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Author Topic: Tau Kor'or'vesh Commerce Protection Fleet draft rules for BFG  (Read 119221 times)

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Offline lastspartacus

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Re: Tau Kor'or'vesh Commerce Protection Fleet draft rules for BFG
« Reply #405 on: November 23, 2010, 01:25:23 PM »
On other random things:

I'll never buy that such a specialized ship as the Protector, that suffers from a variety of factors going against it, the only positive being, yes, an impressive long-ish range alpha strike for a vessel its size, on one target, will ever be worth or equal to the cost of a Lunar or carnage.

On the viorla, any thoughts on either locking the lances and subtracting 2 from the battery, or 4 from the battery and not locking the lances?
Both seems really harsh.

The launch bay is a fun little thing on the Protector, but was it costed with the thought in mind that it was much less effective in singles besides CAP protection?  Honestly, if losing it made the ship cheaper, I'd go for that variant in a heartbeat.

What else...would 30cm tracking systems be OP on the Custodian?  20cm sound about right?

Purely fluff related here, to the HA's or anyone who knows:  What is the disc function on the Custodian?  My first thought was a rotating wheel for fighter craft, but it was suggested that perhaps it is the tracking system.  If the HA can confirm its the former, I want to model some FW craft on it :)

It may be too late in the draft to turn some hearts to the idea, but I'm certainly for the inclusion of tigersharks over mantas in the kororvesh.
Gives it some more diversity from korvattra, and tigersharks are much more military aligned vessels in general than mantas.
A manta wouldn't even fit through the Custodian's launch bay! :)

Offline Sigoroth

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Re: Tau Kor'or'vesh Commerce Protection Fleet draft rules for BFG
« Reply #406 on: November 23, 2010, 01:28:49 PM »
I disagree totally with the logic that 'if they can build bigger, they would'. There are a multitude of reasons why you might want to build a smaller ship that have nothing to do with maneuverability. Having lots of small ships over a few large ships is a valid strategy. Technological restraints on power systems, weapon sizes, construction methods or materials could all force smaller construction. Limited supply of resources, components or crew may also necessitate low HP ships. The physics of their construction, the relation of their moment of inertia to their wingspan and distance from thrusters to center of mass, might dictate a specific mass to thrust ratio to maintain relatively quick turns.

Every single one of these points fits the Custodian just as well as an 8 hit Protector. Also, we could just as easily say that due to specific technological restraints the Custodian can only move 10cm and turn every 2nd game turn. You could explain just about any fucked up ruling with rubbish like this. The point is that there is a justification for cruiser status turning circle. There is no justification for 90 Custodian turns.

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I would much prefer to see a gameplay reason why 90* is overpowered on the custodian rather than some arbitrary, retconned fluff that is no more true or logical than any other fictional reason.

Of the two arguments I highlighted earlier, the one in favour of the CG status is by far the more convincing and logical. It is the harder one to refute, because it is made from connecting logical statements and demonstrable premises. The argument for 90 turns can be dismissed by simply saying they (the Tau) simply don't have the technology to do that, sorry. Denied.

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Just to clarify, I'm not coming at this from the point of view that custodians need/deserve 90* turns; I just want to find out why you think why not. Although if you still believe that your explanation is the only possible one we may just have to agree to disagree.

Well, it isn't the only possible one, just the only reasonable one. My argument doesn't require that the punter swallow some horseshit about how the Tau can do 90 in 6 or 10 hits but not 8, or the even more laughable notion that the Tau really don't want to have good ships. I mean, come on, they want 6 hit ships? What a croc. With less hits they'll lose combat effectiveness quicker, and get destroyed easier. They'll lose more lives and have to build more ships and train more personnel. Where's the efficiency there?

Now, AGAIN, if the Protector were 8 hits then the rationale for giving the fleet 90 would not necessarily have to sit with a mass trade-off. It could simply be a Tau technological ability. However, this WOULD presuppose a level of drive tech greater than that of the IN. In which case I put it to you that no capital ship in this fleet would have a 90 turn at all. This is because a good deal of people did not buy the idea that the Tau could have progressed to a superior than IN level in such a short time. These doubters included the HA. So that 'retconned fluff' as you called are what got the 90 turns on the Protector and Emissary in the first place (along with a good deal of persistence from many people). Now you want to dismiss that out of hand as being of no more value than the off-the-cuff rationalisations you spout here?

