Eladrin
Eladrin
species_eladrin2.jpg
Biological information
Type Fey
Size Medium
Intelligence Sentient
Life span 420 - 1,000 years
Sociological information
Planet of origin -
Achieved warp -
First contact -

The Eladrin are an ancient race of fey. The eladrin interstellar kingdom Tir Eadan is the major power in the Fehu Ring. Other smaller eladrin kingdoms exist, such as the spacefairing Tir Asuryan, Tir Drukhar which lies in the center of a manifest zone to the Twilithe, and the pirate kingdom Tir Anhrathe.

Two major ethnicities, The Óirsúr and the Airgeadsúr. Also are the Iathghlasúr and the Rúibínsúr minorities.

History


When the gods were making mortals in their likenesses, Dhanni, god of nature, made the eladrin and gave them the choice of either staying with Her in the Twilithe or going to the world of humans to be free. Some left, but those that stayed learned great lessons in the workings of the magic of the fey. The eladrin slowly became curious about the world, though and soon began to come through the goldwood crossroads.

The Autumn Kingdoms

c 24,000 PI; The first settlements of the Golden Realm of Tír Dhúchais were founded in the area later known as the High Forest.

c 18,000 PI; The Emerald Realm of Tír Áthaisling was founded by elves and Iathghlasúr eladrin in the area later known as the Moor of Mists.

c 12,000 PI; Beginning of the High Magic Wars.

The Crossroads open

c1200 PI; According to elven legend, the eladrin petty king Matholwch of Tirion was lead from the Twilithe to Adnas by the Archfey Tedhárín.

After 277 PI; The Óirsúr eladrin migrated into the Material Plane as refugees after the archfey Seonbas drove them out and froze Tír Dhúchais over to create the Vale of Winter.

Appearance


Eladrin have slim athletic bodies, long pointy ears, acute senses and keen sight in the darkness. They have light colored hair and skin ranging from white to blue.

While it was once believed that eladrin and elves were the same race, separated more by cultural differences than physiological ones, it has since been determined that they have, in fact, evolved into separate races.

Society


The whole of eladrin society and tradition, called the Society or Péarla Foirfe, is based upon a highly structured caste system. Military/political rank is the main influence in eladrin social standing. Because eladrin are members of a militant civilization, who consider defending the Society of foremost importance, military service and its accompanying rank are decisive factors in determining social eminence.

The continuation and integrity of the Society is the first duty to every eladrin. This almost fanatical belief has lead to strained relations with other races. The eladrin have a contempt for elves and their concept of rhythid. They also commonly use gnomes as laborers and fodder for their armies.

Eladrin tend to be highly reclusive, engaging in extended periods of isolationism, and can be perceived as outright dangerous to other species, seemingly believing themselves to be superior. At least some eladrin believe that one day the Society will rule all of Nora.

Eladrin females are generally equal to males, both having equal ability to rise through the ranks of the military. The Society once had an empress, however details of her rule have been lost.

Class Structure

Eladrin caste members are identified by earrings called gol uirthi.

There are several major castes;

  • Old Order
  • Autumn Kingdom Lord
  • Spring Kingdom Lord
  • Autumn Kingdom Upper Class
  • Spring Kingdom Upper Class
  • Autumn Kingdom Lower Class
  • Spring Kingdom Lower Class

Government and Military

Eladrin government is strict and regimented. It begins at the top with the bicameral Ard Ordú, or the Old Order. The Old Order includes the Lords' Council and the Table of Judges. It also commands the elite Swordwraiths.

The next tier is the oldest of Eladrin kingdoms known as the Autumn Kingdoms, ruled by Elder Kings and the lords of the old clans. Under them are the Eladrin living in adnas known as the Spring Kingdoms, with similar infrastructure as their older counterparts.

the_society_structure.jpg
Structure of the Society

The Old Order

The Ard Ordú is the head of the eladrin government and consists of two parts:

  • The Lords' Council, or Tionól is the main governing and legislative body. The Lords' Council is headed by the lord of all Eladrin, the Breitheamh, followed by his second in command, the Giúistís. The council does not sit on the first day of the week.
  • The Table of Judges, or Leanúnach Coiste, is composed of nine members. Only the Breitheamh, who heads the Table of Judges, is guaranteed a seat; others, even the chairman of the Swordwraiths, must compete to be allowed in. One of the Table of Judges' duties is the confirmation of a new Breitheamh. The Table of Judges also serves as a court when criminal charges are brought against members of the Lords' Council.

Swordwraiths

The Scáth Amharc Ar, or Swordwraiths, are a highly-respected and feared Eladrin intelligence organization. The name comes from the Scáth Ionsaí, an elven method of execution where the neck is broken with a swift stroke for a quick and merciful death.

Its purpose is guarding the security of the Society, both from the Eladrin's enemies and from traitors within the Eladrin population itself. The covert, often invisible presence of the Swordwraiths keeps the general populace in a constant state of compliance, that any signs of dissent with the status quo will result in their dubh mála or disappearance.

The Swordwraiths reports only to the highest levels of the Eladrin government, and even so they undertake many missions without the direct knowledge of the Lords' Council, conducting operations with virtual impunity throughout the Society. Their authority supersedes that of most Eladrin clan lords, resulting in a mutual distrust and hatred between the two organizations.

The Spring Kingdoms

The foremost of the Spring Kingdoms is Eiledomhan. As the first and greatest Spring Kingdom, it holds its status tightly and shows no sign of faltering.

Life Cycle

Contrary to the eladrin image of militarism, family bonds can be strong and affectionate just as they are for Humans.

Birth

The Gate

It is customary for eladrin adolescents to undertake an initiation ordeal known as the Gate, or treoir, in which they are left to fend for themselves in the forest for a specific period of time. Not all children survive this rite of passage.

The Whip

After the Gate, the child is to choose an older mentor of opposite sex to assist them through the next stage in their life, the Whip or buail. The mentor then takes the youth through the necessary training towards their desired occupation. The training is brutal and uncompromising, meant to make the youth ready for the rigors of eladrin life and stamp out any cravings for freedom they may have gained from the Gate.

This mentor-student relationship is often sexual.

Marriage

Eladrins practice arranged marriages in which a male and a female are married or affianced as children, with consummation at a later date. Following adult union, it is customary for the couple to take a sabbatical for one year before resuming their societal roles, though it is possible for the female to defer this requirement until a later date, upon negotiation with the male's family.

An eladrin female can challenge the arrangement by calling for pósadh fuil, in which a challenger for marriage engages the bonded male in a fight to the death. Alternately, the bonded male has the option of rejecting his intended bride and choosing another. It is acceptable for a male to declare a divorce and leave his mate, females do not have this option.

The purpose of marriage in the Society is the breeding of children. Both wife and husband share all property, as do their children. Marriage is to take place after the Whip.

The marriage often begins with celebration. It brings two households together, new property is introduced, and there is the underlying promise of children. The day is carefully chosen, with all sort of religious reasons as to why certain days should be avoided. Gifts are given to family and friends from the newlyweds.

On the wedding day, the bride travels with a procession to her new home, while the bridegroom is ahead of the bride to receive her. With her, the bride brings a torch lit from her family's hearth, and was offered another torch and water. She was then carried over the threshold by her attendants, not her husband. The words "as you are Husband, so I am Wife" are exchanged at this point. The day after the wedding, the groom would hold a dinner party at his house. All of this was part of publicizing the marriage.

While engaging in romantic affairs with others during the engagement period is considered normal and is often encouraged, adultery is a crime punishable by exile, or if discovered in the act, death.

Death

Culture


Cuisine

Language

A common eladrin courtesy is the saying "bí go maith" (bee go-ma), it is used both in context of greeting and goodbye.

Religion

Eladrin do not usually worship primal spirits as the elves do, but rather Dhanni herself as well as her exarchs.

Art, music and literature

Eladrin often wear blue in their clothing and consider it a sacred color to suggest their superiority over nature. All eladrin heraldry feature this color in some degree.

Eladrin architecture involves pendulous creations of wondrous curves and columns, its designs natural, floral, flowing, animal and majestic. Their fountains seem to defy physical boundaries, creating or warping water in impossible ways.

Scholarly studies

Eladrin appreciate academics and their libraries are legendary.

Games and activities

Eladrin hold regular physical competitions ranging from different types of sparring to racing and even magical competitions.


Lithe, long-lived humanoids, elves are easily recognized by their pointed ears and pupils so large that their eyes seem to be all one color. Possessed of an inherent bond with the natural world, they tend to subtly take on the coloration of their surroundings over the course of many years and have a deep spiritual regard for nature.

Of all the races common to the solar system, elves were perhaps the hardest-hit, and the slowest to adapt and recover. Where shorter-lived races quickly gave birth to children who had never known any other way of life and thus were personally unaffected by the loss of history, the elven generation continued on, broken and confused by the blank centuries in their own lives and memories. What’s more, those leaders charged with trying to piece together their social history from scraps soon came to a grim conclusion: their race had been betrayed by another—yet exactly which race was involved remains unclear, all suggestions of the answer scrubbed.

Reeling and angry, elves from across the system retreated to their ancestral homeland and dug in, determined to never again be caught unprepared by disaster. Even this was a fraught endeavor, however, as many of the established elven families resented the chaos and upheaval caused by the sudden flood of refugees.

Today, the elves are a reclusive, xenophobic race, little understood by their neighbors and uninclined to remedy that situation. Though their starships still travel the void, trading with other worlds, they largely carry all-elven crews, and most elves choose to live among their own kind. Those adventurous or rebellious individuals who choose to live among other races are called the Forlorn, due both to their loss of elven companionship and to their tendency to outlive friends of other races. Most are viewed with pity and suspicion by their kindred.

Within their borders, elves tend to be whimsical and passionate, yet when dealing with outsiders their laughter disappears quickly, replaced by a cold, unyielding wall. Elven warriors and diplomats operating on government business sometimes even choose to go masked, hiding their identities around other races in order to better represent a united elven state.

While elves have embraced technology and the security it brings, they also maintain a deep affinity for magic, seeing in its practice a continuity with their ancestors. Elves are most often mystics, operatives, and technomancers, and when they go adventuring, it’s often to recover bits of magical lore lost to history, or else to find ways to ensure their strength in the centuries to come. The primary exception to all of these tendencies are the drow—purple-skinned elves who reject the company of their brethren and mine alien tech from that world’s interior, making them some of the most feared and respected arms dealers in the system. Ordinary elves and drow despise one another.

Most elves stand 5-1/2 to 6-1/2 feet tall and weigh 100–150 pounds. They’re considered adults at 100 and naturally live up to 750 years.


History

In the Pact Worlds system, elves were the race hit hardest by the memory-erasing effects of the Gap. As the generations went by and the new members of the shorter-lived races, who weren't personally affected by it, moved on from the Gap, the elves lived on, broken and confused by the gaps in their memories. When piecing together pre-Gap history, elven leaders discovered that their race were betrayed by another during the Gap, yet the true culprit can never be pointed out.[1]

The angry elves across the system gathered in their ancestral homeland of Sovyrian and shut themselves off from outsiders, determined to never again be caught unaware. This sudden flood of refugees led to chaos, upheaval and resentment among many families on Sovyrian.[1]
Ecology

Elves mature at 100 and naturally live up to 750 years.[1]
Society

Elves are aloof, xenophobic and little understood by other races. Those that do not live in Sovyrian inhabit predominantly elven communities elsewhere. Elven starships almost always carry all-elf crews, who consider interacting and trading with inferior races a necessary evil and try to do so as little as possible; this stigma is not extended to half-elves, who are still accepted as Sovyrian citizens and serve as liaisons between elves and outsiders. The rare elves that live among other races are called Forlorn, and tend toward melancholy because of the extraordinary imbalance in life expectancy between them and their adopted families. The Forlorn are often treated with a mixture of pity and mistrust by other elves.[1][2]

Elves are whimsical and passionate among themselves but cold and unyielding towards outsiders, resolutely guarding the shores of Sovyrian. Among those without elven blood, only gnomes are allowed to live among them due to an ancient arrangement. Elves uncomfortable when interacting with outsiders are allowed to wear masks to hide their personal identity and transfer any dishonour to the masks; this practice is especially popular in official businesses outside Sovyrian, as it helps diplomats and soldiers present a unified elven state.[1][2]

Elves have embraced technology while keeping their traditional magical affinity, usually becoming mystics, operatives or technomancers. Many of the Pact Worlds system's strongest spellcasters are elves. Elven adventurers usually do so to recover lost magical lore or strengthen Sovyrian's strength.[1][2]

Elves are ruled by the High Families of El, who focus on defence and economic security, and impose strict export quotas on unique magical technology, Sovyrian's chief export, to ensure that elven goods remain rare and expensive. Individual settlements are allowed to self-govern, and many elves enjoy great freedom.[2]

Elves despise their drow cousins. While the Sovyrian government tries to maintain its neutrality, supposedly-rogue elven terrorists have occasionally assaulted Apostae to 'cleanse the corruption', leading to sanctions from the Pact Council.[1]


Okay, I was being a bit dramatic when I said you should never let your players play as an eladrin, but hear me out. Eladrin are elves who never left the Feywild, and thus are more akin to the elves’ fey ancestors in power and demeanor than their cousins who dwell on the Material Plane. They are to elves as elves are to humans; they take everything fantastical about the elves—their sense of whimsy, their elegant features and graceful motions, and smug sense of superiority—and turn it up to eleven. Even the high elves think it’s all a bit much.

