"Twelve serious crimes are reported every minute. Seventeen thousand per day. We can respond to around six percent. Which six percent? It's your show rookie. You tell me."
-Arbitrator Krangara to a new recruit
Cold, dark and bleak - what can be said about Frore can also be said about its inhabitants. Existence on the planet revolves around the acquisition of warmth, either sheltering in deep mountain caves or squeezed into one of the many sunken hive spires. Forced to either endure the skin-flaying blizzards outside or the cut-throat gangs and rampant diseases inside, it's no wonder that life has adapted to be some of the most foul, murderous and cruel in the sector.
Life on Frore Edit
The majority of human life is packed to bursting point within wicked-looking hive spires across the planet, with a density of three or four people per square metre in some places. With such cramped vile conditions these dark daggers on the frozen skyline have become petri dishes for disease and crime. Built around an advanced network of chimneys, it allows the noble families at the top of the spires to enjoy the natural heat from the industry below without the hazards that come with it.
Ore is the lifeblood of the planet, and it courses through veins running deep below the surface. These ores are refined into a variety of metals and rare minerals before being shipped to all corners of the sector. Each spire is in direct competition with each other, forcing increasingly brutal methods of extraction. All of this happens under the baleful gaze of the Adeptus Mechanicus manufactorum Forlorn Hope, a sickly pale moon with ten thousand winking eyes.
There are around a dozen recognised active hive spires and a dozen more that are lost, abandoned or succumbed to mutant occupation. They are all built from the same STC but vary in size, shape and function, depending on their role and location. There is Hive Troglodys which amounts to no more than a giant drill, boring deep at the cost of devastating hivequakes. There is Hive Primus, the capital city which pierces the clouds, so tall that it is said that if you could leap from the highest mast you would float into space and never return.
In the shadow of Godbringer Edit
All these pale in comparison to the sprawling mass of civilization known as Troubadous' Landing, a vast city nestled in a crater the size of a continent. Legend has it the megapolis grew from the crashed remains of Saint Troubadous' colony cruiser, the Godbringer, and it was this monumental impact that shattered the atmosphere and plunged the planet into a perpetual ice age.
Human life clustered together in compact colonies across the icy plains, eking out a living where they could and sheltering from the blistering cold. Many of the hives were left to self-regulate, as transport between the spire cities was arduous and expensive, so petty work gangs turned into organised mobs, and organised mobs turned into criminal empires. In some spires, law enforcement is there in lip service only, and Arbitrators are so rare that they are killed for sport. The criminal bosses that run these spires regularly have parleys with other gang leaders, as well as members of the various Adeptas to work out disputes. As far as the Imperium is concerned, a few spires can be left to the devices of crime lords, so long as tithes are met and the ore keeps flowing towards the capital.
Hive Secundus Edit
Hive Secundus is a mid-density hive, totaling around 14.8 million people at last census. The Manufactoria refine raw ores and minerals into vital elements for cyber creatures and bionics, making it a key hive in the eyes of the Adeptus Mechanicus. Everything is powered by natural gas, as it is a byproduct of the raw ores forming deep underground, so the city was designed to huddle round a central chimney for heat.
Producing so many high-end refined materials attracted learned men and academics, who founded some of the most well-respected Universitaria and Scholas specialising in genetics and bionics. As a result, Hive Secundus produces some of the finest Verispex agents in the sub-sector, and rumour has it that even the Sisters Hospitaller of the Order of the Amber Lamp even study there, but they would deny all claims.
Hive Secundus has the second lowest crime rate on the planet at only 4 serious crimes reported per minute, and very few of those pose enough of a threat to warrant a full Arbites incursion. A fact that often leaves the Secundus Precinct House leader Judge Cowlan exasperated as she finds her dwindling resources reassigned across the planet by High Marshall Werthing. Werthing believes that a single Verispex agent can do the job of five field Arbitrators, so Secundus Precinct House are severely understaffed with only 30 field Arbitrators and 60 Verispex agents to police the whole city.
As a result, the Secundus Arbites rely heavily on the Magistratum and Ministorum for help and grunt-work. The Magistratum are extremely well-funded in Secundus, as the nobles find crime rates in their spire drop in proportion to the amount 'donated' to the Magistratum charity. The Ministorum regularly organise volunteer 'Purity Patrols' most evenings to do random semi-legal spot checks and raids on Habs and Manufactoria to look for concealed mutation. Such arrangements push the moral limitations of the Adeptus Arbites, but without more resources, Judge Cowlan must maintain these strained relationships to keep crime and mutation at bay.
