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People's opinion of the Dark Eldar career paths and the general playability of Dark Eldar


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#1 LordBlades

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Posted 06 January 2014 - 02:31 PM

I don't see Dark Eldar being discussed too often around here, and I have never seen a Kabalite Warrior nor a Wych (not to mention alt ranks) in play, so I'm curios what are people's opinions/experience with them.



#2 Erathia

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Posted 06 January 2014 - 03:57 PM

For full disclosure, I really don't like the Dark Eldar. This stems a lot from their name, which I really wish would be changed because that's a holdover from Warhammer Fantasy that I think is about time to go. Besides, what Craftworld Eldar lack in "darkness" they make up in "jerkishness".

 

Aaaanyway.

 

They seem like an interesting path, but it's one of the hardest careers to justify existing on an Explorer's ship. The fact that they are literally fuelled by suffering means you have to imagine they kill at least one crew member a day in horrible ways just so that they remain fed/not bored, Also their ego makes it so hard to imagine they would ever be subservient to a Rogue Trader, and if they were on the crew they would almost certainly be plotting the deaths of everyone on board. Any alliance with a DEldar would be so tenuous and specific that it's hard to imagine them being on the ship long-term.

 

So with an experienced group of players who can trust each other to have someone bearing a sign that "This person is going to betray you" flashing over their heads at all time, they might be able to fit in. They'll never really be a part of the group in the way that you can trick Orks into being or pay Kroot into being, so I haven't actually had one in my group yet. If I were to, it would probably be for a Dark Eldar as the "captain" of their vessel, with perhaps some Ork Freebooterz, Kroot Mercenaries and maybe one or two super-heretical humans thrown into the mix.

 

There are homebrew rules for playing a Craftworld/Outcast Eldar that I can see fitting into a Rogue Trader vessel a little easier you can find here.


Citizens of Grace! We have defeated both the Dark Eldar and Ork menaces that threatened your system! We need no thanks nor payments, so long as you do not leave the atmosphere during our salvage operations under pain of death! - Jequin Hos of The Hos Dynasty


#3 Amroth

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Posted 06 January 2014 - 05:24 PM

I do have a non-fleshed out idea for playing an all Dark Elder adventure as I do agree with Erathia that they make strange bedfellows.for all but the most corrupt Rogue Traders.

 

The concept I had was kind of a reverse on Black Crusade with the Dark Elder crew receiving information from a respected Harlequin that a new power would be rising soon in the Screaming Vortex that would threaten their existence. The idea would be to sabotage the rise of any one power in the Vortex, which they are perfectly suited to doing.

 

The rules would be pretty much Rogue Trader except that I would replace PF and Fate with the Infamy rules from BC. I figure PF really only works for Rogue Traders and Fate is supposed to be a sign of the Emperor's favour which doesn't make sense for any xenos let alone Dark Eldar.

 

As I said though I haven't actually played it so don't know how well it will work if at all.......


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#4 Brother Orpheo

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Posted 06 January 2014 - 05:32 PM

IMO, Dark Eldar PCs are best left for experienced, mature players. And in niche circumstances.


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#5 Kshatriya

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Posted 06 January 2014 - 05:35 PM

I say they're all pretty jaded, and are around for new experiences. The best way for them to do that is sign on with a Rogue Trader, and he can always enter into an agreement where the DEldar only kidnaps and tortures the seditious or mutated crewmen on the ship, and everyone wins! I also see them as a lot more "controllable" than orks, for the first point, as they can actually be reasoned with in certain ways. I disagree that DEldar will automatically be plotting to kill everyone, and don't need to be "not acting in character" to do so. If the RT keeps providing them with unique experiences (and people to kill) it can be a very mutually beneficial relationship.

 

Also as a point above, Touched By The Fates is a trait you can give to NPCs, including xenos and heretics, to basically let them RF and spend Fate. It doesn't necessarily need to be tied to the Emperor.



#6 CaptainStabby

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Posted 06 January 2014 - 05:51 PM

Noone in my games will ever be allowed to play the "slutty pain elf" because I don't trust any of my goofball friends to NOT play the career that way.


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#7 Erathia

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Posted 06 January 2014 - 05:56 PM

Noone in my games will ever be allowed to play the "slutty pain elf" because I don't trust any of my goofball friends to NOT play the career that way.

 

Pretty sure that's playing them in character.

 

To seek out new life and kill them in new and interesting ways would be an interesting experience for the Dark Eldar, but they literally need to kill to live, and unless you're going to oversee someone to "watch" the DEldar's torture sessions, I can't imagine they would actually only kill the seditious crew members. Once you do that, expect a few crew member's worth of murders before you are triumphantly informed that the person you assigned to watch them was, in fact, a traitor. Also if they end up Night Hauntering your ship into obedience, that doesn't change the fact that they still NEED to kill people to live, so eventually there's going to be innocents being killed. This is not going to be a popular option with your crew, which will lead to rebellion, which will lead to even more mysterious murders in the night, it's a vicious cycle.

