Part of the fun of Warhammer 40,000 is that no one is really a “good guy” in the setting. Take the Imperium of Man, which largely serves as the viewpoint faction in the 40K books and games. The Imperium is composed entirely of a coalition of sinister sub-factions, including murderous nuns who burn their enemies, trained child soldiers turned into transhuman combat marines, and flesh-hating techno-priests who lobotomize criminals and create brain-computers.
But there are a bunch of people in the setting who are so ridiculously bad, so ridiculously rude that I can’t help but love them above everything else. These aliens aren’t happy until they indulge in some war crimes between breakfast and lunch. Of course, I’m talking about the Drukhari, also known as the Dark Eldar, or the most evil space elves to ever exist.
Who are Drukhari? They are a distinct culture of the Eldari, a species that once had a galaxy-wide empire. These mentally gifted elves thrived in a post-scarcity society and enjoyed easy access to technology so sophisticated that it is basically magic. It sounds like a pretty setup, but it’s a bleak, distant future where there’s only war, so obviously everything had to go horribly wrong. In the case of the Eldari civilization, this meant falling into hedonism and excess.
In 40K, there is a second, psychic realm that exists parallel to reality. The warp, or immaterial, is a reflection of the psychic energy of the universe. Dark forces reside in the Warp, inviting extreme emotions, and the Eldari unwittingly gave way to those forces. While some factions decided to pack up and leave in favor of a nicer space neighborhood, many Eldari decided to stay. The Eldari Empire eventually collapsed in orgy and horrific violence, and it all culminated with the birth of the fourth Chaos God, Slaanesh. Slaanesh’s birth shattered the vast warp called the Eye of Terror, killing the vast majority of the Eldari, and shattering their pantheon of gods.
Worse still, Slaanesh continues to starve the souls of all Eldari to this day, starving them to death without proper precautions – and no countermeasures are perfect. After dying, Eldari souls are subject to eternal torment as they are consumed by Slaanesh in the Warp. not great! The Eldari refer to the Slaanesh as “He Who Thirsts”, and each of the sub-factions has found its own way of dealing with this existential guillotine blade.
Drukhari is notable for taking the bold decision of seeing the fall of his empire and saying, fuck off – let’s keep the party going, They still hate and fear Slaanesh, and Slaanesh is constantly eating away at their souls and slowly killing them. The Dark Eldar chose to compensate by constantly munching on the spiritual Gatorade of sentient suffering.
I don’t mean to be controversial, but I feel quite comfortable saying that this is objectively a bad thing. This is why I love Drukhari: they make absolutely no effort to pretend otherwise. They are pirates and raiders, operating out of the city-state of Komorragh, which is safely hidden between the warp and real space. If the Drukhari does appear, it is usually for so long that he captures a group of people and steals all their belongings.
If you look only at the surface of Drukhari, it is easy to get the impression that his fiction and tales Now But this faction has come to the fore more recently in recent Games Workshop work; called warhammer plus series iron inside Drukhari shows exist to raid an imperial world, and shrewd businessman The RPG features Cumoragh as a major content hub. But the Drukhari’s utter fall into evil and their refusal to reform or try to be better makes them a fascinating Machiavellian, and I look forward to seeing their larger presence in Warhammer 40K.,
The Drukhari live in constant infighting, as their society is a violent meritocracy. They stick skeletons on everything, show off all the cool stuff they’ve stolen, and ruthlessly plot against each other. When someone ran towards Asdrubel Vect, the Drukhari’s big dog, Vect sent them a lovely gift in return. there was one inside the box black hole, Which devoured everyone around the noble house. It’s that level of villainy that I absolutely love; It’s like a reality show, except everyone is Skeletor. Beyond that, Comoragh is filled with interesting concepts, like mad scientists and flesh-sculptors, or trading ports and gladiator rings for those brave (or unlucky) enough to work with the Dark Eldar.
Right now, a lot of attention is focused on the Emperor and his grown sons – and it’s no wonder, because fans love the Space Marines so much. But sometimes I don’t want to read about bolter battles or tank battles. I want to read about drama queens opening extra-dimensional cracks in the throne rooms of their political rivals. It is an itch that Drukhari are uniquely equipped to scratch.