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Can anyone give me a quick history of the Eldar? Are they generally at war with the humans? what about Tau and I assume they are with Chaos?
A brief history of Eldar... that's like a brief history of time. Essentially this is all covered on the GW site quite nicely, but here goes, and this isn't original material, just my regurgitation of it, so it shouldn't breach any copyright law.
The Eldar are (aside from the Necrons) the oldest race known to exist in the 41st millenium. They were one of a number of races created by the even more ancient and godlike Old Ones to combat the C'tan and their Necrontyr slaves (Necrons). The Eldar, of all of the races created by the Old Ones, had the greatest psychic presence in the warp, making them the most effective weapon against the C'tan (as psykers and warp powers are anathemic to them). Around this time in the distant past, the Eldar also created 'Gods' - Vaul, Khaine, which were essentially warp entities which sprang out of their presence in the warp, and which they worshiped as gods - these too were a ploy by the Old Ones to use against the C'tan - incredibly powerful warp entities which the C'tan would have great difficulty dealing with.
In any case, eventually, the great harvest, some of the C'tan are tricked into devouring each other by one of the Eldar gods, whilst the Eldar are using their by now incredible knowledge to build the Blackstone Fortresses - the idea being that whilst a C'tan is eating a star, the star can be obliterated, killing it. The Necrons go to sleep without their masters to guide them, and the Eldar fall into a long age of galactic domination - their empire is much more vast than the Imperium as it is 'today', and they navigate between their worlds in massive trading ships, via the webway, and through the warp.
Unfortunately, as their empire grows, so does their decadence, and their ever more perverse lifestyle (like that of the Dark Eldar) causes the birth of Slaanesh, who tears open the Eye of Terror, killing most of the Eldar with a psychic attack. She then emerges, and devours all of the Eldar gods, except Khaine, who fights her, but eventually loses and is torn apart. The laughing god manages to trick Slaanesh, as he did the C'tan, and escapes into the Webway, which Slaanesh cannot enter.
So, the Eldar empire is shattered - all that remains are worlds far out on the rim, and the travelling ships, or 'craftworlds' which, by the time of the 41st millenium, are like planets unto themselves. The Eldar race survive using the webway, but fear warp travel. In order to keep themselves safe from Slaanesh, every Eldar practices a life free from passion, devoting all of their energy into a single field, be that as a psyker, an aspect warrior, a bonesinger, whatever. Meanwhile, the Dark Eldar believe that the only way to appease Slaanesh is to give in to their passions.
The third, more enigmatic faction of the Eldar are the Harlequins, who live in a hidden craftworld, deep in the Webway, called the Black Library. They alone hold all of the knowledge of the Eldar, which was scattered during the fall. The Laughing god guides them from within the Webway in a great, galaxy shaping plot of his own devising...
That's the general gyst of it. Probably lots of errors, but it gives you an outline.
The Eldar aren't at war with the Imperium, or the Tau - with the Imperium, they help them against Chaos, which the Eldar see as the greatest foe. Similarly, they help them against the Tyranids, and above all the Necrons, who the Eldar know are the greatest threat for the future (and, if you find a quote from a certain inquisitor, the Eldar are the Galaxy's only hope to defeat the Necrons).
Their relationship with the Tau is somewhat enigmatic - there are hints that the Eldar have been engineering the Tau to use them as tools in their grand schemes (creating the Ethereal caste). However this is all very hazy.
They hate orks, as they are a threat to the regrowth of the Eldar race. But, above all, and don't forget this - the Eldar are fickle. They would turn on their allies even as they had victory in their hands, if it suited their purposes. They'd wipe out entire planets, set wars in motion, just to ensure the survival of one Eldar, even if a billion humans died.
I'd like to add that the eldar also had a massive impact on the imperiums birth. Terra was surrounded by warp storms making travel impossible. Only the emperor knew that the eldar would fall and the warp storms disperse in the psychic shockwave of the eye of terror being created. (you missed that part, the eldar brought chaos into the physical universe, quite important i'd say). Anyway the emperor prepared for the day when he could leave Terra and bring his divine will to the other planets of the galaxy. For this he created the space marines, the 20 legions waited on Terra until at last the emperors predictions came true and the eldar race all but died in Slaanesh's birth. (funny thing is that means Lucius the eternal is older than Slaanesh his god (also means slaanesh's presence in fantasy is slightly odd)). The Space marines went off and conquered the galaxy now that the eldar had accidently released them.
