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Indrid Khold
24-08-2006, 21:31
In my recent project to dream up a new Craftworld for use when the new Eldar Codex and all those lovely new miniatures come out, I have stumbled onto a highly contradictory bit of fluff regarding Exarchs.

I remembered them as being Aspect Warriors who had been lost on the path of the Warrior, which they are, but I had totally forgotten that in the 2nd Edition Codex they are described as being physically integrated with their armor. Consider this:

"Once put on the [Exarch] suit is never removed adn bcomes a permanent part of the Eldar, its psycho-plastic form meshing with his tissues. If slain the warrior's costume will be found empty, the body having long since been consumed by the suit itself."

It also says that the spirits of all the suit's previous owners form a collective conciosness that the current Exarch will gradually meld with. I had remembered all of this as being the case for Phoenix Lords, but not regular ol' Exarchs, too. I actually rather like it, combined with crystalizing Farseers it makes the Eldar much more alien than just snobby humans with pointy ears.

HOWEVER

In White Dwarf 236, in which the 3rd Edition Eldar Codex is introduced, there is a story called "Rebirth," by Gav Thorpe. The story begins with an Exarch (and he is clearly described as an Exarch in the very first paragraph) going through the Aspect Temple and checking on all the weapons and armor.

"He started with his own armaments" it says, implying that he is not wearing them. Then, to remove any ambiguity, he later cuts his palm and lets it bleed into a ceremonial bowl, and the text reads "normally the culmination of the ritual would be to don his Exarch armor..."

So clearly he's a flesh and blood Eldar, at least until he gets sucked into the Phoenix Lord Karandras.


I don't know what the point is, other than that Games Workshop made an even more obvious continuity error than they usually do, but I thought it was interesting. Is there any more recent fluff on Exarchs indicating their nature one way or the other?

salamandercaptain
24-08-2006, 21:39
My interpretation of this is that because Exarchs are trapped in the path of the warrior they would corrupt the infinty circuit and hence at the point of physical death the Exarch is sucked into the Suit.
This explains why the Karandras suit appears empty through the gashes in it when examined (in the rebirth story)
It also allows the Young King to walk into the Avatars throne room naked (1st ed fluff) as in order to do that he's clearly an exarch and able to exist outside of his armour.

just my 2c

Flame Boy
24-08-2006, 21:42
I'm sure the recent aspect fluff can allow Exarchs to go into battle without wearing a helmet, (I think the new Dire Avengers have a bare-headed exarch model) which is somewhat odd considering the original background. I'd prefer the old fluff with the Exarchs being integrated into their suit over time, but I guess with such a continuity error, you can only use the background you prefer.

If you want to blend the two backgrounds, it could be argued that it takes a long time for the suit and the warrior to integrate together, and it's not until a certain point that the Exarch chooses to remain in their armour until they are unable to remove it. That seems a bit wooly and full ofhand-waving, but it's the best I can think of right now.

Dat Wildboy
24-08-2006, 21:50
i was under the impression that the actual pheonix lord is a collection of spirits stored in an armour bound infinity matrix. it's main controlling soul is the first exarch, the actual lord themself; like Jain-Zar and others.

the wearer's soul is combined with the others when they put on the armour. it would be the 'ultimate sacrifice, and the ultimate gift'. pheonix lords are honoured, feared and are obeyed without question as they alone have true immortality. the warrior is trapped, the armour seals shut and his soul is combined in the matrix.

in effect, the armour 'possesses' the exarch. they become the pheonix lord and are driven to fight, to war, to travel and aid the race. it will only work for an exarch of that chapter or possibly an autarch. when a pheonix lord is killed, it is the body which is destroyed. the armour absorbs the soul and the body dissappears. the armour probably phases into the webway to be recovered later.

the eldar's soul is not eaten by slaanesh or kept in a soul stone. its like when a harlequin goes to the laughing god, or a young king and the avatar; their soul becomes one with the pheonix lord/god/avatar in question and cannot be eaten or tortured. they are saved from slaanesh. though stuck on the way of the warrior, if good enough and being honoured by becoming a pheonix lord or avatar promises eternal life, continual help to the eldar and fame and respect to the family/craftworld/shrine.

i'm sure i can remeber some fluff about an aspect warrior being promoted to exarch and their family having a funeral for them, as they were eternally bound to the shrine insteadof family, and were fixed on the path of the warrior.

the problem with pheonix lord fluff is that its vague and you have to read between the lines and fill bits in so it sounds right.

