- "The deeds of one bold warrior can alter the course of a battle. I have four such men under my command, and our every deed changes the shape of the galaxy."
A Sternguard Veteran is a Veteran Space Marine of the elite 1st Company of his Chapter who deploys wherever the battle lines are most vulnerable, facing down the most impossible odds with icy calm and precise bursts of Bolter fire. A Sternguard Veteran is the very image of what every Space Marine aspires to become, and the pinnacle of any Chapter's fighting force.
In contrast to the 1st Company's Vanguard Squads, Sternguard Veterans draw upon the Chapter Armoury's ranged weaponry. Better and more efficient to slay the foe at range, they argue, than to get bogged down in a close-quarters battle. Most Sternguard Veterans carry Bolters or Combi-Bolters with meticulously crafted sights and modified scopes. Heavier weapons are also available for tank-hunting or infantry-eradication roles as the specific foes and mission dictates, but these are normally eschewed for the more portable Bolter.
Any potential shortfall in firepower is compensated for by the versatility of wielding Combi-weapons and the range of specialist Bolter ammunition Sternguard Veterans carry into battle.
It takes a master Artificer many Terran years of painstaking work to produce even a handful of these rare bolt-shells. They are, therefore, reserved for the Veterans of a Chapter’s 1st Company, entrusted to those Space Marines with a proven record of making every single shot count.
Sternguard Veterans are ultimately ranged weapon specialists. A Sternguard Squad's sergeant will sometimes wield a specialised melee weapon, but this is the furthest extent to which a Sternguard Squad will employ close combat weaponry.
Most Sternguard Veterans carry Boltguns, though heavier weapons are also available, such as a Missile Launcher and Lascannon, but these are normally eschewed for the more portable Bolter. Any potential shortfall in firepower is compensated for by the range of specialist Bolter ammunition a Sternguard Veteran can carry into battle, including unstable flux core Vengeance Rounds for heavily armoured targets, propellant-rich Kraken Bolts for extended-range engagements and the acidic fury of Hellfire rounds for bringing down even the angriest Greenskin or Tyranid monstrosity.
In most Codex Astartes-compliant Chapters there is a rivalry of sorts between the Vanguard and Sternguard halves of the Veteran 1st Company. These factions compete endlessly for honours and hazardous combat duties -- the glories and shames of their adherents celebrated and atoned for by all. Despite this innate rivalry, Vanguard and Sternguard Veterans remain Battle-Brothers above all else, and fight unto the death for one another.
The role of the sternguard Vetrans is flexible and they are usually sent to where they are needed most in battle be that capturing and defending a vital objective deep in enemy lines after deploying by drop pod or smiting their foes at range using kraken bolts. There are not many situations where a Sternguard Veteran Squad would not suffice as they are more flexible than a standard Tactical Squads in their battlefield role.
May select one of the following for a dedicated transport:
- Power Armour
- Master-Crafted Bolter or Bolt Pistol
- Special Issue Ammunition - All Sternguard Veterans have been equipped with special forms of Bolter ammunition which include the following:
- Dragonfire Bolts - Dragonfire Bolts are hollow-shelled bolts that explode with a gout of superheated gas that can eliminate the value of cover for enemy troops.
- Hellfire Bolts - Hellfire Bolts are designed for use against organic targets, specifically the Tyranids. The core and tip are replaced with a vial of mutagenic acid and thousands of needles. When the round enters the target's body, the vial shatters and the needles pierce the victim's flesh, pumping the acid into the target.
- Kraken Penetrator Rounds - Kraken Penetrator Rounds are potent, more power armour-piercing rounds than the standard bolt. The uranium core is replaced by a solid Adamantium core and uses a heavier main charge. Upon impact, the outer casing peels away and the high-velocity Adamantium needle accelerates into the victim, where the larger detonator propels shards of super-hardened metal further into the wound. These are effective against heavily-armoured infantry.
- Vengeance Rounds - Vengeance Round bolts were created using unstable flux core technology that makes them hazardous to use but extremely potent at penetrating through heavily armoured targets. As their name implies, these bolts were developed by the Imperium specifically to target the Chaos Space Marines of the Traitor Legions.
- Frag Grenades
- Krak Grenades
Optional Wargear Upgrades
- Close Combat Weapon (Chainsword, Power Weapon, Lightning Claws, Plasma Pistol, or Power Fist)
- Melta Bomb
- Storm Bolter
- Combi-Melta, Combi-flamer, or Combi-plasma gun
- Heavy Bolter
- Missile Launcher
- Plasma Gun
- Plasma Cannon
- Heavy Flamer
- Codex: Space Marines (7th Edition), pp. 99-200, 322-324
- Codex: Space Marines (6th Edition), pp. 86-87, 170
- Codex: Space Marines (5th Edition), pp. 63, 136