The Warp Spiders are Eldar Aspect Warriors who specialise in the use of a personal teleportation device built into their Aspect Armour to make a series of rapid jumps through the Immaterium that make them nearly impossible to target and allow them to attack the enemy suddenly and disappear before he can strike back. Taking their name from the same creatures who protect the Infinity Circuits of their Craftworlds, the Warp Spiders epitomise the concept of an aggressive defence.
Like all of the Eldar Warrior Aspects, the Warp Spiders trace their history back to Asurmen, the first Phoenix Lord, who established the first Aspect Shrine, called the Shrine of Asur, upon the world of the same name. It was Asurmen who trained the first Eldar Exarchs, several of whom went on to become the Asurya, the first Phoenix Lords and founders of the different Warrior Aspects. However, like several of the other Eldar Warrior Aspects there is no known founder, or Phoenix Lord, of the Warp Spider Aspect Shrines, although the lore of the Kaelor Craftworld speaks of the Lhykosidae, the Wraith Spider, who might be a Warp Spiders Phoenix Lord perhaps even the Aspect's Asurya, the first Phoenix Lord. The truth of the matter may not even be known to the Eldar themselves, lost in the mists of the ancient past.
The Warp Spiders actually take their name from the tiny but aggressive creatures that are seen amongst the slender Wraithbone trees of the Dome of Crystal Seers that forms the heart of every Eldar Craftworld. These sparkling entities can move anywhere within the Craftworld, melting their arachnoid bodies into the Infinity Circuit and becoming pure psychic energy before recrystallising to reappear at a new location. They are attracted in vast numbers to invasive psychic entities. As the Wraithbone core of a Craftworld is supportive of psychic consciousness in a similar way to the Immaterium, it is possible for it to become corrupted by the fragmented consciousnesses of lost human or other non-Eldar souls. In theory, at least, it would be possible for a daemon of Chaos to find its way into the Wraithbone core of a Craftworld, although such a thing would be immediately apparent. The tiny Warp Spiders ensure that this does not happen, hunting and destroying alien psychic fragments much as white blood cells in the human body attack and neutralise foreign bacteria.
The Warp Spider Aspect Warriors epitomise the doctrine of aggressive defence. Using a compact Warp Spider Jump Generator housed within the backpack of their Aspect Armour and operating in squads of five to ten warriors which are sometimes lead by an Exarch, these Aspect Warriors can make short Warp-jumps, disappearing into the Immaterium and reappearing into realspace in the blink of an eye. This enables them to make totally unexpected attacks on their foes, though it does necessitate spending a short time unshielded in the Empyrean. For this reason, the Warp Spiders are considered the bravest of all Eldar Aspect Warriors -- they risk not only their lives in the name of victory, but also their souls, as Slaanesh hungers for the souls of all Eldar who dare to enter the realm of "She Who Thirsts" unprotected. Despite this accolade, Warp Spiders are also regarded as strange and terrifying, the furthest removed from the normal Eldar mindset of all the Warrior Aspects. Warp Spiders also tend to have a bleak outlook on life, and rarely mix with the warriors from the other Aspect Shrines. The ritual armament of the Warp Spider is the Death Spinner; a highly advanced weapon that extrudes a thick cloud of razor-sharp monofilament wire. The Spinner's magnetic containment field then spools the wire together and hurls it toward the enemy. The wire's own tension causes it to writhe and lash, and where it touches flesh or soft tissue, it slices through the victim's body, causing an agonising and quite messy death. Warp Spiders are also equipped with other standard Eldar weapons, including Power Blades, Shuriken Weapons and Fusion Guns.
Notable Warp Spiders ShrinesEdit
- The Shade Gate Shrine - Warp Spiders of the Shade Gate bear only token flourishes of the red and white of their Aspect, favouring all-black bodysuits. Draping their foes in cascades of monofilament wire, they will often retreat to hidden positions in order to observe their targets' futile, and ultimately fatal, struggles.
