Drenthal is an Imperial Ocean World that is the fifth planet of the Konor System in the Realm of Ultramar. A seemingly endless ocean covers Drenthal, dotted by island archipelagos and vast floating habitations. It is home to a number of large Imperial Navy Aeronautica Imperialis training academies. Due to its stable atmospherics, Drenthal has long been used as a training center by the Aeronautica Imperialis. Oceans cover almost ninety-five per cent of the planet's surface, so the flight academies of the Imperial Navy are contained upon colossal carriers, each as large as a small city and covered with landing strips, hangars and barracks. The rest of the world's population exists upon floating metropolises known as seasteads, or else make their home upon scattered archipelagos of bleached shard-coral.
The world came under sustained attack by the Forces of Chaos in service to Nurgle during the Plague Wars of the early 42nd Millennium, and the servants of the Plague God proved successful in claiming the planet. The oceans have turned blood-red as butchered corpses bob and float upon the surging tide and daemon-forged Heldrakes whirl and screech in the skies overhead.
The Plague Wars
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 Drenthal Campaign
Situated near to the Forge World of Konor, Drenthal is a vast blue orb ringed by burning orbital stations and warring battleships. The remnants of the Konor Defence Fleet are trapped in orbit around the planet, encircled by a Chaos armada that vomits more landing ships into the Drenthal's upper atmosphere with every passing solar minute. The Ocean World's close proximity to Konor has made it an invaluable target for both Chaos and Imperial forces, as it is perfectly placed to stage counterattacks and naval bombardments of that vital war zone. The planet's orbital shipyards and gun platforms have already been atomised by Macrocannon fire and hull breaching missiles, but Drenthal's planetside defences have not yet been overrun. However, most of the seaborne habitations known as seasteads were aflame, set alight by incendiary rockets and bombs unleashed by Chaos flyers.
In those seasteads that still stand, and across the island archipelagos, Imperial defenders fight savagely for every scrap of land, fending off massed aerial assaults and naval invasions. Imperial drop troops and Primaris Space Marine Inceptor Squads fearlessly hurl themselves into the fray, hurtling down from low orbit to smash into the enemy ranks. Attack Bikes and Land Speeders roar across banks of treacherous shard-coral, knifing into the flanks of advancing columns with Bolters blazing. The ground battle is ferocious, but Drenthal's terrain is ill-suited to massed formations of armour and infantry, and so the fiercest battles rage in the skies above. Hell-forged drakes screech and whirl above the devastation, snatching Imperial transports out of the sky, or swooping low to incinerate terrified soldiers and civilians. Every Aeronautica Imperialis aircraft available is in the air, launching endless sorties against these daemon-forged monsters, supported by the Stormraven gunships of the Adeptus Astartes.
Burning wreckage fell like rain across Drenthal. The Imperium, dreading the prospect of a Chaos victory, began to prepare a doomsday strategy to deny the Heretics their prize. Should all appear lost, Drenthal's fusion-powered drill platforms, which mined vital fuel-crystals from beneath the planet's crust, would be set to overcharge. The resultant geothermal trauma would tear Drenthal apart in a last act of spiteful defiance of the Plague God.
Smoking wreckage fell across Drenthal's endless oceans like a meteor shower as the armies of Mankind sought to scour the legions of Chaos from the face of the planet. The enormous seasteads were set aflame, ignited by daemonic fire and hammered relentlessly by Traitor artillery. The virulent plagues of the Death Guard spread with horrifying speed amongst the remaining civilians. Imperial High Command swiftly came to a grim realisation -- Drenthal could not be saved. Instead, it must be denied to Chaos. By overcharging the titanic fusion drill housed at Terebral Station Sigma, the Imperials would finally unleash a tectonic catastrophe upon their hated foes.
