Feral World - Dolorium*
I am unable to find any write-ups regarding this planet in any canon material (that I own or is available online). If such arises, or if you have other plans for Dolorium, substitute "Sevel" and "Sevelans" for the planet's name and the name of its people.
Dolorium is in orbit around a yellow medium-sized star, known as Nityanda, in a system of 7 planets and a sizeable asteroid belt. It is a Feral World, but was originally a human colony dating from the Dark Age of Technology. It was destroyed in a series of unfortunate events that, nonetheless, typified the arrogance of that age. The Nityanda System may be found in the sub-sector Cinerus Maleficum.
The planet features 3 large continental landmasses and the remains of a fourth, which was obliterated in an asteroid strikes that destroyed the colony’s population center. It has a variety of biomes; hot at the equators and cold, frigid with ice caps at the poles.
Dolorium is a terrestrial planet larger than Holy Terra but with less mass; yet still having approximately the same gravity. It has no satellites but has a belt of thick, impressive rings, which are the remainder of its only moon. Dolorium provides plenty of fresh water and edible plants and animals. Many minerals and metals (common throughout the galaxy) are rare enough locally that they will never be extractable for large-scale industrial purposes unless imported. Thus metals are coveted by natives and used for only the most important and personal uses.
The remainder of the solar system is thus:
Nityanda I: Inhospitable ball of rock with 2 moons.
Nityanda II: Small terrestrial planet with no atmosphere and extremely cold, but with ice below its crust.
Nityanda III: Small Gas giant with a mostly hydrogen and helium atmosphere. No moons but dozens of moonlets and asteroids in orbit.
Asteroid Belt: Full of thousands of planetoids. Extensive exploration revealed hundreds of ancient, but salvageable tomb ships, filled with the remains of those trapped in space in the comet strike. If the terra-forming engines were not destroyed along with this planet they might be found here.
Nityanda V: Gas giant, very similar to Nityanda III, but much larger with 9 moons.
Nityanda VI: Inhospitable Ice World; no atmosphere all frozen gas. One moon.
Nityanda VII: Tiny terrestrial planet, perhaps VI’s moon knocked from orbit. This planet was submerged in a warp storm, which otherwise only surrounded the system, and may hold terrible secrets.
History of Heretics
During the DAoT Dolorium was a bustling, functioning colony, well on its way to becoming an established planet. Colonists dwelled in ergonomic subterranean dwellings or in one of the two major population centers; a giant factory complex facility or the planet’s only city. Although the planet was mineral-poor, it has fine soils that supported much agriculture and the colonists were able to import needed materials. Much of the colony’s employment was rendered off-world, with the majority planetside labor tended by a sizeable population men of iron.
The colony boasted a population of almost 500 million. Many were employed in a factory complex which was concerned with constructing materials for the terra-forming experiment taking place elsewhere in the system. Metals and mineral needs were supplemented by claiming an small(er) asteroid belt. Inside the 3rd orbit.
The experiment involved the conversion of the 5th planet, a frozen ball of ice, into a world with a controlled green-house effect rendering its surface with habitable, if not comfortable, temperatures. This planet was a cold, but terrestrial world having a thick crust of ice, containing a high degree of dissolved carbon dioxide, covering its surface. This experiment involved melting the ice and releasing large amounts of sequestered CO2 into the atmosphere.
As the project neared completion disaster struck the colony. During a very critical phase a large, rogue comet struck and obliterated Dolorium’s only moon. The resulting debris rained down upon the planet and largely destroyed the most populous continent, containing most of its citizens and industrial capacity, rendering it into a chain of large islands. Colonists trapped in the void at the time of the disaster were unable to return. They landed on the 5th planet, slowly dying as meager supplied dwindled.
Of the thousands of colonists trapped in space, unable to return to the colony which lay now largely in ruin, very few were knowledgeable of the terra-forming engines. The experiment, being largely automated, was quickly abandoned and left to its own devices. Dolorium's atmosphere was blanketed in dust, smoke and debris which blotted out the sun. Crops failed and mass extinctions followed. Millions died. As power supplies were depleted, men of iron (utilized as a heavy labor workforce) turned on their masters. As if their luck was not miserable enough, a warp storm enveloped the system, sealing-off Dolorium from outside aid. The terra-forming had been already forgotten for a few generations, by this time.
The experiment continued melting the ice and releasing CO2 into the air of Dolorium's sister world. The planet became a hot house as planned, but the terra-forming continued unabated. A catastrophic geological cascade eventually occurred in the process that destroyed the planet; rendering it into an asteroid belt of slag and melt.
Eventually, the warp storm abated, but Dolorium, alone for centuries without contact, had regressed to pre-bronze era technology. The men of iron had been overthrown, the colony destroyed and the descendents of the colonists reclaimed their mineral poor, but once again life-rich planet. This narrative was pieced together from evidence and what records found in the destroyed continent.
