Unknown, presumed Galactic
|Head of State||
(Incumbent) Asdrubael Vect
|Head of Government||
Ythillian Dynasty, Kraillach Dynasty, Xelian Dynasty (prior to Vect), Various Archons (current)
Authoritarian Aristocracy (M30-M35)
State Atheism/Secularism (Post-Fall of the Eldar)
"Is an Eldar not entitled to the sweat of his brow? 'No!' says the Eldar in the Exodite Worlds, 'it belongs to the land.' 'No!' says the Harlequin, 'it belongs to Cegorach.' 'No!' says the Eldar in the Craftworld, 'it belongs to everyone.' I rejected those answers; instead, I chose something different. I chose the impossible. I chose... Commorragh. A city where the artist would not fear the censor; where the Haemonculus would not be bound by petty morality; where the Archon would not be constrained by the slave! And with the sweat of your brow, Commorragh can become your city as well."
Andrew RyanAsdrubael Vect on Commorragh
"If the galaxy was a giant rundown town, Commorragh would be the local nightclub-turned-insane asylum."
Commorragh is the main realm (there really is no better word for it) of the Dark Eldar. It sits at the heart of the Webway. Games Workshop named them after the Camorra clans of Naples, and the Scriptural city Gommorrah. Other influences are the Mos Eisley spaceport (though Commorragh makes Mos Eisley look like an Amish community), Port Royal, BEIC-era Singapore, and, since elf, Erelhei-Cinlu and Menzoberranzan. If there is ONE place in the galaxy you don't want to end up in (except Daemon Worlds and New Jersey), it's Commorragh.
Sounding like something that would be named by a Mon-Keigh, it started out during the days of the Eldar Empire as a bunch of private realms where bored Eldar could do perverse things in privacy -- or in large groups, if that floated their boats. These realms' relative isolation from reality partially shielded those within from the birth of Slaanesh, preventing them from being outright sucked into the Warp, though they quickly realized that they were still in danger as their souls began to erode from within their bodies.
Then, they discovered that causing pain to other creatures allowed them to top up their souls and stay youthful and energetic. These realms slowly coalesced as their occupants found common purpose in raiding realspace for victims, and then bringing them home to torture them. Eventually, some of these raiders banded together under the banners of the old noble houses, and the alliances and mergers brought about the Dark City we all know and love.
Because Dark Eldar have no need for foolish things like supports or foundations, structures get built at all sorts of crazy angles, which makes things that much more entertaining for the residents; from jet-bike races among the rooftops to gladiatorial challenges in the arenas to the therapist's office, Commorragh has it all!
Despite it being hidden in the Webway and being crazy heavily defended Commorragh has been invaded multiple times: often by Orks, one time by Space Marines (Salamanders and their successors, fittingly) or Chaos Space Marines (Death Guard of all people), but mostly by Daemons. Almost all of these invasions were engineered by the Dark Eldar themselves to deal with their rivals in the ensuing chaos of battle. Denizens don't even consider these incidents threatening anymore. If anything your average Kabalite sees it as an upgraded version of a realspace raid - you get the joy of the hunt without leaving the Dark City and subjecting yourself to a withering influence of materium sucking half of the energy you take from torturing your quarry, AND you can backstab your competitors, superiors or aspiring underlings as there's no realspace raid truce to stop you. Sure, some would die in the fighting, but most invaders don't have body annihilating weapons, so the neighborhood Haemunculus can fire up a resurrection chamber and regenerate you from little more than a phalanx digit in their back-alley shop of horrors. Anyone who gets "accidentally" vaporized by "friendly" darklight fire certainly deserves to stay dead for not watching their back. Despite probably having one of the smallest populations for a faction in the galaxy, the fact that they are all in one "place" makes any attack a supremely risky proposition.
However, in at least three instances the forces of the Imperium have displayed that they can locate, enter and exit Commorragh, with both the Deathwatch and Space Wolves having done so and the forces of the Forge World Stygies also having marched an army right into the city before. While Imperium does have a lot of horrific planet-destroying weapons, marching into a Commorragh and blowing one likely won't work: the dark city is actually not one place, but thousands of webway nodes connected through instnant-travel portals, so any WMD powerful enough would at best only destroy one district and make already dreadful Commorragh traffic a bit worse, as some other districts would have to redirect routes that led through destroyed districts. Considering Dark Eldar often destroy each others districts in their multiple internal conflicts, Imperium blowing up some wouldn't even register.