- The Slicing Skein Shrine - The crimson-clad Aspect Warriors who hail from the Shrine of the Slicing Skein are the thread of fate that severs all others. Theirs is the art of the ambush from multiple directions; the cutting of chosen strands that will see entire webs of fate collapse in upon themselves.
Warp Spiders ExarchsEdit
Every Aspect Shrine of the Eldar is led by an Exarch, an Eldar who has been called permanently to the Path of the Warrior. An Exarch has travelled so far down that Path that he or she can no longer leave it and so dedicates him or herself fully as a high priest of Khaine in service to the Aspect of the War God that he or she represents. Exarchs wear more elaborate and ornate versions of Aspect Armour which incorporates the spirits of their past wearers, granting an Exarch not only wisdom and knowledge stretching across the millennia but a raw pool of potent psychic energy that can be used in combat.
This permanent acceptance of the Eldar's "war mask" provides Exarchs with enhanced skill and dedication to their craft and entitles them to access their Shrine's oldest and most advanced wargear. The Exarchs of the Warp Spider Shrines have honed their deadly skills as ambushers to a high degree, passing on this knowledge to the Warp Spider Squads that they personally lead. They are experts in surprise assaults, teleporting onto the battlefield in a storm of crackling lightning, but also know when it is prudent to withdraw from combat and to regroup in order to perform further guerrilla attacks. Some Exarchs will go into battle with two Death Spinners, wielding them as ably as they would a single weapon, or instead carry a Spinneret Rifle. These weapons eject a single rigid strand of monomolecular wire that punches through armour and recoils in a tight spiral. In addition to this ranged weaponry, some Warp Spider Exarchs will also be equipped with Powerblades, twin Power Weapons fitted to their forearms, enabling the wearer to use both hands freely.
There is no known Phoenix Lord for the Warp Spiders. However, some Eldar claim that the legendary Eldar warrior Lhykosidae, known as the "Wraith Spider," a legendary warrior renowned upon Craftworld Kaelor is the Phoenix Lord of the Warp Spiders. Most other Eldar disagree with this supposition because the Phoenix Lords appeared far earlier in Eldar history and were responsible for founding their Warrior Aspect after their tutelage by Asurmen. The truth of the matter remains currently unknown to Imperial savants.
Warp Spiders WargearEdit
- Aspect Armour - Like other Eldar Aspects, Warp Spiders wear lightweight synthetic bodysuits, reinforced with plates of psycho-sensitive bioplastics that will instantly harden to resist impacts. These plates can also morph their shape in accordance with the wearer's movements, meaning the armour does not encumber the wearer in the slightest, offering both good protection with excellent mobility. Using a compact Warp Spider Jump Generator housed within their armoured backpack, they utilise to make short Warp-jumps, disappearing and reappearing in the blink of an eye. This enables them to make totally unexpected attacks upon their foes, though it does necessitate spending a short time unshielded in the Warp. For this reason, the Warp Spiders risk not only their lives in the name of the victory, but also their souls. Warp Spider Aspect Armour is much bulkier compared to that worn by other Aspect Warriors, making the Warp Spiders more heavily armoured than their fellows but also among the slowest of the usually highly mobile Eldar Aspects. While this would be more constricting for the movements of other Eldar warriors, the Warp Spiders' unique teleportation abilities negate this disadvantage. Warp Spider Aspect Armour is also further warded to allow for safer travel through the Warp, which provides some protection against psychic powers when in realspace. The reinforced breastplate of the Aspect Warrior's armour bears his Spirit Stone, a precious item for all Eldar. This psycho-receptive gem is attuned to the individual so that at the moment of death, when the Eldar's psychic spirit is released, it is captured instead within the stone. Otherwise it is believed by the Eldar that the spirit would be released into the Warp, where the Chaos God Slaanesh, "She Who Thirsts," awaits to consume it. Contrary to popular belief, the small domes and blisters on Warp Spider Aspect Armour are not extra gems, but small compartments that contain the suit's technical systems. A tabard or pennants are a common addition to Warp Spiders Aspect Armour. The armour's runic inscriptions name the Aspect Shrine for which the Aspect Warrior is fighting and identifies the the particular Craftworld that shrine is located upon. Regardless of a shrine's location, the Aspect's colour scheme is always some pattern of red, black and white.
