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The Bears of the Claw are a strange but Loyalist Space Marine Chapter, of the 20th Founding, created from unknown lineage. Unlike other Chapters, the Bears of the Claw do not possess the usual number of 1,000 battle-brothers, instead numbering around 700. Despite their smaller size, the Chapter's ferocity and stubbornness in the face of overwhelming odds, more than makes up for their lack of numbers. The Bears of the Claw are mostly known for their spirit, respect and determination, but are also known for being very devastating in combat. They worship the Emperor above all, but also strongly respect the ancient relic weapon known to them as The Claw - a relic artefact of ancient provenance, which is passed down to each successive Chapter Master of the Chapter. Currently, this fearsome relic is in the hands of Karmarth, Master of the Claw.

Chapter History

"We were created when the Imperium was beset by enemies both within and without. It was world against world, tyrants rose and fell, and the Imperium was in disruption. Out of this anarchy we came. Our gene-seed comes from one of the First Founding Chapters, but which one is not certain, as all records were lost during the many battles of our Chapter's first crusade. We are the Emperor's loyal sons, from which Primarch we spring is unknown. No matter..we may not know our Father, but we know our Patriarch, for He is the immortal Emperor of Mankind."
— Arktos Bloodborne, Sixth Bearer & Master of the Claw, speaking to newly inducted Neophytes

The Bears of the Claw Space Marine Chapter was created amidst the anarchy and upheaval of the late 35th Millennium, during the waning years of the Nova Terra Interregnum, when the Imperium of Mankind had been split into two separate twin-empires. This period of divided rule lasted for nine centuries, until the year 975.M35. The Ecclesiarchy attempted to rebuild the sundered Imperium following the strife of internecine conflict that had plunged must of the Imperium into upheaval and civil unrest. They hoped to rebuild the Emperor's realm into a religious state that transcended political differences. Billions would die in the religious war that ensued when the Ur-Council of Nova Terra rejected the Ecclesiarchy's teachings, unleashing a new civil war, the likes of which had not been seen since the Horus Heresy.

To ensure that those who remained recalcitrant were brought to heel, the High Lords of Terra authorised the 20th Founding of the Adeptus Astartes, which took part sometime between 975-991.M35. The Bears of the Claw were one such Chapter created during this tumultuous period in the Imperium's history, created alongside other stalwart Chapters such as the Iron Scorpions, Iron Wardens and the Emerald Vanguard. The Bears of the Claw were presumably created from one of the First Founding Chapters, but as records from this time period are spotty at best, their true lineage has been lost to history.

During these troubled times, the newly created Bears of the Claw Chapter launched a Crusade to put down those who rejected the authority of the High Lords of Terra and the Ecclesiarchy. They cleansed nearly a dozen worlds during their campaign through the Sol System and the Segmentum Pacificus. Later in 980.M35, the Bears of the Claw took part in facing a new threat - the alien Hrud. They took part in the Imperial task force that cleansed the Hrud infestations that erupted across the Imperium at this time, cleansing four different assigned sectors as they hunted down the insidious xenos to extinction. In recognition of their steadfast and dedicated service, the High Lords of Terra awarded the young Chapter with an ancient Maelstrom-class Galleass of War. The Bears of the Claw made this mighty vessel their new flagship, naming it Ferrum Ursus. Since that bygone era, the Bears of the Claw Chapter has continued its role as stalwart defenders of the Emperor's realm, bringing sword and claw to their enemies, both without and within.

