A Feral World is defined as a planet whose population is composed of nomadic hunter-gatherers or members of early agricultural societies and who possess technology equivalent to Old Earth's Stone Age, Bronze Age or early Iron Age cultures. Feral Worlds are populated by tribal peoples largely living without the assistance of maintained technology or even agriculture in some cases and the population is usually quite low as a result, ranging from 100,000 to 5,000,000 people. This may be due to an ancient failed human colonisation project from the Dark Age of Technology, ingrained religious preferences, cultural choice, harshness of the environment or some other reason.
Feral Worlds, like their Feudal counterparts, will have little direct political or economic interference from the Imperium and will pay only the lowest grades of planetary tithes, their tithe grade given as Solutio Tertius. Feral World populations may be aware of the Imperium's existence in some fashion but are unlikely to know much more than something about a large group of distant people living among the stars. These planets are frequently unsuitable for later Imperial colonisation, either due to the circumstances which drove the natives feral or because the natives themselves actively resist new people settling on their lands. The people of Feral Worlds can range widely in culture, from Grox-hunting Stone Age tribes of ancestor worshippers who only recognize the Emperor of Mankind in the most rudimentary of ways, to wild-eyed, post-apocalyptic road warriors, fighting endlessly amongst the toxic, sand-strewn ruins of their civilisation.
The harsh conditions which Feral World populations have adapted to make them ideal recruitment sources for the Regiments of the Imperial Guard and the Chapters of the Space Marines since they produce more men with experience in war. Occasionally the inhabitants of Feral Worlds have been pressed into the service of the Imperial Guard when their world lay inside a war zone, and the chosen warriors have been given rudimentary training in the operation of laser or stub-weaponry. It is more common, however, for Feral World natives to be selected for the various Adeptus Astartes recruitment programs.
Like all Imperial worlds, Feral Worlds are ruled over by a Planetary Governor, although the nature of Feral Worlds makes this position somewhat different from that of the Governorship of more advanced planets. The Imperial Governor of a Feral World almost always live apart from the natives, often living in a single city inhabited by outsiders or taking residence in orbit on an Imperial space station, only interfering in the world's affairs to keep psyker and mutant "head counts" down. Religious heresy is also a regular concern on Feral Worlds, especially amongst warrior-cults prone to infiltration by agents of Khorne, the Blood God; constant vigilance and regular belief-modification enacted by agents of the Ecclesiarchy are a necessity.
Governors and permanent staff on such worlds are themselves kept under close scrutiny, in an effort to avoid the phenomenon of "going native", especially in situations where the inhabitants' belief systems have been manipulated into casting the Governor as a " Star God". The culture shock associated with interaction with more technologically advanced outsiders is an issue on Feral Worlds. Removing a Feral Worlder from his planet and exposing him to such things as Warp travel can be disconcerting and even result in madness and other permanent pychological disorders. A Feral Worlder within the wider Imperium often retains their superstitious and tribal idiosyncrasies, which may prove to be social hindrances, such as an obsession with the bones of dead comrades or the mixing and regular application of noxious-smelling warpaint. Other habits, such as manic distrust and aversion to psychic "witchcraft" may been seen as useful and sensible in the Imperium.
Notable Feral Worlds
|Fenris||Segmentum Obscurus||Unknown||Unknown||Fenris System||Unknown|
|Iocanthos||Segmentum Obscurus||Calixis Sector||Golgenna Reach||Unknown||5,000,000,000|
|Lilia Mundi||Unknown||Unknown||Unknown||Unknown||4,500,000 (approx.)|
|Sacris||Segmentum Obscurus||Calixis Sector||Drusus Marches||Unknown||Unknown|
- Dark Heresy Core Rulebook (RPG), p. 250
- Warhammer 40,000 Rulebook (5th Edition)