Worlds: A New Resource

One hundred and sixteen.

That’s how many planets, moons, space hulks, and other interstellar locations currently are documented as existing in the Corvus Cluster.

How do I know that? I went through the 571 articles of this website and wrote them all down.

I did this for two reasons: For one, the Corvus Cluster is—in a manner of speaking—an encyclopedia of our nine-year-old narrative campaign in the Warhammer 40K universe.

Thus, although we write about painting, terrain building and the like,  our main objective is to document our wargaming adventures. And, so we can go back and reminisce over old battles fought, we need to document everything in a digestible format.

Second, participants of our narrative campaign don’t need to be inventing new planets every time someone has an idea for a battle, fictional story, or bit of trivia. A lot of our stories can be set in the planets already in existence. We should be expanding the narrative tales of existing planets rather than adding new ones without good reason.

So, I felt we needed a handy resource—a comprehensive list of planets, moons, and such—along with a few summary about each one—so we know where we can put a new story.

The most recent campaign map is two years old and needs updating. But don’t expect a lot of new planets to make their appearance.

Where are all these worlds?

If you look at the campaign map above, you’ll notice that you can’t find the location of a majority of worlds documented. That’s on purpose.

Taking a lesson from Games Workshop, it’s not always a good idea to “lock down” all the details of a fictional universe. Why? Because being vague gives you flexibility as you write your story.

For example, in two years (SPOILER), the Damocles Gulf Crusade will end as the Imperium and Tau Empire call an armistice to deal with Hive Fleet Behemoth.  One idea we have is that a splinter fleet from Behemoth will wander through the Corvus Cluster.

We expect theTyranids will enter our campaign from the east (rimward) side of the Corvus Cluster. Any planets we  put there could be destroyed in the xeno invasion. Do we want that?

Well, a lot of the worlds near the Dryillian Quarantine Zone (Dryillia, Myopolis, NuDawn, Stigmata, and Tophet) are in danger—but that’s okay. We don’t have great plans for those worlds, so if the tabletop battles go poorly, so be it.,

(Also, I need a little Tyranid presence there so I have an excuse to pit my Necrons against the space bugs.)

But what if we had a world in which we’ve made a big investment—such as the detailed history and battle reports that exist about the desert world of Morkai in the Vengeance System? If I’d put this world closer to the east side of the map, would we be ready to lose all that narrative material to a Tyranid invasion?

I don’t know. It could be the mutants actually are a Genestealer Cult (I use their codex for the mutants because it’s so fun). But, then again, perhaps it would be better to create (or place) a less-valued planet in the Tyranid’s path? Why lose Morkai as a narrative story by putting it in harm’s way?

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Given the Imperial Navy’s clashed with a fleet of insectoid-like warship in the Elara System, it’s a safe bet that the system finally may end up on the campaign map in about two years—the historical period when Hive Fleet Behemoth makes itself known to humanity.

Getting on the map

For a long time, I’ve been pondering an idea: On the eastern fringe of the Corvus Cluster lie a number of ork-held worlds. There’s a few hints buried in our stories that this is the case, but nothing very obvious.

(There’s a brief description, for example, of the ork conquest of Thalion. It is recorded that the planet was the “last of a series of worlds that fell” to Waaagh! Krakor.)

So, by way of example, what if we put that small ork empire in the path of the Tyranids? We haven’t written anything about this ork empire. (And, frankly, what can you say about the inner workings of an ork empire anyway?)

But one reason you put a world on the campaign map is because it’s location is part of the larger narrative story. So, it’s possible that we’ll flesh out the planets on the east (rimward) side of the campaign map as the Tyranids arrive. Do we want some ork worlds to get invaded so we can get The Gaffer’s orks into the fray?

And then there’s the Elara System. There, an Imperial fleet was devastated by a mysterious xeno fleet whose warships appeared to be organic and vaguely insectoid. Hmm. It’s interesting that no one has heard anything from that system since. Perhaps we need to plant the Elara System on the east edge of the map? Is this where the Tyranid invasion begins?

If it helps with our narrative story—then¯and only then—will we assign a world a location. Until then, all that’s important is that our worlds are out there. Somewhere.

One of the newer worlds added to our narrative, Volana started as a cool idea of a tidal-locked planet that was isolated and a good location for a Blood Wolves skirmish game. But we’ve been adding to the planet’s story bit by bit.

Will there be new worlds?

The  answer is Yes. But only if there’s a solid narrative reason to add to the list.

For example, Daxim III was created when I found this fantastic art of a large planetoid slamming into a planet. It was such a good illustration that it inspired a nice Rumors of the Underhive article, and I didn’t want to destroy an existing planet.

Meanwhile, I hosted a game at the Shorehammer conference about Voloh Gudag’s plan to spread the Kassig Plague on a planet and divert Imperial reinforcements away from the Death Guard invasion on Dozaria.

I decided I needed another world in the same system. It had to be close enough to Dozaria that, if the Imperium didn’t act quickly against Gudag, the world would fall to Nurgle—and the Death Guard would have made a great advance in the Dozarian System. So Polarian was created to force the Imperium’s hand to act. Now, this world can go on the map. It’s lore.

So, new worlds are inevitable. But with 116 already to choose from, I suspect that we’ll go slow and make a greater effort to add depth to our existing narrative, not more width.

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This was one of the first maps for the Corvus Cluster–an illustration of the Sculptor System. It’s a lot of fun to make maps, and I really should make more.

Want to know more?

There are two ways to learn more about the many worlds of the Corvus Cluster.

First, at the top of the page, above the banner, there are series of headings—About, Campaign Timeline, Who’s Who, etc.—and I recently added Worlds. This subhead lists all the official worlds and stellar objects of note in the campaign, with a citation that will link you to an important article that sheds light on the location.

(It’s certainly going to help me sort out what goes where.)

Now, some of these planets are little more than a setting for a very brief rumor, news account, or the like. If you want to find the worlds where more detail is available, look in the Categories section to the right. Under the Category “Worlds,” you’ll find lengthier articles specifically written to “flesh out” the history and details of some planets. It’s a limited selection, but I hope we’ll add more in the months ahead.

Thanks for reading.—TheGM

The Corvus Cluster is a Warhammer 40K blog documenting our gaming adventures in the fantastical sci-fi universe of Games Workshop.


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