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This article, Bears of the Claw, was written by Algrim Whitefang. It may be linked to any page without asking for the author's permission.



The Bears of the Claw are a fierce and savage Loyalist Space Marine Chapter created during the 20th Founding in late M35, and from unknown lineage. The Bears of the Claw are mostly known for their spirit, respect and determination, but are also known for being very devastating in combat. They worship the Emperor above all, but also strongly respect the ancient relic weapon known to them as The Claw - a relic artefact of ancient provenance, which is passed down to each successive Chapter Master of the Chapter. Currently, this fearsome relic is in the hands of Karmarth, the current Master of the Claw.

For several millennia, unlike other Chapters, the Bears of the Claw did not possess the usual number of 1,000 battle-brothers, instead numbering around 700, after suffering the tragic loss of three whole companies in M39. Despite their smaller size, the Chapter's ferocity and stubbornness in the face of overwhelming odds, more than made up for their lack of numbers. However, with the closing of M41 and the dawning of a new millennium, the recent Ultima Founding has given the Chapter an unlooked-for opportunity to return to full-strength. With their ranks bolstered by genetically superior Primaris Space Marines, the Bears of the Claw have been fully restored, and now take the fight to the myriad of humanity's foes that assail the Imperium on all sides.

Chapter History

"We were created when the Imperium was beset by enemies both within and without. It was world against world, tyrants rose and fell, and the Imperium was in disruption. Out of this anarchy we came. Our gene-seed comes from one of the First Founding Chapters, but which one is not certain, as all records were lost during the many battles of our Chapter's first crusade. We are the Emperor's loyal sons, from which Primarch we spring is unknown. No matter..we may not know our Father, but we know our Patriarch, for He is the immortal Emperor of Mankind."
— Arktos Bloodborne, Sixth Bearer & Master of the Claw, speaking to newly inducted Neophytes

The Bears of the Claw Space Marine Chapter was created amidst the anarchy and upheaval of the late 35th Millennium, during the waning years of the Nova Terra Interregnum, when the Imperium of Mankind had been split into two separate twin-empires. This period of divided rule lasted for nine centuries, until the year 975.M35. The Ecclesiarchy attempted to rebuild the sundered Imperium following the strife of internecine conflict that had plunged must of the Imperium into upheaval and civil unrest. They hoped to rebuild the Emperor's realm into a religious state that transcended political differences. Billions would die in the religious war that ensued when the Ur-Council of Nova Terra rejected the Ecclesiarchy's teachings, unleashing a new civil war, the likes of which had not been seen since the Horus Heresy.

To ensure that those who remained recalcitrant were brought to heel, the High Lords of Terra authorised the 20th Founding of the Adeptus Astartes, which took part sometime between 975-991.M35. The Bears of the Claw were one such Chapter created during this tumultuous period in the Imperium's history, created alongside other stalwart Chapters such as the Iron Scorpions, Iron Wardens and the Emerald Vanguard. The Bears of the Claw were presumably created from one of the First Founding Chapters, but as records from this time period are spotty at best, their true lineage has been lost to history.

During these troubled times, the newly created Bears of the Claw Chapter launched a Crusade to put down those who rejected the authority of the High Lords of Terra and the Ecclesiarchy. They cleansed nearly a dozen worlds during their campaign through the Sol System and the Segmentum Pacificus. Later in 980.M35, the Bears of the Claw took part in facing a new threat - the alien Hrud. They took part in the Imperial task force that cleansed the Hrud infestations that erupted across the Imperium at this time, cleansing four different assigned sectors as they hunted down the insidious xenos to extinction. In recognition of their steadfast and dedicated service, the High Lords of Terra awarded the young Chapter with an ancient Maelstrom-class Galleass of War. The Bears of the Claw made this mighty vessel their new flagship, naming it Ferrum Ursus. Since that bygone era, the Bears of the Claw Chapter has continued its role as stalwart defenders of the Emperor's realm, bringing sword and claw to their enemies, both without and within.

