Warhammer 40,000 Wiki
Advertisement
This article, How to make a fanon Eldar Craftworld, is part of 40k Fanon's "Guide" articles. It is treated as community project and serves as both hints and guidelines. You are free to edit it, if seemed appropriate.
TemplateCog.png

You have probably heard the following craftworld names before: Alaitoc, Biel-Tan, Iyanden, Saim-Hann, and Ulthwé. The chances are these names conjure an image of what you would expect to see in an army from any of these craftworlds, and what it might look like. This is the result of branding. Each of these craftworlds has a very specific set of units associated with it, a playstyle, and a paint scheme. While it would be possible to play an Iyanden army that was coloured entirely red and included no Wraithguards or Wraithlords, most people would not identify this as an Iyanden force (and may even argue with you that it is not). When designing your own craftworld, think about the image, the units, and the fighting style that would represent it.

While the five major craftworlds mentioned above have the advantage of print media publication, making them recognisable throughout the gaming community, whereas your craftworld probably will not receive such a benefit. This means that your craftworld is going to need some distinguishing characteristics if you want people to recognize it when they read about it in your article. Furthermore, unless your craftworld descends from one of the 'big five' craftworlds, it will need something to set it apart, so that others do not mistake it for one of those forces.

Okay, we all love to make up our own lore, which includes craftworlds, and we want to make them the biggest, most lethal force this side of the galaxy. Fact is, a lot of people need a little help keeping it canon-friendly (a good few of us do). So that's what this guide is for: a few helpful tips to consider when making your own a canon-friendly Eldar Craftworld.

(Please feel free to add to or edit this if you see anything missing.)


Note: Much of the text here has been copied from the Warhammer40K Online Forum under the Fair Use doctrine.

Before anything else, make sure you have read the rules of this wiki, including the canon policy which gives you insight about what you can and can not write about.

When creating your craftworld's page, please use the Eldar Craftworld Infobox to keep things in order.

What are Craftworlds?

"A Craftworld is a sentient being, with a hundred thousand minds."
— High Inquisitor Bronislaw Czevak

Craftworlds are vast, planetoid-sized spacecraft populated by the highly advanced humanoid species known as the Eldar, effectively worlds in space, each a self-contained biosystem. They travel through the void of space at sub-light speeds, carrying the greater remnant of the Eldar race after their Fall. Each craftworld is a self-sufficient, independent realm with its own culture, economy, and military.

Every Craftworld is built upon a skeleton of Wraithbone whose structure extends throughout the gigantic voidcraft. A similar skeletal core lies at the heart of most Eldar constructions and every one of their spacecraft. In function, this core is similar to the blood vessels and nervous system of a living creature, pumping life-giving energy around the body and also transmitting the psychic impulses that coordinate its many functions. Wraithbone is psycho-conductive, and the core of a Craftworld acts as a self-replenishing reservoir of psychic power. The invasive rib-like structures carry this energy throughout the entire length and breadth of the vessel.

In a very real sense, the Craftworld is a living entity, powered by psychic energy and responding in an organic way to the stimuli of psychic forces. The power contained within it can be expended as light and heat, and most ship-board devices could not actually function without the wireless psychic power grid that runs throughout the substructure of the Craftworld. The Eldar refer to this grid as the Infinity Circuit, a metaphysical neural structure studded with the Spirit Stones of the Craftworld's dead, their gestalt psychic collective serving as the source of the great vessel's power--and its ghostly sentience.

History

Prior to the Fall, most Craftworlds were vast trading commercial starships sung from wraithbone; they were effectively self-contained starfaring communities housing hundreds of Eldar families. Trading missions could take the Craftworlds thousands of light years beyond Eldar civilization. Because a Craftworld might return to the rest of Eldar civilization only three or four times in a thousand years, it was easy for them to see the degeneration of Eldar society. Other Craftworlds were constructed(or grown) as escape craft by wiser Eldar who foresaw the cataclysm then rapidly approaching.

As the cataclysm neared, the Craftworlds fled the Eldar worlds, taking with them any Eldar who still remained sane.Onto each Eldar Craftworld, the last uncorrupted people from each Eldar homeworld were loaded. Taking with them any Eldar who still remained sane, the Craftworlds fled the heart of the Eldar civilization, along with works of art, plant life and animals, and whatever else of Eldar culture that could be saved. The massive psychic shockwave of Slaanesh's awakening caught some of the Craftworlds and destroyed them alongside the Eldar homeworlds, while others were pulled into orbit around the newly-formed Eye of Terror Warp rift at the moment of the Prince of Pleasure's birth. Others survived for thousands of years before their people finally faded and died. The rest drift throughout the galaxy today, their exact number uncertain, as contact with and between them can be difficult and intermittent. Some, such as the canon Altansar, and the fanon Marathag have eventually escaped and returned to the material universe.

