Monday, April 29, 2024

Vastarian Contest - Entries Part 2

Entries Part 2

Below are the second set of ten entries in our Vastarian contest! See Part 1 here!

Edaw_end (edaws_end): Coven Opressum

Deep within the trenches and filth-laden gutters of Vastarian lay open eyes, waiting for their chance to strike. The downtrodden human flesh that make up Coven Opressum are outcasts from the several cults that inhabit Vastarian — each cast aside because they were deemed unworthy of the God Emperor's favor.

Most were driven to cannibalism, unable to feed themselves by any other means, which begot a slow sickly madness of thirsty rage. Unable to sleep from the dangers all around them, a separate madness took hold, driving any semblance of reason from the bowels of a forgotten pit.

Slowly the miscreants unified, believing that by tearing down their very own oppressors’ every last ribbon of flesh, they would take back what had been so wrongfully taken from them. By consuming the flesh of their oppressors, they would exact their revenge, driving them closer to the God Emperor himself.

A congregation of the mad Coven Opressum.

A cultist of the Coven Opressum barely containing their macabre hunger.

James Holloway (monstermangonzo): The Throne of Righteousness

Officially called the Sodality of the Righteous Throne of the Blessed Prophet Saint Morovius, the Throne is a small but wealthy sect. They were devoted to maintaining the tomb of Saint Morovius, an important religious figure from the Imperial planet of Opus Novum who died while on pilgrimage to Vastarian. Offerings from pilgrims from Morovius' homeworld allowed the sect to become wealthy, and the relatively light duties made it appealing to noble families who wanted to give their children the prestige of joining a sect of the Imperial creed without any of the messy flagellation or uncomfortable fasting. The growing political influence of the Throne in turn increased its wealth, which increased its political influence and so on.

Until the revelation.

The wave of psychic awareness that washed over Vastarian hit the Throne doubly hard. For some groups, it confirmed their existing faiths. For the Throne, it was a painful awakening. The vision of a saintly figure filled them not with certainty that it was their leader but with fear that it wasn't. Acutely conscious that they were a wealthy, worldly sect and that if the Emperor were to judge them they would surely be found wanting, they overreacted, picking up their ancient ceremonial power lances and photon censers and declaring several neighbouring sects anathema in a show of zeal.

Unfortunately for the Throne, they were not the most martial of groups and their ornate basilica, filled with treasures and religious artifacts, made a tempting target. After multiple attacks, they decided to spend some of their wealth on converting the shrine of Saint Morovius into a mobile form and going on an extended pilgrimage, hoping that in their wanderings the Emperor would reveal the path of righteousness to them

Sodality of the Righteous Throne of the Blessed Prophet Saint Morovius, or the Throne of Righteousness.

Censer-bearer, Valgas Pire, armed with his censer and a ritual power lance.

Mobile shrine of Saint Morovius.

Jamie Patterson(j_moarts): The Cult of the Midnight Rose

The Cult of the Midnight Rose is an Imperial cult whose practices stem from the belief that the Emperor has fully transcended his physical body and that the Astronomican is now his true form. They believe that communication with the Emperor is possible by following His call, the call of the Midnight Rose, as its light beams steadily through the tumultuous eddies of the Warp.

Navigator Renaudin of the Midnight Rose has been guided to Vastarian by the Astronomican–it is as if the Emperor himself requires her presence on this pious world for a purpose as-yet unknown to her.

The Cult of the Midnight Rose.

Assassins Anastasia and Siouxanya Karavell.

Myrmidon Olga Kriemhild next to Navigator Odelia Renaudin and her retainer Planchet.

Jean-François (trexcowboy_): The Aeris Sanctus

+++Ref Inq/ 081159+++
+++Author : Interrogator Basth+++
+++Subject : Vastarian cult+++
+++Access grade : Blue+++

Dear Inquisitor,
It is with great pleasure that I inform you that my investigation about some rising « said so » Imperial cults on Vastarian are over. Here, you’ll find my work about the members of the Aeris Sanctus, originating from the Veneris Prime Expanse and propaging on Vastrian since a few standard solar cycles.

I hope that this information will serve you well.

Eternally at your service,

Interrogator Basth

Thought of the day : We walk in the light of the Emperor and we shall not let a single foe stay us from our duty.


The Aeris Sanctus is situated on the oxygen-deprived expanse of Veneris Prime, a world where the air is thin and harsh. Despite the challenging environment, devout followers have established a unique Imperial Cult that venerates the scarcity of breathable air as a deliberate trial set by the Emperor Himself.

Within the open-air sanctuaries of the Aeris Sanctus, followers gather to face the relentless winds, which serve as both a symbol of life and a reminder of the scarce oxygen sustaining them. The act of breathing becomes a sacred ritual, a communion with the divine essence of the Emperor present in every gasp of air.

