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Scintilla

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Scintilla2
Population: 25 billion.

Tithe Grade: Exactus Extremis.

Geography: Climate temperate with extensive equatorial deserts. Three main continents: mountainous/volcanic southern polar cap, equatorial crescent deserts/ jungle (Hive Tarsus, Hive Tenebra [extinct]), northern temperate landmass (Hive Sibellus, Ambulon, Gunmetal City). Remainder of planetary surface covered in ocean (heavily polluted, severely depleted fish stocks). Two moons (Sothus and Lachesis). Orbital docks geostationary above Hive Tarsus.

Moons: Lachesis and Sothus

Government Type: Adeptus Terra.

Planetary Governor: Sector Governor Marius Hax.

Adept Presence: Adeptus Terra, Administratum (Goldenhand Consular Taskforce), Adeptus Ministorum, Adeptus Astra Telepathica (Astropathic Choir at Hive Sibellus), Adeptus Arbites, Ordos of the Calixian Conclave High Council Officio (palace headquarters at Hive Sibellus).

Military: Army of the Scintillan Protectorate (medium/high quality force, based at Hive Tarsus).

Trade: Scintilla is a major exporter of manufactured goods including ship-drive components and weaponry. It is also an important source of manpower, with a large planetary defense force (PDF) and a huge underhive population, both of which make for excellent Imperial Guard recruit sources. Scintilla cannot support itself and requires massive imports of food from the Calixis Sector's agri-worlds.

OverviewEdit

Scintilla is the capital world of the Calixis Sector, a thriving Imperial hub that supports the largest planetary population in the territory. It is dominated (some observers say “shared’) by two vast hive cities, Hive Sibellus and Hive Tarsus, into which the vast majority of the planet’s groaning population is crammed. Despite the dominance of the two great hives, the “offspring” communities of Ambulon and Gunmetal City contribute significantly to the planet’s economic function. Scintilla is a world of splendors where the wealthy and powerful compete with ruthless appetite. Astonishing magnificence abounds, from the wondrous fashions of the hive nobility to the towering spectacle of the hives themselves. Landmarks, like the Lucid Palace and the Cathedral of Illumination, are famous throughout the sector.

Scintilla is also a world of corruption. Moral decay eats away at the noble houses, whose members are often deluded by their own wealth and status. In the rarefied culture of the high-born, the corruption of power and privilege runs deep. Noble houses consider themselves (sometimes correctly) as above or outside of Imperial law and can wield immense influence. Their attitude towards those who are lower-born is callous: it is not unknown for thrill-seeking degenerates from noble houses to prey upon lesser humans as sport. Other forms of entertainment that are indulged by the wealthy include human gladiators (sometimes unwillingly) pitted against monstrous xeno opponents, such as in the nightly Red Circuses in which they battle carnosaurs.

At the other end of the social spectrum, the underhives are rife with mutants, outlaws and ultra-violent gangs, as well as the psychotic zealots of the Red Redemption. The middle hivers trapped between the aristo spires and the rancid underhives live out thankless lives of unending toil, where ignorance is a virtue and death a reward for a lifetime of loyal, drone servitude, fulfilling the exorbitant tithes levied on Scintilla by the Administratum. It has been this way since the days of Angevin, and Scintilla’s various corruptions are so deeply ingrained that they have become invisible even to those who perpetrate them.

Scintilla’s most important features are its two hives: immense, multi-levelled cities that house billions of citizens. Both hives on Scintilla are largely independent, ruled by councils drawn from the nobles of the spire. The majority of the inhabitants are middle hivers, the laboring classes, without whom the planet’s manufactories and trade houses would cease to function. Almost all middle hivers are owned or indentured to nobles from the great sector-wide families or from Scintilla’s own lesser houses. The poorest and most neglected areas are the underhives: polluted, crime-ridden places where life is cheap and brutal gangs struggle for supremacy before violent death inevitably claims them. As long as the violence does not spill into the middle hives, the authorities are happy to let the gangs murder each other in the cesspits of the underhive.