The History of the Dark City
Commorragh's history begins with the rise of the Eldar Empire, an interstellar nation which straddled the galaxy for countless millennia and was the dominant force in the galaxy until the Fall which saw their almost total collapse. One of the key advantages which allowed the Eldar Empire to grow so powerful was their ability to use the Webway, a form of FTL travel left to them by their creators; the Old Ones. The Webway was the principle mode of transportation for the Eldar during the tenure of their Empire and, as a result, numerous port cities were constructed within it. Greatest of these was the city of Commorragh itself.
However, when the spiritual malaise and decay that would doom their species set in, places like Commorragh were not exempt, with the inhabitants becoming cruel and capricious creatures, seeking ever more decadent, and often violent, forms of self-gratification. When The Fall occured and Slaanesh was birthed into the galaxy in an orgy of...well just about everything, the Eldar Empire practically ceased over night, with countless Eldar simply falling dead.
The Eldar within the Webway, however, were shielded from this effect. Although Slaanesh had purchase on their souls, the Young God could not simply extract it at will, instead slowly draining the soul away. As a result the Webway, like the Craftworlds, Cegorach or the World Spirits of the Exodites, became a form of refuge for the surviving Eldar. Commorragh, as the greatest of their Webway Port Cities, became a hub for surviving Eldar to gather and exist in relative safety.
Unlike their Craftworld, Exodite and Harlequin cousins, however, the Eldar of Commorragh chose not to give up their old ways, even though it had now literally damned their souls to an eternity of torment. Instead they devised a method by which they could sustain and feed themselves off the misery and suffering of others, ensuring they could live and escape Slaanesh as long as they could get access to adequate amounts of pain, sort of like garmonbozia. Indeed the Dark Eldar are, effectively, pain vampires.
In the initial history of Commorragh it was ruled by dynastic noble families and clans, feuding with each other, and leaving it a rather anarchic place. Their rule was, however, eventually overturned by a former slave known as Asdrubael Vect who was smart enough to realize that there wasn't anything that couldn't be solved by a Space Marine and, so, managed to lure the heads of the major noble families into fights with some Salamander Chapter Space Marines which saw them all promptly killed. In the aftermath Asdrubael took over and instituted a new system based off Kabals, and became the top authority within the Dark City. Of note the term 'Dark Eldar' only came to be used by the inhabitants of Commorragh to describe themselves following Asdrubael's rise to power.
During the Great Crusade the Dark Eldar were not heard from much, but continued to be the sadistic freaks that we know and loath today, but with one new addition to their gruesome to do list. In order to hold off Slaanesh from devouring their souls they needed slaves (lots of them) to take their place. The Dark Eldar proceeded to launch raids across the galaxy where they plundered countless defenceless worlds including Vulkans adopted home world which certainly didn't help to convince the Imperium to drop its xenophobic views. In the aftermath of the Great Crusade the Dark Eldar were involved in one incident; it is believed that the Primarch of the White Scars went missing pursuing Dark Eldar into the Webway. What exactly happened is unknown though, but it is unlikely he ever was taken to Commorragh or found by any of the leadership of the Dark City as the Dark Eldar would most likely all be dead in that case.
After the Horus Heresy the next major event to occur to the Dark City was when the Champion of Slaanesh, Lucius the Eternal was briefly detained along with Fabius Bile within an outer satellite of Commorragh. The capture was revealed to be a ruse, however, by the Emperor's Children who proceeded to release Daemons to feast upon the souls of the Dark Eldar present. It was noted as being the largest single loss of Eldar life in ages, with the Daemons of Slaanesh so overjoyed that the entire Dark City was briefly cowed from action as they looked to their own defences. Turns out that trying to outsmart a demigod-like being doesn’t work so good.
Despite these incidents the reign of Asdrubael Vect only saw one serious challenge, from the domain of Shaa-dom, a powerful holdout of the former nobility. Although they proved a worthy adversary for a while the master of the Dark City eventually doomed the domain to a Daemon infestation, removing that threat. Although the leader of Shaa-dom was briefly restored to life by descendants of the nobility, and plunged Commorragh into war, this threat too was halted eventually at great cost. Only much later would another, more serious, competitor for power emerge in the form of a jilted former consort of his; Lady Malys.
Lady Malys became a powerful Archon with connections to the Harlequins, who seemed set to guide her on a path perhaps connected to the Ynnari as they helped bring Yvraine, future Herald of Ynnead to her attention. For a while the Dark City began to devolve into tension from the rising enmity between Lady Malys and Asdrubael...as well as the ominous collapsing of the defences around a part of Commorragh named 'Khaine's Gate'. Amusingly, the Dark Eldar took inspiration from the Golden Throne on Terra and attempted to construct an ersatz "Black Throne" at Khaine's Gate, using their own tech to create the machine and attempting to acquire some of the Emperor's genetic material to create a psychic battery to power it.
