Imperium of Man: Founders, The Primarchs, Adeptus Astartes (First Founding Chapters, Other Chapters, Characters, Primaris Marines), Astra Militarum, Adepta Sororitas, Inquisition, Mechanicus, Other factions
Forces of Chaos: Chaos Gods, Chaos Primarchs, Chaos Marines
Xeno Races: Aeldari (Asuryani, Drukhari) | Leagues of Votann | Necrons | Orks (Characters) | T'au Empire | Tyranids (Genestealer Cults)
In Warhammer 40,000, the Asuryani, commonly referred to as Craftworld Aeldari or simply Craftworlders, are the principal faction of the Aeldari race, star-faring nomads who strive to avoid falling to the temptations that doomed their race.
During the dark days leading up to the Fall, many Aeldari heeded their seers' warnings and fled the murderous debaucheries of their home worlds to start new lives on vast, self-sufficient, conglomerate vessels known as craftworlds. To avoid falling prey to the same dark desires that ended their empire, the Craftworlders live a strictly regimented and disciplined existence, focusing their attentions on one "Path" of life at a time, such as scholar, artisan, Seer, or warrior. Many craftworlds are concerned solely with survival, believing that their race is entering its final twilight age, but others hope to overcome their decline, defeat the dark god their ancestors created and rebuild the lost Aeldari empire, or die trying. As the 41st Millennium came to an end, however, the prophesised god of death began to stir, giving hope to some amongst the craftworlds, although others do not trust the Whispering God or his Reborn followers.
The Asuryani are guided by prescient Farseers, who read the skein of fate and manipulate galactic events to their craftworld's advantage. The craftworlds are also thought to hold and sustain the majority of the Aeldari population, as well as the remnants of their pre-Fall culture and industry. As such, these Aeldari are among those most commonly encountered by other races. On many occasions Craftworlders have unexpectedly fought alongside the Imperium of Man against common enemies such as Orks, the Necrons, or Chaos. However, these alliances of convenience should not be interpreted as benevolence — the Aeldari consider themselves far above the lowly "mon'keigh", and have just as often waged war against humans, or used them as expendable pawns in schemes that trade billions of human lives to save a handful of Aeldari.
If the Space Marines are an army of generalists, the Craftworlders are an army of extreme specialists—their Aspect Warriors excel at a particular battlefield role, but need to fulfill that role in order to be useful. The Craftworlders also make extensive use of skimmer units such as jetbikes and grav-tanks, allowing them to swiftly bring devastating firepower to bear and outflank their opponents, while their leaders' psyker abilities can help bolster their allies and swing the battle at pivotal instances. Appropriately for their race, success with the Craftworlders largely depends on predicting the enemy's battle-plan and countering it with the right combination of units and actions.
The primary Aeldarinote force for many editions, some early Codex: Eldar books included rules for many of the non-Drukhari sub-factions, such as Harlequins and Exodites, alongside the Craftworld units. In 2015, Codex: Craftworlds was released for the 7th Edition rules, with the Harlequins receiving their own Codex. The 8th Edition of the game renamed the Craftworld Eldar as Craftworlders with the faction name of Asuryani. Their rules can be found in Codex: Craftworlds, released in October 2017 with additional rules released in the October 2019 supplement Psychic Awakening: Phoenix Rising.
- Agent Peacock: As the setting's equivalent of the High Elf archetype, the Weak, but Skilled warriors of the craftworlds enhance their Elfeminate looks with brightly coloured armour, polished gems, and voluminous fur-trimmed robes for their psychic leaders. Even their war machines have a beauty and and elegance that the machines of other races lack, with Impossibly Graceful Giant constructs marching to battle alongside sleek Hover Tanks.
- Angsty Surviving Twin: Due to the extremely strong Psychic Link between Aeldari twins, it is not uncommon for a twin to be driven into deep despair when their sibling is killed. In order to mitigate and utilise this phenomenon, the surviving twin will often go on to pilot one of the large constructs known as Wraithknights with the help of the fallen twin's spirit stone as this extreme familial bond results in unprecedented Synchronization between the pilot and the Wraithknight.
- Animal Theme Naming: Many of the armoured vehicles used by the Craftworlders are named after animals from Aeldari mythology such as the Falcon grav-tank (named after the falcon Faolchú who brought the sword Anaris to the great Aeldari hero Eldanesh), and the Scorpion super-heavy grav-tank (whose mythical counterpart used its sting to kill enemies before they could get into range).
- Anti-Air: The Fire Storm is a rare anti-aircraft grav-tank deployed when Aeldari aircraft are unavailable. Armed with a Fire Storm scatter laser array, these vehicles unleash such a hail of high-powered laser beams that even the largest enemy fliers can be brought down in moments.
- Arm Cannon: Many Aeldari Wraith-constructs have ranged weapons attached to their arms in addition to their shoulder mounted guns to allow them to continue to manipulate objects and, in the case of some Wraithlords and Wraithknights, wield large and powerful blades. Older editions of the game, meanwhile, often had the weapon replace the arm entirely.
- Artificial Afterlife: In order to prevent their souls from being consumed by She Who Thirsts, the Asuryani constructed the infinity circuits that permeate each Craftworld. When an Aeldari of the Craftworlds dies, their soul is captured within a gem known as a waystone. These spirit soulsnote are then inserted into the infinity circuit and the soul released into a shadowy, dreamlike existence where they can watch over and advise the living.
- Auto-Revive: The Phoenix Gem is an ancient relic of the craftworlds that can return its bearer to life by siphoning energy from the surrounding area. In-game, this powerful gem forces nearby units to take a test that, if failed, will cause that unit woundsnote in exchange for immediately returning its bearer to life with a single Wound.
- Awesome Personnel Carrier: The primary troop carrier used by the warhosts of the craftworlds is the Wave Serpent, a fast-moving grav-tank protected by a powerful force field known as a serpent shield. The Wave Serpent is able to carry an entire squad of Asuryani warriors in relative safety, supporting its passengers with an array of deadly weapons. Other grav-tanks used by the Craftworlders, such as the Falcon, do sport a modest transport capacity but this is usually secondary to their main battlefield role.
- Badass Army: Between their inhuman senses and reflexes, fearsome psychic potential and highly advanced weapons technology, the Asuryani definitely qualify. Even the lowly Guardians, a citizen militia of Aeldari in non-combat Paths pressed into service to war, are a cut above the soldiery of other races. Aspect Warriors are one of the few forces in the galaxy who can fight toe-to-toe against Space Marines on equal terms and prevail. Combine these excellent warriors with the mighty Wraith Hosts and the Engines of Vaul, and you soon understand why the Children of Eldanesh are some of the deadliest and most feared opponents in the 41st Millennium.
- Blinded by the Light: The Shimmerplume of Achillrial is an ornate helm that is a relic of a lost craftworld. The plume of this ancient helmet is able to capture light and reflect it towards the wearer's enemies in a dazzling display of colour. The 8th edition rules represent this by giving all those trying to target the wearer of the Shimmerplume a penalty on their to hit rolls.
- Brain Uploading: As Aeldari souls retain their consciousness after death, the Craftworlders attempt to save themselves from being devoured by She Who Thirsts by uploading their souls into an Artificial Afterlife known as an infinity circuit, allowing the individual's soul to become a part of their craftworld itself and continue to advise the living. Additionally, in times of great need, souls can be extracted from the infinity circuit, placed into spirit stones, and uploaded into Asuryani war machines and Wraith-constructs to act as a form of spiritual AI.
- Casting a Shadow: Some of the Aeldari psykers who fight alongside Wraith Hosts are able to use tears in the fabric of reality to create unnatural shadows to protect their follows. The 8th Edition rules represent this with the Twilight Gloom psychic power available to psykers from the Wraith Host Specialist Detachmentnote that allows a friendly unit to count as being in cover.
- Chicken Walker: War Walkers are lightly armoured, but heavily armed, one-man Mini-Mecha that have elegant reverse-jointed legs. These legs give the War Walker greater speed and agility than the walkers of more primitive races.
- Combat Clairvoyance:
- Aeldari psykers can hold their own in close combat, as they literally know your every move, and apply those same skills which leading their forces on the battlefield. Enemies find themselves fighting a foe that reacts to their attacks before they've barely started.
- The Aeldari of Ulthwé are so attuned to the strands of fate that even their citizen militia have developed a limited form of prescience that allows them to avoid attacks during a battle. The 8th Edition rules represent this with the 'Foresight of the Damned' Craftworld Attribute that allows all Ulthwé models a chance to ignore Wounds that they suffer.
- The spirits of deceased Seers and Warlocks who reside within the wraithbone cores of the rare Warlock Battle Titans are able to foresee potential danger that could damage the mighty Wraith-Construct, allowing it to dodge and weave through enemy attacks with the fluid grace that Aeldari Titans are renowned for. Early editions of the Epic scale game system represented this with the Witch Sight Psychic Power that made the Titan harder to hit with both shooting and close combat attacks.
- Combination Attack:
- The multi-stage firing system used by Fire Prism grav-tanks all allow them to chain their laser energy of their prism cannons through each other's amplification crystals in order to unleash a far more powerful attack. How this is represented on the tabletop depends on the edition but usually involves special rules, abilities or Stratagems that give bonuses to prism cannon shots if another Fire Prism has already fired at the target, or if other Fire Prisms in the same unit give up their own shots.
- When multiple vibro-cannons fire at the same target, the increased resonance of their beams greatly magnifies their power. In-game, this is represented by a stat boost and/or re-rolls depending on the edition.
- A Commander Is You: Craftworlds are a mixed Elitist/Ranger/Technical/Specialist faction. Deadly but fragile, the Craftworlders generally rely on cover and obscurity to remain alive rather than armour or staying power. They have few all-rounder units, but their specialists are some of the best units available at their given role. Asuryani aircraft are some of the best in the game and, depending on the edition, can have a powerful psychic game. Overall, the Craftworlders are an army that requires a player to make a plan come together as well as possible and be intimately familiar with what each unit can and cannot do.
- Culture Chop Suey: The Craftworlders combine visual, mythical and spiritual elements from various different historical cultures and their fictionalised counterparts, including Ancient Greece, the Far East, medieval Europe, and Tolkienesque elves, as well as some aspects of Celtic Mythology. Some of the more obvious individual elements taken from multiple cultures include those following Path of the Warrior being very loosely equivalent to Japanese samurainote and the Ancient Egyptian-style symbols used by some craftworlds.
- Crystal Spires and Togas: The interior environments and civilians of the craftworlds are typically depictednote with a mixture of ancient mystical styles (such as Ancient Egyptian pyramids and animal-headed statues, and East Asian symbols and styles of dress, etc.) and the living architecture of typical fantasy elven culture, alongside the advanced technology of one of the older races in the galaxy.
- Dangerous Forbidden Technique: Exposure to the miniature infinity circuit within a Hemlock Wraith-fighter slowly sends its Spiritseer pilot mad, and will eventually leave them nothing but a withered husk as their soul joins those within the aircraft's wraithbone core. This side effect, along with religious objections about the Hemlock's soul-cutting weaponry, means that the aircraft is normally considered an abhorrent device that should only be used in the direst of circumstances but, as Rhana Dandra approaches, more and more of these weapons appear in the skies above Asuryani warhosts.
- Deflector Shields:
- Although the Aeldari prefer to use holo-fields to protect their war machines, some vehicles, such as Wave Serpents and War Walkers, are equipped with defensive shielding. How these force fields work varies by edition with the 8th Edition rules giving War Walkers an invulnerable save while the Wave Serpent’s serpent shield reduces the damage the transport takes with each hit.
- Individual, man-portable defence shields, such as the shimmershields borne by Dire Avenger Exarchs and the more powerful forceshields used by Autarchs and Wraithblades, are generated by wing-like bucklers worn on the forearm and, in game terms, give the wearer an invulnerable save.
- Guardians squads often carry celestial shields, psychically activated force field projectors that they can use to produce an instant, if short lived, barricade to weather enemy fire. The 8th Edition rules represent this with the Celestial Shield Stratagem that grants a Guardian squad a special save for a single phase.
- Divided We Fall: Despite the fact that they are all dedicated to defeating Chaos and ensuring the survival of their species, the Craftworlders often come into conflict with each other. The reasons for these conflicts can vary, ranging from differing interpretations of the future, to whether to accept the plans of the Ynnarinote . Some craftworlds, such as Saim-Hann, will even fight against each other due to matters of ancient honour.
- Do-Anything Soldier: Due to their lack of manpower, many craftworlds rely on their Guardian militia to fulfil many different battlefield roles. When called to war Aeldari Guardians can find themselves fighting in the main battle line as Defenders, piloting Engines of Vaul, crewing support weapons or fighting in the vanguard Storm squads depending on the tactical needs of the warhost.
- Dragons Up the Yin Yang: While more prevalent in early editions of the game, the Aeldari of the Craftworlds make use of Far Eastern symbolism as part of their design, with serpentine dragons and yin-yang symbols making appearances in their artwork and on their models. These symbols are often stylised, however, with the dragons sometimes represented in runic form and the use of a three sectioned yin-yang to represent the Aeldari belief in a tripartite universe.
- Due to the Dead: In contrast to the Drukhari, who care very little for their dead, the Aeldari of the craftworlds will go to great lengths to recover the spirit stones of the fallen to ensure that conscious soul of the departed is interred into an infinity circuits rather instead of being devoured by She Who Thirsts.
- Dying Race: While their actual numbers are unknownnote , the low birth rate and near century-long childhood of the Aeldari mean that the Asuryani are unable to replace their battle losses from millennia of conflict. With many of their craftworlds half empty, the Asuryani have to marshal their forces carefully, relying on misdirection, and Hit-and-Run Tactics to combat the horrors of the universe.
- Enemy Mine: Due to their status as a Dying Race, the Craftworlders are often the most willing to Invoke an Enemy Mine situation, particularly when the forces of Chaos are involved. They will typically attempt to manipulate the situation to their advantage, however.
- Energy Weapon: Asuryani laser weapons are some of the most advanced examples of the technology in the setting. From the rifle-sized lasblasters to heavier weapons such as the rapid fire scatter lasers, the Anti-Vehicle bright lances and the prism cannons that can unleash a deadly Combination Attack, these laser weapons are superior to their human equivalents.
- Elite Army: As a Dying Race, the Craftworlds do not have the manpower to fight wars of attrition and throw away the lives of their warriors. In order to make up for this, Asuryani warhosts use advanced technology, fluid tactics, and their natural abilities (both physical and psychic) to fight against the more numerous races in the galaxy. As a result of this, even their most basic tropes, the Guardian citizen militia, have in-game stats superior to units of a similar lever in other factions.
- Fatal Flaw: Singlemindedness — the Asuryani devote themselves entirely to any one path to achieve as much as they can before moving on to a new one. While this makes them amazingly good at what they do, it leads to Crippling Overspecialization, especially since Asuryani can become "lost" on a path, unable to ever leave. It also generates enormous tunnel vision, as the Asuryani tend to focus on eliminating threats that could be, rather than ones that are.
- Fire-Breathing Weapon: Storm Guardians are often equipped with fire-spewing flamers and armour-melting fusion guns to increase their close-ranged firepower, as the heavy weapon platforms used by their Defender comrades aren’t suited to the fast-paced close assault specialists. The large Wraithlord war-constructs are also often equipped with flames to protect themselves from massed infantry assault.
