"Cruel people are busy all the time, as if to find justification for the cruelty of their dealings."
- – Leo Tolstoy
"In a world without the law of God, you have chaos, oppression, tyranny, and everyone doing what is right in their own eyes."
- – Randall Terry
"What we were after now was the old surprise visit. That was a real kick, and good for laughs and lashings of the old ultraviolent."
- – Alex - A Clockwork Orange
The Dark Eldar (also known as the Drukhari, cuz trademark reasons) are the villainous, Extra Grimdark, and more BDSM obsessed counterparts of the Eldar, who followed the horrific depravity that saw the Eldar Empire destroyed. Continuing such lovely traditions as mutilation for it's own sake, creative variations of rape, and dedicated polysubstance abuse constitute the Dark Eldar's claim to be the "true" and "traditionalist" Eldar, while disparaging their Craftworld and Exodite kin as having abandoned their grimdark elfiness because said grimdark elfiness caused, you know, the whole goatse-in-the-fabric-of-the-galaxy thing. They kind of have a point, but given how they have to suppress their innate psychic natures, lacking an anchor of a world spirit, spirit stone, or Creepy Clown God, and while the Creepy Rape God is trying to nom their soul-stuff they get it back by doing horrible things to others. And each other. And themselves. Truthfully, all of the elfy branches have deviated in their own ways after the Fall, but only the Dark Eldar do so by way of doing even more of the depraved shit that caused the Fall in the first place. So there's something to be said for them being traditionalists, after all; His Grand Spikiness Asdrubael Vect is hinted at having been around for the last big blowout party, and Commorragh's Chief Surgeon is confirmed to have been present for it.
They get away with this in part by living in the byzantine port city Commorragh in the Webway, spiriting out from the shadows on occasion to take slaves and to commit unspeakable atrocities on whoever they capture. Particularly when they are outside the Webway, they're in constant danger from "She Who Thirsts" unless they go on and on in a self-reinforcing, vicious cycle of debauchery. They're the sickest fucks in all of Warhammer 40,000, which is a hell of an accomplishment, even for the literal god of pleasure and excess. Their lives revolve around sadistic torture, making them a sort of cross between the Cenobites from Hellraiser and the Reavers from Firefly. They are mainly pirates, though sometimes hire themselves out as mercenaries before they inevitably betray their employers.
Surprisingly, Dark Eldar draw a lot of inspiration from the Fair Folk - not the pussy Disney pixi-fairies, but the World of Darkness-style inhumanly beautiful monsters that make humans suffer just for their own amusement, kidnap children to turn them into pets/slaves, and run the Wild Hunt that kill maim and rape everything in its wake, vanishing without a trace at dawn. Commonly derided for being the biggest Edge-Lords in the galaxy (or "scene-kid" Eldar), Dark Eldar come across as the only race that's actively trying to one-up Chaos for title of the universe's most grimdark faction.
For their fantasy counterparts see Druchii.
The Eldar, after the disaster that caused Slaanesh and turned their empire into the universe's biggest Goatse.cx reference, destroying their race and killing 90% or so of their population outright, were a dying race. Slaanesh was devouring their souls like Eldar McNuggets, and it was only through ascetic mysticism and use of Soulstones that the Eldar could avoid getting vored by She Who Thirsts. Conventional wisdom was that these Eldar only survived on craftworlds and the maiden worlds that the Eldar had colonized before the fall, and some of these still fell into genocidal madness (the Blood Angels and Ordo Sinister were needed to destroy one such Craftworld).
Conventional wisdom, of course, means little in the 40K universe. Whilst most of the Eldar were mass-raped to death by Slaanesh when their falling into depraved cycles of decadence reached critical mass and caused a Chaos god to be born, a few of them survived because they were in parts of the Webway (a portal network that the Eldar use for transportation). They escaped with no real ill-effects, or so they thought. In reality, Slaanesh was slowly nomming their souls just like she does every Eldar without a Soulstone - however, they found that by continuing to engage in rampant hedonism and by torturing and inflicting pain and anguish on other creatures would reduce or even reverse the effects of Slaanesh's hold on them, forcing them to seek out and capture, kill, and torment the "lesser" races of the galaxy in order to satiate themselves and stave off their doom. Which actually seems to be working out pretty well for those deldar who are sick enough fucks, because they wind up being more or less immortal.
