Hive Sibellus is the oldest city on Scintilla, almost certainly predating Angevin’s invasions. Its immense, eight thousand kilometre-wide bulk dominates the coastal plains and lowlands of the northern temperate landmass. Where its enormous, multi-layered skirts touch the coast itself--in a five hundred kilometre belt--they spill out over the black granite cliffs like shelves or glacial ridges. Sibellus has twice the population of its “twin” Hive Tarsus.
Like almost all Imperial hives, Hive Sibellus is composed of an extraordinary conglomeration of architectural forms. Countless generations have added their own embellishments and every available surface is crammed with gargoyles, frescoes, columns and mosaics. The hive spire is a jumble of glittering wonders, while the middle hive--and even the underhive--is composed of long-fallen statues and temples to wealth and power. The middle hivers live in rickety tenements built inside the shells of great mansions and basilicas, and trudge to work each day through avenues formed by fallen statues. The underhivers live in buried hovels built into the eyes of great stone heads or clustered around the broken columns of fallen temples.
The sprawl of the hive is at its most spectacular along the rugged coastline. The hive looms--indeed, spills--over towering black granite cliffs, which are lashed by ferocious seas during the stormy season. The Lucid Palace, a city in its own right, stands on a massive column of rock rising from the sea just off the coast, connected to the hive by a single, cyclopean, stone processional bridge, as well as by countless smaller rope bridges and a fleet of ferries which transport strong-stomached passengers across the debris-strewn waters. Hundreds of rickety elevators scale the cliffs and the rock column on which the palace stands, and the hovels of ferrymen and fishermen cling to the rock face like barnacles. The bulk of Hive Sibellus itself rises up many times the height of the cliffs, casting a permanent shadow over the headland and the waters.
Hive Sibellus is Scintilla’s power center and every noble house on the planet seeks to have its own estate on the hive spire. These estates form an extraordinary riot of architectural styles, from stern fortresses to gilded pleasure palaces. The spire is constantly growing, the new estates built on the remains of the old, and so a noble house must constantly strive to embellish its own estates to keep up. Antiquity is everything in Hive Sibellus. A family draws prestige from the number of ancestral generations it can trace and even the newest estates look like age-weathered bastions of tradition. Hive Sibellus’s nobles are intensely competitive and demonstrate their superiority through the magnificence of their estates as well as the antiquities they collect, from artefacts excavated from the deserts and jungles of Scintilla to works of art from across the Imperium. Most estates conceal a high-security gallery or museum, which sometimes holds extremely valuable and illegal items, like xenos artefacts or even dangerous proscribed texts.
The streets of the hive spire are constantly busy. Hive Sibellus’ noble fashions are spectacular, impractical and perpetually changing, and the nobles travel the streets of the spire accompanied by large retinues of servants whose primary role is to look impressive. The streets in the spire are very safe thanks to the large private armies that guard every estate and the efforts of the Magistratum to man checkpoints, which regulate the people coming in and out of the hive spire. Violence in the spire, apart from trials by combat and sanctioned duels, is rare--the crime that most nobles fret about is burglary, since their collections or artworks and relics are so important to them. Tales of impossibly skilled cat burglars are a staple of Hive Sibellus’ folklore and many of those tales are true, since there are a great many things worth stealing in the spire of Hive Sibellus.
Hive Sibellus’s middle hive is dominated by manufactories devoted to heavy production and the enormous blocks of cheap, warren-like housing for the factoria workers. The traditions of the hive spire filter down to the middle hive, with many hivers collecting curious objects to beautify their meagre homes, aping the extraordinary fashions of the spire nobles or even keeping crudely stuffed dead relatives. The middle hive’s factories and tenement blocks are built among layers of compressed mansions and statuary, making it a confusing and dark place of collapsed finery. Somewhere deep amongst the fragments of vast statues and toppled remains of great temple-mansions, the middle hive becomes the underhive. Composed of countless compressed layers of the city above, Hive Sibellus’ vast underhive is impossible to navigate and prone to frequent collapse.