For thousands of years after the Fall unto the current day (the 41st Millennium), the Craftworlds have carried the greater part of the surviving members of the Eldar race. Craftworlds contain Webway gates that connect tunnels through the Warp. The Webway links the Craftworlds to each other as well as to thousands of planets scattered across the territory of the lost Eldar Empire, allowing the dispersed Eldar civilization some measure of cohesion. Because the Webway is labyrinthine and impossible to accurately map, many Craftworlds are effectively lost, unknown and cut off from the greater part of the remaining Eldar civilization. Craftworlds have grown greatly in size since the Fall, when they became the sanctuary worlds of the Eldar race. They are now approximately 10 to 100 times bigger in both volume and population size than they were before the Fall.

Since the Fall, what has your Craftworld done? What heroic deeds or dastardly betrayals have they enacted? What victories have they gained, defeats they have suffered?

Naming Your Craftworld

The easiest way to make your craftworld stand out is to give it a name. The name you arrive at is ultimately up to you. However, the convention for naming a craftworld follows a general format including the actual name of the craftworld followed by an identifier that gives a little info about that craftworld. Some examples of this are as follows:

Name - Identifier:

Biel-Tan - 'The Swordwind'

Iyanden - 'The Ghost Warriors'

A Biel-Tan host generally seeks to use mobility to crush foes in close combat (a wind of swords). An Iyanden army will typically rely on the spirits of fallen warriors housed in machines of war (ghost warriors). The identifier embodies how the craftworld is recognized by others, while the name is how the craftworld recognizes itself. Remember, not all Eldar hate all other races; many have xenos trading partners, and if you were a human it would be useful to know which ones you are dealing with! Imagine that you are a human in the 41st millennium, and you encounter emissaries from Biel-Tan rather than Alaitoc. Would you not prefer to know that you had met 'The Swordwind' instead of 'The Starstriders'? Which seems more likely to cut you down?

Notice that generally a craftworld's name is mostly composed of soft vowel sounds, and is generally polysyllabic, or composed of a compound of monosyllabic words. Also, they generally end in a consonant sound, and tend to be somewhat guttural rather than fluid. While they do have a Celtic spin to them, many aspects of feudal Japanese society (think samurai and striving for perfection) went into developing Eldar, and that harsh sounding, guttural quality sets out the Bushin of the Eldar quite nicely (wikipedia can tell you a bit more about Bushin, but it is the idea of stopping the sword with the mind, or being in perfect harmony with one's environment). Each word is also associated with an ideal, philosophy, concept, or trait. The Eldar identify very strongly with what they do, rather than what they are. If at all possible you should, therefore, keep in mind that you want your name to fit the people it describes. It should sound right. It will be a made up word in a fake language, so you can bend syllables however you need to get the right sound, but it is an ideal worth striving for.

For inspiration I suggest carefully looking at the names in the various Eldar codex, or going through materials from the Black Library and White Dwarf Magazine. Also, reading up on some popular authors, such as J.R.R. Tolkien could help (though you will notice these names are more fluid than Eldar), or researching Babylonian/Sumerian mythology (which gets closer to the harsh sound but further from the Celtic derivations).

Craftworld Traits

Unless you are brand new to the game you will want to give some thought to your craftworld's traits. It is not necessary to commit to particular units at this point, but having an idea of the type of units you want to include will go a long way to figuring out how you want your Eldar forces to look and feel in your article. Some possible options are to have a fast, mechanized army, or a slower, infantry based, army. You may want to focus on high powered weapons, creating a hail of bullets, or rushing headlong into combat. Having an idea as to the sort of army you would like to play will also go a long way to establishing the history of your craftworld, providing you with a point at which to jump into its background. The units you exclude will also reinforce your craftworld's theme.

Now is a good time to consider some cautionary measures, so that your craftworld is not confused with others (namely, the 'Big Five'). Alaitoc, Biel-Tan, Iyanden, Saim-Hann, or Ulthwé all have long standing traditions, and tend to be easily identifiable based on two themes: color scheme and unit selection. The most important thing to avoid is 'crossing the streams'. You can find the color schemes for each of these craftworlds in the Eldar codex, however, for the sake of completeness, here is a quick list of colors, along with the types of forces these craftworlds tend to field. If you wish to avoid your craftworld being misidentified, do not choose a color scheme from a craftworld along with a similar army design:

Craftworld Colours

Major Craftworlds

If you plan on using one of these craftworld traits listed above, it would be advisable to avoid the associated colour schemes, unless you are developing a craftworld derived from the 'Big Five'.