Now, this is an important point to remember. The difference between justification and rationalisation. A justification is a reason why som[ething should be a certain way. A rationalisation is a reason why something could be a certain way. A justification is stronger than a rationalisation. Rationalisations aren't always bad, though when offered as an argument for something in the face of reasonable reasons against that thing then they are bad.

So far no justifications have been offered as to why the Custodian warrants 90. That doesn't mean that none exist, but so far the cruiser turning circle is by far the stronger argument.

Assuming that there is some justification for the 90 Custodian that is not accounted for here (such as a mention of Tau space ships astounding manoeuvrability in some GW codex without excepting the Custodian) then both arguments would become equal in value. Each would require some rationalisation and each would have some justification. Now, under that scenario, upon reflection I would prefer a 45 Custodian. This is because I prefer the notion that the largest ship in the fleet struggles to keep up with the lithe agile Protector and must take specific action (ie, special orders) to do so.

Offline horizon

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Re: Tau Kor'or'vesh Commerce Protection Fleet draft rules for BFG
« Reply #407 on: November 23, 2010, 01:32:06 PM »

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Because it has broadsides. Duh.
Crap reason. The Custodian has better broadsides then the Excorcist (6RG + 1IC = 6 + 3 = 9RG/WB)
(I made a mistake in above post, the Custodian has 12 RG in the latest draft, not 8!

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Broadside and 45 has an easier time bringing its weapons to bear than 90* and forward firing, as has been stated before.
How will it be overpowered horizon? Man, feels like I've written that question out alot 0.o
Prow on firepower ships are easier to use then broadside ship on the attack run. Skilled players will equal this.
If you do not see the overpowered factor of it I am lost. ;)

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Sig, I really can't say anything more to the 'I'm right because I am' idea of logic, but I'll repeat what I and others have said in previous threads have said, for progeny:

The kororvesh is a completely different fleet from korvattra. There is no reason to ever compare the two except to show the dramatic directions tau have gone away from it. It is newer, more advanced, might as well be almost a different 'race'.
The entirely new hull designs, as travsi and myself have said, are a unique hull design that is more fragile but is better suited for turns.
Ha! It is different and it doesn't need 90* on a Custodian to show so! It is still Tau by all means. Please. :)

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I shouldnt even use the phrase 'more fragile' because it implies that they had to sacrifice something.
They did!! They sacrificied mass on their ships!

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By your logic, why don't we fight the game using all battleships? Its because that is not practical, in a fluff or gameplay sense. Tau built their kororvesh ships for a purpose, not to set them on weight scales with their counterparts of any specific race. 'Tau have a cruiser called the Protector, it is of lighter build than what the Imperium dubs as their own cruisers' is all that needs to be said of the comparison.

Its all about the hull design. There is nothing convoluted or faulty in that statement, except that it doesn't seem to be to your liking, for some reason. It gives a cool racial trait to the Tau. The Custodian still has to move 50% further than the Protector to execute its turn due to larger mass. Its lovely in its layout.
But the Grand Cruiser status is enough! Go on, propose the Custodian design with 90* on warseer, dakka dakka, yahoo, librarium online, TacCom, etc and see what comes out of it. If you get a 70-30 positive feedback I shake ya hand. :)


--warning---

Offline Sigoroth

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Re: Tau Kor'or'vesh Commerce Protection Fleet draft rules for BFG
« Reply #408 on: November 23, 2010, 01:38:46 PM »
Sig, I really can't say anything more to the 'I'm right because I am' idea of logic, but I'll repeat what I and others have said in previous threads have said, for progeny:

Oh, I'm right because I am. Right. So, it has nothing to do with carefully drawn minimum equivalencies, extrapolative reasoning and a reasoned and progressive argument that is hard to refute in either its premises or conclusion. Oh yes, I can see how "I want a 90 Custodian! I want it I want it I want it! Gimme!" is just as valuable. Sure, what was I thinking. Why did I even bother putting in so much time and effort to connect all the dots and come up with an argument. Silly me.

Offline horizon

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Re: Tau Kor'or'vesh Commerce Protection Fleet draft rules for BFG
« Reply #409 on: November 23, 2010, 01:39:14 PM »
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I'll never buy that such a specialized ship as the Protector, that suffers from a variety of factors going against it, the only positive being, yes, an impressive long-ish range alpha strike for a vessel its size, on one target, will ever be worth or equal to the cost of a Lunar or carnage.
Your loss. I'll whip a Lunars *** any day with any of the Protector variants.Give me one key point on which the Lunar could win. The Carnage will be a more balanced battle, but the Protecor wins, in 2 vs 2 match even more.

