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Talon of Anathrax

Dark Eldar

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Hey there!

 

I'm just wondering how I could get my PCs to fight Dark Eldar in a 1-off Black Crusade adventure to introduce them to the system (the PCs will be 1 telepath and 1 diviner - inspired by the "Apex Twins"! But they have no attack powers yet for some reason).

I'm thinking Dark Eldar because they don't know anything about them (unlike most of the game's other factions). The trouble is that I don't either :(

 

I was thinking that the Dark Eldar would start raiding the orbital station that the PCs are trying to corrupt - it's orbiting a dead world and is months from any kinds of reinforcements, so they could attack any way they want.

 

So what kind of tactics would Dark Eldar use? I was thinking of having them fight the Children of Thorns Kabal if that's important.

Where can I get stats for them? Would the ones from Only War be too weak or too powerful?

Why could they be attacking?

 

Thanks!

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Slave raid (months away from reinforcements + nowhere to flee = juicy target), or alternatively the DE are actually pursuing someone else and have tracked them to this station. It could even be a mixture of both, with the latter being the reason for why the DE are in the area at all, and the former being more of a "since we're already here" kind of thing.

 

Some DE Kabals are also not above hiring their skills out as mercenaries in exchange for slaves, which means they could be working for someone else.

 

In terms of tactics, I'd emphasise speed, flanking manoeuvres and traps with a bunch of splinter rifle-wielding foot soldiers and a few highly skilled melee combatants. Perhaps also a beastmaster with a deadly pack of animals to shake things up? A space station certainly sounds like an interesting environment for such a fight to take place in, especially as you can ramp up the creep factor by not letting the DE burst in just like that, instantly recognised, but instead just have the stations vox system blare some general boarding alert, followed by strange shrieking noises somewhere between weapons fire and shattering glass .. and of course horrible screams as the station occupants are getting eviscerated in a most bloody fashion.

 

These sounds would be getting ever closer to your two quasi-protagonists as they move about the station, looking for a way out amid the other panicked inhabitants and visitors, many of whom scrambling for ships or escape capsules already destroyed or locked down. Throw in the occasional explosion or beast howl, corridors collapsing or getting flooded with noxious coolant, until finally your players run into one of the groups moving about the station, their nimble, shadowy silhouettes shifting gracefully from cover to cover in the smoke of burnt circuits, red visors glowing with malevolence.

 

Or at least that's how I'd approach it -- mind you, I don't claim to be an expert on Dark Eldar as I would for the Imperium, so others can probably give you advice more grounded in the source material. ^^'

 

 

Gauging the compatibility of profiles from Only War is probably tricky, though, especially as you don't even have normal fighters in your group. Am I right in assuming that your players don't have much in the way of armour and such? If they don't even have any attack powers yet, the focus of this encounter should probably be on escape rather than victory, though you could still give them a couple "allies" in the form of station security or other armed and violent folks who got stranded there just like they are.

 

Either way, if you're only using the DE to "hound them" rather than staging a balanced encounter, you can probably use the OW stats as they are. If they're too strong it doesn't matter, and if they're too weak you can still compensate by giving them reinforcements.

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You can find Dark Eldars' stats in the Book of Excess in the section of the planet Maligna.

If you are interested in them there's The Soul Reaver a supplement of Rogue Trader that has a lot of informations, equipments and even the rules to play a Dark Eldar and describes a Dark Eldar "trade post" that is supposed to be "near" the Screaming Vortex.

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Agreed. If you've got generic humans who don't really know what they're doing (game-wise) then regular kabalites are more than scary enough. A warp beast/beastmaster (no need to give him an extra stat) are also nice.

Surviving the dark eldar raid is a good way to introduce the combat system, awareness tests, fatigue, etc. Keep the dark eldar moving, and have them use cover and tactics intelligently - suppressive fire, grenades, and above all darkness. The Dark Eldar love the dark because it makes scaring humans so much easier.

