Rogue Trader - The Annals of the Khan Dynasty
Near the Coreward end of the God-Emperor’s
Scourge, bathed in the faint, flickering, bruise colored light of the distant Void Dancer’s Roil, lies the small and unassuming Forsellis system. Centered on the star Forsellis, a brilliant blue giant of immense size and power, it was first charted by the Rogue Trader Markus Forsellis nearly one thousand years ago. It is sparsely inhabited for its size, has little in the way of resources, and no known archaeological or anthropological sites of interest. Its one habitable planet, Damaris, lies halfway between the star and the vast ice fields at the edge of the system and is home to a relatively young and burgeoning Imperial colony. The rest of the system consists mainly of gas giants, barren rocks with trace atmospheres and the aforementioned ice fields, a treacherous, ever-shifting expanse of ice asteroids the size of moons that ring the system like a wall. Beyond this wall lies a wide-open space free of serious navigation hazards like asteroid fields or heavy gravity tides, meaning the system is quite easy to navigate once clear of the ice fields. This easy navigation has turned the system into something of a trading hub, which has allowed Damaris a higher standard of living than would otherwise be possible in such a backwater. While the inner system has been exhaustively charted, and the planets close to Damaris surveyed for any available resources, the system does still hold secrets. The ice fields, known colloquially as The Frozen Reaches, remain largely unexplored due to their treacherous gravity tides and the ever-shifting ice. What little is known about them revolves around the super-massive gas giant Skadi that broods at the outer limits of the Reaches, holding close any secrets it may possess.
A rarity among the howling desolation of the void, Damaris is a world based on great aspirations and driving ambition. A medium-sized planet of rolling hills, low mountain ranges, and small but incredibly deep seas, Damaris is blessed with numerous valuable resources. Although a colder world with oversized icecaps, the equator has a short but usable growing season when the snow melts and ice retreats, and vast stretches of the equatorial regions are given over to agriculture and the production of foodstuffs. The seas are full of edible creatures that are highly in demand throughout the Expanse as well as the Calixis sector, and many valuable ores and precious gems are ensconced in the world’s ancient, wind-worn mountains. The planet boasts a remarkably modern infrastructure for such a relative backwater, with power and running water more common than not and a generally effi cient transit system of roads, ornithopter ports, and maglevs connecting the capital city with the numerous outlying communities, manses, agricombines, and commercial and industrial complexes. Agri-combines concerned with growing food and cultivating livestock dominate commerce and industry on Damaris. However, while many Damarans till the land, the planet also boasts a strong mining industry that produces millions of tons of raw and refined ores for export to other systems. There is also a small but respected ship-building industry Centered at the Bulwark, Damaris’ orbital defense station. While Damaran shipwrights lack the skills and technology to produce warp capable ships, their small craft and inter-system ships are sturdy and well-made, adhering to ancient and respected designs. There is also trade between Damaris and nearby worlds, facilitated by Rogue Traders. Damaris exports ores, foodstuffs, livestock, and ship components in exchange for luxuries, vehicles, and durable goods from throughout The Cauldron, and levies heavy tariffs on any imported agricultural products. Damarans are a hardy people, still blessed with the fortitude and strength of will so typical of colonists. They are generally friendly and hard working people devoted to their world and the word of the God-Emperor. Thanks to generally pure genetic stock and a minimum of both natural and warp radiation at large in the system, the Damarans are remarkably free from mutation or warp corruption, and psykers or other abhumans are quite rare among their number. The majority of the population is involved in agriculture or a number of skilled trades such as astrography or ship building. They count among their number few artists, remembrancers or scholars, but those who do posses these talents are widely regarded with respect and admiration. The Damarans are also typically a devout people, who follow an orthodox interpretation of the Imperial Creed that meets with the Ecclesiarchy’s approval. The Ecclesiarchy has sent priests and confessors amongst the people for centuries, and now is rewarded with a planetary population who is generally pious and faithful to the God-Emperor of Mankind. The government of Damaris is an entrenched plutocracy, led by a number of powerful and wealthy families tied with the influential agri-combines and industrial concerns. As is typical in Imperial society, there is no social mobility within Damaris’ society, and it is heavily stratifi ed along class lines. The head of government is a hereditary position currently held by the diminishing Kapak family, whose ancestors have led the planet with greater or lesser skill for centuries now. While never officially an Imperial colony, Damaris is run as if it were. The government pays regular tithes to the Administratum, provides an appropriate number of men for the Imperial Guard every annum, and even maintains an important shrine to St. Drusus in the capital city. In exchange, they receive the protection of the Imperium by way of an Imperial Navy garrison and the planet enjoys all the privileges that an actual official colony would.