Eldfall Chronicles Faction Focus: Coalition of Thenion

This article is part of a sponsored series of articles exploring Freecompany’s Eldfall Chronicles tabletop miniatures game. 

Hey, Mali-folks!  I’m—

Wait a minute… that banner doesn’t look familiar.  This isn’t Malifaux at all!

It looks like we’re in Calad, the realm of Eldfall Chronicles.  We’ve previously discussed Eldfall Chronicles’ core rules here, and the models here.  Many thanks to Freecompany for providing a review copy of the game!  Today, we’re going to be deep-diving into one of the game’s four launch factions – the Coalition of Thenion.

Of course, you can’t blame me for being confused about where I was at first.  Like Malifaux, Calad was invaded by that most terrible of pests, Mankind.  But while Malifaux’s Neverborn struggle to push the humans from their foothold, Calad’s people fought bravely and managed to vanquish the intruders.  It helped that the humans of the northern colonies rose up against their oppressive masters and joined the Caladians in battle, of course.  However it came about, the result was liberation: the expulsion of the invaders and the sealing of the great planar gate from whence they came.

In the aftermath of that great victory, the Caladians found themselves divided among four great factions.  (Of course, there are neutrals as well, and the world is full of monsters and constructs that are hostile to everyone!)  Though the world is at peace, the scars of war linger.  And Calad is full of treasure, opportunity, secrets, and magic in equal measure.  There’s always something to fight over, in other words.

The Coalition of Thenion – Credit: Keewa

Who Are the Coalition of Thenion?

The Coalition is one of the two Rin nations.  The Rin are the pre-eminent (but by no means only) native inhabitants of Calad.  They’re magically potent, long-lived, and have pointy ears – and like certain other people matching that description, they come in both dark and light varieties.

The origins of the Coalition lie during the Age of Dusk, an era when dark miasma flooded from the center-gate at the heart of Calad and covered the land in smothering shadow.  Fleeing the miasma, a group of Rin fled their homeland by sea.  They endured a seemingly endless night before the darkness parted and revealed Calad’s moon.  Following its light, the Rinnian exiles found an island refuge, a safe place riddled with caverns lit by glowing crystals.

Naming themselves the Thenrin, the Rin of the Moon, these Rin began to worship Thea-Luna the Moon goddess and her seven patrons.  They colonized the vast crystalline depths, building beautiful and elaborate cities underground.  The cities are nominally matriarchies, but each contains several guilds that vie for supremacy.  The complex politics of the undercities have made the Thenrin experts in subtlety and trickery, and their cunning is unmatched throughout the world.  In comparison with their Helrin cousins of the Helian League, the Thenrin of the Thenion Coalition are passionate, tempestuous, and emotional, yet it would be a mistake to underestimate them.  They are every bit as magically attuned as the Helrin, though their magic tends to be more subtle – rather than smiting their foes directly, they tend to enhance their own abilities.

Aesthetically, the Thenrin resemble classical depictions of dark elves – they tend to favor cloaks and overlapping scale-mail, with curved blades and crystal jewelry.  Their skin is pale and purple-hued, but their hair is white as snow.  They’re more World of Warcraft Night Elf than Dungeons & Dragons Drow, but with elements from both as well as some unique twists that make them their own thing altogether.

Playstyle of the Coalition

Like all dark elves, the Thenrin are masters of maneuverability and stealth.  Like all dark elves, they’re capable combatants both up close and at a distance.  And like all dark elves, they fold quickly if you give ‘em a good krumping.  Silk sashes and ragged cloaks look very cool in the moonlight, but they’re not what you want to be wearing when an Earth Elemental is saying hello fist-first.

A Ranger’s Guild Hunter – Credit: Keewa

Ranger-Guild Hunter

The Rangers’ Guild is one of the largest and most powerful Guilds in the Coalition, in charge of protecting the underground cities against external threats.  Hunters are swift and sure, with light armor and powerful short bows – perfect for tracking big beasts, and perfect for killin’ em.

The Hunter is the Coalition’s premier ranged threat.  It has the Assassin class, a class so far unique to the Coalition; Assassins score a Critical Hit on a roll of 1, 2 or 3 (instead of just a 1).  This is a powerful rule, as crits not only ignore the target’s armor but also beat all Confrontation rolls and can’t be dodged.  Hunters have a great suite of skills, too; they can deploy in the Shrouded state and can even go back into Shrouded if no enemy models have LoS to them in their Strategic phase, letting them strike and fade.  They’re quite mobile, too, as they can deploy up to the midline of the field, can Climb as a Normal movement, and are utterly unaffected by Forests and Difficult terrain.

Offensively, they pack a Short Bow with a base Power of only 10 – but the Assassination Combat Art lets them give that bow a bit more heft with +6 Power.  Close up, they can use a Short Sword (identical to the bow, except it’s a melee weapon) and even come with a Dagger they can throw.

Of course, they’re quite frail and cowardly, with only 8 Defense and 10 Morale, and they don’t have much armor to speak of… but who cares?  You know who poses no threat?  A dead man.

