"Death is not failure, for even death can bring glory. Fear is not failure, for fear can be conquered. The only known failure is to ignore orders, for even a slight hesitation in following them brings an ignoble end."
- — Liber Progenium, Volume I
The Militarum Tempestus, also known as the Ordo Tempestus, is amongst the most rigidly codified of all Imperial organisations, for its men form the elite backbone of the Astra Militarum, serving as its special operations units. Though the Ordo is technically a sub-faction governed by the Adeptus Administratum, it enjoys a far greater amount of autonomy than the Imperial Guard regiments that often fight alongside it. The Ordo's ranks are primarily comprised of Commissars and the special forces troops known as Tempestus Scions or "Storm Troopers" in Low Gothic, though they have often included specialist factions mysteriously absent from Imperial records. In every theatre of war across the galaxy, the Ordo's men work alongside the incalculable might of the Astra Militarum, their elite training complementing the sheer manpower of the Imperial Guard.
If the Ordo provides the rigid skeleton of discipline that holds the Astra Militarum together, it is the Commissars who are the minds of the operation. The Officio Prefectus governs and controls the regiments of Tempestus Scions and Imperial Guardsmen alike, ensuring that their military force is put to the right use in the Emperor's name. All Commissars are trusted to improvise new orders on the battlefield, a rare privilege in the rigidly-controlled structure of the Imperial war machine. But it is only the most senior of their number, known as Lord Commissars, who are truly independent. They are warriors of great personal charisma, and they will often inspire the men by leading from the front rather than from behind the barrel of a Bolt Pistol.
The regiments of the Tempestus Scions, no matter how skilled, do not form the main body of the Astra Militarum, for that duty falls to the regular Imperial Guardsmen. Instead they can be likened to a knife, a thrusting point of lethal force that is applied with shocking speed into the foe's weakest point. Many a grinding war of attrition or extended campaign has been brought to a dramatic close by a strike force of Tempestus Scions. More often than not, their insertion, mission completion and extraction parameters are all accomplished on the same day.
Exceptionally skilled warriors descended from the very finest of the Imperium's noble bloodlines, both Tempestus Scions and Commissars obey and enforce the will of their superiors with merciless efficiency. The Imperium of Man holds a million worlds and takes its tithe of military personnel from every single culture within its bounds. Despite this nearly inconceivable scale, the commands issued by the many Imperial authorities must be followed unflinchingly in order for the Imperium to endure; hesitation would result in the swift collapse of the Emperor's realm. Tempestus Scions and Commissars are indoctrinated in the Imperial Creed from youth, serving no culture but that of loyalty and the swift execution of their duties. It is they who possess the tenacity and resolve to undertake the toughest missions. It is they who get the job done.
Tempestus Scions are disciplined, elite special operations soldiers who fight without question or hesitation until their orders are fulfilled. Commissars are harsh yet inspiring leaders who ensure that every military objective is achieved -- no matter the cost. Without the iron-willed resolution of both, the Imperium would be severely weakened in its darkest hour.
Heroes and Legends
As well as being the elite wing of the Astra Militarum, the Ordo Tempestus is the training ground for the Imperium's finest martial operatives outside of the legendary Adeptus Astartes. It works alongside the Schola Progenium, whose facilities are governed by the Ecclesiarchy, to provide key Imperial institutions with the best recruits the galaxy can provide. The Schola Progenium takes a constant influx of war orphans from the embattled worlds of the Imperium of Man. These young individuals are officially known as Progena Novum. Mindscaped, schooled and trained to an almost inhuman degree, those who pass their Trials of Compliance and make it past Selection Day are then split off to serve in the different organs of the Imperial hierarchy.
The majority of these cadets are assigned to the Schola Tempestus, where they complete the gruelling training necessary to become Tempestus Scions. The death rate amongst each year group of recruits is high, for the Schola Tempestus is as merciless as it is efficient. After three standard years of intense physical and mental conditioning, those who survive their training are assigned to a Scions regiment and join the Militarum Tempestus in earnest. From that point on they are issued with the very best of equipment and resources the arsenals of the Ordo Tempestus can provide. In return they are expected to give their lives in the service of the Imperium and to obey the orders of their superiors without question, no matter the horrors that confront them.
Only those Progena with the strongest minds and most unshakeable resolve are given the chance to join the Officio Prefectus. Assuming they can prove themselves able to put aside such ephemeral concerns as humanity and compassion, come Selection Day these prospective Commissars are assigned to the Schola Prefectus. There they spend several standard years learning the finer points of the Imperial Creed, the Tactica Imperium, and even sections of the Codex Astartes. Once each of their spheres of knowledge is complete, they will be given the uniform and authority of a full member of the Officio Prefectus. Entrusted with a Bolt Pistol, the holy instrument of authority and vengeance presented to all of their brethren, and frequently given a Power Sword for close-quarters fighting, the Commissar is ready to instill discipline and strike the fear of the Emperor into all those within the Ordo Tempestus and without. Female Progena cadets who show both physical aptitude and a burning faith in the Emperor will be sent to the Adepta Sororitas via one of the bodies that govern their ancient orders -- the Convent Sanctorum or the Convent Prioris. It is there that the Sisters-in-training learn the secrets of the mechanical wonder that is Power Armour and how to wield the holy trinity of Bolter, Flamer and Melta.
Males who take the creed of the Emperor into their heart and evince an almost supernatural degree of faith will instead be requisitioned by the Adeptus Ministorum. Some of these find themselves seconded to Astra Militarum regiments, much like their Commissar contemporaries, whilst others bolster the Adepta Sororitas, go back into the Schola Progenium as Drill Abbots, or even lead armies of the faithful in their own right.
To join the Adeptus Ministorum is an honour beyond measure; from amongst their ranks, the most devout leaders of the Imperium are born. Individuals of a more scholarly bent, as well as those whose minds are suited for the grinding tedium of clerical and logistical roles, will instead spend the rest of their lives in the Adeptus Terra. Each trained Adept has not only an exceptional mind, but also a solid grasp of the military arts due to his time in the Schola Progenium. On those rare occasions that insurrection breaks out in a dataslave compound or pedanticum complex, the prospective troublemakers may find themselves choking on their own heretical pamphlets or with their brains dashed out by the bookish but unexpectedly violent overseer they had previously thought of as easy prey.
