The Stormbringers Chapter of the Adeptus Astartes was formed during the 17th Founding from the mighty gene seed of Primarch Jaghatai Khan of the White Scars Legion. Their training cadre and first commander, a powerful warrior by the name of Tsubodai Khan, were drawn from the third Brotherhood of one of the White Scars fiercest successor Chapters, the Rampagers.
The Chapters’ first battles were fought as part of a combined Imperial force making war along the north-western borders of the Ultima Segmentum against a series of Ork invasions. Led by Tsubodai, the new Chapter first came to the world Tuphon while hunting down an Ork cruiser carrying a cunning Warboss who had somehow escaped an ambush set by ships of the Imperial Navy. The Khan was immediately impressed both by the resistance of the native tribes against the alien invaders and by the wild nature of the planet itself. When the battle to destroy the Orks was finally over, Tsubodai declared Tuphon to be his by right of conquest, and to honour its brave people he gave his Chapter the name and colours they bear to this day.
“Tuphon is a world as close to hell as I have ever seen.” – Inquisitor Raymien Saint
Tuphon is designated as a Class IV Death World but even this ominous description does no justice to the harshest of realities. Its surface is mostly covered by deep, dark and tempestuous seas, their swirling, raging waters broken only by jagged spires of black stone that pierce into the sky. Tuphon’s single continental land mass, covering perhaps one eighth of the planet’s surface near the equator, is little more than a vast slab of the same dark, unyielding stone.
Very little could live in such a land were it not for the great Ironwoods, mighty trees adapted to their environment with a bark tougher than plascrete and the ability to thrive on the low light that filters through the heavy clouds. Even they cannot survive out in the open, against the full force of the storms, but in the valleys and ravines cut by the passage of vast rivers of dark water, they bring life to Tuphon's surface. Beneath the eaves of these protective giants a fragile ecosystem of flora and fauna clings to being. Thin grasses and shrubs grow around the bases of the great trees, providing food for a variety of herbivorous creatures, ranging from tiny rodents to great thick coated stags. There are no carnivorous creatures under the forest canopy, all such species having been wiped out by their rivals, Tuphon’s greatest predators – men.
Men had been on Tuphon for many long millennia before the Stormbringers came. Little is known about when or how they came to Tuphon, but whatever technology brought them to their new home must have been quickly destroyed by its harsh climate. Any kind of civilized society must undoubtedly have broken down with equal speed, degenerating into a primitive, almost feral, system of clans and tribes that has remained the same ever since. Life is incredibly harsh for the people of Tuphon, a constant struggle to find food and shelter from the great storms beneath the Ironwoods. Both are exceedingly scarce and are therefore a root of near continuous conflict between the various clans as they endeavour to survive. Clan holdings are often destroyed by particularly violent storms or raging flood waters, forcing their people to search for new homes, even making war to conquer and take the lands of other clans.
The men and women of Tuphon are a hardy race, lean and pale skinned but strong and resilient. Their men are warriors from birth, beginning their training with axe, spear and bow almost as soon as they can walk, preparing them to fight for the continued survival of their clan and making them ideal candidates for initiation into a Chapter of the Adeptus Astartes. In temperament the clanspeople are savagely cold and pragmatic, a necessity in their extreme environment. Every member of a clan must be strong, able to provide in some way towards the survival of their people, and any who cannot are quickly cast out. There is no care expected or given for children born with even the slightest disability, and any found to bear such at birth are ritually ‘returned to the earth’. If and when any clan member reaches a point where he or she can no longer be of use to their brethren, perhaps becoming too old, sick or injured either to fight or to care for other responsibilities, they will willingly and proudly walk alone and naked out onto the plains to be taken by the great storms, rather than impose any further burden on their brothers. In battle, a clansman will unhesitatingly and uncaringly commit acts of horrific bloodshed against another clan if it will keep his tribal brothers alive for another day. However, he would also be equally willing to give up his own life if he deemed the sacrifice to be worthwhile and for the good of the clan.
“The effect of the ‘Codex Tempestus’ on the Stormbringers Chapter could be compared to that of giving a penal legion killer a dress uniform to wear; the countenance appears more refined, yet the murderous sociopath beneath remains unchanged.” – Inquisitor Holst after the Torros incident.
The single greatest influence on the organization of the Stormbringers was undoubtedly their 4th Chapter Master: a warrior named Isegrimm, who was born, raised and inducted into the Chapter on Tuphon. By his time, the majority of the Chapter were likewise natives of their home world, and the Stormbringers had already developed a reputation among Imperial commanders for savage and uncontrollable brutality, occasionally even against allied troops and civilians. The Chapter was investigated by the Inquisition and Isegrimm was told in no uncertain terms that he must rein in his forces or face the threat of Excommunication.
Isegrimm was not only a great warrior but also a cunning strategist and a devoted student of the myriad ways of making war. He responded to the Inquisition’s threats by writing a book that would save the Stormbringers, the ‘Codex Tempestus’ or ‘Book of Storms’. This was a tome based in equal parts upon Guilliman’s Codex Astartes, the teachings of Jaghatai Khan handed down from their Rampagers forebears, and his own years of combat experience.
The Chapter’s First Company follows the same pattern as set by the Strike Companies, with the exception that its 100 members are instead comprised of highly experienced Sternguard, Vanguard, and Bike or Land Speeder-mounted Stormguard veterans, chosen from the very best warriors the Strike Companies have to offer. This Company acts as the personal guard of the Stormbringers’ Chapter Master, and their badge is a mighty wyvern of Tuphon clutching a lightning bolt in its scaly claws. This symbol is all too appropriate, for the First Company are the undisputed masters of the rapid assault.
