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Question about Eldar Corsairs

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Eldar have been engaging in piracy since the first edition of the tabletop game, and the Koronus Expanse has a group of Eldar Corsairs as a built-in part of the setting. My question is, what do Eldar want with the stuff they steal?

 

Everything manufactured by their victims is certainly much lower quality that what the Eldar themselves make; combined with their contempt for mere 'Mon-Keigh', why would they want our stuff? To sell? To who, and for what? I can't imagine that they value coins...

 

So, what is the objective of (non-Dark) Eldar piracy?

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1) Slaves for manual labour or conscripting into a disposable infantry.

2) It weakens the Imperium in a way that they can't detect.

3) They can arm a group of humans that can be used to strike against their actual enemies.

4) It draws Imperial attention to that region, resulting in them weakening their defences somewhere else.

5) They were asked by an Eldar Craftworld to do so, and are doing it in order to gain an alliance with them.

6) They're jerks.

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I imagine raw materials would be useful to them. Eldar still have to eat and drink, and their gear isn't 100% wraithbone so far as I know. This seems especially true for Corsair bands, who probably lack the manufacturing and supply base that a Craftworld enjoys.

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Imperium cannot into distinguish Eldar and Dark Eldar. Objectives of DE are obvious - slaves and slaughter. 

 

As for vanilla Eldar, this maybe folk from more agressive, bloodthirsty and mon-keigh-hating craftworlds such as Biel-Tan and Saim-Hahn.

 

5) from Erathia`s post can be modified for supplyind Exodites - they can need raw matherials. 

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Eldar have been engaging in piracy since the first edition of the tabletop game, and the Koronus Expanse has a group of Eldar Corsairs as a built-in part of the setting. My question is, what do Eldar want with the stuff they steal?

 

Everything manufactured by their victims is certainly much lower quality that what the Eldar themselves make; combined with their contempt for mere 'Mon-Keigh', why would they want our stuff? To sell? To who, and for what? I can't imagine that they value coins...

 

So, what is the objective of (non-Dark) Eldar piracy?

 

Actually, I would imagine most Eldar Corsairs wouldn't bother stealing much of, say, the contents of a bulk trader. They'd rummage over it to  see if something catches their eye, and not give a **** about the rest. More often than not, they simply won't bother stealing what is in the stores of a ship they capture - or won't even bother capturing it, instead hulking it out and letting it drift through the void.

 

Eldar corsairs are to me a bit like the rangers, except they have rejected the path structure and are out to "let loose" and enjoy life without most of the inhibitions and the oppressive culture of the craftworlds. In a sense, they are much closer to the pre-fall Eldar in mindset, closer even than the Dark Eldar who have to contend with the daily draining of their souls and the desperation this engenders. They do a lot of what they do because they can, and because they feel like it. Many of their atacks are likely simply because they consider the target to be a danger to their interests or in violation of what they consider "their planet/space/sector".. There are also possibilities such as them being contracted by a craftworld, personal grudges, and so on. A lot may be simply because the corsair lord is in a foul mood or the hapless human committed some sort of (unintended) insult. Just like a rogue trader - if not even more so - a corsair lord is a power beholden to no one but him/herself, and dismissive of any constraints to their behavior. Add that to the Eldar (actually, nearly universal in 40k) view that no other species is really people, and, well, you could have Princess Heron of the Magnificent blade cutting straight through someone's head because they had a bad haircut and she didn't want the **** thing at eye level - or going out and raiding a ship, then giving all that food to a struggling colony because for she found it amusingly pastoral.

 

I imagine they would certainly go through the colony or ship stores to see if there is something they like and both foodstuffs and curios may well be taken.  Naturally, if they hear a ship or a colony may have some Eldar equipment - anything from a runecaster on a ship to a ranger cache buried under an unknowing outpost - they may well decide to take what is theirs. However, cases where they attack something mostly for the loot would likely be quite rare.

 

Note that this is only about corsairs, craftworld fleets and dark eldar pirates are different animals entirely.

