"You are so brave and quiet I forget you are suffering."
- – Ernest Hemingway
"Be empty, still, idle, and from your place of darkness observe the defects of others. See, but do not appear to see; listen, but do not appear to listen; know, but do not let it be known that you know."
- – Han Fei
"It is a fate they justly deserve. In truth, there can be no escape from the doom they have brought upon themselves."
- – White Dwarf, February 2017
The Eldar (now spelled Aeldar in the Tome of the Retconian, AKA Patentus Friendlius Renamian) are one of the playable armies in Warhammer 40,000. They are essentially elves ported directly from Tolkien into space, pointy ears and all, and as a result, are often called 'Elfdar' by fa/tg/uys. Which is retarded, because the term 'Eldar' itself is already pulled straight out of Tolkien, being one of the many names the Tolkien Elves use to refer to themselves (appropriately enough, it means "people of the [light of the] stars").
They are one of the oldest races in the galaxy and have very advanced technology (being psychic-based their tech actually resembles literal techno-sorcery more than any technology humanity would be familiar with) and highly developed psychic abilities, but ages of warfare and strife, and in particular one extremely devastating and painfully avoidable strife, have reduced their population from the galaxy-spanning empires of the past to the few surviving Craftworlds, Maiden Worlds, and Exodite Worlds still present in the 41st millennium. The Ynnari have already brought back many dead Aeldari, but we have yet to see how much these ghost elves have boosted their numbers.
In the 40k game, the Eldar army is comprised of specialized units that excel at a particular task, as opposed to more general all-rounders like the Space Marine tactical squads. Their vehicles are almost all skimmers too, with the exception of War Walkers. The Eldar also have a few special tricks up their mystical elfy sleeves, like Webway travel and wraith-constructs, which are wraithbone suits that are controlled by the souls of dead Eldar. It's like a Space Marine Dreadnought in purpose, only the Dreadnought pilot is merely a cripple while the wraith-construct's 'pilot' is a straight-up ghost. The Avatar of Khaine, one of the Eldar's most powerful units, is a giant monster made of lava that used to be the penis of a war-god, and is infamous for spelling near certain defeat for whoever's side it is on the moment it is summoned.
In spite of their fall, from being a colossal empire that ruled the stars and heavens alike when Mankind was still poking things with sticks and roasting dead animals over fires in caves to their current state (a dying, elegiac race slowly being whittled down to extinction by combat losses and the hunger of Slaanesh), their utter disdain for every single bit of non-Eldarin life remains completely unchanged. The race as a whole has a superiority complex that would put Failbaddon to shame. They often try to act indirectly, subtly manipulating events to resolve in their favor, but they seem to rarely ever succeed. Even on the rare occasions when they win, GW will eventually, somewhere down the road turn it around into a crushing defeat, just for lulz. Best of all, their ruined plans are usually caused by their own arrogance. They cannot comprehend that non-Eldar have their own minds and agendas. So, when their puppets simply do something more beneficial to themselves than the Eldar (or figure out the spelves’ plan and purposely co-op or smash it), the elves are left in total shock. It doesn’t help them that the main species of the galaxy have their own future perceiving methods as well...and that no one trusts them due to their dickery and so when they show up, everyone tries to screw them over. Everyone.
The Eldar, Imperium of Man and the Tau represent the three, repeating stages of civilization; the Eldar are the former, fallen, power, with the Imperium being the present power, who are now following in the Eldar races footsteps, and the Tau are the rising power, who will rise to prominence (if they can survive long enough) but eventually fall just like those that came before them. The Eldar have already lived through their own destruction, and are well aware of the dark path that Mankind now blindly walks.
The Eldar are the faction that look so cool and have such sweet lore and awesome tech that’d you’d totally play them and love them if their personality didn’t make you hope they get eaten by Tyranids.
Origins and the Eldar EmpireEdit
- "I watched as the First Ones encouraged the younger race to reach further into the other realm, and with their vibrant minds and passionate souls create beings of power to fight the star gods. ...Without the wisdom and might of the First Ones I saw The Elder's warp-beings evolve from sentient weapons into living gods - the first true gods of the Immaterium."
- – 'Echoes of the Birth' - Liber Chaotica volume 2
Much of Eldar history has been lost and is consequently closer to mythology than fact. Even the Eldar themselves are unsure of the details. What they do know is that they were one of many races either created or uplifted by the Old Ones to fight against the C'tan and their minions at the time, the Necrontyr. The only knowledge of their homeworld that the Eldar have is that they had one and that it had three moons. They were designed to be powerful psykers to take advantage of the C'tan's weakness to the powers of the Warp. In their infancy as a race, the Eldar learned how to create Warp entities (essentially, artificial daemons) to help them get shit done (be it war, healing, or building), but when the Old Ones took the Eldar to war and subsequently got wiped out by the combined efforts of the C'Tan, the Necrons, and Enslavers, the Eldar constructs went out of control and started merging into much more powerful beings, even capable of facing full-powered C'Tan without being annihilated in 0.1 seconds. The Eldar mistook those beings for gods and started worshipping them.
There is also the possibility that in order to escape death, certain Old Ones who had strong links to the ancient Eldar may have hijacked their Warp constructs, by merging together with them, leaving their mortal bodies behind and ascending to Godhood. These new "gods" started to play divine soap opera (which often resulted in piles of space elf corpses) until their boss, Asuryan, got tired of this shit, and banned all divine manifestations in real space, effectively locking all of the gods in the Warp. At this time in cosmic history, the Warp was far less dangerous, especially for the Eldar since it was mainly the swinging bachelor pad of their gods, and not a scheming, raping, murdering, rotting hellscape. Some accounts suggest that when Eldar passed away, their souls were preserved in the Warp to be reincarnated.
For reasons left conveniently unexplained, the Eldar managed to survive both the war between the Old Ones and the C'tan and the high school drama of their gods, and over thousands of years built a galaxy-spanning empire that was undoubtedly more bitchin' and stylish than anything the Imperium has achieved. The Eldar terraformed planets into paradises, inhabited thousands of them, and traveled between them effortlessly using the technology of the Webway left behind by the Old Ones. At the height of their civilization, approximately the same time that humans were starting to evolve, they were using their advanced technology to perform pretty much all the work required in their societies and had rendered manual labour completely obsolete; things called Spirit-drones and psychomatons explored and conquered in their name and they simply reaped the benefits of their galaxy-spanning empire. As time passed many Eldar began to slowly devote themselves to pursuing lives of increasingly hedonistic and decadent behaviour; something as simple as a game like football would start off as a game, but by the end of the Fall had turned into full-blown gladiatorial death matches (like a goddamn Dr. Seuss fantasy... IN SPAAAACE).
With the end of the War in Heaven, they effectively become the inheritors of the Old Ones' kingdom, although that didn’t mean they immediately became the galaxy's head honchos. There were still many threats that they had to overcome. The word "Mon Keigh", for instance, originated from a race that enslaved the Eldar for a time before they were defeated. Though the word is now mostly associated with humans, it is broadly used against races that have been deemed worthy of extermination. An interesting little tidbit from "Asurmen: Hand of Asuryan" suggests that after the War in Heaven was over, for some reason, the Eldar did not have access to the Webway, and spent an unspecific amount of time having to travel to the far corners of the galaxy using conventional means in order to reactivate it.
Later on, there are a few recorded instances of the newly-spacefaring humanity clashing with elements of the Eldar race over resources; whether these Eldar the expanding humans encountered were the forces of the Eldar Empire or the fleeing Exodites is unknown. Said dynamic is arguably evident in current interactions between the Imperium and the Tau - a comparison which doesn't bode well for the former party if you accept that history tends to repeat itself.
The Eldar codex states that the vast trading vessels known as Craftworlds, which carried the tiny proportion of the race who sought to escape the corruption at the heart of the Empire, sought out other Eldar amongst the far-flung Exodites colonies and even began to settle new worlds of their own. It was then that the fates of the Eldar and Mankind intertwined for the first time, sometime between M18 and M22. It seems that there was nowhere near the amount of bad blood between the two species then as there is now in M41; non-aggression pacts were signed between humanity and dozens of alien races and the introduction of the Interex in the Horus Hersey claims that the Eldar encountered by humans at the time provided both help and guidance.
The Eldar during the War in HeavenEdit
The War in Heaven was an apocalyptic war between the species known as the Old Ones and the Necrons that makes the Horus Heresy and the war against the machines look like schoolyard scuffles. The War in Heaven occurred roughly 65 million years ago, and is implied to have been the real reason for all the mass extinctions that happened during this period, seeing as it takes place during the same time period that the last of the non-avian dinosaurs went extinct. To put the scale into perspective, Trazyn has one of the ancient Krorks that fought during this time in his exhibits; it is described a towering, twelve-meter-tall monstrosity that loomed over Fabius Bile, whose weaponry and crude exoskeleton were far more advanced than even the modern day Astartes battle-plate. To put that into even more perspective, the largest of the six Prime-orks, the ultimate mastermind behind the War of the Beast which devastated the early imperium and brought the administratum to its knees stood at only 10 meters.
Information on the Eldar during this time is a rarity and scattered throughout the lore:
- They were a powerful psychic warrior race.
- They created warp constructs/weapons that could be used to battle the Star Gods directly.
- They were apparently able to “reincarnate” after they died.
- They were psykers who could read minds with but a glance and crush an opponent’s weapons with a mere gesture.
- They fought using swords and spears, not firearms, essentially being more powerful warlocks:
- “We speak of gods and souls, and this one assumes the smith-god’s gift to the Eldar was plasma weaponry? Hah! These events occurred eons before the Eldar had mastered such things. They fought with swords, spears and their own twisted version of faith.”
- They were created before the Krorks, and although powerful they were few in number by comparison.
- They made use of “Iron Knights” animated by Eldar souls and “Giants” inhabiting the souls of the greatest Eldar heroes. Standing three times taller than a Necron and virtually indestructible, they carried arcane weaponry that could channel and project soulfire that ripped their opponents apart. They are reminiscent of the Wraith constructs employed by the Craftworld Eldar, and also resemble the creation and use of the Avatars of Khaine. In Ghost Warrior: Rise of the Ynnari Autarch Meliniel has gained the ability to transform into an Avatar at will, which may indicate that certain ancient Eldar Warriors may have been able to do the same. Tyrion during the End Times did something similar, becoming an avatar of Khaine through the use of the sword Widowmaker (the last of the swords forged for Khaine by Vaul), which means that it may be the forging of objects directly connected to the gods that may have allowed for these theorized transformations.
- During Rise of the Ynnari: Wild Rider, Nuadhu Fireheart, due to some type of ancestral memory, has flashbacks to fighting alongside constructs larger than titans in the original War in Heaven. These titanic figures could very well be the physical manifestation of the Eldar gods given form in the physical plane.
- The Necron Phaerekh known as the Watcher in the Dark, upon watching Aeldari ships descending from the sky, has flashes from her pre-Necron life. She sees images of immense flying predators and makes a note that the Eldar ships seem to have been inspired by these same creatures; this may represent the Eldar mythological figure of the Cosmic Serpent and its children. Many of the Eldar ships and vehicles (such as the Dragonships, Waveserpent, Vyper, Skyweavers, Starweaver and Voidweaver) are all named in honour of these mythical figures. It could be that during the War in Heaven, the Eldar may have ridden "dragons" in a similar manor to the High Elf Dragon Princes and Dragon-riders; the "dragons" that the Eldar Exodites ride may well be their lesser descendants. During the Heresy, Vulkan fought an Exodite seer upon the back of a giant winged "dragon", so there may still be some of these guys still out there.
- The 8th edition Codex mentions that virtually every battle between the Eldar and Necrons was an overwhelming victory for the Eldar, even after the Old Ones were wiped out. Ultimately, the ensuing assumption of Eldar invincibility would help lay the foundation for the Fall, as they came to think nothing could stop their empire.
- With the apparent demise of the Old Ones, it was the Eldar who stepped up to fill the power vacuum left behind; leading the other creations of the Old Ones against the now weakened Necrons, forcing them into their long sleep.
- The Eldar were led by the brother heroes, Eldanesh and Ulthanesh, who alone could control the Warp Gods and summon them onto the physical plane. The brothers and their gods would lead their children into battle time and time again, pitting Warp spawned furies against the soulless technologies of the Yngir.
- To give an idea to the scale of power wielded by the ancient Eldar, we can look at the Spear of Twilight currently used by the last of the house of Ulthanash, Prince Yriel. The spear of twilight is said to have been used by Ulthanesh himself, and although it is a pale shadow of its former might it is still capable of, not only wounding but feeding upon god tier entities such as the Hive Mind (too bad it's tabletop rules don't represent this).
