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View Full Version : Why do Craftworlds continue to exist? Or perhaps, why do they continue to fight?



MvS
19-02-2013, 11:16
A slightly provocative title, I know.

So there's a discussion in another thread about population sizes of the various factions, and as always is the case in such discussions, conversation has got around to the Craftworld Eldar. We're told they're a dying race; we're told by such luminaries as Gav Thorpe that there are only a few million Eldar in the very LARGEST Craftworlds; we're told that their Farseers do all they can to keep the Eldar population and culture alive by scrying the future for potential threats; we're told that the Eldar involve themselves in conflicts all over the place to retrieve artefacts and suchlike, but... something doesn't seem to hold together for me.

For instance, we're also told that the galaxy is impossibly vast (as indeed we know it is) and that the Webway is also super-massive in its scale. So I find myself asking why do the Craftworld Eldar do as they do? Even if we say that whole populations of Craftworld Eldar can be mobilised, thereby allowing for armies in the millions, still I find myself asking why? Other than when Craftworlds are found and attacked directly, why bother involving themselves with other civilisations at all?

Yes Farseers look for problems in the many possible futures and try to head these off, but then again, in the vastness of the galaxy plus inter-galactic space plus the Webway, there doesn't seem to be a compelling reason why this dying race wouldn't just seek to hide itself away as much as possible, avoiding all contact, let alone conflict, with any other civilisations. Can't the Farseers look for ways to completely avoid existing enemies and creating new enemies just as easily as they look for ways to target them? If we say that this is precisely what they are doing already, are we really to believe that the only or best way of doing this is by committing themselves to wars and conflicts where they lose people they can't replace and risk causing more feuds and enemies than they have already?

The Dark Eldar seem reasonably far away from harm, and indeed wouldn't really have any problems were it not for the fact that they have their souls leeched away (Craftworld Eldar do not) and are sadistic vampires (Craftworld Eldar are not) who need to hunt other species in order to survive (Craftworld Eldar do not). In fact the Dark Eldar could probably exist quite happily were it not for the fact that they can't stop harming themselves and others. If they could get over that particular affliction they would be relatively secure in an otherwise hellishly dangerous galaxy.

Of course they won't get over being this way. It's their raison d'etre in the imagery. My point is to ask why the even closer to extinction Craftworld Eldar don't take a few leaves out of their dark cousins' book. Why don't they set up shop in the Webway? Isn't it vast enough for all Eldar? I don't know. We're told that portals to Dark Eldar controlled sections are either blocked off altogether or else traversed only by the Harlequins, so why haven't the Craftworld Eldar at least attempted to band together to create a world for themselves in the Webway, where there only real threats are the Dark Eldar and the occasional Necron incursion, rather than all the other threats in the galaxy AS WELL AS to the Dark Eldar and Necrons?

Or what about the Maiden Worlds? What about Exodite planets? We don't hear much about these anymore. Is there something preventing Crafworld Eldar from picking one or two of the more closely positioned Exodite worlds and settling on them, mixing and inter-breeding with the local Eldar to help boost their flagging numbers with new genes and pooling their technologies to create something relatively secure and vastly more powerful than any individual Craftworld floating through the void?

I suppose the argument might be that if they were all focused in just one or two linked places they would lose a lot of their edge in terms of maneuverability. But then again, just look at the Tau. They haven't been wiped out yet and they are far less populace and lower down the technology ladder than the Craftworld Eldar, so immediate extinction at the hands of the Imperium or Orks wouldn't necessarily be more likely for them than it is now. Possibly a lot less.

These Eldar would also still have use of their Farseers and the Webway to help shut down threats to their new homeworld, so it isn't as if they would suddenly be helpless. Also, with all the 'End Time' threats assailing the Imperium, they would perhaps be less inclined to waste resources and time attacking a highly protected Eldar homeworld on the fringes of space IF the Eldar managed to keep themselves from their periodic raids on Imperial territories (in line with the idea of them keeping their heads down in order to survive, rather than trying to seek out and fight all comers in order to survive).

Anyway, what are the thoughts of Warseer? Why do the Craftworld Eldar do what they do? What do they gain from being disparate ships of a few millions souls, seeking out battles in order to protect against possible futures that only really relate to the Eldar BECAUSE they are a disparate and drifting people? What prevents them banding together into a singular and mutually supportive / protective civilisation? What prevents them setting up shop in the Webway? What prevents them settling on Maiden Worlds that already have populations of Exodite Eldar?

This is just for fun, and I know the ultimate answer is "because GW says", so I'm not interested in that out-of-imagery response.

I'm looking forward to some interesting discussion!

Denny
19-02-2013, 11:29
Why do the Craftworld Eldar do what they do? What do they gain from being disparate ships of a few millions souls, seeking out battles in order to protect against possible futures that only really relate to the Eldar BECAUSE they are a disparate and drifting people? What prevents them banding together into a singular and mutually supportive / protective civilisation?

Because they are Eldar. ;)

1) The craftworlds are all ferociously independent with divergent philosophies and I doubt any would be willing to bend their knee to another (though they will of course cooperate for mutual gain). Even if they were so inclined, why is setting up home in one place safer than constantly being on the move. Elderís advantage is always speed; if they cannot be caught they cannot be hurt.

2) Remember that the Eldarís biggest fear is having their souls eaten by Slaanesh. With that in mind, do they really want to go and hangout full time in the webway where their Dark Kin lurk? Even if they survive the inevitable attacks (from a well-established enemy who massively outnumbers them) how many of their citizens would end up joining the Dark Eldar?

3) Most craftworlds only fight as a last resort (excluding Biel-tan and Saim-Hann) and will do everything they can to minimise risk (sudden unexpected attacks against underprepared enemies with focused objectives). Risking a thousand Eldar lives might be tragic, but if the alternative is having the entire craftworld being wiped out it is worth the risk . . .

Tastyfish
19-02-2013, 11:49
Also, in a way a craftworld is like a planet on a Path - you're not subject to the whims of evolution, geology and astonomy like you would be on a planet. The way of the Exodite is all about making do with what you've got, and coming to terms with that in a way that brings satisfaction, but that is almost the polar opposite of a Path. The Exodite will find himself being shaped by his world, but the Craftworlder demands more discipline, control and focus. An Eldar on the Path of the Poet may spend as much time trying to perfect a coastline to provide the backdrop for his recitation as he does on honing that opening line, something as crude as a planet just simply doesn't have the range and number of sunsets to meet the demands of it's population.

As for why some Craftworlds get involved (since we know that quite a few intentionally don't), prophecy probably plays a large role. The Eldar have always been involved in the greater goings on in the galaxy and by doing so have got themselves pretty entwined with events past and future, they were too big a player to really just be left alone even if they wanted to. There's also probably a lot of self fulfilling prophecies - the Eldar get involved because they have forseen themselves getting involved, it's also probably a lot easier to try to intervene and change the future or at least set things in motion to mitigate something you've seen than to try and cheat fate by just not turning up when you were supposed to. There must be hundreds of Eldar legends warning about the perils of trying to cheat fate.

A Farseer sees something that will happen in the future, and then the various possibilities that could arise from that - there's no stopping the original event, but you can prepare for it.


Could also be something linked to the whole idea that Eldar legends seem to just end prematurely without actually finishing. To just bow out of galactic affairs would be to just fade away into memory, but the struggle of the Rhana Dandra is beyond time so the only way to truly continue as a species is to play their part in it. That story doesn't end.

MvS
19-02-2013, 12:00
Because they are Eldar.

Cop out. Bad man!


1) The craftworlds are all ferociously independent with divergent philosophies and I doubt any would be willing to bend their knee to another (though they will of course cooperate for mutual gain).

Well indeed. The various cultures and states of present day Earth are ferociously independent, but I hazard we'd unite pretty sharpish if we were faced with extinction from a common enemy like an invading alien race. And I think the Craftworld Eldar are in many ways closer to each other in terms of culture (religion, language, social norms) than we are.

In other words, if the situation is dire enough - if the options are extinction, or fighting endlessly and disparately against enemies and dying in irreplaceable droves, or uniting together for common short and long term security, which would we choose? Which have we chosen in the past (without wanting the thread dragged into a history discussion)? Which would/should the Eldar choose? Are they likely to? Why haven't they yet?


Even if they were so inclined, why is setting up home in one place safer than constantly being on the move. Elder’s advantage is always speed; if they cannot be caught they cannot be hurt.

But the point is that they are being hurt. All the time in fact. The imagery is based around a wargame, naturally, so war is the emphasis. But that real world consideration aside, we have to look at the nature of the characters within the game and try to justify it with some sort of logic that is consistent to the internal workings of that imagery.

Craftworld Eldar are involved in numerous battles and wars. Their capabilities wouldn't change if they had a homeworld, it's just that they would have somewhere they had to defend that they couldn't just move when under attack. Bear in mind, though, that we're told that the Craftworlds ALREADY defend the Maiden Worlds, losing lives and resources to do so. So why haven't they come up with a longer-term strategy to join together, pick the most densely populated Maiden World region of space, join the populations together with the local Eldar, presumably thereby increasing their own birth rates and then massively defending the target they want to protect with multiple Craftworlds, mines, space stations, cities and a resident fleet.

I imagine the combined efforts of all the combined Craftworld Eldar Farseers in conference could detect potential threats to their planets and could use their technologies, ships, Webway (etc) to attempt to neutralise it before it even arrives. No...?


2) Remember that the Eldar’s biggest fear is having their souls eaten by Slaanesh. With that in mind, do they really want to go and hangout full time in the webway where their Dark Kin lurk

The Webway is another extremely powerful barrier against Slaanesh - hence the reason the Dark Eldar reside there. It isn't perfect, but if we add to it the anti-Chaos / anti-Slaanesh protections that the Craftworld Eldar already have, it should be pretty damn impressive.


Even if they survive the inevitable attacks (from a well-established enemy who massively outnumbers them)

But we're told that the Webway is vast. Truly, truly vast. Not even the Eldar know all of its routes, because not all of its routes were built by the Eldar. Still, it's been in use and built upon for tens of millions of years and can swallow whole suns without problem. We also know that whole tracts of it can be sealed off to keep out daemons and even the Chaos Gods, so why could this not also be used against the Dark Eldar? As things stand in Realspace, the Craftworld Eldar still have to face the Dark Ekdar and every other belligerent species in the galaxy and beyond.


how many of their citizens would end up joining the Dark Eldar?

Perhaps the same number that already leave the Craftworlds for the wandering life? Probably a lot less. The Dark Eldar aren't just another career choice for Craftworld Eldar. Their existence is horrific to the quasi-monastic Crafworlders.


3) Most craftworlds only fight as a last resort (excluding Biel-tan and Saim-Hann) and will do everything they can to minimise risk (sudden unexpected attacks against underprepared enemies with focused objectives). Risking a thousand Eldar lives might be tragic, but if the alternative is having the entire craftworld being wiped out it is worth the risk . . .

