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Sourcebook: Persica

Introduction
Finished, at last! Sourcebook: Persica began as something of a jest between friends, at the expense of one of those friends in particular; he prefers Robert, but we all call him Bobby. We call him a lot of things, actually. He has flaming red hair and an unsquishable personality – believe me, I have tried to squish it – and so it was only natural that we yoked the poor guy with the expected nickname of Ginger. Too soon this became insufficient fraternal punishment and somewhere along the way Bobby acquired Cinnamon, as well as some R-Rated names that would be best left out here.

One moniker stuck. I don’t recall exactly where it came from, but it’s what we call Bobby most often: Peaches. This nickname was fairly fresh when our circle of nerds renewed their pre-occupation with Warhammer 40K. Bobby had recently joined the Oregon National Guard and it was a given that we talked him into playing Imperial Guard.

I think I’m the only one in our nerd herd that insists on painting his miniatures before using them on the table. I’m not as good as some of my friends, but pretty good nonetheless if I do say so myself. Bobby claims to have no time and also demonstrates no patience for the hobby aspect. He just wants to play. In a fit of monumental idiocy, I offered to paint his minis for him in my spare time. So we sat down and thumbed through the I-Guard codex looking at the paint schemes. Bobby wanted to go his own way and do something different, so we worked out a paint scheme he liked.

Now we just needed to know where his Guard were from. Bobby thought it would be cool to do a back story and, with my great love of fluff, I agreed. It wasn’t long before I was brainstorming names and then it hit me. I looked up an article in the Wikipedia and found what I was looking for. Persica. From Prunus persica, the peach. Perfect.

And so Persica began its development. It wasn’t long before the initial regimental fluff write-up grew into a world-building project that encompassed not only Persica but the entire sector and the other worlds within it. Ziniger, a slightly altered version of the Latin name for ginger; Cassia, a species of cinnamon, Armenica, from Prunus armenica, the apricot – these all made their way into the project along with many other aspects of personal experience. I wanted to do more on each of the planets in the sector, but I felt I should focus more on Persica since that was the primary topic.

The result is the write-up below, which I structured kind of like a codex. It’s a fair bit smaller and doesn’t include special characters or rules. They may be included in the write-up I’m doing for the Persican 501st Black Lance, and if combined could make a fair pass at becoming a “codex”, but at the moment it feels more like a supplement, so “sourcebook” seems more fitting. Included here are maps and at some point I will add pics of real-life Persicans I painted up for Bobby. He seems to dig his Imperial Guard and their back story. Hopefully you will too.

Iechyd da!
 

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The Benelith Sector

The Benelith Sector is located in the southern region of the Segmentum Obscurus, near the border with the Segmentum Solar, to the galactic south of Cadia. Expansion from the initial colonies in the Persican Cluster and later annexation of the local worlds formed the Imperial sector as it is now.

This territory is to the galactic east of a direct route between Cadia and Holy Terra, off the beaten path navigationally speaking. Combined with its relatively small size, the fact makes the Benelith Sector fairly remote and vulnerable.

The history of the Benelith Sector is shrouded in mystery, though rumours persist that it is somehow connected to Lothar, a legendary figure now revered as an Imperial saint. Who Lothar was exactly remains the focal point of the mystery. It is agreed, though, that Lothar was responsible for first bringing word of the God-Emperor to Persica and from there the entire sector.

Overview
The Benelith Sector is quite small relative to most within the Imperium. A mere thirteen worlds, spread across three sub-sectors, comprise the entire sector. Only two worlds, Persica and the remote hive world of Saskitoba, have sizeable populations. But with three agri-worlds and two forge worlds providing food and materiel, the sector produces far more than it needs. Even after tithes, the exported surpluses generate enough wealth to keep the Benelith Sector well-armed – a necessity in so many Imperial regions.

To spinward is the Cadian Gate and its eponymous fortress world, currently the ultimate destination for the majority of the sector’s exports, particularly Imperial Guard regiments. To trailing is the border with the Segmentum Solar and the long road to Holy Terra. To rimward, the major worlds of Mahr’douk, Volscar, and Bren’s World.

Persica, situated in the Persican Cluster, is the sector capital. While technically graded a feudal world, the primary Imperial administration is centralised on and around this world. With the Mechanicus forge world of Ziniger and the fecund farm planet of Cassia, Persica forms a triumvirate of worlds that provide a stable core for the sector.

Sector Governor Zedward Amaethon rules in the name of the Adeptus Terra from The Benelith, a colossal station in orbit of Persica’s moon, Armenica, that pre-dates the sector itself. Formally appointed by the High Lords of Terra eighty-four years ago, Amaethon inherited the position from his aunt Faena and works hard to maintain the status quo. The Amaethon Dynasty has succeeded in this since the 37th Millennium.



The Sub-sectors

The Persican Cluster
Six worlds comprise the Cluster, which formed the original colonial region. Now it occupies the north and central areas of the Benelith Sector and includes a shrine world dedicated to the patron saint, Lothar.

Persica
The capital world for the sector will be covered in more detail below.

Ziniger
A metal and ore-rich planet, Ziniger is one of two forge worlds in the sector. As might be expected, it is possessed and populated by the Adeptus Mechanicus. Originally colonised in the 37th Millennia, the forge world produces most of the vehicles, equipment, and weapons for the sector’s Imperial forces. Ziniger is home to the proud and mighty Titan Legion, the Legio Excruciatus. Among the world’s greatest achievements is the construction of The Benelith.

Cassia
The happy circumstance of Cassia’s equatorial landmasses combined with a negligible axial tilt makes for an agri-world with tremendous harvest potential. A wide variety of grains, fruits, vegetables, and livestock provide a bounty large enough not only to feed the entire subsector, but also to meet its Imperial tithes and export a sizeable surplus to neighbouring sectors.

Threnody
A small moon orbiting Cassia, Threnody is a dedicated cemetery world for the fallen heroes and defenders of the Benelith Sector. Geologically inactive, the surface is cool and grey, with a near-constant precipitation ranging from fog and rain to the occasional snowfall.

Lothar
Dedicated as a holy shrine world to Saint Lothar. Typical of such worlds, Lothar is dominated by a single population centre of cathedrals and monuments, the more majestic of which are carved and built with pale brightstone from tribal quarries on neighbouring Cascadia. The marble-like brightstone is prized for its rich white colouring and golden veins that streak through it. Governed by the Ecclesiarchy, and maintained by clergymen and pilgrims, the shrine is populated with artisans and visitors and explorers, pilgrims all. The populace itself tends to be temporary, though arrivals are roughly equal to departures. Of note to visitors, all statuary and images of Saint Lothar bear faces that are completely featureless.

Clakamass
A large penal moon, orbiting a gas giant called Massilia. Clakamass is a barren and lifeless rock, save for the underhive-like warrens of the prison complex that house tens of thousands of criminals from across the sector.


The Maglothin Reach
Named for the venerated missionary Jaughn Maglothin, the sub-sector contains three worlds and covers the east and southeast regions of the Benelith Sector.

Saskitoba
Hive world with a population exceeding that of Persica and, indeed, of any world in the sector. Its remote location in the southeast corner of the sector makes Saskitoba less desirable as an economic and administrative capital. Primary exports include munitions of all sizes and vertash, a potent mineral fertilizer. Saskitoba relies on neighbouring Kai Mahina for food and is an excellent source of Imperial Guard recruits. Saskitoba is a secondary base for Battlefleet Persica.

Kai Mahina
An ocean world stippled with extensive archipelagos and island chains that provide for bases of operation and processing for seafood and edible marine-plant farms. Luxury ocean liners ply a fair trade in tourism, offering spectacular views of Kai Mahina’s four moons: Kana, Kala, Elikapeka, and Iuliane.