Notable Campaigns

  • Cataclysm of Souls 975.M35 - Following nearly nine centuries of internecine conflict, known in Imperial history as the Nova Terra Interregnum, between the Imperium of Man and the secessionist empire of the Segmentum Pacificus, finally comes to an epic conclusion. When the Imperium's ruling religious leaders of the Ecclesiatchy attempted to impose their will and make the sundered Imperium whole once again through the teachings of the Imperial Cult, the Ur-Council of Nova Terra violently rejected them as well as the will of the High Lords of Terra. This resulted in a series of religious wars, the likes if which haven't been seen since the Great Betrayal, that sees the death of billions of souls. During this time, the High Lords of Terra approve a new Founding of the Adeptus Astartes, thus, the 20th Founding occurs. The newly created Bears of the Claw are one these Chapters created during this troubled time. The Chapter proceed to undertake a five year long crusade through the Segmentum Solar and Segmentum Pacificus, freeing a number a myriad of worlds from tyranny and civil strife, and in the process kill thousands of apostates and renegades.
  • Hrud Rising (980.M35) - Following the Bears' first successful Crusade, they are once again called upon by the Senatorum Imperialis to face a new threat - the xenos Hrud - who recent infestations have erupted across the length and breadth of the Imperium. The Bears of the Claw take part in the Imperial task force to cleanse the Hrud infestations and successful cleanse four different assigned sectors as they eradicated the xenos menace. In recognition of their dedication and steadfast service, the High Lords of Terra award the young Chapter a powerful relic warship, that dates back to the time of the Great Crusade.
  • The Reign of Blood (ca. 200-270.M36 ) - At the dawning of a new millennium, the entire Imperium was soon plunged into even deeper despair. The incidence of warp storms increased by an order of magnitude, cutting many worlds from one another. Central governance of worlds limited to periodic contact at the best of times entirely collapsed. Hive worlds that relied on nearby agri-worlds to feed their populations were reduced to charnel houses ruled by cannibals. Where the Black Ships of the Adeptus Astra Telepathica were unable to get through, entire populations fell to daemonic incursion or Enslaver domination. Civil war and anarchy beset the Imperium, with those planets that remained accessible being ruthlessly suppressed by the Bears of the Claw Chapter. This tumultuous era came to be known as the Age of Apostasy. During this time, the myriad enemies of humanity saw that Mankind was tearing themselves apart, and so, they struck a fell blow. The Traitor Legions sallied forth from the Eye of Terror, while Orks and Dark Eldar increased their raids on defenceless Imperial worlds. The entire Imperium was gripped by an apocalyptic frenzy of doom and anarchy. During this time an individual by the name of Goge Vandire, who was both Ecclesiarch and High Lord of the Adeptus Administratum, rose to power and seized the reigns of power over the strife-ridden Imperium. When he eventually fell from the Emperor's light it sparked a civil war that would last for another seven decades. His dark reign was a time of absolute authority executed without restraint or sanity, where worlds were virus–bombed at whim and vast armies mustered to destroy Imperial subjects for suspected or imagined sedition. During this brutal and bloody era, the Bears of the Claw stood fast like a beacon in the long dark night, against the various marauding xenos and apostate threats. They did their best to fortify as many worlds as they were able while still undertaking their traditional duties as best they could. The Bears stayed on the defensive, protecting the few star systems they could from the ravages of the Age of Apostasy and the carnage of Vandire's so-called 'Reign of Blood'.
  • Xalaxian Xenocide (368-374.M36) - The Bears of the Claw and their brutal cousins, the Emerald Vanguard, undertake a joint xenocidal campaign against a hitherto unknown xenos known as the Xalaxians upon the Imperial Hive World of Solani. This savage campaign lasts six years, and sees the death of billions of innocents. During the final engagement, the Emerald Vanguard are drawn into a cunning trap by the Xalaxians. With the loss of many of their battle-brothers, the Emerald Vanguard are severely outnumbered. Prepared to face their imminent destruction they boldly prepare to sell their lives dearly. Seeing their plight, the Bears of the Claw, led by Lord Rurik Grimclaw, fight their way through the Xalaxian's lines to save their fellow Astartes Chapter. Leading a corps of Terminator-armoured Battleborn elite, Rurik is slain when he confronts the Xalaxian Overlord. Bolstered by their cousins and emboldened by Lord Rurik's sacrifice, the Emerald Vanguard proceeds to lead the final assault upon the Xalaxian Overlord's position and take the foul creature's head. From then on, the two Chapters forge a strong warrior bond and continue to fight alongside the other in numerous campaigns.