Pilgrims embark on arduous journeys to reach high-altitude shrines where the wind howls fiercely. Here, the clergy interprets the winds' patterns and intensity, seeing in them signs of the Emperor's approval or warnings of impending challenges. The faithful believe that by enduring the thin air and harsh winds, they demonstrate their resilience and loyalty to the Emperor's divine plan.

The Aeris Sanctus transforms the very act of breathing into a spiritual connection, making the struggle for each breath a testament to the followers' unwavering devotion in the face of the Emperor's chosen adversity. It is a place where faith is tested, and where the faithful find strength amidst the challenges of their oxygen-deprived world.

Priest of the Aeris Sanctus
Cloaked in flowing robes adorned with intricate wind patterns, the priests are distinguished by golden respirators covering their faces, allowing them to breathe in the thin air. They carry ornate censers filled with rare herbs that release fragrant scents, believed to purify the air and attract the Emperor's attention. Symbols of air and wind adorn their clothes. They lead ceremonies as the Ritual of Breath: The central ceremony within the Aeris Sanctus is the Ritual of Breath, where the followers gather within the open-air sanctuaries to participate in a synchronized breathing exercise. Each breath is taken deliberately, with reverence and gratitude for the gift of life bestowed by the Emperor.

Followers of the Aeris Sanctus
Devout followers wear simple hooded robes made of lightweight, breathable fabrics, designed to allow ease of movement in the low-oxygen environment. Many carry small wind chimes or tokens that tinkle softly with every movement, creating a melodic background to their prayers. Scarves and head covering are common, not only for protection against the elements but also as symbols of their commitment to enduring the challenges of their environment in the service of the Emperor.

The most holy followers are called « the beggars of breath ». Those individuals are poor and wander the streets seeking alms and offerings. With every coin received, the beggars offer prayers on behalf of the generous donor, beseeching the Emperor for blessings of health and prosperity. Despite their appearance, the beggars are revered within the community for their selfless devotion and acts as a conduit between the people and the divine.

"O Emperor, whose breath fills the void,
In the thin air of Vastarian, we stand before thee,
Each breath a testament to our faith, each gasp a hymn of devotion.

Grant us strength amidst the winds,
As we face the trials of this smothering world.
May every breath be a communion with thy divine essence,
A reminder of thy eternal presence in the air we breathe.

Guide us, O Emperor, through the turbulent currents of fate,
As we journey to the high-altitude shrines, seeking thy favor.
In the relentless winds, we find thy whispers,
In the scarce air, we find thy challenge.

Bless us with thy grace, O Emperor, as we endure,
For in the struggle for each breath, we find our purpose,
And in our unwavering faith, we find salvation.

In nomine Imperator, amen."

Members of the Aeris Sanctus wear golden respirators allowing them to breathe in the thin air of Veneris Prime.

A member of the Aeris Sanctus.

This cultist carries a censers filled with rare herbs that release fragrant scents, thought to purify the air and attract the Emperor's attention.

Jonas (newonsprue): The Vastarian Revenants

Ardan Crowe and his retinue of trained body guards came to Vastarian to protect Cardinal Osvald Hok. They failed. Osvald was assassinated, a sniper round straight through the tracking device and into his heart. Carrying Osvald’s body, the guilt and hatred drove them into the vast system of catacombs beneath the surface. They shed their standard issue armor and weapons out of shame. They no longer deserved to wear the Emperor’s Aquila. Replaced with tattered rags and ancient helmets filled with bone dust scavenged in this palace of the dead during the years following the assassination. Osvald’s desiccated body now sits on a makeshift throne, the tracking device adorning his chest. Ardan has been receiving visions of Osvald, of the Emperor and of the device.

Cardinal Osvald Hok came to Vastarian on a holy mission from the ecclesiarchy. What that mission was, no one knows. The only remnant of his purpose is the tracking device strapped to his corpse atop a makeshift throne in one of the million chambers of catacombs beneath Vastarian. A dead place of worship for a nearly dead congregation. Ardan Crowe is the leader of this congregation. Once Osvald’s right hand man and head of his security detail–now half a madman leading a pack of deranged worshippers.

In the years since Osvald’s assassination on the steps of cathedral Bruhn, Ardan has received 1227 visions, all of them telling him Osvald was on a mission from the Emperor himself. Now standing in this cathedral of their own making, adorned with the remains and covered in the bone dust of the martyrs once entombed here. They chant. The chanting has only become more fervent and crazed since they first took refuge here. And on this day the chanting is so loud that its echoes seem to shake the walls.