- "Yriel plunged his spear deep into the rearing serpent. It keened terribly, and Yriel salivated as his weapon drank. Since the day he had lost his eye due to the spear feasting on the limitless hive mind, he had managed to control its fell power and its obscene appetites, but at this final pass he no longer had the strength, and the spear’s murderous soul overwhelmed him. He could not stop it feeding, drawing upon the infinity of spirit the Great Devourer possessed. Yriel felt the hive mind, heard it howl. It thrashed about, and Yriel was battered by its anger. Its thoughts were utterly, unimaginably alien. But one thing came through strong and loud. Hatred, hatred for this creature that had for the first time in untold eons wounded it."
- It has been shown that "Chaos", or, as the Necron Phaerekh called it, "the foe-that-creeps", was very much a growing problem, with whole worlds destroyed to prevent its spreading influence. Apparently, the Eldar had been brought into being with the specific intent for them to resist the counter-dimensional incursions, whilst at the same time making use of the Warp to do battle with the Necrons. As has been mentioned, the longer the War in Heaven lasted, the more it churned up the sea of souls, and in doing so created many of the dangers that would now hunt within its depths. At some point the Warp-spawned horrors flooding reality must have reached a breaking point, as both the Eldar and Necrons seem to have joined forces to beat their demonic arses back into the hell from which they came. Vaults created through the efforts of both the Necrons and Eldar imprisoned many of these daemonic entities; this includes powerful daemons of "Slaanesh"?
Not what they used to beEdit
As is the case for the Orks, the ancient Eldar during the War in Heaven seem far more powerful than their modern-day descendants. It would make sense that the Old Ones would build safeguards into their creations, to limit them if it ever looked like they were getting too big for their boots or too difficult to control. This may have resulted in the shutting down, or limiting of certain powers and abilities; Iyanna in "Ghost warrior" is mentioned using her psychic powers to reignite the accelerated healing processes hidden deep inside the core of every Aeldari, which resulted in a shattered leg knitting itself back together wolverine style.
The stories of Eldanesh the First of the Aeldari and his defiance of Khaine, Morai-Heg and her prophecies, and the tale of the Eldar being locked out of "heaven" and separated from their gods may be a poetic retelling of events that saw the ancient Eldar stripped of their former might and cast back into the galaxy to fend for themselves.
Although mostly theory, the idea that the Old Ones essentially "decommission" their weapons once they had achieved the task that they had been created for, does go towards explaining why the Eldar were seemingly denied the use of the Webway, and how a race that had fought and defeated the Necrons could somehow end up being enslaved by a seemingly barbaric and brutish species from whom the term mon-keigh originated.
- "And you threw away the greatest weapons we gave you! look at them now, cowering in the shadows, flinching at the movement in the darkness. There is no greatness left in these people. They are not worthy of your protection. Give them to us, my daughter. Bring us together and let us feast on them until we are strong and whole again. We will free you from the domination of the one that sundered us.
- No! We shall not be enslaved by gods or ourselves again.
- And so you will imprison yourselves instead. You will gutter and die like candles rather than burn bright like pyres.
- Better that than servitude to the Kinslayer. There is nothing you will not bend to your will, and you will use us and destroy us in that purpose. Eldanesh refused you with good reason, breaker of oaths."
- Jain Zar confronts an Avatar of Khaine.
The Fall happened gradually between c.M18-30 and if Farseer by William King is to believed, it all really started with an Eldar called Lord Shaha Gaathon (or as he would be later called, The Harbinger of Slaanesh) - he was to Slaanesh what Yvraine is to Ynnead. Shaha Gaathon was the first to start what was to become the cults of pleasure and he would later become the first Daemon Prince of Slaanesh.
Ironically, those who sought to delay the coming doom that some among their seers had foreseen, actually in some ways accelerated its coming. As first the Exodites, then the Craftworlds and like-minded Eldar fled the heart of the Eldar Empire in greater and greater numbers, what rational, cautious and puritanical elements there were in the Eldar Empire as a whole were effectively stripped away from their society. Without their calming, cautionary influence, the rest of their civilization likely slipped further and deeper into depravity.
- "Shaha Gaathon is one of the greatest of the servants of He Who We Do Not Name. He existed before the Great Enemy came. Since before the birth of his master, he has a terrible hatred for the eldar, and I believe, he wishes to use your people as a weapon against mine. There are futures waiting to be born in which the followers of the Emperor will turn on my people and destroy them utterly. There are timelines in which the eldar respond with our forbidden and ultimate weapons and both races are so dramatically weakened that Chaos overwhelms them.
- Your people are numberless as the grains of sand upon a beach. It does not matter how powerful our weapons are, you will eventually overwhelm us, for the Harbinger of the Lord of all Pleasures knows the location of all our hidden home-vessels."
- – Farseer, William King
Throughout the Eldar civilization, a profound degradation in moral discipline and a gradual slide into sensual excess commenced, undermining the foundations of the once-great Empire. With the rise of the cults of pleasure over the once-great ruling councils, worship of the Eldar gods declined, and as the quest for excess crossed into outright evil, a perverse new god began to stir in the Warp.
As Eldar civilization became more and more excessive, it began to resemble the world of a certain godawful assault on the dignity of the human creative impulse, and the Eldar made a science and a cultural centerpiece out of indulging and refining every perverted sensual desire they had. As their race descended into lawlessness, depravity, and evil, little did they know that all of it was nourishing a new entity in the Warp. Some Eldar decided to forsake the ways of their kin and left to settle other planets at the fringes of the galaxy; this turned out to be a pretty smart move, since the planet-wide orgies and other assorted debauchery going on back home culminated psychically in a gargantuan Warp storm that resulted in the birth of the Chaos god Slaanesh and tore an enormous hole in the fabric of realspace that is now known as the Eye of Terror. This calamity also resulted in the deaths of most of the Eldar still on their homeworlds.
The Eldar race are highly psychically gifted, and as the corruption spread the echoes of ecstasy and agony rippled through time and space and in the Warp the reflections of these intense experiences began to coalesce unknowingly into an unimaginably foul and sickening shadow of what the Eldar, their pride and their nobility had become, brought low by perversity and shamelessness. In the twilight years approaching the Birth of the Dark Prince the Eldar were riven with madness. Worlds burned as the Eldar slew and laughed and feasted upon the corpses of the dead.
Most of the Eldar gods were wiped out along with their race. The newborn Slaanesh, a creature without equal in perversion and heinousness, rampaged through the Warp, devouring everything Eldar that he/she/it/they could get its hands/tentacles/claws/many phallic appendages on. The gods who bit the big one were Asuryan, Kurnous, Lileath, Morai-Heg, and Vaul. The three that survived are the Laughing God, Cegorach; the shattered God of War and Fire, Khaine; and the goddess of healing and fertility, Isha, also known as the Mother.
During the genocide of the Eldar gods, Khaine fought against Slaanesh and found himself evenly matched. Before a winner could be decided, however, Khorne appeared and declared Khaine his property. Whether this was due to the slight similarities in their names, or the fact that Khaine was another god of war is unknown. What is known is that Slaanesh refused, resulting in the first of the many regular beatings Khorne gives Slaanesh. (Which pleases him/her/it/them.) While Khorne was curb-stomping the proper order of things in his new compatriot's head, Khaine was shattered into many pieces and flung into the mortal realm (probably due to being used as a convenient club by Khorne to beat sense into Slaanesh's head). These shattered pieces of Khaine found their way to the Eldar Craftworlds and are now used to summon the Avatar of Khaine to fight for them (a fate very similar to the Burning One).
Cegorach famously ran from Slaanesh in a very Benny Hill-like fashion before Khaine showed up. It was at this point Cegorach told Khaine "you got this" and fled to safety. Cegorach now spends all his time getting into "Just As Planned"- competitions with the other dicks of the galaxy. The rest of his time is spent reading books in the Black Library and trolling Ahriman by denying him entrance to it. He also usually plays paradox poker with Tzeentch, the Deceiver and the Emperor once every week. It's not exactly known how three dimensions managed to contain that much dickery in a single location without imploding.
The fertility goddess, Isha, was saved from
the lusty Argonian maid *BLAM* NO!! by none other than Papa Nurgle. Isha now endures as the test subject of Nurgle's plagues and as of the 6th edition Daemons codex is kept company by a small forest of the agonizingly petrified Seer souls of the one craftworld that believed she still existed/survived and that were supposedly her descendants (at this we should note that ALL Eldar are descendants of Isha). The disease that set them in that state, one capable of degrading Wraithbone—and divinely created versions of the stuff, no less—is mysteriously absent from any other lore. Her subsequent weeping was pathetic enough for one Death Guard Plague Marine who observed her plight to learn what pity was. Sleep tight, Life Mother. (You could also take the story allegorically, with the Eldar's life goddess, and thus their continued existence, tethered to the god of death and hopelessness.)
In mere moments the Eldar Empire that had ruled the stars for time immemorial imploded in spectacular fashion. The Eldar that remained were a broken race, who fell from undisputed mastery of the Galaxy to a people barely clinging to the precipice of existence. Those that escaped upon the Craftworlds suffered even further unforeseen consequences; where the fragments of Khaine landed and rooted, his rage and fury lashed out to the souls and minds of the Eldar, infecting them with a bloodlust that turned them upon each other. Craftworlds burned as Eldar fought Eldar. Driven by their own maddening grief and the impulses of a shattered god, the Eldar tore themselves apart, until the Pheonix Lords introduced the Path system, enabling Eldar to at least regain mastery over themselves.
- "No! We shall not be enslaved by Gods or ourselves again."
- – Jain Zar
The Eldar present in the 41st millennium are the descendants of those who left to settle other planets or are the mercantile group that travelled around in their enormous ships called Craftworlds. They are dedicated to their fight against the forces of Chaos spawned by the folly of their ancestors. They are extremely long-lived; the average Eldar has a natural lifespan of at least a thousand years, and the most powerful of their psykers can survive to be tens of thousands of years old. Most Eldar die in battle while still in their prime, and their population continues to dwindle. So grimdark. The Craftworld Eldar are now mostly focused on using their collective deceased souls, interred in each craftworld's Infinity Circuit, to birth a new god into the Warp, Ynnead, whom they hope will be powerful enough to destroy Slaanesh once and for all and save the Eldar race. The Dark Eldar are those who have continued to embrace the vices that led to the destruction of the Eldar Empire; they still exist largely in the state in which the Empire left off. Other Eldar, like the Corsairs (see below) and the Exodite Eldar (the ones living on fringe planets unaffected by the cataclysms of the Fall) are somewhere in between ideologically. The Harlequins, yet another sub-group, devote themselves to preserving what they can of their pre-Fall history via plays and oral tradition, minimizing chances of successful communication. They also act as respected diplomatic intermediaries between the other factions of remaining Eldar in the 41st millennium. And last but not least, there are the Ynnari, who get all the spotlight these days.
In humanity the Eldar see history repeating itself and fear the bitter destiny that they will reap and know that they no longer possess the strength to prevent it. Which is strange, because in the Grimdark of the 42nd Millenium, humanity isn’t partying. At all.
As the Time of Ending approaches the remaining Eldar must contend with a galaxy that is no longer theirs. In the bloody wake of the Fall, the race of Mankind has grown to preeminence. The Imperium has ascended, conquering much of the galaxy in the name of the corpse-god it calls Emperor. The Aeldari, whose maturation patterns span nearly a century, cannot compete in numbers with a race whose generations multiply with the frantic pace of vermin. In their weakened state, the Eldar have watched as the Imperium’s uncompromising hatred, hunger for power and constant wars have created rich fodder that only functions to swell the Dark Gods’ power and ripens the galaxy for conquest by the forces of Chaos.
Not only Chaos but the Imperium’s blind aggression has also contributed to the rise of the Ork threat -- Mankind fails to realise that they only strengthen the Orks with every *direct* conflict they engage them in. Many Eldar fear that their numbers are now too large for even the most protracted cull to have any real effect, and should the Ork hordes unite their efforts, all the artifice and cunning of the Aeldari would not be enough to stop them drowning the galaxy in blood.
