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A Shuriken Catapult is a large shuriken-firing ballistic weapon that is the standard and most common armament found amongst Eldar warriors. Shuriken Weapons, from the smallest pistol to the larger, anti-gravity tank-mounted Shuriken Cannons seen on Wave Serpents, War Walkers, Fire Prisms, Falcons, Vypers and Jetbikes of Eldar military forces are the mainstay of the Eldar armoury, being employed in almost every tactical situation. The most common of the Eldar Aspect Warriors, the Dire Avengers, use a modified version of the Shuriken Catapult as their main weapon, as do almost all Eldar Guardians.
Like much of the technology of the Eldar, shuriken catapults are grown from the same psychoactive wraithbone that forms the physical shell of the Craftworlds. A specialised subset of Bonesingers, taken from those who have previously walked the Path of the Warrior, are tasked with crafting the weapons used by those who would defend their home. Shuriken catapults, and their sidearm equivalents, Shuriken Pistols, are among the first weapons those who walk the Path of the Bonesinger learn to mould.
Shuriken catapults are elegant weapons compared to the crude firearms of lesser races, and come in a variety of shapes and sizes, as each is crafted according to the Bonesinger’s own design. Most share a similar aesthetic, with a long, tapered barrel leading to an elegant stock that houses the gravitic accelerator and magnetic repulsor. It has been known for more eccentric Bonesingers to create catapult patterns that resemble other weapons, such as human lasguns, but these are believed to be crafted as individual display pieces and it is rare to see such exotic designs on the battlefield.
The ammunition used by shuriken catapults consists of a solid core of plasti-crystal. When the catapult is fired, a molecule-thick disc is shaved from this core and, propelled by a gravitic accelerator, ejected from the barrel at a tremendous velocity.
The ammunition core is kept level with the barrel by a magnetic repulsor, allowing the next round to be detached and fired with great speed and accuracy. In this way, the shuriken catapult is capable of releasing a burst of one hundred shurikens in under two seconds. Each core is large enough to form a thousand rounds, allowing ten such storms of fire before needing to be replaced.
The wickedly sharp projectiles are capable of severing a limb, piercing armour or even penetrating walls, and the deadly hail fired by even a single catapult, let alone an entire squad of Guardians, led to the weapon’s name in the Eldar tongue, Tuelean, which translates into human languages as ‘the storm of blades’.
When it comes time to reload, the ammunition core is easily ejected with a thought from the user. Indeed, firing the weapon is as simple as willing it so, as each catapult is empathically linked to its user through the psychoactive properties of the wraithbone from which it is constructed. In cases of psychic disruption, each weapon is also equipped with a physical trigger mechanism and release button for the ammunition – this has proven vital in many conflicts, such as the War of the Seven Woes, when a psychic squall of great potency was unleashed by Arthak the Stalker’s daemonic hordes, temporarily severing the link between weapon and warrior.
As with the shape of the weapon, the form of the shurikens fired is subject to the whims of the Bonesinger who crafted it; hence, shuriken ammunition comes in a potentially infinite array of individual designs. Creating a shuriken that is new and unique is a source of great pride to a Bonesinger, and particularly beautiful variations are considered works of art, worthy of sitting beside pieces created by those who walk the Paths of the Sculptor or Composer.
A close-range weapon, the shuriken catapult is designed to lay down a withering stream of fire over a short distance, severely punishing any enemy foolish enough to enter the kill zone. While the warriors of the Aspect Shrines engage the foe with blades and exotic weaponry, the Guardians identify and occupy key strategic areas of the battlefield, entrenching themselves and preparing to turn their formidable firepower on any foe who attempts to dislodge them.
Setting out to eradicate the Imperium from the Maiden World of Talithia, bands of Iyanden’s Guardians led by Pathfinders infiltrated the human settlements under cover of darkness and fortified key buildings. When the oblivious mon-keigh awoke and made to go about their daily business, they were mown down by the Guardians, whose carefully-planned fields of fire allowed no escape from the storm of razor-edged shurikens. In the course of a single day, all human life was wiped from the face of Talithia.
Notable Shuriken Catapult VariantsEdit
- Avenger Shuriken Catapult - The Avenger Shuriken Catapult is a weapon unique to the Dire Avengers Aspect Warriors shrine. This upgraded version of the Shuriken Catapult features an extended barrel, additional power feeds, in-built rangefinders, a greater firing range and more sophisticated targeting systems, as befits high status troops. Most commonly Dire Avengers use these weapons in aimed semi-automatic fire, but in the heat of an assault or a close-range firefight, the weapon's full automatic function can empty its magazine in just four seconds. Their Phoenix Lord Asurmen wields a unique variant pair of these weapons connected to both of his vambraces.
- Gatekeeper's Bastion - The Gatekeeper's Bastion is a modified Dire Avenger Shuriken Catapult made with fortification and protection against environmental conditions in mind for when Eldar deploy into a variety of climates across countless worlds. The model includes reinforced casing around the barrel and magazine, and an augmented scope/range finder built with penetrating hostile planetary conditions as its primary function (snow storms, sand storms, etc.). The reinforced casing makes for a much more solid impact if the Eldar is forced to strike a target in melee, and its seals make it far less prone to clogging and jamming.
- Codex: Eldar (6th Edition) , pp. 63, 68
- Codex: Eldar (4th Edition), pp. 22-23
- Dark Heresy: Creatures Anathema (RPG), pg. 86
- Imperial Armour Volume Eleven - The Doom of Mymeara, pg. 32
- Warhammer 40,000: Munitorum - Shuriken Catapults (Digital Edition)
- Warhammer 40,000 - Eternal Crusade Rogue Trader Store: Gatekeepers Bastion