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9th Age; Background and Theme 
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Corsair
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Preliminary work is being started for the background of armies in the 9th Age and in order to do that we require the input of the community.

Unlike other topics where commenting other people's opinons is welcome and expected I would like you to not to do so in this topic as each person will be expressing his own view that can't be right or wrong since it is subjective.

The information we are looking for are these:

Quote:
If you had to choose five adjectives to describe your faction, what would they be?
What special characters do you feel represent your faction the best?
What is your least favourite thing about the fluff for your faction, or the thing you would be most happy to lose?


So please just state your opinion in a single post. In case you remember some things additionaly just edit your post.

Thank you in advance.


Giladis on the behalf of the 9th Age Background team

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Sun Sep 20, 2015 8:59 pm
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Right. 5 Words.


1) Spartan
- Sometimes I think DE are to HE what Spartans were to Athens
- They despise all forms of weakness to the point where malformed children are disposed of or tossen in the Cauldron of Blood
- Among the Shades, a child is kept outside the tent on its first night to see if it survives and is "worthy"
- The citizens are military. The military are the citizens.
- A happy, cheerful Druchii/Spartan is a thing unheard of.
- While they differ from Spartans in many ways, this is perhaps the best starting point to compare them to other races IMO. This is how they started before their mind completely devolved into the chaotic cruelty it is now.

2) Incomplete
- Druchii always had a sense of incompleteness to them. They aren't a "complete" culture with no craft or art but that of war and murder (and lust, but that one is illegal). It's why they can never a long lasting peace of mind.
- See also how Malekith reflects on his people as a tool, a step to something bigger and more complete, and his cold love for Naggaroth
- See also Urian Poisonblade's reflection that he find a strange sense of completeness when living among the High Elves.
- The Druchii depend on their slaves, largely to fill in the gaps of their own culture (art, crafts, tilling the land, ...). They also need them to justify and reaffirm for themselves that their own craft of the blade is the most powerful (and thus the right craft) to cultivate, but it leaves them restless.

3) Murderous
- This is the one culture they openly excell at in all forms and shapes
- 6th ed Army Book (by Gav Thorpe's hand) noted it as "We are the most civilised race of the world. We have the most ways to kill another".
- The Cult of Khaine... well...

4) Poisonous/Traitorous
- They are sometimes described as having silver tongues. Lies come easily enough for them to charm someone if needed. They'll use it to poison people's minds or drop their guard.
- They are great at pressing people's buttons. They are quick to understand what moves someone and will play on that, putting themselves out of the equation if possible.
- Within a group, I always see them like Loki in the Avengers, or Merle in the Walking dead. They are the ones that can set everyone on edge, by pressing buttons. And while there isn't always a clear goal to every jab they deal, it changes the dynamic of a group that works to their advantage somehow.
- It might be scarier to have a Dark Elf show sub servitude than stand to fight. The former makes it harder to guess when and where his/her dagger will be aimed at your throat.

5) Cruel
- Dark Elves relish inflicting pain and torture. In a way it's an extension of their love for the blade.
- They seem to get a kick out of cruelty, as if it flatters their ego. It gives them a sense of power and control, which they constantly strive for.
- In the end, what matters for a Dark Elf is a chance to be victorious and inflict cruelty. They'll trade pride, fairness, and any sense of morality to achieve it. They'll lie, cheat, and even play along for as long as the story ends with them witnessing the cruel end of their foes.
- They seek cruelty over their victims like a drug, once the taste of a kill has become too plain. They want to savour every moment until the kill, like savouring a wine before swallowing it down.

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Mon Sep 21, 2015 9:02 am
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So for me, a few words that come to mind when I think of Dark elves;

Naval - One of the reasons I play is due to them raiding aspect. Corsairs are an iconic unit for the race in my mind.

Cults - Parts of the society are broken down into Cults, this gives a variety and uniqueness to the list that can be lacking in other races. The option to build multiple variants whilst still keeping the essence of the army is a great selling point.

Stagnant - Very little has changed, Malekith and Morathi held sway (at least until the ETs) and the culture and society beneath them fought for scraps. The lack of progression has in one way helped the Druchii become very effective at what they know best, but forces them into a limited society directionally.

I will have a further think and edit when I decide on a few more key words.

As for things I would be happy to lose. First thing that comes to mind is the concept that there should be no male magic users because the King says so. Other than that if there needed to be a single specific aspect of the race that the background was based upon, then I would like it to be focused around the Druchii fleet rather than the cities.

