- "I like it loud. When I breach atmo, I'm with my crowd; drinking shots and champagne. The girls get proud being VIP, the heat is up, come on and freak with me..."
- —Governor Darling
This glittering jewel of civilization is home to both the Sinopia Mongooses Chapter of the Adeptus Astartes as well as the galaxy-spanning Bagge Rogue Trader Dynasty. It is also the victim of most of the schemes of the Wisteria Rascals. In addition to its illustrious, native Rogue Trader family, Barstar is a distribution and warehousing hub for an inordinate number of Chartist Captains. It has a single moon, Plurama.
- "We have thrived in urban sink conditions that have destroyed other colonies in our sector. We have created a lordly culture based on reason and beauty, and you're going to hand it over to these militant fundamentalists that will replace our educational and social welfare systems with a bullet to the head, all so the Bagges and the Darlings can make more money? I say the Macharius these representatives serve is bluffing. If there were any functioning interstellar government, they would have surely contacted us using the architecture of the bygone Confederacy comm-systems. This so-called 'Imperium of Man' is a complete farce!"
- —Arch-Traitor Thaddeus Poole, Damnatio Memoriae
Barstar was colonized long ago during the Dark Age of Technology, where it became a prosperous hub of trade between the human inhabitants and a number of friendly alien species a few light years away. Cut off from the larger galactic community for thousands of years by warp storms, only careful urban planning, environmental stewardship, and generational trade missions using sublight drives allowed the planet to dodge the sink conditions that caused other civilizations to collapse in this time. The people had become so used to living in a world without warp travel, that when the Macharian Conquests reached them, they reacted to the sudden arrival of such a huge number of ships with the sort of awe and terror one might regard a supernatural phenomenon. The rulers of Barstar surrendered before Macharius without a fight, though they were livid at the prospect. Their shock and dismay only grew when the authorities sent to integrate them into the Imperium revealed their new masters to be insane zealots operating a rigid and dogmatic system. However, their fear and anger were soon diminished when the Barstar elite realized that the administrative side of their new masters were positively parochial compared to themselves, and while labyrinthine, their legal tradition was amateur hour compared to the truly byzantine systems the Barstars had created in their thousands of years of isolation. The Barstars used their mastery of legalism, along with a healthy amount of bribery and deception to extract various concessions, writs, permits, and licenses from the Imperium. Led by the Bagge family, a newly minted group of Rogue Traders decided to collude in order to secure Barstar's place in this new, greater nation.
Prior to its incorporation into the Imperium, Barstar did not have a one-world government. It had been colonized piecemeal by various interests and several nations grew around developing megacities and metroplexes. An international diplomatic body was erected to manage crises and disputes, and was largely successful. The Imperium encountered a Barstar that hadn't experienced intraplanetary war in thousands of years. In their initial talks with the Imperium, the Barstars quickly rallied around Ashlaigh Cardigan-Platt Darling LXXXII, a philanthropist, retired industrialist and former president of the Barstar nation of Ferragamo. With support of other prominent figures like Ecko's Gladstone Bagge, Ashlaigh was able to ascend to the status of Planetary Governor
However, Barstar's ruthless acumen in politics and business was mostly outmatched by the staggering inefficiency and glacial pace of Imperial agencies and despite their efforts, they were unable to prevent the Imperium from extracting massive tithes for many, many years. The past few decades have been good to Barstar though, after scheming for years they finally got the High Lords of Terra to create a new chapter of space marines, turning Barstar into a chapter homeworld and thus no longer subject to Imperial taxation. It didn't take long for the native-born members of the Sinopia Mongooses to attain leadership of their world, and turn over governance to traditional ruling families who are technically serfs of the Mongooses but are indistinguishable from typical Governors.
The planetary authorities are also playing a highly dangerous game, one rooted in their quixotic dismissal of the ruinous powers as "a thing," and their disgust with the Imperium: Barstar's most wanted, Harrington Spotsby-Smythe, leader of the Wisteria Rascals, along with his top lieutenants are frauds. They were recruited out of the Sinopia Mongooses by Governor Darling and his inner circle to create a special task force dedicated to drawing all the Chaos worshipers on Barstar into a body that could be monitored. The Rascals hold the reigns over nearly every cultist on the planet, and use them in operations against the enemies of the Darling regime. Every so often, they commit some random act of violence and destruction that solidifies their reputation and draws in the latest batch of cultists. This entire scheme violates innumerable secular and canon laws, and would result in a massive purge of Barstar's elite if it were ever discovered and proven.
Barstar's politics, industry, finance, and culture are dominated by successive waves of families. The most powerful of these are the Five, families whose history (with the exception of the Space-Fillers) goes back to the foundation of the various colony states. They have significant interstellar presences, their power reaches well beyond the Gremory Sector. The following names are counted among the Five:
- Bagge: For better or worse, the Bagge family is typically the representative image of Barstar to the galaxy at large.
- Darling: The most politically powerful dynasty on Barstar, the Darlings are owed favors by all and none succeed on Barstar without their blessing (or without completely escaping their notice, no mean feat). They dominated the media and controlled the planet's internet before Barstar's incorporation into the Imperium, and have since chaffed under intense censorship. Though their traditional methods have been disrupted, the Darlings have a not inconsiderable human intelligence network, with spies and informants placed throughout every level of society and even within the families from the Five on down. Their access to and control of information has given them excellent trade leads which they sell to the Bagges, a staggeringly profitable enterprise. Furthermore, Ashleigh Darling has had his powers as governor preserved when the Sinopia Mongooses became the official rulers of Barstar, acting as their steward.