Sadistic and psychotic to the point of making your average Chaos Marine look like hippies in contrast, hopped up on cocktails of combat stimulant drugs, and armed predominantly with weapons and equipment that cause unspeakable immeasurable agony in those they go after, the Dark Eldar are easily the most depraved and vicious race the 41st millennium has. Hated by literally every single faction in the 41st millennium, the Dark Eldar are perhaps the only race with bigger assholes than Eldrad, though in spite of this, unlike their sissy counterparts, the Dark Eldar are hated much less by the playerbase - presumably because their army actually takes some brains to use and isn't a giant bunch of status-quo-defending losers. Well, that and its implied they use sexual torture along with the normal kind.
In battle, Dark Eldar center around hit-and-run tactics, dealing huge damage and moving fast; few of their units can really take much abuse, making them even more fragile than their less edgy counterparts. Their standard infantry armor is identical to that of a Guardian (not terribly good), their vehicles are predominantly lightly-armored transport and attack craft that can be brought down by anti-infantry gunfire, and the armor on a typical Wych or Grotesque is no tougher than the ramshackle metal plating favored by Orks, but without the whole "I believe this armor will protect me, which is why it does" and at absolute best will cover only nipples and vulva, meaning that it would take considerable skill (and a somewhat sadistic shooter) to bounce a round off of their 'armour'. Suffice to say, they are extremely fragile and metaphorically half-naked in battle (literally if female), and getting the most out of them takes skill and patience that is rarely-seen on /tg/; whilst most fa/tg/uys will openly mock your average Eldar player, they will give pause and show some respect to a Dark Eldar player worth their salt.
The Dark Eldar are known for the excessive amount of fapping material involved with them, and they are the subject of thousands of sexual fantasies by desperate masochistic teenagers and middle aged neckbeards incapable of handling real women. They did, after all, kind of rape/drug/kill/etc themselves into oblivion, which tends to lend itself towards certain excessive abuses. They are also known for having some of the most fucking awesome-looking models on the tabletop, even if the armor of half of what they field will suffer instant critical existence failure at the hands of your typical Space Marine. This is pretty standard for all Xenos though.
The Dark Eldar, historically, have long been considered the faction for professionals because the army was perceived as being very difficult to use correctly. Their units, while generally quite fast, were almost uniformly fragile; this meant that the army was very intolerant of mistakes on the tabletop. Consequently they were easily the least played faction in 40k. Nearly 12 years passed before a codex update - but finally, in 2010, GW decided to throw Dark Eldar players a much-needed bone.
Sweet Jesus, talk about buffs. The new 5th edition Codex changed very little fluff-wise, but the Dark Eldar gained substantial staying power and could actually field a reasonably
tough hard-hitting army. The Power from Pain rule made them tougher as they scored kills, and the army also had a lot of potential for being much more forgiving of mistakes (previously it was a case of either steamrolling foes or getting curb-stomped). Lots of new options and extensive access to poisoned range weapons made them extremely versatile - as well as the bane of Tyranid players everywhere.
The 7th edition Codex was a mixed bag, with some serious nerfs. On the downside: Vect, Sliscus, Malys, Decapitator and Baron are no longer playable, though most of them are still mentioned in the fluff. Flickerfields have disappeared from all vehicles except Venoms, and Wyches somehow got even worse by losing haywire grenades and their gladiator weapons just becoming variants on re-rolling. On the upside, Power From Pain became something that happened to the whole army with the bonuses stacking each turn, rather than having to make mediocre units kill things in order to become useful. Mandrakes actually became half-decent (though still vastly inferior to Incubi & Trueborn), Grotesques no longer exploded when left alone, Talos & Chronos engines came in squads, and Scourges became able to spam more toys.