Edited by The_Shaman

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The thing is it's hard for me to imagine Eldar Corsairs raiding someone and taking all their goods but leaving survivors. EVEN IF they don't have anything they want to do with the weapons, there's no point in leaving weapons behind because those are just materials that someone else can use, so they might just take them and throw them into the star, or perhaps use them as bargaining materials later.

 

I think the question is only about Corsairs (hence the title), but the Craftworld Eldar might do it because they had a vision that a specific lasgun on board would slay a great daemon, so they're keeping it in case they ever need to kill one of those. The DEldar might do it because they feel like handicapping themselves the next time they go on a hunt, or to arm their slaves in a murderpit before unleashing a Carnifax on them.

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I like to think they are rummaging around, looking for looted Eldar stuff (never know where that will show up), and trying to wreck our ships. Eldar live a long time, and they know that we don't, so wrecking a ship, knowing it might take decades to fix, or a century+ to rebuild/replace, takes a lot of Human problems out for them. They might also be trying to dissuade outsiders from being in areas they value, but hopefully not in a way that makes others say "what is it that they do value?", and also possibly the old adage "this used to all be the Eldar's space, and now we think it's ours, and the Eldar are on the way out", but the Eldar will show the stupid Mon'keigh the error of those beliefs. Some might even just be looking for a challenging romp. Lastly, the Eldar always seem to know  time and a place where they feel a specific person/people need to be for some weird ass event that they have been watching for for centuries, so making sure the right people are there, and stay there, maybe even die there, if need be would fit right in.

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Well. Corsair Eldar is a rather broad term applied by the Imperium to those Eldar whose lifestyle fits not that of the Craftworld Eldar, the Exodites, or the Dark Eldar.  They aren't necessarily pirates, just groups of Eldar who don't owe allegiance to a craftworld or cabal.

 

As to those who are pirates, it would seem that they are most interested in gaining essential for their fleet and in retrieving lost relics of the eldar, more aggressive reestablishment of the Eldar empire (Biel-Tan on 'roids) by wiping out 'lesser races', or getting slaves to trade in Commoragh, or just for the lulz, depending on whether they lean more towards themselves, craftworlds, or the DE.

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We know who they are, but the Imperium has a hard enough time to distinguish craftworld from dark eldar, so any piratical eldar tend to be bunched in by pretty much anyone. I see it as more of a spectrum, from the craftworld-allied "freelancers" to dark eldar a la Il Duce (Duke Sliscus). I think a lot of them are just dissatisfied and not liking either the craftworlds or the dark Eldar, so they go out and do their own thing. Sort of like heavily armed eldar punks :D

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Depending on their bent, I see some, maybe even many Corsairs as something akin to Rangers with ships. They leave their Craftworld, or wherever, for some amount of time, poke around the universe, mapping wrecked paths of the Webway, catching up on the states of certain Eldar ruins, maybe keep a certain faction of do-badders from getting too big. Some are more piraty, but I often question why, if they don't want our inferior stuff, probably don't eat the stuff we do, and don't take the time to utterly destroy the ships they attack.

 

I often like to think they can't y"just" be Corsairs for the same reason Rangers can't just be Rangers; someone had to make their stuff. The Eldar are a dying race, and while their building material, wraithbone, might be nigh-inexhaustible, their available craft people are not. You might be a Corsair captain with a ship that is thousands of years old, but you were either given it, or it was made for you, and I rarely hear about the Eldar hunting down their own for stealing a ship, which leads me to think they were permitted to take it, like Rangers with their stuff. That's just me, though. Same thought of why every Eldar on a walkabout (Rangers) seems to gravitate to sniper rifles, rather than blades, or other "typical" shuriken weapons.

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Well, they sort of are, although iirc less structured than rangers - who are supposedly still on a path, while many corsairs straight out reject the system. Of course, that doesn´t mean they don´t occasionally do work for the craftworlds, but it can be more of a matter of them being the least hostile or disliked group in the galaxy or residual goodwill in those who used to live on a certain craftworld and have friends/family/loved ones there, rather than any deeper affiliation.