Minor Craftworlds

Craftworld Background

File:Alaitoc Farseer by kunkka.jpg

A Farseer of Craftworld Alaitoc

A history is a collection of the experiences of a particular people, along with the information needed to give it significance. Historic events can shape the future of a people, and continue to impact on a society long after the event has concluded. As such, history and society are inextricably linked, and each one influences the other. You will probably find it necessary to think about the history of your craftworld in order to develop its motivations and attributes. Where has it been, and what have its people seen? What important events, for better or worse, have changed its culture?

Most Eldar craftworlds date back to the period of The Fall, or shortly beforehand. It would be rare to find an Eldar craftworld that had developed into its own isolated nation long before The Fall, as during that time the Eldar civilization was a galactic empire which would make the empire of man look shabby by comparison. This is a good example as to why some background will be necessary, for if your craftworld was around as its own autonomous entity long before The Fall, were its people renegades or pioneers? Did the rest of the Eldar civilization commission them or hunt them down?

he period of The Fall offers a great starting point for a craftworld's society; perhaps better than most, as that period was riven with so much conflict, and there are numerous reasons why your Eldar society would have elected to break away from the empire. The Eldar path did not exist at this point in time, and Eldar civilization was degrading into hedonism, thus the Eldar themselves probably largely resembled the Dark Eldar in terms of lifestyle, although probably not in terms of appearance. Many Eldar left, in order to avoid this sort of social decay, while others probably felt [or scryed] the coming of Slaanesh, and sought to flee from her before she was born into the Warp. Once this happened, the psychic shockwave that followed killed Eldar by the millions as their souls were syphoned off to feed her power, and any craftworld too close to the Eye of Terror would have suffered horrendous casualties, as well as horrendous experiences. The planets previously held by the Eldar in that area would become the Crone Worlds.

When writing your craftworld's history, you may want to do it as a timeline. This format is easily understood, and shows a sequence of events, which may reveal patterns useful in determining what sort of society your Eldar have evolved into. Consider expanding all the way back to The Fall, if not to the origin of the craftworld, and work your way forwards. Where has your craftworld been, who have its members seen, why did it end up where it is? Were there any important historical figures, epic battles, horrible defeats, or amazing advances? Why were these things so significant to your people? Give an account of the sort of events your craftworld experienced. Important historical figures, and their lives, make very good topics, especially as their stories help to write the history of the craftworld as a whole. For instance, an important Seer may have guided her people to a maiden world which they have since recovered from a Tyranid invasion. The defence of this maiden world may then make up a large part of your craftworld history. Alternately, you may consider where the craftworld is now, and work your way backwards to explain how it got to each step, for example, if the craftworld is currently fighting Chaos Space Marines, what is the reason?

Society

Answering some of the following questions will help you develop your craftworld's social structure:

What sort of government runs this society? What sort of people are they in terms of relations to others? Who do they interact with? What sort of beliefs guide their culture? How large is this society? How much wealth is available to this society? What sort of environment does this society exist in? How do smaller units of this society relate to the whole [think of a province versus a nation]?

While most craftworlds are fairly self sufficient, this need not always be the case, and there may be craftworlds that produce things at a higher quality than yours. Your craftworld may also lack certain Aspect Shrines, and need to send its Aspect Warriors out periodically to visit the shrines on other craftworlds. These types of dependencies help to shape the strengths of your craftworld, because, ultimately, nothing comes free. A craftworld without the right resources might have trouble producing wraithbone for grav-tanks, or even food for its civilians. A craftworld with a wealth of resources may gift or trade such materials or products with other craftworlds. Such a craftworld might even lord their wealth over other Eldar, demanding submission from lesser craftworlds. A society on a larger craftworld, or one that spans several craftworlds or colonies, may be less hesitant to commit more troops to a battle than a tiny craftworld or a single colony.

A craftworld with a long history of warfare may be ruled by its military. A collection of several craftworld colonies might be run by a council of the family leaders. Because the politics of the Eldar are so infrequently delved into, the possibilities are quite open here. Next, consider the ethical rules of your society. These will often be influenced by their historical experiences. Many Eldar craftworlds have a number of taboos, which may not be broken under any circumstances. This means they will tend to utilize tools, and maintain social structures, which have not changed much over millennia. On the other hand, a corsair style society may use a wider range of exotic and innovative items than an ascetic and pacifist craftworld, strictly due to the lifestyle of corsairs. A more traditional craftworld may have a number of ritualistic embellishments that distinguish rank and accomplishment. Some of this may be reflected in the way in which you model your army.