With the Eldar now a mere shadow of their former might, old and new foes alike are now stepping forward to stake their claim; like sharks drawn by the smell of blood they move to take advantage of the Galaxy's former masters demise. From the terror of the emerging Tyranid fleets, to the young dynamic T’au in the east (who offered friendship a while back but were laughed off) - to speak nothing of the Necrons, ancient enemies of the Aeldari whose lords are eager to renew their war against their much-diminished rivals - the few Eldar that remain find themselves beset on all sides by those that would see every single one of them dead.
Not since the days of the Fall have the Aeldari been so fragmented and assailed, and for those who yet survive, war remains their only hope. While their many foes lack the technology, wisdom and skill of the Children of the Stars, in numbers alone they seem insurmountable. Yet the Aeldari are a proud race, determined that the flame of their people will blaze brightly once more rather than flicker and die out.
The Eldar PathsEdit
After the fall of their race, and apart from the potential to have their souls eaten by a crazed demonic rapist masturbating furiously in the Warp, the Eldar realized most of their population had also been cursed with hyper-sensitivity and super-reflection in the Warp. This new curse was adapted into the Paths of the Eldar, their equivalent to careers. The creator of this system was the Phoenix Lord Asurmen, first of the Asurya, who devised the Paths whilst training the first of his pupils, Jain Zar, earning him the ire of Slaanesh who perceived him as leading the Eldar astray from their embrace.
If they wish to, the Eldar can spend hundreds of years dedicated to perfecting their fry cook job at Space Elf Wendy's, then move on to the next occupation that takes their fancy. Why do they focus on one thing? Because branching out might be "excess", so instead they strive for perfection in a single discipline. Which is pretty stupid, as "perfection" is also part of Slaanesh's portfolio (although this is misleading, and a very mistakenly literal take on the "perfection" the Eldar strive for - the Path system enforces strict discipline to those who could no longer be trusted to control themselves in the presence of free will; perfecting a Path for them isn't the same as Fulgrim striving for total perfection in every aspect of his life; rather, the Craftworld Eldar have given up a life of unlimited freedom in favor of a life strictly regimented and based around discipline and complete self-control. If you're hyper-focusing on one specific thing for three hundred years, you can't be focusing on all of the other things at the same time. This is, of course, not in line with the way Slaanesh does things. Also, you could say being that focused, they're working so hard, they can't take pleasure in this perfection). As you would expect from a universe where an entire race can be wiped out by the birth of a single sick piece of Warp meat, the two most prevalent paths are the Path of the Seer and the Path of the Warrior, or The Path of the Dick and The Path of Everyone Else. The Path of the Warrior includes exotically-titled job opportunities like being a Warp Spider, a Howling Banshee, or a Fire Dragon, all of which involve the applicant donning some form of flamboyant drag attire and out-trending the enemy (see left). Also, they will occasionally shoot and/or impale things with deadly proficiency. The Path of the Seer includes jobs for potential Warlocks and Seers. The few Eldar without ADHD who follow the Path of the Warrior or the Seer will eventually become an Exarch or Farseer. Of course, the Paths of the Eldar are not limited to the Seer and the Warrior; Someone has to fill the revered positions in the Path of the Toilet Cleaner. Let's not forget the Path of the Angry Gamer and the Path of the Craftworld Drunk, either.
The Path system governs every aspect of Craftworld life, enabling the Eldar to harness their emotional and intellectual intensity safely without jeopardizing themselves or those around them. It also provides them a form of self-reflection, allowing them to examine aspects of themselves both good and bad. This then allows them to develop mentally and spiritually: for example an Eldar may walk the path of the sculptor but realize that they have become too focused upon the task at hand and seek out a more abstract path such as the path of the dreamer, or they may wish to focus down a different artistic path such as the musician. Each path adds upon the paths that they have walked before and so add to the sort of person the Eldar is becoming.
After the Fall, among the most important paths to emerge were the Witch Paths; those who find themselves walking these very long and dangerous paths are more commonly known as seers. There is no force in the galaxy that can weave the skeins of fate and manipulate the future like the Aeldari and their Farseers are famous (or infamous depending on were you stand) on doing just that. The Farseers are similar to their counterparts, the Exarchs amongst the shrines of Khaine, in that they have become lost upon their chosen path and can no longer leave. Since the time of the Fall, and more importantly the actions of Eldrad Ulthran, the Path of the seer has been refined into a precious tool that can be used in reshaping the Skeins of fate to bring about a more favourable future for their kind. The Skein that the Seers follow and reshape is like a cobweb of interlinking and crossing threads making up a tapestry showing the present, future and past of the galaxy and everyone in it. Not all seers are equal however, and although the destination may be fixed the journey can always throw up some nasty surprises. In order to avoid the possibility of missing something vital and avoiding any possible hidden trip hazards Farseers rarely act on their own (it normally doesn't end well for those that do); instead they will consult with a seer council who will then examine these possible threads and determine what course of action, if any should be taken. With multiple Farseers interpreting and examining the possible outcomes they can explore the myriad skeins of the past, present and future, allowing them to follow countless threads and studying the consequences of the smallest deviation so as to better guide their people. However due to the shattered and splintered nature of their race, Seer councils from different Craftworlds may have different goals in mind and may find themselves competing against each other to bring about different outcomes. These can often result in shadow wars fought not by the Craftworlds themselves but by proxy forces, manipulated unknowingly into acting on their benefactors' behalf. However, the Eldar tend to forget that just because you foresaw something one second doesn’t mean the future has not changed the next second. This often leads to their downfall in stories.
Technology and the Children of the StarsEdit
For untold millennia the dominions of the Eldar ruled the stars, unopposed and unchallenged. Unfettered by the oppressive claim that Slaanesh holds over their immortal souls, their psychic might was matched only by their technological mastery.
No other race has ever replicated the Eldar’s unique approach to technology, nor have the Eldar taken learnings from the ‘primitive’ races that have inherited the galaxy. Eldar technology adheres closely to natural biological shapes and structures. To them, there is no real difference between technology and nature in the Eldar mind - they are a single process by which the Eldar imbue living things with function and functionality with life. The materials the Eldar use in their engineering are complex and varied ectoplastics that can be formed into solid shapes under psychic pressure. In some respects they are more like living tissue than inert substances, growing and reacting to their environment in a similar way to plants.
According to an article in the Warhammer 40,000 Compilation, the Eldar may have always been psychic, with their Psychic powers manifesting themselves into a variety of unusual talents. One such natural ability is referred to as psychomorphism by the human Xenobiologists of the Imperium. In crude terms, this gives every one of them the ability to psychically shape matter and create simple artefacts from raw materials.
By making use of psychokinesis and empathic telepathy they can influence the structure of growing matter. This empathic ability may have been particularly important during the early development of the Eldar race enabling them to promote the fruitfulness of edible crops and reshape the growth of trees to make simple shelters. The first Eldar villages and towns are supposed to have been living structures grown from trees, often covering many square miles and reaching high into the air.
Because of their psychic abilities, the Eldar race learned how to make and shape raw materials at a very early stage of cultural development. By means of their mental powers, they were able to refine minerals and shape the resulting metals and stones into whatever they wanted. Eldar technology has a very ancient history and the pace of its progress is closely tied to the slow evolutionary development of the race, which saw a steady growth in competence and knowledge over a very long period of time. In other words the level of traditional Eldar tech is heavaly influenced by the Psychic skill level of the indivdual, or individuals crafting it at the time. This is not great given Slaanesh's opressive infulence in 40k forcing them to curtail the use of their Psychic potential, forcing them to use the far safer but far more heavily controlled and focussed Witch paths.
At their zenith nothing was beyond them; the worlds and stars of the galaxy were but mere playthings to them, to be extinguished and rekindled on a whim. Surfing solar flares was a pleasant pastime, and their very dreams could be made manifest with but a simple wish; death itself was but an inconvenience as they had already outgrown the mundane notion of mortality. They strode the galaxy as gods, and in doing so brought about their own damnation. There was nothing left to strive for, for they could already do anything that their wonderful minds could conceive of. Even after their cataclysmic fall from grace and subsequent loss of most of their creations they are still one of the most technologically advanced races in the galaxy, only surpassed by the Necrons.
In the aftermath of Fall, the many fractured and shattered fragments of the Eldar race, like in many aspects, took deviating paths when it came to their approach to technology.
The Exodites saw the creeping corruption and abandoned the rotting core of their Empire. Eschewed the conveniences of technology almost entirely, they sort out a more humble and honest life through toil and hard work. They farm and herd their livestock, and live an almost entirely nomadic lifestyle as their ancient ancestors once did.
The Craftworld Eldar have an odd relationship with their tech, in some ways mirroring that of the Imperium of Man. The Craftworlds, as a whole, maintain the fundamentals of their post-scarcity society but actively forbid the use of much of their more high-end and more dangerous technologies. They do not fear these technologies themselves but more so how such unbridled power might affect them; they are not just in a war for the survival of their race, but for the salvation of their very souls. They look upon what befell their ancestors and what their arrogance wrought, and denounce it; a life without struggle and self-restraint is but the first footstep down the road to damnation. They don’t go as far as their Exodite kin, and still encourage innovation such as the creation of the Vyper that was created by artisans of the Saim-Hann, or the creation of the armour and weapons used by the Aspect warriors after the creation of the Path system, but they still eschew most of the technologies that allowed their predecessors to grow complacent; unfortunately for them, that also means that they are deliberately making things more difficult for themselves. However, the Eldar of Craftworld Iybraesil are noted for their balls to the wall raids of Crone Worlds for spirit stones and wunderwaffen, so YMMV.
- A good example would be: "The World of the Bloodied Sword" By Gav Thorpe that had an arsenal of forbidden weapons known as the Akliamor, hidden under the Palace of Tranquility on the planet akliamor. Knowing that these Dark Matter doomsday weapons were no longer safe, the Eldar chose to destroy them, so as to remove any chance of them ever being used again.
- Units such as the Hemlock and the Wraithguard are used only in the most dire of circumstances, as their use requires the removal of souls from their resting place within the Infinity circuit, an act that the Craftworlders view as no better than grave robbing.
The Drukhari on the other hand still have access to much of what has been lost or hidden away by their cousins and would gladly use them if they could, but most of the traditional Eldar tech requires Psychic manipulation to function. After the Fall, those who had made a home within the Webway and would later become known as the Drukhari were forced to completely redevelop and recreate their tech from the ground up using far more mundane and labour-intensive methods. As depraved and loathsome as they are, the Drukhari are a testament to the ingenuity and creativity of this ancient race; the weaponry manufactured within the Dark City is just as advanced and infinitely more demented as those psychically grown upon the craftworlds. Though almost useless to them, the Drukhari only trade some of their hidden hordes with their Craftworld cousins for exorbitant costs, such as the Fireheart, which causes planets to turn themselves inside out; Valedor actually reveals the original purpose for the Fireheart was as an agricultural tool, used in the reshaping of worlds, but could all too easily be turned into a tool of war. Kabals such as the Dying Sun possess forbidden heirlooms from the days of the Aeldari empire of old, that possess the power to kill stars, suck the life force from worlds and exterminate whole races of sentient beings in mere moments; but they dare not use them openly for it would attract the violent displeasure of the Dark City at large should their existence become known.
In short, the Dark Eldar are tech-rich but psychically retarded, the Craftworld Eldar see the careless use and overreliance on such technologies as the road to damnation, and the Exodites will feed you to their pet t-rex if you offer them the use of a calculator.
You may have noticed that in most of the fluff the Eldar are described as a dying race. However, they've been slowly dying for the past 10,000 years, never seem to mind the heavy losses they take when they lose a battle, and for every one world lost there are a dozen more that pop up. The reason for this is that GW writers have different opinions on what the Eldar's "theme" is. Gav Thorpe, who did most of their older fluff, views them as dying out, and only thinks there are a dozen craftworlds with a dozen million Eldar each. However, Phil Kelly thinks their theme is "holding on just barely and losses are only minor things, keeping the important stuff" and thinks there are hundreds of craftworlds, with the average housing a hundred million to half a billion Eldar. Humorously, Matt Ward seems to agree with Phil as the theme of his Iyanden book is definitely "rising through the ashes" (maybe Phil and Matt were sick of Eldar being treated as the galaxy's punching bag in 40K).
What we're saying is: as with the other species, Craftworld Eldar do take the time to reproduce, but the open question is whether they're technically dying out or if they managed to keep a net population growth rate over the 12 millennia or so since Slaanesh came
into the picture. If the former, an intelligent species is still paying the price for the nuttery of their forebears, and will until they're totally extinct; if the latter, a bunch of racist assholes who hate you (yes, you) are on the upswing, though all possibility of a total comeback is about on the same level of probability as Nurgle taking an antibiotic bath. Between all the wars and the occasional disaster (like Kher-ys, Malan'tai, Idharae, Iyanden and Biel-tan), one would think the galaxy is waging a slow war of attrition on their species. Fluff describes them going either way (giggity).
