Monday 17 December 2012

The Jamakeer Mining Company

The Jamakeer Mining Company, or JMC, is a small, independent Squat mining group that use Jamakeer as their base of operations, due to the freedom it gives them from Imperial interference. Though they largely operate within the law, they do not send any Imperial Tithes to Terra, and so actively avoid contact with official representatives of the Imperium wherever possible to maintain the best Profit Factor.

Whilst not pirates, they tend to scavenge weapons and equipment wherever they are able, frequently from ships disabled by more ruthless inhabitants of Jamakeer, giving them a wide variety of weaponry and equipment. The main obvious identifying feature is the blue uniform, and the JMC logo, which is shown on all vehicles, and frequently somewhere on their uniforms.

Shown above (in the centre) is the current head of the JMC, Gromrek Berginssen, backed up by a 5 squat survey team. Armed with a wide variety of weaponry, including a fearsome scavenged Shuriken Catapult, they are easily able to defend themselves from any hostilies that may come their way. Transport is provided by the Small shuttle, 'Big Bertha', itself armed with a multilaser.

Whilst not a solely Squat enterprise, the JMC is, by and large, mainly comprised of Squats. As their ships have been adapted to their size, Humans tend to find them cramped and uncomfortable, but Ratlings can frequently be found amongst their crew rosters.

Other pirates in the Jamakeer area tend to ignore the JMC, knowing them to be well armed, capable fighters, and not carrying much of immediate value, though Orks have been known to attack them for sport (and food), so there is a degree of animosity there.


Thursday 31 May 2012

The Taint of Chaos

For all practical reasons, Jamakeer is beyond the reach of the Inquisition, and so Chaos has reared its ugly head. Still secretive and hidden, its insidious taint has lead to the formation of a number of chaos cults in the area in and around Port Imperiale.

Based, as the city is, around decadence and violence, these are primarily aimed at the worship of Khorne and Slaanesh, though the planet-wide pollution and decay has also lead to the creation of a cult devoted to Nurgle, the Lord of Pestilence, and even a suspected cult of Khaine, the long-forgotten god of murder. Their temples are usually hidden deep in the labyrinthine tunnels below the Port, away from prying eyes. As well as acquiring unwitting victims to sacrifice to their Dark Gods, they are also constantly at odds with each other, leading to secret wars between cults that occasionally burst out into the open, which are then ruthlessly crushed by the Black Guards.

Whilst there are probably many more secret cults on Jamakeer yet to be discovered, the three that have attracted the most attention recently are The Council of Six, The Bladed Brotherhood and The Cryptocracy.

The Council of Six – Named specifically to mock the ruling Council of Nine, The Council of Six is the planet's main cult devoted to Slaanesh. Ensnaring both new worshippers and unwilling victims in the seedier drug dens and fleshpots of Port Imperiale, they carry them off to a network of holding pens before transporting them, underground, to their main temple, located in the remains of an abandoned underground settlement out in the wastelands, known to them as Nu-Gomorrah. Probably the largest Chaos cult on Jamakeer, its grip on the Port is becoming more noticeable, and is the Black Guard's main priority.

The Bladed Brotherhood – This is the major cult devoted to worshipping Khorne on Jamakeer. Responsible for myriad murders, they usually operate in small groups, abducting victims under the cover of darkness, and sacrificing in their temple deep in the darkest recesses of the tunnel system, known to them as 'The Cave of Blood'. Little is known of the temple, other than from the reports of cultists interrogated under torture, that it was created by a truly ancient race, and lined with the bones of thousands of sacrifices.

The Cryptocracy – A relatively recent cult on Jamakeer, this group worships Nurgle, the Lord of Decay. Living somewhere out in the polluted and toxic wastelands, little is known of the group beyond the fact they occasionally raid Port Imperiale in small groups, during the times when the blinding, toxic dust storms envelop the city so they can make off with their victims. Their bodies, occasionally recovered after a firefight during these raids, are covered in scars and pestilence, and draped in tattered, hooded robes.

Sunday 8 April 2012

Port Imperiale's denizens.


