other Strongholds.[2b]

Location of the Squat Homeworlds[Needs Citation]

Below every Stronghold there is a labyrinth of mining installations which reach deep into the planet's crust. They are self-contained and vast communities that dispose of all necessary infrastructure (e.g. workshops, hydroponic plants for the food supply, power generators and atmospheric pumps) to maintain the Squat civilization. They also protect the inhabitants from the deadly dust storms, if necessary for years on end.[2b]

Known Strongholds include:

Squat outposts can be found across the Homeworlds, dotting the landscape between the Strongholds and serve different purposes. Some are just watch towers for the observation of the atmospheric approaches while others are defensive installations safeguarding the Homeworld and housing colossal lasers. But by far the most common type of outpost can be found over the original mining sites. These mines are not yet completely exhausted but since their remaining mineral deposits are far underground it is time and money intensive to exploit them, making it more economical to simply establish new mines in ore-rich regions.[2b]

Note: role and function of Kings? Note: role and function of Champions?

The 700 Leagues

While the individual Strongholds are independent communities they maintain relations with other Strongholds. Alliances usually serve the purpose of defence or trade, but they also define power blocks within the Homeworlds. Powerful rival Strongholds organize the other communities into mutually supportive groups called Leagues. A League is headed by one particularly influential Stronghold and the other Strongholds in the League rely on their leader Stronghold for defence but also trade. Sometimes these follower Strongholds also identify themselves with their leader community on historic or cultural grounds. Some of these Leagues are permanent structures while others are of a more loose or temporary character. [2b]

Currently around 700 Leagues exist that vary in power and size. The absolute number of Leagues varies (see above), but the most powerful of them are rather constant and constitute the largest united political structures of the Squats. Examples include:[2b]

Alliances between Strongholds can date back thousands of years and the degree of interactions and interchange of peoples and cultures have turned them into virtually one nation. Other alliances take the form of loose federations in which the duties of patrolling space and the defence of outlying worlds against enemies such as Orks or Chaos are shared duties.[2b]

It is not unheard of for rivalling Leagues to engage in open warfare against each other - despite the otherwise strong sense of Squats for mutual preservation. When such wars happen, they can result in lasting enmity between the Squat factions as the Abhumans tend to not forget deeds of infamy for many generations. One such example is the conflict between the League of Thor and the League of Grindel. This unusually bitter war that was fought some two thousand years ago was caused by settlers from both Leagues clashing over the exploration of the Lost Stronghold of Dargon. During the course of the conflict several Strongholds were destroyed and the Strongholds of Thungrim and Bruggen were conquered by the League of Thor. The war only came to an end due to an external common threat when the massive Ork invasion of Grunhag the Flayer fell upon the Squats, forcing all Leagues to cooperate against the Greenskin menace. But even after the defeat of Grunhag's forces the League of Thor and the League of Grindel remained distrustful of each other and each League claims that it is still owed heavily in blood and honour by the other.[2b]

The Guilds

During the Time of Isolation, being separated from the rest of human-populated space it was essential for the Squats to safeguard and preserve the technology to keep their Strongholds running, e.g. to maintain the technology and knowledge to maintain the technology for generating air and food supplies. Another crucial issue was defence. To tackle the task of preserving the necessary engineering skills and know-how the Guilds were created. These Guilds developed into a complex system that collected all available information and knowledge and archived them for future generations. It is the Guilds that are responsible for the training of all specialists that are necessary for running a Stronghold such as Engineers, miners and other experts. It was also the Guilds who headed the effort to develop alternative technologies and the Squats' unique machines (see Squat technology).[2c] So Guild Engineers fulfill the role of scientists and technicians in Squat society.[2d]

As the technical know-how was originally scattered across the different Homeworlds the first task was to gather all this knowledge together and make it freely available throughout Squat civilization. One objective is to ensure the free passage of information like advances in technology or rediscoveries of ancient knowledge between the Homeworlds without regard for or hindrance by individual rivalries (see above). To achieve this the Guild system permeates the whole structure of the Squat culture and the Guilds extend across all Leagues and Strongholds. As a consequence the Guilds are considered the common factor that unites all Strongholds, no matter where they are or which League they belong to. This also means that while a Guildsman is a member of a specific Stronghold which they are loyal to, they are also loyal to their Guild and engaged to spread know-how to the other Squats.[2c]

Note: role and function of Guildmasters?

