The eldest son of Adolf Clayborne, Baron of Poltava. He currently is serving as an Overseer in the Damp Corps. Known across the Sector for his cunning and ingenuity, and his short temper and borderline obsessive behavior.
Born in the Unions capitol of Poltava, he was raised communally by the members of the colony, stripped of name and status till adulthood to ensure equal footing for all children, and to ensure that they succeeded on merit, not by circumstance of birth.
Like all children raised this way, he subject to intense training and screenings to detect latent skills or dispositions. Scoring high in lateral thinking and leadership, he was an ideal candidate for a career as a Foreman in the Military or the Labor Force.
At the age of thirteen, he was permitted to take a name for himself, and was reunited with his clan, to take his place in Tremorisian Society. When the time came for his mandatory service in the Mine Guard, with his proficiency with explosives and his natural leadership ability he opted to make a career as a soldier.
When his initial training was completed, he was assigned to the 734th Siege Engineers. While his new role was only partially successful in tempering his destructive urges, it gave him the purpose he needed to make use of it for the furthering of the Unions goals.
Years later, during the Siege of Virsernov II, his unit became cut off and trapped by Orks for over three days. During the siege they endured near constant bombardment and assault from Ork forcds. Taking catastrophic casualties, including Erwins arranged marriage partner.
In the aftermath of the war, most of the 734th was killed or missing in action, most of the survivors were given early retirement and allowed to return to work their mines. While Erwin was given a commission to join the Damp Corps of Poltava, an honor he accepted eagerly, while the rest of the 734th was rebuilt and reinforced under the command of Foreman Gustavus.
Because of his training as an engineer and extensive background in handling explosives, he received the title of "Blackdamp". Specifically trained for sabotage and asymmetric warfare using explosives, was something he took to quite naturally, earning a well-deserved reputation for the use of excessive force to complete his assignments on schedule.
At the age of twenty-six, he was granted the rights to Mine Sixty-Two, a new mine established to extract the explosive element of Fyceline and the large Tungsten reserves, to honor his meritorious service to the Union. He was also received a promoted to Foreman and took command of his own Labor Corps. Basing his operations out of this mine allows him to remain close to his investment and work on his personal projects freely.
After nearly four decades of service in the Unions military, having attained the rank of Overseer. He continues his Service to the Union across the Expanse and beyond.
Strong willed, cunning, and an intelligent individual. Traits that have aided him well earning his reputation as a Demolitions Expert. Combined with his nearly obsessive and unnerving tinkering with explosive devices, he is fiercely protective of his designs, and often considers himself to be an artisan of his craft, considering himself as superior to the common terrorist or cultist that crafts crude bombs out of scrap, viewing devices like that with contempt.
Unwavering loyalty to his people and their ideology, seeing them as the pinnacle of civilization and the only hope for humanity to survive the darkness of the galaxy. He despises the forces of Chaos and anarchic groups of raiders and pirates, and is generally distrusting of the Imperium due to their dogmatic and often backwards ways.
Like most of his people, he is suspicious of outsiders, viewing them at best to be backwards barbarians, and at worst to be vile anarchists. While less suspicious when dealing with void-born, likely due to their similar physical appearance, he still comes across as blunt and curt, if not outright rude.
Tall and well built, as one would expect from a career miner and soldier. Like all True-Born Tremorisians he is easily identifiable by his cadaverous skin and dull steel colored eyes which appear to be sunken into his skull. His hair is ashen grey and is buzzed short to allow him to wear his gear easier.
Having lost his lower right leg to a landmine early in his career, and losing his right arm at the shoulder and left arm below the elbow in combat, he now possesses cybernetic replacements for his missing limbs, capable of fine manipulations and can move in ways not normally possible with organic limbs has proven a boon.
Abilities and Traits
His peoples genetics, after millennium of isolation in the Koronus Expanse, as well as their subterranean lifestyle has given him a heightened sense of hearing as well as a sharp sense of smell, giving him a heightened perception and awareness of his surroundings, particularly underground. His eyes are likewise adapted to the perpetual darkness of Tremor and low-light conditions of their mines, giving him better eye-sight in the those conditions, but at the cost of poor vision in bright lights, both natural and artificial.
Trained in prospecting when he joined the labor guild, he is skilled at judging the quality of an areas stone and soil, as well as spotting things of value to his mission hidden in the earth, combined with his training as a blast miner, he is adept in locating the weak points in enemy fortifications and structure. His near constant tinkering with his explosives have taught him how to produce explosives in the field with the proper tools, as well as modify and enhance his other charges.
His training as a saboteur has taught him how to properly place his charges for their maximum effect, to enemy personnel, structures, and morale, often setting his bombs in places for the maximum collateral damage possible, though will often try to avoid non-combatant casualties, but never at the risk of the mission.
As a Damp, he has greater access to unique specialized equipment and wargear than the average Mine Guard.
Modified GL-879 Grenade Launcher "Katyusha": Heavily modified to fit his hands, it uses an array of hand-modified shells, ranging from anti-personnel and anti-tank shells, and a unique adhesive shell which requires manual detonation.
Modified 1913 Trench Gun: A modified version of the standard Trench Gun, he removed the stock and shortened the barrel to improve its performance and for easy concealment. Though ineffective at long ranges, it serves as not-so-friendly reminder of his peoples prowess in close combat.
Model 470 Handcannon: A version of Tremor revolvers, chambered for a higher caliber round, it comes with a suppressor to allow him to remain a level of stealth when needed. It fires a blended metal slug capable of puncturing most personal armors and shred the flesh below. Erwin carries two of these weapons.
NKb-87 Trench Blade: Rather than a standard Wespe Knife, he prefers this longer and heavier blade featuring a heavy head for chopping and a serrated saw edge along the spine for cutting, serving as much as a utility tool as a melee weapon, this blade still retains the spiked knuckles of the Wespe Knife, but lacks the Tox dispenser.
