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The Aeldari once ruled the galaxy, before their civilisation collapsed under the weight of their hedonism. Now they are a dying and fractured race, their differing factions all finding ways to survive in a galaxy where their extinction seems inevitable. All members of Aeldari society depend on the power of their seers, the skills of their warriors, and the technological superiority of their sleek weapons and engines of war.

The Asuryani sail the sea of stars aboard massive starships called craftworlds, their citizens keeping to highly disciplined Paths to avoid drowning in the same decadence as their ancestors. The Harlequins are warrior-dancers who worship Cegorach, the Laughing God, and do not distinguish between art and war. Some, like the Corsairs, hark back to the individualism of old, plundering the space lanes for personal profit, while the Ynnari see the salvation of their race in grim unification under Ynnead, the God of the Dead.