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Dubh
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PostSubject: DE Morality & Empathy   Mon Dec 12 2016, 10:23

Having given the codex a good re-read over the last few days, I had a couple of thoughts on DE morality and how Comorragh functions.

One thing I find difficult to believe is the emphasis in the lore on the *complete evil* of the DE. There are a lot of sentences along the lines of, "empathy and compassion are completely alien to the Dark Eldar", and it got me thinking.

It would be impossible for DE society, or any society, to function without an approximation of these moral terms. Although lots of DE are grown in vats, many are Trueborn. There are specialised artisans, artists and artificiers who would require a semblance of protection, whether in a legal or a social code, from the society as presented.

One way of looking at this is that they are protected by the Cabals, which is fine, but requires at least a working definition of loyalty/fealty that goes beyond a transactional 'I will protect you in exchange for goods' agreement.

Secondly, Dark Eldar, like the Craftworld Eldar, experience an incredibly wide array of emotions. The reason they see themselves as the True Kin is because they don't 'negate' the other aspects of the Eldar character (indulgence, cruelty, deceit) that the CE do. This surely means that they also foster an appreciation of artistry, heroism, surely even love? Although the love might be different from human love, surely the driving principle of DE is a cultivation of all of their indulgences and emotions, of which love would have to be one.

One thing in the codex that does provide a chink of light in this regard is the depiction of the Harlequins. When they visit Commorragh and put on performances, the Codex describes the DE as being enraptured by the displays. These are emotional stories about loss and a shared Eldar history, which the DE must appreciate on some level beyond - 'look at their sick dance moves'

tl;dr My understanding of Dark Eldar was that they are essentially 'unbound' by the morality that Craftworld Eldar buy into, and I don't feel that the Codex does that justice. Instead it depicts them all as only giving a damn about torture and suffering, which of course has its place, rather than as the decadent hedonists that I think comes closer to an accurate portrayal.

Interested to hear your thoughts!
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PostSubject: Re: DE Morality & Empathy   Mon Dec 12 2016, 10:48

I disagree with your assessment that a society needs Empathy to function.

I think the correct term for Dark Eldar society isn't "Evil", but "Hedonism". Selfishness is the ultimate trait of the Dark Eldar, and getting wqhat you want is the all. Its about making your own life fun, and growin in power to enhance the ability to make that happen.
Whats important to remember is that, certainly those with more power, a lot of Dark Eldar make deals with Haemonculi to have new bodies grown and be reborn if they die.
Most societies devolp empathy as a means of keeping watch on their own society and being able to help/save those members of its society they need/want. If a person close to you is in danger, you save them.
But in Commoragh, death is a fetish. Its not a final demise, because there are ways to come back. And I think its safe to say that with rare exceptions most Dark Eldar Archons have died a few times and been brought back. So in a society where death is not final, why fear it? Why worry about your cousin dying, when a Haemonculus can bring him back? Perhaps with some amusing mutation to remind him of his stupidity?

This also helps explain why thy enjoy torture and suffering. Because death means nothing to them.
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PostSubject: Re: DE Morality & Empathy   Mon Dec 12 2016, 10:51

It's still decadently hedonistic, just not in the way that we (as humans) perceive it.

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PostSubject: Re: DE Morality & Empathy   Mon Dec 12 2016, 10:57

Squidmaster, I agree that it is ultimately a hedonistic society. That is my understanding of it. But I don't think that is how the codex presents it? The codex presents their only fetishes or indulgences as being towards suffering. Where are the extremes of art, or craftsmanship or passion? The Gladiatorial contests get closer to this, I suppose. That is definitely an extreme of art.

I think empathy is maybe the wrong word. But like, 'looking after' is a basic survival compact that all species have to make, to a degree. Like there are people being pregnant in Commorragh, there will be a degree of reciprocity in making truces and alliances that goes beyond an immediate cost benefit analysis.

However - very good point about death not being final. Hadn't thought of that
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PostSubject: Re: DE Morality & Empathy   Mon Dec 12 2016, 11:31

On the Codex, lets remember that we're dealing with a "family product". Theres a reason Slaaneshi daemons don't have really obvious boobs on show anymore.