Thousand-eye Saints' Church Edit
Situated in the middle-hive of Hive Secundus, the Church dominates the space between the floor and ceiling. It is by far from the largest temple to the God-Emperor on the planet, but it sees the most frequent traffic from fervous worshippers, as the bloody tale of the Thousand-eyes Saints is still a relatively fresh one.
The Thousand-eye Saints were 500 local workers who took up arms during the Pale Throng Uprising against Pale Elder Dross and his horde of 333 mutants. Lead by Saint Agrippa, the workers knew in an even fight the mutants would tear them apart. Agrippa fed information to the Pale Throng, ensuring that their scouts reported "a thousand eyes in the darkness" about her militia.
She had one eye removed from all her followers and rounded up every able-bodied blind person within reach of the city until her numbers reached almost 2000. The site of the church is reputedly the field of that final battle where the Throng was utterly crushed. Citizens of Hive Secundus visit the Church daily, more if they are able. The Pale Throng may have been crushed, but the contained mutant population continues to swell, and it is only a matter of time before the population of Hive Secundus may have to turn to Saint Agrippa once more for salvation.
Great stone slabs were placed in the walls with the names and deeds of each of Saint Agrippa's followers carved into them. As scribes trawl archives and pore over countless eye-witness reports decades later, more information is uncovered and sent to the masons for engraving. Adepts estimate there is almost half a century's work for the masons currently, and with only a fraction of Saint Agrippa's followers named and titled, their work grows longer with each passing year. It gives rise to the Frorian saying "a mason's worth", meaning something similar to "one step forward and two steps back".
Borzoi Syndicate Edit
Unlike most of the gangs based in the Hives on Frore the Borzoi Syndicate is not tied to one territory or Hive cluster, preferring to have a number of ‘lodges’ across the planet. The Syndicate deals in high-profile assassinations and high-spec heists for clients. They have earned a reputation for being stone-cold killers and implacable foes who cannot be bought off once a contract has been made.
Reputation to the Syndicate is everything, and even the lowliest member would rather die than see the reputation of their patrons tarnished. Of course, this is the official response - many find their priorities shift when gazing down the barrel of a bolt pistol and the Syndicate is well aware of this.
Publicly, the Borzoi Syndicate strictly deal with contracts for 'enemies of the Imperium' and never sanction the killing of a member of the Adeptas - even the lowliest administrum serf is off the books. The Syndicate leadership spend a lot of resources to maintain an appearance as a 'friend of the common man', which keeps them largely out of trouble with the authorities. That most of the upper echelons of Frore's planetary security are directly linked with the Syndicate by fair means or foul is an added security for the Borzoi.
Syndicate members generally work in small groups and specialise in close range shootings to eliminate targets, dressing in a distinctive style with pitch black photo visors, and stylised dreadlocked hair.
Their reputation has led the juves in certain Hives on Frore to begin copying the style of the Borzoi Syndicate in order to build a reputation for themselves. The Borzoi Syndicate for the most part disdainfully ignores these imitators. A client can generally find the real deal at one of the Syndicates lodges. Occasionally a juve gang builds up enough a reputation that they are formally offered a place in the Syndicate. Woe betide any juve gang that brings a bad reputation on the Syndicate or attempts to compete with a genuine lodge however - these gangs soon find themselves stalked and eliminated by Borzoi Syndicate Members eager to uphold the honour of the Syndicate.
The Founding and the Skylarian Rebellion Edit
- In early M34 when the Ecclesiarchy had all but assumed control of the Imperium, Rogue Trader Pontius Skylar pushed deep beyond the Al-Gheri sub-sector and founded a colony on Sorrento IV, naming it Troubadous' Landing. It was located on a small island separated from the mainland by freezing seas and harsh tundras. Mining cities sprung up on the mainland, and any feral populations of humans were quickly assimilated and put to work.
- The Age of Apostasy dawns in the Imperium in early M35 and the Onus sub-sector is largely cut off from the rest of the Imperium. Freak storms separated Troubadous' Landing from the other hive Cities for almost a century, and the Hivers assumed the city was lost.
- Hive Primus became the seat of power in the absence of the original colony, whilst meanwhile a cult to the benevolent and saviour Skylar Dynasty forms in Troubadous Landing. By the time the colony is re-discovered by the Hivers, their culture is so radically different, they refuse to move to the Hives or accept any other governance than that of the Skylar Dynasty.
- In late M35, Goge Vandire has become the High Lord of the Administratum and the Ecclesiarch on Holy Terra - tithes become unmanageable, severe strain is put on the planet, and Vandire's Graveyard begins construction. To meet the mad demands from Terra, Skylarians are enslaved in their thousands by the Hivers to work in the mining complexes on the mainland. This continues for thousands of years.
