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The Great Crusade > The Enemies of Mankind > "Pre-Heresy" Eldar

Title: "Pre-Heresy" Eldar
Description: Ideas and request for comments,

kaelisebonrai - March 18, 2009 03:56 AM (GMT)
Hi there everyone,

I was thinking about doing a pre-heresy Eldar army.

I can't exactly recall where in the timeline the unification wars and the great crusade was, in connection to the Fall, and associated events.

I was looking over my old 2nd Edition Eldar Codex, and was pondering the Eldar in those times. At the Fall, and just after it, as far as I know, at the very least, the Warp Spiders likely did not exist. My reasoning for this, is they are named after a creature evolved from the wraithbone in the infinity circuit, according to 2nd Edition Codex Eldar. Seeing as the craftworlds and the infinity circuit were only really in place just before the fall, its unlikely their namesakes would be around.

Another note, I'd imagine that not just the Exodites, the Craftworld-dwellers, the Harlequins, and the Dark Eldar would be around. Probably some remnants of "normal" Eldar, somewhere between the Dark Kin, and the Craftworld Dwellers... Cosairs? Pirates maybe? I'd venture that later these outsiders would've assimilated into the Dark Eldar, the Exodites, the Harlequins, and the Craftworld-dwellers, but, possibly around the time of the Great Crusade, they could be separate.

Considering the Dark Eldar weaponry is described as being similar to the Eldar weaponry, I'd go so far as to say the tech has a common ancestor. In game terms, I'd probably represent it with shuriken catapults, and so on...

But, I'd love to see something like a Shuriken Cannon held by a 'guardian'/'warrior'-like trooper. Sort of like how the dark eldar carry splinter cannons.

- I'd probably avoid using wraithguard and wraithlords.
- There would probably some sort of "counts as" aspect warriors.
- Autrachs would be more suitable than seers, I'd say.
- Personally, I'd avoid using an Avatar altogether.

Armour would probably be based on, say, Dire Avenger armour, maybe with a touch of Dark Eldar, and Guardian bits and pieces.

Jetbikes would probably be more Craftworld-styled, than Dark Eldar styled. (with perhaps some slight bits of Dark Eldar styling.

Anyone else got any ideas?

Magos Explorator - March 18, 2009 08:59 AM (GMT)
I've been using the current Eldar Codex, and have painted my troops as Altansar, some time before it got sucked into the Eye of Terror (or perhaps shortly after, with the force as a remnant). I've used some of the older ranges of Guardian models in places to give a slightly more archaic feel, but in my case I'm afraid that's about it! I figured that there would have been time for the Aspect shrines to become popular; I had been under the impression that some were founded before or during the Fall, when the Craftworlds were built?

However my force are explicitly Craftworld Altansar. I like the idea of Eldar Pirates (and have had ideas for Exodites in the past). I agree that the Eldar Codex with models themed differently may fit better than Dark Eldar.

kaelisebonrai - March 18, 2009 10:13 AM (GMT)
@Magos: I'd say that the Aspects, or at least some of them, were definitely in place.

I'm just not sure how ingrained the concept of "The Path" would be. Seeing as the Aspects would probably be fairly "new", in eldar terms, I'd imagine that there would be plenty of non-aspect skilled combatants, in the sense of troopers better than the average guardian.

Basically, I'd probably end up using these theoretical troopers as "counts as" Dire Avengers, maybe even lifting something akin to the old "Black Guardians" of Ulthwe ( A name while perfectly fine fluff-wise, and even sensible, has always bugged me, simply because it gives two Eldar-based things the same name, the other being the "Black Guardians" of the Black Library, though, I suppose one could put it down to the secretive nature of the Black Library, and the appearant taboo on speaking about such things in the general Eldar society. (I believe something to that effect was in Codex Eldar 2nd Edition) )

Itkovian - March 18, 2009 10:41 AM (GMT)
I believe the Fall is what cleared away the warpstorms that Sol was engulfed in, so the craftworlds would have existed for a while by the time the great crusade got out into the galaxy. Only the craftworlds that were furthest from the destruction actually survived, so presumably, they'd been travelling for a while.

Furthermore, the existence of aspect warriors, soecifically the Banshees and Dark Reapers, at the least, is confirmed in Fulgrim, as is the Avatar.

kaelisebonrai - March 18, 2009 11:05 AM (GMT)
Aye, the avatar would exist, but, it is specifically said, that the Avatars live within the core of a Craftworld. So, a non-craftworld force would not likely have an Avatar.

