Well, good luck… I suppose… However, I have to tell you that plenty of druchii.net members were completely disgusted @ the new High Elf armybook… Particularly as not all of them play Druchii and you gave the Asur the ASF rule?! Why was this anyway?!

Hi. In all honesty, I didn’t work on the High Elves book, so I won’t comment. This Q+A is about the Dark Elves book.

Hey Gav, outstanding work on the new army book, it would prove a nightmare making it any better!!

Just one question, why are the cold ones described as being green scaled in the Bestiary?

Was this to add more depth to the history of cold ones to go with the new models, as it kinda narrows our colour scheme choices for them… a lot.

Do you think we can still paint them unique with reasonable explanations ?

Anyway once again fantastic job, and good luck in the future whatever it holds!

It was part of the brief to nail down the colour of the Cold Ones, just like Lizardmen are blue and Warhammer Orcs are green. As with all aspects of painting, the ultimate decision is up to the hobbyist, who should feel free to paint his models whatever colour he likes. I’ve seen some pretty exotic lizard colour schemes that look great, so if it works for your army, go for it! If some pedant wants to know why, just tell them they’re an offshoot from an isolated cave system, or have been bred by a particular beastmaster as a sort of trademark!

Matt Keefe
Dear Mr. Gavin,

Is it true Dark Elves are deaf?


Hmmmmm, good job with the book, I just have one thing thats been bothering me since I started Dark Elves…..How DO you pronounce Druchii? Or did it vary in the studio as well as out here?

To get it ‘right’, you need to roll the ‘r’ a little, the ‘ch’ is a hard sound as in loch or German, and the double ‘i’ is pronounced ‘ee-aye’. Something like ‘drru-key-aye’. However, ‘dru-key’ is the easier, anglicised version for everyday conversation. 🙂


Dear Gav,

Firstly I want to wish you the best of luck as a freelancer! I know that many people really enjoy reading your books!

To my question What is your favorite unit from the Dark Elf book? (And I don’t mean which do you think is the most effective, but which one you enjoy playing with the most.)

Black Guard are great, just because they are awesome and should be. I also really like Assassins, coming up with neat little combos and roles for them is fun. For sheer Dark Elf entertainment, though, you can’t beat a Sorceress with the Sacrificial Dagger!

Hi Gav!

First off, love the new book! It’s such a huge improvement over its predecessor, yet still feels like the army I’ve known and loved since 4th edition. I especially like how you expanded on Druchii religion in the fluff, touching on the other gods they revere beyond just Khaine. I’d love to hear your thoughts on that.

Another question I have: What are some of your favorite things that *didn’t* make it into the list, either because they were ultimately unbalancing, were edged out by other things, or just weren’t practical?

Anyway, take care, and thanks for all the fish!

As I’ve mentioned before, the goal of this project was to really work with what was extant and imbue it with flavour and character. If the project had been broader in scope, I had ideas about some variations on the Hydra but for practicality’s sake they would have to wait until it was possible to make a plastic Hydra kit. Many of the ideas we had were more to do with the visuals of the army than what was in it, which can only be acted on if the relevant miniatures are being re-done. It was clear early on what the focus would be, so I didn’t expend too much energy coming up with other stuff that I knew wouldn’t go further at this stage.


Hey Gav,

Sorry to hear you’ve left GW. You were a great service to them. But good luck as a freelancer! Anyway, my question is about how you and the rest of the design teams decide what to change from the last version of an army book. From rules to background, every book has some aspects that stay the same and some that change drastically. I am really more concerned with background stuff though. Since there isn’t any definitive Warhammer history book, how do you guys keep everything cohesive from one edition to the next, while at the same time making the new book feel completely different than the last? Also, how do you decide the powers and point cost for special characters? That’s always something I’ve wanted to know.

