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View Full Version : insights on Craftworld size and numbers in new DE codex



SgtTaters
01-11-2010, 19:54
the timeline mentions that in M30-31 the exodus of the craftworlds begin. Modifying and combining existing spaceships, craftworlds are able to accommodate an entire planet's population and hundreds set out from the Eldar core worlds.

in M31 the Fall occurs, the majority of craftworlds are destroyed, only the furthest flung survive.

Phil Kelly and Jes Goodwin in interviews make reference that the Ancient Eldar, before the fall were the "almighty children of the most powerful and advanced empire to ever tread the stars.". This statement pops up more than once usually in the context of showing how nasty the fall was. Jes also mentions them having the numbers to rule such a grand empire, an example of Eldar when they weren't dying off.

The interviews also mention that a major Kabal is close to approaching the military power of minor (so not Biel Tann, Ulthwe, etc.) craftworlds. In the DE Codex each Individual Archon (so not the full hierarchy of Archons that make a Kabal) has the "power to stall an Imperial Crusade and steal entire planet's populations". So if even a minor Archon of a no-name Kabal can do that, and a minor craftworld possesses more power than a major kabal, we have a pretty good picture of the capabilities of a minor, no-name craftworld.

So in summary
- a small craftworld has a population equal to a planet
- it has military force to at the very least stall Imperial crusades
- there are only a few hundred at most left.

Now no mention of planet population density is there, but I figure the context it's mentioned as conveying how massive they are, our own planet is a fine reference (6 billionish people)


* some note on Commoragh's size: It's unthinkably massive for a 'city', far larger than the very largest Hive Cities of the Imperium (which hold billions upon billions of people already). Commoragh is not a single 'city', but the largest and central port with gates to others. Each is powered by their own collection of 'stolen suns'.

spetswalshe
01-11-2010, 20:20
I don't think that's a bad estimate. We already knew the Craftworlds were the equivalent of an Eldar hive city, which can hold a world-size population inside, and apex Eldar civilization would probably not involve particularly dense population centres; when you've got an entire galaxy to colonise, you tend to spread yourself fairly thin. Eldar also seem to be the kind who'd appreciate enormous houses and vast open spaces to call their own. Living like sardines isn't essential when you don't really have work to go to.

I've not read the new DE book, but I imagine their power to stall crusades would be more down to psychological warfare and the breaking of supply lines, rather than the typical Guard/Marine 'Punch Warships In The Face' tactics. So it'd be much more than the sum of it's parts; probably if the Kabal actually tried to stop a crusade head-on they'd be one of the smallest of speedbumps. Hence, it wouldn't really describe numbers all that much.

Eumerin
01-11-2010, 20:50
Something to keep in mind about the Eldar Craftworlds in relation to Imperium military power is that the Imperium *can* conceive of attacking craftworlds. The exact amount of strength needed is open to question, but in Path of the Warrior the craftworld gets attacked directly by a large Imperium military force. Unfortunately we don't know much about the composition of this group other than the fact that they're accompanied by unnamed marines in red and white armor.

I would hazard a guess that much of a craftworld's ability to blunt an Imperium Crusade comes from the ability of the Eldar to accurately predict when and where to strike for maximum effect.

Idaan
01-11-2010, 23:11
Generally I agree, and similar numbers can be estimated from existing fluff from BFG and previous Eldar fluff. More good work from Phil and Jes, especially considering their predecessors' vagueness when it comes to numbers.

- there are only a few hundred at most left.
I'd say much, much less. There were hundreds at the Fall, but most were destroyed by the shockwave. I'd say that as we know about 30 Craftworlds by name and that we know 300-400 Marine Chapters (1/3 of the total 1000), there are about 60-90 Craftworlds currently.


Something to keep in mind about the Eldar Craftworlds in relation to Imperium military power is that the Imperium *can* conceive of attacking craftworlds. The exact amount of strength needed is open to question, but in Path of the Warrior That's a special case however. There are lots of hints to Thirianna and Aradryan being at least partly responsible for manipulating the Imperials into attack. We'll know more when we get their parts of the story soon.
I'd stick to the line from the rulebook, as it's by far the most objective source that we have: that directly attacking an average Craftworld requires a whole sector fleet and even that doesn't ensure victory.

eldargal
02-11-2010, 02:32
Now as the Dark Eldar are stated as having found a way around death, AND are breeding like rabbits, does anyone else consider this another nail in the literal interpretation of the Eldar being a dying race?

