"So you’ve killed a couple of heretics and now you’re feeling all pleased with yourself, eh? Look at the hills yonder, boy. No, really look at them. That’s right. That there’s a true servant of the God-Emperor… Can’t see anything you’ve done that’s worthy of carving a mountain into your image…"
- — Pater Gruddus, Venerisian lay preacher
A Shrine World of the Imperium of Man is dominated by the religion of the Imperial Cult and acts of devotion to the God-Emperor of Mankind. It may be that these places saw the birth of a famous Imperial saint or formed the battleground for a particularly important war in the Imperium's history. Often studded with cathedrals, temples and shrines spread across the globe to the Emperor and his saints, these worlds are frequently directly controlled by the Ecclesiarchy and may form training grounds for members of the Adeptus Ministorum and the Adepta Sororitas.
There are also dark mirrors to these places of Imperial devotion -- fallen worlds outside the grace of the Emperor where the heretical Chaos Cultist inhabitants offer up ceaseless prayers to the Ruinous Powers of Chaos. These places of obscene sacrifices and bloody rites are not suffered continued existence for long by the Imperium if they exist within realspace. A Shrine World can also be considered to belong to another category of world at the same time, as for example Hagia is also classified as an Agri-World while Herodor is also a Hive World.
All Shrine Worlds will have a strong relationship with the Imperial saint connected to the planet in question, such as being the world of his/her birth or death or the site of a major miracle the saint was responsible for performing in the name of the Emperor.
Life on a Shrine World
Religious grace permeates every part of a Shrine World, the very spirit of the Cult of the Imperial Creed embodied by the world itself and its citizens which embrace His divine worship. Shrine worlders live their lives with the strength of the Emperor in their hearts and exposed to His word in many aspects of their lives. It is one thing to acknowledge the might of the Emperor as all Imperial citizens must, but quite another to see His deeds and the deeds of His saints on a daily basis, knowing that the world exists because of the power of the Imperial Creed. The exposure to clerics, priests, and pilgrims also impacts upon their life, the higher proportion of these souls than on other worlds giving them greater veneration for the Imperial Creed which links all men together.
Pilgrims especially offer a rare glimpse into worlds and sectors beyond a shrine worlder’s home planet, and a taste of the Imperium beyond told from the lips of those who have travelled far distances just to visit the shrines. Each reflects the diversity of the Imperial Creed, with every world worshipping the Emperor in its own manner, and so pilgrims might incorporate all manner of unique rituals and clothing as part of their native practices. Some might wear elaborate masks, allowing none but the Sun-Emperor to gaze at their faces. Others might wear boots and gloves filled with burrs and thorns, the better to know the Emperor’s lament for His peoples. Conflicts are not uncommon between groups who perhaps have for the first time witnessed other ways to worship the Emperor; sects that insist on drab colours might clash with those displaying garish hues, for example.
Shrine Worlds can vary greatly in the size and shape they take; just as the saints and holy men of the Imperium take many forms, so too do the places they touch and the worlds upon which they rest. There is no established norm for a Shrine World, only that it was the place where a saint was entombed or committed some great deed, worthy of the attention of the Ministorum. A Shrine World might have been a Feral or Hive World with a well-established society before the coming of the saint, changing the focus of its citizens and bringing attention from off-world. Equally, many Shrine Worlds were only outposts or Dead Worlds before a saint fought a final battle, or came there to find his final rest, the trappings of the world coming later as priests and pilgrims set about constructing a society to honour the memory of the saint. In both cases the presence of the saint and the millions of pilgrims who make the trek have changed the world forever, giving it a new purpose and a new place within the Imperium.