 

Also the more you forbid them from killing the "loyal" crew members, the more appealing such targets would be. A PC is free to play a Dark Eldar however they want, but it doesn't get away from the fact that as written, they are horrible pain-causing monsters because they can't be anything else. If they're not playing them that way, then they're not really playing Dark Eldar.

 

You could maybe play a Psyker (or innocent civilian caught in a psychic event) who mind-swapped with the Dark Eldar, and then had their original body die, leaving them in possession of the Eldar. That way it would be a "human" who no longer has access to their powers (since using them means instant death), and has to get used to the Eldar body, the EVEN MORE hatred everyone's showing them when they show up, and that growing urge inside of them to kill everyone around them. That's sort of the only way I could see this working.


Citizens of Grace! We have defeated both the Dark Eldar and Ork menaces that threatened your system! We need no thanks nor payments, so long as you do not leave the atmosphere during our salvage operations under pain of death! - Jequin Hos of The Hos Dynasty


#8 Kshatriya

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Posted 06 January 2014 - 06:41 PM

I guess the only thing preventing a DEldar player from being a total PvP ******* is the social contract. Which, yeah, maybe they're better as NPCs. And eh, killing a few loyal crew when your crew has hundreds of thousands of people on it…really, meh. You're already gonna take a Morale hit from having a xenos. Presumably the DEldar is clever enough not to leave a trail of evidence.



#9 CaptainStabby

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Posted 06 January 2014 - 06:48 PM

The DEldar and the Reaver both just seem super disruptive to me, unless everyone is on board with that type of game, if your group is, I suspect it would work quite well. I tend not to run "evil" campaigns because I had enough of people being ChaoticStupid years ago.

 

For some reason neither the Ork nor the Kroot trigger those bells in my head, even though the Ork has mechanics issues it just seems more workable to me. I have no logical reason why, maybe it's the penchant for the freebooter to wear awesome pirate hats. Yeah, let's go with that.


Edited by CaptainStabby, 06 January 2014 - 06:49 PM.

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#10 LordBlades

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Posted 06 January 2014 - 10:47 PM

Well, if a Dark Eldar is aboard a Rogue Trader crew, he likely has a good reason. Either he shares a common goal with the RT or the RT has promised the DE something he wants in return for service.

Therefore, if the long term goal is important enough to the DE, odds are he wants to stick around to see it fulfilled, and would most likely not risk it all just to go on an indiscriminate killing spree. He doesn't need to like it, just consider the end goal important enough to feel it's worth restraining himself.

You don't really need the social contract or OOC reasoning IMO, just a DE with a good enough reason to work together with the rest of the party.

 

That being said, I was more interested in mechanical aspects. How are the Dark Eldar classes from a mechanical point of view? Are they too strong/weak? Any interesting things they can pull off/the GM should be aware of?



#11 Kshatriya

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Posted 07 January 2014 - 09:11 AM

The DEldar and the Reaver both just seem super disruptive to me, unless everyone is on board with that type of game, if your group is, I suspect it would work quite well. I tend not to run "evil" campaigns because I had enough of people being ChaoticStupid years ago.

 

The important thing to remember with these characters is that sociopathy doesn't require one to be a personality-void murderhobo without any other motivation. IRL sociopaths can be very charismatic simply because they understand how the human mind works and how to trigger good stuff in it. The best predator is one that the prey never sees coming and that blends in with the herd.



#12 htsmithium

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Posted 07 January 2014 - 09:50 AM

I have never played with one, but for some reason when I think about it I get an image of Hannibal Lector with pointy ears. 


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 ding dong mala mortuus est,

quem veteres strigam

impii strigam

ding dong impiorum strigam mortuus est.


#13 Erathia

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Posted 07 January 2014 - 12:16 PM

 

The DEldar and the Reaver both just seem super disruptive to me, unless everyone is on board with that type of game, if your group is, I suspect it would work quite well. I tend not to run "evil" campaigns because I had enough of people being ChaoticStupid years ago.

 

The important thing to remember with these characters is that sociopathy doesn't require one to be a personality-void murderhobo without any other motivation. IRL sociopaths can be very charismatic simply because they understand how the human mind works and how to trigger good stuff in it. The best predator is one that the prey never sees coming and that blends in with the herd.

