- "How typical that the humans should rely upon crude technology to protect them. How fitting that we, the Dark Eldar should kill them where they feel safest."
- — Kraegeth of the Kabal of the Slaughtered Heart
This page briefly summarises all the forms of advanced wargear used by the Dark Eldar. Dark Eldar, like most Eldar Kindreds, make use of advanced technology, including anti-gravity devices, dark matter weaponry, nanotechnology and psychic artefacts. While Dark Eldar do make use of psychic devices, they do not any longer use psychic powers themselves because of the danger that interacting with the Warp brings for those whose souls are desired by Slaanesh. Psykers are treated as playthings in Commorragh, and given the twisted, sadistic nature of the Dark Eldar, this necessarily involves pain and torment for the psyker. Though it is manufactured rather than psychically-grown from the hardened substance of the Warp like the Wraithbone implements of the Craftworld Eldar, the Dark Eldar's weaponry is just as technologically advanced as that of their more benevolent counterparts.
When it comes to war, the Dark Eldar are veritable artists. Their technology is refined to the point that some of its effects appear as nothing less than magical to less-advanced intelligent species like humanity. Their infinite -- if infinitely dark -- imaginations and sheer skill have led them down a sinister path -- their favourite weapons can set every nerve ending afire with pain, darklight beams, whips that bleed acid and eldritch soul-traps. The Dark Eldar are so confident of their own abilities that their lightweight suits of body armour incorporate bladed plates not only for protection, but also to provide them with yet another weapon to inflict pain. The warriors of Commorragh are well-versed in the physiology and anatomies of all the other starfaring races of the galaxy, knowledge that is used to inflict the maximum amount of pain, suffering and death.
The Dark Eldar employ a number of hand-held weapons designed to eviserate, lacerate and incise at close quarters. Although varying widely in design and use, all employ a similar technology in their construction. They are built from very lightweight materials, with blades honed to a mon-molecular edge capable of cutting through even Ceramite armour plating when sufficient force is employed. Weapons incorporating powerful shock fields have also been recovered by Imperial forces, and these devices utilise an energy generation and transference system as yet beyond the comprehension of human Tech-Adepts. The following are the most common close combat weapons employed by the Dark Eldar:
An Agoniser is an extrememly sophisticated close combat weapon that acts as a Power Weapon and drives a victim's sensorium haywire, causing excruciatingly severe pain as a victim's nerves burn out through constant overstimulation, producing exquisite agony. Though Agonisers come in a variety of forms, the most common are whips or barbed flails.
These Power Glaives are exquisitely crafted pole-arms employed to lethal effect by Succubi in both the gladiatorial arenas of Commorragh and the battlefields of realspace. They can be wielded with both hands, to bisect a foe with ease, or used in combination with another weapon to cut through a host of victims.
A Bloodstone is a rare and exotic weapon forged from the broken Soul Stone of an Eldar Exarch. It can be used in close proximity to an enemy, unleashing a single pulse of baleful energy that will boil their blood.
A Chain-flail consists of lengths of barbed chain wound tight under gravitic pressure. As a Talos glides into battle, these chains are loosed, hurtling from their housings to lash around wildly. As their barbs find purchase in flesh, the chains' grav-winches re-engage, reeling in at lightning speed to snap bones and tear bodies asunder.
Cluster Caltrops serve as an antipersonnel weapon made up of two or more sharp nails or spines arranged in such a manner that one of them always points upward from a stable base in the form of a tetrahedron. Caltrops serve to slow down the advance of foot soldiers and mounts. Caltrops are also used against wheeled vehicles with pneumatic tires. This weapon is most commonly employed by Dark Eldar Reavers who use these small but effective antipersonnel weapons against enemy troops as they swoop past on their deadly Jetbikes.
Crystal Gauntlets are extraplanar in origin, able to mysteriously sprout and regrow a deadly profusion of blades. These deadly weapons are often employed by Dark Eldar Wyches in melee.
A Demiklaive is a variant of the deadly Klaive. These vicious Power Weapons are finely honed to a mono-molecular edge and can either be wielded separately or clasped together to form a much larger blade that confers an even deadlier strike against an unfortunate victim. These weapons are commonly employed by Dark Eldar Incubi and can either be wielded separately for speed, or clasped together to form a more powerful blade.
Djin Blades are Power Weapons that usually take the form of blades of polished crystal with a scowling bestial face engraved upon their hilts. Each blade has a bloodthirsty and resentful sentience of its own, usually that of a former rival bound eternally to the service of the blade's owner.
An Electrofied Shardnet is a specially crafted and weighted net that can be thrown over an enemy in order to ensnare them. The combined weight and the painful electrical shock of the net is both painful and debilitating. When successful, the victim is then attacked with an extendable twin-bladed impaler while they are entangled, ensuring they cannot escape alive. Another tactic that is often used is to ensnare an enemy's weapon in the shardnet and pull it out of their grasp, leaving the opponent defenceless. This weapon is commonly employed by Wyches.
An Electrocorrosive Whip is a deadly Power Weapon whose lash is a tongue of venom-soaked polymer with a high-yield dynamo embedded in its hilt. Its touch is painful and debilitating in the extreme, sapping the strength and robbing the will to fight. This weapon is commonly employed by Wyches and Beast Masters.
