Pronunciation: AARD-hime
Name of the people: Ardheimian (sing.) / Ardheimians (pl.)

A planet of two very different sides, Ardheim boasts some of the most dense and richly forested areas of the galaxy around its equator, and uninhabitable frozen tundra at the poles. There is no middle ground and the one gives way to the other in stark contrast. It was colonised in 4865, after years of testing and sampletaking to ensure habitability, by the scientific team and pioneers led by Professor Matthias Blake, who landed in dropships filled with all they would need to not only survive but also build the first structures deep in the forests. As time went on they found that one genus of tree native to Ardheim had particularly hardy wood that would absorb the strikes of axes or saws and blunt their blades quickly, and once they were able to dropship more capable felling machinery to the planet they began using these trees to build their
structures. They named this tree Járnrót, “Ironroot”.

Today, Ardheim is famed for its cities built within the forest, and it has strong alliances and trade agreements with its neighbouring smaller, colder planet Rossi. Its pioneering history has created a culture of people who place a focus on survival, practicality and loyalty. Due to its back-to-basics beginnings, the earliest Ardheimians could not rely on firepower, so instead trained with “old-fashioned” military tactics: shields and melee weapons. Although many of them excel at ranged combat, producing some of the finest snipers of the Terran Sovereignty Army, a significant number of Ardheimians excel at shieldwall tactics, skirmishing in heavily wooded terrain, and guerilla tactics. The most famous city of Ardheim, and one of its oldest, is Kingskeep, which gives its name to several regiments that train there. Situated on the border of
untamed and uncultivated deep forest, this city is home to the eponymous Keep, which serves as a military training ground for specialist units. The nearby forests will either make a person or break them, and the specialist regiments do not accept the broken.

Ardheim is a storytelling nation, steeped in a rich folklore that has developed around the discovery and habitation of the planet. Certain aspects of the planet, such as the fact that it is one of nine in that system (of which only Ardheim and Rossi are habitable), caused the pioneers to give names to things, projects and places inspired by old Norse, Icelandic and Scandinavian myth. Over time, this folklore developed into
spiritual ideas and concepts of the universe, and the Ardheimian people today often speak of the great tree
Yggdrasil that forms the axis mundi of their planet (though nobody has yet found the tree), though their ideas of Gods seem to reflect ideals to aspire to rather than belief in existence of them. Nevertheless, it is not unusual to find scientists who call upon Odin for his wisdom, military men and women who shout the name of Thor into the face of their enemy, or a man imagining the power of Skadi flowing through him as he takes aim at what he hopes will be his family’s next meal. Today, the founders of the planet are seen as embodying the features of these gods – such as Matthias Blake as the wise Odin – so when an Ardheimian calls on these mythic figures they are as much calling upon the virtues of the historic people who founded
their nation as they are divine forces.

Perhaps unsurprisingly for a pioneer nation, Ardheimians are a warm, welcoming, and life-affirming people. They are proud that they have cultivated this overwhelming planet, and they have many stories to tell and reasons to celebrate. In times of relaxation they often get together with others and share food and mead, entertaining each other with stories, song, competitions and toasts. With those they consider their friends
they are extremely loyal, and they prize this loyalty amongst those who fight together in units and regiments also. To fight alongside a fellow shield-bearer makes you brother or sister to them, in a bond that is sealed in the blood spilled in battle.

Arheimians in the military utilise the same armour and weaponry as others, issued to them as standard equipment. However, they are proud of their homeworld, and often add furs and wrapped leather to their armour or clothing as a mark of where they come from. They favour camoflage gear over kit that stands
out, but many of the heavier fighters prefer chainmail over other heavy armour; to reduce the metallic shine from this they sometimes blacken it. Those who fight with shields prefer roundshields painted with geometric or animal designs. Nearly all Ardheimians, whether civilian or military, wear practical clothes, eschewing flowing garments or gaudy fashions. Ardheimians also prefer to mend or make something out of
old items, rather than buying something new, so sometimes their gear may look a little patchy, or might not match. But if it does the job, who really cares?

Inspiration for characterisation: Vikings, Iceland, Scandinavia, oral tradition, Beowulf, D&D Rangers,
bushcraft, Viet Cong, Saxons, survivalists.