Notable Campaigns

  • Cataclysm of Souls (975.M35) - Following nearly nine centuries of internecine conflict, known in Imperial history as the Nova Terra Interregnum, between the Imperium of Man and the secessionist empire of the Segmentum Pacificus, finally comes to an epic conclusion. When the Imperium's ruling religious leaders of the Ecclesiarchy attempted to impose their will and make the sundered Imperium whole once again through the teachings of the Imperial Cult, the Ur-Council of Nova Terra violently rejected them as well as the will of the High Lords of Terra. This resulted in a series of religious wars, the likes if which haven't been seen since the Great Betrayal, that sees the death of billions of souls. During this time, the High Lords of Terra approve a new Founding of the Adeptus Astartes, thus, the 20th Founding occurs. The newly created Bears of the Claw are one these Chapters created during this troubled time. The Chapter proceed to undertake a five year long crusade through the Segmentum Solar and Segmentum Pacificus, freeing a number a myriad of worlds from tyranny and civil strife, and in the process kill thousands of apostates and renegades.
  • Hrud Rising (980.M35) - Following the Bears' first successful Crusade, they are once again called upon by the Senatorum Imperialis to face a new threat - the xenos Hrud - who recent infestations have erupted across the length and breadth of the Imperium. The Bears of the Claw take part in the Imperial task force to cleanse the Hrud infestations and successful cleanse four different assigned sectors as they eradicated the xenos menace. In recognition of their dedication and steadfast service, the High Lords of Terra award the young Chapter a powerful relic warship, that dates back to the time of the Great Crusade.
  • The Reign of Blood (ca. 200-270.M36 ) - At the dawning of a new millennium, the entire Imperium was soon plunged into even deeper despair. The incidence of warp storms increased by an order of magnitude, cutting many worlds from one another. Central governance of worlds limited to periodic contact at the best of times entirely collapsed. Hive worlds that relied on nearby agri-worlds to feed their populations were reduced to charnel houses ruled by cannibals. Where the Black Ships of the Adeptus Astra Telepathica were unable to get through, entire populations fell to daemonic incursion or Enslaver domination. Civil war and anarchy beset the Imperium, with those planets that remained accessible being ruthlessly suppressed by the Bears of the Claw Chapter. This tumultuous era came to be known as the Age of Apostasy. During this time, the myriad enemies of humanity saw that Mankind was tearing themselves apart, and so, they struck a fell blow. The Traitor Legions sallied forth from the Eye of Terror, while Orks and Dark Eldar increased their raids on defenceless Imperial worlds. The entire Imperium was gripped by an apocalyptic frenzy of doom and anarchy. During this time an individual by the name of Goge Vandire, who was both Ecclesiarch and High Lord of the Adeptus Administratum, rose to power and seized the reigns of power over the strife-ridden Imperium. When he eventually fell from the Emperor's light it sparked a civil war that would last for another seven decades. His dark reign was a time of absolute authority executed without restraint or sanity, where worlds were virus–bombed at whim and vast armies mustered to destroy Imperial subjects for suspected or imagined sedition. During this brutal and bloody era, the Bears of the Claw stood fast like a beacon in the long dark night, against the various marauding xenos and apostate threats. They did their best to fortify as many worlds as they were able while still undertaking their traditional duties as best they could. The Bears stayed on the defensive, protecting the few star systems they could from the ravages of the Age of Apostasy and the carnage of Vandire's so-called 'Reign of Blood'.
  • Wrath & Retribution (298-304.M36) - Following the death of the tyrant Goge Vandire and the elevation of his replacement, Sebastian Thor, as the new Ecclesiarch of the Adeptus Ministorum, Thor leaves the Ecclesiarchal Palace and journeys throughout the Imperium, quelling heresy and apostasy. The Bears of the Claw are one of many Adeptus Astartes Chapter that takes an active hand in helping to bring order to a fractured Imperium, rife with civil discourse. Those that foolishly still follow the Apostate High Lord are ruthlessly brought to heel, as the Bears shattered many petty empires and outlaw planetary forces. For six years, the Bears of the Claw help liberate nearly a dozen or more worlds from both tyrants and various xenos invaders or corsairs, helping to bring stability and peace to several regions of the Segmentum Solar following the dark age of the Apostasy, sweeping away the final remnants of Vandire's influence.
  • Xalaxian Xenocide (368-374.M36) - The Bears of the Claw and their brutal cousins, the Emerald Vanguard, undertake a joint xenocidal campaign against a hitherto unknown xenos known as the Xalaxians upon the Imperial Hive World of Solani. This savage campaign lasts six years, and sees the death of billions of innocents. During the final engagement, the Emerald Vanguard are drawn into a cunning trap by the Xalaxians. With the loss of many of their battle-brothers, the Emerald Vanguard are severely outnumbered. Prepared to face their imminent destruction they boldly prepare to sell their lives dearly. Seeing their plight, the Bears of the Claw, led by Lord Rurik Grimclaw, fight their way through the Xalaxian's lines to save their fellow Astartes Chapter. Leading a corps of Terminator-armoured Battleborn elite, Rurik is slain when he confronts the Xalaxian Overlord. Bolstered by their cousins and emboldened by Lord Rurik's sacrifice, the Emerald Vanguard proceeds to lead the final assault upon the Xalaxian Overlord's position and take the foul creature's head. From then on, the two Chapters forge a strong warrior bond and continue to fight alongside the other in numerous campaigns.
