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A Death Jester, also known as a margorach ("death-head" in the Eldar Lexicon), is a heavy weapons specialist of the Eldar Harlequins. Death Jesters make use of a wide-array of heavy weaponry; from the humble Shuriken Cannon of the Craftworld Eldar, to the specialised Firepike, or the morbid Shrieker Cannon. The Shrieker Cannon is the trademark weapon of the Death Jesters, as only they can create and maintain them. Greatcoat billowing, bells jingling with obscene cheer, the Death Jester lets fly, the hissing report of his weapon counterpointed by the screams of his dying foes. Each round is impregnated with virulent biotoxins that cause the victim's metabolism to detonate spectacularly. The slightest wound promises a swift and horrific death, transforming the victim into a living bomb of jagged bone and boiling gore. Through it all the Death Jester looks on with avid amusement, keenly watching for any way in which to make his victims' deaths more darkly comedic. It is a credit to his twisted ingenuity that he will normally succeed.
The arrival of a Death Jester upon the battlefield is announced by a hissing storm of shrieker cannon fire. Enemy infantry are torn apart in sprays of blood and scalded flesh as they combust horrifically from within. Such an entrance is apt indeed, for the sinister Death Jesters play the role of Death in the Harlequins' performances. Without exception, Death Jesters possess a grisly sense of humour that leads them to seek new and inventive ways to terrorise, torment and eventually kill their victims. They can sometimes be heard chuckling or humming softly in the midst of battle, and will occasionally pause to sketch a deep bow or offer mocking applause to foes whose horrible fates have especially entertained them. Killing the foe is not enough for a Death Jester. To make war worthwhile, they must intersperse death with ironic humour. Slaying an officer at the crescendo of a rallying speech, panicking enemy sappers so they flee into their own minefield, or wounding a heavy weapon trooper so that their shot flies wide and destroys the very objective they were defending; these are the kinds of cruel deed in which Death Jesters find their amusement. Indeed, there are few in the galaxy as talented or imaginative when it comes to writing the tragic comedy of war.
These sinister warriors stand apart from their fellow Harlequins, for they play Death in the masque and thus must walk aloof from their brethren. They often perform daring stunts of escapology and risk -- "dicing with Death," as they are fond of saying. Their costumes feature skulls and death's head masks, decorated with the bones of their predecessors. Their morbid sense of humour is appreciated throughout the Dark City, for they are as every bit as inventively cruel as the most black-hearted Commorrite. To a Death Jester, the madness of the battlefield presents infinite inspiration and boundless opportunities for lethal practical jokes. A Death Jester may wait until an enemy squad believes themselves safe within a bunker, before placing a single shot through the closing door with his shrieker cannon. The explosive effects of the weapon turn the haven into a tightly packed death trap, eliciting screams that are music to the Death Jester's ears. In the name of sating their desire for morbid amusement, these strange sadists have been known to dress up unconscious foes in the charred skin and bone of their fallen comrades. They have arranged the bodies of the fallen in bleakly amusing positions, and perpetrated any number of other awful acts of inexplicable humour. Amid the masques, Death Jesters move as they will, garbed in armour said to incorporate the bones of their predecessors. They are regarded with wary amusement by their fellows, for they are as morbid and unpredictable as they are gifted. Yet their dedication to the Laughing God is beyond question, and in the heat of battle the covering fire of the Death Jesters saves the lives of their comrades time and time again.
- Holo-Suit - In place of the thick armour plates used by less advanced races, all Eldar warriors use psychically activated bodysuits. In battle, the trademark Holo-Suits (or dathedi -- meaning "between colours") transform the Harlequins into dazzling blurs, their outlines exploding into blizzards of light that leave the foe's aim confounded and their thoughts bewildered. The device incorporates a programmable holo-field that breaks down the wearer’s profile into a fractal lightstorm as they move; the faster they travel, the more pronounced the effect. So it is that a charging Harlequin appears as nothing more than an indistinct, prismatic storm that is nigh-on impossible to hit, allowing them to simply avoid blows that would otherwise lay them low.
- Shrieker Cannon - Infinitely more cruel than a typical Shuriken Cannon, the Shrieker Cannons of the Death Jesters fire projectiles impregnated with virulent genetic toxins, which turn the luckless victim into a walking bomb. Their blood boils, organs rupture and flesh sears from within, before they explode with sickening violence.
- Flip Belt - The Flip-Belt is a wonder of Eldar technology, a portable anti-grav generator keyed to trigger upon the mental command of its wearer. So incredibly lightweight are Flip-Belts that they do nothing to hamper their wearer's natural agility. Instead, they heighten it to the point that Harlequins can leap clean over all but the most towering obstacles, springing and bounding through rubble and wreckage with supernatural ease.
- Black Crusade: The Tome of Excess (RPG), pg. 114
- Codex: Dark Eldar (5th Edition), pg. 42
- Codex: Dark Eldar (7th Edition), pg. 87
- Codex: Eldar (4th Edition), pg. 49
- Codex: Eldar (6th Edition), pp. 47, 63, 65-66
- Codex: Harlequins (7th Edition) (Digital Edition), pp. 12, 35, 52-53, 101-103, 146, 154, 157, 174-176
- Harlequins Painting Guide - Warriors of the Laughing God, pp. 11-14, 24-25, 28-30, 36, 38, 43, 45, 47, 50, 57-59, 88-91, 116-118, 142-146, 164
- Warhammer 40,000 Compendium (2nd Edition), pp. 184-191
- Games Workshop Online Store - Death Jester
- Games Workshop Online Store - Classic Harlequin Death Jester