On the looking after, I don't think thats true. The basic survival instinct is one WE have certainly, but its based on the survival of the species. Its about needing a community with which we can continue o exist, our bloodlines can continue.
The Dark Eldar don't need this.
Not only have they as a species reached an evolutionary high point, but their ability to create new soldiers and to be resurrected by Haemonculi means that "living" is a much more relative term. It doesn't matter if you lose a few units of Kabalities, because if you're rich enough you can buy more. It doesn;t matter if cousin Billy gets roasted by a Meltagun, because haemonculus Bob will just respawn him later and you can all take the piss out of him for it.
We're talking about a society who have the technology to surpass death. As a result dying is not the threat to the species it once was or is to other species (such as us today). With no imperative towards survival, there's no reason to be on the look out or to look after other people.

I would agree there is a benefit to forging alliances and keeping your soldiers happy, but I wouldn;t call this looking after or empathy. I would still call this slefishness, because the ultimate purpose is to make sure that your power is not stripped from you. Alliances are forged to hold on to power, or to work together to gain more. The Codex may not go into this in great detail (except for mentioning those who ally with Vect to secure themselves against him) but the Path Of The Archon novels make it a bit clearer.



"Hey! Kabalitie Tom! Your cousin Billy just got burned to a crisp again!"
"HA! Ol' Burned Up Billy. Always getting himself burned by humans. I'm going to ask Haemonculus Bob to leave a burn make on him this time!"
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PostSubject: Re: DE Morality & Empathy   Mon Dec 12 2016, 11:34

I think empathy is a core part of all Dark Eldar.
I read in the codex (hopefully correctly):
Only empathy allows them to ward off ennui by torturing others in their stead.
Or rather in addition to torturing themselves, look at how the adorn their Armour with hooks to their nerve centres.
Empathy allows them to feel their victim's pain and by that, not be eaten by slaanesh, soulwise.
Also i think they don't really torture because they're evil, but because for them suffering, overstimulation and dying is just a normal way of living.

But they are merciless enough to just ignore it if their "guest" disagrees.

Also their Morale would probably just be like for the Drow in Menzoberranzan:
Don't PO the Matron Mother/Supreme Overlord or if you do, don't get caught.


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PostSubject: Re: DE Morality & Empathy   Mon Dec 12 2016, 11:50

V. interesting points all.

How about things like art? Presumably there are amazing musicians, authors and artists etc in Commorragh, I can't imagine the DE totally going for 'lowest common denominator' appeal.

What about attachment? Some people still have kids, while I imagine abortion is hardly frowned upon Razz

Do you think there are DE with long term, ongoing partnerships/friendships?
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PostSubject: Re: DE Morality & Empathy   Mon Dec 12 2016, 14:31

If you read the drizzt novels, you see a society where the people are raised to fear and distrust one another. His sister has some respect for him, she wants to see him succeed. So I think they have relationships like that but probably never true friends

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PostSubject: Re: DE Morality & Empathy   Mon Dec 12 2016, 15:00

Yeah that makes sense.

I guess what I'm searching for is something akin to the Fantasy lore that was expanded upon in the End Times where Malekith (Dark Elves) retained a vestige of nobility and duty despite his corruption.

After all, the Archons are at least aristocratic etc
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PostSubject: Re: DE Morality & Empathy   Mon Dec 12 2016, 15:11

What an interesting discussion Smile

Wall of text in 3...2...1...

As for empathy and their love of torturing, I'm not certain it would be necessary for them to feel empathy to enjoy it. I've heard from somewhere (think it's the Path books? Need to check up on that), that their soul leaching through torture/killing thing makes them feel f*cking fantastic for a short period of time. Like a massive space-cocaine hit. If that's what drives their behaviour, then that would produce the behaviour we see in them without the need for them to empathise with their captives.

Saying that, as far as cruelty goes, I'd say being able to put themselves into anothers' position would let them be so much more inventive...

Overall, I definitely think that Dark Eldar do feel empathy, but that it's stunted compared to Craftworlders. Basically, Eldar as a species have the ability to telepathically connect with each other. Can't remember which book it's in (I think it's Asurmen), but there's an eldar child during the fall who pesters its mother to 'share', to which she eventually relents but says that they'll have to stop soon. From that exchange, it seems that psychic bonding/connection is part of the parent-child relationship in eldar biology.

