Rogue Trader - Shattering Stars
“You sir are a liar, and while you may command a flotilla of warships, the fact is that right here and right now there is just you and me and this hammer. So, let us hear no more of what you do not know and proceed to what you do know.“
–Doronal Casius, “Prince” of the Kasballica, in conversation with Rogue Trader Hiram Sult
The settlement that was once Dewain’s Footfall, and now simply Footfall, is a tethered network of hundreds of stone structures floating in Furibundus’s voids. It is a mass of buttressed temples and plasma-pitted fanes whose towers jut out at all angles into the void. Most are linked by enclosed stonework tunnels and arch-bridges, in addition to huge steel chains. At the very centre is tethered a huge macro-statue of the God-Emperor, larger than many warships. Many of Footfall’s buildings would not look out of place upon a planetary surface, while other spiral mazes and winding tunnels of unsupported stone would fall apart under the tug of gravity. Sections of Footfall have no gravity, and many have fluctuating levels of generated gravity. The few structures that have their own stable grav generators are highly desired prizes and are fought over by the most powerful factions, changing hands over the corpses and regrets of their prior occupants with alarming regularity.
Over the centuries since its establishment, Footfall has become a lair of villainy and intrigue, the descendants of its original population of stoneworkers and Rogue Trader vassals now far outnumbered by less-reputable newcomers. Here, religious fanatics rub shoulders with assassins, spies, fugitives from Imperial justice, narco-tribesmen, rowdy crew on furlough, and a wide range of disreputable merchants. Beneath this tumult of lawlessness can be found and an even more shadowy world: hereteks, cultists, unrestrained criminals, unsanctioned psykers, and worse. Here a thousand forms of deadly intrigue can be found, and anything from a starship to a human soul can be bartered in Footfall—for a price. It is for precisely these reasons that many great powers and factions from the Calixis Sector maintain secretive agents in Footfall: the Administratum, Battlefleet Calixis, the Great Houses of the Imperial Nobility, the disciples of the Dark Gods, the Ministorum… and perhaps even the Holy Ordos of the Inquisition as well.
For the Rogue Traders and their agents, Footfall has many uses beyond those of a simple port. These individuals come to learn about competing interests, find an array of illegal services unavailable on Imperial worlds, send forth trusted crew to carouse, gather new recruits to replace those lost to the void, and participate in deadly intrigues to gain an edge in the exploration of the Koronus Expanse. It is also a place where a vessel can shelter to refit and repair damage in relative safety, provided a Rogue Trader can abide the thousand assorted scum who might flock about, or the dubious strangers who will swarm their injured vessel and toil upon its hull for a few thrones apiece—or the hereteks whose price is far higher but whose “no questions asked” expertise makes them worth the daemon’s bargain to hire.
The Pit of Voices
Claimed by the outcast astropaths of Footfall, the exterior appears t be a collapsed dome. The interior is a steep tiered arena with a maze of cells below, with gravity plated at an unsettling angle. Incense burns constantly, and a litter of occult devices are strewn about the floors.
The waste of Footfall (including more than a few dead bodies) all ends up in the boneyard, an open, frozen midden in the void beyond the structures. It is constantly picked over by scavengers in fifth hand, patchwork void suits.
The Chapel of the Third Congregants
The Chapel is an imposing, void pitted structure of spreading bastions and leering gargoyles that floats unconnected to the rest of footfall. Every surface is crowded with statues, sepulchers, and saints’ shrines.
The largest hab-structures in Footfall look like ornate temples, their crenelated exteriors
encrusted with crystal mosaics of Imperial saints and grimacing gargoyles. The open spaces within are divided haphazardly by cloth and metalwork, uncounted masses packed close in an ever-changing three-dimensional maze. Here are the poor, the menials, and the lesser outcast factions.
One of the oldest structures in Footfall, these regal transepts and pillard, ornate halls are where the Liege receives those of sufficient importance to warrant a formal welcome. The Liege’s throne is beauteous alabaster, an ancient masterwork engraved with a hundred scenes of the God-Emperors victories, said to have been looted from the wreck of a warship during a long ago war, and equipped with embedded field generators to shield its delicate surface.
Macrostatue of the God-Emperor
The stern visage of the God-Emperor watches over Footfall. His vast statue floats in the very center of the community, close to the size of the greatest battleships of Battlefleet Calixis. Linked to twenty structures by massive void chains. The statue and its plinth are hollowed by chambers, but no-one dares dwell within. It is a point of pilgrimage for the faithful who yearn to see the God-Emperor stare out across unclaimed voids that will one day be His.
The Red Schola: Home base of the Tutors
A monolithic slab without decoration, the Red Schola is the slave-hold of the Tutors, a cabal of mysterious slave masters who have made Footfall their base of operations. Within their sealed edifice, the Tutors create slave servants using a variety of cruel and esoteric methods: noetic induction, the breaking of self, torture, ritual branding, and hypno-conditioning. Few know what horrors lie behind its void-steel portals, but few who can afford them question the quality of the slaves. Whether one requires a delicate courtesan assassin sculpted in the image of an Imperial Saint or a cohort of mute, slab-muscled stranglers, the Red Schola can provide.
The void shields that protect Footfall are projected from three shield shrines. Each is a cubic, metal Machine Temple marked with the raised cog of the Mechanus upon each face and linked to Footfall by a coiling umbilical passage. The Shrines are well-defended inside and out by servitor-crewed weapon systems.
The Spire of Intoxicants
The Spire is the only location in Footfall where narco-tribe gangers are willing to trade their drugs and allow outsiders to participate in their rituals. It is a trade-space, laden with chemical fumes and strange artifacts, some carried from the far reaches of the Koronus Expanse and given to the narco-tribesmen in payment.
Considered accursed by many, the Xenosium is a dwelling place intended for the alien, and is hated by many of the natives of Footfall. It looks much like a prison-fortress—thick-walled and psy-warded. Ancient and weathered statues with severe faces look inward from their pedestals on each corner. Many say no human has set foot inside for centuries, though many Rogue Traders have brought xenos representatives to Footfall and housed them within. No one seems to know for certain whether it is presently empty.
- The Black Brotherhood: A powerful mercenary band, closely tied to the Kasballica Mission
- The Kasballica Mission: A great shadow-conclave of Drusus Marches crime barons who watch the exploration of the Halo Stars with interest. Closely tied with the Cold Trade
- The Obsidian Emporial: A bidding house of great fame and notoriety, both within the Expanse and beyond.
- The Narco Tribes: The feral native underground of Footfall
- The Tutors: A cabal of slavers and heritics who fled to Footfall long ago, and have made it their primary centre of business. They aquire, mold, and sell the finest, most specialized slaves available.
- The Astral Knives: A small, secritive death cult that fled to Footfall some 300 years ago.
- The Drusians:
- The True Path: A borderline heretical Imperial cult of xenos worshippers
- Disciples of the Dark Gods: Servants of the Ruinous Powers can be found everywhere, but especially beyond the borders of the Imperium.
h2 Notable People
- Liege Tanthus Moross: The Lord of Footfall. Technically he serves at the whim of the Rogue Traders of the Expanse.
- Calcus Calinnicus: A vat-muscled thug and drug addict, he is nearest thing the Black Brotherhood has to a leader.
- Attar Soloket: A burnt out Astropath turned soothsayer, and the leading face of the local psyker community.
- Preacher Ywane: While not a member of the Ecclesiarchy, Preacher Ywane is one of the more notable faces in the local religious community, and always looking to gain more influence.
- The Provisioner: The public face of the Red Schola