The following link is to a map of notable Eldar activity in the 40K universe (including approximate location and direction of Craftworld travel):

File:Eldar planets.jpg

A galaxy map depicting notable Craftworlds and Eldar activity (ca. 998.M41)

Knowing where your Eldar civilization is located, in relation to the sort of threats it is likely to face will be useful, as the enemies you face routinely will largely shape the sort of culture your craftworld has (who they would trade with, who they do battle with and how often, what sort of society they would need to effectively deal with those threats, and what is available, in terms of resources, for your Eldar to make use of). Think about the other types of armies in the galaxy your craftworld are likely to face when fleshing your article out, for example. Additionally, think about the sort of treaties your society may be involved in, i.e. consider armies that you are likely to play team games with, and whether adding an alliance to your background might make sense. Also, visualise where in the 40k universe your craftworld is located. Eldar inhabiting a system of ice worlds will have access to different resources compared to those inhabiting jungle planets.

Almost no army goes to war without a reason for doing so, not even an army of Khorne Berzerkers (whose reason is that they must go to war to claim skulls for the Skull Throne for their bloody-handed god)! It will, therefore, be necessary to think about the goals and aims of your craftworld's society, as well as its history, in order to get a sense of why its armies fight. Your craftworld may seek to rebuild the Eldar empire of old, or simply be out to plunder the galaxy. Your craftworld may be attempting to eradicate an Imperial colony that is colonising a system where many ancient Eldar artifacts were lost during the fall. Alternatively, perhaps your craftworld holds a grudge, owing to a grievous injustice suffered at the hands of other armies.

If you have a specific set of routine opponents, you may want to work them into your story. The colony your craftworld is searching for may have been destroyed hundreds of years ago by the Death Guard, and this is why your craftworld fight this enemy regularly. On the other hand, perhaps that colony was destroyed mysteriously and in your search for it you encounter these opponents who block your progress. Remember that the Eldar is a dying race, so its forces will not go to war without good reason, unless, of course, you come up with a reason to get around this. Fanatics of Ynnead, for example, may seek death in battle to strengthen their patron deity, while simultaneously weakening their foes.

Government and Politics

Being an independent realm, each Craftworld is free to choose its own form of government. Be it leadership by Farseers and Warlocks, command by the generals, or even some form of Democracy.

Allies, Enemies

Each Craftworld is an independent realm. Sometimes acting mutually with others to achieve a common objective, but independent, making alliances and wars as its leaders please. In the many centuries since the Fall of the Eldar, your Craftworld will no doubt have acquired a few favorite enemies and regular allies.

Military

Every Eldar of a Craftworld is a highly trained warrior - in battle these citizen-soldiers are known as Guardians, forming the craftworld's defensive militia.

Apart from these citizen-soldiers, each Craftworld maintains at least one, and almost certainly more, Aspect Temples, where warriors train in one of the many miitary disciplines, or Aspects.

The Aspect Temples are usually fairly independent from the government of the craftworld, taking no part in government and permitting no interference in their inner workings, but always focused on the defense of the craftworld and the Eldar. What Aspect Temples are there on your craftworld? How many of your people are warriors? Which Aspect is most commonly chosen? Least common?

Army Design

File:Saim-Hann Guardians 1.jpg

An Eldar Warlock leads Craftworld Guardians of Saim-Hann into battle

An army is a standing body of troops available for deployment in military engagements. This is different from an army list, which represents a particular detachment from the army as a whole and is fielded for particular engagements. The particular army lists fielded by a craftworld will probably vary from mission to mission, while the army as a whole should not. It is for this reason that it may be beneficial to think of your army as a set of conceptual models when you set about designing it, rather than as a particular list of units. This will allow you to alter what your craftworld would field in battle while maintaining a certain internal structure to your force.

Basically, the entire Codex: Eldar is available to players when they build an army list. Having an army design is a way to limit the options available in a way that makes sense and shows consistency without putting too much restriction on what is typically available to you. In designing your army, you will want to consider the craftworld you have developed so far, what this craftworld is like, and which of the selections available to you in the Codex would not make sense for you to field given these considerations. Basically an army design is a set of restrictions you impose on yourself for the purpose of making your army more definitive.

