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I have lately been wondering if a Craftworld could have more than one Autarch. In their description it says they are "the supreme commanders of the Eldar warhost", which seems to imply that it is a singular position. However, all that can depend on how one defines "warhost". Does it seem reasonable that a Craftworld would have several warhosts operating simultaneously at different locations? If so, then it follows that there could be an Autarch leading each host, yes? Perhaps it would depend on the size and nature of the Craftworld; Biel- tan, for example, would be a likely candidate for having multiple warhosts.
Of course, according to gameplay one can include 2 Autarchs in his FOC, but we all know that fluff =/= gameplay a lot of the time. So what are everyone's opinions on this?
It's... ambiguous, at best.
A warhost is a concentration of troops into a larger formation, consisting of around 40-50 Eldar warriors (source: Epic Swordwind army list) of varying composition and role (it should be noted though that numbers in Epic-scale units could probably be increased 10 times or more in size if they were to represent "reality").
In the Epic Biel-Tan army list, the Autarch is a 0-1 choice, no matter the size of the army.
The Epic Swordwind book contains the first mentioning of the Autarchs. It centres around Biel-Tan and the Autarchs are described as powerful Exarchs who, through pure force of will, break 'free' from their paths as Exarchs to assume the mantle of Autarchs to lead an Eldar army in war. After the conflict has been resolved, they return to their Shrines again and continue as Exarchs. There is no limit to the number of Autarchs that the Craftworld can have at one time. This could be specific to Biel-Tan (certainly fits their theme), because...
This was changed when the Eldar got a new codex and the Autarch was made available in regular games of 40k. They are now described as Eldar who tread the 'Path of Command'. Due to the immense size of the Craftworlds and the armies they maintain, I doubt that there can only be one Autarch per Craftworld. Remember, they are not supreme leaders in all matters of war (Eldar, as far as we know, have no true supreme leaders). They act as advisors along with the Farseers to best decide the best course of action.
It's also worth remembering that Autarchs do not have exclusive rights to command armies. It is not unknown for Farseers to act as generals and leaders either.
Last edited by Da Mighty Camel; April 5th, 2010 at 22:37.
Accursed slow forum. Sorry.
The big thing that Autarchs have going for them is not only did they go down the Path of Command, but they have gone down multiple Aspect Paths and ultimately turned away, a feat most Eldar cannot even do once. Because of this, they have unparalleled tactical insight, knowing the best uses of each individual unit and how to make different units work well together. In game terms, he (or she) barely represents this, with a single global bonus (to deepstriking), and an abysmal armor save to boot. Further, he doesn't have quite enough gun-kata to be a bamf. Almost but not quite.
On the other hand, Farseer is a master of using his or her (usually her if DoW is any indication) physic power to help bolster the strength of the Eldar, or to directly boot heads if absolutely necessary. The Farseer is still (despite Codex creep) one of the more powerful psykers in the game, and as such are more common on the tabletop, but in terms of fluff are more like arcane advisors to the Autarchs' generalship. After all, who would you prefer to lead you? Someone with access to a questionably accurate, hideously dangerous dimension, or a professional combat leader?
As far as the centrality of command goes... first of all, newest codex always wins out, as retconning abounds. Second, like all Paths, who would they learn it from if there is only one per craftworld? My money's on a leadership cadre, and "Warhosts" are small battlegroups, not an entire Craftworld.
Terminator armor going critical would be like Three Mile Island only very, VERY angry, and carrying a hammer.
LO rules in a nutshell: Don't post unit costs, be polite, rep posts containing of win.
Very informative stuff, you two, thanks! I'm glad to have you validate my own thoughts on this, and so I won't feel like a fluff heretic for having an Autarch in an Iyanden army this isn't Yriel. Rep to you both.
Being awesome at shooting stuff and slicin'n dicin' in close combat has nothing to do with how great of a leader you are, despite what 40k's game mechanics might lead you to believe. Authority does not equal ass kicking.
Farseers may not be combat monsters (however, they used to be in 2nd edition), but the fluff describes them as perfectly capable generals if needed to, being fully versed in tactics and strategy and with more command experience than just about any other mortal warrior (Farseers grow to be very old - Eldrad was born before the Fall).
I have always imagined that, when planning for a war/conflict/crisis/raid/etc. the relevant experts in different paths gather (Farseer/s who have predicted the whatever, current free Autarchs, Exarchs, Admirals, air host commanders, etc.) and have a council of the best course of action, and based on the decision they elect an overall commander based on what is considered to most vital to the operation. An Autarch could be elected when a small warhost needs to make a precision strike to assassinate an enemy leader, while a Farseer would be preferable to lead if the goal was to engage an ancient Eldar artefact.
The Eldar are masters on knowing whom or what goes where and I doubt they are locked in thinking "Autarchs for war, Seers for psychy stuff".
if you think about it then yes an Autarch is like a military commander who reports to the craftworld council or etc so ther could be multiple Autarchs