“If you go to that Emperor-forsaken place, take their advice: keep a bullet. Always keep one. Not for them, you understand---no, keep it for yourself.”
— Investigator Verger Bor
Within the Calixis Sector, and possibly even beyond, Volg has a justified claim to being the most blighted, miserable, hell-sent place one could have the misfortune to be born in. Poisoned by the effluent of its siblings, Volg exists for one purpose only; to supply the other hives and settlements of Fenksworld with purified water and recycled products from run-off waste and the acidic silt of the mire in which it sits. Rather than towering above or delving into the earth, Volg sprawls for hundreds of square kilometres like a vast cancer of corroded gantries and phosphor-lit domes that have spread over Fenksworld’s acidic salt-fens. When viewed from above, its filth encrusted domes, corroded gantries and sucking vapor intakes nestle in the fens like the boils and scabs of some chronic disease digging into the planet’s carcass. The sprawl itself is made up of vast moisture-traps, reprocessing plants, waste-biomass recycling reservoirs and the mad clusters of stilt-supported shantytowns that cling to them. The simple truth is without these facilities’ output, famine, pollution and poisoned water would destroy Fenksworld in a few short years---the toil of millions is needed to keep billions more alive.
Volg was initially set up as a vast open penal colony for Fenksworld and the surrounding sub-sector, and the inmates were left to found their own societies and to make what they could of their lives---so long as clean water and protein flowed up-hive to where it was needed. Control was further maintained through the trade in cheap arms and vital supplies, and it transpired that Volg’s population was mostly too occupied trying to survive to attempt escape or plot revolt. Over the centuries Volg, to the surprise of many, prospered and became a hive in its own right with a population in the tens of millions. While new inmates (or “clean meat” as they are known in local parlance) are sentenced to exile there still, the majority of its inhabitants are now freeborn, some “six generations in the Volg” and free to leave---if they can afford the exorbitant passage out. Life in Volg is violent, anarchic, blighted and often very brief, but as for the Volgites themselves, they are born survivors. Few death worlds breed hardier or more ruthless fighters.
Named by some as the vilest and most misbegotten place in the whole Calixis Sector, the toxicity and terrible conditions in Volg are on the very limit of human survivability. Despite all this hopelessness and horror, a population of hardy men and women, descended in the main from convicts and outcasts, has not just survived but begun to thrive in the harsh conditions, although what kind of life they lead and, if they remain sane is open to some debate. Life is, if anything, appallingly precarious in Volg, pollution poisoning, rotting plagues, chem-spills and starvation are all common, and yet commoner still is murder, for violence is omnipresent and Volg’s society brutal. Nor are the Volgites alone, and matters are made worse by Fenksworld’s many unutterably lethal and horribly mutated native creatures. In the depths there are things---pale, stinking, bloated things that writhe and hunger. The rail-walks and gate-landings are studded with hand-cranked stubbers trained on the darkness below, guarding against the nightmarish things that regularly seek to crawl up and feast. Volgites know not to trust to such protection, to trust anything or anyone but themselves, to keep watch on the dark and keep their mercykiller close. To survive in Volg, one needs more than just strength or even luck; one needs steel in the soul, an utter lack of conscience, constant vigilance, and perhaps a touch of destiny.
At one point in recent history, the infamous Tyburn food-tax riots saw Volg’s population almost double inside a year (before natural attritionreduced it again in the following few months). Recently, a Machine Temple within Volg that augments sump-workers has fallen silent---possibly the heralding of bronze malifects. Recently, a scummer gang in Volg has earned a growing repute for strangeness. The gangers have waxy, pale skin and seem to congregate in a series of steam tunnels beneath a manufactorum. What local Arbites have yet to suspect is that they are in the beginnings of being enthralled to a foul xenos beast---a Genestealer, just beginning to exert its influence over those it has implanted with its progeny.
The Pale PitsEdit
As with all else in Volg, entertainment is polluted and brutal. While most hives favour some form of blood sport pit or fighting arena, the “Pale Pits of Volg” are perhaps the most famously debased. The pits feature savage and unwholesome beasts pulled up from the depths below and dumped into a broad, high-sided tank filled up to a half-metre depth with corrosive waste. Driven into a pain-fuelled frenzy by the burning mirk, the creatures rip each other apart whilst the onlookers place wagers. For more “entertaining” games, human fighters (usually either prisoners or outright psychotics who have volunteered), also do battle on a treacherous series of platforms, I-beams and cables set above the pit where the creatures scream and die---any loss of footing leads to a horrific demise either in the corrosive sludge or at the creatures’ less than tender mercies.
Chrono-gladiators are another particular interest of High Fabricator Castellar's, and it is he who helped establish the great slaughter-wheels of Hive Volg. The High Fabricator selects a new cadre of bodyguards from the champions of the Chrono-gladiators every decade. These matchless warriors serve with fanatical loyalty, due in no small part to the knowledge that the High Fabricator’s continued function is tied directly into the life-timers of each Chrono-gladiator. Nominally, these timers are kept stilled as a reward for the Chrono-gladiators’ service. However, should the High Fabricator come to any harm, his bodyguards soon see their lifespans measured in a handful of seconds.