For the contemporary Warhammer background, the main sources of information are the original army books released in 4th edition. Some of this was lost with the format change of the 6th edition books and as with the recent 40K codexes, one of the aims going forward is to ensure that the new crop of books contain all of the information the players need. This includes the history, the current state of the nation or race, relevant colour schemes and iconography and also a comprehensive bestiary that talks about every troop type and creature in the army. Oh, and an army list, of course! These are the basic building blocks of any army book or codex and the format has settled down again. These then become definitive again, as they were ten years ago

 The object is to Evoke, Inspire and Inform. The book should evoke the nature of the race and army, inspire the reader to collect that army and play their battles, and inform the hobbyist of what the army is about, what the troop types do and what they look like.

As for what information is included and the character to bring across, these are discussed between the developer and senior figures such as Alan Merrett and Rick Priestley as part of the proposal and briefing process at the start of every project. For instance, with the Dark Elves it was important to emphasise the raiding nature of their culture, not just for slaves but general piracy. This was also when the issue with the Slaanesh worship was raised and we agreed how to address the matter with a deeper look at Dark Elf religion. I then looked at the existing material and decided which bits could be re-presented with a bit of expansion and editing and which needed writing from scratch.

After that it becomes a matter of planning and page count. How much of this could we fit in to a book of reasonable length? Around the broad outline, there’s then scope for the writer to fill in nifty bits of detail or illustrate a particular aspect of the race with colour text and other box outs. So, to return to Dark Elves, I created the Helbane dynasty as a portrayal of the way the power struggles between the great families can work. This was to offset the necessarily Malekith-heavy history. A lot of the background is driven by Malekith and Morathi, but there’s all sorts of other powerful influences in Dark Elf society.

Special Characters are an extension of the Evoke, Inspire and Inform mission. They embody particular aspects of the army, perhaps inspire a particular force composition and their stories tell a part of the greater story of the army. Their power level is related to their prominence in the Warhammer world. A pivotal leader of nations such as Malekith or Emperor Karl Franz is going to be a powerful Lord-level character, while those that are exemplars of more specific ideas and images are Heroes or Champions. Some date back many editions and their powers and wargear is fairly set. With new characters it’s the same as any other troop type – you try to find the balance between distinctive role, points cost and impact on the game. Preferably the inclusion of a Special Character is weighed up not on some absolute power scale, but on what they can bring to a force that perhaps cannot be done by other means, just as including other character types or units adds a different dimension to the whole. The more powerful the character, the greater the influence on the army’s dynamic and the character’s attendant points cost.

Published on September 17, 2008 at 11:31 am  Comments (10)  

10 CommentsLeave a comment

  1. […] I’ve finally managed to address the last few Dark Elves questions. The Q&A can be found here. Published […]


  2. Thanks

    will be returning to fantasy and give some rest to Dark Lances and Big Shootas


  3. Hey,Gav

    I like how the Druchii units are now more specialized in there stats to compared to 6’th ed.

    I got a couple of questions but for now I’ll focus on One area:


    they’re still pretty cool but beside the Stubborn when near a COB and the +1 S they’ve simply lost to much when compared to Black Guards imo.
    I know they’re supposed to take different roles in our armies but just 1 of these things would had helped a lot:

    25 p Magic Item on Draich Master

    50 p Magic standard

    Possible to add a character with ring of darkness to the unit

    Less of a Glass cannon made out of Tullaris.

    From speaking with other players the only time they seem to even consider Tullaris is if they’d play a Khainite Army and/or have a Death Hag Standardbearer with ASF…

    Just wanted to hear your own thoughts about the Executioners and comparing them to Black Guards

