“Welcome lords and ladies, saints and sinners, young and old, child and grandsire! Welcome to the thunder of the guns, the trail of life, the judgment of the swift and the dead! Welcome to the Sands of Blood: the greatest show in Gunmetal City! Just a few more minutes and you’ll see the bullets fly!”
— The Crooked Man, Master of Ceremonies at the Sands of Blood
Gunmetal City is a huge industrial mass, built into the crater of an immense volcano, Mount Thollos, that rises from the smoldering lava fields of the northern coast. A mere megapolis compared to the planet’s two great hives, Gunmetal City’s spires tower high above the volcano’s peak, while its lowest districts delve right down into Scintilla’s crust.
Gunmetal City is a place of soaring steel, with towers like great, tarnished silver needles piercing the sky. The volcano’s crater limits the size of the city’s foundation, so nobles have built upwards, the most prestigious locations being perched precariously on slender columns of steel hundreds of meters high. The city is frequently bathed in smoke from the foundries of the middle city below and the houses employ small armies of menials whose job is to scour the surfaces of the skybound mansions until they gleam. Clean air is a valued commodity, with every mansion having powerful filtration systems to cut out the smoke, while the most ostentatious hosts pipe air imported from cleaner worlds into their magnificent homes.
The middle level of the city is dominated by immense foundries powered by the heat from the heart of Mount Thollos. Almost all of Gunmetal City’s middle classers work in these foundries over cauldrons of molten metal or blazing furnaces the size of tenement blocks. Gunmetal City’s main export is munitions, and endless crates of weapons emerge from its foundries, forming an important part of Scintilla’s tithe to the Imperium as well as arming many of the Calixis Sector’s own planetary defense force troops. The foundries are sweltering, filthy places where accidents are common and even a fortunate worker’s life is shortened by decades thanks to the choking air and cruel environment.
The middle classers’ homes are clustered around the foundries and often fashioned from cargo containers. People are an afterthought in Gunmetal City. The foundries and the weapons they produce form the real purpose behind the place. The Infernis is a region formed by the lowest levels of factories that have collapsed or become uninhabitable. This far down, the city is unbearably hot and prone to floods of lava or toxic gas from Mount Thollos’s occasional lurches out of dormancy. The gangs of the Infernis are the toughest and best-armed on Scintilla and almost no one else lives there save hardbitten killers toting weapons extorted from the middle hivers. There is nothing to live for in the Infernis save superiority over enemy gangs, and so gang warfare is literally a way of life.
In Gunmetal, bullets are often used as currency.
The Lawless CityEdit
In truth, Gunmetal City is an upstart. Younger and far, far smaller than the dominant hives, Gunmetal is a feral community that thrives simply because of what it produces. Hives Sibellus and Tarsus tolerate it because of its export materials. It is a jumped-up, uncivilized boomtown in the Wilderness, a city that got too big for itself. One day, in a thousand years’ time, it might become powerful enough to challenge for the dominance of Scintilla. For now, it is a four billion strong foundry station where law is slack and noble houses fight, literally, for ownership of lucrative mercantile output.
Of all the main population centers on Scintilla, Gunmetal City is the most dangerous and lawless. The gun is everywhere in Gunmetal City, from the weapons churned out by its foundries, to the symbols of the city’s noble houses and the guns carried by almost every citizen. Gunfighting is a leisure activity, with designated areas throughout the city set aside for shoot-outs. Duels in Gunmetal are fought with pistols, and a great many people, especially from the middle hives where life is quite short anyway, seek out brief but glorious careers as gunfighters.
Shots ring around the foundries of the middle city incessantly and the nobles often hire prestigious gunslingers to battle in elaborate arenas while the audience watches from behind bulletproof screens. Some of the best gunslingers come from Infernis, and it is little wonder that the gangers adore their guns so much when expertise in their use brings such wealth and status.