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On the viorla, any thoughts on either locking the lances and subtracting 2 from the battery, or 4 from the battery and not locking the lances?
Both seems really harsh.
I call one variant with 4/2/2 railguns and 1/1 IC (swing arcs @ 30cm or 45cm locked).

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The launch bay is a fun little thing on the Protector, but was it costed with the thought in mind that it was much less effective in singles besides CAP protection? Honestly, if losing it made the ship cheaper, I'd go for that variant in a heartbeat.
I wouldn't. Perfect Raider layout. 1 fighter to eliminate enemy cap! No cap present, Manta harassment.

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What else...would 30cm tracking systems be OP on the Custodian? 20cm sound about right?
20cm is fine. :)

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Purely fluff related here, to the HA's or anyone who knows: What is the disc function on the Custodian? My first thought was a rotating wheel for fighter craft, but it was suggested that perhaps it is the tracking system. If the HA can confirm its the former, I want to model some FW craft on it
Email the designer (I did ;) ).

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It may be too late in the draft to turn some hearts to the idea, but I'm certainly for the inclusion of tigersharks over mantas in the kororvesh.
Gives it some more diversity from korvattra, and tigersharks are much more military aligned vessels in general than mantas.
Fine.

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A manta wouldn't even fit through the Custodian's launch bay!
Uhm.. yes they would. The Custodian has 4 launch bays for Manta's modelled on it. The large squares.

Offline lastspartacus

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Re: Tau Kor'or'vesh Commerce Protection Fleet draft rules for BFG
« Reply #410 on: November 23, 2010, 02:02:52 PM »
Oh, do those fit mantas out of em?  They look big on the FW site, I don't own any mantas yet. 
I actually propose, for tigersharks, they use the fighter bomber rules that Horizon directed me to, posted by Ray B.
I don't THINK that would warrant a points change, but that depends on how people value resilient bombers.  From the space marine thread, apparently alot.

Who exactly is the designer, Horizon?

I forgot that yall are still using the standard torp rules.  My group plays on the assumption that a fighter squadron will not always be able to take out 9 equal speed football-field sized objects that dont stop to engage ;) (d6 torps removed per fighter marker)
But ya, I'm not denying its handy, just not the main focus, ya know.  I can be a min/maxer sometimes.

As to the other points, I don't think I can state my points any clearer, and the replies are on a steady degradation of anything beyond slander and fallacy.

So I really will just leave it to the HA's to decipher and pick through, and please respond so we can decipher and pick you apart :)

And once again, someone please come put their money where their mouth is and schedule a game against me.  I can be swayed with results.

Offline horizon

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Re: Tau Kor'or'vesh Commerce Protection Fleet draft rules for BFG
« Reply #411 on: November 23, 2010, 02:48:11 PM »
Not so, the Custodian could do a broadside duel with Excorcist. It would win due more ordnance. Prow on the Custodian will be much more effective, and thus avoid the broadside duel.

Mind you: I would agree with a prow deflector on the Custodian (pd has nothing to do with hull shape!).

The Custodian main focus would be to support vessels with TS, yes. But not all the time.

Reasoning that it should do a 90* turn to maximise it TS is like reasoning to give the Emperor BB 20cm speed so it will be able to keep up, and turn along, with attendant cruisers, if it has blastmarker on it.

Offline Trasvi

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Re: Tau Kor'or'vesh Commerce Protection Fleet draft rules for BFG
« Reply #412 on: November 23, 2010, 03:10:53 PM »
^^ Sorry, i deleted my post because I took so long to post it it had become irrelevant.

For those who missed it; Custodian's full firepower probably won't be brought to bear against any target that can cross it's T, because of the weak front armor compared to protector. Protector doesn't care if it's abeam or closing to the enemy, the damage it takes will be roughly the same. Custodian takes twice the damage if closing than abeam because it lacks 6+ armor.
And, the Custodian should be able to kill the Exorcist. Its 100pts more expensive!

Sigoroth: why does the Emissary exist? By your reasoning, every race should always build ships as big as they possibly could and still get the same maneuverability. The emissary doesn't fit that profile. I believe the Tau's design philosophy simply dictates 2 less hits than equivalent imperial ships in exchange for additional turns: a Kor'o'vesh Grand Cruiser would be 10HP, 90*.
Also; don't the Tau have better technology? The Tau codex seems to imply this. Perhaps not in the area of Warp travel, but otherwise (pulse rifles, railguns, ion cannon, widespread use of grav tanks, better plasma).