Thenrin Swashbuckler

The melee counterpart to the Hunter, Swashbucklers are young Thenrin who’ve taken the murderhobo path and decided to become adventurers.  Ambidexterity is common among Thenrin, and Swashbucklers like to fight with a curved Thenrin sword in each hand.  As wandering mercs, they’re Neutral as well as Thenion Coalition.

These guys are dual-class Warrior/Rogues, which give them both the ability to enter a Defensive Stance (and thus strike back with full force as a Reactive model) and knock enemies down with a successful AG roll.  Their Fencing combat art makes them among the most defensive Thenrin, as they can either reduce an opponent’s Strike count or simply apply a -3 modifier to their attack roll.  They can dual-wield their Short Swords, giving them an attack re-roll, which along with their surprisingly high Offense score of 15 makes them extremely accurate.  Their Defense is a bit higher than their fellow Thenrin, too, and even have some armor and 2 HP.  They’re not what you’d call “tanky,” exactly, but they certainly take a punch better than most Thenrin.


The Nightshade is an iconic dark elf archetype – the blade in the dark.  Nightshades serve as ladies in waiting to the great Thenion matriarchs, but they’re not just courtiers: each one is trained in assassination, poisoning, and other delicate arts.

This is your Leader, and we’ll discuss her Stratagems in a little bit.  Personally, though, the Nightshade is an Assassin/Rogue, and everything she does is geared towards picking a target and absolutely murdering it.  She has access to the Assassination Combat Art all the way up to level 4, which lets her either add +6 Power to an attack, give it the Poison trait, gain +1 STK, or, as long as she’s active, turn every successful hit into a Critical.  Yikes!

She can also deploy anywhere on the table outside of the opponent’s deployment zone and, like the Hunter can deploy in – and re-enter – the Shrouded state.  Her daggers don’t have the highest Power (though remember you can boost them with Assassination) but they halve all armor against them, make 3 Strikes at base, and she can dual-wield for a reroll to hit (not that she’ll need it with her sky-high Offense of 17).  Finally, the Nightshade has the ability to Flicker right through obstacles and other models.

Sure, she’s as glass-jawed as the rest of the dark elves, but who cares?  Her spectacular Agility will let her dodge some incoming attacks, and as Shadow the Hedgehog says: “They can’t troll you if their dead.”

Night-Temple Priestess. Credit: Keewa

Night-Temple Priestess

The Night Temple is dedicated to Astoreth, the goddess of love, lust, fertility, and hot demon babes with priestess robes slit all the way up the thigh.  You know, dark elf stuff.  The Priestesses are succubi, “peaceful beings who cherish comfort and pleasure.”  Uh huh.  Sure.  While not Thenrin themselves, they’re allied to the Coalition, and bring magical power to the field.

Mage/Enchanters, the Priestesses can cast Enchantment spells for free and can convert activation points into rerolls or mana.  They’re also Demons, a rule with all kinds of baggage; it restricts their Upgrades but lets them Panic enemies on a hit (and gives them a big bonus to attacking Panicked targets).  They’re Inspiring, can Fly and Leap with those big wings, and can use Foresight to postpone their Reaction to being attacked until after the Attacker’s Action step.  Apart from their magic, they have the interesting Charm skill, which forces any enemy trying to React to them to take an Intellect roll; on a failure, the model can do nothing but walk towards the smoldering temptress.

Priestesses can cast Fire and Profane magic.  Fiery Fervor clears most negative states off the target and buffs both Offense and Defense, while Unrelenting Zeal lets models perform a Morale duel to shrug off wounds (sort of like Berserkers’ Toughness shrug).  Draining Impulse pumps a model up with +2 Activation Points, but then Fatigues them when it wears off, while Agony wracks an enemy with a curse that forces them to test Intellect at the beginning of each Activation or Reaction; on a failure they lose 1 HP and instantly ends their Activation/Reaction.

The Priestess’s Fire-based buffs are useful for pumping up the survivability of your fragile killers, and a Nightshade or Dragoon with +2 AP is going to ruin someone’s day.  She has a spear, but her Offense is a relatively piddly (for a Thenrin) 13, and she’s both fragile and unable to benefit from the Nightshade’s Authority Stratagems.  Keep her safe, though, and she’ll buff the rest of your party to the moon.

Slayer Dragoon

Slayer Dragoons are the scouts and hunters of the Coalition, tasked with tracking and eliminating the largest and most dangerous beasts of Calad.  As such, they favor weapons of the “big ass” variety, with oversized spears being a favorite.  Of course, it’s dangerous to go hunting all by yourself, especially when you’re wearing your standard-issue Battle Leotard.  That’s why each Dragoon travels with their faithful steed, a great wolfcat (or Lupus Rex).