And as an answer to their prayers the tracking device comes to life again. The round that went clean through it and punctured Osvalds heart cannot stop Ardan on his inherited holy mission. The device's cracked display pings a single location, in the heart of Vastarian’s holiest of places. Ardan and his cult now emerge from the depths of this labyrinth of the dead, back to life to fulfill this mission and avenge Osvald, the missionary of the God Emperor himself. Beneath their rusted helmets lies nothing but hatred. Beneath their tattered robes sit hearts filled with nothing but zeal. They emerge like righteous crusaders, like crazed ghouls. Like revenants.

"In the Emperor's name, in Osvald Hok’s name. We shall fulfill his mission. We shall avenge him.”

Donning rusted helms, these revenants emerge from dusty catacombs, ready to avenge Osvald, the missionary of the God Emperor himself.

They emerge like righteous crusaders, like crazed ghouls. Like revenants.

Ardan Crowe, ready to led his band of zealous murderers into the heart of the magnificent cathedrals of Vastarian.

Jonny Lashley (witchhammerstudio): YOD Death Cults

The YOD death cults are a mysterious organization spread all over mankind’s explored universe. Beginning within the trade Dynasty of eccentric Rogue Trader Tiberius Cagorea, a prolific explorer, was fascinated by the power of the martyr and its bloods connection to the Emperor and altogether obsessed with the creators of death. His dynasties slowly gained following and were becoming something different. This blood cult, once wholly devoted to the Emperor of mankind has undoubtedly happened upon something altogether “different” in their widespread explorations.

A small cult contingent was sent to accompany a group of “initiates” to the YOD affiliated temple towers on Vastarian. Their leader a FemDominant Veteran no doubt crossing many of the noted assasinorum house technologies. As well as two hulking weapons specialists chem enhanced notably by the tanks grafted to their bodies. This group and a servo revenant aim to facilitate any creation of a beacon on Vastarian to further their contact on the dark side of the tare and will eliminate any in opposition to that.

A FemDominant Veteran with two chem enhanced weapons specialists.

YOD FemDominant PAAS.

Kyle Bragg (reelsleazy): The Cult of Blood and Dagger

Before the psychic disruptions on Vastarian, the Silent Quill sat in somber meditation writing tome after tome venerating the Emperor of Mankind. Their bodies withered with pious neglect. As strife spread over the planet, members were woken from their fugue state and forced into feeble acts of self-defense against apocryphal insurgents that assaulted their sanctuary. In one such incident, heretic blood was spilled on an open tome. The body of Elder Vaso Daal shuddered awake with glimmers of new vitality.

Now stalking Vastarian's great cathedrals, the Cult of Blood and Dagger strikes from the shadows with honed blades and weapons for close combat. They draw forth sanguine ink with which they write over their formerly sacred texts. Each passage scrawled in still warm gore describing the extinguishing of life siphons more physical and psychic power to Vaso Daal.

The Cult of Blood and Dagger.

Elder Vaso Daal.

Once frail from a life of religious scholarship, the Cult of Blood and Dagger now spill blood to wet their quills with blood.

Manuel Garcia (herr_salsero): The Lords Dragon

The Lords Dragon is a secret order within the Adeptus Mechanicus that specializes in fighting tech heresy. Magos Telrik is a Tech-Priest within the Lords Dragon that wears armor that combines elements of the power armor of the Adeptus Astartes and other more antediluvian technology. He specializes in analyzing and decoding ancient technologies and is known for his vast knowledge of xenos and heretical mechanisms. Telrik's has an alliance with Magos Prime Vaelin Skoros that is based on their shared passion for uncovering lost technological secrets and their dedication to protecting the Imperium from tech heresy.

Telrik commands a series of servitors, but unlike most Imperial servitors, Telrik’s servitors are not completely mindless. They are former gangers, politicians, soldiers, and all kinds of people who had special skills and traits who come in handy for the tech prists of the Lords Dragon. Since Vastarian is such a holy place for the Emperor, they recruit people from the planet.

Magos Telrik of the Lords Dragon and a series of his servators.

VERACHTUNG – A soldier, with some legendary skill in both melee and shooting. He was a spy and did unspeakable things to other humans, and now serves for the Lords Dragon as a servitor.

VERHÖHNUNG – In her former life, she was a mayor in a city, but she exploited her power and built a private army, specializing in heavy weapons.. Due to her greed, she caused immense suffering on the loyal people she was supposed to serve. Now she wears a heavy bolter to atone for her sins forever.

GEIST - Formerly a priest, with her manipulative skills, she conducted speeches that led to a catastrophic revolt. Now she is damned to wear a banner with her speech – saying Mortis Nostra – Death is Ours, forever and spread the word of the God Emperor.

