Hellmere By Lightbringer

HELLMERE

An unrelentingly grim and desolate world, Hellmere would be utterly useless to the Imperium were it not for its tenacious and bloody-minded poulation, who make first rate recruits for the Imperial Guard.

+++PLANETARY DATA+++

EQUATORIAL CIRCUMFERENCE: 27,000 Miles.

GRAVITY: 1.97G.

CLASS: Death World.

YEARS AND DAYS: Hellmere takes 297 Terran days to Orbit its star and spins on its axis every 21 Terran hours.

SATELLITES: No natural moons, but the Departmento Munitorum maintains a series of orbital recruitment facilities in conjunction with the Imperial Navy.

POPULATION: 96, 000,000.

MEAN SURFACE TEMPERATURE: 31°C.

TROPOSPHERIC COMPOSITION: Hellmere has a breathable atmosphere, but it is very low in oxygen content, and offworlders are advised to wear oxy-masks to ensure comfort. The locals are more than able to cope with a low oxygen content.

PLANETARY GOVERNER: Hellmere, unusually, has no fixed planetary Governor. The closest thing is Lord Hadramax, a superannuated member of the Departmento Munitorum general staff who resides in an orbiting Naval facility. His responsibility is ensuring that the various barbaric tribes of Hellmere produce a regular tithe of men for the Hellmere Imperial Guard regiments, the planets only major export. Hadramax is an ancient and moderately distinguished Imperial Guard Staff officer who has never commanded an army in the field, but is a past master in the dark arts of behind the scenes political manoeuvring. He is a loyal servant of the Imperium, conscious of the fact that, given the nature of Hellmere’s population, his role entails little real power, but a great deal of responsibility.

CLIMATE: Hellmere is, not to put too fine a point on it, a dump. It has virtually no natural water, a thin, unpleasant (and, to the noses of offworlders, very smelly) atmosphere, cannot support arable crops of any real agricultural value (other than the unpleasant tasting but hardy tuber-root), and has no mineral deposits of any worth. The world is a grey desert interspersed with razor sharp flint mountains. From the point of human habitation, the only advantage the place has is that it is relatively warm.

WATER SUPPLY: 1500 years ago, in an ancient, (and none too subtle) attempt at terraforming, a vast ice comet was deliberately manoeuvred into the planet by an Adeptus Mechanicus fleet in order to provide a cheap source of water. This created a vast crater, known as the Hellsfont, filled with radioactive water and mud. A number of recycling plants lurk around the edge of this crater, turning the dangerous slush into potable water.

SOCIETY: Hellmere’s society has been trapped in a primitive technological state for hundreds of years, partly because the harsh environment offers no incentive for outside investment, but largely because the native population are so incredibly fractious and violent that any offworld technology is immediately pressed into service in a series of tribal conflicts and civil wars.

Hellmere has been populated by humans for thousands of years, prior to the return of the sector to the light of the Imperium. There are no extant historical records as to the planet’s colonisation, but it is assumed that the entire population are descended from a single small spacecraft who crash landed there at some point during the last ten thousand years.

As is often the case with planetary populations descended from a small single spaceship’s crew, the Hellmerans amount to a distinct and unique racial type. They are without exception short (rarely over 5’5”) and broad, with golden yellow skin, curly black hair and wide grey eyes. As Hellmere is a relatively warm, high gravity world, they are incredibly muscular and strong, with tremendous endurance and fortitude.

The grim environment of Hellmere has fostered an incredibly aggressive, competitive and violent society based upon tribal units rarely more than a few hundred strong. Life revolves around subsistence farming of sickly tuber-root plants in backbreaking labour and constantly raiding neighbouring tribes for weapons, slaves, food and water. The entire planet is in a constant state of civil war, and life is not so much regarded as cheap, as virtually valueless.