Fracture of Biel-Tan
Of late Commorragh has been rather turbulent. The emergence of Yvraine as the Herald of Ynnead saw the largest dysjunction in Commorragh's history, the infamous Khaine's Gate tearing open and allowing a veritable flood of Daemons to begin overwhelming the city. Although Vect had put counter-measures in place, and the Kabals did attempt to counter-attack, these did little to stop the invasion, with the Daemons continuously gaining ground and feasting on the souls of the slain Dark Eldar. Indeed the situation became so grim that many Dark Eldar began to talk openly of overthrowing Vect for allowing such an event to occur in the first place. Actually when you think about it it couldn't have been that bad considering they had the luxury of plotting a coup over the dinner table rather than being more worried about being gutted by a daemon and sent on the express route to their creepy stalker goddess.
Certainly the Dark Eldar did not help themselves by continuing to fight against each other and by dispatching some of their own even in such a dire time to chase down and slay the Ynnari.
However, just as things began to look truly dire for the home of the Dark Eldar two things occurred; first the famed Decapitator of the Mandrakes completed his ritual, causing the Dark Dimension to flood out into Commorragh proper and a tidal wave of Mandrakes to counter-attack the Daemons, and secondly the Haemonculi decided the threat was at last dire enough that they opened up their abattoirs and released their most deranged and fearsome of beasts. Combined, these two attacks finally quelled the Daemon invasion, saving Commorragh from destruction.
In the aftermath, though, the status quo had shifted. The city is damaged like never before, Asdrubael Vect's position is now shakier than ever and the effects of the Mandrake's dimension intruding on Commorragh is not yet fully known.
Law and Order
Yes, there are LAWS in this god forsaken place. Like all laws, it is something that stops the society itself from collapsing. For a society that runs on debauchery, piracy and slavery however, this is no exception.
The laws are:
- Do not bring psykers (unless they're a shadowseer) or use any psyker power. This one in general has to do with the frigging Gates of Khaine which block daemons from entering the city, as well as not letting Slaanesh itself sense their presence and follow it to the city.
- Obey Vect. He is the top dog of the city. If he tells you to jump, you jump. If he tells you to go on a death match in the arena, you do it; it's not like the Haemonculi won't patch you up afterwards.
- Obey the Kabals, unless doing so involves disobeying Vect (even then one may still suffer for disobeying the Kabals).
That's pretty much it. However, since there's no police force in Commorragh, the city has a lot of personal freedom where you can murder people whenever you want, stealing shit and play grimdark cyberpunk grand theft auto. However, killing the wrong or important people like a member of a Kabal or a Haemonculus can grant yourself an instant death sentence (note: the actual dying part of that probably won't be instant), where instead of people watching you get publicly execute, you will find a mob of fully armed Commorrites on your ass. The same goes to messing with the fighting arena (dark eldar need their entertainment), Haemonculi (dark eldar needs their healing and resurrection) and Scourges (dark eldar need their communication relays). Non-Commorrites without the protection of a Kabal such as corsairs and exiles tend to limit their adventuring to the ports and markets which are merely seedy and dangerous. Only the Harlequins enjoy the street cred to wander the dark city at will without being regarded as prey, and only because of their own deserved reputation for gratuitous violence.
The religious situation in the Dark City has been complex. Given their tendency towards selfish hedonism, Commorrites tend to play fast and loose with religion as a whole, with secularism as the main order of the day. Many in Commorragh outright dismiss religion and gods altogether for their own selfish desires. After the Fall of the Eldar, Slaanesh nommed all the Eldar gods save Khaine, Cegorach and Isha; coupled with their toxic culture, social Darwinist tendencies and selfishness, many decided to just abandon religion altogether - although atheism was never officially enforced it was encouraged (this is commemorated in-universe with Iconoclast's Mound, a mountainous landfill of various religious icons from all different races, beginning with Eldar religious icons when the Commorrites threw away their own beliefs). Later they learned that Khaine, Isha and Cegorach survived. Some Dark Eldar do revere Khaine and some occasionally join the ranks of the Harlequins, but most Dark Eldar are either non-religious or atheistic. Vect himself has some syncretized views on religion in Commorragh; he is a self-serving - as our frenemies at Tv Tropes say - naytheist (meaning he believes gods exist but refuses to worship or follow them), is dismissive of religiosity in all its forms unless he finds an adherent useful to him (unless they serve Chaos), and brushed off Ynnead as a myth until Ynnead awakened his power in Yvraine while in Commorragh, whereupon Vect's view on anything Ynnead changed from "it's a worthless myth" to "destroy it all".