A craftworld's history will affect how the army is developed, because the battles experienced in the past determine in large part the forces wielded in the future. If your craftworld has been horribly ravaged by a Tyranid invasion which they are still trying to expel, their equipment may be less specialized and more ubiquitous. It would need to be easily crafted in haste to be put to immediate use, and must be serviceable by whoever is wielding it. On the other hand, a craftworld with a long history of conquest may have carved a larger empire with several smaller craftworlds under its governance. Such a craftworld may feature detachments from several of its minions, with long-ranged shooting units clad in the colours of one pawnworld while the assault elements are enrolled from a different pawnworld. Additionally, the leadership may be somewhat fractious, so that each squad must have its own leader, and all the squads may only agree to serve simultaneously under the command of an Avatar, showing the willingness of the overworld to sacrifice for its pawns.

Weapons too will generally be determined by the history of a craftworld. A craftworld with an extensive history of fighting Orks would probably have little need for including Bright Lances and Starcannons in its army, while a craftworld who fights the Chaos Space Marines frequently may field those heavy weapons exclusively. A craftworld that faces off against Tyranids may rely on a mechanized approach to safeguard its warriors, as Tyranids have a hard time destroying Eldar armour. An Eldar force that faces the Imperial armies on the other hand may include many units that benefit from rapid assaults, closing into the Imperial lines quickly and destroying them in combat. It would not make sense to claim such a heritage in developing your craftworld only to abandon this heritage once you hit the field - after all, an army with a history of facing particular opponents will be optimized for those opponents, and will have more difficulty facing others.

The type of society your craftworld maintains will determine how it is composed. A tribal structure may see the craftworld form up into separate divisions for battle which work more or less autonomously, or possibly in teams from a particular clan. A craftworld with a rigid hierarchy will have a strong top-down style of command, and probably field units built to one particular role which only those units will engage in; one would expect to see Fire Dragons designed exclusively for AT duties while Dark Reapers shot heavy infantry, with combat restricted to assault specialists. Vehicles would be equipped to match the units they were carrying, so that you would expect bright lances on wave serpents that carried Fire Dragons, and starcannons on those carrying Dark Reapers. If your society is an agrarian society on some backwater Maidenworld, it is likely that a large number of Guardians would be fielded, probably without the benefit of support weapons.

Philosophy extends outwards from society to warfare. If your craftworld values order above all else they will have a different manner of waging war than a craftworld that values individualism. Your society's artistic preferences will influence the design of your weapons of war. A craftworld that values nobility would seek face to face confrontations, while one that values the appearance of cooperation may carry out assassinations where battles need to be fought - such a craftworld may have an alliance with the Imperium and yet have a need to obliterate an element of the Imperial forces to further the interests of the craftworld. This can only be done in secret.

If your craftworld is made up of merchants who value trade, and therefore need to be able to conduct their affairs peaceably and quickly, the army available to such a craftworld would differ from that maintained by a craftworld where theology was the primary concern. In the first case the craftworld would probably feature a large militia and make use of transports which could be deployed from space or low orbit; perhaps even their merchant vessels have been fitted with weapons. Warfare would probably be conducted from a distance with a premium placed on avoiding direct engagement, both to mask their identity and because the army is not composed of dedicated warriors. On the other hand, the craftworld focused on theology would feature a large number of Seers and their Aspect Warriors may be dedicated to the particular god who most embodies their way of war. If a militia was fielded it would probably be only under the supervision of the clergy, who may take to battle in the role of Warlocks.

All of these are things to consider when designing an army. Saim-Hann is Saim-Hann because of their colours and their lack of non-mechanized units; failing either of those benchmarks would cause others to doubt that they were indeed facing a Saim-Hann force. An Iyanden army without Wraithguard or Wraithlords would be dubious at best. Fielding an Ulthwé army that was painted pink would probably also fall short of conveying their identity. A Biel-Tan Swordwind army relies on altered composition somewhat; failing to include some form of close combat Elite choices would hamper the image of the Bahzhakhain.

Craftworld Archetypes

An archetype is a sort of pattern or theme that reappears throughout many stories. The following are some examples of possible archetypes to use in developing your history and society. They are based on possible points of origin for your craftworld in an historical sense, and can be used to decide where the story of your craftworld began and how it evolved into what it is today. The questions included in each section are posed to help you flesh things out. The archetypes listed are just some ideas of how a craftworld may have come into existence, the possibilities are pretty much endless.