In game terms, eladrin are an elven subrace that enjoy benefits such as a limited teleportation ability called Fey Step. Their most important trait, however, is their attunement to the seasons. An eladrin’s appearance, powers, and even elements of their personality can change with their season, which they can change whenever they complete a long rest.

Each one of the four seasons of eladrin also appears as a CR 10 monster in the Bestiary section. They’re chaotic neutral, so eladrin are a perfectly reasonable adversary for any group of adventurers to encounter, especially if their actions are harming nature or the Feywild, endangering the object of their powerful obsessions, or even just being a nuisance. As the haughtiest and most fey of the elves, eladrin are prone to fits of passion worthy of an Archfey.

If you’re playing in a typical “heroic fantasy” D&D setting like the Forgotten Realms, the eladrin open new possibilities. By filling a similar mythic niche to the one that Tolkien’s Eldar elves occupied in The Lord of the Rings, the eladrin make it easier for Dungeon Masters to create realms in their campaign setting that possess the legendary mystique of Rivendell and Lothlorien; places just real enough to feel tangible, but also somehow greater than the mundane simplicity of home.

If you really want your players to view eladrin as an exalted people that stand apart from the troubles of the Material Plane, the easiest way to do this is to ask your players not to create eladrin characters. Thanks to all the new lore for elves presented in Mordenkainen’s Tome of Foes, even playing a “regular” elf can be a novel experience.

If the tone of your game isn’t your concern, then you should also consider how an eladrin character will affect the cohesion of the adventuring party. Eladrin are forces of fickle chaos that consider themselves superior to nearly all other living beings. This is all excellent roleplaying fodder, but think about who you’re playing with for a moment. If your players are the kind to make trouble and then try to excuse it by saying “But I was just doing what my character would do,” then including eladrin as a playable subrace will probably hurt your campaign in the long run. Giving your players the option to play as fey or fey-adjacent characters is almost always a bad idea unless you have the emotional fortitude to take your problematic friends aside and try to work out a solution.

That said, there's no right way to play D&D. I wouldn't let my players create eladrin characters in a game with a mythic tone unless someone pitched me a really excellent reason, but that doesn't mean it could never work. Flatly banning a new player race might be a bridge too far for you. If one or more of your players are excited about this gorgeous and fantastical new type of elf, you should just let them play it. D&D is all about having a shared narrative experience, and your players’ choices should inform the narrative. Even choices as simple as “My character is an eladrin paladin who follows the Oath of the Ancients” can set the story on a wild and unexpected path, and it is your job as the Dungeon Master to embrace the chaos and learn to engage with the curveballs your players throw at you, so long as they’re doing so in good faith.

Eladrin characters fit cozily into games that embrace the wet-‘n-wild heightened fantasy of Planescape, but they are not so far from home in games of mythic fantasy. Legolas joined the Fellowship of the Ring, after all. In fact, Legolas is an excellent example of an elf (or in our case, eladrin) heightening the mythic tone of a story through his familiarity rather than detracting from it. The entire point of the Fellowship of the Ring was that all races of Middle Earth, even the exalted elves, had to band together in order to defeat the Dark Lord Sauron.

You can heighten the drama of your story if you frame your player’s eladrin character as an ominous portent—a sign that things have grown so dire that even the Feywild has sent its people into the Material Plane. Or, the eladrin character could be an outcast from their homeland, forced to wander the Material Plane estranged from their magical homeland.

Here’s a table of Ideals you can use for eladrin characters to explain why they have left the Feywild and have joined an adventuring party, all while maintaining the mythic feeling of their race. You can use these Ideals instead of (or in addition to) the Ideals suggested by your background.

  1. Duty. I was tasked with leaving the comfort of my homeland to undertake a quest that may save all worlds from destruction. (Good)
  2. Desperation. I fled the Feywild in order to save my own life, and… oh dear. I can’t figure out how to get back. (Any)
  3. Fate. I was called to this world by a mysterious voice on the wind. I suspect it was the guiding voice of Fate. (Lawful)
  4. Curiosity. You humans fascinate me, and… oh, by Corellon, you wood elves are so quaint! I simply must learn everything about you. (Chaotic)
  5. Exile. The Archfey are so fickle, even the tiniest slight could spell exile—or worse. Please, don’t ask what I did… I don’t want to talk about it. (Any)
  6. Despair. I care nothing for the eternal splendor of my homeland. All things were meant to die—and things in this realm die ever so quickly. (Evil)

After reading Mordenkainen’s, my first thought on playing the Eladrin was that its flavor as an added value in a campaign would be completely dependent on the approach, with some high highs and low lows. I feel like it would be a mistake for a character just to randomly pick a season every morning just for the sake of keeping a party on their toes, and over-blowing the emotions listed for each season would become tiresome after a few sessions. However, in the hands of a clever player, this form feels like solid gold. I'd love a player who really stressed the autumn and spring moods, that almost play right into the hands of being a part of a diverse party. And if the party is begging for frightening or fire benefits from the character? Well, then they get to deal with the sulky or aggressive persona to match.

I like the niches that the new Eladrin open up — I was so compelled by the Spring Eladrin's Fey Step that I decided to create a whole character with the homebrew Doctor background who's so into keeping others safe, healthy, and happy that he's willing to teleport them out of harms way, knowing he'd be taking the brunt of the damage meant for his "patient". It really jives with the whole, "When someone is injured, I will drop all other responsibilities to tend to them," personality trait of the Doctor background. Plus, with the Protection fighting style, you have a really interesting new niche for a Fighter pseudo-tank — instead of being a damage sponge and drawing agro, you're the sort of reserve force for whichever party member is in the most trouble.

That said, I totally understand not wanting to deal with those things — especially because a player who often minmaxes could choose them simply for their ability to reinforce their goals. However, I actually think this version of the Eladrin is actually less prone to the whole clickbait-y, "BEST BUILD IN D&D — OVER 90,000 DAMAGE! GONE WILD," trend of minmaxing, and helps with the more fun gimmicky form of minmaxing that happens when a player thinks to themselves, "Hey, y'know what? I want a character who is inhumanly charming at the expense of literally anything else," or, "I want the most socially inept, edgy emo teen character I can think of." When you add in these specific Fey Step features, it forces them to make a critical choice about it on some level, rather than just saying, "Oh, if I take Eladrin I can teleport at first level, and that's a solid advantage." Of course, the OG Eladrin that we've had forever (the ones without special seasonal abilities and personality characteristics) is always an option if players just don't want to think about it — one of my new players just opted for it, in fact — and the MToF version does say that the seasonality of Eladrin may of may not change essentially at will, which seems like something a DM might at least want to limit in some way.

This kind of comes off as the same as people that don't like tieflings in their games. Or monks. It doesn't fit the aesthetic the GM wishes to create, or the DM insists that tieflings must be evil, or whatever. And you know what? That's fine… for those specific tables. I would never suggest that it shouldn't be a playable race, however.

First and foremost, I'd like to remind folk that elves are fundamentally fey in nature, and that everything fey runs parallel to… well… everything. But more so. Though this is poorly reflected in most D&D settings, the human race is vastly diverse. It only makes sense then that a (fairly) dominant species from another plane of existence be equally diverse.

Moving on: Personally, I'm a fan of working with a player to permit any foreseeable race-class-alignment combo, having personally played characters belonging to races that were fully apart from any D&D setting, and classes in blantant defiance of alignment restrictions (I once played a chaotic paladin, justification being weather is fickle and unpredictable, so a storm god's champion should be able to behave the same way). Thus, I have always empowered my players to do likewise. I am also a fan of the philosophy that too much of anything special makes it not special anymore, which seems to be a central idea of this article.

But: there are ways to control that. To keep the special things special.

All your players want to be elves? But still want elves to be rare and elusive super mythical peoples? No problem. Remove all elf NPCs; or substitute them with members of another race. Have the players be the immediate object of attention from any NPC they go anywhere, ever, because no one has ever seen a real-life elf before. This attention can be positive, neutral, or negative. Positive: people treat them like celebrities, because in essence, that is what they are. Neutral: they literally can't get away from the stares or people asking if they can touch their ears. Negative: supremacists for another race, or far too many non-elf people having firmly rooted, unshakeable stereotypes.

Logic seems basically to me to just be "Official content should be modified as needed to fit your campaign." Which certainly makes sense, as long as both DM and players are in agreement.

I've restricted my players from being Aasimar, simply because the Aasimar in my campaign have far more baggage attached. Any Aasimar character would completely overshadow and dominate all aspects of social roleplay in this world. The players were notified beforehand and agreed to it, but I had also made it clear that the setting was still in development and I could make changes if there was real push back.

Edit: Because the article asked if we'd made a home for the Eladrin in our setting, yes I did. In fact, I'm making use of both the Eladrin and Blood War by combining them in a very Dresden Files fashion. In my setting, the Nine Hells will be the civilized center of the Abyss. Demons and Devils will be of the same plane, with devils over demons.

The "Blood War," to be named, will be those of the Abyss and Nine Hells attempting to access the Material Plane. However, a plane lies in between, which includes my versions of both the Feywild and the Shadowfell. The plane that contains the Feywild effectively encircles the Material plane, with the Abyss and its celestial counterpart encircling that plane.

The eladrin. along with other fae, will fall into the broad camps of the opposing Summer and Winter Courts, or the independent and varied Wildfae. The war between the daemonic and the fae is as eternal and bloody as MToF's Blood War, and in both cases it's not a Good vs Evil fight. The Fae are a defensive wall between the Abyss and the Material world, however it's a defense of circumstance only.

Both seek to influence the material world for their own ends, as history is replete with examples of mortals who fall under the spell of the fae or condemn themselves by consorting with devils. Both struggle with internecine conflicts that sabotage their efforts and maintain the cycle.

There are plenty of hooks for a player to choose to play one (and one will be for a brief series of one-shots). Perhaps the eladrin is of the Wildfae, and seeks to distance itself from the war. Perhaps the eladrin is a member of their Court's agents in the material world, the introduction of a new faerie faction to bring alongside the Harpers and such. Perhaps the eladrin is young, and their seasonal mutability is evidence that they have not yet been claimed by one of the Courts or rather not yet made that decision for themselves. Perhaps the eladrin is a veteran of that war, and now patrols the material world for incursions that seek to circumvent their defensive line, or locate and eliminate their mortal vassals. The fae certainly don't want to fight the demonic forces and their allies on both sides.

I actually really like the Eladrin subrace after reading and really getting into them and their aesthetic. I don't particularly like how chaotic their gameplay is, but from what I read, I don't think PC Eladrin are allowed to change their Season everyday. Basically 4 different characters in one with 4 different kinds of fey steps seems a bit excessive and I only saw that change of season option for the NPC Eladrin. I could definitely have overlooked that, but as a beginner DM, that's hard for me to keep up with regardless. What I decided to do as a means to alleviate the stress for myself before it became popular at my table was to allow my players to take on an Eladrin variant through the Half-Elf race. By choosing the variant, they get fey step without the Seasonal variant, and their emotions change a specific part of their physical form. For example, a Half-Elf in my game has luminescent body hair that changes color and texture based on the corresponding emotion and season. I've made Eladrins the "Aasimar" of the of the Elven community and near impossible to find. Though, my players have expressed over the past few days that a mini quest to find a true Eladrin would be something they'd be interested in running.