As of 8th Edition the Dark Eldar have been renamed the 'Drukhari' for copyright reasons. Like most armies in this edition they have their own equivalent of Chapter Tactics, Toughness on vehicles, and varying movement rates. All of these elements are considerable improvements compared to the previous editions. Dark Eldar armies can also gain extra CP for bringing multiple smaller detachments; combine this with the considerable buffs on wyches and Mandrakes, and you've got an army that has the potential to become more popular than ever before! They are still a "glass cannon" army, but are way more forgiving and benefit from both aggressive and conservative playstyles.
The Dark Eldar Themselves
"I came to bring the pain, hardcore from the brain/Let's go inside my astral plane."
- – Method Man, Archon of the Wu Tang Kabal
'The fall of the eldar to present drukhari'
The story of the Dark Eldar's fall and their need to inflict pain and horror in order to live - as well as elaboration on their kabalistic practices - have gone a long way towards deepening their fluff considerably (as one noble fa/tg/uy surmised, less retarded Saturday morning cartoon villainy). While some have balked at the more vampiric flavor of the New DE Codex, several denizens of /tg/ have managed to extract comic gold from this. A common musing is that they are ambitious, sex-crazed, easily shot down, boat-and-plane-loving pseudo-aristocrats (although many of the Dark Eldar really are aristocratic) haunted by a dark curse - ergo, they're not vampires, but, in fact, the Kennedys.
Putting it simply, the soul of a Dark Eldar is an open wound that can only be salved with suffering, a void that can only be filled with tortured bodies, a thirst that can only be quenched by spilled blood. Just like my ex girlfriend!! The origin of this void within the Dark Eldar, and the source of the nigh-religious terror that drives them to commit these daily atrocities, is the knowledge that
THEY WILL NEVER BE ULTRAMARINES upon death, their soul is forfeit to the Chaos God Slaanesh - an eventuality they intend to stave off at all costs.
Fortunately for the Dark Eldar, provided that someone recovers enough of their remains, their dead body parts can be brought to the Dark Eldar Haemonculi (an ancient order of Dr. Mengeles, the people that educated Fabius Bile in the art of being a gigantic dick) and regenerate themselves in case of death, complete with personality and mental faculties intact. This also keeps their soul from being devoured by Slaanesh - but at a price - this regenerative process is fueled by pain just as surely as the Dark Eldar themselves. This is the reason Dark Eldar raids are so eager to get in and get out as fast as possible; if the subject is dead for more than a day or so, they're beyond recovery. (Actually that's a lie the Haemonculi tell their clients so the clients won't risk the truth: any subject can be revived, but the longer it's been dead the more likely the reviving chamber will attract daemons and cause a disjunction/warp storm)
Their diet of anguish has blessed the Dark Eldar with some of the longest lifespans in the setting, only surpassed by godlike figures like the C'tan, Necrons, the Emprah, Phoenix Lords and the Chaos Gods. If they die, they can just respawn back at base once the Haemonculi have managed to torture and/or bosh enough pain out of their subjects to allow the occupants of their rejuvenation pods to regenerate. This system is dependant on the Haemonculi though, and as a result they are the single most crucial group within all of Commorragh. The process gradually has diminishing returns though and truly ancient Dark Eldar will eventually require an ever increasing amount of pain infliction to rejuvenate themselves.
The Dark Eldar have also overcome the traditional Elven birthrate problem by finding a fun workaround to the long gestation period of conventional Eldar - they can remove a fertilized ovum and place it in an amniotic tube to age them quickly enough to be useful. This is looked down on by Dark Eldar society however - they even have an elite unit, the Trueborn, that are basically a bunch of spoiled brats who feel entitled to all the good weapons just because they got pushed out of a proper twat (that and the fact that ones born from a tube also get older faster and need to feed on pain more often). The fact that hedonism is the rule in Commorragh probably helps too.