There is another side to Shrine Worlds, a side that hides beneath the veneer of religion and masks another face of the Imperium. While the world exists for the glory of the saint and as a place to worship the might of the Emperor, the constant flow of pilgrims and visitors makes such places a breeding ground for criminals and smugglers. Either selling false relics to the faithful or using the pilgrim trail to transport illicit goods, the underbelly of a Shrine World is as active and dangerous as any underhive. Many born on a planet dedicated to a saint are drawn into this shadow world, either aiding such illegal endeavours to make some more coin or seeing it as a chance to escape in an effort to get off-world and make their own fortune. Even so, while some succeed and go on to find a life on the fringes of the Imperium among vile company, they remain shrine worlders at heart, never forgetting the teachings of their saints, whether they live by them or not.
Notable Shrine Worlds
|Drusus Shrine World (Sentinel)||Segmentum Obscurus||Calixis Sector||Drusus Sub-sector||Unknown||Unknown|
|Emiline's Hope||Unknown||Unknown||Unknown||Yerena System||Unknown|
|Hagia||Segmentum Pacificus||Sabbat Worlds||Unknown||Unknown||Unknown|
|Herodor||Segmentum Pacificus||Sabbat Worlds||Khan Group||Unknown||Unknown|
|Maccabeus Quintus||Segmentum Obscurus||Calixis Sector||Drusus Sub-sector||Unknown||Unknown|
|Ophelia VII||Segmentum Tempestus||Unknown||Unknown||Ophelia System||Unknown|
|Orendal's Tomb||Segmentum Obscurus||Calixis Sector||Adrantis||Unknown||Unknown|
|Ossuar||Segmentum Obscurus||Askellon Sector||Unknown||Pollom System||Unknown|
|Piety of Seth||Segmentum Obscurus||Calixis Sector||Josian Reach||Unknown||Unknown|
|Reshia||Segmentum Obscurus||Calixis Sector||Josian Reach||Unknown||Unknown|
|Sanctus Lys||Unknown||Palatine Sector||Unknown||Unknown||Unknown|
|Terra||Segmentum Solar||Sector Solar||Sol Sub-sector||Sol System||Unknown|
|Valon Urr||Segmentum Obscurus||Calixis Sector||Golgenna Reach||Unknown||Unknown|
|Veneris||Segmentum Obscurus||Calixis Sector||Drusus Marches||Unknown||Unknown|
- Black Legion: A Codex: Chaos Space Marines Supplement, pg. 20
- Codex: Chaos Space Marines (6th Edition), pg. 22
- Codex: Khorne Daemonkin (7th Edition), pg. 34
- Codex: Sisters of Battle (2nd Edition)
- Codex: Space Marines (7th Edition), "The Chronicles of Heroes - Firestorm & In Blood and Shadow"
- Codex: Space Wolves (5th Edition), pg. 19
- Dark Heresy: Beta Core Rulebook (2nd Edition) (RPG), pp. 26-27
- Dark Heresy: Core Rulebook (2nd Edition) (RPG), pg. 41
- Dark Heresy: Blood of Martyrs (RPG), pp. 50-51
- Dark Heresy: Core Rulebook (RPG), pg. 250
- Warhammer 40,000: Rulebook (6th Edition), pp. 385-386
- Warhammer 40,000: Rulebook (5th Edition)
- White Dwarf 269 (UK), "Index Astartes: Armoured Personnel Carrier - The Space Marine Rhino," pg. 12
- Legion of the Damned (Novel) by Rob Sanders
- Calixis Sector Encyclopedia
- Fantasy Flight Games - The Calixis Sector
|General||Dead World • Death World • Desert World • Ice World • Jungle World • Ocean World|
|Imperium||Adeptus Astartes Homeworld • Agri-World • Armoury World • Cardinal World • Cemetery World • Civilised World • Feral World • Feudal World • Forbidden World • Forge World • Fortress World • Frontier World • Hive World • Industrial World • Knight World • Mining World • Pleasure World • Penal World • Quarry World • Research Station • Sentinel World • Shrine World|
|Xenos||Craftworld • Crone World • Exodite World • Maiden World • Ork World • Tau Sept • Tomb World • Xenos World|