This is my point. How far do they seem to actually avoid conflicts altogether? If their numbers really are as low as is suggested, then they really can't afford to lose ANYONE unless it was vital to the existence of their whole species to do so. Fighting wars of attrition over artefacts (as has happened many times in the imagery) doesn't seem to hold together in this scenario. Far better for them to always run and hide and use all of the psychic and technological power to make this so. Don't you think?

Isadiel
19-02-2013, 12:29
Defending one planet all eldar in one place only requires one gigantic waagh, one hive fleet or oops it's actually a tomb world to cause much greater catastrophe to the eldar than several craftworlds spread throughout the galaxy. In path of the outcast it is shown that one space marine chapter with imperial guard allies decimate Alaitoc craftworld. Imagine an eldar homeworld being found and an imperial crusade launched against it with named chapters backed up by several Imperial Guard regiments - they would be annihilated. The eldar must always move to survive, if they stay in one place, they will soon die.

Whilst a sun can fit in the webway, based on Path of the Warrior/Seer/Outcast, the craftworlds cannot travel via the webway but float gently through realspace. There are eldar who live in Webway outposts, however, they do not follow the path system and therefore are more free spirits, prone to travel, prone to raid. True eldar are dark eldar. Without the path system they can revert to amoral raiders at best and join the dark eldar whether in location or just in behaviour at worst.

Secondly, eldar take a long time to give birth and require several cycles of reproduction to lead to a birth over the space of two years (I think). Without the path system, nothing is stopping outcasts from just enjoying the moment and wandering away, never staying and being devoted enough to create more eldar. Dark eldar have the same conundrum but the majority of their forces are tank-grown - only the upper echelons of dark eldar society have the security and time to be able to produce children.

Thirdly, the ancient prophecy of Rhana Dandra is that only when all eldar have died will Ynnead be born into the material universe and destroy Slaanesh (and the universe will disappear). When what you seek most in the world - the death of Slaanesh - is only achievable through the eventual demise of the entire eldar race, extinction is no longer something to be afraid of but something that must happen to bring about the final victory. In the meantime, the eldar view is to ensure that chaos is thwarted, that nobody becomes more powerful and that the balance of the universe is even. Wiping out the necrons is great, however, the eldar would have no qualms on turning on imperials destroying a necron army before finishing off remnants of both, simply because it weakens both alien races and will reduce the long-term casualty rate. The assumption in Warhammer 40,000 is that everyone is going to kill you.

Lastly, the tabletop game is 2000pts of eldar vs 2000pts of Space Marines; this is for balance purposes. In fluff, the eldar attack unprepared outposts (as with dark eldar), and rarely attack well-defended bastions unless there is something worth the greater loss of life.

Palvinore
19-02-2013, 12:30
The Eldar are in a galactic version of Whac-a-Mole. No sooner do they put down one threat, then another pops up. The galaxy has become a very hostile place compared to before. Add to that the fact the Eldar are not united so there are Farseers on various worlds each pursuing their own individual visions of what is best which may then further muddy the visions of other Farseers. Finally there is the meddling of Chaos in the form of sorcerors and daemons of Tzeentch which can further tangle the weave of fate. If there are Craftworlds that have left the galaxy, we don't hear about them. We only hear about those Eldar that have remained.

The best defense the Eldar have is their stealth. A Craftworld in the depths of interstellar space should be virtually undetectable since human ships jump from solar system to solar system and ignore the intervening space. No fixed position once known is safe given the vast disparities in numbers between the Eldar and the other races.

The Craftworlds are sundered from each other by both distance and culture and are best thought of as separate states. They are distant from each other both physically and via Webway. Culturally they derived from separate Eldar worlds from before the Fall, and one just needs to look at the Imperium to see how vastly different human cultures can diverge from each other. Though they share a common mythological and broad cultural base, one need only look at how historically at human history to see how this did not preclude conflict.

As for why they do not settle planets, aside from the already mentioned defense issues there is the cultural issue. The Craftworlds are tamed environments whereas planets, even Maiden worlds, are not. On a Craftworld there is the infrastructure and comforts of a high tech Eldar life. Generations have passed since they were built so the idea of home may be the Craftworld more than the idea of a planet. Not every Eldar becomes an Outcast and goes wandering worlds and some may live and die without setting foot on a planet. Craftworld Eldar and Exodite culture is different with the former looking down and patronizing the latter, whereas the latter views the former as powerful but too close to the temptations and errors of the way of life that led to the Fall.

Why do the Eldar fight so hard over things like artifacts? Partly to keep them from the hands of other races that may wreak havoc unknowingly and thereby threaten the Eldar. Second, it may be for the cultural and social goal of preserving or retrieving them, since they were the works of their ancestors and often irreplaceable. The Craftworld Eldar strive to preserve and recover what they can of their ancient civilization. One might call it conceit or arrogance, but think of our own societies and how we might feel if we were in a post-apocalyptic world seeing the great works of our ancestors being defiled or in the hands of howling mutants/zombies/primitive barbarians. Society today has things like art and cultural activities that strictly speaking could be seen as "wasteful" since they don't directly contribute to the basic necessities of life like providing food and shelter, but the whole point of civilization one might argue is to achieve higher more refined needs and to move beyond the hard scrabble of a subsistence existence. To have art, culture, and leisure could be seen as what makes life worth living, and the same line of reasoning can be used for why the Eldar strive so hard for cultural goals.

Tastyfish
19-02-2013, 12:31
Those artefacts are generally series things, black hole generators and star killers. I can see why they wouldn't want them in the hands of one of the other races less it tips the balance too far and all of the sudden you've got a unrivalled empire that has vanquished it's former foes and now can turn it's undivided attention to the one race who might know how to defeat it's ultimate weapons.

That, and maybe a few are also capable of collapsing large sections of the galaxy if used without the proper safeguards.

Poseidal
19-02-2013, 12:40
I'll hopefully be able to give a more in-depth reply later once I get time to read this in depth but...

I think deep down in the Eldar psyche that they have to fight, and going to war is of their own need rather than simply that of needing to be done. The populace is very fast to follow the prediction of a Farseer if it leads to a fight.

Madmongo
19-02-2013, 12:51
I think a key element here is pride and disparity of the craftworld views. The eldar mindset is at least for some craft worlds as still stuck in the belief that they are still masters of the universe and can shape and time to their whim, whilst others do actively avoid conflict as they have realised they are numerically inferior.

If I recall some craftworlds do also protect the maiden worlds and hence are arguably already engaged in 'nation' building.

Denny
19-02-2013, 13:25
The various cultures and states of present day Earth are ferociously independent, but I hazard we'd unite pretty sharpish if we were faced with extinction from a common enemy like an invading alien race.

And this is where we differ . . . ;)

Regarding your other points, I don't think the webway is as safe as you are suggesting. Sure, if you're using it to travel the risk is minimal, but as soon as you set up shop the Dark Eldar are going to know pretty quick, who would either consider it an invasion, an incredibly tasty snack, or the greatest possible threat to their survival (there is a reason psychers are banned in Commorragh)

The Dark Eldar outnumber the Eldar race, so even if all Eldar entered the webway at once they would still have to face a numerically superior foe who were already well established and could count on the support of all kinds of other alien races.

The Eldar might not lose . . . but would be crippled beyond recovery.

deathrain-commander
19-02-2013, 13:59
Well there are a variety of reasons, some of which have been pointed out by other people, but the one I think is neglected is that, if Chaos wins there is no safe place. Not the Webway, not on some random planet in the middle of nowhere, nowhere. Chaos takes over, everything is Chaos. Eldar can't let that happen (for a variety of reasons) and they can really trust the Mon-Keigh to keep up the defense properly, so they need to get involved, so they need to stay in the game. And one of the ways they stay in the game is fighting other races to head off threats down the line or to hurt Chaos long term.

Sandlemad
19-02-2013, 14:59
The Dark Eldar seem reasonably far away from harm, and indeed wouldn't really have any problems were it not for the fact that they have their souls leeched away (Craftworld Eldar do not) and are sadistic vampires (Craftworld Eldar are not) who need to hunt other species in order to survive (Craftworld Eldar do not). In fact the Dark Eldar could probably exist quite happily were it not for the fact that they can't stop harming themselves and others. If they could get over that particular affliction they would be relatively secure in an otherwise hellishly dangerous galaxy.

A lot of good discussion here but not sure on this part. Doesn't the Dark Eldar codex say that part of the problem is living in the Webway? That the Webway accelerates this soul-leeching process and contributes to the Dark Eldar's need to hurt?
Don't have the codex on me to check but I thought this was the more immediate reason for the different types of eldar coping strategy (eg. soulstones), rather than just for protection after death.

If so, the Craftworlders may need something closer to the Dark Eldar's way of life or something as strong as the Harlequins' divine protection to simply continue their existence in a similar way to how they do in realspace.

Denny
19-02-2013, 15:24
A lot of good discussion here but not sure on this part. Doesn't the Dark Eldar codex say that part of the problem is living in the Webway?

I think itís the other way around. The webway actually slows the process which is why Dark Eldar can live there.

In realspace the clock is always against them. They have to attack, cause massive damage, and escape as fast as possible.

Like all true vampires they have to be home by dawn . . .

http://www.thedarkcity.net/t310-notes-from-dark-eldar-designer-round-table-videos

Sandlemad
19-02-2013, 15:45
I think itís the other way around. The webway actually slows the process which is why Dark Eldar can live there.

In realspace the clock is always against them. They have to attack, cause massive damage, and escape as fast as possible.

Like all true vampires they have to be home by dawn . . .

http://www.thedarkcity.net/t310-notes-from-dark-eldar-designer-round-table-videos

Ah, right. Scratch that then, I had it backwards.

Imperialis_Dominatus
20-02-2013, 00:34
Nice thread, MvS. If you'll allow me a few tangents, think I can help. I've got damn-all for sources though.


Yes Farseers look for problems in the many possible futures and try to head these off, but then again, in the vastness of the galaxy plus inter-galactic space plus the Webway, there doesn't seem to be a compelling reason why this dying race wouldn't just seek to hide itself away as much as possible, avoiding all contact, let alone conflict, with any other civilisations. Can't the Farseers look for ways to completely avoid existing enemies and creating new enemies just as easily as they look for ways to target them? If we say that this is precisely what they are doing already, are we really to believe that the only or best way of doing this is by committing themselves to wars and conflicts where they lose people they can't replace and risk causing more feuds and enemies than they have already?

Evidently not even in the (utterly and mindblowingly immense and empty) realm of realspace. The Eldar have some determined and incredibly competent and dedicated foes, and not even their virtual mastery of foresight can protect them from everything. The path of the future, I think, is like a vast, dense cone of spiderwebs stretching before each Farseer, and as he tests them, follows them, and tries to see where each goes, he indelibly affects the strands and those they are connected to, ad infinitum. Nothing goes observed without being changed from its unobserved state- this is a truism of reality and we can easily apply it to mysticism. And this is with one Farseer testing the web, to say nothing of the meddling of others! Inevitably, over such a time as the ten thousand years since the Fall, there will be such a cluster feth of colliding chaos that no Farseer can claim perfect vision.