The Dark Eldar have some of the most advanced tech in the 41st millennium, in cases even surpassing the powerful weapons of their cousins. Access to weapons that basically fling incandescent dark matter and miniature stars around goes a long way towards giving them serious "I'm going to fuck your shit up" power, and their access to arcane wargear and super-fast vehicles even more so. In fact the only race that comes even close to the technological level and destructive power of the Dark Eldar is the Necrons, whose basic weapon rips the molecules off its target, flaying one layer off at a time (though it's still near-instant). Despite this most of the powerful technology cannot be used by the Dark Eldar anymore as it was Psychic in nature, and their psychic abilities have long atrophied away (truly making them the degenerate Eldars). What little remains tends to not be too impressive.
All that said, at least now their continued survival is not as implausible as the Reavers from Firefly maintaining a functional spacefleet - the Dark Eldar are smart, and even though they'll fight each other to death over a biscuit in Commorragh, during a raid into Real Space they set aside their differences to GET SHIT DONE. The new codex also points out the Dark Eldar do follow a fairly strict set of rules while fighting each other and running shit; one of the reasons they enjoy raiding realspace is that it allows them to cut loose and just butcher innocents for a while.
It is also worth noting that the closest word Dark Eldar have to the concept of love is something along the lines of willingly submitting one's will to another.
COMMORRAGH WELCOMES CAREFUL DRIVERS
The Dark Eldar live in the Dark City of Commorragh, basically an impossibly large extradimensional port city fueled by two stolen suns (and they made sure to steal suns from inhabited planetary systems, because fuck those guys). Think of a sprawling cross between 17th century Port Royal with Mos Eisley space port (a wretched hive of scum and villainy) with a drug/torture/rape-based economy (Detroit) and the warped architecture of Inception. So watch out, Utica! Commorragh is a city on the... Grow!
If you can survive the inhabitants of the Dark City there is only one problem. Being in the Webway, every now and then the Dark City will suffer something called a Dysjunction; the Webway/Warp equivalent of a natural disaster which is a more powerful combination of earthquake/firestorm/hurricane that can spread across large parts of the Webway and really wreck Commorragh. In addition, it damages the walls of the Webway, which can allow daemons to invade all across Commorragh. Fortunately, this is rare and only happens during huge bouts of Warp-related turmoil, hence why Dark Eldar are so serious about enforcing the ban of sorcery and psychic power usage inside Commorragh. These Dysjunctions, when they do occur, regularly destroy subrealms of Commorragh.
It's only been invaded thrice. First by Orks (that time with daemons, apart from Dysjunctions, they were summoned into Commorragh) and the second was when Vect, plotting a coup against the ruling Archons, arranged for a ship filled with a few hundred Space Marines (in a shocking change from the norm, the Salamanders, for once; Matt Ward is rumored to have had the vapors from this, though the Salamanders are frequently depicted as having a huge grudge against the Dark Eldar due to Vulkan's origin story) to be towed to the Dark City. Of course, most of Commorragh's armed forces fought the Space Marines, who managed to escape with ease. The City was also invaded by the Death Guard at some point.
Lucius, whilst not invading it, did manage to destroy an entire subrealm of Commorragh and kill so many Dark Eldar it was noted as the largest single loss of Eldar life since the Fall, and cowed all of Commorragh into a defensive mode, with Vect and the other leaders powerless to do anything to stop Lucius and his single ship.
Apart from invasions, however, Space Marines have made a frequent habit of entering and exiting it, the Salamanders, Space Wolves and Deathwatch all having successfully entered the city and exited alive, along with the Emperor's Children, Deathmongers and Death Guard. In fact there are precious few times Space Marines don't enter and exit Commorragh at their own leisure, and Dark Eldar seem particularly bad at containing them.
Not to be outdone, the Black Legion once laid siege to Comorragh to wipe out one of its great houses. Don't steal from Iskandar Khayon, kids.