Hellebore
25-08-2006, 00:13
Here are some links regarding the topic:

http://www.warseer.com/forums/showthread.php?t=43656&highlight=phoenix+lords

http://www.warseer.com/forums/showthread.php?p=858211&highlight=goodwin#post858211

In particular, note Nexto's post in the bottom link, where he says Jes Goodwin says Exarchs DO bond with their armour.

Hellebore

Indrid Khold
25-08-2006, 00:29
"That's exactly what Jes Goodwin told me when i asked him for the reason, why there are exarch without helmets. He said that you dont mesh with your armour instantly once you are an exarch but rather over a long time. So there is no problem with the young king fluff and also no contradiction between old and new fluff."


Hm. Well that seems to solve the problem quite handily, doesn't it?

Nicely done, Hellebore.

ashc
25-08-2006, 08:57
Whilst we are on the subject of exarchs, im quite interested in what the new fluff is regarding how an Autarch comes to be; i think i remember the old (or current?) fluff being that once an Eldar treads the path of an Aspect then there is no going back; how have they changed the fluff to reflect the new Autarch and his choice of nifty gear? or is it just me who has dreamed this all up :confused:

thanks

Ash

Karasu
25-08-2006, 09:27
Whilst we are on the subject of exarchs, im quite interested in what the new fluff is regarding how an Autarch comes to be; i think i remember the old (or current?) fluff being that once an Eldar treads the path of an Aspect then there is no going back; how have they changed the fluff to reflect the new Autarch and his choice of nifty gear? or is it just me who has dreamed this all up :confused:

thanks

Ash

An Eldar on the Path of the Warrior can do one aspect, or more over a period of time. Unless he becomes trapped on the path, and thus an Exarch, he can put down his aspect gear and go onto another path when he, or she, so desires.

An Autarch is an Eldar on the Path of Command. Normally they have spent some time on at least one aspect of the Path of the Warrior. Thus they get to use any gear that they are familiar with: so Apect Warrior Equipment, but not Exarch equipment. They get their own special shield as well.

Farseer Karasu

ashc
25-08-2006, 09:31
An Eldar on the Path of the Warrior can do one aspect, or more over a period of time. Unless he becomes trapped on the path, and thus an Exarch, he can put down his aspect gear and go onto another path when he, or she, so desires.

An Autarch is an Eldar on the Path of Command. Normally they have spent some time on at least one aspect of the Path of the Warrior. Thus they get to use any gear that they are familiar with: so Apect Warrior Equipment, but not Exarch equipment. They get their own special shield as well.

Farseer Karasu

Right, so that explains it. is that new or old fluff? and what and why does a warrior begin the Path of Command?

Ash

Karasu
25-08-2006, 09:39
Right, so that explains it. is that new or old fluff? and what and why does a warrior begin the Path of Command?

Ash

New. The original fluff (in Epic Swordwind, so not very old) was that an Autarch was an Exarch who declared himself as leading the armies of the Eldar during a particular conflict.

As for how and why the start, just the same as the how and why of an Eldar starting any path: it's what they feel is right at the time.

Although this raises an interesting (and unfortunately off-topic idea): the Path of the Counsellor. An Eldar (probably one that has been on very many paths in his life) who talks with people who are troubled or disliking their current path and advises them which path the should be on next. Probably not someone everyone needs, though.

Farseer Karasu

ashc
25-08-2006, 09:41
Thanks for all the information Karasu, you have cleared up alot of :confused: questions regarding the status of the new Autarch for me.



Although this raises an interesting (and unfortunately off-topic idea): the Path of the Counsellor.