It may seem easy to just hide away in some forgotten corner of the universe, but with the possibility of Crusades, Ork hulks crashing out of the Warp, Tyranid splinters and tendrils and full fleets closing in all around, human Crusades, other forces trying to hide (Chaos Space Marines realizing the better part of valor), etc. the threads aforementioned must get pretty tangled.

And if the Craftworlders have any sort of cohesive mission, it is to prevent Chaos from getting too strong a foothold. They must intervene, and cannot simply isolate themselves. At times they must fight, and at times they must die, and it is the nature of this galaxy to curse them, fail to understand them, hate them for who they are, and try to kill them simply for existing, even if that may not be the most far-sighted course (because these races are hardly as gifted as the Eldar). It's kind of like the more influential nations in the world- they're cursed for when they don't help people and when they do, their interference is criticized and provokes its own flavor of backlash. And in a way they're also like transient peoples- moving around, doing their business, protecting their own, and for that they get thoroughly hated and persecuted.

There are parts of the Webway that the Eldar could hide Craftworlds in, and I'm given to understand from the background that they sometimes do. But there are other parts of the Webway that are malfunctioning, small, crowded, dangerous or contested places- who's going to give the right of way, Biel-Tan on the Warpath or a host of the Black Heart? And the Webway is deteriorating all the time (can't remember exactly where I read it)- they've got too much network to maintain since the Fall and not enough Eldar to do so. They don't want to run the risk of the Webway trapping their Craftworld- because as I said, no farsight can be perfect- and so the material realm, while it has its own obvious disadvantages, is a better place because it's not running the potential of becoming untenable due to being infested by Warp gribblies.

That is, if the Eldar keep fighting Chaos, keep interfering. See how it connects with the above?


Or what about the Maiden Worlds? What about Exodite planets? We don't hear much about these anymore. Is there something preventing Crafworld Eldar from picking one or two of the more closely positioned Exodite worlds and settling on them, mixing and inter-breeding with the local Eldar to help boost their flagging numbers with new genes and pooling their technologies to create something relatively secure and vastly more powerful than any individual Craftworld floating through the void?

The Maiden Worlds are inhabited by Eldar who are even more judgmental than Craftworlders. Someone explained it to me this way. Dark Eldar are like, well, atheistic amoral hedonistic sadists. They don't have a code except to themselves. Everything is self-serving, self-perpetuating.

The Craftworld Eldar are kind of like rather-religious folks. They've got strict codes of behavior because they know- with certainty- that if they fall from that strict code of behavior that they will have a damn awful afterlife. And some Eldar can't handle it, young folks, who go off and do their own thing for a while. I can understand that, because I can totally dig it, having gone through a similar transition in my life. Kind of still am.

The Exodites are the descendants of the first Eldar to guess at what was about to go down. They fled far from the center of the Eldar Empire and shed pretty much everything modern. They're like, well, the Amish. Insular communities that do their own thing, shun modern technology, and get along just fine.

Now, the Craftworlders, they're better than Dark Eldar, but the Exodites aren't about to welcome them with open arms. They don't want those Craftworlders with their modern ways- the Biel-Tan with their warlike Empire-building that leads up to the same sort of nonsense that got them into the Fall, the Ulthweans with their scrying into the future and witchery that can't possibly help, the Iyandenites with their necromancy, the Saim-Hann with their wild and undisciplined crazies. Not undisciplined to us- undisciplined to the Exodites, who get up, farm, ride dinosaurs, go to bed, no drinks, no drugs, no rock and roll. Clean living. Probably not much witchery either.


What prevents them banding together into a singular and mutually supportive / protective civilisation? What prevents them setting up shop in the Webway? What prevents them settling on Maiden Worlds that already have populations of Exodite Eldar?

Well, I suppose after ten thousand years a certain status quo has to set in. After the Fall, the Craftworlds were all scattered, and over time they found their own way, developed their cultures, figured out what they thought they were spared for, what their mission was. And now, so many centuries later, they're a disparate race- kind of like if Iran and Israel kick off World War III for us and the Earth becomes a shattered hellscape of ash and mutants, the surviving humans are going to congregate their own groups, take a long time to find others, develop their own ways of doing things, and if they find other humans, it might not be the prettiest reunion. Such reunions after such catastrophe have got to be tense, and with the various Craftworlds having developed their own way and thinking they've got it right it's hard to form a collective with any cohesive leadership.


Their capabilities wouldn't change if they had a homeworld, it's just that they would have somewhere they had to defend that they couldn't just move when under attack.

Ah, but that's the thing. Wouldn't it have been nice, had Iyanden not had its ability to get out of the way of the Hive fleet all busted up?

Hellebore
20-02-2013, 02:47
There was a brief mention of a craftworld actually leaving the galaxy to escape all the war.

I would say though that their technology is dependent on proximity to the galaxy to some degree. It is inferred that outside the galaxy where no sentient life exists the warp is relatively calm. Planets of people are huge distortions in the warp, generating energy. Using psychic energy to power everything is much easier when you have a huge source. Not that I think it'd all turn off if they weren't in the galaxy, the warp is omnipresent after all.

In the end they're there because we wouldn't have an eldar faction otherwise. In order to justify that we have to have some kind of reason for them no to simply have left the galaxy and formed a giant craftworld colony raft between Andromeda the milky way. It seems GW really don't want the eldar to actually be thinking about the survival of their race on a galactic level. Apparently farseers only care about their own craftworld and even then not to the extent that they put better armour into manufacture a hundred years before the war they are heading to actually happens.

I'm sure the 'eldar arrogance' card could be played and that kind of conceited stupidity would certainly explain why they aren't doing the most tactically sound thing and gtfo-ing out of the galaxy enmass. Which IMO would actually be quite a cool background for them, that as the nids are invading they are fleeing, and all their wars etc are a smokescreen to hide the entire race's exodus from the galaxy.

It must be stupidity not to scry the future but ignore the big picture. Biel-tann is stupidly trying to recreate the entire eldar empire from scratch by defending maiden worlds from attack. Now there is only so far that hubris/arrogance/pride can explain before you get into the realms of just plain ol' stupidity. Either Biel Tann is actually a galactic threat and could single handedly rebuild the eldar empire, its farseers are unable to see or refuse to see that they can't do this, they completely underestimate the threats posed by the rest of the galaxy, or they know this and are trying to go out in a blaze of carnage lightyears across. Because their 'attitude' is used to justify why they do and what they do is stupid. Because it's impossible unless it's not, in which case holy crap Biel-tann are scary!'

The paths of the eldar, scrying the future, the consequences of the Fall, all this was supposed to have actually made the eldar race question its actions, admit to fault and try to find a better way to live. They contemplate the past and vow never to make the same mistake. But apparently that involves making other stupid mistakes instead.

So I could see a few options: - 1) their wars are declining. The last 10,000 years has seen farseers get better and more precise and the number of wars they've had to fight as dropped dramatically. In a 1000 years the eldar may have reached a point where entire generations can grow old and die without ever seeing war or hearing about it. 2) the eldar are actually, even in their current state, still a galactic threat and CAN actually rebuild their empire, a bit at a time. 3) the eldar know they are going to go extinct, they know what they do is fruitless, but they do it anyway as penance for their passed transgressions. They are running around the galaxy trying to clean up their mess while they still have people left.

They aren't supposed to be stupid, they can see the future. The simplest method of avoiding conflict is to leave the galaxy. Protecting the race is more important than saving artefacts from a bygone age. The maiden worlds are really not worth the extinction of your species in order to keep. The Fall was supposed to have taught them this fact. They are supposed to have learned from it.


I think I might go with number 1, the incidents of conflict have been declining for hundreds of years and soon they will be in a situation where they will no longer need war.

Hellebore

Aldavaer
20-02-2013, 07:30
Whilst the craftworlds are independant they do band together against common foes, in path of the outcast the other craftworlds come to the aid of Alaitoc, albeit right at the end. The craftworlds also trade with the maiden worlds and protect them, again from the path series Alaitoc go to the aid of an exodite world threatened by Orks.
My personal opinion is the Eldar are a "dying" race in that their culture and numbers will never be what they were, but as a race they are not in danger of extinction. If I remember correctly isn't their mention of Biel-Tan settling on some maiden worlds?
I think they keep fighting because they have to, at the end of the day Chaos is everyones problem and you can't hide from it.
I also remember something about one or more craftworlds leaving "known" space, maybe the remaining craftworlds are trying to contain the problem and gather intelligence while offf in a nice quiet corner of the galaxy the Eldar are rebuilding and rearming before returning for the final battle or just coming back to reclaim their empire. Personally I don't think thats the case but its a thought.

Azulthar
20-02-2013, 08:45
Eldar arrogance...and perhaps denial. They still view themselves as the only civilized race that "gets" it, that knows what's at stake. And they refuse to be beaten, to let it all be over. Accepting your fate is a hard thing to do.

On the other hand, I never quite imagined their numbers to be this low... the portrayal of the Eldar and their role in the galaxy has become highly unrealistic :(

Ghremdal
20-02-2013, 09:27
Deep down they want it all back. They want their empire back, and they want Slaanesh gone.

To be able to achieve such a goal they have to stay in the galaxy and influence events. Sure, it seems unlikely that they can win at all, but thats why the Farseers look into the future.

What they want in the future is every single member of the other species dead when they go to fight Slaanesh and they all die. But perhaps a few members of the Eldar race will be left alive, enough to rebuild their galactic empire if there are no other threats.

eldargal
20-02-2013, 09:48
We're told they're a dying race; we're told by such luminaries as Gav Thorpe that there are only a few million Eldar in the very LARGEST Craftworlds;
He said that on his website, though, not in canon (such as it is) material. In contrast Doom of Mymeara, while not giving a precise figure, talks about a single craftworld being built to hold an entire planetary population which could easily be in the low billions-tends of billions which even with a vey high rate of attrition would end up with more than a few million. There are many strong arguments to be made for Mr Thorpes figure being far, far too low. But I don't want to derail the thread with that, just pointing out that basing your statements on such a low figure is problematic.

TheDungen
20-02-2013, 10:10
The eldar are simply a clear cut case of to stupid to live. They have technology enough even without the warp to cross into the intergalactic void and there they would be impossible to find one small thing a few billion kilometers in size max compared to the void which at its narrowest point is 20mly wide. The universe is a p r etty big place and this galaxy have gone to hell so why stay? And that goes for all factions. The nids proved that crossing the void is possible.

Radium
20-02-2013, 10:12
They have technology enough even without the warp to cross into the intergalactic void

They don't do that because most of their ships are powered by solar sails. No stars = no power = lots of frozen eldar.

