40K Lore: Biel Tan Craftworld


Gather fellow loremasters to illuminate the most fiery and aggressive of the Eldar craftworlds. Biel-Tan, home of the Swordwind.

Biel-tan is an Eldar Craftworld, famous for its extreme militarism. The Biel-tan Craftworld is famous for its inhabitants’ militancy; it is home to more Aspect Warriors than any other craftworld.



The Eldar of Biel-tan are honourable warriors who have taken it upon themselves to rebuild the lost glory of the ancient Eldar empire, through the destruction of the lesser races who have “usurped” the galaxy, and believe it is glorious to die fighting the enemies of the Craftworld. At the centre of Biel-tan is the Chamber of Heroes where the spirit stones of dead Aspect Warriors are placed. Farseers often come to this room to consult the dead on courses of action.


As well as their traditional colours of green and white, the forces of Biel-Tan sport patterns of dark thorny ivy.


When the Eldar of Biel-Tan go to war they assemble a warhost known as the Bahzhakhain, which means “Swordwind” or “Tempest of Blades”. The Swordwind’s tactic is a single, swift strike taking the enemy by surprise. This tactic works considerably well with the elite fighting skills of the many Aspect Warriors eliminating the enemy before they can respond. The Biel-Tan therefore make perfect use of the speed and maneuverability of the Wave Serpents and Falcon Grav Tanks.

The main target of the Biel-Tan are non-Eldar colonists, particularly non-Eldar occupying Eldar Maiden Worlds. It is especially galling to the Eldar who created these paradise worlds from dead worlds to find them overrun with inferior species. The Eldar of Biel-tan believe the success of other alien races is a threat to the future progression of the Eldar empire. For this reason, the Biel-Tan particularly hate the Orks, Orks being a completely expansionist race, whose occupation of a world quickly becomes permanent. In many cases, Biel-Tan have helped Imperial forces that were under heavy attack by Orks and to hunt down Ork Roks before the tide of Orks can overrun a planet.

The Exarchs of the Craftworld form a council known as the Court of the Young King, it is from this council that the Craftworld’s Young Kings are chosen.

The Swordwind even possess a vehicle that is unique to Biel-Tan. It is a super heavy grav tank called a Void Spinner, which is armed solely with a huge monofilament cannon that works just like any other monofilament weapon except that it incorporates a techno virus that sterilizes the ground that it touches. This makes it extremely useful against the Orks due to the Ork’s spore-based method of reproduction, preventing further re-infestation.

The symbolic rune of Biel-Tan stands for reincarnation, a fate previously thought reserved for every Eldar before the Fall. The rune roughly translates as Rebirth of Ancient Days, reflecting the intention of the Craftworld to see their former empire restored.


Notable Biel-Tan Eldar

~What are the xenos of this Craftworld up to?

  • Mr.Fister

    Xeno scum! Do not suffer the alien to live! 😆

  • Victor Hartmann

    Based on the line art drawing, Biel Tan is made of hookahs?

    • petrow84

      If my memory serves me right, about the 5th ed there was a flash animation about the different craftworlds, and that line draw was coloured to the hue of the various worlds.

    • bfmusashi

      Sort of? If I recall correctly the line art is from their Rogue Trader revision where they introduce the Eldar as we know them know (instead of space hornet people or whatever that was). So, everything had this curio-shop oriental thing going on, and I mean oriental as in everything from the Levant and east. It was/is deliciously bonkers and their helmets were hella tall to accommodate their amazing hair. You also got to see aspect warrior face paint and i think some exarch patterns since this was before they got eaten by their suits.

      • deris87

        >exarch patterns since this was before they got eaten by their suits.

        Exarchs are a gestalt consciousness, and anyone who puts on the Exarch armor has their mind absorbed into that gestalt, but I’m not sure what that has to do with their hair.

        • Yea, while I think the minds gets ‘overtaken’, the physical body does not vanish – so Exarchs do exist without helmet and even without armour (that actually does happen in the Path series!). Phoenix Lords though seem to lose their physical body.

