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It's been an established bit of fluff in 40K for a long time that the Eldar are a dying race.
My question is why?
Lets establish the problems they have as a species:
a) Their original homeworlds were all destroyed along with a large proportion of their people XX number of years ago.
b) The majority of their people live on giant spaceships that do not have access to the warp and have to travel slowly through real space or the webway.
c) They live in constant fear of their souls being devoured by Slaannesh.
d) They reproduce at a slow rate.
All these facts are pretty harsh but none of them are actually a contributing factor to an entire species going into decline and dying.
Consider the following:
a) Eldar Exodite worlds are not covered in detail regarding their numbers. Their COULD be hundreds of Exodite worlds with millions (or billions) of Exodite Eldar living on them.
b) The Eldar, so many years after the Fall, would have still have more numbers in their race (as a whole) then a fledgling race like the Tau. After all the Tau only occupy one small corner of space and the Eldar are found throughout the universe.
c) The numbers of the Dark Eldar are unknown. Can they reproduce (yes it's a vile thought)?
d) As the Craftworlds are mobile they can escape from major foes that would destroy them (yes the Tyranids got the drop on one Craftworld but once bitten twice shy).
I may be missing something but I can see no reason why the Eldar are a dying race.
What do people think?
Please note all of this is my opinion NOT fact: I personally think the Eldar are considered "dying" because of the slow reproduction rate and the fact that a lot of them are being killed in struggles with other factions whether Chaos, Tyranids, Space Marines, what have you. There are still an amazing amount of Eldar but compared to the past the amount is considerably less. This coupled with the fact that there aren't as many being replaced means that sooner or later the Eldar race will face the prospect of extinction.
Edit Note: Also wanted to add that they seem to have stagnated in other ways as well such as having basically the same (though still very advanced) technology for a long time. Stagnation is also considered another form of decline.
Last edited by Johnator; December 21st, 2006 at 13:42.
Well add that to the fact that they are running around the universe attacking others for thier own reasons, and being attacked. Not only do they reproduce at a slow rate they mate with their partner FOR LIFE. They soul-bond or whatever. You have an eldar that lives perhaps thousands of years but will only reproduce with ONE other eldar. What if that eldar dies ? Woops, no eldar baby. Here's an example: Say chaos attacks Ulthwe (as it has done before) and a hundred eldar die. That's potentially a hundred eldar (who did survive) that will never reproduce because their partner died. You pretty much hit the nail on the head. You take a species that is constantly involved in the affairs of the universe that cannot replenish it's numbers faster than it's death rate, and you get a dying species. They're dying slowly. But they're dying none the less.
Also after the fall thousands of eldar killed each other in the confusion.
Also, on a side note. Eldar space travel is by no means slow. Time flows differently in the webway. An eldar ship can go into the webway at 10:55 real time and emerge across the galaxy at 10:56.
a.) But there aren't. Also, exodite worlds are very fragile. The Imperium, Chaos, and several alien races have wiped out entire exodite worlds before.
b.) They do. There are millions of eldar on each craftworld. They at least equal the tau in number. (Combining eldar and dark eldar numbers of course helps)
d.) They move very slowly. Ulthwe for example, is under constant attacks from chaos. It is still unknown whether or not it will outrun the growing eye of terror. Same thing with an eldar craftworld in the new Dawn of War novel. It only just escaped the tendrils of the maelstrom. The craftworld stood on the brink of annihilation.
The Eldar race could be on the upswing because of these far flung colonies.
I'm not saying they are, but I don't know that we can rule out the Exodite worlds as a source of new hope for the Eldar race.
Mind, everything I say is as a tyranid/marine player, so I'm sort of tossing rocks into the abyss a bit here.
The eldar seem to live a life of extreme focus to stave off Slaanesh and the monsters of the warp. This is probably why they would focus on one companion for their existances.
The dark eldar, being dissipated, hedonistic, "monsters from the id" are probably "playing the field" as it were, but they're not what I'd describe as the most dedicated of parents. Most of their unions are probably intentionally unproductive, a pregnant dark eldar would probably have about ninety of her fellow sickos out to cause trouble just because bugging a pregnant lady is fun in their twisted little pointy-eared minds. When the kid's born, you've got a childlike little eldar, with Slaanesh nipping at him, his parents liable to kill him, eat him, torture him, etc, and such...
Its sort of like the fish who lay 10,000 eggs in the hope one will survive.
Dark Eldar might produce 20,000 offspring, through their activities, but only 1 survives to adulthood, and he's a twisted maniac.
Eldar might produce five, through their activities, but 2 of them survive.
As a side note, I think Xenology informs us tht the eldar reproductive process, like everything else in their lives, is ridiculously complicated.
There once was a Space Marine captain in the reeeeeaaaaaallly old fluff who had eldar concubines...
No, I don't know where that came from...
Open your mind, for the forbidden, unholy and dreadful knowledge of a Fluff Master...
Phobovores - Forever lost in all eternity...
Xenology also hints its too similiar to our own reproductive systems to be a fluke...actually hints EVERYTHING is too similar.
I think the Eldar are dying because they gave up notions of empire..or cohesiveness..or anything else. It really doesnt matter about their numbers when all they do is hold onto fading traditions and ideals. Thats why GW seems to hint that new fire will light them and bring them hope