Eldar Outcasts are those rare members of the Eldar race who have left their home Craftworld to wander the galaxy when they find the rigid Eldar lifestyle suffocating or because they have committed some unforgivable crime against their fellow Eldar, such as walking the Path of Damnation that leads to consumption by Chaos. Many Eldar Outcasts often take up daring lives as pirates or raiders and thus are sometimes confused with their Dark Eldar counterparts. Sometimes the rigid constraints of the Eldar Paths are intolerable even for an Eldar to bear; such individuals leave their Craftworlds and become known as Outcasts. Many Eldar spend years or decades as Outcasts before they return to the Eldar Paths, though most do eventually feel the need to return to Eldar society unless they have been forcibly exiled from their former home. Outcasts must bear the terrible burden of their heightened Eldar consciousness and psychic abilities without the mental protections offered by the Eldar Paths. Only Eldar of remarkably strong characters can survive for long as Outcasts. After years of adventure and wandering, or sailing the seas of space with the Eldar pirate fleets, most Eldar eventually return to the sanctuary of the Eldar Paths and the warm collective familarity of the Craftworlds.
There are many kinds and degrees of Eldar Outcasts. They leave their Craftworlds and live elsewhere, often wandering the galaxy and visiting the worlds of Mankind or the Exodites. They are not welcome aboard Craftworlds except briefly, for their minds are dangerously unbounded and attract predators from the psychic realms of the Warp. Daemons or other Warp entities can home in on the undisciplined and extremely powerful mind of an Outcast and lodge in the psycho-supportive environment of the Craftworld's Wraithbone core and Infinity Circuit, threatening the very survival of a Craftworld. Outcasts are also disruptive to the hughly structured socities of the Craftworlds in another sense, for their presence can distract the young and inexperienced from the Eldar Paths through their romantic tales of travel, plunder and freedom. The Outcasts rarely divulge the hardships of their lives or their constant mental struggle to maintain themselves uncorrupted by the darker impluses of the Eldar nature without the aid of the Eldar Paths.
Eldar Outcasts are extremely pragmatic realists and are often very tough, sinister individuals. In their manner and actions they are often complete opposites of the Craftworld Eldar. Those Outcasts who walk this path for too long may ultimately be consumed by the Path of Damnation and so begin to be enslaved by the same lust for suffering and death that corrupted both their Dark Eldar cousins and the ancient Eldar pleasure cults that led to the Fall of Eldar civilisation more than 10,000 Terran years ago.
Eldar Corsairs are those Eldar Outcasts who have deliberately chosen to make their living by raiding the commerce of the other starfaring races of the Milky Way Galaxy, particularly the shipping of the Imperium of Man. They are a constant threat to Imperial merchant shipping, though the lack the ability to face off against a true Imperial Navybattlefleet of any real size.
Aware that it was the ineffable power of their own whims and desires which had so wantonly brought about their downfall, the survivors, the Eldar of the Craftworlds, have developed a way to control their own inner natures. Every Eldar chooses for himself a discipline which he then makes it his task to master. It may take years to successfully accomplish this, perhaps more than a single human lifetime. Each discipline is called a Path, and each Path may necessitate further choices and specialisations. For example, the Path of the Warrior has many Aspects, and whilst all enable the Eldar to master the skills of combat, each Warrior Aspect brings with it its own special techniques and abilities. Other paths include that of the Bonesinger, as the psycho-technicians of the Craftworlds are called, who craft Wraithboneand other psycho-plastic materials to fashion the material artefacts of the Eldar. There are innumerable Paths, some of which are chosen only rarely, but each offers its followers a complete way of life during the time which thy tread upon it.
Sometimes the rigid constraints of the Eldar Paths are intolerable even for an Eldar to bear; such individuals leave their Craftworlds and become known as Outcasts. Many Eldar spend years or decades as Outcasts before they return to the Eldar Paths. Outcasts must bear the terrible burden of their heightened Eldar consciousness without the protection of the Eldar Paths. Set free within the universe they are dangerously vulnerable. Only Eldar of especially strong character can survive for long as Outcasts. After years of adventure and wandering, or sailing the seas of space aboard the pirate fleets, most Eldar eventually return to the sanctuary of the Eldar Paths. Eldar Pirates are always followers of the Path of the Outcast –- Eldar who have turned away from the Path and abandoned their Craftworld. These Eldritch Raiders live quite apart from the orderly, disciplined Eldar of the Craftworlds forming ravenous bands of pirates, corsairs and raiders. As with other outcasts, some of these eventually return to the Path, or may retain some ties to their original Craftworld. However, the willful and unaccountable actions of the Outcasts stand far apart from the carefully scryed and considered actions of the Craftworld Eldar, and for the most part the Farseersshow great reluctance for their own peoples to mix with the wayward and dangerous Outcasts.
Outright alliance between fleets acting on the will of a Craftworld’s Seers and the more volatile, self-serving Eldar Corsairs is relatively rare, but certainly not unknown. It usually only occurrs when a knowledgeable Corsair leader of great influence is present, able to both satisfy the measured desires of the Seers at the same time that he can prove his raw might to the more aggressive pirates. Such leaders, like the legendary Prince Yriel of Iyanden, are rare, but the fleets they command are invariably very powerful and capable of giving even the most potent forces of the Imperial Navy substantial opposition.
Some Eldar Corsairs have been known to hire themselves out as mercenary forces for various foolish and often very wealthy human factions within the Imperium. A fleet of Corsairs can prove to be a powerful force on the battlefield for their patrons. But the fickleness of Eldar Corsairs is legendary and more than one group of these xenos pirates has been known to suddenly change sides or even turn on their human patrons after a battle is won to seize a greater share of the rewards. In these situations, the Corsairs' employers usually find their own blood coating the Outcasts' potent blades.
Known Corsair Fleets
- Alai Mercenary Corps
- Alaitoc Warp Hunters
- Black Suns
- Children of Thorns
- Crow Spirits
- Golden Squadron
- Myan Agents of Silence
- Scarlet Command
- Sky Reavers
- Sunblitz Brotherhood
- Ulthwe Steal Eye Reavers
- Void Dragons
- Void Warriors
- Xian's Black Raiders
- Yriel's Eldritch Raiders
- Codex: Eldar (4th Edition), p. 53
- Chapter Approved - The Book of the Astronomican (Background Book), p. 43
- Battlefleet Gothic - Yriel's Raiders
- Rogue Trader Core Rulebook (RPG), pp. 358-376