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 Why Do Dark Eldar Fight?

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Demantiae
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PostSubject: Why Do Dark Eldar Fight?   Fri Jan 09 2015, 12:14

I haven't read any Dark Eldar lore in years so I don't know the answer to this question, so why do Dark Eldar fight? They live outside of reality because if they were to live inside it Slaanesh would eat their souls. So they do live where she can't find them and they do EVERYTHING in their power to not die. EVER. They'll gut their own children if it means they'll get to live another day.

So they go on these raids, specifically choosing weak and defenceless (relatively) targets to take slaves (who's souls they can consume) and to slake their base desires (which invigorates them). But what about when they don't find a defenceless colony but instead stumble upon an Imperial Guard outpost or a Tau expeditionary force instead? Why would the Dark Eldar risk death knowing that to die in Real Space means they're soul is going straight to Slaanesh?

I get why they fight in Comorragh or elsewhere in their webway - they fight to survive because they have no choice. Some dude tries to stab you because he wants your bunk or your lunch and you have to gut him and sell his corpse to the Haemonculi. It's just the way things are done. But then your Archon tells you you're going on a slave raid you can't say no. Maybe you'll get lucky and can drag back a couple slaves to trade for favour with the Archon? But then all these mon-keighs show up with guns and tanks and you think screw this I'm not letting Slaanesh eat my soul for a cart full of slave. So you gut the pilot of your Raider, take the helm and head for home. Maybe you can buy your way into a rival Kabal by selling some of the secrets of your former masters?

The Dark Eldar don't have some Viking-esque warrior culture where it's better to die in battle than grow old and feeble. They don't have some shogunate code of honour forcing them to act with courage. They don't even have an expectation of loyalty, sacrifice or the bigger picture. Why would the Dark Eldar stick around if anything but helpless civilians were to be encountered on their raids?

Discount any argument of it being a boring game for DE players if they didn't fight on the tabletop. From a lore/fluff perspective why would they fight? Do they have a means of securing their souls like the Eldar do with their wraithstones? Or is the fear of being eternally tortured for the slightest of insubordination enough of a stick to force them into risking death on these raids? But if the the threat of their Archons punishing them eternally was so great then why not just surrender to Slaanesh and be done with it? You have to fear one more than the other. Dark Eldar should either be so treacherous as to be next to useless as warriors in the field or they should be suicidal. They should probably have leadership characteristics of 5 on the table and a 1 in 6 chance each turn pf killing their sergeant or if they have no sergeant automatically failing a moral test and falling back for that turn! Crappy to play yes but if you think about it why wouldn't this be the case?
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The_Burning_Eye
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PostSubject: Re: Why Do Dark Eldar Fight?   Fri Jan 09 2015, 12:22

Because of the power from pain concept - they are functionally immortal due to the way Commorragh exists and the reincarnation abilities of the Haemonculi (for those rich enough of course) but for the others, nothing is more invigorating to their sould, and therefore makes them feel more alive, than inflicting pain and suffering.

All well and good I hear you say, but doesn't that just back up your point about avoiding armed opponents?

Well, not quite. Putting this concept in another form - when do you get the biggest thrill out of winning a game, when you thrash your opponent and table them by turn 2 because they're not a very skilled player, or when a tactical move you plan comes off on the last turn and you steal victory out from under an opponent who usually beats you?

Exactly, being challenged gives a greater reward for the survivor, and is therefore worth the risk.

Besides, any self respecting Dark Eldar Warrior is going to be so arrogant they're never going to consider the possibility that they might get killed by one of the lesser races!

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PostSubject: Re: Why Do Dark Eldar Fight?   Fri Jan 09 2015, 12:39

Quote :
But what about when they don't find a defenceless colony but instead stumble upon an Imperial Guard outpost or a Tau expeditionary force instead

There is prestige in that. There is political game in Commoragh that left little to luxury and only left the need, you need to show power otherwise you are target for all. And being target for all is death.

There is also heirarchy, sometimes actions arent voluntary, Kabalites might venture into enemy territory because they see the desire of their Archon, if he will find them useless they are surely doomed. A little way up same aplies for Archons and Vect. And Vect is a top of it all...and i doubt he will ever allow one Kabal to gain the upperhand. Even Black Heart. So he will orchestrate such events.

And Dark Eldar are quite arrogant to begin with. Why not atack Imperial Guard outpost, why not atack Tau Expeditionary Fleet. Why not?