Mk.VI Tube Charges: More powerful than Frag Grenades and more suited for combat than the bulky demolition charge, the Tube Charge or Frag Pipe finds the middle ground. Favored for their versatility, they are well suited for the stealth and sabotage tactics employed by Tremor Damps. They can be wired together to increase their power, as well as being able to be set as traps. They pose a significant threat to infantry and light armor.
Demolition Charges: Each Blackdamps designs and creates their own version of the standard demo charge that the normal siege engineers use. His devices tend to be of a higher yield and augmented by secondary tube-charges. Erwin utilizes a "home-brewed" mixture of explosives to ensure success and to leave his mark on his targets.
Tremorisian Sledge-Pick: A heavy tool used by miners to break ore loose from stone, it is often paired with an E-tool to assist in tunnel building, combining a sledgehammer and a miners pick, this tool can also be used as an improvised melee weapon in a pinch. Capable of breaking through ferrocrete and breaching doors as well as caving skulls and crushing personal armor.
Saboteurs Supplies: A large satchel carrying the standard supplies a Blackdamp would need in the field, including a standard tool kit to build low-tech traps and auspex, as well as a roll of Det-Tape and Snare Mines. Erwin is also known to carry a set of infiltrator tools and anything else he might need for a particular mission.
"The Motherlode": One of his most jealously guarded designs, this modified bombardier beetle is one of the most powerful explosive devices in service to the Union, barring city killing devices like Iron Moles, weighing in at nearly four tons, this monstrosity is capable of blowing super heavy vehicles to shrapnel and has proven effective against Ork Stompas as well as against enemy fortification and clustered infantry, due to its sheer destructive power and the quarter sized pieces of shrapnel it produces.
Awards and Accolades
Demolisher's Badge (Eleven Gold, One Silver) - Awarded to individuals whom single-handedly destroy enemy tanks or other armored vehicles with hand held weaponry, One silver badge per vehicle, One gold badge per five, replaces silver. Appears as a grey ribbon with gold or silver stripes with a red ceramite cross in the center, worn on the sleeve.
Engineer Long Service Award (Third Class) - Awarded for 10 years service in the Siege Engineering Corps, appears as a silver crossed pickaxe and spade in front of a black triangle, painted on the left side of the helmet.
Blackdamp Long Service Award (First Class) - Awarded for 25 years service in the Damp Labor Corps, appears as a crossed pickaxe and spade in front of a yellow and grey triangle, painted on the left side of the helmet.
Close Assault Badge (Gold) - Awarded for participation in 50+ close quarters assaults, and outstanding achievements in melee and close proximity combat. Appears as a gold crossed stick grenade and trench knife in front of a skull. Worn on the right breast.
Saboteur's Badge (Gold) - Awarded for spending one hundred days behind enemy lines, and for outstanding performance in guerrilla and sabotage missions. Appears as a copper medal depicting a serpent being beheaded by a blade. Worn on the left breast.
Siege of Virsernov II - This humid and tropical planet is located on the edges of the Exploding Nebula has been the site of several conflicts over the centuries it has been occupied by the Miners Union, Late in the 7th century of M.41 it was laid siege to by an invading force of Orks. Several detachments of Mine Guards were sent in to hold the lines and drive the Orks back. What resulted was a five year war of attrition, that devastated the local rain forests and turned most of the world into a series of partially flooded trenches and tunnels. It ended with the decisive assassination of the Ork Warboss by a detachment of Damps, which caused the Orks to turn upon each other.
When plying his trade, Erwin is generally a perfectionist, obsessed with every detail of his plan, and every aspect of his device till he is certain it will work as intended with no-room for error, often leading him to use more force than is required to complete his task.
While setting up his explosives for a contract, he will usually attempt to integrate it into the structure allowing the device to detonate from within the wall or floor to increase is structural damage. He will usually wire several additional charges and tube charges to ensure its destruction in the most efficient way possible.
When he is setting up for a contract targeting soft targets like infantry and light skinned vehicles, he foregoes the additional charges in favor of a single high yield device, loaded with scrap metal to generate shrapnel, as usual he partially submerges the device to hide it from sight.
Most of his devices are installed with an "anti-tampering" system to combat enemy engineers from attempting to disable his devices.
Friends and Allies
Vasily is one of Erwins childhood companions and a fellow member of Labor Unit 62. Serving as a Stinkdamp Sharpshooter, he is a constant companion to Erwin, often assists in high priority missions. Armed with his own version of the Tremor Derailer Rifle.
Sten and Nico Ettenberg
Erwins seconds within the unit these twins both serve as Firedamps, armed with the customized "Nightfire" flamers, they mimic their leaders destructive tendencies through their own pyromania, barely able to resist the urge the light things on fire with their flamers or a barrage of firebombs
One of Erwins oldest friends, the current Premier of the Miners Union, once served with both Erwin and Vasily in the 743rd Siege Engineers, though following a different path from the others, opting to lead armies rather than fight behind the scenes. Despite their friendship or perhaps because of it, the Premier ensures that Erwin is given assignments that best suit his abilities, often the most dangerous ones.
- "Mining is like a search-and-destroy mission. Spend a few days looking for your quarry, rig a few well placed bombs, and collect your pay."
- —Erwin Clayborne on the similarities between mining and sabotage
- "Me personally? I am content with existing explosives, but I feel like I shouldn't stand in the path of Improvement."
- —Vasily Negronov - Comments on Erwins explosive modifications, while keeping a safe distance.
(Add your own)
Erwin's Labor Team, the Dirt Dragons are named after the Tu Lung in Tremors 4: The Legend Begins.