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GhoulStars
14-02-2011, 21:30
Among the Craftworld Eldar, the aspects are very important to make sure that noone goes off the rails and falls into decadence resulting in being nommed on by slaanesh etc.
but it also produces some very effective killers in a variety of weird and wonderful ways, and it's not inconcievable that the Dark Kin would see this and take an interest, as being an effective killer is what about 40% of the Dark Eldar psyche is all about, finding weird and wonderful ways to make other people die in quite nasty ways.
With this in mind, coupled with crippling boredom that has saturated my mind today, i've been busy writing this. Have a read and tell me what you think

GS

GhoulStars
14-02-2011, 21:32
The Shadow Aspects


Eldar Aspect Warriors follow a path that is designed to keep them from falling to the machinations of Slaanesh. Each one is a representation of Kaela Mensha Khaine, the Eldar god of war, their style of combat representative of that aspect, and their Exarchs the pinnacle of that style of warfare. The Dark Eldar, however, see Khaine as not just a god of War, but also know that he is also the god of Murder, something that appeals to them more than brutal combat. To the Dark Eldar Psyche, the act of murder is an art, or an intricate dance, something to be enjoyed and made beautiful. It is this that has given rise to the murder-cults known as the “Shadow Aspects”. Killers without peer, they have each given themselves over to learning an art of slaying. These Shadow Aspect’s temples are led by a Hagiarch, and ruled from the main temple by a brutal high priest called a Charun Lord, in dark mockery of their Eldar counterparts, the Phoenix Lords. There are even a rare few who have mastered multiple arts of murder, to a degree that they can shift and adapt their skills to react to different situations, changing which aspect style they use, or even melding multiple aspect arts together to create a powerful combat style that few can match, and fewer still can defeat. These powerful warriors are known by the name of “Diabolarch”, and it is a brave or foolhardy warrior that will try and best them.
The most powerful Hagiarchs have the ability to sacrifice themselves to call forth the Dark Avatar. An embodiment of all the varied styles of murder, this terrifying construct can single-handedly turn a packed battlefield into a spectacular example of its horrifying art. Unlike the mighty Avatar that the Craftworld Eldar use, the Dark Avatar takes the form of a beautiful female figure, her limbs slender and her form athletic. She wields two elegant blades that are collectively known as the Suin Shelwe, or “The Doom That Sings”. It is fortunate that this is a rare sight, as most Hagiarchs consider themselves far too important to sacrifice.


The Aspects

Raging Kaitshees: Founded by the outcast Banshee Exarch Allana, the Kaitshee Shadow Aspect takes its name from a violent feline figure from the same myths that the Banshee’s come from. The Kaitshee is a lithe, fast creature that seems to be made partially of shadows, making it impossible to strike. The Raging Kaitshees emulate this with a mixture of natural agility and small flickerfields that distort their outlines, making them difficult to see clearly enough to strike. Like the Howling Banshees that their Charun Lord originated from, they use a pistol and a power weapon, specialise in close quarters combat, and are exclusively female. They represent the aspect of violent, bloody murder, filled with emotion and rage, their powerful weapons leave their enemies eviscerated and cut to pieces, leaving them lying on the floor, their severed heads wearing an expression of shock and fear.

Hunting Shrikes: Sharpshooters without peer, the Hunting Shrikes Shadow Aspect specialises in the murder art of assassination, striking their foes from great distances with powerful weapons that will kill them in a single shot. They take their name from the deadly Shrike of Eldar lore, a bird that will strike its prey with a deadly blow before impaling them on a thorn to eat at their leisure. Their armour is minimal, as they are best when they are far from combat, and heavier armour would interfere with their aim, which must be perfect. Their weapons are modified dark lances known as Shrikerifles, which have a longer range than normal, enabling them to hit their victims from further away. Their art is the perfect round hole in the forehead, or between the eyes, or seared through the chest, rupturing the heart.

