High; dense particulates and high winds make atmospheric travel difficult
Stalynthia is a Mining World controlled by the Severan Dominate and located in the Periphery Sub-sector of the Calixis Sector. It is currently a front line in the conflict consuming the Spinward Front. The barren landscape of Stalynthia belies its tremendous wealth. In fact, this Mining World is arguably the Severan Dominate's most valuable asset. Though it is incapable of sustaining itself -- the world simply cannot produce adequate food for its population -- Stalynthia provides almost enough metallic raw materials to fulfil the needs of all of the manufactoria still controlled by the Secessionists. As long as they can harvest this planet's wealth and deliver the ores obtained to other star systems, the Severan Dominate is assured of at least some materials that they can commit to their war effort. Of course, such wealth makes the planet a target for almost all of the groups involved in the ongoing war effort in the Spinward Front.
Not surprisingly, those who dwell upon the world have little knowledge of the value of its mineral wealth or of what a lynchpin their assets represent to the Severan Dominate. In fact, nearly all of Stalynthia's citizenry live in a state of near abject squalor. It is not believed that this was always the case. Legends suggest that when humanity first colonised Stalynthia, its atmosphere may have been far clearer, and that the world might even have once been well-suited for agriculture. It was only after Imperial explorers discovered the abundance of precious ores throughout the world's crust that the ecological disaster began. In short order, virtually all of the world's citizens began to mine the surface. At first, this offered a degree of economic freedom to those who laboured to pry the valuable ores from the planet's crust.
In time, a greater and greater proportion of the population turned to this occupation. This continued until the planet's pollution problems began, and the amount of arable land began to drop. Soon, members of the world's Imperial nobility began importing food and survival goods, which could be exchanged for the precious ores. Before long, virtually all of the miners were little more than indentured servants. This was an ideal situation for Duke Severus XIII, as he could quickly convert their desperation into a revolutionary mindset.
Stalynthia has a heavily polluted atmosphere, which retains heat to a nearly insufferable degree. Centuries of aggressive strip mining have heavily polluted the planet's surface and her atmosphere. The air is thickly packed with particulates, reducing visibility to only a few metres on the clearest days. At times, conditions can be so severe that surface navigation is entirely dependent upon radar signals -- even the brightest of headlights are unable to pierce the densely polluted air. That same air is also extremely dangerous to the world's citizens. Mining operations are undertaken by all of the planet's inhabitants, from the moment they can lift a shovel to the day they can no longer stand. Rather than digging deep beneath the planet's surface, all of these mines are open to the sky. This has the benefit of reducing the number of collapses, as well as permitting virtually the planet's entire workforce to participate in isolating the most valuable of ores. However, even with the limited machinery in use, the constant digging has contributed to the increased air pollution. Dirt is constantly stirred up, and the planet's aggressive winds readily spin particulate matter into the atmosphere.
A comparatively small amount of surface water and an extremely level surface are believed to contribute to Stalynthia's violent winds. There are few objects to disrupt the air as it flows across the world's surface. The gravitational effects of the planet's two small moons are believed to also play a substantial role in its violent atmosphere. Rain seldom graces Stalynthia's surface, but dust storms are a very common occurrence. The more intense storms are capable of flaying the flesh from an exposed human. Ironically, though Stalynthia's surface seldom sees direct sunlight, her surface is now far warmer than the legends suggest it might have been in the ancient past. It is believed that the planet's pollution has darkened the atmosphere, enabling it to absorb substantially more heat. This also diffuses the heat and light, so that the temperature varies little from day to night, also showing little seasonal variation. An additional consequence is that the planet's surface is always clouded in a gloomy twilight. Very few atmospheric craft are capable of travelling through Stalynthia's densely polluted air. The amount of matter suspended in the atmosphere is simply too destructive to traditional engines. Most craft which even attempt to enter the atmosphere crash upon the surface as their systems become hopelessly fouled. This makes transport extremely inefficient, and makes any military operations on Stalynthia cumbersome at best.
- Only War: Core Rulebook (RPG), pp. 346-348
- Only War: Enemies of the Imperium (RPG), pp. 8-31