Path of the Careers Advisor perhaps? :D

Ash

Karasu
25-08-2006, 09:52
Path of the Careers Advisor perhaps? :D

Ash

Except this one gets to back it up with "You may ignore this advice if you want, but remember, your soul may be in peril!"
:D

Farseer Karasu

EarthScorpion
25-08-2006, 11:24
This also raises the vaguely amusing point that the Young King must be a "young" Exarch, one who has not been trapped on the Path very long. Actually, that might be an incentive to becoming the Young King; some Eldar might hate the possibility of their body being consumed by their armour, and thus choose to die another way.

ashc
25-08-2006, 13:25
Is that because the exarch needs to be able to remove his armour to become the Young King?

Ash

Inq. Veltane
25-08-2006, 13:50
Ignore all the Gav-stuff. Honestly, just ignore it all... The Young King is an aspect warrior, not an Exarch, and thus can get naked with no difficulties... Exarches can't take their armour off. Everyone knows that (except Gav it seems).

Kage2020
25-08-2006, 14:51
An Eldar on the Path of the Warrior can do one aspect, or more over a period of time. Unless he becomes trapped on the path, and thus an Exarch, he can put down his aspect gear and go onto another path when he, or she, so desires.

An Autarch is an Eldar on the Path of Command. Normally they have spent some time on at least one aspect of the Path of the Warrior. Thus they get to use any gear that they are familiar with: so Apect Warrior Equipment, but not Exarch equipment. They get their own special shield as well.
This merely shows how contrived and contradictory the 'fluff' can get without a solid foundation or frarmework of interpretation. If everything is muteable from one edition to another merely because the standards of "cool" have changed then, well, the fan is marginalised because little they can do will ever be "right". (Or everything is as right as anything else, but just not quite as right as GW, who are the first among pigs... ;))

The "Path of Command" is just one such example that is not only rather hokey, but also unnecessary. Check out WD127 and look for the term, Menshad Korum, or "Hunters in Search of Themselves". These are Exarchs that are not bound to a single Aspect Shrine (these individuals I call the Shrine Sworn), but rather cycle from one Aspect to another at their desire (the Wayfarers). They also take bits of armour from one Shrine to another, mixing and matching things in wargame terms (i.e. allowing some strange conversions at the desire of the fan).

As an indiviual that straddles beyond just one focussed Way, they become something more than just an Exarch. In that way one can draw analogies with the Path of the Seer and, namely, the Farseers that we are more commonly given in the 'fluff' rather then truly focussed individual that was described in the original core article.

As to the Exarch armour debacle, the above 'fluff' shows the limits of this. Of course, I'm making as much a value judgement here as anyone else. That is, I believe that it is "poor 'fluff'" and, as such, ignore it. An Exarch can, therefore, get in and out of their armour. Personally I'd definitely go with Gav on this one, most especiallys since he's the author of some of the only original and good material to come out of GW in over a decade.

After all, it's bad enough with the darned Marines, do the Eldar need any of that type of navel lint?

Kage

ashc
25-08-2006, 15:06
The "Path of Command" is just one such example that is not only rather hokey, but also unnecessary. Check out WD127 and look for the term, Menshad Korum, or "Hunters in Search of Themselves". These are Exarchs that are not bound to a single Aspect Shrine (these individuals I call the Shrine Sworn), but rather cycle from one Aspect to another at their desire (the Wayfarers). They also take bits of armour from one Shrine to another, mixing and matching things in wargame terms (i.e. allowing some strange conversions at the desire of the fan).

Kage

From the sound of this, perhaps GW have decided to amalgamate the twin ideas of the Menshad Korum from the older fluff and the Path of Command from the fairly recent swordwind epic book to create the Autarch? it certainly sounds like ideas are borrowed from both character types.

Ash

Elanthanis
25-08-2006, 15:14
I think we're gonna have to wait for the new codex to see exactly how they attempt to explain it before really having a stab at whether the path of command is cool or not.