Wicked Serpents: In many cultures, the serpent is a creature of deceit and evil, and the Eldar have their own legends surrounding this venomous creature. The Natar Nime is said to be a creature of the great deceiver, misleading the easily led, and slaying those who it cannot manipulate with its powerful poisons. It is this creature that the Wicked Serpents Shadow Aspect attempts to emulate; using hallucinogenic gas grenades that make their victims believe they are seeing an ally or loved one, before closing in and using weapons coated in potent venom to slay them. Indeed, they are second only to the Lhamaean cult in their mastery of those deadly substances.

Crimson Spiders: Among Craftworld Eldar, the Warp Spider aspect is known to be one of the most dangerous to its practitioners, as they use technology that allows them to make short jumps through the warp, a place that is anathema to anything living, and is particularly dangerous to Eldar. The Crimson Spiders Shadow Aspect was founded by a particularly insane Dracon that stole a few of these generators from the bodies of slain Warp Spiders and reverse-engineered them so he could outfit the elite of his minor kabal with them. This grew into the Shadow Aspect becoming popular with the more daring or demented among the Dark Eldar, as the warp jump generators that the Crimson Spiders use aren’t as reliable as those used by their Craftworld Kin. This Shadow Aspect specialises in appearing from nowhere to ambush their victims. Their favoured weapon is the Shredder, a weapon that fires barbed monofilament nets that constrict and slay their victims, leaving them in pleasingly small pieces.

Vile Aventarchs: Even among the Dark Eldar, there are those that “cross the line” when it comes to causing suffering, no mean feat for a member of a race that feeds on the pain and suffering of others. The Shadow Aspect of the Vile Aventarchs have such skill at torture and such a detailed knowledge of the physiology of other races that they can make others scream with a single caress. Their favoured weapons are a pair of Agonisers, whips and flails and other such dire weapons sophisticatedly created to interact with a victim’s nervous system in such a way as to leave them in a ball of sheer agony on the floor. They wear heavy armour to avoid harm to themselves, preferring only their foes to feel pain, but hating feeling it themselves.

Bleak Executioners: The Bleak Executioners are a Shadow Aspect that fervently believes that certain people have to die. They dedicate themselves to slaying those that would dare to stand against them and their people. This Shadow Aspect is, strangely enough, where many of the most ‘noble’ (if such a term can be applied to this dire species) of the Dark Eldar race reside. If you are not among those that are to be executed, you will be treated with polite, if condescending, courtesy. On the battlefield they are easily recognised by their flowing cloaks and broad-headed axes, an unusual weapon for a race that favours freedom of movement and elegant weaponry.

Obsidian Knives: The Shadow Aspect of sacrifice, so named for the knives they carry. Constructed of a black, psycho-reactive crystal, these feared weapons are made of the same material as the spirit stones Craftworld Eldar wear, but attuned in such a way that they trap the souls of those they slay inside them. This process seems to energise the members of this Shadow Aspect, making them fight harder to claim more souls. They can often be seen wearing the flayed skins of favoured sacrifices, and they think that there is no greater honour than to be killed by a member of their Shadow Aspect.

Torpedo Vegas
14-02-2011, 21:49
I like the idea, and it could make some cool fluff for a kabal. One thing though, I think that Craftworld Eldar view Khaine as a god of murder also, which is why he has the "Bloody Handed" title, and making the avatar of a god of hate and murder a hot chick seams odd. The vanilla Eldar's avatar is a flaming monstrosity, shouldn't the DE's be worse?

The Anarchist
14-02-2011, 22:04
sounds good, which aspects would be representing each of your created Paths?

Also to Vegas; I actualy like the switch that the DE's avatar would be a woman and beautiful in the twisted way the DE all are. the Eldar consider murder a dark thing and so this is represented in the slightly ugly eldar aspect of the Avatar. the DE on the other hand consider murder a beautfiful art and so this might be represnted in the model

Torpedo Vegas
14-02-2011, 22:07
I hadn't seen it that way, good point. I wonder if Lilith is huge enough to be an avatar.

Lord-Caerolion
14-02-2011, 22:44
I like most of it, but some of the names could stand to be changed. Too many are "Aspect renamed to be eeevil", and several titles are a little...yeah. Hagiarch definitely needs to be changed.