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Mon Sep 21, 2015 4:35 pm
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Not sure if this is relevant thread still,

Certainly everything Daeron and Amboadine said but I would add som varations to the points above

Experimental
- Willingness to use all forms of alchemy and subjugation of all manners of war beasts

Matriarchal
- Though not the same as Drow culture in D&D, they have more unique matriarchal aspects that does not entail oppression of males.

Cold
- inhospitable, materialistic, slave owners, selfish, merciless though not emotionless like the Altmer in the Elder Scrolls.

Martial
Basically what Daeron described with the reference to the Spartans.

Semi-Nomadic
- Though Dark Elves really belong in the cold tundra or wastelands the Black Archs is one of the cool concepts I hope can continue to make Dark Elves in 9th more interesting than the normal Dark Elf trope like the Drow.

As for Characters and what I hope to see removed is both Malekith and Molrathi. I have both models but I don't like the characters and sense GW has already tried to sue you guys I think it's best to just make up new characters or at least give us the players the ability to make our own.


Tue Oct 20, 2015 12:09 pm
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Giladis wrote:
Preliminary work is being started for the background of armies in the 9th Age and in order to do that we require the input of the community.

Unlike other topics where commenting other people's opinons is welcome and expected I would like you to not to do so in this topic as each person will be expressing his own view that can't be right or wrong since it is subjective.

The information we are looking for are these:

Quote:
If you had to choose five adjectives to describe your faction, what would they be?
fast, squishy, hard-hitting, cynical, ruthless
What special characters do you feel represent your faction the best?
malekith and morathi
What is your least favourite thing about the fluff for your faction, or the thing you would be most happy to lose?
all the garbage about them killing each other at the drop of a hat. how are there any left?! it sounds like a horrendous place to live!! sisters of slaughter as a unit need to go i think


So please just state your opinion in a single post. In case you remember some things additionaly just edit your post.

Thank you in advance.


Giladis on the behalf of the 9th Age Background team


Tue Oct 20, 2015 12:20 pm
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If you had to choose five adjectives to describe your faction, what would they be?
- Cold
- Meticulous
- Ruthless
- Vain
- Ritualistic

What special characters do you feel represent your faction the best?
- Kouran: The way he strangled his predecessor, yet maintains a kind of deep martial loyalty to Malekith is a great embodiment of how Dark Elves are simultaneously savage and ruthless yet also honor bound in their own way and ritualistic).
- Hellebron: Her quest for eternal youth, which has been partially successful, partially flawed is a great representation of the tragic yearnings of the dark elves for greater things through darker practices that yield half-corrupted rewards. At the same time, her savagery and bloodthirstiness, tinged with elegance and precision, again strikes to the core of dark elf approaches to life and war.

What is your least favourite thing about the fluff for your faction, or the thing you would be most happy to lose?
The whole incest mother-son dynamic is weak and annoying, as is the "Malekith's a trumped up cry baby" feel to some of the fluff.

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Tue Oct 20, 2015 3:10 pm
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> If you had to choose five adjectives to describe your faction, what would they be?
Elegant
Ruthless
Opportunistic
Envious (towards High Elves)
Efficient

> Characters
Not sepcifically, but I think Assasins capture it quite well.

> What is your least favourite thing about the fluff for your faction, or the thing you would be most happy to lose?
The ridiculous style of writing in general. The Dark Elves are not "just evil". No everything is completely over the top. Their own children are left alone, families don't exist, thousands of Elves are killed and sacrificed to regularly, but still they manage to field large hosts to invade Ulthuan, get smashed and still carry on? Lose the kiddy-style "more evil than evil, no, MORE EVIL" fluff.

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Wed Oct 21, 2015 11:00 am
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If you had to choose five adjectives to describe your faction, what would they be?
Enslavers (monsters, cold ones, other races)
Assassins
Beautiful but deadly ladies
Spartan/Roman society & economy
Corsairs roaming the world

What special characters do you feel represent your faction the best?
Kouran, Tullaris, Shadowblade and Lokhir.

What is your least favourite thing about the fluff for your faction, or the thing you would be most happy to lose?
The unrealistic approach of bloodlust, cruelty and chaos the fluff took since 7th edition. 6th edition by Gav Thorpe captured a great sense of the civilization, nobility and prowess combined with our dark side of enslavement, cults, deadly politics and revenge.

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Wed Oct 28, 2015 11:48 am
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If you had to choose five adjectives to describe your faction, what would they be?

Arrogant - The Dark Elves see all others as inferior, and would be as concerned about the consequences of their actions against their slaves and those they raid as they would be about an insect they had trodden on. Put simply, they believe that everything and everyone else exists to serve their desires, and that the proof of this is in their ability to dominate, enslave and destroy those other things and beings. The truly callous nature of the Dark Elves is the result of their sense of entitlement and utter disregard for any other race except as means of bringing them amusement.

