- "Why do we fight? You do not ask why fire burns or why plague spreads. Do not ask why we fight for the God Emperor"
- —Antaeus Museveni, First Chapter Master of the Steel Tigers
The Steel Tigers are a Fifth Founding Chapter, noted for their extreme divergence from the Codex Astartes, who were intended to perform the role of the Imperium's Rapier. Intended to be the pinnacle of Imperial shock troops, they trace their lineage back to Sanguinius. Among Blood Angels successor Chapters, the Steel Tigers are known for a disproportionate occurrence of the Black Rage, comparable to their brothers, the Flesh Tearers. In many ways, this has resulted in the Steel Tigers being confused for a Cursed Founding Chapter, alongside the likes of the Sons of Antaeus and the Legion of the Damned.
- "Forged in the Furnace of War, tempered in the Crucible of Battle, we are the Steel Tigers. Let the enemy know us by the mountains of their dead."
- —Exerpt from a Steel Tiger Battle Prayer
By the time of the Fifth Founding, the Imperium was beset by many foes, among them were foes conventional forces simply could not defeat without impractical commission of resources and manpower. And so, a Chapter of Space Marines was ordered to be created by the High Lords of Terra. While this order seems odd to the casual observer, if not downright insane, it was founded on solid history, as the Grey Knights and the Deathwatch Chapters were both commissioned for an express purpose to combat foes conventional Space Marines could not overcome without great risk. And so the gears were set in motion for one of the most beloved and reviled Space Marine Chapters in recorded history.
The Steel Tiger's baptism by fire was during a large-scale counter-assault against Chaos Space Marines of the Word Bearer's Legion as they surged out from the Warp-Real Space Tear known as the Maelstrom, to the Galactic East of Terra. As expected, the Steel Tigers assault struck like a hammer, throwing back the Word Bearers with a savagery even the Daemon-Worshipping blasphemers were unprepared for. Again and again, the Steel Tigers overran enemy positions, severing supply lines and leaving them isolated in the Imperial thrust. Eventually, the Word Bearers were forced to band together to hold against the wild, relentless charges and reckless assaults. Were any force other than Space Marines to attempt these tactics, they would fail. But the Steel Tigers crashed on the Chaos defences, riding a wave of bloodshed akin to the World Eaters Traitor Legion, slaughtering all in their path, whether or not it fired, even after cultists or slaves surrendered, they were gunned down or put to the sword.
On world after world, the Steel Tigers received immense praise for their courage and skill as they pushed the Traitors back towards their home. Many observers admired their zeal and unshakeable conviction, while the more cynical observers claimed that the Tigers were every bit as savage as the World Eaters, and every bit as resilient as the Death Guard. Obviously, none of these opinions were voiced in the presence of the Steel Tigers, as they had sworn no oath nor come to any agreement about the Campaign, and so could, in theory at least, abandon their meteoric advance as and when they chose to. Just as they had before, the Steel Tigers hurled themselves at the final bastion of the traitors as the Warp Storms surrounding the system abated. Robbed of their Daemonspawn allies, the Word Bearers could not hope to weather the coming storm of steel and fire that the Tigers brought, and so they fled. However, not satisfied with the rout of their foes, the Steel Tigers relentlessly hounded the Word Bearers as they turned tail and headed back towards the Maelstrom, the Tigers gnashing at their heels until the very border of the Warp Storms around the massive tear in Space-Time. It was a glorious moment for the fledgling Chapter, as they were hailed heroes by all.
However, their bloodlust and battle-rage had not gone unnoticed, and the Ordo Malleus and Ordo Hereticus began monitoring the Chapter for any signs of corruption, gravely irritating the higher echelons of the Chapter Command with their probings and constant evaluations of the Chapter's purity. So much so that the Steel Tigers began training an inordinate amount of Chaplains to look after the spiritual well-being of the Battle Brothers. To this day, the Steel Tigers Chapter contains more Chaplains than any other, in a similar manner to the Blood Ravens containing inordinate amounts of Librarians (although the Tigers' reasons are clearer).
Age of Apostasy
- "Those were dark times, when Vandire reigned free over the Imperium. Time has dulled my memory, but I will never forget the hell he visited upon the people he once swore to protect."
- —Venerable Dreadnought Nathaniel Hale
Cleansing Garridan V M38
- "We are the Space Marines, the wrath of the Emperor and the blade of His divine sword. The foe fights us with foul sorceries and lies given form. We will fight these foes with the fire in our hearts and the strength in our hands. We will fight them with good, honest steel and on our swords they will fall for the last time. Our sword arms will ache by sunset my brothers. It will rain blood tonight!"
