Setting:CloudburstForaldshold

From 1d4chan
System
Galactic Position Cloudburst Sector, Cognomen Subsector
System Overlord Magos Tharmecium Chlammer
Worlds in the system Twelve, one inhabitable
World Type, Name Feudal World: Foraldshold
Tropospheric Composition Foraldshold has Nitrogen 76.6%, Oxygen 20%, Krypton 2.5%, Water .9%, Carbon Dioxide 0.01%
Religion Cult Mechanicus
Government type Adeptus Mechanicus
Planetary Governor No
Adept Presence Adeptus Mechanicus, Adeptus Astra Telepathica
Climate Foraldshold has lengthy dry seasons, with large polar ice caps and strong seasonal winds
Geography Foraldshold is 1.1 times the size of Terra. It has large grasslands that cover most of its surface, with thick stands of trees surrounding its ice-locked polar caps. It has deep canyons on its seabed full of manganese and aluminum deposits
Gravity 1.04 Terra gravity
Day Length 30 Terran Hours
Economy Gelt Thrones and Silver Thrones
Principal Exports Aluminum, Oil
Principal Imports Food, Soldiers, Clothing
Countries and Continents Foraldshold has two continents, with no national divisions
Military Forald’s Guards (High quality PDF), Skitarii, Extensive Guard deployments
Contact with other Systems Weekly
Tithe Grade Aptus Non
Population 8,462,000


Description[edit]

Foraldshold is yet another world of the Cloudburst Sector named after the Rogue Trader who found it, but this world is unique in its properties. The world was claimed by the Adeptus Mechanicus after the Rogue Trader who found it overstepped his legal boundaries in the Cold Trade of alien artifacts inside the Imperium. The planet is embarrassingly close to Cognomen, and well within an unguided Warp jump from its defense perimeter. The Mechanicus prefers not to dwell on how in the name of Mars it managed to miss an inhabitable world so close to a Forge World, however, and instead focus on industrializing the planet as fast as humanly possible.

Foraldshold is a stopgap for Cognomen, and its leaders are very much aware. The planet has barely been settled by the Imperium, and already sports an enormous city. The city, which the Mechanicus has named Proion, is the only habitation on the planet of more than a few thousand residents. It sprawls over a point on the surface the Mechanicus specifically set aside for the purpose. Although the planet required extensive terraforming (for tectonic problems, not atmospheric ones) for centuries before the Mechanicus could safely colonize it, it is now the fastest-growing colony in the Sector.

A new visitor to Proion would come away under the impression that the city was expanding too quickly. Large lots of open land sit between finished buildings, the whole city has entries to underground transit networks that are not online, and the planet’s food production is far higher than it needs to be. However, the city and its farms are products of the Mechanicus’s forward planning. The Mechanicus intends for Proion to eventually occupy an entire continent, and the open spaces are merely places where they intend to dig or build arcologies. Proion is ultimately to fill a support role for Cognomen, and handle much of the mundane manufacturing that Cognomen presently handles on behalf of the Sector. The forges of Cognomen itself with thus be free to manufacture things of greater complexity or urgent need. Cognomen plans to begin manufacture of Bane-chassis tanks within the year, and that would be impossible without Proion taking on its pre-fab chimney, wheelbarrow, breadmaker, and white phosphorus manufacturing duties.

Agriculturally, Foraldshold is still dependent on Forender for its food. However, that will change soon. The portion of the planet not given over to manufacturing has been set aside for mass agriculture. The Mechanicus has contracted with whole guild branches from House Carvan to begin selecting the ideal crops and livestock for the arid grasslands and dank swamps of the non-industrially zoned continents. Once the farms and ranches are up and running, the world will actually produce at a slight surplus even after Proion hits its planned population maximum. Cognomen anticipates using that to offset their increasing population.

