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Fluff changes since 6th edition? 
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Bronze Khaine Winner
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I'm returning to the hobby after a decade, and I want to get back to writing some DE fiction. The last DE army book I own is from 6th edition, which predates Sisters of Slaughter, Medusas, Warlocks and probably a few other DE units. So I'm guessing there were some fluff changes between then and now, at least to explain where these guys and girls came from.

Could someone give a quick summary of what's changed? I'm not necessarily interested in the End Times stuff just yet, and I already know about the AoS lore about us being exiled pirate/raider types in the Shadow Realm of Ulgu and Malekith breaking up with his mom and getting a new name and becoming some sort of shadow-god or whatever*. I just want a quick rundown of anything in the 7th and 8th edition army books that chaged or significantly added to the DE lore as it existed in 6th.

* - This sounds dismissive, but I'm actually quite optimistic about the new lore in AoS. It's just that this thread is not about that.

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Thu Oct 08, 2015 7:26 am
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I don't have access to my AB at the moment, but here is a summary I once made:
http://www.druchii.net/viewtopic.php?f= ... 02#p878973

In 7th, Morathi lost her Slaanesh lust and incest relations with her son were no longer obvious.
In 8th, we discover that she is still in love with her 1st husband, 8000 years gone... Actually it gives her a much deeper personnality.

7th edition provided much details about powerful corsair houses and raids, introducing Lokhir. Strangely, RBT lost progressively mention of their naval origin.
8th edition introduced a lost city, destroyed by Malekith after betrayal.

6th edition had somevocabulary about equipment wuhich has been forgotten later.
7th edition introduced several gods in the Elven pantheon.
8th edition detailed nicely and organised the Elven pantheon (one need to see DE, HE and WE AB to see it globally).

New units are just introduced in their page, they are not part of a bigger plot.
Malekith used to ride the only chariot, which has been later authorised for other nobles (but sucked...).
Some techniques evolved. The cow-ones became raptors in the 7th, the chariot became single-wheel in the 8th.

Note that there are other books which provide even more about DE. The HE and somehow WE AB, of course, but also the End Times:Khaine provides many explanations, in particular about incarnations of Gods.

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Thu Oct 08, 2015 7:59 am
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There are few changes really. Although we could note that over the different editions, Malekith is portrayed increasingly more as a High Elf gone wrong, rather than the souce of evil. That role seems to shift more towards Morathi who's portrayed as a (generally negative) influence on Malekith.
Malekith is still bad, and terrible, and still instils people with dread. But there is a bit more room for his internal struggles, his attempts to build something and not just destroy.

Morathi is ever more pushed into the role similar of a cartoon devil (and seductress), whispering bad ideas into people's ears. Sometimes she's portrayed like a Greek godess of beauty, power, lies.
But nothing "really" different.
She does have one special thing coming up, as a result of the focus on Tyrion and Teclis on the High Elf side. She seems to have a thing for Tyrion, who is a mirror image of his great grandfather Aenarion (who she still loves, apparently).

I imagine this is to tie the story more neatly with Gav Thorpe's books on the Sundering and the Tyrion and Teclis novels.

Hellebron gets a bit more attention, showing her as a mentally unstable crazed old hag. However, within her insanity there is a never ending ambition and thirst for power.
The conflict between her and Morathi seems to have shifted to the background.

Overseas we're still raiders and slavers.

I think one change is the notion that Hag Graef takes a more prominent place within Naggaroth. I think in 6th, Malus Darkblade was still portrayed as a fruitcake roving the wastelands or being an army commander. Now he's risen to power and became the Drachau of Hag Graef.
His power and influence is growing, in spite of his condition, and it's clear his ambition is driving him to rise one more step in the echelon and to challenge Malekith.

With the books of the Sundering and the place Dark Riders are getting, we see the origin of the Dark Riders in more detail. They, apparently, were Raven Cloaks or something along those lines. It was an order, or caste, of messengers and spies forming a network which was employed during the Sundering. They also keep an eye on the cursed forests of Naggarythe in the wake of the wars against Chaos.
Hence, the feathers on their cloaks.

Black Dragons are still considered a twisted dragon, bred under Malekith's order.

Lokhir Felheart was a name never heard before 7th. He's one of two big Corsair Fleetmasters. I can't remember the other one's name.. He didn't get a lot of attention until the End Times.