The Ancestor Lords

The role of advisors to Kings, Guildmasters and Squat Generals is fulfilled by the Living Ancestors (see also below Squat physiology). In addition to guiding and advising the Squats in their dealings with allies and enemies hey also form an inalienable link between the Strongholds and the past. The Ancestor Lords move without restriction between the Leagues. There is however not a huge number of these individuals.[2e]

The Brotherhoods

The fighters of a Stronghold are organized into what is called fighting Brotherhoods whose actual size varies depending on the size of the Stronghold itself. Each brotherhood is led by its own commander and the Brotherhoods from the different Strongholds make up the military forces of the League the Strongholds belong to.[2d]

Squat technology

During the Time of Isolation the Squats, cut off from other human planets and external supplies as they were, were forced to defend themselves and to develop their own technology. This included re-inventing spacecraft, advanced weaponry and other complex technology.[2a] Also much of the civilian equipment had to be converted into efficient wargear (for example the Exo-armour).[30c] Another issue was maintaining and keeping their life-support systems and hydroponic tanks running that they needed for their air, heat and food supply. Achieving these objectives was helped by the very nature of the Squat population - the tough miners knew how to exploit the resources at their disposal. They were thus able to rapidly come up with alternative technologies to replace the ones not longer available from Earth.[2a]

The Squat Guilds (see above) have developed a number of technologies that no other race possesses and that are so specific that not even the Technomagi of the Adeptus Mechanicus can fathom how they work. Examples for this Squat ingenuity in technological matters include the Neoplasma reactor which is powered by a Warp core and harnessed by a zero-energy containment field.[2c] Another of the inventions of the Squats are the Land Trains - gigantic moving fortresses with broad tracks designed to cross the treacherous dust seas and massive continental shelves. However not even these behemoths are immune to the dangers of the environment of the Squat worlds and Land Trains can sink without leaving a trace when travelling into deep dust. Factory Land Trains that are equipped with giant scoops and that tow powered track-cars or living quarters or ore supplies can mine the ore of the dust seas.[2b] But there are also many other technological advances of the Squats, including some which the stocky abhumans even consider too dangerous for use.[2c]

While the Guilds ensures that all their members have access to the discoveries and knowledge they refuse to share their know-how with other races. Their attitude towards the Adeptus Mechanicus is also shaped by this and their character (see Squat character below).[2c] To check: The Squats are said to allow the Adeptus Mechanicus free access to their technology.[1]

Other Squat technology:

  • Bikes and Trikes are used extensively as personal transports throughout the hostile landscapes of the Squat Homeworlds. But especially younger abhumans make use of them in battle. This is particularly true for the Engineers Guild whose Guild Bikers call their bikes and trikes Hogs and Sickles.[31] Subtypes include:
  • Exo-armour: similar to Terminator Armour the Squat exo-armour combines a mobile exo-skeleton with heavy armour plates. The exo-armour was developped during the Age of Isolation from the sealed environment suits the Squats use for working in hostile environments like chemical storage tanks, plasma reactor pressure chambers or mining on asteroids. This item of Squat technology is considered one of the most abiding inventions from the Age of Isolation and is usually lavishly decorated with precious metals and with traditonal designs or runes telling of the wealth, lineage and accomplishments of the wearer of the armour[30c]
  • Mole mortar: invented by the Engineers Guild, copied by the Imperium and adopted by the Imperial Guard[30a]
  • Thudd gun: this quad launcher is likewise an invention of the Engineers Guild who supplied it to the Adeptus Mechanicus who then copied the design[30b]

Squat physiology and psychic abilities

Due to the physical characteristics of the worlds they live on Squats have evolved from the originally human settlers and have become short, stocky and tough abhumans. Their average height is 1.4 metres.[6] They are long-lived, often attaining ages two or three times that of a normal human. Some Squats even live for many hundreds of years and with the progression of age they develop Psyker powers. To begin with these Psi abilities are rather modest and can manifest in second sight, intuitive telepathy and mild psychokinesis, but this changes the older the Squats become - their ancient minds become more aligned with the Warp. In the end these old Squats turn into what is called Ancestor Lords, revered, respected and feared individuals who possess powers beyond comprehension. They can hear the voices of dead and long-gone Squats and are protected by these spirits from the many dangers of the Warp who also provide them with knowledge of secrets of the past (see also Ancestor Lords above). But these are not fragile and decrepit ancients, Ancestor Lords are awesome figures of impressive strength and girth, sporting big gnarled beards that they have grown over hundreds of years.[2e]

