Unknown number of surviving Craftworlds
|Head of State||
Varies, but Farseers usually prominent
|Head of Government||
Varies, but Seer Council usually prominent
Varies, but Seer Council usually prominent
Craftworlds are massive, self-sufficient Eldar vessels, essentially mobile planets made of Wraithbone flying through space.
- Length: 100-500km; approx
- Mass: 0.7-18+ gigatonnes; approx
- Crew: 1,000,000-75,000,000 crew including 1,500,000 pilots and support personnel; approx
- Acceleration: 0.3-0.9 gravities maximum sustainable acceleration
- Note: none of these numbers are supported by official material, they are guesstimates at best.
During the height of the Eldar Empire, the Eldar built the Craftworlds as large merchant ships. Somewhat questionably for traders, they didn't install any sort of Webway or Warp drives on the Craftworlds, instead forcing the Craftworlds to travel at sublight speed. Ultimately, this would be to the Eldar's benefit, for the amount of time spent between Eldar worlds allowed the Eldar on the Craftworlds to see just how far their people had fallen into hedonism. Realizing that something bad would happen soon, the Craftworld Eldar evacuated the Eldar still sane enough to realize how far they'd fallen from their depraved brethren, and fled, taking with them the repositories of Eldar history, science, religion, and pre-Fall culture. (Before the Fall most of the Eldar populace looked down upon the Craftworlds with derision, seeing them as little more then cargo haulers).
Unfortunately, not all of them made it out of the Segmentum Obscurus in time, and many of the Craftworlds were caught in the creation of the Eye of Terror just as the hedonists were. So grimdark. One interesting note is that Khaine, for some reason, specifically manifested on the Craftworlds, as opposed to the Exodite Worlds or Commorragh, instead his Avatars emerged at the heart of every Craftworld in the Galaxy.
Following their initial expulsion the next major event in their history was the foundation of the Path System by which they live their lives, a regimented and sharply controlled social system designed to curtail their inherent impulses and emotional strengths. The foundation for this system is usually credited to Asurmen, first of the Phoenix Lords, who traveled to every Craftworld to both impart to them the Path System, as well as to begin the creation of the Aspect Warrior Shrines. Shortly after this the Great Crusade began and numerous Craftworlds were hunted down and destroyed by the Imperium as it expanded. Craftworlds have always been tough nuts to crack, but they have suffered a high attrition rate over time despite their meager numbers, with even most of the Primary Craftworlds having been wrecked or reduced to but shadows of their former strength.
Today, the Craftworld Eldar comprise the largest number of Eldar left within the galaxy, but morbidly most are no longer amongst the living, their souls now residing within the Craftworld's infinity circuit. They have similar goals in preserving the Eldar but differ in their approach in doing so. Some like Biel-Tan seek to reestablishing their Empire through bloodshed as the foundations upon which to build their future domain, others such as Ulthwe consider this foolish, as they believe that the empire of the past is gone, and that looking backwards and trying to resurrect the glories of the past is a fools errand, especially when they should instead be looking towards the future and building something new. Despite their differences all of them are on the same page when it comes to fighting Chaos. However, the Craftworlds often disagree over how to achieve these things. This can lead to small conflicts between the different Craftworlds, but for the most part these are rare.
One should not think of the Craftworlds as a unitary, or even loosely allied, polity, as they are distinctly separate governments and states who do not operate in anyway as a conjoined body. To put it simply; each Craftworld is its own state and own tribe united by common legacy and race. Not unlike Space Marine Chapters.
It would be a mistake to view a Craftworld as just a big ship; they are mobile artificial worlds complete with seas, jungles, forests, deserts and even mountain ranges. Each dome can have it's own weather pattern, and they are not areas devoid of non-Eldar life; for each is populated with wildlife of all kinds.
Each Aspect Shrine is located within their very own dome, each with their very own ecosystem. The sheer size of these shrines seem almost too large to fit within the confines of even something the size of a Craftworld, making it appear like they make use of Tardis tech, with the interior of the domes being far larger then their exteriors.
The book Velador describes a Fire Dragon shrine that had previously been destroyed being rebuilt. Not only did they recreate the desert that surrounded the Shrine but they also recreated all the creatures that had once populated it.
Back in the third edition of Warhammer 40,000, Games Workshop released Codex: Craftworld Eldar, a "mini-dex" expansion booklet for the Eldar codex. It included five army list variants for the craftworlds Alaitoc, Biel-Tan, Iyanden, Saim-Hann, and Ulthwe. Each Craftworld receives a few unique units, and some receive army-wide special rules, a re-assignment of the available squads between the various categories (Troops, Elites, etc.), or even a different force organization chart. In the later Codex: Eye of Terror (released for the 2003 "Eye of Terror" summer campaign), Ulthwe got another mini-list for their "Strike Force".