- —Elias Stormhunter's final speech to his Brothers before the final battle with the Cult
Garridan V was the lynchpin world of the Garridan System. It was a large world, possessing roughly 2.5 times the Surface Area of Terra. A heavily industrialized world, though not on the scale of a Forge or Hive World, Garridan supplied the other worlds of tha Garridan System with, arms, munitions and vehicles for their PDFs, as well as less dangrous items, such as consumer electrical goods and ornaments. However, the Garridan System was dangerously close to the Eastern Fringes, and only the presence of the Ultramarines in neighbouring Systems and Sectors maintained the peace so far from Terra. However, while civil unrest was largely kept under control to prevent Astartes intervention, outside interference was not uncommon. And so it was in M38, when a cult began to fester in the very heart of the planetary capital. A Chaos Cult had taken root among the Merchant Cartels that controlled the planet in all but name.
When this cult was finally discovered by the Ordo Malleus, the Ultramarines were already hard-pressed with other matters, and the Steel Tigers, in relatively close proximity, struck like a hammer. The cult had dominated much of the higher levels of planetary government and trade, virtually strangling the entire Garridan System by raising taxes and prices of their goods, to deprive other worlds of Garridan's industrial might. This would have left the System dangerously weak in the face of any further assault, and the Chapter Master of the Steel Tigers at the time, Elias Stormhunter, decreed that it must be stopped. When the Steel Tigers landed, they began imposing Martial Law. While this would have been folly under normal circumstances, many citizens were more than happy to bow to the Space Marine's iron hand in the compounds than face the horrors lurking in the cities. It was obvious that some refugees would be infected mutant blood, and so stringent genetic compliance tests were carried out. Even the slightest deviancy would mean death behind the chainlink fences of the Steel Tigers compounds.
After it became obvious that much of the PDF had been twisted, Stormhunter elected to strike before the Chaos Cult could summon aid. With typical savagery, the Steel Tigers hurled themselves at the foe. However, unlike their more common enemies, these Chaos Cultists were utterly unafraid of the Space Marines, and the cultists fought back all the harder to prevent these "Sky Giants" from penetrating the Capital and slaying their daemonhost before it could fully manifest its true dameonic state. Inch by inch, step by step, the Tigers forced the Cultists back towards the capital, each inch becoming more and more hard-fought as ever greater numbers of Beasts of Slaanesh began to appear in Cult lines. These lightning-fast menaces took a greater toll each day on the Tigers than the entire enemy force had in the battles and skirmishes before entering city limits. And in dense urban terrain, the Chaos Spawn's ambush tactics wreacked terrible havoc on the Tigers. It is unknown how much greater the damage would have been had the Tigers not been bred for close quarters battles. Months after they began their campaign on the scarred world, the Tigers finally reached the center of the city, under which the Daemonhost leader itself lay.
Forming up in a square formation to prevent outflanking, the Steel Tigers forces in the city kept a close eye on the buildings. At a blood-curdling roar from below the streets, a skittering horde of Beasts and cultists charged into the square. Straight into the teeth of the Steel Tigers guns. Corpses piled over a dozen feet deep in places as the Space Marines exacted a brutal toll on the mindless daemonspawn slaves, and for almost twenty-four hours, the firing was sustained and not one enemy reached the Space Marines. But as was expected, the horde eventually engaged the Space Marined in melee combat. However, having learned from their experience that Beasts of Slaanesh relied on agility, rather than brute power, the Space Marines tightened ranks until there was barely room for each warrior to swing his blade without decapitating the man next to him. Chainswords roared and power swords glowed in a deadly haze as close combat weapons rose and fell in great, bloody arcs among the horde. Inevitably, some Space Marines were felled by the onrushing mob, but the battle was truly thrown into turmoil when the Daemonhost, now unbound, and it's chosen children erupted from below the street, in the middle of the square of Space Marines. Stormhunter himself left the front line of combat to deal with this new menace.
It was unknown what exactly transpired in the whirling melee, but at battle's end, Stormhunter was found standing on a mound formed from the bodies of the Daemonspawn's retinue, his power sword lodged in the beast's skull. When his Brother Space Marines approached the Chapter Master in triumph to congratulate him on defeating the beasts, it became clear that the venerable warrior was dead. Autopsy confirmed that he had bled to death from dozens of wounds, a number of which should have killed him. Word of the Black Rage began spreading, but the Chaplains put it down as foolish rumours. The accepted account is that Stormhunter performed an exemplary act of sacrifice, facing the beasts down to prevent his Brothers being caught between two forces and slaughtered. The sad truth is that the rumours of the Black Rage were well founded. Stormhunter was gripped by visions of Sanguinius' death and laid about himself like an enraged daemon, each blow sundering Chaos Spawn and rending them apart with the strength of a madman with his bare hands. To mention such things in the presence of a Steel Tiger, is however, the height of folly. Stormhunter's blade, helmet and shattered breastplate are now kept as Relics by the Chapter as an example of what a Space Marine can achieve through devotion to the Emperor and his Battle Brothers. The campaign was a success, and the Cult was broken by the Tiger's ruthless assault. With aid from the Ultramarines, the Tiger's fully cleared Garridan V from the Cult's taint.