Among the more prominent psychic powers of the Ancestor Lords are the following powers:

Squat character

Among the typical character traits of Squats are their famously long memories which result in them never forgetting acts of treachery or broken promises (see also Relations with the Imperium). The short abhumans are not exactly famed for being diplomatic by nature, on the contrary their manners are regarded as bluff and brutal and their tempers as fiery, fitting their robust body stature. Squats consider other races as fragile and and lacking in comradeship and directness - virtues that the Squats regard as good and honest.[2c]

"Of all the races of the universe the Squats have the longest memories and the shortest tempers. They are uncouth, unpredictably violent, and frequently drunk. Overall, I'm glad they're on our side!"
- Report to the Imperial Guard High Command (Thuro)
[7]

All stocky abhumans are fierce and determined warriors, proficient in the use of their weapons and prepared to take up arms to safeguard their Strongholds. As a result of denturies of experience in fighting in the tunnels under their Strongholds the Squat warriors are experts in close quarters fighting with short ranged weapons and axes. They are resolute and famed to stand their ground even in the face of impossible odds. And due to their history with the Orks all Squats hate the greenskinned Xenos.[2d]

The approach of the Squats towards technology is decidedly different from the one taken by the Adeptus Mechanicus: the straightforward and practical attitude of the Squats towards technology differs fundamentally from the neo-arcana of the Imperium of Mankind and the Squats regard the Technomagi as little more than sorcerers steeped in superstition and ignorance.[2c]

Squat religion

The Squats and the other races and factions

The Imperium of Mankind

Relations between the Squat Homeworlds and the Imperium are mostly of a peaceful and cooperative nature, especially considering the many common enemies such as Orks.[2a] There is also trading for the mutual benefit of both sides.[2a] There have however also been instances of not so peaceful relations going as far as frequent bouts of war and ill-feeling as the Squat character makes them prone to take offence at any slight to their honour or doubledealing, especially in trade matters.[2a],[2c] Squats are stubborn and quite probable to pursue retribution in such cases.[2a] As a consequence the relationship has always been strained.[2c] The very character of the Squats (see above) does not always inspire the confidence of other humans and the Squats find the ways of men to be effete.[2c]

Technology-wise the Adeptus Mechanicus have trouble understanding the Squat advances made during the Time of Isolation which has not stopped them from conducting experiments with the Abhumans' technology. One such experiment with Warp reactor technology however resulted in the notorious Contagion of Ganymede and subsequently these experiments were given up.[2c]

"Henceforth no man shall set foot upon the world, and all around shall be set sentinals [sic] to ward away unwary spacecraft. We must accept that this place is lost to us forever, and is now the eternal habitation of abomination."
- from
The Contagion of Ganymede'[29a]

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[3].

The Orks

Somewhat intriguingly originally the relationship between Squats and Orks was one of indifference and even sometimes limited trade between the short abhumans and the Greenskins. And while the Squat Homeworlds lie close to the extensive Ork empires of the galaxy's northern spiral the Squat worlds are inhospitable to the Xenos and therefore clashes of interests between the two races were rare and the Squats were content to leave the Greenskins alone.[2c]

This state of mutual trade did not last too long however and even if Squat records of what precisely happened are incomplete and confused it is clear that massive Ork invasions unexpectedly fell upon the Squats. And while the Greenskin invaders could eventually be stopped in a last ditch defence several Strongholds and many livers were lost to the Orks.[2c]

Taking into consideration the unforgiving and long memories of Squats (see Squat character) it is comprehensible that the Squats have never forgotten this lesson of what they consider an unashamed treachery by the Orks. This traumatic experience has deeply ingrained itself into Squat culture and some of the more enduring folk legends recall the desperate defence of a a fortress or stranded Land Train under siege by the Greenskin warriors. Since the original conflict many more wars between Squats and Orks have been fought, all of them bitter struggles fought to the last proud Squat warrior.[2c]

The Eldar

Given the fundamentally different character and culture of Squats and Eldar it is hardly surprising that Eldar consider the short abhumans as barely better than beasts not much preferable to Orks. The Squats in return don't care much for the mincing delicacies of the haughty aliens.[2c]

Chaos

Due to the Eye of Terror being close to the Homeworlds, marauding Chaos warbands pose a threat, albeit predominantly in space, the raiders attacking ships while in Warp transit. The Squats have never relented in their battle against Chaos that is - apart from the Orks of course - their great enemy. Squat units therefore always immediately track and destroy such warbands.[2c]

Fate

The race of the Squats was devoured by an unnamed Tyranid Hive fleet (see also following notes).[9] They are however listed as one of the officially recognized abhuman races[5],[10] and at least some Squats still do exist[17].