TheDungen
20-02-2013, 10:33
Eh an entire galaxies worth of suns churn out pretty much solar energy even into the void and with big enough solar sails they could generate all the energy they needed and still be invisible from the edge of the galaxy. In fact it doesn't take them more than a couple of lightyears to not be seen. If their location can't be found then it doesn't matter if they're within travel distance or not.

Omegon
20-02-2013, 12:39
One word; Arrogance.
It keeps them from uniting, from working together over extended periods of time and keeps them from staying out of galactic affairs.
It would never occur to the Craftworld Eldar psychology to find a quiet corner of the galaxy and stay out of the way, Exodites do that, and they are considered primitive. Craftworld Eldar, want their civilisation restored, the Eldar back on top. I remember when the first 3rd edition codex came out, a major misconception of the Eldar is they are somehow "good"; they're not they are the most selfish being in the galaxy, the Dark Eldar are twisted and individualistic, the C.Eldar are communal, conformist, but ultimately the same. Only a few Eldar ultimately understand that the fall was the Eldar's own fault, most blame it on other "lesser" races. The galaxy is their's in their mind and they don't want to give it up.
Neither do they really get along with each other, craftworld to craftworld that is; they have opposing views of how they should proceed, they each believe they are right. Ulthwe are tainted by the eye, Saim-Hann are barbaric, Alaitoc are puritanical and cannot manage its own people, Biel-tan are to warlike and invite disaster and or so each of the other Craftworlds would say. This could be highlighted by the Dorhai Craftworld who believe they are the only "pure" Eldar left.

TheDungen
20-02-2013, 13:00
yeah like I said to stupid to live (http://tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pmwiki.php/Main/TooDumbToLive).

Megad00mer
20-02-2013, 13:20
To the Craftword Eldar, there's something much bigger at play. The very survival of the Galaxy. Yes, they want to restore their empire but if the Galaxy isn't preserved, what's the point? Yes, the Eldar are arrogant. Perhaps so arrogant that they see themselves as the Galaxy's stewards, thinking they are the only ones who can save it from the myriad "terrible fates" that await it. They are trying to survive, but part of that survival is hampering the efforts of those that would destroy or enslave everything:

Chaos must be stopped otherwise the Galaxy becomes a realm of endless nightmare where the Eldar race becomes food/playthings for Slaanesh.

The Necrons must be stopped because it's written into the Eldar's very DNA to hate and revile them. There can be only one Galaxy spanning empire once the Imperium inevitably falls...

The Tyranids must be stopped or there will be nothing left at all.

The Craftworlds can't simply find a quiet corner of the Galaxy and "settle down". They know what the future holds and the horrors that will occur if nothing is done. No where will be safe. They can't flee the Galaxy either. The gulfs of intergalactic space are too vast, dark and empty to allow survival. Besides, they know what waits for them out there. Namely, the bulk of the Tyranid Hive Fleets.

The Webway itself may be an option but even in it's current state, the Webway is far from completely inviolate. The Necrons can access it, even in limited fashion. Whole areas can shatter allowing Demons entry. Who's to say the Webway can actually survive intact if the balance between the Warp and Realspace is shattered by Chaos flooding into the material realm? Or perhaps the Eldar are afraid that dwelling in the Webway will force them down the path of their Dark-Kin, becoming the very thing that caused the birth of the Great Enemy in the first place?

The Eldar see the long view. It's not about running or hiding to eek out maybe a few extra hundred or even a thousand years of existence. It's about making a stand, preserving the Galaxy itself and keeping the clock running so that eventually they can restore their empire.

TheDungen
20-02-2013, 13:31
chaos must be stopped? yeah then just lets the orks and tyranids kill of all the humans are you're golden. because that's what's happening not chaos taking over any time soon.

the hive fleets have all come from one side of a circle with a radius of 60 000ly that's (radius squared times Pi) a circumference of 10.000.000.000ly, the galactic edge is halfway as long as the distance from earth to andromeda. The nidz come from another galaxy but that's one other galaxy there are billions of galaxies in the universe.

And if the nidz can traverse the void then it proves its not impossible, yeah sure it'd take some time figuring out how but its still a lot better plan than lets hope enough of us can die to awaken out death god without us going extinct.

I stopped feeling sorry for the eldar a long time ago all we're seeing is Darwinism in progress. Species that are badly adapted to survive don't.

Megad00mer
20-02-2013, 14:10
chaos must be stopped? yeah then just lets the orks and tyranids kill of all the humans are you're golden. because that's what's happening not chaos taking over any time soon.

Unless the Golden Throne fails and the Emperor dies. Then Chaos taking over becomes a real possibility.


the hive fleets have all come from one side of a circle with a radius of 60 000ly that's (radius squared times Pi) a circumference of 10.000.000.000ly, the galactic edge is halfway as long as the distance from earth to andromeda. The nidz come from another galaxy but that's one other galaxy there are billions of galaxies in the universe.

And if the nidz can traverse the void then it proves its not impossible, yeah sure it'd take some time figuring out how but its still a lot better plan than lets hope enough of us can die to awaken out death god without us going extinct.

The Tyranids are not confined the the galactic east. It's shown that Hive Fleet incursions have also been reported in the Galactic west and northwest as well as Leviathan coming from directly under the Galactic plane itself. The Tyranids have most likely surrounded the Galaxy, and have just started to arrive in the greatest numbers in the east.

http://images1.wikia.nocookie.net/__cb20100601100454/warhammer40k/images/f/fe/Tyranids_incursions.jpg

And just because the Tyranids can traverse the void, doesn't mean anyone else can simply "do it too." The Tyranids have evolved over billions of years to be able to do this. They can enter states of suspended animation, have the capacity to reproduce at alarming rates when the time comes to "reawaken" and have numbers and resources the Craftworlds can't begin to approach. For a race such as the Eldar, who's entire Technology is based upon sources of energy based in the Galaxy itself (solar energy, psychic power drawn from the warp etc.) to just uproot and launch itself into the great dark and expect anything approaching survival is foolish.


I stopped feeling sorry for the eldar a long time ago all we're seeing is Darwinism in progress. Species that are badly adapted to survive don't.

True, but the Eldar won't simply go quietly into that good night. They may be the architects of their own fall, but now they are trying to be the architects of their survival and rebirth. Foolish maybe, but noble and worth a nod of respect.

Omegon
20-02-2013, 14:38
Is the warp though limited to this Galaxy? Or is it throughout the universe? I have always thought the latter myself. Maybe the entire universe is dead of biological life and the Milky way is the last bastion is the Milky Way. The shadow in the warp preventing the Chaos gods extending influence, the Farseers not being able to see beyond the Milky way because there is just static.

The end times isn't Chaos, it's the Tyranids, they've eaten every planet in the Universe and this Galaxy is the last one.

Voss
20-02-2013, 15:21
Oh come on. GW has inflated the Tyranid threat far beyond what is reasonable. Don't make it worse.

Xisor
20-02-2013, 16:16
Would it be a cop out to suggest that the Craftworld Eldar are pathologically, knowingly, culturally-suicidally shooting themselves - a grand race to get as far as they can in 'the correct way' (e.g. the path) before they die out?

Mythologically, I think that chimes - though with GavT's discussion of the nature of the Eldar gods, I could be putting the cart before the horse. Their only remnant, their only 'true nature' that's left threading their psyche is Khaine. Asuryan's gone. Isha's gone. Kurnous is gone. Only Khaine and Cegorach survive - and Cegorach necessitates a different lifestyle.

The only way to 'bring forth Ynnead' is to continue serving Khaine. War is unquestionably the answer. The fight to survive, the fight for the path to continue. The Craftworld Eldar trying to ignore Khaine, to 'continue their lives' yet also be 'true to themselves' are, perhaps in the eyes of all their other kin (consider those seen in Path of the Outcast) are running around like headless chicken - servants who're still trying to run the manor despite the death of all-but-one-and-a-bit of their aristocratic masters. The one that's left is intent on fighting the vermin, despite everything. (The other one lives in the shed outside, running naked through the grounds scaring visitors and servants a like...)

It's a clunky metaphor, but the post-fall Eldar suffer in a very particular way: can any of them be said to be 'truly sane'? Their gods are dead! If the Bible were, in fact, the ultimate truth and Jesus & God lived - but come judgement day it all went skewy: the horsemen turn on Heaven etc? I hate to think how those few, most ultimately loyal survivors in 'new Jerusalem' would act, given everything...

The Infinity Circuit, in its place, has perhaps a lot of explaining to do. It exerts a will over the Craftworlders that forces them to become ghosts of a previous civilisation, blithely going through the motions.

---

The simple question and answer sequence then doesn't really end with 'Or perhaps, why do they continue to fight?' - those that don't, those that give up and decide that a different 'path' is the best way to lead a fulfilling life... they do exactly that. They leave the Craftworlds, they join up with the other more sensible Eldar. But that's not the Path.

The Path is then still in the grip of Khaine and its insane march to the end of time, to awaken Ynnead - every action, every act of war or significant fight against the lesser races, every stand they take: it's because they believe that's the only course that'll save their souls, that'll achieve salvation in the way they view the order of the Universe.

Who knows - they might be right.

TheDungen
20-02-2013, 17:39
True, but the Eldar won't simply go quietly into that good night. They may be the architects of their own fall, but now they are trying to be the architects of their survival and rebirth. Foolish maybe, but noble and worth a nod of respect.

That would be the case if they based their decisions of anything but emotions but they don't.


As for the Nidz having surrounded the galaxy do you have any idea how ridiculous that is? how large an area they would have to cover they would have to have the biomass equal to a smaller galaxy to pull that off.

Lets say that we only count for plotted warp jumps (though eldar navigated jumps will probably be far longer even when not using the webway). 5000ly from the galactic edge. the galaxy is 60.000ly so we get 65.0002 * Pi - (60.0002 * Pi) = roughly 2 billion ly2. that's 2*109ly = 2*1024m2 for scope that's the same as drawing a 1ly wide corridor from earth to the andromeda galaxy.

there is no way to create a blockade that big. no to mention it would take them centuries to circumvent the galaxy just to attack from the other side. its much more likely that they made those attacks by simply flying 'under' the galactic plane, and even then that would take them a long time since they dont have warp travel.

I'm sorry but sometimes gw's writers just lack a sense of scale.

Oh and if the nidz are that many nothing else matter cause nothing can defeat a foe with such number not chaos and not even the orks. the imperum with its mere billions of worlds shouldn't even be a stopgap. it renders the whole setting pointless.

Megad00mer
20-02-2013, 18:10
As for the Nidz having surrounded the galaxy do you have any idea how ridiculous that is? how large an area they would have to cover they would have to have the biomass equal to a smaller galaxy to pull that off.

Any less ridiculous than a race of psychic super bugs that eat galaxies? :confused:

We're talking about a SciFci/Fantasy game of toy soldiers here. Gotta have some suspension of disbelief when it comes to real space distances and phenomena.

TheDungen
20-02-2013, 19:06
Suspension of disbelief sure, suspension of common sense, not a chance. And if i can find all this on google in two minutes then so can gw's writers.