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Posted May 23, 2018

I really like the Eladrin introduced in Mordenkainen's Tome of Foes, and will almost certainly be allowing them.

I've read through MToF a couple of times now, and I don't believe it ever does say that Eladrin are arrogant/think themselves superior to everyone else, and certainly not to the extent that will disrupt a campaign. What it does say are that some eladrin are 'haughty' around other elves, while others show a 'tender kindness'. I don't see the former as a problem, but the latter definitely wouldn't be. The Spring and Autumn seasonal variants seem particularly friendly. It also says that some eladrin can pass for high elves - if they're too exotic for your campaign as they are, you could have the player's eladrin appear less fantastical and closer to high elves.

As a Tolkien fan, I feel I should say that Legolas is actually a high elf by D&D standards. Technically he's a grey elf, like those in Rivendell, and the high elves of Greyhawk just so happen to share that name. By contrast, he's actually the prince of the Woodland Realm (Mirkwood), and those elves there are wood elves in LotR, and match well with D&D's wood elves.

The PHB depicts all elves as otherworldly, and I feel that whether the previously-available elves are common or not is up to the DM of each game. By extension of that, so are eladrin - personally, in my games, I will likely just have many non-elves mistake eladrin for exotic/unusual high elves.

I think the story was that elves of Golarion (Kyonin) might have returned to Castrovel through their portal (or whatever planet that is). Since It's just Golarion that's gone … and the other planets from Distant Worlds are likely to be our 'setting core,' then, there you go, it's both true at once.

The interesting prospect is that this makes the Elves more alien again (as they always should be…). Maybe they don't live in numbers on Absalom Station, for example.

To my knowledge, the elves have not disappeared, they're just not one of the primary races of the setting. The reason for that is unknown, but they've had a strong presence on Castrovel - the same planet lashunta are from - for a very long time, and it's heavily implied they're native to there, so even if Golarion vanished, there would be plenty of elves still around.

I am planning on running a Pathfinder Zeitgeist game..and I was wondering are the High elves a different race than the standard Elf in the Pathfinder Core rulebook? I mean they mention there are elves that call Risur home…are these High Elves or the "standard" elf?

I would assume they are different because the High Elves seem to be longer lived than regular elves…I gather this from the fact they have virtually no females and are still around 500 years later after the death of their Goddess (standard elves are considered venerable when they are 350 years old).

I was actually hoping the typical races available(along with any small differences from the standard race) would be spelled out in the Player's Guide. Of course the GM can still feel free to allow any race he wants to.

The general idea for Pathfinder is that the High Elves / Wood Elves are simply the same race (see Elf). This is to make the setting work with the main core books, an assumption we run off of when designing the adventures.

One thing that GMs could do to add variety would be to use some of the alternate racial options presented in the Advanced Player's Guide; particularly the Lightbringer and Woodcraft options.

Otherwise, we just make the assumption that they are different ethnicity of elves in the PF version.


The Asuryani ("children of Asuryan" in the Aeldari Lexicon), also called Craftworld Aeldari as they were named before the fall of their lost realm, or the Eldar as they were long known to outsiders, are an ancient humanoid alien species whose vast empire once extended the width and breadth of the known galaxy, but who now live on vast, city-like starships called craftworlds.

The Aeldari Empire was without equal, and they counted themselves masters of the stars. But millennia ago, the Aeldari's overweening pride and their fall into hedonistic practices led to a cataclysm that all but eradicated their kind and led to the birth of the Chaos God Slaanesh.

Despite their boundless power, the heart of their civilisation was torn out by this catastrophe of their own making, forcing many of the surviving Aeldari, now calling themselves "Eldar" to outsiders and "Asuryani" among themselves, to flee upon gigantic, continent-size starships once used for commerce and trade that they named craftworlds. Now the Asuryani cling to survival by a thread, fighting the horrors of the galaxy with ritualised discipline and consummate skill.

The Aeldari species has a long and complex spacefaring history, so long in fact that little is known for certain about the course of their physical evolution and early planet-bound existence. The original Aeldari homeworld was destroyed during the catastrophic collapse of the Aeldari civilisation known as the Fall of the Aeldari.
Eldar Warlock

The Asuryani Warlock Arquellia of the Ulthwé Craftworld, wielding a Witchblade while being accompanied by her pet Grynix.

The remnants of Aeldari culture that survived the cataclysm among the Asuryani preserved much of their species' history in the form of traditional stories, songs and dance. Written records, monuments and visual records were almost completely destroyed except for a few instances where they were taken aboard voidcraft fleeing from the doomed worlds.

As a humanoid race, Aeldari are physically very similar to Humans, although not entirely identical by any means. They possess longer and cleaner limbs, and fine ascetic features with penetrating and slightly slanted, almond-shaped eyes.

Their ears are also slightly pointed, but otherwise they could pass as Human at first glance. The most obvious difference between Humans and Aeldari can only be seen when they move, for the movements of an Aeldari radiate a subtle grace which is impossible for a Human to emulate.

This can be seen in even their slightest gestures or the dexterity with which they manipulate small objects.

The Aeldari mind, while similar in general to the Human psyche, is far more inclined towards emotional extremes. Because of this, Aeldari are more intelligent but also far more intense than Humans.

Although an Aeldari and a Human can both feel grief or joy, the Aeldari's experience is likely to be far more extreme.

This natural inclination towards emotional extremes is both a blessing and a curse to the Aeldari. On the positive side, it gives them an unparalleled appreciation of life and an unrivalled ability to express themselves through music and other creative endeavours.

A melody or gesture made with grace and skill can elicit an intensity of pleasure which is unimaginable to a Human.
AsuryaniWarrior

An Autarch of the Asuryani Craftworld Biel-Tan.

But this potential for joy is paralleled by an equal capacity to feel despair, ambition and even hatred. Confronted by grief or other personal setbacks, an Aeldari suffers mental torments which far exceed the boundaries of Human anguish.

The extreme nature of their temperament makes it very important that the Aeldari maintain a measure of self-control at all times, for it is dangerously easy for them to become entranced by and ultimately dependent upon the experiences that their culture offers them.

They must learn to control the darker side of their natures, which is no less an essential portion of the Aeldari psyche — and the source of the catastrophe that nearly caused their extinction.

For this reason, the Asuryani are defined as a culture by their pursuit of the Asuryani Path. This philosophy teaches them how to balance their potent minds and pursue constructive goals rather than falling to the amoral pursuit of pleasure and selfishness that ultimately destroyed the ancient Aeldari and still defines their dark kin, the Drukhari.

The Aeldari are a naturally psychic species, and all Aeldari possess the potential to become powerful psykers if they choose to pursue this path.

The Aeldari can use these innate abilities to shape matter, which lies at the foundation of their extraordinary command of technology.

Though highly advanced and feared across the galaxy, the Aeldari are still a dying people in the late 41st Millennium — a shadow of their former glory — and their species teeters on the brink of final annihilation.


Biology

Superficially, the Eldar appear very similar to humans, though they are generally taller and slimmer, with sharp features and pointed ears.[6] They are long-lived by human standards, and most will live more than a thousand years unless they die from accident or disease. Eldar also have much faster metabolic rates than humans, and their cardiac and neurological systems are more advanced. These traits manifest in their vastly heightened reactions and agility compared to humans. To them humans seem to move in slow motion with a certain degree of awkwardness, while to humans the Eldar can move with distracting grace and can be blindingly fast in combat. As a race they have a high level of psychic ability, which serves as the foundation of their technology. The Eldar that actively cultivate their psyker potential seem to exhibit a much-extended lifespan as well, one proportional to their prowess. The Farseers of the Eldar can live for several thousand years. Eldar are mentally far superior to humans, and feel all emotions much more strongly, requiring the Eldar to exercise constant restraint to avoid mental breakdown.[Needs Citation]

Eldar seem to reproduce in stages, with new genetic material being added by the father to the developing embryo over an extended period. This process is ill-understood, but Eldar autopsies are suggestive of it.[Needs Citation] It is however known that the Eldar gestation cycle is much longer than for most other races.[4]
History
Graph of Aeldari Factions and Races
Main article: Eldar Empire

The existing Eldar are essentially a refugee population, the scattered remains of their former strength and power. Even in such straits, however, they are still a powerful force in the galaxy. Once, ten thousand years ago, the Eldar were among the most powerful and dominant races of the galaxy, dominating a significant portion of the galaxy and secure in their prosperity. Although there were other races of advanced technology and military power, none were in a position to seriously threaten the state of the Eldar nation. When it came, the disaster was internal. Consumed by arrogance and with no need for substantial work or labour, the Eldar began to pursue any curiosity or desire. Rapidly, cults devoted to exotic knowledge, physical pleasure, and ever-more outrageous entertainment sprang up. It did not take long for many of the Eldar to take a darker path, descending into dark study, instant fulfillment and unbridled violence, beginning the Fall of the Eldar.

Many of the Eldar grew uneasy with the actions of their comrades, and the wisest of the Seers warned that the path could lead only to evil. Disgusted, some of the Eldar left the central worlds of the Empire to settle on the outlying regions, while others stayed to try and alter the path their race had taken.

While this would have been destructive within any society, it was even more damaging for the Eldar. Within the parallel realm of the Warp, the psychic emanations of these activities began to gather, strengthened by the souls of departed followers and cultists. As the Eldar vices grew, this collection did as well, until it eventually came into a life of its own. It finally came to consciousness as Slaanesh, Devourer of Souls and doom to the Eldar, for the psychic scream of its birth tore the souls from all the Eldar within a thousand light years of it. Its awakening was so forceful that it tore a hole between physical space and the Warp, plunging the Eldar homeworlds into a limbo of partial existence. This region is now known as the Eye of Terror, and is now the home of the forces of Chaos. Many Eldar survived the Fall and remain trapped within the Eye on the homeworlds of the Eldar, the Crone World, and are enslaved to Slaanesh.[Needs Citation]

Since this time, which is known only as The Fall, the Eldar have been a broken and scattered people, lacking cohesion and purpose. The Eldar population is constantly dwindling.

Towards the end of the 41st Millennium, the galaxy was all but split in half by the Great Rift. To the Eldar it was known as the Dathedian, and as a highly psychically attuned race, the aetheric phenomena that accompanied it affected them most of all. This calamity came among a great many changes for the Eldar, which included the birth of the Ynnari, the great Dysjunction of Commorragh, the shattering of Shattering of Biel-Tan, and the Psychic Awakening.[4]

Religion
Main article: Eldar Mythology
Harlequins battle Daemons

The Eldar are known to be a very spiritual people, and much of their culture is based around their mythological cycles. The most famous of these cycles was the War in Heaven, an epic conflict between the Eldar deities, in two factions lead by Vaul, the god of the forge, and Kaela Mensha Khaine, the god of war.

With two notable exceptions, the Pantheon of the Eldar is considered to have been destroyed by the birth of Slaanesh. While the Eldar still revere all the gods and preserve their stories within the mythic cycles, they do not call on them for aid or hope for their intervention any longer. Still, there is a prophecy telling of the return of the Eldar gods and how they will battle and destroy Slaanesh as a unified pantheon. Whether this is anything but an old myth remains to be seen.
Technology

The Eldar Armoury includes the standard Shuriken weaponry that uses gravitic forces to fire monomolecular-thin discs at the enemy. The Eldar use these weapons in the form of Shuriken pistols, Shuriken cannons, and a light carbine known as the Shuriken catapult.
Spirit stones - When the Eldar die, their souls are in danger of being devoured by the Chaos god Slaanesh. To prevent this, the Eldar wear spirit stones, which capture and contain their souls at the moment of death. These stones are then collected and inserted into the Craftworld's "Infinity Circuit", where they may rest along with the spirits of their ancestors. In times of need, the spirit stones of the Craftworld's strongest warriors may be taken from the Infinity Circuit and placed inside Wraithbone automatons, such as the Wraithguard and Wraithlords, to once again fight for the Craftworld.
Webway — The Eldar do not travel through the Warp in the same manner as other races, having long ago developed a much faster and safer method known as the "Webway". This is a system of ancient "tunnels" through the Warp which is completely isolated from its inherent dangers. It is best imagined as a vast and tangled network of doorways between fixed points in realspace, by which the Eldar can travel far more rapidly than most races. However, if there is no Warpgate near their destination, or the one present is not big enough to permit the necessary forces, they are a disadvantage. Much of the Webway has fallen into obscurity and disrepair, with tunnels and doorways sealed or broken. This often forces the Eldar to make connecting stops on their way to their destination. Finally, it is said that the fabled Black Library of Chaos resides somewhere within the Webway, though only the Harlequins know where.
Wraithbone — The main construction material of the Eldar, and the staple of their psycho-technic engineering. It is brought forth from the warp and shaped by Bonesingers through psychic power. It is used to create the Craftworlds of the Eldar, their tanks and other vehicles, constructs such as the Wraithguard and Wraithlords, and weapons and armour. It is a psychic conductor and so not only provides the structure for the things built of it, but also power distribution and communications. Wraithbone is a highly resilient material, and capable of limited self-repair. It, and the other building materials of the Eldar, will grow and react more like tissue and plants than the building materials of other races.