EDIT: on that note, the Avatar would only exist directly *after* the fall. It simply cannot have existed before the fall. It was only during the battle with She Who Thirsts, that Kaela Mensha Khaine was split into the various Avatars, one in each Craftworld.

The Howling Banshees are the second Aspect to be created, followed, I believe, by the Striking Scorpions, Dark Reapers, and Swooping Hawks, not sure in what order, though. Following those, came the Fire Dragons, if I remember correctly... And finally the Warp Spiders are a later addition still. Can't remember where the Shining Spears fit into it, either. Another note, these canonical aspects, are not the only ones. There are some Aspects confined to a single craftworld, some that were wiped out at some point after the fall... And so on.

I'd say that the great crusade could've come in contact with the Eldar fairly early on, depending on which way the Eldar scattered. Noting also, the Eye of Terror, if my memory serves me well (I honestly can't remember enough to be certain), is not a massive distance away from the Sol System, assuming the Craftworlds scattered from around that central point, where the Eldar homeworlds were, Humanity and the Eldar probably would've come into contact pretty soon.

So, with this in mind, I'd still hold to the point that the Path may not be fully ingrained on all of Eldar society, and that there would possibly be some non-craftworld, non-dark eldar, non-exodite groups floating around. I'd also imagine, that the eldar would perhaps be in disarray, having your entire civilisation being nearly destroyed would probably shake even the Eldar.

Another thing to note, any form of Government had apparantly been long since dissolved by the time of the Fall, according to the 2nd Edition Codex. So, organisation probably wouldn't have been that strong.

I've also read somewhere, though I'm afraid I can't remember the source, that the craftworlds themselves began life as Trading Vessels, which were added to over time, and grew into what we know today as a "Craftworld". I've also read that the rush to the craftworlds was very sudden, and rushed, so any great social upheaval would most likely not have happened until *after* the Eldar fled, I've also read that many of the fleeing Eldar did not survive, because they were simply too late. So, I'm imagining disorder, rather than the strict order of The Path, fear, panic, general chaos.. (though not of the warp-spawned variety ;) ) I don't know how long it took for Spirit Stones to catch on, but, these'd almost have to be after the fall, too, since before the fall, I wouldn't think any of them would know quite how it'd effect them, other than it wasn't going to be safe where they were...

Battle Brother Loken - March 18, 2009 02:04 PM (GMT)
if we go by Fulgrim there are wraith lords, dark reapers, and avatars

The Red Sorcerer - March 18, 2009 04:23 PM (GMT)
People seem to have nailed most of the info we have so far.

Avatars were around immediately after the fall, at least according to Eldar legends, as it was the shattering of Khaine by Slaanesh that led to their creation.

Aspect Warriors are around very soon after the Fall - Asurmen was one of the leaders that led the Eldar from their homeworlds before the fall itself, and according to legends founded the Asurya (the first Exarchs/Phoenix Lords who founded the Aspect Shrines) soon after. Dire Avengers were the first (founded by Asurmen himself), then the Banshees. I don't think there is definite background on the order the Shrines were founded after the DA and HB, but I could be wrong.

Spirit Constructs should in theory be incredibly rare, as even in the 41st millenium it is seen as little better than necromancy by most Eldar. However, we know that they were in use to some extent - Fulgrim faces a wraithlord when he meets with Eldrad.

Some of the tanks already seem to be in use (e.g. wave serpents are mentioned in Fulgrim).

there would possibly be some non-craftworld, non-dark eldar, non-exodite groups floating around

Yup - there are even today. Corsairs/pirates are in no way the same as the Dark Eldar, and still exist in 40K. I agree that the path would not be as strict as it is today, but I would imagine it was still fairly well established... the Craftworlds fled some time before the Fall proper, and the Eldar on them would already have been feeling the pull of the nascent Slaanesh even before he/she awoke to full consciousness and thus would have started to develop ways to deal with it.
Another thing to note, any form of Government had apparantly been long since dissolved by the time of the Fall, according to the 2nd Edition Codex. So, organisation probably wouldn't have been that strong.

Government on the Eldar homeworlds, yes. But they were all destroyed. Government on the Craftworlds would, I imagine, have been fairly strict... the Craftworlders were seen as boring and staid by the othere Eldar before the Fall, I imagine they would have had a strict and well organised government as a result.
I've also read somewhere, though I'm afraid I can't remember the source, that the craftworlds themselves began life as Trading Vessels, which were added to over time, and grew into what we know today as a "Craftworld".