Psychic super bugs that 'eat galaxies' isnt that far fetched, insects are a pretty well working life form its extremely likely we'll encounter insects pretty like the ones on earth when we finally encouter another world with life on it. As for eating galaxies, well scientists have been proposing soem sort of 'great filter' to account for the fact that drakes equation seems to indicate there should be hundreds of civilisations in space advanced enough to send radio transmissions while seti picks up nothing. So space bugs sure. The nidz actually do the same thing as viruses or bacteria just on a larger scale, when it corms down to it we're not all that different in our behaviour, just smart enough to realise we do it.

But an intelligent race chosing their own extinction for matters of honour, sorry i dont buy it. A race that stupid would never have lived long enough to develop space capabilities. In warhammer fantasy this can be justified because Ulthuan is still the most powerful kingdom on the good side, but the craftworlds cant change anything, they spend their strength to buy time for a bad plan that might not work at all and even if it does might just make things worse.

I suppose it can be slightly justified from that the eldar aren't actually an evolved race but a bio weapon just like the orks, but still they're smarter than the orks they should be able to control that drive. after all the old oens made the orks first then the eldar, which meant that they consider the eldar who have a drive for self-preservation a superior model, it must be in their design intent to survive and replicate to be able to fullfill other directives.

And unless the nidz have devoured all other galaxies in the universe already and just happens to pick this one last, them coming from two directions on an intergalactic scale doesn't sell it for me.

Xisor
20-02-2013, 19:12
But an intelligent race chosing their own extinction for matters of honour, sorry i dont buy it.

It doesn't entirely matter if you buy it - but you'd be silly not to. (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mass_suicide#Notable_mass_suicides) Extending that to account for a set of highly insular, psychically active, largely stagnant culture that's wary of outsiders and regularly outcasts its deviants... it's hardly unthinkable.

Anyone 'smart enough not to make that choice' leaves. The actual particulars of the choice are much more debatable. The very concept of it, though, has some degree of precedence even in us mere humans.

TheDungen
20-02-2013, 19:25
Those are not cases of extinction. extinction mean that you're all dead and all your race ever did shall be forgotten, all the battles all the trails all the knowledge all the art all the thoughts of you and your ancestors will have been pointless. Its the End with a big E.


See i could like the eldar if they for once showed that they thought they could reconquer the galaxy, not with their death god but simply by taking it back one battle at the time, but the whole delaying extinction thing is far to fatalistic to me, you do something about it or you just lay down and die.

Xisor
20-02-2013, 19:52
The Dungen: the point is that not all Eldar are doing that, only the Craftworld Eldar. Exdodites, Dark Eldar, Corsairs, nonspecific Eldar... they'll all live on happily. (Or just be killed out long before in 'other ways'.)

As far as most mass suicides are concerned, I'd imagine everything is Ending for all involved. Death of a Culture =/= Species Extinction, perhaps that's the confusion we're making?

Homeworld
20-02-2013, 22:52
A slightly provocative title, I know.

I think It's all about background contradictions. Eldar are represented as a dying race, but still powerful to a certain degree. Somebody reads "dying" as "utterly and hopelessly doomed", which is a nonsense in game terms, I think, because what's the point to play a doomed race?

Recently these contradictions increased due to Gav T. trilogy, where Eldar are depicted as very few in number and too much vulnerable (Alaitoc, a large craftworld, is going to be destroyed by a large but not so huge imperial fleet; oh, and by JUST ONE SM chapter :rolleyes:).

According to my point of view, Eldar are surely on the verge of extinction but not in such a desperate situation. Otherwise, MvS, you should be perfectly right saying they cannot afford all the wars and conflicts described in the fluff.

And yes, I'm a chauvinist Eldar player and fan, but it doesn't matter...:evilgrin:

Voss
20-02-2013, 23:20
Any less ridiculous than a race of psychic super bugs that eat galaxies? :confused:

That slowly creep across a galaxy and strip living matter from the small percentage of worlds that actually have living matter. The distinction is... rather important. And also very, very large.
But GW escalated them from a serious threat to the galactic east to 'inevitable, unstoppable and everywhere' over the course of 5th edition.

As for the eldar... in the grand scheme of the 40k setting the survivors are irrelevant. Maybe the farseers will find some Magical McGuffin that will save their souls (or not), but it hardly matters to the setting at this stage. The eldar are [all but] extinct, their fire has gone out of the universe. Commorragh, my friends, is all that's left of their civilization.

The Craftworlds are just a battered remnant that is taking a long time to die.


I think It's all about background contradictions. Eldar are represented as a dying race, but still powerful to a certain degree. Somebody reads "dying" as "utterly and hopelessly doomed", which is a nonsense in game terms, I think, because what's the point to play a doomed race?
The point is to find some measure of dignity and nobility in death. Unfortunately this has never gelled well with the table top, where the eldar have either been terrible cheese monsters (early editions) or elite psychopaths and utterly disposable citizen-soldiers.

Homeworld
20-02-2013, 23:45
As for the eldar... in the grand scheme of the 40k setting the survivors are irrelevant. Maybe the farseers will find some Magical McGuffin that will save their souls (or not), but it hardly matters to the setting at this stage. The eldar are [all but] extinct, their fire has gone out of the universe.

As long as I can kick some a** I'm feeling pretty alive ;)


Commorragh, my friends, is all that's left of their civilization.

To be honest, Dark Eldar are no more true Eldar, due to their vampiric nature and the suppression of psychic abilities.



The Craftworlds are just a battered remnant that is taking a long time to die.

You bet it



The point is to find some measure of dignity and nobility in death. Unfortunately this has never gelled well with the table top, where the eldar have either been terrible cheese monsters (early editions) or elite psychopaths and utterly disposable citizen-soldiers.

It's weird: I thought Eldar fought for survive. And Aspect Warriors seem more martial artists than elite psychopaths

Grimbad
20-02-2013, 23:59
The eldar are simply a clear cut case of to stupid to live. They have technology enough even without the warp to cross into the intergalactic void and there they would be impossible to find one small thing a few billion kilometers in size max compared to the void which at its narrowest point is 20mly wide. The universe is a p r etty big place and this galaxy have gone to hell so why stay? And that goes for all factions. The nids proved that crossing the void is possible.

The Craftworlds do hide in the depths of space, and some that escaped have never returned. The following passage isn't specific in saying they left the galaxy, but there's no reason to assume they didn't. Besides which, galaxies have a lot of empty space. There's no reason to hide between galaxies if hiding between stars is just as effective and lets you change your mind if you start having regrets.



During the final cataclysm these gigantic space-cities fled, carrying a proportion of the Eldar race to safety and permanent exile. Some Craftworlds survived for hundreds, or even thousands of years before their people faded and died, while others endure to this day. Many floated into the voids and were lost forever in regions of space that remain dark and unexplored. They may be there still, lonely and unheard voices in the wilderness of deep space.

The ones we see and hear about are the ones who do choose to make a nuisance of themselves. The rest have long since departed for who-knows-where and left the galaxy for dead. The remainder are the ones too homesick, too bitter, too traditional to leave. You don't need to suspend disbelief for there to be a small portion of a huge population that doesn't act in the most rational way all the time. Especially when the huge population is of hyper-emotional non-humans.

Think of all the times when Eldar involve themselves in things not for the survival of their species or the galaxy, but to preserve their ancient maiden worlds or some other purely sentimental objective. Seeing the future doesn't mean you'll choose the optimal route for survival, it means you'll choose the optimal route to achieve what you hold to be important.

Andromeda, by the way, isn't the best place to go to escape the Milky Way in the long-term (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Andromeda–Milky_Way_collision).



We're talking about a SciFci/Fantasy game of toy soldiers here. Gotta have some suspension of disbelief when it comes to real space distances and phenomena.

GW actually often do have a more reasonable sense of scale than they're given credit for. Troop numbers, yeah, they're infamously ridiculous. But they've always found a thematic use for mentioning the utter vastness of space, the huge tracts of wilderness systems and sheer empty void in the galaxy, how thinly life is spread and so on. They just don't have to engage with those facts when they don't want to because hey, faster than light travel is pretty cool even when it sucks.

TheDungen
21-02-2013, 05:56
Yeah i think gw have sufficiently grasped the size of the galaxy. And how impractical and unlikely intergalactic interactions on any larger scale is.

Polaria
21-02-2013, 06:09
Anyway, what are the thoughts of Warseer? Why do the Craftworld Eldar do what they do? What do they gain from being disparate ships of a few millions souls, seeking out battles in order to protect against possible futures that only really relate to the Eldar BECAUSE they are a disparate and drifting people? What prevents them banding together into a singular and mutually supportive / protective civilisation? What prevents them setting up shop in the Webway? What prevents them settling on Maiden Worlds that already have populations of Exodite Eldar?

This is just for fun, and I know the ultimate answer is "because GW says", so I'm not interested in that out-of-imagery response.

I'm looking forward to some interesting discussion!

Its in their nature. They gain nothing from continuing the fight. Nothing at all. But avoiding fight would be the logical thing to do and no matter how much the craftworld eldar try to suppress their emotions they are still eldar and the eldar cannot be logical in the end, no matter how much they try. They are, by nature, creatures of emotion and hubris, not one of logic and sensibility. If they were logical sensible by nature they would never have wrecked their civilization and half the galaxy for a good party and wouldn't be in the sorry state they are to begin with.

grumbaki
21-02-2013, 06:21
The Craftworlds do hide in the depths of space, and some that escaped have never returned. The following passage isn't specific in saying they left the galaxy, but there's no reason to assume they didn't. Besides which, galaxies have a lot of empty space. There's no reason to hide between galaxies if hiding between stars is just as effective and lets you change your mind if you start having regrets.



The ones we see and hear about are the ones who do choose to make a nuisance of themselves. The rest have long since departed for who-knows-where and left the galaxy for dead. The remainder are the ones too homesick, too bitter, too traditional to leave. You don't need to suspend disbelief for there to be a small portion of a huge population that doesn't act in the most rational way all the time. Especially when the huge population is of hyper-emotional non-humans.

Think of all the times when Eldar involve themselves in things not for the survival of their species or the galaxy, but to preserve their ancient maiden worlds or some other purely sentimental objective. Seeing the future doesn't mean you'll choose the optimal route for survival, it means you'll choose the optimal route to achieve what you hold to be important.

Andromeda, by the way, isn't the best place to go to escape the Milky Way in the long-term (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Andromeda–Milky_Way_collision).


This thread made me feel sad. Until I read this. I declare this to be the truth. Because it just makes sense, and really, that is all I ask for.

