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Sepheris Secundus

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Population: 12 billion.

Tithe Grade: Exactus Extremis.

Geography: Planet-wide overcontinent, small polar oceans. Mountainous, forested, extensive areas of open mine workings. Arctic climate, atmosphere moisture-laden and blizzards constant. Three moons, none inhabited.

Government Type: Feudal monarchy.

Planetary Governor: Queen Lachryma III.

Adept Presence: Very low. Some Adeptus Ministorum clergy, Adeptus Arbites Precinct-Fortress.

Military: Royal Scourges, Baronial armies, noble private armies. Poor/medium quality.

OverviewEdit

Sepheris Secundus is the largest exporting planet in the Calixis Sector. Without its massive exports of ore, metals and fuel, the trade of the Calixis Sector could not function. Sepheris Secundus relies on imports of food from the sector’s agri-worlds. Its vast population makes it a potential supplier of Imperial Guard recruits, although a relatively small proportion of the population would be suitable because of universally poor health, along with the risk of exposing the subjugated masses to the possibility of life outside the mines. Sepheris Secundus is a world of immense mineral wealth, city-sized mines, billions-strong hordes of serfs and the sharpest divide between the elites and the masses in the Calixis Sector.

It is a grim place of snow and twilight, feral mutants and lives spent in back-breaking labor deep beneath the ground. The Imperium’s eagerness to exploit Sepheris Secundus’s vast resources is such that the planet is at the same time the richest and poorest world in the sector. Sepheris Secundus’s climate is cold and stormy, its surface obscured by a mantle of cloud. It has no oceans save for the small polar seas, so the moisture in its atmosphere comes from below the crust, spewed out from failed mine workings or natural geysers that pockmark the planet like pustules. Its surface is split between the vast open mines like deep scars in the crust and the dense, snow-laden forests broken only by the ruins of failed kingdoms that tried to claim Sepheris Secundus in the past. With its endless blizzards, widespread ignorance and antiquated methods for doing everything, Sepheris Secundus would be a meaningless backwater were it not for the enormous mineral wealth beneath its surface.

In the mines and villages of Sepheris Secundus, life revolves around endless mining, to the point where chips and lumps of ore are synonymous with Thrones. One of the native creatures of the planet is used as a beast of burden; its massive form is covered in heavy brown fur and they are equipped with four long trunks.

On Sepheris Secundus, the name of the Dionides Mine was expunged from records following a rising of the Pale Throng so powerful that, despite the damage it would do to the planet’s production, the mine was collapsed by atomic charges. In the purge that followed, any amongst the planet’s serfdom who had a connection with the area, however tenuous, was executed.

The Suffering KingdomEdit

While the whole Imperium is a feudal empire, feudalism is an extreme on Sepheris Secundus. Everyone born on the planet must have a master to whom they pay nine-tenths of everything they produce, which for most citizens means the ore they hack from the rock faces of the planet’s mines. Queen Lachryma III, the planet’s absolute monarch, sits at the top of this feudal system. The rights to the labor of these billions of serfs belong to the barons appointed by the queen or to noble families and business consortiums that purchase them from the crown. The queen’s own master is the Imperium, to whom she hands over truly staggering amounts of ore, metals and raw fuel to fulfil the planet’s tithe. Sepheris Secundus’s tithe is the highest in the Calixis Sector, and without its immense output of raw materials, the economy of the whole province would be badly unsettled.

Two principal forces maintain Sepheris Secundus’s feudal system. The first is the weight of tradition: every serf laboring in the mines is doing what his father did and his grandfather before that, often at the same rock face. Mothers tell their children tales about the horrible fates met by disobedient serfs who deny the demands of their masters, and the lay preachers who administer the Imperial creed describe no greater sin than having ideas above one’s station. The second force is physical violence. One of the reasons that Sepheris Secundus’s culture is so primitive by many standards is that weaponry and other technology is monopolized by the crown. The queen’s Royal Scourges are equipped with lasguns, grenades and chainblades, contrasting with their gaudy, stained-glass-like armor. Though few in number, the technological advantage that these troops possess has been enough to put down a great many uprisings in the mines of Sepheris Secundus, and the planet’s history is littered with massacres where thousands of serfs fell to volleys of lasgun fire.

The barons each have their own forces, some of which are permitted to use a few high-tech weapons, although most of them are armed with primitive but well-made weapons and armor with which to enforce the baronial will. Meanwhile, when the serfs rise up, they do so with improvised weapons and mining equipment. The serfs, even when roused to violence in significant numbers, have never held one of Sepheris Secundus’s mines for very long because of the massive superiority in equipment and training possessed by the forces of their masters. When the baronial armies fail, the Royal Scourges do not. The Royal Scourges answer directly to the queen, which also makes them ideal for keeping the barons themselves in line. Many an overambitious baron has refused to send the queen her rightful tribute, only to find his supposedly elite army cut to pieces by the Royal Scourges.