          • deris87

            >Phoenix Lords though seem to lose their physical body.

            And even that’s murky. Path of the Warrior seems to describe an Exarch looking at the hole in Karandras’ armor and going “my god it’s full of stars!” and being absorbed in. In the Asurmen novel it’s pretty clear that when his armor is found by a a shrine of Dire Avengers one of them puts it on and Asurmen’s mind takes over her body.

        • bfmusashi

          When they introduced the idea of the mini infinity circuit in the suit they also said the body disappears eventually, I think it said if you popped open the suit it would just have dust in it. The implication is they can’t take the helmets off anymore because that’s who they are, so face paint doesn’t matter. It’s more fun, especially since they waffle on how the personalities work in the suit, to think of the person as a blood sacrifice to the grumpy murder suit.

          • deris87

            Phoenix Lords work that way, but I’ve never seen anything suggesting an exarch’s body will disappear. None of the modern codices or novels even give that impression; exarchs can take their armor off and appear outwardly like a normal Eldar, they’re just not allowed to leave their shrines because they can never remove their metaphysical War Masks, and are always in kill-mode.

          • bfmusashi

            Page 11 of the 2nd ed. codex. has the psycho plastic inter-mesh with the flesh and if he’s killed the suit will be empty. He can also never take it off once it’s on. I don’t think this has been rescinded, but I don’t have the newest Craftworlds codex.

          • deris87

            Gav Thorpe’s novels from a few years ago contradict that. Exarchs have no problem taking their armor off. In fact if the current host body dies the armor lies dormant til a new person gets lost on the Path of the Warrior and dons the armor, having their mind absorbed into the gestalt and then the gestalt takes control of the body. I’ve never seen anything from 3rd ed on that suggests the Exarch gets absorbed into the armor.

          • bfmusashi

            If you take the novels to be in line with the codexes yeah, that works since the books don’t specifically say they don’t get eaten by the suit anymore. They also don’t specifically say they aren’t eaten by suits anymore 🙂 The closest I think they came was exarches having ceremonial armor they wear for the rite of the Young King, but that could just mean kibble. GW has never been strict about its IP in house.

          • deris87

            >that works since the books don’t specifically say they don’t get eaten by the suit anymore.

            I don’t know man, that’s kind of like saying they’ve never officially stated Tigurius is no longer half-Eldar, therefore he still is. I don’t doubt you when you say in 2nd edition it said the armor ate the body, but that doesn’t mean it’s intended to be understood as canon today.

          • bfmusashi

            I also don’t doubt you or your interpretation. I’m just kind of riding through how open GW’s work is. I think it’s intentional and the only times I’m torqued is if it mucks with themes (I think are important) or makes the sequence of events muddy. I appreciate you drawing my attention to the suits consuming the physical forms of the exarch not being stated in the codexes. I continue to champion it because I think it does a good job demonstrating how all consuming be lost on the path is. The idea when the exarch dies someone has to vacuum them out of the suit (or there’s a little hatch on the heel) also amuses me.
            I’m firmly in the camp that there is no canon for Games Workshop products, though I respect those that try to assemble one.* And yeah, I’m totally holding on to him being half Eldar until a book explicitly says he isn’t 🙂

            *When they shortened the decline of the Eldar so both the Eldar Empire and the Dark Age of Technology were concurrent with both races being uncontested masters of the galaxy I surrendered to a hypertime interpretation of 40k. The way the Warp can explain everything makes it work.

  • Walter Vining

    biel tan go boom

  • Krizzab

    The “Remove Mon Keigh” Craftworld.

  • EagleBach

    Let’s all review the glory of Biel-tan before the craft world joins Cadia.

    From the games, I know that Taldeer and Caerys from DoW1 are Ulthwe, same with the one in DoW2 vanilla. But what about the autarch from Retribution? I think she’s Biel-tan.

  • deris87

    I’ve been waiting years for FW to release a Void Spinner variant of the eldar super heavy tanks.I thought I had more time before approaching this subject and frankly i’m terrified i’ll do the wrong thing.