Now, imagine a society of those same people who are psychically mute. Imagine what that would do to a person's perception of others around them (hint, look at isolation/maternal deprivation studies in monkeys). As a species you're used to being able to directly connect with others around you, you're now alone as a thinking being stuck inside your own head. Granted, that's the existence that humans have now, but it's not a natural state for the eldar.

I also think that it's absolutely possible for a society to exist without bonds of friendship/kinship. Technically, those bonds are actually just selfishness in a disguised form (look up Inclusive Fitness and Kin Selection). In the Dark Eldar's case, they most certainly wouldn't be able to maintain a stable population without their cloning technology. Their natural birthrate is low even compared to other eldar. Any natural births are presumably a display of conspicuous consumption (it's very risky and costly to raise trueborn young, so if you can it's a display of your wealth and power).

I do wonder how far that's taken though. You could look at the Dark Eldar in two ways: either a society of individuals physically incapable of feeling empathy. A society completely comprised of psychopaths.

Or, which I feel is slightly more nuanced, as a society of individuals that think closer to you and I, but whose society violently punishes those who show weakness. In this eventuality, Dark Eldar would be completely capable of forming long-term relationships, but doing so would be fantastically risky as it would provide an edge your cut-throat rivals can use (or your erstwhile partner might not be as trustworthy as they seem).

@Dubh wrote:
Yeah that makes sense.

I guess what I'm searching for is something akin to the Fantasy lore that was expanded upon in the End Times where Malekith (Dark Elves) retained a vestige of nobility and duty despite his corruption.

After all, the Archons are at least aristocratic etc

I do wonder about this too. Moreso in the constext of their shared past with the Craftworlders. For instance, I'd imagine that for all of their freewheeling hedonistic ways, they'd be every bit as committed and serious as the Craftworlders when it comes to fighting the Yngir (Necrons).

While they may be squabbling siblings in most circumstances, if they came across the b*stard that killed their parents (the Old Ones) they'd feel just as duty-bound to wipe them out. They'd crack sarky jokes at the expense of their uptight siblings, but when the chips were down and the Blasters were out they'd be there.

Just my interpretation though Smile

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PostSubject: Re: DE Morality & Empathy   Mon Dec 12 2016, 15:31

@Ynneadwraith wrote:
I do wonder about this too. Moreso in the constext of their shared past with the Craftworlders. For instance, I'd imagine that for all of their freewheeling hedonistic ways, they'd be every bit as committed and serious as the Craftworlders when it comes to fighting the Yngir (Necrons).

While they may be squabbling siblings in most circumstances, if they came across the b*stard that killed their parents (the Old Ones) they'd feel just as duty-bound to wipe them out. They'd crack sarky jokes at the expense of their uptight siblings, but when the chips were down and the Blasters were out they'd be there.


Very interesting points. I think a lot of this is backed up by the part in the Codex where the DE are listening enraptured to the Harlequin Masque. There is a consciousness that they are all Eldar, and the distinction between Dark and Craftworld is a distinction of category, rather than type/species.

@Ynneadwraith wrote:
I do wonder about this too. Moreso in the constext of their shared past with the Craftworlders. For instance, I'd imagine that for all of their freewheeling hedonistic ways, they'd be every bit as committed and serious as the Craftworlders when it comes to fighting the Yngir (Necrons).

While they may be squabbling siblings in most circumstances, if they came across the b*stard that killed their parents (the Old Ones) they'd feel just as duty-bound to wipe them out. They'd crack sarky jokes at the expense of their uptight siblings, but when the chips were down and the Blasters were out they'd be there.

Hmm I see what you are saying about the psychic point. I guess the CE probably see them as a little bit...autistic? They just won't be able to make that connection. However, I imagine DE see CE as stunted and puritanical in a different way.

I disagree about friendship and kinship being 'technically' selfishness, but that's a separate evolutionary discussion Razz and I don't think there are any societies really that function without them. Animals to varying degrees cooperate through family groups, all human societies regard families and kinship groups as a big enough deal to enshrine in law.

