Astaramis is an Imperial Hive World that is the third planet of the Konor System in the Realm of Ultramar and the most populated planet in the system. The world came under sustained attack by the Forces of Chaos in service to Nurgle during the Plague Wars of the early 42nd Millennium, but the Imperial forces valiantly rallied to reclaim Astaramis for the Emperor.
The Plague Wars
Astaramis is a well-ordered and heavily defended Hive World, the largest centre of population in the Konor System and a potent symbol of Imperial dominance. Having gathered significant momentum with their early victories on the outskirts of the Konor System during the Plague Wars, the armies of Chaos spread out across the region like poison seeping into the blood stream of the Imperium.
When the Plague Wars began, Ultramar burned. The putrid warbands of the Death Guard, led by the Daemon Primarch Mortarion, launched a furious assault upon the Ultramarines' stellar empire. This eruption of all-out war threatened to drown the stars themselves in bloodshed and terror. Legions of Heretic Astartes and Chaos-spawned monstrosities have already rampaged across world after world, spreading the malignant corruption of the Dark Gods in their wake. Yet all hope is not lost. The return of the Primarch Roboute Guilliman to the region with the end of the Indomitus Crusade has stalled the seemingly unstoppable momentum of the Chaos advance. In a series of bloody battles, the armies of the Imperium -- reinforced with mighty Primaris Space Marines -- have reclaimed many worlds thought lost, forcing their hated foes to retreat and regroup.
The worshippers of Chaos sought to regain their advantage by smashing a path through the Imperial battle line to Macragge, homeworld of the Ultramarines. Had they succeeded, the greatest Imperial stronghold in the sector would have been gravely threatened, and Guilliman's forces cut-off and surrounded. To achieve this end, the Forces of Chaos had to conquer the well-located Konor System. Powered by the industrial might of the Forge World of Konor, this centre of produce and production feeds the Imperial war machine with vital shipments of munitions and machinery. Populous and prosperous, with a large and well-equipped defence force, the Konor System embodies the glorious dream that is Ultramar. Crucially, it also guarded one of the few stable Warp transit routes to the Macragge System. If the Chaos advance was not halted, Konor would have fallen, and a path to the heartland of Ultramar would be laid bare to the forces of the Ruinous Powers.
Yet the warriors of the Adeptus Astartes had no intention of ceding their rightful domain without a fight. The Ultramarines stood against the Chaos onslaught with nobility and courage, smiting the foe with Bolter and blade. And they are not alone. The military sledgehammer of the Astra Militarum rumbled into action, an armoured fist of devastating tank columns and endless regiments of soldiers that ground all before it into ashes and dust. Scattered Space Marine Chapters rushed fresh reinforcements to the war zone, seeking to aid their embattled kin. Enigmatic Tech-priests of the Adeptus Mechanicus sent forth their legions of steel, and mighty Imperial Knights bestrode the slaughter like ancient gods of war.
Every single warrior -- every Bolter round and bomb -- was vital, for the Chaos host sweeping across the Konor System was vast beyond imagining. Warriors of the Death Guard marched implacably forward, enemy fire spattering harmlessly from their rusted, ancient Power Armour and pallid, twisted flesh. In return, they unleashed bombardments of noxious toxins and flesh-melting plagues. Daemonic legions surge alongside the Chaos advance, exulting in the chance to wreak torment across the material realm. Warbands of Heretic Astartes, millions upon millions of depraved mortal Chaos Cultists, and a thousand other horrors converged upon Konor, drawn to its aura of agony and death like sharks to blood.
Circling this firestorm of destruction were predatory xenos races, ever seeking to further their own mysterious ends. Orks surged into the war in their millions, delighting in the spreading carnage. Craftworld Aeldari and Drukhari circled from afar, offering their services as mercenaries to both sides or launching raids to fulfill some unknowable agenda. Tyranid and T'au forces spilled in from the Eastern Fringe, capitalising on or drawn by the escalating conflict, while even the Necrons sent undying invasion forces to exploit the infighting of the younger races and expand their ancient empires.
No part of the Konor System was left unscarred by the war. If the Heretic Astartes' plans came to fruition, the system's own worlds would have been weaponised and turned against Ultramar. The Forces of Chaos intended to force open a route to Macragge, and that shining light of the Imperium would face obliteration.
The Astaramis Campaign
A vast segment of the Chaos armada descended upon Astaramis, the most populous planet in the system. With its teeming cities arranged in vast concentric rings, the well-governed and prosperous Hive World exemplified the grand dream that is Ultramar. However, even Astaramis' formidable orbital defence platforms and veteran garrison were not enough to hold back the oncoming tide. The Chaos armada launched waves of Magmatic Torpedoes, and Macrocannons obliterated planetary fortifications and engulfed entire regiments of defenders in searing firestorms. Heretic Astartes and their allies slammed to earth in blistering Drop Pod assaults, blasting apart anything that moved even as they marched implacably onwards towards targets of strategic value.
During the Great Crusade, the Ultramarines Primarch Roboute Guilliman made landfall upon Astaramis. In the long standard centuries since, the population of Astaramis has come to regard him as a saint, raising vast statues and temples in his name. Hearts emboldened by the revelation that Guilliman had risen from his millennia-long slumber to defend Humanity once more following the Ultramar Campaign of 999.M41, they fought on bravely in the face of an unceasing onslaught. From the shrines of Saviour's Landing to the vast and imposing Quintus Gate, the streets echoed with the unceasing chatter of las-fire and the dull thud of Bolters and high-explosive rounds.