A clawed glove fitted with syringe-like protrusions and serum-filled vials, the Flesh Gauntlet can inject potent electrosteroids that force rapid, unnatural, and uncontrollable growth. Its victim will literally outgrow his own skin, bursting apart in a welter of streaming, heaving matter, and leaving little more than a pile of twitching overgrown muscle, ruptured skin, and shattered bone. The deadliness of the weapon is hardly offset by the fact that many models require a short period of time to prepare a new batch of electrosteroids after each use.
The Fusion Pistol is a compact hand-held Melta Weapon whose elegance belies its potency.
These long, lightweight, twin-bladed halberds are the favoured weapons of Hellions, who employ the sharpened hooks on each end to pull themselves around corners and past obstacles, while the broad heads and symmetrical balance of each Hellglaive serves to aid a Hellion's stability in flight. As weapons, they are no less useful -- a Hellglaive's balance and razor-sharp blades allow a Hellion to strike down multiple enemies with every pass, if he is sufficiently skilled. Though it requires some effort to master, this weapon can spin and block like a stave, cut like a scythe, or impale like a barbed spear. From the back of a Hellion Skyboard such a weapon can prove especially lethal, lopping off heads and severing limbs with every blow.
A Huskblade is a Power Weapon that appears as if made of cracked and pitted bone, a husk blade leaves faint smoke trails as it passes through the air, and instantly evaporates any moisture that comes into contact with its blade. Victims slashed or stabbed by such a blade are reduced to shrivelled corpses that turn to dust in moments, and even those lucky enough to only suffer a glancing hit find much of their vitality dragged away by these deadly weapons.
These outlandish weapons are the defining tools of the Hydrae, and the bladed gauntlets they wield are said to have been forged beyond the petty confines of reality, in some strange and distant pocket of existence. The blades on each gauntlet are grown from a strange crystalline substance that continually renews itself, sprouting new blades to replace those shorn off or blunted. Hydra gauntlets are only ever equipped in pairs by Hydra Wyches, and though one could theoretically be used alone, it would be both uncouth and far less effective. Hydra Guantlets are commonly worn by Dark Eldar Wyches.
This device injects its targets with the noxious ichor of the wielder’s own bloodstream. Its victims boil alive from the inside out, while foul, steaming fluids bubble from their mouths and eye sockets.
An Impaler is unremarkable in itself, a simple twin-bladed shortspear that can be rammed deep into the body of a victim. Impalers are seldom used alone, and most of those who wield them are Yraqnae Wyches, who use them in conjunction with Shardnets.
Klaives are massive ritual Powerblades of brutal aspect, which are favoured by the deadly Incubi. Shimmering with dark energy these weapons are impossibly light for their size and can slice through the thickest armour and toughest flesh with insulting ease. These weapons are considered to be a masterpiece of balance and form and the one true weapon of Dark Eldar warriors, though Klaivex war-leaders sometimes favour variants such as the more versatile Demiklaives.
Less a weapon and more a control device, a Mindphase Gauntlet is an advanced neural controller that saps both strength and will. It can stop a rampaging foe in his tracks with a single touch, leaving him glassy-eyed and shuddering with overwhelming fatigue.
Razorflails are lightweight, twinned pair of blades composed of a number of interlocking blades joined by a cable. At a moment's notice, these blades can be separated, turning a sword into a many-bladed lash. In the hands of a skilled wielder, these are almost impossible to parry and can be woven past almost any defence. Razorflails are commonly wielded in pairs, the Wych wielding them surrounding herself with a swirling wall of deadly blades as she dances across the battlefield.
The Scissorhand looks a little like a pair of surgical shears, and harbours expensive toxins so that its wielder might better incapacitate those whose limbs it amputates.
Whether elegant short sword, curved dagger or even barbed hair pin, the core of each Shaimeshi Blade is shot through with reservoirs of breathtakingly lethal poisons, while its surface is riddled with microscopic vents through which these venoms can flow. With each graceful swing or lightning fast stab, it parts flesh to vent its poisons where they can do the most harm.
Shardnet & ImpalerEdit
Typically used as a ritual pair, these weapons are a deadly combination. Shardnets are a wire mesh covered in tiny barbs that dig into flesh and tear with every moment of struggle, while simultaneously administering electrical shocks that render a victim incapable of self-defence and cause him to jerk and twitch against the barbed net. The wielder first entangles their foe in the hooked mesh of their electrified shardnet before administering the killing blow using their extendable, twin-bladed Impaler.
Stunclaws are viciously barbed grapnels, often attached to lengthy metal chains. In battle a stunclaw can be anchored in the armour or flesh of a luckless victim, who is then hoisted agonisingly aloft and borne away amid a flock of jeering Hellions, either to a horrible and bloody fate at the end of the Hellions' blades, or a brief and violent death by virtue of simply being dropped from a great height.
This weapon is a common sign of wealth and power amongst the Dark Eldar aristocracy. Each Venomblade has thousands of microscopic pores that continually exude a distilled cocktail of hypertoxins. The slightest scratch from a Venomblade is sufficient to fell even the mightiest of foes.