In Commorragh I can imagine family members related by blood to be more likely to be loyal than anyone else (even if just for selfish reasons like the prestige of lineage), and given the premium on loyalty in Commorragh those kinship bonds could be a precious commodity.

Food for thought!
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PostSubject: Re: DE Morality & Empathy   Mon Dec 12 2016, 15:33

I think that's a really good insight. Their society fundamentally changed with the loss of telepathy. The only hate i feel for our craft world cousins is meta hate, because they have a tier 1 codex. But fluff wise, I feel like as a dark eldar, i would just look at them like they are the stuffy religious relative who refuses to have fun.

Dark Eldar would never raid a craftworld would they? Like CE never ge involved in our inner politics so there really would be no point

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PostSubject: Re: DE Morality & Empathy   Mon Dec 12 2016, 15:42

I think the main reason they don't is because they'd get wrecked. The same reason DE don't raid Mars.

I agree they wouldn't raid for a political objective, or to kill as many CE as possibly, but I wouldn't put it past a rogue cabal to attack a Craftworld for a material benefit.
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PostSubject: Re: DE Morality & Empathy   Mon Dec 12 2016, 15:50

Fluff wise are we weaker to craftworld? or just because our kabals are smaller than the Craft world army?

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PostSubject: Re: DE Morality & Empathy   Mon Dec 12 2016, 15:52

We just don't fight the same battles. Craftworld eldar can go to war in huge hosts, with massive war engines. DE just raid and run away back to the webway Very Happy
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PostSubject: Re: DE Morality & Empathy   Mon Dec 12 2016, 15:52

Maybe the lack of empathy and compassion are used in the codex to describe in human words a concept otherwise too alien for our culture.
I see DE society more similar to a insect hive than a mammal herd, but with social Darwinism scaled up over the top.
Everyone is useful, nobody is essential.
If you want remain relevant in a place like the Dark City you must not have compassion because someone else will take your place.

For those who played Vampire: the Masquerade DE society is a mix of Camarilla's organization and Sabbath's ruthlessness.
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PostSubject: Re: DE Morality & Empathy   Mon Dec 12 2016, 17:07

@Dubh wrote:

Very interesting points. I think a lot of this is backed up by the part in the Codex where the DE are listening enraptured to the Harlequin Masque. There is a consciousness that they are all Eldar, and the distinction between Dark and Craftworld is a distinction of category, rather than type/species.

Exactly Smile they're every bit products of their history as the craftworlds.

One thing that I wonder is what Dark Eldar speech is like. It's definitely a different language/dialect to the rest of the eldar (not that the rest of the eldar have a unified language either, I definitely remember reading the craftworlds spoke different languages/dialects to each other).

If the composition of their language is the same as the craftworlders, in that it's heavily embedded in the myths, legends and general events of the past, then that would give even more depth to Dark Eldar society (beyond just being torturers).

Hell, the fact that they see themselves as the rightful heirs to the legacy of the Eldar Empire is enough Smile

@Dubh wrote:

Hmm I see what you are saying about the psychic point. I guess the CE probably see them as a little bit...autistic? They just won't be able to make that connection. However, I imagine DE see CE as stunted and puritanical in a different way.

Yeah I think the CWE probably see the DE as something between autists (not sure if that's a word, but it should be), high functioning sociopaths, and that brother with the piercings and the drug habit.

The DE probably see the CWE as self-righteous blow-hards who just need to loosen up a little Smile they probably see them as a bit weak as well, hiding from their true natures in fear of Slaanesh. That'd probably be quite the condemnation given the premium the Dark Eldar put on strength.

@Dubh wrote:
I disagree about friendship and kinship being 'technically' selfishness, but that's a separate evolutionary discussion Razz and I don't think there are any societies really that function without them. Animals to varying degrees cooperate through family groups, all human societies regard families and kinship groups as a big enough deal to enshrine in law.

The thing is is that the Dark Eldar aren't human, they're aliens. The only society of sentient beings we have ever known has been humans, so we've got a rather narrow sample.

Applying our societal values to a completely alien life form (and by completely alien, I mean completely alien. They didn't even evolve properly, they were engineered by the Old Ones) is not something that can be done without proper critical thought to see whether it holds water.