Unfortunately, the Eldar got hit with the "less-is-more" bat in Fourth Edition, so the only difference between the Craftworlds on the tabletop throughout Fourth and Fifth Editions was that they had different colors and symbols. However, with the new Sixth Edition Codex, Games Workshop has
bowed to fan demands seen an opportunity to make more money, and released a codex supplement all about Iyanden (unfortunately, it was written by none other than Your Spiritual Liege, and it shows). Seventh Edition passed by without any changes, but Eighth Edition is seeing a return of individual Craftworld rules!
Notable Craftworlds and specialties
The Big Five
- Alaitoc -- Follow the Eldar Paths more strictly and therefore have less fun. This leads many to become arrogant outcasts and eventually veteran rangers and pathfinders. They are also archenemies of the Necrons, and fight the zombie-bots on a constant basis with mixed success. They are also careless spies and scouts, which have unintentionally provided the Imperium with almost all its information on the Craftworlds, due to their agents being captured.
- Biel-tan -- Formerly the most powerful of the Craftworlds, Biel-Tan was fractured during the birth of Ynnead, losing half its population and putting it on the same path as Iyanden it seems. However, the remaining half have remained loyal to the Craftworld, still operating in an organized manner, and seeking to defend their damaged Craftworld rather than abandon it, the Craftworld itself is as a result still functioning (albeit badly damaged). When it was a fully functioning Craftworld, the Eldar of Biel-Tan were characterised by their wish to reclaim the old Empire of the Eldar before it got screwed over. The Craftworlds was by far the most militaristic, and it's population driven to reclaim the galaxy through force (sounds like humanity during the Great Crusade), leading to a high number of Aspect Warriors who would go to war frequently with the lesser races. They wanted to rebuild the Eldar Empire, and believed anyone else who even touched a Maiden World were squatters to be removed. Although They still wouldn't just blast away at colonists, they'd give their ultimatum of "leave or we'll kill you" and provide transportation on their own ships to new worlds. This Craftworld was notable for being more war like than most other Eldar. Even other Eldar had difficulty dealing with them. Biel-Tan was fiercely protective of Exodite and Maiden worlds, and was known to reserve a special hatred for Orks, who are especially hard to exterminate from any planet they've managed to get a foothold on. In the original Dawn of War, Macha was from Biel-Tan (and still is according to Dawn of War III, although current /tg/ canon suggests she spends much of her time on Ulthwé, due to Biel-Tan's lesser respect for Farseers). Now but a fleeting shadow of what they once were, Biel-tan has nonetheless retained its militaristic bent.
- Iyanden -- It used to be the largest Craftworld, but then it got OM NOM NOM NOM'd so almost everyone is dead. This Craftworld was the first to interrogate the Infinity Circuit within their Craftworld after the coming of the Phoenix Lord, the harvester of Souls gifted it to them. Fields lots of Wraith-units to make up for the whole "barely anyone left alive" thing. Known for their Spiritseers, necessary for an army like theirs, and for being the most frequently invaded Craftworld by far. A constantly diminishing Craftworld. The only one Of the Craftworlds that make a lot of use of diplomacy, to the point of periodically hosting Imperial diplomats living with Eldar families. Also colonizes wild worlds instead of relying on Maiden Worlds and builds cities instead of just Exodite Worlds.
- Saim-Hann -- Jetbikes all day eeveerrydaaay. Considered barbarians by some other Craftworlds, it is one of the least involved Craftworlds, rarely becoming caught up in events in the Galaxy. It does not change the fact that when they do interfere, the end result is still FAIL. Recently, the Craftworld suffered from a daemon invasion as a result of the Great Rift's formation (alongside all the other Craftworlds apparently, *sigh*) which resulted in a whole corrupted section having to be shed from the vessel - the inhabitants of which allegedly turned into horrible insect like daemon thingies.
- Ulthwé -- Used to be trapped in an ever shrinking orbit around the bleeding asshole of reality (which is why it's nicknamed "Ulthwé the Damned") so everyone is extensively trained for war, even has a professional standing army called the Black Guardians, and Seers are heavily emphasized. Also, this is where that dick was born. Also home to Caerys, Idranel, and Taldeer from the Dawn of War series.
With the opening of the Great Rift, Ulthwé now finds itself able to travel across the galaxy. This would normally be monumental, but seeing as the same incident also let Chaos run rampant across the galaxy... let’s just say the craftworld's newfound freedom is bittersweet at most.