Recent Eldar activity across the galaxy[9a]
Society
Eldar Runes[2]

Following the Fall, the Eldar are socially and culturally divided into several broad groups. While there are divisions within each of these, they are the most obvious and clearly defined groups of the existing race (excluding the Dark Eldar):

Craftworld Eldar
Main article: Asuryani

In the time leading up to the Fall, not all the Eldar that remained on the homeworlds fell into the lure of Slaanesh. Many remained, struggling to turn their species from its doomed path. Unable to do so, many of the greatest Seers caught glimpses of the darkness to come, and undertook a titanic effort to save their people. For each Eldar homeworld a gigantic ship was created, sung from Wraithbone and so massive as to be nearly a planetoid itself. The last uncorrupted people from each world were loaded onto these ships, along with works of art, plant life and animals, all that could be saved. In these Craftworlds (as they came be known) the final Eldar Exodus began, and only barely in time. The psychic shockwave caught some of the Craftworlds and destroyed them, while others were pulled into orbit around the Eye of Terror. The rest drift through the galaxy, their exact number uncertain, as contact can be difficult and intermittent. There are several Craftworlds of particular fame:

Alaitoc — Far out on the frontiers of the galaxy, on the edge of explored space, lies the Alaitoc Craftworld. The Alaitoc Eldar are zealous in their guard against the touch of Slaanesh, even more so than other Craftworld Eldar. For these two reasons many of its citizens will at one time or another decide to leave the strict confines of the ship and strike out on their own or in small groups. They will return in times of need, however, and so all Alaitoc armies will have a substantial force of scouts and rangers.
Altansar — A small Craftworld that had been on the edge of the shockwave, Altansar was long thought to have been lost in the Eye of Terror with the homeworlds of the Eldar. However, there were reports of its sighting and even active involvement in the recently conducted campaign against the Eye of Terror, and doubt now exists as to its fate.
Biel-tan — The most martial of the Craftworlds, Biel-tan has made the decision to re-forge the Eldar Empire. Its armies contain the highest percentages of elite troops of all the Craftworlds, and few of the staple citizen-militia that most worlds call upon in times of war. Their highly-trained forces are known as the Swordwind, and they often come to the aid of Exodite worlds.
Iyanden — The Iyanden Craftworld was once one of the largest and most prosperous of all the remaining ships. Its path brought it into the way of the Tyranid invasion, however, and the Craftworld was nearly destroyed in the following battles. Today many of its sections are still in ruins and the population is spread thin. This forces Iyanden to often call upon its fallen, raising more than the typical numbers of Wraithguard and Wraithlords to aid their dwindling warriors in battle.
Saim-Hann — One of the more barbaric and wild of the larger Craftworlds, the warriors of Saim-Hann favour rapid attacks and moving battles. It regularly organises its forces into ranks of skimmers and jetbikes, known as the Wild Riders, and is famed for the speed and ferocity of its attacks.
Ulthwé — One of the largest Craftworlds, Ulthwé was caught in the pull of the Eye of Terror, and now orbits it. As such it faces the constant danger of attack by Chaos marauders and has served as a bastion against the dark powers for thousands of years. The constant war and risk of attack has hardened the Craftworld's citizens, and it maintains a standing militia force known as the Black Guardians. Its proximity to the Eye has also given it an unusual number of psychics.

The Craftworlds probably compose the majority of the surviving Eldar race, although it is impossible to say just how many this is. They are certainly the seat of the remaining Eldar industry, technology, and culture, as they contain the only vestiges of their original worlds. Most of the Craftworlds contain special biodomes that house plants and wildlife from their original world, and these are carefully tended. Although each Craftworld is essentially independent in its actions and governance, they will generally offer and accept aid and advice from one another. Although not common, sometimes Craftworld disagreements will cause two to clash on the field of battle, though this is always a last resort.

Every Craftworld contains an Infinity Circuit, which is essentially the Wraithbone skeleton of the Craftworld itself. Within this matrix the souls of all the Craftworld's dead reside in a form of group consciousness, providing both a well of psychic power for the ship and a massive ancestral mind to advise and guide the living. With the rise of Slaanesh, the Infinity Circuit is the closest thing that the Eldar have to an afterlife; if their souls are not caught and integrated into it, they will be lost into the Warp and devoured by the Great Enemy. For this reason the Eldar will defend their Craftworlds with a fury and tenacity almost unrivalled; they risk losing not only their home but the souls of their ancestors as well.

Exodites
Exodite Eldar attacking Salamander during the Horus Heresy.[10]
Main article: Exodite

The Exodites are a large group of Eldar who fled their homeworlds before the Fall and the creation of the Great Enemy. They preached out against the changes in Eldar society, but were ignored or treated as narrow-minded. As such, they were saved from the taint of Chaos and formed colonies on the edge of the galaxy, far from their homeworlds and the now-expanded Eye of Terror. Most have reverted to a more agricultural state of existence, and as such are mocked by many of the Craftworld Eldar as being backward, although they have maintained a certain level of technology. They are also generally a more accepting people, taking in Eldar Outcasts where Craftworld Eldar would push them away. They are supported mainly by Biel-tan and are often protected by the forces of that Craftworld.
Harlequins
Main article: Harlequin

Harlequins are followers of the Eldar god, the Great Harlequin (also known as Cegorach or "The Laughing God") who was the only one of the two Eldar gods to survive the Fall. They move throughout the Webway in groups and perform impressive displays of mime and acrobatics, telling the many strange and wonderful stories of the Eldar past, but also the dark and dangerous plays of the Fall. Harlequins are not only performing artists, but devastating fighters as well. They will appear to fight with their Eldar brethren, particularly in close combat. Their primary task however is to guard the Black Library of Chaos from intruders, and have done so ever since its inception thousands of years ago. They rarely communicate with members outside of their group but will call for help if intruders do overwhelm them.
Outcasts and Pirates
Drukhari raiders battle White Scars[3]
Main article: Eldar Corsair
Main article: Dark Eldar

Eldar outcasts and pirates are ill-defined, consisting of actual outcasts, pirates, and raiders, but also including long-ranging fleets of Craftworlds and others groups of mistakenly-identified Harlequins and Dark Eldar. To Craftworld Eldar, piracy is shunned, although some Eldar will leave their Craftworld for a short period to experience life outside of the strict regime that was put in place to defend against the Great Enemy. Eventually however, most return to their ordered and strict lives. Some Eldar however, are forced into piracy and exile through their own actions, those who refuse to follow the strict rules of the Craftworld for example. Often they form together and hire themselves out to human worlds and commanders as mercenaries. Some pirates however, are less noble and perform the dark acts that led to the Fall in the first place. They are generally quick-tempered and unpredictable, features which are usually suppressed while on a Craftworld. They are often refused access to a Craftworld, or if they are only very briefly, due to their dangerously unbound minds which may attract predators and daemons to lodge in the Craftworld's Wraithbone structure. They may also distract the young and inexperienced Eldar on a Craftworld with notions of a romantic and daring existence.
Ynnari

Main article: Ynnari

The Ynnari are a new faction of Eldar from all other sects. These are the followers of Ynnead, the newly awakening Eldar God, and seek to destroy Chaos.

The Eldar Genders

As a race, the sexes of Eldar seem to be very similar both psychologically and physically. Among such and androgynous race telling the sexes apart can be very difficult. Eldar females can reach any position in society and became warriors, pilots or great psykers as their male fellows.[5]
The Eldar Paths
Main article: Eldar Path

The Eldar who live on board the Craftworlds have undergone a complete social reform. Every Eldar chooses and follows a path, somewhat similar to a profession, until achieving mastery over it. Then he chooses another one and the process begins anew. There are an unknown number of paths, and all of them are dangerous for the Eldar; sometimes an Eldar can become so focused upon his path that he will never leave it.

The name "Eldar" comes from J.R.R. Tolkien's elves, who in their own language were called "the Eldar". The history of the Eldar in Warhammer 40,000 mimics that of Tolkien's elves, to the point that they are a "dwindling race" in the game universe, as the elves were in Middle-earth's Third Age. Incidentally, GW has actually copyrighted the term "Eldar".

Inspirations for aspects of the Eldar come from different real world ancient civilisations: Ancient Egypt, Celtic, Greece. There are also parallels between Eldar culture and that of feudal Japan, in particular the Samurai. For example, it is explained that "to the Eldar, war is an art." White Dwarf talks of the "Path of the Eldar", much like the "Way of the Samurai" (i.e. Bushido), and the use of Shuriken weapons. Khaine, the god of murder, is also analogous to the Hindu goddess Kali. It is likely the designers wanted to give the impression of an ancient culture to the Eldar.

"Trust not in their appearance for the Eldar are as utterly alien to good, honest men as the vile Tyranids and savage Orks. They are capricious and fickle, attacking without cause or warning. There is no understanding them for there is nothing to understand - they are a random force in the universe."
— Imperial Commander Abriel Hum[Needs Citation]

In the sense that Warhammer 40,000 races are derived from the earlier Warhammer Fantasy game, Eldar are derived from High Elves, except for Exodites, who are the equivalent of the Wood Elves. Dark Eldar are the equivalent to Dark Elves.

Millions of years ago, the Eldar once ruled the galaxy. After the defeat of the Necrons and the decline of the Old Ones, with no serious enemies to challenge them or labours to burden them, they became the solitary masters of the galaxy. However, over the course of millennia, the unchallenged Eldar fell into the most extreme kind of decadence imaginable. Because the Eldar are highly psychic, this behaviour led to the creation of the Chaos God of excess and hedonism, Slaanesh. When Slaanesh was finally born (c 30th millennium), the psychic shockwave killed most of the Eldar race.

A minority of the Eldar, somehow seeing the impending doom that would arise from their decadence, had earlier rejected the debauchery of their kin and had constructed colossal starships that they called "Craftworlds [fr]". Truly gargantuan in size, these Craftworlds were capable of housing hundreds of thousands of Eldar and their technological wonders, and would become their refuge from the turbulent times to come. While some craftworlds did not get far enough to escape the psychic shockwave, others did. The remaining Craftworlds are now spread around the galaxy; massive Holo-Fields, advance stealth systems, and the vastness of space itself, has largely masked their presence and only a few have become known. 10,000 years on, the Eldar have yet to recover due to their extremely low birthrates and conflicts with the other powers of the galaxy, such as the Orks and Imperium of man.

In the sense that Warhammer 40,000 races parallel the earlier (and still extant) Warhammer Fantasy Battle game, the Eldar race mirrors the Elven people.

The Eldar in general consist of five distinct sides: the Craftworld Eldar (often simply called Eldar), who are similar to the High Elves; the Drukhari, who are similar to the Dark Elves; the Exodites, who are similar to the Wood Elves; the Harlequins, servants of Cegorach, the Laughing God; and the Ynnari, a new faction of the Eldar that worship the god Ynnead. These equivalences are only in very general thematic terms, however, as the major details of the races' backgrounds differ greatly from their Warhammer Fantasy counterparts. For instance while the Dark Elves have long existed as the main antagonist to the High Elves in Warhammer Fantasy, Games Workshop originally incorporated both High and Dark Elves' elements into the Craftworld Eldar for the Warhammer 40,000 universe. Only recently in 1998, did they create the Dark Eldar as a separate army, and there is little back-story on the Eldar-versus-Dark Eldar rivalry. The Exodites exist mainly in Warhammer 40,000 background material and never had any specific models or dedicated army books for use in the tabletop game, however the Alaitoc Craftworld Eldar is closely linked with the Exodites.

