Welcome to Librarium Online!
Join our community of 80,000+ members and take part in the number one resource for Warhammer and Warhammer 40K discussion!
Registering gives you full access to take part in discussions, upload pictures, contact other members and search everything!
I don't know how many people play DnD or know about the Drow (dark elves) from that game, but I have always been a huge fan of them throughout my life (mostly teenage years). They are actually what led me to play Warhammer Dark Eldar and Dark Elves.
Anyways, I have been thinking and rethinking about the cultural, historical, societal, political and psychologycial aspects of Dark Eldar society. And the more I do, the more I find them to be alike the Drow.
Unlike Games Workshop's short, brief and totally half-assed creations of Dark Eldar society, all we can glimpse is a TINY fraction of what they are truly like. And worse of all, they are usually from the Imperium's point of view.
Therefore, I believe that it is my duty, as a Dark Eldar fanatic, to fully examine the society in which our beloved Dark Kin lives, to its fullest degree. Remember, this is all theoritical. However, it does include lots of information gleamed from the Fantasy Dark Elves, as well as the fantastically complex societal structures of the Drow from DnD. So, the question remains. Are the Dark Eldar the uncouth, brutal pirates of the 40k Universe? Or are they the lithe, cunning, and graceful terrors who stalk the shadows and kill with a subtleness and beauty that few others can match? I think it is the latter.
Dark Eldar Society
Dark Eldar society, although full of darkness, terror and vileness, is still purely from a Mon-Keigh point of view. What we view as vile, may simply be normal, everyday events to them. From looking at the Codex and conversing with various other DE players, I have concluded the following.
DE society is divided into at least 4 different Castes, if not more. There are the Kabals, no doubt making up the majority of the political aspect of Commorragh. They rule through fear, power play, subtlety, assassinations, and so on. The second are the Wych Cults. These are highly (extremely) skilled combatants, who train ceaselessly in the gladiatorial arenas. They are hired and used by the Kabals to carry out their ends, but oftentimes they persue their own ends as well. Third, there are the Haemonculi, and their insane experiments. They are the ones who create many of the strange weapons of the Dark Eldar, no doubt. Lastly, there have been talkings of "Incubi Sects" (which are not GW-sponsored fluff, from what I know), which are extremely reclusive, martial, and deadly warriors who will occasionally ally with Kabals and such in order to further their own cause. On the whole, DE society is filled with death and danger.
However, this does NOT make them uncouth, savage killers. These words are simply too "uncouth" to be applied to Dark Eldar, in my humble opinion. Who knows what goes on in Commorragh? No one yet -- however, my research and assumptions have led me to believe that Dark Eldar won't likely get their heads chopped off when they walk on the streets everyday. Dark Eldar are not, I repeat, bloodthirsty, psychotic servants of Khorne, nor are they the drug-induced, sex-obsessed servants of Slannesh. They are the Dark Eldar, something completely different, and yes, much more sophisticated lifeforms and culture than those two [Chaos cultures].
Like I said, a DE warrior won't likely get slaughtered for walking in the open. Why? Let's take a look at society in general. First, there will no doubt be some sort of political faction in control of the Dark City. The Kabals most likely represent Commorragh's nobility, the Dark Eldar Aristocracy. It is they who sets up law and order, albeit at a completely different level than what humans percieve. Without order, there can only be anarchy. While Dark Eldar revel in death and assassination, their very nature as exquisite, lithe Eldar will NO DOUBT lead them to a much more subtle appreciation of death, and they way it is performed. In the heat of battle, decapitation is fine, I guess. However, in the back alleys of Commorragh, why should such a thing occur! Such barbarity is unfit for the Dark Eldar. Why should they resort to such ancient methods of death, when poison, gas, or the complex procedure of various killing procedures leave so much more space for the beauty of death? For the Dark Eldar, killing is an ART. It is not enough to simply chop off an limb. No, killing must have value TO IT. The more creative and imaginative you are, the more you are appreciated, hated, and respected in Dark Eldar society.
This again brings me back to the very core of Dark Eldar psychology. They are STILL Eldar, evil or not. They APPRECIATE things of beauty. They APPRECIATE subtleness. They APPRECIATE complexity, craftsmanship, skill, talent, and all of those things. They appreciate good, tasteful food (souls, most likely). Why can't the Dark Eldar love things that have high materialist value? Why shoudln't the Dark Eldar surround themselves with beautiful, dark sculptures, masterly crafted jewelry, ancient, ornate blades, and exquisitely fine armour? To have any less would make them into the savage, uncouth, disgusting species of the Mon-Keigh, as vile as Chaos!!! A Dark Eldar will buy exquisite wine, fine clothing, and beautiful art, without giving a care for the price.
As for they fountains of skulls they take from their enemy, what of it? Why must the skulls remain rotten and disgusting? Who said the Dark Eldar do not have the best, most masterful craftsman created amazing works of art from the skulls and remains of their enemy, ornated with rare stones, metals, and other things we don't know about! Again, the battlefield is a disgusting place, that DOES NOT reflect the nature of Commorragh. Commorragh might be MUCH MORE CLEANER than your typical Imperial city, or even our world (Earth, ie America/England). They are Eldar after all. Who said experimenting for the Haemonculi is all they capture slaves for? This is absurd. The slaves no doubt are made to clean every grime and dirt off the street. Commorragh may be the city of darkness, of perpetual twilight, but it might as well be the damn cleanest place we've seen.