The Scouring of Perseii IX, 115 M.41
- "The time for using the knife to remove this Green Cancer has long since past. Bring forth the cleansing flame. Unleash the wrath of the Space Marines"
- —Kain Trask before launching the assault on Perseii
Perseii IX was a verdant Agri World in the Perseii System in Segmentum Ultima. While the Steel Tigers were performing a tour of duty through the Ultima Segmentum, searching for potential bastion and recruitment worlds, they received a call for aid. The Perseii System had recently come under attack by Ork refugees of a recently defeated Waaaagh!, and Perseii IX had not responded to communications for almost a month now and the Steel Tigers were among the first to respond. What they found as they approached the striken world, they saw that it was surrounded by ramshackle Ork Kill Kroozas and Roks. The Tigers opened up their assault with long-range attacks on the Roks from Wrath of God, their Star Fortress and Fortress Monastery, accompanied by attacks from their Battle Barge's Dorsal Bombardment Cannons and Lance Batteries. Pillar of Wrath, the most powerful of the Battle Barges, having undergone engine, targetting system and Void Shield upgrades, truly excelled in the battle, shrugging off horrific punishment and laying waste to all in it's path.
As the orbital battle raged on, Wrath of God moved into low orbit and split it's efforts between bombarding Ork camps on the surface of Perseii IX and ravaging the orbiting Ork Fleet. The Strike Cruiser Terra's Blade was severely damaged at this point, when a damaged Kill Krooza attempted to ram it. Performing an expert about-face turn, Terra's Blade fired her frontal lance batteries at point-blank range, preventing a devastating ram, but damaging herself in the explosion. She disengaged under escort by several Gladius Class Frigates, and took no further part in the battle.
After this, enraged by this attack on his Brothers, Trask ordered a drop pod assault on the largest Ork camp on the planet. The Tigers went about this with typical savagery, dropping right into the heart of the enemy positions, setting up a perimeter with modular drop-fortifications, set up under a hail of fire as the Space Marines cordoned off a large section of the camp, which was several hectares in size. Trask, Drago and Steelhide dropped into battle shortly after fortifications were completed to finish plans for levelling the Ork camp. Strategy finished, the Tigers launched a characteristically devastating counter-attack. They burst a salient into the Ork Camp, and pushed ever-harder into the green tide, chainswords and bolters singing a battle march as they went. Trask himself rode at the head of this wave of bloodshed, mangled and dismembered bodies trailing in his wake.
At the height of the battle, Trask met the Ork leader, a Warboss known as Orkomungous da Third, in single combat. While the Ork outstrengthed Trask by a wide margin, the more agile Chapter Master easily evaded the Ork's clumsier attacks and landed a single killing blow, driving his Lightning Claws through the Ork's skull. As word of Orkomungous' death spread among the Orks, infighting and bickering characteristic of the Greenskins erupted as each Ork tried to prove they were best set to take the Warboss' place. With all sense of organization gone from the enemy, it was merely a matter of mopping up. Not two months later, the Steel Tigers were hailed as heroes for cleansing Perseii IX of the Green Scourge.
Second Tyranic War
- "Rain hell upon these wretched insects! They were defeated before and they will be defeated again! We will not go gently into that dark night!"
- —Kain Trask from the bridge of the Battle Barge, Pillar of Wrath
The Gene Seed of the Steel Tigers is one of their most interesting traits, showing no signs of corruption or deviation from the other sons of Sanguinius, despite a remarkable incidence of the Blood Angels' hereditary madness. This remarkable occurrence of psychosis has come under justified scrutiny from several Imperial organisations, but submitted gene seed samples have produced no leads on this problem. In addition to the bizarre frequency of the Red Thirst and Black Rage, the Steel Tigers' Death Company is known for suffering from remarkably intense episodes of the Black Rage when they suffer their visions.
During the early days of the Chapter's history, several Initiates were killed when their Biscopea's output was accidentally increased to the point where even slight muscle twitches tore the muscles free of the skeleton and the Space Marine's overpowered hearts pumped blood with such force that the Space Marines' blood vessels ruptured violently and uncontrollably, causing a slow, agonising death. For several centuries, this incident was researched as the Apothecarium took notice of the forces required for a Space Marine's body to suffer such drastic damage, and reasoned that this could be used to create stronger, tougher Space Marines. By late M.34, almost two millennia after the Chapter's founding and over a thousand years after the sad deaths of the Initiates, the procedure was brought as close to perfection as possible, creating a new breed of stronger Space Marines for fighting the foes of the Emperor. Since then, the Steel Tigers have been more than happy to hold their greater strength and durability over the heads of their fellow Space Marines, much like they do their inventive use of the poison generated by their Betchers Glands.