Wracks wield a sickening variety of sickle-blades, saws, knives and mauls into battle, all of which are coated in searing venom.
At first glance, there is little to distinguish these blades from a commoner’s knife or a Kabalite Warrior's flaying blade. However, subtle details of their construction, such as the pattern of serrations, the precise curvature of the blade, or the placement of perforations, influence the balance and the cuts Wych Knives inflict so that in the hands of an expert they can inflict grievous wounds and find the weaknesses in all but the toughest armour.
Mandrakes can channel the energies stolen from their prey into blasts of freezing flame called Baleblasts, wreathing their victims in spectral fires that burn through flesh and soul alike.
The Disintegrator Cannon fires particles of unstable matter harnessed from a stolen sun, each shot capable of atomising the most heavily armoured warrior. Far more sophisticated than conventional plasma-based firearms, it maintains a high rate of fire and always remains cool to the touch despite the ravening energies housed within. Disintegrator cannons are most commonly encountered mounted onto vehicles like Raiders and Ravagers.
A Medusae can open its host's steel visor and paralyse those under its gaze with a wave of raw anguish, plunging them into a coma from which there is no recovery.
Haywire Blasters are long-barrelled weapons that siphon the electromagnetic energy crackling around Commorragh's highest aeries, to later release it in a terrifyingly powerful burst. A well-aimed Haywire Blaster can cripple an enemy vehicle's control systems in a single shot.
The long-barrelled Heat Lance is a powerful device that combines the focus and precision of laser weaponry with the searing potency of melta weaponry, creating a weapon able to melt armour plate from further away than most comparable Meltaguns, but with the fine precision of the most finely-honed Eldar laser weapon.
The Hexrifle fires crystal cylinders containing a tiny sample of the Plague of Glass that afflicted the Dark City in the 36th Millennium. While the plague itself has long since been stopped, samples of the disease still exist in phials within the laboratories of Haemonculi, to employ as a weapon against their enemies. Each Hexrifle is unique, created for an individual Haemonculus to deliver this potent and exotic plague in battle, but all function in essentially the same way. Crystalline cylinders containing the tiniest quantity of the disease are fired from the rifles, shattering upon impact and exposing the target to the plague. For all but the hardiest of victims, this momentary exposure is sufficient for the plague to begin its vile work, turning flesh and bone into glass and leaving a transparent, flawless statue where once was a living creature.
Upon detonation, these missiles emit a molecular dissonance field that causes those caught in their path to implode, instantly collapsing in upon themselves and leaving nothing more than a scorched silhouette to mark their passage.
This baroque collection of pipes and tubes projects a torrent of highly corrosive fluids that can melt through anything it touches. Typically carried by Grotesques, Wracks, and other servants of the Haemonculi, these weapons are most commonly fuelled by the corrosive ichor that passes for blood in such creatures. The devastation wreaked by a liquifier gun's noxious payload depends entirely on how much of the fluid splashes across a target. While not strictly a Flamer weapon, a Liquifier Gun functions in almost exactly the same way, including a chance for its user of being set aflame -- in truth, this represents a quantity of the corrosive liquid lingering on the target and continuing to eat away at flesh and armour, and thus deals damage with a toxic quality, in place of the normal damage from fire.
These signature missiles are remotely steered by the Razorwing's pilot into the midst of the foe. When detonated, they emit not a conventional blast but one that is constrained to a specific plane by complex in-built powershields. A great horizontal sheet of force explodes outward at a certain height, decapitating or even cutting in half everyone caught in the blast zone.
At the heart of a Necrotoxin Missile is a large reservoir of virulent poisons. When the missile detonates, it splinters into shards of jagged shrapnel, each carrying thick gobbets of its deadly payload.
The Ossefactor employs weaponised osteocytic impulsion-waves, normally used by the Haemonculi to craft bone structures and fashion spinal sumps. It projects a focussed overdose of this energy at its victim, triggering uncontrolled osteocytic multiplication. Bones twist and lengthen violently, shooting out dozens of spurs like the branches of some hideous tree. The luckless victim is rent apart by their own warped skeleton, even as their horrified squad mates find themselves impaled on the calcific spears that burst from their body.
Phantasm Grenade LauncherEdit
Wealthy Dark Eldar warriors often wear specially modified backpacks that can hurl a volley of small, disc-shaped grenades from twin tubes. These grenades are made from a highly reactive substance that, upon contact with the air, dissolves into clouds of psychotropic gas so potent that to even catch a whiff of it fills the mind with horrific nightmares and delusions. This weapon is often employed by Dark Eldar Kabalite Warriors.
A Shatterfield Missile actually houses two separate detonator cores. On impact, the first of the cores sucks away all warmth, turning those caught within its blast into brittle statues. An instant later, the second core sends out a blast of percussive force that shatters its frozen victims into a thousand pieces.
The Shredder unleashes an expanding mesh of monofilaments with miniscule barbs along their length. The mesh entangles the victim in an invisible net that slices apart the target as it struggles.
The Cronos Parasite Engine can cast out a field of baleful energy that allows it to feed upon those nearby.