Both the Elves and Eldar share some deities. The bloody-handed God Khaine is a recurring entity for both the Elves (High and Dark Elves) and Craftworld Eldar. For instance, Aenarion drew the Sword of Khaine to defeat the First Chaos Invasion, while Prince Yriel used the Spear of Twilight to repel Hive Fleet Kraken from the Iyanden Craftworld. The Brides of Khaine, commonly known as the Witch Elves, are one of the forces in the ranks of the Dark Elves; while the Craftworld Eldar can summon the Avatar of Khaine.

The Eldar are typically stylised with lightweight and sleek forms, organic contours, and bright colours. This is a direct foil to the bulky Orkz with "ramshackle" technology and often dull or "dirty" colour schemes. The various Eldar Craftworlds [fr] (similar to Space Marine Chapters) each have their own colour schemes. Examples are Ulthwé's black armour and bone helmets, Alaitoc's blue armour and yellow helmets, and Saim-hann's red armor and white helmets. The various Eldar paths (described below) also have their own colour schemes. For example, the Howling Banshees' colour scheme is bone armour, green loin cloth, and red helmet fringe. The Striking Scorpions colour scheme is green armour and helmets, black weaponry, and gold trim. Despite this, many players tend to paint aspect warriors the colour of their chosen Craftworld for sake of uniformity.

Eldar vehicles also follow the above policy of avoiding too many harsh edges and flat surfaces. Instead, the armour plating is curved and is often criss-crossed with various inset lines which run either parallel or perpendicular to other edges/lines. For painted examples of either, simply browse through the Eldar army section of the Games-Workshop web site.

The Wood Elves, known as the Asrai in some tales,[1c] or as the Fay Folk of Athel Loren,[2a] are a reclusive, secretive and highly isolationist race of Elves that have long ago voluntarily split off from the rest of their kin, preferring instead to live out their lives in Nature's embrace beneath the enchanted forested canopy of Athel Loren. From here, they have learnt to dwell in concord with the seasons and the weave of life and death that binds all living things together. They are the defenders of the forest, guardians of all things natural and pure. For millennia, the Wood Elves have lived in this state of harmony, lying in wait and hidden from the prying eyes of the wider World.[1a]

Yet times have changed since that ancient age, and the Wood Elves realise that the fate of Athel Loren is now tied to that of other lands. Though they do not seek to act as the world’s protectors as do the High Elves, nor enthrone themselves as its rulers as do the Dark Elves, there are those times when the will of Orion and Ariel, the King and Queen in the Woods, must shape the fortunes of those that live beyond the boundary of their homelands.[1a]

As such, the Wood Elves have spent their entire existence bent solely on the preservation of their forested realms, to ensure that it persist throughout the ages and to protect their demi-god rulers from all harms. Never has this been truer than in these dark days, where every broken bough or withered leaf carries an omen of darker times to come.[1a] It is this cause in which they fight, for no land endures long if it cannot take up arms against those that wish it harm, and the waking woodland of Athel Loren have endured for many thousands of years, so long as the watchful eyes of her protectors continue their loyal vigilance.[1b]


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"We are the chosen of Asuryan, beloved of the gods and heirs to the world. Our armies are the finest in creation; swift where our foes are lumbering, cultured where they are barbaric. Give no thought to failure, nor defeat – we are the Children of Ulthuan and we shall prevail."

—Phoenix King Aenarion the Defender[2j]

High Elves Northstar

The Northstar is one of the most common symbols of the High Elves of Ulthuan

The High Elves, the Eldest Race, or the Asur as they call themselves,[1c] are one of the most ancient and powerful mortal civilisations within the Warhammer World.[2b] Hailing from a mighty mist-shrouded island-continent located within the centre of the Great Ocean,[1e] the High Elves of Ulthuan are a proud and mighty nation of masterful warriors, peerless mages and lords of the sky and sea. They are an ancient race with powerful armies and even grander magic, building a grand and all-mighty civilisation who, alongside the Dwarfs, fought a long-forgotten, apocalyptic war which saw some of the greatest and most powerful mortal heroes battle against the great darkness that tried to consume the world many thousands of years ago. At the zenith of their power, the world was truly theirs for the taking.[2b]

Yet their noble and compassionate nature, which was once one of the Elves greatest and most noble character was soon replaced by a great sense of pride and hubris in their own vanity and superiority. In their blind arrogance, they've only succeeded in shattering their once powerful friendship with the Dwarfs, culminating in a Great War which only crippled these two elder races and shattered whatever bright future there was for this young world. Isolated and alone in a world they no longer control, the High Elves are facing the twilight years of their existence, their cities no longer bustling with vibrancy and life as they used to be but now serve as a gloomy reminder of their ultimate, impending demise.[2b]

The time of the High Elves has passed, or so it is said, yet such is their immense pride that they fight on nonetheless, for they consider themselves the true and rightful protectors of this ancient world, and they believe that so long as their civilisation persist throughout the ages, this dying world will never fall into complete darkness. If oblivion is indeed to be their fate, they have chosen to face it with arrow nocked and sword held high, defending the world they have loved and protected for so long. So do the white-garbed hosts of Ulthuan march to war, banners streaming in the wind and every warrior reconciled to death in service of a greater cause; the protection of this very world.[1c] Let the servants of destruction beware their righteous wrath.[1b]

The High Elves of Ulthuan — the Asur as they name themselves — are not the only race of Elves to walk the world. The truth of the matter depends on who is telling the story; however, they do hold the honour of being the one true civilisation from which all other Elven realms have sprung. West of Ulthuan, amidst the crags and spires of Naggaroth, dwell the cruel Dark Elves, the Druchii. There is no peace to be had between the courts of Ulthuan and Naggaroth, for the millennia of their shared history have been of endless blood and betrayal. No enmity in all the world is so bitter, no war so savagely fought.[1c]

By contrast, the Wood Elves of Athel Loren hold no enmity for either their High or Dark Elf cousins, but then neither do they nurture any great trust of them. These Asrai possess a manner and outlook that is utterly alien to other Elves, and want no part of the ancestral hatred that has brought only ruin to the world. Regardless of their bloodline, all Elves are long-lived — some say immortal. Physically, they are tall and slender, with a dexterous grace and otherworldly aspect that no other race can aspire to match. Such traits are shared by all three races, although the High Elves would have you believe that only on Ulthuan can true Elven beauty and warrior grace be found.[1c]

All Elves are fair to behold and of them all the High Elves are the most handsome. High Elves are pale-skinned with refined, aesthetically beautiful features and hair as clean and fine as flax. High Elves are tall and proud in their bearing, indeed it is not uncommon for an Elf to stand a whole head taller than a man. They have a slim build, which has led to the common misconception that Elves are weak or fragile. In fact, the opposite is true, for Elves are surprisingly strong, and though they are not as robust as the races of Orcs or Dwarfs, they more than compensate for that with their dexterity and amazing agility.[2b]

For the High Elves, long hair is a symbol of strength, power and nobility — the clearest token of a real warrior. Just as the Dwarfs find great significance in their beards, so too do the High Elves hold their hair in high esteem. Because of this, locks of hair are also important talismans for the Elves. This ancient custom stems from the greatest heroes of Elven legend, who have always been depicted with long flowing hair, and it is said that it is from here that their might springs. All High Elves decorate their hair with combs made of silver or gold, and embellished with bright gems. Each jewel has a different meaning, and reflects the Elf's role in his family, his rank in battle, or can even be a token of favour granted by a betrothed.[1i]

Elves are long-lived, some say immortal, and less vulnerable to disease than humans. In truth, elves have a lifespan of around one thousand years (though few ever reach that age).[7a] Every movement that an Elf makes is graceful and controlled, their minds are quick and clever with an intensity and depth of insight which makes them seem fey and strange to other races. High Elves convey meaning into the slightest gesture, perceiving a wealth of information in the slightest nod of a head, or narrowing of eyes. More than once the Lords of Ulthuan have made war amongst themselves or upon other races for some real or imagined slight, for though they are a noble people the High Elves can be cold and haughty, unreasoning in the view of other races.[2b] The differences between male and female elves are subtle, sometimes confusing other races.[8a]

The High Elves are also currently some of the most magically attuned race within the world, their developed knowledge and powers over magic and sorcery going far beyond the accomplishments of any other race save perhaps the mystical Slann of Lustria. They were amongst the first to study magic and remain the greatest mortal masters of it in the known world. Through magic the High Elves protect their island home of Ulthuan, for without the conjurations of the High Elf mages the entire island, already unstable with the creation of the Great Vortex, would sink beneath the waves forever. It is the Elves who in years past taught magic to men, although the Elf mages far surpass the human wizards of the Old World in both skill and knowledge.[2b]

To most outsiders, the High Elves can be describe in many different ways; subtle, elegant, graceful, cunning but perhaps above all, arrogant. Elven minds are subtle and clever, possessing an intensity and depth of insight that lies far beyond the ability of other creatures — a single word or gesture, however small, conveys a wealth of information to an attentive Elf. It is said, of the High Elves in particular, that their minds are their finest weapons. This is certainly true, but they are dangerous weapons indeed, and can require a lifetime to safely master. Unless he knows discipline, a High Elf's interests can quickly become obsessions — and set his feet on a path that will ultimately see his soul delivered to a thirsting god.[1d]

Due to this, Ulthuan's society has become tightly structured, rigidly bound by convention and precedent, ritual and ceremony. For a High Elf to behave out of keeping with tradition is considered a truly shameful matter, able to break the power of a family overnight if proven before the Phoenix Court. Thus, its mere implication is one of the chief gambits in Ulthuan's interminable politics. On the battlefield, it is the combined alacrity of mind and body that makes each Elf so deadly an opponent. His mind is keen enough to read an opponent's intent in the slightest shift of stance, and his body swift enough to deliver a lethal counterblow a heartbeat thereafter. There is no weapon nor form of fighting an Elf cannot master and, even untrained, his skills are formidable. Once properly tutored in his chosen way of war an Elf soldier is lethal grace given form, able to match a hero of lesser blood blow for blow.[1d]

Yet it is perhaps the arrogance and pride of the High Elves which can be considered their most defining trait. Almost every High Elf, from the humblest lowborn to the most esteem Lord, will always reserve a bit of self-satisfaction in his own superiority, especially to what the High Elves consider the "lesser races" of Mankind. This arrogance is in many ways the corrupted heart of High Elven society. Though they may not be afflicted with physical mutations as do those of Mankind, Chaos has nonetheless seeped itself into the heart and soul of the Elven races.[1d]

Ulthuan is ruled by a collection of princes, princesses and mages, above whom preside the Phoenix King and the Everqueen. The relationship between these rulers is not as simple as the titles would suggest. The kingship is elective while the queenship is hereditary, and both monarchs maintain entirely separate courts. The Everqueen is always the Queen of Avelorn. Her realm is the site of the principal shrine of the Earth Mother, and she is regarded as the spiritual leader of the whole Elven realm. The position of Everqueen is always taken up by the firstborn daughter of the previous queen, conceived during her year-long ritual marriage to the Phoenix King. After this formal marriage, they are free to take new consorts, but only the daughter conceived from the marriage of the Phoenix King and the Everqueen can be the new Everqueen.[1f]

Hence the Queens of Avelorn have always been the Everqueens of Ulthuan, forming an unbroken chain from ages past. By contrast, the Phoenix King is chosen from among the princes of Ulthuan, one year after the death of the previous incumbent. Each is crowned during a holy ceremony, held at the massive pyramidal Shrine of Asuryan and attended by the legions of the Phoenix Guard and the princes of Ulthuan. The process of choosing the new Phoenix King is rife with intrigue. Emotions often run hot during this fraught and delicate event. Traditionally, the last thirty days of the year of mourning are set aside for the election to take place; however, in practice the debate starts much sooner than that. Often, the politicking starts long before the reigning Phoenix King has died. High Elves love intrigue, and never is the prize greater than when a new Phoenix King is chosen.[1f]

The grandest of Ulthuan's noble families each look for their candidate to be chosen, and they vie for the support of their peers for their choice. Further to this, each realm in Ulthuan desires the new Phoenix King to be chosen from their land. So it is that rivalries are set aside — or created — to ensure that the agendas of the noble houses are met. For all the deception, manipulation and chicanery employed during the election process, it is almost unheard of for the tactics employed to escalate to violence or outright sabotage. Such actions are considered heretical, for the Phoenix King is the anointed servant of Asuryan. Few High Elf nobles are so consumed with victory that they could believe, even for a moment, that the Creator God would ever approve of a King selected by the ruling council under such dubious and destructive circumstances.[1f]