All the others
- Altansar -- The home of Phoenix Lord Maugan Ra. Once thought lost in the Warp, Maugan Ra managed to find them and guide them out. Not very liked by the other Eldar, because they (rightfully) think that nothing can remain untouched by the Warp. But don't mention that around Ra if you want to avoid repercussions. The only Craftworld, so far, to seemingly have completely joined the Ynnari. It is currently in Segmentum Solar and is, in fact, very near Terra. Fluff even notes that it is unknown why the Imperium has not acted against them, though those of us with brains would assume their doubtless utterly massive hatred of Chaos would probably make them ready allies to the Imperium (that and they're Ynnari and so the Imperium will probably leave them alone so long as they don't get too close to Terra).
- Black Library -- Described as a Craftworld that exists wholly within the Webway (not that one). Not much is known about its structure or politics, other than that it houses an unparalleled archive on the secrets of the galaxy, including the origins of Chaos. Is protected by dread sentinels called the White Guardians, and only Harlequins and other trusted individuals such as Eldrad (and on rare occasions human Inquisitor under heavy supervision are permitted limited access) have the freedom to study here.
- Ctho -- Another "lost" Craftworld.
- Dorhai -- An isolationist Craftworld that see themselves as the sole untainted survivors of the Fall, so refuse to deal with outsiders. Similar to Kaelor
- Il-Kaithe -- On an eternal crusade against Chaos, they are unusual in that they take their Bonesingers into battle.
- Iybraesil -- A matriarchal society that likely employs large numbers of Howling Banshees. They have a great interest in the Crone Worlds.
- Kaelor -- Paranoid isolationists, even amongst Eldar. Consider all of the other Craftworlds to be tainted in some manner, and so avoid contact, so they get ignored, though we know them to be tainted by association with C.S Goto, so we ignore them. Notable for their influence over the Jericho Reach and the fact their community cleaves to the old system of noble houses, so aspect shrines owe allegiance to nobles rather then the Craftworld as a whole.
- Kinshara -- Not much is known, other than this was home to a magnificent weaponsmith. The story goes that Maugan Ra kidnapped this smith and forced him to teach the Phoenix Lord everything he knew about weaponcrafting in order to manufacture the Maugetar. The Phoenix Lord was so pleased with the weapon that he mutilated the smith, cutting off his hands, tongue, and eyes so that he would never make a weapon to equal this creation.
- Lugganath -- BFFs with the Harlequins, they think that the Galaxy has gone down the crapper (no shit, Sherlock) and want to start anew in the Webway after ridding it of the Dark Eldar (which is not likely to happen). To do this, they're trying to find a Craftworld-sized webway portal.
- Mero -- Sometimes referred to as "Meros". Only known to be a doomed Craftworld, like Ulthwé.
- Miandrothe -- found in the Askellon Sector. Their particular shtick is that the Imperium doesn't know where they are, and they act through Corsair proxies. If they ever do do something on their own, they hope the Imperium is too dumb to tell the difference between Corsairs and Craftworlders. While this technically true, they forget the Imperium doesn't give a damn about said difference, so the plan is still terrible.
- Mymeara -- Has an Imperial Armour book named after them detailing their fall from planet to Craftworld. Home to the Shadow Spectre Aspect Warriors and their lost Phoenix Lord Irilyth. The Craftworlders successfully recover his armor and re-awaken his spirit, but at the price of getting their asses kicked by Space Wolves.
- Ul-Khari -- A craftworld trapped in the Gilead system. Got trashed pretty bad after colliding with a Death Guard daemon world but is still chugging along.
- Yme-Loc -- Munchkin motherfuckers who spam grav-tanks and Titans in battle. Unluckily for them, their reliance on rare toys would prove to be a double edged sword. The Adeptus Mechanicus found their Craftlworld and proceeded to attack the hell out of it, only relenting once they had stolen enough Eldar technology to sate their deviant curiosity.
- Varantha -- Hates Chaos more than usual. Interestingly, it's known history has it going so far as to actively protect even Imperial worlds from Chaos threats and genuinely co-operate with Imperials. Even non-Chaos threats cause this like when they directed an Ork WAAAGH!!! into an Iron Hands fortress instead of allowing it to slaughter its way through Imperial and Exodite Worlds in the region. While this might be Imperial Worlds being saved by accident, it would arguably have been far more effective to direct the Orks to the Imperial Worlds knowing those would be total tarpits and honey pots to Orks or simply evacuate the Exodites and wait out the WAAAGH!!!. So, this might be the one Craftworld who maybe is genuinely helpful and just doesn't want more people in general being murderized by space monsters. To a reasonable (by 40k standards) degree, at least. Also, Varantha does actually trade with humans, so good public relations is good business for them.
- Idharae -- a small lightly populated Craftworld that teamed up with Malan'tai and Iyanden to fight Tyranids before Malan'tai got Doomed, then got themselves destroyed by the Invaders Space Marines. The Invaders also had the help of the Legion of the Damned along with other imperial forces. The Invaders also only attempted to attack after the craftworld had just fought off Hive Fleet Naga all on its own and was still in a weak position.