Cronos Parasite Engines are sometimes modified to incorporate a spiral-etched device that can hurl out a massive burst of negative force, draining the lifeforce of dozens of victims.
A Stinger Pistol is a lightweight sidearm characterised by a long syringe-like barrel and a venom magazine that holds searingly effective toxins. When fired, it ejects a long sliver of hollow glass that can pierce a foe’s skin and introduce the toxins straight into his bloodstream, with invariably horrific results.
Talos Pain Engines are often armed with sinister weapons that fire great pulses of raw agony. The victims of these weapons often break their own bones or rupture their own organs with the force of their agonised convulsions, while survivors are left catatonic with pain, unable to defend themselves against the Talos' bloody ministrations.
The Void Lance fires pulses of highly destructive eldritch energy harvested from beyond the shattered spars of the Webway.
The bizarre bomb known as a Void Mine detonates two warheads, one a split second before the other. The first merely establishes a sphere of force that protects everything outside and condemns everything within. The second contains a particle of purest darklight, released from its containment field by the primary detonation. The effects of introducing even a tiny amount of darklight into realspace are catastrophic. If it were not for the force sphere established by the primary detonation, the resultant implosion would destroy not only the enemy but also the Voidraven into the bargain. As it is, anything trapped inside the crackling sphere is annihilated utterly, and in total silence.
Like all Eldar technology, the heavy weaponry that is employed by the Dark Eldar utilises an order of technology far different from that employed by the other sentient races of the galaxy. The following is a list of the most common heavy weapons employed by the Dark Eldar:
The Dark Lance is comparable in its role to that of a standard issue Imperial Lascannon. Its primary function is to destroy heavily armoured targets. However, the Dark Lance does not employ standard laser technology, but instead fires a stream of "Darklight." This dark matter substance works by reacting catastrophically with its target, producing a blast that is more than capable of destroying any vehicle regardless of the thickness of its armour, or totally vapourising a foot soldier.
A Disintegrator employs a more unstable form of "Darklight" dark matter and can be used in several firing modes, unleashing a single ball of ravening energy or a lethal salvo of powerful energy bolts.
There are a number of weapons entirely unique to the Dark Eldar, although they draw upon the same basic technology found in the weaponry of the Craftworld Eldar. The following is a list of the special weapons commonly employed by the Dark Eldar:
The Skyboards of the Beastmasters are calibrated to reflect their specialised needs. Able to move at high velocities while hugging the the ground, they automatically swoop around hazards, leaving their riders free to ply the lash on their feral charges.
These hooked, razor-sharp blades jut from the sleek hulls of Reaver jetbikes. In battle the riders crouch low over their steeds before streaking through the midst of the enemy ranks, using their bladevanes to lop off heads and limbs with every pass.
A Clone Field projects holographic duplicates of the wearer, all identical in aspect and moving in perfect and lifelike synchrony. Only through trial and error can the true wearer be identified, and few combatants have the time to find the real threat amidst a swarm of falsehoods.
Crucible of MaledictionEdit
The Crucible of Malediction is a weapon used by the Dark Eldar to neutralise the psychic powers of enemy psykers, a necessary defence for a species that cannot risk ever developing its own powerful latent psychic abilities for fear of drawing the attention of Slaanesh, She Who Thirsts. No one knows what dark arts the Dark Eldar use to create their Crucibles of Malediction. Each Crucible appears to contain the trapped spirits of psykers of many species captured and tortured by the Dark Eldar in their Dark City of Commorragh. Once released, these spirits move across the battlefield and unleash a psychic cacophony that only other psykers can sense and that can drive them insane if their psychic defences prove too weak to survive the assault. The most powerful Crucibles of Malediction contain the trapped and tortured souls of Eldar Seers.
Darklight Weapons are crafted in the weapon shops of Commorragh that are infamous for their ability to cheat the natural laws of physics in order to design ever more efficient ways to kill. Blasters, Blast Pistols and Dark Lances epitomise this, for they do not employ standard laser technology but instead fire a stream of what is, for want of a better term, "darklight." The origin of this substance is unknown, although some amongst the savants of Commorragh claim that it is a form of dark matter that has been recovered from the event horizons of black holes, Warp Storms, and other celestial phenomena of great magnitude. Darklight works by reacting catastrophically with its target, producing a blast that can bore a massive hole in a vehicle regardless of armour, or vapourise a foot solider in an instant. Even to perceive a beam of darklight without the correct protection leaves permanent slash-scars upon the retina.
The Destructor fires a stream of virulent organo-acidic compounds which can melt through armour and sear flesh. The effects of these toxins can inlcude blood vessel explosion or implosion, pharyngal contraction, extensive haemolysis, skeletal disintegration, sclerotic corrosion, intercostal spasm, hyper-reacted thermoreceptors and chemoreceptors, Eustachian damage, retinal scarring, cardiac and respiratory atrophy and aqueous humour deprivation. In simple terms, the victims are hideously blinded and disoriented, their skin feels as if it is burning, their respiration and even the circulation of their blood is erratic and extremely painful.
The Grav-Talon is an adaptation of the traditional Reaver jetbike Bladevanes. As well as slicing its way through foes unlucky enough to feel its bite, a Grav-Talon can discharge a localised pressure wave. This smashes the enemy flat with a dull boom, forcing them to abase themselves and leaving them at the mercy of their predatory foes.