Despite having been plastered on the boxes and rules for the better half of their existence, the term "Dark Eldar" almost never appears in universe - no one really calls them by that name. Dark Eldar call themselves just Eldar, since they think they are the only true Eldar, inheritors of the old Eldar Empire, while all other are defectors from the true Eldar path (of rape, drugs and rock-n-roll); most will admit they have a point, but whether they're outright correct is a debate for another time. Craftworlders call them the Dark Kin, Exodites call them the Children of Khaine, and Corsairs and Harlequins simply call them Commorites. As for other races, most of them don't know and/or care about the differences between Eldar subraces/cultures, at best distinguishing Commorites (and sometimes Corsairs too) by their MO as as pirates or raiders of Eldar, or by their appearance as Spikey Panzees. About the only people who actually use the term "Dark Eldar" in-universe are some of the Ordo Xenos Inquisitors and their acolytes, and even they also often call them Chaos or Tainted Eldar, mistakenly thinking DEldar are Chaos-worshipers.
The modern name "Drukhari"™ doesn't make much more sense from a DE perspective. If we assume the Eldar lexicon to be based on IRL Celtic languages (some Eldar sentences are litteraly Irish/Scottish), then "Drukhari"™ would be related to drouk (Breton) or droch (Old Irish), from Gaullish drucos meaning "evil, bad". Something quite weird given how DE are beyond moral considerations, so it's probably a term coined by other Eldar subcultures. (Droch, Drouk, Drucos / Drukos also can mean 'Wheel', 'Circlet', 'Bridge', 'Wet', 'Drown' and 'To Deceive'. It is entirely possible while it's coined by other subcultures, it could be the inhabitants of Commorragh see themselves as 'Eldar of the Dark City', or other Eldar may name them 'The Eldar that Deceive', both of which may feasibly be 'Drukhari'™) Really, though, its just an alteration of the name for Warhammer Fantasy's Dark Elves, Druchii.
The term 'Eladrith Ynneas' (Ee-lad-rith Yin-nee-ah-ss) was coined in 5the ed by Vect shortly after his meteoric rise to power, and is widely considered to sound much cooler than American comedian Drew-Carey.
The Dark Eldar put a lot of emphasis on lightning fast piratical raids; their vehicles are lightly armoured, but are the fastest available, allowing them to get in and out as quick as possible. They have a lot of units who prefer getting up close and personal, such as Wyches and Incubi, who put emphasis on causing as much pain as possible whilst still getting home in time for tea. This doesn't mean to say they don't have good ranged weaponry; their splinter rifles fire crystalized poison and their blast weapons fire dark matter, completely annihilating anything in their path. In short, all of their weapons are designed to fuck up everything they touch in the most extravagant and painful way possible. Fear, infiltration and sabotage are their main weapons, and usually their enemies don't know they are fighting the Dark Eldar until it's far too late.
The Dark Eldar themselves despise a fair fight. They will use anything at their disposal, and no tactic is too underhanded, no ploy too despicable. They have no code of honor (save for the Incubi) and will do anything as long as they come out on top, which to them is coming away with as many slaves and stolen raw materials as possible. And when they do get home with their booty, they will open their finest wines, sit on thrones made of dead slaves, kick up their heels on living slaves being used as footrests (or just rape them) and twirl their metaphorical handlebar mustaches. Cue evil laugh.
At least the Dark Eldar had playable special characters now, before most of the rules were squatted.
- Asdrubael Vect, the Pimp Master General of Commorragh who's now a manipulator on par with Eldrad (hardly high praise) and, impossibly, an even bigger dick. A tragic loss, he is much missed; his rules helped your army like crazy and made him the deadliest non-HH infantry-sized model in 40k, impossible to re-create without lucky rolls on dice and homebrews. Why Games Workshop saw fit to remove Vect from the latest Codex is a mystery as he had a model (based on the out-of-production plastic raider kit) but given the latest trend of shifting some characters off into the Lord of War section, Vect on the Dais of Destruction would've been a nice fit, especially considering that Santa Claws based monstrosity we were given in the Space Wolves codex.