@Dubh wrote:

In Commorragh I can imagine family members related by blood to be more likely to be loyal than anyone else (even if just for selfish reasons like the prestige of lineage), and given the premium on loyalty in Commorragh those kinship bonds could be a precious commodity.

Food for thought!  

Yeah that's a good way of thinking about it Smile ensuring you have a genuine bloodline going on would be fantastically risky (lots of potential usurpers, lots of cost keeping them safe). It'd be a very powerful archon that could boast of having a family bloodline Smile

You could also see it another way if you like. If you go for the 'Dark Eldar are closer to us than you think, but their society dictates different behaviours', then conspicuous consumption could be a good cover-up for genuine familial ties to stop you appearing weak to your rivals. Pick and choose whichever you want Smile The Dark City is big and varied enough for both to be likely.

@RedRegicide wrote:
I think that's a really good insight. Their society fundamentally changed with the loss of telepathy. The only hate i feel for our craft world cousins is meta hate, because they have a tier 1 codex. But fluff wise, I feel like as a dark eldar, i would just look at them like they are the stuffy religious relative who refuses to have fun.

Dark Eldar would never raid a craftworld would they? Like CE never ge involved in our inner politics so there really would be no point

Thanks man Smile yeah it'd be something that would profoundly alter the way they interact with each other, and would also profoundly influence their childhood development.

Yeah I also think that the Dark Eldar think that the Craftworlders are a bit weak, having to hide from their true selves behind their Paths, all for fear of Slaanesh.

From what I can tell, conflicts between the Dark Eldar and the Craftworlders are rare, and if they do happen they're rarely as 'total annihilation' as conflicts between other factions. Most of the fluff where the Craftworlders and Commorrites really do try and destroy each other is older fluff before they nuanced them more than 'High Elves and Dark Elves...in spaaaace!'.

@Dubh wrote:
I think the main reason they don't is because they'd get wrecked. The same reason DE don't raid Mars.

I agree they wouldn't raid for a political objective, or to kill as many CE as possibly, but I wouldn't put it past a rogue cabal to attack a Craftworld for a material benefit.

@RedRegicide wrote:
Fluff wise are we weaker to craftworld? or just because our kabals are smaller than the Craft world army?

Not so certain they're weaker! The Dark Eldar undoubtedly outnumber the Craftworlders, or if they don't they can suffer attrition much more readily. While they lack the raw manufacturing capabilities of the Craftworlds (evidenced by fewer warmachines), their level of technological sophistication and adaptation seems to be a degree higher than the Craftworlders.

I'd certainly put the Commorrites well above the military might of a single craftworld. Perhaps above the military might of all the craftworlds, but both sides are far from united.

Difficult to say who would win really. The Dark Eldar would certainly win a war of attrition, but as they've only got the single main base of operations (Commorragh) that leaves them vulnerable to a dedicated strike there.

Don't want to get off topic with a 'who would win, CWE or DE' debate. Those tend to descend into anarchy quite quickly from experience!

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PostSubject: Re: DE Morality & Empathy   Thu Dec 15 2016, 23:12

I'd imagine there's a series of "unwritten" rules that have developed through their society over the millenia that allowes them to function. I can see Kabals as not just organisations built around strength but also protection, someone joins a Kabal not just out of a desire to rise up the ranks of the Commorite society but out of a need for protection as well. Attacking one member of a Kabal can be seen as a direct challange to the strength and authority of the Kabal itself, resulting in reprisals. Of course, more powerful Kabals can then choose to be picky on who they accept.
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PostSubject: Re: DE Morality & Empathy   Fri Dec 16 2016, 00:18

Yeah agreed. Just because they're lawless doesn't mean that there aren't rules that people follow (or rather, things that if you do you'll get killed, so people don't tend to do them).

Less a moral code, more a list of things that are stupid to do.

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PostSubject: Re: DE Morality & Empathy   Fri Dec 16 2016, 03:35

@Ynneadwraith wrote:
What an interesting discussion Smile
Or, which I feel is slightly more nuanced, as a society of individuals that think closer to you and I, but whose society violently punishes those who show weakness. In this eventuality, Dark Eldar would be completely capable of forming long-term relationships, but doing so would be fantastically risky

Based on the last 2 iterations of the codex, I'd say this basically has to be it. It wouldn't really be possible for anyone to hang on to power in DE society if there weren't some level of personal relationships and loyalty.