  • 5th Black Crusade (723.M36) - Abaddon the Despoiler and his Black Legion fleet sally forth from the Eye of Terror and proceed launch a series of Chaos attacks on a dozen worlds within the Elysia Sector in the Segmentum Obscurus. The Warmaster's Chaos Lords destroy oversee the destruction of several Imperial cities, shrines and temples while his fleet keeps the Imperial Navy's Battlefleet Obscurus engaged in deep void skirmishes. The Bears of the Claw are one of several Chapters that answers the Segmentum Command's call to arms. Dividing their forces into three separate strike groups, the Bears are busy engaging the Forces of Chaos on several different worlds in an attempt to relieve beleaguered Imperial forces. Abaddon's intention was to create a sector-wide conflict that would provoke a massive response from the Imperium and draw in several Chapters of the Adeptus Astartes. His plans set in motion, Abaddon proceeds to lead the bulk of his Black Legion to the city of Kasr Lutien on the world of Tarinth, burning the great city to the ground and enslaving its people. It is here, that the Despoiler lures two Chapters, the Warhawks and Venerators, in a cunningly laid trap where they are utterly destroyed. While engaged with Abaddon's diversionary attacks, word reaches the Bears of the demise of these two fellow Space Marine Chapters. They swear mighty oaths of vengeance to see the Despoiler dead at their hands for committing such base treachery.
  • The Woe of the Bears (Unknown Date.M39) - In what is now a largely forgotten episode of the Imperium's history, the southern fringe of the Segmentum Tempestus was assailed by wave after wave of Ork nomad fleets, xenoform migrations and strange psychic phenomenon which themselves caused a near epidemic of Witch Cults, alien infestations and daemonic incursions. Seen now by some sources within the Ordo Xenos as a precursor to the coming of the Tyranids, these events were largely unrecognised at the time as forming a pattern, as the eyes of the Imperium were focused on threats elsewhere. The Bears of the Claw had suffered severe attrition in a series of multiple campaigns defending the Imperium's borders against invading xenos species, including the Orks and Hrud outbreaks. The Bears had been reduced to 700 Battle-Brothers when their own Chapter fleet was assailed by a much larger Dark Eldar Cabal raiding fleet. Despite still licking their wounds, the tenacious Bears were quickly roused to war, and fought against the vile xenos in a series of deadly boarding actions that resulted the loss of several hundred of their fellow battle-brothers. Though they made the Dark Eldar corsairs pay dearly, the sheer numbers of the forces soon began to take its tool on the Bears' forces. Facing annihilation, the Bears reluctantly sent an astropathic distress call into void, as they prepared to sell themselves dearly in a final stand. Fortunately, their desperate cry for help was answered in the form of the savage Blood Vultures Chapter, which had been campaigning in a nearby sector against an Enslaver outbreak. Arriving in their Chapter's entirety, the Blood Vultures proceeded to launch a rapid counter-strike against the upstart xenos, and soon, the warriors of both Chapters fought side-by-side with their cousins, wreaking terrible slaughter against their Dark Eldar foes. The Bears of the Claw had suffered terrible casualties, including the loss of their Master of the Claw, Lord Karnak Bloodclaw. After bloodily executing the Dark Eldar Cabals Archon, the two Chapters formed a strong alliance and each swore a blood-debt to one another. The Bears promised that should the Blood Vultures ever be so threatened they would respond in kind. Down the millennia, both Chapters have answered this call on at least a dozen occasions. It took many decades for the Bears of the Claw to rebuild their numbers to fighting strength, but before they were at full Chapter-strength, they were once again called to war by the High Lords of Terra. Standing at only 700 battle-brothers, the Bears of the Claw took this as a sign from the Allfather, and since that time have continued the tradition of maintaining this number of warriors in honour of their predecessors.