Perhaps 90* turns would be overpowered, but I don't think it is an impossible design for the Tau.

Offline lastspartacus

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Re: Tau Kor'or'vesh Commerce Protection Fleet draft rules for BFG
« Reply #413 on: November 23, 2010, 03:11:17 PM »
Gah, why do you tempt me back with such statements?  I didn't know I was a fruit tree, but my cherries sure are being picked! :)

Hey, focus on the real questions I had, help me out.  The ones not having to do with the big debate. :p

And if an Emperor had tracking systems, which it doesn't and is a wierd comparison, then you might want to go on burn retros.
« Last Edit: November 23, 2010, 03:14:26 PM by lastspartacus »

Offline Sigoroth

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Re: Tau Kor'or'vesh Commerce Protection Fleet draft rules for BFG
« Reply #414 on: November 23, 2010, 04:31:38 PM »
Sigoroth: why does the Emissary exist? By your reasoning, every race should always build ships as big as they possibly could and still get the same maneuverability. The emissary doesn't fit that profile. I believe the Tau's design philosophy simply dictates 2 less hits than equivalent imperial ships in exchange for additional turns: a Kor'o'vesh Grand Cruiser would be 10HP, 90*.
Also; don't the Tau have better technology? The Tau codex seems to imply this. Perhaps not in the area of Warp travel, but otherwise (pulse rifles, railguns, ion cannon, widespread use of grav tanks, better plasma).

Why do BBs exist? If they're not better than 8 hit or 6 hit ships, why bother with them at all? Of course they're better. They are not, however, as manoeuvrable or versatile as cruisers. The Hero is a great line cruiser. Why would the Tau mess with that? Because they want more manoeuvrability. Why isn't the Custodian bigger? Because they want manoeuvrability. Why is the Emissary the size it is? Well, here there are obvious fluff reasons (as a diplomatic vessel it shouldn't be too threatening nor represent a tremendous investment of resources, etc), but a more pressing reason that I can think of would be that it would sacrifice mass to gain speed. This ship should be 25cm. Makes sense. If something goes wrong then you'd want it to be able to bug out as fast as possible. It is even lighter than the Protector and so presumably it gains something for this loss, even as an incidental gain.

As for better technology, I can see how someone might argue that they do have better, or rather, how they could have surpassed the IN in the amount of time given (what, 400 odd years?) considering that they're a precocious race that develops unnaturally quickly. However, not everyone will buy that argument. It's a judgement call. Some may believe that they're that advanced, others that they're not. The argument for CG status does not rely upon such a judgement call. It relies upon demonstrable parity. In other words, this is what the Custodian should get at the very minimum.

Now, let's say that you're of the opinion that Tau have advanced beyond the IN. Well, you could then suggest 90 for the Custodian. But you would have to overcome the hiccup that is the 6 hit Protector. In other words, why didn't the Tau just make a 90 Hero (very successful ship design) instead of a lighter ship. Rationalisations just don't cut it here. But OK, I'll offer an alternative (this is the sort of thing the 90 Custodian camp should have been proposing). So, instead of the Protector trading hits for increased turn rate (since we know the heavier Custodian can do this it would already have 90 at 8 hits) it trades hits for speed. Give it +5cm speed. Make the Emissary 30cm. Huzzah, we have an internally consistent 90 advanced Tau fleet.

Right, now with that sort of suggestion my consistency argument falls away. However, the argument for CG status is still easier to accept since it doesn't depend upon the idea that the Tau are advanced, therefore more people are likely to accept it. We don't know that they're not more advanced, but we don't know that they are. We do know that they're not less advanced, and this is all the CG argument requires.

Now, assuming that there was no general opposition to the notion that the Tau are more advanced, so people are either ambivalent or split down the middle or would just want a coin toss to decide, etc, my own personal preference, after some consideration, is for the 45 CG status.

Three different things here. One is an internal consistency argument, one is a plausibility argument and one is personal preference. Obviously only the first 2 need to be addressed by reasoning.

Offline horizon

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Re: Tau Kor'or'vesh Commerce Protection Fleet draft rules for BFG
« Reply #415 on: November 23, 2010, 07:56:26 PM »
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For those who missed it; Custodian's full firepower probably won't be brought to bear against any target that can cross it's T, because of the weak front armor compared to protector. Protector doesn't care if it's abeam or closing to the enemy, the damage it takes will be roughly the same. Custodian takes twice the damage if closing than abeam because it lacks 6+ armor.
And, the Custodian should be able to kill the Exorcist. Its 100pts more expensive!
First you got to cross the T.  Enjoy your unopposed walk there...

