View Full Version : Dark Eldar: What exactly do they do with their slaves, anyway?

Strictly Commercial
14-07-2005, 06:07
The DE codex has a vivid description of a twisted and emiciated archon absorbing the souls of the slain and rebuilding his strength. I was hoping this type of thing might be reflected in the upcoming DE rules, such as psychic tests to regain wounds from fallen foes or such (I know the DE don't use psychic powers but for game purposes they could just say they are doing something else). Sadly, there is little out there to detail just what the DE are truly doing with the mass of slaves they take in their raids (and they lose many, many warriors when they do so it must be pretty important). Of course part of their appeal might just be the mystery.

They way I have been given to understand it is this: DE are cursed from the formation of the warp entity Slaanesh by having him/her trying to consume their souls. While they have somehow managed to slow this process, Slaanesh is still continuously drawing power from their souls (i.e. their presence in the warp) and so the most powerful have found ways to "replace" what has been taken by consuming the souls of others - i.e the vacuum that exists where their soul is fading creates a hunger that they use to draw others souls into theirs to be consumed.

Do I have it right, and is there more on the subject? All I have is the very first DE codex (I won't use the "updated" one as I feel insulted that they think I need their "improvements" to make the DE win). Is there anything from WD or some other source?

Warlord Gnashgrod
14-07-2005, 06:37
Hmm...using the slaves to replace their lpst soul energy? I suppose this is possible, and also fits. I always thought though that they offer the souls of those they capture to Slannesh, having 'him' take these slaves's souls instead of their own. This is why they have to go out on so many slave raids. As long as the souls keep coming, Slannesh is content to let the Dark Eldar keep their souls. But if they stop....

I do know that the Dark Eldar continually torture their slaves, heal them, torture them, heatl them, etc etc until they finally kill them. This may be part of the ceremony/process of offering up the soul to Slannesh. At least, this was how I interpreted the fluff in the original DE codex.

14-07-2005, 07:00
DE have a super sort off vortex in their souls and have throu unknown means learned how to replace the sucked away parts of their souls by consuming souls, like eating food to replace lost callories, fat, etc.

14-07-2005, 09:17
I do know that the Dark Eldar continually torture their slaves, heal them, torture them, heatl them, etc etc until they finally kill them. This may be part of the ceremony/process of offering up the soul to Slannesh. At least, this was how I interpreted the fluff in the original DE codex.

My interpretation of the fluff was that they were consuming souls to counteract the draining affect, and that the torture etc was for the sole purpose of making them "taste" better.

14-07-2005, 09:19
The fluff on exactly what DE do with souls is pretty vague (probably deliberately so) but my impression is that Strictly Commercial is spot on. It is mentioned that when wyche cult DE are killed in their gladiatorial combats that the winner gets to consume the soul of the loser. The souls of other Eldar are probably more "nutritous" than the lesser souls of other races. Also from the loser's point of view, getting eaten by another Eldar is probably preferable to be eaten by Slaanesh.

14-07-2005, 09:37
Ever read the text about Urien Rakath? where he tells the human being tortured that he will fulfill a greater role. Next Urien wonders what exaclty that role is again, doens't remember and continous to skin him.

That is extremely vague. Though it is stated that they love the sounds and screams from there victims (making some sort of music with it they like) and they find the spreading of fear and terror one of the most wonderful things.

And an other text it is clear that they tortured a human and they let him go away as to tell his tale to the others in order to spread the fear for the Dark Eldar.

So it probably meant something a long time ago, but it is now just for the fun of it. The raids are used to get a higher rank among the kabals and maybe even get enough followers as to lead a Kabal themself (thus assasinating or outright killing the previous leader).

And for the souls: they sort of drink it and grow stronger on it. Some sort of unstoppable lust. The most powerful DE get the most souls, even though others can try to get one, it is a slim chance that the weaker ones will get it.

14-07-2005, 12:14
Karhedron, Strictly Commercial and Cherubael have it right IMO. The torture and terror is akin to bringing the soul to the extremes of it's experience.

That is where the DE created Slaanesh, succumbing to the horrors of extreme hedonism, driving the experience above existance. This manifests itself in Slaanesh, but still the DE reel from it and continue as ever, effectively still trying to 'out do' Slaanesh.

By torturing souls, they bring mundane humans and such up to extremities closer to those experience on a day to day basis by Eldar. Psyker souls are like venison/veal/caviar, and all this torture would 'spice them up' or cook them, bringing out their own flavours...

