- "Without mercy or moral feeling, the Farseer’s consciousness stands upon the edge of spiritual destruction."
A Farseer is the most potent and respected form of Eldar psyker or Seer who was once a Warlock but has now become lost upon the Path of the Seer forever in the same way as the Exarchs are wed eternally to the Path of the Warrior. A council of the most powerful Farseers generally governs a Craftworld. Farseers possess a wide diversity of psychic specialities with divination being the most common skill. They are most often known for using their vast psychic powers to see the possibilities of the future to be able to manipulate events to better ensure the survival of the Eldar species in the wake of the Fall.
There are two other specialised types of Eldar Seers, Warlocks and Spiritseers. Warlocks are those Seers who now tread the Path of the Seer but have not been lost to it, and have also previously travelled the Path of the Warrior and served a time as an Aspect Warrior without also losing themselves to that Path and becoming an Exarch. Warlocks primarily use their powers to assist other Eldar Warriors in battle, shielding them from harm and attacking their enemies. Spiritseers are those Seers who specialise in communication with the dead; unsurprisingly they are most prevalent within Iyanden and sometimes lead squads of Wraithguard in combat.
When a Warlock becomes lost upon the Path of the Seer, like an Exarch is lost upon the Path of the Warrior, he or she becomes a Farseer. Unsurprisingly, the primary role of the Farseers is to look into the future and try and discern the best path for the Eldar to take. This is done through the casting of Seer Stones, fragments of Wraithbone and other psycho-sensitive materials that react to the convoluted, probabilistic skeins of space-time. By reading the throw of these stones, the Seers can often determine what will be the most beneficial course of action, though it is rare that they can discern true results any great distance into the future. On occasion a powerful Seer will receive a portent of some calamitous event, and be able to steer the Eldar away from disaster and doom. With so few Eldar remaining, the Seers attempt to preserve every Eldar life possible.
Farseers are amongst the most powerful of Seers and probably represent some of the most potent psykers in the entire galaxy. Every Craftworld has a handful of Farseers amongst their populace who usually make up that Craftworld's guiding council. Much of a Farseer's time is spent in a trance-like state where his spirit roams at will throughout the Wraithbone of the Craftworld where they direct the psychic-energy flow throughout the entire world-ship. As such, a Farseer is not normally in a waking state, though their visionary skills allow them to direct their fellow Eldar in avoiding those dangers that can fall upon the Craftworlds. This is accomplished by way of exploring potential future paths that may lie ahead and making a determination about which paths need to be altered to produce a better future outcome. A Farseer's duties mean that they do not usually engage in combat duties despite their previous experiences and enormous psychic potential for destruction. Yet in times of desperate need, Farseers can return to the battlefield where they use their incomparable psychic powers to aid their race in combat. Eldar armies are sometimes accompanied by a single Farseer which is due to the fact that more cannot be spared as they are tasked with guiding the future of their Craftworld. A farseer's powers are generally more potent that of a Warlock, but they rare engage directly in psychic combat, preferring to use their precognitive abilities to guide their forces in pursuing those tactics and strategems that will prove most effective in defeating the foe while minimising the Eldar's own casualties.
However, this ability to see the future and react upon what is seen has caused the Eldar to be distrusted by other races. Occasionally, a Seer will see that by attacking a certain world, fleet or base, Eldar lives will be somehow saved from a future event; Eldar forces will then suddenly attack unannounced, and quickly withdraw as soon as their goal has been accomplished. This, along with the Eldar tendency to view all other races as inferior, has led other races to deem them as fickle, aloof and untrustworthy. Also, the most powerful Farseers have even shown the ability to steer future events so that other races fight each other rather than the Eldar — one of the greatest examples being when the famed Farseer Eldrad Ulthran of Ulthwé (a Craftworld which places greater emphasis on the Path of the Seer) secretly facilitated the rise of an obscure Ork warlord named Ghazghkull Mag Uruk Thraka, who would eventually become a significant enemy of the Imperium of Man.
The Farseers lead their people in times of war as well as peace. On the battlefield their powers of precognition allow them to foresee the enemy's attacks and movements and warn their comrades against imminent changes on the field of battle. Since they are less capable of foreseeing events in such harried conditions, the Warlocks will often serve as officers in battle, leading units of other Eldar and helping to coordinate the overall battle, as well as to lend heavy fire support utilising their considerable psychic powers.
As Farseers grow older, their minds become so intertwined with the Wraithbone core of their Craftworld that their physical bodies slowly become ever more dormant. When the time has come they go to the Dome of Crystal Seers that exists within every Craftworld and join the crystalline bodies of the Farseers that came before them. Those of great age typically retreat into the Dome of Crystal Seers where their bodies begin to mutate within this peaceful retreat into a form of psychically-reactive crystal. This transformation is believed to be caused by a Farseer's constant exposure to the chaotic energies of the Warp. During their gradual process of transmutation, a Farseer takes root amongst the trees of the biodome and eventually turns entirely into a humanoid form composed of crystal. In this state, their spirit is freed into the structure of the Craftworld itself where it is preserved forever within the psycho-conductive Wraithbone Infinity Circuit. This fact sometimes leads to other Eldar wandering into the Dome of the Crystal Seers in order to see the Farseers of Old, whose bodies are preserved forever amidst the glades of ancient trees rescued from the lost Eldar homeworlds.