Gunmetal City has recently seen a rise in cutter-gangs, groups of skilled individuals who turn a profit kidnapping and disassemble the victim to sell the augmetics. Many nobles go to great length to prevent their abduction, as the captors are nearly impossible to bargain with for release, as the subject is literally worth more dead than alive. Because of the high profile of these crimes, these cutter-gangs don’t usually stay together for long.
Arbites in GunmetalEdit
The cramped furnace-warrens of Gunmetal City have an infamous reputation for violence and lawlessness, and a common wisecrack elsewhere on Scintilla is that Gunmetallicans don’t even know what a Magistratum uniform looks like. Be that as it may for the Scintillan Enforcers, Gunmetal City knows all too well the grim sight of the Arbitrators, and the Arbites themselves make a point of keeping it that way.
The Imperial Adeptus presence in Gunmetal revolves around the city’s industrial output, the endless stream of weapons and munitions that are so vital to Scintilla’s Imperial tithe and to the Emperor’s ever-hungry war machine. Administratum adepts ensure that the foundries are running smoothly and their Imperial commissions are being fulfilled, while the Adeptus Mechanicus oversees the quality and purity of the manufacturing processes themselves, and police the sacred knowledge that underpins them. The Arbites garrison is there to ensure that these Adepta are discharging their functions as they should, free of corruption and from the feral lawlessness of the rest of the city.
The noble families of Gunmetal are in constant competition for the fattest trade deals, and routinely sign lucrative contracts with private concerns---notable buyers include the armorers for the Lord Governor’s palace guard and the household militias of Rogue Trader Aspyce Chorda. A single contract would be the making of a noble house on many worlds, but in Gunmetal they are almost a diversion from the real prize: a commission from the Adeptus Terra. Some of these are similar to the mercantile contracts, as an Adeptus makes a direct purchase of weapons for its members. Battlefleet Calixis and the Departmento Munitorium both commission weapons shipments to meet needs for troop raisings or warzones elsewhere. The biggest commissions, however, are for consignments to be rendered up to the Administratum as part of Scintilla’s planetary tithe.
Families who land these commissions work their foundries day and night under the watchful eye of Adeptus scrutineers to meet the rigorous tithing quotas. Once a consignment is completed the house hands it directly to the Adeptus on behalf of the Lord Governor, and is reimbursed handsomely from the Governor’s coffers in turn. As the tithing cycle ends the intrigues among the nobility reach white heat, as they wait for the Administratum “Exactors” (called mockingly such for the suspect precision of their numbers) to publish the next round of quotas and scramble to make their bids.
Crime is a natural byproduct of the wealth and power at stake in these commissions, and the razor-thin margins for success and survival. Corrupt Exactors distort the bidding rounds for their own personal ends, or accept bribes and favors to ignore cut corners and falsified production tallies. Noble houses offer illegal inducements or simple threats to try to strengthen bids or conceal production failures. Nobles get carried away by the buccaneering culture of Gunmetal City and, through arrogance or desperation, allow a gambit of sabotage or assassination to endanger the production of a commissioned tithe or the Adeptus officers presiding over it. While the Arbites are indifferent to the families’ everyday crimes against one another, anything that threatens or compromises the tithe is a profound crime against the Imperium and invites the full and merciless force of the law.
The start of the most recent tithing cycle has been particularly contentious, with clashes between the Fochtmont and Lempaeda families almost leading to open war. A string of highly suspicious gun-duels picked off the Fochtmonts’ intended envoys to the Exactors’ bidding meets. The family has had to suppress violent unrest among its labor force and spend more resources than it can afford on forcibly stopping the defection of two retainer families once the news of the deaths leaked out. The Lempaeda, for their part, are trying to contain the damage after one of their elders brought down the wrath of the Mechanicus by declaring the family should have permanent rights to the melta archprints they had been entrusted with the previous cycle. Each family saw the other’s moment of weakness as the chance to make a move to shore up its fortunes and credibility, and the border between their two holdings, along the great ridge of magmafractal towers known as the Lateral Vent, has seen a rash of duels, sniper exchanges, and two major engagements involving heavily-armed family militias and gangs hired wholesale out of Infernis. The Arbites have been keeping a close watch against several eventualities---the violence damaging the production capacity of either house’s foundries, the Fochtmonts resorting to illegal means to try to win standing with the Exactors, or the Lempaeda showing any further defiance of Mechanicus authority over their tech-lore. Arbitrator squads have already intervened with lethal force when one running battle came dangerously close to a vital cluster of orbital-loader platforms, and armored patrols along the Vent are under instruction to make an example of any gang gunslingers who show their faces in the open air. The Arbites are also carefully observing the Magistratum’s handling of the lesser battles in this miniature war, laying the groundwork should they ever need to make a case for incompetence by the authorities.