• Reclaimators - A valued and prized group who help to keep Volg running and the people safe from what crawls up from below
Volg “Spitfire” Bolt Pistol
Class: Pistol (Bolt)
Little more than a crudely modified Lucifer pattern launcher (a handgun-like device common on frontier worlds for firing signal flares, tow lines and the like), the Spitfire was an innovation that, according to popular myth, was devised by an outcast Magnavar tech-adept named Verey. The story has it that while she was exiled in Volg, she made the first Spitfires to help combat a swarming of giant Maw-flukes. The weapon proved both effective and popular, and the more talented of Volg’s arms dealers have been turning them out ever since. The Spitfire’s fame and construction has spread and some are even sold at inflated prices as real “bolt pistols” to those too provincial or naive to know better!
Spitfires use modified rocket-propelled distress flares fitted with a crude impact detonators in a pale imitation of a bolt shell, but are nevertheless still quite deadly. Spitfire rounds will ignite flammable materials and on Critical Hits their targets must Test Agility or be set on fire in addition to any other effect.
Spitfire shells are also far from stable and any Jam result automatically incurs an Explosive Mishap (Damage is directed at the firer, who must Test Agility or be set on fire). Likewise if Spitfire ammunition is hit by an explosion or flame weapon, it may detonate (65% chance) dealing 1d10+3 points of Damage to the user.
Spitfire shells are themselves Scarce with a base cost of 5 Thrones per reload.
Pistol, 20m, S/–/–, 1d10+3, X, PEN 0, Clip 3, RLD Full, Unreliable, WT 3kg, Cost 75, Scarce
Class: Basic (Flame)
The tox spray is a terrifying weapon found in the hands of the worst kind of gang scum in the most polluted hive sumps. The weapon uses an unholy mixture of highly corrosive industrial residue and toxic waste contained under high pressure, unleashed through a jury-rigged spray gun. The effects of the mixture on flesh are truly horrific and all but the best armor is little protection from the burning poison. Notoriously, the tox spray is used by the gangers of Hive Volg on Fenksworld to execute traitors and informants in the most gruesome manner possible---and without doubt there are few worse ways to die.
If the tox spray suffers a Jam (on a roll of 94–00), the weapon ruptures explosively, inflicting the weapon’s damage as a two metre blast with double rolled Damage to the user.
Basic, 10m, S/–/–, 1d10, E, PEN 0, Clip 3, RLD 3Full, Flame, Toxic, WT 8kg, Cost 200, Rare
Volg “Meat Hammer” Scattergun
Class: Basic (SP)
While shotguns can make for brutally effective weapons, the gangers of Volg have created an even more savage variation to stamp their authority on those that dare to cross them. The “meat hammer” (so-named for its tendency to turn flesh into unrecognizable chunks), is a specially constructed, triple-barreled, open choke shotgun that can all but destroy a living body with a single blast. Usually fired from point-blank range, a meat hammer hit is intended to kill, obliterate and to discourage others, and is a particularly loud and messy way to die.
Although the meat hammer has a clip of “1” listed, it actually takes three shotgun shells to load.
Basic, 30m, S/–/–, 2d5+6, I, PEN 0, Clip 1, RLD 3Full, Scatter, Tearing, WT 5kg, Cost 80, Scarce
Volg Mercy Killer
Class: Pistol (SP)
So named because it’s a “mercy if it kills what you’re aiming at”, this weapon exemplifies any number of crude, often scratch-built handguns used by the desperate and oppressed across the realm of mankind. Fashioned from whatever materials are to hand, these single-shot stub pistols are wildly inaccurate and often as dangerous to the firer as the target. In Hive Volg however, the provision of Mercy Killers has gone somewhat further than enterprising criminals bodging up home-brewed pistols, and the “higher powers” of Fenksworld manufacture Mercy Killers en-masse as part of their drive to arm the Volgites as inexpensively as possible. Indeed, a Mercy Killer and a handful of bullets cost less in Volg than a trencher of parboiled murk fungus to eat and a demi-liter of recyk water to wash it down with.
If a Mercy Killer suffers a Jam result, roll 1d10. If the result is “9” the pistol explodes, inflicting its Damage on the firer and destroying the gun.
Pistol, 20m, S/–/–, 1d10+2, I, PEN 0, Clip 1, RLD 2Full, Inaccurate, Unreliable, WT 1kg, Cost 10, Plentiful
Volg “Ripper Clip” Autopistol
Class: Pistol (SP)
Known locally as the “zip gun” or “chopper”, this bulky autopistol is purposely designed to be a cheap as possible to manufacture and maintain. Rather than caseless ammo, the Ripper Clip uses basic stub rounds and the weapon itself is made from industrial spares and crude pressed metal parts. A further eccentricity of its design is its loading mechanism, a vertical strip of bullets wrenched through the autopistol as it fires (a feature copied from a common rivet gun). This unusual arrangement creates a distinctively loud banging-rattle when used, often ending with a clatter as the spent strip hits the floor—unfortunately advertising that the user is out of ammo! Despite the gun’s many shortcomings there’s no shortage of buyers on Volg, where any extra firepower you can lay your hands on might keep your corpse from the meat-sumps just a little longer.
