- "All Clans fear the assassins. They envy-hate them for their power-strength. Assassins kill-kill Skaven and many Man Things. To the Lords of Decay, the assassins are valuable tools that should not be squandered like hapless Clanrats."
- —Skreelin Thurntik, Grey Seer.[1d]
Clan Eshin is one of the Four Great Skaven Clans which specialises in the deadly and secretive arts of stealth, murder, poison and assassination learned from the exotic Far East. Out of all the other clans which populate the Under-Empire, Clan Eshin is by far the most secretive and hidden of them all.[2a]
This mysterious Clan has eyes and ears everywhere and its deadly operatives are scattered throughout the Under-Empire as well as secreted about within the cities and settlements of the surface dwellers. For the right price, the black-clad agents of Clan Eshin will steal any information, commit any act of ruthless sabotage or assassinate any rival with ruthless efficiency.[2a]
Considering the treacherous nature of the Skaven, it is of no wonder that Clan Eshin has become so powerful and so feared. In a race filled with sneaking, scampering cut-throat killers, the warriors of Clan Eshin rank many times above the petty vermin. [2a]
Clan Eshin provides an unseen force with which the Council of Thirteen and other powerful Skaven Warlords maintain or gain their position of power. Within the highly feared Caverns of Unyielding Shadow, the Clan Eshin district deep in the bowels of Skavenblight, many treaty-pacts are claw-marked and the doom of many rivals is assured.[2a]
- "I feel the eyes upon me wherever I go. I cannot shake the notion that I am being followed. As I lay in my bed at night, I can hear the sound of claws upon the tiles of my roof. It is as if everything I do, every word I speak, is being marked."
- —Fransesca Diorgino, Tilean Diplomat.[1b]
Early in the history of the Skaven, Clan Eshin stole away to the Far East, led by the ancient Nightlord Visktrin. Eshin was thought to have been lost for hundreds of years, but the clan mysteriously returned to Skavenblight to offer its allegiance to the Lords of Decay.[1a]
The time spent exploring the lands of Nippon, Ind, and Cathay had served Eshin well, for the clan had gained significant training in the arts of stealth and assassination. The assassins of Clan Eshin are rightly feared by all Skaven. They come silently, dispense death with uncanny accuracy, and return to their warrens with their foes none the wiser. Their methods are seemingly supernatural, and the shadows appear to cling to them like spiderwebs.[1a]
Rarely are their faces shown, for they hide them behind cowls and masks. Clan Eshin is not merely a den of assassins. Because of their stealth, their fighters are also prized as spies and scouts. Eshin sells its services to the warlords, offering skirmishers and light troops that can infiltrate the rear of an enemy's line to scout enemy formations or to dispatch leaders, wizards, and other valuable assets. Eshin also maintains a powerful cadre of informants from which they draw a great deal of useful information. [1a]
Eshin is shrouded in mystery, much more so than the other Great Clans. Little is known about the clan’s inner workings, and this information is well-hidden from prying eyes and ears. Skaven who learn too much about the assassins have been known to wind up dead, or worse, which ensures that the clan will sustain its secrecy in the centuries to come.[1a]
Information is a prized commodity amongst Clan Eshin's population, and secrets are not given away for free. It would seem that Clan Eshin strives to increase its own wealth and power in the Under-Empire by lending its services to anyone willing to pay their exorbitant prices. They have yet to use the secrets they have learned for their own power bids, or to provide false information to their clients for their own benefit.[1a]
The clan has simply worked its way into the good graces of the Lords of Decay and continues to serve the council unquestioningly. Whether this obedience will continue is a question that future generations must answer, but for the time being, Clan Eshin is virtually untouchable.[1a]
Service to the Council
- "We will show-show these manthings the true face of diplomacy!"
- —Iksha Fastclaw, Nightlord of Clan Eshin.[3a]
Over the centuries since their return, Eshin has achieved a special place within the Council of Thirteen, using their talents to cow and corral the lesser clans and maintain the authority and influence of the Great Clans. In effect, they act as the secret police force to the Lords of Decay, the metaphorical poisoned dagger in the hand of the council. [1a]
Their political reach has grown long, for they hold the power to call any Skaven forward as a heretic or a traitor. Evidence of such crimes is easily manufactured, and in many cases, it need not be fabricated at all. It is for precisely this reason that the other clans avoid angering Clan Eshin, and indeed facilitate its investigations without objection.[1a]
Clan Eshin also uses more direct methods to quiet opposition to the council's authority. Political murder is common amongst the Skaven, and Eshin excels at such activities as no other clan can. Countless deaths have been engineered by Eshin's assassins in the name of the Lords of Decay, and entire clans have been destroyed by their brothers after having been struck leaderless by a well-placed blade or poisoned dart.[1a]
Though Clan Eshin offers its services to other customers who have little or no affiliation to the Council, it has never been proven that the clan has participated in treasonous activity.[1a]
- "Nothing was expected, and so the men were at ease. Sentries had been posted, but they, too, were weary from the road. We'd taken off our armour, set our weapons to the side. A pair of bruisers from Altdorf were throwing dice and telling bawdy jokes. Little did we realize that in mere moments, half of our number would be dead, and the other half would be running for their lives."