Scintilla’s two great hives have always compared with one another for prestige and influence, but no rational observer could fail to acknowledge Hive Sibellus’s dominance. Geographically the larger of the two hives, it is often referred to as “the Capital” or the “ruling hive”, and is both the seat of political and administrative power, and the center of the planet’s manufacturing might. Hive Tarsus functions as a dark, shadowy twin, popularly referred to, by Sibellians, as the “other place”. Hive Tarsus is a mercantile hive and controls all off-world trade and commerce. Neither hive could function without the other, a fact celebrated in Scintillan proverbs and myths. However, neither great hive would openly admit to the importance of the “offspring” communities, Ambulon and Gunmetal City, both of which wield considerable influence of their own.

On Scintilla, Thrones are often referred to as Scints, Scolds and Scabs, depending on where you are.

Civil OrderEdit

Law on Scintilla is the province of the Magistratum, the planet’s police force. In the hive spires, the dark green greatcoats of Magistratum officers are a common sight as they patrol the streets and investigate anything from petty theft upwards. In the middle spires, they are concerned mainly with serious or violent crime, unable and unwilling to deal with other common crimes. In the underhives, they are almost completely absent. The quality of the Magistratum’s officers and procedures varies enormously through the layers of Scintilla’s hives, depending on the funding and support they are given by the ruling noble councils, and on the environments they have to work in. Inevitably, it is far easier for a noble victim to get the Magistratum to investigate a crime, and far easier for a middle hiver criminal to be arrested for one.

The Adeptus Arbites have a strong presence on Scintilla but they leave everyday policing to the Magistratum, concentrating on sedition, interference with the tithes, certain cult and psyker activity, and in using their paramilitary strength to help put down major riots. Most citizens never see an Arbites officer unless it is from the wrong side of a riot shield. The Arbites and the Magistratum despise each other and have little interest in working together except under dire circumstances. The Arbites are based out of the Fortress of the Just in the deserts outside Hive Tarsus and the Pan-Iudicaeum within Sibellus. They have a strong presence in Hive Tarsus itself, as well as the orbital docks above the planet.

The laws across Scintilla vary from place to place, but two constants are trial by combat and dueling. Both are legal on Scintilla, and trials by combat are especially common when the hive nobility are involved. Trials by combat, where the accuser and defendant fight to decide who is right, have conditions attached depending on the nature of the crime (murder and severe violent crime is to the death, while some crimes have restrictions on the weapons to be used and sometimes bizarre conditions for victory, from first blood to the removal of limbs). It is permitted for either party to have a champion fight in their place and a skilled combatant can find lucrative, if perilous, employment in the Bloodsquares run by the Magistratum. Needless to say, good champions do not come cheap, and the very best are retained by the noble houses of the spires.

Similarly, dueling is permitted on Scintilla and forms a part of the culture in the hives and elsewhere. The Magistratum does not interfere with duels and killing an opponent in a duel is not considered murder. This means it is entirely possible to eliminate an enemy by manufacturing a matter of honor between him and an opponent who happens to excel at the form of combat used in the duel.

Important LocationsEdit

The Wilderness

The hive inhabitants refer to the areas outside the great hives as “the Wilderness”. This is something of a misnomer, as there are a great many settlements outside the hives, but certainly none of them can compare to the importance of the great hives themselves. Scintilla’s natural resources have either been drained long ago or are monopolized by the great hives and Ambulon, so many people exist as nomads. Those permanent settlements that do exist are often founded by mercenaries, who lived by selling their services to the land trains that criss-cross the planet. The mercenaries, easily recognizable by the white bands painted or tattooed across their faces, are essential to providing security against the more predatory nomad tribes.

Land trains consist of dozens of huge tracked vehicles that crawl in from hive to hive transporting goods and passengers. Some land trains even cross Scintilla’s oceans, loading their vehicles onto great barges for risky journeys across polluted waters with their fair share of predators and pirates. With resources in short supply away from the hives, settlements can grow up and die out rapidly. Few survive for more than a generation and the Wilderness is studded with ghost towns. In some places, on the very fringes of Scintilla’s habitable lands, small communities continue to exist as they have done for centuries far from the shadow of the great hives. These people have often been in the same place for centuries. Isolated and ignored by Scintilla’s authorities, they live in ignorance that the hives exist at all, much less that they live in a galactic empire ruled from distant Terra. Scholars of the Magnopticon sometimes send expeditions out to search for such benighted peoples, in the hope that studying them will reveal some secrets about the pre-Imperial history of Scintilla.