The presence of Maskos machines and need for the world to remain arable has spared Foraldshold from the fate of other Imperial Mining Worlds: that of catastrophic strip mining. The world’s resources are of great interest to Cognomen, of course, but in the few centuries that the world has had Imperial residents on it, its mining efforts have either involved tunneling or seabed stripping. Megatons of ore and salts have flown off on Cognomen freighters to be processed elsewhere. That flow of freight has slowed as Proion’s own infrastructure has come online.

The city is very much an extension of Cognomen in culture and ethos. The people here are aware that Cognomen is not the most popular Forge World in Mars’s eyes. The fact that Cognomen essentially plans to offload much of its mundane manufacturing on Foraldshold doesn’t bother the local residents, however. As long as they have manufacturing jobs, the actual products they make are a secondary concern to them. That is not the case for some of the Techpriests that administrate and upkeep the factories, but a job well done in the Omnissiah’s eyes is reward enough for most.

Within the great city of Proion, the factories are already churning to life. While most of the manufacturing underway on the planet consists of making machines and building materials needed by the planet’s own residents for now, those factories can easily be directed to mass-production of household goods and chemicals once the city itself is at full capacity. Maskos machines allow for the production of underground subways, mines, laboratories, and bunkers without ripping up the surface, while the world’s atmosphere has allowed for what little terraforming the world still needs to carry on without significant cost. Luckily, the proximity of the world to Cognomen has allowed for the logistical chain of the colony to be as short as possible.

The world’s function as one of the four cornerstones of the local Mechanicus have afforded it a prestige that its low population would not normally engender. Forender supplies the food, ABX202020 supplies the Knights, and Foraldshold supplies the relief manufacturing and more food and minerals, while Cognomen rules them all. Of course, the fact that all four worlds are not presently anywhere near their true potential output means that they are still dependent on their compacts with the greater Imperium for many things. The citizens of Proion do not let that get in the way of their labor, however. The Cult Mechanicus is thoroughly impressed upon the citizenry, and they take pride in their work, or so the leaders of the labor collectives assure the Mechanicus. In practice, both the (admittedly diminishing) lack of fresh food and the constant construction noises all across the city lead to a bit of grumbling from the populace.

Presently, the Mechanicus Magos Tharmecium Chlammer reigns over the system, from his citadel in the walled capital. He volunteered for the mission, to the surprise of some of his brethren on Cognomen. Many Magi of the sector prefer to work from Cognomen itself, where they can watch its meteoric rise in power firsthand, but Chlammer is both harder to distract and worried about something many local Magi find un-concerning. His colleagues assert that Cognomen has survived Glasian assault in the past, and the arrival of Chaos Space Marines, pirates, and Orks. Surely, its fiefdoms will be equally successful in driving off potential enemies? Chlammer flatly disagrees. He has spent a vast percentage of his world’s budget preparing for an invasion, and the means to project his mighty city’s defenses over as great a range as possible. He has ruled Foraldshold for two hundred years now, and has no intention to retire.

Despite being at the very highest standards of civilized technological integration and the direct patronage of a huge Forge World, Foraldshold is technically a Feudal World. This is because the planet is a satrap of Cognomen, not an independent and equal partner of the Imperium. Of course, once the world’s vast industrial capacity is in full swing and its military has increased in size enough that it no longer needs Guard assistance to defend itself, it will almost certainly be recategorized as an Industrial World or Civilized World. If the Magos Biologis can maintain its ecobalance well enough, it may even qualify as a Paradise World, which would delight the Mechanicus for PR reasons if nothing else.