Known Squats

Notes

Development of Squats

The following information is not written from an in-universe perspective as it contains quotes, statements and remarks concerning Games Workshop's product policy.

First Edition Period (1987-1993)

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Second Edition Period (1993 - 1998)

Although Squat armies were present, the Second Edition period was marked by a reduction in support for Squat army lists. When the boxed set for the second edition of Warhammer 40,000 was released in 1993 it included a black-and-white booklet entitled Codex Army Lists. This booklet also included a full Squat Army List and Squat Wargear List.[21b] The Squats also featured prominently in the other books of this box, i.e. the Codex Imperialis[22] and to a lesser extent, as their weapons were not really different from that of the Imperium, in the Wargear book. But while the other races in this Codex Army Lists would receive their own Codices (or at least mostly turn up in other Codices), the Squats were left out, they never received a newer playable army list or a Codex of their own. They also did not receive any new models for Warhammer 40,000, in how far and how long the old, first edition models remained available is difficult to ascertain.

Somewhat surprisingly maybe the Squats were included in the 1994 expansion boxed set Dark Millennium with their own dedicated vehicle datafaxes, Wargear cards and Psyker powers.[27a] But apart from that Squats were almost not mentioned anymore in a Warhammer 40,000 game context, not even in White Dwarf with some exceptions and then mostly in a very brief and general manner:

  • December 1993: Warhammer 40,000 article entitled Assault Squads[24]: "All Squats are excellent hand to hand combat troops by nature."
  • January 1994: announcement/ full page advert[25] for Mike McVey's 'Eavy Metal painting book with the title Warhammer 40,000 Painting Guide: "In addition to Space Marines, there are pages for the Orks, the Imperial Guard, Squats, Tyranids, Genestealers and Chaos Space Marines." And indeed there are Squats in said painting guide.[26]
  • October 1995: in the rules for the then new Callidus Imperial Assassin[28a]: "The player can select either an Ork, Squat, Human, Genestealer Hybrid or Eldar and substitute the Callidus Assassin for that model". The same source in an article about Tyranid Warriors calls the Squats (together with Orks) "particularly slow-witted".[28b] The latter remark should not be taken as a nod to the "Tyranids ate 'em" thesis, Orks and Squats simply game-wise had lower Initiative values which made them more vulnerable to the Tyranid weapons discussed.
  • find more references

The Imperial Guard's second edition Codex even categorically and explicitly stated in 1995 that a Codex for the Squats was planned:[38]

"The Squats of the Homeworlds are a proud and independent race that evolved from mankind. They are divided into many rival Leagues. Although Squats and the Imperium have fought long wars in the past, the most powerful Leagues are now firmly allied with the Imperium. At the time of writing this Codex is planned for future release. You may include troops chosen from the Squats Codex.[38]

Other codices of this edition of Warhammer 40,000 also continued to mention the Squats, albeit in a more discrete way:

It should be noted that the last codices of the second edition did not mention the Squats at all, namely Codex: Sisters of Battle (1997) and Codex: Assassins (1997). The reasons for that are unknown. While obviously the phasing out of the Squats might be a reason, one could also easily argue that the fanatical fighters of the Ecclesiarchy would hardly ally with abhumans. And in the case of the Officio Assassinorum the Codex does not include a stand-alone army list, instead simply and categorically stating that all Armies that are allowed to include Imperial Agents can make use of the described Assassins. And the only Codex-like book for the Squats being the Codex Army Lists did not allow the Squat army to include Imperial Agents.[21a],[21b]

But of course the Squats had not only been a playable race in Warhammer 40,000, but also in Epic with many models, rules and texts being published for the game's second edition. The dedicated expansion box Ork and Squat Warlords for example had only been released in 1992, so a mere year or so before the second edition of Warhammer 40,000. It is therefore not completely surprising that mentions of Squats throughout White Dwarf magazine during the later 1990s were mainly in this context. Likewise the corresponding products remained available (to what extent and for how long is again difficult to say, but certainly the Ork and Squat Warlords boxed set was advertised and sold as late as August of 1996[23]).