The Arbites of Gunmetal City make no attempt to correct these crimes with secrecy or discretion. Long-standing custom sees them prosecute their targets with maximum force and visibility, and Garrison Provost Tolan Eress has continued this practice with gusto. Corrupt adepts and overambitious nobles alike are arrested and dragged away while in public company; whole levels and sometimes whole spires are ransacked with overwhelming force in search of evidence. Executions are public and performed with full pomp and ceremony. As a way of cowing the city’s population and taking some of the outlaw swagger out of its collective step, these methods are only barely effective, but at the very least Eress wants to provide Gunmetal City with regular reminders that there is a higher, harsher gaze on them than the weakling Magistratum. Eress has even been pushing for an old-fashioned underhive-style cull on the Infernis gangs, but to date cooler heads in the senior planetary commands have prevailed. The benefits from such a cull seem too small to justify the dangers of such an operation, both the dangers to the Arbites force undertaking it and the danger that the violence would spread far enough to damage the skill base of the workforce higher in the city.
Gunmetal City makes for bloody work even by an Arbitrator’s standards. In Gunmetal a brawl becomes a shootout, a riot becomes a pitched battle, and a simple suppression deployment that another garrison might take on with shock-mauls and choke gas almost becomes a military engagement. Eress drills his garrison relentlessly on their marksmanship and urban firefight tactics, and insists that even his second-line Verispex and Detective units maintain their shooting skills. Arbitrators coming off a posting at Gunmetal City often find themselves promoted as gun instructors or to specialist fire-support teams---that is if they aren’t being put through remedial drills for their rusty close-combat skills.
The Gunmetal precinct also has the more difficult task of policing the Adeptus Mechanicus. Enginseers attend upon the machines in every foundry of Gunmetal, and a precious part of a tithe commission is the dispensation to utilize holy archprints and rites of forging. The Tech-Priests make these available in strictly controlled ways, and attempting to steal or misuse such knowledge is a crime against the Adeptus. The whole matter is complicated further by the inscrutable and often bizarre behavior of the Mechanicus themselves, interfering in Gunmetal’s industrial works as though blithely unaware of the law. The precinct’s Verispex teams are currently convinced that the Mechanicus has some kind of heavily modified and brutally effective techno-assassin hidden away in one of the sealed machine-shrines that dot the city, which they are using to terrorize a number of foundry houses in defiance of Adeptus law. However, the Mechanicus have enough privilege and sovereignty over their secret business to deflect any investigation so far, and the Verispex and Detectives continue to hunt for clues to the real nature (and motive) of this killer.
Guns of GunmetalEdit
A few of the guns produced by Gunmetal City are famous, either through their iconic nature or exceptional performance. These guns are status symbols, especially for the Infernis gangers, and are carried by officers of the Scintillan army as side arms. The Thollos Service Autopistol, or the “Tholl ”, is an autopistol that sacrifices capacity for stopping power and is much coveted by Magistratum officers in particular. The "Scalptaker" of Fane Westinkrup on the other hand, is a very solidly built and extremely uncomplicated slug pistol designed for use by just about anyone. It is such a common weapon that any self-respecting ganger will try to upgrade his Scalptaker, even though it is a very easily maintained weapon designed to survive the rigors of the Infernis.