- Lady Malys, an anime villainess and Vect's pissed-off ex. She won someone's heart in a contest and shoved it in her chest. She was okay as a character so her passing isn't that big a deal. She was also dropped from the rules but still also features heavily all the way through the new codex as the up and coming rival to Vect, her loss was more inexplicable since she could have easily filled the gap of special character Archon, since Succubus & Haemonculi both have theirs; but she was likely cut because she doesn't have a model and GW couldn't be bothered to give her one.
- Kruellagh the Vile, a name too silly even for Rogue Trader, being based off of "Hundred and One Dalmatians" villain Cruella de Vil. Also her model made her look like a cheesy DC supervillain.
- Lord Hellion Baron Sathonyx, who many on /tg/ believe to be Spider-Man's archnemesis. Was kinda cool for his FOC-shifting abilities with respects to Hellions.
- Kheradruakh the Decapitator, who, uh, cuts peoples heads off and collects them like beanie babies. Implied to be collecting them like coconuts to do some serious warp-related shit. Was also never used because Mandrakes sucked. He recently played a major role in the Gathering Storm, saving all of Commorragh from a massive Dysjunction.
- Duke Sliscus, the Pirate Duke who drinks poisons, has all the best drugs, and brings all the bitches to the yard with his gigantic cock. Almost as insufferable as Assholetep. Much missed because his contraband rule stopped you from rolling terrible combat drugs, and now this is gone. The rest of his rules weren't particularly special though, so you can still have him using the Archon rules.
- Urien Rakarth, a hyper-evolved Pavi Largo. Quite possibly the sickest fuck in the galaxy (at the very least a strong contender), and that is really an achievement of unimaginable proportions.
- Drazhar, the Master of Blades, who does not speak and slashes other Incubi to bits from time to time just to throw his weight around. Nobody knows his real name as he just appeared one day out of nowhere, never removes his armor, and probably kills anyone who tries to touch the goods. Many people believe Drazhar is Arhra, An additional piece of
baitevidence is that his warsuit is much more ancient than any other one available to the incubi cults and pretty much out of their understanding, leading some to think it's -the- original warsuit. Considering Ahra disappeared after getting buttfucked by his successor and disappeared some time before Drazhar showed up, and you can pretty much piece the evidence of the mysterythinly veiled "but what if it's not trueeeeeeeee" tactic together.
- Lelith Hesperax, an oversexed gladiatrix/snuff-film porn starlet (srsly, so much implied masturbation in her profile, it's not even funny). Jumped ship to the Ynnari faction for personal goals.
Dating a Dark Eldar
|Dark Eldar Lords and Ladies|
|Asdrubael Vect - Archon Tahril - Baron Sathonyx |
Drazhar - Duke Sliscus - Kheradruakh
Lady Malys - Lelith Hesperax - Urien Rakarth
|Forces of the Dark Eldar|
|Command:||Archons - Haemonculi - Kabalite Trueborn |
Lhamaeans - Medusae - Sslyth - Succubi
|Troops:||Beastmasters - Commorragh Slaves - Grotesques |
Hellions - Incubi - Kabalite Warriors - Mandrakes
Scourges - Wracks - Wyches
|Beasts:||Clawed Fiend - Khymerae - Razorwing Flock - Ur-Ghul|
|Pain Engines:||Cronos Parasite Engines - Talos Pain Engines|
|Vehicles:||Raider - Ravager - Reaper - Reaver Jetbike - Venom|
|Flyers:||Raven Fighter - Razorwing Jetfighter |
Raptor Fighter - Voidraven Bomber
|Spacecraft:||Impaler Assault Module - Slavebringer Assault Boat|
Buying this CD is Heresy!
Download it from torrent.HERESY!*BLAM*
Fucking Pony nonsense... Fucking with... Sense of... What were we talking about?
Your daily commute in Commorragh, except everyone's an elf-rapist, the pistols shoot poison that can kill robots, and the chicks are soul-sucking crack whore gladiators.
The crossover you never knew you needed, now throw in the Tau Diplomat who sounds like Starfire.
|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|