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Sigoroth: why does the Emissary exist? By your reasoning, every race should always build ships as big as they possibly could and still get the same maneuverability. The emissary doesn't fit that profile. I believe the Tau's design philosophy simply dictates 2 less hits than equivalent imperial ships in exchange for additional turns: a Kor'o'vesh Grand Cruiser would be 10HP, 90*.
By all means you did not understand a single word mainly Sigoroth and I said regarding the design philosophy.

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Also; don't the Tau have better technology? The Tau codex seems to imply this. Perhaps not in the area of Warp travel, but otherwise (pulse rifles, railguns, ion cannon, widespread use of grav tanks, better plasma).
Ypu forget that the Tau are only new to space. Yes, they made advancements. In some areas they surpassed the Imperial Tech, in other areas they are behind (eg teleports). But they are still a young race in the space race.
In space Railguns are the same as Weapon Batteries, Ion Cannon the same Lances.

The 90* on the Protector (miniaturization advancement) is a major Tau leap in the Space Race.

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Perhaps 90* turns would be overpowered, but I don't think it is an impossible design for the Tau.
Yes it would be at this point in time (999m41), in a future it might be possible (add hundreds of years).

Offline lastspartacus

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Re: Tau Kor'or'vesh Commerce Protection Fleet draft rules for BFG
« Reply #416 on: November 23, 2010, 10:56:03 PM »
A wizard did it.  Seriously though, I hold to the simple 'the hull design does it' philosophy, and looking at the models, it works in my mind.

Your compromise though I have no real objection to, I was just trying to change as little as possible, for the purists.
To clarify, you are saying 90* turns and +5cm?

I agree with this for the same reasons I'm ok with the ridiculous Eldar speed, who are essentially Tau taken even further down the path:
Kororvesh are a fragile, alpha strike fleet.  They need to deliver their payload first and hard, or face retribution.  Aka, you want alot of braced or crippled ships, or it will be trouble.  Currently, there are fleets that can bring tougher and cheaper ships to alpha strike range faster.
So yes, I could accept faster kororvesh ships.  Synergises with the Castellans as well actually, now that I think about it.
And yay, Emissary is  a real diplomatic vessel, 2 birds with 1 stone.  Prolly should go up 10 points though.


Offline Sigoroth

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Re: Tau Kor'or'vesh Commerce Protection Fleet draft rules for BFG
« Reply #417 on: November 24, 2010, 02:39:51 AM »
A wizard did it.  Seriously though, I hold to the simple 'the hull design does it' philosophy, and looking at the models, it works in my mind.

Your compromise though I have no real objection to, I was just trying to change as little as possible, for the purists.
To clarify, you are saying 90* turns and +5cm?

I'm saying that this would make your argument for the 90 Custodian internally consistent, thereby removing that objection to it. I still believe it to be the weaker argument though, since it requires more latitude from everyone. If there was general consensus that the Tau really have surpassed the IN in this regard, and I don't hold that it's impossible, then your position would gain strength.

I don't maintain that it would be impossible for the Tau to have advanced to this state and I might even suggest that, while it's a little dubious, we allow it anyway since it isn't likely that we're going to get a third Tau fleet showing them at their pinnacle. The look of the FW Tau fleet is very much akin to that of the 40k Tau, so having them play at their pinnacle seems fine from that regard.

However, there are many people that do not concur. They're not a "little" dubious they're a LOT dubious. Let's face it, if we were going to make this fleet epitomise the feel of Tau we'd give it a lot of 60 to 90 cm weaponry as well as 90 turns and average to decent speeds (ie, Chaos level).

So, while we have the look of the models, a desire to have at least one Tau fleet truly reflect their 40k feel and a fear that this is the only opportunity to achieve that on the one hand, on the other hand we have the notion that they really aren't there yet, in the time frame we're given. We could maybe say that this isn't actually the current Tau fleet, but rather one that they'll come up with in a few hundred more years ... so it'll become playable just as soon as the fluff has caught up ...

Either way, the CG status Custodian is the minimum buff that it should get, even if you assume that the Tau only have parity with the IN. Therefore less opposition, and fits in with the 'bridging' fleet feel, which is what we're going to get anyway, given that we're limited to 45cm guns after all.
« Last Edit: November 24, 2010, 02:42:21 AM by Sigoroth »

Offline lastspartacus

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Re: Tau Kor'or'vesh Commerce Protection Fleet draft rules for BFG
« Reply #418 on: November 24, 2010, 03:02:37 AM »
Just looking at the pictures of the ships, Sig, what do you find faulty about the statement 'The way those ships are laid out, they look less thick, but also look like they would be really good at turning'?

