There’s no place like home, except when your homeworld is actively trying to kill you. Come take a look at these 40K homeworlds that make the battlefields of the grim darkness of the distant future look positively safe.
The holidays are drawing night, which means before too long many of you will be girding your loins for the return to your ancestral home, where you’ll once more explain to your Uncle Ralph why you’re not a prime example of what’s wrong with the world today. In solidarity, today we’re looking at a few of the Imperium’s deadliest places to call home. So grab your list of dietary restrictions, take a deep resolute breath swearing that this is the year nobody goes home in tears, and let’s dive in.
Ah Fenris. Home to the Space Wolves. This massive world of ice and fire is known for being home to very little in the way of native life. Owing to its harsh conditions and extreme temperatures, very little can survive there–and that which does is, of course, a massive superpredator.
A planet of fire and ice, Fenris orbits its sun once every 3-4 Terran years. During the summer months volcanoes erupt, burning great areas with lava flows and churning the seas, spreading great floods and tidal waves. As the planet enters its long winter, the temperature drops so far that most of it actually ices over, giving the planet the appearance of a snowball from orbit.
Because of its harsh conditions, there is little native plant life on Fenris.Many studies have concluded that Fenrisian animals are the most dangerous on any planet, even more so than those on Catachan.
- Bloodlice: vermin that dwell in the carcasses of small animals
- Cave Bear
- Drakes: mighty, dragon-like creatures that circle above geothermal vents for warmth
- Fenrisian Elk: mammals with razor-sharp antlers
- Fenrisian Ice Fiend: giant creatures twice the height of a Space Marine that bleed acidic blood
- Fenrisian Mammoth: one can crush a man in moments
- Fenrisian Wolf: Among the most cunning and deadly predators in the galaxy, these wolves are capable of growing from the size of a small horse to that of an APC
- Frost Mastodon
- Great White Bears: capable of destroying buildings
- Hoggorm: very venomous serpent
- Ice Mammoth
- Kraken – gigantic sea creatures, possibly the remnants of a failed Tyranid invasion
- Ripperfish: capable of reducing a man to bone in seconds.
- Sea Dragon: massive creatures that live in the Worldsea, their hides are used by nomads for ships and dwellings
- Snow Hart: some beast that hunted by Fenrisian tribes
- Underfangs: Wolf-like beasts
- Wrath-badgers: famously ill-tempered beasts
Second place only to Fenris (and even then that’s arguable. This jungle world is home to some of the hardiest members of the Astra Militarum. No wonder when nearly everything on the world is specifically engineered to destroy humans and any other invaders. Every plant is poisonous, making foraging impossible. Some plants secrete pollen into the air which is poisonous and destroys air-filters. Others secrete sticky liquid to capture passing animals and slowly dissolve them. Other plants poison the ground and turn the immediate area around them into boggy wasteland to trap invaders. In the jungle, even the slightest scratch can prove fatal as necrotic bacteria swarm in to putrefy it. The native animals are as deadly to humanity as the plant life, the Catachan Devil with jaws as big as a tank is a major threat to human living centres. The giant Shambling Mamorphs of the volcanic regions are also a considered to be a major threat.
Yes Catachan, where even the plants will kill you. Especially the plants:
- The Brainleaf, a vegetative carnivore, is a small tree, not particularly conspicuous on Catachan, but is able to attach its tendrils to the spine and brain of a person, taking control over their body. This creature may be an offshoot of the Tyranid Cortex Leech, a creature with similar abilities.
- The Spiker, another deadly plant, fires its spikes into its victims’ bodies, which then releases a mutative chemical which literally turns the person into another spiker.
- The Venus Mantrap is a giant carnivorous plant common to jungle Deathworlds. It resembles the Terran Venus Flytrap for which it is named, but is far larger, and unlike the flytrap, it is able to move its leaves to attack and consume its prey. The Mantrap consists of a number of mobile leaves attached to a single immobile stem.
- The Spore Tree, the branches of this plant hold dangling flowers which launch a cloud of spores when they detect something moving close by, to carry their seeds to other fertile areas. The spore cloud is so dense, the creature which disturbed the tree often chokes and dies. This is also useful for the spore tree as its victim’s decaying body will enrich the ground around its roots.
- The Strangleplant, these plants prefer shady spots to grow in, where their distinctive tube-like trunks are hidden from view. When they detect the disturbance caused by a passing animal, their long, highly adhesive stamen uncoil, wrapping themselves around their prey and dragging them back to die of dehydration.
- The Canak Floater, these bizarre and deadly plants are filled with lighter-than-air gases, and drift across the planet with the vagaries of the wind. They have sensitive feeler tentacles, which detect warmth and moisture above the normal local levels. This is usually to detect streams, hot springs and other sources of water, but unfortunately is also sensitive enough to detect the temperature of and moisture changes caused by humans. When it finds such a place, the floater explodes, scattering its seed pods over a wide area. These seed pods have a diamond-hard outer casing with razor sharp edges, and will scythe through anything within range.
- The Miral Catcher, is a ground-hugging vegetation which has roots that are extremely sensitive to vibrations in the ground, such as might be caused by an animal wandering past. It looks innocuous enough when dormant, but when it attacks, huge tentacles whip from its many frilled maws and lash out. They carry a paralysing toxin, which acts almost instantaneously.
- The Sucker Tree, is a plant that is fairly innocuous looking to the untrained eye; it is simply a fungal-like growth on top of a seemingly normal trunk. However, the trunk can twist and turn when it detects prey, bending over to drop its suckers on top of the heads of its victims. It quickly drains them of their life fluids and then flings the corpse away, to ensure that future victims are not made suspicious by a pile of bodies.
- The Spitting Cactus, is a deadly form of jungle cacti, it is able to fire toxin-coated spines directly at nearby prey.
- The Catachan Mantrap, is a plant which, while having a similar name to the Venus Mantrap, uses a much more aggressive hunting technique. It can move its leaves around, actively searching out prey and clamping its jaw-like leaves around its victims.
- The Stranglevine
The homeworld of the Blood Angels was a nuked and virus bombed wasteland long before the Imperium made them cool. Millennia before the founding of the Imperium, Baal and its two moons were all but destroyed in a terrible war. Ancient viral and nuclear weapons had turned the once idyllic worlds into toxic wastelands. The survivors became scavengers, constantly moving from place to place, and warring to preserve the spoils they gathered. By the time of the coming of Sanguinius, Baal and its moons were a wasteland dominated by a tribe known as The Blood and foul Mutant hordes. Thanks to the effort of Sanguinius, the mutants were defeated and the people of The Blood came to ascendancy. Later during the Horus Heresy, Baal became a central loyalist hub under the control of Warden Arkhad. Many members of the Shattered Legions took refuge on Baal.
Little enough is known about this place, other than that it is both the home- and training-world of the Tempestus Scions. And anything that can transform a trooper of the militarum into a warrior of that caliber is sure to be an extreme plae indeed.
And of course, we close out with the beleaguered world of Vigilus. It wasn’t always a constant battlefield, fought over the myriad factions of the galaxy. But with the Orks, Genestealer Cults, Aeldari, and (likely soon) Necrons, Tyranids, Drukhari, and Chaos a constant presence, this tiny world that stands watch over the entrance to the Nachmund Gauntlet, one of few stable paths through to the Imperium Nihilus–this world is a crucible at the moment. And we shall see what comes out the other side.
Of course, the galaxy is a big place. These are just five of the deadliest worlds to call home–there are doubtless more out there. We invite you to share your picks for the deadliest worlds in the Imperium in the comments below!