- Metzger: The Metzger family has long been the biggest name on Barstar in matters of livestock: human and otherwise. Enormous swathes of the countryside on the western continent are Metzger-owned farms and ranches, and the cities brim with housing for their millions of indentured servants who are contracted out to all kinds of businesses.
- Montuak: Led by the ice-cold beauty Calliope, the Montuaks have the usual array of arbitrage freight vessels, same as the rest of the Five, but they're better known for their expertise in civic and military engineering. Most of Barstar's arcologies (not quite Hive-sized city buildings) and fortifications were Montuak spearheaded projects.
- Space-Filler: Once a pair of families counted among the Twenty, the alliance of the Space and Filler families and their combined expertise in finding opportunities that others neglected, allowed them to surpass the Smythe family and secure a place among the Five. They have innumerable projects: niche industries and obscure trade routes, their portfolio is unsurpassed in its diversity save for the Bagges. Though the histories are not permitted to note it, the Space-Fillers conveniently filled a void in Barstar's power structure left when the Poole family was undone by the Arch-Traitor.
Beneath the Five are the Twenty, a group of families that have varying ties by marriage to the Five. They are major players throughout Barstar's solar system, with the greatest of them having interests scattered throughout the Gremory Sector. The Twenty include the following families: Altinborough, Burton, Coates of Ecko, Coates of Ferragamo, Cornell, Dougal, Fauntleroy, Paisley, Pike, Poe, Reed, Rumsfeld, Saltinstall, Scarsborough, Shaquirekon, Spokes, Taft, Tyrell, Warner, and Wilcox.
Beneath the Twenty are the Hundred, their roster is an ever-shifting array of families made up of lesser scions of the Twenty who intermarried and various upstarts. The greatest of them control commercial empires that span the solar system and perhaps even the Gunther Subsector. The least of them are merely regional powers within Barstar.
Other than facilities belonging to agencies of the Imperium, there is very little in the way of the baroque and gothic architecture that dominates the Imperium. The planet's megacities and cities boast a lot of airy, open-floor plan structures incorporating enormous windows and art-installations of multicolored lights. Large structures tend to incorporate a lot of unpainted marble, high-polish metals like chrome or stainless steel, and rich dark wood panels. In the smaller towns and poorer areas, the structures tend to be cheap prefabs painted in charming pastel greens, blues, and pinks. Parks are common and many buildings positively brim with brilliantly arrayed gardens on rooftops, balconies, and mezzanine spaces. The planet is known far and wide for its hospitality and night life: a dazzling array of bars, clubs, music venues, and eateries make shore leave on any of the world's great metroplexes memorable.
Barstar was a largely irreligious place prior to its incorporation into the Imperium. Barstars were irreverent and skeptical, but centuries under the Imperium's rule have mostly eroded these attitudes, which only hold sway among the upper echelons of society. These traditions took many, many years to break and included more than one Inquisition-led purge for apostasy among different segments of the population. Conversely, the Ruinous Powers were never able to achieve much here either, until the recent creation of the Sinopia Mongooses finally presented a real opening.
Hundreds of years as a subject of the Imperium have eroded the few cultural distinctions that existed between the former nations of the planet. These nations now only exist as various administrative zones that coincide with the megacities and primary metroplexes: Burberry, Ecko, Ferragamo, and Indashio forming the four largest with well over a billion residents each.
Barstar presents a veneer of openness and freedom that seems a little alien within the Imperium, but in truth the elites crack down on dissent with a vengeance; they just prefer to do so with subtlety.
Barstar produces vast quantities of civilian products: alcohol (genuine and synthetic), clothing, construction materials, fertilizer, foodstuffs, hand tools, housewares, industrial chemicals, machine tools, recaf, and spices are just a few of the things produced on Barstar that are shipped throughout the Imperium. Barstar does also produce war materiel, but its capacity is geared more towards small arms, uniforms, camp supplies, and other equipment rather than vehicles or heavy ordinance. There are two shipyards high up in orbit; Bagge Intersellar Aerospace and the Darling Heavy Aerospace, both of which have traditionally built and maintained ships for the Merchant Fleet, but have been appropriated by Imperial authorities for wartime use multiple times in the past. It is commonly accepted that enormous quantities of narcotics are moved through, and consumed on Barstar. Every month it seems, the Arbites make arrests and shut down production facilities and drug dens but it never seems to put a dent in the figures. Obscura, Black Lethe, and Kalma are popular on Barstar but the local heavies are especially fond of Gladstones.
When Barstar's captains of industry learned more about the culture and factions of the Imperium and the laughable absence of intellectual property laws, they began to exploit both. Barstar is now the home of a number of businesses built around merchandising the Imperium's various military forces: Imperial Guard action figures, commemorative plates featuring the iconography of different Space Marine chapters, graphic novels about fictional Inquisitors, and other bastardizations are rife.
In addition to the pair of massive shipyards and countless communications, surveillance, and defense satellites in planetary orbit, Barstar maintains two large habitats at its L1 and L2 points. The colony of Moroder at the L1 contains laboratories and workshops for projects requiring a low or no gravity environment. Before the planet's incorporation into the Imperium, it also contained corporate enclaves specializing in tasks that couldn't be performed on-planet due to various laws and sanctions. Rampling at the L2 point "behind" Plurama on the other hand was a multinational zero-gravity combat training center for various military, security, and counter terrorism forces in the Pre-Imperium era. It is now it is shared by the Imperial Navy and the Imperial Guard. Despite protests from Barstar, the Mechanicus plundered both stations of some of the advanced Barstar technology their innovative culture had devised, these technologies were subsequently destroyed.
In addition to the Sinopia Mongooses "Home Guard," the planet boasts more conventional defenses: surface-to-orbit and surface-to-air cannon, missile, and las-emplacements. In the Pre-Imperium era, national armies were quite small (TBC)