As well as the myriad number of active pirates in Port Imperiale, it is also home to all the usual dregs of society that cluster around such types. Dingy bars and clubs abound, supplying everything from alcohol, drugs and prostitution (Human, Joy-Sim and even more 'exotic' species) through to far worse things, if one were to search for them…

The support staff in Port Imperiale actually outnumbers the pirates, but you wouldn't think that by looking around the city. These are the mechanics, traders, bar owners, hydroponics maintenance staff, and everyone else that works to support the pirates in continuing to bring in wealth to Port Imperiale. Usually former pirates themselves, or occasionally freed captives, these individuals are well aware of the volatile nature of the pirate crews, and tend to keep out of their way whenever possible, congregating in their own bars and social areas, well away from drunken, trigger-happy pirates. Retired pirates, whether through age, injury or having saved enough over the years to quit the dangerous business of raiding, (but not enough to escape Jamakeer entirely) exist in abundance in the Port. These vary in stature from filthy beggars, pan-handling for enough money to buy the next drink/drug of choice, to the relatively well-off, who tend to open their own bars or trading emporiums, through to the fabulously rich, living in armoured, usually underground compounds with their own staff and private security forces.

Organised groups in the Port tend to be of the following types:

Pirates, obviously, make up a large proportion of inhabitants in Port Imperiale. Most of these pirate bands are small privateers, headed by a captain with a single fast ship and a close-knit trusted crew around them, though a few are larger planetary raiding forces, equipped with many ships and raiding fighters, with hundreds of press-ganged crew and well-equipped landing parties. Some are even alien races, with Squat, Eldar and even Ork raiding parties making the Port their base of operations. These different groups exist in a state of petty vendettas, temporary alliances, and occasionally, outright war with each other.

The Black Guards are the only thing in Port Imperiale that resembles a police force, though, as they are taken from the ranks of the pirates, and their wages paid by the Council of Nine, their guardianship over the Port is a perverse one, more resembling enforcers for an organised crime syndicate, than a true police force. Their remit is twofold, meting out a system of instant justice for serious transgressions, such as theft from 'protected' traders, and premeditated murder, as well as punitive fines for whatever real or imagined crimes they come across. However, their main task is the hunting down of Chaos Cultists in the Port. The Council of Nine knows that nothing is more likely to bring the vast armies of the Imperium down upon them than the increasing psychic resonance of chaos cultists, so it is in their best interests to wipe out the foul taint of chaos from the Planet. The Black Guards can mete out punishments as appropriate, varying from fines, through mutilations, enforced slavery, up to execution, though for the crime of being aligned with the forces of Chaos, the only punishment is death by fire. They are a feared force, even amongst the most hardened of pirates, as there is no appeal from their verdicts, and punishment is instantaneous.

Scrappers are the people that actually dismantle the spacecraft captured by the pirates. Though a few are tied to certain pirate warbands, they usually live in a temporary and uneasy alliance with whichever group have hired them to do the work of dismantling each ship. Their work is a skilled, dirty and dangerous one, removing anything of value, and melting down the rare and expensive alloys that make up the ship's components for sale on to the traders, leaving the former ship as a skeletal hull, lying in the wastelands around Port Imperiale to corrode away in the hostile environment.

Slavers operate the lucrative trade in misery that is the lives of the captured crews, selling them on to whoever is willing to pay the highest price. If the former crewmember is lucky, their skills will be recognised, and a Pirate Captain will buy them up to replace lost crew, offering them the chance to (eventually) buy themselves out of their slavery and become a full crewmember themselves. If they're unlucky, or not skilled, they can end up being sold on to be worked to death in the ore processing plants, or even to whatever fate it is that happens to slaves bought up by the Ork warbands…

Criminal Gangs that prey on the pirate hordes are an ever-present threat, eager to relieve them of their latest payout whilst under the influence, occasionally even going so far as to steal the organs from their bodies, and toss the corpses into the tunnels for the ever-present Ambulls to tear apart. A few of the more organised and better equipped gangs will even risk bringing down the wrath of the Council and the Black Guards to rob a particularly wealthy trader, though this is uncommon, as no one wants the wrath of the Black Guards on them, unless it's really worth it…

Miners are still present on Jamakeer. Whilst the planet was effectively strip-mined by the Adeptus Mechanicus and their vast machineries centuries ago, making commercial mining unviable, there are still enough small veins of rare ores and precious metals left to make small mining camps profitable. These groups usually consist of small teams of Squats, who spend months at a time underground, only returning to Port Imperiale when their food supplies run out. Mining is a very risky business, as the entire crust of the planet is fragmentary and unstable due to excessive mining, and if that weren't enough, the tunnels are infested with Ambulls, Grox, and rumoured infestations of Genestealers and worse.