Yet for all the tenaciousness and devotion shown by the people of Astaramis, they could not stand alone. With every passing solar hour, the invaders pushed further inward, taking hab-block after hab-block. Xenos forces were also spotted planetside, exploiting the confusion of battle in order to kill, loot or pursue their unknowable ends. Imperial forces were forced back as far as the hive's innermost spires, and the outer districts were little more than a rubble-strewn wasteland. Without reinforcements, Chaos would have gutted the Imperium's greatest source of manpower in the Konor System, and destroyed a potent symbol of Imperial faith.
Yet, in the end, Astraramis stood against all that was thrown against it. The Forces of Chaos brought terror and death to this gleaming Hive World, but the Imperial Aquila yet flies from its tallest spires.
The Forces of Chaos fell upon Astaramis like slavering wolves, bringing ruin and horror to this once proud monument of Ultramar's glory. Yet, as the smoke cleared and the echo of gunfire ceased, the Hive World remained standing, battered but unbroken. Despite suffering horrific casualties during the early stages of the Chaos onslaught, the armies of the Imperium dug in with rugged determination, hurling back each fresh assault with blistering cascades of las and Bolter fire, turning to knives, makeshift weapons and fists when the slaughter boiled over into hand-to-hand combat.
Try as they might, the Chaos invaders could not break the defenders' spirits, nor scour them from their fortifications. Their rage and frustration was only exacerbated by a series of lightning attacks by the Aeldari of the Craftworlds, who emerged from the hidden Labyrinth Dimension of the Webway to slice into the rear of the Chaos formations. There was no formal alliance between the Imperium and these deadly raiders, but the Aeldari ever follow their own mysterious whims. Fusillades of shuriken fire and pinpoint lances of searing energy tore through the unsuspecting ranks of the invaders, and even as they regrouped and reformed, the xenos disappeared from whence they came, leaving nothing but the smoking bodies of their victims behind.
This flanking assault badly stalled the Chaos advance, buying precious time for Primaris Space Marine reinforcements to arrive on Astaramis. Unable to force a breakthrough at the vital Praxima Skyport, the massed heretical legions could only watch with furious hatred as fresh regiments of grim-faced warriors and columns of heavy armour made planetfall, rushing to shore up gaps in the Imperial line wherever they emerged. Inch by bloody inch, the Chaos invasion force was pushed back to the outer hab-zones of the hive cities, and the flag of Ultramar was raised proudly upon the highest spire of Saviour's Landing -- a symbol of defiance and Imperial might that girded the heart of every Loyalist warrior.
In the wake of this vital victory, Imperial High Command immediately ramped up the production of munitions on Astaramis, and issued a decree requiring every man and woman of fighting age to take up arms in the defence of Ultramar. Such a vast resource of manpower was vital in the battles to come, for the war in the Konor System was far from over.
The world of Astaramis possessed several areas of ultimate strategic import for any force seeking to maintain or seize control over the planet during the Plague Wars. These included:
- Praxima Skyport - When the Chaos forces first launched their assault upon Astaramis, they destroyed all but one of the planet's major transit hubs in a series of orbital strikes. Only the enormous Praxima Skyport still stands, protected by a bristling array of Icarus Lascannons and a formidable Void Shield. Under intense bombardment by Traitor artillery, this vital strategic location was defended with desperate bravery by an outnumbered force of Ultramarines and planetary auxilia. The walls of the rugged octagonal redoubt have been breached many times, and torrents of blood have been spilled within its cavernous docking halls and cramped utility tunnels. If Praxima had fallen, Chaos would have denied the Imperial forces a vital staging post, and severely hampered their ability to land fresh reinforcements on the planet.
- The Quintus Gate - This towering fortified gateway leads to the inner towers of Hive Hallentia, the largest hive city on Astaramis and the only haven to remain unbreached by Chaos forces during the Plague Wars. Ahead of the gate runs the central thoroughfare, the arterial route into the city. This broad avenue is choked by the rusted carcasses of wrecked main battle tanks and war engines, smouldering alongside the blasted ruins of civilian convoys that were overrun before they could reach the safety of the Quintus Gate. Within this maze of shattered, smoking metal and charred corpses, vicious and prolonged fighting rages. If the gate had fallen, Chaos forces would have spilled into Hallentia unopposed, and the streets run red with the blood of loyal Imperial citizens.
- Saviour's Landing - This sprawling temple district was built upon the hallowed soil where the blessed Roboute Guilliman first made landfall on Astaramis during the Great Crusade over 10,000 standard years ago. Saviour's Landing was once a maze of white marble walkways, golden shrines and pristine galleries of wondrous statuary depicting the sainted Primarch's many legendary triumphs. During the Plague Wars it became almost unrecognisable, ravaged by the fires of war. Contesting armies fought a multi-level running battle amidst the wreckage of its former grandeur, battling hall by hall, stairway by soaring stairway for the right to control or despoil this potent symbol of Imperial faith.
Fate of Konor Summer Campaign
The Konor System was the location for the 2017 worldwide Fate of Konor Summer Campaign, conducted by Games Workshop to herald the arrival of the 8th Edition of the Warhammer 40,000 tabletop war game. Each week, players at officially-recognised locations around the world, such as various game and hobby stores, would play a series of campaigns set on each world of the Konor System, representing either the Imperial defenders or the attackers of Chaos. Each battle's outcome was then logged with Games Workshop's Warhammer 40,000 website. The collective outcome of all those battles determined which force ultimately won canonical control of each planet in the system during the Plague Wars.