  • 5th Black Crusade (723.M36) - Abaddon the Despoiler and his Black Legion fleet sally forth from the Eye of Terror and proceed launch a series of Chaos attacks on a dozen worlds within the Elysia Sector in the Segmentum Obscurus. The Warmaster's Chaos Lords destroy oversee the destruction of several Imperial cities, shrines and temples while his fleet keeps the Imperial Navy's Battlefleet Obscurus engaged in deep void skirmishes. The Bears of the Claw are one of several Chapters that answers the Segmentum Command's call to arms. Dividing their forces into three separate strike groups, the Bears are busy engaging the Forces of Chaos on several different worlds in an attempt to relieve beleaguered Imperial forces. Abaddon's intention was to create a sector-wide conflict that would provoke a massive response from the Imperium and draw in several Chapters of the Adeptus Astartes. His plans set in motion, Abaddon proceeds to lead the bulk of his Black Legion to the city of Kasr Lutien on the world of Tarinth, burning the great city to the ground and enslaving its people. It is here, that the Despoiler lures two Chapters, the Warhawks and Venerators, in a cunningly laid trap where they are utterly destroyed. While engaged with Abaddon's diversionary attacks, word reaches the Bears of the demise of these two fellow Space Marine Chapters. They swear mighty oaths of vengeance to see the Despoiler dead at their hands for committing such base treachery.
  • Wrath of the Chaos Sun (010.M37) - In the Maxil Beta System, a red giant star explodes in a warp-tained supernova. All those touched by its dark Chaos energies are mutated, possessed or destroyed outright. The Imperium mobilises every military asse within fifty light-years of the event. The Bears of the Claw are one of several Adeptus Astartes Chapters that are sent straight to war. The Bears are instrumental in helping cleanse several world within the system and eventually, the resultant disaster is eventually contained at the cost of uncounted billions of human lives.
  • The Legacy of the Bears (Unknown Date - Late.M37) - During the latter years of M37, the 23rd Founding, the so-called 'Sentinel' Founding, was instituted by order of the High Lords of Terra. This was a series of linked foundings instituted by the Imperium to help restore order to a galaxy rife with civil discourse and strife. A new Chapter, the Dark Claws, was created from the lineage of the fierce and savage Bears of the Claw. Given their relative youth as a Chapter at the time, this was a testament to the high regard in which the Bears of the Claw were held by the High Twelve. They were granted this esteemed honour in recognition for their loyal and stalwart service during the preceding millenium, which was marked by such calamities as the Age of Apostasy, the disastrous 21st 'Cursed' Founding, attacks by the Forces of Chaos and a rampage of Orks that had been left almost unchecked along the frontier of the Imperium's borders. The Bears of the Claw were selected for their loyalty, dedication and most importantly, their strength and fortitude, making them an ideal Chapter to be selected to have their lineage passed on. According to extant Imperial records, no fewer than 57 Space Marine Chapters had been destroyed, turned renegade or declared lost in the Warp during the preceding millennium. The newly created Dark Claws Chapter were created as one of several new replacement Chapters to help stand sentinel against the myriad of threats that assailed the Imperium on all sides. Following the inception and indoctrination by their progenitors, the Dark Claws were assigned to help defend the Aliris Sector. They were stationed as one of several Space Marine Chapters assigned to the Hadronian Wall Sub-Sector along the border of the Cadian Sector which is heavily militarised as a second line of defence against the enemies from the Eye of Terror. The Chapter claimed the verdant death world of Arktos as their own, and garrisoned the planet in orbit above in their ancient star fortress Ferus Unguis. As custodians of this notable death world, the Chapter decided to change their name, taking their name from their new Chapter homeworld, renaming themselves the 'Claws of Arktos'.
  • The Woe of the Bears (Unknown Date.M39) - In what is now a largely forgotten episode of the Imperium's history, the southern fringe of the Segmentum Tempestus was assailed by wave after wave of Ork nomad fleets, xenoform migrations and strange psychic phenomenon which themselves caused a near epidemic of Witch Cults, alien infestations and daemonic incursions. Seen now by some sources within the Ordo Xenos as a precursor to the coming of the Tyranids, these events were largely unrecognised at the time as forming a pattern, as the eyes of the Imperium were focused on threats elsewhere. The Bears of the Claw had suffered severe attrition in a series of multiple campaigns defending the Imperium's borders against invading xenos species, including the Orks and Hrud outbreaks. The Bears had been reduced to 700 Battle-Brothers when their own Chapter fleet was assailed by a much larger Dark Eldar Cabal raiding fleet. Despite still licking their wounds, the tenacious Bears were quickly roused to war and fought against the vile xenos in a series of deadly boarding actions that resulted in the loss of several hundred of their fellow battle-brothers. Though they made the Drukhari corsairs pay dearly, the sheer number of the enemy soon began to take its toll on the Bears. Facing annihilation, the