The saying 'it is better to have loved and lost, than to never have loved at all', could also be poignant here, as an example. A soul that has experienced, that has been 'moulded' is surely better to the DE than a bland boring thing. Whilst they *need* the souls to survive Slaanesh, they are still the beings that created Slaanesh, so will still try get 'the best'(for themselves) out of anything they do...


14-07-2005, 12:48
If you read the "Torturer's Tale" where Vect tells the tale of the origins of the Dark Eldar, it says in there they consume the souls of the lesser races as a means of fending off Slaanesh whose grip was only weakened, not broken, by the Dark Eldar fleeing to live in the Webway. This correlates also with the info in the draft Harlequin list where it says the Webway has a soul leaching effect on those that spend a long time in it. In other words, the Webway isn't "soultight".

The problem in this "solution" to Slaanesh though is seen in the Dark Eldar Codex where the old Dark Eldar lord says his thirst grows greater with age. At some point you'd think the thirst would grow faster than the ability of the Dark Eldar lord to procure souls in which case the game is up for him. Even before such a stage is reached, you'd also think the other members of the Kabal would start to question the ever increasing consumption of Kabal resources for the sake of one old individual instead for themselves.

14-07-2005, 12:50
Whenever I think of the DE archons the evil guys from Hell-raisers comes to mind. I'm sure some Archons love to bestowe physical and psychological torture on their captives just as the wich cults engaged in gladitorial combat. As for the Haemoculii (sp) anything is possible, probably some genetic tampering or flesh sculpting.

14-07-2005, 15:12
I would definitely agree with the people who mentioned that Eldar refine souls, before harvesting it and consumming them in order to replenih their own warp resonance that is slowly being leeched away by She-Who-Thirsts.

Certain pieces of DE wargear, like the Animus Vitae, point out to such thing. IIRC the Animus leeches away the soul of the prisoner and feeds it to the Archon, making him stronger (and probably replenishing his warp presence as well).

After all, the Emperor himself is a psychic vampire, devouring the souls of thousands of psykers everyday through the Golden Throne to sustain his warp presence as his soul fled to the Warp when he was mortally wounded by Horus during the Heresy.

Hobo Magic
19-07-2005, 05:24
I prefer my heretical theory, the DE feed on souls the same way the c'tan do, though likely without knowing it. I can't really fathom how the nmetaphysics works out, but it does 2 things i like. One, it adds in some delightfully evil irony, and two, it links warp physics to "real" physics. I never liked the idea thatr warp was totally alien. It is a part of the natural world in the 40kverse and its very possible to look at it scientifically, like the Tau do. Its just so wierd, andhumanity so degenerate, that it has the relgious conotations for mankind.

Captain Blood
19-07-2005, 09:33
Well, the C'Tan don't feed on souls. It's mentioned, or at least suggested, that while C'Tan will devour the living energies or whatever from a living being, the souls themselves are left around and daemons tend to eat up these leftovers.

As for the Dark Eldar, I look at their souls as a tank of gas, it keeps them going, and Slaanesh is always draining at it. Eating a soul just fills them up. The more high up a DE is, the more access s/he has to souls, and oddly enough the more he needs, like the proverbial engine is running faster and burning what he's got more quickly.

Hobo Magic
20-07-2005, 18:11
You're right, I should have been more clear, the DE consume the life force of their slaves to fortify their own souls against she who thirsts. There isn't really any canon support for my theory, but there isnt really canon support for any theory, and the delightful irony of the eldar becomes what they once warred against is too sweet to pass up.

Strictly Commercial
31-07-2005, 18:07
Ohhh, thanks guys. That is some very tasty information, and sure to help when (if) the new codex is released.

While I like the old DE force, and think they work very well in the hands of a good strategist, I do hope for some significant changes. Simply because I always look forward to surprises in the books one buys.

31-07-2005, 20:46
The Cítan feasted upon their entire race, leaving behind only ghostly echoes of the Necrontyr.

War, pain and destruction were mirrored in the bottomless depths of the sea of souls. The maelstroms of spirits unleashed in the carnage coalesced into the previously formless energies of the warp. Older warp entities became terrifying predators, rending at the souls of vulnerable psykers as their environment was torn asunder and reforged by the energies called forth for warring in the material universe.

Bothg these quotes demonstrates clearly in my opinion that the C'tan do not feed on souls

You have to understand that 40k metaphysics. It differentiates between body, consciousness, soul and life energy. Body and consciousness are pretty. The soul is the reflection of the mind in the warp(or consciousness if you prefer), where the emotions find their way and life energy is what keeps the body running.
C'tan devour life energy because it is aking to the energies of the stars.
The Dark Eldar replenish their souls being leeched away by Slaanesh with refined souls from their slaves.