White Dwarf references to Squats in an Epic-context:

  • Insert explanatory paragraph about the 2nd ed here: Epic (Ordinatus, Khorne daemon engines etc), mentions, pictures

But the party seemed to be finally over when the third edition of Epic was released a bit later around April/ May of 1997. Explain why.

Third to Fifth Edition Period (1998 - 2012)

The period from the Third Edition to the Fifth Edition was marked by a disappearance of Squats, and the planned development of Demiurg in their place. At first the disappearance of the Squat army from the game rules seems not to have been explained at all. They were seemingly just gone and Games Workshop did not mention them or what happened to them (as far as we currently know) for a very long time. Nevertheless many players and readers believe that Games Workshop sometime in the early second edition of Warhammer 40,000 officially stated that all of the Squats had been devoured by the Tyranids. The truth however seems to be more complicated. The whole "myth" seems to originally stem from a very selective and imprecise interpretation of the answer of an unnamed Games Workshop employee who was in charge of answering readers' letters in the January 2000 (US) edition of White Dwarf[7] which places this event during the third edition of Warhammer 40,000 which came out in 1998. Reader Tim Gutierrez had vented his frustration at GW dropping the Squats with a message entitled "WE WANT SQUATS!!!" and the answer of the unnamed GW respondent was as follows:

"Would you believe they were all eaten by the Tyranid invasion? Or, due to the Squats biker life style, everyone of them was arrested for disturbing the peace and sacrificed to the Emperor. Where do you think they get all of those souls anyway? All kidding aside, it doesn't seem likely the Squats will ever again see the light of day. When they were out they never seemed very popular, showed up at our stores, or tournaments, and didn't sell on top of all that. Their look was really outdated compared to the hundreds of other great Warhammer 40,000 models. Don't send us hate mail, it's just the cold hard facts of the 41st Millennium."
- unnamed GW employee
[7]


Seeing this actual quote makes it quite clear that the "Tyranids ate 'em all" urban legend originally was neither formulated as a definite statement (there even is a question mark there), nor was the text that was often erroneously assumed to have spawned this idea really a very official statement. It was simply a somewhat strange answer by an anonymous Games Workshop mail responder. Based on this source it was just as probable or improbable to believe that all Squats had been sacrificed to the Emperor of Mankind for disturbing the peace on their bikes.[7]

In 2001 (teased in Battlefleet Gothic Magazine Issue 5[19], published in Issue 6[20]) the Demiurg made their (quite limited) appearance in the Warhammer 40,000 setting in Games Workshop's niche Space battles game Battlefleet Gothic with their Stronghold Class and Bastion Class Commerce Vessels. The Demiurg should however on no account be confused with the Squats, according to presumably Jervis Johnson (see clarification further down) who later (in 2004) stated that the Demiurg are "a race based on the Squat archetype for 40K".[8] In this context the choice of words is important: based on, not identical or lore-wise derived from. Apart from two ship models for Battlefleet Gothic no models or artwork were released that at this point would have allowed to draw a conclusion how far the Squat-inspiration of the Demiurg in a physical sense actually went. There are photos of alleged concept sketches by Jes Goodwin taken at some event floating around on the Internet, but the authenticity of these sketches cannot be confirmed. And it should be noted that a concept is exactly what the term says. This being said, there are a number of intriguing elements: Already the names for their space vessels, i.e. the "Bastion" and the "Stronghold" could be interpreted as not very subtle nods in the directions of the Squats (see above). In 2004 (note: and this was probably just an exact reprint of the 2001 Battlefleet Gothic Magazine article, as is probably the case with most information about these two ship classes cited below) it was stated[13] that the Demiurg space vessels are "nomadic" and "technologically advanced and extremely well powered". (Asteroid) "Mining" is mentioned as one of the activities of the Demiurg.[13] They are also noted for the following behaviour: "In most cases these ships withdraw their craft and disenage [sic] if challenged but in some instances have inexplicably turned on their attackers with surprising ferocity. It is worthy of note that every known encounter between Demiurg and Ork vessels has resulted in combat."[13] This could be interpreted (or not) as a nod at the well-known Squats-Orks enmity. This is also elaborated on in Battlefleet Gothic: Armada[15]:

"They are aliens, granted. But if ever I witness another creature so furiously keen to wipe out the greenskinned scum, it could be a ship’s plasma-rat and I wouldn’t think twice about having them fight by my side."
- Rogue Trader Ennumerius Skurien[15]

