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Death World

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"Few born upon such inhospitable worlds will readily trust those who have not endured what they have. Instilling appropriate discipline is a difficulty faced by many Commissars, but the difficulties are regarded as acceptable, given the matchless survival instincts and natural resilience of such peoples."
— Extract from the Tactica Imperialis
Death World

A Death World

A Death World is a planet which is too dangerous for a variety of environmental and biosphere reasons to support widespread human settlement. The types of Death Worlds are varied, ranging from planets that are covered by world-wide jungles that harbour vicious carnivorous plants and animals to barren rockscapes strewn with volcanoes and wracked by ion storms. These worlds are near-impossible to colonise by Mankind due to their environmental conditions or the nature of their biospheres. Nonetheless, many of these worlds have large human settlements, which are notable for the strength and self-reliance of their people. Many of the people of these worlds are inducted into the Imperial Guard, or recruited by the Space Marines, a fact which is often the sole reason for the continued habitation of those worlds. Some harbour rich mineral, vegetable, animal or gaseous resources that are of such value to the Imperium that a small human settlement will be maintained despite all the dangers. It has been theorized by the Imperial Magos Biologis of the Adeptus Mechanicus that many Death Worlds are the result of biological seeding by ancient advance Hive Fleets of the Tyranids that entered the Milky Way Galaxy long ago. Many of the monstrous creatures inhabiting these worlds, such as the Kraken of Fenris and the Catachan Devil of the jungle world of Catachan, have many features in common with Tyranid organisms, and may in fact be descended from them. Left behind by the Hive Fleets that seeded these worlds and then moved on, these Tyranid species lost access to the Tyranid Hive Mind and so degenerated into unintelligent yet vicious animal species.

Life on a Death WorldEdit

On paper, planets classified as death worlds should not be inhabited by humans. Often, however, something about these locations requires an ongoing physical presence even though life on the surface is not for the faint of heart or for the weak of body. Everyone must pull his own weight and support the larger population, or else all face imminent destruction. The threats on these planets vary tremendously, from aggressive predators to weather abnormalities, but that does not stop humanity from thriving against the odds. Individual roles and adherence to guidelines are crucial to the survival of any death world outpost or colony. As a result, life is often regimented and punishment for ignoring assigned tasks is very harsh. Those unable to perform the more physical tasks provide support for those who can. No effort is wasted, and anyone capable but unwilling is dealt with severely. On worlds where lack of support from others is a death sentence, the worst punishments can be simple banishment; should the offender survive, he assuredly would hesitate before repeating his error.

While it would be easy to stay in protected habitats, often the need for the planet's resources requires that those who live there engage its deadly environments directly. In many cases, braving the world's threats means protecting the crews harvesting mineral or biological resources. For others, it means making sure that defence systems and other technologies remain operational despite the damaging effects of the planets. Whatever the reason, life is often very short and therefore tenuous. That reality comes with the understanding that the duty to the settlement, facility or base outweighs the wants or needs of any single individual. People hailing from death worlds are scarred individuals, both physically and emotionally. The ever-present spectre of death haunts them and can create a sense of detachment that stands in the way of strong interpersonal connections. For most of them, someone near and dear to them has perished: in front of them, in their arms,or in extreme cases, by their own hands. As a result, they tend to be fiercely loyal to the group or larger body they serve, especially when the survival of that group is at risk, but also lean away from individual attachments lest those people be lost.

Death world natives are pragmatic and realistic. Many exhibit little tolerance for indirect options, and often rush to action before fully considering all possibilities. Some call this hot-headed behaviour reckless. Very few death world natives, however, do this out of a passionate need. They see a direct solution and move to execute with as little loss of community resources and lives as possible. Because survival is instilled as a daily practice from birth, they are notoriously difficult to kill. Astra Militarum tithes from these worlds are renowned as some of the fiercest fighting troops the Imperium puts on the battlefield. Though some also have specialty skills in the terrain of their home world, the combination of resourcefulness, physical skill, and sheer determination make them capable warriors on any battlefield.

As befits such hostile environments, death world natives also make excellent Arbitrators, as their practical mindset and grit enable them to survive the deadly violence of that position. Those aligned with the Adeptus Mechanicus or the Adeptus Administratum, already fairly pragmatic in nature, also thrive as their technological and logistical skills are perpetually in need. For all of them, the understanding of self-sacrifice for the larger well-being as well as the rapid thinking processes born from grappling with imminent death allow them to find effective solutions quickly when time is of the essence.