Cascadia
A feral jungle world, Cascadia’s largest landmass lies along the equator, with large islands at both poles. Rugged terrains of canyons and mesas, plateaux and gorges, break up the extensive rivers with breathtaking waterfalls. Famed for its native brightstone, Cascadia’s more powerful tribes control quarries and trade for food and weapons.


The Serran Expanse
Named for prominent Rogue Trader and explorer Gage Serran, the sub-sector contains four worlds and covers the west and southwest regions of the Benelith Sector.

Punctus Corona
Also more simply called Crown Point by non-Mechanicus residents and visitors, it is an arid and mineral-rich forge world. Primary landmasses are near the polar regions and the climate is cool to bitter cold, which bothers the Mechanicus adepts that populate the planet hardly at all. Punctus Corona manufactures most of the gaseous and chemical components required for various Imperial technologies. In orbit, the shipyard complexes produce civilian vessels and warships for the Imperial Navy. Danaed, Punctus Corona’s sole moon, is currently being extensively mined.

Meldra Mar
Designated as an ocean world, its small landmasses argue the classification. The terrain is dominated by marshes, moors, and flood plains, making livestock rather limited. Nevertheless, or perhaps consequently, Meldran bovex is highly prized by the sector’s elite and epicureans.

Arawn
A feudal world with post-gunpowder technology. The political structure is byzantine to say the least; many noble houses have attempted to claim supremacy only to be pulled down by the swollen aristocracy. Prominence and ostentation invites retribution and so wealth and status are either hidden or presented in an understated fashion. The only doors on Arawn are closed doors and the appearance of weakness is a weapon to be feared. A lethargic government acts in secrecy when it acts at all. Unsurprisingly, assassination is a highly developed (industry) – assassins from this world are highly skilled.

Pulvis
Once the homeworld of a xenos species, Pulvis is only now beginning to attract pioneers and colonists. A frontier world, its small towns are generally centred around mines and other resources. Most of these resources, and indeed the towns, tend to be controlled by horse gangs run by powerful bosses. Pulvis has three moons: Paxis, Elpis, and Morden - Peace, Hope, and Death.
 

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Timeline

Note: This timeline includes details lost to history, but perhaps not irretrievably so.

M25 - The Age of Strife: pre-Crusade Persica becomes isolated by powerful warp storms. What civilisation existed regresses to a more barbaric state.

M29 - Due to psychic shockwaves engulfing the galaxy, every pre-Persican with the psyker ability or gene dies. No psykers are born on Persica hereafter.

M30“Every Word Bearer fleet will be cast to the winds of fate, sailing where they will. We will reach farther from Terra than any other Legion, pushing the Imperium’s boundaries with each world we take.”
-Lorgar Aurelian, Primarch of the Word Bearers Legion (from The First Heretic by Aaron Dembski-Bowden)

An element of the 3855th Expeditionary Fleet arrives through the Velamina Nebula into what will become the Benelith Sector and approach a planet the fleet designates Thirty-Eight Fifty-Five Oh-Eight. The world that will be called Saskitoba in millennia to come is home to a human colony given to worshipping a pantheon of gods and heroes. The planet’s Council of Kings refuses to accept a higher authority, denouncing the Emperor for his pretensions. It does not help that the Council’s elite guard are armoured in blue and gold, a sour reminder of the Ultramarines Legion and the events on Monarchia. Chapter Master Korron Ven of the Bloodied Visage moves on to the next world as the Crescent Moon chapter scours all civilisation from 3855-08.

Thirty-Eight Fifty-Five Oh-Nine: Korron Ven makes planetfall after extensive orbital surveys. There are scattered tribes all over the northern continents and two small empires forming on the southern. Korron Ven meets with the leadership of the larger of the two burgeoning empires, and decides the inhabitants adhere closely enough to Imperial doctrine for compliance. Major General Karlis Persicus is left in command as governor.

The planet’s inhabitants recognise their Terran roots through stories and legends of ages past. When the 3855th Expedition, as represented by Korron Ven and General Persicus, descend from the heavens offering to reclaim the planet and return it to the fold of the Imperium of Man, Toriana vo Quillia - Queen of E’Vanovarium - readily accepts, assuring Chapter Master Korron Ven that the people of her world will embrace the Imperium. This is good enough for Korron Ven, who is eager to rejoin the rest of the expedition with a compliant world in his wake. Persicus is assigned stewardship of the planet until Toriana is fully educated in Imperial governance. Persicus undertakes the task himself, even as Toriana continues to prosecute a war with neighbouring A’Edocalifaxis. To expedite the process so that Toriana can focus on the bigger picture, Persicus orders a single regiment from the Imperial garrison, the Ostian 24th Infantry, to assist Toriana’s armies. The result is an unqualified slaughter and the Queen is left shaken. A single regiment utterly crushed her rivals, who were considered to be worthy adversaries.

Persicus and Toriana grow close and eventually wed, consolidating the Imperial military with the Queen’s realm. With the birth of their son Torix, planetary governorship becomes hereditary. When Persicus dies years later, Queen Toriana re-christens the world Persica in honour of her star-born prince consort. What the world’s name was prior has never been mentioned.

In life, Persicus is a secret adherent to the Lectitio Divinitatus and a firm believer in Lorgar’s original mission. Very quietly, he shares his faith with Toriana and his family. After his death and as generations pass, the book’s teachings are spread. Lorgar’s name is transmuted through the centuries, eventually becoming Lothar. Lothar is depicted as faceless but radiating a golden aura from his head and hands, and venerated for bringing word of the Divine Emperor of Mankind to Persica. The original copy of Persicus’ Lectitio Divinitatus is eventually transcribed and circulated many times, becoming the Liber Divinitatus.

The events of the Horus Heresy draw the focus of the Imperium and Persica is left in relative isolation.

401.M34 - The Howling: A Black Templars strike force kills the Cacodominus, a powerful alien psyker; the resultant psychic death scream burns out the minds of a billion astropaths, including those in the Persican capital of Vanovar, and disrupts the Astronomican. Millions of ships are lost and entire sub-sectors lose contact with the Imperium. Amongst the ships lost are a small surveyor fleet headed in the direction of Persica. The planet itself is cut off from the Imperium with no psykers to communicate. Radio messages are broadcast into the void. It will be three millenia before they are heard.

414.M37 - The Wings of Light, an Astartes strike cruiser of the Arkangels chapter, intercepts Persica’s 3000-year-old radio signal and investigates. The Arkangels descend upon Vanovar and meet with King Tal Essen o Quila. Persica has remained a devout world though the Astartes are curious as to how they came to be so. Since no records of Persica exist, Tal Essen imparts the legend of Saint Lothar. He shows the Arkangels illuminated copies of the “original” Liber Divinitatus; statuary of the Dagdus-Imperator, who is always hooded and bearing a sword point-down (a positive omen for the Dark Angels successors); statuary of Saint Lothar, always faceless and bald-headed; and portraits and tapestries of Prince Consort Persicus, known as the Beloved or the Star-Born. The oldest images of Persicus clearly show him to be a Crusade-era Imperial commander.

Another curiosity is that while Vanovar and Califax remain relatively advanced in tech (though sorely lagging behind the rest of the Imperium), the northern landmasses are populated by many dozens of feudal realms of pre-gunpowder technology. The monarchs of Persica have isolated their territory while at the same time watching over the northern vassals. At one time, the cordon was maintained by atmospheric patrols of Valkyries and Vultures, but with dwindling numbers of tech adepts and techpriests, advanced assets fall into disrepair. Eventually the cordon comes to be patrolled by fleets of ocean-going ironclads powered by electricity and fossil fuel engines. Any northern ships found within the cordon are destroyed. On rare occasions a northern ship will slip through or a survivor from a destroyed ship will make it to shore. When this happens, the northerners are quickly taken into custody, re-educated, and set to work somewhere in the hives. They are never permitted to leave.

