Sepheris Secundus

Population: 1.2 billion
Tithe Grade: Exactus Extremis
Geography: Planet-wide overcontinent, small polar oceans. Mountainous, forested, extensive areas of open mine workings. Arctic climate, atmosphere moisture laden and blizzards constant. Three moons, none inhabited.
Government Type: feudal monarchy
Planetary Governor: Queen Lachryma III
Adept Presence: Very low. Adeptus Ministorum clergy, Adeptus Arbites precinct-fortress located in Icenholm.
Military: Royal Scourges (modern arms, equivalent to standard PDF units), Baronial armies (medieval arms and armament), noble private armies (medieval arms and armament).
Stable Warp Routes: Scintilla, Graf Magna, Tribulation (Scarus sector),Fedrid, Iocanthos
Trade: Sepheris Secundus is the largest exporting planet in the Calixis sector. Without its massive exports of ore, metals, and fuel, the trade of the Calixis sector could not function. Sepheris Secundus relies on imports of food from the sector's agri-worlds. Its vast population makes it a potential supplier of Imperial Guard recruits, although a relatively small proportion of the population would be suitable because of universally poor health, along with the risk of exposing the subjugated masses to the possibility of life outside the mines.

Sepheris Secundus is a world of immense mineral wealth, city-sized mines, millions-strong hordes of serves and the sharpest divide between the elites and the masses in the Calixis sector. It is a grim place of snow and twilight, feral mutants, and lives spent in back-breaking labor deep beneath the ground. The Imperium's eagerness to exploit Sepheris Secundus's vast resources is such that the planet is at once the richest and poorest world in the sector.

Sepheris Secundus's climate is cold and stormy, it's surface obscured by a mantle of cloud, It has no oceans save for the polar seas, so the moisture in its air comes from below the ground, spewed out from failed mine workings or natural geysers that pockmark the planet like pustules. Its surface is split between vast open mines like deep scars in the crust and dense, snow-laden forests broken only by the ruins of failed kingdoms that tried to claim Sepheris Secundus in the past. With its endless blizzards, widespread ignorance, and antiquated methods for doing everything, Sepheris Secundus would be a meaningless backwater were it not for the enormous mineral wealth beneath it's surface.

While the whole Imperium is a feudal empite, feudalism is an extreme on Sepheris Secundus. Everyone born on the planet must have a master, to whom they pay 9/10 of everything they produce, which for most citizens means what they hack from the rock faces of the planet’s mines. Queen Lachryma III, the planet’s absolute monarch, sits at the top of this feudal system. The rights to the labour of the serfs belongs to the barons appointed by he queen and to business consortiums that purchase them from the crown. The queen’s own master is the Imperium, to whom she hands over truly staggering amounts of ore, metals, and raw fuel to fulfill the planet’s tithe. Sepheris Secundus’s tithe is the highest in the Calixix Sector, and without its immense output of raw materials, the economy of the whole province would be badly unsettled.

Two principal forces maintain Sepheris Secundus’s feudal system. The first is the weight of tradition: every serf labouring in the mines is doing what his father did and his grandfather did before that, often on the same rock face. Mothers tell their children tales about the horrible fates met by disobedient serfs who deny the demands of their masters, and the lay preachers who administer the Imperial creed describe no greater sin than having ideas above one’s station.

The second force is physical violence. One of the reasons that Sepheris Secundus’s culture is so primitive by many standards that weaponry and other technology is monopolized by the crown. The Queen’s Royal Scourges are equipped with lasguns, grenades, and chainblades, contrasting with their gaudy, stained-glass-like armor. Though few in number the technological advantage that these troops possess has been enough to put down a great many uprisings in the mines, and the planet’s history is littered with massacres where thousands of serfs fell to volleys of lasgun fire. The barons each have their own forces, some of which is are permitted to use a few high-tech weapons, although most of them are armed with primitive but well-made weapons and armor with which to enforce the baronial will. Meanwhile when the serfs rise up, they do so with improvised weapons and mining equipment. The serfs, even when roused to violence in significant numbers, have never held one of Sepheris Secundus’s mines for very long because of the massive superiority in equipment and training possessed by the forces of their masters. When the baronial armies fail, the Royal Scourges do not. The Royal Scourges answer directly to the Queen which also makes them ideal for keeping the barons themselves in line. Many an overambitious baron has refused to send the queen her rightful tribute, only to find his supposedly elite army cut to pieces by the Royal Scourges.

Order on Sepheris Secundus is enforced by the troops of the various barons. While Sepheris Secundus has some generally observed laws, each baron enforces his own laws in his own way, and some do not bother at all as long as there is no open rebellion. Other barons, by contrast, have troops patrolling the upper mines ensuring that no one wears the wrong color on the wrong day, spits in the street, or fails to use the traditional forms of address. In Icenholm, the capital, the Royal Scourges enforce order and are also sent to restore obedience where it has broken down.

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