As the brutal fighting escalated in the cramped alleyways of the floating seastead hive cities, warriors splashed though tides of bilge water and spilt blood, past bloated corpses and shimmering Promethium slicks. The sense of havoc and confusion was only exacerbated by the actions of a hidden cult of xenos-worshipping traitors that had long lain dormant amidst the vore-whale tanneries and Promethium refineries of Drenthal. Forced to the surface by the war erupting all about them, these mutant killers slipped from sewer access hatches and bilge tunnels to fall upon any intruders, striking with swift and deadly force before retreating to their hidden lairs with purloined weapons and ammunition. Rumour spread of even worse horrors that crawled out of dark hiding holes to snatch away unsuspecting Imperial soldiers, dragging them screaming into the pitch blackness of the underwarrens.
The battle also raged across Drenthal's scattered island archipelagos. Assault Bikes and Land Speeders roared across treacherous coral-dunes, the air echoing to the ceaseless chatter of pintle-mounted Bolters. As vicious as the ground war had become, the battle in the air was just as deadly. The full might of the Aeronautica Imperialis was unleashed upon the Chaos invaders, and vast wings of Stormravens and Valkyries met with flying Daemon Engines in a murderous storm of flak-bursts and blossoming explosions.
At Terebral Station Sigma, the Forces of Chaos launched furious assaults against the Imperial occupiers, while Enginseers tried in vain to enact the machine-rituals necessary to sabotage the fusion drill, chanting desperate prayers to the Omnissiah as they worked. It was too late even for such desperate measures. A cabal of Chaos Sorcerers channelled the aura of savagery and carnage rippling across Drenthal, and tore open a wound in reality, spilling daemons into the cavernous drill chamber. In an orgy of bloodshed, the Enginseer work crews were slaughtered, and the destruction of Drenthal averted. The Ocean World proved a fine staging point for the assault by Chaos upon Ultramar.
The world of Drenthal 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:
- Agdaen Archipelago - The treacherous shard-coral deserts of these sun-blasted islands are prone to collapsing under extreme weight or concentrated fire, and so the battle for control of this vital strategic location was led by scouts, light vehicles and jump troops that were able to establish safer routes for the heavier war assets that followed. This resulted in a fast-moving, ever-shifting conflict, and control of each of the seven largest islands changed hands numerous times. The skeletons of vast cargo haulers shipwrecked in centuries past dot the deserts of Agdaen, and both sides claimed them as impromptu fortresses, setting up Sentry Guns and fortified emplacements upon their rusted decks. Domination of the archipelago was vital in the war for Drenthal, for it provided a key strategic location for the Chaos forces from which to launch aerial and aquatic raids upon the remaining floating seasteads.
- Hanghalan Seastead - This colossal floating super-construct is the largest habitation upon Drenthal, home to millions of civilians and a vital Aeronautica Imperialis base. Hanghalen's garrison was forced to fall back to this fortified position under fierce assault from Chaos troops and the unfortunate victims of the Walking Pox, unleashed by Heretic Astartes of the Death Guard. Nearly two-thirds of the city was gutted by firestorm bombardments, and the streets were littered with the skeletons of burned-out vehicles and the charred corpses of the slain. Jump troops and light infantry fought vicious skirmishes amidst those few districts still standing, while columns of armour traded high-explosive shells in the hellish inferno of the arterial thoroughfares.
- Terebral Station Sigma - Jutting out from the southern polar sea of Drenthal is Terebral Station Sigma, a vast circular platform of steel and rockcrete surrounding an enormous fusion-powered bore-drill. This device extracts priceless lumo-crystals and petrochems from beneath Drenthal's seabed thousands of Terran leagues below, which are then purified in the refinery stations that circle the facility's outer edge. Station Sigma provides the Imperial Navy fighter squadrons of Drenthal with all the fuel they require, making it a vital target for the armies of Chaos. The manufactorum zones of the platform have seen vicious fighting, and around the station the sea burns with spilt oil and toxic leakage. The Imperium had another reason for so fiercely defending Station Sigma; should the war upon Drenthal seem lost, the station's fusion bore-drill could be overcharged, piercing the planetary core and setting off a series of seismic eruptions that would tear the world apart. Although such scorched-earth tactics would seriously hamper the ongoing Imperial war effort in the Konor System, they would deny the Forces of Chaos a significant conquest. Unfortunately, the daemons of Chaos unleashed into the cavernous drill chamber ultimately made this last-ditch plan moot. The servants of the Plague God successfully made Drenthal their own.
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.