I did kinda laugh when I read that though, that the eldar might have a path entirely devoted to politics and leadership.

Kage2020
25-08-2006, 16:02
Which isn't desperately in keeping with the flavour that GW have established, for good or ill. The Path of Command isn't really conducive to the "Path of Command" beyond, in my mind, the guidelines I outlined above.

Kage

Indrid Khold
25-08-2006, 19:34
I did kinda laugh when I read that though, that the eldar might have a path entirely devoted to politics and leadership.


And just what the hell is so hard to believe about that? Politics even on 21st Century earth is such a life-consuming endeavor that it's about the closest a person can ever get to the total obsession of the Eldar Path.

Just ask Hunter S. Thompson (Exarch of the Gonzo Path).

Commander Ozae
25-08-2006, 21:29
The most notable paths are the paths of the warrior, outcast, and seer but that doesn't mean that there aren't other paths. And besides within each path there are dozens of other ways that each specify the path they follow. For example there is the Path of the Artisan with the Way of the Bonesinger or the Way of the Bridgebuilder etc. Therefore, the Path of Command might be a Way of Command within either the path of the warrior (exarch) or path of the seer (farseer) or something in between. Remember that the eldar minds work very differently from humans.

Kage2020
27-08-2006, 20:25
Yes, that is a well-established fact that is normally used to argue that we should not even bother to try and create a more detailed eldar society, psychology or whatever. After all, they won't be alien then. Thus while Commander Ozae is correct, I think that it misses the point slightly.

Kage

Commander Ozae
28-08-2006, 03:03
Although i have an enormaous amount of respect for you Kage you miss the point of a website like Warseer, its precisly for trying to analyze things that we can't figure out for ourselves by comparing ideas and interpretations.

Kage2020
28-08-2006, 07:37
You are both correct and incorrect, Commander Ozae, as is always the case with the 'fluff'. That is indeed what something like Warseer is for and, as such, I offer my apologies. Please do not mistake my post as restricting discussion but, rather, merely pointing out the redundancy of the comment. At least with regards to the Eldar, and I would imagine in other areas, I most definitely am entirely "there" with regards to the interpretation of the 40k 'fluff' that is produced by GW.

Occasionally I mistake pointing out a "given" as being in itself restrictive, or at least taking the stance of GW: "Oh yes, Path of the Commander. Yes, erm, that's what we were talking about! Oh yes!" More so when it follows the GW stance whereby there is no real structure. Again, my apologies.

Can the "Path/Way of the Commander" be a part of the broader Eldar Path structure? It's possible, true. Yet you have to balance that against both the common and uncommon interpretations of Farseers, amongst other things. Are they also on the Path (or Way) of Command? Or must we invent another exception to an exception to justify a variation that is really not necessary?

Kage

Commander Ozae
28-08-2006, 17:56
You make a good point Kage, but i think the Path of the Seer is complicated. Not only are they the most powerful psykers but because they can see the future they are immediatly obeyed. The eldar codex states that whenever a Farseer says something needs to be done then it is done immediatly and without hesitation. But it is unlikely that the Farseers will bother to run the day-to-day affairs of the craftworld and the many smaller administrative matters that come with running a virtual world. There must be other people to help run everything while the Farseers work on the most important issues.

Kage2020
28-08-2006, 21:55
You make a good point Kage, but i think the Path of the Seer is complicated.
The complexity, if any there is, comes from the tendency of GW authors to continually make exceptions, introducing "power creep" and presenting non-standard situations in such a way that they are inferred as "normal". In this regard I turn to the original 'fluff' and the core description, which is of course a value judgement.


Not only are they the most powerful psykers but because they can see the future they are immediatly obeyed.
Both of these are not necessarily true, though. It is more likely for a Farseer to be more powerful given the way in which Eldar Seers increase their power. That is, unlike humans who get everything "up front", Eldar Seers develop their powers over the period of their jouney along the Path of the Seer. (This is one of those pedantic points but, as above, sometimes it does help to state the obvious or the "givens".)