This is what I have gleamed so far of DE society. Next, I will post my assumptions/theories about their political structure, how it works, what kind it is (ie monarchy, democracy, etc), and eventually their form of economics (no doubt purely domestic, no mercantalism, although this might be untrue).
What I am trying to do is take a very find examination of how the Dark Eldar realm works. Thanks for reading, and I would appreciate any responses.
Infrazael Draennonssraav --
Your Fellow Incubi
I completely agree with you infrazeal those mon keighs all look to the reports of there own ppl or captured DE but when you look to the hive cities.(That are rotten to the core and things like bionic ppl doesnt sound healthy to me) there alot worse then all the marble and silver you see in the pictures. i recently started to read the 40k fluff books and before reading I would have never thought about all the corruption infested ppl possesed filthy gasses etc etc that are within a hive city. Also the only part of fluff I know so far about something looking from the dark eldar vieuw is the tortuers tale givign us a whole different point of vieuw. Also the first book ive ever read about 40k was crimson tears a part in it also shows that De have taste. (The archon takes place in a beautifull palace laid with the rarest metals and gems)
I also agree on the savage way about killing. The kabals will most likely have something simulair to a inviseble border. If something passes it without reporting first or watever it will msot likely be shot down. (hellions will not chop the archons warriors down without permission imo) A archon wont tolerate savage murders on his streets from another kabal cult etc. Instead it would try to protect its warriors. (He needs them to raid with after all).
Also there are just minor pieces of text that say that not all slaves will be tortured or be used as ''soul food'' in some part of the codex a mon keigh states that the most humble and most ''cooperating'' mon keigh will be taken into ''protection'' of the hamos and will be learned the art of the hamos. It would be strange that warriors would whipe the floor while the archon has 20k slaves in his dungeon and not let those whipe the floor letting the warriors protect him instead.
I could talk on hours like this wat GW is forgetting to tell us or the major pieces of fluff we would like to see but I think were better of with just glimps of my thoughts instead of whole novels :p. I look forward to your next post about your thoughts about the DE.
However with that statement out of the way, I would say listen to ArchonBjorn. He has a really good tendency to not say stupid things and give bad advice.Learn from yesterday.
Live for today
Hope for tomorrow
Some very interesting thoughts there, maybe GW could take some lessons off you, otherwise, I dont know what to add but to completely agree , it seems you have summed things up pretty well, maybe we will get more of an insight when our shiny brand new codex comes out, I think when that happens, it will just prove how correct this thread is.
Legendary Dark Eldar Site
"To play the blues, all you need is barbwire strung to a wooden pulp, an aching heart, and a babe who done left you"
Win/Loss- Who Cares?
"The only thing thats good to lose is your virginity"
Thanks for the replies.
I think I'm going to write some other things today, finish up the second part of my DE essay. It's going to be all about DE politics, what type of government they have, hierarchies, etc, etc.
Should be interesting.
Also, if you have any questions or think I have made mistakes/forgotten things, feel free to post them.
I totally agree with you Infrazael. Its nice to see someone who appreciates the Dark Eldar so much as to dispel some of the myths about them. They say that the Dark Eldar are the true Eldar since their culture bears the closest resemblance to the original Eldar's culture before the fall. The image you put forth is therefore fitting, and personally its the way I've always viewed them ever since I became a fan of them.
"Courage is not the absence of fear, it is the conquest of it." -Anon
*Agreementized*. I think that the DE are in no way trully worse than the Imperium, I mean, the Imperium argues they use enemy's corpses for decoration, but isn't that on some way honouring the slain? Isn't it saying that for fighting they earned the right to be honoured in death? And the slave raids is just the same as what the Imperials would do if they found a traitor camp, is it not? They come in, either kill or drag off the traitors then force them to confess! At least the DE put them to some sort of use. And what of the horrors the Haemonculi commit? Well, is not the same thing done when turning a man into a space marine? And the DE (unlike the Imperium) do not simply produce killing machines for the purpose of death. Furthermore, wouldn't you feel a tad bit bitter if you had been invaded and attacked by the Imperium, maybe that explains their ruthlessness and hatred? One could still say the gladiatorial arenas the wyches fight in are barbaric, but they no doubt choose to fight with full knowledge of the consequences.
Don't ask what your country can do for you, Ask what you can do for your country, Only once you have asked yourself that shall your country do everything in its power for you --My twist on a JFK quote
i play a drow in my D&D group, <3 drow, even though the DM hates me and nearly kills me everytime we play. i noticed that they were similar to the DE, i even have my DE with white hair and black skin. thanks for the insight, will help when i explain DE culture to those imperium players
But what of the role of the Haemonculi in all this? I felt sure that it was their job to extract the souls of captured prisoners to help extend the life of the Dark Eldar, but this doesn't seem to take it into account.
And I can't help but remember something I got told a while back, that every Dark Eldar dies with a look of the most horrific terror on their faces. Surely the threat of Slaanesh should take its part in their society?
Last edited by Xerxes; May 5th, 2005 at 17:45.
The Haemonculi are the torture experts. That does not contradict anything I've said.
They use mon-keigh and captured slaves as devices to conduct those experiments. . . . and what is wrong with that?
They could be just as hedonistic and narcissistic as the rest of the Dark Eldar. . . . . just more twisted.
BTW, you'd think they were sanitary enough to clean up after their own messes, wouldn't you?
Aspiring Incubus Grand Master
But hasn't it actually been stated somewhere that the Haemonculi extract the life-force of other intelligent beings to sustain the existence of the Dark Eldar?