Dark Eldar raiders might strike at the station - make it a pin-point raid - a few dozen dark eldar looking to punch in, massacre a few dudes and grab a few hundred slaves from the populace. That's quite believable - a clan-kin force from a single light ship might dart in and launch a single assault boat to attack a lonely, vulnerable target, and won't want to spend forever sweeping for survivors who wouldn't fit in the slave-holds anyway. (you don't want to actually kill them, right?)

A basic kabalite warrior is beatable for a basic human Black Crusade PC, but two or three at a time each is a serious, serious threat. Full automatic bursts with toxic weapons is not something to ignore. Sneaking, hiding and ambushing might give them an edge, but the more they do, the more the Sybarite leading the raid (it's unlikely to be anyone much above that rank if there's only a couple of dozen Commorites) is going to become aware of them, especially if they start triggering psychic phenomena.

This also allows you to explore tech and agility challenges to get around the maintenance corridors and crawlspaces and track the dark eldar with the stations sensors, and fellowship tests to find other survivors and convince them to act as disposable meat shields help.

Warp beasts - Khymerae - are a wonderful paranoia tool and exactly what their opponent would send out to hunt down recalcitrant psykers. They're nasty nightmare hunting dogs you can only ever see as a blur of movement or out of the corner of your eye. They don't show up on auspex or pict-capture (see the novel Brotherhood of the Snake) which the players might well be using to give them the edge over the invaders.
 

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Thanks everyone!

Here's what I got right now:

The PCs are aiming to destabilize a mining station (alone it its system, 2.5 million inhabitants and 4 million mutant workforce). As they work on it (link up with local cults, cause unrest, try to corrupt leaders or destabilize infrastructure), the station starts losing contact with the outlying mines on the system's furthest asteroids, and in-system ships dissapear or malfunction. It is blamed on strange stellar anomalies causing interferences with Augurs and communications.

After 2 weeks, the Dark Eldar start raiding the station through the Webway, seemingly attacking pointless objectives (apart from disabling out of system communications). The PCs will probably Divine what is happening and/or why, and learn that these mysterious enemies seek a strange and potent artefact hidden somewhere in the system. Knowing them, they'll look for it, and find it and acquire (sorry, steal) it. The raiding groups will probably steal a few slaves or humans for interrogation, and leave Mandrakes behind them to sabotage and spread fear. How well do you think humans can fare against a Mandrake? They seem weak enough if the Diviner manages to cast the Unnatural Perception power and actually hit them.

The Dark Eldar wll then step up their raids, effectively severely incapacitating the station and leaving its defenders reeling from setback after setback. All the while they will steal slaves (to pay their Coven and Wytch "allies") while sending groups looking for the Artifact: the main attacks are just a convenient distraction.

 

Note: I was thinking of providing a "Power from Pain" table (affecting the Warp itself at higher levels) which would slightly increase as the attacks intensify, to reflect the rising atmosphere of pain and terror in the station and it's effects.

For example:

  • Day 0: nothing. No Dark Eldar are present.
  • Day 7: Any Dark Eldar ignore Fatigue and Stunning if they ave inflicted serious pain in the last minute. Note that unless the PCs journey to the outer system for some reason (maybe to get closer to more mutant mining groups?), they will meet no Dark Eldar.
  • Day 14: Dark Eldar ignore Fatigue and Stunning. If they have inflicted pain in the last turn, they gain Regeneration (1); Here the PCs might meet a Dark Eldar raiding party, or at least notice that their plans are being directly affected by the mysterious attackers.
  • Day 21: Dark Eldar ignore Fatigue and Stunning. If they have inflicted pain in the last turn, they gain Regeneration (2) and Furious Charge. All phenomena are at +5, any roll of 96+ causes phenomena. Now the PCs will probably want to stop the Dark Eldar, and/or search for the artifact they are looking for (which they will learn of either by torturing a prisoner - are DE vulnerable to torture? - or more probably through Divination)
  • End - probably some kind of all-out, major battle, that the PCs will be involved in (either as thieves/guardians of an artifact the Dark Eldar and Imperial Forces are seeking, or as leaders of a the now heretical station defenses): Dark Eldar ignore Fatigue and Stunning, have Regeneration (2) and Furious Charge and can enter a Frenzy after they kill something - note that only Coven units such as Grotesques will do this, and members of certain Wytch cults or particularly drug-addled Hellion gangs. All rolls on the phenomena table have +10, Perils have +5, Psy Rating increases by an additional +1 when a power is pushed and any roll of 94+ causes phenomena.