Bears reluctantly sent an astropathic distress call into void, as they prepared to sell themselves dearly in one last glorious final stand. Fortunately, their desperate cry for help was answered in the form of the savage Blood Vultures Chapter, which had been campaigning in a nearby sector against an Enslaver outbreak. Arriving in their Chapter's entirety, the Blood Vultures proceeded to launch a rapid counter-strike against the upstart xenos, and soon, the warriors of both Chapters fought side-by-side with their cousins, wreaking terrible slaughter against their Dark Eldar foes. The Bears of the Claw had suffered terrible casualties, including the loss of their Master of the Claw, Lord Karnak Bloodclaw. After bloodily executing the Drukhari Cabal's Archon, the two Chapters formed a strong alliance and each swore a blood-debt to one another. The Bears promised that should the Blood Vultures ever be so threatened they would respond in kind. Down the millennia, both Chapters have answered this call on at least a dozen occasions. It took many decades for the Bears of the Claw to rebuild their numbers to fighting strength, but before they were at full Chapter-strength, they were once again called to war by the High Lords of Terra. Standing at only 700 battle-brothers, the Bears of the Claw took this as a sign from the Allfather, and since that time have continued the tradition of maintaining this number of warriors in honour of their predecessors.
  • Woe of the Sons of Lorgar (238.M40) - When a warp storm engulfs the Kellebos System, the unwary Imperial worlds are subjected to massive insurrections, instigated by long-hidden Chaos Cults secretly aligned with the nefarious Word Bearers Traitor Legion. Through the sacrifice of several thousand innocents, the cultists are able to pierce the veil, summoning a legion of daemonic allies. To make matters worse, a large Chaos fleet arrives in-system - it is the cultists' true masters, the dreaded Word Bearers. The Heretic Astartes launch a planetary assault on the nearest world, and with the successful subjugation of the doomed planet, move onto the next. Slowly, the system is conquered one world at a time. The Bears of the Claw are the first to respond to the desperate calls for aid by the beleaguered worlds of the Kellebos System. The Bears burn a white-hot scar of retribution across the worlds of the Chaos-helf system. The Word Bearers mount a fleet-based crusade of their own, and soon, both sides clash on a hundred battlefields. The war escalates massively as other Adeptus Astartes Chapters join the fight. By the time the system is retaken, the once-populous system has been decimated, with several worlds consumed in nucleonic fire.
  • Callistos Exculpation (533.M40) - When the worlds of the Callistos Sub-Sector fell under siege by the notorious Black Devourers Chaos Warband, their arch-rivals - the Iron Blood Chapter - answered the pleas of the Sector Governor for aid against these vile Heretic Astartes, and according to records, deployed enmasse to face this dire threat. Upon the sector capital world of Athalios, these two bitter foes faced one another on the battlefield. But the Black Devourers laid a cunning trap for their hated foes, having forged a secret alliance with the Tzeentchian Chaos Warband - the Obsidian Suns. Using their foul sorcery, the Tzeentchian Warband hid themselves behind malefic glamours, revealing themselves only when the Iron Blood Chapter had been wholly drawn into their deadly trap. As the Black Devourers herded the loyalist Space Marines, the Obsidian Suns launched an attack on their vulnerable flank. Hoards of Rubric Marines marched in perfect lockstep, laying down a heavy barrage of bolter and warpflame fire as the Warband's Exalted Sorcerer overlords floated above them upon their cursed discs, casting deadly spells as they chanted in cursed daemon tongues, bringing destruction and ruin to the valiant Iron Blood Astartes. Sensing their inevitable doom, the remaining Iron Blood Astartes formed a phalanx-formation and prepared to sell their lives dearly, determined to take as many of the enemy with them to hell. But it was at this moment that a miracle occurred. A force of silver armoured Astartes bearing the livery of the Bears of the Claw appeared unexpectedly and attacked the Obsidian Sun forces from behind. Forced to redeploy, as they found themselves faced with the prospect of having to make a breakout, the Rubric Marines were commanded to make straight for the Bears, as the Tzeentchian sorcerers judged the new arrivals as the lesser threat of the two Space Marine forces. The Bears of the Claw stood resolute in the face of the storm of eldritch firepower, against which the formidable Astartes stood seemingly impervious. The Iron Blood were able to take advantage of this temporary distraction and were able to press the attack on the enemy's rear as the Bears held the Obsidian Suns Warband in place. The Heretic Astartes were destroyed in short order, caught between the immovable anvil of the Bears and the irresistible hammer of the Iron Blood. Faced with annihilation, the Exalted Sorcerers cast a powerful spell and teleported the Obsidian Suns away from the field of battle in a blinding flash of incandescent light, leaving their Black Devourers allies to face the wrath of both Space Marine Chapters, alone. The allied loyalist Astartes forces then focused their undivided attention upon the remaining Chaos Warband, pressing the attack against the outnumbered Heretic Astartes. Knowing that the battle was lost, the Black Devourers withdrew from the field of battle and fled the surface of Athalios. As soon as the Forces of Chaos were defeated and the Imperial forces were victorious, without preamble, the Bears of the Claw departed just as quickly as they had arrived, to continue their neverending Crusade.