The Rule of LawEdit

Order upon Sepheris Secundus is enforced by the troops of the various barons. While Sepheris Secundus has some generally observed laws---a serf who strikes his master will usually be put to death, for example---each baron enforces his own laws in his own way, and some do not bother at all as long as there is no open rebellion. Other barons, by contrast, have troops patrolling the upper mines ensuring that no one wears the wrong color on the wrong day, spits in the street or fails to use the traditional forms of address. In Icenholm, the capital, the Royal Scourges enforce order and are also sent to restore obedience where it has broken down.

The Traditions of SerfdomEdit

Sepheris Secundus’s centuries of serfdom have created many traditions that confirm the relationship between baron and serf, some of which seem very strange to outsiders. The details of these traditions differ across the planet but their spirit is preserved everywhere. They include:

Marriage: A marriage between serfs must be sanctioned by both serfs’ barons. The prospective husband and wife each cut off a finger and send it to their baron, which symbolizes the serfs handing over of their rights of any children born out of wedlock.

Death: To demonstrate the fact that no serf ever fully pays off his debt to his baron, his body becomes his baron’s property upon his death. Most barons dispose of these bounties by burying them under heaps of mine spoil, but some more ostentatious barons make a point of feeding dead serfs to their hounds.

Mandatory Celebrations: On an occasion important to the baron, such as the birth of a child, the baron’s serfs are required to celebrate by breaking into dance upon hearing the news and whenever the baron approaches. Many barons take this very seriously and will flog nearby serfs until they begin to dance, regardless of whether they have heard the baron’s good news or not.

Faceday: A serf celebrates the day when he becomes old enough to stake his own claim on the Face (normally in early adolescence). The first Faceday is marked with three days of ceaseless toil, to demonstrate that the young serf indeed deserves the bounty of the Face. Anniversaries of this Faceday are marked with ceremonies that vary wildly but are always painful or humiliating, varying from simple beatings to being painted with offensive slogans and forced to run naked through the Commons.

Day of Thanks: An annual holiday observed across Sepheris Secundus, the Day of Thanks is a chance for the serfs to remember and mourn their dead (a practice otherwise frowned upon or even prohibited). Since mourning is considered a selfish act, participants ritually disguise their identities by wearing masks, painting their faces or attending gatherings in pitch darkness.

Important LocationsEdit

Icenholm - The capital city of Sepheris Secundus and the seat of power

Gorgonid Mine - The massive mine in which countless serfs toil unceasingly

Fathomsound Mine - A large water mine home to a floating city

Power GroupsEdit

Unique EquipmentEdit

Sepherin Mirror Shield

Class: Melee (Primitive)

Made famous by the Royal Scourges of Sepheris Secundus, the mirror shield is an ornate rectangular device capable of covering about two-thirds of its wielder’s body. Constructed from layers of metal and stained crystal—silicate glass, baring the colorful crests and armorials of the nobility, the refractive glass gives the shield a mirrored effect known to repel las weapon shots of low strength. As such, it is considered an exemplar of ennobled warfare and “affairs of honor” on a world were such advanced weapons are restricted to the elite retainers of the ruling barons.

If used as cover against ranged attacks, the shield is large enough to protect the arm it is carried in and one other location (usually the body) providing AP 8 (Primitive). Thanks to its special construction sepherin mirror shield retains its full AP value against las weapons.

Melee, 1d5–1(+SB), I, PEN 0, Defensive, Primitive, WT 3kg, Cost 60, Rare

Steam Drill

Class: Melee (Primitive)

These bulky, temperamental devices are primitive mining rigs used on worlds such as Sepheris Secundus and Coseflame, where more sophisticated tools, like the breacher units favored by the Mechanicus, would be impossible to maintain. Powered by a weighty, scolding hot, backpack steam-compressor that serves to turn a huge boring drill-bit, they are not intended as weapons, however, are capable of inflicting very serious damage should an unfortunate get in the way of the drill head.

Steam drills require a Strength Bonus of 4 or more to be used effectively as a weapon. Weaker characters suffer a –10 WS penalty for each point of Strength Bonus below 4. Such is the bulk of a Steam Drill that they impose a –10 to Agility while carried.

Melee, 2d10(+SB), I, PEN 3, Primitive, Two-Handed, Unbalanced, Unwieldy, WT 18kg, Cost 100, Very Rare

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