Martial - The Dark Elves depend on the subjugation of others to do menial tasks, things which the Dark Elves properly consider to be beneath them. This is not to say that they are only warriors; no doubt, there would be traders and merchants, artisans and priests, governors and performers. However, those other professions rely on the slave trade, which in turn requires capable fighters able to sustain that trade. Necessarily, this requires a strong military and a focus on the role and path of the warrior as an essential role for their own citizenry. Although there would no doubt be Dark Elves who were not soldiers, every Dark Elf would have learned how to fight, at least in self-defence. While some (possibly most) may favour manipulation, all would be capable combatants by the standards of other races. In addition, the great achievements of Dark Elf history and their continued existence as a distinct society are based on their military prowess, and such skills would be seen as greatly important (even if they were not necessarily to be called upon frequently) by all Dark Elves.

Wronged - At the heart of Dark Elf civilisation is a genuine conviction that they have been cheated of their rightful place in the world, by the High Elves and by capricious fate. The true ruler of their kind has been rejected by those who presume to know better what is right for the world. They have been driven from their own lands by those they called kin. They and their ancestors truly did save their people, and arguably the whole world, from destruction during the first wars against Chaos, and they did so precisely because they were peerless and merciless warriors. It is immaterial to them that they have been responsible for many of their own woes; this is the result of a lack of appreciation from those lesser beings. That history entitles them, in their view, to be the rulers of the world. In that sense, the Dark Elves are little better than spoiled children, the schoolyard bullies who have always had it their own way and cannot handle it when the world moves on and leaves them behind.

Devious - A people who lionise the role of the warrior, and who depend on that prowess to sustain their civilisation, know that victory is more important than concepts like honour or fairness. To that end, any method is permissible to achieve their goals: poison, treachery, illusion, blackmail, psychological warfare and conspiracy are no different to any other weapon. A fair fight is something to be avoided where possible; even being forced into a fair fight suggests that the participants either had no choice but to take that step or could not have prevented it. Beating an opponent weakened by poison, previous combats or a long chase is arguably a greater victory for a Dark Elf who was the architect of their weakness - it shows that they forced their victim to dance to the Dark Elf's tune precisely as intended, which is as great a display of superiority as the final strike of the blade.

Aspirational - In a sense, this ties into the arrogance and deviousness as well. However, all Dark Elves would be aiming to improve their lot in life, whether it be in terms of wealth, marriage, political position, strategic alliances, perfecting their skills, or shaping their reputation. Their drive to do so would stem from a need to not only believe in their own superiority but be able to demonstrate it regularly. That could take many forms - dominance on the battlefield, bringing in particular slaves or beasts for trade or amusement, defeating a rival in trade or politics, or simply throwing the biggest bacchanal in living memory and plumbing depths of hedonism as only the truly indulgent can. Whatever a Dark Elf sees as their purpose or reason for being, they would believe (and may want others to believe) that no-one else could possibly be better than them at doing it, and the drive that comes with that degree of obsession is what keeps them genuinely dangerous to the other races (and to each other).

What special characters do you feel represent your faction the best?

Malekith, the Witch King - he is the reason for their dispossession, their rightful (and eternal) ruler, and he epitomises everything that a Dark Elf should be: powerful, clever, an accomplished warrior and sorcerer, ruthless and dismissive of the sufferings of those he considers his inferiors. He is clearly the source of many (if not all) of his own woes, yet he still genuinely believes that he has been deprived of his rightful station as ruler of all Elvenkind through the treachery of others.

Shadowblade - a true master of his arts, he encapsulates the treacherous nature of the Dark Elf race almost perfectly. Fast, lethal, dangerous despite being more fragile and lightly armoured than most of his victims, and so good at reading the flow of events (and battle) that he is always exactly where he needs to be.

Kouran Darkhand - he adds a necessary dimension to the Dark Elves, which is the capable second-in-command kept sufficiently loyal by reward and opportunity. He is also one of the best fighters in the Dark Elf kingdom (WS 9). His fluff about combining his formal training with "gutter brawling" accurately describes what I think Dark Elf fighters should aspire to: victory, by any means necessary.

What is your least favourite thing about the fluff for your faction, or the thing you would be most happy to lose?

The over-emphasis on murder and slaughter, especially of their own kind. It's fine for the Dark Elves to be untrustworthy, treacherous and murderous in general, but they need to have a functioning society (even one that depends heavily on slave labour).

