About Kelper Prime
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Kelper Prime has been a world devoted to the defense of the Sector since Warp Storm Tenebris devastated Subsector Quartus. With a habitable though cold climate, plenty of open tundra to build settlements, and a friendly population, Kelper took on the lion’s share of refugees fleeing the devastation of the Subsector in 331.M41. The planet’s population swelled by billions overnight; all that the locals asked, in return for housing, feeding and clothing the shattered remnants of a hundred Imperial worlds now lost to the warp storm, was that their new neighbours devote themselves to the defense of their home. The immigrants integrated quickly and seamlessly, joining the newly founded planetary defence and Imperial Guard regiments which quickly absorbed most of the adult population.
Kelper today is the site of regular incursions by Enemy forces desperate to control the firm base for warp transit into Subsector Tertius. For a century and a half, the locals and descendants of the original refugees have fought them off, bolstered by Crusade forces on regular rotation, who use the planet for extreme weather training and exercise as well as providing live fire support against Enemy occupation attempts.
As a result of the locals’ particular love for ambush tactics, and the presence of large quantities of volatile mineral compounds in the local soil, the permafrost of Kelper is heavily mined outside the main fortified cities. Local youth training regiments compete with each other in contests of ingenuity and perseverance to prepare new minefields in any areas the Enemy might use as a landing site or defensive position. After decades of enthusiastic preparation, the only safe routes to travel across the surface are the main metalled roads – and even those are frequently underlain with culvert bombs and deactivated pressure plates, requiring only the work of a moment by a knowledgeable local to turn a secure crossing-point into a deathtrap. The frequent storms and flooding accompanying the season the Kelperites generously call “spring” – the brief period in the planet’s thousand-day year cycle when temperatures edge above freezing – often cause these buried landmines to shift and move, meaning that any map of the minefields is hopelessly out of date almost as soon as it is drawn. The Kelper Engineer Regiments are famous across the Sector for their knowledge of improvised explosives, and regularly send bright instructors to teach at the Guard academies for sappers, ammunition technicians and explosive ordnance operatives.
Although most of Kelper’s military might is concentrated in its ground forces, the planet does keep a respectable detachment of Thunderbolt attack craft based on orbital platforms, supported by Avenger pattern ground attack fighters quartered at the planetary capital of Stanportley. The pilots are treated with a mixture of respect and gentle mockery by their “ground-pounding” comrades, who appreciate their skills and laud their willingness to meet Enemy forces head-on in a dogfight, but maintain that a true Kelperite spends their time elbows-deep in permafrost and home-made explosives.
The only signs today of the planet’s hybrid history are in food and naming conventions; Kelper cookery is famous across the Subsector for its delicate fusion of lost Subsector Quartus dishes with the solid, starchy stews traditional on the freezing planet. Children born on Kelper usually take local first names, which mirror the traditional names common before Durovera’s Crusade reclaimed the planet; popular names include Apay, Kallik, Kumaglak, Luava, Muktuk, Nanouk and Osha. Middle names and surnames are often agglutinative references to the off-world blood now present in almost all native families, memorialising cities and planets now fallen to the Archenemy – Daliasecundus, Koiturnsworld, Maorusprime and Secondspire are all common surnames.
Agriculture on Kelper is minimal, with most of the adult population devoted to the planet’s defense, and it barely produces enough food on an annual basis to sustain itself. The most common food animal is a large, flightless aquatic bird known as the Manchot, which has the distinction of being just light enough not to trigger the standard pressure release plates fitted to Kelperite anti-personnel landmines, and therefore roams freely over the planet’s landmasses. The planet’s grox population, being substantially heavier, did not survive the first decade of defensive emplacements.