Hell. A place bound in mythology – stories of this system traveled so far across the cosmos, that the ancients imagined it being a different plane of existence.
But the Hell System is a real place. A system controlled by a multiracial conglomerate of species known collectively as Devils, these militant and highly structured worlds have for eons held an alliance far more aggressive than the Pact Worlds. From this system, they control Hellspace, their vast empire of resource-generating slave worlds.
The core system of Hellspace has nine planets wedged between two suns in a unique physical arrangement. The planets each have their own micro-orbit, in which they revolve around a nearby orbital center unique to that planet. This results in a planetary configuration that is almost stationary. Each planet rotates on a planetary axis, in most cases creating “days” during which only one sun or the other is visible. The darkness of a true night is unheard of on most of these planets.
The red giant is named Kur, and the reddish-yellow dwarf star is known as Ki’gal. Between them flows the Styx, a ribbon of complex gaseous elements.
No independent science vessel has gotten close enough to return information on the Styx’s composition, or the exceptional orbital physics of this system. Even the location of the Hell System is unknown to the Pact Worlds.
The political structure of Hellspace is a brutal militant theocracy. The Emperor of Hellspace has the honorary title Asmodeus, and is treated as a God. A Council of Eight rules underneath the Asmodeus, each of which is titled with a similar honorific relating to the original masters that formed the Empire of Hell. These Councillors each rule their own world in the Hell System.
Slavery is common in Hellspace. By rule, any species that is not a Devil is considered a slave at all times, with no rights, subject to complete control by any Devil that currently possesses them. In practice, the Devils rely on slaves to monitor and police themselves in many subjugated systems, rewarding the slaves that do so effectively, and ruthlessly destroying any that do not.
Each planet in the Hell System has a unique geology and environment.
A harsh, nearly molten world, Avernus is a volcanic wasteland of fire and brimstone with a toxic atmosphere of smoke and sulfur. Gases from the Styx fall into a glowing funnel around the planet, yielding the appearance of a supernatural ring system. Its ruler is the Councillor Barbatos, who, amongst other duties, runs Hellspace’s formidable intelligence network.
One of the largest cities in existence, there is no corner of Dis not occupied by a constructed building. The city-planet of Hell is the smallest of the system’s planets, but rivals many others in population due to the towering buildings that seemingly have no bottom. Inhabitants of Dis experience half-normal gravity. It is ruled by the Councillor Dispater, who controls supply logistics between systems, and more rarely, any trade with systems outside Hellspace.
Erebus is a gas giant. The clouds of the Styx are so dense that much of the planet exists in perpetual darkness at any given time – the only place in the system with a “night”. Deep inside the planet, where immense pressure all but eliminates the ability to travel, rare gemstones can be mined that power the strongest Infernal technologies. This planet is ruled by the Councillor Mammon, who is responsible for harvesting raw materials from Hellspace’s vast holdings. Visitors to Erebus suffer twice the normal gravitational pull.
The most terrestial world of the system, the smoky red planet of Phlegethon is not without its punishments. This planet is covered in ancient factories, which have long since turned the water and atmosphere toxic. Its ruler is the Councillor Belial, who is responsible for most of Hellspace’s engineering and construction projects.
A muddy world covered almost entirely in swamp, this planet is believed to be the primordial soup from which the Devils first arose. It is ruled by the Councillor Geryon, who is the spiritual leader of the Devils.
The entire planet of Malebolge is dedicated to training the Armies of Hell, from the lowest infantry to the most powerful Mechs of Hell. It is ruled by the Councillor-General Moloch, who commands all ground forces of Hellspace.
Defying known physics, this planet is frozen at its surface. Ruled by the Councillor Baalzebul, Supreme Admiral of Hellspace, Cocytus is where the Navies of Hell train and are commanded. From orbital bombardment ranges, to simulated starfighter battlegrounds, to naval command bases, the skies of this icy world are never empty.
This small world is nothing but the leftover iron core of some forgotten primordial planet with a nearly molten rock crust on top. It is used as both a prison and a supreme court, ruled by the Councillor Mephistopheles, who has the final word on law and justice in Hellspace. Only the Asmodeus can override his rulings. Gravity is three-quarters normal on the surface of Caina.
The seat of power for Hellspace, this planet is fractured by the massive tidal forces of being so close the red giant Kur, and is held together by some unknown force inside the planet – possibly a small singularity. The Asmodeus rules Nessus directly, and operates the massive interstellar government of Hellspace from this broken world. Gravity is normal on Nessus, despite its small size.