- —Ulrich Krebs, Mercenary.[1c]
Clan Eshin is famed for uncanny stealth, for employing a variety of unusual and exotic weapons, and for its ability to kill swiftly and efficiently. Even the lowliest Clan Eshin warriors, the Night Runners, have some rudimentary skill at subterfuge, being able to move quickly and quietly to strike at the hearts of their enemies.[1a]
Those who survive and learn the greater techniques of the Art of Silent Death are promoted to Gutter Runners, who can sneak behind enemy lines and slaughter entire units of enemies, unseen and unheard.[1a]
Of all of Clan Eshin's warriors, though, the assassins are the most feared and reviled. These Skaven are masters in all of the techniques learned in distant Cathay and bring to bear an incredible array of fighting techniques that allow them to eclipse the greatest human killers. [1a]
Using a host of weapons from the throwing star and blowgun to the repeating crossbow and an arsenal of poisons, these dealers of death are blamed for the majority of suspicious murders in both Skaven and Dwarf societies, not to mention those untimely deaths in the human lands by those who do not deny the Skaven menace.[1a]
- Night Runners - The Night Runners are considered the rank and file soldiers of Clan Eshin. Lightly armed and armoured so as to take advantage of their tremendous speed and agility, the Night Runners excel at flanking manoeuvres and lightning-fast attacks. They cannot stand long against heavily-armed or armoured opponents, and are best kept in a reserve role unless no other course is available. Despite their limitations, they are often thrown into the fray as necessary, their lives sacrificed en masse.
- Gutter Runners - Gutter Runners are nimble and quick; they would have to be to have survived their apprenticeship in the ranks of Clan Eshin’s Night Runners. They are elite skirmishers and scouts, second only to Eshin's Assassins in the art of stealth and speed. Their attacks are quick and effective, frustrating their enemies as the Gutter Runners appear, attack, and vanish just as quickly in a flash of smoke or a splash of shadow.
- Death Runners - Death Runners are the elite among the ranks of Night and Gutter Runners, having excelled at the mysterious Far Eastern fighting styles for which Gutter Runners are known and demonstrated enough wherewithal and self-determination to lead. Because of their ability to bend and contort their pliable bodies with a speed and dexterity unachievable by man, Death Runners have no need for encumbering armour - they simply dodge the blows and missile of their foes.
- Eshin Triads - Triads are elite black-furred footsoldiers, fielded exclusively by Clan Eshin as a form of covert infantry.
- Eshin Assassins - Eshin Assassins are capable of infiltrating virtually any fortress and eliminating any enemy. The Council of Thirteen regularly uses them to eliminate rebellious warlords and disloyal Grey Seers. Their services are also sold to whoever may afford the price demanded by Clan Eshin. They are capable of committing sabotage, like burning ships or houses and poisoning wells and food supplies. Operating mostly alone, they are also capable of concealing themselves inside a regular Skaven infantry unit to better slay an enemy champion amidst the confusion of battle.
- Deathmaster Snikch - Deathmaster Snikch is the chief assassin and prime agent of Lord Sneek, Lord of Decay and Nightlord of Clan Eshin. His infamy is only exceeded by the mystery which surrounds his whereabouts at any particular time. Lord Sneek ensures that this is the case -- as long as no one knows the location of his chief assassin no one can feel safe.
- Veskit, High Executioner of Clan Eshin - Veskit was the High Executioner of Clan Eshin during the Fall of Mordheim. He was initially an Eshin Assassin hired by Clan Skryre to rescue one of their captured Warlock-Engineers, but was grievously wounded in the process. The Nightlord of Clan Eshin made a pact with Clan Skryre, and the Skaven scientists fitted his body with part-technological, part-magical implants– transforming him into a walking arsenal of deadly weapons.[4a]
- 1: Warhammer Fantasy Role-playing Game 2nd Edition -- Children of the Horned Rat (RPG)
- 2: Uniforms and Heraldry of the Skaven (Sourcebook)
- 2a: pg. 8
- 3: Warhammer Armies: Skaven (4th Edition)
- 3a: pg. 92
- 4: Mordheim Rulebook: 1999
- 4a: pg. 156
- 5: Total War: Warhammer II (PC Game)