Retribution
02-11-2010, 03:36
So essentially you just don't mess with the dying space elves, unless you're bugs...

Eumerin
02-11-2010, 03:36
So essentially you just don't mess with the dying space elves, unless you're bugs...

As I recall, in the end that didn't turn out too well for the bugs either...

Retribution
02-11-2010, 03:37
As I recall, in the end that didn't turn out too well for the bugs either...

Well the bugs can sustain such losses, dying space elves can't :P

Eumerin
02-11-2010, 04:49
Well the bugs can sustain such losses, dying space elves can't :P

Yes and no.

The bugs can sustain them if the bugs ultimately win that particular battle. Then they go down to the planet and harvest all of the dead bugs (along with everything else) to make new biomass.

But the bugs can't afford battles in which they're completely wiped out (as happened in Iyanden's case).

Poseidal
02-11-2010, 09:36
Did they say the hold entire planet populations when they set out, or is that now?

Iracundus
02-11-2010, 09:44
Generally I agree, and similar numbers can be estimated from existing fluff from BFG and previous Eldar fluff. More good work from Phil and Jes, especially considering their predecessors' vagueness when it comes to numbers.
I'd say much, much less. There were hundreds at the Fall, but most were destroyed by the shockwave. I'd say that as we know about 30 Craftworlds by name and that we know 300-400 Marine Chapters (1/3 of the total 1000), there are about 60-90 Craftworlds currently.

Actually I don't think there has ever been a list assembled of all the canonical Craftworlds.

However I think it would not strain believability for there still to be hundreds as even then they would still be a tiny population compared to the teeming hordes of Orks or humans. Not all are of the same huge size as the big 5 Craftworlds, and it seems GW are mentioning more over time.

Tactical Retreat!
02-11-2010, 09:58
Seems Eldar aren't going to die out anytime soon then.

I guess this also means that they have to be much more populous than the Tau?

Idaan
02-11-2010, 10:19
Actually I don't think there has ever been a list assembled of all the canonical Craftworlds.
There you go:

Ulthwe
Iyanden
Saim-Hann
Alaitoc
Biel-Tan
Yme-Loc
Lugganath
Altansar
Iyabraesil
Il-Kaithe
Kaelor

An-Iolsus (Shadowpoint)
Bel-Shammon (destroyed, Shadowpoint)
unnamed Craftworld within the Webway (Shadowpoint)
Dolthe (Ghostmaker)
Dorhai (Codex Imperialis)
Meros ("doomed", Codex Imperialis)
Ctho ("lost" Codex Imperialis)
Zandros (5e rulebook)
Black Library
Idharae (destroyed, SM codex)
Kher-Ys (destroyed, Daemon codex)
Malan'tai (destroyed, Tyranids codex)
Telennar (Index Xenos - Rangers)
Maegnar (3e Eldar codex)
Morrian ("Devastation of Assyri", Wd236)
"Hope of other days" (Waagh the Orks)
Varantha (Matthew Farrer "Snares and delusions")

28 in total. There might be some others, but they must be really, really well hidden in some old fluff.

I'm not counting the ones from GW site with just the colour scheme as they were fan created, so I'm not quite sure on their canon status.

Iracundus
02-11-2010, 10:34
There you go:
Telennar (Index Xenos - Rangers)


Which WD is this in? As a sidenote: Is there any new information in this article that we don't already know about the Eldar?

MvS
02-11-2010, 11:05
I was interested by Phil's comment that alongside thousands (millions?) of different sorts of aliens in Commoragh by implication existing as slaves, experimental subjects, victims for variour entertainments, scum and (possibly) frantic and hunted runaways, there are also probably lots of 'half breeds' too - probably from genetic manipulation rather than inter-species breeding (which probably isn't possible).

Eumerin
02-11-2010, 19:03
I was interested by Phil's comment that alongside thousands (millions?) of different sorts of aliens in Commoragh by implication existing as slaves, experimental subjects, victims for variour entertainments, scum and (possibly) frantic and hunted runaways, there are also probably lots of 'half breeds' too - probably from genetic manipulation rather than inter-species breeding (which probably isn't possible).

It's suspected that Mandrakes might fit this description, though no one feels inclined to ask them.

As for other types, I wouldn't be surprised. Though given that Dark Eldar born via live births look down on those born via cloning, I suspect that half-breeds are in a pretty bad place. It's possible that even Craftworld Eldar and Exodites might be seen as superior to a half-breed.