Outside of this monarchical structure, Ulthuan is comprised of Ten independent realms, each ruled by its own princes. Each of these realms form into two distinct geography, the Outer and Inner Kingdoms. The former are those whose shores touch the ocean, while the latter are those that surround the Inner Sea. The Inner and Outer Kingdoms are divided by the cloud-piercing Annulii Mountains. The Annulii are almost impossible to cross, save by certain passes and tunnels, and even then, travellers must contend with the perilous beasts that shelter amidst the crags and catacombs. No Elf has ever walked to the very summit of one of the Annul and spoken of it, but legends abound of an otherworldly realm beyond the clouds, where ancient gods hold court. Due to the extreme saturation of magic within Ulthuan, these rumors of supernatural beings may prove true.[1e]

Inner Kingdoms

The Inner Kingdoms, set within the twilit ring of the Annulii, are shielded from contact with the outer world by the mountains that surround them and the buffer states of the Outer Kingdoms. Many of the inhabitants of the inner lands are introverted and dreamy. They make scholars, mystics and sorcerers without peer, but all too often are affected by a languor that means they rarely bestir themselves except for the most pressing and dire of circumstances.[2c]

The Kingdom of Eataine

The Kingdom of Caledor

The Kingdom of Ellyrion

The Kingdom of Avelorn

The Kingdom of Saphery

Outer Kingdoms

The Outer Kingdoms are the Elven realms that line the coast of Ulthuan's outer shores which borders the Great Ocean. Unlike the relative safety of Ulthuan's Inner Kingdoms, the lands of the Outer Kingdoms are open to hostile invasions, either from their dark relatives to the West or Chaotic barbarian warriors of the East. As such, the inhabitants of these lands have replaced their books and poems with swords and bow, and are perhaps the most warlike of their civilisation.[2c]

The Kingdom of Tiranoc

The Kingdom of Nagarythe

The Kingdom of Cothique

The Kingdom of Chrace

The Kingdom of Yvresse

Elven Afterlife

The Mirai, otherwise known as the Black Pit, is the Elven equivalent of the Underworld from which all Elven souls are destined to enter. This dark realm is ruled by the Elven Goddess Ereth Khial, known as the Pale Queen, and her domain is only entered through a door, referred to as the Last Door, which is guarded by the Elven God Nethu, the Door Keeper. It is Nethu who prevents wayward souls from escaping, and the living from entering and stealing the secrets of the dead.[1p]

However, since the Coming of Chaos, most Elven souls don't reach Mirai and are instead claimed by the Chaos Gods, most particularly Slaanesh. The souls of the Elven race are a delicacy like no other to hungering Slaanesh, for their very souls are saturated with all the intense emotions from which the Prince of Decadence savours. This horrible fate terrifies all Elves, so in order to avoid being devoured by Slaanesh, the High Elves bind their souls to waystones. So when their ultimate death finally comes, their souls will instead be used to empower the magical wards protecting Ulthuan. Whenever High Elves are far from Ulthuan, they will bring and wear stone necklaces so that in case they meet their fate, their souls will be captured by it and not by Slaanesh.[1g]

However not all unprotected souls are doomed to be consumed by the Dark God, on occasion the Trickster God Loec will rescue souls by challenging Slaanesh in a game of chance, and then of course cheating to win. In addition to Loec, Ereth Khial often tries to send her winged servants to steal souls from Slaanesh's grasp. Even though these ploys rarely succeed, even the smallest chance to save their souls from being consumed gives the Elves some reminisce of hope.[1g]

Even if their souls are saved from being consumed by Slaanesh, they will receive no paradise, for their souls are often bound for all eternity as slaves within Ereth Khial's Army. Even though it is frowned upon for High Elves to do so, some Elves will worship The Pale Queen just for this reason, hoping to earn her favour. Ereth Khial uses every soul she receives to serve in her army for the day Rhana Dandra, which is known to the Elves as the apocalypse. It is in this day that the Cadai and the Cytharai Gods will have a final battle and Ereth Khial's Army of fallen Elven souls will be pitted against Asuryan's Creatures. It is also in this day that the Elven Gods will also battle the Chaos Gods, be the outcome good or ill.[1g]

Cadai

Asuryan The Creator

Isha The Mother

Kurnous The Hunter

Hoeth The Lord of Wisdom

Vaul The Maker

Loec The Shadow Dancer

Lileath The Maiden

Ladrielle The Lady of Mists

Cytharai

Ereth Khial The Pale Queen

Khaine The Lord of Murder

Morai-Heg The Crone

Atharti The Lady of Desire

Hekarti The Mistress of Magic

Ellinill The Lord of Destruction

Mathlann The Lord of the Deeps

Drakira The Queen of Vengeance

Hukon The Sunderer

Addaioth The Bringer of Fire

Estreuth The Lord of Hunger

Nethu The Keeper of the Last Door

Anath Raema The Savage Huntress

Eldrazor The Lord of Blades

The High Elves' existence is one of eternal battle, fought with a courage and skill that only they possess. But it is a war that, little by little, is being lost. The High Elves fade, whilst their enemies multiply, and each death is a loss that the Ten Kingdoms of Ulthuan can ill afford. Yet it is not in the High Elves' proud nature to pass peacefully from history. When the Phoenix King issues the call to war, his people gladly answer. Disciplined spearmen form up in silence, their brilliant banners of lion, horse and eagle fluttering in the wind. Haughty knights ride alongside, their steeds reacting instantly to unspoken commands. Mages prepare intricate spells, archers gauge the gusting wind and, in the skies above, mighty Dragons and Phoenixes wheel and soar, ready to fight to the last alongside their Elven allies.[1b]

In matters of war and politics, the High Elves, true to their prideful nature, have only ever cared about the protection of the world, yet not those innocents that live within it. Whilst the High Elves consider themselves defenders and protectors, that calling doesn't necessarily extend to the protection of other races. Only a relative handful of High Elves see the lesser races as something worth protecting — and even they believe that these races must occasionally be saved from themselves. The rest, at their most generous, consider foreigners an additional set of defences with which to preserve Ulthuan, living fortress walls to be reinforced or abandoned as the larger scheme of battle dictates. This is not to say that the High Elves never fight alongside other races, but it is true that such alliances seldom come about save through the intervention of exceptional and foresighted individuals.[1d]

Few amongst the other races see the High Elves' mission for what it is, so blinded are they by their own petty concerns and suspicions. To them, the folk of Ulthuan are merely another power jockeying for pre-eminence through the channels of trade, diplomacy and war. They have not the wit to see that if the High Elves choose to trade with another race, it is not out of a desire for coin or armaments. There are treasures beyond the dreams of avarice in the vaults of even Ulthuan's meanest mansion, and the armouries of its kingdoms contain ten times as many enchanted weapons than there are Elves to wield them. However, the High Elves know trade to be something that others welcome and understand, and so use it to gather information and position spies. Likewise, the High Elves find the tongues of other races to be leaden and boorish, and so only engage in overseas politicking if it factors into their wider goals.[1d]

Even in matters of war, the High Elves seldom commit themselves unless it will substantially benefit their cause. The armies of Ulthuan are amongst the mightiest weapons any ruler could hope to wield, but the world is vast, and they cannot be everywhere at once. Every battle, whether it be a skirmish between warbands, a clash of armies or the siege of a great city, is fought because it will shift the balance between the order the High Elves seek to maintain and the destruction caused by the onset of Chaos. Not all such battles are fought directly with the forces of the Dark Gods. Though they know it not, rampaging greenskins, meddling Men and needlessly stubborn Dwarfs can undermine the High Elves' quest for order, simply through their unthinking deeds. As a consequence, the blades of Ulthuan must be carried against the warriors of many lands — if the ignorant must be slaughtered to deny the truly wicked, then so be it. The war that the High Elves fight is a desperate one, with no ultimate victory in sight. The forces of Chaos are endless and eternal, whilst the High Elves dwindle daily. There may yet come a time when all of Ulthuan's blood has been spent, and the world is left bare before the predations of hungry gods. That day may yet be long away, but every battle, won or lost, brings it closer.[1d]

High Elf Warbeast

Great Eagle - Great Eagles are the largest birds of prey in the Empire, with a wingspan that measures over thirty feet and having razor-sharp talons. They are an ancient race that has dwelled in the mountains of the Old World since long before the coming of Man. Most of them nest in the Grey Mountains, though a few live along the Worlds Edge Mountains. They are exceedingly intelligent and a few of their eldest are even rumoured to be capable of speaking in the tongues of other races, though they seem to prefer most often to deal with Elves.

Griffons - griffons are noble beasts, as beasts go, though they are far from tame and placid. Their heads are like that of a huge bird of prey, whilst their bodies resemble that of a lion or any other great cat. All this is borne aloft by a pair of mighty wings that carry the Griffon across the high mountains and peaks where it dwells. A patiently hand-reared hatchling can be trained to bear a noble upon its back, making a formidable mount in times of battle and war. The people of Chrace, renowned hunters and scouts of Ulthuan, are particularly famed for their skills at raising and training the Griffons that circle above the high mountains of their land.

High Elven Dragon - The High Elven Dragons of Ulthuan are the greatest and most noble of the Dragon species living within the World. The Dragons race are amongst the oldest of all living creatures. They predate the rise of Chaos, and rode the thermals of ancient volcanoes long before warm-blooded creatures ruled the world. They are wise and aloof, viewing those around them with a perspective that only the eldest creatures can share.

Flamespyre Phoenix - The Flamespyre Phoenixes of Ulthuan dwell amongst the Flamespyre - great alabaster pillars of rock that stand sentinel about the Shire of Asuryan. Aqshy (the wind of fire) has left its marl on more than the silent stones. Over generations, the Phoenixes of the Flamespyres have become attuned to fire magic, harnessing it at whim. These very intelligent and deadly creatures, have a very unique alliance with the High Elves, often being called by the Phoenix Guard to act as mounts.

Frostheart Phoenix - Whilst a Frostheart Phoenix may not possess the vigour and fire it commanded in its youth, it is a much hardier mount. The ice that sheathes its form is as hard as glass, and enemies — not having the benefit of the rider's enchanted armour — find their own strength and resolve eaten away by its chill presence. Knowing they can no longer resurrect themselves in magical fire, the Frostheart Phoenixes fight even harder in the defence of their homeland, determined to end their existence striking a final blow against the enemies of Ulthuan.


The Eldar (now spelled Aeldari in the Tome of the Retconian, AKA Patentus Friendlius Renamian) are one of the playable armies in Warhammer 40,000. They are essentially elves ported directly from Tolkien into space, pointy ears and all, and as a result, are often called 'Elfdar' by fa/tg/uys. Which is retarded, because the term 'Eldar' itself is already pulled straight out of Tolkien, being one of the many names the Tolkien Elves use to refer to themselves (appropriately enough, it means "people of the [light of the] stars").

They are one of the oldest races in the galaxy and have very advanced technology (being psychic-based their tech actually resembles literal techno-sorcery more than any technology humanity would be familiar with) and highly developed psychic abilities, but ages of warfare and strife, and in particular one extremely devastating and painfully avoidable strife, have reduced their population from the galaxy-spanning empires of the past, referred to as "The Empire of Ten Million Suns," to the few surviving Craftworlds, Maiden Worlds, and Exodite Worlds still present in the 41st millennium. The Ynnari have already brought back many dead Aeldari, but we have yet to see how much these ghost elves have boosted their numbers.

In the 40k game, the Eldar army is comprised of specialized units that excel at a particular task, as opposed to more general all-rounders like the Space Marine tactical squads. Their vehicles are almost all skimmers too, with the exception of War Walkers. The Eldar also have a few special tricks up their mystical elfy sleeves, like Webway travel and wraith-constructs, which are wraithbone suits that are controlled by the souls of dead Eldar. It's like a Space Marine Dreadnought in purpose, only the Dreadnought pilot is merely a cripple while the wraith-construct's 'pilot' is a straight-up ghost. The Avatar of Khaine, one of the Eldar's most powerful units, is a giant monster made of lava that used to be the penis of a war-god, and is infamous for spelling near certain defeat for whoever's side it is on the moment it is summoned.

