A Wraithlord is a Craftworld Aeldari robotic combat walker or mecha that contains no living warrior; rather, it is merely a robotic shell, a repository of the animating soul of a dead Aeldari hero. Wraithlords are graceful but mighty giants that dwarf their Wraithguard cousins.
These large constructs are extremely precious to their Aeldari Craftworlds and have a supernatural toughness due to being made from the psychically-active substance called wraithbone. Summoned into being by the necromantic processes of the Aeldari Spiritseers, only a true hero of the Aeldari race has psychic power enough to animate the gigantic wraithbone shell of a Wraithlord.
History abounds with tales of enormous statues magically coming to life in defence of primeval crypts or to avenge ancient wrongs. The image of these towering constructs shuddering into animation is ingrained in the human psyche, and explains the visceral reaction most humans have when first encountering the Wraithlords.
A graceful statue of Aeldari manufacture, each Wraithlord is encrusted in glittering gemstones and scrolling alien glyphs. With a smooth, featureless head sweeping back from broad, fragile-seeming shoulders, the inhumanity of the gigantic statue is immediately evident. Their armour is decorated by arrays of gleaming precious stones, which Imperial scholars believe both power and guide these daunting constructs. A Wraithlord's seemingly delicate armour is nearly impossible to breach without the heaviest of military-grade weapons, and in battle they form mobile strong points, spearheading assaults as they lead elite Aeldari warriors against their foes.
An Aeldari soul is drawn from the Infinity Circuit of a Craftworld and resides within the wraithbone construct until such time as its power begins to fade and it can no longer function or it is destroyed. The Aeldari Wraithlords stand significantly taller than a man, carry an array of weaponry and are a terrifying sight on the battlefield. Wraithlords have incredible strength even when bare-handed, but also sometimes carry a gigantic Wraithsword for close-combat.
If the animating soul within the Wraithlord specialized in close infantry assault when it was alive, it will seek to tear apart its enemies with great energized fists or cleave several apart with a swing from its Wraithblade. If it specialized in combat support, the ghost warrior's energy core will instead be rerouted to power a devastating array of heavy weaponry. Either way, a single Wraithlord can turn the tide of battle for the Aeldari; the legends of the fallen heroes within continuing to grow even in death.
Rare and precious beyond compare, their souls protected from the predations of Slaanesh within Spirit Stones, long-dead Warlocks of great power can still be summoned to aid their Craftworld in the form of a variant Wraithlord known as a Wraithseer.
The Wraithseers are to the Aeldari's spirit host what a Warlock is to its Aspect Warriors and Guardians, a war-leader. There are now very few Wraithseers on the Craftworlds, and it is believed that the Spiritseers no longer have the knowledge or skill to reanimate them. As such they are precious indeed, and each loss is keenly felt.
Rarely can a Wraithseer be risked upon the battlefield. Armed with a Distortion Cannon, Wraithspear and Wraithshield, and wreathed in eldritch energy, a Wraithseer is still a potent foe despite its ancient age. Marching at the head of a spirit host, wordlessly guiding their actions, a Wraithseer still retains many of their former powers and instinct for battle. Aeldari legends tell that a few Wraithseers still remain trapped upon their old colony worlds, buried as the leaders of an Aeldari world's spirit host, but now long-lost.
In the earlier versions of Warhammer 40,000, the Wraithlord was simply a Dreadnought as fielded by any other of the fictional races of the game. The Spiritseer was the then-equivalent of the Wraithlord but retained the ability to use psychic powers in play.
It possessed a small, proportionally-sized head and was packaged with a smaller Ghost Warrior which appears to have been the forerunner of the Wraithguard, albeit smaller and possessing less destructive weapons as it was typically armed with a Shuriken Cannon or Flamer.
- Codex: Eldar (4th Edition), pp. 28, 47
- Codex: Eldar (2nd Edition), pg. 21
- Imperial Armour Volume Eleven - The Doom of Mymeara, pp. 130, 135, 182-185
- Rogue Trader: The Koronus Bestiary (RPG), pg. 57
- Warhammer 40,000: Rulebook (6th Edition), pg. 275
- Warhammer 40,000: Rulebook (5th Edition), pg. 157
- White Dwarf 236 (UK), pg. 84
- Fulgrim (Novel) by Graham McNeill