Type: Penal Colony, currently (apparently) Quarantined
Planetary Governor: High Warden Askath Jermaine IV
Population: 5 billion, and constantly growing
Geography: Dank, swampy marshland as far as the eye can see. Colony outposts are set up in the more remote reaches; the main port (creatively named The Docks) also acts as the entry to the main prison hub, which itself pulls double duty as a processing plant for the famed Bharric wood. Anyone working outside the hubs for more than a few hours without protective gear risks lung-rot or worse from the various spores that fill the moisture-rich air.
Major Exports: Penal Legions (the Bharric Slashers), Bharric wood
Bharius is one of the Archatius Sector’s more successful penal colonies, producing both Penal Legionnaires and the prized Bharric wood in significant quantities. The Penal Legionnaires of Bharius are known as the Bharric Slashers after their iconic wargear: the handaxes they use to harvest Bharric wood. Between their skill with axes, their familiarity with jungle terrain and the rugged fitness the typical legionnaire develops during his years logging trees in twelve-hour shifts, the Slashers are highly prized guerilla fighters and regularly requested for particularly gruelling campaigns.
The other major export, Bharric wood, is a valuable material that cannot rightfully be classified as a wood but is nonetheless harvested from the great tree-like growths of the Bharian swamps much the way ordinary timber is harvested from trees. It is a rot-resistant and extremely lightweight material that is almost as protective as Guard flak-armour in a firefight. It is also incredibly strong, being able to support many times its own weight before collapsing, and retains its distinctive glossy shine without any need for polishing. These factors combine to make it incredibly popular as a building and decorating material across the system. Unfortunately, it is also quite slow-growing and difficult to both harvest and work with (owing to the toxic spores released when cut), which makes it a valuable export indeed – something the current Governor is all too aware of.
Roughly a month or so ago, all ships approaching Bharius were greeted by an automated message:
Warning, approaching vessels; Bharius has been declared perditionem in aeternum by the Emperor’s Most Holy Inquisition, the Holy Archatine Synod, and the Ordos Malleus and Hereticus. You are entering an exclusion zone and if you persist on your current course you will be fired upon by the planet’s automated defences. Turn about. Leave. Do not make planetfall. Warning, approaching vessels…
Currently, prisoners are being diverted to the colony of Nexum, but this is a stop-gap measure at best and fails to address the new shortage of Bharric wood on the market. Questions are slowly being raised as to why the planet was quarantined in the first place – and to why neither the Synod nor the two Ordos in question seem to know anything about it…
Known Contacts, Gangs and Organisations
- Overseers – the guards of Bharius, known for their distinctive gas masks and protective suits.
Known Native Flora and Fauna
- Bharric Wood – biologically speaking this material is not wood, but it’s harvested from a variety of the “plants” on Bharius and appears visually similar to most kinds of wood, so the name has stuck. It is lightweight yet extremely strong, being similar to the flak armour of the Imperial Guard in protectiveness, and once shaped never loses its polish. These factors make it extremely valuable as a building and decorative material, to the point where Bharius houses a prisoner-staffed production compound that manufactures and treats the wood for export. The reason behind prisoners being used rather than skilled craftsmen is due to the final unique property of Bharric “wood”: it is highly toxic to touch or ingest and gives off poisonous spores when cut. Burning simply spreads the spore effect further, in addition to impairing the victim’s Willpower. All Bharric wood can be classified into one of four grades:
- Class I Bharric wood is obtained from the smaller, weed-like plants of Bharius. It is the smallest and most flexible of the varities and is generally used for embellishment and decoration of larger pieces. Toxic (1); stunned for 1 round or 1d5 minutes followed by immunity from further effects for 2 rounds/1d5 x 2 minutes
- Class II Bharric wood is obtained from small saplings, thick vines and generally forms small, thin planks. It can be used for small pieces of armour or larger embellishments. Toxic (2); stunned for 1d5 rounds/1d10 minutes and 1d10 E damage followed by immunity from further effects for 2 rounds/1d10 x 2 minutes
- Class III Bharric wood is obtained from larger saplings and young, medium-sized trees. It forms larger planks and is used for multi-piece items of furniture and larger pieces of solid armour. Toxic (3); 1 grade of Fatigue, 1d10 E damage, reaction as per “They’re Coming Through the Walls!” result on Hallucination table, followed by immunity from further effects for 3 rounds/1d10 x 2 minutes
- Class IV Bharric wood Bharric wood is obtained from the largest of plants only and is used strictly for solid-piece items of furniture or crafting. It is the most protective of all four classes but also the most dangerous. Toxic (4); 2 grades of Fatigue, 1d10 E damage, Hallucinogenic, followed by immunity from further effects for 3 rounds/1d10 x 3 minutes
Home World Bonus
Characters from Bharius follow the Penal Colony rules, but with the following new Home World bonus:
Slash ’n Hack: A character from Bharius spends most of his time either harvesting or working with Bharric Wood, and as such by the time he leaves is experienced with sharp objects. He gains the Weapon Skill (Low-Tech); if he already has this Weapon Skill, he instead gains the Blademaster talent. When using low-tech bladed melee weapons (i.e. swords, knives, axes), he gains +1 Penetration due to his time spent hacking apart the fibrous wood of Bharius.