As for the list, it looks like a good compilation. The number of destroyed craftworlds is rather surprising. GW apparently likes killing us off.

>.>


And though the canonicity would be debatable, it also might be worthwhile to double-check the army schemes listed in the Dawn of War games to see if there are any there in addition to the first ten that you listed (I'm pretty sure that they don't have Kaelor, though they do have the other ten).

Idaan
02-11-2010, 21:56
And though the canonicity would be debatable, it also might be worthwhile to double-check the army schemes listed in the Dawn of War games to see if there are any there in addition to the first ten that you listed (I'm pretty sure that they don't have Kaelor, though they do have the other ten).

Indeed, there's Ava-Nile and Menaan. I'd be inclined to count them as canon - the Blood Ravens most certainly are.


Which WD is this in? As a sidenote: Is there any new information in this article that we don't already know about the Eldar?
I don't own this issue - it's only a transcript from some Russian website that I have, but from what I remember, it was around the Medusa V campaign. Certainly the article was written to promote the new Ranger models that came out back then. And no, there's nothing interesting aside from the fact that the spindle-like devices that the Rangers carry on their belts are communication devices/ Webway homers that they plant into the ground on scouted positions. There's also a little blurb on Telennar itself, saying that it's a small Craftworld, closely allied with Alaitoc that sent troops to Elarique's help on Medusa. Their colours are black and orange. Another issue, this time accompanying the new War Walkers said that Telennar War Walker pilots belong to a brotherhood called Scythestorm, which has a rivalry with the grav-tank pilots when it comes to performance.

horizon
03-11-2010, 10:50
It is written in the Battlefleet Gothic files that a Craftworld (eg Iyanden) possesses several warfleets. Docked at key gates around the Craftworld Eldar.

A warfleet consisting between 10 and 20 warships (various Dragonships & Wraithships).
Several = 5 ?, so between 50 and 100 warships. This is excluding Shadowhunter escorts!

Per comparision an Imperial sector fleet has around 70 warships including escorts.

MagosHereticus
03-11-2010, 11:04
It is written in the Battlefleet Gothic files that a Craftworld (eg Iyanden) possesses several warfleets. Docked at key gates around the Craftworld Eldar.

A warfleet consisting between 10 and 20 warships (various Dragonships & Wraithships).
Several = 5 ?, so between 50 and 100 warships. This is excluding Shadowhunter escorts!

Per comparision an Imperial sector fleet has around 70 warships including escorts.


several would be 3 to 5, and be craft world specific and axillary pirate vessel numbers would be vague but probably at least on such fleet would likely give aid when called up to a craftworld

70 warships is a vague guestimate, a sectors fleet is proportional to its importance and threat level, and the composition varies wildly, and it does not include reserve fleets which can be called into action as necessary whilst some of the sector fleet would not be able to abandon it's vital patrol duties

eldargal
03-11-2010, 11:10
The destruction of Idharae makes sense. They are strong enough to engage in open warfare with a good sized chunk of a Hive Fleet, but weak enough to be wiped out by one poncy chapter of Marines? I say it is just Imperial propaganda and that Idharae is still floating about out there.:shifty:

Iracundus
03-11-2010, 11:27
The destruction of Idharae makes sense. They are strong enough to engage in open warfare with a good sized chunk of a Hive Fleet, but weak enough to be wiped out by one poncy chapter of Marines? I say it is just Imperial propaganda and that Idharae is still floating about out there.:shifty:

The latest Tyranid Codex says it was the combined Malan'tai and Idharae fleets that first fought Hive Fleet Naga, which apparently resulted in the crippling of the Malan'tai fleet. Later it was the Idharae fleet alone that finished off the last remnants of Hive Fleet Naga. We don't know the extent of Idharae's fleet losses from these conflicts as it is never said, however if Naga could cripple Malan'tai's fleet it is conceivable it may have been enough to inflict significant casualties on Idharae.

From the Space Marines Codex, the Invaders are dated as assaulting Idharae 40 years later. Depending on the extent of Idharae's casualties, from both the fleet action and ground mop up operations against Hive Fleet Naga, it is possible that they were not as battle capable as they would have been otherwise.

We don't know the size of Idharae but Malan'tai seems to be a much smaller Craftworld than the big 5 if the picture in the Tyranid Codex is meant to be any indication. Idharae appears also linked to Alaitoc, since it is Alaitoc that exacts retribution on the Invaders, and possibly Iyanden due to its actions against Naga, so Idharae is possibly also a smaller Craftworld.