Venkh
21-02-2013, 06:40
The craftworlders and exodites are collecting the souls of the dead in wraithbone cores and spirit stones. The exarchs are also vast accumulations of the most powerful warriors the elder race has produced

What they haven't realised yet is that the whole yinead myth involves them being released (perhaps by mass eldar suicide) and formed into a vast gesalt being that will pierce slaanesh's heart like a burning spike of molten gold (dying in the process) just as the Human emperor reawakens in the warp and grapples with the chaos pantheon

This will allow the emp to quell the tides of chaos and restore peace to the galaxy

With the warp stilled, Warp travel will no longer be possible. The dark eldar, freed from the need to act like sadists and realising the ultimate destiny of the eldar race, will unite the galaxies disparate factions from the webway and lead them to defeat the tyranids and the necrons.

In the the galaxy of the 42nd millennium, there is only peace!

Obviously this can't come to pass if the craftworlds leave the galaxy

Just my made up theory. But I like it.

Malagor
21-02-2013, 07:32
Except don't the dark eldar like being sadists?
It's in their nature to be cruel just as they were right before the fall.
I don't see that changing just because She who thirsts is gone.
If anything all it will do is make them use their psychic abilities again since the threat of using is gone.

Polaria
21-02-2013, 08:43
Andromeda, by the way, isn't the best place to go to escape the Milky Way in the long-term (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/AndromedaĖMilky_Way_collision).


You do realize that the timescales involved make this pretty irrelevant. If we arbitrarily say that now is year 0 the timescale goes like this:

year - 60 000 000 Necrons go to sleep
year 0 Now
year ~18 000 Eldar Empire blows itself up
year ~28 000 Emperor unites humanity
year ~38 000 The 40K "Now"
year ~4 000 000 000 Andromedas first stars meet up with Milky ways outer rim
year ~5 000 000 000 The two galaxies are actually enmeshed together

MvS
21-02-2013, 09:26
Thanks for the responses all. I was posing these questions mostly to help clarify a few issues rather than as a denouncement of the Eldar imagery, just to be clear. :)


Also, in a way a craftworld is like a planet on a Path - you're not subject to the whims of evolution, geology and astonomy like you would be on a planet. The way of the Exodite is all about making do with what you've got, and coming to terms with that in a way that brings satisfaction, but that is almost the polar opposite of a Path. The Exodite will find himself being shaped by his world, but the Craftworlder demands more discipline, control and focus. An Eldar on the Path of the Poet may spend as much time trying to perfect a coastline to provide the backdrop for his recitation as he does on honing that opening line, something as crude as a planet just simply doesn't have the range and number of sunsets to meet the demands of it's population.

Good point. Although I suppose a grounded Craftworld would still allow for trhis sort of focus. It would just mean that one continent would be under a dome. I suppose that crushing an existing Maiden World continent with a Craftworld wouldn't go down well with the locals, but perhaps they could 'land' it on a Maiden World's moon, meaning that they could still interact with the Exodites and mutually benefit each other in various ways.


As for why some Craftworlds get involved (since we know that quite a few intentionally don't), prophecy probably plays a large role. The Eldar have always been involved in the greater goings on in the galaxy and by doing so have got themselves pretty entwined with events past and future, they were too big a player to really just be left alone even if they wanted to.

This is an interesting idea. It would help explain why they don't as a species universally use all their resources to avoid everyone and everything altogether, or at least much better than they currently seem to.


There's also probably a lot of self fulfilling prophecies - the Eldar get involved because they have forseen themselves getting involved, it's also probably a lot easier to try to intervene and change the future or at least set things in motion to mitigate something you've seen than to try and cheat fate by just not turning up when you were supposed to. There must be hundreds of Eldar legends warning about the perils of trying to cheat fate.

I like the idea of self fulfilling prophecies. Dabbling in future-changing perhaps gets you into a spiral that you can't simply jump off of. Although the idea of them being concerned about cheating fate seems a bit weak to me. The whole point of Farseers and what they do seems to ber denying, or at least controlling, fate as far as is possible.


A Farseer sees something that will happen in the future, and then the various possibilities that could arise from that - there's no stopping the original event, but you can prepare for it.

One thing that seems to be consistent throughout the imagery is that the future isn't set. There are levels of likelihood and possibility, but nothing is written immutably. The past has a single path but the future has millions, some wider than others.


Could also be something linked to the whole idea that Eldar legends seem to just end prematurely without actually finishing. To just bow out of galactic affairs would be to just fade away into memory, but the struggle of the Rhana Dandra is beyond time so the only way to truly continue as a species is to play their part in it. That story doesn't end.

This is the most compelling idea of all. The Rhana Dandra may be a self-sulfilling prophecy, and not just for the Eldar. It's an idea so ingrained into the psyche of multitude civilisations and species that they will make it happen whether they think they want it to or not.

I also like the idea that many Eldar Craftworlds have simply disappeared, hopefully to survive and grow but equally possibly just to die.

The original critique I was tip-toeing around is that I don't doubt the internal consistency of the Craftworld Eldar doing what they do, but that it doesn't really make sense if we take to be the numbers to be as low as suggested by some. Culture, arrogance, psychotic, duty - all of these could add to the choice for some of the major Craftworlds to involve themselves in the affairs of the galaxy and to fight even though they are on a sharp (perhaps catastrophic) population decline.

For me the options are twofold:

1) The Craftworld Eldar have a higher population than mentioned. So they are still in decline, with plummeting birth-rates, a rigid monastic culture that they are too conservative and too terrified to change, and a sense of duty and/or custodianship of the galaxy against the many threats facing it, but even so the very largest craftworlds have populations similar to present day Earth (where 70% of the population or so can be mobilised to fight as soldiers or pilot the warfleet, etc) and the smaller Craftworlds have anything from several hundred thousand to several hundred million inhabitants.

2) The Craftworld populations really are numbered in the few millions, but the Eldar are (or should be) much less human-samurai-with-pointy-ears and much more mysterious, powerful and legendary alien beings. So there are no 'grunts' to throw at the enemy. Each life is ancient is priceless and each Eldar is 'magical' (more so than currently presented) and more skilled and powerful than currently depicted. Obviously how they are depicted in the game and many novels would undermine this, as there really are grunts and their perspective, skills and behaviour really isn't that different from humanity - our humanity not the dystopian, nazi, mutant, cyborg, Imperium of Man humanity. More Tolkien (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Elf_(Middle-earth)) Eldar (in terms of magic, mystery,religion and beauty) mixed with some Mimbari (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mimbari)(in terms of culture) and Vorlons (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Vorlon), (in terms of technology and general weirdness to other races). Obviously not quite like these other genre types, but you take the meaning I hope.

I dislike the idea of there being only a few Eldar who are then essentially only made special (if at all) by technology and variations of telepathy and telekinesis, but who are otherwise a bit like more 'arty' Imperial Guard. For me it isn't interesting to have them behaving in such ways, because if they're human enough to have a culture and mindset similar to our own, then they're human enough not to rush towards their own destruction, bearing in mind their apparent weaknesses. They need reasons beyond arrogance and cultural brainwashing.

El_Machinae
21-02-2013, 09:47
You do realize that the timescales involved make this pretty irrelevant. If we arbitrarily say that now is year 0 the timescale goes like this:

year - 60 000 000 Necrons go to sleep
year 0 Now
year ~18 000 Eldar Empire blows itself up
year ~28 000 Emperor unites humanity
year ~38 000 The 40K "Now"
year ~4 000 000 000 Andromedas first stars meet up with Milky ways outer rim
year ~5 000 000 000 The two galaxies are actually enmeshed together

Ah, cosmological timescales compared to the lifecycles of nigh-immortal creatures ... how you whup us, Mother Nature.
40k could have another ten "Necron Cycles" and still not have to worry about galactic merger.

(it reminds me how the Tyrannosaurus is closer in time to us than it is to the Brontosaurus)

Homeworld
21-02-2013, 19:20
Thanks for the responses all. I was posing these questions mostly to help clarify a few issues rather than as a denouncement of the Eldar iamgery, just to be clear. :)

Thank you for your questions. Reading many opinions in this thread and in others makes me realize how controversial the Eldar image is. It seems someone almost despises the Eldar race, considering them nearly insignificant in the great scheme of 40k background ("doomed", "suicidal", "too few", "too stupid to live", ecc). Maybe some recent unrealistic fluff has supported such an opinion, but it's an exaggeration.



For me the options are twofold:

1) The Craftwrold Eldar have a higher population than mentioned. So they are still in decline, with plummeting birth-rates, a rigid monastic culture that they are too conservative and too terrified to change, and a sense of duty and/or custodianship of the galaxy against the many threats facing it, but even so the very largest craftworlds have populations similar to present day Earth (where 70% of the population or so can be mobilised to fight as soldiers or pilot the warfleet, etc) and the smaller Craftworlds have anything from several hundred thousand to several hundred million inhabitants.



I think it's the correct interpretation. It's just what I always perceived reading codexes, supplements, and other fluff. Because it makes sense and not because I'm an Eldar enthusiast.


I dislike the idea of there being only a few Eldar who are then essentially only made special (if at all) by technology and variations of telepathy and telekinesis, but who are otherwise a bit like more 'arty' Imperial Guard. For me it isn't interesting to have them behaving in such ways, because if they're human enough to have a culture and mindset similar to our own, then they're human enough not to rush towards their own destruction, bearing in mind their apparent weaknesses. They need reasons beyond arrogance and cultural brainwashing.

I agree.

Homeworld
21-02-2013, 19:25
Oh crap! I made a mistake with quotations font color. Sorry.

ryng_sting
21-02-2013, 19:31
I think it's misleading to say the DE are 'true Eldar'. They're simply of a snapshot of how the Eldar were at the peak of their decadence, 10,000 years ago. Go back far enough to the hunter-gatherer days, and you can say the Exodites are closer to the 'true Eldar'.

Eldar history is just too long for such statements to be particularly truthful.

Grimbad
21-02-2013, 20:40
You do realize that the timescales involved make this pretty irrelevant. If we arbitrarily say that now is year 0 the timescale goes like this:

year - 60 000 000 Necrons go to sleep
year 0 Now
year ~18 000 Eldar Empire blows itself up
year ~28 000 Emperor unites humanity
year ~38 000 The 40K "Now"
year ~4 000 000 000 Andromedas first stars meet up with Milky ways outer rim
year ~5 000 000 000 The two galaxies are actually enmeshed together

Well, yeah, of course it's irrelevant in any reasonable sense. But if the argument is that immortal, prescient aliens seeking to leave the Milky Way in order to preserve their species from the horrific god they created there for the rest of eternity should go to Andromeda...

Dark_Kindred
21-02-2013, 22:20
Well, in my mind the Eldar are most closely approximated by the French. They both have/had Artistic inclinations, love of fine food/drink, Advant-Guard tendencies, perceived arrogance, an impressive military history, dwindling population, and a crumbling empire.

Ask not why the Eldar act the way they dol. Instead, ask why the French act the way they do and imagine the French in space.

Chrysalis
22-02-2013, 05:49
Well, in my mind the Eldar are most closely approximated by the French. They both have/had Artistic inclinations, love of fine food/drink, Advant-Guard tendencies, perceived arrogance, an impressive military history, dwindling population, and a crumbling empire.