- Kher-Ys -- Destroyed by a Slaaneshi daemon incursion. Oh, and a Keeper of Secrets possessed their Avatar during the fighting, you can imagine how much
proverbialbuttrape happened there. Sidenote: the whole story is a 40k version of the Breton legend of the sunken city of Ys (Kêr-Is).
- Lu'Nasad: A craftworld that tried to escape The Fall by using the webway to find a safe refuge in realspace. After unlocking a sealed craftworld-sized webway gate, they passed through...to find themselves in a warp/realspace interstice known by the Imperium as the Rifts of Hecaton. The primary Mcguffin of FFG's Warpstorm Trilogy adventures. Its been completely corrupted by Chaos and is filled with creatures known as "Aspect Shells", hollow armors of Eldari Aspect Warriors and Wraith constructs possessed by daemons.
- Malan'tai -- Got LOLDRAIN'D by a unique Zoanthrope who feeds off psychic energy. Needless to say, after it devoured the souls on the Craftworld's Infinity Circuit, things went very bad for them. Are now extinct. The Grey Knights under the command of Anval Thawn went and saved the remaining soulstones from a Keeper of Secrets and were uncharacteristically generous enough to give them back to the Eldar. (Considering what would happen if those stones were destroyed, it would have been best to give them to the Eldar)
- Sethowyan -- The master of this Craftworld was slain by Daylight, from the Imperial Fists. The exact time is unknown, but prior to the War of the Beast.
- Thuyelsa -- Destroyed by Space Wolves and the Imperial Army at some point during the Great Crusade. The Army soldiers called it 'Scintilla City' because of the way it sparkled.
- Zandros -- Only mentioned twice, once as the home to a unique warrior aspect called the Slicing Orbs. The second time as the site of a duel between Karandras and Arhra throughout its shattered ruins and over the shrine of the aforementioned aspect warriors.
- Zaisuthra -- Isolated from other Craftworlds. Unlike the other Craftworlds, Zaisuthra didn't follow the Paths and worshipped the old Eldar pantheon nommed by Slaanesh. They also didn't have an Infinity Circuit and willingly allowed a Genestealer cult to spread and corrupt the entire population, thinking it would protect them from being raped and eaten after their deaths (not the worst idea, given the alternative). The Craftworld also had a portal that led straight to the tomb of Eldanesh, in the long-lost Eldar homeworld. Needless to say, the Ynnari were so disgusted by the inbred Elfstealers that the Yncarne purged the whole damn ship after they were done looking for their special sharp stick.
- Os'Tara -- Featured in Battlefleet Gothic: Armada 2. Ynnead worshippers and buddies with the Ynnari. Gets ripped in two in the Necron, Chaos and Tyranid campaigns and in the Imperium campaign if Spire sides with Inquisitor Darkhammer. If Spire sides with the perfidous Xenos, they leave for parts unknown.
/tg/ made Craftworlds
|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 - 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|
|The Planets, Systems, Regions and Sectors of the Galaxy|
|Imperial Homeworlds:||Holy Terra - Sacred Mars|
|Primarch Homeworlds:||Baal - Barbarus - Caliban - Chemos - Chogoris - Colchis |
Cthonia - Deliverance - Fenris - Inwit - Medusa - Nostramo
Nocturne - Nuceria - Olympia - Prospero - Macragge
|Notable Imperial Worlds:||Armageddon - Bakka - Cadia - Catachan - Cretacia - Ganymede |
Hydraphur - Necromunda - Phyrr - Pythos - Krieg - Kronus - Sacris
Sanctuary 101 - Scelus - Scintilla - Tanith - Tartarus - Titan - Vigilus
Vraks - Zayth - 108/Beta-Kalapus-9.2
|Daemon Worlds:||Plague Planet - Sortiarius - Sicarus - Medrengard - Glass Moon |
Fleshworld - Bathamor - Black Marble
|Systems and Regions:||Ghoul Stars - Halo Zone - Jericho Reach - Kaurava System |
Solar System - Stygius Sector - T'au Septs - Taelus System - Ultramar
|Types of Worlds:||Agri-World - Craftworld - Daemon World - Death World - Eldar World |
Forge World - Fortress World - Hive World - Civilised World - Tomb World
|Vessels of the Craftworld Eldar and Corsairs|
|Space Station||Haven Spire|
|Cruisers||Light Cruiser (Light Cruiser - Wraithship) |
Cruiser (Cruiser - Dragonship) - Phoenix Ship
|Logistics||Eldar Transport Ship|
|Combat Spacecraft||Eagle Bomber|
|Titans||Revenant Scout Titan - Phantom Battle Titan |
|Troop Transports||Storm Serpent|
|Superheavy Tanks||Cobra - Scorpion - Tempest - Void Spinner|
|Aerospace Vessels||Vampire Hunter - Vampire Raider|