Attila is a Feudal World of the Imperium of Man located in the Ultima Segmentum that maintains a late Iron Age civilisation and almost no advanced Imperial technology. This barbaric world is also the homeworld of the famed Rough Riders of Attila Mounted Regiments of the Imperial Guard.
Attila is a Feudal World that is somewhat smaller in size than Terra. Humans colonised Attila many thousands of years ago during the Dark Age of Technology and adopted a nomadic lifestyle almost immediately. The original landing site of the colony, the capital of Khanasan, has grown into the only city on the whole world. This bustling metropolis is a gathering place for the nomadic tribes of Attila and the centre of its government. The bulk of the population are nomads who keep their herds across the vast steppe-lands. They subsist on the herds of Ovigors, gigantic, shaggy and savage animals native to Attila. The Ovigors' rich flesh and dark blood form the basic subsistence diet of the steppe tribes. During the summer months, the Attilans drive their herds towards the heart of the continent, following the spring thaw in search of new grown pasture. In winter time, they retreat towards the outer grasslands abutting the coasts, and there their animals find enough grazing to keep them alive until the year turns.
This world possesses a single continent that covers almost half of its surface. The centre of this massive landmass is prone to such extremes of temperature that it remains uninhabited, a baking desert in the summer which becomes a sub-zero sea of sand and snow over the winter. Between these deadly lands of the continental centre and the more habitable coasts is a belt of rich savannah lands thousands of miles deep, punctuated by mountain chains, mighty inland lakes, and vast rivers. Only towards the continent's coasts does the grassland give way to verdant forests, encircling the entire continent with a thin arboreal fringe.
Attila's society was once composed of fractured, scattered nomadic tribes who spent their lives herding their animals and warring with one another for food, land, horses, and dominance. For centuries they existed like this, perfecting both their ways of war and the breeding of their unique horses, until the Imperium rediscovered them and began bringing them back into the Emperor's fold. Attila is a rugged and striking world, slightly smaller than Terra, dominated by broad, arid steppes. Its single continent spans nearly half of the planet, with the rest being deep, impenetrable seas. At the centre of Attila's single continent is a vast desert. Brutally extreme in its temperature variations and weather patterns, it is a baking desert during the summer season and a howling, icy expanse of sand, snow, and wind in the winter. The steppes and savannah for which the planet is known ring this central desert, and are home to nearly all of the planet's population.
This scant habitable area is defined by a stunning array of rolling plains, soaring mountain ranges, deep inland seas, and powerful, rushing rivers. At the very extremes of the continent, all along its long coastline, are dense forests of tall evergreens. There is only one city on Attila, the bustling metropolis of Khanasan. It is here that the Attilans have their government, their main trading centres, and the small, barely tolerated Imperial and Ecclesiarchy missions. The Attilans themselves are a hardy, passionate, small-framed people with nut-coloured skin, black hair and eyes, and striking, weather-beaten features. Some Attilans sport long braids or tangles of hair, and many Attilan men sport impressive moustaches that fall across their craggy faces. Attilans of both genders tend to be bandy-legged and long armed, with broad shoulders and piercing eyes. They move with the loping, bow-legged gait of lifetime riders, and are graceful and elegant in the saddle. Some undergo ritual scarification as a part of their coming of age ceremony -- long, deep, vertical cuts are made in their cheeks, into which ashes are rubbed to encourage scars that mar the Attilans' faces.
As with most Feudal Worlders, few Attilans take the time to learn to read and write, consumed as their lives are by warfare. Written language is largely the domain of scribes, and even many of the elite see little reason to concern themselves with this specialised task. While the Attilans possess the understanding of technology required to wield their weapons and sufficient knowledge of august tech-rites to maintain their own equipment, life on Attila does not prepare them for many of the arcane machines and devices that they encounter in the service of the God-Emperor.
The Rough Riders of Attila's warrior prowess is founded upon their tradition of never ending battle, especially amongst themselves, for the tribes of Attila respect only power and a tribal chieftain or king must be prepared to demonstrate his might to doubting rivals. When a lord of the Attilans defeats an enemy he decapitates the beaten man's head and has his artificers turn the skull into a drinking cup as a permanent symbol of his victory. Attilans have little respect for medals awarded after a battle's conclusion and feel that the only symbols of merit worth owning are those won in the heat of battle, whilst their warriors' blood is still hot in their veins. As such, the most valued trophies of war amongst the Attilans are the scars earned from cheating death and the skull of a worthy foe.
Attilan life is innately tied to various animals. Two species are of particular importance to them: the Ovigor, a herd animal that provides critical sustenance and, of course, the mighty horses of Terran descent that the Attilans ride into battle. Horses serve as the faithful companions and mounts, and Ovigors make up the core of the Attilans' staple diet on their homeworld. The Attilan's native variant of the Imperial Creed uses iconography of the horse and rider to represent many aspects of the holy. Work, play, and the passage of seasons all centre on herding the Ovigor, as the Attilans move them to the centre of the continent during the summer for the good grazing into the temperate lands near the forests for the winter. Their deep bond with the horse as both working and fighting animals is one reason that so many Rough Rider regiments are raised on this planet.
The Attilans have lived alongside their mounts for millennia. Their entire cultural identity is centred around these tough, compact, and reliable horses, and the creatures are used not only as mounts and work animals, but for food, materials, and in the Attilan's various religious rites. The Attilans and their horses share a deep bond of culture, tradition, service, and affection. When in the field, far away from Imperial Logistics, Attilans can even drink small portions of the blood of their mounts to sustain them, draining off small amounts of blood at a time and mixing it with foraged plants to create a nourishing slurry that they heat over a fire.
The Attilans excel at raiding and skirmishing, and are used by the Imperial Guard as guerrilla fighters to great effect all across the galaxy. Their cavalry charges are in part terrifying and in part inspiring for their allies to behold, a striking testament to the will of the Attilans and the unyielding might of the Imperial Guard. To their enemies, these roaring walls of horses, soldiers, and volatile speartips are must seem nothing less than the hammer of the God-Emperor himself, smiting those who have woken his ire by provoking the Attilans
- Codex: Imeprial Guard (5th Edition), pp. 21, 44, 66
- Codex: Imperial Guard (2nd Edition), pp. 17, 40-41, 90
- Only War: Hammer of the Emperor (RPG), pp. 12-16, 119-120, 133, 136