"The insects were gigantic; one of them batted a Chimera over like it was nothing. We hid under a tree to try and avoid them, and then the tree ate Jones!"
- — Sgt Kellin Areis, Cadian 478th
A standing Imperial warning beacon is in place near the world, warning anyone who approaches to stay away. In the past, many gave Yanth a wide berth, valuing their own lives more than any exploration of the planet.
However, recent discoveries on the world have made it a much more appealing destination despite the dangers involved.
Yanth is a world covered with dense jungles. From the smallest island to the largest continent, every square metre of the world is filled with thick vegetation. The temperatures are sweltering and rainfall is abundant, helping these plants to grow and thrive.
Sweeping vistas break up the jungle with waterfalls, gigantic trees, and many other features, providing breath-taking views.
Alongside many of the rivers that flow across the continents, latticework patches of vines and other vegetation cast sweeping nets to grab any creatures that come to the rivers for water.
Flora and Fauna
Deep below the canopy of leaves, thousands upon thousands of species of flora grow in a complex ecosystem unseen elsewhere in Askellian space. There are few permanent Human settlements on Yanth, as the voracious flora and fauna can rapidly destroy anything that attempts to intrude upon their lands.
The plant life of Yanth is largely carnivorous, subsisting on the varied species of insectoid life that also call Yanth home. Trees use creeping tendrils to snare prey and pull it back to waiting maws for digestion, while overgrown bushes unleash deadly barbs to poison and stun anything that gets close before consuming it with microbes capable of melting the hardiest carapace.
The never-ending struggle between the plants and insects for dominance of the planet is a hallmark of the world's ecosystem.
Many of the insects feed off of the plant life and in turn, the plants feed off of the insects. One cannot exist without the other, though, for long; as one side becomes ascendant, the other evolves even greater capabilities and resurges to continue the conflict.
While there are some forms of mammalian and reptilian life on Yanth, the primary fauna are various insectoid species. Many of these reach gargantuan sizes, far larger than would be expected based on planetary conditions such as ambient oxygen levels.
They are the apex predators of Yanth and are the overwhelming cause of death, even for the ever-vigilant Human natives who have learned from birth to be constantly wary of everything around them.
In addition to the Renders, there are thousands of other deadly species that make their home on this Death World. These range in size from no bigger than a bolter shell to monsters large enough to bat aside Chimera tanks with ease.
The skies are also home to flying predators, and even the seas are filled with insectoids and other arthopoids adapted to living below the deep ponds or gliding along the surfaces on striding limbs.
Some of the most notable insectoid flora of Yanth includes the following species.
With everything on the surface of the planet ready to kill, Yanth would seem to be a world devoid of visitors. That could not be further from the truth, however. On an early expedition to the Death World, a Magos Biologis team discovered something extraordinary about the planet -- a number of the native plants possess powerful healing properties.
Several permanent settlements have been established across the planet, devoted to processing and gathering these useful species. After generations of living on these heavily fortified facilities, inhabitants have become inured to life on the Death World, and some natives are rumoured to have trained the larger insectoid fauna to act as steeds across land and air.
Out of the millions of plant species (most of which are exceptionally toxic), the Tech-priesthood of Askellon has identified four particular ones that offer very useful properties. They tend to grow in the most remote and dangerous locations on Yanth, perhaps adapted to growing only where natural defenders of terrain and hostile fauna exist to protect them.
The disciples of the Omnissiah despatched hundreds of servitors to harvest these plants, with very few returning. Attempts to relocate these flora to other settings or to reproduce them in growing-vats have proven unsuccessful, which has also led to further studies of Yanth's unique biosphere.
The Adeptus Mechanicus is currently re-evaluating its procedures for dealing with this operation, a process that has taken many Terran years as they weigh all their options. In that time of indecision, many other groups have swept in to claim the flora for themselves.
At least seven different Rogue Trader operations (including agents of Maxellian Vor and Hesiah Luftius) have attempted to harvest the plants, and two separate smuggling outfits have also begun to make regular trips to Yanth.
Conflicts between the groups have been rare so far, but all involved are expecting an escalation of violence at any time as the price of the plants reaches new heights on the various black markets in the sector.
- Dark Heresy (2nd Edition): Enemies Without (RPG), pp. 98-103