Ask not why the Eldar act the way they dol. Instead, ask why the French act the way they do and imagine the French in space.


Well... Why would I go in space... Let me think....

Maybe to flee what my own country is becoming?

Hey, your argument works! :D

TheDungen
22-02-2013, 12:38
nah they cant be the french not enough demonstrations

Hendarion
22-02-2013, 15:00
You do realize that the timescales involved make this pretty irrelevant. If we arbitrarily say that now is year 0 the timescale goes like this:

year - 60 000 000 Necrons go to sleep
year 0 Now
year ~18 000 Eldar Empire blows itself up
year ~28 000 Emperor unites humanity
year ~38 000 The 40K "Now"
year ~4 000 000 000 Andromedas first stars meet up with Milky ways outer rim
year ~5 000 000 000 The two galaxies are actually enmeshed together
Hu? Didn't the Fall (blowup) happen ~30k?


To answer the initial question of the topic:
1) Because.
2) Because without constant wars, we won't have Eldar in 40k at all.
3) Because they are arrogant little buggers who believe themselves to be superior. So why not fight?

Chrysalis
22-02-2013, 16:41
Hu? Didn't the Fall (blowup) happen ~30k?


To answer the initial question of the topic:
1) Because.
2) Because without constant wars, we won't have Eldar in 40k at all.
3) Because they are arrogant little buggers who believe themselves to be superior. So why not fight?

And also:

4) Because without Eldar, there be a lot less Xenos and more Marines...

Imperialis_Dominatus
22-02-2013, 17:03
Hu? Didn't the Fall (blowup) happen ~30k?

Right before the Emperor set out on the Great Crusade, yeah. Slaanesh's birth blew out the Warp Storms around Terra.

Aldavaer
22-02-2013, 18:48
3) Because they are arrogant little buggers who believe themselves to be superior. So why not fight?

This is slightly wrong it should read:

3) Because they are arrogant little buggers who are superior. So why not fight? :D

MvS
22-02-2013, 21:31
Its in their nature. They gain nothing from continuing the fight. Nothing at all. But avoiding fight would be the logical thing to do and no matter how much the craftworld eldar try to suppress their emotions they are still eldar and the eldar cannot be logical in the end, no matter how much they try. They are, by nature, creatures of emotion and hubris, not one of logic and sensibility. If they were logical sensible by nature they would never have wrecked their civilization and half the galaxy for a good party and wouldn't be in the sorry state they are to begin with.

I like this. I think that they would probably think that they are being logical, and even the evidence of their Farseer in relation to what is best for them, but then as Yoda once said, the future is all emotion. The Eldar's emotional nature probably makes a self-fulfilling prophecy for them.


To answer the initial question of the topic:
1) Because.
2) Because without constant wars, we won't have Eldar in 40k at all.
3) Because they are arrogant little buggers who believe themselves to be superior. So why not fight?


4) Because without Eldar, there be a lot less Xenos and more Marines...

I did say that the 'real-world' reasons, and by extention the 'just because' reasons, aren't the most relevant or interesting answers here chaps.

Venkh
22-02-2013, 22:44
Perhaps leaving the galaxy would make them more visible to their enemies. Without the background 'noise' of the other sentient races they would stick out like a black speck on a white tablecloth.

Perhaps the farseers have already scryed that future and have seen that unless they find a way to defeat slannesh, they will all eventually be found and consumed.

Slannesh is like a terminal disease. They have to find an antidote even if it means losing 99.9% of their people.

So everything they do is subordinate to that goal. They will perform any action no matter how costly to take them closer to it.

Hellebore
23-02-2013, 00:25
I like this. I think that they would probably think that they are being logical, and even the evidence of their Farseer in relation to what is best for them, but then as Yoda once said, the future is all emotion. The Eldar's emotional nature probably makes a self-fulfilling prophecy for them.



The issue with this is that they exist in a highly civilised state and possess cultures that are not dissimilar to humanity. For them to get highly organised and develop as they have, they HAVE to have some kind of logic and it would have to be more evolved than humanity's to get where they've gotten. If everyone is just floating away on emotional whimsy oblivious to logic then they would never have formed communities in the first place. Community, coherent society, laws that are obeyed, all these things contradict the notion of self indulgent emotionaphiles. The background suggests the only reason the eldar became indolent was because they had reached the apex of their postpostpost scarcity civilisation. they had nothing to do. It doesn't suggest that they always had nothing to do and were always emotionally charged crazies.

Otherwise we are to believe that the eldar are psychologically just like the orks yet they were able to develop far more sophisticated technologies and philosophies. that or the statement of them being creatures of emotion has as much power as saying humanity are creatures of emotion - ie EVERYONE is a creature of emotion, it's just that the eldar's racial emotion is manifestly powerful enough to alter realspace.

There are far too many parts to eldar background that rely on logic and deep thought for them to be entirely chaotic chaotic in alignment. the path system being one of the most salient ones.

Hellebore

Palvinore
23-02-2013, 01:06
Foreseeing the future appears to be greatly guided by one's own goals and emotions. If the Farseers at some level are still wanting to stay in the galaxy, or to retake it, then their visions of "possible futures" may be skewed by these subconscious motivations. Thus they may see a future filled with threats and catastrophes because there isn't any easy path towards their goal so long as Slaanesh is there, and there is no easy path to removing Slaanesh.

If there were Craftworlds that preferred leaving the galaxy, we don't see them because presumably they have already left.

Rather than saying something is entirely irrational or rational it may be useful to view it more in terms of what the Eldar consider an acceptable future. Imagine a post-apocalyptic scenario on Earth. Sure some people will say they should just leave or find some way of living in the post-apocalyptic world situation, but some will want to reconstruct the old world and civilization. Is it necessarily irrational to want the old world back? Not necessarily, but it may be unlikely, however those that want it may still view this goal as a worthwhile one to work for. For individuals and civilizations, there are some goals and ideals that will be viewed as worth struggling for even if the path is hard or seemingly impossible. Sanguinius thought the Emperor's vision for humanity was one worth fighting for even in the face of hoplessness when facing Horus. His decision to fight and therefore die could be argued to be irrational versus the "rational" decision to accept there was no chance of victory and submit.

Similarly, the Craftworld Eldar society revolves around preservation and recovery of their past civilization. With this as a fundamental underlying goal, what constitutes rational actions towards this may vary. Their willingness to fight and engage in conflict may stem from the same kind of refusal (like Sanguinius) to submit to "rational" calculations of chances of victory.

Poseidal
23-02-2013, 07:29
Slannesh is like a terminal disease. They have to find an antidote even if it means losing 99.9% of their people.

So everything they do is subordinate to that goal. They will perform any action no matter how costly to take them closer to it.
This is an important point. Their no.1 concern is for their immortal souls. Regardless of how safe their physical presence is, as long as Slaanesh is around they are in mortal peril.

Safety of their physical bodies is subservient to culling the threat of Slaanesh even if it means sacrificing to Khaine their entire being or dangerously assaulting an enemy to prevent Chaos from furthering its goals.

Ultimately they fight to survive on the spiritual plane; hiding is just not an option.

Azulthar
23-02-2013, 07:56
I guess "Farseers" is the only answer left that could explain how Eldar can....afford this lifestyle.

There was a time when Eldar technology could explain a lot of their success, back when we didn't really know what its limits were, and so it could theoretically trump everything. But now Necrons hold the "superior tech" card, and honestly the Imperium and Tau don't seem that far behind anymore, especially when looking at weapon technology.

Their skills as warriors are decent. Guardians are perhaps superior to guardsmen, but not by much. Aspect Warriors may rival a Space Marine on a good day, but it appears there are even less of them than there are Marines in the galaxy.

As these other factors (technology, military skill, population) are reduced compared to the other races of the galaxy, only the psychic/farseeing advantage remains to compensate. Only farseeing could explain how Eldar are able to survive with so few numbers while not even focused solely on survival. I expect these guys to be worth at least 200 points in the next codex! :)

MvS
23-02-2013, 10:27
The issue with this is that they exist in a highly civilised state and possess cultures that are not dissimilar to humanity. For them to get highly organised and develop as they have, they HAVE to have some kind of logic and it would have to be more evolved than humanity's to get where they've gotten.

This is true. What I should have said was that they do indeed follow a logic and behave rationally within that logical framework, but that the Achilles heel, or self-fulfilling prophecy element is the nature of future-seeing. If the future isn't written in stone and if the Farseers view millions of different futures in their lifetimes, the question arises as to which possible futures rise most clearly in their visions, and why. I think the most experienced and powerful Farseers might have a deeper insight into their own emotions and Id and so may be able to filter out to a better (though not complete) degree the possible futures that are born simply from emotions, fears and expectations, but which would not otherwise be more 'certain' than any other.


If everyone is just floating away on emotional whimsy oblivious to logic then they would never have formed communities in the first place.

Indeed, so it would have to be more the pressures of their fundamental social, intellectual, 'spiritual' and psychological structures that influence the visions, not whims and petty nonsense. They aren't slaves to their whims and fancies - they too to the Path system in order to prevent that sort of reality. But they are Eldar, and they do feel everything to greater depths, with greater breadth and with a great sense of pronfundity to almost any other sentient speies mentioned in the imagery. So even their sense of control and duty could, in the depths of their psychology, influence intangibles like future-viewing through the Warp. This wouldn't be a problem for a society that isn't based predominantly on action-from-farsight, but then the Craftworld Eldar are.

So their sense of responsibility, duty, galactic relevance and even things like penance and/or self-righteousness and so on and on, could be very subtle and fundamental structures within every element of the culture and social structures, thereby influencing everything they see and do, sometimes to the extent of self-fulfilling prophecy. But it wouldn't appear that way to them or to outside observers, because if everything they do and say makes sense within their rational framework, it would almost always appear that they did something simply because they had no other choice. Everything would point towards that 'truth'.

From a God's-Eye view, however, we might be able to see all the little prompts, tweaks and notions that led them inevitably into the situation they are in where their actions seem so logical and inevitable.


EVERYONE is a creature of emotion, it's just that the eldar's racial emotion is manifestly powerful enough to alter realspace. There are far too many parts to eldar background that rely on logic and deep thought for them to be entirely chaotic chaotic in alignment. the path system being one of the most salient ones.

Absolutely and I think I was misleadingly vague in my last response. I don't see the Craftworld Eldar as irrational or ruled by whims. I don't see them as 'Melibonian' elves. To use the Moorcock imagery as a shorthand, the Craftworld Eldar would be more like servants of Order - highly structured, self-controlling and rational. However, the reasons they have to be this way still remain within them. Their minds/souls are so powerful, complex and intense that the ripples of what they are and do probably still do have an effect on intangibles relating to the Warp, like Farseeing, etc. I think they have to work to be what they are, as it doesn't come naturally to them. That's why many leave the Craftworlds and the Path system. The scarifices and self-control are immense, but the rewards (real and perceived) are generally considered to be worth it.


