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Pray they don't take you alive.

Pain is power, and power is everything. We therefore seek every opportunity to inflict pain, and we do not allow limits to be imposed upon our imagination. The flesh, the mind, the soul - all can be made to feel torments eternal. And when all three scream in agony within a single being, the path to immortality lies open before us. So it has been since the beginning, and so it will continue until we extinguish the stars and the galaxy lies dark and fallow.
—Mantra of the Kabal of the Dying Sun
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In Warhammer 40,000, the Drukhari, commonly known as the Dark Eldar, are one of the galaxy's greatest menaces, shadowy pirates that strike without warning and subject their victims to uncounted horrors.

As the former Eldar empire's ever-increasing debauchery and hedonism descended into complete madness, many of the cults of excess that were taking over society moved their bases of operation into the inter-dimensional Webway to create private realms of depravity. This shielded them from the psychic backlash of Slaanesh's birth, allowing them to gleefully continue the lifestyle that led to the Fall and flourish in their twisted capital of Commorragh while their Craftworld cousins drifted in the void. Yet as more time passed, these Eldar discovered that they hadn't escaped Slaanesh's touch after all, as their souls were being slowly drained away. However, they discovered that if they caused others to suffer in their stead, they could stave off this soul-death for a while longer. Thus were born the Dark Eldar, a race of sadistic murderers who feed upon the agony of their victims.

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The entirety of Dark Eldar "civilization" is focused on generating pain and suffering, leading them to undertake frequent raids to acquire captives for bloodsports, scientific experiments, or simple torture. They are pirates and raiders beyond compare, appearing out of nowhere, striking, and departing as swiftly as they came. The Dark Eldar revel in violence and bloodshed, savoring the terror and pain they create in their victims as it makes them "whole" once more. This bloodlust also extends to their own kind; their own pain will suffice when others are unavailable, and many aspects of their lives are brutally masochistic. However, despite the Dark Eldar's immense pride and power, they are slaves to their addiction who exchanged a quick death for something far worse, and the gnawing hunger in their souls forever reminds them that they are but inches from annihilation.

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On the tabletop, the Dark Eldar army is best compared to a scalpel—precise and quite dangerous, but fragile. Their soldiers are frail and lightly-armored, and even their vehicles can be brought down by small-arms fire. To compensate, their army is highly mobile, featuring blindingly-fast open-topped skimmer transports to quickly get troops exactly where needed, or run circles around their opponent. Their ranged weapons make a mockery of both enemy armor and monstrous creatures alike, and while they lack the staying power of Orks or Space Marines in protracted combats, the Dark Eldar excel at swift, overwhelming assaults that annihilate the enemy before they can strike back. Even better, some Dark Eldar units grow more powerful as they slay foes, allowing them to seize an advantage to become all but unstoppable. They are easy to play badly, but if used well the Dark Eldar are devastating.

The Dark Eldar were introduced for the 3rd Edition of Warhammer 40,000 with their first models included in that edition’s starter set. In January 2017 the Dark Eldar were the focus of Gaiden Game Gangs of Commorragh where gangs of Hellions and Reavers fight aerial battles for territory with White Dwarf later releasing additional rules for Harlequin gangs. The 8th Edition of the game saw the Dark Eldar officially renamed the Drukhari and their rules can be found in Codex: Drukhari released in April 2018.


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    Notable Dark Eldar tropes 

