Squat (Warhammer 40,000)
In the fictional universe of Warhammer 40,000, the Squats are a dwarf-like race descended from the humans that colonised high gravity worlds. Separated from the rest of humanity over the millennia, they evolved their own distinct morphology and culture. Squats were discontinued from the game in the 1990s by Games Workshop though their existence remains somewhat canon. Their omission from the game was explained by a Tyranid invasion of their Home Worlds wiping them out almost to a man. The survivors were then assimilated into the Imperium, however there are rumours that the squats created Tau technology which despite being younger than the Imperium, is more advanced.
Squats evolved from the human miners and explorers sent to reap the mineral wealth at the center of the galaxy. The high gravity environment, combined with the punishing mining conditions eventually changed their morphology. The subsequent generations became gradually shorter and stockier. The Squat Home Worlds were isolated from the rest of humanity during the Age of Isolation. When they were reunited with the rest of the Imperium, wars were launched against them in the belief that they were aliens. Eventually, the Squats were accepted, along with other abhumans, as being human in nature. They are now considered a separate race, though they are fundamentally human.
History of the Squat Home Worlds
The Squat Home Worlds were colonized during the Age of Founding (known to the Imperium as the Dark Age of Technology). The planets were rich in minerals and ores human civilization desperately needed, and so millions of ships full of miners and explorers were sent out. The worlds were high gravity with brutal environments. The settlers dug deep into the bedrock of the planets to survive, and so the first strongholds were born.
The Age of Trade, which lasted for almost three millennia, saw a decrease in the warp storms isolating the Home Worlds. The Squats traded with the Orks and Eldar during this period. The Age of Trade was ended in an enormous attack on the Home Worlds by the Ork Warlord Grunhag the Flayer. The Squats pleaded for assistance from their Eldar trading partners, but were rebuffed. This led to the Squats' enmity against Orks and Eldar that has lasted through the Age of Wars into the current Age of Rediscovery (or Age of the Imperium). The Forces of the Great Crusade launched wars against the Squats in the belief that they were aliens, but eventually the Squats were accepted, along with other abhumans, as being human in nature. The millions of Squat Strongholds spread across their homeworlds joined the Imperium, but continued to retain their autonomy as an independent but allied empire to the Imperium.
The Home Worlds maintained trade and mutual assistance with the Imperium, trading military hardware, allowing Commissar military advisors to join their armies, and sending recruits to the Adeptus Mechanicus. In the forty-first millennium, Tyranid Hive Fleet Behemoth (Citadel Journal 33; "Hundreds of years ago") threatened to sweep through the Home Worlds, capable of destroying the Squats as a power in the galaxy. The council of Ancients decided to unite with humanity to provide a unified front against the Tyranids, and the hundreds of thousands of Squat Homeworlds were integrated by the Imperium (almost tripling its official size) as DaoT protectorates over several centuries before facing off the Tyranids during the attack by Behemoth.
Although the vast majority of the Squat race joined the Imperium, a few Squats remained separated from the council and carried on independently. Some became pirates or mercenaries, others joined the Imperium.
The Squats carried grudges for millennia, and none so strongly as against the race of Orks, who betrayed the Squats on more than one occasion and inflicted many losses upon them in war.
The Squats do not worship the Emperor as a god, but instead (akin to most Space Marines) see him as an extremely talented and powerful mortal. The Squats have their own religion in place of the Imperium-prescribed religion: they worship their own ancestors. They believe their ancestors to be very powerful overseers of their actions, with all Squats having a chance to join them in eternal happiness and share their power to watch over still living Squats. Squats believe that the only way of being refused the chance to join the ancestors is to dishonour themselves by committing a horrible moral crime, such as murder. The souls that are turned away from the ancestors' realm are doomed to wander as ghosts, haunting the living, and urging them not to repeat their mistakes.
Squat technology is based upon the heavy mining equipment they brought with them to the Home Worlds. 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 tunneling 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.