Haywire Blasters are long-barrelled weapons that siphon the electromagnetic energy crackling around Commorragh's highest aeries to later release it in a terrifyingly powerful burst. A well-aimed Haywire Blaster can cripple an enemy tank's or aircraft's control systems in a single shot.
Haywire Grenades are used for disabling or crippling enemy vehicles. They send out a powerful electromagnetic pulse that shorts out and destroys electrical circuits.
These anti-grav boards are highly prized as symbols of independence. As such they are personalised by their owners with trophies and glyphs. They are sensitive to the slightest pressure, allowing their riders to flip and jink at incredible speeds while firing their splinter pods into the foe with the simple depression of a heel-stud.
A Mindphase Gauntlet is a special close-combat weapon that acts as an advanced neural controller that saps both the strength and will of an enemy. It can stop a rampaging foe in his tracks with a single touch.
Reaver Jetbikes are the most streamlined and pared-down of all Dark Eldar skycraft, a fusion of raw motive power and finely-honed lethality.
A Shadow Field is an arcane Dark Eldar device that creates a defence that is virtually impossible to pierce. Projecting a dark miasma of energy around the wearer, the field is proof against almost any attack, and the warrior within cannot be easily targeted. However, should one manage to penetrate this miasmic aura, the field's instability causes it to collapse almost immediately.
Though Soul-Traps vary in size and appearance, from folding pyramidal prisms to jewelled skulls engraved with vampiric runes, they all have one ghastly function -- to capture the soul of a powerful enemy within its confines and empower the bearer with the stolen energies.
The Shredder is a hand-held pistol that unleashes a web or mesh of monofilament wire, often with minuscule barbs or serrations along its lines. This mesh entangles the victim, slicing them to pieces as they struggle. Its dense cloud is also highly effective at finding weak points in a vehicle's armour, but is thankfully short-ranged.
A Spirit Probe is a conductor for agony; a device that ensures no scrap of pain or misery escapes the Cronos' contra-empathic net. Running hot on tides of excruciation, it boosts the resilience of nearby Dark Eldar, allowing them to stride laughing amid volleys of fire and rains of blows that would otherwise tear them apart.
Splinter Weapons fire shards of splintered crystal using a powerful magno-electric pulse. These shards are covered in incredibly virulent and fast-acting toxins the better to ensure a painful death. The favoured armament of the Kabalite Warrior is the Splinter Rifle, often fired on the move from the ballustrade of a Raider or Venom transport. The Splinter Pistol, its handheld cousin, is an elegant sidearm beloved of assassins and street fighters across the galaxy; though it is designed for precision short-ranged shots, the toxins inside its reservoir pod are no less deadly. Larger variations of Splinter Weaponry are often employed, such as the Shardcarbine, popular amongst the winged Scourges, and the Splinter Cannon, a heavy weapon able to mow down entire squads at a time.
A Vexator Mask often takes the form of a delicate skein of bone and skin adorned with runes of confusion and illusion. It projects the image of the viewer's most trusted friend, beloved ruler, or loved one, often buying the wearer a second of precious time. An enemy will balk at the sight of such highly personal illusions and may not attack the bearer -- until it is too late.
These are small, easily carried versions of the mighty Webway portals used by the Dark Eldar to travel across vast distances instantaneously. Appearing as jagged, rune-graven crystals, these devices are simply hurled into the air where they hang impossibly, in defiance of gravity. With a crackle of dark energy they tear a rent in the skin of reality, flaying open a route into the webway through which murderous Dark Eldar can pour.
Those Dark Eldar who desire a substantial amount of protection whilst retaining a high degree of mobility wear armour constructed of strange resinous materials and shot through with pockets of lighter-than-air gases, each suit of Ghostplate Armour provides considerable protection while weighing far less than any comparable panoply. The expense of a single suit of Ghostplate is such that only the wealthiest and most influential Dark Eldar can obtain it. Each suit is further reinforced by a protective force field.
The Dark Eldar Haemonculi and their hideous, fleshy creations have toughened, scarred hides that have been subjected to so many brands, burns and abrasions they have become leathery and resistant to enemy blows.
All Dark Eldar Incubi wear a close-fitting suit of ritual battle armour that can turn aside all but the most well-placed blows.
Kabalite Warrior ArmourEdit
These suits of segmented plates are commonly worn by Kabalite Warriors of all kinds, from the half-born murderers who have dragged themselves up from the depths of Commorragh to the sneering Trueborn in their palatial spires. Each suit of armour is held in place by a variety of barbs and hooks that dig deep into the wearer's flesh and play against his nerve bundles. His senses heightened by his own pain, the simple act of donning this armour prepares him for battle.
Wychsuits and similar garments are little more than flexible bodysuits, adorned in an eclectic manner with armoured plates and reinforced panels. Those worn by Wyches often provide protection only to the side of their bodies that they habitually turn towards the enemy, while Hellions commonly wear armoured collars and vambraces, and many Reavers favour masked cowls and heavily padded shoulders. Regardless, it is difficult to strike a Dark Eldar warrior past even the tiny amounts of armour that these suits provide.