On Persica, The Imperial Cult is known as the Church of Terra and preaches the Liber Divinitatus. Shepherds and confessors minister to the small and large holdings within the realms of the north, overseen by a bishop who presides over the congregation within one of the duchies. All bishops are either from the hives of Imperial Persica or are northerners who have served as ministers and are considered to possess sufficient loyalty, faith and zeal to be sent south for education and training under the auspices of the Archbishopric. The Church is based in Vanovar and headed by the Archbishop of Persica. The thirteen bishops also act as advisors to the vassal realms, exerting the influence of the monarch in the name of the Emperor. In with the advice are strong warnings against traveling too far south, beyond the archipelago called the Tears of the Emperor; and woe to those who ignore this advice and are forever lost. Imperial Persicans, particularly the clergy, refer to the northern landmasses and feudal realms collectively as The Garden, in reference to both its wild natural environment and the relative innocence of its denizens.

Satisfied that Persica is fit to return again to the fold of the Imperium, the Arkangels send word to the Administratum and Segmentum Command at Cypra Mundi. Of the Astartes captain, Master Seraphael of the Third Company, King Tal Essen begs the honour of having Persica be a recruiting world for the Arkangels. The honour is granted and a chapel-barracks is constructed on the northernmost of the Lion Islands, off the northeast coast of Ajanta.

419.M37 - Surveyors and adepts are sent to Persica from Cypra Mundi. The planet is confirmed to be suitable for repatriation. Persica enters a period of growth and prosperity as an astropath choir reconnects the world to the Imperium, trade is established, and centuries-overdue upgrades to technologies are facilitated by an army of Mechanicus adepts.

423.M37 - A receding Velamina Nebula reveals a metal- and ore-rich world. It is immediately claimed by the Priesthood of Mars. Within a few months, colonies are established on the world now called Ziniger, and also on Cassia. The Dagdus-Imperator is greatly praised in both his aspects of Emperor and Omnissiah.

546.M37 - Cassia produces vast quantities of grain and livestock, enough to feed the burgeoning Persican Cluster. The remaining eighty percent of Cassia’s yield is tithed and exported to neighbouring systems and sectors. Ziniger’s forges manufacture equipment, weapons, and vehicles for the local Imperial Guard regiments. Colonies are established on Saskitoba for the first time since the Great Crusade.

868.M37 - Persican confessor Jaughn Maglothin establishes the Excelsius Mission on newly-settled Kai Mahina, which will be the foundation for the Church of Terra on the ocean world. Saskitoba’s cities of Rexmont, Pegatoon, and Tirana already rival those on Persica. Cassia still manages to feed the region but surpluses are much smaller.

907.M37 - Jaughn Maglothin retires from his position as Archbishop of Kai Mahina to lead a new mission to the feral jungle world of Cascadia. Maglothin is killed when a rival tribe raids the settlement where the Excelsius Mission is located. The Mission survives and the Imperial Cult takes root amongst the Cascadian tribes. Maglothin is martyred and will eventually lend his name to the sub-sector his holy works helped to civilise.

912.M37 - Kai Mahina’s food production alleviates most of the pressure from Cassia, restoring surplus margins and export income.

103.M38 - Pegatoon Hive, the smallest of the three on Saskitoba, is struck hard by a virulent epidemic. As the infrastructure collapses riots become common and anarchy takes hold. The Imperial Guard is called in when the local PDF is decimated by plague, casualties, and desertion. The 8th Saskitoba Rifles and 2nd Saskitoba Dragoons are supplemented by the Persican 6th Black Lance. The hive is torn apart in the ensuing action. As the Guard regiments begin to re-assert control, an Arkangels assault squad deploys from a Thunderhawk, led by Chaplain Gavriel. The Astartes delve deep into the underhive, locating and exterminating the Chaos cult and its leader, the self-proclaimed Plaguewitch Amberly. Gavriel mounts the witch’s head on Pegatoon’s tallest spire before having the remains of the hive reduced to ash by orbital bombardment.

190.M38 - Rogue Trader Gage Serran and his Navigator partner Dexa Samonios chart the region west of Persica and discover the planet that will one day be Arawn. Serran sells the coordinates to the Administratum, using the income to fund dedicated exploration.

199.M38 - After nearly a decade of fruitless effort, Serran stumbles upon a world of enormous mineral wealth. After careful negotiations with a ranking magos of the Mechanicum on Ziniger, Punctus Corona becomes the second forge world and Gage Serran becomes tremendously wealthy. Navigator House Samonios rises to prominence; many scions of the House are offered duties on the new warships of the growing Battlefleet Persica.

202.M38 - Having established Serran Void Logistics, a freight shipping enterprise headquartered in Hive Califax on Persica, House Serran earns enough to fully fund patriarch Gage’s wanderlust. Most of the west and southwest is charted by Serran and Samonios in their famous ship, the Grey Eminence, and eventually the Rogue Trader lends his name to the sub-sector he explored.

206.M38 - Permanent settlements are established on Arawn. Earlier attempts fail when colonies come into violent conflict. Garrisons of Imperial Guard pacify the new colonies until order can be ensured.

271.M38 - Punctus Corona completes its orbital shipyards and begins producing warships for the Navy, The first keel laid however, is for the Grim Reminder, a Hunter-class destroyer destined for the Arkangels on Persica.

533.M38 - Meldra Mar is settled and becomes the third agri-world for the sector.

719.M38 - The Benelith, a colossal station in orbit around Persica’s moon, Armenica, is completed. The Sector Governor Dorinis Amaethon takes up residence in the Blackspire at the pinnacle of the station.

720.M38 - The Persican Cluster becomes a sub-sector as the boundaries for the region are re-drawn. The Maglothin Reach and Serran Expanse are included in the new sector, christened the Benelith Sector by Lord Amaethon. The Navis Nobilite of Battlefleet Persica opt to retain the fleet’s traditional designation. The Circle of Archbishops is mandated by the Ecclesiarchy to elect a leader; Archbishop Shaemis Stone of Persica is the first Cardinal of Benelith.

947.M38 - A sentient vulpoid race resembling Persican timberfoxes is found on a lush world in the southern reaches of the sector by an explorator expedition. A landing team is captured by locals and incarcerated. The explorators observe that the civilisation appears to be pre-space flight industrial. By all accounts they are treated well, even as they are questioned. A language barrier prevents any meaningful communication, the locals “speaking” in growls, whines, and barks. The explorators spend most of their words reciting scripture and catechisms. To their surprise, the team is released and returned to the area where they made planetfall, their shuttle apparently untouched by the aliens. The expedition makes space immediately for Persica. Fifteen months later, Persican Black Lances, Naval aviation wings, and elements of both Legio Excruciatus from Ziniger and Legio Sicarius from Punctus Corona descend upon the xenos world. The vulpoid aliens are exterminated and all traces of their civilisation are reduced to so much dust. The planet is later colonised and given the now-apt name of Pulvis.

982.M38 - The Church of Terra constructs a monumental shrine to Saint Lothar on a barren world named for the saint himself. Serran Void Logistics ferries pilgrims to and from Lothar aboard the Serran Sojourner.

012.M39 - The Adepta Sororitas are represented in the sector, establishing Orders Hospitaller, Famulous, and Dialogous. Of the Orders Militant, The Order of the Bloody Rose maintains a commandery on Persica; the Order of the Sacred Rose, a commandery on Saskitoba.

111.M39 - The penal world of Clakamass is colonised and founded as a prison for the sector’s criminals.