 

As for where their ships are coming, my interpretation is that not unlike Imperial ships, many Eldar ships are extremely old and passed from one captain to another. It could be anything from a splinter group from a craftworld (like how a not inconsiderable part of Iyanden´s fleet followed Yriel into exile), to heavily modified versions of ancient vessels from shortly after or even before the Fall. After all, afaik nothing says the craftworlds were the only eldar vehicles away from Ground Zero when the Fall came, so it would not be so strange for older ships or even mini-craftworlds who did not follow the same social "evolution" after the Fall to now be the flagships and bases of corsair warbands, passing from one lord to another as corsairs come and go. And if we can consider corsair groups as somewhat independent and enduring organizations, it is quite possible that they simply receive ships or smaller craft as payment from a craftworld as sort of mercenaries. 

Edited by The_Shaman

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Thanks for all of the replies. To refocus the original question a bit: my Dark Heresy players are on their way to The Viper's Nest, a notorious space pirate base (built into an abandoned Ork Rok, now hidden on the edge of the Fydae Great Cloud), to intercept a specific pirate ship. Being members of the Ordo Hereticus, they have encountered a wide variety of mutants, witches, and daemons- but not xenos. This mission will be their first real encounter with aliens (the pirates they are seeking have an alliance with a group of Morgauth- aliens mentioned in The Radical's Handbook which I have stat'd out [see the NEW XENOS link in my signature below]). The pirate base is a mixture of Spanish Main-era Tortuga and Mos Eisley Spaceport, with pirates, fugitives from justice, mercenaries, Cold Traders, assassins and bounty hunters all rubbing shoulders with Kroot, Stryxis traders, and Ixt brigands (my own creation). Non-humans are usually 'encouraged' to stay in the station's xeno-ghetto (not-so-affectionately dubbed 'Stinktown'), but brave or foolish groups of aliens sometimes wander through Grogway or Bartertown...

 

The PCs will be stuck in the Viper's Nest for some time, and I thought it might make for an interesting 'random-ish encounter' to have a run-in with some Eldar Corsairs during the wait. So, what I'm looking for is a justification for the Corsairs to put into the station in the first place. Would they engage in trade with non-Eldar? Or should their reason for appearing be completely inscrutable?

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There can be several justifications - from a corsair warband being really down on their luck (and unwilling to admit to their own kind they failed so hard - xenos obviously don´t count) to a "business interest" to a few corsairs being perverse enough to somehow enjoy such a slum on some leve. However, I don´t see them spending much time around the Strixis. The two races REALLY don´t see each other eye to eye, and while the Strixis seem to be the one carrying most of the grudge, Eldar generaly don´t hang around xenos who wish them dead - they either leave or try to kill them instead. This means either the Strixis or the Eldar don´t stay on the station for long (and at least one group, probably the Eldar, most likely avoids it altogether)

 

They may, however, visit in secret, possibly even in disguise. It could be they have some agents on the station, for example representatives or "facilitators" who can put interested parties in touch with them, and the eldar may be there to meet the prospective partners in person. 

 

Then again, you never know what sort of "eldar pirates" they´d actually be. The place you describe might just have the other kind - they are a bit more likely to not care about their surrounding when there´s mischief to be done, torments to be carried out and suffering to be enjoyed.

Edited by The_Shaman

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Hmmm, as to the Stryxis and the Eldar, the Stryxis seem more capable of interacting peacefully with Dark Eldar than any other Eldar. They can't stand any Eldar, but it is apparent their grievance is more with Craftworlders and/or Corsairs than DE, as per Soul Reaver, they've been shown to trade slaves and goods with them (which is a far cry from shooting on sight or immediately fleeing).

 

As to why a Corsair would be a pirate, beyond what was generally said above (curious, basic raw materials, whimsical flights of destructive fancy), I'd say they pirate for wealth. Not what THEY consider wealth, but what OTHERS consider wealth. With what they steal, they can pay, bribe, or coerce others into doing things for their own amusement, and generally gloat their superiority over other lesser races. Corsairs of a darker bent also likely sell captives to Dark Eldar. Though they don't often go to the Dark City itself or let themselves indulge in the same depravities (less they become Dark Eldar themselves), Dark Eldar equipment is perfectly designed for the pirate lifestyle, and without a strong industrial base, they likely get a good deal of their equipment from the Dark Eldar.

 

My guesses at least.

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