The Fykos Forge Nomad Hunting Instrument is one of the most precise and well-calibrated weapons produced in Gunmetal City, and is the rifle of choice for hunters who stalk big game in Scintilla’s wastelands. Procuring a “Nomad” costs an enormous amount of money and involves a five-year waiting list. Finally, the Blackhammer Defence Shotgun is a brutal, massive-bore shotgun that can blast holes in doors and shred opponents. Its limited range and single-shot capacity do little to diminish its value as a weapon of intimidation in the hands of hardened criminals and enforcers.
The Gunslingers of Gunmetal City on Scintilla are the finest in the sector, the most infamous and the most lethal. In action, they are a blazing whirl of muzzle flashes, their hands so fast that their pistols seem mere extensions of their murderous will, and all around them people die. This is the craft of the Gunslinger, be they gang enforcers, famed arena champions or grim wanderers, a Metallican Gunslinger is worth the price if killing is involved. The Scintillan hive of Gunmetal adores the gun and honors above all others those who forge or wield them with great skill. With every man, woman or child packing at least one piece of cold iron, when a Metallican is said to be a skilled gunman, it is a stone cold truth, as they have managed to elevate themselves above a thousand others to be so named.
Among the ferocious gangs of the lower Infernis regions of the hive, one’s choice of weapon, and skill with it, is a matter of gang honor, pride and renown and there are bewildering array of gunmen. Some consider a single shot kill the most sublime, honing their skills to become snipers the equal of any Guard veteran, while others prefer to be bedecked in weapons, spraying shells with wild abandon, knowing that they always have a backup piece should they hear that dreadful empty click. Others pay for crude grafts of slab muscle so they can heft the heaviest weapons crafted in the hive’s fanes and forges. But above all in underworld status and popular myth are the Gunslingers, the duelists, the pistol fighters---they are the true embodiment of Gunmetal in all its deadly glory.
Most fine Gunslingers are undoubtedly from the gangs of the Infernis. In the scalding hot deeps, duels between gangs’ finest pistol wielders are used to settle matters of reproach or insult between rivals (short of a full-blown gang war), and anyone who even thinks about using their pistol around an Infernis gang had better know how to use it. It is in this deadly crucible that the Gunslinger is made. While most Gunslingers find employ with the gangs, not an inconsiderable number find more legal employment as “Regulators”, hired muscle for the fanes and forges that are the true power in Gunmetal City. Some may take employ as high-priced bodyguards and others (often short-lived) as attractions seeking fame and fortune in the mid-hive arenas, depending on their skills to keep them alive before the baying crowd. The hivers and underhivers of Gunmetal City are not alone in their reverence of the Gunslinger’s art. Noble-born duelists, so called “gunrakes”, prowl the upper hive reaches in search of slights against their honor so they may exercise their skill on a living target. A few of the boldest gunrakes venture into the Infernis to test the true extent of their skill. A few even survive.
Though they all are dedicated to the deadly way of the pistol, Gunslingers are as different as the finely crafted weapons they wield. Some crave the renown and respect granted to the most infamous of their kind. The precision-crafted pistols gifted by a famous fane, the tremor and awe their name inspires, and the hush that descends on a room when they walk in are the finest things life can offer to them. Others are products of a freakish fusing of madness, flamboyance and skill, deadly strutting peacocks festooned with holstered weapons, as quick to flash a smile and make a mocking aside as they are to slaughter a room full of people. If, however, you ask an Infernis ganger what is the most dangerous breed of Gunslinger, they are sure to tell you it is those who have seen too much, lived too long, killed too many, haunted, empty men and women with dead eyes, who say little, seem to drift aimless and alone, and can kill you before you even see them move. This cold breed of wanderers are the fear of even the deadliest ganger, and the most prized, if quixotic, of hired guns. They are the pale death, patient and inevitable waiting for all who follow the way of the gun.
The Fanes and Forges of GunmetalEdit
Gunmetal City on Scintilla is justly the most famed, respected and commercially powerful provider of arms and munitions in the entire Calixis Sector. The city’s industry and culture revolves around weapons at all levels and the city’s lawless and violent reputation is largely the result of the fact that any man or woman’s worth in Gunmetal is largely decided by whether they are wiling to defend what’s theirs with blood and bullets.