Underhive settlements huddle in the few stable areas, separated from one another by endless deadly warrens where hive-quakes and cave-ins are a constant threat. Many settlements are completely isolated, their inhabitants hunting underhive vermin to survive and having no idea that there is a hive city above them at all. It is not unknown for nobles of the spire to sponsor heavily-armed expeditions into the underhive to dig up coveted artefacts from Scintilla’s past or to explore the tombs of a family’s distant ancestors.
Hive Sibellus LawEdit
Scintilla barely bothers with even the pretense of equal law enforcement and nowhere is this so evident as in Hive Sibellus. Nobles of the spire expect and receive immediate attention from the Magistratum, Scintilla’s police force, for any crime they care to report. Nobles who regularly give to Magistratum “charity” funds get the more competent officers assigned to their cases. Those of the middle spire will be assigned a greencoat if the crime was particularly noteworthy or violent. Few officers have the courage or the inclination to go into the depths of Sibellus’s underhive.
Without the appropriate permits from the correct governmental organizations, power armor is not allowed in Hive Sibellus. Personal weapons are permitted, even expected, as Scintillan law legally allows both trial by combat and dueling. Heavy weapons, however, are also proscribed without express permits. A bolter is a dead giveaway that someone is very well connected indeed, though bolt pistols are not unknown amidst noble bodyguards.
Anyone who goes around looking like walking arsenals will be harassed or even detained. If they limit themselves to one or two concealable weapons, perhaps getting away with a larger or more obvious side arm such as bodyguards within a noble’s retinue often carry, they’ll avoid unwelcome Magistratum scrutiny.
Bodyguards are well regarded in Sibellus as, in addition to their obvious normal duties, Scintilla’s practice of trial by combat leads many skilled bodyguards to be asked to stand in for their noble patrons. Bodyguards never speak unless first spoken to or a security matter arises, and they are never to offer an opinion on anything unless they’ve specifically been asked to do so first. Bodyguards are also allowed to carry heavier weaponry in public than most citizens.
In the noble houses of Hive Sibellus, it is important for one to never slight another’s ancestors or lineage, unless one is spoiling for a fight. Since the noble houses of Sibellus greatly value their artefact collections, the next biggest faux pas is either to insult a given possession or call its authenticity into question. The nobles of Scintilla place little value on the lives of middle-hivers and assess underhivers as worthless trash.
The present fashion in Sibellus is referred to as “aethyr weaving”. The elite wear fairly gauzy outfits strung through with electrographs and other materials to produce various subtle lighting effects. Young and attractive members of the upper classes highlight their bodies so that their silhouettes are clearly visible along the outside of their clothing. Older and more reserved nobles favor dark clothing with star patterns resembling constellations. To better enhance the effect of their chosen attire, most noble gatherings this season are being held in dark rooms varying from twilight to pitch black.
People that are part of a noble’s entourage for “color” purposes are expected to have some exotic skill or talent that they can display upon request, be exceptionally witty, or be incredibly fun to look at. If they are intelligent and good conversationalists, they are allowed to contribute to the discussion of the nobles around them, but they’re expected to defer to their patron. Entourage members can freely speak with the retinue members of other nobles which is a great way to pick up and spread gossip. It’s also the manner by which many nobles set up illicit encounters, romantic and otherwise, as they use their followers to act as go-betweens.
Sibellus nobles revel in decking their entourages out in complementary garb, often in imitation of a specific piece of art or literature. This season’s rage amidst the younger nobles of Hive Sibellus involves taking this common noble practice one step further. The younger scions of the noble houses choose a hiver “candidate” and offer him or her a place in their revels. The nobles then spend their evening enacting a famous (to nobles) play with the unsuspecting hiver called upon to act the lead role. The hiver has no idea what part he is playing let alone that he’s supposed to be playing a part, so the laughter and cutting wit of the nobles surrounding him makes no sense, never mind that he’ll have been injected with the drug spur to “enhance his performance”. If the hiver manages to entertain, he’s given a goodly sum and sent on his way, the bewildering evening a strange memory for years to come. Boring his patrons generally leads to an overdose as they inject more and more spur into him in the hope that he may finally provide some amusement. Known as “spurring” for obvious reasons, this cruel practice is ignored by the Magistratum as it’s “all in good fun” and no one is “supposed” to be hurt by it.