  • Abstract Eater: The Drukhari feed on the pain and suffering of others to weaken Slaanesh's pull on their souls that manifests as a gnawing hunger, sometimes known as The Thirst. In order to stop the citizens of Commorragh preying on each other, the Wych Cults of the Drukhari put on nightly performances of pain and brutality to provide both entertainment and nourishment for the masses.
  • Agony Beam:
    • Agonisers are popular close combat weapons available to Drukhari characters and squad leaders. These sadistic weapons most commonly take the form of energised whips that latch onto the target’s nervous system to directly stimulate their pain sensors, instantly incapacitating or killing the unfortunate victim. In the 8th Edition rules this is represented by the Agoniser always having a 50% chance of wounding a non-vehicle enemy.
    • The stinger pods fitted to some Talos Pain Engines siphon and store the pain of their victims so that it can be unleashed as pulses of pure agony that, in the 8th Edition rules, hit as hard as a heavy bolter.
  • Alien Geometries: The twilight city of Commorragh is not actually a contiguous location, but rather a collection of smaller cities, ports, massive arenas, and various fortified niches scattered throughout the galaxy, existing only within the Webway and interconnected via Webway portals. This gives it a unique, non-Euclidean quality that non-Eldar would find mildly disturbing and disorienting, if not for the fact that they're generally too distracted by intense torture, painful enslavement, or being agonizingly warped into twisted monstrosities to notice.
  • Always Chaotic Evil: Subverted, even though they're the subject of this trope's page quote on This Very Wiki. While they do belong to the vilest and one of the most evil factions in Warhammer 40000 universe, it's also stated that some Dark Eldar eventually understand that their lifestyle is futile and self-destructive, leaving their habits. Some even join Craftworlds.
  • Amazon Brigade: Subverted with Wyches, despite their name. Males can join their ranks, but tend not to be as successful as the gladiatrices, since they are considered to lack the style and flair of female combatants.
  • And I Must Scream: Dark Eldar like to drag out the suffering of their pain-slaves as long as they can, so as to milk as much agony from them as possible. They are extremely skilled at this, keeping captives alive for months or even years in some cases when they should have otherwise died or managed to take their own life. If a captive dies in Dark Eldar custody, it is usually because they let that pain-slave die, after it became too desensitized to all the suffering being inflicted on it and they wanted a fresher source of agony to replace them.
  • And Show It to You: While Dark Eldar can kill very efficiently, they will often sacrifice a little efficiency to gain a lot of pleasure from the act by making it as horrific to the victim as possible.
  • Arrogant Kung-Fu Guy: The Dark Eldar are very, very good at inflicting hurt on others, including on the battlefield, and they know it. This leads them to engage others with every confidence that they will emerge the victor, which can give them one hell of an upset if someone manages to take advantage of their smugness.
  • Attack on One Is an Attack on All: Despite being full of treacherous, power-hungry backstabbers who will kill each other to advance their own position, the Kabals of the Drukhari offer a measure of protection against external foes. The death of a Kabalite at the hands of an outsider is considered a hostile action against the Kabal as a whole and will result in immediate and violent retribution.
  • Awesomeness by Analysis: Because of various considerations that shape Dark Eldar combat philosophy, gathering and analyzing intelligence on the enemy is a primary part of their strategic doctrine. Thanks to their abilities and arcane technologies, they are very good at it. When the Dark Eldar attack, it is often by complete surprise, with overwhelming force, and with exactly enough time to fade away before enemy reinforcements can get to them. This does occasionally fail them though, if a particularly canny enemy can manage to give them bad information through effective counter-intelligence, as their dependence on knowing the enemy better than they know themselves leaves them highly vulnerable to traps that play on their hubris.
  • Ax-Crazy: The Dark Eldar are completely psychopathic sadists that partake in raids to find more victims to inflict pain and agony upon, and take such viciousness out upon anyone who crosses their path.
  • Back from the Dead: In an attempt to explain how Dark Eldar maintain their numbers in the face of their Chronic Backstabbing Disorder, the fifth edition codex revealed that the Haemonculi have mastered the art of resurrecting their customers as long as any pieces of them can be found before their souls fully depart.
  • Badass Biker:
    • Dark Eldar on Reaver jetbikes are skilled enough to sever specific arteries during drive-by attacks with their bladed vehicles, despite being hopped-up on combat drugs.
    • While the Reavers are the actual bikers, the Hellions have the punk street-racing rebel aesthetic associated with biker gangs.
  • The Beastmaster: Units of this name supply exotic beasts for Wyches to battle in the arena. They have the choice of going to battle accompanied by a hulking Clawed Fiend that grows more savage if wounded, Khymerae drawn from the Empyrean, or flocks of flesh-rending Razorwings.
  • Better to Die than Be Killed: Seriously. The Dark Eldar will torture you to death (very slowly), not just so they can feed on your agony, but simply for the hell of it. One of the their codices even had the Tag Line, "Pray they don't take you alive."
  • BFS: The klaives used by the mercenary Incubi are enormous power swords, as long as their wielder is tall. Despite their size, klaives are perfectly balanced and are light enough to be swung one or two-handed.
  • Bifurcated Weapon: The leader of an Incubi squad, called a Klaivex, has the option of replacing his klaive with a pair of demiklaives, two relatively normal-sized swords that can combine into a BFS that's even bigger than a klaive.
  • Blood Knight:
    • The Incubi live only to fight and hone their martial prowess. Not money, not power, not prestige, not titles.
    • The morally best of the Dark Eldar are "just" this, natural-born killers doing what they love without cruelty or malice.
  • Blood Lust: Though followers of Khorne are pretty blood-crazy, the Dark Eldar are the ones who eroticize it.
  • Body Horror: The Haemonculi love to inflict this on their slaves, minions, and even patrons. Many Dark Eldar weapons are poisoned, causing agonizing pain. Even the armor used by Kabalite Warriors is put on by piercing one's skin with the plates.
  • Brains and Bondage: Dark Eldar consider the inflicting and receiving of pain to be both a science and a form of art, and will happily engage in intellectual discussions (and demonstrations) of the various ways of doing so.
  • Bondage Is Bad: Dark Eldar clothing, armor, weapons, accouterments, and even hairstyles all have a BSDM flavor, but to a nightmarish extreme.
  • The Brute: Grotesques. While all Dark Eldar are brutal, the Grotesques are giant, mutated, half-sapient Frankenstein's Monsters.
  • Cadre of Foreign Bodyguards: A Dark Eldar Archon can have a cadre of xeno bodyguards for their protection, because they're not motivated by Chronic Backstabbing Disorder which is prevalent in most of the Dark Eldar.
    • The usual bodyguard of choice (and the only ones there are currently game rules for) are the hulking four-armed snake-like Sslyth, who are known for their loyalty.
    • A less ostentatious variant are Incubi, who are Dark Eldar, but hail from Shrines unaffiliated with any Kabal or Wych Cult. Since they aren't actually underlings of the Archon they're guarding, this protects both their charge and their true masters from the possibility of Klingon Promotion at the same time, while making one of them safer and the other richer.
  • Challenge Seeker: The Incubi, who live to hone their martial skill. They constantly train to be better at their craft, with the aspiration of finding and killing a Worthy Opponent some day. Finding one who can match them is a rare occurrence.
  • Cherry Tapping: Dark Eldar wield literally fantastically lethal weaponrynote  on the battlefield but prefer deliberately cruder weaponry (by their standards) when fighting in the arena, either ones manufactured deliberately less lethal by the Dark Eldar or particularly wicked examples captured from others during their raids. The purpose of the fighting pits is to extract pain from the slaves sent to vainly struggle in it and entertain their sick sensibilities at the same time, and that is better done with simpler weaponry that can subject them to a Death of a Thousand Cuts, especially when done with flourish and panache.
  • Chronic Backstabbing Disorder: In a society and culture as inherently predatory as that of the Dark Eldar, looking out for yourself and taking any opportunity you can to advance your position at the expense of the weak, foolish, or simply unfortunate is the norm. The only time that this doesn't apply is on a realspace raid, where they can expect full cooperation from their fellows until they bring the plunder back to Comorragh.
  • Cold-Blooded Torture: The Dark Eldar take this to a horrifying extreme, both to feed on their victims' pain and because they enjoy it.
  • Combat Pragmatist: They might hold back a little to toy with their prey, but otherwise the Dark Eldar will go out of their way to ensure they commit to battle with every advantage they can. The idea of a "fair fight" is literally alien to them.
  • Combat Sadomasochist: So much that the armour used by members of Kabals is attached via piercings. In-game, Dark Eldar have the "Power From Pain" rule that gives the entire army increasing levels of boosts as the game goes on.
  • The Consigliere: A Hierarch serves as this for their Archon.
  • Cruel and Unusual Death: While each and every race and faction in the game is capable of causing this, the Dark Eldar are particularly (and terrifyingly) good at it.
  • Cruel Mercy: The only time the Dark Eldar ever show mercy or generosity is because of this trope. If they ever offer to help you out of a bad situation, the odds are it is because they plan on keeping your alive for something worse to come. Their rescue of Craftworld Iyanden or military aid and "cultural exchange" with the Tau are prime examples.
  • Dark Action Girl: The Dark Eldar can field more female models than any army but the Sisters of Battle (and indeed can consist of an all-female force), certainly kick a lot of ass, and are certainly dark.
  • Dark Chick: The entire race as a whole fits for the more antagonistic factions (Chaos, Orks, Necrons and Tyranids).
  • Dark Is Evil: Very much so, yes. While some Kabals have fairly bright color schemes, black is the predominant color, along with dark blues, greens, reds, and purples.
  • Dead Man Switch: The Traitor's Embrace, a device used by some Succubi of the Cult of the Cursed Blade, comprise a pair of metal rods sewn into the skin. When the Succubus dies, they cause her bones to explode outwards into a jagged cage, dealing mortal wounds to the Succubus' killer.
  • Death from Above: You're doing your business on your out of the way planet, minding your own business, and suddenly, the sky rips open. Out of these interdimensional bullet wounds, wave after wave of ships pour out. The Nightstalkers have come.
  • Defector from Decadence: Some Dark Eldar tire of having to constantly guard against their underlings planting a knife in their back while plotting to do the same to their superiors, are driven out by particularly nasty Kabalite politics, or simply grow weary of a lifetime of cruelty. These tend to leave Commorragh and give the Kabals a wide berth, as the galaxy is a dangerous place for one of their kind unsupported by others. Many join freelance Space Pirate companies, others become mercenaries or assassins, and some join Harlequin troupes. A very rare few are allowed to join a Craftworld. With the advent of the Ynnari, many Dark Eldar have chosen to join with them.
  • Does Not Like Magic: The Dark Eldar are very careful to keep psykers out of Commorragh. When you're the favorite prey of a soul eating god of hedonism, the last thing you want is a person whose very presence makes daemonic incursions easier. The Dark Eldar also don't like psykers since they can see through their illusions, revealing just how ancient and decrepit many of them are. The Dark Eldar's own psyker potential has atrophied as a result, to the point that they can't manipulate wraithbone like the Craftworld Eldar.
  • Does Not Like Shoes: Many Dark Eldar take to the battlefields of the 41st Millennium barefoot, for various reasons: the Mandrakes are living shadows, the Hellions ride flying skyboards, the Scourges have wings, Urien Rakarth and some other Haemonculi float above the battlefield on suspensors, and Lelith Hesperax is apparently just that badass.
  • The Dragon: The aptly named Dracons serve as field commanders for the Archons.
  • Emotion Eater: Mainly fear and pain.
  • Empty Piles of Clothing: The end result of being stabbed with a Huskblade, a sword favored by Archons which evaporates all the moisture from the body and causes the victim to collapse into a pile of dust. In-game, Husk Blades have the Instant Death special rule.
  • Evil Counterpart:
    • To the other Aeldari, of course, as they embody the worst aspects of the pre-Fall Aeldari society that the other factions have turned away from.
    • The Incubi are specifically this to the Craftworld Aspect Warriors, being a cult of warriors who dedicate themselves to mastery of their art above all and have a highly specialised form of warfare. They even have a Phoenix Lord equivalent in Drazhar, especially if he is in fact Ahrha, the fallen Phoenix Lord.
    • The Haemonculi are in some way a twisted reflection of the Adeptus Mechanicus (or vice versa). Both are seekers and jealous keepers of knowledge, both seek to modify their bodies and minds to bring them closer to increasingly distant visions of perfection, and both make cybernetic creations of willing and unwilling subjects to better serve their will. The biggest difference is that the Tech-Priests consider suffering incidental to their purpose, while the Haemonculi consider suffering their entire purpose.
  • Evil Has a Bad Sense of Humor: Many of them, of the "overly twisted" kind. A glaring example is Vect, who ordered a resilient torture victim to be brought before him, offered a glass of fine wine and told a story. When Vect was finished, he had the slave sent back to the torture pits, but not before informing him that the wine he just drank is indigestible to humans and gives them very painful stomach cramps. He also refused to reveal the ending of the story he told.
  • Eviler Than Thou: There is a short comic where a Dark Eldar Reaver ends up possessed by a daemon. It says that it is going to use him to cause lots and lots of pain and suffering. The Dark Eldar's response? "Good".
  • Evil Genius: The Haemonculi.
  • Evil Overlord: Archons, the leaders of Kabals. None more so than Asdrubael Vect.