Proion itself benefits from something that most Imperial worlds do not, thanks to those old worlds’ ancient, undirected colonization by the long-dead Terran federation: a defense wall. Cities in the Imperium that are custom-built to defend a locale from invasion or the elements benefit greatly from a border wall. Proion is one of them, and even though the city has not yet grown to reach the wall yet, it should do so within twenty-eight years. The wall describes an area described by a rough square, with one side being the ocean, and the other sides being approximately one hundred forty miles in length. Farms and ranches cover the area outside the walls from one horizon to the other. The wall itself is one hundred twelve feet tall, and extends for forty feet underground to prevent tunneling. Its thickness varies, but at its thinnest is still over nine meters thick at the top and twelve at the base. Gun turrets, reinforced sniper roosts, floodlights, local shrapnel shelters, antennae for vox systems, and power plugs festoon the top of the wall at regular intervals. Every mile has a thickened portion of the wall running from top to bottom with simple structures inside, including vox hubs and local frequency scramblers. The wall itself has elevators on the inner surface that can be disabled remotely, as well as lavatories built inside the wall itself every few hundred feet. The corners and each ten-mile increment enjoy a fortress structure, a few hundred feet wide, where the wall is thicker and locally taller, with additional gun turrets and heavy SAMs.

Each of the three sides also has one central defense command structure, located around a major gate. The wall has nine gates, three on each side, which allow vehicle traffic to pass through. Each gate spans eight lanes of vehicle traffic and one multitrack train line. The wall on the west side, opposite the ocean, also accommodates the river that flows through the city. The city’s principal military staging area and base is built into the corner fortress at the northwest corner. The coastal side is less reinforced, but is still formidably defended, with gun batteries and sensor dishes all along the water in ferrocrete bunkers. The main port on the delta at the end of the river is an industrial one, but the Mechanicus intends to add a facility for making wet navy ships for the PDF soon. There are some AA weapons inside the city itself atop larger buildings, but the primary defense of the city is not allowing enemies into it.

Unlike some Mechanicus colonies, Foraldshold raises its own PDF. They enjoy the best equipment a PDF can field, including a Macharius tank unit and four Praetor Assault Launchers. Although their ground forces are nothing to scoff at, their true focus is air power. The planet is so lightly inhabited, and the cost of continent-spanning train lines so high even for the Mechanicus, that the PDF have focused on hovercraft and fixed-wing aircraft more than anything else thus far. The world does not tithe Guard units up, and technically does not pay an Administratum tithe, so the PDF keep their finest soldiers and equipment for themselves. However, their lack of numbers means that they have to rely on the Guard and Skitarii for some defensive assistance.

What the locals call Cognomen troopers are nothing of the sort. All Skitarii on Foraldshold are loyal to Mars first and Cognomen a distant second. Still, like on Cognomen itself, the Skitarii of Foraldshold are well-equipped, well-respected, and well-quartered, and are allowed to use any weapons they choose in the defense of Foraldshold that do not permanently damage the world’s habitability. Thus, they are fierce defenders of the world against its occasional alien attackers. The world has no Titans or Knights in residence, but this is temporary and the Skitarii know it. ABX202020 and Cognomen are scrambling to expand their numbers, and when Foraldshold is large enough to serve as a manufacturing lynchpin for Cognomen, the Forge World will be able to produce far more weapons for the defense of all three.

The planet’s formidable artillery stages under Skitarii control until the PDF has enough personnel to take it over, and the Skitarii made a conscious choice not to connect it to the walls like their fixed weapons. Instead, they store it in guarded warehouses at the northern wall’s interior edge, in case it must sortie quickly. The Skitarii here field no air or watercraft, though they may request permission to ride PDF units, and are rarely refused.

Understandably, protecting the planet beyond the wall is a challenge. The fact that the world’s population is so concentrated is a vast liability in anything other than a siege scenario. A widely distributed population would be harder to destroy from orbit, and the lack of optical coverage on much of the planet’s surface means that an intruder that slipped by orbital scanners in cold running could land nearly anywhere without being observed. While Foraldshold does not have a moon, the deep asteroid belts that girdle the system at two different distances from the star could easily hide an invasion force. The Mechanicus is constructing orbitals to defend the surface of the world, but it is slow going despite the proximity of Cognomen thanks to the logistical drains of Oglith and the impending Migration. The fact that Foraldshold itself periodically comes under attack from Orks is not helping matters along, since Mechanicus construction ships have to withdraw whenever the greenskins are sighted.