In spite of their fall, from being a colossal empire that ruled the stars and heavens alike when Mankind was still poking things with sticks and roasting dead animals over fires in caves to their current state (a dying, elegiac race slowly being whittled down to extinction by combat losses and the hunger of Slaanesh), their utter disdain for every single bit of non-Eldarin life remains completely unchanged. The race as a whole has a superiority complex that would put Failbaddon to shame. They often try to act indirectly, subtly manipulating events to resolve in their favor, but they seem to rarely ever succeed. Even on the rare occasions when they win, GW will eventually, somewhere down the road turn it around into a crushing defeat, just for lulz. Best of all, their ruined plans are usually caused by their own arrogance. They cannot comprehend that non-Eldar have their own minds and agendas. So, when their puppets simply do something more beneficial to themselves than the Eldar (or figure out the spelves’ plan and purposely co-opt or smash it), the elves are left in total shock. It doesn’t help them that the main species of the galaxy have their own future perceiving methods as well…and that no one trusts them due to their dickery; so, when they show up, everyone tries to screw them over. Everyone.

The Eldar, Imperium of Man and the Tau represent the three stages of civilization: The Eldar are the former, fallen, power; the Imperium are the present power, who are now following in the Eldar race's footsteps; and the Tau are the rising power, who will rise to prominence (if they can survive long enough) but eventually fall just like those who came before them. The Eldar have already been through their civilization-wide apocalypse (which they did to themselves and a blind smurf could have told them was coming) and are well aware of the dark path that Mankind now blindly walks. A path so utterly different than that of the Eldar it’s practically the opposite. Actively rejecting and hating hedonism.

It is more accurate to think of the Eldar and Humans as yin and yang. Most Eldar turned to depravity, debauchery, and hedonism but a few remained aloof and embraced faith, hubris, and paranoia. Most Humans reject depravity, debauchery, and hedonism but embrace faith, hubris, and paranoia but a few mostly in their ruling classes embrace the same excesses as most Eldar once did. In a way, the two species are dark mirrors of each other and each has a bit of the other in them. This even extends to their militaries in which the Eldar mostly focus on extreme specialization and intricate planning whereas the Imperium mostly focuses on loose specialization and ham-fisted planning.

The Eldar are the faction that look so cool and have such sweet lore and awesome tech that’d you’d totally play them and love them if their personality didn’t make you hope they get eaten by Tyranids.

Also, the rune of Asurmen is a yin-yang symbol. Buuuut that's surely just a coincidence. Right, Mr. Inquisitor?

War Mask

To understand the Eldar at War it is important to understand the existence of the War Mask. The galaxy of the 40th/41st millennium is a dark and violent place, where if you don't fight means death (or more often then not something worse); would this was not the case, but for the Eldar the call of Khaine comes with even greater and greater frequency as the galaxy continues to grow darker.

The War Mask is not a physical thing, but a way of separating their normal self-from their war-self, by mentally creating a mask, or mental construct that takes the form of an artificial alternate personality, essentially creating an alternate version of themselves, that can be worn or discarded when needed; this alternate self will even take upon itself a new name.

It is within the Shrines of Khaine that an Eldar will, under the guidance of the shrines exarch, learn to create their War Mask. Before a battle an Eldar will entire their warrior shrine where they will perform the ritualistic adorning of their armour, with each piece of armour in place strengthening their War Mask until who they were is safely hidden away behind their alternate self; essentially entering a dormant/hibernation like state, fading into the background as their War-self now stands in their place. This War-self is able to perform the truly horrific acts that the galaxy calls upon them to perform as all emotions, such as empathy or kindness, that might course their blades to falter are locked away; what stands in their place is a cold blooded killer, a warrior of the god of war and murder who will perform any terrible act that they are called upon to do (an Eldar could be the most kind and gentle being in the galaxy but upon wearing their War Mask they become a heartless killer; most people outside of the Craftworlds will have little, if any, experience of Eldar that are not currently wearing their War Mask; which adds to how they are viewed by the greater galaxy).

Eldar Guardians are usually provided a temporary War Mask by a seer before they enter battle, although Storm Guardians are made up of those who have already walked the path of the warrior, and so can already do so.

When the bloody work is done an Eldar will remove their War Mask, returning to their normal self without any memories of any atrocities that they may have had to perform; as they are now safely locked away within their War Mask (Although it is known for Eldar to weep upon removing their War Mask, without knowing the reason why).

In this way the Eldar turn the bloody work of Khaine into a tool that can be wielded or put away at will without losing themselves to Khaine's dark influence.

The Black Library is hidden within the secret depths of the Webway and is the repository of all of the Eldar races Eldritch Knowledge.

It is probably the most well protected and best hidden of all the secrets of the Webway (although that one guy keeps on trying to peek through the windows before being told to "get the fuck off their lawn" by some very grumpy White Seers…and cegorath, with his really bad jokes.), holding priceless artifacts such as the only complete trans-dimensional map of the Webway and countless secrets beyond mortal understanding that have long since been forgotten.

The Library is protected by terrifying Guardians of unknown origin that make even greater daemons empty their otherworldly bowls and by The White Seers who are Eldar seers that dress all in white and apparently eclipse their kin (Eldrad not included) in their psychic might. (Not that this is saying much considering how poor Psykers Farseers tend to be). It's a bit disappointing that if the Black Library does have these guards, that they seem to be missing from any recent stories, virtually no forces, but those of the Harlequins and the Ynnari are seen fighting.

The sentinels of the Black Library remain an unspoken secret, yet they are described as the most terrible of all the perils in the Webway and the most dreaded individuals among all of the Eldar kindred's (think of them as possibly the Eldar version of the Custodians). Seeing as a small group of Harlequins were capable of infiltrating the Imperial palace; getting as far as the doors to the throne room whilst killing dozens of custodians along the way, the thought that there might exist an even more elite group is scary indeed.

Only a few chosen individuals are permitted entrance, including a handful of human Inquisitors of the Ordo Malleus who have allied themselves with the Eldar and their fight against the powers of Chaos. Weirdly enough, more humans than Eldar have been shown being admitted, with little to no known Eldar, not Phoenix Lords even, being shown to be allowed in.

The emergence of the Cicatrix Maledictum has damaged the Library, with whole sections falling away into the Warp and forcing the White Seers to seal parts of it away to prevent further contamination and damage.

Strangely, despite being a repository of all knowledge on Chaos and methods through which to combat them, the Black Library itself has almost never provided anything useful at all.Other than the Rose of Isha, which Yvraine had to find herself, the Black Library has never actually assisted in the combating of Chaos in any significant manner at all. That said, most of said information is so corrupting in itself that anyone who isn't totally pure is more likely to fall to Chaos than to fight it upon learning it, making questionable the purpose of the Library as it has barely ever yielded any useful information for anyone and even Eldrad has chosen to rather give over deadly Chaos Artifacts to the Imperium rather than surrender it to the White Seers, which either represents a strong indictment of their capabilities or, considering this is Eldrad we're talking about, is an enormous compliment of their skills. What a dick.

Overall, for the most part, the Black Library is fairly useless. Why Ahriman is so interested in it is an open question, seeing as he can already move through the Webway as effectively as any Eldar have been shown to do.

Jain Zar-The Storm of Silence shows the White Seers commanding archaic engines dedicated to the destruction of She Who Thirsts. Their arcane machines looked more like abstract works of art than weapons, but they sent out beams of coruscating power that disintegrated daemons with but a touch and scoured forth pulses of cleansing fire. It baffles the mind considering no one is supposed to read the library and the said weapons can annihilate demons with a pulse, the guardians aren't taking any more active role in the galaxy like some fantasy fiction guardian with no purpose.
We are also introduced to a nearly empty Library that has something called Guardian's protecting it; they take the form of slender statues, each half again as tall as Asurmen, of smoke-grey silver metal. They were featureless, their faces slender inverted triangles with shallow depressions to denote where eyes would be. Their hands and feet were pointed blades that sparkled in the silvery light. The statues were impossibly balanced on bladed limbs, and although what they are capable of it not revealed, even the Phoenix Lords were subdued by their presence. The sole living Eldar still in the Library had no concern that the Phoenix lords would dare course any trouble since the Guardians had allowed them access. They give off the same unnerving feeling that GORT from the 2008 'The Day the Earth Stood Still' remake does.

According to Rogue Trader fluff which is a bit over three decades old (and has almost been entirely retconned out of existence), humans and Eldar once had a common ancestor (which doesn't make any sense since the Eldar as a race are far older than humanity, by at least 60 million years). There was a theory back in the day that both races were creations of the Old Ones (or the C'tan successfully made humans similar enough to the Eldar). This apparently made it possible for both races to interbreed and produce viable offspring. For example, it was said that Illiyan Nastase, Chief Librarian Astropath of the Ultramarines, was part Eldar. This is of course HERESY and GW has, in a rare case of good judgment, rightfully chosen to ignore this character's existence. Illiyan Nastase would later be overwritten and replaced by a new Chief Librarian of the Ultramarines, Varro Tigurius, in the more current fluff (likely because of his unusual affinity for psychic powers).

Confirmed human/eldar hybrids no longer appear outside of fan works, such as the cute little bugger Lofn from the fan comic Love Can Bloom.

More recently the Black Library novel The Chapter's Due has as a minor character Kaarja Salombar the Corsair Queen. She's variously described as "… beautiful, with palm skin and warm almond shaped eyes of striking violet… there were some who said there was Eldar blood in her veins" and "… more than a hint of inhuman Eldar to her lithe frame, and a wild mane of azure hair flowing around her shoulders". She also bags at least a trio of Ultramarines and nearly slays Cato Sicarius before getting piked by the Ultramarines 2nd Company standard, which should make her a bit of a hero to the various Ward haters. It also makes clear she is no Eldar, as GW would never allow one of their big named Space Marines, to nearly get beaten by an Eldar, nor would they ever show an Eldar being such a successful fighter.

Eldar conception occurs over an extended period of time and requires additional genetic material from the partner or partners at preordained stages throughout gestation (there is no chance of a baby from a one night-stand).

It has long been stated by many a fa/tg/uy that the Tau are Japs in space while the Eldar are Space Chinese in that they had a more established civilization as old as the beginning of history itself, with a fucking complicated language and philosophy. Some history/culturefags strongly dispute this assertion as being simplistic and inaccurate, as the Chinese language is marked by relatively light grammar and high syllable-information density, as well as one unified set of logographic symbols (that mostly have one pronunciation). Japanese has low syllable-information density and has a sophisticated agglutinative grammar structure, like Korean, and also possesses two syllable-alphabets in addition to utilizing Chinese characters (often with multiple readings). To add to the language debate, Only War describes the Eldar tongue as 'tonal', something that is a prominent feature in the Chinese language, and is not present in Japanese. So if FFG are to be trusted, the Eldar speak a language more similar to Chinese than Japanese. Just don't ask why the Eldar religion is sorta Hindu (India) and the Tau religion is sorta Buddhist, the only difference between East and Southeast where you haven't been and where you'll never go.

Eldrad proposed the idea of allying with the Imperium of Man to finally defeat Chaos once and for all. Even if the other Eldar weren't exactly thrilled by the idea of becoming best buddies with the Imperium, they still reluctantly agreed that they are still the best of a bad bunch, what with the other options being either the Orks or Tau. Said races were either too "young" (translated as "too naive and inexperienced to truly face the forces of Chaos"), primarily in the latter case, or simply too uncooperative and uncouth to be allied with (meaning that manipulating them from the shadows would prove more fruitful). And so Yvraine traveled to Macragge in order to provide the Imperium with a leader that could pull the shit show together and actually make it a worthwhile alliance (read: hasn't experienced ten thousand years of being backstabbed and status quo by Eldar and so is unlikely to purge them at the drop of a hat), culminating in the resurrection of Roboute Guilliman. Thus the old "defenders of the status quo" proceeded to set the wheels of story advancement in motion, at the risk of further reducing themselves to nothing but a group of proxies for the Imperium. Extra lulz when you remember the Imperium is not inexperienced in manipulating or out-dicking the Eldar, so the spelves were close to being Imperial puppets anyway. gether, which finally allows the story to advance.