Runes of the Psyker
Eldar upon the Path of the Seer learn to harness their powers using complex, psychically sensitive Wraithbone runes. These act not only as prophetic tools, but also as arcane wards that smoulder and burn out whenever the energies of the Warp flow too strong. With these runes, Farseers can learn to identify the course of reality that benefits them the most, and steer their people accordingly. On a personal level, their destiny is set in stone – a peculiar side-effect of the Farseer’s obsession with the metaphysical sees their bodily form eventually turn into delicate psychocrystal. When the transformation is almost complete, the senescent Farseer makes a journey to the Dome of Crystal Seers, joining his predecessors as an inert statue linked to the Infinity Circuit forever.
Farseer Psychic Abilities
- Doom - The Farseer chooses a foe and, focusing his/her mind, delves into the myriad threads of causality to find the ones in which blows strike true against this enemy no matter how robust its defences. Some of the few who have survived being the target of this technique describe feeling as if the Farseer's blows had landed before he/she even attacked and that his/her strikes wove in and around their defences of their own accord.
- Force Of Asuryan - By carefully studying the skeins of fate as they are linked to a group of individuals, the Farseer can direct them so that they can study and react with seeming preternatural quickness to situations. Because of their divinations, such actions become the work of careful training and direction to events that have been foretold rather than the reactions of a moment’s notice. In this way, the Farseer’s allies are better prepared for a conflict than any virtually other force.
- Temporal Exile - A Farseer’s abilities are focused tightly upon his knack for manipulating the skeins of fate. One who becomes particularly adept at these techniques may directly influence how another’s strands are interwoven into the webwork of the galaxy. Using his psychic abilities, the Farseer may choose to render a subject’s thread completely isolated, as unweaving it from time itself. Such isolation leaves the subject incapable of acting upon any other targets. Generally, Farseers are reluctant to use this ability, as it may have consequences upon the future. Even in those circumstances where they come to accept its necessity, they may hesitate before applying it liberally.
- Battle Fate - Just as a Farseer can glean the best path for an Eldar to preserve his life, he/she may also determine what path could be most destructive to the enemy. With this knowledge in hand, the Farseer may be able to see to it that his forces can destroy their opponents before the Eldar sustain meaningful losses, or decide that a sacrifice is necessary for the good of the Eldar.
- Fortune - As Farseers spend a substantial portion of their lives focusing upon the strands of destiny, it is not uncommon for them to see visions of those that they know. Particularly stressful situations, often including physical conflicts, can become focal points for fate. Different destinies can interweave leading to alternative outcomes, and a talented psychic may learn to twist and manipulate world events so that the pattern takes on a different shape. Farseers can manipulate these strands as they learn to predict the actions of their opponents. Learning an opponent’s common strategies is nowhere near as reliable as foreseeing the actions that he/she is most likely to take based on following the chains of causality itself. With such knowledge in hand, the Farseer can carefully prepare for a future that has not yet arrived, assuring that his people are capable of dealing with the mostly probable outcomes.
- Crystal Seer - For a Farseer, linear time is an inconvenience, but one that can often be overcome. Just as the Farseer may peer into the future to advise his forces, he may be able to call upon the services of those who have come before. Within any given conflict, the spirit of an ancestral Eldar may be available to assist in any psychic conflict. At times, the Farseer may have to call upon these ancient ones for assistance, but just as often their aid might appear without request.
- Eldritch Storm - Even with their extensive planning and understanding of destiny, there are times when a Farseer must unleash the raw potential of the Warp against his foes. On such occasions, the Farseer may truly exhibit his race’s psychic potential as these exhibitions of raw energy can yield tremendous destructive force.
- Phoenix Spirit - Farseers often commune with the spirits of their Craftworld’s Infinity Circuit. The Farseer can come to grips with notions of mortality and also to the understanding of how an Eldar’s soul might continue to exist within its spirit stone. A Farseer can learn how to permit an Eldar to remain in control of his physical body for a few moments after his apparent demise.
- Anaris of Lu'Nasad
- Eldrad Ulthran of Ulthwé
- Macha of Biel-Tan
- Taldeer of Ulthwé or Biel-Tan
- Caerys of Ulthwé
- Idranel of Ulthwé
- Auric Stormcloud of Ulthwé
- Kelmon of Iyanden
- Eldorath Starbane of Alaitoc
- Ela'Ashbel of Kaelor
- Bel-Annath of Mymeara
- Erandel Voidsinger of Kaelor
- Serrenon of Kaelor
- Codex: Craftworld Eldar (7th Edition) (Ebook), pg. 38
- Codex: Craftworld Eldar (3rd Edition)
- Codex: Eldar (6th Edition), pp. 28, 53
- Codex: Eldar (4th Edition), pp. 26, 50
- Codex: Eldar (3rd Edition), pp. 8, 37
- Codex: Eldar (2nd Edition), pg. 72
- Codex:Imperialis (2nd Edition), pg. 67
- Deathwatch: The Outer Reach (RPG), pg 59-60
- Rogue Trader: Fallen Suns (RPG)
- Rogue Trader: Lure of the Expanse (RPG), pg. 131
- Rogue Trader: The Navis Primer (RPG), pp. 126-127
- Warhammer 40,000: Compilation (1st Edition), pg. 53
- Warhammer 40,000 Rulebook (3rd Edition), pg. 21