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 willingly become 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 highly structured societies 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 impulses 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 star-faring intelligent races of the Milky Way Galaxy, particularly the shipping of the Imperium of Man. They are a constant threat to Imperial merchant shipping, though they lack the ability to face off against a true Imperial Navy battlefleet of any real size.
Aware that it was the ineffable power of their own whims and desires that brought about the downfall of their species and led to the birth of Slaanesh, the survivors of the Fall of the Eldar, 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 many standard 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 Eldar Paths include that of the Bonesinger, as the psycho-technicians of the Craftworlds are called, who craft Wraithbone and other psycho-plastic materials to fashion the material artefacts of the Eldar civilisation. 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 they 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 Paths and abandoned their Craftworld. These eldritch wanderers live quite apart from the orderly, disciplined Eldar of the Craftworlds, and form ravenous bands of pirates, corsairs and raiders. As with other outcasts, some of these eventually Eldar return to the Paths, or may retain some ties to their Craftworld of origin. 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 occurs 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 Eldar 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.
Eldar Corsair Organisation
- Corsair Prince - An Eldar Corsair band is led by a noble prince (or princess). To a human they might seem aloof and arrogant, but the remnants of the Eldar's past aristocracy are natural leaders, brilliant tacticians and bold warriors in battle.
- Corsair Blade Sworn Retinue - Blade Sworn Retinue is the personal bodyguard of a Corsair band's finest warriors that accompany a Corsair Prince wherever he goes. They are taken either from close kinsmen, bridge officers or outcasts whose skills has made them infamous enough for their master to seek them out and swear them to service.
- Corsair Void Dreamer - Void Dreamers are the helmsmen and navigators of Corsair ships. They are Psykers, closely related to Warlocks, but using divination and prophetic powers to guide their vessels and protect their crews from the Daemons of the Warp.
- Corsair Voidstorm Squad - During raids a Corsair Prince will gather hand-picked veteran corsairs together to form a Voidstorm Squad. Equipped for close-quarters combat, these veterans will be in the thick of the fighting or the first to storm a breach during a boarding action.
- Corsair Squadron - The rank and file of the Corsair band are its ship crews, led by their Felarch (a rank broadly equivalent to bosuns of the Imperial Navy). They are lightly equipped for fast raiding, utilising corsair jet packs, Venoms and Falcons for rapid insertion and battlefield mobility. Corsair squads tend to be experienced and battle-hardened in comparison to Craftworld Guardians.
- Corsair Wasp Assault Walker Squadron - Wasp assault walkers are light vehicles that provide Corsair bands with mobile heavy weapons support. Corsair bands adapt them for rapid insertion alongside the Corsairs, fitting them with jump jets, jet-supported anti-grav systems, enabling them to rapidly redeploy as part of the Corsair raid.
- Corsair Jetbike Squadron - Jetbikes form an important part of Corsair attacks, speeding ahead as scouts or sweeping around the enemy flanks to encircle them before plunging into the melee with deadly effect.
Known Corsair Fleets
- Alai Mercenary Corps
- Alaitoc Warp Hunters
- Black Suns
- Children of Thorns
- Crow Spirits
- Duke Traevelliath Sliscus' Sky Serpents - Known as "The Serpent," Duke Sliscus is an infamous Dark Eldar commander Pirate Lord of the Sky Serpents Corsair Band. Over thousands of years, Duke Sliscus and his corsairs band's reputation has spread from Alpha Prime to the Omegon Belt. The Duke's trio of stolen flagships from three humiliated Archons is surrounded by a flotilla of cruisers, corsairs and warships that have flocked to his banner. The Sky Serpents low-orbit raids continue to plague the rich and privileged, their legend growing with every fresh slaughter.
- Ellarion's Raiders - This infamous Eldar Corsair band plagues the Calixis Sector. Led by the infamous Corsair Lord Ulthyr Ellarion, his elusive ship has been pursued throughout the Drusus Marshes for over four centuries. Though he has been brought to battle more than once, the Eldar and his vessel have either triumphed or disengaged in every encounter. Some say he remains in the region in order to recover a special Soul Stone, precious to him for some personal reason. Others claim that he revels in the thrill of the hunt, and find Mankin to be most excellent sport. Over a thousand shipments have been raided by Ellarion's Raiders.
- Golden Squadron
- Myan Agents of Silence
- Scarlet Command
- Sky Raiders - The Sky Raiders was an Eldar Corsair band that was allied with the two main Eldar factions from Craftworlds Alaitoc and Mymeara during the full scale retreat at the end of the Betalis III incursion. During the massive naval engagement near the Karina Nebula, the Sky Raiders became notorious for the viciousness of their attacks, and later analysis of the remains of their victims was commonly mistaken by less experienced adepts for attacks more akin to those made by Dark Eldar hunting cadres. Due to the ferociousness reputation they gained in the war, during the Battle of the Karina Nebula, boarding assaults upon ships belonging to the Sky Raiders were spearheaded by the Space Wolves Chapter's Great Wolf Bran Redmaw's Great Company. This resulted in very few of the Corsairs onboard surviving and those ships which did escape were all reported to have been heavily damaged.
- Sunblitz Brotherhood - This Eldar Corsair band is believed to be aligned with Craftworld Alaitoc. During the battle for the Betalis system, the pilots of the Sunblitz Brotherhood's fleet were ultimately responsible for the destruction of the Watchful Saviour, Betalis III's orbiting defence platform. Later, the Sunblitz Brotherhood temporarily allied with ships of the Void Dragon Corsair cadre to patrol the inner regions of the Betalis system. Wreckage recovered from the system after the war indicates that this alliance was tenuous at best, as it appears more than one Sunblitz craft was damaged by Void Dragons weaponry during that time.
- Ulthwé Steal Eye Reavers
- Void Dragons - One the most infamous and dangerous Eldar Corsairs band in existence, the Void Dragons operate across the galaxy. The Imperial Navy estimate they command a fleet in excess of 3,500 ships, and have been encountered in places as far apart as the Cadian Gate, the distant Tau Empire and the Halo Stars. Currently the leadership of the haughty Princess Saaraina, the Void Dragons' attacks hold no predictable pattern, and range from ambushes against Chaos raiders near the Eye of Terror, to the mass enslavement of the penal colony of Vorenz-VI, to fighting against Orks of the empire of Charadon.
- Void Warriors
- Xian's Black Raiders
- Yriel's Eldritch Raiders - The Eldritch Raiders Corsair fleet is commanded by the High Admiral, Prince Yriel. Yriel is an Eldar Autarch of the Iyanden Craftworld and High Admiral of the Iyanden fleet. Yriel is widely considered to be the greatest Eldar naval genius to have ever lived. Though Yriel and his Corsairs have officially left their Craftworld of Iyanden to raid Imperial shipping, the Eldritch Raiders still respond to the defense of their Craftworld in times of need.
- Battlefleet Gothic - Yriel's Raiders
- Chapter Approved - The Book of the Astronomican (Background Book), p. 43
- Codex: Dark Eldar (5th Edition), p. 51
- Codex: Eldar (4th Edition), p. 53
- Codex: Space Wolves (5th Edition), p. 52
- Dark Heresy: Creatures Anathema (RPG), p. 82
- Imperial Armour Volume Eleven - The Doom of Mymeara, pp. 147, 160-163, 165-166, 171
- Rogue Trader Core Rulebook (RPG), pp. 358-376
- White Dwarf 119 (UK), "Battlefleet Gothic: Concept Art - Eldar Crew & Ships," by Jes Goodwin, pp. 29-31