- Fixed Forward-Facing Weapon: A number of Aeldari vehicles, such as the Lynx and Cobra super-heavy grav-tanks, mount a single large weapon in a fixed forward position using their speed and manoeuvrability to keep their targets in their sights. The original design for the Falcon grav-tank, used in the first two edition of the Epic game system, also had a fixed forward lascannon but this was replaced with turret mounted weapons when it was redesigned and introduced to the main game system in the late 90s.
- Flaming Sword: The Firesabre is a relic weapon of the Asuryani said to have been forged from the fang of the great drake Draoch-var. The razor-sharp blade burns with the fury of the mythic dragon and its ethereal fire spreads like a living thing. In game terms, the 8th Edition rules represent this mythical fire by giving the weapon a chance of inflicting mortal wounds to those it strikes.
- Four-Star Badass: Autarchs act as the commanders of a craftworld's warhosts both on and off the battlefield. Followers of the Path of Command, an Aeldari must have walked the Path of the Warriors multiple times in their life before becoming an Autarch so that they can gain first-hand experience in multiple battlefield roles and gain enough tactical knowledge to oversee entire theatres of war. As such, an Autarch is not only able to ensure that all the forces under their command work together as a well-oiled machine but is also capable of easily dispatching enemy warriors with in the thick of battle.
- Generation Ships: The Craftworlds are Planet Spaceships created from large interstellar trading vessels to act as generational refugee ships. These massive vessels have no destination in mind as they are independent colonies in their own right and, depending on the lore, have little to no faster-than-light capabilities as they are connected to the webway.
- Healing Hands: In some editions of the game, the Rune of Battle psychic power Renewer allows a Warlock to send a healing wave of psychic energy through allied units, returning lost Wounds.
- He Will Not Cry, so I Cry for Him: Due to the strength of their emotions, Aeldari can become consumed by grief and despair at the loss of a loved one. To prevent an Aeldari entering a downward spiral that could lead to them struggling on their chosen Path, and possibly attracting the attention of She Who Thirsts, those following the Path of Grief, dedicate themselves to expressing a craftworld's collective grief by becoming professional mourners to protect their fellows form negative emotions.
- Highly-Conspicuous Uniform: Asuryani warriors traditionally wear armour in the colours of their craftworld or aspect shrine, with even the darker colour schemes incorporating bright contrasting colours. The faction does often use holofields and cameleoline technology on the battlefield, however, and their bright colouring makes them look good on the tabletop.
- Hit-and-Run Tactics: While all Craftworlds prefer a mobile form of warfare, some have developed such tactics to an artform, able to run rings around their opponents while darting in and out of cover. The Strike and Fade Craftworld Attribute, from the late 8th Edition sourcebook Psychic Awakening: Phoenix Rising, represents such tactics by allowing units to Charge in the same turn that they Fall Back and to consolidate in any direction after combat.
- Home Guard: Due to the relatively small number of Aeldari that walk the Path of the Warrior, the warhosts of most craftworlds consist primarily of a civilian militia known as Guardians, conscripted as needed from the adult population of the craftworld. Despite not being active professional soldiersnote , the inherent abilities and high technological level of the Aeldari means that these Guardians outperform the Badass Normal Guardsmen of the Astra Militarum.
- Hover Tank: The Aeldari as a whole are masters of anti-gravitic technology and the Asuryani have make extensive use of it to power their war machines. Known as Engines of Vaul, the grav-tanks fielded by the Craftworlders vary in size from the relatively light Wave Serpent troop carriers to the massive Cobra super-heavy grav-tanks. Based around graceful, bird-like chassis, they tend to be incredibly fast, but lack the heavy armour of the armoured vehicles of lesser races, relying on their speed and protective fields to avoid damage. No matter their size, all Engines of Vaul are capable of true flight for limited periods but typically only use this ability to deploy onto the battlefield rather than for combat.
- Humongous Mecha: The Asuryani make use of a number of Knight- and Titan-sized combat walkers, from the Wraithknight, which stands at least five times the height of an average Aeldari, through the Revenant Scout Titan, to the Phantom Battle Titan and the psychic Warlock Titan that are around three times the height of a Wraithknight. All of these constructs are far more agile than their Imperial counterparts and have their living crews accompanied by the souls of the dead, who assist with controlling the massive machines.
- The Leader: After walking the Path of the Warrior multiple time as a member of different Aspect Shrines, an Aeldari gains a deeper insight into the myriad ways of war than any other member of their race. Such Aeldari are then able to walk the Path of the Leader to become an Autarch who is able to wield the military might of a Craftworld with the ease and skill that a regular warrior can wield a blade.
- A Lighter Shade of Black: Aeldari of the Craftworlds are xenophobic, arrogant and willing to cause the deaths of millions of non-Aeldari if it will lead to the continuation of their own species. They are, however, far less hardline than the setting's more extreme factions, and are willing to work with and protect other races if it's in their mutual interests, especially when the forces of Chaos are involved. They will even occasionally regret the murderous actions they are forced to take. Even Biel-Tan, the most militaristic and xenophobic of the craftworlds, will usually leave you alone if you don't colonize a Maiden World, and their first instinct if you do will be to tell you to leave rather than just to immediately kill you.
- Make Some Noise: The sonic weaponry fielded by the Asuryani, such as the Vibro Cannon artillery pieces and the sonic lances fitted to some super-heavy war machines, use resonant sonic waves to shatter tanks and pulp the internal organs of living targets.
- A Million Is a Statistic: In-universe, the Craftworlders' focus on their own survival, and their preference for manipulation, means that they do not care about the deaths of the members of lesser races (such as humans and Orks) but will still go to great lengths to save a single member of such a species if it means a single Aeldari life will be spared. Through their actions, the Asuryani have, directly or indirectly, caused the deaths of innumerable Imperial citizens, yet they will still aid those Imperial personnel they deem necessary to the defeat of Chaos.
- No One Gets Left Behind: As the souls of dead Aeldari retain self-awareness after death, Craftworlders go to almost any length, including starting bloody wars, to recover the spirit stones of their fallen comrades so that they can be placed within their craftworld's infinity circuit.
- Our Elves Are Different: The Craftworlders are the High Elves of the Warhammer 40,000 universe, highly arrogant and inhumanly beautiful Space Elves who often believe they are superior to every other race in the galaxy in almost every facet of civilisation. On the battlefield, the warhosts of the craftworlds typically wear bright colours and wield elegantly crafted wargear, focusing on speed and skill over power and durability. The Asuryani are also the greatest psykers of the Aeldari with psychic abilities and technology saturating their entire culture.
- Outgrown Such Silly Superstitions: Played with. The Asuryani are an advanced space-faring species with a strong spiritual tradition, and even though their pantheon was destroyed millennia ago, they still often invoke the names and deeds of their gods for cultural remembrance. Averted however in regards to Kaela Mensha Khaine, their god of war and murder, who is still actively worshipped by the Exarchs of the Aspect Shrines.
- Planet Spaceship: The craftworlds of the Asuryani are vast ships that some sources say were created to save as many Aeldari lives as possible from the cataclysm of the Fall, and were created by fusing multiple massive interstellar trading vessels together. The size of a craftworld can vary depending on the specific source, ranging from the size of a small moon to that of a dwarf planet, but all have their own self-contained ecosystems that can support a large population of Aeldari relatively easily.
- Playing Both Sides: Due to the their lack of manpower, and the precognitive abilities of their Farseers, the Craftworlders will often attempt to manipulate the other races in the galaxy into fighting each other instead of them. There have been many instances where Asuryani forces have launched raids against the Imperium knowing that this will cause them to build up their defences enough to resist an Ork Waaagh! or Tyranid Hive Fleet that would otherwise have smashed through the human world to attack a craftworld or Maiden World.
- Poisoned Weapons: The Void Spinner super-heavy grav-tanknote is armed with a Voidspinner Array, a massive version of the monofilament Doomweavers fitted to the Night Spinner artillery grav-tank. Unlike the smaller versions of the weapon, the Voidspinner combines the weapon’s Razor Floss ammunition with deadly bacteria and wraithbone parasites that break down flesh and bone at a molecular level, scouring all life from the affected area.
- Power Crystal:
- As much of the technology used by the Aeldari of the craftworlds runs on psychic energy, the crystalline Soul Jars known as spirit stones can be used as a power source, the soul of the dead Aeldari used to bring life to war machines and wraith constructs. The effect this has on the soul itself is left ambiguous.
- The prism cannons fitted to Fire Prism grav-tanks uses a two-stage weapon system where a laser is fired into a large focusing crystal that amplifies its power to such an extent that it can blast a hole clean through enemy armoured vehicles or, when dispersed over a wider area, wipe entire squads of infantry from the battlefield.
- Power Fist: During 1st and 2nd Editions, when there was a greater amount of standard equipment used by multiple factions, the Craftworlder characters, Guardians and Dreadnoughtsnote could wield power fists that were just as powerful as those used by other races but with a sleeker, more organic design.
- Precision-Guided Boomerang: Singing spears can be thrown like a javelin and recalled with the wielder's psychic abilites.
- As they contain the self-aware spirits of their ancestors, spirit stones are considered to be some of the most precious items on a craftworld, and the Asuryani will go to great lengths to punish those that break or steal them. In one such instance, the Asuryani wiped out the entire population of an Imperial world after its Governor made a necklace out of stolen spirit stones, and gave the Governor himself to the Haemonculi of the Drukhari to be tortured for all eternity.
- Most Craftworlds, and Biel-Tan in particular, will fight bloody wars to protect Maiden and Exodite worlds from alien invasion, as they believe that these worlds could become the base of a new Aeldari empire should She Who Thirsts ever be defeated.
- Racial Remnant: The Craftworlds are all that remains of the more moderate members of the ancient Aeldari empire and most continue to fight against the corrupting deity that destroyed their people. Some craftworlds, such as the highly militant Biel-Tan, take this fight more seriously than others, actively fighting to fully restore the ancient empire and attack anyone who would stand in their way, whether they are connected to She Who Thirsts or not.
- Right Hand Versus Left Hand: While all of the Craftworlds are working towards the defeat of She Who Thirsts and the continued existence of their species, each one is effectively an independent state, with different ideas about how to go about this task and differing levels of precognitive ability. These differences have led to conflict, and even minor wars, between craftworlds that would otherwise be on the same side, with the proud Wild Riders of Craftworld Saim-Hann being particularly prone to such violence.
- The Right of a Superior Species: To the Asuryani, humanity is at best a race of arrogant Jerkass upstarts on the inevitable road to making the same mistakes their own species did; and at worst, a breed of particularly xenophobic and heavily-armed vermin getting everywhere. To this end, they mostly have little issue with using espionage and manipulation to ensure that humans are useful living shields and patsies to their own designs. Whenever Aeldari characters do consider the moral implications of treating sentient lifeforms in this manner, cold pragmatism usually wins out.
- Soul Jar: Every citizen of a Craftworld wears a psycho-reactive crystal, known as a waystone, somewhere on their body that is designed to capture their soul when they die to shelter them from the soul-hunger of She Who Thirsts. A waystone that is inhabited by the partially self-aware soul of an Aeldari is known as a spirit stonenote and can be used by living Asuryani as a spiritual AI, power source, or psychic amplifier should the need arise. Usually, however, the spirit stone will be inserted into the Artificial Afterlife of the craftworld's infinity circuit, allowing the soul to join with the others stored there, acting as a Spirit Advisor to their living kin.
- Space Fighter: The Guardian crewed Nightwing is one of the primary fighter-interceptors used by craftworld warhosts when the rare Crimson Hunter Aspect Warriors are unavailable. Like all Asuryani aircraft, the Nightwing is capable of both atmospheric and void combat, utilising advanced anti-gravity technology to perform high speed manoeuvres that would reduce the pilot of a less advanced fighter to pulp. Designed to excel in dogfights, the Nightwing uses its speed and manoeuvrability to take its enemies by surprise, a tactic that has can result in enemy fighter wings suffering 75% casualties within days of battle being joined.
- Space Nomads: The Asuryani created the craftworlds to escape the destruction of the ancient Aeldari empire and the soul sucking terror of the Fall, and now travel the galaxy in their immense Generation Ships. They don't have a destination, but their desire to avoid the attentions of their many enemies, as well as their limited numbers and resources, makes staying in one place for too long unwise.
- Spell Blade:
- Asuryani spears are made of psychically receptive materials that allow the wielder to enhance them with psychic energy so that they can easily pierce the armour of a battle tank.
- The Witch Strike Rune of Fortune psychic powernote allows an Aeldari psyker to channel far more of their psychic might into their weapons than they are normally capable of doing, boosting the weapon's Damage characteristic.
- Split Personality: The Craftworlders attempt to keep their potentially destructive passions and emotions in check by compartmentalising their personas for each discipline, known as a Path, that they undertake. This is more like a Heroic Safe Mode for the various occupations than a true split personality, however, as the core persona is able to access the memories and skills of the various Paths that they walk in order to enrich future Paths.
- Sprint Shoes: The Ghostwalk Rune of Fortune powernote allows a psyker to use his own mental energies to enhance the speed of his allies, boosting the distance they can move when they charge.
- Time Master: The Quicken/Restrain Rune of Battle psychic power allows a Warlock to accelerate or slow time in a limited area, enhancing the movement of their alliesnote or slowing their enemiesnote .
- Took a Level in Jerkass: While they were never intended to be a totally benevolent race, popular fan opinion during 2nd Edition was that the Aeldari in general, and the Craftworlders in particular, were known as at the time[[/note]] were the "good guys" of the setting due to their sympathetic backstory and opposition to the forces of Chaos. When the game advanced to 3rd Edition, however, the game designers took the opportunity to enhance their callous and manipulative nature, a characterisation that they have retained, to some extent, ever since.
- Twin Telepathy: The psychic link between Aeldari twins is so strong that it will even continue after the death of one of the siblings, and the Craftworlders make use of this post-mortem bond by having the twins pilot a Wraithknight. While the spirit of the dead twin is installed within the Wraithknight's spirit stone, the living twin takes the controls of the Wraith-construct, their close link allowing them to control the large war machine with great grace and dexterity.
- Vision Quest: Those Aeldari following the Path of the Dreamer use various hallucinogenic substances in an attempt to understand their own subconscious and discover what it is that they most desire by entering a particularly vivid, dreamlike state. Those that get trapped on the Path, known as Everdreamers, eventually have trouble distinguishing fantasy from reality.
- Weaponized Teleportation: Distortion weapons, sometimes simply known as D-weapons, use similar technology to that used for teleportation and interstellar travel to create a rift in the boundary between warp and real space that will rip its target apart as various parts of their body are sucked into the warp. The most famous of these weapons are the D-Cannons that Asuryani warhosts use as artillery that, in 2nd Edition, also had the chance to teleport the target to a random point on the battlefield (including 10 meters above or below the ground).
- Worf Had the Flu: After the 5th Edition rulebook stated that the Imperium had given up on attacking Craftworlds directly, due to the horrific losses that typically result in such assaults, the 5th Edition Codex: Space Marines, released a few months later, stating that Craftworld Idharae was destroyed by a single Astartes Chapter seemed to be contradictory until a latter supplement stated that the Craftworld's warhosts had been severely depleted fighting against the Tyranids of Hive Fleet Naga, while another stated that the Invaders would still would have been defeated if it hadn't been for the last minute intervention of the Legion of the Damned.