Notable Death WorldsEdit

Planet Name Segmentum Sector Sub-Sector System Population
Alfrost Ultima Segmentum Unknown Corvus Sub-Sector Unknown Unknown
Autega Unknown Unknown Unknown Unknown Unknown
Baal Ultima Segmentum Unknown Unknown Baal System 122,000
Byssta Unknown Unknown Unknown Unknown Unknown
Caliban (Destroyed) Segmentum Obscurus Unknown Unknown Caliban System N/A
Catachan Ultima Segmentum Unknown Unknown Catachan System Unknown
Cesstium Unknown Unknown Unknown Unknown Unknown
Cthelle Unknown Unknown Unknown Unknown Unknown
Crake's World Unknown Unknown Unknown Unknown Unknown
Cretacia Unknown Unknown Unknown Unknown Unknown
Croatoa Unknown Unknown Unknown Unknown Unknown
Dark Haven Segmentum Obscurus Cyclops Cluster Unknown Coronid Deeps Unknown
Endymion Prime Ultima Segmentum Endymion Cluster Unknown Endymion System 1,100,000,000
Fenris Segmentum Obscurus Unknown Unknown Fenris System Unknown
Gheistos Unknown Unknown Unknown Unknown Unknown
Hyperion Unknown Unknown Unknown Unknown Unknown
Kanak Unknown Unknown Unknown Unknown Unknown
Kenov III Segmentum Obscurus Calixis Sector Malfian Sub-Sector Unknown Unknown
Krieg Segmentum Tempestus Unknown Unknown Unknown Unknown
Kvaran IX Segmentum Obscurus Askellon Sector Unknown Unknown Unknown
Lesser Nox Unknown Unknown Unknown Unknown Unknown
Lost Hope Unknown Unknown Unknown Unknown Unknown
Luther Macintyre Segmentum Tempestus Unknown Unknown Unknown 16,000
Megiddio Primus Unknown Unknown Unknown Unknown Unknown
Miral Unknown Unknown Unknown Unknown Unknown
Nocturne Ultima Segmentum Unknown Unknown Unknown 15,000,000
Phyrr Segmentum Obscurus Calixis Sector Hazeroth Abyss Unknown Unknown
Piscina V Unknown Unknown Unknown Unknown Unknown
Pythos Ultima Segmentum Demeter Sector Unknown Pandorax System Unknown
Settler's Bane Unknown Unknown Unknown Unknown Unknown
Sycorax Ultima Segmentum Unknown Unknown Unknown 360,000
UB-26 Unknown Unknown Unknown Unknown Unknown
Woe Segmentum Obscurus Calixis Sector Unknown Unknown Unknown
Zel Secundus Segmentum Obscurus Calixis Sector Drusus Marches Unknown Unknown


  • Codex: Angels of Death (2nd Edition)
  • Codex: Blood Angels (5th Edition), pp. 14-17, 30
  • Codex: Blood Angels (4th Edition)
  • Codex: Chaos Space Marines (4th Edition), pg. 48
  • Dark Heresy: Creatures Anathema (RPG), pp. 39, 42, 44-46
  • Dark Heresy: Enemies Without (2nd Edition) (RPG), pp. 26-27
  • Imperial Armour Volume Ten - The Badab War - Part Two, pp. 14-15, 18-19, 69, 119
  • Codex: Imperial Guard (5th Edition), pg. 26
  • Codex: Imperial Guard (3rd Edition, 2nd Codex), pg. 61
  • Index Astartes II, "Angels of Death"
  • Only War: Core Rulebook (RPG), pg. 59
  • The Citadel Journal 22, pp. 49-55, 59
  • The Horus Heresy - Book Four: Conquest by Alan Bligh, pp. 62-63, 66-67, 122-129
  • Warhammer 40,000: Crusade of Fire (Campaign Book), pp. 21-25
  • Warhammer 40,000: Death Worlds (Warhammer 40,000 Battle Missions)
  • Warhammer 40,000: Rogue Trader (1st Edition), pg. 207
  • Warhammer 40,000: Rulebook (7th Edition)
  • Warhammer 40,000: Rulebook (6th Edition), pg. 153
  • Warhammer 40,000: Rulebook (3rd Edition), pg. 115
  • White Dwarf 388 (UK), "Death Worlds of the Imperium," pp. 76-85
  • White Dwarf 330 (UK), "Warhammer 40,000: Blood Angels Official Codex," pg. 70
  • Caves of Ice (Novel) Sandy Mitchell
  • Redemption Corps (Novel) by Rob Sanders
  • The Greater Good (Novel) by Sandy Mitchell

General Dead WorldDeath WorldDesert WorldIce WorldJungle WorldOcean World
Imperium Adeptus Astartes HomeworldAgri-WorldCardinal WorldCemetery WorldCivilised WorldFeral WorldFeudal WorldForbidden WorldForge WorldFortress WorldHive WorldIndustrial WorldKnight WorldMining WorldParadise WorldPenal WorldResearch StationShrine World
Chaos Daemon World
Xenos CraftworldCrone WorldExodite WorldMaiden WorldOrk WorldTau EmpireTomb WorldXenos World

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