“Gods of the warp strike me down if I ever return to that place. Oh we landed hard and well armed; a score of us---killjacks and pirates every one. We took the cutter down to where the tip-off said the deal was happening... empty, nothing but rotten shacks... nothing! Then that devil fog rolled in and all hell broke loose. I made it out running blind---the screams and the laugher and the awful mocking things all around me! Could have been days, could have been hours, I don’t know... it was the old hag that dragged me out of the fog, and my left eye she took in payment, but at least I was gone from that haunted place!”
— The Heretic “Captain” Gadred Bayle, Interrogation Testimony Vol. 17
The feral world of Dusk is a legendarily dangerous and ill-omened planet on the very edge of the Halo Stars, famed both for the lethality of its wildlife and for the many nightmarish legends and baleful tales clustering around the world like moths to a flame. Dusk is a place of trackless fens, mist-drenched forests, and moss-shrouded wooded swamps---a prime candidate for conversion to mass agriculture, (particularly as its distant locale might allow for further exploitation of the region). Attempt after attempt has been made to colonize Dusk since the days of Angevin’s crusade; each has met with disaster, suffering and death, making the world’s very name synonymous with ill-omen, sinister mystery and folly. “A walk on Dusk” has become a byword for horrible and painful death amongst certain Rogue Traders and Chartist captains.
Dusk’s fecund nature is also its curse. Its teeming wetlands breed all manner of fevers, parasites and other morbidities, while its forests and swamps are home to some of the most deadly indigenous life forms in the sector; while moss, fast-growing plant-life, mildew and rot quickly claim any abandoned structure. Worse still, as any psyker or seer will tell you upon setting foot on the world, it is a place where the veil between realspace and the immaterium---between the waking world and nightmare---is very thin indeed.
No accurate census has ever been taken of Dusk’s population, and the planet’s inhabitants have been formed from a melting pot of colonial survivors, outcasts and wanderers scattered among isolated villages and plantations, where oil lamps and black powder guns are all they have to keep the dark at bay. The Dusk born are insular and superstitious to a degree rarely seen even in the Imperium. Feuding, sudden madness, strange phenomena, mysterious disappearances---all are accepted facts of daily life. The darkling kin of Dusk are famed for their prophetic powers through oneiromancy: the interpretation of dreams. The rate of psyker births among the population of the planet is also known to be comparably high, and the people of Dusk have come under Ecclesiarchy and Inquisitorial suspicion for descending into the worship of strange cults and creeds in the past, and several purges have been carried out down the years with visits by the Black Ships comparably frequent despite the world’s distant locale. But for all of this, Dusk yet endures, and for those few willing to risk the journey and the dangers of the world itself, Dusk’s fecund wildlife and fauna hold great worth in trade both legal and proscribed, and it is these off-worlders that have ensured Dusk’s ongoing place as a world of dark repute in the minds of the wider sector.
Dusk has been the site of an outbreak of the Mara strain of Psychneuein. On occasion, Dusk has contributed feral warriors for both the Inquisition and Imperial Guard. Dusk was the site of a battle with the mysterious pyromaniac known only as the Burning Princess, where she burnt the Inquisitorial task force that came to purge her and then vanished. Within the Calixis Sector, necrophagic cults have been known to spring up, in which people’s faith and devotion take on an increasingly malign turn, with human sacrifice, cannibalism, and necrotic rituals becoming widespread. But of all such cults, none can compare to the ancient stories of the appalling Saynay Clan of Dusk, whose half-mythic ghoulish histories have given the children of the Calixis Sector nightmares for centuries. The Saynay have fled Dusk due to the Inquisition, but have not been destroyed, now instead haunting the dark voids of the Koronus Expanse.
Fundamentally, Dusk is a world caught on the edge and its inhabitants caught on the brink with it: the edge of known space, the edge of savagery, the edge of sanity and the edge of the endless abyss of the Warp; it shivers amongst the swamp trees like the laughter of a hag.
The Dusk HagEdit
On the accursed world of Dusk, a dark legend speaks of the Hag. Black Annaiys, Old Mother Ruin and a hundred other names she has, and if you should risk the journey into the deepest, most trackless swamps with hatred and desire burning in your heart, you might come to the black hollow where she dwells. It is said that her price is paid in flesh, sinew and bone, but her curses can strike death and terror worlds away, and all the secrets that men whisper in the night are hers. Just a legend perhaps, on a world shrouded in countless dark fables, but still petitioners seek her out and some return, maimed and mutilated, but filled with dark purpose.
Glo-slugs of Dusk
In the foetid swamps of Dusk swim the glo-slugs, brown and black gastropods of an unremarkable nature. Like much of Dusk’s native fauna, the slugs are carnivorous and spend their lives searching for dead creatures to slime over and digest. However, when removed from the water, the slug’s skin emanates a phosphorous white glow. Placing two or more slugs together dramatically increases the illumination. The inhabitants of Dusk place three or four slugs together in a jar to give off a very bright light to help them illuminate the marshy hunting grounds.