636.M39 – Cassia’s moon Threnody is designated the memorial world for the sector’s heroes and fallen.

995.M40 - Thirteen Persican Black Lances, along with many other sector regiments, join the Macharian Crusade. Only elements of the Persican 324th Black Lance return.

004.M41 - Persican 324th returns home to a hero’s welcome. Ceremonies honour their valour and the memories of the fallen. The Macharian Cenotaph is erected on Threnody.

012.M41 - The elements of the Arkangels 3rd Company in the Benelith Sector are recalled to join the effort of quelling the Macharian Heresy.

078.M41 - Master Satariel of the Arkangels 10th Company, accompanied by Chaplain Agathon and Scout-Sergeant Vandyne, prevail upon Queen Maeve o Aquila for a recruiting campaign to replenish losses from both Imperial and feudal populations. Though she understands the request is a formality, she consents without hesitation. The Arkangels flagship Highest Calling arrives and a Grand Tourney is held.

216.M41 - A coalition of seditious Houses incite civil war on Arawn. Persican 381st and 390th Black Lances vigourously crush the rebels, though a startling number of field officers are killed by local guild assassins.

444.M41 - Mutant uprising in the underhive of Pegatoon overwhelms local Arbites. The 94th Saskitoba Rifles spend eight months scouring the entire underhive of mutants to dubious effect. The hive gains a reputation for being unlucky – to say the least.

632.M41 - Eldar pirates attack Serran Voyager and her escort Knight of Cassia at the edge of the Punctus Corona system. An Arkangels task force consisting of the frigate Shieldbreaker, and the strike cruisers Wings of Light and Luminous Rage hunt down and destroy the pirates’ vessels and base.

742.M41 - Cambriel becomes the first Persican-born Astartes captain as he is promoted to Master of the Arkangels 10th Company.

756.M41 - Persican 403rd, 404th, and 405th Black Lances are committed to Warmaster Slaydo’s Sabbat Worlds Crusade.

758.M41 - Persican 398th Black Lance, led by Lance General Darius Querica, battles orks from the Snake Bites clan on the feudal world of Tartessia. The tide is turned when a charge of Leman Russ Vanquishers and Exterminators outflanks a pivotal enemy position and routs the massing ork infantry and armour.

770.M41 - Persican 417th, 418th, and 419th Black Lances are joined by the 128th Saskitoba Rifles, 85th Saskitoba Dragoons, elements from Legio Excruciatus, and the 1st Clakamass Penal Legion. The battlegroup is committed to halting a growing Waaagh! Wazdakka.

822.M41 - Persican 429th is the first Benelithian unit to battle the Tau, in an effort to oust the xenos occupation of Nimbosa, a world on the other side of the galaxy. Unbeknownst to the Lance’s commanders, they are transported using the Jericho-Maw Warp Gate.

863.M41 - Persican 434th is annihilated during the Saint Cyllia Massacre.

899.M41 - Persican 450th breaks a force of Warboss Langtoof’s orks besieging a fortress-convent of Battle Sisters of the Argent Shroud on the shrine world of Blanchette.

927.M41 - Persican 462nd assists in the defence of the forge world of Siluria from raiding orks, earning awards for valour. Colonel Tavian Axipita is promoted to Lance General.

934.M41 - Persican 468th and 469th are committed to forces battling vanguard tendrils of Tyranid Hive Fleet Moloch.

935.M41 - Persican 471st joins an offensive on Bren’s World with regiments from over two dozen worlds, failing to take the fortifications at Haven’s Spire.

968.M41 - Lieutenant General Tavian Axipita leads the Persican 488th, 489th, 490th, and 491st to assist in putting down a rebellion on Khai-Zhan that is being led by the Night Lords Traitor Legion. Only remnants of the 490th survive to aid the Cadian 122nd in the recapturing the capital city of Vogen. General Axipita leads his remaining men home and is promoted to the Persican High Command.

979.M41 - Necrolord Rotian and his Chaos Plague Marine warband are all but destroyed by the Persican 494th Black Lance and 207th Saskitoba Rifles on Fomoria. Rotian manages to escape.

986.M41 - Persican 499th is decimated battling against Waaagh! Bigtoof on Excovar. Surviving Colonel Davien Kor and his executive officer, Lieutenant Colonel Turcot Hax, return to Persica. Kor is charged with mustering a 500th Black Lance.

990.M41 – Lance General Davien Kor leads the Persican 500th in a decisive defeat of rebel forces on Valskr IV. Colonel Turcot Hax is decorated for his stern leadership.

995.M41 - The 500th assaults a space hulk that wanders into the Ziniger system, exterminating the orks infesting it and securing the hulk for the forge world’s Mechanicus.

998.M41 - The celebrated 500th joins the Third War for Armageddon, under the operational command of Commissar Yarrick.

415999.M41 - An understrength 500th is rotated out of active deployment on Armageddon.

990999.M41 - En route to Persica, the 500th joins a task force assaulting the Eldar Craftworld Altansar. The assault fails and only twelve Persicans survive to retreat, including Colonel Hax, Captain Cael Scorpis, and Sergeant Tavio Archer. Lance General Kor leads a doomed charge to buy his men time to escape.

687001.M42 - The 500th arrives home. After a period of mourning, a muster call goes out to both hives and the northern duchies. The 501st Black Lance under the command of Lance General Turcot Hax is inundated with volunteers.

783001.M41 – Lance General Hax selects the best of the volunteers for the regiments of the 501st. The remainder number enough to form the 502nd and 503rd Black Lances.
 

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Imperial Reference

Persica

[
cf class civilised world (Gamma), Segmentum Obscurus]
Cross reference: Armageddon, Cadia, Excovar, Fomoria, Khai-Zhan, Nimbosa, Varskr IV.



Segmentum Obscurus
System: Persica (system primary named Auym)
Sector: Benelith
Sub-Sector: Persican Cluster
Sector Governor: Zedward Amaethon

Population: 7 billion
Planet Grade: Feudal World

Geography: Climate temperate with small equatorial deserts. Four main continents - Kaea: mountainous and heavily forested, extensive plains and hills; Evora: plains and hills with small equatorial deserts, connected to Kaea in the northwest by land bridge; Ajantis: southern temperate landmass (Hive Vanovar), Daeva: southern temperate landmass (Hive Califax). The remaining surface is ocean. One moon: Armenica.
Government Type: Feudal Monarchy
Planetary Governor: Queen Reannon II o Aquila
Adept Presence: Adeptus Terra, Administratum, Adeptus Ministorum (Church of Terra), Adeptus Astra Telepathica (Astropathic Choir at Hive Vanovar), Adeptus Arbites, Adeptus Astartes (Arkangels Chapter), Ordos of the Holy Inquisition.
Military: Azurian Guard (PDF), ducal armies, noble private armies.
Military Quality: Poor quality (feudal) to high quality (PDF).
Trade: Persica is a world of immense forests and the primary exporter of wood and wood-based products in the sector. The feudal population provides for its own food through farming and fishing. The Imperial hives receive imports of food from nearby Cassia. Feudal and Imperial populations make for an excellent source of Imperial Guard recruits.

Military and Governance
Aestimare: E324
Imperial Fleet Presence: Moderate
Governor’s Capital: Vanovar Hive
Planetary Garrisons: Fortress Telamon, The Stone
Imperial Garrison Strength: 350,000
Planetary Draft: 40,000 per annum
Closest Space Marine Chapter: Arkangels
Prefix Inquisitoria: Stable

Production
Tithe Grade: Solutio Extremis
Chief Exports: Manpower, Wood
Average Warp Travel Duration from Terra: 20 months



Persica System
The Imperial world of Persica is the second planet from its primary, orbiting a yellow star by the name of Auym (pronounced OW-ihm), a name that one might only learn after a concerted effort to discover it. No one knows how the star got its name and rarely is its name ever actually used. Persicans both Imperial and feudal refer to it simply as “the sun”. As such, the system is named for its most populous planet.

