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 On the Nature of the Warp, the Webway, and the Eldar Soul

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cymera
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PostSubject: On the Nature of the Warp, the Webway, and the Eldar Soul   On the Nature of the Warp, the Webway, and the Eldar Soul I_icon_minitimeWed Mar 27 2013, 23:53

As I try to work out background fluff for my army I've found myself doing a lot of thinking on the fundamental nature of the Eldar being and their abilities. I thought I'd share my thoughts in the hopes that it sparks some discussion and maybe helps me fill in some holes in the puzzle in the process...

The Eldar before the fall were essentially trans-dimensional beings - a warp bound soul that was shaped by the physical experiences of the conscious mind. Unlike most of the creatures living in real space, which are barely even aware of their minuscule warp presence, the Eldar have extraordinary control over their ability to shape the energies of the warp. Indeed the ancient Eldar could even create sentient warp beings from this energy, and psychic powers are essentially focused warp energies projected on the physical plane. To me it seems that the conscious mind is the link between reality and the warp, able to affect change in both realms. Thus, as the body is the tool through which the mind interacts with reality, the soul is the tool through which the mind interacts with the warp. When the body dies the soul is unbound from any anchor in reality and dissolves into the warp.

Moving on to the Fall...Craftworlders were far enough away to avoid this whole ordeal, and now protect themselves with spirit stones - basically removing their souls from the warp when they die and keeping them safe in the confines of reality. The Eldar closer to home had their souls violently consumed. I don't think this killed their physical bodies outright (aren't the solitaires soulless?) - instead their conscious minds, no longer bound to a distinct entity in the warp, became conduits for raw warp energy. Liber Chaotica describes how for the Eldar in areas where the empire was most densely populated "the Warp literally spilled from their minds to mix and tear the material universe," creating the Eye of Terror.

Now, why did the DE suffer a different fate? According to the codex it's because they were in the webway, but what is so different about the webway that it could protect the DE in such a fashion? The fact that the DE still had souls (albeit tattered ones) explains why they didn't become uncontrollable warp fountains (at least by the above logic), but that doesn't explain why the soul wasn't completely consumed. The webway was supposedly created by the ancient Eldar (or Old Ones depending on where you get your info), so it is not a natural dimension - rather tunnels in the walls separating the dimensions (Liber Chaotica also suggests that the ancient Eldar were responsible for building those walls in the first place, so even the walls aren't natural). This could maybe explain things, but really the webway is even closer to the warp than the core of the Eldar Empire was. Furthermore the fact that warp entities and psykers still some power within the webway implies that the warp still has influence in this in-between realm. The way I'm leaning is that, precisely because the webway is closer to the warp, by entering the webway one's soul is more tightly bound to their physical body. Thus the DE souls were ripped open in a sense, leaving their essence to drain into the warp, but couldn't be ripped from their bodies entirely.

One final thought regards the psychic potential of the DE - could the lack of strong DE psykers be attributed to the damaged nature of the DE souls? If souls are indeed the tool through which psychic potential can be exercised, then the DE are crippled in this regard. I find it infinitely more likely that DE would forsake their psychic abilities because there wasn't much potential there rather than for fear of the consequences of trying them out.

Anyway those are my ramblings. Thoughts? Anyone have an alternate view? I'm happy to share sources and inspiration and would love to get the opinion of people versed in other sources of fluff than what I have at my disposal. GW has annoying habit of contradicting themselves when it comes to fluff but I like to think at the end of the day there is a way to put it all together!

-cymera
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PostSubject: Re: On the Nature of the Warp, the Webway, and the Eldar Soul   On the Nature of the Warp, the Webway, and the Eldar Soul I_icon_minitimeThu Mar 28 2013, 13:08

There must be indeed a lot of ways of seeing this, but for me, I just put it together that the DE were just lucky survivors, and that when the Eye was created, it didnt go through the webway, but just around it.

As for what is webway... hmm... I just think of it as a maze with no physical exit, only portals.

