The populations of feral worlds have long ago regressed to primal savagery, often over very long periods of isolation. The technological level of these worlds remains pre-black powder or even Stone Age. Often the population consists of hunter-gatherer societies using primitive tools and weapons, and in almost all cases human culture is based around the interactions of various tribes, gangs or creeds.
The harsh conditions which feral world populations have adapted to makes them ideal recruitment sources for the Imperial Guard and Adeptus Astartes. Occasionally the inhabitants of feral worlds have been pressed into the Imperial Guard when their world lay inside a war zone, and the chosen warriors been given rudimentary training in the operation of laser or stub-weaponry. It is more common, however, for feral world natives to be selected for the various Adeptus Astartes recruitment programs. Feral world Guardsmen are usually tribal warriors tithed to the Imperial Guard by the elders of their particular clan. They are sometimes trained en masse in vast drill camps or ship holds, whilst others are merely shown a lasgun and trusted to get on with it. Also, there are those instructed by members of their tribe, using rote-learned rites and religious rituals.
Like all Imperial worlds, feral worlds are ruled over by a Planetary Governor, although the nature of feral worlds makes this position somewhat different from that of Governorship of planets of other classes. The Governor of a feral world almost always lives apart from the natives, often living in a single city inhabited by outsiders or taking residence in orbit, only interfering to keep psyker and mutant "head counts" down. Religious heresy is also a regular concern on feral worlds, especially amongst warrior-cults; constant vigilance and regular belief-modification enacted by agents of the Ecclesiarchy are a necessity. Governors and permanent staff on such worlds are themselves kept under close scrutiny, in an effort to avoid the phenomenon of "going native", especially in situations where the inhabitants' belief systems have been manipulated into casting the Governor as a "god".
The culture shock associated with interaction with outsiders is an issue on feral worlds. Removing a feral worlder from their planet and exposing them to such things as warp travel can be disconcerting and even result in madness. Feral worlders within the wider Imperium often retain their superstitious and tribal idiosyncrasies, which may prove to be social hindrances, such as an obsession with bones of dead comrades or the mixing and regular application of noxious-smelling war paint. Other habits, such as manic distrust and aversion to 'witchcraft' may be seen as useful and sensible in the Imperium.
Notable Feral Worlds
- Warhammer 40,000: Rogue Trader, pg. 134