The most secretive of all the organisations that recruit their agents from the Schola Progenium is the Emperor's Holy Inquisition. Powerful beyond measure, the Inquisition takes only those who excel physically, mentally and spiritually. Though these prodigies join the ranks as Acolytes under the province of a more senior Inquisitor, the canniest and most capable of their number will become Inquisitors in their own right. Theirs is the right to change the course of history, to send entire battlegroups of the Astra Militarum and Chapters of the Adeptus Astartes into the fires of war, and even to consign fully populated planets to oblivion should they deem it necessary.
All who graduate from the Schola Progenium join a group of exceptional individuals who impose the Imperium's will on a hostile and uncaring galaxy. Their influence is spread across the stars, guiding the lesser orders of Mankind by the will of the High Lords of Terra themselves. By the skills and disciplines of those taken from their families and reforged in the fires of adversity, the realm of Mankind will stand or fall.
Forging a Killer
Tempestus Scions and Commissars are remorseless and efficient killers, but these warriors are not born that way. They are forged within the Schola Progeniums -- harsh training camps based on long-established Imperial worlds. It is these ancient facilities that are responsible for taking the orphaned offspring of the best the Imperium has to offer and transforming them into ruthless soldiers.
The Schola Progenium is designed to homogenise, break and rebuild the orphaned sons and daughters of the Imperial elite. It transforms them from frightened children into loyal warriors ready to fight and die in the name of the Emperor, or into fearsome, iron-fisted authoritarians who keep the wheels of the Adeptus Terra in motion.
In the aftermaths of the many atrocities so common in the 41st Millennium, any newly created orphans who are of aristocratic blood are brought to the attention of the nearest Officio Prefectus officials, who are tasked with dealing with the aftershocks of a battle and salvaging anything still useful to the Imperium. Many a Commissar has marched through the corpse-strewn walkways of a Planetary Governor's palace to discover a forlorn son or daughter who has been hiding -- safe, but alone -- in some underground bunker. The Commissar, having come from a similar background, will ensure that such a child does not go to waste. Quickly and efficiently, he assigns the new-made orphan to a starship bound for the nearest Schola Progenium.
It is even whispered that, when it is in the Imperium's best interests, the Officio Prefectus may "steal" a prospective new recruit. Sometimes a child -- whose parents are still alive -- may be judged to have shown remarkable qualities, and their presence on a backwater world may be considered an inefficient use of those skills when they could be put to better effect in an Imperial facility. The rumour has it that a Commissar will ensure that such resources are allocated more efficiently, even if the protesting parents have to be removed from the equation in order to do so.
Children arrive at the vast Schola Progeniums at a range of ages. Some come when they are as young as six Terran years, while others are as old as twelve. Most inductees are orphaned in large groups following a single planetary disaster, though occasionally individuals are thrown into larger groups if it is convenient. New recruits undergo a series of mental and physical examinations, but this is solely for the benefit of the facility. Should the cadet have been gleaned from a planet on the wrong end of a plague or spiritual rebellion, then the last thing the Drill Abbots would want is for that same corruption to break out within a confined, isolated complex and savage its young inmates.
Cadets are divided by age to form training groups that will ultimately -- in the case of the Militarum Tempestus -- form the basis of their full battle regiments, to maintain a sense of brotherhood. Group sizes can start off as large as several hundred at any one time, though those who would not make worthy servants of the Imperium are quickly weeded out, and are not seen again by their classmates.
Whereas the Astra Militarum is made up of soldiers from a huge number of different cultures, the Progena of the Schola Progenium are not permitted cultural variety. Though they may arrive there from different worlds, they are quickly recast in the same Imperial mould. As a result of this, they can be relied upon to put the orders of their superiors first and foremost before any local loyalties.
So that the Schola Progenium becomes their sole reality, cadets are taught to forget their old existence. They are stripped of their former clothing and of any belongings they may have brought with them. They are issued only with simple black uniforms and standardised equipment and training gear, which they are expected to wear and use throughout their training. Recruits are forced to abandon their birth names, and are instead provided with a new one chosen from a long list of legendary heroes of the Imperium. This is as much to remind them of the excellence to which they must aspire, as it is to remove their identity. One exception to these traditional processes is when siblings arrive -- they are not deprived of their familial connections, as these have been found to encourage greater competition as well as fostering stronger internal ties in the long term.
Such uniformity is easier to accept for very young students than it is for those who have spent longer in their parent cultures -- but mindscaping is always necessary to facilitate the commitment to the ways of the Schola Progenium. Sometimes, for habitual prejudices, this clarity of thought can be achieved by simple techniques, such as repetition of litanies for solar weeks on end. However, at some point every cadet is strapped down to an iron chair known as a Correction Throne. Needles are then inserted through the rear of the cadet's skull, and their heads are flooded with dirus, a neurochemical fluid that cleanses their synapses, wiping away old memories and paving the way for new information. It is an unfortunate, and little-discussed fact that the Imperium possesses ever-dwindling stocks of dirus, and it is increasingly being diluted with more dubious substances. While cadets endure such treatment, Auto-vox Servo-skulls relay righteous speeches, war cries or simply inspiring quotes from Ecclesiarchical texts to properly and irrevocably infuse them with the wonder of their new creed.
Sadly, even the Schola Progenium's mindscaping techniques are not infallible. Dreams and visions from previous existences will haunt some recruits for the rest of their lives. A Scion may never fully rid himself of the nightmarish visions that linger from his homeworld, or the trauma of the death of his parents. As with all such matters, the Schola Progenium's methodology goes unquestioned.
However, it is always a concern when a cadet shows too strong an unwillingness to properly conform. As reward for their independence, they are often released into the training grounds only to be hunted down by their former comrades. This serves as much to bond the remaining cadets as it does to punish individuality. If a cadet publicly disobeys orders, they will meet a spectacular and very public end, courtesy of a Drill Abbot's great hammer. What little remains of their spine is coiled within a glass box and mounted within the dormitory to serve as a warning to others. This is not at the extreme end of remedial punishments. In the Schola Progenium facility on Brellex, the products of one incident remain forever enshrined. Due to a faulty batch of mindscaping chemicals, a whole year group rose up against the dictates of their masters. The seething Abbot Prime ordered the Officio Prefectus to crush the rebellion. Whilst still alive, the mutinous cadets were meshed with mortar and used to line the schola's ferrocrete walls. To this day their bones jut out of long corridors, grasping for freedom, as a warning of the consequences of insubordination.