MagosHereticus
03-11-2010, 11:29
The destruction of Idharae makes sense. They are strong enough to engage in open warfare with a good sized chunk of a Hive Fleet, but weak enough to be wiped out by one poncy chapter of Marines? I say it is just Imperial propaganda and that Idharae is still floating about out there.:shifty:

+2 to boarding actions :cheese:

NightrawenII
03-11-2010, 11:36
I'm not counting the ones from GW site with just the colour scheme as they were fan created, so I'm not quite sure on their canon status.
I would say they are *canon* too, since they are on GW site. Therefore:
Nacretine´
Stel-Uit
Zahr-Tann
Aringhe
Tir-Val
Arach-Qin


The destruction of Idharae makes sense. They are strong enough to engage in open warfare with a good sized chunk of a Hive Fleet, but weak enough to be wiped out by one poncy chapter of Marines? I say it is just Imperial propaganda and that Idharae is still floating about out there.:shifty:
Maybe because the former is the result of later.:angel:

eldargal
03-11-2010, 11:38
Yes, I know, I was just having a whinge.:p Chances are it was a smaller Craftworld with much of its capacity in tatters due to the Hive Fleet, as you say.

I was wondering about Malan'tai actually, it says there were scattered survivors, those not on the Craftworld when it was et by Doom (which I do think was ridiculous, by the way) I wonder if they could simply resettle the hulk of the Craftworld, it was basically intact.


The latest Tyranid Codex says it was the combined Malan'tai and Idharae fleets that first fought Hive Fleet Naga, which apparently resulted in the crippling of the Malan'tai fleet. Later it was the Idharae fleet alone that finished off the last remnants of Hive Fleet Naga. We don't know the extent of Idharae's fleet losses from these conflicts as it is never said, however if Naga could cripple Malan'tai's fleet it is conceivable it may have been enough to inflict significant casualties on Idharae.

From the Space Marines Codex, the Invaders are dated as assaulting Idharae 40 years later. Depending on the extent of Idharae's casualties, from both the fleet action and ground mop up operations against Hive Fleet Naga, it is possible that they were not as battle capable as they would have been otherwise.

We don't know the size of Idharae but Malan'tai seems to be a much smaller Craftworld than the big 5 if the picture in the Tyranid Codex is meant to be any indication. Idharae appears also linked to Alaitoc, since it is Alaitoc that exacts retribution on the Invaders, and possibly Iyanden due to its actions against Naga, so Idharae is possibly also a smaller Craftworld.

Eumerin
03-11-2010, 17:40
I was wondering about Malan'tai actually, it says there were scattered survivors, those not on the Craftworld when it was et by Doom (which I do think was ridiculous, by the way) I wonder if they could simply resettle the hulk of the Craftworld, it was basically intact.

Was it? Is there any information anywhere regarding what the Hive Fleet might have left behind?

Hive Fleets don't eat everything, as the planets they "consume" always continue to exist - albeit largely as bedrock. The question is what the hive fleets might and might not find tasty in the hulk of a craftworld. I would hope that the wraithbone is off-limits, given that it's concentrated warp-stuff and "consuming" it could potentially destablize it. But I would also imagine that just about everything else is fair game.

There's also something else to consider - sure the hulk of the Craftworld might still be intact, but so what? The Infinity Circuit is fried. The Webway Portals are probably trashed, meaning that it's completely cut off from everyone else. The survivors are almost universally going to be rangers and ship crews, meaning that you don't have any members of the paths required for day to day operation of the craftworld. The only Exarchs you might still have are going to be fighter and bomber pilots attached to the fleet (Crystal Dragons, I think?). In short while you could conceivably resettle Malan'tai, you'd probably need an infusion of settlers from another craftworld in order to make it work.

Though there are probably some craftworlds that would help out "just because". Biel-Tan strikes me as one that might help out because they'd hate to see a resource like a craftworld completely lost.

eldargal
03-11-2010, 17:51
It wasn't et by a Hive Fleet though, it was just the Doom of Malantai, after the Hive Fleet tendril had been destroyed and it sent out mycetic spores as a last attack on the Eldar. Actually the nid codex entry says the few the survivors fled Malantai, so they probably weren't all rangers and ship crews. It specifically states the craftworld was found adrift 'a cold, lifeless shell', so we know it wasn't et.:)