The first world in the system is a terrestrial dwarf planet called Ferrica, made up of rock and heavy metals. As Ferrica rotates on its axis the side facing the primary is molten, cooling to near absolute zero on the night side. Any atmosphere Ferrica might once have had has long been stripped away by the sun.

The third planet, orbiting much further out, is a minor gas giant called Adagion and The Rubica is a thin and strung-out asteroid field near the edge of the Persica system. Both are mined for their resources and host numerous industrial facilities.
 

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Persica
With a diameter of over 12,000 kilometres and an equatorial circumference of about 40,000 kilometres, Persica is roughly the size of Holy Terra. The planet has four major landmasses. Kaea, the largest by far, is heavily forested and abounding in young, tall, craggy mountains and swiftly flowing rivers, and stretches across most of the northern and western hemispheres. Evora is connected to northeastern Kaea by a landbridge on its northwestern coast, with mountains in the north and south, some forests and lakes, and the large Dalusa Desert in the region of Cantabria. Ajanta, a large island continent in the central southern hemisphere and home to Hive Vanovar and Fortress Telamon, is more tropical in climate with some jungles and mountains in the south. Daeva, a smaller island continent to the west of Ajanta, is home to Hive Califax. Near the equator and between Kaea and Evora is an extensive archipelago called the Emperor’s Tears. The leading theory, put forth by the Magos Geologis Glodu Minutor in 787.M39, is that the two northern continents were once a single landmass, but that wearing away of the southern coastline allowed the Abartic Ocean to flood the interior lowlands forming both the archipelago and the Excelsian Sea.

Feudal Persica
The northern continents of Kaea and Evora, and the archipelago called the Emperor’s Tears, are home to nearly a billion people in a technologically and politically feudal society. Many are clustered in and around the great walled cities of the thirteen duchies, though many more are scattered throughout the northern continents in smaller cities, towns, and villages. The duchies rule directly over their vassal baronies, who in turn command the loyalty of their counties, and so on down to the civic leaders of small settlements. Often these influences and loyalties shift and battles are fought to claim or reclaim them.

The head and ruler of a noble House – regardless of gender – is the Primus, a hereditary position that is the birthright of the first-born child. The rank is denoted by the inclusion of ‘o’ between given and House names. This system of inheritance is utilised by all Persican families and primogeniture is not limited to males; the eldest son or daughter inherits titles and property. Younger scions of noble Houses may receive a separate smaller inheritance, but those noble-born and commoners not inheriting must make their own way in the world.

Following the arrival of the Arkangels strike cruiser Wings of Light in M37 and the second reconnection of Persica to the Imperium, there was a resurgence of zeal in the planet’s culture. King Tal Essen o Quila, decreed a slight modification to his House name, changing it to Aquila, a clear representation of authority and Imperial loyalty. The Houses of the duchies and dukedoms quickly followed suit, re-styling their names in Persican High Gothic to reflect their banners, emblazoned with cardinal creatures of Terran ancient history. Baronial vassals chose names from major Terran plant forms, also in High Gothic. Lesser noble Houses represent local flora and fauna, though the younger Houses rising from the merchant families, are more often in Low Gothic. Families of the merchant and labour classes are named rather differently than the nobility as they are in regional dialects of the Persican form of Low Gothic, and reflect their occupation regardless of lineage. For clarity, surnames are translated into Low Gothic upon enlistment or commission on the Imperial Guard. As expected the most common family names include Baker, Farmer, Mason, and Smith.

An ancient and revered treaty, the Aegis Pact, between the royal House Aquila and the major Houses of the northern continents established the duchies and dukedoms that dominate the feudal realms of northern Persica. The pact outlines the duties and responsibilities of the Houses of the Circle of Thirteen to their people and pledges the support of the royal House in defence of the realms and all of Persica from outside threats. It was made very clear that if a ducal House failed to fulfill their sworn responsibilities to their people, that House would be removed from power and another invested in its place. In accordance with the pact, Queen Mara o Aquila declared in 220.M38 that the ducal capitals were to be upgraded by Imperial engineers. Over a period of three decades, each of the thirteen capitals were reorganized, restructured, and rebuilt as immense fortresses. The fortresses would provide strongholds for PDF regiments to defend Persica should the planet be invaded, and virtually impregnable bastions from which the ducal Houses could preside over their vassals with a measure of political stability. Listed below are the duchies and dukedoms, the ruling nobles and their Houses, their banners and sigils, and major vassal Houses.

Achaea
Duchess Katlin o Strigida – black owl and laurel wreath on a light blue and white chequy
Major vassals: Elaeva, Vitus

Bridon
Duchess Caera o Draco – white dragon rampant on a maroon field
Major vassals: Acera, Malia

Cantabria
Duke Raegon o Scorpis – black scorpion on an orange field
Major vassals: Cedrua, Picea

Celadon
Duke Gaeris o Grypa – white griffin rampant on a dark blue field
Major vassals: Acantus, Spinosa

Fianna
Duchess Bria o Lupis – black wolf on a grey field
Major vassals: Pina, Salis

Logria
Duke Ajax o Leonis – two golden lions rampant on a green field
Major vassals: Fraxinis, Querica

Merovia
Duchess Porsha o Aranea – red spider on a black field
Major vassals: Lilia, Orchis

Osteros
Duke Shaemis o Taura – golden bull’s head on a field quartered blue and red
Major vassals: Ilis, Rosa

Ravenna
Duke Doran o Axipita – golden hawk on a red field
Major vassals: Betia, Taxus

Siluria
Duke Davin o Vulpis – black fox on a green and white chequy
Major vassals: Aconitus, Purea

Strathcona
Duke Alster o Equis – white horse on a purple field
Major vassals: Rova, Corila

Thalassia
Duchess Faena o Delphina – white and blue fess, a dolphin counterchanged
Major vassals: Carcharis, Cetacea

Varangia
Duchess Kyrae o Corvida – black raven on a white field
Major vassals: Salma, Ulmis


The Fall of House Ursus
Only once in Persican history has a ducal House been brought down. It occurred in the early part of M38, nearly a thousand years after the Aegis Pact was signed. Corruption had become rampant in the city of Merovia and its people suffered under the increasingly petty tyranny of House Ursus. It was believed by Duke Ference o Ursus that the threat of removal was an empty one and that his massive armies could defeat any attempt to break his iron grip on Merovia. Heretofore, no northern realm had ever seen the advanced might and power the royal House, no feudal ruler had any concept of the technologies and assets wielded by the Imperial governor of Persica. As far as Duke Ference was concerned, he had little to fear. Ambassadors to the Merovian court from the other ducal realms were less certain and waited expectantly to see the cost of such hubris.

Word of the state of Merovian affairs eventually reached the throne by way of the clergy and in the summer of 206.M38 Duke Ference was sent a messenger from the royal House Aquila in Vanovar. The messenger was roundly ignored as the duke attended to all other matters before his court that day. He finally received the messenger, who expressed complaint of the indignity on behalf of King Karlis III o Aquila. Feigning indignance and fury, Duke Ference had the messenger executed on the spot. From the dead messenger’s hand was pried the missive bearing the king’s seal. Only three words were written there, in the king’s own elegant handwriting: We are coming.

Three days later, Duke Ference had his city prepared for siege and camped his armies just south of Merovia to await the King’s forces, who would surely arrive on the shores of the Gulf of Comesta. The duke expected to wait nearly a month. He did not expect the King’s arrival mere days later.