  • 13th Black Crusade (999.M41) - The Warmaster of Chaos - Abaddon the Despoiler - launches his largest invasion of the Forces of Chaos, in order to remove the last obstacle to his full-scale invasion of the Milky Way Galaxy, and launches an all-out assault against the Fortress-World of Cadia and its surrounding systems. The Imperium responds in kind, sending a large Imperial counter-strike force against the Forces of Chaos, including dozens of Adeptus Astartes - including the Bears of the Claw - as well as other various Imperial military forces and their Adeptus Mechanicus allies. Though the Imperial forces halt Abaddon's advance, and manages to take back several systems that had been invaded by Heretic Astartes forces, in the end, their efforts did little to prevent the ill-fated destruction of the bastion world of Cadia. With the destruction of the Fortress World of Cadia, the warp-riven galaxy is cracked asunder as the material universe and the Immaterium merge. A large tear in reality splits the galaxy in twain - from the Eye of Terror all the way towards the Eastern Fringe - forming the Great Rift. As the Noctis Aeterna sweeps over the northern reaches of the galaxy, cutting off the light of the Astronomican and all astrotelepathic communications, the northern half of the galaxy is all but isolated by the encroaching darkness, forming the Imperium Nihilus, or 'Dark Imperium'. With the waxing might of the Ruinous Powers, thousands of worlds are trapped within the Dark Imperium and are beset upon by the myriad enemies of the Emperor of Mankind, including the Forces of Chaos and xenos like the Tyranids, Orks and Drukhari. Surviving the destruction of the fortress world, the Bears of the Claw are forced to withdraw.
  • Indomitus Crusade (999.M41-111.M42) - Despite the dire events that had occurred in the Cadian System, all was not lost, as a miracle-of-miracles had occurred upon the Ultramarines' homeworld of Macragge - the Primarch Roboute Guilliman - had been resurrected from his millennia-long, deathless slumber! The news of the rebirth of the Avenging Sons quickly spread like wildfire across the Realm of Ultramar, and despite the difficulty of Astropathic communication, rumours that had begun to trickle out of the besieged Ultima Segmentum, and into the galaxy beyond. The resurrected Primarch and his Terran Crusade, faced untold hardships as they fought their way to the Throneworld, in order for Guilliman to commune with his father, the Emperor of Mankind. When the Primarch finally emerged from his father's chambers, he immediately assumed the post of Lord Commander of the Imperium and forcibly removed several High Lords of Terra from office and replaced them with individuals of his own choosing. As the terrible encroaching darkness descended upon the galaxy, the Primarch enacted his ultimate contingency plan, which had long been put into motion by Guilliman 100 standard centuries past. Utilising the sagacity of the Adeptus Mechanicus, combined with the long forgotten technology from the Dark Age of Technology, a new legion of transhuman warriors had been created beneath the surface of Mars - the Primaris Space Marines. Gathering a vast armada, along with elements of the Emperor's personal guardians - the Adeptus Custodes, the mysterious Silent Sisterhood, a large contingent of Adeptus Mechanicus forces and over a dozen pre-existing Adeptus Astartes Chapters, the newly-designated Lord Commander of the Imperium launched his Indomitus Crusade.
    • Darkness on All Sides (999.M41-019.042) - With the formation of the galaxy-spanning Great Rift, hells descends upon the galaxy, as the Immaterium spills into reality, unleashing daemonic horrors and the Forces of Chaos upon several nearby Imperial systems adjacent to the Cadian System, as they are engulfed in the warp's corrupting embrace. Across several of these system, madness and outright insurrection erupts as nascent psykers and daemons stalk these worlds as unholy power ripples through these localised areas of warpspace. Psykers are driven mad or transfigured into nascent, murderous demigods who kill thousands and further push those few worlds that remain under civilised control over the brink. Large swathes of these worlds were ravaged by daemonic hordes as they slaughtered millions of innocents and offered their innocent souls to their dark masters. In a long and blood campaign, the Bears of the Claw launch themselves wholeheartedly into the defence of these besieged systems, fighting a drawn-out protracted campaign one world at a time, the Bears batter their way into their daemonic foes and their Chaos Cultists allies, blasting apart their bastions and storming their fortresses, leaving bloody abattoirs in their wake. This protracted campaign to eradicate the Forces of Chaos from these system takes two decades as the Bears of the Claw and their fellow Imperial allies do not rest, until every world is cleansed of vile Chaotic taint. The Bears suffer severe casualties, as their numbers are whittled down to only four functioning Sleuths, leaving their numbers just below 400 battle-brothers. Despite the loss of so many Astartes, the Bears stood resolute against the endless legions of the damned, determined to sell themselves dearly. In their darkest hour, the Emperor answered the Bears' prayers in the form of a newly arrived Imperial fleet entering a nearby system. Though it has taken them several decades to reach this region of the galaxy, the forces of the resurrected Primarch Roboute Guilliman and his Indomitus Crusade launch themselves at the Forces of Chaos like a host of avenging angels, striking like a thunderbolt, and smashing the hordes of daemonic legions.
    • Bears of the Claw Primaris Intercessor of the 8th Sleuth ('Ripclaws').