Also listen creators.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-oatGPbCSIU

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PostSubject: Re: Why Do Dark Eldar Fight?   Fri Jan 09 2015, 15:13

The_Burning_Eye wrote:
nothing is more invigorating to their sould, and therefore makes them feel more alive, than inflicting pain and suffering. [...] being challenged gives a greater reward for the survivor, and is therefore worth the risk.
It's not just inflicting pain and suffering on others, and the risk/reward high. Any pain - including their own - has an invigorating effect (beyond just adrenaline rush). Kabalite warrior armour is described as being lined with barbs that hook into the skin and vitalise the wearer before battle.

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PostSubject: Re: Why Do Dark Eldar Fight?   Fri Jan 09 2015, 22:49

[quote="Deman
The Dark Eldar don't have some Viking-esque warrior culture where it's better to die in battle than grow old and feeble. They don't have some shogunate code of honour forcing them to act with courage. They don't even have an expectation of loyalty, sacrifice or the bigger picture. Why would the Dark Eldar stick around if anything but helpless civilians were to be encountered on their raids?[/quote]
Because they have disdain for the lesser races. Sure, there may be a big fleet that turns up but that's a big slow fleet. Dark Eldar attack with the cunning of an old hunter using every trick in the book and playing with their prey. Because a big fleet means between 500,000 to over one M souls. That is a tasty feast and as others have sad before it is also a big price to bring back to Commorragh to show your rivals how powerful you are.

And now to why every Kabalits dream it is, to go on a raid: The Dark Eldar soul is like a leaking bucket and it needs refilling. To refill it, one must only be present at someone else's suffering. This is the reason why the arenas are so popular in Commorragh. But being on a raid is just so much more refilling. So much suffering to"feed" on can only be found in a large scale conflict. Not just in a settlement. Maybe the Kabals of low Commorragh find it fulfilling enough but not the big Kabals. Hope that helps you understand, why DE would attack larger forces.

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Malebranche
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PostSubject: Re: Why Do Dark Eldar Fight?   Sat Jan 10 2015, 02:08

think they fight stronger forces because its more challenging, more sporting, and more fun to kill a stronger opponent. This will not only have a better "power from pain" effect in my opinion, but also give them greater prestige, giving them a better chance at the Archons favor and the perks of high society.

As for the idea of simply jumping ship at the first sign of danger, sure DE aren't expected to be trustworthy or loyal, but why would a rival Archon pay ypu for stolen goods and information when you have displayed such weakness instead of just capturing you and torturing you for the info? You've already shown that you would be useless working for them, and your old employer has no doubt send someone to take you down anyway so you're not worth the effort of keeping you alive. There is no expectation of honor or loyalty, but this means a good kabal, cult etc go to so much more effort to reward those who do right by them and punish those who don't.
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PostSubject: Re: Why Do Dark Eldar Fight?   Sat Jan 10 2015, 02:17

Also, which is more invigorating for a hunter, killing a mouse or a bear?

Why does a serial killer take the risk the murder humans, sometimes even going so far as to mock police or the family's of victims when they could just keep killing cats?
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a1elbow
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PostSubject: Re: Why Do Dark Eldar Fight?   Sat Jan 10 2015, 03:36

I assume that DE fight in larger battles because they have goals to accomplish that requires it of them.

There is a lot of fluff where DE set up shop in a poorly defended area, raid for a while and then the Imperium shows up. The Imperium typically shows up slowly in these situations (first they lose contact, then they send someone in to see what is happening, then they find something and send more of a response, etc).

Most battles that DE are involved in are probably in this middle period where there isn't enough of a response from anyone for the DE to already begin running away and repelling the defenders gives them more time to raid.

Against Nids and Orks and etc it is less clear, but probably similar. The DE have enough of a stake in the region that it is worth their time to engage in battle because if they hold off the other force they have more time to do what they want.

On a purely battle-to-battle scheme, I don't imagine the DE can get away always as simply as "throw down a portal and get our 2000 points outta here!" More likely, they need some time or advance planning to make that much of an escape.

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PostSubject: Re: Why Do Dark Eldar Fight?   Sat Jan 10 2015, 09:03

Excitement.
Dark Eldar are always at risk to get bored to death, literally, or actually even worse.

If their body gets killed, it can be replaced, unless they have a very low standing, in which case they probably also can't afford to even go on a realspace raid.