Meanwhile the craftworlds (intergalactic merchants) had been a long way from the eye of terror and had not been present for most of the eldars corruption. Kaela Mensha Khaine fought and delayed Slaanesh until these few eldar created spirit stones so that Slaanesh could not eat their souls when they died, these are the craftworld eldar.
The ones closer to the eye of terror needed a much more immediate help than inventing spirit stones however and the only way they could do so was to flee into the webway and offer the souls of others instead of their own. Thus the dark eldar were created.
The laughing god tricked and deceived she who thirsts (slaanesh) so that his children could escape into the deepest regions of the webway, the black library. These eldar undertake a ritual of some kind that protects them from she who thirsts and hidden in the webway they are basically immune to slaanesh. These are the Harlequins.
If GW ever want a major shift in the fluff then allying eldar and imperium is the best way to do it. That'd make a cool campaign (codex: Alliance) where the eldar and Imperium wipe out a huge number of necrons (rescuing GW from the toasters almost godlike state in the fluff) and finish creating their god of the dead.
Last of all current eldar history is... there are only 5 major craftworlds left although there are a couple of minor ones. Iyanden is almost dead cos of the nids. Ulthwe is preparing for the rhana dandra (the apocalypse, google ragnarok in viking history for details). Biel-tann is trying to invade planets and build a mini-empire, Saim-Hann is just killing all their enemies.
Alaitoc is hiding from the imperium whi has declared war on them.
Eldrad Ulthran and the Ulthwe seer council are trying to build a new god to protect them from slaanesh, then the eldar will be free to use their full might against the rest of the galaxy, eldrad ulthran recently died so that may delay the project a bit. Craftworld Altansar was recently recovered from the eye of terror, still awaitng fulff for that.
I think that covers everything AlexB3 missed.
Where can I find the backstory on Altansar? Where did you get the info. that it has been "recovered" (if anything truly can be...) from the Eye of Terror?
And Iyanden aren't almost a "dead craftworld." They are still alive and well, the relative few that are left after they got in the way of Hive Fleet (Behemoth?) to stop it from consuming a large section of the imperial empire and possibly dealing a fatal blow to the Imperium... Anywho, the Eldar of Iyanden are forced to use as few live bodies on the battlefield as possible because their numbers are both too few to create large armies and also too precious to risk death in battle. But "almost dead" they most certainly are not. Severely diminished and recovering would be a more appropriate description.
One day. Arhiman and his Thousand Sons Army will found them and control the Black Library.The third, more enigmatic faction of the Eldar are the Harlequins, who live in a hidden craftworld, deep in the Webway, called the Black Library.
I totally agree with you on Iyanden, I think they are still quite powerful fluffwise and GW will definately not be killing them any time soon. I was simply citing inquisitor Czevak from the codex.
The problem with Ahriman finding the black library is that he doesn't have an army. He was expelled from the Thousand Sons when he killed them all with his rubric. If he ever does turn up with his cabal I can guarantee the eldar would have forseen it and have it well guarded.:sleep:
I found out about Altansar's recovery on LO itself. I cant remember when or where but we had a thread about it where some fluff master discovered something about it. I dont own eye of terror codex so i dont know if its in there. Go down to clubs and clans and ask the fluff masters where it is. I only recently joined em so im not really a master.
All I remember is that during the eye of terror campaign Maugan Ra entered the warp and recovered his old home through sheer force of will. Its been in the warp for a couple of thousand years though so I can guarantee its deader than Iyanden and infested with daemons.
I'm not the original poster, but I'd like to thank you Alexb83 and LordLink, and everyone. All this fluff on Eldar greatly helped this young Tau player get a grip on the Warhammer 40k universe. I've always found Eldar interesting, and this peeks my interest even more :yes:
...but I won't abandon my Tau just yet!!Ouch. That hurts. I actually picked Tau partly because of their fluff; they aren't crazed lunatics devoted to a falty ideal system, they aren't killing machines bent on the destruction and domination of the universe, and they're quite unique to the universe of Warhammer 40k.Originally Posted by Trevdor
I believe from your post you are also interested in Tau fluff. Well, I've read a good bit from the codex and I know a decent amount about Tau, and I'm glad to share what I know. And first and foremost, Tau are not with chaos. They could be, but they won't. I'll explain exactly why later. I think it is fitting to start at the beginning:
The Tau were first discovered by an Imperium vessel on exploration duty. The main interesting points the Adeptus Mechanicus teams noticed were that the primitive ancestors of the Tau had built primitive weapons and discovered fire, but that was more or less it. Nothing interesting. The planet was marked for "routine cleansing and colonisaation." However, things did not go as planned. As soon as the Seeding ships had been in the system, but before they landed, freak warp storms appeared and engulfed the ships. Despite the skilled navigators and captains, every ship was lost. The warp storms did not simply blow themselves out like normal; they stayed around and prevented space travel for light years in every direction.