  • The Fair Folk: Specifically their darkest and nastiest aspects. The Dark Eldar's lead re-designer, Phil Kelly, intentionally invoked a fairytale feel with their weaponry and appearance, with mirrors that can be shattered to kill the people they reflect, elven wild hunts on night raids, and the witch-like Haemonculi covens taking payment in abstract concepts like your ability to laugh. The Dark Eldar are beautiful, soulless horrors. This helps keep them connected to the Craftworld Eldar, who also have a strong fairy/elfin theme to them, while at the same time making them unique. Dark Eldar are, obviously, the "Dark Elves": the Elf as an inscrutable, alien monster, absorbed in its own selfish needs and seemingly infinite capacity for cruelty.
  • Fantastic Racism: The Dark Eldar take this one step further than even the rest of their kin—they not only consider non-Eldar species inferior, but the other Eldar as well, seeing themselves as the true scions of the Eldar race and the others as weak and unworthy.
  • Fantasy Counterpart Culture: The Dark Eldar come across as very Greco-Roman, especially the whole "highly civilised culture filled with hedonistic degenerates" thing. Raiders that look like ancient Triremes, Colosseum battles, several names and terminologies reminiscent of antiquity ("Talos", "Cronos", "Incubus", "Hekatrix", "Haemonculus"), the lot. Also, they stave off an evil god that will destroy them by raiding for captives and sacrificing them in bloody rituals, in order to sate the god and drive it away, which sounds a lot like Aztec Mythology.
  • Fate Worse than Death:
    • There are many cruel fates, horrible deaths, ungodly painful existences within the 40K universe, but all of them are preferable to the Dark Eldar taking you alive.
    • For the Dark Eldar themselves, it's dying in a place or way that prevents the haemonculi from being able to resurrect them, for it means their souls are irrevocably lost to Slaanesh.
  • The Fighting Narcissist: The Dark Eldar in general rival the followers of Slaanesh for biggest ones in the setting (not surprising considering their predecessors created Slannesh through their behavior). They consider themselves inherently superior to any other race, and when they fight it is for the joy of inflicting pain on their "lessers".
  • Flaying Alive: In the background material for the Coven of the Twelve, the Haemonculus masters of the Coven typically flay the skin from their Wrack and Grotesque servants, leaving exposed nerves and raw flesh so that they can experience the full spectrum of sensation. The official colour scheme for the Coven has the skin of these troops painted a deep red to represent this.
  • Flechette Storm: The standard Dark Eldar weapon fires a hail of "splinter" rounds, usually coated with toxins and venoms to paralyze their prey for easy capture.
  • Flying Postman: Scourges are the Winged Humanoid variant.
  • Foreshadowing: The fifth edition Warhammer 40K had a few examples of new Dark Eldar artwork, as well as an very meta Easter Egg, a chart detailing Eldar pirate activity showing a ten-year lull, followed by a massive spike. For reference, the Dark Eldar went twelve years between the 3rd and 5th edition codices.
  • For the Evulz:
    • When Craftworld Iyanden came under assault by the Orks of Waaagh! Rekkfist, the Drukhari came to the aid of their Asuryani cousins, saving the troubled Craftworld from near certain destruction. When the Iyanden leaders questioned their dark kin about their actions, the reply was simply that they found the Iyanden reliance on Wraith constructs controlled by the spirits of the dead, something the Aeldari consider to be Necromancy, so amusing that they wanted to make sure it continued.
    • The Haemonculi of the Everspiral Coven consider themselves to be "evil gods" and amuse themselves by doing "everything in their power to ensure each day is a little viler than the last".
  • From Nobody to Nightmare: The entire faction counts, both storyline-wise and in the meta-sense. Also, many of the prominent figures in their society, due to the way it works.
  • Gladiator Games:
  • Glamour: Many of the important Dark Eldar are the same individuals that survived the fall of the Eldar Empire (an entire 10,000 years from the game's "present"), but you couldn't tell by the way they cover it up.
  • Glamour Failure: A psyker or daemon can see through their visage and see them as the hideous, decaying corpse-like monsters they really are, kept alive far longer than should be possible by feeding on their victims' pain.
  • Glass Cannon: They're faster and have devastating weapons, but are even more vulnerable than their Craftworld cousins.
  • Go-Go Enslavement: Games Workshop has "Dark Eldar Prisoners" models that look like a normal woman and a Sister of Battle in Princess Leia outfits.
  • Good Wings, Evil Wings: Averted with Scourges, who can seemingly choose what kind of wings they want and having feathers isn't an indication of being any nicer.
  • Healing Factor: Some Haemonculi experiment on their own flesh to such a degree that they can regenerate wounds faster than they are inflicted. The Warlord Trait 'Master Regenesist' represents this in the game itself, with the 8th Edition version of the Trait allowing the Homunculus Warlord to regenerate a random number of wounds at the beginning of every turn.
  • The Hedonist: They take their indulgences to an even greater extent than their ancestors did. Interestingly for the setting, they are not followers of Slaanesh, seeing She Who Thirsts as a dread to be placated rather than a patron to be venerated. They escape Slannesh's attention only by shielding themselves by offering the pain and suffering of others in their place.
  • Heel–Face Turn: Dark Eldar who grow tired or disillusioned with their chaotic and evil ways may go to join their Craftworld counterparts.
  • Hellhound: Some Dark Eldar warbands are accompanied by packs of Khymerae, which are... vaguely hound-like.
  • Higher-Tech Species: Even compared to their Craftworld cousins. The Dark Eldar, unlike the Craftworld and Exodite Eldar, keep and continue to indulge in all of the toys the once mighty Eldar Empire enjoyed. This is offset by their inability to wield wraithbone due to their atrophied psychic powers.
  • Honor Among Thieves: Despite being an entire society built on Chronic Backstabbing Disorder, the rules are completely different when the Dark Eldar raid into realspace. Blood enemies from multiple Kabals will gladly band together to capture prey, and when in realspace they can trust each other completely; Dark Eldar don't use the chaos of the battlefield to eliminate rivals. This rule is born from necessity; the Dark Eldar need to be able to bring souls back to Commorragh to torture and devour, so killing each other has to wait until the spoils have been divided. Afterwards, all bets are off.
  • Hope Spot: The Dark Eldar often allow their slaves some glimmer of hope for escape or release, partly because by controlling that they can manipulate them for their pleasure, but more importantly because a slave that is completely broken and resigned to their fate is harder to wring exquisite pain from than one who can always be broken down just a little further.
  • Horny Devils: A race of sadomasochists including units called Incubi and Succubi, sometimes with whips. The Dark Eldar are about the third most popular fetish faction.
  • Horror Hunger: If there is something remotely sympathetic about the Dark Eldar, it is the combination of existential dread and the gnawing hunger that drives them to torture their victims. They are constantly weakening due to this hunger, and Phil Kelly likened their souls to "leaky buckets" that must be refilled with the torment of others. On the other hand, they were bastards to begin with. There's also the fact that, as the Craftworld and Exodite Eldar show, they don't have to survive on the suffering of others. They actively chose it over denying their desires. Some Dark Eldar, having realized this, can (and occasionally do) choose to leave this life behind. Some that do this even end up joining the Harlequins, the Craftworld and Exodite Eldar, and many have chosen to unite with the Ynnari.
  • I Fight for the Strongest Side: Dark Eldar politics, such as they are, take this form. While excessive ambition and Chronic Backstabbing Disorder may be a given among them, they will generally be more wary about potentially betraying another power they are unsure they can take down decisively. In this manner do their alliances and enemies shift as various powers wax and wane.
  • Ignored Epiphany: This is the Dark Eldar's hat, being painfully aware of what led to their civilization's downfall, yet willfully continuing that very same existence, to even greater excesses. Every now and then, a few Dark Eldar realize how foolish this is and leave Comorragh. Sometimes they even end up on a Craftworld.
  • I Have Many Names: The Dark Eldar are "dusk wraiths" to the people of Prometheus and "primuls" to the Iron Snakes.
  • Immortality Immorality: They sustain themselves longer than even other Eldar can live naturally by literally feeding on the pain, terror and misery of others.
  • Immortals Fear Death: Due to the fate that befalls their souls if they die pertinently, almost the entirety of Drukhari society is geared towards the extension of their lives through the torture of others. It is for this reason that many of the oldest Drukhari, particularly the Haemonculi, hate and fear the Ynnari and the Yncarne because their Soul Power is able to permanently kill them.
  • I'm Your Worst Nightmare: It's said that the Dark Eldar aren't your worst nightmare; they're your every nightmare.
  • Interplay of Sex and Violence: The pain of others is rejuvenating to the Dark Eldar, and being near those who suffer invigorates them. For many, this also serves as an aphrodisiac, indulging their joy at being alive, while someone else suffers in their place. It's also pretty much a given that their "private times" involve plenty of BDSM.
  • It Amused Me: In the short story "The Torturer's Tale" written by Gav Thorpe, a particularly resilient human captive who had survived many tortures was brought before Asdrubael Vect and treated to some wine. Vect related the story of the fall of the Eldar to this human, explaining how they came to be the way they are. When the human asked why he was told this, Vect admitted it was simply because he enjoyed telling the tale, and everyone else in his household already knew it. He also refuses to finish the story, deliberately frustrating the human's curiosity.note 
  • Klingon Promotion: The fastest way to commanding a Kabal is to kill the sitting Archon, but not always the easiest.
  • Lack of Empathy: Inverted, exaggerated, and subverted. Drukhari feel the pain of others in a very literal and very visceral way, but they find it hard to sympathize because they enjoy that pain so very intensely.
  • Lean and Mean: Like most Eldar, they are particularly tall, lithe, and graceful. Unlike most other Eldar, they are especially nasty and cruel.
  • Life Drain: The Parasite’s Kiss is an insidious splinter pistol that leaches the soul of those it wounds to restore the vitality of the firer. In both the 7th & 8th Edition of the game this allows the firer to heal themselves whenever they kill an opponent with this weapon.
  • Literally Shattered Lives: The shatterfield missiles carried by Drukhari aircraft are malicious devices that have a two-stage attack. The advanced technology used in the missile first drains the target area of all heat, turning anyone unfortunate enough to be caught in the area of effect into frozen statues. A split second later the missile explodes, producing a shockwave that shatters the frozen victims.
  • Living Forever Is Awesome: Well, not so much "awesome" as "infinitely preferable to being devoured by She Who Thirsts for all eternity." The Drukhari are willing to sink to some pretty sickening depths to stave off natural death.
  • Living Shadow: The Mandrakes and Khymerae are both interdimensional beasts who melt in and out of the shadows.
  • Loves the Sound of Screaming: They feed on terror, after all.
  • Made a Slave: They routinely enslave humans... who usually don't last long. Ciaphas Cain has made a few allusions to the time he was briefly a prisoner on a Dark Eldar slave ship, and though we haven't heard the details yet, the experience obviously still haunts him.
  • Mars Needs Women: ...and men... and Orks... and Tau... and Kroot... and anything else that you can enslave, rape and torture.
  • Mad Scientist: Haemonculi are more than just Torture Technicians, they are experts in biology, chemistry, fleshcrafting, and the ethereal manipulation of elemental emotion, among other things. They are always looking to further their understanding of these fields For Science!, said science primarily being that of pain. They will conduct all manner of amoral experimentation, and if those experiments are done on unwilling subjects that suffer horribly under the Haemonculus' tender ministrations, well, so much the better...
  • Malevolent Mutilation: Haemonculi indulge in this freely, modifying their own bodies as they please, both to enhance their own abilities and to fit an increasingly twisted sense of aesthetics. They will often assemble an array of sycophants eager to serve a skilled Haemonculus in exchange for body modification well beyond what even the Dark Eldar as a whole consider normal (which is a lot.) The Grotesques are likewise subject to similar modification, but they never asked for it to begin with...
  • Master Swordsman: The Incubi, who can wield monstrously heavy two-handed power-swords that can cleave Terminator Marines in-twain like a cheerleader would with a light-baton.
  • Nitroboost: The jetbikes ridden by the Reavers of Commorragh are heavily modified to squeeze out as much speed as possible and are capable of putting on an extra burst of speed when needed, making them some of the fastest jetbikes in the galaxy. To represent this on the tabletop, the Reaver jetbike was the first model to receive a special turboboost move and when this rule was extended to other biker models, the Reavers received a faster version. The 8th Edition version of the rules gives the Reavers a higher base move than their Craftworld counterparts and the 'Matchless Swiftness' Ability that allows them to Advance much faster than the Asuryani jetbikes.
  • Noble Demon: Incubi possess a code of martial honor and are more interested in swordplay than politics. This makes them the go-to choice when an Archon wants bodyguards, as they are some of the only Dark Eldar the Archon can trust to not try and stab him in the back.
  • Oh, Crap!: In the most recent codex, the Dark Eldar race is going through this. First they have a civil war between the biggest players in Commorragh. Second, and perhaps more importantly, something immensely powerful from the Warp is breaking through the seal between Commorragh and warpspace.
  • Only Mostly Dead: Dark Eldar medical technology is incredibly effective, and thanks to the all the slaving and inhumane experimentation they do, effective on a variety of species, such that they can bring a person back from wounding that would be considered lethal by the standards of other race's medicine. Unfortunately, this means that not even attempting suicide by all but the most extreme methods can save one of the Dark Eldar's slaves should they find themselves with the means to attempt it, if the Dark Eldar think their capacity for more pain is worth preserving. Sometimes they even let the slaves try, just to savor their despair when they wake up in a Haemonculi operating theater later.
