Tomes of the Librarius – Apocrypha: Squats

Hello 40k (and 30k) fans! Chris Morgan, Chief Librarian of the Forge the Narrative Podcast, is here again with the next weekly segment of Tomes of the Librarius. Also, check the Tactics Corner for more great articles!

Just as a reminder, in this series we will explore facets of the history and legends of the Grimdark. This is meant to be an easy summary and introduction geared towards new players or people unfamiliar with the setting, but should still be an interesting read or fun refresher for those already familiar. There’s so much detail in this lore that a bare summary seems so inadequate, but for new people this should be the right portion to get a feel for the history of the universe we enjoy our games in.

I’ve been occupied with dwarfs lately, and that led me to today’s topic. Squats! There are few things in the 40k universe or community that have generated as much controversy or bad jokes as Squats have. A forgotten relic of an older edition of the game, for newer players the squats are kind of like an inside joke that takes a long time to explain. So, with that in mind, I figured we may as well explore this legend of 40k.

Who Were the Squats?

The squats were, in the time that they existed in the lore, a species of abhuman. Their worlds were located near the core of the galaxy, and were all mineral-rich. When the Dark Age of Technology happened and humanity was divided across the stars with no outside contact, many individual empires and kingdoms emerged. It was the same with the Squat kingdoms, which evolved into a series of Engineer’s guilds. As the warp storms that cut off the disparate fragments of humanity abated, the squats opened up trade and began to encounter many of the other races in the galaxy, such as the orks and the Eldar. The rich mineral wealth of the squat worlds and the dangers of the galaxy necessitated the creation of incredible strongholds. Many races decided it was easier to bargain for the wealth of these worlds instead of trying to conquer them. So it was when the Imperium encountered the strongholds.

The Squats and the Imperium

In the early lore, the squats were like many other abhumans. They were integrated into the Imperium, though with a higher degree of autonomy than most due to their technological  and martial prowess. They contributed soldiers to the Imperium, and their war machines reflected their lives at home. Industrial equipment was heavily weaponized and brought to the various warfronts of the galaxy at war. One such weapon of war was the fabled Land Train.

So, What Happened?

In the lore, the big ‘answer’ for why the squats disappeared came from vague references to the coreworlds being consumed by the Tyranids. If that’s the case, the Tyranids managed to eat every reference to the abhuman race that would persist into the lore of 40k. They were edited out of older texts and novels, and erased nearly completely from all but the memories of those who played them. So far as official reasons go, anecdotal interviews with designers indicated that there wasn’t enough about Squats that made them different from the rest of the Imperium’s catalog, so they were discontinued. Either way, their disappearance gave birth to the term ‘squatted’ for anything that was retconned or removed from the game or lore going forward. Until the Necromunda announcement of a Squat mercenary, there was no indication that there would ever be squats in the game again, though the release of Kharadron Overlords was often heralded as the ultimate nod to the legacy of the Squats in 40k.

So, Now You Know!

Are there any old squat players out there who still have these ancient models? Would you like to see more squats in the game? Let me know in the comments!


Captain Morgan

And remember, Frontline Gaming sells gaming products at a discount, every day in their webcart!



About Chris Morgan

40K philosopher, LVO Judge, Chief Librarian of Forge the Narrative, Blood Angel enthusiast extraordinaire, and slayer of traitors, xenos, and heretics; I'd rather be playing 30k right now or neck-deep in a good book. Follow me on my FB page - Captain Morgan's Librarius
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3 years ago

I use my squats as counts as imperial guard. My bikers stand in as rough riders. I am in the process of making a shadow sword look like a squat superheavy. Eventually I will have a stand in for a Colossus, Leviathan and Cyclops

Nathan Schattman
Nathan Schattman
3 years ago

I have a ton of Squat infantry, bikes, trikes, mole mortars, and thud guns. My Rogue Trader Defense force (ie Vostroyans) uses the artillery.

Would love your thoughts, please comment.x