Note the use of the word "aliens" in the last quote. Another source[14] also states that the Demiurg "are a mysterious and solitary Xenos race, previously virtually mythical to the adepts of the Imperium. In recent centuries, however, the vast, stately commerce ships of the Demiurg have become an increasingly regular sight in the Segmentum Tempestus, although they scrupulously avoid Imperial space unless specifically invited."[14] It should be noted, that here the Demiurg are specifically designated as "Xenos", which is an entirely different category of race from the "Abhuman" designation of the Squats. In yet another source[15] it is also emphasized that the Demiurg are "Aliens": "Unfortunately, less than scrupulous planetary governors have been known to employ Demiurg forces to bolster their own positions, inviting Inquisitorial censure for their truck with aliens". It was in the same source that the location of Segmentum Tempestus[14] was quietly changed by Games Workshop to Ultima Segmentum[15] which considering where the Tau, as whose allies the Demiurg had been introduced, are actually located could be simply a correction of a previously made mistake. It is in this source that the term "Brotherhood" (very reminiscent of the Squats) as an organizational term in connection with the Demiurg can be found:

"You misunderstand, this is Tau space, despite what the Gue'la may claim, and you are welcomed to it as friend. We too have suffered difficulty with the Or'es'la, since it seems they wish no unity. We would be honoured to have you fight alongside us against this common enemy. You will find it to the benefit of both our peoples, You will find it, I have no doubt, to be for the greater good." "
- Por’O Dal’yth V’Rok greets the Thurm Brotherhood during first contact with the Demiurg[15]


The concept of the Demiurg "brotherhoods" is further explained in the same source:

"Scattered reports by Rogue Traders indicate that a Bastion class vessel is crewed by a 'brotherhood' and that Strongholds are homes to typically two or three brotherhoods, it is possible that Strongholds and Bastions form some extended affiliation but if this the case each group must be widely scattered in different systems light years apart. The one exception to this is when the Demiurg muster for war, when two or three Bastions gather to protect each Stronghold."[15]


The Demiurg continued to pop up here and there in throwaway lines (for example with another "mining" reference in 2005/2006 [12]), but never received an official in-depth coverage by Games Workshop.

In the July 2004 omnibus re-issue of the Inquisition War Trilogy author Ian Watson wrote in this edition's introduction:

"[...] For some comic relief, as Shakespeare has a fool in the tragedy of King Lear, so I created Grimm the squat. (Subsequently, I understand that tyranids ate all the squats, which is a shame.) [...]"
- Ian Watson, 18th March 2004[9 introduction]


So clearly by March 2004 at least Games Workshop internally the "Tyranids"-story had been established as the explanation.[9 introduction] It remains however unclear, what official status the "Tyranids story" had before this.

Further on in this re-issue of Inquisition War Trilogy in a "letter" preceding the novel "Draco" the following statement was included by either autor or editors (it had not been present in the original print):

"[...] As to the abhuman, the thread is cut. The accursed hive fleet of the tyranid put paid to that line too long ago. I cannot believe, however, that even a renegade inquisitor, if that is what this Draco really was, would tolerate the presence of such a disgusting mutation. [...]"
- R.[9 Book: Draco, pre-prologue]

This add-on tidbit seems to possibly imply that the supposed devouring of the Squat race had taken place after the events described in the book.

In addition in a post on the old and now deleted company-run forum of Specialist Games a person assumed to be Jervis Johnson (if that is accurate cannot be verified) not much later (on 28 July 2004 to be precise) wrote the following[8]:

"I know I shouldn't get drawn on this... but... can't... resist

Seriously, a couple of points just so you can have an informed debate based on the real reasons that Squats are no longer available. Be warned, it is going to be hard reading for people that like the Squat background.

First of all, Squats were *not* dropped because they were not selling well. There were then, and are now, plenty of other figure ranges that sell in the sort of % quantaties that the Squats pulled down, especially when you look across all of the ranges produced by GW rather than just those for 40K.

No, the reason that the Squats were dropped was because the creatives in the Studio (people like me, Rick, Andy C, Gav etc) felt that we had failed to do the Dwarf 'archetype' justice in its 40K incarnation. From the name of the race (Squats - what *were* we thinking?!?!) through to the short bikers motif, we had managed to turn what was a proud and noble race in Warhammer and the other literary forms where the archetype exists, into a joke race in 40K. We only fully realised what we had done when we were working on the 2nd edition of 40K. Try as we might, we just couldn't work up much enthusiasm for the Squats. The mistake we made then (deeply regreted since) was to leave them in the background and the 'get you by' army list book that appeared. With hindsight, we should have dropped the Squats back then, and saved ourselves a lot of grief later on.