Renegades

Your Eldar society is probably not too fond of other Eldar, having had to fight them for untold millennia to retain their independence. The tragic plight of the Eldar as a whole would probably not bother your craftworld - the other Eldar brought things upon themselves. You probably have few, if any, Aspects; and the ones that are available would certainly not have been founded by Phoenix Lords (as these would have been fought off), but they may have the same fighting style. Are your Eldar fiercely individual, or do they form close bonds of kinship? How well equipped are they? What sort of epic battles have they fought against other Eldar that has allowed them to establish their own society? Are they well known and infamous, looked up to, or unknown? Have they worked to reattach their ties of kinship, or do they detest all other Eldar still? Have they become corsairs, seeking to loot and plunder the wealth and resources of any other races they encounter? These are the sorts of questions that might be asked of such an Eldar society.

Pioneers

The question is mainly at what point in time were your Eldar building colonies, and how did that impact their experiences? If it was long enough before the event of the Fall, they were probably far enough away from the Eye of Terror to escape relatively unscathed. Maybe they were reclaiming renegade Eldar worlds or craftworlds, or perhaps they were settling new planets? Does your Eldar society know the secrets of the maiden worlds and has set about awakening them? Do your Eldar crusade against the mon-keigh in an attempt to retake worlds that have since fallen into human hands? Alternatively, did their wave of exploration finally break, causing them to settle at the fringe of the galaxy without interest in striking out further into the unknown? Do they embrace the Path, or do they still wander (in Exodite fashion)? Being relatively disconnected from the rest of the Eldar, do they maintain relations or have they been forgotten?

Ascetics

This is an archetype typical of many craftworlds that broke from the Empire during the fall. Such Eldar are sick of the spiritual malaise of the Eldar race, and seek to cure it by avoiding the excesses of the Eldar Empire that brought about the awakening of Slaanesh. Such a craftworld would be composed of many Eldar following a Path, whether in the form of the Artisan, Artist, Warrior, or something else. There would probably be many Aspect Shrines on such a craftworld, as well as many other shrines to the other gods of the Eldar, and the paths associated with such gods (consider a Shrine to Vaul with the associated Eldar on the Path of the Smith...). Such Eldar might exhibit the infamous Eldar arrogance and be cold and dispassionate. They might also have a strong sense of honour, which may or may not be extended to the less worthy inhabitants of the galaxy. The question becomes, which Paths do such Eldar walk? What is the focus of their society? Are all Eldar in this society striving towards a common goal, or is their goal simply to exist without degrading? What are they known for? Do they craft things with unparalleled beauty, or do they prefer dull simplicity to further avoid excess? Are they hesitant to deal with other Eldar who may not live up to their standards, or do they try to convince others to further embrace a focused and sparse lifestyle?

Prophets

Such Eldar would have relied heavily on the powers of psychics to see that they were bringing their own doom upon them, and that the only way to ensure survival was to leave the empire, and embrace a much more stringent lifestyle. The Fall may have caught them, but since they had fair warning, did it hit them as hard as others or were they relatively untouched? Have the Seers and mystics of such a society become a sort of revered cult, or is their status something else? How did they manage to read the skeins of fate where others failed? Why did they neglect to save other Eldar, if they even had the chance? Where are the strands of fate leading them now? Do they feel the need to intervene in the activities of others to bend fate to their will, or do they prefer to ride the times, hoping to avoid calamity through careful observation?

Refugees

These Eldar did not escape the Fall, though they were far enough away from the event that they escaped the Eye of Terror. Many of their kin were probably slain in the psychic apocalypse as Slaanesh was born, and the survivors probably had to battle their way to safety, either against creatures of the Warp, possessed Eldar, or Eldar who were simply driven mad, further weakening them. In such a state they probably limped through the galaxy, avoiding contact with others where possible as they nursed their wounds. The question is, did they recover? Are these refugees still downtrodden, under-supplied, and fighting to hang on? Do they get caught in battle because others find them easy prey, or do they fight to take what they need? Are they wandering pirates, or have they finally found a place to settle, and begun to rebuild? What impact has their experience had on their ability to make a society? Are they close-knit and reliant on each other for support, or have they experienced such horror that they have become grim and despondent?

Survivors

These Eldar were hit the hardest, being totally inside the Eye of Terror as it formed, and they were, therefore, sucked into a nightmare realm where the unimaginable became reality. They have spent millennia living in the worst possible circumstances, where the Warp and reality entwine. They have probably had to deal continuously with fending off the depredations of daemons. Eventually, they have emerged from the Eye. How did they escape? What sort of things did they experience? Do they have any knowledge of the Crone Worlds? Did they encounter Chaos Space Marines during their time in the Warp? How long were they stuck there, and did time pass at the same speed for them as it did for those outside of the Warp? Are they to be trusted (such as Altansar which is viewed suspiciously...)? Have they since been able to form a society, or are they merely the last remnants of an army whose sole purpose is to survive until they are wiped out? Do they have dealings with anyone else? Do they even know they have escaped from the warp? Are they still sane?