I love some of the Aspects you've made, like the Wicked Serpents and Obsidian Knives, others like the Raging Kaitshees are, as above, too much "Aspect Warrior but eevil!" Several 'mirror-Aspects', like the Hunting Shrikes, are (to me) what you should be aiming for when doing a Dark Eldar version.

One idea is that instead of having them being a seperate sub-faction, is to make them into Wych Cults who revere Khaine. It does exactly what you want it to, and fits into the background better than entirely new subfactions of kinda-Incubi.

GhoulStars
14-02-2011, 22:57
@Torpedo Vegas and The Anarchist - The "Beautiful Death" idea for the Avatar was exactly what i was going for ^^

@Lord Caerolion - In the case of the Kaitshees and the Crimson Spiders, the intention was, literally, "Aspect renamed to be eeevil" due to the ways they were founded (renegade banshee and stolen tech respectively)
and the idea behind the Hagiarch is the same as GW's and the Exarch, an Exarchy is a system of rulership led by Bishops, thereby an Exarch is, literally, a bishop, in a similar vein, the Hagiarch is a saint or holy person, which makes the title being given to a dark eldar delightfully twisted, as it makes them sound higher than a mere 'bishop', appealing to the Dark Eldar's "just plain better than thou" mentality, there is reasoning behind all the names.

your Wych-Cult idea, however, is pretty much exactly what i was going for, although there are a few, like the Aventarchs and Executioners, who are very unwychlike in the armour they wear, sacrificing some of their freedom of movement, and the Shrikes, who favour ranged attacks over the wych's combat focus (unless of course i'm utterly wrong and there are wych cults like this which...considering how the gladiator-wyches seem to emulate ancient rome, is eminently possible)

Thanks for the comments so far everyone, it's what makes writing something like this all the more interesting

Lord-Caerolion
14-02-2011, 23:15
@Lord Caerolion - In the case of the Kaitshees and the Crimson Spiders, the intention was, literally, "Aspect renamed to be eeevil" due to the ways they were founded (renegade banshee and stolen tech respectively)
and the idea behind the Hagiarch is the same as GW's and the Exarch, an Exarchy is a system of rulership led by Bishops, thereby an Exarch is, literally, a bishop, in a similar vein, the Hagiarch is a saint or holy person, which makes the title being given to a dark eldar delightfully twisted, as it makes them sound higher than a mere 'bishop', appealing to the Dark Eldar's "just plain better than thou" mentality, there is reasoning behind all the names.

Oh, ok. I had in my head that the Hagiarch title was just "hmm... Dark Elf witch elves are led by Hags... hags but exarchs... Hagiarch!" Your idea makes a lot more sense now that I know it's not just a lazy naming idea.

your Wych-Cult idea, however, is pretty much exactly what i was going for,
although there are a few, like the Aventarchs and Executioners, who are very unwychlike in the armour they wear, sacrificing some of their freedom of movement, and the Shrikes, who favour ranged attacks over the wych's combat focus (unless of course i'm utterly wrong and there are wych cults like this which...considering how the gladiator-wyches seem to emulate ancient rome, is eminently possible)
I could perfectly imagine the Wyches featuring the heavily-armoured "Aspects", as well as the long-ranged Shrikes. After all, the Cults exist to put on a good show, so combats between the sharp-shooting Shrikes and a flock of razorwings would probably get very good ratings, as would a combat between a big, tough Astartes and an Aventarch.
It's all for the show, remember. Give the people what they want! Acrobatic knife-fighters has to get old after a while, after all.

GhoulStars
14-02-2011, 23:25
your points are all extremely valid, this piece of fluff still has a ways to go before it's finished, and will be involving all sorts of things ranging from battlefield accounts to short stories. I think the Wych cult connection is pure genius, and it's so obvious i'm surprised i never thought of it before
Just for fun, i may well write up some rules for them, make the whole thing designed for a variant of a pure Wych Cult list

Out of interest Caerolion, what's your opinion on the Dark Avatar?