Simple satellites are easier and cheaper to deploy. The planet has a ring of five large modular satellites, each half a kilometer wide and bristling with guided missiles, and fifty smaller ones of six models with a variety of point defense weapons. This protects the real prize: an STC-pattern traffic control platform, able to guide all aerial and space traffic and landings remotely, and staffed by a permanent crew of six Tech-adepts.

Foraldshold has a history of Ork assaults. Almost as soon as the world was colonized, Mechanicus orbital sentries observed Ork ships in nearby dead systems, apparently looking for something. Within twenty years of the creation of the foundations of the defense wall, Ork raiders had begun attacking the planet to loot the Mechanicus survey and colonization teams. The raids ceased between M41.835 and M41.989, but starting in M41.990, small Ork raider units appeared in the outer system and began attacking Cognomen freighters once more. The Imperial Navy and Basilikon Astra managed to secure the outer system, but the worst was yet to come. Whatever aetheric tides had propelled the raiders to Forald’s Legacy also propelled something far worse. Nine years later, a Space Hulk, previously unknown to human intelligence, appeared at the edge of the Forald’s Legacy system. The Inquisition has retroactively assigned it the title Sigma Golf 7152 until it can be assigned a proper name.

The ship was an ugly amalgam of only seven smaller vessels, but the Mechanicus detected it instantly despite its small size because of its extensive damage. The Mechanicus observed the vessel at extreme range, and detected over two dozen holes in the hull from impacts and rending cuts. The Hulk leaked radiation and chemicals on its entire journey into the system. Mechanicus and SDF ships assaulted it along its entire course, as did Imperial Navy reinforcements. The Hulk was barely space-worthy by the time it finally arrived in orbit over Foraldshold, and promptly de-orbited. Its engines flared, attempting to escape gravity, but the ship finally crashed four hundred miles from Proion. Immediately, Orks spilled from the Hulk, looting the abandoned farms around the impact site. Six regiments of Imperial Guard had arrived on the planet before then, including all of the surviving Chlorit Reapers, who had been quietly replenishing their numbers on Coriolis since the loss of their homeworld. The six regiments charged out to encircle and pound the Orks before the green scum could gain a foothold.

They lost the first two engagements against the Orks, thanks to the sheer number of the aliens. The Inquisition estimates that there are in excess of one hundred thousand survivors of the wreck, with over one and a half times that number dead inside from radiation and vacuum exposure. How the Hulk came to be so damaged prior to its arrival, the Inquisition does not know and will not have a chance to ascertain until the Mechanicus can secure it. However, the Inquisition and Mechanicus suspect that the ship was assaulted by something in the Warp itself, either another ship or an unspeakably large daemon.

With the initial attacks repulsed, the forces of Foraldshold have shifted from containment to depopulation. Preventing more Ork spores from taking growth in the soil of Foraldshold will be difficult, given how time consuming it was to eradicate them the first time, and those were small raids. The Hulk itself is so badly damaged that even the Orks have given up on trying to salvage it, and have shifted their efforts to disassembly. The surviving Meks are ripping the thing apart for scrap and components, and to the unease of local military leaders, have begun building vast swarms of Fighta-Bommas. The airplanes have begun roaring from the guts of the Hulk, which the Meks have converted into a hive of sorts. Thus far, the Skitarii and PDF have managed to keep the Ork planes from returning from any raids they launch into the Proion perimeter, but the aliens are both numerous enough and aggressive enough to get through the wall if they applied their cunning. More Guard regiments are on the way, including a regiment of Cloudburst Defenders in case the aliens push past the wall and bring the fight to the city proper. Two Clegran regiments are en route with a Grendel regiment in tow, along with three more Battlefleet Cloudburst ships, but the many problems the sector is facing presently tax the Imperium too much to send more. Worse, the Tarot is clear: Glasians will hit Forender in the next wave, and its defenses are a fraction of Foraldshold’s. Cognomen will now have to face a choice: send more troops to Foraldshold, and leave their other holdings vulnerable, or send nothing, and hope Foraldshold weathers the storm?