The Chapter has only a few dozen suits of ancient Tactical Dreadnought Armour. These relics are carefully maintained, to be used only in times of direst need by the very finest warriors among the First Company. When deployed in this this way, the Stormbringer veterans are often carried into battle by one of the Chapter’s three Land Raiders: the Wyvern’s Claw, the Spear of Tsubodai and the Innocent’s Blood.
Finally, in addition to these nine Companies, there is the Chapter’s Tenth Company, including its recruiting Captain, Sergeants and Initiates. The Stormbringers do not consider it efficient to send Space Marines not fully trained into combat, so Initiates are not assigned to a Strike Company until the Master of Recruits deems them ready to become full Battle Brothers. However, the 10th is given the serious responsibility of defending the Chapter fortress when all of the Strike Companies are on campaign. The Tenth Company can number anywhere from 50 to 200 Initiates at any given time.
The Chapter Master is also responsible for the Chapter HQ, including overall command of the Stormbringers Librarium, Apothecarium, Reclusiarchy and Forges; as well as the Chapter's Fortress Monastery, Armoury and Fleet, including the myriad Chapter staff that care for these assets. The Stormbringers Strike Companies each have assigned to them a Strike Cruiser, enabling them to react quickly to any Imperial cry for help. The First Company, however, is privileged to use the Chapter’s flagship, a Battle Barge named the “Emperor’s Wrath". These vessels are berthed and maintained at a massive space dock that the Stormbringers keep in orbit around Tuphon’s second moon.
The reforms made by Master Isegrimm in the ‘Book of Storms’ also included strict regulations on the appearance of the Chapter’s Marines, requiring them to decorate their armour as any other Codex Chapter might, with similar Company and squad designations, honour and campaign badges, kill markings and personal litanies. Isegrimm even took the step of taking a new name, Octavian, that of a revered warrior hero of the Imperium rather than that of his own clan. He further decreed that each warrior of the Chapter must do the same so that the Stormbringers would show no outward signs of their savage tribal origins. ‘Octavian’ asserted that his goal was simply to bring his Chapter in line with what was acceptable to the Adeptus Terra. However, the Stormbringers’ many critics claim that the ‘Book of Storms’ has proved to be nothing more than a smokescreen, a facade of civility to fool the unwary, and that the Chapter is no less vicious than it ever was.
“Terror is a weapon with a strength greater than that of a hundred bolt guns.” – Book of Storms LXII.VI
“A Commander who fails to use every weapon at his disposal is nothing more than a fool.” – Book of Storms LVI.II
On the battlefield and in strategy, the Stormbringers Space Marines think little differently than one of their former clan brothers, willing to use all manner of terror tactics and commit the most unspeakable atrocities in order to achieve their objective. Stormbringers commanders have been known to use innocent civilian populations to bait traps for enemy forces, to use other Imperial units as cannon fodder to protect their own, more valuable, troops as they enter combat; even to fire upon friendly forces once they have been used to bog down an enemy at close quarters. Often such tactics do win battles and wars, frequently with far more acceptable losses to the Imperium’s assets overall; but those used by the Stormbringers rarely see it that way. Most local Imperial commanders view the Chapter as cruel, without conscience, and believe they are better off without the Space Marines help, many even refusing to fight beside them.
The Chapter has on several occasions been investigated by the Inquisition because of their savage use of other Imperial citizens. However, while some more youthful, fiery Inquisitors would like to see the Stormbringers punished, the Chapter is lucky enough to enjoy the favour of several high ranking and more experienced Lords of the Inquisition. These are men and women who recognize that there are times when the ends must justify the means. Thus, for the present time at least, the Stormbringers are free to continue in their bloody-handed ways.
However, it should be noted that while the Stormbringers have a reputation for doing whatever is necessary to achieve their goals, they do have limits. No true member of the Chapter would countenance having anything to do with xenos of any species or even less with the corrupting taint of Chaos.
The clans of Tuphon, while usually a coldly utilitarian people, do venerate the Emperor of Mankind, giving him the place of the Tuphonic tribal god, the “Lord of The Sun Rising". On rare occasions the storms abate, allowing the sun to shine through onto the surface. In response, thousands of tiny seedlings and roots embedded in the rocky ground burst forth into frantic life, seemingly desperate to propagate their species. Many swell in what seem mere moments with rich vegetation and fruits that the clans gather to enjoy great feasts with their temporary plenty. Such times are considered holy days dedicated to the “Lord of The Sun Rising", a brief respite from the hardship and conflict that are the only way of life on Tuphon.
While the Stormbringers follow few of Tuphon's tribal rituals, they still do enjoy these days of light and peace dedicated to the Emperor, with all brethren present gathering to feast and celebrate. Portions of Chapter lore remembering great victories are read aloud, trials of strength and skill are contested and the Chaplains lead the Chapter in prayer to the “Lord of The Sun Rising".
The gene seed of the Stormbringers is largely stable but the Melanochrome implant
The Stormbringers recognize that a battle cry is a weapon that has a greater effect on some enemies than others and thus their war cries vary depending on what foes they face. Against a fearless enemy that would be totally unaffected, such as Tyranids or Orks, the Battle Brothers remain silent, conserving energy for fighting; whereas against a more easily demoralized foe, such as traitorous Imperials, Tau or some Eldar, they enter battle screaming terrifying and wordless howls of pure, unbridled rage and hatred amplified through the voxcasters of their power armour.