Betrayers

These are the Eldar which have decided to serve on the side of Slaanesh, or one of the other Chaos Gods, as a result of their time in the Eye of Terror or their experiences during the fall (if they did not get drawn into the Eye). Perhaps they summon daemons rather than awakening Avatars? Perhaps their psychic powers come from more sinister sources? These are not Dark Eldar, who live at the mercy of Slaanesh as hopeless pawns, but rather Eldar who have found a new path - the Path of Glory. They willingly serve their new masters and seek to gain untold power in their service, to perhaps rival and overthrow their dark masters. Necromancy is not a thing to fear, but a means of overcoming death and continuing to gain power. Spirit stones become warp focuses that enhance the powers of the bearer, possibly through the experience of the Eldar spirit trapped inside, but possibly through something darker lurking in it. What experiences shaped their culture in the Warp? How did they come to ally with Chaos, and why? Do they deal with other Eldar still, or seek to stomp them out? Are they involved with the traitors of mankind? Have they suffered mutations? What sort of promises have the Chaos gods made them? Which powers do they serve?

(Editor's note: Chaos Craftworld Eldar is not very likely as a concept, but small remnants of destroyed craftworlds, inhabitants of the Crone Worlds, or pirates, outcasts or corsairs turning to Chaos is possible.)

Philosophy

If nothing else, Eldar are known for their grace, intellect and philosophy. Eldar, having a lifespan many times that of a human, will have centuries to deliberate upon the mysteries of the universe, as well as to master any task they set their minds to. Such deliberation will often develop into very specific means of viewing the world, often through the scope of one's field of expertise, so that every encounter an Eldar has is connected in some way to every other encounter. The most obvious manifestation of this aspect of the Eldar psyche is in the Farseer, who is able to view these connections and even manipulate them to change destiny. However, this seems to be just a more powerful vision of the relationships between the various elements of an Eldar lifespan.

Think of an Eldar as a a consummate craftsman. Whatever he sets his hand to, he will seek to perfect. In order to obtain this perfection, he will begin to see how every action is a means of expressing the perfection of his handiwork. The turn of a head, the exchange of a few words, or a still moment spent viewing one's surroundings, if performed by an Aspect Warrior, are but links in a chain, leading to the next perfect kill. An Eldar artisan's choice of meal may become a part of the process of their handicraft. Ultimately, the actual life of an Eldar becomes a way of life, and defines the Path that they follow.

The Path exists on a level that is larger than the individual as well. It describes the journey taken on the road of destiny by entire Eldar civilizations; it may even define this journey for all Eldar, much as many tributaries create a river. The infinite scope of all possibilities may therefore be viewed through the lens of the whole or its parts, and while an individual Eldar may have no knowledge of the impact his fate has on others, the channel he creates through his philosophy determines in small measure the course that the destinies of all Eldar will follow.

This may be the reason behind the strict adherence to a particular school of thought arising in any given Eldar society, which sets the rhythm and pattern of the lives of all Eldar who belong to that society. The more a particular Path is followed, the greater it is reinforced, in the same manner that a small trail, when walked frequently, may eventually carve a highway through a forest. The more influence a craftworld has through its philosophy, the more likely it becomes that the particular course of destiny they seek to realize will come to pass. Eventually, a craftworld becomes known for a particular Path, and a particular set of associated values.

It has been said that Eldar fluff is drawn of the Greek civilization, while the Space Marines are drawn from the Romans. This illustration may be useful because the mon-keigh have built their empire on the ruins of the former Eldar Empire (as Rome did to Greece]. Each of the Greek city-states was known for particular strengths. In addition, each city-state had a different ethos, placing value on particular philosophies not unlike the different craftworlds. So, I will demonstrate how one can develop a simple philosophy for their craftworld modelled from those of various city-states:

  • Athens (strategy, knowledge) - Such Eldar would value flexibility and variety, as well as ingenuity, and would seek constant improvement while confounding the machinations of rivals
  • Sikyon (artwork) - Such Eldar would place great importance on their artists and artwork [wraith constructs, vehicles], and would attempt to always achieve the perfect form.
  • Corinth (merchants, artisans) - Mobility and traders would be prized by such Eldar, who would probably seek advantageous alliances or treaties when possible.
  • Sparta (valour) - Military excellence would be the apex for such Eldar, and their society would be highly defined by their warfare.
  • Thebes (legends) - Such Eldar would place great focus on the rare, exotic, and bizarre elements of their society, seeking uniqueness and individuality along with perfection.
  • Argos (artists, able warriors) - Such Eldar would prize its citizens and strive for endurance, whether in leaving lasting impressions through their monuments upon future generations or persisting in defiance of extinction.
  • Mykenae (seafarers, conquerors) - Such Eldar would require the ability to travel through space as well as military might, seeking to bring others under their heel or their blade, while developing their knowledge of unknown areas.
  • Delphi (Seers, Visionaries) - Such Eldar would value the knowledge of the past as well as the future, looking to their history in an attempt to discover their destiny.
  • Olympia (religion, unity) - Such Eldar would express diversity as well as prizing the mystic elements of its society - others would probably be welcome to benefit through belonging to this society, once they accepted their proper place in it.

What your Craftworld Has

File:Eldar Craftworld.png

An example of an Eldar Craftworld

When making your Craftworld, these are the absolute basics: there's no making a Craftworld without them.

Webway Gate

Craftworlds contain Webway gates - the Webway linking the craftworlds to each other as well as to millions of planets, allowing the dispersed Eldar civilization some measure of cohesion. But because the Webway is labyrinthine and impossible to map, many craftworlds are effectively lost, unknown and cut off from the greater part of Eldar civilization.

Infinity Circuit

Every Craftworld has and must have an Infinity Circuit, which is essentially the Wraithbone skeleton of the Craftworld itself. Within it rests the souls of the Craftworld's dead in a form of group consciousness, providing both a well of psychic power for the ship and a massive ancestral mind to advise and guide the living. The Infinity Circuit is the closest thing that the Eldar have to an afterlife; if their souls are not caught in Spirit Stones and integrated into it, they will be lost into the warp and devoured by the Great Enemy.

Warp Spiders

The Infinity Circuit is tended by tiny spider-like creatures that act as the Circuit's immune system, searching for and destroying any taint of Chaos that would otherwise corrupt the entire infinity circuit.

Colours and Livery

Colour Considerations

File:Arldu-LocGuardiun2.png

A Guardian of the fanon Craftworld Arldu-Loc

Describing how your Craftworld's forces appear, can really help your article to stand out, and best suits your Craftworld's fighting style. If your army is described as being a ragtag band of raiders that engage in skirmish style tactics, you would most likely want to describe your forces as being remarkably different from each other in appearance. An army from a craftworld with a large standing force, that relies on its military might, would tend to look more uniform in appearance.

How you want your Craftworld forces to look will influence how they are perceived in your article, and serve to reflect their overall theme and fighting style. If you want your army to have a more noble feel, it would be beneficial to select brighter colours, and the use of softer shading and separations. If you want your craftworld to feel more sinister, keep the palette dark, with harsher breaks between areas of colour through sharper gradation. Also think about your craftworld's fighting style. A guerilla force using ambush tactics would most likely stick to camouflage, while a harassment style force might need brighter colours to distinguish them as allies.

File:RumruaWR2.jpg

Craftworld Nimethvin world-rune

If you think that you will follow a specific archetype for your craftworld, it would be a good idea to flesh out your background a bit before describing how they appear. If, for example, your Eldar are refugees from an abandoned craftworld, they would probably need to have a dark and dirty appearance. Some of these themes will be discussed in the next section, so if you want to theme your army read ahead before committing to a particular style, or paint scheme.

Craftworld Symbol

The Eldar race uses runes (also referred to as pictograms, hieroglyhs or symbols) as a written language and also to embody concepts. To represent your fanon craftworld, typically you'll need to come up with your own world-rune. These runic designs have become synonymous with the Eldar aesthetic. What is your Craftworld's world-rune? What does it mean? What is the name of the world-rune for your craftworld and what does it translate into? For inspiration, please refer to the following link: Eldar Runes and Symbols - Craftworld Runes

Quotes

The battlecry of your Craftworld's warriors, sayings of your farseers, famous last words of your heroes? These not only add a touch of versimilitude to an otherwise bald and uninspiring narrative, they give you an opportunity to showcase the 'flavor' of your Craftworld: their general philosophy and outlook.

Further Tips

Not very widely known, and you might find some use for it.

Dark Craftworlds

There are some very few Craftworlds that have fallen to Chaos. Either by conquest or corruption, such as the canon Kher-Ys.

Webway Jump

On rare occasions, a Craftworld can make a 'webway jump' such as Craftworld Kaelor did, to reach a destination very quickly. I don't know what exactly this entails.

Advertisement