Mindset and Beliefs
While they have been known to be exceptionally short-tempered and crude, their broad tendency to suffer from bouts of psychosis instilled an impressive level of humility in the Tigers. They are among the quickest Chapters to respond to calls for aid, due to a misplaced urge to repent for what they see as mental weakness. They will also be among the most vocal of Space Marines about their duty to defend the people of the Imperium, and on several occassions, Steel Tigers have come to blows with Space Marines from other Chapters after incidences of abuse and overworking in refugee camps and Chapter Champion Stryker himself very nearly murdered an Angel Malevolent in a brawl after the Malevolent ordered the shelling of a sector of refugee camp on Tartarus V because there were rumours of Orks in the perimeter.
The Steel Tigers place an emphasis on Brotherhood even moreso than other Chapters, and even their parent Chapters. Among the honours the Chapter can bestow on others are the titles of "Brother in Arms" and "Brother in Blood". Among the many oaths Initiates and Neophytes swear is the Oath of Brotherhood, where each Space Marine swears to dedicate his life to the soldiers around him, to fight, kill and die for them. Each Steel Tiger knows he can rely on his Brothers to charge through fire for him, and each and every one knows that he would do the same for any of his Brothers. If a Steel Tiger ever doubts his devotion to his Brothers, he will immediately report to the Crusade Chaplain, or a similar figure of authority, such as a Veteran Sergeant or Captain. Due to their dedication to their Brothers, the Tigers have been known to turn a new offensive to reclaim the bodies and Gene Seed of their slain brethren, and will generally slaughter anything standing in their way. In fact, there have been at least four separate occassions where the Tigers have overcome defences which battered them back before while fighting to reclaim the bodies of their Brothers.
The Steel Tigers also bear a respect for pain that borders on the masochistic. Their physical drill training is much more intense and drill training periods generally last longer than in other Chapters. Many new recruits and Neophytes are committed to the Apothecarium due to dehydration and strain-related injuries, and several deaths have occured where the exhausted recruits' bodies reject their implants. The Tigers also make use of the Pain Glove. The Steel Tigers use it as a meditation aid, believing that if they can overcome the pain, they can overcome any adversity. Research has shown that Steel Tigers who made more frequent use of the Pain Glove were at significantly less risk of developing the Black Rage or Red Thirst.
Mutations and Genetic Flaws
The Steel Tiger's Biscopea and Ossomodula are forced to higher levels of activity, producing stronger, tougher and quicker Space Marines than those of other Chapters. The reasearch into this took several Millennia, but yielded favourable results in the end and were approved for the Tigers by Terra and the Mechanicum. Some Chapters view this mutation as an impurity, and derogatorily refer to it as the creation of barbarians. Few would be willing to say this to a Steel Tiger's face, prefering not to run the risk of being kicked around like a dog. Others view it as a further step forward, creating ever stronger warriors to fight in the Emperor's name. None doubt or deny it's usefulness in combat, and the Steel Tigers' strength at arms is respected by all.
As previously noted, the Steel Tigers suffer from a disproportionate occurrence of the Black Rage. While their Brother-Chapter, the Flesh Tearers, can lay claim to having the highest overall occurrence of the Rage, it is a rare Death Company Marine who can match a Steel Tiger's Black Rage in terms of sheer intensity. Even Chapter officers struggle to curtail their violent urges and communicate orders to the lost warriors, who rarely stick to any plan more complex than "destroy". The intensity of their fury lends the Death Company brothers legendary strength, at the cost of destroying their tactical effectiveness: a Steel Tigers Death Company squadron is more likely to destroy an objective or hare off in search of violence than it is to hold down said objective until friendly forces can arrive.
Unlike the Black Rage, the Red Thirst has a remarkably low presence among the Tigers. The reasons for this are unknown, but theories range from "balancing the curse" to the measured, methodical, logical tactics used by the Steel Tigers (as opposed to the savage excess employed by the Flesh Tearers). While this makes it more difficult for the Steel Tigers to harness their visions of death and put them to use, it decrease their chances of succumbing to the Thirst outright and making foolhardy decisions driven by bloodlust.
As their original purpose, the Steel Tigers prefer close action. That is not to say they are not capable of long-range destruction. They are trained in all aspects of warfare, as are most Space Marines, but to fight at long range would be to waste their incredible genetic legacy of close-quarters bloodshed. Unlike many Space Marines, who rarely use the corrosive poison of their Betcher's Gland, Steel Tigers consider it a useful ability to effectively use the poison offensively. In fact, many of them are proud to be highly skilled spitters, and will gladly display their ability to any who would ridicule it. Many a would-be funnyman has suffered horrific burns at the hands of an irritated Steel Tiger.
