To most outsiders, Fenksworld has a reputation as a grimy, roughshod place, a hive world that, while notoriously independent in sector politics, is seen as lacking the significance or sheer size of the likes of Scintilla or Malfi. The truth of the matter is that Fenksworld’s independence and measure of self-sufficiency is bought at a price, and its bustling façade hides a number of dark secrets. It is suggested that many cults and other “secret parties” test their influence on the Fenksworld population before moving on to sector-dominant worlds. Cults and cult activity certainly fester here. Fenksworld’s most notable feature is its Library of Knowing, one of the sector’s most comprehensive sources of data outside the Prol system. The Library of Knowing’s most significant attribute is that it is run under the ordination of the planetary governor and exists outside general Imperial jurisdiction. The Calixian Conclave has made several (subtle) attempts to close the Fenksworld library down, due to its esoteric contents. The library remains a “family-run” enterprise, overseen by the planetary governor’s family, the mercurial House Vaahkon. Fenksworld is home to a substation depot of the Battlefleet Calixis, who are supplied by Hive Magnagorsk. Fenksworld is home to the Volg Hive, one of the most notorious places in all of Calixis. Upon Fenksworld, a local tradition concerns astragalomancy: the use of dice to divine the future.
Fenksworld was the site of one of Ferran Ghast's many heresies; he sabotaged and destroyed an Imperial Spite-class cruiser, the War Child, in orbital dry-dock over the planet. In a similar situation, rogue psykers, intent on ramming Fenksworld’s orbital docks, commandeered the heavy ore barge Borombarst, causing it to be destroyed by orbital defenses. The subsequent investigation blamed the crime on the Pale Throng’s infiltration of the population of abhuman “subs” used to work the system’s asteroid mines.
Fenksworld was prophesized to be destroyed by a Warp breach of unprecedented proportions. This prophecy was uncovered by the most skilled savant of Inquisitor Octus Enoch, a man of action and decisive means. The prophecy stated that the doom of Fenksworld would be presaged by the agonized baying of the mighty loxophants kept in the Imperial Commander’s private zoo, but gave no other clues to its nature or cause other than the timing of the breach. With time running out, Octus Enoch resorted to ordering that every loxophant on Fenksworld be slain. Despite the protestations of the beasts’ owners, they were put to death and the Warp breach averted.
Recently, a mysterious pattern of killings on Fenksworld has led Inquisitor Golgol to believe that the enigmatic Murder Room and its warp-spawn are preparing for something cataclysmic. He believes they are working towards the summoning of a terribly powerful servant of the Blood God.
The Fenksworld Calamity Edit
The Fenksworld Calamity lives in infamy as one of the greatest disasters of the Angevin Crusade. Its consequences can still be seen in the towering mausoleums on the world of Orendal’s Tomb, to say nothing of the decades it took to complete the conquest of the Calyx Expanse. In 359.M41, a second front of the Angevin Crusade was opened by a fresh army group gathered from the core worlds of Segmentum Obscurus. Commanded by High Admiral Vaakkon, the new front was intended to link up with Lord Militant Angevin’s forces in the central worlds of the Calyx Expanse and shorten the crusade by years. Such was the intention, but from the outset the Vaakkon’s forces were beset by warp storms that threw battle groups off target, causing a terrible toll in ships and troops who were lost to the warp. Intelligence on the strength of enemy forces and hostile worlds also proved terminally inadequate, as the 100,000 troops lost in an attempted landing on Woe attested. Despite these setbacks, Vaakkon’s forces moved forward inch by blood-bought inch, and it seemed to all on the second front that matters could get no worse. In fact, they were very wrong. The eventual misjudgment, although none knew it, was the product of premeditated design by servants of the Holy Ordos.
The planet of Fenksworld had been established as the crusade’s primary staging point. The space above the planet swarmed with loaders, troop transports, and spear-prowed warships, all gorging on the fuel and supplies fed to them by the installations that had been towed into the system and anchored in high orbit. The life blood of the second front flowed through the docks of Fenksworld, and its loss would be disastrous---but also nearly impossible, given its defenses. Impossible, that is, as long as one ignored the possibility of treachery. The Istvaanian cabal that shadowed the crusade had so far been most satisfied with how the Admiral Vaakkon and his forces had risen to the challenges on the second front, but in Fenksworld they saw an opportunity that could not be wasted to grant the man either death or glory which would see the endeavor of the crusade “put back on the right track.”