As of the Gathering Storm, Yvraine's sudden awakening to Ynnead's blessed power has broken one of the above law to not use any psyker power. As a result, daemons poured in and Vect had to deal with this shit himself. Welp surprisingly, he failed and now Commorragh is more chaotic than before, riots everywhere with Dark Eldar joining either Lady Malys or Vect for more misunderstood infighting.
So yeah, order for the sake of disorder, ironic huh?
A Tour Guide of Commorragh
If you're not a Dark Eldar, Harlequin, or a badass mercenary, Commorragh can be difficult to get around in. It's a city that destroys the weak, torments the slow, and kills the stupid. Of course, all the previous three will die, it just varies on how and when. Despite popular theory, non-Eldar can prosper in Commorragh, since there are several parts where aliens live in towns and the most fearsome can be recruited into Dark Eldar Kabals. In particular, it's not unknown for Orks to be wildly successful in the fighting rings only to give their masters a good crumping and go free agent.
A list of tips for newcomers.
- Head to the district called 'Null City' and become a badass alien mercenary (humans are aliens to Dark Eldar).
- Don't fuck with Asdrubael Vect.
- You were most likely brought back so Dark Eldar could feed off your pain so Slaanesh won't eat their souls/ sacrificed to Slaanesh in their place.
- You may have been brought back to be a Haemonculi's guinea pig, snack, pet, a diversion so they won't get bored (which still involves unspeakable torture) or all of the above.
- You may be sent to the gladiator arenas of Commorragh to fight for your life against Wyches, dangerous beasts ranging from Razorwing flocks to captured Carnifexes, or both at the same time. This will last until you die.
- You can be killed simply for being in the wrong place at the wrong time (or even if you went where you're supposed to go).
- If you're a slave, you're expendable currency
- If you stare at Scourges for too long, they will fly down, pick you up and impale you on a spire.
- Don't feed the Scourges, they're not pigeons, if you do expect things to end up like Alfred Hitchcock's The Birds!
- There's no night or day, just the dull, baleful glow of stolen stars. It also has many areas where light never reaches (Dark Eldar adapted by developing natural night vision).
- In the shadows you can encounter Mandrakes, who will kill and/or eat you.
- The unnatural geometry of Commmoragh can be extremely disorienting for visitors.
- That banging noise near Khaine's Gate isn't Skarbrand and his daemonic hordes (see If The Emperor Had a Text-To-Speech Device) it's absolutely nothing at all. NOTHING-AT-ALL!
- Commoragh could be called a "tourist trap" in the most literal sense of the word, as anyone who tours Commoragh will end up trapped in an arena or Haemonculus lab and end up as a meat puppet for some demented Haemonculus who thinks you'd look better with snake skin and swords for arms and legs!
- Commoragh has free healthcare, just see Dr Haemonculus for the slightest cough.
- Reaver Jetbikes and Hellions HATE each other and they hate you, but while it's likely that the reavers would run you down for fun, the hellions aren't so sadistic, they'd give you a head start first! If you're being chased by one group of fliers, flee towards more fliers and then escape in the ensuing air battle.
- Don't go out alone... unless you're stupid powerful, in which case going alone is always the best choice. Basically you have to balance being threatening enough to deter casual interest, without looking like you're out to fight a small war (because someone will take you up on it).
|Governments, Empires, Nations and Astropolitical Powers of the Galaxy|
|Imperial Human Powers:||Imperium of Man (Adeptus Mechanicus - Ultramar) - Squat Homeworlds|
|Renegade Human Powers:||Severan Dominate|
|Chaos Powers:||New Kingdom (Sortiarian Occupation - Prospero/Sortiarius) |
Blood Pact - Scourge Stars
|Eldar Powers:||Commorragh - Craftworlds (Alaitoc - Altansar - Biel-tan - Iyanden |
Saim-Hann - Ulthwé)
|Necron Powers:||Atun Dynasty - Charnovokh Dynasty - Maynarkh Dynasty - Mephrit Dynasty |
Nekthyst Dynasty - Nephrekh Dynasty - Nihilakh Dynasty - Novokh Dynasty
Ogdobekh Dynasty - Oruscar Dynasty - Sautekh Dynasty - Szarekhan Dynasty
|Ork Powers:||Ork Empire of Charadon - Ork Empire of Octarius - Ork Empire of Bork |
Ork Empire of Dregruk - Ork Empire of Calverna - Ork Empire of Jagga
|Tau Powers:||Tau Empire - Farsight Enclaves|
|Other Xenos Powers:||Q'Orl Swarmhood - Fra'al Satrapies|