As the story continues to move forward could we see the return of a small Eldar Pantheon? With the confirmation that there will be at least four daemon Primarchs for Chaos and at least four returning Loyalists Primarchs it would make sense from a balance perspective to have four different Avatars to counter. Of course, this would not be a true counter; as powerful as they may be, Avatars are just not as powerful as a Primarch, and although they stand a chance of defeating one, it is still very unlikely. The Avatars at present represent a shattered god and a god that has yet to be fully awakened, so it is not unsurprising that they are not as powerful as they would be if the gods that they represented were fully whole and awake. However seeing as Avatars have the unlimited re-spawn cheat, defeating one means absolutely nothing as they can simple rematerialize after a given time and continue to fight, which is something a Primarch can’t do… except for Vulkan. However, strategically it matters as in the time before it can be resummoned you can take an advantage of its absence. On the other hand, clap your hands if you believe combined with a Primarch’s strength of will…ehhh, he might be able to put one down for good. Also, the Death Specters Chapter’s final test to become Astartes is to die and will themselves back to life. A Primarch most definitely could do that if a mere Space Marine can.

The relationship between humanity and the Eldar is complicated to say the least, varying dependent on sector, the local culture (of both parties), the specific needs of each side at the time of contact, and (at least partially) undisclosed fluff concerning human-Eldar relationships during the Dark Age of Technology.

Due to the variability of these factors, the Eldar are one of the only races for whom there's no consistent pattern of relationship with the Imperium; they can be hated enemies and invaders, desperate allies against a greater foe, marauding pirates, begrudgingly necessary trading allies, and everything in-between. For every Imperial world sacrificed to save the lives of a handful of Eldar, for every grand scheme orchestrated to dick over the Mon-Keigh and put them in their place, another world is saved by their timely intervention or an Inquisitor made aware of the existence of a terrible threat by their warning. Where the Blood Ravens go to war with them at one time, at another the Grey Knights return the salvaged spirit stones of Malan'tai to Iyanden and lay the Craftworld to rest by way of a solar viking funeral.

During the Great Crusade the official policy of the Imperium, as mandated by the Emperor, was to kill Eldar, and individual attempts to contact them by Primarchs such as Fulgrim were protested by their men as breaches of Imperial policy. This could be seen as a (very warped and twisted) justified course of action during this time given the numerous human worlds ravished throughout and after the Age of Strife. Although there are no actual records of any Eldar being involved in these actions there was still Eldar radicals, who during the twilight centuries of their empire sort out conflicts among the primitives, as a form of entertainment; then there's also the proto-Dark Eldar who were already doing what they do so well, so there is a lot of room to play with; also potentially the first appearance's of something similar to the Corsairs, formed from those seeking out a more thrilling form of entertainment (ultimately these potential incidents are down to the actions of individuals, not the Eldar dominion itself). The Craftworlds themselves, although they would have no need to come into conflict with humanity over resources, as they are completely self sufficient, may have come into contact with the expanding human realms during their exodus; these interactions may have been humanity primary source on contact with the Eldar species. What ever actually happened during the Age of Strife, whenever they encountered each other during the Heresy and beyond the inevitable always happens, such as the time when the Salamanders, Iron Hands and Death Guard sought to rescue the enslaved human population of an Exodite World. It turns out that the Exodites had rescued and sheltered the human population from raids by their Dark kin. After realising their mistake did the Imperials seek out a possible peacefu- nope, instead they slaughtered the human population, seeing them as having been corrupted by their xenos companions and turned the world to ash. Lorgar also encountered a fledgling Craftwold during the Great crusade, he was invited aboard as a guest where they discussed, among many other things, the nature of the warp and it's dangers. Lorgar and his legion then thanked them by killing them all and reduced their home to rubble. Which is unsurprising given how “my thinking is bestest” Lorgar was/is. Then again, one must remember that the Humanity was recovering from a horrid period of downfall, where they found themselves assaulted by both aliens and humans alike. The realms of Humanity consumed themselves, and due to the horrors humanity experienced during this time humanity become something far less them what they had been. The result of such dickish behaviour, whether it be inflicted by others or entirely self inflicted, was the roots for mankind becoming outright genocidal towards everything nonhuman. We are not saying that it was right or wrong, just that it was natural, due to situation at time.

‘You wish to be free of the influence of my kind, You see the armour as a gaoler holding you hostage to our whims. Know this – the fates of humanity and aeldari are bound together. Either both species will survive, or neither will. Your Emperor understands this. There are greater enemies than the primordial annihilator. In the times to come, you will see. The struggle is only beginning. The old war returns. Remember this conversation, and reconsider carefully, on the day realisation comes, whether you wish to stand alone.’

-Eldrad Ulthran speaking to Guilliman, The Armour Of Fate, underestimating humanity for the zillionth time.

As a general rule, the Eldar are a fast army of specialists. Each unit is engineered for a particular style of fighting but is nigh useless outside of that assigned role. For example, Dark Reaper squads (currently broken) are known to cripple, if not wipe out completely, entire squads of Space Marines in a single volley. Conversely, they are incapable of moving and shooting (but now they can, lulz) and are comparable to Guardsmen in close combat (though they don't wear wet cardboard boxes for armor). Usually, everyone in an Eldar squad has the same gun and the squad as a whole aims for one goal, as opposed to squads of dudes each toting a different gun for a different kind of foe. This can help new players by not forcing them to keep all of a squad's weaponry in mind, but it also requires you move the right squad for the job to the right place, which can be tactically challenging. An ill-positioned Eldar squad has a greater chance of doing nothing than those of other armies. Some units, like Jetbikes, overcome this disadvantage with superior speed and mobility. This is huge in a game where most of the missions are about capturing objectives. If you are the kind of elf who likes it when a plan comes together, you might be tactical enough to lead the Eldar to their victories upon the battlefield.

ldrad Ulthran Craftworld Ulthwé Aeldari /Ynnari Saviour of the Eldar. Former High Farseer of Ulthwé. Amongst the greatest and most powerful of the Eldar Seers. A dick.
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Yvraine Craftworld Biel-tan Ynnari Emissary of Ynnead. Herald of the Eldar God of the Dead. Helped bring Guilliman back into the game. Wields the Crone Sword Kha-vir the Sword of Sorrows.
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The Visarch Craftworld Biel-tan Ynnari The Sword of Ynnead. The mortal champion of the Eldar God of the Dead and Yvraine’s bodyguard. Bad at his job. Wields the Crone Sword Asu-var the Sword of Silent Screams.
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Autarch Meliniel Craftworlds Ynnari Yvraine's top commander, made his first appearance "Ghost Warrior: Rise of the Ynnari". After the Ynnari deafeat the Warshard (a more pure incarnation of Khaine) he absorbs it and is transformed; he and the Warshard become one, and he can now Hulk out, and become an all new and improved super-Avatar of Khaine. It is still an Avatar of Khaine though, so don't expect much. [] []
The Yncarne The Infinity Circuit Ynnari The Avatar of Ynnead. The physical manifestation of the awakening Eldar god of the dead. Wields the Crone Sword Vilith-zhar the Sword of Souls.
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Avatar of Khaine The old Eldar Empire Aeldari The Avatar of Khaela Mensha Khaine (also known as the Bloody-Handed God). The physical manifestation of the Shattered Eldar God of murder, War and Fire. Memetic loser.
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Asurmen The old Eldar Empire Aeldari /Ynnari Asurmen, the Hand of Asuryan. Was the first Phoenix Lord and founded the Dire Avenger Aspect and the Path of the Warrior. Before he became Asurmen he was a bit of a lazy slacker who didn't take anything seriously.
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Jain Zar The old Eldar Empire Aeldari /Ynnari Jain Zar, the Storm of Silence. Was Asurmen's first student and loyal companion. She's the founder of the Howling Banshees Aspect. In her youth she was very similar to Lelith Hesperax.
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Baharroth The old Eldar Empire Aeldari /Ynnari Baharroth, the Cry of the Wind. Was the founder of the Swooping Hawks. Noted by Asurmen as the best of all his students. Baharroth's final death will come during the Rhana Dandra where his final sacrifice will bring about the ultimate salvation of the Eldar.
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Karandras The old Eldar Empire Aeldari /Ynnari Karandras, the Shadow Hunter. The Phoenix Lord of the Striking Scorpions but not their founder. He started out not as the pupil of Asurmen but of Ahra.
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Fuegan The old Eldar Empire Aeldari /Ynnari Fuegan, the Burning Lance. The founder of the Fire Dragons and the patron saint of overkill. Culling the enemies of the Eldar one by one until their deaths form an unbroken chain of retribution stretching across the universe. Using this chain Fuegan intends to bind the Dragon at the end of days and that it will be Fuegan who calls the Phoenix Lords for the Rhana Dandra were he will be the last to fall.
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Maugan Ra The old Eldar Empire Aeldari /Ynnari Maugan Ra, the Harvester of Souls. The Phoenix Lord of the Dark Reapers. He is one of the most OP characters from a fluff prospective but sadly not from a table top one. Before he became Maugan Ra he was (if you can believe it) a mild-mannered librarian and caretaker and was the one who invented/discovered the Infinity Circuit.
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Irillyth The old Eldar Empire Aeldari Irillyth, the Shade of Twilight. The Phoenix Lord of the Shadow Spectres. Was lost for a long time but has finally made his return.
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Drastanta The old Eldar Empire Aeldari Drastanta, the Tempest of Starlight. The Phoenix Lord of the Shining Spears. After failing to save Asurmen he went into self-exile, leaving his weapon behind.
Sylandri Veilwalker Harlequins Harlequin/ Ynnari A Shadowseer of the Masque of the Veiled Path who is worse than Eldrad when it comes to interfering in other peoples buisness. She was there when Prince Yriel took up the Spear of Twilight and can order around Magos Belisarius Cawl like he was her personal plaything. She helped guide the surviving Imperial defenders of Cadia into the Webway, then later reappeared alongside Cypher to free Roboute Guilliman after he was captureded by Chaos forces and later played a vital role in the battle against Magnus. She also manipulated the Emperor's Children into their attack on Lugganath. She’s also likely the Shadowseer that appeared in the Devastation of Baal, who dragged Mephiston through hell by his psychic ear, in order to warn him of a demonic invasion that was on its way. By the Dice Gods she’s everywhere, they might as well have her be the Shadowseer that appeared in The Beast Arises series…
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Prince Yriel Ulthanash Craftworld Iyanden Aeldari /Ynnari Prince Yriel is arrogant and deadly in equal measure. Whether as High Admiral of Iyanden’s grand fleet, commander of the Eldritch Raiders he leads his warriors from the front. Turns out that the The Spear of Twilight was one of the Crone Swords.
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Illic Nightspear Craftworld Alaitoc Aeldari The Walker of the Hidden Path. He has wandered the Path of the Outcast for thousands of years, slaying monsters and men alike as he seeks out the paths that span the stars.
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Iyanna Arienal Craftworld Iyanden Aeldari /Ynnari The Angel of Iyanden. The most prominent Spiritseer of Iyanden and one of the most outspoken supporters of Ynnead. (Her official rules are actually worse than the normal Spiritseer so it would be better to use the normal rules instead)
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Nuadhu Craftworld Saim-Hann Aeldari The Fireheart is a Wild Rider of Saim Hann with a modified Vyper called the Alean- the steed of Khaine. Nuadhu is currently Saim-Hann’s high chieftain.
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Prince Eldrathain Craftworlds Corsairs Leader of the corsairs in Battlefleet Gothic: Armada
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Bel-annath Craftworlds of Mymeara Aeldari Farseer of Mymeara
Macha Craftworlds of Biel-Tan Aeldari Macha is a Farseer of the Craftworld of Biel-Tan during the events of the Dawn of War series. She alongside Gabriel Angelos of the Blood Ravens and Gorgutz 'Ead 'Unter are inescapably linked by fate whether they like it or not.
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Taldeer Craftworlds of Ulthwé Aeldari A Farseer of the Ulthwé Craftworld. During the events of Dawn of War: Dark Crusade, Taldeer would end up dying at the hands of Azariah Kyras. Her Soul stone was later retrieved by her brother Ronahn. She appears in Dawn of War 3 as a Ghost Seer (a psychic Wraithknight… and you thought it couldn’t get more broken).
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Pariah Craftworlds Corsairs The Daemon Heart. Also named "Kyganil," the Pariah is the “companion” and guide to the The Thrice Born in the Daemonifuge comics.

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