The new units haven't really been given an in-depth lore introduction. Some of them are built on stories we already knew:
- Warlocks are male sorcerers cursed by Malekith. Before the 8th ed book, it was known that sorcerers would be forbidden by Malekith because of the prophecy that Malekith would be taken out by a male wizard. The unit of warlocks simply took it a step further, by cursing all male casters and condemning them to the life of Warlocks who need to feed on and sacrifice the life of their victims to delay their cursed end.
- Sisters of Slaughter are gladiators, coming from the fighting pits which were known to exist (ie: from Urian Poisonblade).
- Kharybdis are sea monsters, which were known to be captured by beastmasters and kept in the holds of Black Arks.
- Sourgerunner Chariot is considered part of a Beastmaster's arsenal to hunt monsters

Then there are the Bloodwrack Medusae and their shrines which are an entirely new piece of lore which never existed before. The paragraph long explanation for them simply notes they were Sorceresses once upon a time, too greedy for power and beauty, getting one of the Elven godesses angry and being cursed to that form of life.
They do have the ability to kills things by their "stare" which is why the Shrine has a mirror to ward the troops walking behind the Shrine.

The End Times conclude a lot of the plots and stories that have been laid out throughout various books. It's... interesting. But I won't spoil those ;)

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Thu Oct 08, 2015 8:17 am
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Daeron wrote:
He's one of two big Corsair Fleetmasters. I can't remember the other one's name.
Isn't it Duriath Helbaine, the family of which you have examples of proeminent members across the whol 7th AB?

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Thu Oct 08, 2015 6:33 pm
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Interesting. Sounds like there were fewer real changes than between 4th and 6th edition. New units and some changes in emphasis mostly, but nothing on the scale of retconning out all the male sorcerers or making Khaine (and by extension witch elves) hate all magic.

It sounds funny now, but back in 4th-5th edition days, people used to use witch elves as bodyguard units for sorceresses.

Nice to hear there's been less emphasis lately on DE being defined by hatred of HE. I'm less pleased about Morathi getting cast as being so entirely to blame for Malekith 'going wrong'. But I long ago gave up on GW's writers ever being able to create interesting female characters with actual agency, who are not defined by their relationships with powerful men, and who aren't primarily a collection of old misogynistic tropes.

IIRC, Malus was already drachau of Hag Graef in 6th edition. That might not have been stated in the army book, though (mine is currently in another country so I can't check right now).

The medusae look cool. What do they actually do, though? The model looks like she's sweating blood...

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Sat Oct 10, 2015 7:48 am
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Shadowspite wrote:
Nice to hear there's been less emphasis lately on DE being defined by hatred of HE. I'm less pleased about Morathi getting cast as being so entirely to blame for Malekith 'going wrong'. But I long ago gave up on GW's writers ever being able to create interesting female characters with actual agency, who are not defined by their relationships with powerful men, and who aren't primarily a collection of old misogynistic tropes.


Amen to that. Morathi gets a bit more interesting in End Times: Khaine, although she's still portrayed mostly as the caricatured seductress character that makes other people evil. Neferata and Khalida get an even worse treatment, in my view - at least Morathi comes off as reasonably competent. The plotline with Isabella the Accursed is reasonably interesting, but doesn't get far beyond her links with Vlad (which could be forgiven, since the prospect of reunion with Isabella is the reason why Vlad agreed to come back). Alarielle is arguably the only one who breaks that trend, and even then, her relationships with the major male players in the story (especially Tyrion) are still probably more important than anything other than the "mother/nature goddess" stereotype.

The End Times content made Morathi's complicity in Malekith's evil a bit less clear-cut, while still making it obvious that she was to blame. In short, Malekith went wrong in part because of his mother, in part because of the Circlet of Iron, and also partly because he simply wasn't strong enough for the trials his destiny placed before him.

Shadowspite wrote:
The medusae look cool. What do they actually do, though? The model looks like she's sweating blood...


In 8th edition, they either come on a Shrine (with a mirror to stop them turning their attentions to the Dark Elves behind them) or on foot. On the Shrine, they affect Ld values (yours goes up, and your opponents' models goes down), cause Terror and give Magic Resistance. They have a decent Ld, can join a unit like a character, and otherwise work like chariots which can march. On foot, they're frenzied, Ld 2, single-model units which require careful management but which can be excellent chaff-killers or wizard-hunters, since they can't be challenged by a unit champion. In each case, they have a short-ranged magical gaze attack with Killing Blow (which works against Initiative rather than Toughness), a base-contact-range effect which largely mimics the gaze, rerolls against most opponents thanks to Always Strikes First, and no armour.