As to the fact that they are, arguably, immediately obeyed? This is one of those issues of "power creep" once again. Not only are their multiple Farseers for a given Craftworld, and not only does the 'fluff' strongly suggest that they not only can have differing visions of the future but differing opinions on how to get there (and what to get to), it also does state that the craftworld bases all of the "major" political decisions of a craftworld on the visions of Farseers. However, it does not define them as the leaders and, for once, even the army list doesn't do that.

Furthermore, another argument against the Farseers being the leaders (read: in a dictatorial sense) is the nature of the Path itself. The Farseers are entirely dedicated to the furthering of their psychic abilities, not to the governance of the Craftworld (and by 'governance' I mean not just administration, but political and military decisions as well). Their visions guide such governance, true, but they do not define it.

Once again, though, I offer up the caveat that I do not believe in the new 'fluff' merely because it is new, nor do I automatically accept it because some bod at GW happened to have waxed lyrical and thrown it over to the editors. Even if said bod happens also to be a game designer! ;)


The eldar codex states that whenever a Farseer says something needs to be done then it is done immediatly and without hesitation.
And if another Farseer says something else? That's one of the reasons that I advocate the Eldar "government" that I do, since it kind of solves the problems without taking one edition over another (even if the emphasis is in the original material).


There must be other people to help run everything while the Farseers work on the most important issues.
That is definitely one approach, and indeed perhaps one of the most common approaches, but it is not one that I subscribe to. And, yes, not one that I subscribe to based upon the balance of the 'fluff', personal opinion and value judgements. :D I see the common argument, balance it against what produces a more interesting result and, ultimately, come to a different conclusion without limiting the power of the Farseers but also not over-stating it.

Kage

Commander Ozae
29-08-2006, 20:39
Touche . . . :)

Kage2020
30-08-2006, 00:56
Erm, okay...

Kage

Reinhard
30-08-2006, 08:47
What I wonder about since first reading about the path of command an the Autarch according to the 4. edition codex. Is an Autarch just on the path of command or is he stuck in this path. If he is just on the path who or what are the guys that are stuck on the path or if he is stuck, what are the guys just following the path doing.

Kage2020
30-08-2006, 11:20
That is one of those points where I would personally take a look at what the Autarch is, then take a look at the original 'fluff'. As before, the "Menshad Korum", the "Hunters in Seach of Themselves", are Exarchs that cycle from Shrine to Shrine thereby acquiring valid and "high" experience of many if not all facets of war. In short, an Autarch without requirement to invent another "Path of Command", especially given GW proclivity for naming practically everything a Path... or a Way... or a Way and a Path! ;)

I would say keep the Menshad Korum as the Autarchs. Then again, I would. That's what I have them as, ignoring all this reference to the "Path of Command", preferring instead the command or leadership is something that an individual Eldar steps up to through their own sense of personal and extended responsibility.

Again, though, that's just me. My view of the Eldar is significantly constructed within and beyond the standard 'fluff'. Well, apart from the "significantly" bit! ;)

Kage

Commander Ozae
30-08-2006, 15:41
To put it quite simply an Autarch is an experienced Exarch who takes near total control of a large military force of eldar. The Farseers are technically the leaders but when pure military knowledge is needed the craftworld calls in an autarch.

Ikkaan
30-08-2006, 15:55
How does an Eldar become a Menshad Korum ? Is it a decision (or process) he undergoes when already fixed on the way of war ? Or is it an un-decidedness of an aspect warrior that changes aspects regularly and has a later chance to be autarch by continueing to cycle aspects ?

Commander Ozae
30-08-2006, 19:16
I think the Seer Council of the Craftworld chooses him although probably each craftworld does it differently. On Ulthwe the Seer Council would choose him, on Beil-tan the Court of the Young King, etc.