The Cadet Forge
Schola Progenium training may be considered a drawn-out form of torture. Indeed, injured limbs or broken minds are hardly uncommon. Cadets undergo basic physical drills in heavy Carapace Armour, quickly tiring them out as they scale walls or squeeze under razor wire. A cuff from the Drill Abbot's gauntleted hand and the sight of his great hammer is usually enough to encourage a lethargic cadet to try harder.
Military exercises with live ammunition are conducted in the harsh landscape surrounding a Schola Progenium or on nearby moons. Cadets are often expected to endure solar days in the wilderness with little food or instruction, and limited weaponry with which to combat whatever violent fauna roams the planet. Yet with each roaming day, cadets improve in their performance. Their speed and endurance increase, they scale walls previously thought impossible to overcome, and it becomes obvious to even a novice Drill Abbot that true warriors are being forged. It is a strong belief within the Schola Progenium that from the hottest of fires, the strongest bonds of brotherhood are born.
Whatever the technique, this tutelage serves to better divine what path a cadet is suited for, as well as preparing them for the brutalities of the 41st Millennium. Indeed, the training regimen within the Schola Progenium exists not just to create highly-skilled combatants. Amidst the trials and challenges, the Drill Abbot will constantly assess and reassess as to who will make an excellent Tempestus Scion, an excellent Commissar, or who would be better suited within the Adeptus Terra. However, some Scholas use more esoteric methods of selection. For example, the Abbot Prime of the Schola Progenium facility on Sanctus Omega is a known reader of the Emperor's Tarot, and uses the mystical cards to steer his judgement or decide upon a cadet's path. Technically, no one role is considered more prestigious than another, though Commissars are generally held to be the most redoubtable of the Schola's trainees. Each graduate has a highly specific role within the Imperium at large, and such skills need to be discerned well in advance of the Trials of Compliance -- the most important stage of a cadet's time at the Schola Progenium.
Trials of Compliance
Each Schola Progenium employs one or more challenges to separate those who will become Commissars from those who will join the Militarum Tempestus. These tests take diverse forms, but the primary purpose of all such Trials of Compliance is to highlight those cadets who are best committed to obeying orders in adversity, and test how they process those commands. Of course, a percentage of the supplicants fail in their allotted task -- many end up as equerries or thralls of the Schola Progenium. Some of these disappointments may work through their sentences as menials and eventually be permitted to join the regular Astra Militarum. Ever eager to prove their worth, these few may yet become Imperial soldiers in their own right.
For potential Tempestus Scions, Trials of Compliance may involve live-fire exercises in the Hallucinarium. In endless labyrinths, cadets are constantly exposed to strange visions and false suggestions. Yet the prospective initiates are expected to follow the correct orders without hesitation, no matter how strange those orders may be, and no matter how monstrous the entities they come up against. There are timed physical tests, too, such as scaling the grand facade of the facility whilst constantly chanting that particular Schola Progenium's motto. Should the candidate's incantations slip out of sync from the metronomic tempo of the Servo-skull hovering nearby, the cadet may soon have gunfire to contend with, in addition to the high walls.
For potential Commissars, the Trials of Compliance usually take even more esoteric forms. Without knowing it is a test, a cadet may be commanded to locate one of his closest colleagues -- a comrade with whom he has shared the trials and tribulations of the Schola Progenium over many years -- and shoot them through the head.
Such a callous execution order serves a dual purpose, as it proves that the Cadet Commissar can not only follow Imperial orders, but that he or she will have no problem killing stubborn officers when in the heat of battle. However, the Schola Progenium recognises the danger posed by a highly trained candidate who shows the promise of a Commissar, but who cannot follow such an order. Prospective Commissars who fail this trial will end up being victim to the same challenge issued to another candidate, or released as quarry for a group of potential Scions.
The few brave Adepts within the Adeptus Ministorum who suggest that all of this is a waste of good talent are reminded that these trials are essential to wean out the truly remorseless from those haunted by doubt. Besides, there are always thousands more orphans delivered into their hands each standard year -- such losses are hardly of import.
After successful cadets have survived their various Trials of Compliance, the Drill Abbots will allocate them their path in an event known as Selection Day. It is then that the truly hard challenges begin.
Selection Days in the Schola Progenium mark the point at which a cadet is assigned their destiny. Cavernous voidships descend into planetary orbit, ready to export Progena to their new roles. From dawn to dusk, amidst the slow incantation of ancient litanies and clouds of incense, cadets are divided according to their selected path.
A good many discover that they are to head into the ranks of the Adeptus Terra. Those young women who show not only fine military skills but strong signs of faith are prepared to journey to training convents of the Adepta Sororitas's Orders Militant, while others may join the Adeptus Arbites. The most talented warriors are chosen for the Militarum Tempestus and Officio Prefectus. Each group is assigned to a starship and consequently dispatched to the appropriate Schola Tempestus or Schola Prefectus for more advanced training in their chosen discipline.
Notable Campaigns of the Tempestus Millennium
Military campaigns documented in Imperial records are outnumbered by those lost under the weight of history. Many of these conflicts have involved the Ordo Tempestus sometimes overtly, but more frequently under a shroud of secrecy. The records of the most glorious of these wars are relayed to each Schola Progenium as a lesson on what it means to be a Tempestus warrior.
- The Macharian Conquests (392.M41) - During seven bloody standard years spent purging the western reaches of the galaxy, Lord Solar Macharius unites the Astra Militarum and the Officio Prefectus in order to reconquer a thousands worlds.
