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 Do Harlequins ever take their masks off?

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TeenageAngst
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PostSubject: Do Harlequins ever take their masks off?   Sat Mar 11 2017, 04:12

Like you see Aspect Warriors without their masks, and the Dark Eldar don't even wear them, but idk about the Harlequins. I'd assume they have to if they wanna do things like idk eat or something. Also are they always just wandering around the Webway/fighting/performing or do they do other things too? They have to have a base of some sort or else how would they have war machines. Also I know Eldar can become Dark Eldar or Corsairs and any of them can become Harlequins but do Harlequins ever stop being clowns or is it like the mob where once you're in you're in for life?

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PostSubject: Re: Do Harlequins ever take their masks off?   Sat Mar 11 2017, 11:15

I know their main base of operations is the Black Library, which is sort of a mini-craftworld hidden somewhere in the webway. Or, at least they maintain a heavy guard there.

I think the majority of Troupes are pretty itinerant though, wandering through the webway putting together their Just As Planned schemes.

I don't know of any fluff instances of a Harlequin stopping being a Harlequin, and it is sort of implied that Cegorach owns their soul, but that doesn't mean it can't happen. Slaanesh owns the rest of the Eldar's (non-Ynnari) souls and they pretty much do what they want (so long as it doesn't get her attention).

Plus, I've loved the idea of a Harlequin Corsair ever since I saw this model by Paradigm over on Dakka:


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PostSubject: Re: Do Harlequins ever take their masks off?   Sat Mar 11 2017, 18:27

So the only way out of the clown mob is to basically start your own racket?

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PostSubject: Re: Do Harlequins ever take their masks off?   Sat Mar 11 2017, 19:59

Sounds fluffy to me Wink

I love your idea that Harlequins are a bit like the mob. I'd always imagined them as a bit more like MiB (Men in Black). Sort of you get chosen for being kickass and then get to romp around the galaxy doing kickass stuff with special weapons. Didn't really fit with my desired level of grimdark for the 40k universe.

However, having them as basically a cult type thing that would viciously punish anyone that tries to leave seems much more fitting Smile

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PostSubject: Re: Do Harlequins ever take their masks off?   Wed Apr 05 2017, 07:42

The fact they're an entire faction now and the fluff only talks about them like they're unicorns doesn't really help matters in regards to trying to figure out what exactly their role is. I mean Space Marine chapters have characters and personalities and home planets and missions, Guardsmen have their own heroes and villains and motivations too numerous to count, same with the Craftworlders and Dark Eldar and Tau and even the Necrons.

Harlequins? No named characters, only a little paragraph or blurb about each masque, nothing particularly unique or interesting about where they come from or how they're organized or what they do aside from dancing and stabbing things.

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PostSubject: Re: Do Harlequins ever take their masks off?   Wed Apr 12 2017, 15:55

G'day all,

Its easiest to see Harlequins like exarchs from the craftworlds: they're trapped in their path of obsession so to speak and can't break free from it.

The Harlequins are not born, the Codex clarified that very clearly: they are collected either by the individual's own will or abducted by the will of Cegorach. How an Eldar becomes a Harlequin is a mystery but in doing so they adopt the character of whom they represent: often the fallen Eldar gods, sometimes their folklore heroes like Eldanesh and in special cases death (or the fear of death instilled by the nightbringer during war in heaven) who is represented by the Death Jesters and Slaanesh through the Solitaires.

There are examples such as in Path of the Outcast where Solitaires can hide their true nature and blend in with other Eldar, but the particular Solitaire never really sheds his mask so to speak: he's still a quiet, rarely spoken to individual with an air of wrongness about him, no matter what clothes he wears. This seems to be an individual case by case for Solitaires though as Motley in comparison tends to over-exagerate what he is.

As for the rest of the Harlies... I've not read any examples of them ever shedding their masks hence the comparison to Exarchs: they become the character they portray with an obsession that only an Eldar can possess, to the point where they forego their spirit stones in their utter belief that Cegorach will protect them.

But... the absence of literature does not make it impossible. The power behind the Harlequins is that they are an enigma in an already enigmatic race. Maybe some questions are better left unanswered?
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PostSubject: Re: Do Harlequins ever take their masks off?   Wed Apr 12 2017, 17:58

I have a bunch of the original fluff for harlies here somewhere...

From memory, Harlequins only remove their masks when they are away from everyone who is not a harlequin.

Solitaires fall into the same category - being able to remove the mask and move among other elder with ease. Indeed - the original story of the solitaire has him as a gardener and a troupe rocks up to Siam Hann, gets on stage to perform, sees him in the crowd and then all bow to him and change the dance they are to perform to 'The Dance without End' - with him playing slaanesh!

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PostSubject: Re: Do Harlequins ever take their masks off?   Mon May 22 2017, 10:52

I've always envisioned the Black Library as a Craftworld-like entity hidden within the Webway so completely that not even Vect would know how to find it. This continent sized ship serving both as Library and as the workshop of all the Harlequins.

As for their masks? I'd guess they can take them off, removing the ethereal visages of their characters whenever they don't stride the stage. If nothing else, I'd imagine they at least shunt them up onto their forehead when they're eating.

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PostSubject: Re: Do Harlequins ever take their masks off?   Tue Aug 08 2017, 19:59

Harlequins are said to never remove their masks. I'd imagine that this is part of the mystique in that they probably have to take them off when practicality intervenes, such as to wash; at such times they could always be alone, of course, or use some kind of projecting field so that no-one sees their true face. Solitaires can disguise themselves as ordinary Eldar after all (physically I mean), so presumably 'seeing their face' is avoided in some other way. Another example of "it is said that" is that it used to be said that meeting a Solitaire was disastrous and the Eldar who met them would be better off dying. Not exactly compatible with them sauntering about pretending to be Joethriel Infinity Circuit Tech, so I'd imagine this is dramatic hyperbole. Harlequins do love them some dramatics.

So they never take the masks off ... or at least are never seen to take them off.

Old fluff had Harlequins travelling in groups with non-combatants and they were a caste apart, and born into the group, but it didn't specify whether one could also join. New fluff has them being recruited or called to join the Harlequins. Sort of like running away to join the circus Wink They used to live in the webway, and I think they still do. The old (old) White Dwarf issues 105 and 106 had the old fluff and the newest is in the Harlequin Codex.

In the short story Faces in the anthology Fear the Alien there is a Harlequin troupe whose players change their roles periodically, with it working like the Eldar Path - they change from role to role as they develop personally and go through life changes. I think it's by Matthew Farrer and I'd recommend it, the format is a bit unusual but it's worth persevering with.

I hope this is useful Smile

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PostSubject: Re: Do Harlequins ever take their masks off?   Tue Aug 08 2017, 20:36

So basically it's the usual GW exaggerations to make the faction seem cool that falls apart the moment you try to apply reality to it, as well it should.

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