Kage2020
30-08-2006, 20:27
How does an Eldar become a Menshad Korum ?
First off, remember that the term "Menshad Korum" is generalised to a specific type of Exarch, rather than "Autarch", which seems to be a title. To answer the question of how one becomes a Menshad Korum? Well, how does anyone become a "paramount practitioner" - someone that is entirely dedicated and may not remove themselves from a Way or a Path - become such? How does an Exarch become an Exarch, or how does a Farseer become entrapped upon a specific Way or the more general Path of the Seer?

Suffice to say that they are not chosen by Farseers. That one can be thrown out of the window right away. It is, however, common amongst those that see the Farseers as responsible for, well, practically everything: leadership, career guidance, marriange counselling, and so forth! ;) (And this is despite the 'fluff' from Warrior Coven, which is highly contentious and/or dubious at best. (My value judgement, of course!))

That is not to say that a Farseer could not have a role to play. They are, after all, in essence manipulators of probabilities and are individuals in their own rights, serving their visions of their future as well as their own personal agenda.

Ultimately, though, the "decision" to become a paramount practitioner lies with the individual themselves. Whether it is a conscious decision or not is another matter.

What makes the difference between a normal Exarch - one that is dedicated to a single Shrine - and a Menshad Korum? Who knows. You could argue that is the inherent ability or "greatness" of the Eldar in question, the hand of fate or destiny, or whatever suits your own particular preferences. What becomes more interesting is when you use the difference of the Exarch and Menshad Korum and extrapolate it to the Farseers. Rather than some generic "Farseer" label, one begins to see those that might be dedicated to a singular Way, i.e. the Way of the Warlock might produce a "Battle Seer", and those that are like the Menshad Korum, capable of moving between all the Ways of a Path.

Personally I find this latter possibility rather fascinating. It gives an added depth to the 'fluff' without going beyond the boundaries, or creating more complexities where none are needed. It also explains why some Farseers might be considered more "capable", or esoteric (!), than others and so on and so forth. Fascinating possibility, at least in my mind.


Or is it an un-decidedness of an aspect warrior that changes aspects regularly and has a later chance to be autarch by continueing to cycle aspects ?
An interesting possibility, there. The question would be one of likelihood, which comes down to a preference of interpretation. Is it more or less likely for an individual to become trapped on the Path of the Warrior if they are constantly cycling between Ways (Shrines)? Is it more or less likely for an individual to become trapped after just their time in a single Shrine? If the former is more likely then the implications are that there are probably going to be far more Menshad Korum than implied in the 'fluff'. Again, though, this is something that you would have to make your mind up yourself about.

For me? I feel that Menshad Korum - those Exarchs that are not bound to a single Shrine - are incredibly rare. I would argue that in parallel to that, those Farseers that are not bound to a single Way within the Path of the Seer are equally rare or, perhaps, rarer still (since the Path of the Seer is regarded with a certain amount of fear). When they are created on a given craftworld they can have a disproportionate influence upon their specific "aspect" of government (Seer, Clan and Ancestor, for me), as well as allowing great leaps to be made in areas governed by their Path.

That last is, to reiterate, just my interpretation. I find that it allows more flexibility than other approaches, but it is not automatically more valid because of it.

As to who might assign the position of Autarch to a specific Menshad Korum? That would be the eldar "government" in general, which I would argue is a bit more interesting than the singular answer of the Seer Council, Court of the Young King or whatever. I would argue that in these exceptional cases of Craftworlds (remembering that they are not the norm) can be said to have an overt influence, but that it still remains a decision of the other bodies of the government as well.

Again, though, that is my interpretation. I do not see the Seer Council as the government of Ulthwe, the Court of the Young King as the government of Biel-Tann and so on. Ultimately this extremely Themed approach to government is not something that I would consider to be a valuable addition to the 'fluff'.

Kage

Ikkaan
31-08-2006, 10:19
Very insightful, thank you.

It could be possible that the intensity of being focused on a path is of different strength on subjects. Most however are totally focused, but some persons retain a broader spectrum of mental "fitness".

Kage2020
31-08-2006, 21:49
That argument has been advanced, though primarily as a fan-based justification why Farseers can be leaders despite their place as "paramount practitioners", and yet Exarchs have trouble... ;)

Kage