The world, her history and its impact on her regiments
Danika means ‘Morning Star’ in an ancient and dead Terran language. Much of the history of Danika is shrouded in the mists of time and lost. Some even say that some of it was deliberately destroyed so as to be forgotten.
The Danikan System, like most Imperial systems, is named for the most important world according to the Adeptus Terra. In most cases, as here, that world is the habitable one and the one which bequeaths the greatest tithes. The system is located in the Segmentum Obscurus, barely within the borders of the Gothic Sector, not far from Ornsworld – the home of the abhuman ratlings. It’s often been caught in the various wars and incursions that have afflicted the sector, although most enemies have found to their peril that invading Danika, a world of soldiers and weapons, is usually a very bad idea.
The planet itself orbits Daan – a bright, blue white sub dwarf. It’s the fourth planet in the system and there are a dozen other major worlds and a plethora of asteroids moons and moonlets. Danika is solidly in the middle of the ecosphere – the zone around the star in which a terrestrial style ecology is possible. She is smaller and a bit drier than Terra, but has greater mass giving her slightly increased gravitational pull. Oceans, mostly freshwater, make up 60% of her surface area and much of that water is in a single large, crescent shaped ocean which narrows near the equator and spreads out closer to the poles. Temperature is median temperate and storms are mostly mild.
Danika has four major ‘continents’. The ‘central’ continent occupies much of the center of the Crescent Ocean with the equator running down its center. A spine of tall mountains runs down the middle and is the core of an isthmus which splits to connect to the North Eastern and South Eastern Continents. The ‘Western’ continent is on the far side of the Crescent Ocean, and also spans the equator although its mountain spine runs roughly north/south.
The history of sentient life on Danika is murky and would be more in dispute if the populace weren’t so pre-occupied with fighting and struggles for power. The earliest ruined settlements are from some kind of Xenos and are unimaginably ancient. For the most part this race, whoever they were, did not seem to have much in the way of technology – and no trace remains to show what happened to them.
More recently – the planet was colonized by humans during the Dark Age of Technology. The Central and North Eastern continents have the most remains dating to this time including the overgrown and/or flooded remains of several great cities. Whatever catastrophe befell those ancient humans, it must have been violent. Even tens of thousands of years later, some areas are still ‘hot’ with potentially fatal radiation. While the cities are havens of archeotech, few dare to venture into them. Mostly the reasons are cultural but there are many real dangers from remaining unstable ordnance, mutant giant creatures and, some whisper, an active and ancient menace which still haunts the ruins. There are a number of salvage companies which operate near the edges of some of these cities and from those a small but steady stream of archeotech flows into the planet’s manufacturing industry as well as sometimes into the hands of Explorator teams from Mars and a couple of nearby Forgeworlds. The most successful of these operate near cities which have been almost entirely picked clean and rendered somewhat ‘safe’ however the truly great cities have few salvage teams and those that do work there are small and disappear on a regular basis never to be seen again.
When the catastrophe did fall upon ancient Danika – those not living in the major centers, largely those working mines or operating agricultural complexes – were mostly spared. However without the infrastructure to build high tech equipment, and with most of the really technical people dead, they began a fairly fast slide into primitivism. They never dropped entirely to Stone Age people, but lost everything save for the ability to work basic soft metals. Even iron and steel was denied to them for centuries, until methods of forging were re-developed. For centuries after the world was ruled by petty kings and warlords and was not contacted by the Imperium until after the Great Crusade and the Heresy. At that point, the world was contacted and forcefully returned to human space, the kings and primitives being no match for star faring militaries led by superhuman Astartes.
The Imperial phase of Danika’s history begins in mystery. The Astartes, whichever Legion they were, left and did not return. The soldiers of the Army who accompanied them were few in number but had no difficulty conquering the early kingdoms who had barely re-learned how to make black gunpowder. While little is known of these Army trooper’s origins, other than they had fought in a long Crusade after the Heresy – it is known that they had a passion for freedom and self determination. They took great offense at the serf/slave societies existing on Danika and quickly overthrew them, putting into place a meritocracy where any individual could rise to the top. The original Imperial Governor was the commander of the Army unit which settled on Danika, but after that it was settled by competition – units fighting ritualized (and fairly bloodless) wars with the winner gaining enough support to lead the world and claim the Governorship. While originally this was done as a form of Succession, the practice later evolved to allowing the overthrow of a poor or weak Governor, as well as creating opportunities for Governor to retire, abdicate or otherwise step down. None of these changes to the society were quick or without difficulty and literally thousands of years went by while the ‘bugs’ were worked out resulting in the Danikan society of today.
The world is somewhat regional in its outlook and in particular in the kind of people (and soldiers) that the areas tend to create.
The Arctic and Antarctic regions are largely uninhabited, save for a few salvage teams working the remains of some of the Dark Age ruins and a number of mines, many of which are quite ancient. Like all areas, however, there are still troops who come from here – a lot of Danikans choose soldiering over virtually all other professions – and those that do are superior winter fighters, capable of surviving in the coldest of climes.
The North Eastern Continent is home to much of the industrial might of the world, as well as to its highest centers of learning. Here, great manufactorums produce a wide variety of military vehicles as well as civilian equipment such as ground cars, mining units, transport ships and the like. A small but still operational Dark Age factory manages to crank out suspensors in a mostly automated process that despite millennia of study is still not well understood. These high priced units allow Danika to have a small amount of Contragravity vehicles and equipment. The suspensors are small, so for military equipment they are mostly used to build things like light frame land speeders – much lighter and more open versions than those of the Astartes. A few Jump Packs are also produced, mostly for newly raised Imperial Guard regiments although this is becoming less common as these units have not fared well offworld.
