Vandoch

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World class: Agriworld
Population: 1,000,000
Tech level: 10 (High Imperial)
Tithe Grade: Exactis Extremis
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The smallest of the three colonized planets in the Trivium system, Vandoch is quite unlike the typical agriworld, covered by green fields and billions of domesticated beasts. With less than a third of its surface covered by water, there is little rainfall and its high amount of volcanic activity leads to vast pillars of smoke and dust constantly being spewed into its murky atmosphere. Even at midday, the sunlight can barely break through its ochre skies. The regions with regular rainfall, mostly found around its handful of isolated oceans, are savannahs in shades of brown and yellow. The vegetation is forced to constantly change its foliage, as the rainfall covers the surface with soot and sulfur. While its lands and oceans do harbor rich ecosystems, having adapted to the planet’s climate, the Imperium does not harvest their resources. The harvest on Vandoch takes place in the air.

Due in part to Vandoch’s low gravity and relatively dense atmosphere, flying creatures have adapted remarkably well in its ecosystem. Through eons of evolution, the winged beasts and insects of Vandoch have survived in swarms and these swarms have evolved to the point of including millions of creatures, soaring through the skies like living clouds. Indeed, through natural selection the swarms of Vandoch have adapted behavioral patterns which allow these gigantic swarms to react to their environment with a kind of gestalt consciousness, as if the swarms themselves were intelligent or their individual members shared a form of psychic link. Although this is not the case, these vast swarms have been the subject of vast amounts of research.

Few people consider the surface of Vandoch to be a beautiful sight. Its black swarms of winged insects, mammals and reptiles snake their way through ochre clouds, blotting out the sun itself as they hunt for food. The chirping sounds from the swarms are like unstoppable oceans of noise, driving many visitors to insanity if they cannot find a refuge in sound isolated buildings. Yet despite its horrific living conditions, Vandoch is a vital resource to the Trivium system and the Anargo sector as a whole. Roughly a million Imperial workers, aided by armies of servitors, harvest the great swarms through use of enormous airships and powerful nets. Indeed, if the population of winged beasts on Vandoch is not carefully culled, the ecosystem can be damaged irreparably, as terraforming has already pushed it to its limits in order to provide enough sustenance for the hungry hiveworlds in the Anargo sector.