Chapter Organisation

The Bears of the Claw differ somewhat from the prescriptions of the Codex Astartes in command structure, while remaining true to its tenets at the tactical and squad level. The Chapter follows a unique organisation pattern derived in part, due to necessity, following their involvement in a series of campaigns during the 39th Millennium defending the Imperium's borders from raiding xenos, which saw the destruction of three whole companies. Since that time, the Bears of the Claw have maintained seven companies (known as a 'Sleuth') per tradition. The Veteran Company, Battle and Tactical Sleuths conform roughly to their Codex equivalents, while the Support Sleuths comprises a mixture of Devastator, Assault and Veteran Squads.

The organisation of each Sleuth has been designed to operate independently for extended periods. Each possesses an augmented auxiliary force of dedicated spearhead of Terminator Veterans ('Battleborn') who serve as the Sleuth Captain's Honour Guard. The Chapter also does not maintain a dedicated Scout Company as required by the dictates of the Codex, instead each Sleuth maintains a detachment of Neophytes and Initiates which are considered an auxiliary force. They are utilised for reconnaissance and evaluation of the enemy. Like all Chapters, the actual strength of the Bears of the Claw can vary greatly based upon current levels of attrition in the ranks and the status of its Scout force. The Scout force in particular can vary in size, as the Chapter is notoriously harsh on its Neophytes, brooking no signs of weakness or failure in them.

Order of Battle

The following represents the order of battle of the Bears of the Claw Chapter as it currently stands:

Headquarters

Sleuth of the Master of the Claw


Celtic Bear Claw Stylised white
Personal totemic icon of the Master of the Claw
Lord Karmarth, Eighteenth Bearer & Master of the Claw, Chapter Master of the Bears of the Claw
Chapter Champion Korak Artair, 'Baneclaw'
Honour Guard
Command Squad (Chapter Standard Bearer Torbernus Chullain, Chaplain Galvin Murchad, Epistolary Bethor Ragallach, Apothecary Tormah Gormlaith, Techmarine Nereus)
Veteran Squads
Scout Squads
Chapter Serfs
Librarium Relusiarchy Apothecarion Fleet Command Armoury
Librarius Icon
Chief Librarian Artio Galek, 'Stormclaw'
Epistolaries
Codiciers
Lexicaniums
Acolytum
Furioso Librarian Dreadnoughts
Chapter Serfs
Reclusium Icon
Reclusiarch Uther Orso
Chaplains
Chaplain Initiates
Chapter Serfs
Winged Prime Helix
Chief Apothecary Mahon Eremon
Apothecaries
Chapter Serfs
Master of the Fleet Raif Larkin
1 Maelstrom-class Galleass of War (Ferrus Ursus)
4 Battle Barges
7 Strike Cruisers
15 Rapid Strike Vessels (Escorts)
35 Thunderhawk Gunships
3 Thunderhawk Tranports
Machina Opus Techmarine
Master of the Forge Kinak
30 Techmarines
95 Servitors
20 Predators
18 Predators
6 Vindicators
5 Whirlwinds
40 Land Raiders
45 Stormraven Gunships

Companies

Veteran Sleuth Battle Sleuths
1st Sleuth 2nd Sleuth 3rd Sleuth 4th Sleuth
Bear Paw Tribal white
Battleborn
Captain Dhargus Scanlon, 'Steelclaws'
Command Squad (Standard Bearer, Chaplain, Apothecary, Company Champion, Lexicanium)
Honour Guard
Veteran Squads
Scout Squads
Dreadnoughts
2. Bloody Paws
Bloody Paws
Captain Acastus Berengar 'Bloodytooth'
Command Squad (Standard Bearer, Chaplain, Apothecary, Company Champion, Lexicanium)
Honour Guard
Tactical Squads
Scout Squads
Dreadnoughts
3. Ursa Guard
Ursa Guard
Captain Imar Doon, 'Ten-Bears'
Command Squad (Standard Bearer, Chaplain, Apothecary, Company Champion, Lexicanium)
Honour Guard
Tactical Squads
Scout Squads
Dreadnoughts
4. Blood Bears
The Blood Bears
Captain Raif Larkin, 'Swiftclaw', Master of the Fleet
Command Squad (Standard Bearer, Chaplain, Apothecary, Company Champion, Lexicanium)
Honour Guard
Tactical Squads
Scout Squads
Dreadnoughts
Reserve Sleuths
5th Sleuth 6th Sleuth 7th Sleuth
5. Fellclaws
Fellclaws
Captain Rafer Sloan, 'Three-Scars'
Command Squad (Standard Bearer, Chaplain, Apothecary, Company Champion, Lexicanium)
Honour Guard
Veteran Squads
Tactical Squads
Devastator Squads
Assault Squads
Scout Squads
Dreadnoughts
6. Silverclaws
Silver Claws
Captain Tarl Krotas, 'Bloodmaw'
Command Squad (Standard Bearer, Chaplain, Apothecary, Company Champion, Lexicanium)
Honour Guard
Veteran Squads
Assault Squads
Devastator Squads
Scout Squads
Dreadnoughts
7
Spirit Bears
Captain Riddoc Kull, 'Shadowpaw'
Command Squad (Standard Bearer, Chaplain, Apothecary, Company Champion, Lexicanium)
Honour Guard
Veteran Squads
Assault Squads
Devastator Squads
Scout Squads
Dreadnoughts