  • Open Shirt Taunt: The gladiatorial Wych cults of the Dark Eldar tend to wear skimpy clothing into combat. This serves a triple purpose: to evoke this trope (it is explicitly stated that one purpose of wearing skimpy clothes is to dare their opponents to hit them), to provide fanservice for the crowds, and display their unscarred bodies as testament to their combat prowess. The higher up in the rankings you go, the less clothing you typically wear.
  • Our Vampires Are Different:
  • Pragmatic Villainy: There are two key points on which the Dark Eldar will willingly (albeit temporarily) set aside their backstabbing ways.
    • The first are realspace raids—since the whole kabal's success depends on the mission, everyone will work together to the best of their ability.
    • The second, and the most important, is making sure that psykers are not brought into Commorragh. Psykers can be possessed by daemons, the presence of daemons weakens the walls of the Webway, and parts of the city could then collapse into the void of the Warp, giving Slannesh an opening to enter Commoragh and consume their whole race.
  • Private Military Contractors: When not operating as Space Pirates, the Dark Eldar have been known to hire themselves out as mercenaries to stupid, stupid clients.
  • Psycho Serum: The skills of the Haemonculi make them adept at producing a variety of drugs that can enhance a Dark Eldar's already formidable prowess, and they sell these to their most wealthy patrons. If that turns the customer into a psychotic killer for the duration of the high, well, they were never that far off from it in the first place, and so much the better as far as the customers are concerned. In-game, the faction has the Combat Drugs special rule which gives a +1 bonus to one attribute determined by a die roll.
  • Reptiles Are Abhorrent: The Sslyth are this, a race of Slaanesh-corrupted snake-men who frequently serve as bodyguards to Archons (ironically because they're considered more trustworthy for such a job than fellow Dark Eldar).
  • Roaring Rampage of Revenge: When a Kabal suffers a major defeat, other Dark Eldar Kabals will band together to avenge them, though the many opportunities to indulge Chronic Backstabbing Disorder often keeps such alliances brief and sometimes painful for one or more participating Kabals. They do this not out of any love for the defeated Kabal (who will certainly lose much face and power for having been defeated) but because if they do not, it might make the entire society of Commorragh seem weak and embolden their lessors. Such revenge is often of very specific targets involved in the prior defeat and terrible indeed, that the "inferior" races might be better reminded of their place and the cost of defying Commorragh.
  • Romanticized Abuse: The Dark Eldar lust to inflict pain on others the way other species lust for their own physical desires. Their behavior in this regard is every bit as fetishistic as it is terrible.
  • Scary Impractical Armor: Most Dark Eldar wear this on the battlefield, but unusually this armor is actually fairly lightweight. The impractical part comes from it being completely covering but so thin as to be almost useless at stopping all but the lightest attacks, and all the blades and spikes adorning it would be dangerous to the motions of a wearer who was not so used to moving in them as to avoid slicing themselves open. But then, the armor is scary, and knowing the Dark Eldar, that is kind of the point. Plus they are used to wearing it, and would probably laugh it off if they accidentally sliced themselves open. So used to wearing it are they that, in fact, they are far more likely to use the blades and spikes to slice their foes open than themselves.
  • To Serve Man: At least the Haemonculi. The 5th edition codex lore mentions the esoteric culinary habits of some, such as only eating the left hands of their victims, and mentioning their take on the flavour of the heart of an Adeptus Arbites.
  • Separated by a Common Language: The Drukhari speak their own distinct dialect of the wider Eldar language, which is known for emphasizing harsh consonants and using comparatively aggressive inflections of common concepts. They have several ways of describing pain which are considered unnecessarily specific by most other Eldar.
  • Sex Slave: Implied by the use of Go-Go Enslavement and ambiguous language like "ravage" and "defile" in their codex.
  • Shadow Walker: Mandrakes are capable of this by living in an alternate dimension and appearing in people's shadows, in addition to being near-invisible.
  • Shoot the Messenger: Averted. Scourges are considered such useful couriers that the kabals come down hard on anyone who interferes with them.
  • Sky Surfing: Hellions wield glaives and zip around on blade-winged flying platforms.
  • Smug Snake: Most Dark Eldar fit into this category, taking the inherent Eldar arrogance to new heights.
  • The Social Darwinist: In a similar manner to the Orks, except with skill and cunning instead of size and toughness. Dark Eldar kabal society is constantly shifting as warriors, dracons and archons move up the social ladder by throwing the guy above them off it.
  • Space Is an Ocean: The Dark Eldar will fly through space in what look like Chinese junks, complete with sails, some wearing only flak jackets and thongs. Metal.
  • Space Pirate: Some Drukhari Kabals undertake piratical raids on the trade routes and planets of other races in order to gather resources and slaves. This has resulted in the Aeldari race as a whole gaining a reputation for being capricious brigands as that most Imperial officers can't tell the difference between the various Aeldari factions.
  • Spikes of Villainy: Dark Eldar models have so many blades on them, they can be downright hazardous to handle.
  • The Starscream: Every Dark Eldar, save for Asdrubael Vect, and only because he's at the absolute top of the power structure, and the Incubi, as they are too busy perfecting the art of swordcraft to involve themselves in Kabalite politics.
  • Star Killing: The background material for the Kabal of the Dying Sun mentions that they possess powerful relics of the ancient Aeldari empire capable of destroying stars. The Kabal rarely deploy these arcane weapons however, due to them being almost as dangerous to those who use them as they are to the enemy, leading to many rival Kabals doubting whether they actually exist.
  • Stripperific: Wyches are gladiators who prefer to rely on lightning speed, superior reflexes, and combat prowess to wearing armor... or even clothing. In fact, the Wychs' status and renown is inversely proportional to the amount of protective gear they wear in combat, with the most skilled fighting nearly naked. For example, Lelith Hesperax, the best of them, only wears what amounts to a bra, a G-string, stockings and fingerless gloves.
  • Supernatural Fear Inducer: Incubi are equipped with psychic devices known as tormenters. Made from the tortured spirit stone of an Aspect Warrior, the tormenter radiates and aura of terror that can strike horror into the minds of even the most resolute enemy. This is represented in the 8th Edition rules by forcing extra enemy to flee when they fail a Morale check while close to an Incubi squad.
  • The Syndicate: Dark Eldar society is ruled by competing crime syndicates/pirate fleets known as Kabals. Kabalite Warriors are basically made men and women, protected by their Kabal, and Archons are basically Godfathers. It doesn't hurt that the name Commorragh is a referenced to Gomorrah, the Biblical sister city of Sodom, twisted into a pseudo-Irish homophone for the Camorra clans of Naples.
  • Taking You with Me: An artefact of the notoriously sly and traitorous Wych Cult of the Cursed Blade, the Traitor's Embrace consists of a pair of rods impaled into a Drukhari's skin that expand into a razor-sharp cage when the wearer is killed. In-game this is represented by a chance of inflicting mortal wounds against the opponent who killed the Succubus equipped with the relic.
  • Token Good Teammate: While not exactly "good", especially given the setting, the Incubi are the only Dark Eldar who aren't backstabbing, power-hungry sadomasochists, and the only ones who still worship the old Eldar gods, instead of the Dark Muses. Though they do go through Training from Hell where the weak are sacrificed while seeking to perfect the art of murder, they're saints compared to the rest.
  • Too Dumb to Live: People actually hire the Dark Eldar as mercenaries, who will often (if not always) betray their employers as soon as the job is done. A bit of a subversion, since some Dark Eldar are skilled manipulators and the idiots don't tend to die but get go to meet Haemonculi...
  • Too Kinky to Torture: Dark Eldar draw vitality from pain, anyone's pain, and even their own if it comes to it. The only ones who know enough torture-craft and Dark Eldar psychology to make the torture effective are their own Haemonculi. If anyone else tries it on a Dark Eldar, the Dark Eldar will probably laugh at their crude methods and sloppy techniques.
  • Torture Technician: Haemonculi. They don't even want information, they just want you to suffer. In one case an unfortunate captive was left as a collection of organs hanging from hooks in the Haemonculus' lab...and still very much alive.
  • Translator Microbes: Many Dark Eldar wear devices which translate their spoken language into the native language of whomever they are speaking to. They do this not because they do not know the language (typically they do, "simple" languages coming easily to them) but because they would rather not sully their tongues speaking the other's language as though they were equals.
  • The Unfavorite: The Dark Eldar went for over a decade without a new Codex, leading to a minor Advice Dog meme in the fandom trying to put a positive spin on the whole thing: "Play Dark Eldar/Safe from Updates." But when they did finally get their update, it was considered one of the best in the game's history.
  • The Unfettered: To the Dark Eldar, power is the only prize worth taking and holding onto, and the Dark City tends to quickly weed out anyone with any compunctions that might interfere in reaching for that power.
  • Unfriendly Fire: The members of the Haemonculus Coven known as the Coven of Twelve are renowned for their traitorous and backstabbing nature, even by the low standards of the Drukhari. The members of the Coven will take any opportunity to take out their fellows, including intentionally firing at enemies in close proximity to their rivals. In the 8th Edition of the game this is represented by the Coven of Twelve Stratagem 'Administer Punishment' that allows Coven of Twelve units to fire at enemies engaged with other Coven units with a random chance of hitting their comrades instead.
  • Unobtainium: Their "Dark Light" technology fires munition somehow siphoned from the alternate dimensions on the other side of black holes. No one in other factions are sure how the Dark Eldar even can get the stuff.
  • Uterine Replicator: Most Dark Eldar are grown in amniotic tubes, while having 'trueborn' children is a luxury only afforded to the upper class. This, plus the aforementioned ability to resurrect the dead, is why the Dark Eldar are implied to be thriving.
  • Vestigial Empire: Many Drukhari (particularly those descended from the old noble houses) consider themselves the true inheritors of the pre-Fall Aeldari empire, continuing and developing the depraved culture that led to the destruction of the majority of their race.
  • Vice City: Commorragh, a Wretched Hive full of slave pens, torture labs, arenas for death sports, and whatever structures are appropriate for the Dark Eldar's other, worse vices.
  • Weakened by the Light: Commorragh exists wholly within the Webway at the intersection of several nodes (hence its Alien Geometries) and the reason the Dark Eldar live there is because the Webway protects them from the predations of She Who Thirsts. Their vitality saps more quickly in realspace because their souls are more exposed. This in turn informs much of their military doctrine, which focuses on lightning-quick raids out into realspace and equally quick returns to the Webway, minimizing the danger to themselves. They can exist outside of the Webway for longer periods, but it requires them to feed on pain much more frequently when doing so.
  • Wave Motion Gun: Dark Lances, Blasters, Blast Pistols, and Void Lances are extremely powerful weapons that fire degenerate "dark light" mined from other dimensions.
  • Weapon for Intimidation: Dark Eldar weapons are both effective and extraordinarily painful, and their designers like to ensure that those who see the weapons know it. The additional fear such visibly imposing weaponry provides psychically emboldens and invigorates their wielders, making this entirely justified.
  • We Have Reserves: The Prophets of Flesh have innumerable Wracks and send them forward in waves in their largest raids. If their Wrack horde begin to thin, a Prophets of Flesh player can use the Black Cornucopians stratagem to reinforce them back to full strength right in the middle of a battle.
  • We Will Wear Armor in the Future: Averted with the exception of the Incubi, who wear powerful and lightweight armor.
  • Whip Sword: The razorflails used by some Drukhari Wyches are swords, wielded in pairs, constructed from a number of razor sharp blades held tightly together by strong, flexible wire. During battle, the blades that make up the razorflail can be extended into a short, barbed, whip-like weapon that allows a skilled user to change the weapon’s form with such speed and precision that their attacks become almost impossible to block.
  • Who Wants to Live Forever?: The Dark Eldar are very good at two things. 1. Keeping their victims alive for a long time. 2. Making them wish for death. Of course, the Dark Eldar are an aversion to this trope, doing everything they can to extend their times before their souls are consumed.
  • Wicked Cultured: Dark Eldar conduct themselves with all the sophistication expected out of Eldar, but extra helpings of pain and evil.
  • Winged Humanoid: The Scourges are normal Dark Eldar who have their bodies altered to give them wings and flight capability, including painful bone hollowing procedures. While it may seem like a long and painful process to go through just to become a messenger pigeon, Scourges act as couriers for the kabals and are highly prized. They cannot be killed without facing the retribution of every kabal around, and they are given access to some of the best weaponry and armor the Dark Eldar have.
  • Wound That Will Not Heal: Those few who survive torture by Dark Eldar are left in constant pain from the tortures they received. This quote from The Annals of Terror puts it quite plainly.
    However, though I am physically free, my body bears the scars; the many, many scars. Every breath takes me to a new plane of agony, every heartbeat sets my jagged nerves with writhing pain. I cannot see. I cannot speak. Most horrid of all, I cannot forget. [...] No one escapes the Dark City.