The way I view DE is that they're basically super-hedonistic, technologically superior humans. Imagine humankind without religion-based morality, with highly advanced technology, and with no real law except might makes right. Then you'd have DE society.

And we should all keep in mind that being "brought back from the dead" for a Dark Eldar is super expensive. Most can't afford it. Not sure if it was the current codex or the last one, but it said only the wealthiest of Archons could afford to ensure they're always brought back from death. DE society is about extreme emotion. Whether it be torture, fear, pain, happiness, lust, or even love. All of them fuel the DE's being. DE probably feel love, loyalty, and compassion deeper than any other group in 40k. But they live in a society that relishes all the opposites of those just as well, which makes the positive emotions dangerous to them. That is the curse of DE existence. They are tormented by the duality of their being, and the need to feed their inner emotional vampire.

That said, it's also far easier to generate the negative emotions than the positive ones. It might take you months to get person X to fall in love with you. But you could instead torture them from this day to that one, and get 59 extra days of tasty emotional energy. The pull of the dark side is strong. Twisted Evil

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PostSubject: Re: DE Morality & Empathy   Fri Dec 16 2016, 11:33

@BetrayTheWorld wrote:
@Ynneadwraith wrote:
What an interesting discussion Smile
Or, which I feel is slightly more nuanced, as a society of individuals that think closer to you and I, but whose society violently punishes those who show weakness. In this eventuality, Dark Eldar would be completely capable of forming long-term relationships, but doing so would be fantastically risky

Based on the last 2 iterations of the codex, I'd say this basically has to be it. It wouldn't really be possible for anyone to hang on to power in DE society if there weren't some level of personal relationships and loyalty.

The way I view DE is that they're basically super-hedonistic, technologically superior humans. Imagine humankind without religion-based morality, with highly advanced technology, and with no real law except might makes right. Then you'd have DE society.

And we should all keep in mind that being "brought back from the dead" for a Dark Eldar is super expensive. Most can't afford it. Not sure if it was the current codex or the last one, but it said only the wealthiest of Archons could afford to ensure they're always brought back from death. DE society is about extreme emotion. Whether it be torture, fear, pain, happiness, lust, or even love. All of them fuel the DE's being. DE probably feel love, loyalty, and compassion deeper than any other group in 40k. But they live in a society that relishes all the opposites of those just as well, which makes the positive emotions dangerous to them. That is the curse of DE existence. They are tormented by the duality of their being, and the need to feed their inner emotional vampire.

That said, it's also far easier to generate the negative emotions than the positive ones. It might take you months to get person X to fall in love with you. But you could instead torture them from this day to that one, and get 59 extra days of tasty emotional energy. The pull of the dark side is strong. Twisted Evil

Yeah that sounds like a very reasonable explanation for them Smile

Raises an interesting question though. Does the Dark Eldar soul-vampirism thing purely function through the pain, suffering and death of others (as if they're stealing the soul-energy released from their captives to top up their own soul as it's steadily drained away)? Or, does it function by feeding off strong emotion, in which case strong positive emotion could also sustain them?

Personally, I'm leaning towards the former. Not only because as far as I can see there's no evidence of the latter being the case, but also because it adds an extra nuance to the Dark Eldar existence (and Eldar in general really).

Say you've got a Dark Eldar that, for some reason or another, actually develops a conscience. They grow tired of the constant pain and suffering of Commorragh, and want to stop. However, there's an inner hunger that can only be sated by violence and torture, so they're caught between the two (like the age old 'vampire with a conscience' thing).

If it sounds a little farfetched for a Dark Eldar to start caring about their chattel, how about beginning with a Craftworlder on the Path of the Outcast. Loses their soulstone in a firefight, and starts to feel the tug of Slaanesh on their soul. Feeling the hunger grow inside, they are caught between the moral code of their Craftworld upbringing and the violent nature of their racial experience.