Chapter Home World

Having no home world to speak of, the Bears of the Claw are a fleet-based Chapter, operating solely from its substantial warfleet as part of a perpetual crusade. However, the Bears of the Claw do not appear to follow the standard 'Crusade' Chapter pattern of operations, like the Black Templars Chapter. Instead, they rely upon a much rarer operational strategy known as the 'Nomad-Predation', pattern. This fleet pattern evolved in use by certain Space Marine Chapters and certain Rogue Trader fleets operating beyond the Imperium's boundaries for extended periods of time. It refers to an entirely self-contained force that can sustain itself without any Imperial support whatsoever. A Nomad-Predation fleet may contain as many support vessels as true warships, or it may contain voidships capable of both combat and maintenance repairs. This second possibility may be more likely in the case of the Bears of the Claw; given the bellicose Chapter's propensity for combat, it seems unlikely they would tolerate vessels in their fleet's ranks that could not hold their own on the battle line.

A Nomad-Predation fleet voyages endlessly, pausing only to identify and engage its foes. It must choose its targets carefully, selecting those within its means to destroy without threatening the fleet’s viability as a fighting force. Once it selects the appropriate victims, it can descend upon them quickly and savagely, engaging and destroying potential threats or launching spoiling attacks against foes too large to attack in force. The fleet obtains resources from the vanquished foe before vanishing, safe from any potential retaliation.

Fortress-Monastery

The ancient Maelstrom-class Galleass of War, the Ferrum Ursus, serves as the Bears of the Claw's flagship and mobile fortress-monastery. This vessel of ancient provenance, is believed to be pre-Imperial in origin and constructed some time during the Dark Age of Technology. A noteworthy but relatively uncommon type of warship, a Galleass of War is the equivalent of a Grand Cruiser ("pocket battleships") which are often much larger physically. Much of the fabric of these mighty vessels were given over to freight and transport capacity, while still maintaining formidable armaments and defence. In times past, they made for ideal support vessels for deep-range explorations into unknown regions of space and as the flagships of the most powerful Rogue Traders Militant. The Ferrum Ursus is recorded to have participated as a vessel of the venerable VI Legion in numerous Compliance campaigns of the Great Crusade. The High Lords of Terra awarded the command of this ancient vessel to the Bears of the Claw Chapter for their diligence and valour during the Cataclysm of Souls in M35.

Chapter Recruitment

Though one cannot be certain that this is the means by which the Bears of the Claw operate, the use of the Nomad-Predation pattern seems to perfectly fit their preferred operating style. If this is the case, the Bears of the Claw most likely replenish their ranks in the same manner as those other Chapters that follow this pattern. Namely, they cull potential Initiates from amongst the young of the survivors of their assaults, provided those survivors are human and free of the corrupting influence of the Warp. These potential recruits are put through bloody trials and gladiatorial combat; only the strongest emerging to be hypno-indoctrinated into the Chapter. This intensive hypno-conditioning and other harsh procedures utilised by the Chapter's Chaplains are designed to strip away any past loyalty, replacing it with the will and attitudes of the Bears of the Claw.