- Lucid Palace - The home of Sector Governor Marius Hax
- Bastion Porphyr - Headquarters for Scintilla’s astropaths
- Tricorn Palace - The palace of the Inquisition
- Lexis Maxima - Said to house thousands of scholars
- Pan-Iudicaeum - Base of operations for the Arbites in Sibellus
- Coscarla Division
- Templum Mori - The house of the dead where the Lords Prefecta Mortem hold court and the fallen and the lost of the great city are named and counted.
• Skaelen-Har Hegemony - Owns hundreds of factoria in Hive Sibellus
• Navis Nobilite - The major houses have holdings in Hive Sibellus and Hive Tarsus
• Beast House - The famed Iron Pit of Sibellus is one of the most dangerous Beast House operations
• House Corvus - Based out of the Citadel of Morn in Sibellus
• White Hand - Known to operate in Hive Sibellus
• Scholariate at Arms - Extensive holdings in the Tricorn and beneath Sibellus
• Tantalus Combine - Owns several districts, but has fallen from power
Career: Adept, Arbitrator, Guardsman, Scum, Tech-Priest
Cost: 200 XP
Requirements: Hive Homeworld
Hiveworld living is often a matter of surviving with limited resources. Unless one is a spire noble, most make due with whatever woeful job they are assigned, but some decide to make their own way. From the spires of Sibellus to the cramped underhive there is always a need for food, shelter, and ammunition.
A Scrounger is part opportunist, part thief, and always on the lookout for the next chance to get something he needs. He operates throughout Sibellus, finding what others cast off and acquiring it. This could be as easy as rummaging through the refuse, or as difficult as fishing through molten slag with enormous poles.
Groups of scroungers will occasionally make expeditions into the dangerous depths of the hive sumps, braving collapsing caverns and viscous mutants in search of fabled lost treasures. Most searches will be relatively less dangerous, such as bribing a low level functionary for a moments access to the reclamation compressors.
More rarely, a band of scroungers will slip their way to the spires of Sibellus to rob the more wealthy. To the denizens of the underhive, even the lowliest of the Imperium's servants is wealthy beyond understanding. It is not uncommon for an Adeptus Ministorum Hab-complex to experience a raid, minor items disapearing in the middle of the night. A minor inconvenience most of the time, but if an item of enough importance goes missing, it is often blamed on the scroungers, and the local Sibellus Enforcers will press-gang a small group into service to find the missing item.
Most notably, a raid on the Tertiary Scriblock Hab-complex resulted in a servo-skull theft. The servo-skull was specially altered to feed information to agents of the Ordo Hereticus. With key information missing, a cell of Acolytes recruited dozens of scroungers to locate and retreive the vital servo-skull. Many of the scroungers were never seen beneath Sibellus again, and it is rumoured that the action was so successful that the Inquisitor either placed them all into Acolyte Cells, or had them all executed on principle.
Effects: Apply all of the following to your character:
Skills: The character is trained in the following skills: Barter, Evaluate, Tech-Use, Trade (Prospector).
Hive Operator: In the Underhive, the Acolyte treats items with Availability of Average or less as one step lower, to a minimum of Abundant.
Scintilla is known for many grand things, but also for its seedy underbelly. Scraper-Ripper is crafted from rare blind fish found in the underhive lakes of Hive Sibellus. The pallid flesh is rendered down into a paste, and once dried can be injected or inhaled. Ripper is relatively common there, and has slowly spread across the sector by nobles who have dared visit its underhives in search of thrills. Scraper-Ripper speeds up reaction times but does not speed up corresponding thinking, so while the user can move away from sword strikes or duck away from incoming fire, they are also liable to leap at unknown noises or even attack a friend who surprises them.
Ripper grants +30 to all Agility-based tests for 1d5 hours, but users must pass a Hard (-20) Willpower Test to avoid reacting violently when surprised by any stimuli.
Cost 90, Scarce