I believe its a matter of design philosophy over available technology.  I don't believe the Imperials, based on their brute tactics, would ever dare to alter their hulls to produce a more elegant and efficient layout if it meant less bulky vessels.  That isn't the same as not having the technology to theoretically do so.

That said, I actually like the idea that the humans, with their stagnant dark age technology, have advantages that few races can match, despite their horrible misuse of what they have.  I'd be happy if Tau never figured out how to shoot at 60cm and the like, give those know-it-all blue boys something to fume about :)

Thats why I don't expect the fleet to play like the army, just as many BFG races function very differently in space.
I just know how Tau would want to operate, and I see their ability to making it happen.

@Horizon, using the Lunar was a bad example, will stick to chaos.  Chaos have better individual ships, imperials win with team work.
My math doesn't support the Protector statistically winning, but 25cm speed would at least mean the Carnage didn't always have the initiative.
And I have through the math come to believe it is a bit better than I initially thought, but rather than a 170 point ship, a 175 or 180 point ship.
Just a smidge pricey. 

Things so far we are agreed on:
Custodian needs 4th shield or prow deflector (I've come to like the prow deflector idea better myself.)
Cruiser status or 90* turns (As much as I think it would be a missed oppurtunity, cruiser status is certainly better than current.)
Tracking system increase to 20cm on Custodian.
Viorla variant negatives a tad harsh.
Speed buff on one or two vessels.

Think thats it right now.

Offline Sigoroth

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Re: Tau Kor'or'vesh Commerce Protection Fleet draft rules for BFG
« Reply #419 on: November 24, 2010, 03:28:39 AM »
Just looking at the pictures of the ships, Sig, what do you find faulty about the statement 'The way those ships are laid out, they look less thick, but also look like they would be really good at turning'?

I think I have been very clear. There is an internal consistency problem with the Custodian having 90 turns unless you give the Protector something else (like speed) for its lost mass. That is not to say that I don't think that they shouldn't get a turning bonus. I've argued that the Custodian should turn like a cruiser, not a BB (which it is in role). So I don't have a problem with Tau having better turns. And assuming a 5cm speed boost to the Protector (10 to Emissary) I don't even have a consistency problem. I don't even think that these changes taken together (+10cm Em, +5cm Prot, 90 Cust) are terribly unreasonable or even unbalancing (with proper points costs).

I do however think that it is a harder case to make than the cruiser turn status and +5cm Emissary, and would require convincing a lot more people on both fluff grounds (to which there are considerable objections) and on balance grounds (which are a separate set of objections). Therefore the cruiser status is the stronger case. As for personal preference, I just like that the Tau's main response unit is the Protector, and that the Custodian has to really work to keep up with this nimble predator.

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Things so far we are agreed on:
Custodian needs 4th shield or prow deflector (I've come to like the prow deflector idea better myself.)

Agreed.

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Cruiser status or 90* turns (As much as I think it would be a missed oppurtunity, cruiser status is certainly better than current.)

Definitely needs a buff.

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Tracking system increase to 20cm on Custodian.

Yes, I think 20cm should just be enough. Perhaps some play testing is required.

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Viorla variant negatives a tad harsh.

I say drop the variant altogether. The Hero has a variant because it's possible to easily model one. The Protector is a one piece resin ship. Modelling a variant would be difficult, so not fair on the consumer and not modelling it would make them indistinguishable, so not fair on the opponent.

Same sort of argument for the Emissary, though I believe it would be easier to model a hook variant versus a lance variant. Either way, I think that this should be modelled by one of the HA and a picture (or at least schematic) included in the pdf. The fighter variant is rubbish anyway (I'd go 3 torps + 1 fighter for each anyway).

So I think no variant for the Protector, and only a lance or hook variant for the Emissary.

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Speed buff on one or two vessels.

I believe the Emissary really needs to be 25cm and 90, not the either/or that the HA loves. This ship is really really small. It sacrifices more than the Protector in terms of mass. It really is more like an escort (ala Dauntless). It would merely have parity with the IN, not even that actually (Dauntless is heavier and quicker on AAF) and as a diplomatic vessel speed and agility really fit the bill.

If we're looking at a (basically) free 90 for the fleet as a Tau rule then I think the mass loss needs to be picked up elsewhere, so a further 5cm speed increase to the Emissary and Protector.