A detailed fireplan is always prepared, using the battlefield as markers, rather than intended or assumed troop positions, as it is a far more reliable method. The command structure is extremely flexible, and all members, of any rank, are expected to be able to take command of a situation should the need arise. Independence is a valued trait in battle, but fire support is usually centralized, so that any given infantry or armour formation could call in exactly the right kind of artillery support. Armour plays a large, but not central role in the battle plan, often spearheading assaults while accompannied by devastating infantry support. The true workhorse of this assault Chapter is the infantry soldier. Be it a Tactical Marine or a Devastator, they will be mobile, either on their feet or in a Rhino or Razorback Transport. Assaults will be staggered, with the time interval between each attack shorter than the last, while heavy support moves up to support the next infantry thrust. While heavier units are moving up, Chapter armour and Devastators will typically maintain heavy fire to maintain pressure on enemy positions. At the end of battle, there will be a final, devastating assault, often involving Drop Pod Assaults and teleporting Terminators.
Infantry is expected to be able to overcome any given opposition. As such, many Devastators carry knives or shortswords of some description and Devastator Veteran Sergeants will almost invariably be heavily armed for close combat to defend their less melee-oriented Battle Brothers. The Chainsword and Bolt Pistol are as common an armament as the Bolter alone, given the close combat-oriented nature of the Chapter. All Tactical Marines are taught to use the pistol grip of their Bolter, firing them one-handed Some still prefer to use a pistol, as a Bolter is often too unwieldy to use while hurling themselves at the enemy in shock assaults.
All Tactical Marines are trained in armed and unarmed combat, as with all chapters. Unlike other Chapters, the Steel Tigers are taught to fight dirty. They are proud to put the acidic toxin generated in their Betcher's Glands to frequent use, to the disgust of older Chapters. While they admit their headbutting, biting, and gouging fighting style is "uncivilized", but are proud to state it is brutally effective, and unpredictable to the point of being able to catch other Space Marines off-guard. As such, they earned a name for themselves in the Badab Uprisings, able to subdue their fallen Brother Space Marines without use of lethal force (however, when called upon to slay their erstwhile Brothers, they were more than willing to beat them to death if no other way to kill them was available).
Battle Cry and its Significance
Before a battle, or a significant event in a battle, a ranking Chapter Member, such as a Chaplain or Captain or even a Sergeant or Veteran Sergeant will call to the Space Marines under his command: "Our wounds will heal, our scars will fade.". The Space Marines under his command will respond with: "Our glory, and the glory of the Imperium is eternal!" This is a defiant statement of Imperial might, stating that no matter what damage it suffers, the Imperium of Man will endure in all its glory. The bellow of a single voice, followed swiftly by a rousing Imperial cheer, amplified by the Space Marines' vox-caster units, is often enough to shake the morale and resolve of a foe by itself. It also gives the misguiding impression that the Space Marines are willing and totally unafraid to die, as long as the foe is defeated. To reassure himself in times of hardship, a Space Marine of the Steel Tigers will often recite a condensed version of that mantra, "Wounds heal, scars fade, glory is forever".
It is also used as a Friend or Foe identification system. When confronted by another who they cannot identify, a Steel Tiger will usually state "Wounds heal". A friend will respond with "Scars fade". Many foes have tried to catch the Space Marines of the Steel Tigers by giving a wrong response along the lines of "Glory is eternal" or "Our glory is eternal". Such foes swiftly find their dishonesty earns themselves nothing but a short stint on the business end of a Chainsword.
Preferred Battle Gear
Steel Tigers are a close action oriented Chapter, as said above, and so prefer weapons that offer massive stopping power at close range. As a means to this end, their Scouts typically bear Shotguns or Bolters when not carrying pistols and close combat weapons such as Chainswords and machetes. Initiates typically bear Bolters and shortswords. This is to give them a greater chance to keep the foe at a safe range until they have sufficient experience to truly excel in bloody melee, while not leaving them with nothing but a knife with which to defend themselves if the foe closes on them. Full Brethren often bear some form of sword, be it a Chainsword or a more mundane blade, as well as a Bolt Pistol. Special Weapons operatives will usually be armed with Plasma Guns or Meltaguns to provide supporting fire against hard targets such as heavy infantry, large Tyranids or vehicles. Common Heavy Weapons include the Plasma Cannon, Multi-Melta and Lascannon, for the same reasons. Another favoured heavy weapon is the Heavy Bolter, to provide suppressive fire or to defend from mass enemy infantry like Orks or Tyranids, while being more than capable of devastating lightly-armoured enemies such as the Eldar as well. They are also one of the rare few Chapters who still use the Autocannon as a heavy weapon.