- The First War for Armageddon (444.M41) - The vital world of Armageddon is invaded by Angron and his maniacal hordes. It takes the combined might of the Astra Militarum, the Ordo Tempestus, the Space Wolves and the Grey Knights to hurl the Daemon Primarch back into the Warp. Though Armageddon is saved from utter destruction, millions of Imperial Guardsman and Tempestus Scions are killed in the process. In the war's aftermath, the Inquisition employ drastic measures to contain the knowledge of the daemonic forces involved. Dozens of Imperial Guard regiments are subjected to mass sterilisation and confined to Imperial labour camps, and in the Months of Shame that follow, the Space Wolves and the Grey Knights come into conflict, whilst entire planets are subjected to the ultimate sanction in order to prevent the truth spreading into the Imperium at large. Even the luminaries of Segmentum Command are not immune from the subsequent scouring -- they are executed to a man by their own Commissar advisors, who upon their return to the Officio Prefectus submit themselves for extensive mindwipe protocols. Such is the fate of those who have learned of the horrors of the Warp and survived.
- The Sabbat Worlds Crusade (755.M41) - In the most extensive military campaign waged by the Astra Militarum since the time of Macharius, the Sabbat Worlds Crusade reclaims dozens of worlds lost to the worship of the Ruinous Powers. At the forefront of the war effort was Commissar Ibram Gaunt and the light infantry regiment of the Astra Militarum under his command, the Tanith First and Only.
- The Lost Patrol (853.M41) - When an Eldar raid is repelled at great cost on the recently settled world of New Starhaven, the Tempestus Scions 47th Thetoid Dragons Regiment, having successfully engaged the Eldar command structure and survived, are given new orders to prosecute. Whilst the Officio Prefectus assesses the devastated planet's orphans for new recruits, the Dragons pass through the rune-inscribed dolmens that have been uncovered behind the Lemuelian Falls. On the other side they find a series of shimmering tunnels that never seem to end. Several harrowing solar days of full-alert march slide past, but the Scions proceed apace. They are finally forced to slow their march when they are assailed by capering Eldar in multicoloured costume, who bewilder them with holographic and hallucinogenic assaults before dancing in close to deal lethal blows. Eventually the Harlequins that have been tormenting the intruding Scions are forced to turn their attention to unknown events elsewhere, and lead the humourless humans in a running battle towards a rune-inscribed portal that opens out onto the surface of the planet Exsanguille. The Scions plunge through the gate, only to find themselves stranded upon a blood-covered Crone World in the heart of the Eye of Terror. To their credit, the Dragons survive for a full two solar days before succumbing to the daemonic legions of Khorne that prowl that world.
- The Prize Unclean (871.M41) - On the world of Orgal VI, a strange skin-plague billows through the population. Three squads of the Tempestus Scions' 835th Psian Pegasi are despatched to rescue the Planetary Governor, Maas Dietral, from the plague and deliver him to the Adeptus Administratum for debrief. However, on penetrating the stained armourglass of Deitral's inner sanctum, the Pegasi find that their quarry is beset by cyclopean daemons, his dwindling bodyguard fighting desperately to keep them at bay. The Pegasi waste no time in scouring the throne room of infestation, sending blistering volleys into each of the Plaguebearers in turn and then using Meltaguns to explosively evaporate the sludge-beasts that begin to rise from the palace's polluted indoor lakes. With typical efficiency, the Scions clamp a spare respmask over the governor's face and their medic begins to tend to his grievous injuries. After fitting the governor with his own Grav-Chute and reversing the repulsor fields, the Pegasi rocket skyward, reaching their Valkyrie transport and leaving the planet. By nightfall, the Pegasi have delivered their prize to a beige-hulled starship of the Administratum, and depart for their next mission. However, during Deitral's extraction and interrogation, the Administratum Adepts' ship suffers a critical biohazard breach. The vessel is subject to immediate quarantine and, when the breach infests the entire ship, summary extermination by order of Sector Command.
- Warmaster Brabastis' Triumph (931.M41)
- The Tyger and the Bull (939.M41) - The Tempestus Scions of the 5th Betan Tygers scramble to defend the Ogryns of Drannon Prime from the massive Ork WAAAGH! that descends upon it.
- Stubborn Unto Death (939.M41) - On the T'au planet of Bork'an, the Tempestus Scions of the 196th Iotan Gryphonnes are deployed en masse. Their orders come in the form of a single short sentence from Lord Commissar Tilenus -- target the planet's academic facilities and kill as many of the Earth Caste there as possible. In the first few solar hours of the war, the Gryphonnes' Valkyrie-borne attacks meet with great success. Earth Caste teachers and students alike are gunned down in white-walled auditoriums and research facilities across the planet. However, T'au High Command cannot countenance the destruction of a whole generation of engineers and scientists and the T'au's counter-strike is terrible in its ferocity. Giant bipedal Battlesuits prowl the colonnades, a number of hastily armed but deadly prototypes amongst their number. Each proves more than capable of annihilating the out-matched Scions, whose return fire does little but scorch their foes' iridium alloy armour. A flawlessly executed tactical withdrawal sees the Iotan Gryphonnes come within a hundred Terran yards of their extraction point when Tilenus' repeat order chimes out across the Vox-net once more. Uncomplaining, the Scions plunge back into the fight, a full half of their number giving their lives in order for their comrades to seek out any Earth Caste stragglers. Unfortunately they are too late. The remainder of the T'au's robed scientists and students have already been evacuated by Manta gunships. The regiment's Tempestor Prime transmits his findings to Tilenus, but his request for extraction is denied. Over the next solar hour the Gryphonnes do as much damage to the Earth Caste facilities as possible, concentrating fire on assembly lines and data cores even as they are hunted down and reduced to ash by chameleonic Battlesuits.
- The Second War for Armageddon (941.M41) - The selfishness and incompetence of Overlord von Strab sees the military forces of Armageddon buckle and break under the avalanche of violence that is WAAAGH! Ghazghkull. Only the determination and steely charisma of Commissar Yarrick holds the Imperial armies together long enough for the Adeptus Astartes to repel the Ork invasion.
- The Long Night (945.M41) - In the dead of night, Phrell's Schola Progenium is infiltrated and assailed by a strike force of Eldar of Craftworld Ulthwé. Only the quick thinking and tenacity of two of its brightest students, the Brothers Krassus, save a generation of recruits from pitiless execution.
