Haemonculi proclaim that the infliction of pain is one of the highest arts, if not the highest, and gleefully create choruses of screams and wails of agony whilst taking delight in every aspect of the discomfort of anyone unfortunate enough to fall under their blades. Haemonculi are also known as master manipulators of flesh, able to create horrific monstrosities and regenerate Dark Eldar slain in battle, provided enough of the body remains. Because of this, dark eldar of status will often make pacts with haemonculi, promising them fresh captives for their cruel art in exchange for medical treatment, biological enhancements, and even being brought back from the dead. Haemonculi ensure the near-immortality of Dark Eldar who can afford their services, and it is said they can be grown back to life from a single severed hand.
Like most Dark Eldar groups they form into factions, known as Haemonculi Covens that base themselves across the Dark City. The Haemonculi and their covens are all secretly feared by the denizens of Commorragh despite their service, for one knows what horrors await if one crosses one of their order. Every Haemonculus considers himself akin to a god, and hence surrounds himself with a retinue of freakish acolytes that obey his every whim without hesitation. Many do not care to debase themselves by touching the ground, let alone sully themselves with physical labor. To this end, they are assisted at all times by exotic technologies and an entourage of abominations such as Wracks and Grotesques. Notorious megalomaniacs, their egos require the constant obeisance of subservient beings, most of whom they have fashioned themselves. These servants ensure the Coven’s captives are hauled about, flayed or dissected according to their master’s orders.
As masters of fleshcrafting, Haemonculi heavily modify themselves. Some keep their blood, lungs and heart in a muscled hunk of meat that sprouts from their shoulders, a rich repository for stimulants and elixirs that often boasts secondary limbs of its own. Others replace their blood so that searing ichor or even acid flows through their modified veins. Their spines are elongated and extended and their vertebrae meld into whipping prehensile bone-tails that can curl around the throats of their prey. From the upper backs sprout protrusions of bony matter that often frame the Haemonculus’ head, hung with peculiar syringes and drug dispensers that channel directly into their spinal sump. Because of their skills Haemonculi are functionally immortal, and always look upon death with a vengeful glee for they know they shall soon return to exact their retribution.
The Haemonculi are always seeking new ways to inflict horror upon the denizens of the Materium. Certain Covens, such as the Children of Bone, specialize in developing thin Grotesques to aid them upon the battlefield, while the Coven of the Ebon Sting are famed for their especially venomous Engines of Pain. It is these hideous horrors and monstrous constructs that do the majority of the killing when the Coven mounts a raid. Having lived for thousands of years, the Haemonculi look upon the planet-wrecking wars of lesser races with a snickering amusement.
Equipment and Abilities
Haemonculi are known for carrying strange but lethal wargear unique to them. Some of this wargear is impossible to obtain even by Archons.
As every Haemonculus is old, perverse, and cunning, they carry some "dirty tricks" in their tainted sleeves. Having access to arcane wargear of the Dark Eldar, they might possess some truly dreadful array of technology such as:
Haemonculi also employ many gruesome machines and minions in battle. Though often Wracks and Grotesques do much of their dirty work, Haemonculi consider Engines of Pain to be the pinnacle of their art.
Perhaps most dangerously, the Haemonculi of the Dark City are able to transcend death entirely. By means of their twisted soul-science, they often leave a small part of their essence in rune-carved caskets and extradimensional pockets, so that even should their corporeal form be vaporised, they can inhabit new flesh. For a Haemonculus to be truly extinguished they must be utterly destroyed, both corporeally and spiritually.
Haemonculi form themselves into factions known as Haemonculi Covens. There are ten Covens known by name at the moment. Perhaps the most notable Haemonculi Coven is The Prophets of Flesh which was recently sighted in the Tau Empire during the War of Dark Revelations.