Thinking about it, no reason the two couldn't be mutually compatible. Could be a hunger for excess of all emotions, and as you say violence is simply the easiest one to sate in the 40k universe Smile

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PostSubject: Re: DE Morality & Empathy   Fri Dec 16 2016, 20:29

It said in the previous codex that ALL intense emotion sustains them, and that fear and pain are just the most intense and therefore the most efficient to feed off of.

This codex has less fluff overall than the last, having only small portions of copy/paste from the last codex, so I wouldn't use the current codex as a basis for understanding anything except the timeline.

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PostSubject: Re: DE Morality & Empathy   Fri Dec 16 2016, 22:01

@BetrayTheWorld wrote:
It said in the previous codex that ALL intense emotion sustains them, and that fear and pain are just the most intense and therefore the most efficient to feed off of.

This codex has less fluff overall than the last, having only small portions of copy/paste from the last codex, so I wouldn't use the current codex as a basis for understanding anything except the timeline.

Yeah I noticed that with the latest Craftworld codex. Noticeably less fluff (and less fluff in the 5th one than in the 3rd). Doesn't even mention the War in Heaven...

I hope it's not a trend. Would be a real shame.

Interesting about the any intense emotion thing. Would allow a lot of nuance in fluff writing Smile

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PostSubject: Re: DE Morality & Empathy   Sat Dec 17 2016, 00:06

@Ynneadwraith wrote:
@BetrayTheWorld wrote:
It said in the previous codex that ALL intense emotion sustains them, and that fear and pain are just the most intense and therefore the most efficient to feed off of.

Interesting about the any intense emotion thing. Would allow a lot of nuance in fluff writing Smile

Yeah, I've seen this type of discussion pop up several times, and it seems very few people remember that part, and tend to think DE are ONLY about fear/pain/death/etc. They are so much more. They're like feelbots. They feel EVERY emotion in the extreme, and it's ALL fantastic to them.

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PostSubject: Re: DE Morality & Empathy   Sun Dec 18 2016, 05:14

I guess I'll throw my 2 cents in.

The way the codex lays out Dark Eldar society and even the way Andy Chambers describes it in his novels, Commorragh sounds less like a real place and more like an Ayn Rand novel consisting entirely of space elfs who watched way too much Hellraiser. I studied economics in school and if there's one thing an economy (and thus a civilized society) needs to function it's private property rights and the enforcement of them. The Kabals, Wych Cults, Covens, etc. are all based around ensuring these property rights because the centralized government of ruling nobles was dethroned when Vect took over. If you've ever played EVE Online, I imagine Kabals to work in a very similar way to corporations in nullsec or wormhole space. Large corps own smaller corps and everyone has a duty to the corporation for their mutual protection and prosperity. You get a cut of the action, but only if you put your ass on the line, and all your stuff is protected so long as you don't double-cross the corporation. There's back-stabbing sure and betrayal and skulduggery of all sorts but for the average dude shooting rocks or ratting or flipping cans, life is as uneventful as they want it to be. Now consider that Dark Eldar, much like EVE players, are driven by excitement and causing others misery at every turn, and that's where you get the gratuitous raiding parties.

I wrote a Dark Eldar story and in it I had to come up with a way to make the Dark Eldar actually relatable. Like Mr. Plinkett said when he was reviewing the Star Wars prequels: "Everyone in these movies comes off as a bunch of weird space aliens. Which I guess is because they ARE all weird space aliens. But it's impossible to connect with them and their dull, sterile, sexless universe." If I was to write about a Dark Eldar and portray them as how an actual Dark Eldar would act down to the letter of the fluff, it'd just be A Serbian Film in space. A reader isn't really gonna sympathize with that, even the forces of Chaos would be more likable at that point. So I imagined the upper echelons of Commorragh are all the esoteric and pedantic tyrants the race is known for, while the lower level denizens are just a bunch of average everyday schlubs just trying not to get shanked in an alley and maybe claw their way ahead a bit. They have friends, at least until they become too inconvenient. They have loyalties, as long as there's some safety in the group. And they even have love, though it might be tongue in cheek. Some of them have eccentricities, some of them are basically thugs, but they all have a personality beyond raping and pillaging. And yes, they have empathy. Without empathy you can't enjoy schadenfreude, which as all Dark Eldar players know, is the best kind of joy.
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