- Death on the Brawla (955.M41) - The Tempestus Scions of the 196th Omicroid Hydras are sent to intercept the titanic Ork superkrooza Brawla. Augur reports had shown that the giant scrap-craft was heading straight for the world of Macharia. If it continued on its projected course, it would not be able to slow down before breaching atmosphere, crashing into the sacred world's surface and causing an extinction-level cataclysm in the process. The sleek drop-craft Mercurian drifts the last few thousand miles in order to evade detection before locking down in the shadow of the Ork craft's towering finials. The Hydras drive out, their Taurox Primes forming up and gunning towards the stern of the enormous vessel. As the Brawla's engines come into view, the Scions disembark in tight formation, their mag-boots clamping to the underside of the spacefaring metal hulk with each exaggerated step. The troopers are less than a hundred Terran feet from the engine arrays when several blinding flashes of blue-green light illuminate the entire strike force. The Scions drop into battle stances and raise their Hot-shot Lasguns as thirty heavily-armoured Orks appear from nowhere and clomp forward, Exo-armour hissing steam. The Tempestor's plasma teams open fire, but to a man their weapons detonate in their hands, their ragged torsos bleeding spheres of blood into the void. Guttural Orkish laughter rumbles across the comms-net as the Tempestus Scions realise their boots are locked down tight -- according to their Slate Monitrons, the entire section of the Ork warship is now crackling with a crude electromagnetic field. The ensuing firefight is terrible in its intensity. The Ork's crude weaponry takes a horrible toll on the crouching Tempestus Scions, even with the Taurox Primes' supporting fire hammering into the Greenskins' midst. Only a desperate Vox signal from the regiment's Tempestor Prime saves them from total destruction. The drop-craft Mercurian stabs a series of pulsing, flickering lasers into the toroid copper structures on Brawla's midsection, and a moment later the electromagnetic field rippling across the hull fizzes, spurts and shorts out. As if lifted by invisible hands, the Orks drift off the hull into space, roaring their denial and hammering the last of their ammunition into the Scions as they go. Several hit their mark, the Carapace Armor-clad bodies of Tempestus Scions spinning off after those of their foes. Despite this last desperate attack, there remain enough Scions to set several strings of melta charges across Brawla's fuel silos. That night the people of Macharia witness a series of vast explosions as the Ork ship detonates.
- The Antinomican (975.M41) - Guided by a squad of Sanctioned Psykers, the Tempestus Scions of the 7th Epsiloid Hawks are deployed to hunt down and destroy a rogue psyker acting as a beacon for daemonic forces upon the megaship Amphinyx.
- The Metallophagic Plague (981.M41) - Myosan, a vital Agri-world at the heart of the Diosis System, is saved from a planet-wide Necron incursion by the swift action of the Tempestus Scions of the 14th Alphic Dragons.
- A Bitter Seed Planted (997.M41) - After learning of the increased Imperial tithe expected of him in the next standard year, the elderly Governor Mulian of Ulterior Prime dies of a heart attack. His son, a superb athlete, is soon recruited by the Schola Progenium stationed on the ice cap of Olvein Devus. Though young Mulianses -- renamed Vastus after a mythical strongman of old -- is an exceptional physical specimen, the steel in his soul is found wanting. During his third Trial of Compliance he is required to drink hot oil in order to counteract a disfiguring virus introduced into his system. He cannot bring himself to do so, and after the virus does its evil work he is ejected from the facility. Only his tremendous physique spares him from being reconstituted; he is instead denominated, mind-scrubbed and seconded to the Adeptus Mechanicus as raw material. On a cargo vessel en route to the servitorums, Vastus escapes from his bounds, garottes his guards with a lifecord and hijacks the shuttle with a stolen Autogun. After freeing his fellow Schola rejects and persuading them to join him, he escapes from the space lanes into the nameless void. Six standard years later a regiment of Tempestus Scions from Olvein Devus is sent to cleanse the Ork-infested Space Hulk Mother of Terrors. It transpires that the inhabitants are not Orks after all, but a band of Renegades led by the self-styled Warlord Vastus. A desperate running battle breaks out in the depths of the haunted Hulk. After four solar days of bitter fighting, Vastus is run down by one of his old contemporaries and shot through the neck. His last act is to prime his personal corpus detonator, triggering a chain explosion that tears the Hulk and takes three hundred of Olvein Devus' finest with it. This incident has never appeared in Schola Progenium records.
- The Red WAAAGH! (998.M41) - The Ork Warlord Grukk Face-rippa rampages across the Sanctus Reach System and is met in battle at Alaric Prime. Amongst the defenders under the command of Castellan Stein of Cadia are Tempestor Prime Salem Whitlock and his Tempestus Scions. Whitlock leads a daring raid to destroy an immense Mekaniak tractor beam that threatens to give the Orks their victory in one fell swoop, making a near-suicidal drop directly onto the Ork position and destroying the device.
- The Chainsword and the Knife (998.M41) - The Fortress World of Helwynd, its gradual corruption hastened by the Renegade Space Marines of the Company of Misery, declares itself the heartworld of the Empire of Despair. Helwynd slowly pollutes the other Imperial world in its system with its bleak message, each broadcast robbing hope and loyalty from all those who hear it. The doom-mongering reaches not only the divinatory arrays of the local Schola Progenium but also the keen ears of the Flesh Tearers Astartes on the nearby feral planet of Cretacia. Both the Flesh Tearers and Militarum Tempestus hasten to Helwynd with all speed. The Cretacians get there first, though to their mounting fury their Drop Pod assaults are swiftly countered by the Firestorm Nexuses that slide out from hidden bases in the planet's hillsides. Even the Stormravens and Thunderhawks that enter low orbit are forced to disengage by blistering fusillades of Lascannon fire. The planet's defence net seems all but impregnable and, for a time, the Flesh Tearers are held at bay. When the drop ships of the Tempestus Scions of the 3rd Alphic Jackals enter orbit, Tempestor Prime Vigilian volunteers his men for an orbital drop that he believes will thwart the defences. Turning his voidships so their hulls are parallel to the planet's surface, Vigilian orders his Scions to cram themselves into each of the ship's starboard airlocks before forcefully ejecting them towards the planet. Though each trooper is protected from atmos-burn by little more than Carapace Armour and an ionised body-shroud of pressed alloy, the Scions hurtle towards the ground in tight formation. Vigilian's gamble pays off, for the individual soldiers are small enough to evade notice from the automated defences below, and their energy signatures are light enough to register as a shower of space debris. Discarding their shrouds once they enter the atmosphere proper, the Scions activate their Grav-Chutes and glide through the night to land undetected in the heart of the enemy complexes. Here the 3rd Alphic Jackals are in their element, disabling one Nexus after another and holding the facilities against the rebel forces with grim resolve. As the defence network falls, the contrails of Flesh Tearers ships scar the skies once more, and the Space Marines make planetfall in great number. The carnage that follows is spectacular as the wrath of Cretacia's finest rips apart rebel soldier and Renegade Space Marine alike. Many of the planet's would-be rulers withdraw in the face of the fearsome assault, but they soon find their routes of retreat have already been cut off by cordons of Militarum Tempestus troopers. Those few vessels that attempt to escape off-world are shot down by their own Firestorm Nexuses, each now taken over by Imperial crews. The rebel forces are exterminated to a man. When the Space Marines holster their bloodied weapons and gather to make for their ships, the Militarum Tempestus have already left without a word.
