Monday, 17 December 2012

Collaborative Fluff for 40k

Hellbrooke's 'Last Gasp' Platoon - painted by Colonel Scipio
Some of you may have already seen the superb Penal troops converted by Colonel Scipio, utilising components sculpted by Victoria Lamb. Bearing the name Hellbrooke's 'Last Gasp' Platoon, they hail from the world of St Adelphia's Hope – the setting that is the focus of a collaborative project between myself and the good Colonel.

We decided to put together a couple of fluff overviews for your good selves.

Here at DYHAF, you can read a little of what I've put together about the world of St. Adelphia's Hope, its history, and the more civilian side of things. Whilst over at the Palladian Guard, you can read the superb military overview that Scipio has put together.

As ever, feedback and comments are welcome and appreciated.

I hope you enjoy, and bonus points for getting all my pretentious in-jokes:-

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Out in the far-flung reaches of the Segmentum Obscurus lies a relatively minor planet known as St. Adelphia's Hope...

A mining and research-world combined, like the expanse of space that the planet inhabits, its surface is cold and barren. Its hostile, rocky polar regions flatten into unforgiving frozen plains toward the equatorial zones. In all regions, icy rock forms the crust of the planet. Beneath is a a layer of water ice, which makes subterranean excavation difficult, but not impossible. Whilst situated in its suns habitable zone, even the terra-formed atmosphere is of insufficient pressure to maintain permanently liquid water. Whilst there are seasonal melts of the surface ice, these are still not enough to support the population. Some water is imported, but predominantly the water ice, both underground and on the surface, is collected and melted for transportation. Where any seasonal melts do occur, the affected areas are turned into a marsh-like mire, until they refreeze shortly after.

St. Adelphia's Hope is ironically named - hope being one thing not found in abundance. The moniker is believed to have been given in honour of a guerilla fighter allied to the Confederation of Light - and martyred during the Age of Apostasy. The exact details, like those of much of the era, are lost to time. However, it is known that the population was all but wiped out during the bloody repressions of the fallen Ecclesiarch, Goge Vandire in the latter part of the Apostasy. Although there are stories told of things even darker than the murderous Ecclesiarch that lurk on St. Adelphia's Hope...

It was not until several centuries later that the planet was eventually resettled, after an expedition by a Rogue Trader from a family of little note - Morton Cheyne-Stokes. This expedition led to the discovery of Calderite, a solid mineral-based fuel, and alongside it, cavernous pockets of the valuable Virium gas – used extensively in biological research and by the Officio Medicae.

Morton Cheyne-Stokes established a petty kingdom for himself - and it was not long before he received his subjects. The population of the planet's single city, Adelphia Majoris, swelled as miners, clerical staff, settlers and fortune-seekers poured in. It became a place where where life was cheap and alcohol cheaper, and as the population increased, the off-duty hours of security personnel decreased. Mining outposts sprawled out from the city like a web, and the landscape became dotted with towering canvas-like gas containers that creak and wheeze as they fill with the mined Virium .

Despite this rapid growth of mining personnel, the planet was still struggling to meet the exacting tithes imposed by the Imperium. In response the new Lord-Governor,Wentworth Cheyne-Stokes, ordered the construction of a prison facility and began to take off-world criminals from other planets in the sector. These penal contingents would be sent down the mines to do the most dangerous work, considered little better than servitors. Sometimes known as “The Cheyne Stokers,” for the penal workforce death was (and is) far more likely to shorten their sentence than a reprieve for good behaviour. They were entrusted, then as now, with going down to newly opened up shafts and caverns to ensure than no explosive or toxic gases are present. Several prisoners are often sent down with flaming torches to burn away any flammable gases, ensuring that working crews are not injured whilst down there – and more importantly, that valuable seams are not lost.

Convicts became the largest import of St. Adelphia's Hope, and over the centuries, the prison population nearly outgrew the civilian population. And so, the prison grew with them. It sprawled outwards and upwards like a second city – so much so that the (more civilised) locals dubbed this degenerate and nefarious metropolis "Adelphia Minoris." The most notable feature of the city is the Kirkbride Tower (or Obelisk) that looms over all below. Built in a crater, it is better defended than a drunk's last bottle of liquor. The Tower holds the (Ψ) Psi-class prisoners - the most mentally unstable criminals - those that would not only rather kill you than look at you, but claim to be Colonel-Commissar Ibram Gaunt and bite off your arm to use as a back-scratcher before doing so. The Obelisk also houses those showing signs of psychic ability, making the Tower a popular destination for the Adeptus Astra Telepathica Black Ships.