Foreseeing the future appears to be greatly guided by one's own goals and emotions. If the Farseers at some level are still wanting to stay in the galaxy, or to retake it, then their visions of "possible futures" may be skewed by these subconscious motivations. Thus they may see a future filled with threats and catastrophes because there isn't any easy path towards their goal so long as Slaanesh is there, and there is no easy path to removing Slaanesh.

This. Well put.

If the entirety of Craftowrld Eldar culture is implicitly and explicitly wrapped up with norms about Ynead, Slaanesh, this particular galaxy and the Eldar's fundamental role and importance within it, then Farseers wouldn't just see certain futures more clearly (or as being more certain) just because of personal inclination - although that wouldn definitely play a part I think - but also because everything they have ever learned, heard, saw and experienced within Craftworld culture that pertains to the future and the Eldar's path would also have led them to that way of seeing. So the effects become cyclic, reinforced with every generation of Fareseers guiding their people along paths that enmesh them ever more completely into the affairs of this galaxy.


If there were Craftworlds that preferred leaving the galaxy, we don't see them because presumably they have already left.

Q.E.D. I suppose.


Rather than saying something is entirely irrational or rational it may be useful to view it more in terms of what the Eldar consider an acceptable future. Imagine a post-apocalyptic scenario on Earth. Sure some people will say they should just leave or find some way of living in the post-apocalyptic world situation, but some will want to reconstruct the old world and civilization. Is it necessarily irrational to want the old world back? Not necessarily, but it may be unlikely, however those that want it may still view this goal as a worthwhile one to work for.

Right, and the reasons in the case of the Craftworld Eldar (or at least the ones that HAVE stayed around) could be considered more than 'simply' moral or intellectual choices. The Eldar could view their presence, active involvement and survival within the galaxy and fundamentally linked together - as though there were no other genuinely viable options. And they wouldn't simply belief this as an item of faith - although again, that would probably play a role - but they would also probably draw upon their experiences and future-sight of their Farseers as evidence.


Similarly, the Craftworld Eldar society revolves around preservation and recovery of their past civilization. With this as a fundamental underlying goal, what constitutes rational actions towards this may vary. Their willingness to fight and engage in conflict may stem from the same kind of refusal (like Sanguinius) to submit to "rational" calculations of chances of victory.

Or, as suggested, for reasons of underlying psychology and culture, mixed with the vagaries of the Warp and Farseeing, these conflicts could genuinely be seen to be the only rational course for the long-term success of their goals - even if there may indeed be other rational paths when viewed from a completely separate and uninvolved God's-Eye view.


Their no.1 concern is for their immortal souls. Regardless of how safe their physical presence is, as long as Slaanesh is around they are in mortal peril. Safety of their physical bodies is subservient to culling the threat of Slaanesh even if it means sacrificing to Khaine their entire being or dangerously assaulting an enemy to prevent Chaos from furthering its goals. Ultimately they fight to survive on the spiritual plane; hiding is just not an option.

Another excellent point. I mean it may be possible to slowly accumulate souls into a massive infinity circuit if all the Craftworlds united and went away and hid together. The infinity circuit would still slowly fill up and presumably Ynead would still grow slowly within its womb and then one day do his job against Slaanesh - or at least there would be room to believe this could be the case. But the other cultural/psychological pressures on the Craftworld Eldar prevent the majority of them as seeing this as even possible, let alone viable. Or else they would have done it already.

Presumably.

Idaan
23-02-2013, 12:23
Another excellent point. I mean it may be possible to slowly accumulate souls into a massive infinity circuit if all the Craftworlds united and went away and hid together. The infinity circuit would still slowly fill up and presumably Ynead would still grow slowly within its womb and then one day do his job against Slaanesh - or at least there would be room to believe this could be the case. But the other cultural/psychological pressures on the Craftworld Eldar prevent the majority of them as seeing this as even possible, let alone viable. Or else they would have done it already.

Presumably.
It stands within reason to suggest that the quantity of the souls is as important as their quality. Living their lives in safety and seclusion might fail to make the Eldar souls strong enough to form a god whose purpose is to defeat Slaanesh. If god of excess was formed by those who devoted their lives to excess, the god of standing up and fighting back can only be formed by those who stood up and fought back.

This, of course, can't be the only explanation, as it's been stated that only a few seers have seen the possibility of Ynnead forming. This possibility couldn't have dictated the entire race's strategy from the beginning.

El_Machinae
23-02-2013, 13:39
especially when looking at weapon technology.

I wonder if there're aspects to this that we're just not privy to, due to the nature of the rules? For example, the supply chains on any Imperial war paraphernalia must be atrocious. I honesty expect that the Tau are better on this front, if only due to wiser manufacturing processes. But, things like fuel and ammo are big and expensive to ship around. It could be that the Eldar are heads-and-tails superior on these fronts. An Eldar walker has an irreplaceable citizen and the Imperial walker has a decently trained grunt. But, things like refueling, maintenance, repairs, etc. are all things that could be drastically superior without impacting the game.

Lord-Caerolion
23-02-2013, 13:46
Just something to clear up, but the Craftworld and Dark Eldar aren't enemies. There's numerous examples of them co-operating together, and they're never once described as choosing to target each other over other opportunities. Sure, they aren't exactly the best of buddies, but they aren't constantly at each others throats.

El_Machinae
23-02-2013, 14:04
Is there any reason to think that Eldar pain is more nutritious than the pain of other sentients?

Idaan
23-02-2013, 16:04
Just something to clear up, but the Craftworld and Dark Eldar aren't enemies. There's numerous examples of them co-operating together, and they're never once described as choosing to target each other over other opportunities. Sure, they aren't exactly the best of buddies, but they aren't constantly at each others throats.
The White Dwarf that accompanied the DE codex and detailed all the minor Kabals mentioned that the goal of the Last Hatred is to kill every last Eldar and enslave whatever entity that arises from their ashes. But overall I agree wholeheartedly.

Venkh
23-02-2013, 21:30
This, of course, can't be the only explanation, as it's been stated that only a few seers have seen the possibility of Ynnead forming. This possibility couldn't have dictated the entire race's strategy from the beginning.

The Harlequins fill this gap rather neatly with their knowledge of Chaos, their contact with the whole Eldar race. What is their role after all other than to keep the Eldar unified and 'on mission' as far as Slaanesh is concerned.

Perhaps the Farseers are only now beginning to see Ynnead because they have been guided along a path that leads to that outcome. As they move further along that path so the likelyhood of that event coming to pass strengthens and the visions become clearer and stronger.

Hendarion
24-02-2013, 07:43
I did say that the 'real-world' reasons, and by extention the 'just because' reasons, aren't the most relevant or interesting answers here chaps.
They are still the most true ones. The rest is just speculation. Also my 3rd reason was quite the most fitting to 40k lore in my eyes.

MvS
24-02-2013, 09:17
They are still the most true ones. The rest is just speculation. Also my 3rd reason was quite the most fitting to 40k lore in my eyes.

Maybe so, but still in a background forum it's not so interesting to answer questions like: "why does Marneus Calgar have two big powerfists" with "because the sculptors thought it would be cool" or "just because".

These are conversation stunting and in terms of out-of-narrative context they are more relevant to GW General I think.

YMMV.

Hendarion
24-02-2013, 09:57
I see, you prefer to have fan-fiction reasons instead. No problem, I can accept that. And like I said, one of my 3 answers was pretty reasonable.

MvS
24-02-2013, 12:42
I see, you prefer to have fan-fiction reasons instead.

No need to be provocative Hendarion. Discussing the possible why's and wherefore's of grey areas of the imagery instead of just saying "because" isn't simply 'fan-fiction', although I'm not interested in getting into a separate debate about the nature of what we think fan-fic is.

Besides which, how do we know there are no fixed answers within the imagery narrative to something until we ask? For all I knew there might have been some old publication I've missed that discusses these very topics - and indeed some people have quoted things in this thread that I'd either forgotten or not read. That's the nature of a discussion, which brings me to:


like I said, one of my 3 answers was pretty reasonable.

Of course. A single short-sentence statement can be reasonable, but on a discussion thread where I said in the first post that started the thread: 'I know the ultimate answer is "because GW says", so I'm not interested in that out-of-imagery response. I'm looking forward to some interesting discussion', I hoped everyone would note that the intended emphasis of this thread is for discussion - so conversation, the knocking around of ideas and a group analysis of them. That sort of thing.

So to go back to my Calgar example, giving answer like 'because all Space Marines are badasses and Calgar is the biggest badass of a whole Space Marine Chapter' is fractionally better than 'because', but only slightly so. Unless it's meant as a bit of humour of course.

Anyway, this is all OT.

You made your comments, I reiterated that they weren't of the kind I was looking for (in order to encourage more detailed and 'in narrative' responses from other people) and it seems I ruffled your feathers a bit by doing so. Apologies for that. It wasn't the intention.

Hendarion
24-02-2013, 14:03
Naaa, you're in your right to do so. No offence taken. I guess I'been quite rough myself. Sorry.

Poseidal
25-02-2013, 13:38
The 2nd ed codex has the plot of an assault/battle from several views. I think it's the one where the Warlock or Guardian wonders if they go to fight because they crave battle more than for any other reason; as soon as the Farseers mention military intervention is needed, they have no shortage of volunteers.

Hellebore
26-02-2013, 00:38
Sure, but if the Farseer says nothing then they don't go to war. Just because something is an opportunity to let your hair down doesn't mean that's your default setting and not doing it is the unnatural exception. The path system was designed to provide structure to the eldar to direct them, but only because their lifestyle EVEN NOW on the craftworlds is still postpostpost scarcity.

We are told the Fall taught the eldar humility and that they can make terrible mistakes. They are supposed to be better for it. It seems to me that most of these arguments are hinging on the idea that 40k eldar are just as crazy as 30k eldar were.

The average eldar spends their life going about their personal desires. The craftworld provides everything for them, they want for nothing. But rather than slip into bored decadence ala the Fall they have the Path system to direct their energies. So although they still want for nothing, they are no longer aimlessly pleasuring themselves. They focus on something, master it, then move on.

It's basically only the leaders of the craftworlds that 'care' about the eldar future. The majority of the population are just going about their day existing. Farseers are by their very nature, looking to the future to protect their people. They want to preserve their race and let them continue existing in their endless path following life. The eldar do not seem to vote on leaders, there isn't direct democracy (except perhaps with the psychic reverberation of particularly strong emotions through the infinity circuit). Each eldar provides his potential services as a guardian and their only other duty to the craftworld is to follow path - basically their duties are 'fight when called and follow paths so you don't go bonkers depraved and cause our doom'. So in a way every eldar following the path system is actually 'defending' the craftworld, but in a moral/spiritual sense rather than a physical defence.

Eldar therefore have indirectly devoted their lives to the total defence of their people - materially and spiritually. So they are focused on protection.

Hellebore