- Planet of Hats: Each of the major Craftworlds embodies different aspects of the traditional elven racial archetype.
- Alaitoc's conservatism leads many of its citizens to take up the Path of the Outcast as Rangers, reflecting elves as stealthy snipers and isolationists.
- Biel-Tan is the most militant craftworld, ruled by a council of Aspect Warriors out to rebuild the Aeldari empire.
- Iyanden was so devastated by battle that most of its armed forces are constructs piloted by the souls of the dead, emphasising the "ancient race in decline" elven motif.
- Saim-Hann is home to clans of Air Jousting jetbike riders who have been known to feud with each other, thus epitomising the elf as a fey barbarian.
- Ulthwé boasts a disproportionate number of Farseers and Warlocks, emphasising the Mage Species aspect of elfkind.
AlaitocAlaitoc is a rigidly ordered and hierarchic Craftworld located somewhere in the Segmentum Obscurus. The rigid nature of its society leads many of its people to seek the Path of the Outcast, but they do not wholly sever ties with their home and, as a result, Alaitoc boasts an unusually high number of Rangers that serve as its eyes, ears and knives in the wider galaxy.
Alaitoc's symbol is the Sword of Khaine bisecting the moon of Eldanesh, and its colors are blue with yellow accents. Its traditional enemies are the Imperium and the Necrons.
- The Aeldari of Alaitoc have long believed that, should they return, the Necrons will prove to be almost as much of a threat to the Aeldari as She Who Thirsts and have expended more time and resources than any other Craftworld in countering this long slumbering threat.
- Alaitoc also has a longstanding enmity with the Imperium, due to the high numbers of its Rangers that have been tortured to death for information by Imperial authorities.
- Stealth Expert: With such a high proportion of its citizens who have become Rangers at some point in their life, even the Guardians of Craftworld Alaitoc have acquired considerable knowledge of stealth and concealment. The 8th Edition rules represent this with the "Fieldcraft" Alaitoc Craftworld Attribute that makes units from the craftworld harder to hit while in cover.
Biel-TanBiel-Tan is a highly militaristic and aggressive Craftworld located on the border between the Segmentum Tempestus and the Ultima Segmentum. Biel-Tan's people are highly devoted to the dream of rebuilding the ancient Aeldari empire, a goal reflect in the Craftworld's own name, which means "Rebirth of Ancient Days". This leads many of its people to walk the Path of the Warrior to better aid this goal, giving Biel-Tan a larger force of Aspect Warriors than any other Craftworld. Biel-Tan is also highly protective of the Exodites, which it sees as key to rebuilding the empire, and fiercely defends the Maiden Worlds against those that would despoil them — especially humanity and the Orks.
Biel-Tan's imperial ambitions suffered a severe setback during the shift to 8th Edition, where a major daemonic incursion led by Skarbrand and the Masque of Slaanesh rampaged through the Craftworld, devastating its infrastructure, massacring its people and preying upon the souls in its Infinity Circuit. The invasions was eventually turned back, in part through the hastened birth of the Yncarne from the Craftworld's Circuit, but its depredations, alongside the birth of the Yncarne itself and the loss of many of the survivors to the ranks of the Ynnari, have left Biel-Tan a broken husk of its former self.
Biel-Tan's colors are white and green, and its symbol is a rune representing rebirth and resurrection.
- Arch-Enemy: Due to their defence of the scattered Maiden and Exodite worlds, the Aeldari of Biel-Tan have come into conflict with the Orks and forces of the Imperium many times in an attempt to stop the colonisation of such worlds. The mere presence of greenskins or humanity on a Maiden World will inflame the blood of the Biel-Tan Aeldari and see the Swordwind descend upon the interlopers with righteous fury.
- How the Mighty Have Fallen: For much of recent history, Biel-Tan was one of the mightiest and most populous Craftworlds, boasted one of the strongest centralized militaries available to any single Aeldari faction, and was openly dedicated to the goal of rebuilding the ancient Empire. Then the Craftworld was invaded and ravaged by a huge force of Khornate and Slaaneshi daemons and torn asunder as the Yncarne was born from its Infinity Circuit. In modern days, Biel-Tan is in tatters; much of its population is either dead or fled to other Craftworlds, the Corsair's life or the Ynnari, and the world-ship itself is left half in ruin despite its remaining natives' efforts to repair it.
- Proud Warrior Race: Due to its people's belief that they can rebuild the lost Aeldari empire, Biel-Tan is the most militant of all the Asuryani. Its people place a far greater importance on walking the Path of the Warrior than any other craftworld, as they believe that their goal can only be achieved through blood and war. The warriors of Biel-Tan are incredibly proud of their martial prowess, preferring to rely on a swift, powerful strike against an enemy instead of the long-term manipulations of more subtle craftworlds. Even after their craftworld was shattered, the people of Biel-Tan continue their violent mission, attacking those that stand in their way with even greater ferocity.
- Weapon of X-Slaying: The Biel-Tan relic weapon the Burnished Blade of Eliarna was commissioned by one of the Aeldari's greatest pre-Fall warriors to be the bane of the greenskins. Imbued with eldritch energies that are anathema to Orks and their kin, the Burnished Blade is said to hum when greenskins are near and can kill the barbaric but hardy aliens with ease. The 8th Edition rules represent this deadliness by boosting the Strength and Damage of the weapon whenever it is used against enemies with the Orks Keyword.
IyandenOnce, Iyanden, the Light in the Darkness, was the most populous of all the Craftworlds. However, its position in the Segmentum Tempestus left it caught in the path of Hive Fleet Kraken's rampage through the galaxy, and although it survived it was left a depopulated shell of its former self. Left teetering on the brink of extinction, the people of Iyanden have turned to the only thing they have left in abundance — their dead. To preserve what's left of their people, Iyanden's Aeldari have become highly reliant on Wraith-constructs, which they field in greater abundance than any of their kin.
Iyanden's symbol is the ever-burning shrine of Asuryan, and its colors are yellow with blue accents. Its traditional enemies are the Tyranids.
- Arch-Enemy: Since their near destruction by the Tyranids, the Asuryani of Iyanden have clashed with the swarms of the Great Devourer many times to prevent further sorrow for the Aeldari.
- The Cavalry: While searching for one of the lost Croneswords on the lost world of Belial IV, Yvraine and her Ynnari were set upon by a host of Slaaneshi Daemons. The Reborn were almost overwhelmed until the sudden, and unexpected, emergence of a warhost of Iyanden Ghost Warriors led by Iyanna Arienal from a webway portal hidden within the ruined building. The Wraith-constructs held back the forces of She Who Thirsts long enough for the Ynnari to evacuate through the warded gateway.
- Pyrrhic Victory: Although Iyanden was able to fight off the Tyranids of Hive Fleet Kraken, the battle ended with four-fifths of the Craftworld's population dead, Prince Yriel dooming himself by taking up the cursed Spear of Twilight, and Iyanden being forced to use the spirit stones of the dead to field armies of Wraithguard to supplement their forces.
- The Necrocracy: Downplayed. After Hive Fleet Kraken wiped out nearly all of Iyanden's population, the survivors had to raise large numbers of their dead as wraithbone constructs (something that the Craftworlders consider akin to necromancy and, thus, only resort to in the most desperate of times) in order to defend themselves from subsequent attacks. While most normal Craftworlds return the spirit stones of wraithbone constructs back to the infinity circuits after battle, the Iyanden Aeldari discovered, to their horror, that they were largely unable to do so. The wraithbone constructs now freely roam the halls of the ship, treated with a mix of respect, sorrow, and fear by their living kin, and entire wings of Iyanden have been taken over by them. They are now included on war councils by the Farseers and seem to hold councils of their own, with none of the living in attendance.
Saim-HannThe people of Saim-Hann, an isolated Craftworld far on the galaxy's Eastern Fringe, are viewed by other Asuryani as anything from slightly odd recluses to uncivilized, half-feral barbarians. These stereotypes ultimately stem from how, unlike any other Craftworld, Saim-Hann's culture embraces and accepts the wild and carefree ways of their ancient kin. As these ways are what led to the fall of the Aeldari empire and the birth of She Who Thirts, the more restrained natives of the other Craftworlds tend to look at Saim-Hann with worried eyes. These practices also impact Saim-Hann's battlefield tactics, leading its forcers to favor swift hit-and-run tactics, typically led by agile jetbike forces.
Saim-Hann's symbol is the all-knowing Cosmic Serpent, and its colors are red with contrasting black and white accents. Its traditional enemies are the Orks and Necrons.
- Air Jousting: Some of the background information for Saim-Hann states that the Wild Rider clans of the primitive (by Aeldari standards) Craftworld settle disputes in this manner through ritualistic Combat by Champion with both participants mounted on the Craftworld's signature jetbikes.
- Blood Oath: A Wild Rider chieftain and his closest kinsmen perform a ritual on the eve of battle where they paint each other's faces with blood and drink from each other's wrists, reinforcing their commitment to stand alongside each other in life and death. This blood-drinking ritual is also used to seal vows; individuals who break such a pact are shamed and exiled from the Craftworld.
- Jousting Lance: The Novalance of Saim-Hann is a relic of the tribal craftworld said to be one of the most powerful of its kind ever created, able to unleash the power of a star when it strikes. The 8th Edition rules for this mighty weapon give it a superior stat line to other weapons of its type, along with a chance of doing extra damage.
- Proud Warrior Race: The people of Saim-Hann are proud, boisterous barbarians who live in tribal clans, ride jetbikes and settle their differences with duels.
- Red Ones Go Faster: Saim-Hann, the Craftworld that makes the most use of jetbikes and fast skimmers, uses red as its primary color.
- Rite of Passage: Saim-Hann's clan-based society has a number of such rituals, such as engaging in a high-velocity race against a clan elder to win the right to ride a jetbike into battle.
- Series Mascot: For the Craftworlders, as their distinct red and white color scheme is used for most of the non-Aspect Warrior, non-Harlequin models on box art and webpages.
- Space Romans: Saim-Hann's culture is based loosely on that of the ancient Celts. The warriors of the craftworld are considered barbaric but honourable by others with a tribal culture and warriors know as wild riders, in imitation of the wild hunt from Celtic and Germanic folklore. The name of the craftworld also has a Celtic origin, as Saim-Han is an alternate spelling for the Celtic winter festival of Samhain.
- Trial by Combat: Traditionally, disputes on Saim-Hann are resolved through matches of ritualized combat. This is typically done to the first blood or some other agreed-upon defeat condition, but fatalities occur from time to time. Other Craftworlders find this practice barbaric, but Saim-Hann's people in turn don't understand why someone should waste their time with lengthy debates.
UlthwéUlthwé — shortened from its full name, Ulthanesh Shelwé, meaning "the Song of Ulthanesh" — was caught in the grasp of the Eye of Terror during the birth of She Who Thirsts, It now remains forced to orbit around the burning nest, and wages a constant war against daemonic incursions that has left much of it in ruins. Nonetheless, it has managed to remain one of the largest and most populated of all surviving Craftworlds. Ulthwé boasts the highest number of Seers of all stripes of any Craftworld; its Farseers are reputed to have the clearest future sight of any of the Aeldari, while even its citizens regularly develop limited prescience. Ulthwé's people state that this cultivation is a practical necessity to their war against Chaos; other Aeldari suspect that its proximity to the Eye has had a greater effect on Ulthwé the Damned than its natives will admit.
Ulthwé's symbol is the weeping Eye of Isha, and its colors are black offset with bone white. Its traditional enemy is Chaos.
- Citadel City: Ulthwé orbits the Eye of Terror, and is built to withstand constant attacks. It has endured the onslaughts of its enemies for millennia, and almost all of its population has some degree of martial training.
- Combat Clairvoyance: The Aeldari of Ulthwé are so attuned to the strands of fate that even their citizen militia have developed a limited form of prescience that allows them to avoid attacks during a battle. The 8th Edition rules represent this with the "Foresight of the Damned" Craftworld Attribute that allows all Ulthwé models a chance to ignore Wounds that they suffer.
- Dark Is Not Evil: While the traditional colour of Craftworld Ulthwé is black and they have a reputation for being cursed, due to their position close to the Eye of Terror and over-reliance on psykers, they are nonetheless just as dedicated to the defeat of the forces of Chaos as their fellow Asuryani.
- Eye Motifs: Ulthwé uses Isha's weeping eye as its symbol.
- The Magocracy: While most Craftworlds are led by an Autarch, a civic leader who has experienced multiple life paths and professions, Ulthwé is largely led by its Seer Council, a gathering of its most powerful and experienced psykers who use their ability to predict the future to steer the Craftworld's course and inform its policy and decisions. In their case, they maintain stability thanks partly to the Aeldari having stabler and more developed powers than human psykers and partly to centuries of training and iron discipline.
AltansarWhen She Who Thirsts was born and the Aeldari empire died, not all Craftworlds were far enough from the Crone Worlds to escape her grasp. Altansar was one such and, although its people struggled valiantly against the pull of the Eye of Terror, the Craftworld and its people were swallowed by the Warp within a few centuries; only the Phoenix Lord Maugan Ra escaped the doomed ark's fall. Millennia later, however, Abaddon's Thirteenth Black Crusade opened a path into the Eye that Maugan Ra was able to follow back in, allowing him to find that his ancestral home had miraculously survived. Altansar thus returned to the Materium, but few Aeldari can bring themselves to trust their long-lost, secretive kin — after all, how could anyone linger that long within the Warp and returned unchanged?
Altansar's symbol is the Broken Chain, representing both Kurnous and Isha's escape from the dungeons of Khaine and Altansar's escape from the Warp, and its colors are deep red offset with black and white. Its traditional enemy is Chaos.
- Came Back Wrong: Altansar failed to escape the Eye of Terror during the Fall of the Aeldari. It was thought long lost until recently in the setting's past, when it emerged from the swirling Eye. However, its people did not escape this sojourn unchanged — they never remove their helmets and speak only in whispers, causing other Aeldari to wonder just what happened to them in the Eye.
- Chekhov M.I.A.: Altansar was introduced to the game background c. 1992 as the place of origin of the Dark Reaper Phoenix Lord Maugan Ra. Maugan Ra was the last survivor of the doomed world-ship, which was dragged into the Eye of Terror millennia ago by treacherous warp-currents — and, for just over a decade of real-world time, that was all that anyone knew about the place. In the Eye of Terror campaign and accompanying rulebook of 2003, Maugan Ra returned to the Eye with the express aim of rescuing Altansar and its inhabitants from their unpleasant sojourn. He succeeded, after a fashion, and the Craftworld's livery and background appeared in the 2006 Eldar codex. Unfortunately their period trapped in the Warp has had unpleasant effects on the natives of Altansar, but they returned to being officially at large in the universe once more.
- Escaped from Hell: During the Fall, Craftworld Altansar was drawn into the Eye of Terror, a large area of space where the Warp bleeds into the material universe, and presumed lost. Towards the end of the 41st Millennium the Phoenix Lord Maugan Ra, thought to be the craftworld's Sole Survivor, led an expedition into the Eye that saw Altansar return to the material universe. This extended stay within the hellish half-real environment of the Eye of Terror had a strange effect on the inhabitants of Altansar, however, who are now known to only speak in whispers and never remove their helmets, leading other Aeldari to speculate how they changed over ten millennia in the warp.