Some did, others didn't. The 'first wave' of migration from the Eldar homeworlds was usually as you describe... vast trading vessels/fleets abandoning the empire. The 'second wave', when the fact some disaster was about to befall the Eldar was increasingly apparent, were specifically constructed to operate as spacefaring homeworlds to escape the coming collapse.

As for Spirit Stones, I imagine they became widespread very quickly after the fall... the Eldar would have realised what would happen to their souls after death as soon as Slaanesh was born, and immediately developed a way to avoid it. They would certainly be post-fall though - they are apparently harvested from Croneworlds (i.e. the old Homeworlds that now reside in the Eye) although I can't remember how old that piece of background is so it could have been ret-conned.

kaelisebonrai - March 19, 2009 01:12 PM (GMT)
the Craftworlders were seen as boring and staid by the othere Eldar before the Fall

So far as I know, these "craftworlders" you're referring to, are not infact Craftworlders, I was reading 2nd Edition Codex Eldar, again, and was reading about the fall, and something to that effect was said about the Eldar that later became the Exodites, I'll quote the relevant portions a bit later.

Again, I believe the "first wave" you mentioned were moreso the ancestors of the Exodites, and the "Second Wave" was not so much of a wave, as random numbers of Craftworlds fleeing from the Eldar homeworlds. It is, however, said that the Eldar that became the exodites were the ones who didn't get fall prey to the pride that consumed the other Eldar. (And eventually led to the Fall.)

I'll be re-reading the craftworld portions of 2nd Edition Codex Eldar later on tonight.

Itkovian - March 19, 2009 03:44 PM (GMT)
have you picked up the 4th/5th edition codex yet?

ShroudFilm - March 19, 2009 05:56 PM (GMT)
Remember that where contradictions exist between editions, the most recent publication wins.

kaelisebonrai - March 20, 2009 03:47 AM (GMT)
No, I'm afraid I don't have the 4th/5th edition codex, so, I'm not sure of the exact wording of the fluff of that codex.

I'd, personally, discount anything from 3rd edition, however, unless written in the "Word of God"-style that they were so keen on avoiding, in 3rd Edition. So far as I know, in 3rd Edition, they purposefully spread misinformation, in a sense, doing things from the perspective of a 41st millenium writer, along with all the general propaganda, and misinformation that is so rife in that time period.

But, 4th and 5th Edition seems to have returned to the older "Word of God" style. (the term "Word of God" was used by GW to describe it, in the past, hence my use of it.) So, without the 4th edition Codex, I could quite well be wrong. Though, I have to say, GW has ignored the Exodites in recent times, so far as I know, I'm not quite sure how much "current" fluff exists on them.

Anyways, I'll look into getting 4th Edition Codex Eldar. =)

kaelisebonrai - March 20, 2009 12:12 PM (GMT)
I Apologise for the double post, but, I borrowed a mate's copy...

The wording of the background is almost exactly the same as the relevant 2nd Edition pieces, shorter, but, most seems to have been merely copy and pasted into the 4th Edition Codex....

Some bits are absent, but not in such a way that it looks as if it has been retconned, merely that they simply didn't include it.

Take care all. =)

The Red Sorcerer - March 24, 2009 02:51 PM (GMT)
I forgot to mention the Exodites. Yup, they were the first to leave. But other background has implied that the Craftworlders didn't leave at the same time, though I can't recall exactly where I read it. I'll try and track it down. Certainly there was a definite 'wave' of migration in Craftworlds soon before the Fall, as mentioned by Astrubael Vect in 'The Torturers Tale':
As the pleasure cults grew in power and pleasingly spilt the blood of their rivals in the streets, our Lord-to-be was just a child. It was then that a great many of our people were struck by sudden apprehension. Our seers began to prophesy a great doom. Many were struck by profound grief at what had become of our society and there was a great panic. They built the immense vessels you know as Craftworlds and fled into the stars. That was good also, for every doubting mind had been purged and all who were left were the purist pleasure-seekers.

