"The young do not desire the discipline of the Path, but rather their curiosity drives them to try every fruit from the tree. Thus it is that so many take the Path of Wandering or the Path of Damnation in their first years of adulthood, and so the great tragedy of our kind is played out again and again as the number of our people shrink from generation to generation."
- — Kysaduras the Anchorite, "Introspections Upon Perfection"
Rangers are the scouts of the Eldar Craftworlds, well-trained survivalists and marksmen able to find the eye sockets and neck joints of even the most heavily armoured enemy troops with their Long Rifles. The most skilled of the Eldar Rangers are known as Pathfinders. In order to defeat the constant claim of the Chaos God Slaanesh on their souls, the Craftworld Eldar practice a form of deprivation, narrowing their entire focus onto a single craft, perfecting it and then moving on to another, a system known as the Paths of the Eldar.
However, there are some among their number who cannot stand such practices either because they are unable to focus on one Path at a time, are afflicted with wanderlust, or they simply dislike the restrictions the Craftworld and the sometimes rigid Eldar society places on them. These Eldar then choose or are forced by their fellow Craftworld denizens to walk the "Path of the Outcast", an Eldar wanderer who is equipped to live off the land and to explore far and wide from the Craftworld. These solitary Eldar are the Rangers. Many Rangers remain loyal to their Craftworlds and the kin who live upon them even if they do not feel the need to live there, so when the Craftworld goes to war, they almost always provide their aid, offering to conduct reconnaissance of enemy forces and wield their expert marksmanship to harry and cripple enemy forces and eliminate select targets like commanding officers that will cripple the foe's command and control.
The Rangers' preternatural skill at finding the eye socket, neck joint or any other weak point on even the most heavily armoured enemy troops is legendary even among a species as keen-eyed as the Eldar. While some Rangers never return to their Craftworlds, their lives claimed by the alien dangers of some unknown world or consumed by their own passions and ultimate fall into the embrace of Slaanesh, many others do, scarred and finally ready to settle into another Path, their experiences as a Ranger having granted them both a better understanding of themselves and their place in the Eldar society of their Craftworld.
"When the Eldar make their attack, the enemy will already be half-defeated, having spent days or even weeks chasing shadows of the Rangers. "
Pathfinders are the most experienced and skilled of the Eldar Rangers who have successfully walked the Path of the Outcast for many Terran centuries. They have overcome their temptations to engage in the types of hedonistic excesses and savage behaviours that cause the Eldar's souls to be devoured by Slaanesh, yet they still feel compelled to walk the Path of the Outcast. Pathfinders are even more skilled at infiltration and survival in hostile environments than standard Rangers. While Pathfinders can be found across the Milky Way Galaxy, calling every Eldar Craftworld their homes, by far the most skilled or most notable Pathfinders come from the Craftworld of Alaitoc. Alaitoc society is more rigidly organized around the pursuit of the Eldar Life Paths than many others and so many of the young Eldar of Alaitoc are more prone to rebel against this disciplined lifestyle and to seek adventure as Outcasts. More Eldar from Alaitoc pursue the Path of the Outcast than from any other Eldar Craftworld.
Pathfinders have become adept over the centuries at roving ahead of the main Eldar warhosts, using their expertise in guerilla tactics to sabotage their enemies' forces or damage their chain of command before battle has even been joined. Bypassing sentries, sabotaging machinery, destroying supply dumps and even the mysterious assassinations of important commanders all ultimately take their toll upon both the enemy's numbers and their morale, leaving them jittery and uncoordinated as they vainly try to restore their units' cohesion and momentum, allowing the more mobile Eldar forces to strike at their newly revealed weak points with the grace and efficiency that have always been the Eldar's trademark in warfare.
- Alaitoc - Of all the Eldar Craftworlds, Alaitoc adheres most stringently to the Path of the Eldar. This zealous attitude has caused many of the Alaitoc Eldar to live the life of outcasts and become Rangers. As a result of this, when Alaitoc goes to war it falls to the Rangers to return to protect their Craftworld. For example, an Alaitoc Ranger force of unequalled size operated on Medusa V, severing enemy communications and preparing the way for the larger Eldar armies to attack.
- Biel-Tan - Thanks to the dazzling array of Aspect Warriors found in a Biel-Tan army, its Ranger squads are often foolishly overlooked by ignorant foes. A key component in a Biel-Tan attack force, Eldar Rangers direct the fury of the Swordwind against the enemy, silently scouting out enemy positions in preparation for the main assault.
- Saim-Hann - Saim-Hann is famed for its mighty Wild Rider Hosts, composed of scores of sleek and deadly Jetbikes and skimmers. Unlike the other members of their Craftworld, the Eldar Rangers of Saim-hann do not ride headlong into battle, instead utilising stealth and cunning to approach the enemy unseen. When a Wild Rider Host goes to war its Eldar Rangers scout ahead, ascertaining the lie of the land and neutralising immediate threats.
- Telennar - The cordial relations between Alaitoc and Telennar brought this small Craftworld to Medusa V, where its warriors battled to protect the Webway from the oncoming Warp Storm.
- Illic Nightspear - Illic Nightspear is an Eldar Ranger of Craftworld Alaitoc, and has wandered the Path of the Outcast for thousands of years, striding the skeins of fate and seeking out the unknown paths that span the galaxy. He is known to different Ranger bands by many different titles; the Sentinel of the Stars, the Wayforger, and the Shield of Alaitoc. To Illic, one name is as good as another. Such is Nightspear's knowledge of the Webway that it is said by the Eldar that he can arrive unheralded upon any planet, stepping through its portals and out across the galaxy with the ease of a man drawing breath. Whilst this is undoubtedly an exaggeration, Illic clearly knows more of the hidden paths than any other living being save the Harlequins themselves. Indeed, some say that he knows too much.