Veterans typically bear a similar line of gear, although it is typically more dangerous. Commonly, a Veteran will carry a Power Weapon of some kind, usually a sword but occassionally an axe or maul. There is at least one record of Power Glaives being used in combat, but these are few and far between. For ranged combat, a Veteran will almost invariably weild a Plasma Pistol or an Inferno Pistol. Not only do these weapons pack unparallelled power for pistols, but they also bear the symbolism of the Emperor's Scourging Flame. Other common pistols are Hand Flamers and the ever-popular Bolt Pistol. A Veteran's Bolt Pistol however, will typically be loaded with specialized ammunition such as Kraken Penetrator Rounds, Stalker Silenced Ammunition, Hellfire Rounds or Inferno Rounds. In spite of the greivious harm they can inflict on poorly armoured targets, Metal Storm Ammunition is rarely used due to its inability to penetrate heavy armour effectively. Given the Chapter's frequent visits to Forge Worlds, most of it's members now wear Mk VIII Errant Armour.
While Techmarines still perform any major repairs and perform sheduled inspections on wargear, every Steel Tiger is expected to maintain his weapons and armour, and repair them effectively if isolated in the field. Veterans often repair their own gear regardless of the damage suffered, only handing them over to Techmarines to perform an inspection for the sake of a proper paper trail for the Administratum. Most veterans carry power swords they forged themselves under the watchful eye of the Techmarines, and many who use power fists forged the housing to their own designs, decorative or otherwise.
Organisation and Structure
While most Blood Angels successors follow their parent Chapter's structure, the Steel Tigers follow a looser crusade structure. This is due to necessity, rather than conscious choice, as early in their history the Chapter was found its Companies isolated from each other for extended periods, affecting the combat effectiveness of the Veteran and Reserve Companies in particular. After several failed workarounds, the Chapter reconvened at their Fortress Monastery and began the painful process of reorganising the Companies into several "Battle Companies", each one capable of functioning independently for extended periods.
These Characters may get their own pages if I get a mass rush of inspiration at some point.
Chapter Master Kain Trask
- "Camouflage be damned! We are Space Marines! Let the foe see us and despair in their coming doom!"
- —Kain Trask
Kain Trask is an old Space Marine, one of a long line of Chapter Masters, and a Veteran of countless combat engagements. A skilled and experienced warrior, he embodies everything the Steel Tigers hold dear to themselves. Strong, even for a Space Marine, and quick with a blade or a shot, he has never declared war in his entire carreer, striking savagely and without warning, leaving nothing but ruins and mass graves in his wake. While this ruthlessness has been criticized by other Imperial organisations, and even other Chapters, the element of surprise is highly valuable, and several rebellious planets have been pulled violently back in line by a Steel Tiger Battle Barge dropping from the Warp in low orbit and launching Drop Pods and Thunderhawks at the very heart of their organisation.
Trask is known for weilding a pair of Lightning Claws in battle, a weapon combination almost unknown among Chapter Masters. With his chosen weapons, he becomes a whirlwind of destruction among the enemy, and this wild fighting style has been the end of many foes in Trask's long carreer. His front-line fighting style and shock assault tactics have won enough battles for Trask to have earned an Iron Halo, among other honours, including an Order of Guilliman. Given the animosity between the Ultramarines and the Steel Tigers over divergence from the Codex Astartes and surprise assaults, the Order of Guilliman is among Trask's most amazing honours.
- "A soul is like a parachute. Just because you gave yours away does not mean you can have mine."
- —Kain Trask to a Word Bearer Dark Apostle
Master of Sanctity Jeremiah Steelhide
- "Pity is the sign of a weak man. Pity will stay thy hand from slaying the foe, and the foe shall strike thee down whence thy back is turned to them."
- —Jeremiah Steelhide
Jeremiah decided to forsake his own surname, Ulgore, in favour of a title, as a show of devotion to the Emperor. Hailed as the Chapter's wisest Master of Sanctity, he is several centuries old, and wise beyond even that. He is among Trask's most valued advisors, and a strong arm in combat. A pillar of the Chapter, Jeremiah observes every Chaplain to ensure they are taking good care of their charges in their assigned Battle Company. A firm detractor of the Inquisition's pryings, it was on Jeremiah's suggestions that Chaplains be trained as a sign of the Steel Tigers' faith in the God Emperor.
Jeremiah wields a large Crozius Arcanum in battle, like a large axe. This is complemented by an ancient Plasma Pistol. Jeremiah was well known for holding the line single-handedly during a Word Bearer assault while the Tigers were touring the Ultima Segmentum, searching for new vassal worlds and recruits. Holding the breach single-handedly against the Chaos Marines, Jeremiah held out for 48 hours alone, heaping the carcasses of the Traitors dozens deep around him in the ruins of a battered Imperial Cathedral. He oversees the training of all Chaplains and tends to the Companies himself on their mobile Fortress Monastery.
Chief Librarian Ferrus Drago
- "I live every day on a knife's edge, ever circled by Daemons who would use me as a vessel. And you would presume to think you know the horror of Chaos. You know nothing. Go play with your guns and blades. I am busy fighting the true foe."