Most of Gunmetal’s famous weapons are produced and controlled under the auspices of loose manufacturing cartelcombines known as “fanes”, with membership of these fanes crossing all social strata from the highest armsmaster to lowliest unskilled laborer, with only a rare few strong enough or desperate enough to court independence outside of them. Being part of a fane is elective rather than an accident of birth (although familial and local tradition do hold great sway), and a Metallican may shift their oath and their allegiance between fanes or even go independent, although these matters are never taken lightly.
As well as being a territorial structure and a commercial power, the fane also has a spiritual and techno-arcane dimension, and each has, at its heart, a great temple of arms at the center of which is the high altar on which the fane’s master-archetypes and weapons of legend are laid in reliquaries exalting the power of the gun. The fanes paradoxically offer some small measure of stability and protection for their members, and at the same time drive much of the city’s conflict with their rivalries and trade-wars. Some fanes even act as covert backers of the infamously savage and well-armed gangs and gun-clans of the Infernis---Gunmetal’s notoriously deadly underhive.
There are scores of different fanes and smaller independent “forges” on Gunmetal, all vying for prestige, money and power in a shifting quagmire of loose alliances and bloody feuds. Here is a sampling:
The Tale of the Alley ReaperEdit
In Gunmetal City on Scintilla, dock laborers and munition–menials alike whisper dark legends about a foul spirit that haunts the winding streets after dark. A gaunt figure swathed in tattered black robes and bearing a huge set of industrial shears, the Alley Reaper is said to hunt and slay any worker who fails to meet his weekly quota. Offerings of blood and bullets have been left at crossroads in the poorer districts of Gunmetal City, sacrifices from the superstitious population who seek to avoid being culled by the Reaper’s blades. Nevertheless, citizens continue to vanish, week by week, and even the Arbites have been hard pressed to uncover any sign of those who disappear. The Ordo Malleus has taken a slight interest in this phenomenon, as the production rates for Gunmetal City’s manufactorums have taken a sharp decline over the last 10 years. One prominent clue is tied to the last tithe of psykers sent to the Black Ships, an event that also took place 10 years prior. It is likely that whatever psychic incident created the Alley Reaper is somehow related.
• DeVayne Incorporation - Owns the rights to millions of lives in the lower forges
• Skaelen-Har Hegemony - Owns hundreds of factoria in Gunmetal City
• House Verence - This noble house has significant holdings in Hive Tarsus and Gunmetal City
The shroud is the common name for an integrated suit of heavy protective gear including a temperature-insulating under-suit and a heavy, hooded blast coat of polymer and ceramite-alloy weave. The shroud takes it name from the vast magma-fed forges of Volcanis deep beneath the surface of Mars, and has long been a staple of heavy industrial hives and forge world gear, not least in Hive Magnagorsk on Fenksworld where it is the universal garb of the foundry guilders, though it finds equal use in the industrial vaults of Gunmetal City and Ambulon.
The protection provided by the shroud is doubled against fire, acids and corrosives. Unfortunately, because of its substantial bulk, the shroud also imposes a –10 penalty on Agility Tests while worn. The suit also has a built-in rebreather and photo-visor.
Head, Arms, Body, Legs, AP 3 (6), WT 20kg, Cost 350, Average
Gunmetal Solid Mark III Frag Grenade
Gunmetal is known for producing a slightly heavier version grenade, ideal where a larger blast is needed. These grenades can be purchased to be used either by hand (thrown) or in grenade or RPG launchers.