According to the 8th edition there are several factions of Eldar:
|1. Aeldari (The Eldar race as a whole)|
|2. Exodites (Amish space elves that ride dinosaurs)|
|3. ++REDACTED++ coughCHAOS ELDARcough|
|4. Craftworlders (By comparison they can be considered the sensible Elves)|
|5. Corsairs (Space elf pirates who love to have a good time)|
|6. Outcasts (Rebellious young space elves who want to explore the galaxy)|
|7. Drukhari (Pray they don't take you alive)|
|8. Harlequins (Terrifying killer space clowns)|
|9. Ynnari (Followers of their new God of the Dead)|
These guys pop up every so often, though whether they're technically a naval splinter group of the Craftworlds or a completely separate offshoot is still an open question. Most of them are Craftworlders living the Path of the Outcast, though considering Eldar can spend many years away from their Craftworld, many may have been born in deep space as natural-born Corsairs. These Eldar live on ships and space stations until they return to their home Craftworld (if they return at all), and often raid other species' space lanes for plunder, usually in the form of people. Part of the reason Imperial commanders think Eldar are a random, inscrutable force in the galaxy is because they can't tell the difference between these guys, Dark Eldar, or a Craftworld strike force. Confusing Corsairs and Craftworld ships could be forgiven, but your intel must be pretty fucked if you confuse those ships and the ones covered in blades and similar grotesque shit. (Alternate opinion: you forget that Eldar ships use holofields as their defences. When they are not looking like a garbage hauler, they will just be a blur to both the eye and Imperial sensors. Then you factor in that Eldar ship weapons will do very similar battle damage—dark or plasma lance, etc. It's impossible to tell the difference unless you're a Magos working for an Ordo Xenos inquisitor. Then you need to factor in that Corsairs and Harlequins use BOTH Craftworld and Dark Eldar ships. It would get very confusing, very fast.)
But, really, the logical reason the Imperium doesn't differentiate between Craftworlder and Dark Eldar is that the only difference that matters beyond aesthetics or themes is that the Dark Eldar usually take prisoners and the Craftworlders usually murder every man, woman, and child.
The update to IA:11 (7th edition) added ways to play them and some nice fluff as well. The first paragraph states: "An Eldar Corsair is more akin to the Eldar before the Fall than those who now live upon the Craftworlds. Not for them are the highly disciplined paths trod by their Craftworld kin, although many may turn to them once their need to explore the galaxy has be satiated. That is, though, if they have not completely turned in their lot with their dark kin who dwell in the depths of Commorragh."
Some become bloodthirsty individuals who fall prey to the same weaknesses that led to the Fall. Yet others may display the greatest compassion for their defeated enemies. Eldar Corsairs can literally be anything they want, from nightmarish Jack the Rippers, leaving bloody trails across the galaxy, to Robin Hood-like figures, charming rogues that steal from the rich and... keep it for themselves (they're nicer, not stupid). It says a great deal that the Eldar pirates are sometimes (often?) better people than all the other Eldar...and most members of any other species. They also lack the spirit stones the Craftworlders sport, so their souls are being chewed on by She Who Thirsts, and for them dying is a pretty shitty prospect. They get along well enough with both the Craftworlders and Dark Eldar, but aren't above kicking some space elf ass for vehicles or whatever. They generally have cool pirate hideouts all over the galaxy. Some even hang out with their dino obsessed hillbilly cousins. Usually, corsairs carefully avoid pissing off the Imperium too much. So, they’re also the closest thing to common sense in the setting. Wow.
Some Corsairs might have spiritstones. But which one of their cut-throat "buddies" is gonna pick it up and carry it with them until the next time they get a chance to visit a Craftworld? Maybe to use as currency for a nice new Falcon!?
The leaders of these piratical bands are dubbed Princes by the Imperium. Being Eldar and not diving off the deep end of excess is really hard without the strict stuff Craftworlders do. Princes do what they will and generally end up being obsessed with something, almost like choosing a Path that the Craftworlds do, but more self-serving and douchey. Seeing his resolve though keeps his underlings inspired and so they follow him because of sheer badassery.
The Void Dreamer is a very dangerous psyker in the Corsair ranks. They help navigate both the Webway and the Warp with Aethermancy, which is risky as hell when you are food item number one for a certain warp entity. Though they haven't died from mismanagement of their talent, they don't have the protection the Craftworlder psykers get from strict practices and cool trinkets. This brightly burning power is a beacon in the dark for Slaanesh to focus on. In game this is represented by a unique Perils of the Warp table; the worst result is the psyker being claimed body and soul by Slaanesh and becoming a daemon of Slaanesh (presumably to kill all his Eldar buddies nearby).
There was a time when Chaos Eldar existed.
When the Eye of Terror consumed the heart of the Eldar Empire not all those that found themselves trapped ended up being consumed by the newly birthed god.
How they survived is a mystery but it is likely that they either turned to one of the other ruinous powers for protection or they fully embraced Slaanesh like it wanted them to from the start; certain daemons have claimed that Slaanesh truly wants to be "loved" by its parents but upon its birth the Eldar had immediately turned their backs upon it and abandoned it- so we can now add bad parenting to the Eldar list of dickishness (can you imagine how pissed off Slaanesh must be at seeing all the Eldar gushing over its new sibling).
Chaos Eldar, whatever their alliance, are servants of the Chaos Gods but unfortunately disappeared almost completely from the fluff for a very long time. In recent novels however, such as Gav Thorpe's Jain Zar, we are shown things like Eldar Hippies within the eye who seem to have some kind of hive mind and brainwash people into loving and serving Slaanesh, so they may make a resurgence in the newer fluff. Chaos Eldar are mentioned in the 8th edition.
In the book Rise of the Ynnari: Wild Rider, a daemon prince that's heavily implied to be of eldar origin emerges on the world of Agarimethea to combat the Ynnari and Necron forces present. A quick excerpt reads as such:
- "The first thought was that a giant aeldari warrior had stepped from legend, a gold-armoured incarnation of Khaine perhaps. Though it stood many times Yvraine's height, the daemon possessed two legs, two arms and an enchanting but otherwise normal face beneath an ancient-styled helm crowned with curling thorn-barbed stems. Slender limbs were garbed in vambraces and greaves; a breastplate adorned with perverse runes of nightmare clasped a single-breasted chest."
The Black LibraryEdit
- "Though I have seen within the Black Library and spoken to its most terrible guardian, I can never reveal what happened there; not to any man nor even the Emperor himself for I am so forsworn to powers beyond your knowledge. I can only say that a time of inconceivable horror is about to begin. A time when mankind with all the might of the Imperium cannot endure when the strength of the Eldar fails. Even now, our doom stalks us across the stars."
- – Inquisitor Czevak at the conclave of Har
The Black Library is hidden within the secret depths of the Webway and is the repository of all of the Eldar races Eldritch Knowledge.
It is probably the most well protected and best hidden of all the secrets of the Webway (although that one guy keeps on trying to peek through the windows before being told to "get the fuck off their lawn" by some very grumpy White Seers...and cegorath, with his really bad jokes.), holding priceless artifacts such as the only complete trans-dimensional map of the Webway and countless secrets beyond mortal understanding that have long since been forgotten.
The Library is protected by terrifying Guardians of unknown origin that make even greater daemons empty their otherworldly bowls and by The White Seers who are Eldar seers that dress all in white and apparently eclipse their kin (Eldrad not included) in their psychic might. (Not that this is saying much considering how poor Psykers Farseers tend to be). It's a bit disappointing that if the Black Library does have these guards, that they seem to be missing from any recent stories, virtually no forces, but those of the Harlequins and the Ynnari are seen fighting.
The sentinels of the Black Library remain an unspoken secret, yet they are described as the most terrible of all the perils in the Webway and the most dreaded individuals among all of the Eldar kindred's (think of them as possibly the Eldar version of the Custodians). Seeing as a small group of Harlequins were capable of infiltrating the Imperial palace; getting as far as the doors to the throne room whilst killing dozens of custodians along the way, the thought that there might exist an even more elite group is scary indeed.
Only a few chosen individuals are permitted entrance, including a handful of human Inquisitors of the Ordo Malleus who have allied themselves with the Eldar and their fight against the powers of Chaos. Weirdly enough, more humans than Eldar have been shown being admitted, with little to no known Eldar, not Phoenix Lords even, being shown to be allowed in.
The emergence of the Cicatrix Maledictum has damaged the Library, with whole sections falling away into the Warp and forcing the White Seers to seal parts of it away to prevent further contamination and damage.
Strangely, despite being a repository of all knowledge on Chaos and methods through which to combat them, the Black Library itself has almost never provided anything useful at all.Other than the Rose of Isha, which Yvraine had to find herself, the Black Library has never actually assisted in the combating of Chaos in any significant manner at all. That said, most of said information is so corrupting in itself that anyone who isn't totally pure is more likely to fall to Chaos than to fight it upon learning it, making questionable the purpose of the Library as it has barely ever yielded any useful information for anyone and even Eldrad has chosen to rather give over deadly Chaos Artifacts to the Imperium rather than surrender it to the White Seers, which either represents a strong indictment of their capabilities or, considering this is Eldrad we're talking about, is an enormous compliment of their skills. What a dick.
Overall, for the most part, the Black Library is fairly useless. Why Ahriman is so interested in it is an open question, seeing as he can already move through the Webway as effectively as any Eldar have been shown to do.
- Jain Zar-The Storm of Silence shows the White Seers commanding archaic engines dedicated to the destruction of She Who Thirsts. Their arcane machines looked more like abstract works of art than weapons, but they sent out beams of coruscating power that disintegrated daemons with but a touch and scoured forth pulses of cleansing fire. It baffles the mind considering no one is supposed to read the library and the said weapons can annihilate demons with a pulse, the guardians aren't taking any more active role in the galaxy like some fantasy fiction guardian with no purpose.
|This article or section is about something oldschool - and awesome.|
Make sure your rose-tinted glasses are on nice and tight, and prepare for a lovely walk down nostalgia lane.
According to Rogue Trader fluff which is a bit over three decades old (and has almost been entirely retconned out of existence), humans and Eldar once had a common ancestor (which doesn't make any sense since the Eldar as a race are far older than humanity, by at least 60 million years). There was a theory back in the day that both races were creations of the Old Ones (or the C'tan successfully made humans similar enough to the Eldar). This apparently made it possible for both races to interbreed and produce viable offspring. For example, it was said that Illiyan Nastase, Chief Librarian Astropath of the Ultramarines, was part Eldar. This is of course HERESY and GW has, in a rare case of good judgment, rightfully chosen to ignore this character's existence. Illiyan Nastase would later be overwritten and replaced by a new Chief Librarian of the Ultramarines, Varro Tigurius, in the more current fluff (likely because of his unusual affinity for psychic powers).
More recently the Black Library novel The Chapter's Due has as a minor character Kaarja Salombar the Corsair Queen. She's variously described as "... beautiful, with palm skin and warm almond shaped eyes of striking violet... there were some who said there was Eldar blood in her veins" and "... more than a hint of inhuman Eldar to her lithe frame, and a wild mane of azure hair flowing around her shoulders". She also bags at least a trio of Ultramarines and nearly slays Cato Sicarius before getting piked by the Ultramarines 2nd Company standard, which should make her a bit of a hero to the various Ward haters. It also makes clear she is no Eldar, as GW would never allow one of their big named Space Marines, to nearly get beaten by an Eldar, nor would they ever show an Eldar being such a successful fighter.
As usual there is no "confirm or deny" about any unusual heritage for a character who existed in a single novel, no part of which was ever told from her perspective and who died without a single line of dialogue. Grimdark.
Nowadays if it was still possible for Eldar-Human hybrids to be born, they would be born in Commorragh (basically take the Scriptural cities Sodom and Gomorrah, all the worst aspects of 16th century Port Royal, 19th century Singapore, Las Vegas and Mos Eisley spaceport, and throw in extra helpings of pain, rape, scum, villainy and wretched hive-ness, and there ya go). What did you think the Dark Eldar used those slaves for, making pie or HERESY?(Both). The other options is, well like Kaarja Salombar above, among the Eldar Corsairs, pirates and outcasts. Bit like the Dark Eldar only with some standards.