- The Faceless: It is exceedingly rare for inhabitants of Altansar to take off their helmets when outsiders are present, leading many Aeldari to believe they have been touched by chaos. The few times an Altansari has revealed their face, it reduced those present to shocked silence.
- Body Motifs: Iybraesil uses Morai-Heg's severed hand as its symbol.
- Canon Immigrant: Il-Kaithe was originally invented for the Dawn of War video game before being included in the 4th Edition Codex: Eldar. The canon background for the craftworld is that their Bonesingersnote were famed for their battlefield repairs — an allusion to the Bonesinger's role in the video game.
- Enemy Mine: Il-Kaithe is single-mindedly dedicated to the struggle against Chaos, and will willingly ally with the dark lords of Commorragh and the forces of the Imperium to strike against the Ruinous Powers.
- Matriarchy: Iybraesil is a highly matriarchal society, with females taking up leadership roles as Farseers and Autarchs. The craftworld also has far more female warriors, such as Howling Banshees, than any other craftworld. This predisposition dates back to a pact the Aeldari of the craftworld made with the goddess Morai-Heg to provide handmaidens for the Crone Goddess.
- Racial Remnant: While the Craftworlders are an example in general, Dorhai is an extreme version of this, as its people view themselves as being the only untainted survivors of the old empire and maintain that everyone else, including all other Craftworlds, are corrupted by Chaos.
- Revenge: The Invaders Space Marine chapter destroyed the Craftworld Idharae. The survivors of Idharae joined Craftworld Alaitoc and returned the favor by destroying the Invaders' fortress-monastery. The chapter was reduced to 300 marines, and lost many of their weapons.
- Screw This, I'm Outta Here: Craftworld Lugganath wrote off the material realm as a lost cause a long time ago and retreated fully into the Webway, choosing to shelter in the one area they believed to be safe and leaving the galaxy's sinking ship early.
- There Is Another: Isolated on the fringes of the old Aeldari empire, the Craftworld Mymeara believed that they were the only members of their race to survive the Fall. After millennia of sending out Rangers, however, the Aeldari of Mymeara eventually came into contact with Craftworld Alaitoc, forming an alliance for protection in return for rare pre-Fall technology.
People of the Craftworlds
The Phoenix Lords, also known as the Asurya, were the first to tread the Path of the Warrior who went on to found the Aspect Shrines that produce the elite religious warriors of the Asuryani. As the oldest of all Exarchs, the warrior-priests of the Aeldari War God, each Phoenix Lord has become the ultimate embodiment of one facet of Khaine's nature. No longer truly alive, the soul of a Phoenix Lord is bound to their armour and each Aeldari who inherits their wargear is absorbed and subsumed by the Phoenix Lords powerful will so that their original personality can continue to fight the enemies of their race. While many of the Phoenix Lords have disappeared for millennia at a time, the opening of the Great Rift has seen more Phoenix Lords walking the pathways of the galaxy at the same time than ever before as the Rhana Dandra, the prophesised final battle against Chaos, draws nearer.
- Animated Armor: As Energy Beings, the collected essence of a Phoenix Lord, and those souls that have joined with them, is contained within their armour, animating the suit as if it contained a living body.
- Energy Beings: The bodies of the Phoenix Lords have long since been reduced to dust, their minds and souls having transcended into a state of pure psychic energy contained by their armour, along with the souls of all those Aeldari that have put onnote the armour of the Phoenix Lord after they have been mortally wounded.
- Knight Errant: Since the destruction of the original Shrine of Asur, the active Phoenix Lords have rarely stayed in one place for long, travelling across the galaxy and through the webway to instruct the Aeldari in the art of war, fulfil their own inscrutable missions and fight against any force that threatens their people.
- Legacy Character: Whenever an Aeldari puts on the armour of a defeated Phoenix Lords, their soul is absorbed into the gestalt consciousness of the legendary warrior. From this moment on they become the Phoenix Lord, the spirit and personality of the original incarnation dominating the souls of its countless successors.
- Soul Jar: If a Phoenix Lord is killed, their soul will lie dormant in their armour so that, when a new Aeldari puts on the empty suit, the soul of the Phoenix Lord will absorb their soul so that they can continue the fight against Chaos.
- Super Prototype: The ritual weapons and equipment used by Aspect Warriors are based on those used by their Phoenix Lords. These originals, such as the Scorpion's Bite used by Karandras and the Mask of Jain Zar, were typically hand-crafted by ancient master artisans, or even by the Phoenix Lords themselves, and have far superior capabilities to those used by their followers.
- Voice of the Legion: Some background material depicts the Phoenix Lords speaking with the combined t psychic voices of the many spirits that have worn their armour over the millennia, giving a reverberating quality to their speech.
Asurmen, the Hand of AsuryanBorn Ilaithin, Asurmen is the first and greatest of the Phoenix Lords, the ultimate founder of the Path of the Warrior, and the immortal agent of Asuryan, king of the Aeldari Gods. It was Asurmen who gathered the Aeldari who would go on to become the other Phoenix Lords, instructing them in the arts of war. After the fall of the original Shrine of Asur, Asurmen created the noble Dire Avenger Aspect Shrine and has spread his teachings to every craftworld in the galaxy.
- The Artifact: When first introduced, during 2nd Edition, Asurmen was armed with a shuriken pistol alongside his diresword and wrist-mounted shuriken catapults, and this is sculpted on his model. The pistol was removed from his in-game equipment by 4th Edition so, as his model hasn't been updated, the pistol has become nothing more than an Ornamental Weapon.
- Cool Starship: In the novel Asurmen: Hand of Asuryan, the Phoenix Lord uses the ship Stormlance to travel the galaxy. Capable of travelling through the webway, Stormlance is fully automated, and is controlled by an AI based on one of the more battle-hungry portions of Asurmen's psyche.
- Dragons Up The Yinyang: Instead of the three-part yin-yang symbol used by some other Asuryani, Asurmen uses a more traditional two-part yin-yang, said to represent the balance between fury and controlled skill required to be an Aspect Warrior, as his personal rune.
- Empathic Weapon: His Diresword, known as the Sword of Asur, contains the spirit stone of his brother, Tethesis, who was slain by a Daemon. This way, Asurmen and Tethesis can symbolically fight together against the Great Enemy.
- Primary-Color Champion: Asurmen and his Dire Avenger students are considered to be the noblest warriors of the Aeldari and traditionally were blue as their primary colour with highlights of red gold and white to display their heroic nature. In Asurmen's case, the red is greatly emphasized thanks to his red helm and Badass Cape.
- Rage Helm: The faceplate of Asurmen's great crested helm takes the form of a snarling face that, when painted with the official colour scheme, resembles an angry Noh mask.
- Staking the Loved One: In the aftermath of the Fall, Ilaithin's brother Tethesis was possessed by a daemon, causing the young Aeldari to cross the Despair Event Horizon until he met Faraethil, the future Jain Zar.
Jain Zar, the Storm of SilenceThe first student to study under Asurmen, Jain Zar (born Faraethil) had always been a deadly and passionate fighter, and under the tutelage of the Hand of Asuryan, her lethal skills were nurtured to their fullest. The most active of all the Phoenix Lords, Jain Zar has spread the teachings of the Howling Banshee Shrine to more craftworlds than any of her fellow Asurya except Asurmen himself. Since the partial awakening of Ynnead, the God of the Dead, Jain Zar has been a vocal supporter of the Ynnari, aiding the Reborn in battle on numerous occasions.
- Absurdly Sharp Blade: Jain Zar's primary close combat weapon is the Blade of Destruction — Zhai Morenn in the Aeldari tongue — a light polearm that loosely resembles a naginata. The polearm is said to have been one of the most powerful weapons to have survived the Fall, possessing an incredibly sharp, powered blade that can cleave through flesh and bone with near unsurpassed grace.
- Action Girl: The matriarch of the Howling Banshees, Jain Zar the most active Phoenix Lord, personally leading her disciples into battle countless times over the millennia while fighting with the grace and poise of a dancer.
- Dance Battler: The novel Jain Var: Storm of Silence reveals as a child in the wake of the Fall, the then Faraethil originally served as a blood-dancer gladiatrix. Even after being trained by Asurmen, Jain Zar has retained the crown pleasing grace that she learned at that time, dodging and pirouetting through her enemy lines as her weapons reap a blood tally from her foes.
- Flaming Sword: Some lore describes Jain Zar's warp-forged triskele Silent Death note as having black flame wreathing its three blades as it slices through the bodies of the Phoenix Lord's enemies.
Baharroth, the Cry of the WindThe youngest and most gifted of Asurmen's students, Baharroth is said to retain the vibrancy of youth despite his long existence and many deaths. The first Aeldari warrior to truly master aerial warfare, Baharroth founded the Swooping Hawks Aspect Shrine to teach the art of fighting with the subtlety of a gentle breeze while striking with the force of a hurricane. In battle, Baharroth fights with speed and grace, preferring to dive into the midst of the enemy to unleash pinpoint fire his hawk’s talon before soaring into the skies once more.
- Blinded by the Light: Baharroth's sword, the Shining Blade, is said to have been forged in the heart of a supernova. When it strikes an enemy, the energies of this lost star are released, burning the eyes of the impure. The 8th Edition rules represent this by giving enemies wounded by the Shining Blade a penalty to their to hit rolls in close combat. In previous editions, this was also an ability that Baharroth inflicted on nearby enemy units whenever he joined the battle from Deep Strike.
- Forged by the Gods: Aeldari legend states that Baharroth's ancient sword, the Shining Blade, was forged by the daughters of the smith god Vaul using the head from a dying supernova. While not quite as powerful as a weapon forged by Vaul himself, the weapon is still deadly by mortal standards.
- Hit-and-Run Tactics: The background material for Baharroth mentions that he is a master at engaging enemy units from above, before flying out of range of any retaliation. This is rarely fully represented in his in-game rules, however, where he usually just shares the special deployment options gained by normal Swooping Hawks.
Karandras, the Shadow HunterUniquely amongst the Asurya, Karandras isn't the founder of the Aspect he represents. Instead Karandras was the most talented pupil of the original Striking Scorpion Phoenix Lord Arhra, the Father of Scorpions, and took over stewardship of the Aspect after his mento was lost to Chaos and betrayed his people. A master of stealth and patience, Karandras is an exceptional hunter who will burst from the shadows to slaughter his pray before silently disappearing into the darkness once again.
- Cool Helmet: The helm of Karandras' Phoenix armour is styled to resemble a large scorpion with the tail raising up into a high crest. His Scorpion's Bite mandiblasters are also designed to represent the scorpion's claws situated to either side of his faceplate.
- Shadow Walker: While it has never been represented on the tabletop, the background material has mentiond that Karandras is able to melt into shadows and darkness to enter and leave a battlefield, such as when he left an enraged Arhra to slaughter his own followers on Zandros.
Fuegan, the Burning Lance
The founder of the Fire Dragons Aspect, Fuegan is a powerful and deadly Phoenix Lord. Utterly dedicated to the art of destruction, Fuegan teaches his student to bring total annihilation to the enemies of the Aeldari but to also harness this destructive power with wisdom so that they can bring harmony to the galaxy. When conflict breaks out within the ranks of the Asurya, Fuegan typically maintains a neutral stance and it is prophesied that he will bring the Phoenix Lords together for the final battle against Chaos.
- The Big Guy: Fuegan is the strongest and most durable of all the Phoenix Lords, with some editions giving him a higher Strength characteristic, and abilities that allow him to either ignore wounds or get more powerful as he is wounded. He also specialises in close range combat with his short ranged firepike and the powerful Fire Axe.
- Determinator: Fuegan is a relentless force of destruction who will not stop his attack until his enemies have been totally annihilated. Any injuries Fuegan suffers only strengthen the Phoenix Lord's resolve, and he often receives in-game rules that improve his characteristics after suffering wounds.
- Expy: Two-fold to two characters in Norse Mythology;
- As a fire-themed warrior prophesied to be a force of destruction in the Rhana Dandra, Fuegan shares some similarities with the Fire Giant Surtr.
- As the person whose duty it is to determine when the Rhana Dandra is to begin and marshal the armies of the Aeldari to war against Chaos when it happens, he shares the role of Heimdall, Watchman of the Aesir and bearer of the Gjallarhorn which he will blow when the time comes for Ragnarök to begin.
- Hot Blade: Fuegan wields the Fire Axe in close combat, an ancient and powerful weapon that still glows with the heat of its forging millennia later. Such is the heat of its blade, the Fire Axe can cut through almost any armour, something that is represented in all editions by a high Armour Penetration value and, in some editions, special rules.
- Putting the Band Back Together: When the time comes for Rhana Dandra, the final battle against the forces of Chaos, it is prophesised that it will be Fuegan who will gather all of the scattered Phoenix Lords to fight as one for the first time since the fall of the Shrine of Asur.
Maugan Ra, the Harvester of Souls
Hailing from the once lost craftworld of Altansar, Maugan Ra is a true master of ranged combat who teaches his Dark Reaper followers to wield their weapons with the cold precision of a scalpel. Towards the end of the 41st Millennium, the sinister Phoenix Lord travelled into the depths of the Eye of Terror to singlehandedly save his lost home from the clutches of Chaos. While he has always despised the Great Enemy, the suffering of Altansar has only intensified the cold anger that the Harvester of Souls holds for the forces of Chaos and he takes great satisfaction in the slaughter of his hated foe.
- Anti-Hero: While still a respected hero of the Aeldari, Maugan Ra is the least heroic of the Phoenix Lords. Sinister in both look and demeaner, the Harvester of Souls often fights alone, forges his own path, and will do almost anything — including sacrifice the lives of other Asuryani – if he believes it is necessary.
- BFG: Maugan Ra's signature weapon, the Maugetar, is a custom-made shrieker-pattern shuriken cannon that looks large even in the hands of the bulky Phoenix Lord. Despite its great size, the Harvester of Souls can use the Maugetar with ease and grace, gunning down his targets with near preternatural accuracy.
- The Grim Reaper: Maugan Ra's visual theme is based around that of the Grim Reaper with bone-covered armour, a skull-shaped helmet, and a scythe-shaped weapon. This macabre look is intended to be a visual representation of Khaine in his aspect of the Destroyer. This theme is further enhanced with his 9th edition model, where he is given a hood and robes.
- Human Sacrifice: In his quest to build his signature weapons, the Maugetar, Maugan Ra sacrificed the life of one of his Exarchs to Kaela Mensha Khaine so that he could awaken a slumbering Avatar without the usual ritual of the Young King.
- Improbable Aiming Skills: Maugan Ra is the most proficient of all the Phoenix Lords with ranged weaponry, his supreme marksmanship is renowned across the galaxy. In-game, this preternatural marksmanship is often represented by various special rules and abilities that give bonuses or re-rolls to his hit rolls, making it extremely unlikely that he will ever miss a shot.
- Mix-and-Match Weapon: Maugan Ra wields the Maugetar, a massive shuriken shrieker cannon that incorporates a deadly powered scythe blade into the barrel. With this arcane weapon the Phoenix Lord is able to slaughter his enemies at both range and in close combat with equal skill.