Chapter Combat Doctrine

Chapter Gene-Seed

It is unknown which Primarch's gene-seed was utilised in the creation of the Bears of the Claw Chapter. Their gene-seed seems relatively untainted, if subject to some long-term degradation. The Bears' gene-seed has obviously suffered some mutations from the original source that was given to them millennia earlier. The hostile conditions of their lives, coupled with the rituals and practices of the Chapter changed them drastically over time. Most notably are some unusual idiosyncrasies that have caused some of their genetically-engineered organs normally implanted in a Space Marine to no longer function properly after implantation.

Due to their inherent battle lust and aggressive style of warfare, the Bears of the Claw have had a troubled history. Though they have won great victories in the Imperium's name, questions remain regarding the stability of their gene-seed, and concerns have grown surrounding the sheer savagery of their conduct in battle. One noteworthy aspect of their gene-seed is that the Bears of the Claw are particularly durable and burly, displaying a strength and constitution far above the average Astartes. They are unusually large and robust physical specimens, even amongst their kind, and are capable of surviving wounds and physical injuries that would normally kill other Space Marines. This could be due to an over-active Biscopea implant, the organ that is responsible for an Astarte's physical combat ability and survivability to superhuman levels. It is also responsible for bolstering skeletomuscular development and density throughout the Space Marine's body.

In combat the battle-brothers of this Chapter often displays a savage mien, displaying an unyielding stance towards their enemies, and are unafraid of fighting a foe to mutual annihilation. It is not unusual for a Bears of the Claw Astartes to fight on despite suffering horrendous wounds, severed limbs or massive trauma. This is both a boon and a curse, as once the Bears' hackles are up, it is almost all but impossible to halt one of their headlong assaults until they've rent their foes with claw and bolter. Only when their foes are torn to shreds and utterly decimated will the Bears withdraw from the field of battle. Many times in their history, the Chapter has almost faced extinction due to their refusal to withdraw from the field of battle, even when it was beneficial for them to do so.

Another organ which does not function properly is the Sus-an Membrance, the genetic implant that allows an Astartes to enter a state of suspended animation, consciously or as an automatic reaction to extreme trauma, keeping them alive for many standard years, even if they suffer otherwise mortal wounds. However, this organ no longer functions as it was intended, for as a Bears of the Claw Astartes ages, they are prone to bouts of periodic hibernation periods which can last days or weeks between battles. This fugue state is known amongst the battle-brothers of the Chapter as 'Torpor'. There seems to be a direct correlation between those who are prone to falling into 'Torpor' and those who fall into the hyper-state of adrenaline, known as the 'The Rage'. When this occurs, 'the Rage' can turn even the most taciturn veteran into a berserker, wishing only to release their calculated brutality and savagery upon their foes. Whilst in the throes of a berserk frenzy these battle-brothers seek nothing more in battle than to rush into close quarters with the enemy and tear them apart in a hail of blood. Following the release of such high levels of hyper-adrenaline, once spent, these battle-brothers will often fall into 'Torpor'.

Those affected by this state are recovered from the field of battle and placed in the custody of the Chapter's Apothecaries. The afflicted are interred within a stasis casket and laid beside their fellow afflicted battle-brothers within a sacred chamber, located in their primary Apothecarion aboard their flagship, Ferrum Ursus. Here, the afflicted brethren lie in stasis within the dimly lit chamber, where they might summon the strength of will to banish the curse and recover from their hibernation. At any given time there are at least 10-30 battle-brothers affected by this genetic curse. Fortunately these unusual comatose states only affect those Astartes who are a century or older. This is especially true amongst the Chapter's venerable brothers that are interred within the sarcophagus of a Dreadnought. As the long years take their toll on these ancient warriors, they begin spending longer and longer periods dormant in stasis sleep. As the centuries pass on by, they become much more difficult to awaken and rouse for battle by the Chapter's Techmarines.