On the other hand, according to the Path of the Outcast, Eldar have markedly heightened olfactory senses and given their infamous state of inflated self-regard for an Eldar to naturally create a hybrid that would be the equivalent of a human screwing a dog and then hoping for puppies. In either case the pregnant female would likely regard the impending pregnancy with at least incredible disgust or utter xenophobic horror. Said child would then be hated by Humans for being the incarnation of the idea of genetic impurity and likely shunned by any Eldar for being a "lesser" by nature. Grimdark. If you read the section directly below this one another bit of horror rears its head: Eldar need to combine their DNA several times over the course of a pregnancy for the baby to be brought to term. Fine and dandy if you are assuming a mutual relationship. Less so if you consider the alternative.
Naturally fa/tg/uys, being essentially romantics, see things in a less insistently hateful light, and Lofn, Liivi, and Taldeer manage to thrive. Noblebright.
How alien is alien?Edit
Don't be fooled by their anthropomorphic appearances. Eldar may look like unnaturally tall and slender humans at first glance, but are actually entirely alien. (Look, just go with it. -GW)
- The Eldar are similar to humans in body structure: they have a torso, two arms, two legs and a head upon their shoulders. They are tall, standing around 2 meters (6-7 feet) in height with longer, leaner limbs and elegant features with penetrating, almond-shaped eyes and pointy ears. Macha the Farseer from the Dawn of War series has a canon height of 2.20 meters.
- Eldar have an entirely different natural gait from humans. Their movements radiate an inhuman elegance and an almost feline-like grace. This is evident in their fighting styles and the dexterity with which they wield their weaponry.
- Eldar senses of sight, hearing and smell are many times greater then that of a human.
- Eldar are extremely long-lived; their average lifespan is over a thousand years. Eldar psykers, particularly Farseers, can live even longer. (Eldrad Ulthran is 10,000 years old and still going, although he is turning into living crystal).
- Eldar may develop some fine lines and wrinkles as they get older, but they do not become decrepit the way humans do.
- They live at a pace and pitch of intensity many times greater than even the most exceptional humans.
- Their hearts beat almost twice as fast as a humans though half as strong each beat, their minds process thoughts and emotions with baffling speed, and their physical reactions are almost too fast for the human eye to follow.
- All Eldar can manipulate mental energies, but such raw mental power has its price. To an Eldar, all of life's experiences are available to a heightened degree: the intellectual rewards of study, the exhilaration of battle, and every imaginable pleasure or sensation. This potential for joy is paralleled by an equal capacity to feel despair, anger and even hate (which is what their War Masks are for). No creature, not even the Eldar, can taste such rich fruits in an uncontrolled or undisciplined way without consequence.
- Eldar skulls demonstrate unusual bone texture and their teeth are outgrowths of the jawbone.
- Eldar bones are far lighter than human bones. The texture and formation suggest solidification from some form of liquid. Complex joints and 'fused' portions retain flexibility and durability (some form of organic resin). There is no marrow analogue but the internal cavities are packed with fibrous channels of unknown purpose (possibly delivery of free-moving lymph glands).
- Their ear tips are packed with nerve-endings and are erogenous zones.
- Their skeletal structure is densely packed with a muscle-like analogue with fibres that have a spiral structure similar to a coiled spring. These muscles surround the complex columns of intermeshed segments; the entire structure suggests enormous elasticity and tolerance to movement. This physiology supports high-speed manoeuvrability.
- These 'muscles' are tightly packed and are more effective than the muscle fibres found in humans. Although they may not bulk up in the same way as humans, they are actually physically stronger pound for pound than humans.
- They have no body fat or analogue. (It doesn't seem to stop the females from having breasts though. Guess they really are superior beings).
- According to FFG in Deathwatch: Rites of Battle, a close to 7ft tall, fully armored Eldar warrior tips the scale at about 60kg or 132.277 pounds; the same weight as a 5'7" human.
- Their ribs form fused 'wings' arching from an elasticated spine.
- They possess a flexible bony 'plate' like a second ribcage beneath the abdominal muscles.
- Their inner organs are vaguely human analogues, but they demonstrate a complexity and aesthetic 'tidiness' that is just unnatural. They have pulmonary muscles that work like a human's lungs with temperature regulators (twelve, along each internal wall) and detached lymph-glands (free moving?).
- Their digestive and renal systems are just as complex as their other organs. There is no peristalsis, chemical enzymes or digestive fluids (it is unknown how digestion takes place). Waste seems 'crystalized' and is odourless (yes, they shit diamonds).
- Eldar conception occurs over an extended period of time and requires additional genetic material from the partner or partners at preordained stages throughout gestation (there is no chance of a baby from a one night-stand).
- The Eldar brain has multiple lobes, extreme density of cerebral matter, various unknown ganglia and central ridged organs. The fundamental structure of their brains resembles humans' but are far more complex and have additional layers of an unknown composition (stratum).
- Eldar DNA has a quintuple helix structure (instead of a human's double) and twenty chemical bases instead of humans' four. Their cellular arrangement distorts in response to examination as if rearranging their chemical code (transmission of information).
- The Eldar enjoy lives unsullied by illness, frailty or disease.
- They appear to have complete control over their nervous systems and bodily functions (some form of passive Biomancy), such as consciously shutting down the nerves in damaged parts of their bodies or mentally forcing a wound to close and the blood to congeal faster to prevent bleeding out (Harlequin-The Inquistion War).
- Given time and further psychic manipulation, they can regenerate any bodily damage that they might have suffered (this includes regrowing entire lost limbs; similar to a reptile loosing its tail).
- The Eldar physical condition can be heavily effected by both their mental and spiritual condition. When sad or depressed they can be seen, by observers, to physicaly "age", however they will quickly regain their vitality once they have pulled themselves back togther; in a similar fashion, when focussing their rage and determination they can, in fact grow in strength and power. When walking the path of the warrior an Eldar will develop a War Mask, allowing the Eldar to fully commit themselves, without doubt or hesitation; this, along with the spiritual influence of Khaine, seeing as his power is now flowing through their veins, means an Eldar warrior will be physically stronger and faster then they would be if they were walking a more civilised path; Khaine's influnce only grows stronger the closer they are to the Avatar. The Dark kin appear to physically wither the longer their souls are drained away, but quickly return to their prime upon "toping up" their tank.
- Though most Eldar do not formally develop their psychic abilities, all of them make use of telepathic and empathic communication.
- "They were taller by far than most of the men present, and thin. Janus was reminded of the low gravity dwellers on Talus's Wheel - the thin, sickly ones too weak to move in anything like Earth-normal gee without an exo-skeleton - but when the strangers moved he put that thought aside. Not even the bulky cloaks could hide their grace. They did not so much walk as flow over to his table. Their movements had a liquid smoothness that was more cat than human, and put him in mind of a large predator. If a devilcat had taken on the shape of a man it might have moved like that. He was all but hypnotised by them as they flowed up to him. Suddenly they were just there, looming over him."
- – Farseer, William King
It has long been stated by many a fa/tg/uy that the Tau are Japs in space while the Eldar are Space Chinese in that they had a more established civilization as old as the beginning of history itself, with a fucking complicated language and philosophy. Some history/culturefags strongly dispute this assertion as being simplistic and inaccurate, as the Chinese language is marked by relatively light grammar and high syllable-information density, as well as one unified set of logographic symbols (that mostly have one pronunciation). Japanese has low syllable-information density and has a sophisticated agglutinative grammar structure, like Korean, and also possesses two syllable-alphabets in addition to utilizing Chinese characters (often with multiple readings). To add to the language debate, Only War describes the Eldar tongue as 'tonal', something that is a prominent feature in the Chinese language, and is not present in Japanese. So if FFG are to be trusted, the Eldar speak a language more similar to Chinese than Japanese. Just don't ask why the Eldar religion is sorta Hindu (India) and the Tau religion is sorta Buddhist, the only difference between East and Southeast where you haven't been and where you'll never go.
The problem in this comes not just from language, but fundamentally more on how their ideologies and society is constructed. A problem with this idea is that the Tau philosophy of the "Greater Good" is practically derived from one of the greatest philosophical teachers who studied social interactions, ethics and morals and to leave a lasting mark was Confucius, who lived in China, while the Eldar's divisions between Aspect Warriors and Guardians can be better compared to those between Japanese samurai warriors and ashigaru peasant conscripts. Linguistically and ideologically, the Tau draw influence from Confucianism combined with post WWII Chinese-Communist culture. The Eldar is admitted by Games Workshop as being openly modeled on Japanese culture (possessing Japanese-style robes and wielding katanas and shurikens into battle) combined with space Ancient Greece (complete with the togas and the complete hubris that brought them down).
It should be noted that even Gav Thorpe, who was there at the development of both armies recognized that they were both influenced by Anime (https://gavthorpe.co.uk/2017/06/26/the-origins-of-the-tau/):
>And with them were the Tao (later Tau, now T’au) based on the underlying concept of the five elements I had originally come up with for the Shishell. I had kept my hand-typed reams of background and pencil sketches and persuaded the rest of the team that it was worth a punt, marrying some of the background to the idea of a more modern army, mecha-themed force (as opposed to the far more organic anime influence in the Eldar designs).
Then again, any debate on Weeabooism in 40k lore is meaningless because the argument is corrupted so much that anything fa/tg/uys or 4chan residents do not like can be labeled with the term once they have found something about it that vaguely invokes anime tropes... such as, for example, the Imperium's extensive use of gigantic overpowered mecha.
Seeing as they're visually very obviously inspired by the Romani people, about whose culture nobody on /tg/ knows anything and would rather die (or spend another three hours arguing which flavour of east asian they want to think they are) than bother to research, it's something of a moot point anyway.
The moral of the story is that no major race in 40K is based on a singular culture (except maybe the Orks who are cockney/football hooligan stereotypes down to the bone marrow) and insisting on referring to any of them as space-x-ethnicity only makes you look like an idiot who doesn't really get the setting.
/tg/ Feelings on the EldarEdit
The Eldar's arrogance and penchant for Just as planned, paired with their being used as the defenders of the status quo (see below) and the blatant favoritism they seem to get in any work featuring them (with some exceptions, such as if they're fighting Imperium Space Marines), have caused them to be the single most-hated race by /tg/. Yes, more than the space zombies and weeaboo space communists. Part of this stems from the fact that they are a hit-or-miss army, much as their counterparts were in the last edition. When they work, they work amazingly; when they don't, they tend to fail. Some argue that a lot of the hate has been due to them being insufficiently Orky, which, if true, is RACIST.
Thankfully, some of the hate has recently started to abate, and this has everything to do with the fact that the Eldar seem to have become the whipping boys of Games Workshop. You know they hate you when you can't even win in your own codices. Also, almost every victory they get nowadays is a Pyrrhic one. Matt Ward especially enjoys his crusade against the Eldar, with Avatars dying in almost every codex the guy's written, and if not that then expect similarly one-sided defeats for the Eldar.
Gav Thorpe, on the other hand, will fight to the death to write about anything starring the Eldar, because he just loves the elves (enough to stop them from losing in their own codex, so he's a much better kind of fan than Phil Kelly in this regard) and it's more or less agreed that he's really the only one who can portray them totally accurately since he is the Eldar expert. However, a sizable number of the older 40k playerbase hate Thorpe for turning Exarchs into watered-down Space Marine sergeants and other travesties of fluff. Eldar are also noted to have a major Asian influence, most notably from China, with their martial arts, yin-yang symbol, phoenix and dragon worshiping, cultural pride and philosophy. Pre-1945 Japan factors in as well, with an infantry standard weapon called the Shuriken Catapult, their belief in racial superiority and their ideas about being direct descendants of gods. So all in all this means that the Space Elves are the 40k equivalent of East Asia... huh.
Eldar as Defenders of the Status QuoEdit
Games Workshop is well-known (read:
notorious infamous) for using the Eldar as a gigantic fiat that everything remains exactly as it is (which is to say, in a state of imminent-but-not-quite-here-yet disaster).
It must be noted, however, that they aren't the sole custodians of this. Necrons, pre-update, used to be pretty bad for doing this, and the Tyranids in general seem to exist to eat GW's mistakes, but both of those can be written off as the fault of the armies themselves, since the Tyranids exist only to consume biomass, and the pre-5th edition Necrons just wanted to kill everything. In short, whenever something needs to be eaten, destroyed, turned into armour paint, or involve the interplanetary equivalent of poking an electrical outlet with a fork, GW uses one of the other armies. But when a situation calls for things to remain exactly as they are, the Eldar, traditionally, get the call.
