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Author Topic: Quantifying the Number of Eldar in the Galaxy  (Read 1585 times)

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Offline Foalchu

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Quantifying the Number of Eldar in the Galaxy
« on: February 11, 2016, 10:59:06 AM »
There have been a few threads trying to put a number on the eldar population left in the galaxy, with estimates ranging from the absurdly low, to very high.  However, I haven't seen any that use quoted numbers in their extrapolations. 

The first of two quotes I find to be useful concerns the battle between hive fleet Kraken and Iyanden.  In that battle, "countless billions" died, totaling "four-fifths" of Iyanden's population.  This quote puts the pre-battle population of Iyanden at less than one trillion, but much more than 100 billion, as 100 isn't "countless."  For this, I'll take the easy way out and go with 500 billion, meaning that Iyanden now has 100 billion people left.

Iyanden is also said to have been the most populous craftworld before the conflict with Kraken, so we can put the other major craftworlds each at a slightly lower population; 450 billion for Alaitoc, 400 billion for Biel-tan, 250 billion for Saim-han, and 250 billion for Ulthwé.

From just the major 5, that gives us 1.45 trillion craftworlders.  Adding in the 7 minor named craftworlds, if we set them at 125 billion each, we get an additional 875 billion eldar.

Adding in the "thousands" (we'll set that as two thousand) of minor, in-named, one liner, or bit piece craftworlds at a much lower 400 million each, we get 800 billion additional craftworlders. 

Adding this together, the total population of the craftworld eldar would seem to be around 3.125 trillion.  Very large, by earth standards, but also a tiny tiny population compared to the millions of worlds inhabited by humans (which would outnumber the eldar a thousandfold even if their average population was half that of modern day earth, or 3 billion). 

It's also fitting with the "untold trillions" who died in the Fall, which a small fraction of eldar survived (3.125 trillion is a small fraction of even just a hundred trillion, or an even smaller fraction of 500 trillion if we use the same metric as at the top of the post).

Thoughts?
"Some call the Eldar decadent.  If that is true, the Imperial Army could do with some of that decadence."
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Offline Sir_Godspeed

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Re: Quantifying the Number of Eldar in the Galaxy
« Reply #1 on: February 11, 2016, 03:41:14 PM »
I've previously argued that the larger Craftworlds should have populations in the billions, as anything else would be ridiculously low, not only in terms of power projection, but also just judging from the sheer volume of them.

The term "countless" is admittedly a vey vague and somewhat meaningless term.

I've also argued that the human population of humans in the Galaxy is probably in the low quadrillions, so they'll still be comfortably ahead of the Eldar.

One could also support a population of the Eldar in the low trillions (or high billions) with an argument that their situation of constant decline is more due to being bottlenecked by the whole Slaanesh business with their souls, and being politially splintered, rather than simply having low numbers.

Offline Foalchu

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Re: Quantifying the Number of Eldar in the Galaxy
« Reply #2 on: February 11, 2016, 04:18:12 PM »
There's also the argument that they are a dying culture, trying to preserve a way of life which has already mostly perished (and wasn't really all that prevalent within the empire right before the Fall either).

This cultural decline is very evident given that they have variously resorted to grave robbing in order to fight the battles which they must, lost their gods figuratively and literally, have lost all that they built before the Fall, and now pursue a completely different way o life to avoid temptation while still trying to preserve some of the beauty which they once created. 

Decline in numbers doesn't need to enter into it; in fact, they could have population growth over the long term, but they are still recovering from the loss of the vast majority of their people, and have a longer inter generational period than humans. Given that an eldar achieves young adulthood at around 100 years, they've only had 100 generations to recover if they made young adult eldar have kids right away.  If there isn't such pressure, then you're looking at more like 25-50 generations since the fall.  It's taken even humans a lot more than 50 generations to recover from the bottlenecks we've encountered, so it would not surprise me if the eldar are just beginning the recovery process, which of course is also slowed by the introduction of new enemies like the tyranids who have eaten some population centers
"Some call the Eldar decadent.  If that is true, the Imperial Army could do with some of that decadence."
"We warned you of the price of your actions, now you must pay it in full - in blood."
*cringe-worthy teen sig section removed*

Offline magenb

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Re: Quantifying the Number of Eldar in the Galaxy
« Reply #3 on: February 11, 2016, 08:32:52 PM »
You would also need to factor in the unknown number of maiden worlds with Exodites, Outcasts and Harliquinns. The numbers are still going to be considerably less than humans


CWE growth rate would also be limited by the craftworld itself. "The path of" series of books gives us a glimps of how bonesingers might work, and how varied their work is. They also appear to be a small portion of the population, so alot of work for small numbers.



Offline Foalchu

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Re: Quantifying the Number of Eldar in the Galaxy
« Reply #4 on: February 11, 2016, 10:03:22 PM »
I was leaving out Harlequins and exodites for now as we don't have any indirect references for their population sizes. 

However, for the craftworlders, population growth is part of why Biel-tan keeps the maiden worlds clean of pests.  That and despite their small numbers, bone singers can speed up the natural growth enough that populous craftworlds are now in some cases more than a hundred times bigger than when they first fled the Fall.
"Some call the Eldar decadent.  If that is true, the Imperial Army could do with some of that decadence."
"We warned you of the price of your actions, now you must pay it in full - in blood."
*cringe-worthy teen sig section removed*

Offline Kage2020

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Re: Quantifying the Number of Eldar in the Galaxy
« Reply #5 on: April 2, 2016, 03:29:11 PM »
CWE growth rate would also be limited by the craftworld itself. "The path of" series of books gives us a glimps of how bonesingers might work, and how varied their work is. They also appear to be a small portion of the population, so alot of work for small numbers.
It's also worth noting that craftworlds are described as having industrial complexes, shipyards etc. on their perimeter (a partial product of the assumption of an overall disc shape, perhaps). This opens up a number of interesting interpretive avenues for those willing to speculate or otherwise expand upon the lore of the Eldar in their own head-canon if nowhere else.

(For example, if one has the Eldar as being technologically advanced then one could also see the as a post-industrial civilisation. In that scenario, hand-crafted goods might take on a significant value even if said item could be manufactured by machines.)

 


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