“You hail from an Imperial world, one of a million planets united by a belief in the immortal God-Emperor of Mankind. Soldier, fanatic, thief, mercenary, noble: these are some of your many possible
backgrounds. Whatever your previous calling, you are now an Explorer of the void, and your adventure has only just begun. A bewildering variety of worlds are known to the Imperium.
Hailing from hyper-technological democratic societies to grimy feudal populations, the inhabitants of countless worlds offer fealty and devotion to the God-Emperor of Mankind and the Imperial Creed taught by His servants.”
Life on an Imperial World
The Imperium covers such an utterly vast area of the galaxy that it is impossible to conjure an image of a “typical” Imperial world—no such thing exists. Amongst the uncounted worlds of
man, there exists endless variety. Agri-worlds, for instance, are little more than vast farms, producing food for Imperial hives and legions. Mining worlds produce ore and raw minerals for
use in the vast factories of the forge worlds. Cardinal worlds are ruled by the Ministorum, given over entirely to the priesthood of the Imperial Creed—the Ecclesiarchy—whilst the worlds of the Schola Progenium are places of stern discipline and instruction where the orphaned millions of the honoured dead are brought up to take their part in the machinery of the Imperium’s rule. Stranger still are the garden and pleasure worlds that serve as havens for Imperial nobles who possess wealth beyond measure. Paradise, however, comes at a price, for temptation and heresy are sometimes rife in these places. Some Imperial worlds are utterly remote, having had no contact with the rest of humanity for centuries. A broad diversity of cultures and societies is to be expected from planet to planet, sometimes even within the same solar system.
The closer a world lies to Holy Terra—the home planet of mankind, far from the Calixis Sector—the more important, advanced, and well-governed it is likely to be. Far-flung planets on the fringes, on the other hand, are more likely to be frontier worlds, left to their own devices for much of the time and under the constant threat of physical or spiritual attack. Many worlds
have a technological base to match that of Holy Terra, whilst many more have devolved into feudal backwaters with little more than black powder technology. These hardscrabble worlds, as
well as those at the periphery of the Imperium, make excellent recruiting grounds for the Imperial Guard, Space Marines, and a Rogue Trader’s low-deck crew, as nothing assures obedience quite so well as fear, and life on such places often winnows out the weak early on. Upon such backwater planets, the Imperial Cult casts its influence through superstition and is often seen through a lens of local legend and folklore, demanding fealty to the immortal God-Emperor who, for many citizens of the Imperium, may seem so distant as to be little more than a
myth or a vital supernatural guardian holding the terrors of the night at bay.
Most major scientific advances in the Imperium come from the rediscovery of forgotten secrets
from the Dark Age of Technology, and innovation is forbidden—the powerful Adeptus Mechanicus of Mars maintain an iron-handed monopoly on all such matters of high techno-arcana. The reliance on ancient template systems, proven patterns, and a tangled web of contracts and dispensations from the Machine Cult to the planet’s rulers, not to mention the availability of local materials and imports, often creates a bizarre mishmash of tech-use on many Imperial worlds. The method of government employed by the diverse Imperial worlds are equally varied at the planetary level, with monarchies, republics, and oligarchies all presents in numerous
iterations and forms. Ultimately, however, most Imperial worlds are ruled by a planetary governor (sometimes known as an Imperial Commander) who has final authority over the world
as the Imperium’s chosen representative. Many imperial worlds support a thriving ruling class of some sort, known usually as its nobility (regardless of any peerage involved, or its absence).
A world’s nobility frequently assume all positions of power and privilege that are not inherently part of a wider Imperial organisation, gathering wealth and authority over the planet’s
common masses to themselves.
Religion, superstition, and fear dominates much of society within the Imperium, and deviancy from the standards expected from a loyal servant of the God-Emperor is rarely tolerated by the powers-that-be. Common people place great faith in honest hatred to guard them against the manifold horrors of the universe and find genuine spiritual solace in the Imperial Creed of the Ministorum to uplift and protect them.
Whilst each world of the Imperium is charged with enforcing its own local law and maintaining proper control of its people and environs (usually via enforcer cadres or the household forces of its nobility) law and order across the Imperium as a whole is the charge of the Adeptus Arbites. A grim and dutybound force whose authority, given by the High Lords of Terra themselves, knows no bounds of planet or border, the Arbites are charged to maintain high Imperial law, to hunt fugitives between worlds, to make sure planetary tithes are upheld and no local ruler oversteps his bounds.
Imperial World Characters
To have broken away from the dogmatic constraints of Imperial life, your character must either be of exceptional spirit or have true potential. Perhaps you are an adventurer or soldier, or a
true believer beginning a long pilgrimage to prove your faith; maybe you are a mercenary, brought in to defend a planet during wartime. You have undoubtedly seen conflict, madness,
or perhaps even heresy, and now, for whatever reason, you are embarking into unknown voids in the God-Emperor’s name.
Characteristic Modifiers: +3 Willpower
Blessed Ignorance: Imperial citizens know that the proper ways of living are those tried and tested by the generations that have gone before. Horror, pain, and death are the just rewards of curiosity, for those that look too deeply into the mysteries of the universe are all too likely to find malefic beings looking back at them. Their wise blindness imposes a –5 penalty on Forbidden Lore (Int) Tests.
Hagiography: Widespread scriptures describing the lives—and, more importantly, the deaths—of the Emperor’s blessed saints and warmasters, and the sequence of endless wars, crusades, and terrors that make up history, grant Imperial citizens a comparatively wide knowledge of the Imperium of Man. Imperial worlders gain Common Lore (Imperial Creed) (Int), Common Lore (Imperium) (Int), and Common Lore (War) (Int) as untrained Basic Skills.
Liturgical Familiarity: Surrounded as they are by the zealous and the faithful, Imperial citizens are accustomed to the tutelage of the Ecclesiarchy. Imperial world characters gain Literacy (Int) and Speak Language (High Gothic) (Int) as untrained Basic Skills.
Starting Wounds: Imperial world characters double their starting Toughness Bonus and add 1d5 to the result to determine their starting number of Wounds.
Starting Fate Points: Roll 1d10 to determine an Imperial world character’s starting Fate Points. On a 1–8, he begins with 3 Fate Points; on a 9–10, he begin with 4 Fate Points.