Like several other Thenion models, the Dragoons are Assassins.  Paired with their OFF of 17 – tied for the highest in the game – they hit HARD in melee.  And those Slayer’s Lances aren’t just for show; you only get one Strike with the lance, but it hits like an absolute train, starting off at PW T+3 and adding an additional +6 from the Assassination Combat Art.  Cleave doubles all Wounds the lance would deal, and anything that survives all that will be knocked back.  And all that practice hunting the biggest prey pays off, giving her Advantage against Large and larger foes, letting her reroll her dice during an Attack Action when targeting bigguns.

Of course, a Dragoon is nothing without her mount.  The Lupus Rex mount adds 5 to the Recruitment Cost of the Dragoon, but for that you get an impressive increase in SPD from 6 to 9,  +3 to her DEF (pushing it from a pretty pathetic 8 to a reasonable 11) and +2 to her T, which just adds to the punishment that Lance can dish out.  It also makes her Huge, which counteracts the Unwieldy trait on her Lance.  The cat’s Acute Senses and Vigilance traits increase the Dragoon’s Awareness, let her dodge without penalty regardless of LOS, and give her a 360 degree front arc.  You lose a bit of armor, but gain a point of HP, too!

Finally, she’s fast as hell: her Dash ability lets her Run in the movement phase and immediately followup with a lance attack.  While she’s mounted, she can also Hit and Retreat, letting her cancel the Engaged state, make an attack, and walk away.


Every leader has a set of Stratagems, and the Nightshade is no different.  She has three Authority Stratagems, all of which buff Assassins and Rogues (so everyone except the Priestess) and two Subterfuge.

Swift Retreat lets your models (remember, not the Priestess) perform a Normal Movement during the End Phase when in the Active role, while Guerilla Tactics gives your sneaky gits the Hit and Retreat and Backstab skills.  Mastery of Poisons gives them all Poison 1, unless they already have that, in which case they go to Poison 2 – meaning anyone they wound has to test every Strategic phase at Toughness-6 or take another wound.

On the Subterfuge side, the Exploiting Weakness stratagem marks a target, letting your models reroll unsuccessful Damage rolls, while Unfavorable Terrain gives all enemies -1 SPD.

Schemes and Upgrades

The Thenion Schemes are what you might expect, rewarding you for being stealthy, slippery, and vicious.

Leave Unnoticed gives you 1 VP (max 3) for every party member outside of LOS at the end of the game, while Breach Their Defenses gives you 2 VP for every party member in your opponent’s deployment zone at the end of the game.  Cunning Tenacity gives you 2 VP for every friendly that ends the game without losing HP – a little bit of a gamble with how fragile Thenrin are, but if you get the alpha strike in, it may not matter.

Assassination Contract rewards you a cool 3 VP for killing the enemy Leader, and there are two reveal schemes – that is, schemes you reveal during the Strategic Phase and discard during the End Phase.  On the turn you reveal Unmatched Flanking, you earn 1 VP for every Attack against an enemy model that has no LoS to your model before the Resolution step of the Activation (to a max of 3).  That’s a bit of a mouthful, but what it means is: hit people from behind!  Blood for Blood, meanwhile, lets you pick a friendly model that’s suffered a Wound from an enemy; if you Incapacitate that enemy this turn, you get 3 VP.

In terms of Upgrades, Poisoned Weapons gives your model Poison 1, or upgrades their Poison trait to 2 if they already have it.  Muffled Movement gives your model Stealth 1, so they don’t provoke Reactions unless the opponent has Line of Sight to them.  Climbing Expertise lets you perform the Climb special movement as a Normal movement and without halving your SPD.

Concealed Approach lets you deploy Shrouded, but unlike the Hunter and Nightshade, you can’t re-enter the state.  The Fangs of Tiamat are a set of special War Darts.  These one-use-only darts give you a large circular AOE that strikes at +3 Accuracy, with only Power 8 but with the Bleed trait.

Finally, there are three Devotion upgrades, none of which can be given to Demons (the Priestesses are already sworn to Astoreth, after all).  Devotion: Tiamat gives your model +1 Toughness, and if it’s a Warrior or Rogue, +1 Offense as well.  Devotion: Anras gives the model +1 Defense, or if it’s a Duelist (so, the Swashbuckler only), +2 Defense instead.  And Devotion: Paimon gives the model +1 Intellect, and when purchased reduces the cost of all other upgrades (on that model, presumably, though it doesn’t specify that) by 1.  Too bad you can’t give that one to the Priestess – she could really use the spellcasting boost.

Dark Elves Doin’ Dark Elf Stuff

The Coalition of Thenion are a great faction, leaning into classic Dark Elf tropes while avoiding some of the, er, baggage of the Drow.   I tend to be a fan of Pervert Elves in whatever form they appear, so the Coalition certainly appeals to me.  They’re a bit squishy, but Eldfall is a good system for the classic “strike and fade glass cannon” model archetype; the Reaction system and Shrouded rule let you really play with movement tricks and take advantage of your models’ unconventional defensive tricks.  Plus, the Dragoon has strong Monster Hunter vibes, and that’s just cool, however you slice it.

I’ll be back soon enough to discuss the Goody Two-Shoes Elves, the Helians.  They at least know how to dress for the weather.  Until then, though… watch your back!

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