Thankfully, this is no longer the case, as the Eldar are at least partly responsible for the massive shakeup that will be 8th edition. Basically, Biel-Tan is gone, the Eldar have a scary new god, and one of them does the impossible and revives Rowboat Girlyman. So much for status quo. That being said they did it during the Gathering Storm events and their actions served prevent ultimate Chaos victory and stir the setting back to the state of (you guess it) imminent-but-not-quite-here-yet disaster.
With the partially awakening of Ynnead thanks to Eldrad's ritual, Yvraine, The Visarch, and the Yncarne are now gathering all the branches of the Eldar under one banner in order to "save" the galaxy (and more importantly the Eldar race from Slaanesh).
Eldrad proposed the idea of allying with the Imperium of Man to finally defeat Chaos once and for all. Even if the other Eldar weren't exactly thrilled by the idea of becoming best buddies with the Imperium, they still reluctantly agreed that they are still the best of a bad bunch, what with the other options being either the Orks or Tau. Said races were either too "young" (translated as "too naive and inexperienced to truly face the forces of Chaos"), primarily in the latter case, or simply too uncooperative and uncouth to be allied with (meaning that manipulating them from the shadows would prove more fruitful). And so Yvraine traveled to Macragge in order to provide the Imperium with a leader that could pull the shit show together and actually make it a worthwhile alliance, culminating in the resurrection of Roboute Guilliman. Thus the old "defenders of the status quo" proceeded to set the wheels of story advancement in motion, at the risk of further reducing themselves to nothing but a group of proxies for the Imperium. Extra lulz when you remember the Imperium is not inexperienced in manipulating or out-dicking the Eldar, so the spelves were close to being Imperial puppets anyway. gether, which finally allows the story to advance.
The opening of the great rift, and the overflowing of the Warp into the material universe has had a profound effect on the powerful psychic race. Even those that do not develop their psychic powers are seeing their psychic potential leaking out in many varied ways; The Eldar are developing/rediscovering abilities that were unknown/forgotten to them before, such as Banshees', finding the wind itself fighting alongside them, and Scorpions developing a naturally accruing invisibility. As the Warp continuous to bleed through into the material universe, what unforeseeable effects will the Great Rift have upon the Eldar moving forward?
- "Once long ago we damned the galaxy.
- We thought we knew all there was to know, We believed the winds of fate blew at our beckoning whispers.
- Pleasure and enlightenment were our twin birth wrights, until our poisonous vanity ignited the stars.
- Since that day we have lived in fear of she who thirsts, the Goddess that swallows our souls.
- Yet there is a new melody in the Galaxy's great song, a harmony unheard by my people for over 10 thousand years; hope.
- I am the first to hear the voice of the whispering god, I will not be the last.
- Once long ago we damned the galaxy with a birth of a Goddess, now we shall save it with the birth of a God."
Rebirth of a PantheonEdit
- Never trust a god.
- You can be certain of one thing, if anything. Gods order the universe to their design and nothing else, and you can be sure that your wants and needs feature little in their agenda. For the aeldari, distrusting gods is in their nature, having been abandoned by one pantheon of godheads and destroyed by the birth scream of a deity forged from their own wanton excess. Such experience breeds caution if not outright contempt.
- -Rise of the Yannari- Ghost warrior, blaming gods for the consequences of the Eldars’ own actions.
As the story continues to move forward could we see the return of a small Eldar Pantheon? With the confirmation that there will be at least four daemon Primarchs for Chaos and at least four returning Loyalists Primarchs it would make sense from a balance perspective to have four different Avatars to counter. Of course, this would not be a true counter; as powerful as they may be, Avatars are just not as powerful as a Primarch, and although they stand a chance of defeating one, it is still very unlikely. The Avatars at present represent a shattered god and a god that has yet to be fully awakened, so it is not unsurprising that they are not as powerful as they would be if the gods that they represented were fully whole and awake. However seeing as Avatars have the unlimited re-spawn cheat, defeating one means absolutely nothing as they can simple rematerialize after a given time and continue to fight, which is something a Primarch can’t do... except for Vulkan. On the other hand, clap your hands if you believe combined with a Primarch’s strength of will...ehhh, he might be able to put one down for good. Also, the Death Specters Chapter’s final test to become Astartes is to die and will themselves back to life. A Primarch most definitely could do that if a mere Space Marine can.
- Ynnead is already running about. To counter Slaanesh
- Khaine reformed with a more powerful Avatar that isn't the laughing stock of the entire 40k community (unlikely). To counter Khorne.
- Isha freed. To counter Nurgle.
- Cegorach playing his shadow games. To counter Tzeentch.
Now it could just be a very weird coincidence that the last remaining Eldar Gods appear to be mirror images of the four Chaos gods but as we know there is no such thing when dealing with the Warp.
It's conspiracy time ladies and gentlemen: Could it be that the Chaos gods and the Eldar gods are two sides of the same coin and that what happens to one also affects the other? It has been asked why the sign for Chaos is an eight sided star when there are only four Chaos gods; well what if there had been more but they no longer exist (likely contenders could be Malal or one of the Chaos God of Law).
- The Talismans of Vaul/ Blackstone fortress look suspicious like the eight pointed star of Chaos even though they are supposedly of Eldar origin.
Before the Fall and the birth of Slaanesh there were eight main Eldar gods 1.Asuryan 2.Cegorach 3.Isha 4.khaine 5.Vaul 6.Lilearth 7.Morai-Heg 8.Kurnous and two gods that seem to have been of lower status Hoec and Gea. One for each point of the star.
What if when Slaanesh consumed most of the Eldar pantheon the Chaos gods that acted as their doubles were also destroyed alongside them. This would go a long way to explain why Nurgle interfered and saved Isha and why Khorne fought to save Khaine; they were saving their own arses (except for Tzeentch as Cegorach had already escaped, so there was no need to interfere).
The remaining Chaos gods have each in their own way protected their counterparts in order to save themselves and have grown bloated with power as a result of the now smaller group of gods (essentially they are now getting a larger piece of pie as there are fewer people to share it with).
The only one without a direct double was Slaanesh, but with the creation of Ynnead that has all changed.
For what ever reason it would appear that Isha may be becoming more active. When The Great Unclean One known as Rotigus rambles from one maiden world to the next upon the Eastern Fringe, he courses the worlds to rot. The masques of the Frozen Stars appear and fight their way to the site of the planets’ world-spirit shrines, were they perform dances of such startling beauty that all who see them are moved to floods of tears. As the Aeldari weep, the rains falling from the skies transform from diseased filth to cleansing waters that glow like moonlight. Wherever these purifying monsoons sweep over the landscape, the power of Nurgle is undone and the corruption reversed. Rumour spreads through the Exodite tribes that it might be possible that their combined sorrow might somehow, eventully, be able to release the goddess Isha from her imprisonment within Nurgle’s foetid manse. Basicully the more you kick her kids the more determined she is to break free and kick your ass.
Rise of the Ynnari- Wild Rider raises the possibility that when the Great Enemy attempted to devour the aeldari gods, not all were consumed, and that if Khaine was shattered into the avatars of the Bloody-Handed then other fragments might have survived. A piece or pieces of every god scattered throughout the aeldari, born again and again into mortal form just as the souls of the aeldari themselves. Yvraine ponders that Ynnead is, in a way, the incarnation of Isha, Morai-Heg and Lileath summed, what if the croneswords were the means, not the end? that perhaps the fifth cronesword would not be revealed to her until the reborn pantheon of old had been assembled.
Possible members could be:(note there may be more than one for each god)
- Yvraine- Ynnead’s aspect of the moon. the mortal incarnation of Lileath?
- Eldrad- The Eye of the Fates Unseen. Could he be the Crone?
- Meliniel- Now Kaela Mensha Khaine’s greatest avatar and bearer of the actual blade Anaris. Khaine for obvious reasons.
- Indraesci Dreamspear- the Harlequin, the embodiment of the Laughing God. Cegorach. Lady malys is also a possibility, what with her now having Cegorach crystal "heart" within her body. Or of course there is also Sylandri Veilwalker; can't count her out.
- Iyanna Arienal- The symbol of her craftworld was the flame of Asuryan.
- Hoec- one of her current companions. Kurnus? Illix Nightspear is also a real possiblity too.
- Gei- another of her current companionss. Isha?
In additional, an insight into the true nature of the relationship between Slaanesh and Ynnead is hinted at, which may potentially hold some serious ramifications for any story moving forward. It would appear that Ynnead was the one that was ment to have be born to the Empire of old, but it's birth had been corrupted and twisted to the point that Slaanesh was the one that burst into divine being instead. Slaanesh may well have had a hand in it's own creation, with the Cults of pleasure paving the path for their master to come into foul existence. If true then Slaanesh and Ynnead are truly twin Gods/Goddesses, with Slaanesh being a horrifically twisted version of Ynnead; or perhaps they are actually two parts of a single whole, two imperfect sides of something far greater than either one individually. Ynnead may very well be a "redo" for the Eldar, a chance to correct the mistakes and sins of the past; even if they all die they may in death find their salvation.
How this plays out, if at all, will certainly be interesting.
Relationship with the Imperium of ManEdit
- "Make no mistake mon-keigh, we do not fight for you, or for your corpse-Emperor. We are allied here today because destiny has seen fit to bind our fates together. We do not relish that our futures are intertwined, but if you would live to see another day, then you will do as I say. Order your soldiers to cease firing their primitive artillery upon the ridge line, for it is there the Asuryani warhost will arrive. My kin will drive the tainted ones back towards your lines, where you would do well to be prepared. And please, above all else, stand downwind from me."
- – Beac-dair, Ranger of Alaitoc, liaison to Imperial forces
The relationship between humanity and the Eldar is complicated to say the least, varying dependent on sector, the local culture (of both parties), the specific needs of each side at the time of contact, and (at least partially) undisclosed fluff concerning human-Eldar relationships during the Dark Age of Technology.
Due to the variability of these factors, the Eldar are one of the only races for whom there's no consistent pattern of relationship with the Imperium; they can be hated enemies and invaders, desperate allies against a greater foe, marauding pirates, begrudgingly necessary trading allies, and everything in-between. For every Imperial world sacrificed to save the lives of a handful of Eldar, for every grand scheme orchestrated to dick over the Mon-Keigh and put them in their place, another world is saved by their timely intervention or an Inquisitor made aware of the existence of a terrible threat by their warning. Where the Blood Ravens go to war with them at one time, at another the Grey Knights return the salvaged spirit stones of Malan'tai to Iyanden and lay the Craftworld to rest by way of a solar viking funeral.
During the Great Crusade the official policy of the Imperium, as mandated by the Emperor, was to kill Eldar, and individual attempts to contact them by Primarchs such as Fulgrim were protested by their men as breaches of Imperial policy. This could be seen as a (very warped and twisted) justified course of action during this time given the numerous human worlds ravished throughout and after the Age of Strife. Although there are no actual records of any Eldar being involved in these actions there were still Eldar radicals, who during the twilight centuries of their empire sort out conflicts among the primitives as a form of entertainment; then there's also the proto-Dark Eldar who were already doing what they do so well, so there is a lot of room to play with. What ever actually happened during the Age of Strife, whenever they encountered each other during the Heresy and beyond the inevitable always happens, such as the time when the Salamanders, Iron Hands and Death Guard sought to rescue the enslaved human population of an Exodite World. It turns out that the Exodites had rescued and sheltered the human population from raids by their Dark kin. After realising their mistake did the Imperials seek out a possible peacefu- nope, instead they slaughtered the human population, seeing them as having been corrupted by their xenos companions and turned the world to ash. Lorgar also encountered a fledgling Craftwold during the Great crusade, he was invited aboard as a guest where they discussed, among many other things, the nature of the warp and it's dangers. Lorgar and his legion then thanked them by killing them all and reduced their home to rubble. Which is unsurprising given how “my thinking is bestest” Lorgar was/is. Then again, one must remember that Humanity was recovering from a horrid period of downfall, where formerly allied aliens used the opportunity to kill and enslave now defenseless humans. The result of such dickish behaviour was that mankind became outright genocidal towards everything nonhuman. We are not saying that it was right or wrong, just that it was natural, due to situation at time.