- The Third War for Armageddon (998.M41)
- War in the Undercavern (998.M41) - The Tempestus Scions of the 33rd Zetan Falcons, accompanied by Commissar Krassus, use the tunnels bored by the world of Balk's native ironwyrms to isolate and destroy an Iron Warriors warband in their subterranean lair.
- War Zone Damocles (757.999.M41)
- The Great Cull of Jach (999.M41) - As the Damocles War escalates further, the battle analysts of the Ordo Xenos conclude that the T'au Empire relies heavily on auxiliaries. The vast majority of these in the Damocles Gulf hail from the Jungle World of Jach. The Ordo's research determines that the Kroot are able to evolve at an extreme rate by selectively feeding on the bodies of their enemies and assimilating those genetic quirks their tribal elders deem desirable. Seeking to tip the balance in the Damocles War by whatever means necessary, the venerable Inquisitor Lord Heiss-Alumin makes transition through the Warp for Jach without delay. Eight regiments of Scions requisitioned from the Ordo Tempestus accompany him. Making planetfall via Grav-Chute, the Tempestus regiments split up into separate task forces. Their orders are to locate and exterminate the leader caste of the Kroot wherever they are found. So begins a gruelling jungle hunt, the high technology and stoic discipline of the Scions ranged against the savagery and feral cunning of the Kroot tribes. Unfortunately the Inquisitor has greatly underestimated not only the resolve of his quarry, but the technology with which they are equipped. Each jungle tribe's Shaper is guarded not only by a cadre of experienced Kroot snipers, but also a delegation of the T'au Fire Caste and swarms of accompanying drones. The Scions quickly find themselves outgunned and out-manoeuvred by Tau Battlesuits and swift-moving Kroot, and only the 88th Kappic Phoenixes make it off-planet once the withdrawal is ordered. Though the Kroot Shapers dine well on the Imperial strike force and learn much from Heiss-Alumin's superior brain, the Phoenixes learn a great deal about the foe in return. Before the solar month is out, a new anti-Kroot doctrine is relayed to the Imperial armies in the Damocles Gulf.
- First Blood (999.M41) - Six regiments of Militarum Tempestus troopers are sent to penetrate the edge of the Eye of Terror in order to gauge where the first blow of Abaddon the Despoiler's 13th Black Crusade will land. They disappear into the penumbra of the Eye and are never seen again.
- Guardians of the Great Gate (995.999.M41) - As humanity faces the onslaught of Abaddon's 13th Black Crusade, the forces of the Astra Militarum are engaged in the most violent and severe warfare it has ever known. The largest force of Tempestus Scions ever formed is rushed to Mankind's defence, their voidships flocking to the Cadian Sector to lend their skills and bravery to the war effort. Meanwhile, thousands of Commissars -- many only just out of the Schola Progenium -- are despatched among the earthbound infantry of the Astra Militarum to steel the nerves of the Imperial Guard in its darkest hour. None of this was enough to save Cadia itself from the Chaos onslaught, but proved to be crucial to holding the other worlds of the Cadian Gate after the birth of the Great Rift.
Forces of the Ordo Tempestus
Tempestus Scions, and the Commissars that lend discipline to their ranks, undergo the same exhaustive training regimen within the Schola Progenium, yet they fulfil very different and highly specialised roles in battle. Whereas Scions comply with orders without fail, Commissars provide leadership and ensure that the Imperium's commands are enacted dutifully.
The halls of the Schola Progenium are not filled with the dregs of forgotten hive cities, nor do these ancient Imperial facilities flood assigned war zones with the sort of rank-and-file chaff commonly seen amongst the ranks of the Astra Militarum. Instead, the Schola Progenium takes in the many orphaned children of Highborn Imperial citizens. These noble scions may include those left behind by a Planetary Governor whose term is brought short by some cruel xenos incursion, or even the sons of a high-ranking Imperial commander who has gloriously sacrificed his life for the good of the Imperium.
The progeny of such individuals represent a fine stock of potential heroes. Consequently, they are not to be wasted. Upon being orphaned, these children are distributed to the nearest establishment world that harbours a Schola Progenium training camp. There, the orphans are processed and trained to become the very peak of unaugmented human efficiency.
Shock assault troops without peer, Tempestus Scions are elite special operations soldiers used to enact missions that the regular Imperial Guard cannot accomplish alone. Scions have undergone a brutally uncompromising training regime and are armed with some of the best weaponry available to the Astra Militarum. Their violent potential is enhanced by rigid discipline, so that the dictates of their superiors are enacted swiftly and accurately, regardless of how inhuman such orders may seem. Scions are trained to ensure that commands are carried out with a merciless pragmatism. Moreover, their indoctrinated sense of obedience and duty overrides any instincts of personal safety. No matter what the foe or the challenge, no matter how catastrophic the situation, Tempestus Scions will stop at nothing to fulfil their orders. They are fully prepared to sacrifice their own lives in the process so long as it sees their mission completed.
These indomitable warriors depend upon their commanders like a Lasgun depends upon a trigger. Those among their number who show exceptional qualities in battle may rise to the rank of Tempestor or Tempestor Prime, where they give orders as well as follow them, ensuring that there is never a break in the chain of command. Having committed to memory thousands of military doctrines learned in the Schola Progenium, a Tempestor Prime is able to guide their squads on the ground, effortlessly processing those split-second battlefield decisions that can mean the difference between success and failure. Their efficiency often provides the opportunity for a vital assault or manoeuvre that can push defeat into victory.
