Clans of Cindar
From: Scholar Krupin, Heteraia Lexis Vaxanide
To: Colonel D. Ilmarin, 2nd Cindar Light Foot, (Mammoth class conveyance, Holy Burden, en-route to Cindar); Senior Commissar P. Glass
Subject: The Indigenous Peoples of Cindar
Thought for the Day: A day spent struggling to survive will always surpass a lifetime spent cowering in safety.
I have been tasked by His Grace, Iacomus Paternost, Bishop of Cindar to furnish you with an understanding of the peoples of Cindar, so they may best serve the armies of our Glorious God Emperor in the field. In my two decades on Cindar I lived amongst the curious remnants, acting as both a missionary and interpreter, cataloguing myriad physical and cultural peculiarities. I can attest first hand to the hardiness and ingenuity of these people and believe they will prove themselves a valuable asset to the Milites Calix.
I hereby present you with a condensed version of my field notes, along with my own modest suggestions regarding tactical applications, though I am no Scholar Militaris and I am sure an experienced officer such as yourself will find numerous applications for these hardy individuals. May the men and women of Cindar prove themselves worthy of the Emperor’s service.
The Emperor Protects,
The Indigenous Clans of Cindar
Also known as the Rustkin. Rust-eaters are the foremost navigators and scavengers on Cindar. Eating in front of outsiders is seen as strictly taboo. A guest to the Rust-eaters will likely be presented with a feast, though will often be unnerved by their host’s unwillingness to partake. Some speculate the Rust-eaters are descended from workers enhanced with hunger suppression augmetics, or indeed alternative means of supplementing their intake of chemical energy. Others say their reluctance is in imitation of the Mechanicus priesthood, most of whom rarely require conventional sustenance, or even a cultural response to the effects of long term privation. Rust-eaters are capable of sustaining physical hardships which would kill other men, making them excellent candidates for long term reconnaissance and guerilla missions behind enemy lines. They exhibit a wariness of outsiders which is likely to persist for many years, and indeed may never be fully overcome. In order to gain their respect I suggest implementing a policy of mild privation across the entire regiment.
The Rustguild are a confederation of small merchant clans, bound together for mutual protection and profit. They are the closest thing to an organised government which exists on Cindar and were quick to seek the backing of the Ministorum. The dozen or so clans attend a bi-annual assembly during which disputes can be settled, trade agreements negotiated and information shared regarding raider activities. A central stipulation of Rustguild membership is the training of clan militias in order to protect trade routes and caravanserais, though as I will address later, mercenaries are often employed in these roles. Those who fail their duties to the guild are subject to severe penalties, the most severe being the forfeiture of cybernetics. In local parlance this is known as severance, or being severed; to be severed is a mark of great shame for all Cindarans, even those of the Rustguild aspiring to more civilised behavioural norms.
Addendum: One must understand the cultural significance of cybernetics in the Cindaran psyche. What an outsider sees as a machine or a simple prosthesis is, for Cindarans, ingrained with a deep legacy stretching back many generations. In the aftermath of battle, victorious warriors strip the dead of their components, often overlooking weapons, armour and other normally looted valuables. The relatives of the fallen will strive for vengeance and in such manner a metal feud will develop, with families losing, regaining, taking and then losing components over successive generations. Consequently every cybernetic component is enmeshed with the history of the clans.
Those with the skill to maintain, repair and implant cybernetics are held in the utmost regard, forming a pseudo-priesthood. They hold considerable power within the clans, often forming the entire leadership. Some reject their elite status and become blisterfoot, nomadic healers who cleave to no clan leader or allegiance. Harming a blisterfoot is seen as a grievous crime even amongst raiders.
The Rustguild can be seen as the glue which holds together disparate clans, setting them to work on the great project of rebuilding. There are nevertheless those who prefer Cindar’s anarchic state and oppose unification. Tribal culture is predominant and metal feuds run deep, even within the guild itself.
Rustguilders will most likely expect command roles. I suggest assigning these roles based on merit and having a balance of different clan members in order to forestall accusations of favouritism and instil greater unity in the long-term. This will likely cause some disharmony in the short-term. Those Rustguilders who have experience in the militias will likely make capable NCOs.
Tending towards short stature, Orts display an aptitude for technology surpassing all other Cindarans. Given their short stature, one may conjecture they are an offshoot of Lathemaster stock, or possibly even a variant of homo minimus (see Ratling). The former seems more likely, though they do have a tendency towards petty larceny more akin to the latter. They show a casual disregard to Mechanicus rituals which may prove problematic if left unchecked.