Isolated, the Tau developed technology at a frighteningly fast pace. Several tribes soon formed due to their unique skills in different areas. Mountain tribes developed flight-related technology, and became messangers and scouts. The Valley settlements were lush, and easily able to farm and mine plenty for themselves; they began to build large buildings and permament structures. Another tribe used their own skills of speechcraft and negotiated trade agreements, receiving what they could not produce from those who could. The final Tribe held dominion over the plains, and grew to be skillful and aggressive hunters, and used force.
The Tau soon split apart, fighting amongst themselves. Many years of war dragged on with rediculous casualties. Soon, it appeared as if the young, advancing race would extinguish itself in its own bloodshed. This age is called the "Mont'au, the Terror" and most Tau are terrified of returning to it.
The Ethereals emerged, a unique and bizarre group. Two Ethereals negotiated the leaders of the tribes out of a bloody and barbaric battle. Their presense was undeniable, and no Tau, strangely, seemed to be able to stand against their soft-spoken authority.
The Tau soon developed for the next ages into a strict system of Castes, which a Tau is born into and forbidden to change their position or mate between Castes. The agressive warrior tribe of the plains developed into the Fire Caste, the standing army that you face in the game. The Mountain tribe developed into the Air Caste, forming the Tau equivalent to the Imperial Navy. The Valley tribe that farmed and build permament settlements developed into the Earth Caste, which build machines, dwellings, farm food, and are the backbone of developement in the society. The last caste, the Water caste, was developed from those who would form trade agreements. The Water caste are politicians, negotiators, administrators, and diplomats; they are quite difficult to argue against, as many rogue traders find the ocean easier to nail to a wall than trying to get a Water Caste member to be pinned to a straight answer.
The final Caste is the Ethereal Caste, or Celestial Caste. They are the Ethereals, whose presense is undeniable on any Tau world. They hold utmost authority without demanding it. They fill what seems to be between royalty and priesthood; they speak of the "Greater Good", often, though it is unknown what the Greater Good actually is. Every Tau is expected and is devoted to the Greater Good and the Ethereals; if an Ethereal had such a wish (though it would not happen) for a Tau to kill himself, the Tau would do so without question and without hesitation. The Ethereal's gift for this is shrouded in mystery, as are the Ethereals themselves; many have their theories.
In 6,000 years, the Tau have developed technology to rival all of the old races. They are only 6k years old, which is quite young in the 40k universe. Their actual location is in a cluster of closely grouped star systems, making expansion very easy. Though Tau are quite advanced, they have little or no capacity for warp travel, and absolutely no psykers (though some say the Ethereal's power is such, in a way...).
They make many allies with several aliens (Kroot, Vespids, etc) and, as long as they devote themselves to the Greater Good, they fight along side Tau. The Tau are as passive to other races as you'll find in the 40k universe; they send diplomats first, speak, and if the other side is unwilling to devote themselves completely to the Greater Good, the Air Caste bombards the planet and the Fire Caste moves in to battle. If the enemy surrenders, the Tau accepts them into the Empire so that they may work towards the Greater Good. In this way, Tau may ally with anyone and still obey their fluff (though Tyranids and Space Marines may not wish to ally with Tau...).
Tau hate close combat, and find it both barbaric and foolish. They use their 'superior' technology to rip up the enemy at range, making a melee brawl in close quarters meaningless. They also are aweful at it, and have poor reflexes and eyesight; their basic firewarrior costs much more than an Imperial guardsman, and the guardsman has a superior close combat ability. They also have agile tanks and a force that flows on the battlefield; it is quite difficult to pin down a Mechanized Tau force.
There is one interesting wildcard of Tau; Commander Farsight. I don't wish to make this post any longer than it already is (and worst yet, talking purely about Tau fluff in an Eldar forum!!!). Commander Farsight (his real name is O'Shovah) left the influence of the Ethereals and has several strongholds on the outskirts of the Tau Empire. He is an interesting character, being one of the very few Tau who can do close combat (and he can actually rival a Space Marine HQ in CC!).
So, that is basically a summary of the history (and 'current day' situation) of Tau.