- —Ferrus Drago to a Draverean Commissar
Drago is an enigma, even to his fellow Steel Tigers. A made-in-the-mould killer, Drago is considered a loose cannon by many Librarians from other Chapters, but his power is undeniable. Not as old as either Steelhide or Trask, Drago is nonetheless old by Chapter standards and wise beyond his years. He was found by the Librarium while he fled from Inquisitors of the Ordo Hereticus, and was taken in. It was later discovered that he was a powerful Gamma-Level psyker, bordering on Beta-Level. That meant he was even more powerful than the Steel Tiger's Chief Librarian at the time. During his training, he ascended through the Librarium quicker than any Neophyte to come before him or ever since him. When Drago's master, the Chief Librarian, was killed fighting the Green Menace in the Armageddon System, Drago was an obvious successor, in spite of the seniority of many other Librarians.
Drago weilds a Force Sword in battle, a finely-balanced longsword variant, and in his skilled hands, it is more than capable of splitting a man head to groin in one swipe. Rather than weilding a pistol or bolter, he uses his immense psychic power in battle. He also performs examinations on recruits to test for Psychic Potential or any corruption they may suffer from.
Chapter Champion Jacob Stryker
- "Your false god calls for blood. He will not be left wanting. But the blood will not be mine, Traitor. Take a close look at my face, for it will be the last thing you see before you taste my blade."
- —Jacob Stryker challenges a World Eater warlord during the 13th Black Crusade
The infamous Captain of the Steel Tigers Second Battle Company, and Chapter Champion, Stryker's reputation always precedes him. A decorated Blademaster, his skill with a sword surpasses even Trask's (though they are on an even footing when using their favoured weapons), and he has been known to strike down multiple foes surrounding him before they could even half-draw their weapons. He is a valued advisor, and one of the Chapter's oldest living soldiers. His centuries of experience is ever-valued and Trask is rarely seen without Stryker's imposing form somewhere nearby. He forms part of the Chapter's Honour Guard, personally challenging any dangerous enemies when the Chapter Master and his Honour Guard enter the whirling melee that inevitably forms at the climax of battles involving the Steel Tigers.
An uncompromisingly savage fighter, Stryker has been known to remove his helmet and tear at a foe with his teeth while he pulls his sword from another, while bludgeoning a third with his helmet (and has torn out the throat of at least one Chaos Lord while devastating his bodyguards). While in any other warrior, this would seem like the onset of the Black Rage, in Stryker it is simply a matter of course in any given battle. His cold, calm demeanour flies in the face of behaviour while under the influence of any of those conditions, putting speculation of the Black Rage down irrefutably. He is one of the most decorated Space Marines in the history of the Chapter, and possibly one of the most decorated Space Marines on traceable records. He has also accomplished many feats of astonishing courage and physical prowess. The most note-worthy are his single-handed slaying of a Genestealer Broodlord and the defeat in combat and subsequent banishment of the Greater Daemon Jael' Korath (he slew the host before manifestation and held out just long enough for the monstrosity to destabilize). For the latter deed, he earned the honour of the Ordo Malleus and a mighty Daemon Hammer. He has also earned an Iron Halo, and ressurected dozens of fighting styles long thought lost to the sands of time and ignorance.
In battle, he wears a suit of ancient Artificer Armour, retrofitted with the protective collar and power cable protection of Mk 8 Errant Armour and inscribed with Hexagrammic and Pentagrammic Wards. He weilds a matched set of Master-Crafted Power Sword and Storm Shield in close assault, and a Master-Crafted Plasma Pistol for ranged combat. When combat with Chaos Forces is inevitable, he weilds his Daemon Hammer with crushing force, hurling broken bodies away as he wades into close combat.
- Ramilies Class Star Fortress - Wrath of God also the Chapter's Fortress Monastery
- Battle Barge - Pillar of Wrath - underwent experimental Engine, Lance Battery and Void Shield upgrades at Forge World Tarsis Omega in M41, designed to address the threat of Tyranid Fleets and the difficulty Battle Barges have with engaging precision targets from orbit.
- Battle Barge - Dream Breaker
- Battle Barge - Emperor's Scourge
- Strike Cruiser - Terra's Blade
- Strike Cruiser - Traitor's Bane
- Strike Cruiser - Traitor's End
- Strike Cruiser - Fist of Vengeance
- Strike Cruiser - Vindicator
- Strike Cruiser - Roar of Thunder
- Strike Cruiser - Broken Sword
- Strike Cruiser - Screaming Cage
- Strike Cruiser - Shattered Earth
- Strike Cruiser - Emperor's Lance
- Strike Cruiser - Terra's Retribution
- Strike Cruiser - Burning Sky
- Various Frigates and Support Ships
Tempest of Rage
The Tempest of Rage was a monstrous Star Fortress discovered by the Steel Tigers in M38 at Lagrangian Point 1 of the Gas Giant Persephon 3 and it's System Star, Persephone. Initial observers they alerted were amazed that the massive station had not been discovered earlier, given it's truly awe-inspiring size. Larger than the legendary Furious Abyss, it was a legacy, a throwback to the Dark Age of Technology, the height of Mankind's power. The monstrous relic was clearly of human origin, but almost all the technology used in it was lost to time and ignorance. The Steel Tigers Techmarines managed to activate several systems after spending two weeks on-board. The main guns were made operational and Life Support was reactivated. After a third week of what largely amounted to hitting things with blunt objects and hoping for the best, propulsion was back online.