    Denizens of the Dark City 
Power changes hands often in Commorragh, but a few special individuals have managed to cling to it:

Asdrubael Vect, Supreme Overlord of Commorragh

https://static.tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pub/images/rsz_1dark_eldar_lord_1283.jpg

Death is my meat; terror my wine.

Archon of the Black Heart Kabal, the first and largest Kabal in the Dark City, and by extension the de facto ruler of Commorragh, Asdrubael Vect is a brilliant and ruthless leader who has held the Drukhari in his iron grip for millennia. Vect claims that it was he who discovered the method of staving off Slaanesh's sapping of the souls of the Drukhari by feeding off the pain of others, while his detractors claim he is nothing but an upstart slave. Either way, Vect managed to claw his way to his current position through his own skills and intelligence, upending Drukhari society in the process by usurping the power of the old noble houses and creating the Kabalite system that now defines the power structure of Commorragh. In the wake of the dysjunction that followed the partial awakening of Ynnead, the God of the Dead, and the opening of the Dathedian, the Great Rift, Vect was apparently assassinated by unknown hands. The Supreme Overlord made his triumphal return at his own wake, however, where he slaughtered his detractors, solidified his rule of the Dark City and declared himself a Dark Muse, wicked slaughterers and dark artists who are the closest things to saints or demi-gods that the Drukhari honour.


