A minor hive world in the Adrantis Nebula of the Calixis Sector, Tranch’s only lasting fame is a slow burning and vicious civil conflict that, despite countless lives lost, shows no sign of abating. Even by Imperial standards, the war on Tranch has been a brutal and thankless affair. What started out as a simple mutant uprising on an unimportant minor hive world quickly escalated into political collapse and a catastrophic civil conflict drawing in forces from all over the sector to contain it. Even though the war’s heat has quelled now from the quarter-million strong troop landings six years ago that broke the insurrection’s back, the slow burning, bitter conflict has continued on a world tainted, twisted, and brutalized by centuries of malice and festering despair.
General Kasir is the commander of Imperial forces on Tranch, and today the efforts to rebuild the world and re-establish order continue as fresh regiments are continually cycled-in for tours of duty to brave the fire-blackened spires and the treacherous dark furnaces of the Soot Warrens. Their thankless and dangerous task is to defend the remaining citizenry, to bring Tranch slowly to heel and prevent the festering enemies of mankind from claiming the place again.
In recent years, Tranch has been known to foster necrophagic cults in the wake of its civil war, with human sacrifice, cannibalism and necrotic rituals becoming widespread.
The Tranch WarEdit
Tranch is a grimy and relatively minor hive world whose ruling elite, the Oligarchs of Tranch, maintained the economic output of the their furnace hives by the use of a massive, enslaved mutant population and a downtrodden worker underclass kept in check by brutal controls and oppression. So pitiless and sadistically harsh were their methods that the Oligarchs became a byword for tyranny. Such was the arrogance of the Oligarchs, and their confidence in their bloody-handed rule, that they did not dream the mutants and the worker underclass could mount more than the weakest challenge to their enslavement. Nor did they consider it foolish to leave the mutant population largely alone, contained in the lawless deeps of the Soot Warrens that descended into the bowels of Tranch’s hives. After all, their reasoning went, they would always need a large population to meet their production demands, and the huge level of fatalities inherent in their industrial process required a steady stream of replacement workers.
For centuries, matters in the furnace-hot darkness beneath Tranch’s hives worsened, and murmurs of discontent started to echo among the vast masses whose lives of brutality, poverty, and misery left them little to lose. Meanwhile, hidden in the deeps, an increasing number of the Tranch-born mutants displayed a tendency towards witchery and wild psyker talents.
Unknown to the Oligarchs, a group who called themselves the Shroud Masters sprang up amongst the mutant population. It remains unknown whether they were newborn in the sweltering blackness of the Soot Warrens or if they slipped in unnoticed from elsewhere, but swiftly their power grew and they began to make preparations to bring down Imperial rule on Tranch and bathe the Oligarchs’ realm in blood. Those the “Shrouds” recruited to their cause they called the “[[Pale Throng]]”---an apt description for the numberless ranks of those that toiled in the sunless depths of Tranch’s hives.
The rebellion began with a sudden ferocity, as if a lit fuse had reached a powder keg, and the forces of order were beaten back, surrounded, and slaughtered. Hordes of twisted freaks, including powerful witches and horrors, rose up to overwhelm and butcher the hive’s population, carving a bloody path through the upper hives. Within weeks, a hive world of billions spun out of the Imperium’s control and saw millions dead. The mutant’s onslaught was further aided by the terrorist attacks of hidden Chaos cults that struck without warning in the upper hives, sowing confusion and terror in the spires. As the situation rapidly worsened, the Oligarchs’ grip on power began to slip and, giving in to fear, they redeployed troops away from the mid-hive levels in order to protect their own interests---with disastrous results. The mutants surged up from the depths and slaughtered thousands. Soon the Oligarchs faced a second popular revolt by the masses they had all but abandoned. Tranch descended almost overnight into anarchy, and as news and lawlessness spread, nearby worlds, many long suffering from woes of their own, threatened to do the same.
Seeing a world under his domain slipping unexpectedly into Chaos and with others threatening to follow suit, a bloody lesson was clearly needed and Lord Hax himself personally gave the order to raise regiments to “Crush this foul and treacherous vipers’ nest in our blessed Emperor’s dominion.” Regiments were raised from Scintilla, Malfi, Iocanthos and elsewhere to descend upon beleaguered Tranch, accompanied by elements from the Holy Ordos who sought to decapitate the tainted rebellion’s warp-twisted leadership. The war that followed is considered to be the most brutal in living memory in the Calixis Sector.
A full scale counter-insurgency operation was launched by forces drawn from across the sector, ultimately crushing the Pale Throng’s rebellion in a conflict that would become renowned for its savagery and cost in lives. The progress of the war on Tranch and the Imperium’s largely pyrrhic victory is a matter of recent history, as are the ongoing policing actions trying to bring the now largely ruined hive world back fully into the fold of Imperial rule. As for the Oligarchs and their tyranny, they have been consigned to bitter history, as those that did not fall in the rebellion were purged by the Imperium for their evident dereliction of rule.
These facts of the Pale Throng’s existence and the Tranch War’s horrors are widely known. What has remained secret is the extent to which these shifts in the tide of violence on Tranch were the product of the great intellect, skill, and sickening use of warp power wielded by the Shroud Masters that allowed them to control their forces as if they were part of a single body, as well as divine their enemies’ purposes and so bring the Imperial forces to near collapse. Were it not for the implosion of the Shroud Council and the subsequent fragmentation of the rebel forces, Tranch may well have fallen before the Imperium could respond fully.
Although the grip of the Shroud Council was swiftly broken and the mutants’ unity shattered, the war did not end, and, instead of a single mutant army to face, there were now countless numbers of rebel factions, mutant bands, cults and scavengers picking over the burned out and shattered hives to contend with---with no easy victory in sight. The purging campaign took nearly five years of inglorious and dirty warfare. Afterward, Tranch was left a seething pit of conflict and discord, and many of those “saved” now relegated to the status of empty-eyed refugees eking out what living they could in the ruins.
Now classified as “officially pacified”, the Calixian Guard regiments who are routinely rotated through deployments on Tranch still take the brunt of the slowly simmering conflict and must face a thankless war of ambushes, desperate victims, booby traps, atrocities and ever present terror. Tranch today is still a militarized zone, administered as a fiefdom of the powers of the Malfian sub-sector. Large-scale efforts to recolonise and restart the world’s industry have only been partially successful, and whole hive spires, not to mention much of the Soot Warrens, are still lawless battlegrounds---the domain of rogue mutants and worse.
• Red Redemption - The cult has recently gained a footing on Tranch
• Reclaimators - On Tranch, Reclaimators are murderous bandit scavengers
Guardsman: Tranch War Veteran
Cost: 100 XP
Those Guardsmen who survive their time on Tranch rarely speak openly of their experiences, but the memories never leave them. Stories of starving refugees, oppressive dark catacombs, savage attacks by scav-cannibal infiltrators, of the pale and terrible witch-kin, and of seeing friends torn apart by “twist-brutes” are all whispered among Tranch veterans in the long watches of the night. To an Inquisitor of a militant inclination, Tranch veterans are the most common source of tough, experienced and suitably intolerant muscle.
Effects: Apply all of the following changes to your character:
Skills: You gain the Search (Per) skill.
Talents: You start the game with the Hatred (Mutants) and Light Sleeper talents.
Insanity Points: Gain 1d5 Insanity Points.