On the eastern horizon three dark shapes came over the horizon. Believing these to be naval ships, Duke Ference laughed loudly and declared the king’s response insulting. When the shapes loomed larger but seemed no closer, the duke’s derisive humour turned to confusion. He ordered his generals to stand ready. Nearly a hundred thousand soldiers wearing the Black Bear of House Ursus on their golden tabards prepared for battle.

It became swiftly apparent that the approaching shapes were not sailing, but flying. Ahead of them came what appeared to be a large flock of birds, flying unnaturally fast. The duke’s forces were completely unprepared for the Valkyries, Vendettas, and Vultures that tore great swathes from the assembled formations. With no other frame of reference but legend and myth, the people of Merovia believed they were being attacked by dragons. This belief was reinforced by the rockets and missiles streaming from wing-mounted launchers, and by the sun-bright lascannons and heavy bolters tearing up the earth – these dragons were breathing fire. The duke’s forces broke almost immediately. The city’s south gate was slammed shut just as the army reached the walls. Pleas to open the gate went unheeded as the air assault continued, mowing down dozens of soldiers and overflying the city walls to target defenders on the parapets.

The large shapes had resolved into massive flying troop transports. Two of them landed on the open ground to the south and disgorged ordered lines of the 9th Azurian Guard Regiment, which began containment manoeuvers even as they poured lasgun fire into the duke’s army. The third transport drifted slowly and menacingly over the city, and King Karlis’ voice descended upon the people inside the walls of Merovia from loudhailers mounted on the hull. In a chillingly calm baritone, the king stated that as the governor of Persica he represented the ruler of all mankind, and that the price of defying the Dagdus-Imperator was death. King Karlis declared Duke Ference guilty of defying the Emperor and informed the people of Merovia that House Ursus was no more.

The duke’s banner was quickly struck from atop the palace keep, signaling the city’s surrender. Every man and woman wearing the golden tabard outside the walls was executed by the Azurian Guard, and when the last of the duke’s soldiers fell dead, the shooting stopped. The third transport landed and King Karlis emerged with his Royal Guard of elite storm troopers. Before Karlis could even command it, the south gate was opened and the king entered the city. Squads of Azurian Guard quickly took possession of the ducal palace and rounded up the family members of House Ursus. Two days later, all scions of Ursus from elder to newborn were lined up in the central square and executed by the Royal Guard.

Frantic political manoeuvering decided a successor and King Karlis invested the Merovian noble Lady Sula o Aranea as duchess with a stern warning: House Aranea must heed the fall of House Ursus, honour the Aegis Pact, and obey the Emperor. The word spread rapidly and there has never since been need to enforce the sanctions of the Pact.


Imperial Persica
On the southern continents of Ajanta and Daeva are the hive cities of Vanovar and Califax, home to over five and a half billion Persicans living in a much more contemporary Imperial society. While roughly the same size and sharing some similarities, the two hives are quite different from each other in their identity. The rivalry between the two hives can be contentious at times, but is rarely acrimonious due in part to the fact that since the Great Crusade, both have been under the direct rule of the Royal House. The monarch spends time equally between the cities, taking up residence in Califax near the southern hemisphere’s harvest time and returning to Vanovar in the spring.

Califax is undoubtedly the economic capital, home to the corporate and commercial endeavours. The great majority of resources imported from off-world arrive at Califax’s spaceport and are distributed from the city’s vast warehouse districts. Most notable among the prominent corporate entities is Serran Void Logistics, the shipping branch in the Benelith Sector of the House Serran. The Rogue Trader maintains a lavish palace in the uppermost spires, second in ostentation only to the Queen’s residence. It is also the epicenter of the arts on Persica, boasting innumerable halls and theatres and museums, and the largest amphitheatre in the Benelith Sector. Architects in of the western hive have long held a tradition of utilizing a deep blue crystal in spire construction, lending Califax its nickname, the Sapphire City.

In contrast to her sister city, Vanovar is contructed with charcoal-coloured metals and materials. When viewed from a distance, the hive resembles a colossal black thorn, thus the nickname The Blackthorn. The black of Vanovar and blue of Califax is represented on the Periscan banner with a white aquila binding them in the centre.

The entire Administratum, for the planet and some sector offices, comprises the bulk of the political capital of Vanovar, and employs nearly all of its citizens. The Archbishop of Persica heads the Ministorum and the Church of Terra from Invictus Cathedral; connected is the Nostra Dama Toriana, the pre-eminent Schola Progenium in the sector. The Adeptus Arbites, known on Persica as the Circle of Order, are headquartered at Royal Oak Bastion and oversee the enforcement of planetary law. A trident of spires known collectively as The Trilobe house the Ordos Hereticus, Malleus, Xenos of the Holy Inquisition, while a cluster of smaller spires are occupied by the lesser ordos. At the very pinnacle of the tallest spire, above the royal palace, is the chamber that holds the astropathic choir that connects Persica to the rest of the Imperium.

Fortress Telamon, in the northeastern region of Ajanta, is the primary military installation and defensive stronghold of the Imperial Guard on Persica. The fortress is where all Persican soldiers begin their careers, and where the Black Lance regiments muster and drill, up to the time when they are loaded onto transports and deployed. In recent years, those deployments have been almost exclusively to Cadia, to assist the keystone world in defending the planet and the Cadian Gate against the vile forces of Chaos.
 

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Sons of the Lion
In the Abartic Ocean to the northeast of Ajanta are Lamis, Eudoris, and Nemas, collective known as the Lion Islands. All three islands were given to the Arkangels chapter of Adeptus Astartes for their sole use by King Tal Essen o Quila in M37, and from the craggy shores of the northernmost island of Nemas rises the chapter keep, Sunhome.

Sunhome was constructed with the capacity to accommodate an full company of Astartes. Even that capacity is strained when the chapter’s flagship Highest Calling arrives in orbit once every generation for a recruiting Grand Tourney. The rest of the time, Sunhome is occupied by a garrison of eleven: a scout squad and sergeant, led by a chaplain or librarian. Squads from the 3rd Company regularly rotate in to supplement the garrison and take the opportunity to train in Persica’s widely varying terrain. Recruiting still occurs periodically as the officers and sergeants maintain an unblinking vigilance over Persica, very occasionally a suitable candidate stands out among the feudal warriors of the northern realms.

The Arkangels were founded by a handful of Astartes of the Angels of Absolution chapter in early M35. As such they are also a successor chapter of the Dark Angels and Sons of the Lion – Lion El’Jonson, Primarch of the First Legion. Being founded from Angels of Absolution, the Arkangels also hold to the idea that they are not Unforgiven, that while it remains incumbent upon them to hunt the Fallen and bring them to justice at the hands of the interrogator-chaplains and Inner Circle, they share no culpability as the Unforgiven believe. The Arkangels also hold dear the idea that their purpose is to defend the constituents of the Imperium, the mortal human populous. Similar in sentiment to a philosophy held by the Salamanders chapter, it has led to a strong connection with the people and planets they defend, fortified – literally – by the establishment of chapter keeps on those worlds. Persica was among the first of the Arkangels’ wards and has been under the chapter’s protection for more than three thousand years.

The Emperor’s Host
There are a few ways in which Persicans can join the Imperial Guard or Imperial Navy: those young men and women of about the age of sixteen or older can be chosen from among the feudal armies of the northern realms, citizens of the southern hives may volunteer for service upon reaching their seventeenth name-day, and, on occasion, the hive citizens may be drafted into service. Most naval officers and ratings are born into their positions, but occasionally there is need for supplemental recruiting.