 

I'm still not too sure about how individual Dark Eldar should fight and such, but I've just realized how stupidly good even basic telekinetic powers (and Blight Grenades) are against enemies such as Reavers or Hellions - falling Damage seems absurdly deadly!

Coven and Cult units seem like a real challenge - ie something essentially unbeatable they'll have to trick or flee from, unless they outnumber them for some reason.

I'm loving Beastmasters!

 

I still have no idea what kind of artifact Dark Eldar could want though...

Edited by Talon of Anathrax

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A soulstone of an important Craftworld Eldar would be worth quite a lot to them, mostly to be ******* trolls but whatev.

Yes, I could imagine that... There would have to be some kind of personal enmity between him and the Archon to justify a minor Kabal attempting something like that (and him coming for it in person), but that's more of a feature than a bug.

The real question is: what could Disciples of Chaos do with the Soulstone of a powerful Eldar leader?

If it's not useful to them they probably will be much less motivated to hang on to it :(

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  • End - probably some kind of all-out, major battle, that the PCs will be involved in (either as theives/guardians of an artefact the Dark Eldar and Imperial Forces are seeking, or as leaders of a the now heretical station defences): Dark Eldar ignore Fatigue and Stunning, have Regeneration (2) and Furious Charge and can enter a Frenzy after they kill something. All rolls on the phenomena table have +10, Perils have +5, Psy Rating increases by an additional +1 when a power is pushed and any roll of 94+ causes phenomena.

 

Ditch Frenzy, it isn't the way the Dark Eldar works, they are crazied murderer, but not berserker. The rest seems fitting to me.

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Maybe they plan on using it later to lure some Craftworld Eldar into a trap?

Nah, they'll never think of that... Although ths Soulstone will probably belong either to an important Exarch, or a famous Farseer.

I'm wondering if soulstones are an innate source of power of some kind though. Could they be used to power machines? Or would sacrificing an important one to Slaanesh be a part of some Ritual? I could totally imagine the pain and terror of a soul that has existed for millennia being torn apart and reshaped by She Who Thirsts having some kind of special power, especially in some kind of Slaaneshi Ritual designed to affect the minds of many people at once. If that won't grant us the favor of the Dark Prince, what will?

"When the aether resonates with the shrieks of the graceful defyer and the wails of the many killed by the few, then shall the Screaming embrace of the Dark Gods be bestowed upon us"

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Ditch Frenzy, it isn't the way the Dark Eldar works, they are crazied murderer, but not berserker. The rest seems fitting to me.

 

 

If you want the Dark Eldar to be completely loced out you could have them all go on their ridiculously potent Combat Drugs. Also, Wyches certainly are prone to Frenzy. 

 

TBH, though, their basic firearms are so **** potent that you don't need to go too crazy to make them scary.

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Also, Wyches certainly are prone to Frenzy. 

 

 

Sure. Characthers that base all their survivability on being able to dodge ennemies attack will get frenzied, rush at their ennemeis without reacting to incoming blows.

Dark Eldars got their combat drugs, like you said. Use those.

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You can still dodge while frenzied homie.

I don't think so, sadly :(

At least you can't Parry...

 

 

That's half correct, you can't parry (until you take Battle Rage). But you can definitely still dodge.

 

Why does everyone think that Frenzy would be that terrible? It's actually a pretty good talent, especially if you have a way to not have to waste the turn 'hulking out.'

Edited by Terraneaux

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