Disciplines and Factions
Viewing themselves as artists and master craftsmen, Haemonculi have developed many disciplines and specialties to their twisted work. These include:[2a]
- Nemesines: These Haemonculi seek the best ways to kill every creature in the material world and beyond. The 'Ever-Nemesines' (or Ilynneadhs in Eldar) take this art a step further, seeking to kill off ephemeral concepts such as hope and joy across entire sectors, erase knowledge or enlightenment from the galaxy, or slay great visionaries and leaders.[2a]
- Black Cornucopians: This discipline revolves around the concept that all of reality is theirs for the taking. As such, they are expert plunderers and are often architects of large-scale raids. Like Urien Rakarth, they often stock their own private pocket dimensions with enough victims to see them through centuries of isolation.[2a]
- Nadirists: These Haemonculi embrace sin and corruption more so than even their brother Covens. For them, depravity is an aim in and of itself. They seek to become gods not by the creation of malefic angels but by becoming the embodiment of pure evil.[2a]
- Phoenex: A hidden offshoot of the Ever-Nemesines. They seek to forge the Eldar race anew by the means of exterminating their own kind, be they Commorragh, Craftworlders, Harlequins, or Exodites. They believe that should the Eldar become extinct, Ynnead will be awakaned and the spiritual malaise of the Eldar lifted forever. They are the most secret of all brotherhoods, for their eagerness to see their brethren slain could see them undone. It is rumored that their philosophy is not limited to Commorragh, and that the Harlequins and even Craftworld leaders may share their goal.[2a]
- Scarlet Epicureans: Perhaps the closest spiritual descendants of the old Eldar Empire that led to the birth of Slaanesh. They revel in ever iota of sensation. Some of these maniacal orgiasts attack the military forces of realspace in order to invite unusual varieties of death, savouring the sublime moment when their lives are snuffed out. After drinking in their own last moments like a vintage draught, they will be regrown in the depths of Commorragh.[2a]
- Apparitians: Make their lairs in mirrors and delight in the capture of the vain.[2a]
- Vilethi: Named for the Dark Muse Vileth, they take part in Realspace raids purely to showcase their own superiority.[2a]
- Repugnomancers: Noted for their love of lethal traps and hidden surprises.[2a]
- Mydilian - an Acothyst
- Croniarch Sekh
- Gruemeneal — A Haemonculus of the Kabal of the Black Heart
- Khaeghris Xhakt
- Maestru Thrylemnis
- Quvelich the Emaciator
- Shatterling Prince
- Urien Rakarth — Master Haemonculus of The Prophets of Flesh
- Vakillar U'riss
- Zykleiades — A Patriarch Noctis in the Coven of The Black Descent.[7a]
- 1: Codex: Dark Eldar (5th Edition), pgs. 38-40
- 2: Haemonculus Covens - A Codex: Dark Eldar Supplement - To Kill a Monster'
- 3: Codex Supplement: White Scars (8th Edition), pg. 28 - Huntsmen of the Stars
- 4: Codex: Drukhari (8th Edition) pg.87
- 5: Codex: Drukhari (9th Edition), pg. 68
- 6: Rogue Trader: The Soul Reaver, pg. 120
- 7: Path of the Archon (Novel)
- 7a: Chapters 6, 14
|Dark Eldar Forces
|Archon • Haemonculus • Haemonculus Ancient • Succubus • Dracon • Sybarite
|Elites & Specialists
|Grotesques • Incubi • Kabalite Trueborn • Mandrakes • Crimson Duelist • Disciple of Yaelindra • Elixicant • Flayer • Skysplinter Assassin
|Kabalite Warriors • Kabalite Gunner (Heavy Gunner) • Kabalite Agents • Hekatarii • Wracks
|Beastmaster • Hellions • Reavers • Scourge
|Cronos Parasite Engine • Ravager • Razorwing Jetfighter • Talos Pain Engine • Voidraven Bomber • Reaper • Tantalus
|Raider • Venom
|Asdrubael Vect • Drazhar, Master of Blades • Kheradruakh, the Decapitator • Lelith Hesperax • Lady Malys • Baron Sathonyx • Urien Rakarth • Duke Sliscus