These psyker-warriors have deeply-ingrained mystical traditions identical to those of the tribal shamans and holy men who rode the plains of the White Scars' homeworld of Chogoris with their Primarch Jaghatai Khan before the coming of the Emperor of Mankind.
The Space Marine Librarians are amongst the most potent of Mankind's psykers. The Stormseers of the White Scars perform the same functions for their Chapter as the psychic warriors of other Astartes Chapters. Since the time before their Chapter's Founding, when they were the shamans who first named Jaghatai Khan the Great Khan of the nomadic tribes of Chogoris, the Stormseers have been called upon to continue to induct Neophytes and newly elevated Khans of their Chapter.
Every ten local summers, the Stormseers venture down into the steppes to observe the tribes and their battles, picking only the best and bravest warriors and returning them to their fortress-monastery of Quan Zhou to become Aspirants of the Chapter. The constant warring ensures that the people remain strong, though the White Scars have to be vigilant that such feuds are not retained as Aspirants become Neophytes and Neophytes transition into Initiates.
Another manner in which Aspirants are chosen is by way of the tradition of youngsters entering the mountains to pay homage at the tomb of a fallen White Scar. The pyre-tombs of fallen White Scars in the Khum Karta (which means "The Mountains that Scrape the Stars") are places of great pilgrimage for the young tribal warriors, and those that survive the journey through one of these dangerous valleys are considered especially courageous.
Such pilgrimages are perilous in the extreme, and simply surviving one is a great deed in itself that may, if the pilgrim is deemed worthy, grant a place in the ranks of the Aspirants.
When a Great Khan is lost on the field of battle, it is the Stormseers who are called upon to decide who his successor will be to lead the Chapter. The Stormseers will then retreat to the caves of the steep peaks of the Khum Katra Mountains of Chogoris.
There, Brotherhood Khans (company Captains) present themselves to be tested and scrutinised by the Stormseers. The trials used by the Stormseers to discover who the next Great Khan will be are unknown. Few candidates survive the arduous process, and those that do never speak of the trials they endured to become the new Great Khan of the Chapter.
At some point in his life, every White Scar must face and master the full implications of his own power. The wildness within, when combined with the potency granted by the Space Marines' genetically enhanced physiology, is a fearsome weapon indeed, and one that can be as harmful to the subject as to his enemies. Each time he draws upon his ferocity in the heat of battle, the White Scar takes a step closer to the precipice, beyond which lies the damnation of bloodlust and killing for the sheer pleasure of it.
Worse, the line is invisible until almost crossed, and so the Battle-Brother must exercise prodigious willpower not to exceed it inadvertently. While the vast majority recognise the line when it finally becomes visible and in so doing gain unprecedented mastery of themselves, some do not. Of these, the White Scars never speak, and their names are hewn from the tablets for all time. It is one of the tasks of the Stormseers to guide their Battle-Brothers in this journey, whatever its destination.
The other responsibilities of the Stormseer include teaching White Scars Aspirants the core beliefs of their Chapter. They firmly believe it is the manifest duty of the White Scars to destroy the enemies of the Imperium, awaiting the day that that Emperor will rise again, signalling the return of their lost Primarch and the beginning of the next Great Crusade to unify all of humanity.
The Stormseers believe that their powers are connected to the animistic spirits of the land and the air, and that as long as these natural forces fight beside them, the White Scars will always be victorious. These elemental, animistic beliefs and the highly stylized Force Staff used by Stormseers tie these warrior-mystics to their shamanistic past on the steppes of Chogoris.
- Power Armour - Stormseers wear mostly blue-coloured Power Armour denoting their specialist position within the Chapter. This armour often displays protective animistic talismans and fetishes such as horse tails, common to the shamans of the tribes of Chogoris, that nullify the affects of enemy psychic abilities.