Oh dear.. Just hit a thought that the Eldar are the Old ones? Maybe we were nice little lizards in the past, eh? alien
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Daemon of Distortion
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PostSubject: Re: On the Nature of the Warp, the Webway, and the Eldar Soul   On the Nature of the Warp, the Webway, and the Eldar Soul I_icon_minitimeThu Mar 28 2013, 13:47

Well the fluff clearly states that material universe and the Warp are pararrel dimensions (basically each others copies) . The same place excists in both dimensions at the same time.
(Lexicanum helps here: http://wh40k.lexicanum.com/wiki/Warp)

As the Warp and "reality" have their common relationship Webway is a "fake" dimension crafted at the dawn of time and thus it doesn't have that certain of connection to the Warp. Without that relationship a "copy" of Webway doesn't excist in the warp and the two dimensions are truly seperated by nothingness or the walls. Being seperated also means being invisible to both dimensions and out of reach of the lurking perils in the Warp. Still the two dimensions can be connected by a mind with strong presence in the Warp. That would explain why psychic powers still work in the Webway.
The fluff (I think it was in the old Necron codex or just in BRB)also implies that the Old Ones built Webway to rapidly and safely move around the universe when the Warp started to become more hostile and unpredictable place.
However Eldar being a highly psychic race I guess they could create a bridge between the Webway and the Warp but despite their recklessness and arrogance DE are not stupid nor ignorant. They know what Slaanesh is pursuing ("Must eat all Eldar souls..*drool.") and what she/he is cabable to do (connection to the Warp equals annihilation for Comorragh) and thus restrain themselves from using their psychic talent and I guess the younger generations have gone numb to their presence in the warp. Anyway my point is that DE remained almost completely unaffected by the Fall.

I hope this post was even barely readable and made some sense as it was just me rambling through my thought.


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cymera
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PostSubject: Re: On the Nature of the Warp, the Webway, and the Eldar Soul   On the Nature of the Warp, the Webway, and the Eldar Soul I_icon_minitimeThu Mar 28 2013, 21:28

I admit most of my thinking was inspired by reading "Echoes of the Birth" in Liber Slaanesh. I don't know how canon everything in there is or if any of it has been retconned, but whereas most accounts of ancient Eldar history are mythical re-tellings of actual events this is an eyewitness account of a few millenia worth of history. Some of the juicier tidbits:

Quote :
I watched as the First Ones encouraged the younger race to reach further into the other realm, and with their vibrant minds and passionate souls create beings of power to fight the start gods.

But the battle was long and the first ones were now few, and as their numbers dwindled, so too did their influence over their young creations. Without the wisdom and might of the First Ones to bind them, I saw The Elder's warp-beings evolve from sentient weapons into living gods - the first true gods of the Immaterium.

The Eldar gods were sentient psychic weapons created by the Eldar with the help of the Old Ones. These warp beings eventually came to be worshiped as gods by the Eldar. All this occurred before any of the Chaos gods had come into existence.

Quote :
They drove the tide of daemons back into their world and, and made sure that their gods remained in Heaven, never again to walk amongst their children.

The Eldar created some sort of divide to keep warp entities from freely entering reality.

Quote :
The The Elder adopted, refined and perfected the First Ones' skills for measuring the Warp and predicting its movements. They somehow linked their worlds and their floating city ships with their magical gateways

The Eldar created the webway during the rise of their empire. Is there any fluff that specifically states the Old Ones created the webway or is that speculation?