In a wider perspective, the Eldar-Imperial relations is a case of each side using each other for their own ends. The Eldar manipulate humans (and everyone else in general) for their own survival, they'd happily put human lives and worlds to the torch if they needed to avert some grave threat like an Ork WAAAGH or Tyranid fleet, but also aren't completely above saving said lives and worlds if it meant it'd be a more efficient way to keep them around. Likewise, humans would scream "burn the witch" the moment they see the Eldar due to xenophobia and well because the Eldar don't exactly have a great track-record with the Imperium, but more open minded and/or pragmatic individuals aren't above making a truce with the Eldar if it meant stopping a common enemy (like say, the forces of Chaos). For example; the Grey Knights returning the soul stones of the Malan'tai craftworld is better than destroying them since that would do nothing but royally piss off the Eldar and empower Slaanesh, plus it also be used as a bargaining chip with the Eldar during negotiations, something valuable when trying to broker a fair deal with an utterly egotistical race who see you as mere animals. Of course as humans are an equally egotistical race who see all other races as beneath them in the setting, both groups are on equal footing here.
There are lots in common between the Eldar and Mankind, more so perhaps, than any side would like to admit. This also includes being responsible for the crapsack world that they live in. Both are psychic races and therefore much responsible for the happenings in the warp. While Eldar having much more effective psykers on average, the most powerful ones are human, such as Emperor, Magnus, Lorgar and so on. This also means that their actions have led to the empowerment of malign forces in the warp: Eldar due to their collective sins and Mankind for generally being untrained retards and arrogant smartasses who think that they know better. So both have their fair share in making things worse for everyone, including themselves. To put it simply, although neither race will ever trust the other and they're theoretically at war, they still share by far the most in common with humanity out of any of its competitors. Against the pressure of a cold and hostile universe, both sides are, at times, willing to pretend just for a second that they could put aside their differences and be allies.
Since the events of the Gathering Storm, however, the Ynnari have managed to forge an alliance with the Imperium. Admittedly, this isn't a formal alliance so much as a tacit acknowledgement that neither of them can afford to waste time killing each other with the Ruinous Powers on their respective doorsteps, but it gets the job done more often than not. Some of the Craftworlds such as Ulthwe have followed suit, again with the justification that aiding the lesser races will improve the likelihood of them returning the favor in the future. While the space elves aren't happy about it any more than the Imperium would be (if it was known to the Imperium as a whole and not just a few individuals within it), they are slowly coming to terms with the fact that they have no choice but to swallow their pride to survive.
TL;DR: In the current time period, being two of the most arrogant, egotistic and xenophobic races in the galaxy, where one sacrifices millions of innocent others to save a few of their own and another is exterminating millions of innocent lives and entire planets on a nearly daily basis, Eldar and Humans get along with each other quite well 40k. Perhaps because they're the only factions out there doing terrible things to survive whereas everyone else is doing it because they are either naive and greedy, stupid and blindly aggressive, insane, sadistic, or just plain evil. Also because the two species have far more in common to the point of hitting uncanny valley, than either side would like to admit. (Yes, this includes being responsible for ruining everything for everyone with birth of Slaanesh and Horus Heresy respectively.)
Perhaps the dick put it best:
- ‘You wish to be free of the influence of my kind, You see the armour as a gaoler holding you hostage to our whims. Know this – the fates of humanity and aeldari are bound together. Either both species will survive, or neither will. Your Emperor understands this. There are greater enemies than the primordial annihilator. In the times to come, you will see. The struggle is only beginning. The old war returns. Remember this conversation, and reconsider carefully, on the day realisation comes, whether you wish to stand alone.’
- -Eldrad Ulthran speaking to Guilliman, The Armour Of Fate, underestimating humanity for the zillionth time.
As a general rule, the Eldar are a fast army of specialists. Each unit is engineered for a particular style of fighting but is nigh useless outside of that assigned role. For example, Dark Reaper squads (currently broken) are known to cripple, if not wipe out completely, entire squads of Space Marines in a single volley. Conversely, they are incapable of moving and shooting (but now they can, lulz) and are comparable to Guardsmen in close combat (though they don't wear wet cardboard boxes for armor). Usually, everyone in an Eldar squad has the same gun and the squad as a whole aims for one goal, as opposed to squads of dudes each toting a different gun for a different kind of foe. This can help new players by not forcing them to keep all of a squad's weaponry in mind, but it also requires you move the right squad for the job to the right place, which can be tactically challenging. An ill-positioned Eldar squad has a greater chance of doing nothing than those of other armies. Some units, like Jetbikes, overcome this disadvantage with superior speed and mobility. This is huge in a game where most of the missions are about capturing objectives. If you are the kind of elf who likes it when a plan comes together, you might be tactical enough to lead the Eldar to their victories upon the battlefield.
With their new, updated codex, the Craftworld Eldar are given a firm footing in the game to compete with or dominate their numerous foes through their increased special abilities, units’ tactical applications and general ability to put shurikens into things and make those things fall down. The newer codex makes units even more points-efficient in doing their jobs. Tactical blunders will see your army turned into rainbow confetti, but if you can get the right part of your Eldar army fighting the right bad guys, you can ruin Christmas every time.
Eldar are almost universally Fleet, pack high Leadership, high Initiative and good overall stats (apart from defenses, with some notable exceptions, such as Wraith constructs), their accuracy is good, their special abilities are rich and useful and their armies need never run the same trick twice. With the Battle Focus ability they can choose to take a run action either before or after shooting, for free, a benefit that allows them to become more mobile than the competition by far. Almost all of their vehicles are skimmers or flyers; those that aren't can Deep Strike or outflank; and they have three different flavors of jump troops and fast-as-hell Jetbikes. Eldar look good when they fight and often kill their enemies in style.
In summary, when an Eldar army is functioning as it should, it is difficult to stop. For this reason, opponents hate them. On the other hand, the army falls apart if given a mean look. They are devastating if they set up, and terrifying if allowed to stick around, but the presence of one Manticore Rocket Launcher, Whirlwind Artillery Tank or Defiler can collapse an entire Eldar battle line should the space elves not fight with care and foresight. Or go second.
Lameness, Courtesy of Games WorkshopEdit
Eldar recently were dethroned as the punching bag of Games Workshop. Until the most recent codex (Newcrons), the Eldar suffered repeated and humiliating defeats. Every single defeat involved overwhelming odds in favor of the Eldar, with gigantic wraithbone constructs and burning shards of war gods being overwhelmed by [insert faction GeeDubs is trying to sell this time]'s broken pinky finger.
Let's make a list here:
- Fulgrim - Big Eldar force including a fucking Avatar and Wraithlords is killed by a small detachment of the Emperor's Children (the Avatar is strangled to death by Fulgrim because he's distracted by his glowy Laer blade. I'm not making this shit up.)
- Codex: Chaos Daemons - Aside from being a nifty reference to Ker-Ys/Ker-Is, an Avatar is possessed by a Keeper of Secrets and helps wipe out a Craftworld.
- Codex: Tyranids - Avatar issues a challenge to the Hive Tyrant leading the assault on Iyanden. Apparently it doesn't work and it literally gets stampeded to death by 12 Carnifexes. What the fuck. (To be fair, it is 12 Carnifexes and the Avatar took four down with it.) Oh, and Farseer Kelmon dies, despite neither the Avatar nor Kelmon dying in older iterations of Iyanden's invasion. Oh, and the Doom of Malan'Tai singlehandedly eats an ENTIRE CRAFTWORLD.
- Matt Ward's Cornucopia of Wank - From the Avatar getting his chest punched in by Papa Smurf, other hilarious things like Wraithlords being killed by Sergeants and god knows what, Matt Ward's Necron Codex featuring a fucking retarded Alaitoc Farseer who fucks over every engagement he commands and gets 'captured' in the White Dwarf issue, I don't even know where to start.
- Ironically, Ward is also the only one who writes the Eldar being badass, including a bit about Biel-tan beating two whole Imperial sector fleets and ten Space Marines chapters. It seems that only his love for his Ultrasmurfs can surpass his compulsion to make the Eldar actually, y'know, even remotely competent.
- Dawn of War: Dark Crusade has the Blood Ravens wipe out all of Taldeer's distractions and then kill her, with their heretical Chapter Master gaining a fancy new piece of bling by taking her spirit stone (or perhaps she escaped and Kyras only managed to kill a body double, depending on who you listen to).
- In Dawn of War: Soulstorm, Vance Motherfucking Stubbs wipes the Ulthwe forces on Kaurava III out wholesale and used his sheer manliness to make Caerys join his harem.
- Dawn of War II has the Eldar farseer acting like a complete and total DUMBASS from the moment you take control of Force Commander Hairgel/Aramus. While things started off good with the Eldar making the Orks and Space Marines do the work for them, Farseer Ree-t'ard then decides to antagonize the Blud Rehvens for literally no reason, resulting in a total of 11 marines, 3 scouts, and a dreadnought killing somewhere in the ballpark of
hundredsthousands of Eldar and a fucking avatar.
- Imperial Armour 11: Doom of Mymeara (which sounds like a Playschool TV show puppet - way to go on the Craftworld name GW) - Again, droves of Eldar in the midst of snotting Imperial Guard and Space Wolves from here to Jupiter, somehow get their collective arses handed to them. This is achieved by some fresh out of training/wet nosed/"tea bagging my comrades for the Emperor is my past time" IG commander, pulling a victory out of his chocolate starfish - with collective precision that makes the Dome of Seers predictive foresight look like your average crystal ball psychic con artist.
- The Battle of Orar's Sepulchre: Seeing yet another Avatar of Khaine die and the combined might of both the Alaitoc and Iyanden Craftworlds defeated, with death tolls so high that the Space Marines create barriers out of the enormous mounds of Eldar dead
- Yme-Loc raided: The Craftworld with the explicitly most powerful vehicle force of all Craftworlds getting bitchslapped by the Mechanicum who land on it, beat it up and raid it at their leisure.
- Alaitoc's near death: Despite being one of the five most powerful Craftworlds, Alaitoc is almost completely outclassed by a small Imperial Crusade including only one Chapter of Space Marines in support.
(And let's not forget that all of these instances are pretty recent fluff, from 4th-5th edition.) Case in point, when GeeDubs needs to give some character or unit or faction some street cred, they just go "he killed an Avatar, so that's good enough." As if the prevailing logic wouldn't be; "gee, if so many things can kill the Avatar, isn't it kind of a lame thing to kill anymore?" Regardless, GW sucks at writing decent fluff (with a few exceptions).
Fortunately, the new punching bag has been changed to the Tau, who for reasons uncertain, don't seem to mind the change of pace- Uh, don't you mean Sisters of Battle? The ones who, you know, not only die in droves, but usually at the hands of their own alleged allies? Eldar still lost most times they were mentioned in the codex, though.