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 tendancy 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.

In the end (and it took years to really get to the roots of the problem) this led to a realisation that we were going to have to drop the Squats in their 'Squat' form from the 40K background. There was little point having a major race that we weren't willing to make an army book for, and their inclusion in the background meant that people kept asking us when we'd do a Squat Codex. Instead we decided that we'd write the Squats out of the background by saying that their Homworlds had been devoured by a Tyranid Hivefleet. This would give us the option in the future to return to making a race based ont he Squat archetype for 40K. This race was given the name of Demiurg, and a certain amount of preliminary work was done to get a 'feel' for what the race would be like. At present the only hint of the Demiurg in 40K is the Demiurg spaceship for BFG. However, we do have this race 'in our back pocket' as a possible new race for 40K, or an interesting character model in Inquisitor, or whatever. So far the Demiurg have lost out to other projects, and it may be that their time never actually comes, as they will have to win through on their merits, not simply because we once made some Squat models in the past. At present, I have to say that it is more lilely that they *don't* make the cut than do, as there is a certain predudice these days to simply taking races from Warhammer and cross them over to 40K like we did in the early days, so it may be that the Squats/Demiurg end up remaining a footnote in the history of the 40K galaxy. Only time will tell...

The second point I'd like to make is about 'old moulds'. In the past, Mail Order in the UK and US used to be the place that we kept all of the retired moulds for Citadel Miniatures, and we used to offer a service where you could order any Citadel Mniature ever made from MO. However, there are now so many of these 'back catalogue' miniatures that it is simply impossible to keep all of the old moulds in Mail Order and offer this service. Instead, we pick and choose which back catalogue miniatures are kept available. At present we're still struggling to produce special catalogues for these ranges (in the US there is the 'Phone Book' catalogue with everything in it, while the UK has special 'collectors guides' that are themed round a race). Once we've ironed out the kinks in the way we deal with the range of collectors models we want to keep permenantly available, the plan is to offer up other parts of the back catalogue for limited periods of time. In effect this will divide the back catalogue into three parts: a range of classic models that are permenantly available, a range of classic models we dip into and bring out for a limited release, and a range of retired models that will no longer be sold either because we've decided that they are embarrassingly bad, or because we are no longer allowed to sell them due to licencing agreement changes. So far we're still slowly working on deciding which classic models we want to keep permenantly available, and its going to take several years to work through just those. The old Squat range is most likely to end up as retired models, I have to say, though there is a good chance that the Squat war engines they could simply into the limited release classic range. Once again, only time will tell...

I'll finish off by saying that whatever we decide to do 'officially', there is nothing stopping players with Squat armies from using them, either in Epic or 40k for that matter. There is no GW 'rule' against using old Citadel Miniatures, as long as you use them with exisiting army lists and in a way that won't cause confusion for other players. I recommend taking a positive stand by saying "Have you seen these cool old models? They're called the Squats and GW used to make them back in the late eighties/early nineties. I love 'em, so I count them as Imperial Guard and use them with the current rules..." Put like this I can't imagine that anyone would stop you from using your army.

Best regards,

"
- Jervis Johnson, Head Fanatic[8]


This forum post (assuming it was really Jervis Johnson writing that of course) now unequivocally stated that "Instead we decided that we'd write the Squats out of the background by saying that their Homworlds [sic] had been devoured by a Tyranid Hivefleet."[8] The only problem with that statement being that apart from Ian Watson's introduction and the second mention in the same book so far no other official source where this "writing out" had actually happened could be found (which does not mean that it does not exist, we just have not found it yet). And we do not know if Ian Watson received his information from Games Workshop/ Black Library directly or if it really had been published someplace else before. But taken together the line at this point was that the Squats were gone, but that they had indeed existed (without obviously taking into account any specific details and implications for the Imperium of the race and quite a sizeable piece of the previously established galactic map close to the Segmentum Solar simply vanishing from the background).