Five Hundred years ago Dolrium was rediscovered as once a human colony. The broken continent (safely isolated from the Doloriumites) was claimed and an Imperial outpost established in the ruins of the remaining city. A generation ago, brave Doloriumites sailed in rafts and canoes to this city following the dictates of a religious prophet. The Imperium then decided that the planet would be slowly returned to the flock.
The Dolorium of today is a different planet. Its population reduced to a few million, utilizing Stone Age technology and worshipping the planetary governor as the Herald of the Sky God living in the Forbidden City. An especially egregious governor accepted this role and openly welcomed worship. Once removed from his office, the Inquisition decided to interject missionaries into the population, but continued to allow the governor to be treated as the Star God’s earthly avatar: not worshipped but unequivocally followed.
Dolorium, still able to support much life might one day converted to an Imperial Agri World. In the meantime, there are no overt attempts to completely civilize the population. Missionaries perform this necessary work. Occasional feral ork hordes arise (perhaps from spores were sewn by the comet), but the hardy warrior culture keeps them largely in check. Dolorium provides the Empire of Mankind with large herds of semi-wild grox (sometimes numbering in the millions) and occasional psykers for the black ships as its tithe. There are still ruins to be found throughout the island chains and many original colonists subterranean homes remain buried and undiscovered.
The Worship of the Doloriumites
Their religion teaches them that they once lived in cities amongst the stars; that metals were so plentiful on Dolorium that the Star God decreed that some men be made of it. The Star God further promised that a frozen paradise would soon be thawed and that he would rapture believers to this wonderful place. However, their ancestors grew arrogant and refused their god’s ways. As punishment, he destroyed their great city (raining ice and fire from the sky), in cursing turned some men to witches, plunged the world to darkness and suffered the men of metal to enslave them. He also cursed their world, transforming it into a frigid mockery of the heaven he once promised.
In atonement, the people came back to their god, gained strength from righteousness and banished the men of metal forever. However, it was too late. The warm paradise was gone. Delighted with his work, the Star God promised that if they followed his earthly avatar, he would one day reward them on this earth rather than elsewhere. This covenant was sewn by returning the beasts to the world and fruit and grain that they may all be nourished. The proof of this promise are the shining sky bands, always visible during the day, but gone in the night as a constant reminder to be faithful. Another important aspect of their faith is the appearance of a great comet in the sky, which prophesies great misfortune. This comet returns every 530 (or so) years, but is visible for only 13 hours in an unmistakable display. It is said this is an omen of great misfortune, which is determined by the comet’s visibility. Finally the Sky God sends green minions of evil to keep believers from becoming soft and facile like their sinful ancestors.
- Feral Orks – Occasionally isolated spores hatch on the populous continent. Pious Doloriumites form eligious crusades, sometimes lasting years, to eventually vanquish the green skins. One of the 3 remaining continents is completely befouled by the orkish ecosystem. Its isolation prevents any eradication, but also spreading. The Imperium is unconcerned and makes no steps to interfere. Although the continent must one day be sterilized if Doloriums is fit to be an Agri World.
- Direhawk- This is a very large bird of prey with 10m wing span. This beast large and aggressive enough attack and eat grox, which they do only rarely. Direhawks are also known to attack human-sized prey. The bird kills and consumes food on-site rather than carrying it away to its nest. As supreme a right of passage, Doloriumites will stalk and kill these dining malhawks. Typically this is accomplished by a small group, but especially adept hunters and warriors may kill one by themselves. Feathers are long, sturdy and quite beautiful; a deep, rich brown shot through with iridescent streaks of purple and blue.
Down on the Farm: The explorers must vanquish the ork incursion on the soiled continent, in order to prepare the planet for conversion to an Agri World. Natives are eager to a crusades but lack the skill to sail to the land of the Orks. Do the explorers risk the wrath of the Inquisition or Ministorum? Or do they tend to the issue themselves?
Golems Arise: Rarely, men of iron are discovered corroding away in undiscovered pockets. Most are too far gone to be anything but heaps of rust and corrosion. However, some natives have discovered several that are fully functional. If left unchecked, they may again rebel and quickly overthrow their former masters. This technology, although quite heretical, could be come one of the most powerful finds in the Expanse and a boon to more unscrupulous rogue traders.
Apocalypse Now: The current planetary governor has let the Doloriumites primitive devotion go to her head. The explorers are sent to ascertain the depth of her heresy as well as the extent to which she has led the natives astray. Once thie situation is fully ascertained, she must be retrieved for the Inquisition and delivered (alive) for judgement and death. The party must also do something about appointing an interim governor until the Administratum may find a permanent replacement.