Other factories produce powerswords, plasma weapons , tanks, and a myriad of other pieces of equipment needed for both Danika’s and the Emperor’s wars. One weapon that is uncommon in Danikan forces is the melta gun, for there are no facilities for producing them anywhere onworld.
It’s from the North East that the Armored, Mechanized, Artillery and AAA units tend to come and Continental Regiments from these areas tend to focus exclusively on these types of forces.
The steppes and temperate plains of Danika’s expansive Central Continent have long been known for their horses and the men who ride them. Even in a galaxy of high tech weaponry, the Imperial Guard has found justification for the horse. Where men can live, so too can horses. They do not require ammunition or fuel other than that which they can mostly get themselves if the world is at all habitable. They can go places wheeled or tracked vehicles cannot and if they cannot readily charge a position with rapid fire modern weapons they can still turn a flank faster than infantry. Danikan Continental regiments from these areas tend to specialize in fast strikes and reconnaissance.
The mountains of the Central Continent are filled with mines, mining towns and Alpine meadows. As a result, Danikans from these regions tend to be fine Light Infantry – eschewing motorized transport for marching and skis and being daring mountaineers and scouts.
The South Eastern Continent is heavily forested, with breaks for agricultural meadows, mostly specializing in livestock farming. Troops raised from this region are mostly pure infantry, often with excellent woodland skills. The coastal areas have excellent fisheries – troops from here making up a large portion of Danika’s ‘wet’ Navies. Despite this seemingly rural focus, the South Eastern Continent also has significant manufacturing capability, being second only to the North East for this. It was here that the uniquely Danikan ‘Ithaca’ light tractors were first produced. Originally rough terrain logging vehicles, the more accessible track units were found to be easier to maintain and to provide a better and smoother ride over very difficult terrain than the continuous ‘over the top’ style found on the ubiquitous Chimera chassis. Exactly where the Ithaca design came from is not known, but it’s worth noting that vehicles with a nearly identical track pattern have sometimes been found in some of the Dark Age ruins – which suggests an ancient, possibly pre STC origin.
The Danikan Western Continent was almost entirely de-populated during the Dark Age catastrophe. A number of attempts to colonize it were clearly made during the ‘primitive’ era, but none seem to have survived. Archaeologists have found evidence of these settlements although what happened to the inhabitants is a mystery. Whatever it was – it does not plague the Imperial era settlers. The Western Continent has been fully settled for nearly ten thousand years and is the ‘bread basket’ of the world. Danika’s major spaceport is located here, and the city which grew up around it is called ‘Landfall’. There are the remains of a few Dark Age cities, but these ruins are more dangerous than those of the other Continents and are even more stringently avoided by nearly everyone.
Landfall is in the center of a verdant, rolling plain with amazing topsoil. It’s no surprise at all that farming immediately became the main focus here and remains a core industry to this day. Mines and some industrial efforts exist in the main mountain ranges, the factories lying in the foothills. Landfall also has a vigorous and very ‘Imperial’ style manufactorum, this one being entirely built during the Imperial era and so has no real Dark Age influences such as those found in facilities on the other continents.
When the ancient Imperials first arrived on Danika, Landfall is where they made their initial base. With almost no humans at all on the Western Continent, it made the initial occupation simple and provided a base from which to conquer the primitives of the other Continents with full preparation and a minimum of bloodshed. The Governor’s Palace is at Landfall, as are much of the electoral bodies of the government, representatives of regiments etc.
Culturally – Danika is almost entirely influenced by its history. For whatever reason virtually the entire original Imperial Force was male, with the result that women for wives had to be wooed from the local primitives and protected – particularly in the early days when they were still pre-technological. This, combined with the ‘meritocracy’ of the armed political struggle for power and the already largely disenfranchised women of the primitive Danikan kingdoms meant that for a long time there was a strong chauvinism on the planet. There were no technologically savvy women – their society had relegated them to near chattel anyway so they became a ‘protected’ commodity. This grew worse as the Imperial soldiers did away with the Kings and Warlords and replaced them – taking wives and ‘guarding’ them from those families who resisted such unions. However the egalitarian tendency of the Imperial Danikans did mean that women could not be simply ‘taken’ against their will. The Imperials fought for the attention of the local women, to win their favor and, hopefully, a bride.
As time passed, of course many women needed to learn to fight in the constant struggle that was the Danikan fight for power. What’s more, with so many men fixated on fighting, they also quickly took over all the non-combat elements of society, running them while the men were off struggling over their machismo. While women are often considered ‘2nd class’ citizens by a lot of Danikan men, they are perfectly capable of fighting and actually hold a great deal more power than the more foolish men realize. As heads of industrial families, mines, weapon crafters, ammunition factories, food production etc. women actually hold almost all the ‘real’ power, and while they are subtle by custom, they are not at all above using it. There are also women in the traditional male combat roles although that is still rare, and women have taken Regimental Command and even managed to land the title of Governor on a few occasions, despite their being very few women who have ever been in a place to win it. Even as soldiers – they are disproportionately more successful as commanders than the men are, not that the men realize or believe this.
Modern Danika has two main exports. Soldiers and weapons in that order. With so many highly trained men under arms, the planet is often called upon to satisfy its Imperial Tithe, not with taxes or goods but with fully formed, trained and equipped formations of soldiers. The world is perfectly self sufficient and even exports small amounts of agricultural and fish products, as well as ore, but mostly what leaves the world is fighting men and fighting equipment, both of exceptionally high quality. This primarily ‘male’ export also means that women outnumber the men on Danika by a factor of about 3 to 2. This gives women an even more powerful say as it is women that chose who to marry – and the competition for brides is very tough – sometimes even fatal, for the men in question.