      Ursus Gloriam - The Bears' Salvation (019.M42) - After fighting several major battles alongside the newly arrived forces of Primarch Guilliman's Crusade forces, these besieged Imperial worlds were finally freed of their daemonic oppressors. With victory achieved, the Bears and several other isolated Chapters that had joined Guilliman's crusading forces along the way, were finally granted a short audience with the new Lord Commander of the Imperium. Lord Guilliman revealed a profound gift to these battered and bloodied Chapters in the form of a new breed of warriors - the Primaris Space Marines. The Ultramarines Primarch had anticipated the need for such superior gene-bred heroes for this, the darkest age in the Imperium's history. Quickly perusing through the battle record of valorous deeds and heroic sacrifices made by the Chapters that now stood before him, Guilliman gifted each with hundreds of newly revealed Primaris Space Marines arrayed in newly forged battle-plate and wearing each individual Chapters' livery, to shore up their sorely depleted ranks. Nearly overnight, the Bears' numbers were not only replaced, but were finally made whole after functioning with only seven whole companies of battle-brothers for the past two millennia. The Bears of the Claw were now brought back to the Codex-mandated number of 1,000 battle-ready Astartes, something that had not occurred in the Chapter's history since M39. Master of the Claw, Lord Karmarth, graciously accepted the Lord Commander's profound gift and welcomed these new warriors into his Chapter's ranks. The Bears of the Claw worked hard to bring their new Primaris brethren into the fold, teaching them the rites of battle and training alongside them night and day until the new warriors fought seamlessly with the old. Once fully inducted into the rites of battle and traditions of the Chapter, the Bears of the Claw launched themselves wholeheartedly into the Indomitus Crusade, to bring the light of the Emperor to the darkest corners of the galaxy.