ERKENNTNIS - He worked as a librarian, studying forbidden books and following the ruination of tech heresy. Now he is hunched over with the books on his back and always has the knowledge of the Inquisition force with him.

Mark (_voidone_): The Cult of the Divine Word

The Cult of the Divine word can trace its origins back to the founding settlers of Vastaria. Most important to the cult is the "Emperor's Word" , a book that is copied and distributed to all members when they enter the cult. Every member carries a copy of the book on them, and it details the teachings of the Emperor during his life. The mission of the Cult is to distribute their version of the Emperor's teachings to the masses. Any disagreement with the cult's version of the Emperor's Word is considered Heresy, and the sentence for those 'disbelievers' is death at the hands of the cult's preferred weapon: a chainaxe.

The Cult of the Divine Word.

A cultist proudly displays the cult’s holy book,"Emperor's Word."

The cult is quick to sentence those they deem 'disbelievers' to death.

Matt Clarke (thetestofreason): The Church of the Consecrated Redeemer

Little is known of the warrior preacher Zuriel Victus, celebrated by his followers simply as “The Prophet”. None know if he is a native of Vastarian or when he arrived on-world, or how he has risen to hold influence over so many. It appears as if he simply wandered out of the wastes between the temple cities at the head of a murderously-devout cult, exhorting rigid adherence to the Imperial Creed and goading his followers into acts of violent retribution against their rivals. Some claim that his tirades are enhanced by psychic powers, that his charisma is nothing more than mind control, but this underestimates his eloquence and authenticity.

The origins of the cult he leads are similarly enigmatic, proclaiming themselves to be The Church of the Consecrated Redeemer. Many of the cult's members are rumoured to be disaffected scribes and admin workers from the low levels of Vastarian society. Reports from interrogations by the Inquisition make mention of these malcontents abandoning their positions and the temple cities entirely, taking pilgrimages through the wilderness to distance themselves from the relentless indifference of conventional worship of The Emperor. It seems that in the wilds they have been recruited by Victus and have now returned to the sprawl with renewed destructive zeal.

Surveillance pict-feeds of Victus’ sermon capture the espoused ideology of this cult. He preaches veneration of the Emperor through suffering and poverty, seeking to replicate His suffering by abandoning worldly possessions and the relative comfort of civilization. Victus decries all other cults on Vastarian as heretics and blasphemers; charlatans who defile the holy purpose of the Imperial Creed with self-serving motivation and greed. It appears that the growing hostilities between the various sects on the planet have drawn The Church back into the metropolitan doldrums, the open violence desecrating His holy places, the breaking point for Victus and his followers. They now seek to correct their rivals with fire and the blade.

The most documented warband of The Church are the personal retinue of Zuriel Victus. These members have been present in all major actions by this sect and sometimes act as leaders of their own forces or lone operatives when tasked by their leader.

Xerxes Novus, The Fanatic, acts as bodyguard and executioner for Victus, never straying far from his side. He is often accompanied by Jericus Flavion, The Guard, another soldier of the cult. Gaius Octus, The Cleric, is the guardian of a holy relic and the keeper of the prayer book from which their leader preaches the word of The Emperor. Solomon Praetus, The Signifier, bears a holy artifact into battle for the cult, and often acts as messenger and diplomat for Victus. In recent altercations, a new follower appears to have joined The Church - Grak, The Shrine, an enormous brute glad in golden armour, festooned with candles and brandishing only an enormous brazier as a weapon, speculated to be the skull of either a rival cult’s leader or some person revered as a saint by the followers of The Church. It is rumoured that this beast is in fact an ogryn grunt from an unknown Astra Militarum regiment, partially lobotomised in a crash or other accident and now completely under the thrall of Victus (it should be noted that no reports of either a crashed troop ship or desertion from the PDF forces could be verified).

The Church of the Consecrated Redeemer are without doubt fiercely loyal to the Emperor and by extension the Imperium as a whole, but their violent persecution of all heretics, real and imagined, make them just as dangerous to the safety of Vastarian as the less pious cults that have infiltrated the planet. Should they gain a dominant position, their radical dogma would see the temple cities emptied in favour of worship through hardship and scarcity. They should also not be granted passage off-world, lest their pilgrimages gain enough momentum to become a crusade.

The Church of the Consecrated Redeemer.

The Church of the Consecrated Redeemer is quick to call others out as heretics and blasphemers.

Grak, The Shrine, towers over other members of the Cult.

We hope you enjoyed seeing another set of entries to the Vastarian contest! Make sure to follow the creators if you are not. And look forward to the next set of entries soon!

- Adam, Eric, and Greg Wier

1 comment:

  1. That is some stunning work and the world building background is very inspirational.