- One-Man Army: Maugan Ra has mastered the art of combat to such an extent that he can stand alone against entire armies and emerge victorious. One example of this mentioned in the lore was on the planet of Stormvald where he managed to single-handedly wipe-out a large swarm of Tyrands.
- Shoot the Builder: While he didn't kill him, Maugan Ra crippled Kaeleth-Tul, the master Bonesinger who taught him how to make the Maugetar, so that he couldn't make a greater weapon.
- Sinister Scythe: In keeping with Maugan Ra's Grim Reaper theme, the Maugetar curved close combat attachment makes the powerful weapon look like bulky scythe that the Phoenix Lord can wield with expert precision.
- To Hell and Back: Due to the warp being the universe of souls and gods, Maugan Ra's mission into the Eye of Terror to rescue the lost craftworld of Altansar is presented as a metaphorical journey into hell to rescue his people.
Irillyth, the Shade of Twilight
Once thought lost to the galaxy, the founder of the Shadow Spectres Aspect was rediscovered and resurrected in the final centuries of the 41st Millennium. Based on the minor craftworld of Mymeara, Irillyth's teachings were never as widely spread as those of his fellow Asurya, but his return has led to a resurgence for the Shadow Spectres.
- Mix-and-Match Weapon: Irillyth's Spear of Starlight is an expertly crafted Prism Blaster that incorporates a power glaive blade on the barrel. This combination of close combat and ranged power allows the Shade of Twilight to be a threat at any range.
- Seers: During his training with Asurmen, Irillyth began having visions of the destruction of Craftworld Mymeara and set out to stop this future from coming to pass, eventually succeeding but at the cost of his life and the lives of his followers.
Drastanta, the Tempest of Starlight
The overly proud founder of the Shining Spears Aspect, Drastanta went missing after the fall of the Shrine of Asur. The mighty Celestial Lance is the only relic of the Phoenix Lord that has been recovered, passed from Exarch to Exarch down the millennia since Drastanta's disappearance.
- Ancestral Weapon: Since his disappearance, Drastanta's iconic Celestial Lance has been carried by a succession of Shining Spear Exarchs so that its strength can continue to protect his students.
- Crystal Weapon: The Celestial Lance is a magnificent weapon of shining crystal that is nonetheless powerful enough to shatter the soul of its target.
- Pride: Drastanta's pride in his abilities lead to him routinely engaging in over-long, solo battles. This turned into a Fatal Flaw during the Chaos assault on the Shrine of Asur, when such a dual preventing him from returning in time to save his mentor Asurmen from his first death.
- Soul-Cutting Blade: Drastanta's Celestial Lance is so powerful that it is said to be able to shatter the soul of its targets and, according to Aeldari legend, Drastanta used this ability to banish the Keeper of Secrets that destroyed the Shrine of Asur.
Arhra, the Father of Scorpions
The sinister founder of the Striking Scorpions Aspect, Arhra betrayed the other Asurya by leading the forces of Slaanesh to the Shrine of Asur. Now known as the Fallen Phoenix, Arhra is said to burn with the dark light of Chaos and many believe that he still teaches his murderous skills in the darkest reaches of the Aeldari civilization.
- The Exile: Arhra fled into the webway after the fall of the Shrine of Asur and hasn't been seen on any of the craftworlds since that time.
- Fallen Hero: While he initially fought to protect the Aeldari, Arhra was consumed by his own dark and murderous nature until he fell to Chaos and betrayed his fellow Phoenix Lords.
- Shrouded in Myth: Little is known for certain about Arhra's actions since he became the Fallen Phoenix. There are rumours amongst the Aeldari, however, that he became the Dark Father, the founder of the Drukhari mercenary order known as the Incubi, and that he may still fight for Commorragh as the mysterious Drazhar, Master of Blades.
- Unstoppable Rage: While fighting his former pupil Karandras on the planet Zandros, Arhra lost himself to his anger due to Karandras’ stealth and constant provocations, leading him to kill his own disciples while blinded by rage.
While all Asuryani possess impressive psychic ability, those who walk the Path of the Seer — sometimes called the Witch Path — develop theirs to degrees considered formidable even among their kin. Like many of the more complex Paths, there are many ways to walk the Path of the Seer but all of them are highly respected by their fellow Craftworlders. The seers that other races are most likely encounter are those that accompany a craftworld’s warhosts to war, such as Warlocks, former Aspect Warriors who use their abilities to assist Asuryani squads in battle, or the Spiritseers, who create, oversee, and direct units of wraith constructs. Those that get trapped upon the Path of the Seer are known as Farseers, and they are the most powerful psykers of their race. Farseers develop their psychic abilities to their fullest potential, often serving as military and cultural leaders and using their visions of the future to guide and direct the decisions of their people.
- Amplifier Artifact: The Ghosthelm of Alishazier (an Ulthwé relic) contains the psyche of an ancient Farseer who adds her psychic abilities to those of the wearer. In 9th Edition, it grants them an additional Runes of Fortune power. In 8th Edition, it boosts their ability to cast the basic Smite psychic power.
- BFS: The witchblades use by Warlocks come in a variety of sizes, with the largest being as large as the wielder is tall. Due to their wraithbone construction, however, these large blades are just as easy to wield as their smaller counterparts, with the in-game stats being the same regardless of size.
- Body to Jewel: Farseers very slowly turn to crystal due to their long time channelling the threads of fate. Eventually they retire to a special area of the Craftworld where their spirit joins the Craftworld as their body continues to fuse into the wraithbone.
- The Chessmaster: Farseers use their precognitive powers to guide their craftworlds through the myriad possible futures to produce the most advantageous outcome. Due to the scarcity of manpower, however, many attempt to do this by manipulating and misdirecting other races through actions such as the assassination of officers who could potentially prove a future threat or by using hit and run raids to redirect enemy forces towards a target other than their own craftworld.
- The Faceless: Mirroring the Wraith-constructs they lead, the helmets of Spiritseers are featureless, mirrored blanks lacking the facial features normally etched into Aeldari helms.
- Magic Knight: Warlocks are Aeldari walking the Path of the Seer who have formerly followed the Path of the Warrior. Combining their previous warrior training with their psychic abilities, Warlocks fight on the front line with psychically enhanced weaponry while unleashing psychic powers geared towards destruction, boosting the abilities of their allies, and reducing the abilities of the enemy.
- The Magocracy: Due to the highly psychic nature of their race, the most powerful seers of each craftworld, known as Farseers, will usually have at least an advisory role in its governance of the Planet Spaceship. There are some craftworlds, such as Ulthwé, where a council of Farseers acts as the de facto government, however, using their ability to perceive and manipulate the many strands of fate to guide their people through a hostile galaxy.
- Magic Staff: Rather than a singing spear or witchblade, the necromantic psykers known as Spiritseers wield witch staffs. These highly ornate wraithbone staffs allow the Spiritseer to channel their psychic abilities into their opponent to burn their very soul, typically giving them in-game special rules that make it easier for them to wound enemies in close combat.
- Multiple-Choice Future: Seers are often depicted in the background material and novels as seeing the future as myriad strands leading to different futures with each action spawning multiple new strands. It is the seer's mission to sort through these countless possible futures to find the most advantageous and steer the course of events towards this future.
- Necromancer: While their psychic abilities are technically Soul Power, Spiritseers are explicitly compared in-universe to necromancers, using their abilities to commune with the spirits in their craftworld's infinity circuit, and to implant departed souls into war-constructs such as Wraithguard or Wraithlords so that they can continue to fight after death. The Aeldari still regard the practice as abhorrent, but a Necessary Evil given the desperate times they live in.
- Robe and Wizard Hat: Those walking the Path of the Seer are easily distinguished on the battlefield by their elaborate and flowing robes that incorporates their lightweight rune armour and invokes the traditional image of a mystic or magic user. On the other hand, they do not wear the conical hats of traditional wizards, preferring tall and elaborately decorated helms that protect them from the attentions of predatory warp denizens.
- Runic Magic: Seers use runes caved onto coin-sized shards of wraithbone to enhance their psychic abilities, focusing and channelling the power of the warp through the rune's shape. In addition to this, the most powerful psykers are able to use their runes to disrupt enemy psychic abilities and predict the future in a similar manner.
- Seers: Farseers learn to combine their powers with wraithbone runes to divine and manipulate the infinite strands of the future to ensure the best possible outcome for their people, acting as a council of advisers and rulers for many craftworlds. Farseers can also use these precognitive abilities on the battlefield by foreseeing the tactics of their enemies or by altering the course of fate so that a blade that should have missed strikes true, or that a bullet that would have taken the life of an Aeldari warrior never strikes its target.
- Taken for Granite: As their mind becomes increasingly intertwined with the wraithbone core of their craftworld, the physical body of a Farseer slowly begins to crystallize. Once the crystallization progresses past a certain point, the Farseer will retreat to the Dome of Crystal Seers where the crystal bodies will take root, while their minds link directly with the craftworld's infinity circuit.
- Winds of Destiny, Change!: As part of their ability to perceive the strands of fate, Farseers and some Warlocks can perceive and manipulate the fates of enemies and allies through psychic powers such as Protect/Jinx, Guide and Doom. How this is represented in-game tends to vary depending on the power and edition, but usually involves giving units bonuses, penalties or re-rolls to various characteristics or rolls.
As one of the most dangerous and seductive Paths, many Aeldari walking the Path of the Warrior for too long may find themselves unable to leave it, becoming Exarchs, the priests and teachers of the aspect shrines who guide their fellows in prayer and in battle.
- Bare-Handed Blade Block: The Turn Aside Blow Exarch Warrior Power, from the 2nd Edition rules, allows an Exarch to block enemy attacks with specially designed armoured gloves, giving them the ability to parrynote enemy blows multiple times, even if they aren't equipped with a weapon capable of using the parry rules.
- Crippling Overspecialization: Each Aspect Shrine is trained and equipped for a specific style of fighting or to exterminate a specific type of foe. While this specialisation makes them some of the deadliest warriors in the galaxy within their preferred form of combat, many Aspect Warriors struggle when out of their element — Dark Reapers, for example, are excellent at providing long-ranged fire support but their lack of speed and short ranged weapons make them helpless in melee, while Howling Banshees can carve through heavily armoured infantry with ease but will suffer should they get stuck in prolonged combat against hordes.
- Heroic Safe Mode: One of the major purposes of the Path of the Warriors is to create a Heroic Safe Mode, known as a war mask, as a means of controlling and focusing an individual's anger so that it doesn't interfere with their daily lives. Through training and ritual, an Asuryani who has walked the Path of the Warrior is able to control the extremes of their violent emotions, only unleashing them after donning their armour when called to war.
- Hot-Blooded: Due to the extremes of their emotions, many Aeldari of the craftworlds will, at some time in their life, find themselves consumed by a fire and passion that can only be quenched through ritual training and battle. Whether it is through the cold fury of the Dark Reapers, or the aggressive annihilation of the Fire Dragons, all the Aspect shrines attempt to direct and control the destructive passions of these Aeldari.
- Mind Hive: To protect the sanctity of the infinity circuit, the soul stones of dead Exarchs remain within their armour. Due to this, when a new Aeldari warrior first dons the armour of a former Exarch, their mind becomes linked to the souls of all those who have worn the armour before them, allowing them to receive guidance from his predecessors, and draw upon their skill sin battle. The longer an Aeldari serves as an Exarch, the closer this connection becomes until their personality eventually fully merges with those that came before him.
- Warrior Monk: While they typically emphasise the martial ability than the religious calling, Exarchs are the priests of Khaine, as well as teachers and war leaders for those under their care, maintaining the Aspect Shrine, seeing to the spiritual needs of those walking the Path of the Warrior and, when necessary, becoming a willing sacrifice to awaken the physical embodiment of their god. To a lesser extent, many of the Aeldari who join the Aspect temples do so to fulfil a spiritual need, to learn to confront and control the more destructive urges in their souls, making them lay-members of the temple.
- Warrior Poet: The Aeldari of the Craftworld will often use skills and influences from former Paths to the one they are currently walking, enriching their new role. This can sometimes apply to those walking the Path of the Warrior as well, with those that once walked more cultural Paths, such as the Path of the Poet, Sculpture or Dancer, applying their experiences to the battlefield to produce tableaux of blood and gore or seemingly choreographed duels.
- Weapon Specialization: Every Aspect Shrine has their own ritual weaponry and wargear that is used by its warriors. These can range from the more basic pistols and close combat weapons, to more esoteric things such as fighter jets.
Crimson HuntersAspect Warriors specialising in air superiority, the Crimson Hunters represent the blades of blood that Khaine used to blind the White Wyrm Oghanothir, leaving the powerful beast vulnerable to a killing blow. The ritual wargear of the shrine is the Nightshade Interceptor, a sleek one-man aircraft specifically designed to take on the any flying threat they may face. Although rare, the number of Crimson Hunter shrines has started to expand as the Rhana Dandra approaches. The primary colour of the shrine is red, often with creamy white and black accents, and their Phoenix Lord is unknown.
- Ace Pilot: Although Crimson Hunters are skilled above and beyond the pilots of other races, their Exarchs are true masters of aerial combat amongst the Aeldari. Piloting their Nightshade Interceptors with the ease that a Dire Avenger handles their shuriken catapult or a Striking Scorpion wields their chainsword, Crimson Hunter Exarchs are capable of bringing down the aircraft of any lesser race with peerless accuracy while evading return fire with their near-incomprehensible speed and agility.
Dark ReapersRepresenting Khaine in his aspect as the Destroyer, the sinister and ruthless Dark Reapers provide deadly long-ranged fire support with efficient elegance. Armed with sacred reaper launchers equipped with sophisticated targeters and stabilisers, the Dark Reapers can unleash either a storm of small starswarm missiles or a single powerful starshot missile with pinpoint accuracy. Warriors of the shrine wear the colours of death, midnight black highlighted with bone, and their Phoenix Lord is the Harvester of Souls, Maugan Ra.
- Cold Sniper: The war mask developed by Dark Reapers is that of obsessive, impassive and humourless marksmen who use their elegant missile launchers to pick off enemies with peerless skill.
- In the Hood: A Dark Reaper Exarch can wear a hood over their helmet, thus enhancing their grim reaper image.
- Macross Missile Massacre: Some Dark Reaper Exarchs carry a tempest launcher. A precursor to the modern reaper launcher used by regular Dark Reapers, the tempest launcher unleashes a veritable hail of small but weak missiles in an arcing trajectory, allowing the Exarch to bombard his enemies, even if they are out of sight.
- Precision-Guided Boomerang: The Web of Skullsnote is a bolas-like weapon consisting of three entwined lengths of chain, each ending in a crystal skull. A skilled wielder, such as a Dark Reaper Exarch, is able to cast the Web of Skulls so that it strikes up to three enemy models before returning unerringly to their hand.
- Skull for a Head: Whether it is the entire helm or just their faceplate, the helmet of a Dark Reaper's aspect armour is almost always fashioned into the image of a morbid skull as part of their Grim Reaper motif.
