Vostroya is an Imperial Industrial World in the Halo Zone of the Segmentum Obscurus, located beyond the Eye of Terror. The planet is considered an "Industrial World" by the Imperium of Man, because it does not quite meet the legally defined requirements to be considered an Adeptus Mechanicus-ruled Forge World, but it is not quite like an independently-governed Imperial Hive World either.
Like all Forge Worlds, Vostroya has deep ties with the Adeptus Mechanicus, but because it is not ruled entirely by the Priesthood of Mars, it is not classified as one of their worlds. The origins of this unusual arrangement can be found in the Age of Strife, when Vostroya was the rare independent world that swore allegiance to Mars, rather than be settled by a colony of Tech-priests as was the norm for almost all of the other Forge Worlds.
After declaring its allegiance to the Mechanicum, Vostroya quickly developed into a heavily industrialised world with the influx of Mechanicum personnel and technological knowledge. Under Imperial rule, the output of the many Vostroyan manufactoria now provide war materiel for the Emperor of Mankind's massive war machine.
Vostroya is an industrialised world which has maintained ties with the Adeptus Mechanicus since the Age of Strife. Covered in manufactories and cityscapes, while not a Hive World, Vostroya is nonetheless heavily populated. Since it was first incorporated into the Imperium of Man during the Great Crusade, Vostroya's primary purpose has been to produce arms and ammunition for the Imperial military. In the more than 10,000 standard years since that time, life on Vostroya has remained unchanged, punctuated only by the changes of labor shifts during the endless cycle of assembly and manufacturing. During the Horus Heresy Vostroya refused to provide soldiers and supplies to the Emperor of Mankind or to the Warmaster Horus, choosing instead to wait out the conflict and preserve its population for work in the manufactorums. After the conclusion of the Heresy, in its shame at having maintained its neutrality, Vostroya swore that every first born son of the world would be sworn to the Imperium's service forever after. The world founded its own elite regiments of the Imperial Guard to take in this massive influx of recruits, who are known as the Vostroyan Firstborn.
In the late 41st Millennium the details of Vostroya's past have been lost in the annals of history, obscured behind the veil of ignorance and lies that conceals the truth of the Horus Heresy from the masses. Despite the obfuscation of those times, a dim remembrance persists that the Vostroyans failed to aid the Emperor in His hour of need. It is almost certain that nobody remembers the whole truth of those events, but every Vostroyan knows that their ancestors failed to act when called upon by the Imperium. Those Imperial Guard commanders that know some hint of the truth are quick to remind any Firstborn under their command, and for the soldiers and citizens of Vostroya it is a stain on their reputation and honour that they must constantly toil to expunge.
Vostroya is governed by a ruling oligarchy known collectively as the Techtriarchy. The Techtriarchs comprise a council of native nobility and Adeptus Mechanicus Archmagi, as well as other, more traditional, Imperial planetary nobility and officials, who collectively maintain the ruling council for Vostroya. After millennia of industrial production and unregulated pollution, the planet itself is a barren world devoid of almost any flora and fauna and is now habitable only along a broad stretch of its equatorial belt. This region is divided into 7 administrative regions or "managed zones" where all of Vostroya's hive cities are located. As on most heavily industrialised Imperial worlds, the majority of Vostroyan food is imported, as the planet has next to no agricultural facilities because of its devastated environment and ecology. Vostraya has a single moon, named Turtolsky, which is under the same administration as the planet.
Most of the population of Vostroya work in the manufactories, subjected to poor conditions and long hours to ensure that weaponry and other goods are produced in the vast quantities demanded by the Imperium. For the poorest families, their first born are provided with an opportunity to achieve something beyond the toil and frozen squalor of their homes, and for all on Vostroya, the offering of the first born to the service of the Emperor is regarded as both a duty and an honour -- Vostroyan culture places enormous importance on the repayment of their world's ancestral debt to the Imperium.
Vostroyan society is deeply marked by a rigid class system, divided between the "high-born", the wealthy upper class, and the "low-born," the lower class of labourers. The low-born toil endlessly on the production lines of the Vostroyan manufactorums. Most first born sons of the low-born class consider it a blessing to be drafted into the Imperial Guard as Vostroyan tradition demands, so that they may escape slaving in the manufactorums. High-born first born sons serve as the officers of the Vostroyan Imperial Guard regiments, and only very rarely does a lowborn reach any rank beyond that of non-commissioned officer.
In Vostroyan culture, almost all men wear a moustache, which symbolises both the attainment of mature adulthood and masculine virility. The importance of the moustache varies depending upon which region of the world a man hails from. While some Vostroyan regions accept men not sporting expertly trimmed moustaches, others, like the people of Mushka, consider a man without a moustache to be effeminate and weak.
Vostroyans are a deeply religious people who hold tightly to the orthodoxies of the Imperial Creed. They are particularly devoted to Saint Nadalya, the Grey Lady, the patron saint of Vostroya in the Imperial Cult. Her sacred text, the Treatis Elatii, is a common sight in the homes of many Vostroyans and is commonly quoted from to provide wisdom in many different situations.
Vostroyan Linguistic Terms
Vostroya has a very distinctive dialect of Low Gothic that is laced with terms that evolved from the Slavic languages of Old Earth, particularly the ancient language known as Russian. This would seem to indicate that Vostroya's original settlers came from this region of Mankind's homeworld or from other colony worlds whose people originated there.
- Ossbohk-vyar - A form of native Vostroyan unarmed combat, of which there are 37 "forms" with each successively higher number of form denoting greater mastery of the style
- Chevek - A derogatory term for off-worlders and non-Vostroyans that literally means "outsider". The word seems to originate from the ancient Russian word "chelovek", which means, simply, "human".
- Rahzvod - Rahzvod is a clear and potent alcoholic beverage very similar to vodka; there are many different varieties of Rahzvod on Vostroya linked to the world's different regions; some differ in colour due to the ingredients used.
- Khek - A Vostroyan swear word that can be used as a noun or as any other part of speech, as in "this khekking smog" when used as an adjective
- Ohxolosvennoy (usually shortened to "Ohx") - Ohx is a thick and salty drink analogous to coffee that is made from powdered Grox meat to which preservatives and stimulants have been added; Vostroyan low-born workers depend on their Ohx to get them through double-shifts in the manufactorum
- Treatis Elatii - A Vostroyan sacred text written by Saint Nadalya, the Grey Lady, a saint of the Imperial Cult and the patron saint of Vostroya
- Ushehk - This is a seven-stringed Vostroyan musical instrument that is played with a bow and is small enough to be held upright, making it similar to a Terran violin or fiddle
- Shiny - The slang term used among the troops of the Vostroyan Firstborn regiments of the Imperial Guard for a new recruit, as in "he's a Shiny"
- Zadnik - Another derogatory term for a person, place or thing. Came from the Russian term for "back side", or, more colloquially, the equivalent word for the English "ass".
- Only War: Core Rulebook (RPG), pp. 56-57
- White Dwarf 317 (UK), "Index Imperialis: Firstborn Sons of Vostroya," pp. 44-53
- Rebel Winter (Novel) by Steve Parker