  • A God Am I: As of the post-Gathering Storm timeline, Vect has proclaimed himself a living Dark Muse, which is more or less the closest thing to a deity that the Dark Eldar acknowledge.
  • The Casanova: Vect requires an entire wing of his palace to house his Lhamean concubines, took Malys as a lover and is heavily implied to have Lelith Hesperax as an occasional consort. In fanon Vect reaches the level of The Pornomancer.
  • The Chessmaster: He once orchestrated an invasion of the city by the Imperial Navy and the Salamanders Space Marines. During the battle, he manipulated battlefield communications and reinforcement allocations to ensure that the other Archons died. Once the attack was fought off and all the other kabals were infighting with their leaders dead, Vect and the Black Heart Kabal were left to rule Commorragh unopposed. Just as planned.
  • Faking the Dead: After the chaos of the Ynnari's birth, Vect (seemingly) is assassinated and all samples of his flesh destroyed to prevent resurrection. When virtually all the great and "good" of Dark Eldar society attends his wake, either to gloat or in genuine, he rises from the dead and slaughters everyone present, following up by only resurrecting those he deemed truly loyal. Given his extensive use of body doubles, it's unclear if he was ever dead to begin with.
  • From Nobody to Nightmare: The point of view of those who reject Vect's claims to have survived the Fall and created Commoragh. To them, he was a slave who rose to power through sheer determination and every dirty trick in the book.
  • Hover Tank: The Dais of Destruction is a heavily modified Ravager that transports the Supreme Overlord and his retinue while on realspace raids so that he can oversee the battle in comfort. The Dais is equipped with advanced energy fields that make it as durable as a Land Raider, one of the most durable tanks fielded by the Imperium, and is armed with a pair of disintegrators and a dark lance.
  • Lightning Bruiser: Due to going into battle riding the Dais of Destruction, his customized Ravager, Vect combines the speed and destructive firepower of a Drukhari grav-skiff with the combat abilities of an Archon. The Dais is also fitted with an advanced energy field so that it also has far greater durability than any other Drukhari vehicle.
  • Manipulative Bastard: One of the best in the setting, and that's including Tzeentch.
  • Might Makes Right: Vect is a strong advocate of this. The only difference is that he considers mightiness of intellect best.
  • Multiple-Choice Past: Vect claims he was a slave that saw the Fall and led his people into Commorragh to find a new life. Others say he was an upstart slave.
  • One-Man Army: He's on par with Abaddon the Despoiler and the Swarmlord in terms of close combat power. There have been reports of players throwing whole squads at him only for him to butcher them all with little trouble.
  • Screw the Rules, I Make Them!: In the lore Vect has openly violated at least two of the very few laws Commorragh has. In a novel he orders a Scourge to be gruesomely killed simply because they interrupted his breakfast in delivering their message (in Commorragh the general rule is anyone who kills a Scourge will invite the wrath of that Scourge's comrades and every nearby Kabal as they're protected messengers). Vect is also the only Dark Eldar who will openly defy the Harlequins, while everyone else who tries to either can't pin them down or suffers a gruesome fate. This may be a slight subversion as it's unknown whether Vect himself made these rules or they're just an unspoken code of conduct in Commorragh.
  • That Liar Lies: During Commorragh's latest Dysjunction, Vect claims it's All According to Plan, but his lie is uncharacteristically blunt and nearly everyone realizes or knows he's lying. However, none of his subjects or vassals are brave enough to call him out.
  • Time Abyss: Depending on whether or not you believe him, he was old enough to have seen the Fall. That would make him twelve thousand years old (at least) and one of the only living beings (alongside a few Dark Eldar Haemonculi) note  older than a Chaos God.
  • Troll: Many of the ways he screws over his rivals could be described as "humorously dickish". His crowner:
    Asdrubael Vect tricks his would-be rival Archon Kelithresh into opening a casket that has ostensibly been presented as tithe. Held precariously in the collapsing field of the casket is the unstable essence of a black hole. Kelithresh's entire realm is plunged into a howling, yawning vortex.
    • In the short story, The Torturer's Tale, he ordered a resilient slave to be brought before him. He offered the slave a comfortable chair and a glass of wine from his personal collection. He then went on to tell the slave about the Fall and how the Dark Eldar came to be. When the slave asked why he was doing this, Vect replied that he liked telling the story and everyone else in the kabal knew it. He also refused to tell him the end of the story as pondering that would be a form of mental torture. Before ordering the slave back to toil and torture, Vect informed him that the wine he just drank is not fit for human consumption and gives them horrible stomach cramps.
  • Uriah Gambit: One of Vect's preferred methods for dealing with rivals or people who displease him.
  • Villain Decay: In the Gathering Storm: Fracture of Biel-Tan supplement, Vect's contingency plans against the Dysjunction are revealed to have only lessened its effects, not stopped it. In addition, Vect's plans to keep order fall apart and he doesn't come up with any plans against the new problems. Most if not all Kabals apart from Vect's own either cut ties with Vect to join the Ynnari or band together to plan his overthrow. However, he reasserts himself in the latest codex, feigning death to draw in virtually the entire elite of Drukhari society, kill them all, then resurrect those deemed loyal. He follows up by essentially declaring himself a living god, presumably in answer to the Ynnari's claims.
  • Weaponized Ball: The Obsidian Orbs, which restore his health when they hit an enemy.

Lelith Hesperax, Queen of Knives

https://static.tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pub/images/lelith_3905.jpg

The crowd hushed at the very sight of her beauty and elegance. Her flesh bared as if to taunt the blade to draw her blood. Her hair loose as if to tempt her adversary to grip it and to strike the death blow. This was the way she liked to perform: so calm, so confident, so cold. The crowd gasped as she brandished her chosen weapons: a flashing of ice-cold silver, the kiss of death. Then the aliens were released into the ring. Not one, nor two, but ten assailants at once. Lelith danced with them, gifting each with a single choice wound. The crowded roared their approval, the entertainment would last long into the bloody evening!
Lord Sussarkh

The greatest Wych to have ever lived, Lelith Hesperax is the undisputed queen of Commorragh's arenas. Although she is the Succubus leader of the Wych Cult of Strife, the most powerful and influential Wych Cult in the Dark City, Lelith rarely involves herself with the politics of the Drukhari, caring for little except the chance to test her flawless skill against the greatest warriors and beasts of the galaxy. Although she was once considered a rival in the arena, Lelith has nonetheless defied the will of Asdrubael Vect and assisted Yvraine, and her Ynnari followers, in their fight against She Who Thirsts. As is typical of the fickle Succubus however, she does this to fulfil her own goals, rather than through any belief in the mission of the Reborn, as she hopes the conflict against Slaanesh will allow her to fight some of the most skilful warriors of the Dark Powers.


  • Badass Normal: As much of one as the Dark Eldar can field; Imperial Guardsmen have nothing on her. She goes into battle with nothing but a bikini and a pair of knives, and she can take on Terminator Space Marines.
  • Collector of the Strange: She apparently takes trophies from her victims when she goes on raids.
  • Combat Haircomb: Lelith has blades and hooks woven into the ends of her hair. Rather than removing them and using them, she simply lets her hair's movement do the work for her, and she's skilled enough to use it as a weapon.
  • Dark Action Girl: Down to the athleticism, outfit and sexy voice.
  • Does Not Like Shoes: Whether fighting in realspace raids or in the arenas of Commorragh, Lelith goes into battle with bare feet. This is not only to shows off her superior dexterity and sure-footedness but also allows her to manipulate blades with her feet to increase the spectacle of battles.
  • Drugs Are Bad: Her view, at least. She refuses to take combat enhancing drugs, as they take away from the purity of the kill or something.
  • Enigmatic Minion: Rarely talks, and simply shows up in an Archon's court before a raid to join them, does her business on the field of battle, and disappears afterward.
  • Femme Fatalons: While it isn't represented by her in-game stats, Lelith has had her fingernails reinforced and sharpened to a fine edge so that she can kill her foes even when otherwise unarmed.
  • Heel–Face Turn: When the Ynnari become prominent, Lelith sent her Cult of Strife to aid them, and sent the message that if they proved to be legitimate, she would join them. Played with, as Yvraine speculates that Lelith is only joining the Ynnari so she can keep her looks without having to feed on suffering or kill regularly. The 8th Edition Codex partially confirms Yvraine's suspicion — Lelith is only using the Ynnari to set up a duel between herself and Lucius the Eternal.
  • Hot Consort: Implied to be this for Vect occasionally.
  • Knife Nut: Despite being an expert in every weapon used by the Wych Cults, Lelith's preferred armament is a pair of simple, if viciously sharp, Hekatarii blades as this allows her to best demonstrate her superior combat abilities. In-game, the 8th Edition rules for Lelith's knives grant her extra attacks and are able to cut through all but the thickest armour.
  • Memetic Badass: In-universe. Rumours abound to the source of her almost supernatural fighting ability. Some say she has had her blood replaced with a form of hyper-adrenaline, some say she sleeps in a stimulant tank, some suggest that the Haemonculi have had some hand in modifying her body. The truth, however, is that she's just that good.
  • Ms. Fanservice: In-universe. She even has rings of perverts dedicated to exchanging videos of her offing her opponents. She's pretty much the Dark Eldar's equivalent of Jenna Jameson.
  • Older Than They Look: She may be smoking hot, but she actually aided Vect in his coup, and was a renowned fighter even then. That tells you just how old she is.
  • The Quiet One: While she very rarely speaks, her voice is rumored to be a sultry purr likened to honeyed velvet.
  • Stripperific: Her standard combat attire is a bra, a G-string, stockings and fingerless gloves. It could double as swimwear.
  • Token Good Teammate: Some fans view her as this to the Dark Eldar. After all, she doesn't torture, she doesn't rape, she doesn't do drugs, she doesn't backstab... all she does is kill people, and who doesn't in this setting? Also, see Heel–Face Turn above.
  • Worthy Opponent: There have been a number of fighters through the centuries who Lelith has respected enough to consider a worthy opponent such as Yvraine, the Daughter of Shades, who is the only person to ever scar the Queen of Knives' skin. As with most Drukhari however, Lelith is incredibly fickle and her interest in an opponent will often pass quickly, moving on to a new individual who catches her eye. The Chaos Lord Lucius the Eternal has become the focus of her attention since the opening of the Great Rift, as she believes him to be her perfect opponent.