- Aspect Helmet - Each Warrior Aspect has its own distinctive helmet, and within each shrine the helmet may vary in form slightly, with correspondingly more elaborate versions for the shrine's Exarchs. For a standard Warp Spider, the helmet is swept back and comes to a slight point. By custom, it is this helmet that marks the Aspect Warriors as the protectors and avengers of their Craftworld. In battle, the Warp Spider is assisted by an advanced, computerised targeting system. This targeter finds and tracks multiple foes, feeding the target information directly to the Aspect Armour's helmet display. It is likely that it can also differentiate between enemy and ally. The helm bears the Warp Spider Aspect's rune traced upon its forehead. Warp Spider Aspect Helmets appear to incorporate an external breather unit.
- Warp Spider Jump Generator - The Warp Spider Jump Generator is a sophisticated Warp field emitter that is integrated into the a Warp Spider' Aspect Armour and is largely responsible for that suit's unusual bulk, as least so far as Eldar defensive technologies are concerned. The generator is what allows the Warp Spider to make his short jumps into the Immaterium so that he can cross the intervening space nearly instantaneously, completely undetectable to his foes.
- Death Spinner - A Death Spinner is the ritual armament of the Warp Spiders Aspect; a highly advanced weapon that extrudes a thick cloud of razor-sharp monofilament wire. The spinner's magnetic containment field then spools the wire together and hurls it toward the enemy. The wire's own tension causes it to writhe and lash, and where it touches flesh or soft tissue it slices through the victim's body, causing an agonising and messy death.
- Spinneret Rifle - A Spinneret Rifle is a variant of the Death Spinner used by Warp Spider Exarchs. Spinneret Rifles operate by ejecting a single, rigid strand of monomolecular wire that punches through armour, before recoiling in a tight spiral. Spinneret Rifles have a more consistent armour penetration ability than standard Death Spinners, and a longer range. However, they will usually only affect a single target at a time.
- Powerblades - Warp Spider Exarchs that utilise twin Death Spinners commonly fit a pair of Powerblades on their forearms. Primarily used as defensive weapons, Powerblades are short, wide blades attached to the forearm designed primarily for parrying. Their energy field allows them to parry almost any attack, but it is less effective when used offensively. Still, Powerblades remain no less deadly than a normal Power Weapon in melee combat. A Powerblade is mounted on the forearm, and does not need to be held in the wielder's hand (leaving the Exarch's hands free to wield his Death Spinners whilst retaining dangerous close combat capabilities). Some wielders pair them with compact pistol weapons, while others wield a single Powerblade while carrying a larger ranged weapon in both hands.
- Codex: Eldar (6th Edition), pg. 37
- Codex: Eldar (4th Edition), pp. 36, 65
- Codex: Eldar (3rd Edition), pg. 9
- Codex: Eldar (2nd Edition), pp. 23, 38
- Rogue Trader: Into the Storm (RPG), pg. 125
- Rogue Trader: The Koronus Bestiary (RPG), pg. 55
- White Dwarf 172 (US), "The Eldar: The Path of the Warrior - Warp Spiders", pp. 5-16
- White Dwarf 138 (US), "Alaitoc Craftworld Eldar Army - Warp Spiders Exarch", pp. 20-29
- White Dwarf 127 (US), "Eldar" by Rick Priestley, Jes Goodwin, William King and Lindsey D. Le Doux Paton, pp. 13-52
- Planetstrike (4th Edition), pg. 9
- Eldar Prophecy (Novel) by C.S. Goto
- Dawn of War (Novel) by C.S. Goto
- Path of the Warrior (Novel) by Gav Thorpe
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