In that sense, I would really like to see a shift towards the circumstances described in the 8th edition book about the "laws" of Har Ganeth and the intrigues of Hag Graef. In short, there are a lot of things which are crimes, and are punishable by death. Overt action against another Dark Elf is likely to get the perpetrator killed, possibly even if they are successful. They might be able to buy the protection or intercession of Malekith (or the ruler of their city), but it would take desperation or brazenness to seek that permission while admitting to such intent. Nevertheless, everyone in any position of influence (or who seeks such a position) is still plotting against other Dark Elves, planning to advance their own interests - but only so that their opponents react and overreach, and can be legitimately dealt with in "self-defence" or put to the sword by the rulers of Druchii society.

As far as units I'd be most happy to lose... probably Warlocks. There's no need for them if the Prophecy of Demise and/or a Malekith-like figure doesn't also exist (and also because they're ludicrously OP). I like the models and their abilities, make no mistake, but I don't see the need for them. In the same vein, I wouldn't care too much if we lost Bloodwrack Medusae as individuals. The Bloodwrack Shrine makes far more sense to me, as an expression of Dark Elf dominance, but the individual Medusae would be far too much of a liability for any half-decent commander to allow near their forces.

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Thu Oct 29, 2015 2:04 am
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If you had to choose five adjectives to describe your faction, what would they be?
Ruthless
Calculating
Vindictive
Cold
Hierarchical -- This one may take some explanation...So, while their entire society is based on betrayal, deceit, and a willingness to exploit any weakness in your enemy or superior, there are a set of a rules. The positions and ranks are set, and while the occupant may change constant (and with a dagger in his back), the position and its role and responsibilities hasn't changed in millenniums. Those don't change...and how you achieve it doesn't change...

What special characters do you feel represent your faction the best?
Malekith -- but I would actually not want to see rules for him. I like the idea of Malekith existing as beyond rules and stats, as that unapproachable figure on the tablet top.

Kouran -- I love what they did with him in ET. He to me represented what a Dark Elf should be...ruthless, more than willing to kill a stupid subordinate or commander, but utterly loyal to his lord and master.

What is your least favourite thing about the fluff for your faction, or the thing you would be most happy to lose?
The rampant turning on itself as a faction, the infighting that is actual infighting. A well executed and masterful coup or sabotage to take a location or position for someone, well that is just well done and deserves credit...but simply throwing wave after wave of your troops at your superior because you want his job is stupid, as are full scale internal wars. Skirmish sure, assassination sure, but outright wars between the City States made no sense.

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Tue Dec 15, 2015 2:33 am
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If you had to choose five adjectives to describe your faction, what would they be?
What special characters do you feel represent your faction the best?
What is your least favourite thing about the fluff for your faction, or the thing y

Martial, prideful, ambitious, wronged, ruthless.

Some great explanations given to this above. If I could add one more, it would be decadent. The Dark Elves best days are behind them, and deep down they probably know it, but they cling to old injustices, old wounds and old glories because that's all they know - even whilst their society stagnates and the excesses of the cults take over.

Kouran, for similar reasons above. Actually if I could cheat and pick the god Eldrazor, that would be great too.

The borderline Khorne like attitude to murder that was way over the top in every portrayal. As stated above, they need to have a functioning society (even a fictional Darwinian one) where not everyone is a borderline psychopath who might stab anyone at any moment.


Thu Dec 24, 2015 6:01 pm
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Clockwork wrote:
As stated above, they need to have a functioning society (even a fictional Darwinian one) where not everyone is a borderline psychopath who might stab anyone at any moment.


I think the Darkblade novels describe such a society very well. For example when Malus is tricked by T'zarkan into going on the rampage at various points there are always consequences from within the higher nobility and the Witch King himself and also at various key points in the narrative he is forced to work for or with characters he despises and/or is in real danger from. There are also examples of Malus and his sidekick Hauclir's genuine regard for each other. I also think Gav Thorpe's portrayal of Malekith in the Khaine novel is way more complicated in his motivations than the sociopathic caricature of the cartoon villain he is often taken for.


Thu Dec 24, 2015 8:16 pm
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Since my Druchii are Cult of Slaanesh (or Lust, Ishtar, Astarte, whatever we're going to have to call it in future), I would ask the 9th Age Dread Elves writers not to overlook this aspect of the DE society, thanks :)

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Wed Jan 06, 2016 12:33 pm
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We won't :)

And the name for that cult is Yema. Is it masculine? Is it feminine? No one knows :)

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Wed Jan 13, 2016 12:02 am
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