Medusae on foot are vastly better in AoS due in no small part to them being able to congregate in units of more than one model, while I think the Shrine's Aura of Agony ability (which gave the +1/-1 Ld bubble) was replaced by an inferior effect that can cause a single mortal wound on nearby enemy units. Their shooting attack is now a brilliant anti-horde option.

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Sun Oct 11, 2015 9:14 am
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Re. the medusae, I was more asking about the lore behind how their gaze works, not the game mechanics. As far as I've been able to find out online, it's basically like the old Malediction of Nagash spell in how it's described. But why does the medusa model itself look like it's bleeding? Also, are they basically still sorceresses in warped bodies but still mentally/psychologically druchii, or are they insane or reduced to animal intelligence or anything like that (i.e. like harpies)? Are they affected by their own gaze if they look in a mirror, or is the mirror on the shrine just to keep their gaze projected forwards even if the medusa turns around?

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Mon Oct 12, 2015 6:02 am
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Shadowspite wrote:
Re. the medusae, I was more asking about the lore behind how their gaze works, not the game mechanics. As far as I've been able to find out online, it's basically like the old Malediction of Nagash spell in how it's described. But why does the medusa model itself look like it's bleeding? Also, are they basically still sorceresses in warped bodies but still mentally/psychologically druchii, or are they insane or reduced to animal intelligence or anything like that (i.e. like harpies)? Are they affected by their own gaze if they look in a mirror, or is the mirror on the shrine just to keep their gaze projected forwards even if the medusa turns around?


Ah, my apologies. :)

Lore-wise, the Medusae are former sorceresses of Ghrond, who used various magics and sacrificial rituals to make themselves impossibly beautiful - moreso even than the gods. Atharti, the goddess of desire, got a bit annoyed about this, and cursed the sorceresses to hideous, pain-wracked, serpentine forms. Their minds were reduced to being little more than beasts. However, Atharti left them one sliver of self-awareness - enough to remember the perfection they had attained and the heights from which they had fallen. Morathi, who did not consider that she needed any magical enhancement of her beauty, promptly gave thanks to the goddess for delivering such a well-deserved punishment, drove the medusae into the dripping caverns of mountains near Ghrond, and began rebuilding the ranks of the Convent of Sorceresses. Sometimes, Dark Elves will venture into the caverns and bring back medusae to be placed atop the Bloodwrack Shrines, where their agonies radiate out to invigorate the druchii and weaken the resolve of their foes. At other times, medusae will accompany a warhost of their own free will, driven by the need to inflict their own sufferings on others.

It's said that the lifeblood of any creature whose gaze meets the Medusa's for more than an instant will violently rebel, and that no amount of mundane protection can guard against such a demise. Victims of this horrible fate die in seconds as their blood literally flees their body through any available means. The use of the mirror on the Shrine suggests that a medusa is not immune to its own gaze - it's explicitly described as being there to keep the medusa from turning its gaze around.

The amount of blood on the model is not fully accounted for, but the relevant fluff suggests to me one of two explanations. One is that the medusa is covered in the blood of those it has so violently exsanguinated. The second is that the blood is either a result of the medusa's ongoing agonies or a technique which drives the beasts into a battle-frenzy (whether done by the Dark Elves in the case of the Shrine, or by the medusa herself if she accompanies a host unbidden).

Hope that was useful!

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Mon Oct 12, 2015 9:08 am
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It was, thanks!

I am sort of disappointed by it being a punishment for vanity, though. You'd think pride, ambition or hunger for power would be more likely to be a druchii sorceress' mortal sin.

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Mon Oct 12, 2015 12:48 pm
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It was less of a punishment for vanity than a case of a jealous goddess not tolerating competition. In a way, that kind of beauty is power - in fluff and in reality. If there was a sin involved, it was not knowing their place (at least, in Atharti's view).

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Tue Oct 13, 2015 12:31 am
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Haagrum wrote:
It was less of a punishment for vanity than a case of a jealous goddess not tolerating competition. In a way, that kind of beauty is power - in fluff and in reality. If there was a sin involved, it was not knowing their place (at least, in Atharti's view).


More or less. While you needed to get all three elf books to get a true feel for the gods, basically assume all the primary dark elf deities short of Eld Razor are jerks, self righteous, and wouldn't be that out of place against the Greek Pantheon, but then again so are the DE.

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Sun Mar 06, 2016 10:15 am
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