There a lot more in there hinting at the exact nature of the Eldar soul, and what exactly constitutes a warp entity. There's even a few lines in there that hint at the Khaine/Khorne connection but that's a whole different discussion...
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Daemon of Distortion
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PostSubject: Re: On the Nature of the Warp, the Webway, and the Eldar Soul   On the Nature of the Warp, the Webway, and the Eldar Soul I_icon_minitimeFri Mar 29 2013, 15:10

Yup, I share your pain.
Unfortunately the fluff regarding the Old Ones, birth of Eldar etc. Is shrouded in mystery and there isn't one canon version to follow as GW has an annoying habit to leave crucial things open for endless speculation (it isn't in the imperial records so it didn't happen, Eldar pretty much lost all their knowledge about the ancient times in the Fall and Ward reduced the all-mighty Star Gods into small shards).
However the old necron dex (dunno anything about the new but when it came out the old one lost it's canon status) clearly states that the Old Ones used the Webway in the War in Heaven before they even gave birth to the younger races.

Quote :
First to cross the sea of stars was a race of beings called the Old Ones. They possessed a slow, coldblooded wisdom, studying the stars and raising astrology and astronomy to an arcane science. Their understanding of the slow dance of the universe allowed them to manipulate alternate dimensions and they undertook great works of psychic engineering. Their science allowed them to cross the vast gulfs of space with a step and they spread their spawn to many places. The Old Ones understood that all life is useful, and where they passed they kindled new species and impregnated thousands upon thousands of worlds to make them their own.

(They get their asses kicked by the Star Gods and their to-be-slaves, the fallen Necrontyr aka Necrons)

Quote :
Eventually even the Old Ones, legendary for their patience and implacability, became desperate. They manipulated life into new forms with an ever stronger link to the warp, desiring minions with the capability of channeling psychic power to defend themselves. They nurtured many potential warrior races, and there is speculation that these included the earliest Eldar, the Rashan, the K'nib and many others.

So to sum it up this version of the fluff clearly states that the Old Ones created Eldar to help them fight against the C'tan but got annihilated in a cataclysm where warp beings (which were given birth by the young psycher races) flooded into the material universe. After the catclysm Eldar kinda inheritated the Old Ones (gaining mastery over the Webway etc.) and built their empire.

Well there is also a theory which recognizes the ancient Eldar as the mysterious Old Ones but let's not dwell into that. As I said this might not be canon anymore but I haven't found any better version about the origins of Eldar/Webway/Old Ones. Lexicanum article about the Old Ones is pretty much along the same lines as the Necron dex and includes some parts I quoted here from the dex (http://wh40k.lexicanum.com/wiki/Old_Ones#.UVWfdGQazCQ).

I hope this blabbering gave you some new info to help you expand your view on things.

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PostSubject: Re: On the Nature of the Warp, the Webway, and the Eldar Soul   On the Nature of the Warp, the Webway, and the Eldar Soul I_icon_minitimeFri Mar 29 2013, 19:31

Path of the Renegade p.190:

"The webway was an extradimensional marvel engineered by entities that pre-dated even the Eldar"

Make of that what you will.

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PostSubject: Re: On the Nature of the Warp, the Webway, and the Eldar Soul   On the Nature of the Warp, the Webway, and the Eldar Soul I_icon_minitimeThu Apr 04 2013, 11:54

not sure if this relates but in the Ork dex there are hints that their race was created by the Old Ones to fight alongside the Eldar in the War of Heaven. basically it was to be the Eldar as the mind behind the muscle of the Orks. this doesn't really help you in your musings though. thinking on this, i would presume, that according to the old dex's where the Old Ones made the webway, and not being able to interact with it in any meaningful way, hence the creation of psychic races to do so, that the webway is a seperate dimension from both the warp and the real space. as such since it has no connection with the warp in any way, that would be why the Dark Eldar were able to survive.

think of as three pencils all laying parallel to each other, on the right is the warp, in the middle is real space, and on the left is the webway, a seperate and artificial dimension created by the use of arcane science. so logic dictates that it would be the technology of the Old Ones that prevented the demise of the dark eldar. since they were in the webway, and had already pretty much given up the use of their psychic abilities, their souls and minds were not as connected to the warp as much as craftworld eldar, but being eldar it is a link they can not completely sever. thusly they were affected by the same disastrous birth of a chaos god as everyone else was but not nearly as severly due to fortunate occurances, of both the old ones technology in creating the webway and protecting it from the ravages of real space and the warp, and the giving up of thier psychic abilities.