So some Craftworlds were already around (as trading vessels) and some were built in reaction to the warnings of the seers and the collapse of Eldar society.

kaelisebonrai - March 25, 2009 03:39 AM (GMT)
G'day all, I was checking out a mate's copy of 4th Edition, the edition I missed out on, and I saw some pictures of a "Eldar Pirate" Kill-team. Looking at this, it occurred to me, a suitable "Pre-Heresy" (or early-post-fall era) force, would be very similar to an early Rogue Trader force. Note: I am well aware that Rogue Trader is actually set in the 40k Era, but, quite a few things from RT have been retconned into the Pre-Heresy Era. (Example, in the Horus Heresy: Collected Visions, there is art of Rick Priestley's Grav-Attack Tank. (Yes, the deodorant bottle one. ) Another included RT Vehicle in the Collected Visions is.. "Tim Pollard's Conversion" of a Rhino, from the Rogue Trader White Dwarf Compendium.

So, I'd go so far as to suggest that other formations and vehicles that no longer exist in the (modern) version of the 41st millennium, may have in fact existed in the Pre-Heresy Era.

In which case, a Pre-Heresy Eldar Force, could well be Mercenaries, or Non-Dark-Kin Pirates.

Inspired by the Kill-Team mentioned above, I'd go so far as to suggest a reasonable number of Dire Avenger stand-ins, a few pathfinders/rangers, Autrach as a leader, Vehicle-wise, I have no clue. Other assorted Aspect Warriors would primarily be stand-ins, Dark Reapers work great for this sort of purpose. Shining Spears, while one of the rarer aspects, could be stand-ins pretty easily. As for Howling Banshees and Striking Scorpions.. They actually sound rather difficult to stand-in or use in such a themed army. I'd also go so far as to leave Warp Spiders out altogether.

Wraithguard, while plausible, are unlikely to appear in such a force, if they did, I'd say 0-1.

Warlocks, would probably show up fairly commonly...

Jetbikes would most likely used heavily. (shining spears, styled similarly to the "Dire Avenger" stand-ins)

I'd have to examine the RT-style Eldar units, and a get a feel for it, I'd even go so far as to say Fire Dragons were definitely a good idea.

I'd imagine the troops would... Courtier/high-class medieval styled, like the kill-team I mentioned, sort of the romantic-pirate style, even, I guess. Swashbucklers.

What do you think of this? I might start to build this force, sooner or later, too.

The Red Sorcerer - March 25, 2009 12:33 PM (GMT)
Eldar pirates would certainly be an interesting project, plenty of ideas you could adopt for them. They are still part of the 40K background though, they weren't ret-conned after Rogue Trader. The Eldar fleets in Battlefleet Gothic were Pirate fleets (although they introduced Craftworld fleets later on), as was (for a time) Prince Yriel and his fleet (from the current Codex). They are definitely 'Craftworlders' rather than Dark Eldar... they wear soulstones, don't live in the Webway, and usually/often return to the Eldar path after a certain period. To an extent they are still part of the Path system, following the 'Path of the Outcast' like Eldar Scouts.
QUOTE (2nd Edition Codex)
The wildest of all the spacefaring Eldar become pirates and raiders. They often continue to trade and visit their Craftworld or the Exodite worlds whilst plundering the ships of humans, Orks and even other Eldar. They even sometimes hire out their services to alien races. The distinction between Eldar exploration fleets and pirates or raiders is not always a clear cut one as many voyages of exploration soon turn into military ventures. As home and the Eldar path become increasingly remote, the naturally wild and amoral character of the Eldar re-surfaces. Eldar pirates are quick tempered and unpredictable, equally inclined to magnanimity and wanton slaughter.

So a swashbuckling style might be a good way to represent them, perhaps more ornate than their more austere craftworld brethen. Seeing as they maintain contact with Craftworlders and Exodites, they could use similar equipment (although Spirit constructs woudl be a no-go, seing as spiritstones must be taken from the Infinity Circuit to power them). Plus, seeing as they become increasingly wild and bloodthirsty the longer they stay outside the Path proper, perhaps trophys or other bloodthirsty additions... not as deprived as the Dark Eldar, but certainly more vicious than Craftworlders.

Gagoc TheAncient - March 26, 2009 12:24 AM (GMT)
You could use some of the Harlequin models as a basis for piratical Eldar conversions.
Though the Dark Elf Corsairs might be better.

As for no Wraith Guard, maybe instead they had Battle Drones like the ones portrayed here next to the Dread/Warbot:

I think I may even have a couple of them (unpainted) somewhere.

I think you'll be safe with War Walkers, Artillery, Jetbikes and Vypers, but I'm unsure what else you could get away with.

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