- Psychic Hood - Psychic hoods are commonly used by Astartes Librarians. These arcane devices are lined with psi-enhancing crystals that amplify the wearer’s psychic powers. More importantly, they render the wearer capable of nullifying the effects that other psykers can unleash.
- Force Staff - A Force Staff is the signature tool of the Stormseers, and takes the form of a staff that reflects the tribal culture of Chogoris. These staffs are crafted from the wood taken from trees on Chogoris that were raised in the soil near the Khum Katra Mountains. Carved with protective sigils and canticles of banishment, the weapon affords excellent protection against the powers of the Warp. These staffs are highly prized treasures which gradually absorb the psychic imprint of their owner, becoming more closely tailored to the Stormseer's mind. It is said that if a Stormseer lives to a great age, his staff becomes a living part of him, and that after his death the staff lives on, preserving something of its former master's thoughts and powers.
- Dueling Tulwar - Many White Scars possess special curved blades, patterned upon the Tulwars used by the Chogorian people. They are created for duelling and battle alike and are carried in anticipation of the inevitable close combat that many battles culminate in. The particular shape and balance of these weapons allows them to be wielded swiftly and deftly, moving from defence to attack at lightning speed. They are carried either in addition to, or in lieu of, a Combat Knife, depending on the individual’s preferences. Traditionally, ritual duels between comrades are common between Chogorian tribesmen, and while the feuds that inspire many such duels are rare amongst the White Scars, the practice of duelling to resolve personal disputes, to hone skills, or even simply for the love of a challenge, remains strong in the Chapter.
Stormseer Psychic Powers
Because the tribes from which the White Scars recruit are so attuned to the land and the seasons, the Chapter’s Battle-Brothers have an intrinsic empathy with their environment. The Stormseers are able to call upon the very elemental forces of nature at their beck and call to battle their enemies. Due to these innate abilities, Stormseers possess a number of unique psychic abilities that standard Chapter Librarians do not. These powers are psychic as well as elemental in nature:
- Heart of the Khan - The Stormseer reaches deep into the legacy of Jaghatai Khan, and brings forth the legendary swiftness and ferocity of the White Scars' Primarch, enhancing the speed and strength of his Battle-Brothers.
- The Howling Wind - The Stormseer gathers the powerful winds of the Chogorian steppes, driving them forwards to cast aside the enemy.
- Spirits of the Steppes - The Stormseer calls upon the spirits of the land, air, and the souls of long-dead warriors to bring some fragment of the harsh steppes of Chogoris to the battlefield he walks upon. It is said that so long as these forces of nature fight alongside them, the White Scars will always be victorious.
- Stormlance - The Stormseer is able to call upon the elemental force of lightning that embodies his Chapter’s way of war, and brings it to bear against his enemies.
- Totem of Subetai - Across the Jericho Reach, many Stormseers who served in the Deathwatch are venerated for their heroic acts and the vaults of Watch Fortress Erioch are filled with artefacts from countless Stormseers that have served the Deathwatch in aeons past. One such artefact is the Totem of Subetai — a long staff adorned with a beast skull and a knot of course hair. No records remain of Subetai or his accomplishments, but his staff has served other Stormseers through the millennia. The staff helps Stormseers in focusing their powers, channelling ancient spirits and casting their auguries for the great Khans and the brothers of the Deathwatch.
- Deathwatch: First Founding (RPG), pp. 27-34, 103, 128-129
- Deathwatch: Rites of Battle (RPG), pg. 114
- Index Astartes I, ""Lightning Attack - The White Scars Space Marines Chapter," pp. 40-47
- White Dwarf 259 (US), "Psykana Librarius - Space Marine Librarians"
- White Dwarf 257 (UK), "Index Astartes I: Index Astartes - Lightning Attack - The White Scars Space Marine Chapter"
- War Without End (Anthology) by Aaron Dembski-Bowden, Nick Kyme, Graham McNeill, Chris Wraight, John French, Guy Haley, David Annandale, Gav Thorpe, and Anthony Reynolds (Cover)