Kheradruakh, the Decapitator

https://static.tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pub/images/kheradruak.jpg

A mysterious and ancient Mandrake murderer, Kheradruakh spent millennia collecting the most perfect skulls of his seemingly random victims to perform a dark ritual within his lair. The Decapitator completed his ritual in the final years of the 41st Millennium, during the Dysjunction caused by the resurrection of Yvraine the Emissary of Ynnead, succeeding in summoning a section of Aelindrach, the shadow-realm of the Mandrakes, into the districts of Commoragh. Revealing himself to be the lost King of the Mandrakes, Kheradrukh rules his people from this benighted realm as a murderous saint.


  • Demoted to Extra: Although no longer a playable character, Kheradruakh is still gets mentioned in the background material and finally managed to complete his collection of skulls during the events of Gathering Storm II: Fracture of Biel-Tan.
  • Humanoid Abomination: Like all Mandrakes, Kheradruakh is a creature of living shadow.
  • I'm a Humanitarian: Like other Mandrakes, Kheradruakh has no issue with eating other sapient beings, including other Eldar, and prepares his collection by flaying and licking the flesh from each skull.
  • King Incognito: Kheradruakh is the lost king of the Mandrakes who, upon summoning a section of the realm of Aelindrach into Commorragh, now rules a kingdom of living shadow that has consumed an entire district of the Dark City.
  • Multi-Armed and Dangerous: Kheradruakh has had an extra pair of arms grafted to his body as a gift from the Haemonculi of Commorragh.
  • Names to Run Away from Really Fast: Kheradruakh is not his real name. It's simply a title that means "He Who Hunts Heads".note 
  • Nothing but Skulls: Kheradruakh takes the "best" skulls from his kills and mounts them on the walls of his lair. Despite his very high standards, his lair is full of skulls.
  • Shadow Walker: Like all Mandrakes, Kheradruakh is able to move from shadow to shadow without setting foot on the ground in-between.
  • Summoning Ritual: The reason Kheradruakh had been collecting skulls was finally revealed during the Dysjunction that struck the Dark City at the end of the 41st Millennium. It's purpose was to summon a part of his shadow realm of Aelindrach into Commorragh.
  • Put on a Bus: Kheradruakh doesn't appear as a playable character in the 7th Edition codex.

Lady Aurelia Malys

Archon of the Kabal of the Poisoned Tongue, Aurelia Malys was once have been one of Asdrubael Vect's spurned consorts who has since risen in stature to become second only to the Supreme Overlord himself in power and influence. Some within the Dark City believe that this meteoric rise was aided by an encounter with Cegorach during her exile where the Laughing God rewarded her with his own heart for defeating him in a game of wits. Whatever the truth of the matter, Lady Malys is renowned for her intellect and her near supernatural ability to predict her enemy's plans. One of the few rivals to Vect's position to survive the slaughter of the Great Wake, Lady Malys and her followers are content to play the long game, waiting and watching the power struggles within Commorragh from the webway.


  • Anti-Magic: One of the benefits her new magical heart gives.
  • Berserk Button: Though her composure rarely slips, Malys has a very dim view of eavesdroppers.
  • Bi the Way: Implied with her previous position as one of Vect's consorts and her employment of Lhameans (an all-female Dark Eldar sect of courtesans/poison experts).
  • The Chessmaster: Almost as much as Vect.
  • Dark Action Girl: She feels like a particularly cunning Magical Girl anime villain.
  • Demoted to Extra: While Lady Malys may no longer be a playable character, she is still active in the fluff and is heavily involved in Commorragh’s most recent history.
  • Did You Just Scam Cthulhu?: Malys beat an mysterious supernatural being in a contest of wits where the loser had to give their heart to the winner. Malys won, to even her own surprise, and got the being's heart. This may have been the being's plan, and it's revealed the Harlequins manipulated her into the situation.
  • The Dragon: Later Dragon with an Agenda aspiring to be a Dragon Ascendant after she fell out of favor with Vect. With the latest Dysjunction to hit Commorragh in the 41st Millenium, her voice is the most vehement in calling for Vect to be overthrown.
  • Empowered Badass Normal: Even before her contest with the mysterious being in the webway, Lady Malys was talented enough to become an influenceable Archon and one of Vect's inner circle. Since her encounter, Malys' skills and intelligence have only been enhanced with to such an extent that her detractors believe she may be dabbling with proscribed Psychic Powers.
  • Evil Laugh: Those of her minions bold enough to eavesdrop on her personal chamber have reported hearing this coming from it when she's alone in there. What's more, Malys laughs with two voices rather than one.
  • For the Evulz: She once led her kabal against an Imperial world — that is, she manipulated an Ork WAAAGH to run right into it. As the Imperial Guard and Orks were slaughtering each other left and right, Malys and her bodyguard walked in and pilfered a rare STC that the humans were guarding. The STC, Panacea, would save billions of human lives through the miraculous medical technologies stored within, but instead it lies in Malys' private trophy room, a potent discovery that will forever be kept out of the Imperium's hands. Malys is aware of this and relishes every minute.
  • Giggling Villain: In private. See Evil Laugh above.
  • Lady of War: She's described as that sort of Victorian lady who is unflinchingly polite even though she's planning how best to serve your brains on a platter at the next dinner party.
  • Manipulative Bitch: Again, almost as much as Vect.
  • Meaningful Name: Sounds like "malice".
  • Put on a Bus: Malys doesn't appear as a playable model in the 7th edition codex.
  • Victory Is Boring: Discussed with one of her quotes.
    Another flawless victory. It almost makes one long for a loss to keep things interesting... almost, but not quite.
  • Villainous Breakdown: Malys has had two in the lore; her first came after Vect dumped her and the second came in the STC mentioned above. When Malys saw it had already been stolen she killed several of her bodyguards because she suspected they'd betrayed her/to vent her frustration. She recovered both times.
  • Woman Scorned: That whole episode was not one of Vect's brighter moves.

Duke Traevelliath Sliscus

After growing bored of Commorragh's political manoeuvrings, Traevelliath Sliscus stole three kabal flagships before fleeing the Dark City for life as a Corsair Outcast. Now one of the most infamous Drukhari Corsairs, Sliscus and his fleet, the Sky Serpents, have plagued the galaxy for millennia and the Duke has become a champion for Commorrite exiles. Incredibly ruthless and eccentric, Sliscus often cares more about style over substance, willing to sacrifice his own ships if it means destroying his enemy in a suitably impressive manner. Despite his vanity and quirks, Sliscus is a highly accomplished warrior and tactician, having even outwitted and defeated the notorious Space Wolf warrior Lukas the Trickster.


  • Acquired Poison Immunity: He drinks small doses of the poisons he uses, and has a little with every meal, to build up a resistance.
  • Animal Motif: Invoked. Snakes, with his twisted nature and penchant for poisons. Sliscus is aware of this, insists he is more dangerous than any animal, and has remarked that serpents should be called "Sliscus" instead of the other way around.
  • The Casanova: It's implied he's very popular among the (mostly) female Wych cults. He also has teams of concubines.
  • Death from Above: His preferred raiding tactic is for Raiders and Ravagers to descend form the sky to attack.
  • Demoted to Extra: Although he no longer has rules for the Tabletop Game, Sliscus still appears in the background material and is a major character in the 2018 Space Wolf novel Lukas the Trickster.
  • Dressed to Kill: Described as "amoral, despicable, and impeccably dressed" by Lady Malys. Those outfits also incorporate body parts from his latest victim.
  • Drugs Are Good: Sliscus has been known to have a great amount of combat drugs that his minions can choose from. Stated to be one of the two reasons he's popular with Wych cults.
  • Evil Counterpart: To Prince Yriel. There is a popular theory—both In-Universe and out— Sliscus is actually Yriel's biological father.
  • Hair-Trigger Temper: He is infamously unpredictable. At one point, he ordered an entire Hive World's nobility to be butchered because a human envoy mispronounced his name.
  • Memetic Badass: In-universe. He's an absolute legend in Commorragh for that little "stealing three kabal flagships" stunt.
  • Poisoned Weapons: More so than other Dark Eldar. His swords are covered in a poison that's been known to eat through solid armor.
  • Put on a Bus: In the game itself, Sliscus hasn't had rules since the 5th Edition Codex: Dark Eldar and has never received an official miniature.
  • Space Pirate: More so than other Commorrites, since he has been fleet based since hijacking rival Kabals' flagships, living life in self-imposed exile.

