Savage primitives from backward cultures or untamed worlds; what they lack in knowledge of the stars and the secrets of technology, they more than make up for in strength and survivability.
“Caring little is me about your gun. Caring more should be you about my axe!”
–Karl-Va, First Steel of the Red Clans
Feral worlds are planets where the dominant culture is trapped in a primitive state, often much lower technologically than that of other Imperial worlds. This can range from nomadic human tribes, with little more than spears and a mastery over fire, to once-advanced planets now reduced to barbarism from environmental catastrophes, xenos predations, or other worldshattering events. Natives are likely to have grown up without technology, and had to survive by hunting or farming with primitive tools and their own two hands. This makes feral worlders hardy, strong, tough, and able to survive in the worst of conditions.
Life on a feral World
At first glance, feral worlds might appear backward when compared to more technologically advanced worlds. They are indeed trapped in superstition and ignorance, but no less so than the denizens on any Imperial world, and the concept of progress is as unknown here as anywhere else. Their barbaric nature is as pronounced as on other planets, but here it displays a harsh, personal brutality and dispenses with any veneer of higher civilisation. Feral worlders can view weather conditions as signs from the sky-gods, and the remains of ancient devastated civilisations as relics from ancestors who touched the heavens before hubris brought them low. This is no different, however, than a hive labourer who tills powerful machinery through rote actions and dogmatic chants, or reflexively makes the sign of the Aquila before entering a hab-room for the first time. Both see the world around them through a thick fog of superstition, not even knowing that there is more to know. To live in the Imperium is to live in ignorance, an awful but blissful experience compared to the horrible truths that Inquisitors know.
Feral worlds are as important to the Imperium as any of its planets, and each tithes men and materials just like any other world. This means that even if most of the population is ignorant
of other planets, often a ruling elite connects to the Imperium and governs the world for it. Populations on feral worlds are often kept in check by their faith in the Imperial Creed, and the Ecclesiarchy ensures that instilling this faith is the first step when incorporating such a world into the Imperium. On many such worlds, the local religions and beliefs have thus been supplanted by the faith in the Emperor, although it could be that He is known by different names, such as the Sky-Father, Master of Storms, or Star Lord by the primitive natives. Even if a feral worlder knows little of the Imperium, it is doubtless that he has heard tell of the Emperor and was raised to revere Him as a god.
There is a near-limitless variety of feral worlds, each different from the next, often mixing ancient cultures and technological levels in a myriad of combinations. For example, one could be little
more than an alien wilderness of volcanic tundra, where ignorant tribesmen bow down to effigies of the Emperor, whom they call the Father-of-Lightning. Here they hunt flying lizards across deserts of ash and dust, using weapons of black volcanic glass, until the skymen call them to serve beyond the world’s edge, never to return.
Another world could be an endless swamp, covered with complex territories of nomadic tribes who wear the bones and skins of great amphibians, and constantly war with each other for survival. Some show the signs of previously-advanced civilisations, long since blasted to ruins from war or natural catastrophe. Man might live in crude caves nested in crashed orbital towers that could predate the Imperium, or perhaps be of xenos origin. Hunters could use spears tipped with fractal metal shavings to fend off beasts mutated from domestic pets.
Feral worlds are defined only by their limited level of technology, where populations have little choice but to live in a primitive state.
Feral worlders may become inured to the appearance of voidships in their skies and mighty armoured warriors in their cities, their people accepting their place in the universe, perhaps even scorning the sky-men for their feeble reliance on metal trickery when the test of a true man can only be measured in muscle and bone. Feral worlders might one day leave their planet, either taken as part of manpower tithes or as part of an Inquisitor’s warband, but still retain the primal essence their upbringing provided.
Feral World Characters
Feral worlders can be as diverse, and might encompass nomadic hunters, cave dwellers, and village craftsmen. What they have in common is that they are tempered by a hard life of living outside, fighting constantly to survive with little more than the skin on their back and the blade in their hand. This makes the Imperium favour feral worlders as soldiers and warriors, where their brutality and survival instincts serve them well, while their lack of knowledge and their limited understanding of the galaxy matter little.
Many feral world characters took up arms for the Imperium and later used the skills they learnt in the service of an Inquisitor. They are drafted into the Imperial Guard by the millions, whole
regiments formed from single tribes or clans; soon their swords, spears, and shields are replaced with lasguns to fight the enemies of Mankind. It can be a brutal and unforgiving way to leave their surroundings behind, thrust into a war light-years from their home world. Those that survive are destined to become among the best the Imperium has to offer, skilled in the arts of war but retaining their hardy origins, able to adapt and endure where others fail.
They might also leave their world by choice, seeking out the tales and legends they have heard of far-off worlds and men that walk between the stars. These are rare individuals indeed, fighting
their way up from nothing to take their place among the Emperor’s faithful. More likely, feral worlders seek help to explore the stars, impressing an Imperial Acolyte or even an Inquisitor with combat prowess or tracking skills and earning a place at his side.
Some are burdened with the psyker curse. These damned souls can expect only a lifetime of being feared and reviled as shamans, wizards, or oracles. Many face a brutal death at the hands
of their own people, or become a sacrifice to their ancient gods.
Taken away by the Black Ships of the Adeptus Astra Telepathica for sanctioning and training in the use of their gifts, some might in time come to be of use to the Imperium and their new masters.
Sample feral world: Gregorn
Gregorn is a world of violence, where primitives fight each other while struggling to survive against tectonic upheavals and predatory megafauna. The natives favour thick lizard-hides and helms of bone. Their martial societies mask highly nuanced customs, which has led them to butcher more than one expedition to a man for an unknowing insult. Many seem to have an instinctual fear of plasma weaponry, though there are no indications the world ever hosted a
developed civilisation. It is possible, however, that volcanic lava and earthquakes long ago eradicated traces of ancient cities.
Feral World rules
A character from a feral world applies the following benefits during character creation:
Characteristic modifiers: Strength, + Toughness, – Influence
Fate threshold 2
Home World bonus
The Old Ways: In the hands of a feral world character, any Low-Tech weapon loses the Primitive quality (if it had it) and gains the Proven (3) quality.
Home World aptitude
A feral world character starts with 9+1d5 wounds.
Adeptus Arbites, Adeptus Astra Telepathica, Imperial Guard, Outcast