Orts have a habit of decorating their bodies with mechanical components, including the insertion under the skin. This seems to be a crude emulation of their former Mechanicus masters. When asked some Orts have claimed it strengthens their connection with the machine spirits, but many answers have been given, with most saying they just like doing it. This indicates the elusiveness and often contrary nature of the Orts. Outsiders are generally exasperated by them and it is likely they would not be tolerated if not for their uncanny technical expertise.
The other clans tend to hold a grudging respect for the Orts, not fully trusting them, but nevertheless dependent on their technical expertise, in much the same way that the Priesthood of Mars are regarded by the Ministorum.
Of all the clans, the Orts pose the greatest challenge. They harbour a deep seated mistrust of authority figures which will prove difficult to overcome.
The descendants of enhanced foundry workers. Claim descent from a semi-mythical ancestor called the Charred Man. Practice rituals involving fire and branding with hot irons. Most Charrs inhabit an area of Cindar known as the Crucible, a former foundry complex. Known for their strength and endurance. Rumours persist of cannibalistic practices, but the Ministorum has so far yet to find concrete evidence to support these claims. Charrs tend to be of coarse character, even by the standards of their rough world. First impressions of any Charr is that they are utterly tactless and overbearing. They respect strength and courage above all else, and can be stirred to great fervour by the prospect of battle or the exhortations of a preacher. One of the first clans to fully embrace the Imperial Creed in its entirety, Charrs make up in enthusiasm what they lack in tactical acumen. One should not, however, mistake them for being simple or stupid, but rather a people who value directness over artifice.
The Charrs long survived as raiders, but were convinced to curb their piratical activities after a series of defeats against Rustguild militias in what is known locally as the Third Silo War. Encircled by Rustguild forces, the remaining Charrs were forced to terms. In return for their lives, they were to renounce raiding, and in a move held to be magnanimous by many Rustguilders, Charrs would receive employment as mercenaries in service to the Rustguild.
Needless to say many Charrs considered this a grave insult and chose exile to service. An interesting side note, in the months following the Silo Wars, incidences of raiding increased significantly with many raider gangs emboldened by an influx of flesh blood.
Less of a clan and more of an isolate cult, the Ironmourn devote themselves to the preservation of Cindar’s remaining Machine Temples, considering themselves holy custodians.
Raiders and Recidivists
Generally comprised of exiles and other outcasts, raider gangs often transcend clan divisions. It is not unusual to see Charrs and Orts or indeed exiled Rustguilders working together. Loners do not survive long and any who find themselves out-with the protection of a clan will inevitably seek recruitment into a raider group.
Daughters of Anarchy
These are raiders with a distinctly political bent. All female, they are prime example of the aforementioned transcendence of clan ties amongst raider. Drawing from every clan, the Daughters were united by a deep seated hatred of Rustguilders and fought against the pacification of Cindar, often bringing them into conflict with missionaries. The Rustguild tried multiple times to buy these raiders off, only to find their caravans and trade outposts attacked with renewed ferocity for their “insult”.
Now defunct following a series of clashes with the Ironmourn, which allegedly saw them fighting against a reactivated Praetorian servitor. What prompted the usually reclusive Ironmourn to attack remains the subject of campfire conjecture, but one thing is certain, they were both thorough and merciless. It is believed a handful of the Daughters survived the battle, and may have chosen service in the Imperial Guard rather than risk capture by vengeful Rustguilders.
The most savage group of raiders, they have been marked for extermination by the nascent authorities on Cindar and are under investigation by the Ordo Hereticus for harbouring rogue psykers. Amongst the common people of Cindar the Flayed Men hold a semi-mythical status, with tales told of entire caravans found flayed and cannibalised. It is unlikely you will have any of these sub-human savages amongst your recruits, but you will undoubtedly hear tales of kin fallen victim to the Night Flayers. Even the most hardened Charrs speak warily of these raiders, lest they somehow summon them from the darkness.
On Cindar the harvesting of the dead is seen as a sign of respect and cybernetic components are inscribed with the names of previous owners, many being passed down through families as heirlooms. Great pains will be taken to recover the cybernetic components of the deceased, and most Cindarans have at least a rudimentary understanding of human anatomy: consequently you are likely to have a healthy supply of candidates for medicus training. This boon is offset somewhat by the disregard Cindarans show for the physical remains of the dead, going as far as harvesting any available corpse of usuable cybernetics. I suggest officers and commissars pay close attention to their medics’ harvesting activities to ensure proper boundaries are maintained. What is for Cindarans a matter of simple pragmatism is likely to be perceived by other regiments as ghoulish and disrespectful.