 

 

Most sociopaths are actually terrible at that though. Usually they get away with it because the violation of the social contract they're doing is so extreme that people make allowances for them, but eventually people catch on. Same thing with the Dark Eldar, they could probably play the racism card and convince the first few lynch mobs that it was clearly Ensign Ricky who dismembered that janitorial crew and left their organs in the locker room, but eventually people would catch on.

 

Since I've been trying to find a way to make this work, the question was posed in the forums as to what would happen if a DEldar was in the presence of a Null Rod or other psy-blocking device. It's not entirely clear, but what if they came into possession of a Xenos MacGuffin that temporarily blocked the drain of their soul to Slaanesh, but every time they accumulated enough Pain Tokens to gain a Temporarly Fate Point the device loses a charge. Thus they can't stick around their own kind (because their own kind literally cannot stop torture-murdering), so they signed on with a human crew (because they like a little bit of torture murder and we all know what Rogue Trader PCs get up to). This could potentially really limit the character's combat options, but it would get around the reasoning behind why a DEldar PC would be set up in the long-term to be part of the Rogue Trader's crew, and also they could be a different time of weird pain Elf, this time focused on the delightful and sinful ways not constantly murdering everyone makes them feel. It's going against every one of their instincts, and that sort of wanton self-denial could work - especially for those few seconds when they do cut loose in combat.


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Citizens of Grace! We have defeated both the Dark Eldar and Ork menaces that threatened your system! We need no thanks nor payments, so long as you do not leave the atmosphere during our salvage operations under pain of death! - Jequin Hos of The Hos Dynasty


#14 Kshatriya

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Posted 07 January 2014 - 12:26 PM

Well, there's not much fun playing a real sociopath, unless you want to be a murderhobo, and then it's usually your group that doesn't have fun with having you in it.

 

As to your solution, it could work, but I wouldn't force it on a player.



#15 Erathia

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Posted 07 January 2014 - 01:05 PM

It's not a mandatory solution, but I'm just trying to freewheel ideas that get around the fact that the Dark Eldar literally has to kill in horrible ways that cause terror and pain in order to survive. If you've got someone like that on your crew eventually there are going to be problems, not to mention a lack of trust. Just try to say "I promise I'm not going to kill you" and not sound creepy.

 

Maybe you could also buy a Euphoric Life Sustainer and just leave it on, so your crew may periodically have a chance of being murdered every day, but they're too doped up to care!


Citizens of Grace! We have defeated both the Dark Eldar and Ork menaces that threatened your system! We need no thanks nor payments, so long as you do not leave the atmosphere during our salvage operations under pain of death! - Jequin Hos of The Hos Dynasty


#16 LordBlades

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Posted 07 January 2014 - 01:18 PM

Another relatively easy way to have a peaceful (toward the crew) DE: slaves. Rogue Traders are impossibly rich, setting up a secluded portion of the ship for a valued 'business partner' and periodically supplying it with slaves for him to torture and kill shouldn't be too difficult and/or repugnant. Not more repugnant than let's say having an Ork roam freely around the ship, and having the occasional little ork/gretchin/squig pop up from leftover spores and cause some mayhem before it gets taken care of, or having a crew member that makes a point to eat his enemies' corpses in plain sight.


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#17 Kshatriya

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Posted 07 January 2014 - 01:43 PM

Hey as long as the slaves are mutants, your DEldar is doing the Emperor's work!



#18 CaptainStabby

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Posted 07 January 2014 - 01:45 PM

Sure but we arent talking about REAL sociopaths though, we are talking about your average gamer attempting to roleplay what they THINK is a real sociopath. Thats the problem imo.

 

Or once again, maybe my friends are just bad...


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#19 Amazing Larry

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Posted 07 January 2014 - 04:06 PM

Noone in my games will ever be allowed to play the "slutty pain elf" because I don't trust any of my goofball friends to NOT play the career that way.

 

I have the same policy for the same reasoning, it looks like I'll be joining a second game with among other things a player who is working with the GM to put together a non-dark eldar who is also a senscheal but I get the feeling already that it's going to be a pretty goofball game all around.

 

Anyway yeah Dark Eldar as a player race are going to aggrivate all those same factors that often lead to GMs having to forbid male players from playing female characters in any given game. Give your typical neckbeard an imaginary ****** and pair of **** and he turns into a disgusting slutty ***** to the point it becomes endlessly disruptive and uncomfortable.



#20 Kshatriya

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Posted 07 January 2014 - 05:19 PM

Feeling real lucky for my online gaming groups then. We (somewhat often) play full gender swap character teams (5 male players) and it's always been…well, just the same as any other game except most of the PCs now wear skirts. I think if anything we skew to the polar opposite of misogynistic asshatery. Shame that that asshatery is your normal experience with male gamers playing female characters, though.


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