Scavengers also trawl the myriad tunnels, as well as the long-abandoned settlements that litter the surface, not for ore, but for equipment and valuables left by the former miners and other inhabitants. Away from the Port for long periods of time, they live in the toxic wasteland, only able to remove their breathing masks in the confines of their vehicles, some even having gone to the extremes of having cybernetic implants to make theim more resistant to the toxic dust and smog out in the wastelands.


Trading Parties are always present in Port Imperiale. Generally leaving their large and vulnerable ships in orbit, they land in small shuttles with a well-armed retinue, in order to deal with the traders, before transporting their purchases up to their ships after fixing a price. Whilst trading in Port Imperiale is a nervous and fraught experience, it is usually relatively safe for the traders. The Council of Nine knows that the continuation of trade is essential for the continued survival of the settlement (and the best way to line their own pockets) so attacking a trading party is a crime punishable by execution at the hands of the Black Guards. That's not to say it doesn't happen, Criminal gangs and Cultists have been known to attack trading parties, and even occasionally Pirate warbands have too, but this is a rare occurrence, and traders will generally have more to fear when they return to more civilised space and have to answer tricky questions from the Adeptus Arbites about where their stock came from.

Sunday 8 January 2012

Port Imperiale, The Rotten Heart of Jamakeer.


Port Imperiale is the capital, and indeed the only major population centre left on the former mining world of Jamakeer. Once a thriving mining colony with several large cities, and innumerable smaller mining facilities, it has been mined to exhaustion of its vast reserves of mineral resources by the Adeptus Mechanicus and their legions of Servitors, being left a pock-marked, unstable and polluted shell of a planet unable even to support food growth outside of hydroponics facilities.

Long since abandoned by the Imperium as being of no tactical or practical use, situated, as it is, on the very edge of Imperial Space, the world has been taken over by the very worst dregs of human- and alienkind, and is now used as a homeworld by many Pirate warbands. Always armed, usually the worse for drug or drugs, and liable to be involved in long running petty vendettas with other pirate bands, means that violence in Port Imperiale is never that far away.

These desperate, degenerate criminals prey on spacelanes all over the sector, attacking weaker craft, and either ransacking them for valuables and trade goods, or hijacking them entirely, bringing them back to Jamakeer's surface to strip them down and sell their cargo, parts, and indeed crews, to the highest bidder. A few of the better equipped Pirate bands will also risk ground attacks on remote outposts, capturing supplies, fuel and vehicles.

Because of this, Port Imperiale and its environs have less resemblance to a former mining colony, and more a colossal scrapyard, with most of the buildings in the city now repaired with, or entirely made from, the rusting hulks of spacecraft.

Trade, here, is king. Anything can be bought and sold, and nothing is illegal, so it has become an important, if illicit, trading post in this sector of the galaxy, dealing with traders of all races, as long as they're prepared not to ask questions, and have a retinue big enough to protect their investments.

Overall control and leadership (for what it's worth) in Port Imperiale is given over to the 'Council of Nine', a group consisting of the nine most powerful pirate leaders who claim the city as their home. They hold meetings several times a year, and also emergency sessions in times of need, to discuss the issues of the day. Although closed to the general public, any pirate captain can attend Council meetings and have their say on matters of importance.

Jamakeer has proved time and again to be an ideal pirate retreat. As well as the distance from any major Imperium Strongholds, vast clouds of toxic smog still envelop the upper atmosphere, causing electrical storms and making it difficult for ship's sensors to locate the pirates or their city. Even in the rare case that an Imperium ship does land, the planet is riddled with innumerable miles of tunnels from centuries of mining, enabling easy escape to those that have taken the time to learn them, and a quick death to those that venture after them.