Notable Eldar CharactersEdit
|Eldrad Ulthran||Craftworld Ulthwé||Aeldari /Ynnari||Saviour of the Eldar. Former High Farseer of Ulthwé. Amongst the greatest and most powerful of the Eldar Seers. A dick.|
|Yvraine||Craftworld Biel-tan||Ynnari||Emissary of Ynnead. Herald of the Eldar God of the Dead. Helped bring Guilliman back into the game. Wields the Crone Sword Kha-vir the Sword of Sorrows.|
|The Visarch||Craftworld Biel-tan||Ynnari||The Sword of Ynnead. The mortal champion of the Eldar God of the Dead and Yvraine’s bodyguard. Bad at his job. Wields the Crone Sword Asu-var the Sword of Silent Screams.|
|Autarch Meliniel||Craftworlds||Ynnari||Yvraine's top commander, made his first appearance "Ghost Warrior: Rise of the Ynnari". After the Ynnari deafeat the Warshard (a more pure incarnation of Khaine) he absorbs it and is transformed; he and the Warshard become one, and he can now Hulk out, and become an all new and improved super-Avatar of Khaine. It is still an Avatar of Khaine though, so don't expect much.|||||
|The Yncarne||The Infinity Circuit||Ynnari||The Avatar of Ynnead. The physical manifestation of the awakening Eldar god of the dead. Wields the Crone Sword Vilith-zhar the Sword of Souls.|
|Avatar of Khaine||The old Eldar Empire||Aeldari||The Avatar of Khaela Mensha Khaine (also known as the Bloody-Handed God). The physical manifestation of the Shattered Eldar God of murder, War and Fire. Memetic loser.|
|Asurmen||The old Eldar Empire||Aeldari /Ynnari||Asurmen, the Hand of Asuryan. Was the first Phoenix Lord and founded the Dire Avenger Aspect and the Path of the Warrior. Before he became Asurmen he was a bit of a lazy slacker who didn't take anything seriously.|
|Jain Zar||The old Eldar Empire||Aeldari /Ynnari||Jain Zar, the Storm of Silence. Was Asurmen's first student and loyal companion. She's the founder of the Howling Banshees Aspect. In her youth she was very similar to Lelith Hesperax.|
|Baharroth||The old Eldar Empire||Aeldari /Ynnari||Baharroth, the Cry of the Wind. Was the founder of the Swooping Hawks. Noted by Asurmen as the best of all his students. Baharroth's final death will come during the Rhana Dandra where his final sacrifice will bring about the ultimate salvation of the Eldar.|
|Karandras||The old Eldar Empire||Aeldari /Ynnari||Karandras, the Shadow Hunter. The Phoenix Lord of the Striking Scorpions but not their founder. He started out not as the pupil of Asurmen but of Ahra.|
|Fuegan||The old Eldar Empire||Aeldari /Ynnari||Fuegan, the Burning Lance. The founder of the Fire Dragons and the patron saint of overkill. Culling the enemies of the Eldar one by one until their deaths form an unbroken chain of retribution stretching across the universe. Using this chain Fuegan intends to bind the Dragon at the end of days and that it will be Fuegan who calls the Phoenix Lords for the Rhana Dandra were he will be the last to fall.|
|Maugan Ra||The old Eldar Empire||Aeldari /Ynnari||Maugan Ra, the Harvester of Souls. The Phoenix Lord of the Dark Reapers. He is one of the most OP characters from a fluff prospective but sadly not from a table top one. Before he became Maugan Ra he was (if you can believe it) a mild-mannered librarian and caretaker and was the one who invented/discovered the Infinity Circuit.|
|Irillyth||The old Eldar Empire||Aeldari||Irillyth, the Shade of Twilight. The Phoenix Lord of the Shadow Spectres. Was lost for a long time but has finally made his return.|
|Drastanta||The old Eldar Empire||Aeldari||Drastanta, the Tempest of Starlight. The Phoenix Lord of the Shining Spears. After failing to save Asurmen he went into self-exile, leaving his weapon behind.|
|Sylandri Veilwalker||Harlequins||Harlequin/ Ynnari||A Shadowseer of the Masque of the Veiled Path who is worse than Eldrad when it comes to interfering in other peoples buisness. She was there when Prince Yriel took up the Spear of Twilight and can order around Magos Belisarius Cawl like he was her personal plaything. She helped guide the surviving Imperial defenders of Cadia into the Webway, then later reappeared alongside Cypher to free Roboute Guilliman after he was captureded by Chaos forces and later played a vital role in the battle against Magnus. She also manipulated the Emperor's Children into their attack on Lugganath. She’s also likely the Shadowseer that appeared in the Devastation of Baal, who dragged Mephiston through hell by his psychic ear, in order to warn him of a demonic invasion that was on its way. By the Dice Gods she’s everywhere, they might as well have her be the Shadowseer that appeared in The Beast Arises series…|
|Prince Yriel Ulthanash||Craftworld Iyanden||Aeldari /Ynnari||Prince Yriel is arrogant and deadly in equal measure. Whether as High Admiral of Iyanden’s grand fleet, commander of the Eldritch Raiders he leads his warriors from the front. Turns out that the The Spear of Twilight was one of the Crone Swords.|
|Illic Nightspear||Craftworld Alaitoc||Aeldari||The Walker of the Hidden Path. He has wandered the Path of the Outcast for thousands of years, slaying monsters and men alike as he seeks out the paths that span the stars.|
|Iyanna Arienal||Craftworld Iyanden||Aeldari /Ynnari||The Angel of Iyanden. The most prominent Spiritseer of Iyanden and one of the most outspoken supporters of Ynnead. (Her official rules are actually worse than the normal Spiritseer so it would be better to use the normal rules instead)|
|Nuadhu||Craftworld Saim-Hann||Aeldari||The Fireheart is a Wild Rider of Saim Hann with a modified Vyper called the Alean- the steed of Khaine. Nuadhu is currently Saim-Hann’s high chieftain.|
|Prince Eldrathain||Craftworlds||Corsairs||Leader of the corsairs in Battlefleet Gothic: Armada|
|Bel-annath||Craftworlds of Mymeara||Aeldari||Farseer of Mymeara|
|Macha||Craftworlds of Biel-Tan||Aeldari||Macha is a Farseer of the Craftworld of Biel-Tan during the events of the Dawn of War series. She alongside Gabriel Angelos of the Blood Ravens and Gorgutz 'Ead 'Unter are inescapably linked by fate whether they like it or not.|
|Taldeer||Craftworlds of Ulthwé||Aeldari||A Farseer of the Ulthwé Craftworld. During the events of Dawn of War: Dark Crusade, Taldeer would end up dying at the hands of Azariah Kyras. Her Soul stone was later retrieved by her brother Ronahn. She appears in Dawn of War 3 as a Ghost Seer (a psychic Wraithknight… and you thought it couldn’t get more broken).|
|Pariah||Craftworlds||Corsairs||The Daemon Heart. Pariah is the “companion” and guide to the The Thrice Born in the Daemonifuge comics.|
Minor Eldar CharactersEdit
- Farseer Caerys - Farseer of the Kaurava endeavour. From Craftworld Ulthwé.
- Farseer Idranel - Ulthwé Farseer who tried to stop Tyranids from nomming a craftworld in Subsector Aurelia by getting the Orks and the Blood Ravens pissed off. It failed utterly, with special mention going to Tarkus and his termie armour.
- Farseer Eldorath Starbane - Farseer of Craftworld Alaitoc. An arrogant bastard who couldn't get over himself and promptly got his ass handed to him by the Necrons.
- Autarch Kayleth - An Autarch of Craftworld Alaitoc. She took charge of the Subsector Aurelia situation after Idranel's death. Is hilariously snarky.
- Ronahn - Pathfinder. Born on Ulthwé, but eventually cut ties with his craftworld to wander the stars. Taldeer's brother.
- Autarch Kyre - An Autarch of Craftworld Biel-Tan featured in Dawn of War III. Incredibly arrogant even by Eldar standards, his misinterpretation of a prophesy he thought referred to him got his dumb ass killed by a daemon he accidentally freed and nearly led to a war between Biel-Tan and Ulthwe.
- Craftworld Alaitoc - The most structurally rigid of the craftworlds. Their strict adherence to discipline allows them to field a large number Exarchs. On the other plus side, all these rules tend to put off a lot of spehss elves, so they also have a large number of rangers on hand, including elite rangers known as "Pathfinders". The large number of misfits they produce also makes them close to Corsair bands. Currently got their shit kicked by the Imperium after their craftworld was invaded by both the Guard and the Space Marines, due to Dark Eldar dickery. Further sabotaging the Eldar by getting their agents constantly captured, with the Imperium learning most of what they know about the Eldar from Alaitoc's bumbling rangers.
- Craftworld Biel-tan - Best known for their military prowess, which allowed them to wipe out invaders. Are on a mission to restore the Eldar Empire, and so are highly protective of Eldar Maiden Worlds, violently murdering any non-Eldar race trying to settle on one under their watch. The most militaristic and xenophobic (more so than usual) of the Craftworlds. As of the Gathering Storm campaign, the Biel-Tan craftworld itself has been heavily damaged after the Yncarne was born and purged a Daemon infestation within its structure at the Battle of Biel-Tan. Subsequently half of Biel-Tan's population remains on the Craftworld, the remaining half either being dead or leaving to join the Ynnari. With their enormous recent loss of life they're quickly headed to becoming Iyanden 2.0.
- Craftworld Iyanden - Almost got nommed to death by the Tyranids, including the infamous story of having their avatar trampled to death by a herd of stampeding Carnifexi. They would have been completely eaten, if it wasn't for Prince Yriel, who saved his Craftworld using with his Corsair band and a big fucking spear of doom. Is almost depleted and so reluctantly have to rely on a large number of wraith constructs to help them in battle. Has a history of almost dying, having recently almost died twice more to two Chaos Invasions, making it the Damsel in Distress of Eldar Craftworlds.
- Craftworld Saim-Hann - A less-restrained craftworld who likes to go fast. They've even taken a page out of the Orks' book that "da' red wuns go fasta'!" as their primary colors are red. Unlike other craftworlds; Saim-Hann takes the concept of the Paths with a grain of salt, and so are more wild and barbaric compared to others (although not a Dark Eldar extreme). Whether this is them just making the best out of their situation or downright retarded (as these were the actions that led to their race's near extinction) is up to debate. Is basically the red, elfy version of the White Scars, only with less Mongolian. Recently following an invasion by a small Death Guard force the Saim-Hann Eldar were forced to cut off a piece of their Craftworld to save it from infection, abandoning the Eldar living on that part and causing them to be posessed by Nurgle Daemons. Whilst Biel-tan, Iyanden and Ulthwe are dying, Alaitoc is useless, Saim-hann just doesn't do much of anything at all.
- Craftworld Ulthwé - With Biel-tan and Iyanden both basically dead it is now the largest of the remaining Craftworlds, it specializes in psykers. Ulthwé is currently caught at the edge of the Eye of Terror's gravity pull, and so cannot escape its proximity and the lovecraftian horrors spewing out of it; they're basically the Eldar version of Cadia. Due to this, they have a heavy emphasis on the Path of the Seer to help them predict the constant attacks they experience on a daily basis. This emphasis on psykers does have a downside of having less Aspect Warriors on hand compared to others, but compensate for this by drilling their Guardian squads into elite "Black Guardians" which are more akin to career soldiers than your average militiamen made to answer a call to arms. Also former home of the biggest dick, this side of the Eye of Terror. Currently defenceless and wracked by internal conflict as it splinters into three separate factions.
- Craftworld Altansar - Was lost in the Eye of Terror for a while. Then Maugan Ra dragged it out with his epicness. Are viewed by suspicion by other Eldar due to spending an extended amount of time in the Warp (as an Eldar, no less), but do not dare do anything about it, lest they face the biotitan-bisecting wrath of the Eldar's version of Jetstream Sam.
- Craftworld Iybraesil - A matriarchal society with a disproportionately high female population. Commissars warn citizens of the Imperium to stay away of the craftworld because the perfidious xenos capture men for sexual fun and reproduction, as there are not enough eldar men to fulfill these tasks. Many brave citizens have decided to risk their lives in the name of the Emperor to find the Craftworld Iybraesil and ... ahem ... destroy this heresy. So yeah, want to get in the pants of an Eldar lady and not have your dick peeled like a bandana, go here.
- Craftworld Yme-Loc - Famed for their Bonesingers and producing incredible weapons and equipment, however, got their shit kicked in when the Mechanicus came and beat them up and stole their stuff. Also noted as the most Snoop-dogg attitude craftworld ever. Khorne hounds in the lower decks? Bah, screw that. Mechanicus pillage? No bother! Ravengay marine single-handedly hunting down half of your seer council? Who cares! Vaul taught them to go easy on those things and so they do.
- Craftworld Kaelor - An angry Craftworld who's Bonesingers march to war with them.
Notable Former CraftworldsEdit
- Craftworld Malan'Tai - Was invaded by a Tyranid fleet. They almost won as they repulsed most of the invaders, but missed a particular Zoanthrope that could eat Eldar souls (somehow). The nid devoured their craftworld's Infinity Circuit and singlhandedly vaporized the entire place. N'Kari, a Slaaneshi Keeper of Secrets, later visited the ruined craftworld to molest any spirit stones still left over after the party, but was cockblocked by the Grey Knights.
- Craftworld Idharae - After helping Iyanden to defeat some Tyranid this Craftworld was wrecked by the Invaders Space Marine Chapter despite Eldrad's attempts to save them (or, knowing Eldrad's track record, because of his efforts to help them).
|This article contains PROMOTIONS! Don't say we didn't warn you.|
Yvraine regrets partying up with the Mon'keigh.
|Playable Factions in Warhammer 40,000|
|Imperium:||AdMech:||Adeptus Mechanicus - Mechanicus Knights|
|Army:||Imperial Guard - Imperial Knights - Imperial Navy - Militarum Tempestus - Space Marines|
|Inquisition:||Inquisition - Sisters of Battle - Deathwatch - Grey Knights|
|Other:||Adeptus Custodes - Adeptus Ministorum - Death Cults - Officio Assassinorum - Sisters of Silence|
|Chaos:||Chaos Daemons - Chaos Space Marines - Lost and the Damned - Renegade Knights|
|Xenos:||Aeldari:||Dark Eldar - Eldar - Eldar Corsairs - Harlequins - Ynnari|
|Tyranids:||Genestealer Cults - Tyranids|
|Others:||Necrons - Orks - Tau|