Lord-Caerolion
14-02-2011, 23:44
Who says the Young King has to be willing? I can perfectly imagine the Incubi shoving a tortured Dark Eldar (or Craftworlder/Exodite, if you want), impaled with the cloak-pin, his hands bound to the Wailing Doom, before the Avatar statue. The Incubi kick the backs of his legs, forcing him to kneel before the God he is to awaken. As he kneels, the Incubi carve the symbols of Khaine into his flesh, the poison of the blades heightening the agony. The Incubi step back, chanting rituals to Khaine, while the Klaivex takes up the position of the executioner, the screaming sacrifice on the ground before him. As the ritual reaches its crescendo, the Klaivex beheads the sacrifice, it's blood spraying across the statue, as it begins to wake.

As you can see, I like the idea of a Dark Avatar, although the likelihood of the Dark Eldar having an Avatar statue is suspect. As to Khaine being female, I don't really agree with that. Every legend and myth shows Khaine as male. While Khaine does have a female aspect (note the small 'a'. Khaine is the Banshee, which is female, just as Khaine is the Avenger, and so on, all of which (that we know of) are male), I can't see any Dark Eldar who worship Khaine to ignore millions of years of myth and doctrine and give their god a sex-change.

Of course, I do like the idea of the Eldar Avatar we all know and love being the Avatar of Khaine the Avenger, with their being the possibility for the Avatar of Khaine the Dragon, or Khaine the Destroyer, even Khaine the Banshee.
As a whole though, Khaine is male. I just can't see any Dark Eldar changing that. That doesn't mean some of his aspects can't be female, and that there aren't statues of his female aspects.

Hellebore
14-02-2011, 23:53
Well, supposedly all the avatars grew within craftworlds. No reason the dark eldar don't have one or more craftworlds, either from them joining Commoragh or just being stolen.

I doubt Khaine cares who he kills so long as they are the enemies of his people (psychic imperative through creation sort of requiring that to some degree).

Hellebore

GhoulStars
14-02-2011, 23:55
Which gives rise to the interesting possibility of there being alternate avatars for the different aspects, i can see your point in this though, although i can also see whatever they use for an avatar, whichever gender, being darkly beautiful in some way, as that just seems to fit the Dark Eldar more than the big, ugly, "I'll break your face" kind of guy the craftworld eldar know and love, a bit of healthy androgyny will go a long way in that case

and the suspectness is half the fun, although it's eminently possible that when he was broken to bits, the DE got a few to play with, he's as much their god as he is the craftworld and exodite eldar's

TheLaughingGod
15-02-2011, 00:11
I'd follow the convention and name these eeevil aspects after demons or evil spirits. E.G. Incubi.

Incubi
Gancanagh
Asura
Jinn
Oni
Rakshasha
Wendigo

and so forth.

About the Avatar,

Wyches are said to be "horrible hags" to the Witch-sight.
So perhaps beautiful death is the wrong way to go. Either the Avatar looks like the Avatar as the CWs have him, or he's a horrible reimagining by the Haemonculii. Something like Kali, 6 arms with swords, a screaming banshees face, with the body of a serpent where her legs should be, with sacrificial aspect warrior corpses lashed to her iron body, still writhing in the intense heat while her swords drip blood and ichor endlessly. To see her drives mortals MAD and she incinerates the souls of all who fall at her hand.

Lord-Caerolion
15-02-2011, 00:13
Hence why I prefer the Forge World model of the Avatar, it's much more graceful than the lumbering chunk of metal that is the GW model...

GhoulStars
15-02-2011, 02:20
that's only to Witch-sight however, for the rest of the galaxy that doesn't percieve things as they truly are, they would look like a beautiful bringer of death
after all, the wych models are... pretty-ish in an "Rip your face off" kind of way

AvatarForm
15-02-2011, 11:52
Bleak Executioners sound like seers, guiding the course of the race by 'removing' those who stand in its path...