Thrown, SB×3m, S/–/–, 2d10, X, PEN 0, Clip 1, Blast (5), WT, 0.8kg, Cost 10, Scarce
Not even planetary lords can gainsay an Arbites Precinct commander’s choice of the weapons issued to his officers. Load-outs range from innocuous unpowered batons to full blown military weapons like bolters or krak grenades. However, there are certain weapons that are distributed to the Arbites by Lord Marshal Goreman as a matter of course, and the Ius pistol falls within this category. Normally used as a backup weapon alongside the Arbites shotgun, the Ius is ubiquitous amongst both the Calixian Arbites and planetary enforcers of Scintilla. This weapon is a solid and unspectacular yet utterly reliable pistol, crafted by the gunsmiths of Gunmetal City to be as sturdy as possible. Typically issued to junior ranks within both organizations, this weapon is designed to be foolproof and to withstand punishment that would damage other firearms. Many of these humble weapons are thousands of years old, having served generations of lawmen and women in some of the toughest hives in the galaxy.
Pistol, 30m, S/3/-, 1d10+3, I, PEN 0, Clip 11, RLD Full, Reliable, WT 1.7kg, Cost 95, Average
Raffier 'Pax Factorem' Rifle
Both Assassins and the Enforcers in Gunmetal city make use of sharpshooter teams, snipers who ensconce themselves among the gargoyles, heating ducts, and gantries of the great hives, the better to watch over every aspect of the lives of the fearful citizens below, and, when needed, to bring death. A variety of local-pattern sniper rifles are used for this purpose, including long-las and needler weapons. However, many skilled riflemen rely upon more traditional solid projectile weapons, such as the Raffir ‘Pax Factorem’, a large caliber semi-automatic rifle of sturdy construction common amongst the weapons made in Gunmetal City.
Basic, 150m, S/2/-, 1d10+3, I, PEN 2, Clip 5, RLD Full, Accurate, WT 6.5kg, Cost 750, Rare
A Metallican is accustomed to the constant presence of gun violence and lawlessness on a level more profound than is usually found in even the most violent or militant of Imperial hives. To have a gun is to hold your life in your hands, and to go unarmed is to willingly surrender to death or slavery, whether your trade is as a mercenary or scholar. Because of the anarchic and precarious nature of their lives, Metallicans tend to be proud, sometimes self-absorbed, and highly sensitive to insult or slight. Conversely they are usually very respectful of any authority earned through knowledge or by skill at arms, and anyone willing to put their lives on the line for family, cause or creed.
Creating Metallican Characters
Use the Hive World Home World template, replacing the Accustomed to Crowds trait with those presented here:
Gunmetal Hiver Skills
You begin play with the Speak Language (Metallican Hive Dialect) (Int) skill.
Metallicans put great store in their guns, be it the simple single shot snub that workers are allowed to carry or a stubjack’s custom duelling piece. They invest them both with their sense of self-worth and almost supernatural qualities of protection. If a Metallican swears an oath, it is on their iron.
Effect: If you are, for any reason without a usable gun, either because you have been disarmed, caught unawares, or run out of ammunition, you take a –5 penalty on all Tests.
Way of the Gun
All Metallicans know how to use a variety of firearms and most are better than average shots; it’s just in their blood.
Effect: Increase your Ballistic Skill by +5. You also begin play with the Pistol Training (SP) talent. You gain a +5 bonus on Tech Use Tests involving projectile firearms.
Alternate Career RankEdit
Becoming a Gunslinger from Gunmetal City is a matter of desire and skill and is an excellent choice for a character seeking to be the epitome of brutal Gunmetal City itself. You may start play having already set on this course or come to it as your career develops. Inquisitors are likely to find a Gunslinger’s destructive skills useful, but do be warned you are not alone in your adoration of the pistol’s dance, and your showy demonstrations of skill may cause your master as many problems as it solves; that and, if you survive to became truly skilled, others may see you as a means to prove themselves. Infamy after all does have a price. When you become a Metallican Gunslinger, you automatically gain the Knave of Pistols trait, which imposes limitations on your character.
Alternate Rank: Rank 1 or higher (0 XP) Note this means you may opt to specify this at character creation as your Advance Scheme. This does not affect your basic starting Skills and Talents, only how and on what you can spend your starting XP.
Other Requirements: BS 30 and you must also have Gunmetal City as your Home World.