Even a few squads of Tempestus Scions, precisely deployed, can change the course of a war before many regular regiments have even tied their bootlaces. From standing firm against ravenous Tyranid swarms to striking fast against the undying horrors of a rising Necron Tomb World, Tempestus Scions are unyielding in the prosecution of their goals.
These elite warriors may hurl themselves from the ramps of low-flying Valkyries, plunging through smoke-filled skies with Grav-Chutes, or they might infiltrate behind enemy lines to neutralize the foe's reinforcements before the threat is fully realised. Riding aboard Taurox Primes, Tempestus Scions are able to strike into the most inhospitable of war zones. They can traverse all kinds of terrain in order to rescue planetary officials from the midst of a raid. Such is their unwavering loyalty that some Scions are deemed worthy to be assigned as temporary Honour Guards for Imperial officers. On occasion, they have even been selected to escort Inquisitors to and from the Black Ships.
As a consequence of the Tempestus Scions' reputation for glorious conduct in battle, the common soldiery of the Imperial Guard often resents or even loathes them. Some of the more ill-disciplined rank and file may exhibit a dangerous insouciance towards orders, and regularly indulge in raucous mess hall antics, so the Scions' unequivocal servitude and absolutism does not endear them to their comrades. In fact, the average Imperial Guardsman sees them as little more than over-privileged bullyboys with their mag-boots on the throats of good, honest soldiers.
That Tempestus Scions remain oblivious to such mutterings may be mistaken for arrogance. However, the truth is that they are simply indifferent to the opinions of the common Imperial soldiery, so long as their missions are successful, and they are not kept idle long between deployments.
When they are dropped into a war zone, these warriors take to war with equipment every bit as specialised as they are. Garbed in baroque Carapace Armour with moulded plates of armaplas and ceramite that almost entirely cover them, Scions are better able to endure the rigours of battle. The hot-shot weaponry of the Militarum Tempestus lights up enemy bunkers, and their pinpoint fire rips through xenos hides and sears through armour alike. These scalding red lasers, and the greenish glow of visual augmenters cutting through smoke-filled corridors, are often the enemy's first clues that their defences have been breached.
Though for many Tempestus Scions, a parade beret will suffice, when a unit fights in particularly inhospitable climates, they will opt for masked Omnishield Helms through which nutrient gruel and oxygen can be piped. Since they rarely experience times of rest between missions, Tempestus Scions take with them the means to sustain themselves. Those who have remained plugged into their masked helmets can go for solar days without needing additional nutrition or sleep. They simply stand side-by-side on their transport between missions in a sort of trance, dormant yet ever alert. Their superiors do not encourage reliance upon these techniques for too long, for in some instances this lack of real sleep can lead to a dependency upon their equipment that can hinder discipline. In extreme cases, such weakness can lead to them being removed from their regiment entirely.
Tempestus Scions that have been elevated to the rank of Tempestor Prime may be rewarded with a regimental greatcoat, an item usually associated with Commissars, as an indicator of their shared heritage and the position of command. In addition to this, they carry a skull-crested staff known as a Canna Militarum. These honours of the Schola Progenium are only issued to warriors of true distinction.
No matter how contradictory or outright suicidal the orders of the Administratum may seem, it is paramount that such instructions are followed when issued. There is no leniency in the fight for Humanity's survival and no allowance for second-guessing what may be at stake should these high-level stratagems be ignored. It may seem nonsensical for troops to leave hostages held within a compound behind, but if dormant Necrons lie beneath the surface, then it is better that those captives are left to die than to risk disturbing a greater foe. Likewise, orders to purge a defenceless civilian freighter may seem barbaric, but if doing so will prevent the spread of plague or heresy then such a mission is crucial. It is for good reason that Imperial citizens are told that they should never question the greater wisdom of those above them, even when it goes against their instincts.
Individuals of a particularly stern nature are required to enforce such orders and bring any local customs or shortsighted officers who obstruct them into swift compliance. It may be illegal on certain worlds to take up arms on Emperor Day, for instance, but if the Segmentum Command issues orders to mobilise for war, then an uncompromising figure is deployed to ensure that war happens. Such individuals serve as blunt political tools of the Imperium. They must be efficient and merciless, prepared to kill naysayers -- even senior officers -- in a heartbeat so that the orders of the Administratum are carried out. These remorseless enforcers of the Imperial Creed are known as Commissars, and they are overseen and deployed by the Officio Prefectus.
Wearing an Aquila-emblazoned peaked cap, a long leather coat with epaulets, and an instantly recognisable black uniform with red-and-gold trim, a Commissar stands apart from their subordinates as an executioner stands apart from a crowd of peasants. Marching to war often with only a bolt pistol and sword in their hands, they are a constant reminder that weaponry is no substitute for exceptional bravery, zeal and martial pride.
The strict training regimens of the Schola Progenium transform Commissars into exceptional combatants in their own right. Where they differ most from Tempestus Scions is in their role of giving orders where necessary: they possess a higher level of authority to command than even a Tempestor Prime, though they often serve alongside other Imperial officers, taking command only when they sense weakness in their charges. When acting at the head of a unit, a Commissar is required to make brutal judgment calls in order to get the most out of his men, and each Commissar is rightly feared and respected by the forces under his control.
Groups of soldiers under a Commissar's command can take any size and hail from disparate regiments from across the galaxy. Such units will have more or less respect for Imperial authority depending on their origins and the discipline of their commanding officers. Whether such soldiers are hindered by local superstitions or are inclined to run at the sight of the more hideous of the galaxy's denizens, it is within the Commissar's authority, and his express duty, to punish such infractions -- usually by summary execution in the form or a Bolt Pistol round through the head.
It is also a Commissar's duty to inspire the men around him, leading by example with Bolt Pistol flaring and sword carving through the enemy ranks. A Commissar is always willing to show what the best blood in the Imperium is capable of when his deeds will rouse the lower orders into action, often expending far more of his ammunition than those individual soldiers who follow him.
A Commissar's uncompromising code of law ensures discipline. As such, regiments to which a Commissar is assigned become far more robust and coherent formations. When soldiers falter, a Commissar ensures they do not flee. Where they are weak, a Commissar renews their strength. But where soldiers show cowardice, a Commissar will make examples of them without hesitation. Earning his men's grudging respect, a Commissar transforms ordinary troopers into superior fighting machines.