Last edited by Spinkycleft; April 21st, 2006 at 04:20.
slightly out of place there but an excellent piece of fluff nonetheless. He actually meant are eldar at war with the tau. The answer is... in the 40k universe everyone hates everyone. In the tau codex the rangers get eaten by kroot but thats just a friendly brawl compard to the other wars against other races.
Thanks LordLink for covering all the important stuff I missed!
Regarding Ahriman and the Black Library - He's looking for it, and he has gained access to the Webway via the Dark Eldar. However; given that since the fall /noone/ except those that the Harlequins have permitted to enter has set foot in the Black Library, it's very unlikely that an outcast Chaos Sorcerer would A. ever find it or B. ever get past the Harlequins that guard it - the Solitaires are the eternal guardians of the Black Library, and can you imagine facing all of them in a fight?
Craftworlds are simply massive (i.e. the size of small planets, surrounded by massive fleets - read the defence of Iyanden) and there are probably countless Harlequins in the Library ready to defend it, as well as the last surviving Eldar God.
The Tau - as has been said, noone likes anyone else. Although overall the Eldar aren't at odds with the Imperium, they don't like them. They don't like anyone by Eldar - their only true allies are the Harlequins, and, at times, the Dark Eldar - but even these races will turn against each other in the unlikely event that their grand plans conflict (for instance, if an Eldar Farseer forsees that a Harlequin may cause ruin to his Craftworld, he may elect to destroy the Harlequin). The only thing that unites the Eldar races is their combined loathing for Chaos, and Harlequins will appear mysteriously and fight against Chaos with any sentient race (ie. not the Necrons or the Nids, but anyone else) - typically though, they rarely associate with races other than the Craftworld Eldar and Dark Eldar (who they travel with and teach them the lost history of the Eldar).
Hints are dropped in several places that the Tau have developed because of Eldar intervention - in creating the mysterious Ethereals (who appeared suddenly and led the Tau to unity) and in advancing their technology (as the Eldar have mastery of magnetic accelleration weapons such as railguns and plasma, and warp technology).
Craftworld Altansar is originally mentioned as having been the home craftworld of Phoenix Lord Maugan Ra, and the place where the original aspect shrine of the Dark Reapers is kept. However, whilst Ulthwe was merely caught on the edge of the Eye, Altansar was adrift inside it, and supposedly lost, although it has re-emerged now (or will, in the new Codex we hope!).
Sory Lordlink, but I am gonna kick some of this stuff, respect for taking the time but some is inacurateGW have made it clear in the past that 40K and FB are not linkedOriginally Posted by LordLinkNo, the craftworlds were created by eldar who forsaw the fall and fled, they were not merchants and many were fleing whilst the Fall took placeMeanwhile the craftworlds (intergalactic merchants) had been a long way from the eye of terror and had not been present for most of the eldars corruption.May be true but I have not read it, the distinction between the eldar and teh dark eldar is in their belief of how to avoid getting their soul taken by SlaneshThe ones closer to the eye of terror needed a much more immediate help than inventing spirit stones however and the only way they could do so was to flee into the webway and offer the souls of others instead of their own. Thus the dark eldar were created.Not completely happy with this but fair enoughThe laughing god tricked and deceived she who thirsts (slaanesh) so that his children could escape into the deepest regions of the webway, the black library. These eldar undertake a ritual of some kind that protects them from she who thirsts and hidden in the webway they are basically immune to slaanesh. These are the Harlequins.GW have never, to the best of my knowledge stated that there are only 5 major craftworlds left, indeed the star map in teh back of codex eldar infers the presence of more, asside fropm that, Saim Hann- its current objectives/actions/motives are unclear, Bail Tann has always felt the way to stop the decline of the race was to establish not only craftworlds but planetary outposts, hence it protects exodite colonies and tries to establish new colonies, and Alaitoc well watch Medusa VLast of all current eldar history is... there are only 5 major craftworlds left although there are a couple of minor ones. Iyanden is almost dead cos of the nids. Ulthwe is preparing for the rhana dandra (the apocalypse, google ragnarok in viking history for details). Biel-tann is trying to invade planets and build a mini-empire, Saim-Hann is just killing all their enemies.
Alaitoc is hiding from the imperium whi has declared war on them.Nope, Eldrad is not trying to create a new god, and he didnt die but disperesed his sould, the description was I believe that he was aware he would be neither alive nor deadEldrad Ulthran and the Ulthwe seer council are trying to build a new god to protect them from slaanesh, then the eldar will be free to use their full might against the rest of the galaxy, eldrad ulthran recently died so that may delay the project a bit.
Everything you have been told is a lie!