    With best regards Martin

    Gav – Trying to balance out the various elite regiments in an army is always a fine line to tread. Elves and Dwarfs in paarticular have several elite units and each needs to have its own particular strength to bring to the army to avoid one becoming a dominant choice. Approaching the Dark Elves project, I didn’t see that there was any fundamental issues with the Executioners that needed addressing. I don’t think that magic banner and Champion options would have done any particular harm, an I don’t recall actively deciding against them. In truth, my attention was focussed more making sure the Black Guard were right this time around due to the previously poor rules for them in the ealier edition of the Dark Elves.
    The main selling point of the Executioners compared to the Black Guard is their high Strength attacks. They may not be a ‘main line’ unit like the Black Guard, but are instead better in a supporting role. In conjunction, the Stubborn Black Guard can engage a tough enemy and hold them in combat allowing the Executioners a devastating flank charge – good against even tough troops like Ironbreakers or Empire knights. The trick is making sure the enemy can’t get to the Executioners first!
    Overall, one of the things I would tweak a little about the army lst as a whole is the restriction of characters joining Khainite units. I was wary of the Khaine aspect of the army becoming too dominant, but actually allowing players to ‘mark’ regular characters as Khainites (or simply removing the ban from non-Khainite characters joining the units) would give folks a bit more flexibility and character.
    Thanks for the comments.


  4. Hey,

    I heard off a mate that there a mini story about chaos attacking one of the dark elves ship and destroying them all, all surviving dark elves fled to shore of bretonian soil and was killed on sight,

    I been looking everywhere for this story, can someone help me
    Gav – Hi! That story doesn’t ring any bells for me, but perhaps someone else has reads it?


  5. Hello

    I just have a quick question: What is the official ‘eavy metal colour scheme for cold one knights? The dark elf army book no longer contains colour schemes and white dwarf only published the scheme for the dark elf noble’s cold one.

    Thank you

    Gav – I don’t know the exact colours the ‘Eavy Metal team used for the Cold One Knights, but I’m pretty sure that if you send a letter to the Design Studio address marked for the attention of the painters, someone will be able to fill in the details.


  6. Gav, this q&a has been hugely successfull, is there anything like it where I can ask such deep and perplexing questions like do female empire mages exist or why the hell can’t a warrior priest lead flagelents? Great work on Malekith too, exceptional read!

    Gav – For ‘official’ answers, there’s not really an open forum where the developers dicuss this sort of thing (they’d be far too busy!) but if you do have a burning need you can always write a letter to them at the Design Studio. Of course, Black Library and many other forums have boards for discussing the worlds of Warhammer if you’re looking for the opinions of like-minded folk and the occasional input from an author.

    My answers (for what they are worth).
    1. Being a medieval-style institution I suspect that the Colleges of Magic are heavily male-dominated, if they don’t outright ban women (there would never be a Supreme Matriarch, for example!). Of course, such discrimination would leave most women vulnerable to accusations of witchcraft if they practice any magic but in more rural areas I can see the old pre-Colleges Wise Women and herbalists still going strong – the College attendants are mainly from the urban areas or the ruling class elite rather than the mass of population, much like real world universities up until very recently. It would be an interesting story, following a female character attempting to make it as a wizard 🙂

    2. Flagellants are a sub-cult, not something most warrior priests would want to associate themselves with. Their apocalyptic beliefs are not shared by the vast majority of the Sigmarite priesthood. Gamewise, I think it would be a dangerous precedent to allow characters that are not unbreakable to join unbreakable units, if only to avod the rules headache. If it was allowed with warriors priests and flagellants, dwarfs players would start coming up with reasosn why engineers could join Slayers and so on and the designers would never hear the end of it 😉


  7. Oh dear, I’ve been pronouncing it “Dru-Chee” since day 1 😦 Show how many gaming friends I have !

    A very interesting blog and nice to get an “insiders” view.

    my WFB mini gallery


  8. Hi Gav,
    Did you have a chance to experience the 8th edition rules? Since you no longer with GW, I would love to read your comments especially the effects for our beloved druchii armies.
    Darkest regards,


    • Hi there,

      I must confess that I have not had any chance to play the latest edition yet and it will probably be some time before I get a chance. I did see an interesting discussion on this whilst browsing: http://warhammer.org.uk/phpBB/viewtopic.php?f=3&t=74416


  9. Hi online gamers and readers! I like this d &d stuff of legends! I support it greatly. My first character class was a warlock; i.e. a male witch. Then I saw those movies entitled warlock. He was the villain in that movie saga. Toodles, I like noodles!

    Uncle ben


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