Conscription has traditionally been rarely necessary, as the planet’s tithes are generally met through selection of feudal soldiers. The northerners consider selection to be a sign of favour, an ascension of sorts to more direct service to the Emperor, and comprise the most fervent and zealous soldiers in the sector’s Imperial Guard regiments. The northerners in their ignorance refer to the Guard as ‘The Emperor’s Host’ or ‘Holy Host’, particularly the PDF regiments of the Azurian Guard; contact with northern Persicans is almost exclusively made by the PDF. This is not to be confused with ‘The Host’ or ‘The Angelic Host’, as the Blood Angels chapter of Adeptus Astartes are sometimes called. Adding to the potential confusion is the Arkangels chapter, often called the Emperor’s Angels by Persicans both feudal and Imperial.

On every village green and in every city square is a wall. Some are made of wood, some of stone; some are elegantly simple, others are gilded or embellished. On these walls are lovingly carved the names of those sons and daughters chosen to serve in the Emperor’s Host. This is to both honour them for their service and faith and to remember them for their sacrifice to the Emperor, for they never return. This practice is repeated on the memorial world of Threnody where the name of every Persican soldier is inscribed on a massive brightstone wall upon their enlistment or commission in the Imperial Guard. The common wisdom behind this practice is that every Persican belongs to a Black Lance – the unit name references the weapon dedicated to victory or death on the world’s feudal battlefields. Since victory and death walk hand in hand in the Imperium of Mankind, Persican soldiers are considered to be dead men (and women) walking. This attitude typifies some other Imperial regiments, most notably those from the death world of Krieg. Contrary to the Death Korps attitude, Persicans still place great value on their lives and many live to be promoted or retire – though veterans from the northern realms are not permitted to return to them. Many darkly relish visiting the wall on Threnody and finding their names carved in memorium.

The selection of northerners and conscription of southerners have become more frequent in recent years, swelling the PDF numbers in an effort to combat the growing number of ork encounters, particularly in the north of the continent of Kaea; and also mustering more regiments for Black Lances in response to the call from Cadia for aid in the fight against the Thirteenth Black Crusade of Abaddon the Despoiler.

Regardless of the manner of their enlistment, Persicans destined for the Imperial Guard are transported to Fortress Telamon for training. For feudal Persicans this represents a period of great culture shock. From the time they are loaded onto a Valkyrie or troop transport to be flown at high speed across land and sea, northerners are ministered to by Shepherds of the Church of Terra. This helps to ease the transition into Imperial service through sermons aimed at reinforcing their faith in the Emperor and emphasising their more direct service to the Imperium.

Recruitment of military personnel on Persica is well organised and runs on a fairly tight schedule with allowances made for remedial or supplemental training. New recruits and cadets alike are organised into platoons for Battle School where instructor sergeants further divide them into squads. Training is broken up into stages, beginning with Basic Military Training (BMT) where recruits begin to learn and adapt to military life, secundus-level classes, fitness regimens, and drill instruction. This is followed by Basic Guard Training (BGT), which continues and reinforces the previous stage and teaches recruits the intermediate skills every soldier needs including the primaris-level classes, weapons maintenance and field repair, marksmanship, and introductory tactics.

Instructor sergeants then reorganise the recruit and cadet platoons based on observed aptitudes before beginning the final stage, Basic Occupational Training (BOT). This is a longer stage that teaches the basic and intermediate skills of the various Guard Occupations within Imperial Guard regiments. Recruits and cadets receive training in infantry or armour or communications, intelligence or vehicle piloting or heavy weapons; this is also when those with mechanical aptitudes begin training with the Cult Mechanicus to become tech-priests. More specialised occupations such as the storm troopers, commissars, and Ministorum priests also train at Fortress Telamon but separately under the auspices of the Nostra Dama Toriana, one of the prominent Schola Progenium in the Benelith Sector.

Upon completion of basic occupational training, enlisted personnel are considered to be trained, promoted to the rank of Lancer, and assigned according to their Guard Occupation (GO) to either the Azurian Guard – the Planetary Defence Force of Persica, stationed at The Stone – or a mustering Black Lance regiment. Battle School takes nearly a year to complete, an extraordinarily long time in conventional military thinking, but the result of the in-depth and repetitive training is that Persican troops, while admittedly more expensive per human unit, tend to be exceptionally well-trained, well-drilled, and disciplined. Combined with their iron faith in the God-Emperor, Persican regiments and the Black Lances they comprise are a fearsome weapon in the Imperial arsenal.

Cadets move on to three further years at the Imperial War College where they receive an advanced education in Military Studies which includes leadership training and philosophies, small unit tactics through to campaign strategies, and Imperial history and doctrine. Practical experience begins with returning to the battle school and leading recruit platoons through field training and exercises with assistance and mentoring from the instructor sergeants and proctor officers. Upon graduation and receiving their full commission as lieutenants, officers are assigned in the same manner as the enlisted troops.

Azurian Guard
The Azurian Guard is the Planetary Defense Force for Persica – Imperial Guard regiments specifically charged with the protection of the world from threats domestic and alien. Black Lance regiments are deployed abroad, and fight for the Emperor on distant worlds, but the Azurian Guard remains on its home planet. The Azurian Guard are so called because of the royal blue uniforms they wear. In the field, their personal flak armour is the same black as that of the Black Lance regiments.

Azurian Guard regiments rotate in and out of active duty. A regiment rotated in musters its troops and vehicles; any soldiers found to be unfit for duty are medically discharged from service to return to civilian life – to be considered unfit, one is usually over the age of sixty or medically disabled. These gaps in the rank and file are filled with new recruits fresh out of Battle School or War College and the regiment is stationed at The Stone for a year of drill and field exercises. A regiment rotated out is stood down, though its troops are assigned to PDF bases near their residence, to which they must report for a scheduled four consecutive days per month. This keeps the inactive Guardsmen sharper and helps prevent degradation of skills and knowledge through lack of use. There is no voluntary discharge from service, Persicans serve for as long as they are able.

A vast fortress equal in size and scope to Fortress Telamon, The Stone is the second primary defensive stronghold for the planet, nestled in the Leviathan Mountains in the east central region of Kaea, and provides a central location from which to defend the ducal cities and conduct conscription operations. Of late, there have been an increasing number of skirmishes between feudal armies and ork hordes. Prior to the first encounter in 982.M41, the planet had been entirely absent of orks, or indeed any xenos or Chaos infestations, in recorded history – that is to say since before the Great Crusade. Persicans believed their world blessed by the God-Emperor, even favoured. The more superstitious now whisper that the xenos encounters are evidence that Persica has lost favour and is perhaps being punished for some unknown sin. For their part, the Azurian Guard work vigourously to contain, exterminate, and eradicate all trace of xenos contaminants wherever they are found in an effort to maintain Persica’s state of pristine grace.


Persican Black Lances – Victory or Death
A few of the key martial concepts and philosophies of the Persican High Command are derived from the feudal armies constantly marching and fighting all across the northern realms. One such is the Black Lance. In feudal terms a black lance is a sacred tool, a weapon created and consecrated for a singular purpose: to achieve a righteous victory or avenge a grievous injustice. Whether it is the intended defeat and destruction of the foe or the failure to fulfill its avowed purpose at the cost of the wielder’s life, there is but one destiny for a black lance – death.

Feudal armies also very often employ a strategic formation known as a lance-fortified. This relatively small formation is a self-contained unified unit of infantry, archers, and cavalry, essentially an army in miniature. These lances-fortified can be grouped together or deployed separately, but are most effective when operating autonomously.

High Command has combined these two concepts in the Persican Black Lance. Regiments of infantry, artillery, and armour are grouped together to form a much larger version of the lance-fortified and are deployed as a single Black Lance. Imperial doctrine mandates that regiments be made up of uniform types, with little or no armour in an infantry regiment, little or no ground support in artillery batteries, etc, in order to minimize the potential damage of a unit turning traitor. High Command appears to circumvent this by grouping different types of regiments together and has caused some concern among those fighting alongside Persicans. The prevailing wisdom however is that units smaller than a regiment are not a major threat and units larger than a regiment would be unlikely to rebel as a whole.