As the prison population grew over the years, reserves of Calderite and Virium began to dwindle. But, as Imperial Citizens refused to stop breaking the Emperor's Law, the criminal population expanded at a rate faster than the facilities we able to – even despite the increased number of executions. Attempted penal rebellions occurred on more than one occasion and the situation looked bleak, which is saying a lot on a world such as St. Adelphia's Hope. The answer came in the form a Magos of the Adeptus Mechanicus. In return for being able to establish a research facility on the planet's northern reaches, he would deal with the burgeoning prison population. The Lord-Governor accepted the terms. The administration already had a close relationship with the Adeptus Mechanicus, given the highly technical nature of Virium extraction.

Built over and within the extensive, almost ancient mining tunnels no longer in use, the primary area of research carried out at the facility was related to the creation of Servitors. They produced existing forms and developed new, more experimental patterns. Many a servitor across the breadth of the Imperium today was once a prisoner on St. Adelphia's Hope, mind-scrubbed and shipped to the furthest corners of the galaxy. The facility also specialised in biological and chemical warfare research, and continues to do so today.

In more recent years, newer seams have been found underground, but prisoner deaths have also increased – many of their bodies when found are barely recognisable as human. The mining continues to prosper however, and off-world mining expeditions to nearby asteroids have shown potential....

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Continue the story and read Colonel Scipio's post on the military of St. Adelphia's Hope here

11 comments:

  1. You boys are making art. Can't wait for the next installment.

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    1. Thanks very much Dai, really appreciate that. I hope the next batch doesn't disappoint.

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  2. I love what you have so far. My mind is racing at the prospects of what horrors could lurk in the tunnels below the research facility. Certainly looking forward to what may come next.

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    1. Cheers Chris, hopefully it won't be too long before we do some more. There's a few bits left out to keep a bit more of a narrative flow here.

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  3. Very nice, I'm putting in another VL order today to swell the ranks a bit more! By the way, love the background

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    1. Very kind sir, needs some tweaks (the title needs re-doing properly), but I rather like it. Looking forward to seeing what the old Captain himself will look like. I think the postman may have broken his back delivering my Naval Boarding/Landing party stuff (and a few more Mawdryn and Skitarii bits..)

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  4. Very very enjoyable and creative stuff. The idea of nameless horrors lurking in the tunnels below a research station, preying on grim and helpless convicts, reminds me of an old Dr. Who episode, maybe w Tom Baker or Peter Davison, but maybe I'm just showing my age. Brilliant work lads.

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    1. Thanks very much Mike. Doctor Who is well and truly buried in my subconscious, particularly those Doctors - so perhaps it's not entirely coincidental. It's perhaps not quite as blatant as my "homage" to Mawdryn Undead in the name of my Space Marine Chapter...

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  5. That is an incredibly well written and creative bit of fluff guys.
    I can see the Doctor Who there but also the grim dark Aliens 3 characteristic's as well. I was waiting for one of the wardens to pull out "This is Rumour Control. Here are the facts!"
    and I can totally see Aliens 3 scenes like these play out...

    -I have a problem with this.
    -What part?
    -The part where we're running around in the dark fucking maze with that thing chasing us.

    -[trying to determine the victim's identity] Who was it?
    -Murphy.
    -How do you know?
    -[looking down and pointing] That's his boot.


    -I'm afraid we'll have to assume there's a very good chance this simple bastard has murdered them!
    -Now you don't know that! He's *never* lied to me! He's crazy, he's a fool, but he's not a liar.

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    1. Thank you very much sir. Bugger, I thought it sounded familiar when I wrote it, though I suppose if it reminded you of that I've done my job with this bit lol. Hopefully the dark / gallows humour came across in our respective pieces even though dealing with different scopes and scales - Scipio nailed it methinks. Glad you like it, always appreciate the comments

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  6. Here are the pretentious references, 1 point for those that got them:

    The Cheyne Stokers as a nickname for the penal troops = Scipio's chaps are the Last Gasp platoon. The medical term for "last gasps" is agonal, or, Cheyne-Stokes breathing. Morbid and dark, I know...
    It's also a reference to the British film "Dead Man's Shoes"

    Kirkbride Tower for mentally unstable prisoners = Kirkbride was a psychiatrist from Philadelphia that redesigned the asylum system in the US in the mid-nineteenth century. Many asylums were built to the Kirkbride Plan prior to 1900, the most infamous of these perhaps being Danvers State.

    There's a couple more minor ones dotted about... Sad I know.

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