But if they don't sate their hunger on excitement, they wither away without escape.
Eaten up by She Who Thirsts, if they don't make others suffer instead.

Dark Eldar also have a very demanding society.
If they don't prove their worth (ability to fight, take slaves, outwit others, survive, etc.) they will be seen as weak, and become victim to their lessers quickly.
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PostSubject: Re: Why Do Dark Eldar Fight?   Mon Jan 12 2015, 15:08

Good input folks. So thinking about this and reading through the responses I've come to the conclusion that your average no hope bottom-rung kabalite warrior fights for two specific reasons 1.) Addiction. Dark Eldar are addicted to the suffering of others and are very much energy vampires feeding off that suffering. 2.) Fear/Ambition. These two concepts are likely inseparable in Comorragh. You either climb over the backs of your contemporaries or they climb over yours. The only way to advance is through slaughter, either of those around you or the "lesser races".

Essentially the entirety of Dark Eldar society is insane, run on terror, paranoia and addiction. It'd be like the worlds largest heroin cartels except instead of the most brutal being in charge it's those with the most brutality AND the greatest addiction. I guess in this environment there is zero choice available. You're born in a vat at the bottom of society, a piece of property owned by your Archon to be used in anyway by anyone who can dominate you. Only way up is to murder and/or fight your way up. But the higher you rise the more you're hooked on gaining more. You do this until you either hit the top or a more powerful rival puts an end to you. If you can make it far enough up the ladder (I guess Sybarite rank would be the earliest rung this is available) then you can afford the gene and soul therapies of the Haemonculus to extend your life indefinitely, but that its;ef has a spiralling cost requiring more and more suffering and more looting.

I guess the threat of Slaanesh is actually more of a conceptual threat, She Who Thirsts being an ephemeral bogeyman for the majority of the Dark Kin. Your average kabalite probably knows little (beyond horror stories and cautionary tales) of the real danger his soul is in. But that's ok because just surviving day-to-day is enough of a challenge that there's no time to think about what comes after. To think about your death is to invite it (there are probably taboo's on thinking about dying or it's considered very bad luck or something). It's only once you advance to the upper echelons of society where your life has real value (and longevity) that the threat to your soul becomes very real and of far greater weight than it does for the majority.

Comorragh is one sick and twisted place! But I guess that's why a lot of people play this faction. The Dark Eldar have a complexity to their character deeper than any other 40k faction I think. I think only the Tau could rival them for depth. Their craftworld cousins have depth too but they also suffer the same rigidity of the imperial factions - they're societies are built around waging war whereas warfare is merely a symptom of the Dark Eldar need struggle to exist.

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Marrath
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PostSubject: Re: Why Do Dark Eldar Fight?   Mon Jan 12 2015, 20:25

That's a quite accurate summary, except that i think She Who Thirsts is very real for every Dark Eldar, i think they can all feel her draining their soul away, and it gets worse when they leave the sheltering Webway.
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nexs
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PostSubject: Re: Why Do Dark Eldar Fight?   Mon Jan 12 2015, 21:58

Is it not also to do with Slaanesh? Eldar continue to be psychic and lock their souls in stones to keep from being devoured by Slaanesh, whereas psychic powers would wreck the webway so they have to keep their souls alive for as long as possible. It just so happens that pain keeps them alive.

So why not assault, pillage, fight, torture, etc.
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PostSubject: Re: Why Do Dark Eldar Fight?   Thu Jan 15 2015, 21:05

Besides, the average Kabalite is no doubt convinced that though Jimmy and Bob might bite it in battle, "I'll be fine!"
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PostSubject: Re: Why Do Dark Eldar Fight?   Thu Jan 15 2015, 22:14

Also do not forget the base line core of All Eldar culture. You silly Monkieghs. Because we can, and the lesser races are to weak to stop us. Ever seen the gorgeous look on a planetary emperor's face when you take his daughter for your personal slave after crushing their armies, and city? One f the finest tastes. Now imagine the look after you crush the "Great" heroes the space marines. The greater the force you crush the deeper the despair the soul feels, the more satisfying the feast.

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PostSubject: Re: Why Do Dark Eldar Fight?   Sun Jan 18 2015, 00:16

There is also the explanation that the pain and death are addictive so the more the fighting goes on the more sucked in the dark Eldar get. Beautifully represented by the power from pain rule. That combined with the possibility of regrowth - you'd fight too!
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