It took months of careful work by covert agents to introduce just enough terminal stress and potential flaws into the systems controlling the movement of craft around the Fenksworld docks, and considerably more effort to get suicide-programmed tech-priest and assassin Acolytes aboard the Apocalypse-Class Battleship Tempest’s Child. Then, as the vast form of Tempest’s Child approached Fenksworld, several crucial scanning and communication systems were crippled, the bridge crew massacred, and its engine and reactor output locked to maximum. As flocks of craft jostled in confusion around the docks, the stricken warship ploughed into them. Over fifteen warships, twenty mass conveyors, and countless other craft were lost in an expanding cascade of destruction. The Fenksworld life line was cut, and hundreds of thousands of troops scattered amongst the hostile stars had their support stripped away.
The Fenksworld Calamity did not destroy the second front, but cost the lives of millions and extended the crusade by years, even decades. For the Istvaanians, their actions were later vindicated when the unbreakable warriors that came out of the hell of the second front became the keystone of the battle against the dark forces that were to beset the Crusade in later years as it pushed ever onwards into the Hazeroth Abyss and the Adrantis Nebula. They would say that such heroes were bought by fire and calamity in the void above Fenksworld.
The Fenksworld Gene AtrocityEdit
One of the most notorious incidents of techno-heresy in living memory, known popularly as the Gene Atrocity or the “Blight of Nova Castalia,” can be firmly laid at the door of the Logician cult and has set the murderous standard for all of its activities in recent years. A powerful cabal of Logician cells, deeply rooted in the underbelly of Fenksworld’s linked trio of hive cities, had created a network of gene-labs, holding pens, and testing arenas to conduct a dreadful program of secret human experimentation. The group sought to extract weapon-worthy chemicals and powerful augmetic drugs, as well as create chimerical bio-constructs from the monstrosities found within the depths of Hive Volg.
Unfortunately for the Logicians, matters spiraled quickly out of control as several test subjects escaped to wreak havoc in the maze of access tunnels between the hives, attracting the Inquisition’s direct involvement. It remains unclear whether what happened next was an intentional act of mass-murder on the Logicians’ part, or a further uncontrolled experimental disaster, but a powerful mutagenic virus was unleashed. Many of those that came into contact with it quickly died, their bodies twisting and boiling in biological meltdown as the viral agent ran unchecked within them, but a small percentage were transformed into insane hybrid things---pale horrors from beneath Volg wrought from the flesh of men.
Fortunately the virus was a victim in part of its own virulence, and its immediate and present threat triggered the swift and brutal action of Inquisitor Srax-Rhame and the Fenksworld government, which swiftly contained it. Ironically, the relatively affluent Hive of Nova Castilia suffered the worst from its privations with around 100,000 casualties, while the sweltering industrial hell of Magnagorsk suffered barely half that total. As for the nightmarish Volg itself, the effects were barely registered above the norm for that dark metropolis’s daily death toll.
The Fenksworld Pit ThingEdit
"Terrified cultists loosed the creature upon seeing our rosettes, a desperate attempt to purchase time in which to flee the hammer. It might have worked upon lesser men. The thing’s bubbling roar almost froze us, its rage a near–physical assault on the heart and mind. My vat–psyker’s suspensor transport faltered and dipped—he moaned in anguish within as the beast’s four reddened, hate–filled eyes rolled independently to look at each member of my retinue. It was an abomination to the God-Emperor’s sight, drooling acidic slime and casting forth a loathsome, alchemical reek, seeming sure in its ability to cow human prey."
–From the journals of Inquisitor Felroth Gelt: 164.788.M41
In the depths below the hives of Fenksworld, pale things writhe. Varying between two and three meters high at the shoulder, Pit Things are vicious predatory beasts that are fuelled by hate. The strong chemical reek that surrounds these creatures is often the first sign of their presence, and Fenksworld underhivers heed that warning well. Pit Things are bulky, color-leached carnivores with four stumpy legs. Pit Things also possess webbed claws and feet, making them agile swimmers, and they seem to be resistant to the typical chemical and toxic hazards of industrial hives. Their four eyes are arranged symmetrically in a vaguely canine skull, while their mouths are circular, lamprey-like maws studded with razor-sharp teeth meant to rend and tear. They are nonsentient and seem singularly unintelligent, perhaps the only reason why the Pit Thing has not claimed the title of apex predator on Fenksworld.
