A Tempest Blade is a specialist Veteran role unique to the Storm Wardens Space Marine Chapter. These lauded individuals have attained much acclaim within their Chapter and are grouped together into special Veteran squads within the Chapter's 1st Company also known as Tempest Blades. In battle, it is the Tempest Blades that seek out the most powerful of foes, for they embody the honour-driven character and aspirations of their Chapter.
A tradition has grown up within the Storm Wardens based around the notion of the pursuit of the last duel. Warriors who have attained the acclaim of their entire Chapter are hailed as so-called Tempest Blades, and grouped together into special Veteran squads within the elite 1st Company. On the field of battle, Tempest Blade squads seek out the most powerful enemies and engage them in close combat, no matter the odds. Sometimes the enemy is a band of champions, in which case the Tempest Blades disperse to fight each foe individually, while at other times the enemy is so large and powerful that they must pool their power, though no others outside of the squad are allowed to intervene. Occasionally, the most senior Tempest Blade declares that he and he alone may engage the foe, his Battle-Brothers forming a perimeter around the fight so that none may interfere or influence the result.
But Tempest Blades are far more than Veteran Squads, for they embody much of the character and aspirations of the Chapter. Each Tempest Blade is the inheritor of the teachings, honour, and often the wargear, of a named predecessor, following his example and passing it on by his own deeds. Thus, each Tempest Blade is said to be continuing the deeds of a particular ancestor, and none can be declared a member of this inner order of the Chapter unless they have proven themselves worthy of replacing the ancestor whose deeds they intend to emulate. Tempest Blades are masters of close combat and carry to battle the most sacred of relic weapons and Artificer Armour available to the Chapter. Many carry the huge Sacris Claymore symbolic of the warrior clans of Sacris. Every Storm Warden is skilled with the great claymores of Sacris from their time as tribesmen, and many strive to master the subtleties of wielding so large and deadly a weapon. Tempest Blades have perfected the use of such weapons, wielding large, heavy implements of destruction deftly and gracefully. Others bear Thunder Hammers, Power Axes, Power Glaives, or Power Halberds, all distinctly two-handed Power Weapons. Because they bear such oversized weapons, Tempest Blades must rely on their own skill at parrying or avoiding enemy attacks, and some become adept at utilising the hafts of certain weapons to turn an enemy’s blow.
It is the aspiration and most cherished dream of every Tempest Blade to earn a place in the Lexicon Heroica, a great tome maintained by the Librarians of the Storm Wardens Chapter. In the pages of this multi-volume archive, the deeds and the manner of the death of the greatest of heroes are written, and it is through the chapters and verses written therein that the Tempest Blades follow and continue the traditions of their ancestors. Each studies the deeds of a particular figure of legend and seeks above all else to live up to the example set by his predecessor. Thus, a continuous lineage is established, examples from thousands of standard years ago driving the Chapter forward. Of course, the earliest volumes of the Lexicon Heroica are missing, sealed away beneath the Chapter’s fortress-monastery of Highcastle in the wake of the Nemesis Incident.
It has been observed by some outsiders that there is something tragic, almost fatalistic, in the traditions of the Tempest Blades. Each is engaged upon a quest that can only end in his own death. The Tempest Blades themselves might counter that it is the manner of a warrior’s death that defines him. They hold the belief that only at the moment of death does a warrior gain true insight, learning the limits of his own ability and in so doing knowing himself as no other warrior can. For this reason, the Tempest Blades hold those interred within the sarcophagus of a Dreadnought as especially holy, for these Astartes have experienced the point of death, gained the ultimate insight, and returned to fight on. For many Tempest Blades, such a fate is the ultimate revelation, and one they yearn to attain as the culmination of their own service.
It is not unusual for Tempest Blades to swear the Apocryphon Oath and take up the Long Watch of the Deathwatch, for in so doing they might reasonably expect to encounter foes no warrior has previously faced and test themselves against truly unique challenges. In the service of the Deathwatch, a Tempest Blade carves his own legend, transcending the traditions of his forebears so that one day, his own deeds will be studied by future generations and his name recorded in the hallowed pages of the Lexicon Heroica.
- Artificer Power Armour - Painstakingly cared for and customised for each esteemed bearer, Artificer Armour is the rarest form of Power Armour. The technology and superdense materials used to construct these suits is unparalleled inside the Imperium. Each one is a masterwork of Artificer ingenuity and (outside of Techmarines labouring towards creating their own) is awarded only to true Chapter heroes such as the Tempest Blades.
- Sacris Claymore - This is a large version of the traditional weapon favoured by the feral barbarian clans of the world of Sacris in the Calixis Sector. The feral clansmen of Sacris are raised with giant claymores in their hands. After a warrior’s transfiguration into a Space Marine is complete, the sword of his youth is a light and simple thing, but the Storm Wardens have made a habit of forging improved versions of these primitive weapons of size and materials befitting a member of the Adeptus Astartes. It is far from unheard of for an enraged Storm Warden to favour his simple claymore over a Power Sword, particularly when matters of honour are at stake. A Sacris Claymore replaces the Astartes Combat Knife, requiring two hands to wield.
- Storm Shield - A Storm Shield is a Power Shield that is used by the Tempest Blades to provide an extreme form of protection from ranged weapons fire and potent melee strikes. The Storm Shield is a much larger and more rare version of the Combat Shield.
- Tempest Amulet - The native traditions of Sacris place a strong emphasis on the ability of an individual to affect change in the world through strength of arm and force of will. Tempest Amulets are rooted in the mysticism of the tribes of Sacris, but also serve as a focus for the Storm Warden’s stubborn will. These small leather pouches contain “tempest stones,” rocks fused into glass by the fierce lightning storms of Sacris and wrapped in prayer scripts written by the owner.
- Deathwatch: Core Rulebook (RPG), pp. 163, 170
- Deathwatch: Honour The Chapter (RPG), pp. 23-25