- Inessar - Inessar was a Ranger Captain from Craftworld Ulthwé who served under Farseer Caerys during the Kaurava Conflict.
- Amonther Numeriel - Amonther Numerial is an Eldar Outcast Pathfinder of Craftworld Iyanden. Though he survived the horrific Battle of Iyanden against the onslaught of Hive Fleet Kraken, he considered himself a coward for having fled the battle, while many of his own family and friends valiantly died defending Iyanden from the Tyranids. Ashamed of his actions, he undertook the Path of the Outcast, carrying the five Soul Stones of his slain kin with him at all times. Seeking redemption, he aided Illic Nightspear in the assassination attempt upon the Necron Overlord Anrakyr the Traveler during the Carnac Campaign. After their attempt failed, Numeriel fled towards the Webway gate on Carnac that led to safety upon Craftworld Alaitoc. Meanwhile, the wrathful Necron Overlord set upon hunting down the Eldar. Upon almost reaching the webway portal, Numeriel and his companions soon found themselves surrounded by Deathmarks. Lamenting his failure once again, Numeriel was killed.
- Ronahn - Ronahn was an Eldar Pathfinder from Craftworld Ulthwé who formerly served Farseer Idranel during the First Aurelian Crusade. He aided the Farseer's forces on the assault on Angel Forge on the planet of Meridian. He valiantly stayed behind, manning a guard tower to halt the advance of the Blood Ravens Space Marine Chapter, while Idranel's forces headed towards the forge. Ronahn narrowly escaped with his life, and soon renounced his ties to the Seer-led Craftworld. Though he wandered the stars, he remained loyal to his race, assisting them when called upon. He later found himself allied to Kayleth, an Eldar Autarch of Craftworld Alaitoc, and aided him during the Third Aurelian Crusade. During the latter part of the campaign he began experiencing nightmares in regards to his slain sister, Taldeer, a Farseer of Ulthwé that was captured, interrogated and executed by Azariah Kyras, the Chaos-corrupted Chapter Master of the Blood Ravens. Ronahn eventually confronted and defeated Kyras, recovering the Soul Stone of his sister that the Chapter Master had kept as a memento. Rohnan vowed to return his sister's spirit to Ulthwé.
- Ruterias - Ruterias is an Eldar Pathfinder and was one of Illic Nightspear's first disciples. He aided Illic Nightspear in the assassination attempt upon the Necron Overlord Anrakyr the Traveler during the Carnac Campaign. After their attempt failed, Ruterias fled towards the Webway gate on Carnac that led to safety upon Craftworld Alaitoc. Meanwhile, the wrathful Necron Overlord set upon hunting down the Eldar. Ruterias was one of the few to reach the webway portal and escape.
- Teryen Telerath - Teryen Telerath was an Eldar Outcast and old friend to Illic Nightspear. After their attempt failed, Telerath fled towards the Webway gate on Carnac that led to safety upon Craftworld Alaitoc. Meanwhile, the wrathful Necron Overlord set upon hunting down the Eldar. Upon almost reaching the webway portal, Telerath and his companions soon found themselves surrounded by Deathmarks. He was killed in the ensuing fight with the Necrons. His Soul Stone was later recovered by a grief-stricken Nightspear.
The rune of the Outcast is most often used to represent the way of the Ranger and their methods of waging war. It embodies the concepts of unconventional warfare, counter-intuitive tactics and shadow-hunting -- strategies employed by the Rangers to constantly outwit their foes.
- Ranger Long Rifle - The favoured weapon of the Eldar Ranger is the Ranger Long Rifle, a long–barrelled sniper weapon not dissimilar to the Long Las sniper weapon used by Imperial Guard snipers. Whereas the Long Las is an upgrade to the humble Lasgun, the Ranger Long Rifle is a more advanced las–weapon entirely, seemingly custom grown for the user, tailored perfectly to their eyesight and grip. Whereas the artificial crystals used in Imperial las–technology struggles to maintain a focused beam over long distances, the psychically-grown crystals used by the Eldar are able to focus a tight beam over a much greater distance, allowing a skilled user to punch through weak points in armour at great distances.
- Shuriken Pistol - These weapons are graceful dealers of death that use sophisticated anti-gravity accelerators to hurl volleys of miniature razor disks known as shurikens that literally slice their victims apart in only solar seconds.
- Codex: Eldar Craftworlds (7th Edition) (Digital Edition), pg. 70
- Codex: Eldar (6th Edition), pp. 48, 55
- Codex: Eldar (4th Edition), pg. 38
- Codex: Eldar (2nd Edition), pg. 20
- Codex: Necrons (5th Edition), pp. 25, 27
- Dark Heresy: Creatures Anathema (RPG), pp. 80-81
- Path of the Warrior (Novel) by Gavin Thorpe
- The Carnac Campaign: Nightspear (Short Story) by Joe Parrino
- Warhammer 40,000: Munitorum - Ranger Long Rifles (Digital Edition)
- White Dwarf Magazine 320 (UK), "Index Xenos: Eldar Rangers," pp. 88-91
- Warhammer 40,000: Dawn of War - Soulstorm (PC Game)
- Warhammer 40,000: Dawn of War II (PC Game)
- Warhammer 40,000 - Dawn of War II - Retribution (PC Game)
- Warhammer 40,000 Eternal Crusade - Rogue Trader Store: Outcast Ranger