The Pit Thing uses its size and strength aggressively in combat, often charging into battle with furious rage. Those unfortunate enough to fight the Pit Thing must be as wary of its acidic drool as its rending claws, as every savage bite inflicts wounds that burn through armor and flesh alike. Sump-skiffs cruise the polluted vaults below Fenksworld’s hives, seeking out Pit Things to capture with gaffs, nets, hooks, and electro-poles. A handful of men never make it back from each trip, torn from the skiffs and pulled down into the burning, toxic sludge. Usually, these hunters lace a piece of meat with powerful soporifics to use as bait, a tactic that enhances the odds of each hunt’s success. The Adeptus Arbites struggle to suppress these heretical hunts. However, the value of each Pit Thing makes this highly dangerous occupation extremely lucrative. Thus, every time the Arbitrators shut down one beast-hunting group, two more form from the remnants to begin operations.
Once a Pit Thing is captured, it is placed into an iron cage and delivered to the arenas to provide bloodsport for the hive populace. The Pale Pits of Volg Hive are the most infamous for utilizing alien beasts in their gladiatorial matches, but the sheer savagery and unthinking malice of the Pit Things make them unique even in these blood–soaked environs. These terrifying beasts rampage through as many as a dozen men at a time, painting the sand red with blood only to crush the final few beneath its rubbery bulk.
There are some indications that link the Pit Things to the Blight of Nova Castilia, a gene-atrocity committed by the Logician cult. Tech-heresy on a planetary scale, the Blight spread like wildfire through the hive population. There are whispers that during this event, several families simply went missing, replaced by pallid, raging monstrosities.
The Bone FluteEdit
At first glance, this artefact appears to be little more than a simple flute, such as is found on feudal worlds across the Sector. Closer inspection shows that it has been carved from a length of bone, specifically a human femur. Roughly 55 centimeters in length, it has been carefully shaped and polished. Both ends of the flute are decorated with thin bands of silver, into which are inscribed various sigils and symbols. The origins of the Bone Flute are unclear, although the name Mateus is often associated with its history. If the stories are true, Mateus, a popular musician from the hives of Fenksworld, created the flute in an effort to, as he put it, “play the music of the cosmos.” It’s unknown if he succeeded in his quest, as Mateus committed suicide soon after crafting the flute---although some say his death wasn’t by his own hand, and investigators found his dismembered body scattered about his squalid quarters. This has resulted in the Bone Flute developing a reputation as an ‘unlucky’ instrument. Whilst it is possible to produce haunting and unworldly melodies with it, sooner or later, the musician using it will come to a terrible end.
Using the Bone Flute
This requires a character to make two Tests. The first is a Difficult (–10) Performer (Musician) Test in order to create a piece of music the warp finds appealing (though other listeners may have a far different reaction), followed by a Difficult (–10) Invocation Test. The later Test takes a Full Action, while the former requires a variable amount of time (a minute at minimum).
Once both Tests have been passed, the character playing the Bone Flute can produce an effect similar to the Psychic Power Weapon Jinx. All mechanical devices within 50 metres cease to function and will remain so as long as the character continues to play. Weapons will jam or fail to fire, chain and power weapons won’t activate, chronos will show impossible times, auspexes will give back false readings, and data-slates will display jumbled audio, video, and text.
The character can maintain this effect by making a Willpower Test each Round. For each Degree of Success, the character can add an additional Round before he needs to roll again. For example, if the character makes his Willpower Test, the effect lasts for another Round; if he makes it by +10, the effects last for another two Rounds, and so on. However, once the character stops playing (for any reason), a roll is made on the Psychic Phenomena Table as the warp makes its displeasure known in having its music interrupted. The Bone Flute will not be affected by any adverse effects rolled.
• Pale Throng - Have infiltrated the abhuman “subs” used to work the system’s asteroid mines