When this iron determination and tactical autonomy are wedded to the Tempestus Scions' specialist abilities and lauded martial discipline, the resultant formations are dependable beyond all reasonable expectation. Having trained and developed in the same environment, each is aware of the other's strengths and will instinctively respond the same way in a firefight. The Scions of the Militarum Tempestus have a proud reputation for remaining steadfast in the face of death, but with a Commissar amongst their ranks they will fight to the last man.
The regiments of the Militarum Tempestus Scions depends upon their all-purpose Taurox Primes to deliver the target fury of the Imperium across all manner of hazardous warzones, and through almost impossible conditions. Given the vehicle's long-standing service with the Scions, many Taurox Primes have become notable for supporting the elite warriors during notable victories. They are often painted in each regiment's colours and given colourful names.
The Valkyrie Assault Carrier and the forces of the Militarum Tempestus are an almost perfect match -- the training and mission indoctrination of the Scions working hand in fist with the speed, versatility and firepower of the Valkyrie gunship. During combat operations a Tempestus force will be granted dispensation to repaint these aircraft in the colours of their regiment.
The special wargear available to the Tempestus Scions is far superior to the rugged, utilitarian weaponry of the Astra Militarum. Specialist training and maintenance is required by the Departmento Munitorum for each piece of kit -- a Schola Tempestus cadet must pass a series of tests and earn the appropriate honours before even being allowed to use a Hot-shot Lasgun in battlefield conditions. Each time a weapon or piece of wargear is mastered, the icon of that equipment is branded into his chest as a permanent sign of his competence. Once the full suite of weaponry and wargear has been earned, a Tempestus Scion is able to wage war for solar weeks at a time without resupply in a wide variety of hostile battlefield conditions.
- Carapace Armour - Carapace Armour consists of large rigid plates of armaplas or ceramite molded to fit parts of the body. It can range from complete armoured suits like those worn by the Arbitrators of the Adeptus Arbites to individual pieces such as chest plates, helmets, greaves, etc. Carapace Armour is stronger and thicker than the Flak Armour used by the common soldiers of the Imperial Guard and various Planetary Defence Forces and it provides the wearer a much higher chance of surviving a direct impact with standard small-arms rounds, though it does little to protect against stronger weapons. Carapace Armour is used by a wide variety of the Imperial armed forces, including the elite special operations Tempestus Scions troops of the Militarum Tempestus, the Storm Troopers of the Imperial Guard and the armsmen who defend the starships of the Imperial Navy.
- Ryza Pattern Hot-shot Lasgun - Manufactured in the finest incantoriums that the Forge World of Ryza can provide, this Hot-shot Lasgun does not use a clip-like power pack as with those of the Imperial Guard, but instead a hyper-yield power array worn as a backpack rig. By adjusting this rig, the Hot-shot Lasgun can be calibrated to emit laser bursts of such penetrative power they can punch straight through ceramite. At its maximum capacity, this Lasgun operates in the sixty megathule range and holds enough potential energy that it is warm to the touch.
- Ryza Pattern Hot-Shot Volley Gun - Considered by many Tempestor Primes to be the ultimate weapon deployed by the Militarum Tempestus, the Hot-shot Volley Gun is a truly fearsome firearm. Incorporating Penitent-class heat sink arrays, these weapons can maintain a punishing rate of high-powered laser fire.
- Slate Monitron (Dextera Configuration) - The dataslate worn upon the armoured forearm gauntlet of the typical Tempestus Scion allows him instant access to his Tempestor Prime's latest command runes and war psalms. It also monitors vital signs, showing the pulse rate and health matrix of the wearer at all times so that his officer can instantly assess his condition. It was the Slate Monitron that led to the old Guardsman jibe that Tempestus Scions are dead inside, for upon completion of their training their hearts are locked in an iron box mounted on their sleeve.
- Omnishield Helm/Respmask Array - In hostile environments, a Tempestus regiment will don all-enclosing Omnishield Helms, their respmasks proof against everything from industrial pollution to fully ignited atmospheres. When sealed, they allow Tempestus Scions to operate even in airless vacuums for limited periods of time. The multi-spectral occulum that attaches via suction to the wearer's eye sockets allow him to see in low light and occluded conditions with relative ease.
- Monoscope - Though it can be used to project a beam of light, the Monoscope is primarily intended as a visual uploader. Panning left and right as the Tempestus Scion goes about the prosecution of war, each Monoscope can be tapped into by any Tempestor or Tempestor Prime who wishes to see what his subordinate is witnessing. The act of covering up a Monoscope's lens, whether accidentally or by design, is punishable by a full solar day's electro-whipping and a number of days without rations at the commanding officer's discretion.
- Clarion Vox Array - The cumbersome Vox arrays of the Astra Militarum are often known as "ghost boxes" -- for with the white noise and interference patterns of battle raging all around it is difficult to coax more than a whisper from their speakers. Not so the Clarion Vox Array of the Militarum Tempestus, a triumph of audio-military hardware that overrides its designated airwaves with the crystal clear and perfectly enunciated commands of the Tempestors leading each detachment.
- Martyr's Gift Field Service Medi-Kit - The Martyr's Gift medi-kit is a cut above anything issued to the Astra Militarum. Loaded with combat-stimms, auto-cauterising thermic gel and single-use disposable bionics, this medi-kit is intended to ensure that wounded Scions get back into the fight with the minimum of fuss. Long-term healing is of little interest to Tempestus Scions in the heat of battle -- providing a wounded warrior can be patched and propped sufficiently to complete his duty, his eventual fate matters not. The Martyr's Gift even features a belt of subcutaneous frag charges that can be used to booby-trap a terminally wounded Scion's body -- thus even in death, the Tempestus Scions strike back against the enemy that slew them.
Notable Tempestus Scions Regiments
|Pair of moons that orbit Mezoa|
- Codex: Militarum Tempestus (6th Edition), pp. 5-13, 15-35, 48-51
- Warhammer 40,000 - Sanctus Reach: The Red WAAAGH! (7th Edition), pp. 99-100, 105
- Warhammer 40,000: Core Rulebook (8th Edition), pg. 71