Black Lances are large enough that they tend to be deployed alone to deal with a given threat. When deployed alongside regiments from other worlds in larger campaigns, it is customary for the Lance General to place his Black Lance at the disposal of a ranking field officer. This helps to dispel any concerns pertaining to the risk of rebellion. Combined with a reputation for zeal and dogged stubbornness in the face of the enemy, Persican Black Lances and their constituent regiments have earned the respect of their fellow Imperial Guardsmen from other worlds. In particular, Cadian High Command has come to appreciate Persica’s ongoing contribution and commitment to the defence of Cadian Gate. Since the Despoiler began his Thirteenth Black Crusade, every Black Lance mustered on Persica has been deployed to Cadia, aimed squarely at the daemonic heart of Abaddon with the same singular purpose: victory or death.


Persican Military Organisation

Infantry
9 soldiers + Sergeant = squad (10 soldiers)
10 squads + Lieutenant squad = platoon (105 soldiers) XO: First Sergeant
10 platoons + Captain squad = company (1055 soldiers) XO: First Lieutenant
10 companies + Major squad = battalion (10,555 soldiers) XO: First Captain
2+ battalions + Colonel squad = regiment (21,110+ soldiers) XO: Lieutenant Colonel
*Mechanised Infantry adds one Chimera per squad (2222+ per regiment)

Armour
3 vehicles, each led by a Sergeant = squadron, led by a First Sergeant (15 soldiers)
3 squadrons + 1 HQ vehicle = platoon (10 vehicles), led by a Lieutenant (50 soldiers)
5 platoons + 1 HQ vehicle = company (51 vehicles), led by a Captain (255 soldiers)
5 companies + 1 HQ vehicle = battalion (256 vehicles), led by a Major (1280 soldiers)
2+ battalions + 1 HQ vehicle = regiment (512+ vehicles), led by a Colonel (2560+ soldiers)
*Leman Russ, Hellhound, Hydra, Ordnance, Manticore, and Deathstrike

Sentinel
3 walkers, including a Sergeant = squadron (3 soldiers)
3 squadrons + Lieutenant = platoon (10 walkers/soldiers)
5 platoons + Captain = company (51 walkers/soldiers)

Super Heavy
1 vehicle, led by a Captain = company
10 vehicles/companies, led by a Colonel = regiment
*Baneblade, Shadowsword, Stormlord

Black Lance Composition (excluding logistics)
2 regiments infantry (including elites)
1 regiment mechanized infantry (including elites)
1 regiment armour (Leman Russ)
1 regiment support (2 battalions Ordnance, 1 battalion Hellhound, 2 companies Sentinel)
1 regiment super heavy

70,000+ soldiers
2222+ Chimeras
512+ Leman Russ
512 Ordnance
256 Hellhound
10 super heavy
= 1 Persican Black Lance


Rank Structure
Lord Commander (Segmentum)
Lord Militant (Sector)

High General (Planet)
Lieutenant General (Battlegroup)
Major General (Division)
Lance General (Black Lance)

Colonel (Regiment)
Lieutenant Colonel (Regimental XO)
Major (Battalion)
First Captain (Battalion XO)
Captain (Company)
First Lieutenant (Company XO)
Lieutenant (Platoon)
Cadet

First Sergeant (Platoon XO)
Sergeant (Squad)
Corporal (Specialist, Squad XO)
Lancer (Trained)
Recruit (Untrained)


Appendix: The Circle of Order – Adeptus Arbites


Administrative:
Justicar (director)
Magistrate (brigadier)
Intelligencer (colonel)
Investigator (captain)

Operative:
Lord Marshal (general)
Marshal (brigadier)
Proctor (colonel)
Arbitrator (captain)


Judge (lieutenant)
Enforcer (sergeant)
Trooper
 

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I'm going to read all this once I get home. Right off the top of my head, I've never been a fan of extra ranks like "First Lieutenant" or "Lieutenant Colonel"... mostly because they never feature in the fluff depicting the 41st millennium, and then because they seem too "familiar".

On the other hand, I don't mind things like that as much when the fluff shows ranks and organizational structures that remind us how many unique cultures and societies are out there. Remember "Legion"? The Geno Five-Two Chiliad was different from anything we've seen in the Imperial Guard, but in a good way. The rank-and-file were gene-bred (making me think of the movie "Soldier" with Kurt Russell), the tactical officers were professional soldiers, and the overall leadership were semi-psychic young women whose genetic material was combined with the best of the rank-and-file to make new test-tube babies for the Chiliad.
 

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I tried to keep the ranks minimal and the structure utilitarian, and I do show what each rank's purpose is. The Genos were super cool, I thought. Very unique and well designed.

My thanks for taking the time to tackle this one. I've been thinking I should rep anyone making the effort. ;)
 

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OK, so I'm done reading it. Thoughts:

This is one of the best-written pieces of home-made fluff I've seen in a while. A long while. I think it captures the feel of 40k very well - in terms of connecting with the past, adhering to the mainstream conventions, etc. I thought the Lothar/Lorgar tie-in in particular was quite nice. :)

I do think that the whole section about the other planets is superfluous, though. They don't really play a role where Persica is concerned, and, frankly, the idea of a sector-wide compendium is rather unwieldy. The history section, I think, conveys enough information about the rest of the planets... you get to know how they were found and what they provide, and that's really all you need. One thought, though: since Persica herself is the focus and center of this project, why not re-write the history section so that the rest of the worlds were either re-discovered by Persicans following reunification with the Imperium, or by Imperial explorators, etc., staging out of that world? Otherwise, it's kind of disjointed - a lot of information that very loosely ties in with Persica, but doesn't really add much in terms of the flavor.

One thing to remember, though, is that the PDF and the Guard are two different entities altogether. The Azure Guard would be PDF, period - a completely different chain of command, a completely different means of supply, etc, from the IG. Now, you could definitely indicate that the Azure Guard might rival Imperial Guard regiments in terms of discipline and equipment (if not experience); you could even have the best of the Azure Guard being the pool from which the Black Lances are recruited... but that's about it.

Finally, where the Black Lances are concerned, you have to remember that when a Regiment if Founded, the native planet has little control over where it goes, etc. So it's kind of contrary to the concept of the Guard to circumvent the check-and-balances system that dictates a Regiment has to be either Infantry, Armor, etc., but not all of the above. Now, are there ways around it? Sure. But I don't think a Persican High Command would have the clout to say "Regiments 1, 2, and 3 are a package deal, Lord Commander. You get all three, and they have to fight together, and, oh, by the way, here's their organizational structure and how they're going to go about fighting."

A more feasible approach, I think, would be for you to come up with a Persican character who, in the last couple of centuries, has risen in the ranks (say, the Sector's Lord Militant of the Imperial Guard) and has - perhaps controversially - supplemented Guard strategies with those that he learned on Persica and their Azure Guard. As such, he fields nominally independent Regiments as the famous (infamous?) Black Lances, much as you described them. They might still have the proper Guard ranks - Trooper, Corporal, Sergeant, Lieutenant, Captain, Major, Colonel - but they might also have ceremonial ranks that highlight their membership in an elite, sector-specific unit such as the Black Lance... such as "Lancer" or "Lance Trooper", "Captain of the Horse", "Colonel-Dux of the Chevaliers", etc.

So, bottom line: well done, but with some room to streamline and cut down extraneous information, and a couple of concepts in need of re-thinking. Otherwise, kudos and great work!

Cheers,
P.
 
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