Dire AvengersThe most widespread of all Aspect Shrines, the Dire Avengers embody Khaine's desire for vengeance. Highly skilled in both offensive and defensive warfare, Dire Avengers are the most tactically flexible Aspect Warriors, and they often form the core of a craftworld's warhosts. Their ritual weapon is the avenger shuriken catapult, a more powerful version of the weapons used by Aeldari Guardians that allows the warriors of the Shrine to scythe down their foes with artful grace. Their main colour of the Shrine is the blue of Asuryan, often with red and white as secondary colours, and they were founded by Asurmen, the Hand of Asuryan, the oldest of the Phoenix Lords.
- Death of a Thousand Cuts: A favoured tactic of Dire Avenger squads is to use the high rate-of-fire of their avenger shuriken catapults to recreate the Death of a Thousand Blades that Khaine used to punish those unworthy of a clean death, unleashing a silent storm of monomolecular discs to shred their foes. How this is represented in-game depends on the edition with 5th Edition making it a special attack that allows them to fire extra shots, while the late 8th Edition sourcebook Psychic Awakening: Phoenix Rising introduced an Exarch power that gives a unit the chance of causing additional automatic hits. Whatever the actual effect of this rule, it is usually named Bladestorm.
- Empathic Weapon: The direswords wielded by some Dire Avenger Exarchs have spirit stones embedded in their hilts. Upon striking an enemy, the vengeful soul held within such a spirit stone will attempt to shatter the enemy's mind.
- Guns Akimbo: In imitation of their Phoenix Lord, some Dire Avenger Exarchs mount an Avenger shuriken catapult on the back of each of their vambraces, increasing their firepower considerably.
- Jack of All Trades: While they lack long-ranged abilities, at mid-to-close range Dire Avengers are far more tactically flexible than the warriors of other Aspect shrines, able to perform equally well in offence or defence. Squads of Dire Avengers can even hold their own in close combat, their Exarchs capable of wielding a number of efficient melee weapons.
Fire DragonsSpecialising in the total destruction of the enemy at close range, the Fire Dragons represent the dragon of Aeldari myth. The ritual weapon of the Fire Dragons is the fusion gun, a weapon that can reduce even the most heavily armoured enemy to molten slag in seconds. Warriors of the Shrine wear the colours of fire, red, orange and yellow, and their Phoenix Lord is the mighty Fuegan, the Burning Lance.
- Anti-Structure: As part of their philosophy of absolute destruction, the Fire Dragons are trained in the most efficient ways to destroy buildings while causing the maximum amount of damage to their occupants, and the powerful anti-vehicle weaponry utilised by warriors of the Shrine are just as deadly when turned upon enemy fortifications.
- Anti-Vehicle: Since the Fire Dragons' primary battlefield role is to hunt down enemy armoured vehicles, their weapons and abilities all increase their chances of reducing vehicles to molten slag (specifics depend on the edition).
- Battle Aura: The lore states that, when immersed in the heat of battle, Fire Dragon Exarchs often have a halo of fiery energy surrounding their heads as a manifestation of their murder-lust and their deep connection to the fire of the mythological dragon.
- Fire-Breathing Weapon: From their signature fusion blasters, to the more specialised firepikes and dragon's breath flamers wielded by their Exarchs, the Fire Dragons specialise in the use of fire and heat-based weapons that burn, melt and vaporise their opponents.
- Mythical Motifs: Styling themselves after the Dragon, a figure from the Aeldari mythic cycle that tried to set the whole galaxy aflame, the Fire Dragons seek to emulate the great creature's powers of fiery destruction by wearing the colours of flame and using heat-based weaponry to totally annihilate their enemies.
Howling BansheesTaking on the Aspect of the children of Khaine by the Crone Goddess Morai-Heg, the Howling Banshees are close combat specialists who use speed and agility to strike down their foes. The most recognisable of the Shrine's ritual wargear is the banshee masks, a psychosonic amplifier that causes damage to an enemy's nervous system, paralysing them long enough for the wearer to strike them down with sword or pistol. The traditional colour of the Howling Banshees is the colour of bone, often with the addition of red to honour the Bloody Handed God. Second in size only to the Dire Avengers, the Phoenix Lord of the Howling Banshees is the far-travelled Jain Zar, the Storm of Silence.
- Amazon Brigade: Downplayed as, while the banshee is a female spirit in Aeldari mythology, males can join Howling Banshee shrines. These male Banshees wear the same female-formed armour as the rest of the shrine's Aspect Warriors and develop a female persona while they wear their "war mask".
- Brown Note: A Banshee’s mask amplifies its wearer's screams into a mind-numbing psychic shriek that causes temporary paralysis in listeners as their central nervous system shuts down.
- Dual Wielding: Howling Banshee Exarchs sometimes replace their traditional shuriken pistol and power sword with a pair of shimmering Mirrorswords, using their speed and dexterity to unleash a storm of blows upon their opponents, resulting in a re-roll for failed hit rolls in 8th Edition.
- Fragile Speedster: Howling Banshees rely on their speed, agility, and athletic ability more than their strength and toughness. Their high Move characteristic and/or abilities to increase speed allow them to cross the battlefield as quickly as possible to get into close combat, but they're no more durable than the rank-and-file Dire Avenger.
- Mythical Motifs: Howling Banshees take on the image of the banshees from Aeldari myth, who were said to be the heralds of death and ill-fortune. The warriors of the Shrine replicate the piercing screams of their mythological counterparts with their own psychically amplified war cries that foretell the death of their enemies.
- The Paralyzer: The enhanced warcries created by a Howling Banshee's mask can briefly paralyse an enemy as their nervous system is assaulted by psychosonic energy. The in-game effect varies depending on the edition and can include things such as allowing the Banshees to strike first when they charge or preventing the enemy from firing Overwatchnote .
- Precision-Guided Boomerang: The triskele is a large, three-bladed throwing weapon used by some Howling Banshee Exarchs from 3rd Edition onward. When cast, the triskele flies through the enemy's ranks, cutting throats and opening arteries, before returning to the Exarch's hand so that she can continue to use it is close combat.
- Weaponized Headgear: The helmets worn by the the Howling Banshees incorporate psychosonic amplifiers that allow the Aspect Warriors to stun their opponents with a mind-melting battle cry.
Shadow SpectresThought lost until the rediscovery of Craftworld Mymeara the Shadow Spectres use stealth and mobility to bring death to enemy armoured vehicles with their ritual prism rifles. Representing Khaine as the Eternal Warrior, who demands that even the dead shall never see the end of war, warriors of the Shrine consider themselves to be the living counterparts to the Wraithguard and those that fall in battle always have their spirit stones used to animate one of these undead warriors. The ritual colours of the Shadow Spectres are white, pale grey and silver, and their Phoenix Lord is Irillyth, the Shade of Twilight.
- Using the same technology as the tank-killing prism cannon, the prism rifles wielded by the Shadow Spectres are designed to cut through the hulls of armoured targets, with their in-game rules typically giving them high strength and/or special rules that make them particularly effective against enemy vehicles.
- The haywire launchers used by some Shadow Spectre Exarchs fire advanced EMP grenades that do considerable damage to the internal systems of any vehicle hit, making damage more likely or doing extra damage depending on the edition.
- Combination Attack: The background material for the Shadow Spectres mentions that the Shrine utilises a unique targeting system called the Ghostlight, which allows multiple Aspect Warriors to combine their prism rifles' beams into a single combined shot. In some editionsnote , this was represented by multiple models combining their hits into a single attack with higher Strength and Armour Penetration characteristics than they would have individually.
- Jump Jet Pack: Sophisticated jet packs are part of the ritual equipment used by the Shadow Spectre Shrine. With these jet packs, warriors of the Shrine float across the battlefield like ghostly shadows, gaining considerable aerial mobility that allows them to bypass rough terrain and appear as if from nowhere to overwhelm their target with precise firepower.
Shining SpearsEmbodying the mighty spear of Khaine that could slay anything with a single, perfect blow. Fighting from the back of sleek jetbikes, the Shining Spears use their ritual laser lances to perform hit-and-run attacks and lightning-fast strikes that are calculated to inflicting the greatest possible damage. The colour scheme of the Shining Spears is primarily white offset with blue. The lost Drastanta, Tempest of Starlight, is the Shrine’s Phoenix Lord.
- Improbable Piloting Skills: The Shining Spears are said to be the most skilled jetbike riders of the Craftworlds, capable of performing highly complex manoeuvres at speed with only the slightest touch of the controls. The control that the Shining Spears have over their machines is so great that they can even fly untouched through enemy fire, their 8th Edition Aerobatic Grace ability giving them a special save against ranged attacks.
- Jousting Lance: Their traditional weapon of the Shining Spears is the laser lance. This powerful energy weapon fires a devastating laser blast, usually unleashed just before the Aspect Warrior engages the enemy, that is then followed by a second piercing blast as the lance strikes. In most editions of the game, these weapons can be used at range and in combat, with the 8th Edition rules giving them a bonus on the turn that the Shining Spear charges to represent its increased effectiveness.
Representing the iron scorpion Khaine sent to sting the Aeldari hero Ulthanesh, the Striking Scorpions specialise in the sudden and unexpected kill, moving stealthily and unnoticed until the time comes to deliver strike against an unsuspecting foe. One of the more heavily armoured Aspects, the Shrine’s warriors use stealth to close with their prey, wrapping themselves in darkness until they can deliver a mortal blow with their ritual mandiblasters and chainswords. Green is the colour most associated with the Striking Scorpion, with black and yellow being prominent secondary colours. The founding Phoenix Lord of the Shrine was Arha, the Father of Scorpions, but after his fall to Chaos his disciple Karandras, the Shadow Hunter, took his place.
- Animal Motif: Striking Scorpions style themselves after their deadly namesake, wearing segmented armour that resembles a scorpion's chitinous exoskeleton and mounting their trademark mandiblasters on their helmets in imitation their mandibles, while many of their Exarchs wield a scorpion's claw, a sophisticated style of Power Pincers. In battle, warriors of the Shrine also emulate the scorpion's ability to deliver a fatal strike from hiding.
- Chainsaw Good: One of the ritual weapons of the Striking Scorpions is the chainsword and the warriors of the Shrine use these diamond-toothed weapons to rip their opponents apart in close combat. The chainswords used by the Shrine come in a number of forms from the basic scorpion chainsword, that boost the wielder's Strength characteristic slightly, to the deadly biting blades that come in BFS and Blade Below the Shouldernote form.
- Lightning Bruiser: Despite wearing the heaviest armour of any close combat orientated Aspect Shrine (giving them a Save characteristic equal to that of Imperial power armour) Striking Scorpions retain the superior speed and agility all Aeldari show in close combat.
- Mix-and-Match Weapon: The powerful Exarch weapon known as a scorpion's claw is a lightweight, power claw that incorporates a shuriken catapult into it's design. Modelled after the claw worn by the Phoenix Lord Karandras, a scorpion's claw allows an Exarch to deal death at range, while striking with both the armour-piercing claw and flesh-shredding scorpion chainsword when they reach melee.
- Power Pincers: Striking Scorpion Exarchs sometimes use a pincer-shaped weapon called the scorpion's claw. These claws enhance the strength of the wielder in the same manner as Imperial Power Fists but are much lighter and easier to use note . The weapon also mounts a shuriken catapult for ranged combat.
- Stealth Expert: Striking Scorpions are taught to wrap themselves in shadows, quickly becoming the stealthiest of all the close combat orientated Aspect Warriors. Specialising in sneak attacks and ambushes, Warriors of the shrine are able to move through all but the thickest of terrain without a sound and are willing to lie in wait for days until the perfect opportunity to strike presents itself. In-game, most editions represent these abilities by giving Striking Scorpion units special rules for deployment and/or moving through terrain.
- Weaponized Headgear: The signature mandiblasters used by Striking Scorpions are a pair of small pods fitted to their helmets designed to resemble a scorpion's mandibles. These pods fire small metallic needles that are then converted into plasma by the weapon's laser projector.
Embodying the myth that the spirits of murdered Aeldari would possess the body of a great bird of prey to hover over their killer, Swooping Hawks are winged deliverers of retribution. Using their signature anti-gravity wings to soar swiftly through the skies, Swooping Hawks deliver death from above with grenades and rapid fire lasblasters. Warriors of the Shrine typically wear turquoise and sky-blue aspect armour, often with their wings picked out in bright colours. The Phoenix Lord of the shrine is the youthful Baharroth, the Cry of the Wind.
- Animal Motif: With anti-gravity wings designed to resemble the wings of great avian predators and helmets with beak-like faceplates, Swooping Hawks are styled after birds in general, and hawks in particular. In battle these predators of the sky are also described as swooping down from the sky with the grace and legality of a bird of prey.
- Blinded by the Light: In some editions, Swooping Hawk Exarchs can take sunrifles, powerful lasblasters that unleash bright beams of laser energy that blinds those it doesn't kill, reducing their effectiveness on the battlefield.
- Death from Above: The Swooping Hark grenade packs that warriors of the Shrine are equipped with are designed to drop multiple explosives on their opponents as they fly over the battlefield. How this is handled during a game depends on the edition with many versions of their rules allowing Swooping Hawks to make a special attack outside of the usual turn sequence as they deploy onto the battlefield and/or fly over enemy units.
- Fragile Speedster: Their winged anti-gravity equipment makes Swooping Hawks some of the swiftest and most mobile of all Aeldari infantry units, with a Move characteristic equal to that of bikes from other armies and, in some editions, special rules that allow them to redeploy during a battle. On the downside, the necessity for lightweight wargear makes them quite vulnerable and they have typically have a Save characteristic equal to (or lower than depending on the edition) the average for Aspect Warriors.
- Jump Jet Pack: Although a Swooping Hawk's wings grant them full flight in the background material, most editions of their in-game rules treat them the same, or similar, to the Jump Jet Pack equipped tropes of other races, moving in great leaps across the battlefield to avoid terrain and drop grenades on opponents.
- Sword and Gun: Despite primarily being an Aspect that focuses on mid-range firepower, many Swooping Hawk Exarchs wield a power sword alongside their lasblaster or hawk’s talon in imitation of their honoured Phoenix Lord.
- Throw Down the Bomblet: Grenades are one of the two ritual weapons of the Swooping Harks Shrine, and they usually carry a mixture of Anti-Infantry and Anti-Vehicle explosives. Released from special grenade packs fitted to their legs, Swooping Harks typically bombard enemy troops as they fly over them but some editions do allow them to throw their grenades as well.
- Winged Humanoid: The warriors of the Swooping Hawks have of the more recognisable silhouettes of any Aspect Shrine, their lightweight armour fitted with graceful wings that incorporate anti-gravity devises crafted to resemble feathers that, in the lore, grant them full flight but tend to be treated as Jump Jet Packs in most editions of the game's rules.
Warp SpidersTaking inspiration from the creatures that defend a craftworld's infinity circuit, the Warp Spiders use hit and run tactics to fulfil their role as an aggressive defence unit. Warriors of the Shrine are equipped with sophisticated warp jump generators that allow them to strike at their opponents without warning, before teleporting to safety before their foes can retaliate. Due to the danger to their lives and souls such tactics expose them too, many Asuryani consider the Warp Spiders to be the most courageous of all Aspect Warriors. The traditional colours of the Warp Spiders are red, black and white. The founding Phoenix Lord of the Shrine is unknown.
- Animal Motif: The armour and equipment of the Warp Spiders Shrine is designed to imitate the look of their arachnid namesake, with their jump generator backpack in particular resembling a spider's dorsal carapace. In addition to this, the ritual armament of the Shrine, the Razor Floss spewing death spinner, represents a spider's ability to create silt, while Exarchs of the Shrine often mount these weapons on additional artificial limbs.