The most extraordinary feature of the Wilderness is the ruin of Hive Tenebra. This necropolis was once the heart of Scintilla’s high culture and arts, built around a circle of stepped pyramids rising like enormous altars from the steaming jungles of Scintilla’s equator. The hive is now a titanic mass of wreckage gradually being reclaimed by the voracious jungle. The disaster that claimed Hive Tenebra along with millions of lives happened over eight centuries ago, and is thought by most to have been caused by a collapse of the geothermal heatsinks that provided it with power. There is no shortage of conspiracy theories about what “really” happened to the hive, however, ranging from ill-advised summonings of warp creatures to a deliberate act of sabotage by agents of the Imperium. Tales about its destruction are outnumbered only by stories about what might lurk in the ruins now: ravenous monsters, renegade nobles and hordes of hideous mutants ruled by a mighty deformed overlord. No one ventures close to Hive Tenebra with any regularity, and when they do they rarely penetrate into the collapsed interior of the hive where the foulest horrors are said to lurk.

Power GroupsEdit

Departmento Munitorum - Headquartered on Scintilla

House Krin - Maintains a sizeable body of agents in the Goldenhand in Hive Tarsus

Red Redemption - Spiritual home of the movement

Psykana Temple Calix - The home of these monastic militant psykers is isolated in the polar wastelands of Scintilla

Hax-Orthlack - Its manufactorums are based on the capital world of Scintilla

Navis Nobilite - The three major houses have holdings in Hive Sibellus and Hive Tarsus

Beast House - The Scintillan Beast House is perhaps the most widespread in the Calixis Sector

Brotherhood of the Horned Darkness - The cult is most powerful on the world of Scintilla

Unique EquipmentEdit

Westingkrup Carnodon Pattern Precision Hand Cannon

Class: Pistol (SP)

No mere blunt tool, the Carnodon is a finely made and well-balanced weapon, distinctly based on the internal mechanism and layout of an Imperial bolt pistol (which aside from its long barrel, it superficially resembles), it is both powerful and extremely accurate in skilled hands. A high priced and exclusive item, the ownership and ability to use a Carnodon is a mark of high status among the criminal gangs of Scintillan hives, and this superior weapon is also found in the armories of the Adeptus Arbites and the elite Janissary Lifeguards of the powerful House Krin.

Pistol, 35m, S/3/–, 1d10+4, I, PEN 2, Clip 6, Full, Accurate, WT 2.5kg, Cost 200, Scarce

Environmental Body Glove

The rare travelers of the Imperium often despair over the many environments they must prepare for as they travel between systems. Bulky void suits are frequently impractical, especially when a given world’s atmosphere is known to be merely unpleasant as opposed to fatal, and few are the sealed suits that actually provide any armor to their wearers. Travelers on the frontier have an especially difficult time of it, for if they discover a planet with unexpected environmental conditions, the proper equipment may be long months or even years of travel away. Several of the worthies of the various Malfian noble houses decided that the situation was intolerable and set about designing a series of body gloves designed to withstand multiple extreme conditions while still maintaining their wearer in relative comfort. The suits were a great success and various models are produced in small quantities on Malfi, Vaxanide, and Scintilla. “Environmental body glove” is a generic name for a wide variety of suits. Most are actually named after the house line that produces them, such as the “Mariette Envelope” or the “Hax Hostile” field body glove.

Environmental body gloves are full body suits designed to sustain their wearers at a constant temperature, despite external conditions, making them ideal as outerwear for desert worlds and a useful inner layer for particularly cold environments. Pockets within the suits recycle sweat and other bodily fluids, cooling or warming them as necessary, in order to regulate temperature and provide emergency water rations. The suits are waterproof, which makes them useful in marshy terrain and capable of doubling as a wetsuit when necessary. Environmental body gloves add +1 Armor Point to all locations and grant a +10 bonus on Survival Tests.

Such suits are almost invariably equipped with a re-breather, comm-bead and photo-contacts.

Head, Arms, Body, Legs, AP 1, WT 5kg, Cost 625, Rare

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