Each slug illuminates a one meter radius area. The light from multiple glo-slugs is cumulative, so two will shed light out to two meters, three to three meters, and so on. This natural light source can prove useful in numerous situations where there is no power or where null-fields have been installed, preventing torches and other illuminating devices from working.
Cost 8, WT 0.1kg, Rare
The predatory Nightwings of Dusk produce a potent narcotic dust that they use to subdue their victims, lulling them into a nightmarish stupor, while the haemovoric Nightwing quickly sucks them dry. This substance, harvested from captured or slain creatures and rendered down into a concentrated form, is a powerful and prohibited drug. Usually burned as incense or, for a more powerful effect, dissolved in amasec, the dream-racked stupor that night dust induces can last for days, and the term “dusk dream” has long since become local parlance on Malfi for an unexpected disappearance or bout of madness.
A single dose imposes a –20 penalty on all Tests, while the imbiber experiences mild hallucinations and becomes disassociated from their emotions. After 2d10 minutes, the afflicted character slips into a deep feverish slumber filled with vivid and often violent dreams reflecting the darkest facets of their own mind. This state lasts for 1d10 hours and upon wakening the character must succeed on an Ordinary (+10) Willpower Test or gain 1d5 Insanity Points from the experience. Drinking the dust is far more potent and dangerous: the effects last 41d0 hours and the Willpower Test to avoid Insanity Points is Difficult (–10).
Cost 25, Very Rare
The world of Dusk is far more famed for its extreme deadliness than the rare few creatures that can aid one’s life instead of quickly ending it. Still, it is from the swamps of Dusk that the exceedingly useful ration grubs hail. Originally discovered during a survey by an Adeptus Mechanicus Genetor exploratory team, ration grubs are a phenomenally rich source of nutrients. A single freeze-dried grub, which is about the size of a man’s thumb, provides a subsistence level of nutrients sufficient for a full day, however, the grub’s indescribably foul taste and trace toxins make it a poor choice for a long term diet.
Some seasoned travelers like to joke that, as natives of Dusk, ration grubs continue to be deadly to one’s appetite if nothing else.
Cost 15, Average
Dusk Lotus A.K.A. “The Wrack”
(Swift/–10/Lethal; plus Toughness Damage is permanent)
Another example of the foul and deadly flora and fauna of the feral world of Dusk in the Malfian sub. The toxin is extracted from the beautiful white flower of the Dusk Lotus, a plant also known as the “death’s head bloom” by the natives of that troubled planet. Called “the wrack” because the victim is literally wracked with pain as the toxin courses through the system.
Cost 1,000ea, Rare
The people of Dusk are unsurprisingly well versed in both survival and dark lore from the cradle, and to look into the eyes of the Dusk born is to meet the gaze of someone who has seen terrors most hardened war zone veterans would shrink from. Although often withdrawn, menacing and with a macabre humour, they make for excellent Inquisitorial Acolytes, well-armed by bitter experience against the nature of the perils they must face.
Creating Characters from Dusk
Use the Feral World Home World template, replacing the Iron Stomach and Rite of Passage traits with those presented here:
Dusk Native Skills
You begin play with the Speak Language (Dusk Cant) (Int) skill.
The Dusk born are an ill-omened people, considered by most to be accursed by the simple fact of their birth world. Truth be told, there is some credence to this belief as trauma, madness, supernatural occurrences and morbid eccentricity are all common currency on Dusk as accepted facts of life.
Effect: Dusk characters begin the game with 1d5 Insanity points and 1d5 Corruption points. They also benefit from a +3 increase to both their Perception and Willpower Characteristics.
One key way of learning to survive for a child on Dusk is to pay heed to the many strange tales and nightmarish stories told by the fireside when the storms howl or the dank fogs press close, and the stories of Dusk hold many dark truths and shadowed pearls of wisdom.
Effect: You start the game with Common Lore (Dusk Folklore) (Int). In addition, you treat Forbidden Lore (Daemonology) (Int) and Scholastic Lore (Occult) (Int) as Basic Skills.
Little Left to Fear
While other worlds may indeed host worse perils than Dusk, the dangers encountered there are of a singularly macabre and often horrific kind, and after a lifetime spent surviving them, the bestial predators and weird happenings of other worlds hold little terror.
Effect: You reduce the effects of Fear on your character by one degree (reducing Fear 3 to Fear 2, etc.) Essentially this also means that you suffer no effects from creatures or phenomena with a Fear Rating of 1. Since your life has been full of near-scrapes with things best left unsaid, you also reduce your starting number of Fate Points by –1.
A terrifying creature that has become the stuff of dark fable across the Calixis Sector, the stalker is one of the most feared of Dusk’s many dangers, haunting the deepest swamps of that world. In appearance, it resembles a frightening hybrid of a withered elderly human and gigantic four-limbed spider.
The ill-famed world of Dusk is known for its many horrific creatures and sinister predators, and the Nightwing is no exception. A nocturnal creature, strange and disturbing to look upon, its amber, slug-like body is the length of a man’s arm and nearly featureless but for a small round mouth surrounded by hook-like barbs at one end.