- Blade Below the Shoulder: Warp Spider Exarchs often go into battle with a pair of powerblades strapped to the backs of their gauntlets. Equipped with these short, but sharp, blades an Exarch can slice his opponents to pieces while maintaining a remorseless torrent of Razor Floss with his death spinners.
- Multi-Armed and Dangerous: The armour of Warp Spider Exarchs often incorporate a pair of artificial limbs tipped with death spinners, leaving their main arms free to wield close combat weapons.
- Projectile Webbing: As part of their spider motif, Warp Spiders Invoke the image of web-firing arachnids with their ritual weapons, the death spinner and, in some editions, the spinneret rifle. Instead of silk, these deadly weapons project a cloud or strand monofilament wire at their target that can turn flesh to pulp in an instant.
- Teleportation: The Warp Spiders make use of unique short-range teleporter backpacks known as warp jump generators to imitate the natural abilities of their namesake. These jump generators work by briefly moving their wearer through the warp, allowing them to disappear from the battlefield and then, if they are lucky, reappear a short distance away. How this is represented on the tabletop depends on the edition, but usually involves additional and/or special types of movement.
- Teleporter Accident: As with the majority of teleportation technology in the setting, the jump generators used by Warp Spiders work by shunting them briefly into the warp; if something goes wrong, they will never return to the material plane and their souls will be torn apart by daemons. Warp Spiders try to mitigate this by making the shortest warp jumps possible, limiting their exposure to the immaterium. How this danger is represented in-game varies with the edition, but usually involves the possibility of squad members being instantly killed if they make moves over a certain distance.
- Cavalry of the Dead: Wraith constructs are artificial constructs carrying the spirits of dead Aeldari so that they can continue to fight in defence of the living. As the creation of these ghost warriors is considered an abomination, most Craftworlds only use them in the gravest of emergencies, most famously during Hive Fleet Kraken's invasion of Iyanden where the Craftworlders had suffered so many casualties that, by the time the Tyranids had been driven off, there were more Ghost Warriors walking the domes of the craftworld than living Aeldari.
- The Faceless: The heads of Wraith-constructs lack any features or lenses to see with as they rely on witch-sight to perceive the world around them.
- Godzilla Threshold: They are this for any Craftworld, barring Iyanden, who had to replace most of their fighting forces with Wraith Constructs after a Tyranid Hive Fleet ate through a sizable portion of their population. The Asuryani wish to leave the dead to rest whenever possible, but sometimes they are forced into an engagement with the enemy that their living forces cannot sustain. When this happens, the Spiritseers are called out and the Wraith Constructs march for their Craftworld.
- Haunted Technology: In the strictest sense of the term, yes. Wraith Constructs can only be animated by spirits, and the most readily available spirits are those of the dead in the Infinity Circuit.
- Lightning Bruiser: Compared to the war machines of other factions, wraith constructs are quite fast and can hit quite hard at both range and in close combat.
- Heart Drive: In order to create the these warrior-constructs, Spiritseers insert a spirit stone containing the soul of a dead Aeldari into an artificial body. In battle, these artificial warriors are incredibly durable as their bodies can be repaired and regrown by Bonesingers and the only way to permanently destroy such a construct is to destroy the spirit stone itself.
- Shoulder Cannon: Many of the larger humanoid constructs of the Asuryani mount weapons on their shoulders so that they can increase their firepower, or to leave their hands free to wield close combat weapons. Wraithlords and Wraithknights will often sport heavy weapons more commonly seen on Guardian grav-platforms, while the larger Titan-class constructs will often have powerful missile launchers and other weapon systems built into their holo-field projector fins.
- Synchronization: Larger Wraith Constructs like Wraithknights and Phantom Titans require a secondary, living pilot to control many of the machine's functions and to relieve the load from the soul bound within the construct. Many Wraithknight pilots are selected from the siblings or family members of the dead stored within, as their close emotional and psychic ties allow them to function better together.
- Vertical Mecha Fins: Wraith-constructs and Titans typically sport one or two curved fins protruding from the back behind the shoulders. These fins frequently have a wing-like look to them and, on some walkers, often house sophisticated holo-field generators. Some infantry armour worn by warriors of the craftworlds also shares this aesthetic, with their power packs' vanes designed to look like small fins.
Wraithguard & WraithbladesThe most common type of Wraith Construct fielded, Wraithguard and Wraithblades are stalwart defenders of their Craftworlds and proof that not even death will stop the Asuryani from forestalling their decline.
- Close-Range Combatant: Wraithblades are dedicated to close combat. Possessed by the spirits of dead Aeldari that have become totally consumed by rage, Wraithblades are equipped with either a pair of ghostswords or a ghostaxe and forceshield before being unleashed against the foe to vent their fury in brutal close combat.
- Dual Wielding: Some Wraithblades choose to forgo the defense offered by a Force Shield and instead wield a pair of Ghostswords into battle.
- Implacable Man: Wraithguard are often described in the background material as advancing silently on their enemies, incoming fire impacting harmlessly on their artificial bodies as they unleash their arcane weaponry.
- Luckily, My Shield Will Protect Me: Wraithblades that wield Ghost Axes also go into battle with a Force Shield mounted on their off-arm, giving them a decent invulnerable saving throw.
- Mighty Glacier: In contrast to the Glass Cannon and Weak, but Skilled nature of the Craftworld army, Wraithguard and Wraithblades are quite durable, with a degree of toughness that will let them shrug off most army's anti-infantry weapons and return in kind with hard hitting, armor shredding weaponry. However, they move quite slowly, meaning you are liable to lose a few before you get them into their effective range.
- More Dakka: The D-Scythes that Wraithguard are equipped with throw out D3 shots per model in the unit, and each unit can have up to fifteen models, equaling quite a lot of energy flying into your opponents.
WraithlordWhen an Aspect Warrior Exarch passes on, occasionally it will be the wish of his Shrine or his Craftworld that his genius and fury be saved for future use. When needed, a specialist Farseer will locate their soul in the Infinity Circuit bound to their armor and will place them inside of a massive Wraith Construct, bristling with the most terrifying weaponry the Aeldari can offer, and turn him into a Wraithlord.
- BFS: The Ghostglaives they wield are twice as tall as an Aeldari, and stand up to the 10-foot tall constructs chest when planted on the ground.
- Elites Are More Glamorous: Especially when they're bedecked in a giant wraithbone machine covered in weaponry that can liquify an Astartes.
- Lightning Bruiser: Wraithlords look like they should be Mighty Glaciers like their smaller Wraithguard kin, but the stronger soul of the Exarch possessing the construct means that they often have a movement speed and reaction time depending on the rules while being far more durable. However, Wraithlords are relatively slower when compared to living Aeldari and many of their war machines.
- Run-and-Gun: In 9th Edition, a Wraithlord can now move and fire its Heavy weapons without penalty. Given that a Wraithlord can be a melee monster, no longer having to sacrifice their ranged arsenal in order to close into charging range is a massive boon for them.
- Shoulder Cannon: They can have additional weaponry mounted onto their shoulders, such as Shuriken Cannons and Starcannons.
An exceptionally rare sight even among the rarely-used Wraith Constructs, a Wraithseer is what happens when a Seer or Warlock, or more likely a Farseer or Spiritseer, dies and arranges for their soul stone to be placed into a Wraithlord construct. Being potent psykers on top of their skill in the arts of war, Wraithseers are a true force to be reckoned with for the enemies of the Craftworld.
- Lost Technology: The comparative rarity of Wraithseers comes from the fact that no one knows the exact process for creating them anymore, and they become fewer still as the enemies of the Aeldari grind away at the Craftworlds.
- Magic Knight: Wraithseers are Wraithlord constructs animated by the spirit of a fallen Warlock battle psyker. A Wraithseer possesses all the strength and durability of a regular Wraithlord and also retains many of the psychic abilities it possessed in life.
- Shoulder Cannon: Like their Wraithlord Cousins, they can mount weaponry on their shoulder such as D-Cannons.
The mightiest and largest Wraith Constructs of most Craftworlds, Wraithknights stride across the battlefield with a grace and serene elegance that belies their sheer, deadly efficiency with which they defend their Craftworlds.
- BFG: Their twinned Wraithcannons or the singular Suncannon that they can be equipped with are massive weapons mounted to their forearms, with barrels about as long as a Space Marine Rhino. Skathach Wraithknights are universally armed with the similarly sized Deathshroud Cannons or Inferno Lances.
- BFS: Their Ghostglaives are a scaled up version of the variety that Wraithlords get. Wraithlords are 10-foot tall war machines with a sword to match. You do the math on that one.
- Humongous Mecha: Wraithknights are easily one of, if not the tallest model able to be fielded in a standard match, topping 9" tall on the tabletop when modeled at their full height. In the lore, Wraithknights actually dwarf Imperial Knights, and it typically takes Titans to make them lose out on the height race.
- Square-Cube Law: Utterly defied; Wraithknights are building sized war machines that can move with a level of grace, speed, and fluidity that should be utterly impossible for a machine that size. The pilots of these machines use this advantage to outmaneuver enemies like Imperial Knights that can't possibly hope to keep up with them.
- Teleportation: Skathach Wraithknights are an exceptionally rare variety of Wraithknight that patrol the Webway to annihilate any interlopers dwelling within. To make navigating the Webway easier for them, they are fitted with a portable Webway shunt generator that can instantly teleport the building-sized war machine into the Webway and back out when it wishes. They can abuse this heavily in combat, taking their already considerable grace and speed and using the generator to run rings around enemies of similar size to them.
The Avatar of Khaine, Incarnation of the Bloody-Handed God
Aeldari tradition holds that, at the climax of the Fall, Kaela Mensha Khaine, the god of war, battled the new-born She Who Thirsts, only to be defeated and broken into fragments. These divine shards came to rest at the heart of each craftworld, where they grew into the iron statues known as Avatars. Sealed within a shrine to the Bloody-Handed God, the Avatar waits silently until war nears, the growing battle-lust of the Aeldari pulsing through the world-ship’s infinity circuit kindling the burning blood of the deity's iron body. With arcane rituals and the sacrifice of a worthy Aspect Warrior, the divine spark of life is returned to the physical embodiment of Khaine and it strides purposefully out of its shrine to lead the Asuryani to war. The Avatar’s fiery form inspires the Aeldari warhost, filling its warriors with visions of bloodshed as it brings flaming ruination to their foes.
- Action Bomb: The 9th Edition update gives the Avatar the "Burning Demise" rule that activates when it is destroyed; on a die roll of 6 the Avatar explodes and deals D3 mortal wounds to every unit with D6 inches of it.
- Burning with Anger: Said to be the physical embodiment of the anger of the entire Aeldari race, the Avatar constantly smoulders with Khaine's rage and Blood Lust, its eyes burning like hot coals while molten iron runs through its veins and tendrils of smoke circle its head like a crown.
- Flaming Sword: Whether it takes the form of a sword, spear, or axe, the Wailing Doom is typically depicted with a blade that is wreathed in the flames of Khaine's rage, and with fiery runes that burn with the same heat as the Avatar itself.
- Gameplay and Story Segregation: In lore, the Wailing Doom can take the form of a sword, a spear or an axe; however, up to 8th Edition, the Avatar's physical model could only be armed with a sword, with a spear-wielding alternative model available from Forge World. This is averted with the 9th Edition model, which has all three variants as options.
- Godzilla Threshold: Awakening an Avatar of Khaine is not a task performed lightly, as it requires sacrificing an Exarch of an Aspect Shrine to do so. Losing what could potentially be millennia of experience through this action for a one-time ritual to summon a fragment of Khaine's might is typically only reserved for truly desperate situations. It is possible to Take a Third Option to wake the Avatar up, but the conditions that need to be met to do so are ludicrously rare and a potential ill-omen given the circumstances.note
- Hate Plague: Aeldari who fight alongside an Avatar find themselves filled with the fury of Khaine and feel an exhilarating bloodlust that drives them to murder their enemies. How this is represented during a game varies depending on the edition but often include making it less likely for nearby Aeldari to flee from combat and/or making it more likely for them to successfully complete a charge.
- Human Sacrifice: When the time comes to awaken the Avatar, an Aspect Warriornote is chosen by the craftworld's Farseers to be the Young King. Adorned with a crown of wraithbone thorns, the Young King has runes of blood painted on their naked body before being led to the Avatar's throne room. Nobody knows exactly what happens within the sealed throne room, but after hours or days of roaring flames and screaming, the awakened Avatar walks out, the blood of the Young King dripping eternally from its left hand. What becomes of the Young King's soul is a mystery, even to the Aeldari, but theories range from them becoming one with the Bloody Handed God to being consumed utterly as a sacrifice.
- Immune to Fire: Due to its fiery nature, the Avatar is often depicted as being utterly immune to flame-based and melta weaponry. Whether this is fully represented in the rules of the game varies by edition. Some make the Avatar totally immune to such weapons, while 8th Edition gives it a chance of ignoring damage from any weapon.
- Implacable Man: The 9th Edition update to the Avatar has given it a considerable durability boost, giving it an armor save and invulnerable save better than Space Marine Terminators or Bladeguard Veterans, a Toughness statistic of 8 which means that basically all anti-infantry weaponry is going to fail to wound it even if it hits it, and should a sufficiently powerful attack break through its Toughness and its saves the Avatar also cuts all damage that it takes in half. With a starting Wounds statistic of 14, the Avatar of Khaine is going to take some serious concetrated firepower before it perishes.
- Let's Fight Like Gentlemen: Subverted in one instance. The Avatar attempted to challenge the Tyranid Swarmlord to a duel on Craftworld Iyanden. The Swarmlord just sicced a dozen Carnifexes on it.
- Living Statue: The Avatar is a massive statue of living iron animated by a fragment of the War God Khaine and the bloodlust of the Aeldari that brings death and destruction to the enemies of the craftworlds.
- Morph Weapon: As the weapon of the War God, the Avatar's Wailing Doom is said to be able to take the form of almost any weapon but most commonly appears as a great spear or mighty sword, the weapons most associated with Khaine in Aeldari myth. While it is not unknown for the weapon to change form during a battle, the Wailing Doom typically remains in the form it takes when the Avatar is summoned.
- Named Weapon: The Avatar wields Suin Daellae, the Wailing Doom, a fragment of the weapon of Khaine himself. The weapon is named for the terrible sound it makes as it is scythes through the ranks of the Avatar's enemies.
- Physical God: The Avatar is an iron statue, animated by a fragment of the Aeldari War God. While it lacks many of the godlike powers of a fully realised deity, it is still able to express the rage and hate of the Bloody Handed God through its molten body, and inspire the Asuryani with its mere presence.
- Red Right Hand: Left hand, technically; like the deity it was created from, the Avatar of Khaine constantly has the blood of the Human Sacrifice used to awaken it dripping from its left hand.
- Respawn Point: When an Avatar is slain, the essence of Khaine that was animating it will return to the throne room where it first appeared, eventually regrowing a new iron body so that it can stride across the battlefield once again.
- Sculpted Physique: The iron body of an Avatar takes the form of a massive Aeldari, possessing sculpted abs and muscles that are lit from within by the molten metal that runs through its veins.