I bet they can bend bullets too ;p

GhoulStars
15-02-2011, 13:49
I see what you did there >.>
in game terms it would probably translate to them taking Preferred Enemy against one unit or unit type in the opposing army, still the seer idea is an interesting one

although it's difficult to bend bullets when your only weapon is an axe bigger than yourself

Emperor's Grace
15-02-2011, 19:26
Not to rain on parades but isn't the idea of a path anathema to the dark eldar?

I thought that they had heartily rejected the idea of self-constraint that a path (evil or not) represents and found a different way to avoid Slaanesh.

Wouldn't that really just make these cults (granted, cults that had patterned their style on a particular observed aspect)?

GhoulStars
15-02-2011, 19:36
you do have a reasonable point there, the specialist wych cult idea that's cropped up here and there seems to be the better idea, although i think i will keep the name, as it is delightfully twisted and mocks the craftworld eldar, which i think is a suitably dark eldarish thing to do

Lord-Caerolion
15-02-2011, 21:08
It's pretty much exactly why I listed the idea of them being Wych Cults with their own unique gimmick. Restraint and a Path system isn't required, merely a specialised fighting style.

Sai-Lauren
16-02-2011, 16:07
Swooping Hawks are effectively already in and we've got the Incubi/Scorpions link. Shining Spear analogues I could see as elite Reavers.

Warp Spiders I'd be very against - if any race don't want to go through the warp, it's the Dark Eldar.

I'm not sure about automatic analogues for all of the others either - Wyches kind of fill the Banshee role, and Dragon analogues might give an initial "ooh, ah" as they blow things up, but they'd get old quickly. Maybe Reapers are possible - although possibly more as snipers, disabling and severing body parts of their enemy with precision shots, before finally headshotting them.

As for the Dark Avatar, what about a literally Dark Avatar? If the Craftworld Avatar's figuratively a sun, the Dark Eldar one's a black hole, consuming the souls of all around it - enemy and Dark Eldar. Use the pain token rules mechanic, but you have to keep it generating/ feeding tokens to it otherwise it inflicts unsavable damage on any unit within a certain (fairly large) distance.

GhoulStars
17-02-2011, 01:00
It's pretty much exactly why I listed the idea of them being Wych Cults with their own unique gimmick. Restraint and a Path system isn't required, merely a specialised fighting style.


In which case it's a lot like the old roman gladiators, in fact, if i remember aright, the wyches that fight with a shardnet and impaler are described as "Yraqunae" style (see Lileth Hesperax), implying that each style of wych has it's own name
(bonus points if you spotted the reall quite clever play on words GW did there)



Warp Spiders I'd be very against - if any race don't want to go through the warp, it's the Dark Eldar.


This grew into the Shadow Aspect becoming popular with the more daring or demented among the Dark Eldar
i certainly wouldn't say that a 'normal' dark eldar would go for this shadow aspect, but there's bound to be a few members of the race that would, personally, likee a brief trip through the warp to stick there middle finger up to slaanesh before reappearing on the battlefield and horribly injuring people.

I'm not necessarily going for exact analogues of the normal aspects (with the two obvious exceptions) and while there are some parallells that could be drawn, i have done my best to make them different enough in concept to make them not just "Aspect renamed to be eeevil" for the most part


As for the Dark Avatar, what about a literally Dark Avatar? If the Craftworld Avatar's figuratively a sun, the Dark Eldar one's a black hole, consuming the souls of all around it - enemy and Dark Eldar. Use the pain token rules mechanic, but you have to keep it generating/ feeding tokens to it otherwise it inflicts unsavable damage on any unit within a certain (fairly large) distance.
This.
I can actually see this working quite well in terms of both rules and background, and it follows the same pain token rules as normal (or has it's own pain token chart) so that if it ever goes above the 0 it gets insane bonuses until it eats another pain token, and going with the "Black hole" aspect... it could take a pain token from any squads within a certain distance or you have to sacrifice a model from the nearest friendly squad to keep it alive or something along those lines

all of this is providing interesting ideas for "Shadow Aspects mk.2" when i get around to doing this ^^, thank you