Removal from the game
The Squats have been out of the current games and model production by Games Workshop since the 1990s. The release of the third edition of Warhammer 40,000 in 1998 marked the removal of the final elements of the Squat rules from the game. The last miniatures to be released by Citadel were the Epic Squat war engines (such as the Goliath Mega Cannon) in 1994, though the release of Warhammer 40,000 scale had stopped some four years previously in 1990. Though no new models were released, sales did continue at a low-level through retail stores and through mail order for several years until they were eventually discontinued completely.
In terms of the game background, the Squat Home Worlds were attacked by the Tyranids of a hive fleet. However, the few Squats not on the Home Worlds stayed isolated, typically as either pirates or members of the Imperium's armies. As no actual Squat-specific background material was published after 1993, this pivotal moment in the race's history has only ever been briefly mentioned or referenced, and so not much is known. One can assume however, that as they did not "fit" well as a race into the Imperium, they have been all but removed by a convenient Tyranid Hive fleet, in rather the same way that the Zoats were disposed of.
It is generally believed that they are the major victim of Games Workshop's attempts to make Warhammer 40,000 a totally original setting and not just Warhammer Fantasy in space. The Squats had thrived in early Warhammer 40,000's dark but slightly silly atmosphere - where characters and planets were named after pop singers and cake manufacturers. Games Workshop's official stance, however, is that the Squats were dropped because they felt dissatisfied with their established background and army design.
Squat miniatures go for relatively high prices on eBay and fans reportedly bombard the games developers regularly with what is called "the Squat Question". Many other model making companies have been producing space dwarf models for a long time. Some players have written their own rules for Warhammer 40K so Squat armies can be played. However popular this trend has proven to be, the official ruling from Games Workshop is that only 40K miniatures can be used in GW stores and GW-sponsored tournaments.
A statement on why the Squats were dropped was given by games designer Jervis Johnson on 28 July 2004. In a Squat-themed thread on a popular Warhammer 40,000 message board, he posted an official response to the Squat Question. Summarising, Johnson said the race was removed from the Warhammer 40,000 universe for the following reasons:
- The designers felt that they "had failed to do the Dwarf 'archetype' justice in its 40K incarnation", and that the Squats were more of a joke race.
- There existed a design disparity with the Warhammer 40,000 and the Epic-scale renditions of the race, which prevented there being a cohesive vision of the race.
- Despite the efforts of the design team, they were unable to think up ways to revitalize the concept.
Jervis Johnson's statement also confirms that the Demiurg began as an effort to re-think the concept of Squats, after their annihilation, and that the concept might one day be expanded on.
Some people still use Squat models in their armies, adapting the rules of one of the game's supported races in order to play with them. Although Squats are no longer in the game, traces of them can still be found in Warhammer 40,000 fiction. Squats are mentioned in the third edition Ork codex, though only by nickname. Squats also get a small mention in Dawn of War Tempest, where it describes a librarian carrying an unusual force-axe that was recovered from the planet Dorian Prime, a world lost for millennia behind warp storms, where once normal human citizens had become stunted and malformed by gravitational effects, their metal working skills were beyond compare. The planet has been lost to the galaxy again, due to warp storms. The trilogy The Inquisition Wars also features a motor-tricycle riding squat named Grimm as part of the retinue of the protagonist, Jaq Draco.
- Ansell, Bryan (1989). Warhammer 40,000 Compendium. Nottingham: Games Workshop. ISBN 1-869893-71-9.
- Priestley, Rick (1992). DIE ,000 Battle Manual. Nottingham: Games Workshop. ISBN 1-872372-53-8.
- Squat stronghold at Epic scale
- Explanations from Jervis Johnson on Specialist Games forum (now defunct); quoted in full at warseer.com among others
- Troke, Adam; et al. (2012). Warhammer 40,000 (6th ed.). Nottingham: Games Workshop. ISBN 1-907964-79-7 ISBN 978-1907964794.