In Dan Abnett's Ravenor novel series in 2006 a shipmaster named Sholto Unwerth made his appearance in the second installment of the series, Ravenor Returned.[34a] He is described as being squat in stature[34b], so "short and broad he looks like a dwarf or mutant, with a flowing crest of hair, a goatee and strange, idiosyncratic speech", his "comical appearance and mannerisms" belying "his intelligence, and his perseverance"[36]. Abnett returns time and again to the diminutive stature of Unwerth: "The shipmaster’s penmanship, like the shipmaster himself, was small and intricate."[34c]; "Unwerth drew himself up to his full height – which put his eyes on a level with Worna’s navel [...]"[34c]; "A nobody midget in a tramp ship."[34c]; "Sholto Unwerth, so small his feet swung off the bench seat and didn’t reach the ground [...]"[34c]; "The runty thing goes by the name of Sholto Unwerth [...]"[34d]; "[Sholto Unwerth:] I am racing as fast as my foreshortened under limbs can go! I am not provided with lissom leggage such as you display, mamzel!"[34e]; "Sholto Unwerth, my erstwhile shipmaster, [...] the little man [...]"[35a];

In Ravenor Rogue, the third novel of the series published in 2007, the name Squats is actually and explicitly mentioned:[35a]

"[...] Unwerth was telling Belknap some long and involved story about his own family history. '...it is much derailed, in places high and low,’ she heard the shipmaster saying, ‘that there ever was a race of beings of the name the squats, and many scholams and those of the high mindful claim it’s just a myth, a thing that never was, but my direst old grand avuncular sweared to me that the Unwerth lineament has some timbre of that blood in it, right back in all perspective, I mean...' [...]"[35b]

So while Abnett ultimately refrains from an outright confirmation (or denial) that Sholto Unwerth is a Squat, it is noteworthy that the term was actually printed at all. Later on in the novel he nevertheless stops one of his characters to utter the name again:[35c]

"[...] 'Still just walking around?' he asked. She nodded. 'Sholto's asleep. Too much numbskull. He's got some great stories. You know, he believes his family is descended from -' 'I'm scared.' she said abruptly."[35c]

Later however Games Workshop took the stance that the Squats never existed - older republished novels have been edited to remove all references of Squats.[Needs Citation] In other cases books have not been republished due to the stories featuring Squat characters or other obsolete races.[Needs Citation]

Sixth Edition to Present Period (2012-present)

Since the Sixth Edition, Squats had begun reappearing in Games Workshop publications. The rulebooks of the sixth[5] and seventh edition.[10] (2012 and 2014 respectively) of Warhammer 40,000 then re-established the Squats as existing in official lore as one of the "officially recognized, abhuman races" (without going into more detail):

"[...] Ratlings (Homo sapiens minimus), Squats (Homo sapiens rotundus), Beastmen (Homo sapiens variatus), Troths (Homo sapiens verdantus), Longshanks (Homo sapiens elongatus), Pelagers (Homo sapiens oceanus), Felinids (Homo sapiens hirsutus) and Neandors (Homo sapiens hyannothus) comprise the remaining classified, and officially recognised, abhuman races. [...]"[5],[10]

But 2012 also saw the release of the novel Pariah: Ravenor vs Eisenhorn, in which author Dan Abnett mentions the Squats as "old legends":[37]

"[...] I glimpsed a tiny figure scurrying down the stairs, just a silhouette backlit by the chandelier below. It looked like an imp or one of the other little people, or like one of the squat-kind in the old legends. [...]"[37]

In 2018, Games Workshop formally reintroduced Squats model-wise into the setting with one Squat mercenary character and miniature in Necromunda: Underhive.[11] In Grendl Grendlsen's back story it is stated that he was a Banner-jarl of the famous Vega Rams mercenary company.[17] The name of this mercenary company could be taken as a direct reference to the Warhammer 40,000: Rogue Trader era, as the Vega Ram Company (without the word "mercenary") is featured with a banner and a symbol in The Book of the Astronomican (1988).[18] It is unknown if this 2018 name choice by Games Workshop is simply a nod to the old lore, an acknowledgment by the game company to the original Squat lore, a real continuation of the old lore or something else althogether.

In 2019 another Squat character for Necromunda: Underhive followed: Ragnir Gunnstein[32], Forge World produced the corresponding model[33]. This Ammo-jack is stated to have come to Necromunda after a "colourful career" and that he had been "in retirement".[32] Furthermore it is written that "few on Necromunda know much about the Squats beyond that they are fierce abhuman warriors"[32] - a possible indicator that Squats are maybe not so rare that nobody has ever heard of them as they certainly seem to have made a reputation for themselves.

Note: add new info that Golgotha is once again a confirmed ex-Squat homeworld, German WD #452

See also

Sources

External links