The heavy gravity of the planet places great strain upon the physiques of its inhabitants, and it is rare for a man to live far into his fortieth Terran year. This creates an overwhelmingly fatalistic and violent mindset amongst its population: Hellmerans know that they will not live for long, so they live entirely in the moment. It is common for a man to have physically matured, killed his first man, married, fathered children and died in battle before his 15th year. The Hellmerans throw themselves with abandon into everything they do, and most of what they do is characterised with a grim and total violence with no regard for self preservation. Suicidal aggression and toughness are regarded as noble features in a man on this grim world. Indeed, the planetary population has such a bad reputation for violence that a common saying in the sector has it that a Hellmeran without an enemy to kill will stab his friend, if a friend is not available will stab his cousin, if a cousin is not available he will stab his brother, and if a brother is not available he will drink himself to death. Murder and food raiding is extremely common and most people live in a state of heightened paranoia. Strangers are usually killed on sight.

Alcoholism is rife, and one of the few pleasures available. Vud, a cloying alcoholic drink distilled from tuber-roots is widely abused, and it is a tradition on the planet that when a man or woman gets too old to be of any use to his tribe (at about 45) then they should drink themselves to death over a year or so. This form of alcoholic suicide is widely regarded as honourable, and something to aspire to in life if death in battle is not available.

The population live in metal-framed tents made of animal hide, and travel armed at all times, usually with long-barrelled blackpowder muskets and long triangular bladed daggers. There are no major cities on Hellmere, but a few substantial shanty towns are sited around the Hellsfont.

Hellmerans are notoriously misogynistic, and female visitors are likely to be regarded as the property of their male colleagues, and something to be fought over.

RELIGION: The Hellmerans are loose adherents to the Imperial cult, but often regard deeply religious people as inherently weak and deluded. Much of their “religious” thinking is based upon Ministorum interpretations of a famed pre-Imperial Hellmeran philosopher, Adso the Sage. Adso’s fatalistic philosophy (a drawn out variation on “bleep happens”) has been tweaked in all oral histories by Imperial Missionaries to include elements of an afterlife in which the Emperor provides endless Vud to warriors who die in his service.

PRINCIPLE EXPORTS: None, other than Imperial Guard regiments.

PRINCIPLE IMPORTS: Foodstuffs, water processing plants, smuggled weapons, spices and drugs.

DEFENCES: Hellmere has few defences other than the orbiting station. However, in the unlikely event of any full scale invasion, the entire population would likely turn on the intruders with a suicidal fervour.

IMPERIAL GUARD RECRUITMENT: The planet’s main claim to fame is its Imperial Guard regiments. The Imperium’s only interest in the world it its ability to turn out some of the most dangerous soldiers in the entire sector: hard drinking, suicidally aggressive men who can lift a full pack as easily as a normal man can lift a water flask and carry it for 50 miles in one night’s march.

There are over 40 Hellmeran regiments in action across the sector, and many more in transit to other major crusades. Widely (and accurately) regarded as unruly, fractious and hard to control away from the battlefront, they are kept in action as much as possible, simply because they tend to cause chaos in any rear echelon area if revolved out of the firing line. Hellmeran regiments (nicknamed “Crushers”), have a tendency to regard the murder of officers as a fast ticket to promotion, and as such require far more Commissar support than most units of equivalent size.

Despite the many drawbacks in dealing with Hellmeran regiments, they are highly regarded by Imperial Guard Generals. For sheer psychotic killer instinct, they cannot be bettered. Once they can actually see the enemy, the discipline problems evaporate and they settle down to what they do best: fighting and dying for the Emperor. Hellmeran Crushers are trained in the use of plasteel carapace armour and used as shock troops at the forefront of major conflicts. They exhibit a vicious aggression that tends to have an utterly demoralising effect upon enemy soldiers. Casualties are disregarded by Hellmeran troopers, and they do not shy away from the most deadly battlefields. Single minded, and with a tendency towards instigating massacres, they are the favoured troops for Xenocide campaigns and pogroms of all kinds amongst the Inquisition.

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