Crafted from the flayed hides of arena beasts or slaves (living or dead), these garments are common clothing amongst the Dark Eldar of the Nexus of Shadows. The toughened nature of the material helps ward off would-be murderers and other common hazards of the Bonespires and the Shadow Arteries alike.
Drugs and PoisonsEdit
- Combat Drugs - Though they drastically shorten the life expectancy of those who take them, combat drugs and stimulants are in widespread use throughout Dark Eldar society. The fashions and the vagaries of supply and demand commonly influence which ones are used during a given battle or realspace raid, but certain drugs remain popular amongst the inhabitants of Commorragh and the Nexus of Shadows. Dark Eldar combat drugs are designed to enhance Eldar physiology, and do not function in the bodies of any other creature.
- Accelerai - This stimulant alters the warrior’s adrenal glands, producing a substance that is far more potent. Harvested from the brain of a small, multi-legged, and extremely aggressive predator found on the ruined shell of the Light of Terra and certain Space Hulks that drift through the Koronus Expanse, Accelerai accelerates the user's attacks to a blistering tempo.
- Adrenalight - Adrenalight is a rare stimm distilled from the ichor of the Donorian Fiend. Those who corrupt their nevrous systems with this drug are possessed of a murderous, jittery energy. When the scent of blood is in the air, they fly into a killing frenzy of such intensity it takes several days to subside.
- Corpse Obmulen - First found growing amidst the corpses of fallen warriors during the taking of the Nexus of Shadows, Corpse Obmulen appears to be a cousin of the better-known Dusk Lotus and seems, against all odds, to have been on the Gaelan Sphere longer than the Dark Eldar. Since their arrival, however, the blood-drinking plant has flourished, and covers many pits of discarded corpses with an ashen veil. Though inherently toxic, Corpse Obmulen is a popular additive to steroidal compounds that saturates muscle fibres and makes them superhumanly resistant to the stress and tension of use, allowing the warrior to exert himself to an extreme level for a protracted period of time.
- Grave Lotus - In Devil's Orchard, noisome hanging gardens of Grave Lotus sprout from a mosaic of the dead. A vivid purple fungus, the lotus steals the fading strength of the recently dead to further its own growth. The Wych Cults steal in their turn, imbibing the lotus in liquid form to boost their own physical powers.
- Painbringer - Only the exiled Duke Sliscus can claim a steady supply of Painbringer. Amongst the rarest of all augmentative elixirs, it hardens the imbiber's skin into a flexible sheath as resilient as cured leather. This process is agonising in the extreme, though its advocate consider the pain a trivial price to pay.
- Hypex - Capturing a Psychneuein from the webway is a perilous quest, but one who does so can sell it to the Wych Cults for a high price indeed. The drug Hypex, when distilled from the insectoid creature's cerebral fluids, boosts the already-sharp reaction speed of the Dark Eldar to truly astonishing levels.
- Serpentin - Seprpentin is controversial indeed, for it can only be manufactured by processing the blood of a Sslyth Queen. The Wych Cults risk the ire of that mercenary race nonetheless, for this distillate allows them to dislocate their limbs with sinuous ease, their whip-like strikes passing around the foe's guard.
- Shudderstep - Tailored from a number of incredibly dangerous ingredients, including grass harvested from specific Yu'Vath grave worlds and miniscule quantities of the stasis venom of the Ariadne Helspider, Shudderstep is designed to hyper-stimulate fast-twitch muscle fibres. A dose of Shudderstep enables a warrior to run at incredible speeds.
- Splintermind - Splintermind is made from the ground crystal remains of a dead Eldar Farseer. Though it does not ensure prescience, this dust-like substance allows those who take it to think in several directions at once -- an invaluable asset, for the confusion of battle takes its toll on even the most rigorous battle plan.
- Murder's Boon - Distilled from the cranial fluid of slaves who have been poisoned with a combination of other drugs and toxins including Corpse Obmulen and Liquid Agony, Murder's Boon amplifies a warrior's killer instincts.
- Eviscerine - Eviscerine is a derivative of the rare but seemingly uninteresting viperleaf found on certain worlds within the Koronus Expanse. Though the Haemonculi of the The Sutured Helix do not share exactly how they transform this barbed vine into a drug as effective as Eviscerine, the raw material nonetheless commands a high price on the Nexus of Shadows. Cold Trader groups such as the Consorvana Ring exchange vast quantities of viperleaf for xenos artefacts, and know better than to ask why the devious aliens want this particular plant. Once refined into a useable drug, Eviscerine is a favourite of Dark Eldar warriors who prefer to kill at close range. Heightening the adrenaline sensitivity of perception centres of the brain and the conductivity of synapses and nerve fibres, a dose of Eviscerine makes a warrior more able to perceive and avoid the attacks and defences of his enemies.
- Soul Echo - The coalesced essence of a being who has been tortured not only unto death but far beyond it, Soul Echo is almost pure pain, containing the last tormented gasp of a spirit bound in eternal agony.