Notable Bears of the Claw

BoC Master of Claw 2

Karmath, Eighteenth Bearer & Master of the Claw, Lord of the Bears of the Claw

  • Karmath, Master of the Claw - Karmath is the current Chapter Master of the ferocious Bears of the Claw Chapter. Known for his massive physical size, the imposing Karmath stands taller than all of his battle-brothers. Even without his battle-plate, he still dwarfs most other Astartes. Such is Karmath's strength, that he is able to deliver a single killing blow with his master-crafted relic weapon, known as The Claw. A bellicose and fearsome warrior, Karmath's personal valour is second to none. Despite his grim and stern nature, Karmath's taciturn demeanour and no-nonsense approach as leader is appreciated by the warriors he commands. Due to his brutal tactics and terrifyingly effective methods in battle, Karmath has garnered a reputation as a merciless soul who seeks nothing more than the utter destruction of his foes. He has little time for councils and strategic planning, and his absence at war councils when working with other Imperial forces usually goes unnoticed as he rarely speaks when called upon to attend. However, his aloofness displayed to other Imperial commanders is sometimes viewed with suspicion. Karmath has led the Bears of the Claw Chapter for less than a century, but has served the Chapter for more than three centuries. As the current Chapter Master of the Bears of the Claw, Karmath is the one who has the honour of wielding the Chapter's most holiest relic, the destructive weapon known as The Claw.

Chapter Fleet

  • Ferrus Ursus (Maelstrom-class Galleass of War) - Flagship of the Bears of the Claw Chapter.
  • Malum Ferio (Battle-Barge)
  • Malevolens Spiritum (Battle-Barge)
  • Veloces Ungula (Battle-Barge)
  • Sanguine Ingluviem (Battle-Barge)
  • 4 Battle Barges
  • 7 Strike Cruisers
  • 15 Rapid Strike Vessels (Escorts)
  • 35 Thunderhawk Gunships
  • 3 Thunderhawk Tranports

Chapter Appearance

Chapter Colours

BoC Squad Specialty Icons

Bears of the Claw runic Squad Specialty Symbols

The Bears of the Claw primarily wear silver-coloured power armour. The Aquila or Imperialis on the chest guard is also silver in colour. The inset of the shoulder pauldrons are emerald green in colour while the shoulder pauldron trim is black in colour. The unique runic squad specialty symbol on the right shoulder pauldron (Tactical, Devastator, Assault and Veteran) indicates squad specialty. A black-coloured runic numeral located on the inset of the shoulder pauldron near the trim, indicates squad number. Stylised black-coloured claw marks on the left poleyn (knee guard), as well as a totemic icon on the right poleyn, indicates company number.

The Astartes of the Bears of the Claw Chapter often ceremoniously apply runic tattoos of protection and power upon entering the Chapter. These tattoos usually cover the arms and sometimes the face of the battle-brother, reinforcing their fearsome warrior heritage. The Bears of the Claw also take fierce pride in their heraldry, using the arts and styles of their ancestor's runemasters. Their armour is often engraved with primitive runic script or magical runes, whose meanings are not understood by those outside the Chapter. Their ancestor's believed that through the use of such powerful magic runes, that it might help one to fulfill their innermost needs, wants and wishes. These pagan traditions have carried over to the Bears of the Claw. They believe that by incorporating such runes as well as the potent bear talismans and fetishes they wear on their armour, that they will invoke protection and strength against their enemies.

The veteran warriors of the Chapter are the only ones honoured enough to inherit the ancient power armour of the great warriors of the past, to continue carrying on their legacy. Veterans in particular wear ornate battle-plate immersed in centuries worth of talismans and etched symbols, accumulated from great heroes over the ages. Scouts are the only elements of the force that don't decorate their armor extensively, preferring to maintain their anonymity when performing their dangerous reconnaissance missions. The adaptation of their ancestor's traditional pagan symbols has also spread to some of their traditional Astartes insignia. Patterned specialization designations follow the Bears of the Claw warriors' individual artistic style and are painted in black on the right shoulder pauldron. Classical Imperial icons are rarely seen on a Bears of the Claw Astartes' battle-plate.

Chapter Badge

The Bears of the Claw Chapter badge is a large stylised black coloured bear's head centered on a field of emerald green.