The Tempest was truly a monstrous machine, easily one of the largest Star Fortresses known to the Imperium. When the Tigers finally got it moving, they intended to bring it to battle, setting it in orbit around the planet Taranga. The Tempest's immense size altered the dwarf planet's tidal cycle and flooded much of it's land mass.
Due to the Mechanicum's interest in the Tempest, the Steel Tigers have had to put up with a large staff of Magos' and Tech Priests on-board and investigating everything. This can get particularly irritating during battle when the Mechanicus Adepts make records and take observations as the weapons fire and as the shields take hits. The Tigers must also stop off at any Forge Worlds they pass close to, slowing their Crusade by weeks with detours and Mechanicum investigations. It is unknown exactly how the Steel Tigers and the Mechanicum came to this agreement, but it seems to satisfy both parties.
- "When I cannot run, I walk.
When I cannot walk, I crawl.
When I cannot crawl, my Brothers will carry me.
We will stand together, we will fall together.
Brothers in arms, Brothers in blood.
To strike me is to invite my retribution upon you.
To strike my Brothers is to invite my retribution upon your own brothers.
To strike my Brothers is to strike me.
To strike my Brothers is to destroy yourself and all you hold dear.
We stand side by side, shoulder to shoulder, if one rolls over, we all roll over."
- —Steel Tiger's Oath of Brotherhood
- "Though the path is long and winding, paved with broken glass and crossing rivers of fire, we walk it barefoot and walk it gladly, for we are the Space Marines. No foe is beyond our reach. No foe is above our wrath. To die in battle is never to die in vain, for we are the Space Marines, the Emperor's Divine Blade. For each of our Brothers who fall in battle, a thousand foes will die."
- —Antaeus Museveni, First Chapter Master of the Steel Tigers
- "We walk through the fire, guided by the smoke. Blades will not bar our way, walls will not stop us. By fighting, you only prolong your inevitable death. Best to face us head to head than be cornered like rats."
- —A commonly used warning to enemy forces put under siege by the Steel Tigers
- "We hunt, we kill. We hold the line. We fight, we destroy, we hold the line. Before the Tyranids came the Orks, and we held the line. Before Abaddon came Horus, and we held the line. We burned and slaughtered our Fallen Brothers, and we held the line. On this scorched ground, on this world, here, on Cadia, once again, WE WILL HOLD THE LINE! One more day, one more night. One more day for the Glory. One more day for honour. One more day to spit in the face of the Dark Gods! One more day to go kicking and screaming with teeth gnashing and blades singing into that dark night. One more day for Terra and for the Emperor. One more day for the Imperium. One more day for humanity. We will fight and we will die. But we will hold the line because it is the last line to be held. WE WILL HOLD THIS LINE, BECAUSE IF WE DO NOT, NO ONE WILL!"
- —Chapter Champion Jacob Stryker addressing the Steel Tigers Second Company, and several Imperial Guard Companies on Cadia
- "Some Traitors are afraid to kill themselves. They need not worry. We'll find them eventually."
- —Kain Trask
- "Steel Tigers never surrender. We win or we die."
- —Common Steel Tiger saying
- "Emperor on Terra! We're saved!"
- —Anonymous Imperial Guardsman upon seeing the Steel Tigers land on Staaken III
- "Strong of body but weak of mind. Their lack of resolve and ability to control their own wills I have no doubt will lead to their destruction."
- —Leadros Kerventes, Chief Librarian of the Wings of Salvaxes
- "He stood over me for an hour and a half, just swinging that sword. Those bugs piled dozens deep around him because he wouldn't let those monsters get at me or my father. When I grow up, I want to be a Steel Tiger."
- —Anonymous Imperial refugee child on Staaken III
- "Don't mention leaving people behind to them."
- —Commissar Kahn, Armageddon Steel Legion
- "I heard they're of Blood Angel stock, but after seeing their close bonds of brotherhood, I'm thinking that's just another one of those transcription errors the Imperium is known to produce. I'm definitely getting a ping on my Dark Angel-dar."
- "Such close and loyal sons of the winged one you are. So good and true you appear to be, little kittens. But I know the truth..I know your secret. The Warp hides nothing from those with but the will to see it."