The Toxic SpectrumEdit
The Dark Eldar are experts in the many applications of poisons and toxins. Entire districts of Commorragh are given over to the manufacture of substances that can kill in countless thousands of different ways, and many an aristocrat's court contains a master poisoner whose gifts can transform the merely agonising into the unrelentingly lethal. Many weapons employed by the Dark Eldar exude, are impregnated with, or otherwise employ potent hypertoxins, and most warriors have their own favourite cocktail of poisons. The toxic spectrum is something that all Dark Eldar appreciate with an artist's insight, and personal aesthetics are as important as effect when it comes to poisoning a rival, enemy or prey-beast. The following is the most common poisons employed by the Dark Eldar:
- Essence of Perfect Vitriol - Perfect Vitriol is the universal solvent, a corrosive agent capable of dissolving absolutely everything. Created by the Stryxis for reasons they refuse to explain and traded to the denizens of the Nexus of Shadows for use in their arenas and shadowy plots, no substance is proof against this liquid's fury, and it must be stored in magnetic suspension because no material container exists that can hold it. Not to be stymied in their quest to weaponise everything in their grasp, the Dark Eldar of the Nexus of Shadows cleverly use energy fields and other exotic distribution systems to imbue their blades and projectiles with the vapours produced by this substance without degrading their own equipment too quickly for it to be of use.
- Final Breath - A targeted paralytic agent that is derived from a plant native to Burnscour and brought to the Nexus of Shadows accidentally along with several beasts for the pits, Final Breath causes rapid respiratory shutdown, swiftly making it impossible for the target to breathe. The Dark Eldar first discovered the effect of the plant when a number of slaves tasked with cleaning the pen of a Clawed Fiend were discovered dying after inhaling its deadly pollen. The Dark Eldar of the Nexus of Shadows were most impressed by the agonising death that this humble plant had inflicted upon their slaves, and so they immediately set about finding a way to turn the plant's toxic pollen into a weapon.
- Heartfire - Heartfire is a substance produced by the razor-spined fungi that inhabit certain parts of the Gaelan Sphere, and is found in the greatest concentrations in those specimens that have made their home in the shafts that house the coolant for many of the sphere's mysterious processes. Apparently a defence mechanism against predators, this poison coats the spines and self-replicates within a victim's body, polluting his blood with a kinetically unstable chemical that may ignite at any moment. Vigourous motion is often sufficient to set the poisoned blood off, consuming the victim with a fire within his own veins and arteries, burning up the oxygen in his blood.
- Liquid Agony - Popular amongst nobles of the Kabal of the Splintered Talon involved in realspace raids against particularly valuable targets and those fighting rivals at home alike, Liquid Agony is a potent neurotoxin that amplifies nerve conductivity to extreme levels, turning even the weight of clothing and the caress of the air into torturous sensations. Liquid Agony is based upon the viscous bodily fluids of the Sandsnapper of Vaporious, a rare, segmented serpent that inhabits the deep deserts. Some within the depths of the Nexus of Shadows imbibe tiny quantities of Liquid Agony to heighten the impact of sensations, but overdoses are all too common and leave the wretched beings in a state of perpetual agony just long enough for a hungry soul to find the source of the screams and drink deep of the self-inflicted pain.
- Nightmare Philtre - This toxin creates terror in its victims, nothing more or less. Though the exact composition of this poison is a jealously guarded secret of The Sutured Helix, dark whispers tell of how Archon Salaine Morn commissioned the Haemonculus Drecarus to create it shortly after her forces slew a Rak'Gol raiding party that had simultaneously attacked the human settlement she was in the midst of pillaging. It is said that she brought one of the creatures' corpses back to the Haemonculus as a gift to entice his services, and he repaid her with this serum of hell-dreams some days later. By chemically influencing the "fight or flight" reaction, and then triggering it, an overwhelming sense of panic and dread afflicts the victim, without obvious cause or reason — something that is arguably more terrifying than being afraid of anything specific. In many cases, the horrified psyche actually tries to invent some fearful apparition to justify the terror, a feat of self-delusion that only serves to act as a beautiful accompaniment to the Dark Eldar feeding upon this unreasoning panic. Hard-won experience has taught the Dark Eldar that this particular poison does not have an effect on all of their foes - even the most concentrated dose does not influence a Space Marine in any way, and it seems to merely enrage Orks.
- Sanguine Exodus - This toxin causes the victim to begin exsanguinating rapidly, his blood pouring from every wound as if seeking to escape from his body. Sanguine Exodus in part on the saliva of the Culamia Bloodsucker that is all too common on the world of Burnscour and certain other Death Worlds in the Koronus Expanse, and has become popular amongst the Wyches of the Withered Blade Cult, as it allows them to kill with even greater elegance and conservation of motion.
- Vitae Rebellion - A cruel and savage toxin, Vitae Rebellion is a genetic serum of incredible potency created in the laboratories of The Sutured Helix and sold to Dark Eldar nobles on the Nexus of Shadows who desire a certain explosive flair to their kills. Vitae Rebellion aggressively invades a target's genome and transforms the biochemistry of its victims, transmogrifying critical fluids into chemicals and compounds that react violently with one another. The end result is gruesome and spectacular, as the victim detonates in a shower of mutated gore.