Ripper Clips have a Common Availability on Volg and are Scarce elsewhere.
Pistol, 20m, –/–/6, 1d10+2, I, PEN 0, Clip 12, RLD Full, Inaccurate, Unreliable, WT 3kg, Cost 40, Scarce
Volg VI “Crank Cannon” Heavy Stubber
Class: Heavy (SP)
The Volg VI has one simple virtue---its ease of manufacture. The “Crank Cannon” uses cheaply prefabricated parts and standard heavy stubber ammo. Its firing mechanism is purely hand-powered, the firer literally cranking the firing handle to grind the ammo belts through the breach and rotate the weapon’s quad barrels. Originally produced as an inexpensive and mechanically simple weapon to defend against Hive Volg’s many treacherous forms of wildlife, the “Big- Six”, as it is also known, has proved to be a great success despite its drawbacks. The weapon is produced in huge numbers on Fenksworld and exported to cheaply supply low-grade PDF forces and the private arms market across the sector. A real brute to use, especially for long periods, it’s unsurprising that “Crank” gunners are often marked by massively overdeveloped right arms.
Heavy, 70m, –/–/5, 1d10+5, I, PEN 0, Clip 100, RLD 3Full, Unreliable, WT 38kg, Cost 500, Average
These rather unusual forms of leg wear and boots are common in one form or another to the ill-fortuned (but often well-paid) men and women who are sent to hunt vermin and clear debris in the thousands upon thousands of kilometres of sewer and drainage systems that riddle a hive city. The blind, rancid things encountered in these sumps are usually more than capable of biting (or even burning) though most fabrics, and mirker’s greaves are usually reinforced with polyflex and metal plate, and often razored or studded for good measure. Although used in nearly every hive city to some extent, they are unsurprisingly widespread daily wear on Volg.
The wearer can also kick with the same effect as if they were punching using knuckle dusters.
Legs, AP 4, WT 8kg, Cost 50, Average
Volgite Gloom Eyes
In the deepest regions of Volg, where light of any form rarely penetrates, the dripping, polluted waste occasionally forms strange amber-like deposits. Globular and glassy, these forms often glow with a strange luminescence that slowly changes and shifts in shade and colour. Rounded lumps, hacked from these deposits, are known as “gloom eyes” and are often carried bound into thongs around the necks of Volg gangers or mirk-stalkers as a form of charm. Though the light they shed is useful, the bearers of these curious objects believe that the eye’s glow changes to warn them of danger. Whether true or not, you need any edge you can get if you live in Volg and the belief is widely held.
These items count as a superior charm and they also shed light equivalent to that of a candle when uncovered. Characters from Volg that wear this charm gain a +10 bonus on Tests made to avoiding Pinning.
Cost 300, Scarce (Volg) or Very Rare (elsewhere)
Originating in the infamous Hive Volg on Fenksworld, slam is the worst kind of combat drug imaginable. Harvested from the chemical residue found in the intestinal tracts of the man-sized corpse roaches infesting the meat-sumps, it is first crystallized and then ground into a bile-yellow dust. Slam triggers a biological reaction, causing a massive boost in pain resistance and physical power. The user’s muscles and veins visibly spasm and pulse under its influence. Though the effects are short-lived, it is highly sought after despite the long-term damage to the nervous system that even the smallest dose induces.
A character who consumes a dose of slam gains the benefits of the Unnatural Strength (× 2) and Unnatural Toughness (× 2) traits for 1d5 Rounds. Once the drug has run its course, a user permanently reduces their Strength and Agility Characteristics by 1d5.
Cost 100, Common (Volg) or Very Rare (elsewhere)
One thing that can be said of a Volg hiver; they are hard to kill. After all, they have reached adulthood in a place that consumes thousands by disease, malnutrition, and the rotting effect of pollutants. Less “fast-mouthed rake” and more “hard-eyed stone killer”, the Volg born are utterly committed to their own survival and have little compunction in doing what it takes to achieve the next breath.
Creating Volg Characters
Use the Hive World Home World template, replacing the Wary trait with the ones detailed here:
Volg Hiver Skills
You begin play with the Intimidate (S) and Speak Language (Volg Hive Dialect) (Int) skills.
Anyone who has survived to reach adulthood in a place like Volg has learned how to think fast, deal with horror and save their own skin---if they hadn’t, they’d have wound up dead in a chemical pit already.
Effect: You begin play with the Jaded, Light Sleeper and Melee Weapon Training (Primitive) talents.
Volgites are tight-lipped and dour survivors with a mean streak as wide as a Titan’s stride, and a certain worrying tendency to psychosis.
Effect: Swap your starting Fellowship and Toughness values, so that you have a starting Toughness of 25+2d10 and a Fellowship of 15+2d10. You also begin the game with 1d10 Insanity Points.