- Sword Beam: The Wailing Doom is capable of projecting a short-ranged energy attack. While the lore varies as to whether this attack unleashes bolts of psychic force or streams of fire, the effect is typically equivalent to that of a melta weapon.
- Volcanic Veins: The Avatar's veins run with molten metal, showing through the cracks in its iron skin as lines of white-hot flame.
- Wreathed in Flames: Rather than being totally covered in flame, the Avatar has flames within its body that flicker and spurt out through cracks in its iron skin to give a similar effect.
- The Worf Effect: Fans have noticed the general purpose of an Avatar of Khaine's appearance is to be a Jobber. During the release cycle for the 9th edition Aeldari Codex, Games Workshop even lampshaded their treatment of the Avatar in the lore, and pitted the new Avatar's ruleset and model against numerous heavy hitters from other armies to put this meme to bed.
Eldrad Ulthran, Exiled High Farseer of Ulthwé
Formerly the head of the Seer Council of Ulthwé, Eldrad is perhaps the most gifted living psyker amongst the Asuryani. The ancient Farseer's foresight has saved countless Aeldari lives, often at the cost of other races such as when his manipulations caused the rise of the Ork Warlord Ghazghkull Thraka rather than a rival Warlord who would have turned his Waaagh! towards the Aeldari. While his resilience and power has been a rallying point for the people of Ulthwé, his unsanctioned and only partially successful attempt to awaken Ynnead, the Aeldari God of the Dead, caused his fellow Council members to exile the gifted Farseer. Despite his fall from grace, Eldrad remains a close ally of Yvraine and her Ynnari, working with the Reborn to find the best fate for his people, and avoid the final battle of Rhana Dandra for as long as possible.
- The Archmage: Eldrad is one of the most powerful psykers in the whole setting with precognitive abilities that allow him to see further than the majority of Asuryani Farseers, as well as the power to destroy innumerable foes on the battlefield. In-game, how Eldrad’s mastery of the psychic arts is represented varies, but often involves the ancient Farseer having wargear, or special rules, to aid his psychic abilities and/or give him access to more psychic powers than other Farseers.
- Big Good: In early editions of the game, Eldrad was the most influential leader of the Aeldari in their fight for survival, and their war against Chaos. Since the his actions Battle of Port Demesnusnote and the events of the Gathering Storm series of sourcebooks, however, Eldrad lost the trust of many Asuryani and his ally Yvraine of the Ynnari has taken his place as the primary leader combating She Who Thirsts in the eyes of many Aeldari.
- Born Winner: Even before he realized his full potential, Eldrad was already the most powerful psyker on Craftworld Ulthwé, which is full of powerful psykers.
- Cassandra Truth: Prior to the outbreak of the Horus Heresy, Eldrad attempted to warn Fulgrim, Primarch of the Emperor's Children, of the corruption spreading within the ranks of the Legiones Astartes but he refused to believe the words of a xenos witch. The disbelief was justified, however, as Fulgrim's corruption had already begun by the time he met Eldrad.
- The Gift: Even at a young age, his potential was such that even Phoenix Lord Asurmen found it to be immensely high. By the time he reached it, he became so powerful that he could battle the likes of Magnus the Red and survive.
- The Exile: In his attempt to awaken Ynnead, the God of the Dead, Eldrad and his allies stole dozens of the petrified Crystal Seers from craftworlds across the galaxy, and performed a ritual that, when it failed, put every infinity circuit in grave danger. For this heinous crime, and for his arrogance in attempting to unilaterally dictate the fate of the entire Aeldari race, Eldrad was exiled from Ulthwé, only returning to his home to defend it from a daemonic invasion.
- Magic Staff: The Staff of Ulthamar is an ancient wraithbone staff gifted to Eldrad when he became the High Farseer of Ulthwé. In addition to being a powerful weapon, relic is decorated with the spirit stones of Ulthwé's first Seer Council, giving it a direct link to the craftworld's infinity circuit that allows Eldrad to draw upon the near limitless psychic energy it contains, giving him special rules that boost his ability to cast psychic powers during a game.
- Retcon: The conclusion of the 2003 Eye of Terror Worldwide Campaign saw Eldrad place portions of his soul in a number of sprit stones, before he dies to bring down one of the corrupted Blackstone Fortresses. Like many of the events of the campaign, this was never mentioned again and he is still active in the galaxy and playing an important role in the ongoing story of Ynnead and the Aeldari.
- Super-Toughness: Due to his extreme age, the crystallization process that all Farseers eventually succumb to has progressed far enough to make Eldrad far tougher than most Aeldari. In-game, depending on the edition, this increased durability typically results in higher Toughness and/or Wounds characteristics than a normal Farseer.
- Well-Intentioned Extremist: Eldrad is willing to do a great deal of horrific things, including things that many of his Farseer colleagues would consider deplorable, if it he believes them to be in the best interest of the Aeldari. His failed attempt to awaken the God of the Dead, for example, very nearly resulted in the destruction of every infinity circuit in the galaxy and got him exiled from Ulthwé.
- What the Hell, Hero?: After his failed attempt to awaken Ynnead, the God of the Dead, the entire Seer Council of Ulthwé put him on trial for stealing the bodies of dead Farseers and deceiving his allies so that he could attempt a dangerous ritual, and for trying to unilaterally determine the fate of their people countless times in the past.Farseer Aralie: Your behaviour is intolerable. It is not for you to decide the fate of our race by yourself, nor to dabble in the affairs of gods. You are no god, Eldrad Ulthran.
Prince Yriel, Autarch of Iyanden
The illegitimate heir to the House of Ulthanashnote Yriel has always been a brilliant commander but in his youth, he was also arrogant and headstrong. These character flaws came to the fore when the young Autarch was given command of Iyanden's fleets and his pre-emptive strike against a Chaos fleet left the Craftworld undefended. Reprimanded for his actions, Yriel, along with a large proportion of the craftworld's fleet, took to the Path of the Outcast and founded the Eldritch Raiders Corsair fleet, vowing never to set foot on the craftworld again. When Iyanden was invaded by Hive Fleet Kraken, however, Yriel and his followers returned to save their beleaguered craftworld but, in order to ensure victory, Yriel was forced to take up the cursed Spear of Twilight. Although Iyanden was saved, and Yriel hailed as a hero, the spear is now bound to the Autarch, slowly absorbing his life force. In the wake of the fracturing of Biel-Tan, Yriel gave his life in defence of Iyanden only for him to be resurrected by Yvraine, the prophet of Ynnead. With much of his life energy restored, Yriel has rededicated himself to the defence of Iyanden and its people in an increasingly perilous galaxy.
- Artifact of Death: The Spear of Twilight permanently binds itself to the soul of those who wield it, constantly draining their Life Energy. Due to this danger, the weapon was sealed away for millennia until Yriel was convinced to remove it draw it to defeat the Tyranid invasion of Iyanden. At the end of the 41st Millennium, however, the Spear inadvertently saved Yriel's life when Yvraine, Emissary of the God of the Dead, was able to extract the life energy it had syphoned from its wielder to resurrect the slain Autarch.
- Back from the Dead: Yriel gave his life to defeat the Nurgle Daemon Prince Gara'gugul'gor during the chaos at the end of the 41st Millennium. Yvraine, the Emissary of Ynnead, was able to use her Soul Powers to resurrect the cursed prince by forcing the Spear of Twilight to return the vast majority of the life force it had stolen.
- Big Damn Heroes: Iyanden was on the verge of being overrun by the hordes of Hive Fleet Kraken when Yriel led his corsair fleet back to his former home, shattering the hive ships controlling the assault, before engaging those creatures that had invaded the craftworld itself.
- Cool Starship: The Flame of Asuryan has been Yriel's flagship since he was first appointed High Admiral of the Iyanden fleet. A powerful Dragonship sized vessel, the Flame has three solar sails and has greater firepower than most any other ship of its class, winning him many victories throughout his time as a Corsair.
- Eye Beam: Prince Yriel wears a high-tech monocle over his left eye, known as the Eye of Wrath, that can unleash a brief storm of lightning that can strike multiple enemies.
- Fatal Flaw: His wilful pride led to him being stripped of his position of High Admiral and becoming an Outcast Corsair. Subverted during the Tyranid invasion of Iyanden when Yriel overcame his pride and led his Corsair fleet to their aid and took up the cursed Spear of Twilight, willingly dooming himself to a slow death if it meant saving his former home.
- Heroic Bastard: He's a bastard son of a princess of the House of Ulthanash, one of the most prestigious of Iyanden's noble houses, and an unknown father who some in-universe claim was a Drukhari (his Evil Counterpart Duke Sliscus being the most common suspect). Despite his ambiguous lineage, and his colossal pride, Yriel has twice risen to become the greatest hero of his craftworld, saving it from destruction multiple times.
- Insufferable Genius: Prince Yriel has been a military and tactical prodigy since his youth, and won great victories for Craftworld Iyanden, but his pride and arrogance saw him angrily go into exile when he was censured for his actions instead of being praised. His years as a Corsair saw him grow out of this attitude, however, and upon his return to Iyanden has developed into someone who would willingly give up his life to defend his people.
- Military Maverick: While serving as Iyanden's High Admiral for the first time, Yriel dispensed with many of the traditional tactics and contingencies of his predecessors, resulting in him launching an all-out offensive against an enemy fleet that left the craftworld all-but defenceless. Despite the unmitigated success of this tactic, his all-or-nothing approach to warfare saw him censured and forced him into self-imposed exile as a Corsair.
- Nice Job Breaking It, Hero: His decision to strip Iyanden of its defences to deal with Argan Kallorax, a Chaos Lord carrying out pirate attacks in the star systems around the craftworld, ended up costing thousands of Aeldari lives when a defeated Kallorax fired cyclonic torpedoes at Iyanden as a last gesture of spite.
- Royal Bastard: Yriel is the bastard son of a princess of the House of Ulthanash (direct decedents of one of the two Aeldari founding heroes) and an unknown father, who some in-universe claim was a Drukhari. While the majority of his House (both living and dead) have accepted Yriel as a hero, some hardliners have refused to do so due to his lineage and arrogance.
- Undying Loyalty: Due to his talents and success, Yriel receives extreme loyalty from his subordinates, resulting in many of his men willingly taking on the Path of the Outcast and becoming Corsairs alongside their prince.
Iyanna Arienal, the Angel of Iyanden
Iyanna Arienal was always a talented psyker, but after her entire House was killed in a Chaos attack, she turned her considerable gifts towards communing with the spirits of the dead and is now considered to be one of Iyanden's most gifted Spiritseers. Able to easily commune with the fallen in the infinity circuit, Iyanna spends much of her time, both on and off the battlefield, surrounded by Wraith-constructs possessed by the spirits of her lost House. A fervent believer in Ynnead even before the God of the Dead's partial awakening, Iyanna is a dedicated supporter of the Ynnari and has come to the aide of the Reborn a number of times.
- Demoted to Extra: While she hasn't had official rules since 3rd Edition, Iyanna still makes appearances in the background material and plays an important role in the Ynnead storyline.
- Gotta Catch Them All: Before the partial awakening of Ynnead, and the rise of the Ynnari, Iyanna was seeking the Tears of Morai-Heg, gemstones imbued with spiritual power that would have helped the God of the Dead awaken.
- Huge Guy, Tiny Girl: Some lore mentions that Iyanna is rarely seen without a Wraithlord bodyguard. Standing at more than twice the hight of a living Aeldari, the famous Spiritseer looks small in comparison to the powerful Wraith-construct.
- Legendary Weapon: Iyanna wields the Spear of Teuthlas, a powerful singing spear once wielded by her mentor Adrallanar Teuthlas that is famed throughout Iyanden. In those few editions where it gets specific rules, this relic weapon gets superior in-game compared to others of its type.
- Put on a Bus: Like many of the special characters with rules but no models, Iyanna was removed as a playable character in the 4th Edition codex.
The legendary chieftain of the Fireheart Wildrider clan, Nuadhu is renowned for both his reckless bravery and martial prowess. Fighting from the back of Alean, a converted Vyper jetbike named after the legendary mount of Khaine, Nuadhu has led the forces of Saim-Hann into battle many times and, since the opening of the Great Rift, has assisted the Ynnari with their search for the Croneswords.
- Ace Custom: Nuadhu often rides into battle on Alean, a Vyper jetbike that has been specially modified to replace the rear weapons array with a platform from which the Wildrider chieftain can fight, in a manner similar to a chariot. This modification meant that, in 3rd Edition, Nuadhu and Alean were one of the few vehicles not of the Walker type that could fight in close combat.
- Demoted to Extra: While he no longer has official rules, Nuadhu still appears in both game lore and novels.
- Fearless Fool: Nuadhu is infamous for being one of the most rash and impulsive of the Hot-Blooded Wild Riders, often charging into the most dangerous fights he can find. His 3rd Edition rules gave him the Reckless rule to represent this tendency, allowing him to ignore minor damage to his modified Vyper jetbike so that he could get into combat faster. Nuadhu's presence can also able to encourage his followers to become foolishly fearless, so that they will never fall back from combat, or be pinned by enemy fire.
- Put on a Bus: Due to never receiving a model, Nuadhu hasn't received official rules since the 3rd edition codex.
Illic Nightspear, the Walker of the Hidden PathSince taking up the Path of the Outcast, Illic Nightspear has spent thousands of years exploring the unknown regions of the galaxy, and he is now considered to be the most accomplished of Alaitoc’s many Rangers. Illic's knowledge of the webway is second only to that of the Harlequins themselves and he has used this knowledge to aid his people time and again. A marksman without compare, Illic's ancient long rifle, Voidbringer, has end the life of countless threats to Alaitoc and the Aeldari race as a whole. Since the opening of the Great Rift, Illic has turned his skills to the defence of the webway from those who would usurp and corrupt its labyrinthine pathways.
- Enemy Mine: Despite his typical Aeldari distain for humanity, Illic was willing to work with Kor'sarro Khan of the White Scars Chapter of Adeptus Astartes, in order to escape from their captivity at the hands of the eccentric Necron Overlord Zahndrekh.
- I Have Many Names: While he doesn't care for titles himself, each band of Rangers and outcasts that Illic has fought alongside know him by a different name. These include Sentinel of the Stars, the Shield of Alaitoc and the Wayforger.
- Improbable Aiming Skills: Illic is the greatest living Aeldari marksmen in the galaxy and is said to be capable of hitting his target no matter the atmospheric conditions or intervening terrain. This prestigious skill grants Illic — or his long rifle, depending on the edition — special rules and abilities in-game that allow him to ignore some targeting restrictions.
- Walking the Earth: Since leaving Alaitoc to walk the Path of the Outcast, Illic has travelled the length and breadth of the galaxy through the webway, becoming so familiar with its hidden pathways that it is said his knowledge of the Labyrinth Dimension is greater than anyone except the nomadic Harlequins. In his travels, Illic has assisted innumerable Aeldari warhosts so that his name is honoured on countless craftworlds.
- Weaponized Teleportation: Illic's unique long rifle, Voidbringer, creates a miniature warp-hole within the target, ripping their body apart as parts of their body are transported into the immaterium. In the 8th Edition of the game this is represented by a fixed to wound roll, and the chance of inflicting mortal wounds.
- He who sees his own doom can better avoid its path. He who sees the doom of others can deliver it.