and now to destroy the very logical statement i just made. in the black library book that deals with an inquisitor, i don't remember the name of the first book but the second one is titled Harlequin and the third is chaos child, the inquisitor and his retinue are traveling through the webway in search of the black library. at one point it describes them as being very weary and tired due to lack of sleep and such, and the inquisitor fancies that he can see the souls of eldar or warp beings in the smokey haze of whatever it is that exists just outside the bounds of the webway tunnels in his peripheral vision, but when he looks directly at it, he see nothing. this description however does not fit with Black Libraries description in other books of what the warp looks like, but since Black Library and GW have described the warp as appearing to be many things mostly like the christian version of hell, i guess it can be assumed that the smokey haze outside the walls of the webway is indeed a part of the warp itself. maybe a less chaotic and substantial version of it, perhaps.
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cymera
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PostSubject: Re: On the Nature of the Warp, the Webway, and the Eldar Soul   On the Nature of the Warp, the Webway, and the Eldar Soul I_icon_minitimeThu Apr 04 2013, 19:12

I actually rather like how open-ended the key bits of the fluff are - definitely adds to the potential of the 40k universe. I just wish there were some consistent narrative driving it all.

Anyway, it looks like the Webway is definitely an Old One creation (or at least there are more fluff sources that directly state that). Still leaves me to wonder why psychic powers and daemons are still a threat in the webway. If the warp indeed has limited influence in the webway it would seem that drawing on warp power would be like drinking water through a (very tiny) funnel...

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SebastionSynn
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PostSubject: Re: On the Nature of the Warp, the Webway, and the Eldar Soul   On the Nature of the Warp, the Webway, and the Eldar Soul I_icon_minitimeThu Apr 04 2013, 20:55

I actually rather like how open-ended the key bits of the fluff are - definitely adds to the potential of the 40k universe. I just wish there were some consistent narrative driving it all.

Don't we all my friend, don't we all. you've got my curiosity perked, and since i have just about every alien codex there is, as well as some from around 2nd and 3rd edition, i'll start doing some digging and see what i can come up with. since i only just started Dark Eldar at the end of last year this was something that never came up before at my own local group, since no one played Dark Eldar. now that i do, researching this will help us both.
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Lady Malys
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PostSubject: Re: On the Nature of the Warp, the Webway, and the Eldar Soul   On the Nature of the Warp, the Webway, and the Eldar Soul I_icon_minitimeSat Apr 06 2013, 20:01

I think that the reason the Commorites survived was because they were in the webway, but I'm not sure that it is ever explained exactly why - save that being there protected them. Perhaps if one considers the nature of the webway itself, that may provide the answer? If it is strong enough to exist within the warp, which it does pass through, and not be overwhelmed by daemons, then it must be strong. So I would suggest that the inherent nature of webway "fabric" is what protected those within in when the Fall came. (Presumably, this means that other small groups who might have been in transit there at the time might also have been protected.) It's a literal shield.

I very much enjoyed the way you phrased your initial post, especially this:
Quote :
To me it seems that the conscious mind is the link between reality and the warp, able to affect change in both realms. Thus, as the body is the tool through which the mind interacts with reality, the soul is the tool through which the mind interacts with the warp. When the body dies the soul is unbound from any anchor in reality and dissolves into the warp.

I'd like to steal that if I may? Very Happy I run a game with Eldar and I occasionally need to explain this to new players.

