- "Let the Emperor’s Blessing fall upon this world, and in turn let our bounty return to His Peoples a thousand-fold."
- — Albertine Kathrinkas, upon the founding of Novabella
A relatively unsophisticated agri-world, Novabella is an isolated but loyal provider for a significant portion of the Thule Sub-Sector’s foodstuffs of the Askellon Sector. Located just rimward of the ancient Tributary World of Aventine, Novabella’s wide oceans and endless plains have proven receptive to crops and domesticated animals. Were it not for a near complete lack of materials required for manufacturing, the planet might even be self-sustaining. That limitation has led to a world that depends entirely upon imported goods for all of its tools and technology.
The settlement of the planet began more than four centuries ago, and has become an Adeptus Ministorum bastion devoted to tending crops and faith alike. From the start, it had been designated to support the Imperial war machine through food, not men, given the relatively low population. The vast majority of its people live in small, isolated communities, where they can work the fields and seas. Population growth has been steady, but never explosive. Even as their farms and fisheries yield bountiful harvests, the bulk of those goods have been sent off-world. Foodstuffs that could have been used to nurture the world’s inhabitants have instead been devoted to feeding the insatiable Imperial demands.
Since the time of arrival, the Kathrinkas family has maintained planetary rule. Initially, this was by right of the fact that they were the leaders of the colonisation effort. In time, the regional Administratum offices confirmed the lineage as Planetary Governors. Over the centuries, the heirs have been a mixed lot. Some were more devoted to the Ecclesiarchy or their own personal gain, but only one earned the Imperial notice. When Marduk Kathrinkas failed to promptly deliver the tithes roughly 200 years ago, the Thule Sub-Sector Administratum directed a purge that eliminated him along with seventeen percent of the population. Since that time, all tithes have been successfully collected.
For the last eleven generations, crops have been seeded based on divine inspiration from the Harvest-Father, the name by which the Emperor is known in the local variant of the Imperial Creed. Each season, seeds of each type are cast into the air. Ancient gerministers then study the patterns as the hundreds of seeds fall onto the blessed rock that the world’s founder first stepped upon. The more auspicious the patterns, the more of that crop that is planted that season across the planet. No concessions are made to lesser concerns such as demand, terrain, or local climate.
The direct influence of the Imperial Creed plays a major role in the difficulties that the population faces. The Agriharvest Sodality determines which crops are grown annually in each field based upon directives from Novabella’s Ecclesiarchy, known as the Faithful of the Harvest-Father or simply the Harvest-Faithful. These decisions are made based upon scripture, astrological signs, and unusual environmental effects. Each field must be sculpted into a pattern of religious significance, and crops are often interwoven within a field so that the contrasting colours at harvest time form scripture passages. Generations of fieldsmen follow in their familial tasks of maintaining the shape of each field, often burning entire areas of crops to ensure the holy patterns remain constant.
Most of the population is scarcely able to live at a subsistence level. Their individual poverty is a sharp contrast with the ample harvests that they struggle to reap as each season comes to a close. With the limited machinery available, the agricultural work depends on the citizens committing to exhausting manual labour. As the population is disproportionately small relative to the size of the harvests, every moment of daylight must be spend tending to the crops. An influx of agricultural machines or new colonists could make the task far more manageable for the populace. Of course, if that were to take place, the Imperium would certainly increase the world’s tithe with each harvest
The city of Recompense was the first location settled when the world was colonised. Because of the planet’s lack of indigenous threats, most of the colonists swiftly expanded outward, establishing communities where land was freely available. Those that remained established a city devoted to overseeing the planet’s domestic government, in addition to handling the collection and delivery of Imperial tithes. Hardly a large community by the standards of other worlds, it remains Novabella’s largest population centre. Most of its inhabitants are directly involved in government, religion, food distribution, or serve as part of the planet’s security forces.
The Kathrinkas family has relied upon Novabella’s security forces, the Strictionists, to keep the population controlled. These serve as the domestic overseers, and it is their primary responsibility to make certain that proportionate tithes are obtained from all agricultural efforts. Their secondary role is to see to the prosecution of any crimes—especially those that might interfere with productivity. In addition, the Novabella Sworn Protectors exist as the planet’s defence force against any external threats or major disturbances. While this military unit attempts to maintain a high level of preparedness and a tradition of competency within the officer cadres, their resources and training are limited. Within the past century, the Sworn Protectors have only ever been called to duty to quell dissidence and assist with recovery from environmental disasters. It is doubtful that they could defend against a serious external attack, should one occur.
- Dark Heresy: Seeds of Heresy (2nd Edition) (RPG), pp. 3-4