Drazhar, Master of Blades

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A mysterious but superlative warrior, the Incubus known only as Drazharnote  first rose to prominence when he entered the Great Shrine of the Incubi in Commorragh and challenged the ruling Hierarch to personal combat. After slaughtering the guards who tried to stop him, he challenged the Hierarch to a duel. Minutes later Drazhar step over the dismembered Hierarch, cleaned his blades and make a small bow. Although he never took up the position as Hierarch, as was his right, Drazhar is highly honoured by all Incubi for his unsurpassed skills and is considered to be the greatest champion of the order.


  • Almighty Janitor: He technically hasn't gotten any ranks within the Incubi shrine, so he's technically the lowest ranked Incubi. No Incubi would actually pull rank on him, lest they end up like the Hierarch.
  • The Brute: While other Dark Eldar characters rely on either wargear, speed or some special rule to keep them alive, Drazhar instead has a statline that would make a space marine captain weep in envy (it's identical to that of a Phoenix Lord). Along with the Talos, he is probably the only other unit in the entire army that you can just throw at the enemy without much fear of dying.
  • Enigmatic Minion: No one knows his motivation, beyond maybe being a Blood Knight. Unlike most Dark Eldar, he's just there to fight, never uttering a single word. Even his name is unknown - 'Drazhar' is simply a title.
  • Master Swordsman: Drazhar skill in the battle arts of the Incubi is unparalleled.
  • Meaningful Name: Since Drazhar never speaks, the name Drazhar was given to him by other Incubi, with his name meaning 'living sword'.
  • Sixth Ranger Traitor: Due to his mysterious past and unparalleled skill, Drazhar is thought by many to be the fallen Striking Scorpions Phoenix Lord, Ahrha. In game Drazhar's statline is also the same as that of a Phoenix Lord
  • Vertical Mecha Fins: As with all Incubi, Drazhar's armour has a pair of tall vertical fins rising from his back.
  • The Voiceless: He is silent; his deadliness speaking for itself. The most acknowledgement he'll give someone else apart from those he fights or kills is a small nod or tilt of his head.
  • You Kill It, You Bought It: He is the master of the Incubi simply by virtue of having killed the previous master. Unlike a Klingon Promotion, he was never known an Incubus himself, he just appeared one day in Commorragh and made his challenge.

Urien Rakarth, Sculptor of Torments

https://static.tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pub/images/urienrakarth_7487.jpg

Fetch me another plaything. This one seems to have broken.

The master of the Haemonculus Coven known as the Prophets of the Flesh, Urien Rakarth is the oldest and greatest of his twisted kind. An insane genius in the fields of torture and anatomical flesh-sculpture, Urien considers himself above the petty politics of the Dark City, preferring to indulge himself in increasingly twisted and depraved experiments. Competition is fierce between those who wish to acquire the services of the Sculptor of Torments, something the ancient Haemonculus is more than willing to take advantage of to acquire new specimens. Since they first took to the field in the aftermath of the opening of the Great Rift, Urien has become increasingly interested in Humanity's latest warriors, the Primaris Marines, and the Master Haemonculus has made it his mission to acquire samples from as many Astartes Chapters as possible.


  • Body Horror: His spine is twisted and leaves him with a sloping posture. He has multiple limbs, some decaying, some dead, attached to his back. His face is held on with pieces of leathery flesh. He resembles a puppet, his broken body functioning at his commands and moving despite it not being possible in any realistic way.
  • Came Back Wrong: As the oldest of the Drukhari, Rakarth has undergone the process of resurrection more than anyone else and although it has always succeeded, the process has somehow become corrupted over the centuries resulting in his body becoming increasingly deformed with each new resurrection. The reason for this flaw is unknown but some amongst the Drukhari suspect that it may be due to some whim of the Master Haemonculus himself.
  • Death Seeker: Urien has come back from the dead so many times that he has grown addicted to it. He is constantly seeking out new and interesting ways to die.
  • Doppelgänger Spin: Rakarth is protected by a clone field, an arcane device that produces multiple holographic copies of the ancient Haemonculus that copy his movements exactly in order to confuse the foe, allowing Rakarth to concentrate on selecting his next subject for experimentation. In the 8th Edition of the game the clone field gives Rakarth a 4+ invulnerable save.
  • Evil Mentor: He taught Fabius Bile how to be a sick(er) bastard.
  • Faux Affably Evil: He is eloquent and can speak politely, but there's not a shred of kindness or virtue in him.
  • Horrifying the Horror: It's suggested that even a good number of the Dark Eldar themselves are creeped out by him.
  • I'm a Humanitarian: In the story accompanying a Dark Eldar vs Craftworld Eldar battle report, the aftermath had Urien tasting the blood from an Eldar Farseer's severed head and gleefully looking forward to eating his bones.
  • Mad Scientist: He delights in performing twisted medical experiments on himself and others, all of them further twisted by his sadism and insanity.
  • Time Abyss: He's one of the oldest Haemonculi in Commorragh, if not the oldest. During the Dysjunction caused by Yvraine's resurrection and her bond with Ynnead, he reveals that he remembered personally witnessing the Fall of the Eldar.

Baron Sathonyx, the Lord Hellion

https://static.tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pub/images/baron_sathonyx.jpg

Formerly a highly placed member of the Kabal of the Slashed Eye, Sathonyx was cast out by his fellows for bringing a captive Farseer into his Archon's court, despite psykers being taboo within the Dark City. Despite the high price placed upon his head, Sathonyx escaped into the darkest districts of Commorragh where he raised an army of exiles and renegades to get revenge on Archon Cythrax for his banishment. Considered by many to be the most influential of the Hellions who ply the skies of Commorragh, Sathonyx continues to lead his gang of disposed, using the bones of the Farseer who instigated his fall from grace to stay out of reach of his enemies.


  • Better the Devil You Know: Commorragh's nobility seem to regard him as this, noting that under his leadership, the Hellion gangs can at least be bargained with.
  • Cool Board: All Hellions ride viciously bladed, anti-grav Skyboards and Baron Sathonyx is the greatest rider of them all.
  • Double Weapon: As with all Hellions Sathonyx wields a Hellglaive, a weapon with hooked blades at either end.
  • Empowered Badass Normal: That little trick with the Farseer's bones is what's kept him alive at this point. Although, he must've been pretty badass to capture a Farseer in the first instance.
  • Implausible Boarding Skills: He's just that good.
  • The Man Behind the Man: He is this to the current Archon of the Kabal of the Slashed Eye, who is a Puppet King.
  • Neighbourhood-Friendly Gangsters: Given he is something of a folk hero to the dispossessed and otherwise out-of-power Commorrites who don't have the benefit of being under a kabal's protection. He is seen as something of a welcome counterweight for being able to punch back with his army of Hellions.
  • Misfit Mobilization Moment: A dark take. He rallied the Hellion gangs and outcasts of Commorragh into an army and led them against his former Kabal. Then he took over and used them as a front for his gang.
  • Put on a Bus: Sathonyx doesn't appear as a playable model in the 7th edition codex.
  • Rebellious Spirit: He's very much a skateboard street punk IN SPACE!!

Kruellagh the Vile, Archon of the Emasculators

https://static.tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pub/images/kruellagh_the_vile.jpg

An Archon of the Kabal of the Flayed Skull, Kruellagh the Vile leads the Emasculators, an elite force of Kabalite Warriors who specialise in precision assaults. Kruellagh has plagued the Imperium since the 38th Millennium and has gained a reputation for being a sadistic raider who revels in the terror and death she spreads.


  • Arm Cannon: Kruellagh is equipped with a terrorfex, a lightweight, wrist-mounted grenade launcher. As well as its usual complement of fear-inducing grenades made from stolen wraithbone, it is also fitted with uniquely powerful Damnation Grenades.
  • Blade Below the Shoulder: The blades of Kruellagh's unique weapon, the Soul Flayer, project from the palms of her hand so that they can deliver the siphoned vital fluid of her victims straight into the Archon's bloodstream.
  • Chuck Cunningham Syndrome: Kruellagh hasn't appeared on the tabletop, or been mentioned in the background material, since the 3rd Edition of the game and her place as the leader of the Kabal of the Flayed Skull was taken by Lord Vraesque Malidrach.
  • Cool Mask: The hell mask worn by Kruellagh is fashioned to resemble an ornate half mask. When combined with her skin-tight catsuit, this gives her a classic, female supervillain visual theme.
  • Evil Laugh: One piece of Flavor Text mentions that Kruellagh constantly lets out a blood-chilling laugh while slaughtering her foes.
  • Life Drain: Kruellagh's Soul Flayer weapon sucks the blood, and other vital fluids, from those it penetrates, invigorating Kruellagh and leaving the unfortunate victim nothing but a withered husk. In-game this was represented by Kruellagh gaining Attacks whenever she killed an opponent in close combat.
  • Try to Fit THAT on a Business Card!: Kruellagh has acquired many titles and epithets in addition to her moniker of the Vile. Some of these include: The Mistress of Skulls; Da Skinna (to the Orks); The Emasculator; and Mistress Hell-Fury.


We are swift, and we are lethal. We are a poisoned dagger thrust into the heart of the foe. We are the hidden blade, the strike so sudden that the enemy falls before they ever know they are under attack.


Alternative Title(s): Drukhari

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