Back on topic, I don't believe (despite the reference in the old Gavin Thorpe Codex with the glyph and the rune "soulless" attributed to Solitaires) that they are actually soulless. Every other source on Solitaires that I know of describes how when they die, Slaanesh and the Laughing God compete to gain their soul, which they couldn't do if there wasn't one Smile

As for using psychic powers, my own view is that using them attract the attention of beings in the warp. Examples of this include unsanctioned Imperial psykers, which is why the Imperium kills them off or gathers them to feed the Emperor, and the use of runes to protect Eldar Seers when they draw from the power of the Warp. Basically the thread of "use psychic powers, attract Warp Daemons, get eaten in massive realspace invasion" runs throughout the 40k background. Dark Eldar are already having their souls drained away in a slow vampiric tap from Slaanesh, so they don't want to attract any more attention. If they used psychic powers, this would happen. I believe that they have the potential to use them, but that it's severely atrophied not only from disuse but a very extreme form of selection, where those that did are now Daemonfood. There are a couple of examples in the Codex of Vect sealing down sections of Commorragh where the Warp did break through in order to halt Daemonic incursion, and the survivors are drained, tainted, dragged away or all three.

In my view psychic powers for Dark Eldar are a bit like extra toes in Humans: some people have them, but they don't really serve any purpose and most would have them removed if they could (though I'm not suggesting amputating bits of psyche ... though, actually, I'm sure some mad old Haemonculus has tried it ...)

Just my thoughts on this very interesting discussion Very Happy

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PostSubject: Re: On the Nature of the Warp, the Webway, and the Eldar Soul   On the Nature of the Warp, the Webway, and the Eldar Soul I_icon_minitimeTue Aug 13 2013, 13:10

The way I view it, metaphoricaly, is the webway being like a tunnel connecting two pieces of land (reality) across a stretch of ocean (the warp). The tunnel has to be engineered very strong to prevent it from being crushed by the weight of the ocean, but allows travel across the ocean without the traveler being in contact with the water. The 'Fall' was like a great tsunami killing all the eldar on the coast, but leaving all the eldar further away unscathed. The eldar in the tunnel also survived due to the tunnel's good construction, but the tunnel was left damaged making it prone to leaks and in some places collapsing entirely. Through these leaks the eldar soul seeps into the warp and the warp in into the waebway.

So in short I view the webway not so much as an entire dimension but as tunnels that go directly through the warp joining bits of reality together. The strength of the webway prevented the complete consumption of the dark eldars souls but doomed them to 'drown' slowly.

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PostSubject: Re: On the Nature of the Warp, the Webway, and the Eldar Soul   On the Nature of the Warp, the Webway, and the Eldar Soul I_icon_minitimeWed Aug 14 2013, 17:43

In A Thousand Sons,
Spoiler:
 
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PostSubject: Re: On the Nature of the Warp, the Webway, and the Eldar Soul   On the Nature of the Warp, the Webway, and the Eldar Soul I_icon_minitimeFri Aug 16 2013, 09:20

The Webway is usually described as being located right on the boundary between the Warp and Realspace. Like if the Warp is a pool of water and Realspace the air above it, the Webway would be right on the surface of the pool. It's still in the Warp, but also very close to Realspace.

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PostSubject: Re: On the Nature of the Warp, the Webway, and the Eldar Soul   On the Nature of the Warp, the Webway, and the Eldar Soul I_icon_minitimeFri Aug 16 2013, 22:04

Page 12, Codex:Eldar 4th edition tells us that the Webway exists as a labyrinth between the Materium and the Warp. It exists as a part of both yet existing in neither.

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PostSubject: Re: On the Nature of the Warp, the Webway, and the Eldar Soul   On the Nature of the Warp, the Webway, and the Eldar Soul I_icon_minitimeTue Sep 10 2013, 18:59

Well, if everything in material space have an "image" in the Warp, and Webway is a boundary state, than, Webway's image is the Webway itself.
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PostSubject: Re: On the Nature of the Warp, the Webway, and the Eldar Soul   On the Nature of the Warp, the Webway, and the Eldar Soul I_icon_minitimeTue Sep 10 2013, 21:18

@Hijallo wrote:
Well, if everything in material space have an "image" in the Warp, and Webway is a boundary state, than, Webway's image is the Webway itself.
So would the Webway's reflection be in the Webway? Like some sort of Webception?

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