Dark Eldar Vehicle EquipmentEdit
Some Dark Eldar vehicles are fitted with several underslung chains and barbed hooks, the better to gouge at the flesh of those they pass over – if the vehicle happens to snatch up a victim or two and drags them to their death, so much the better.
Aethersails are used to capture the aetheric winds that flow out from open webway portals. Many vehicle crews are meticulous in the construction of these sails, incorporating frictionless alloys, vibro-pods and angled booms to enhance their bursts of speed.
Flickerfields are highly advanced optical force shields that make the vehicle they are fitted to appear to flicker in and out of reality.
Some Dark Eldar vehicles are adorned with the disembodied heads of slain foes and daubed with copious amounts of enemy blood. The sight of the festering remains of once-proud foes instils the Dark Eldar with arrogant pride.
The vehicle is covered by a broad-spectrum displacement field, enveloping it in cold and inky darkness. Foes find the vehicle hard to target, hidden as it is within a cloak of roiling shadow.
Torment Grenade LaunchersEdit
Some Dark Eldar skimmers incorporate hull-mounted launchers that send barbed grenades spinning into the ranks of the foe. Each grenade spews out an ochre cloud of phantasm gas that causes abject terror in the minds of those nearby.
The shock prow is an energised ram that sends out a directional wave of electromagnetic force, allowing the skimmer to carve its way through infantry and even shatter the heavy hulls of enemy vehicles.
Some Dark Eldar vehicles carry additional racks of anti-personnel weaponry on their decks. This allows passengers to quite literally empty their weapons' magazines in great raking fusillades, before discarding their spent guns in favour of fully-loaded replacements.
Artefacts of CrueltyEdit
Artefacts of Cruelty are items of horrendous power, which the Dark Eldar value for their ability to inflict torments of rare quality on their unfortunate victims:
- The Animus Vitae - The Animus Vitae appears to be a smooth orb, until it is thrown at the feet of a victim and explodes into a lashing tangle of barbed wires that wrap around its prey. Slowly and spitefully, the Animus Vitae begins to constrict, cutting through armour, flesh and bone until its victim's agonised cries become desperate, nerve-sawing screams. All the while the foul weapon radiates this agony, saturating the battlefield with pain so that the bearer and his kin can drink it in like a vintage draught.
- The Archangel of Pain - In the days before the Fall, the prophet Ynshimael sought to save himself by crafting a device to trap daemonic entities. Ynshimael's artifice was clever yet inadequate in the face of Slaanesh's birth, and his soul was devoured in seconds. Since those days, the device has been perverted by Ynshimael's Commorrite successors, becoming the metaphysical prison known as the Archangel of Pain. It is used to trap Daemons, binding them in a pit of barbed nothingness that tears and tortures their empyric substance. When released, these entities flee back into the Warp, their soul-rending psychic screams driving those that hear them irredeemably mad.
- The Armour of Misery - Crafted by the artisan Kalmael using psychoempathic shards of poisoned wraithbone, this armour is the ultimate expression of Commorite contempt. Its barbed plates provide its wearer with exceptional protection, but it is not its durability that makes this armour so sought after –- the armour emanates crippling waves of pure dread. Only those with an iron will can withstand such mental torture –- others slump to the floor defeated, weapons falling from trembling hands as they are overcome with fear.
- The Djin Blade - Forged from an unknown alloy that retains a perfect mirror sheen, the Djin Blade reflects an idealised reflection of whoever looks at it; an image of themselves that exudes power, beauty, wisdom – whatever they most desire. Any who takes up the Djin Blade will fall under its spell, guarding it jealously and listening to its whispers day and night. Though the blade lends its wielder incredible prowess, it will feed off their essence until it deems them drained and turns upon them. On that day the wielder's reflection shifts into something malefic, the true face of the Djin leering out at them in their last moments before it turns their heart to ash and their soul to drifting cinders.
- The Helm of Spite - The children of the Dark City look down upon those fools who would use psychic witchery in battle. Not only does such a thing tempt the gaze of She Who Thirsts, but it also risks the far more immediate wrath of Asdrubael Vect. Through necessity, the Dark Eldars' psychic abilities have been allowed to atrophy, leaving them less able to defend themselves against the reckless Warpcraft of their foes. The Helm of Spite redresses this balance, shielding its wearer from harm and setting up a field of violent psionic feedback that can cook a psyker's brain inside their skull.
- The Parasite's Kiss - Thought to be the finest splinter pistol ever crafted, this weapon spits out crystalline darts bound with psycho-vampric circuitry. Upon biting into flesh, the target's very soul is leeched, one gasp of pain at a time, and transferred back to the gun's wielder. As the luckless victim withers and shrivels like rotten fruit, their murderer flushes with vigour and youth, revelling in their stolen life energies while their foe crumbles away to dust on the breeze.
- Codex: Dark Eldar (7th Edition) (Digital Edition), pp. 200-232
- Codex: Dark Eldar (5th Edition), pp. 56-63
- Codex: Dark Eldar (3rd Edition, Revised), pp. 14-15
- Codex: Dark Eldar (3rd Edition)
- Dark Eldar: Datacards (7th Edition)
- Haemonculus Covens - A Codex: Dark Eldar Supplement (7th Edition) (Digital Edition), pp. 110-112