Chapter Relics

  • The Claw - The Claw is an ancient weapon said to be many millennia older than the Chapter itself. This long-cherished artefact is worshipped by the Bears of the Claw Chapter who believe it was crafted by the Emperor's master artificers and blessed by His holy hands when He still walked amongst Mankind. Legends hold that this weapon was gifted to their Primarch and subsequently passed down to his sons. It is believed that during the Bears of the Claw's inception, that this mighty weapon was supposedly passed onto them by their mysterious Progenitors, but their Chapter records do not clearly state their identity. The Claw is a master-crafted lightning claw - a heavily armoured gauntlet that houses a number of articulated blades - and takes the form of a massive bear's paw. In close combat, this deadly weapon is all but unmatched, as The Claw's unique disruption fields enables the cutting edges of its blades to sunder all energy fields and force barriers they encounter, slicing through ceramite and adamantine plate effortlessly. Wielded by none other than the Chapter Master of the Bears of the Claw, the bearer of this unique weapon is therefore known as 'The Master of the Claw'. This deadly weapon suits Karmath perfectly, as he prefers to participate at the forefront of battle and heavy assaults.

Allies

Blood Vultures

Blood Vultures SP

Armorial of the Blood Vultures Chapter

The similarly bellicose Blood Vultures Chapter possess a strong relationship with the ferocious Bears of the Claw Chapter, and on many occasions have helped them during their most trying times, including when the latter Chapter didn't possess many Astartes when they came under attack during the latter years of the 39th Millennium and faced annihilation. Since that time, these two brutal Chapters have fought on many occasions down the millennia, and will answer the other's call for aid in their time of need, a debt the Bears have paid many times over.

Spectral Wolves

Spectral Wolves SP

Chapter armorial of the Spectral Wolves Chapter

In recent years, the ferocious Bears of the Claw Chapter have come to admire the Spectral Wolves for their sheer tenacity, ferocity and stubbornness in the face of overwhelming odds. These are traits that are greatly admired by the Bears, for their Chapter has also faced similar circumstances, for they too, do not possess the usual number of battle-brothers, and possess less companies then the Codex Astartes-proscribed number of ten. These two similarly bellicose Chapters complement each other when they have fought as allies, and are quite devastating to their foes. They have fought together on at least a half-dozen occasions, forming bonds of friendship stronger than tempered adamantium, forged in the fires of war.

Enemies

Notable Quotes

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By the Bears of the Claw

"When my day comes to die, I will not beg for mercy, nor will I weep. I have led a life filled with glory! My hope is that I leave this world with a smile on my face, and the courage to sing my own death song, and that I will be judged worthy to sit at the side of the Allfather."
— Purported last words of Rurik Grimclaw, Second Bearer & Master of the Claw, before the final battle of the Xalaxian Xenocide
"Even the brave are scared by a bear three times: first by its tracks, again by its roar, and one last time, face-to-face."
— Chaplain Galv Krogan, 2nd Sleuth
"He that flees from the roaring bear will be set upon by the bear in waiting."
— Sergeant Tethys Bain, 1st Tactical Squad, 6th Sleuth
"One shouldn't go searching for bones in a bear's den. Two bears in one cave will not end well."
— Brother Chulane Tarlach, commenting to a fellow Brother of the Claw during an unannounced visit by an Inquisitor aboard the Ferrum Ursus, investigating allegations of 'atrocities' committed by the Bears of the Claw
"How will my enemies know my face if I do not face them personally to deliver the Allfather's divine justice with my claws? I'm a firm believer in the ancient proverb, 'You may know a bear by his claws.'"
— First-Captain Dhargus Scanlon, 'Steelclaws' - Lord of the Battleborn, 1st Sleuth, explaining his preference for close-assault over stealth tactics.

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About the Bears of the Claw

"The roars of the mighty bear sends shivers up my spine for they are messengers of war. Wherever the roars are loudest, that is where battles are at their thickest. That is where we shall be, fighting alongside our ursine battle brothers. Ezen Khaan Ni, my ursine friends."
— Akhmad Jorgen Makhal of the Laughing Skull
"A wave of roaring, tearing Marines who only stop when the foe is dead. Be sure to bring extra pants when fighting them."
Inquisitor Jacob Flux

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