- Tensions rose as generations of Skylarians inherit their slave identities from their parents, obscenely divorced from the free-thinking, pioneering attitudes their colonial ancestors arrived on Frore with. Small skirmishes begin to erupt across the planet, gang wars spill out into real wars.
- In M38, Forlorn Hope becomes the official seat of Mechanicus power in the sub-sector. They saw the Frorian regime as inefficient and unsustainable, so introduced advanced technology to the Hivers to increase their mineral output and antiquating the need for a slave population.
- The increased number of mutant uprisings becomes a painful thorn in everyone's side as factions try to smooth over generations of grievance. Treaties are signed between the Hivers and Skylarians - freedom and peace in exchange for accepting Hive Primus' governance.
- In late M40 Varnstrom Industries becomes a political and economical power in the subsector. They fund scientific studies of the planet to identify further sources of minerals, and instead reveal a massive radiation leak from Godbringer's 8000 year old warp drives, resulting in the increased mutant population. These findings are dismissed by Hive Primus as Troubadous' Landing problems, not their own. Mutants end up making their way into the Hives and propagating wildly.
- Skylarians in Troubadous' Landing discovered the radiation leak and sealed it to the best of their abilities and accused Hive Primus of condemning them to die of radiation poisoning.
- In late M41, fanatics and militia groups loyal to the Skylarian Dynasty surface and disrupt trade routes and key production areas.
- 820.970.M41, the Skylarian Rebellion officially begins with the destruction of Hive Nonus, when toxic chemicals from unstable Manufactoria are redirected through the air filtration systems. Only a handful of mutants survived.
- The Rebellion rages for seven years, ending in 977.M41 (approximately 39 years ago) after a bloody war of attrition. Millions were shipped in from Brimstone to bolster the Hiver ranks and soak up Skylarian ammunition. Very few survived the climate, and none made it home.
- A peace treaty was signed between the two factions, agreeing to put aside their differences in favour of combating the real and deadly threat of mutant populations on the planet. Some say they operate their own Hive city now...
The memories of the war are still raw for many older veterans on both sides of the conflict. Many noble families on both sides were married off to each other in a bid to prevent war breaking out again, but tensions still run hot.
Both sides claimed to have been fighting for the common man - the Hivers claim the Skylarians are genocidal, small-minded, barbaric and traitors to the Imperium. The Skylarians claim the Hivers are butchers of innocents, greedy slavers and traitors to the Imperium.
Frorian PCs Edit
By nature and by nurture, characters from the underbelly of Frore are quick-thinking, ruthless and uncompromising. A lifetime of dark, miserable conditions heated by the noxious gasses from subsurface industry has left them with a yearning sense of wanderlust. They have grown up trusting a bare handful of people, but that trust is everything, as the unbearable press of bodies in daily routine means that you cannot always look over your shoulder, figuratively or literally. They are cunning and opportunistic to a fault, and after a life of only eating what they can steal, they are prone to temptation of every kind.
Creating Dark Heresy PCs from Frore Edit
In order to create characters from Frore, use the Hive World template, but replace the Hivebound and Caves of Steel traits with those described here.
Untaxed Income Edit
When your survival relies on chance and circumstance, you learn to capitalise on any opportunity, no matter how small.
Benefit: At ANY time, even in seemingly impossible situations, the character may spend a Fate Point to roll once on the Scum Income table (Core Rulebook page 125), representing your character ‘liberating’ a nearby coin purse or delving into a secret personal reserve.
Never Caught Short Edit
Frorians are never short of a blade. Frisk them, strip them naked or run them through body-scanners, as soon as you turn your back you'll find a knife in it.
Benefit: At ANY time, even in seemingly impossible situations, the character may make an Agility check. If they succeed, they may equip a knife as a free action that they have drawn from a hidden location. If they fail, they must wait until their circumstances change or until they can fashion a blade from their surroundings (GM's discretion).
Stick 'em With The Pointy End Edit
From a very young age, Frorians are taught how to kill with a knife, the only real way to defend yourself in the crushing proximity of other people in the spires.
Benefit: When using a knife or similar small bladed weapon, they trigger Righteous Fury on a 5 on a D5 or 9-10 on a D10 and automatically pass the test to confirm.
Penalty: However, they dislike long or heavy melee weapons such as swords and axes as they find them unwieldy in such cramped confines. They never get Righteous Fury with such weapons.
A lifetime of sharing stale air with a billion other souls and subsisting on fortified mould-slurry and nutrient supplements has left the character's immune system in tatters.
Penalty: They suffer a -10 resistance to disease, poisons and toxins.