Archives of Nethys

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Deities | Systems & Settlements


Literal Hellscape

Source Starfinder #11: The Penumbra Protocol pg. 62
Location The Vast
Diameter x1; Mass x2; Gravity x2
Atmosphere Varies
Day 13 hours; Year 169 days

Malfane is the smallest of 11 planets orbiting the star Pejor, and it circles so close to the star that the world is hellishly hot, ranging from 110° to 140° F at the cool end to 200° or more in its deserts and tropical zones. Steaming seas, magma vents, volcanic mountain ranges, and smoldering jungles spotted with wildfires crisscross the planet. The atmosphere is breathable, though sooty, near the poles but becomes mildly toxic closer to the equator. As seen from space, the planet’s night side is aglow with hundreds of fires and lava flows, which form ever-changing runes in the Infernal language.

Ample evidence shows Malfane was once a technologically advanced planet similar to most in the Pact Worlds. Broken ruins of cities and shattered ribbons of mass-transit rails and roadways litter the surface, and a ring of satellite debris, centuries old, floats in orbit. However, Malfane now has little native life, for the world is entirely overrun by devils and other entities from the plane of Hell.

Six major settlements exist on Malfane, one at each pole (Arazu and Gelmnor) and four more spread equidistant around its equator (Churlg, Llovach, Vax, and Zarglon). A powerful devil, holding the title “Governor of Hell,” rules each city, but who these officials answer to and how they earned their titles is unclear. Devils within these cities engage in nonstop labor. Some raid Malfane’s ruins for useful technology, which is then bound to minor devils to turn them into cybernetic fiends. Others perform vile rituals to summon more devils from Hell, employing them planet-side or placing them on fiendish starships to travel to other systems. Still others build and staff obscene pleasure domes and vulgar medical facilities.

The devils have no need for either of these latter amenities, but they act as lures for wealthy and influential mortals, who can gain access to the benefits and amusements within for the mere price of a soul sold to one devil lord or another. In most cases, the deal promises the mortal good health and nonstop gratification for the remainder of a long life. However, such mortals can never leave the city that hosts them, and upon death, their souls belong to Hell. Because Malfane is not well known and its location in the Vast means considerable travel time from any other world, these devil cities have only a few thousand mortals dwelling within them in decadent luxury, but each metropolis has room to support millions. The devils are very patient, and they employ a subtle marketing force of profane mortals and disguised devils that have been sent throughout the galaxy to entice further victims. Many of these agents work simply by word of mouth, but a few have built splashy storefronts in major civilizations to advertise a “new way of living.”

Visitors are welcome to land wherever they wish on Malfane, but safety is guaranteed only within the six cities. Even there, only those who adhere to all laws remain protected. The fiendish hosts avoid explaining regulations in detail, including the fact that ignorance of the law is not considered to be an excuse for violating it.