31-07-2005, 20:58
'Life energy' is just energy, so if a C'tan consumes your energy then it produces something similar to a rotted corpse as the energy that keeps the body functioning is removed and the entropy increases as nothing is holding it back (as it is when things are alive and the various systems recieving energy from food).

Commander Dante
01-08-2005, 05:38
hmm what would DE use thier Slaves for??? maybe to make them Work? because i am pretty sure that is what slaves are for.... ;) :p :D

IMO i like to seperate slaves form sacrifices. Sacrifices are what the DE feed upon Slaves are used as playthings and servents.

it depends on your defination of Slave

Alco Engineer
01-08-2005, 06:20
DE use slaves as play things.....I think it depends on what they are Eldar and spirit stones make great (and tasty) soul drinks so they tend to enjoy these where as an Ork can deal with a lot of pain and so they are used as play things.

I look at the quality of a soul compared to a being ability for autonomous thought.....so Eldar souls are the most tasty and desirable, human sould are like a throw down, something quick to get you by and ork and Tyranid sould would mean very little. I also think the quality of soul may have to do with the creature psycic link to the warp.....so Eldar are strong but would tau be weak?

01-08-2005, 11:24
What is a "soul"? And do dogs, cats and amoeba have them too?

01-08-2005, 15:01
The imprint of emotions and thoughts within the warp, yes in a way to the first two, no to the third. Though practically nothings soul lasts long at all as an independant entity in the warp, they get absorbed into larger ideas and concepts

01-08-2005, 15:38
i always aw the souls as a top up, with slaanesh slowly leaching away at their souls, they need the constant refills otherwise they lose their soul completely, so they just keep eating them to hold off slaanesh for the time being. It shows how They are constantly in fear of her as they are constantly fighting for their very survivial, as time passes they are forced to eat more and more,because their body starts to develop an immunity of sorts to the souls in that most of it the soul is rejected and more is needed to queench their thirst. Totally unsupported theory though

Commander Dante
01-08-2005, 16:07
or maybe they believe if they sacrifice souls to Slaanesh she wont take thiers?

01-08-2005, 16:16
From what I understand of dark eldar, they only consume the souls of other mortals because they really have no choice in the matter, also Slaanesh has plenty of willing mortal followers if he/she/it could rip the souls of Dark Eldar from their bodies, I would imagine he/she/it wouldn't hesitate no matter how many slaves they sacrificed.

What I don't understand, is why they don't use soul stones like other eldar, I mean they have to know they're going to die sooner or later, and just because they would have soul stones doesn't mean they can't have fun torturing slaves and such... Although I must admit the whole soul-vampire theme is quite cool, if only GW would do something with it like Wound Stealing/Repleneshing for DE heroes.

03-08-2005, 19:51
The soul draining thing others have posted sounds about right to me.
As for all the elaborate tortue, I have sort of assumed it started off as an attempt to find out how to move as far from Slaanesh as possible; since Slaanesh is all about pleasure and self-indulgence, the Dark Eldar sought to experiment with its opposites, embracing pain and agony to keep themselves from falling into self-gratification. As the fiction bit with the Haemonculus illustrates, as the eras have gone by they have lost all sight of their original goals the experiments have spiralled out of controlled to the overwhelming horror that is the Dark Eldar now.

04-08-2005, 13:23
the torture always seemed like a refinery to me, purifying the souls so they are more effective

04-08-2005, 13:26
Or purhaps the idea is to bring the basic essence inline with that of the Dark Eldar's, so that in the warp the two can merge, similar to what the suicide cults try to acheive. Having your soul slowly leeched away is going to be one of the most horrific tortures a highly psychic race can suffer - the mere physical pain inflicted on the prisoners is just enough to bring the two beings close enough together in experience for their souls to merge (with the Eldar's soul being larger and stronger so 'consuming' the smaller less defined one).

04-08-2005, 13:31
that could work, or maybe torturing the soul so it becomes more submissive and easier to consume, have to love speculation:D

04-08-2005, 13:33
Given that 'ghosts' can be created at a place by a slightly psychic being under extreme stress I don't think torture subdues souls, you might be able to control the person, but there is going to be a very violent suffering (though possibly tasty) spirit in the warp.

04-08-2005, 13:42
never heard of ghosts like this before, anymore info on them?

04-08-2005, 13:55
Think it might be in RT - essentially a psychic residue left in areas of extreme emotion, I'll have to have a look to see if I can find it.

04-08-2005, 14:51
if you do send me the info please, it sounds pretty cool and i can imagine it happening as well