Chapter Home World

Having no home world to speak of, the Bears of the Claw are a fleet-based Chapter, operating solely from its substantial warfleet as part of a perpetual crusade. However, the Bears of the Claw do not appear to follow the standard 'Crusade' Chapter pattern of operations, like the Black Templars Chapter. Instead, they rely upon a much rarer operational strategy known as the 'Nomad-Predation', pattern. This fleet pattern evolved in use by certain Space Marine Chapters and certain Rogue Trader fleets operating beyond the Imperium's boundaries for extended periods of time. It refers to an entirely self-contained force that can sustain itself without any Imperial support whatsoever. A Nomad-Predation fleet may contain as many support vessels as true warships, or it may contain voidships capable of both combat and maintenance repairs. This second possibility may be more likely in the case of the Bears of the Claw; given the bellicose Chapter's propensity for combat, it seems unlikely they would tolerate vessels in their fleet's ranks that could not hold their own on the battle line.

A Nomad-Predation fleet voyages endlessly, pausing only to identify and engage its foes. It must choose its targets carefully, selecting those within its means to destroy without threatening the fleet’s viability as a fighting force. Once it selects the appropriate victims, it can descend upon them quickly and savagely, engaging and destroying potential threats or launching spoiling attacks against foes too large to attack in force. The fleet obtains resources from the vanquished foe before vanishing, safe from any potential retaliation.

Fortress-Monastery

The ancient Maelstrom-class Galleass of War, the Ferrum Ursus, serves as the Bears of the Claw's flagship and mobile fortress-monastery. This vessel of ancient provenance, is believed to be pre-Imperial in origin and constructed some time during the Dark Age of Technology. A noteworthy but relatively uncommon type of warship, a Galleass of War is the equivalent of a Grand Cruiser ("pocket battleships") which are often much larger physically. Much of the fabric of these mighty vessels were given over to freight and transport capacity, while still maintaining formidable armaments and defence. In times past, they made for ideal support vessels for deep-range explorations into unknown regions of space and as the flagships of the most powerful Rogue Traders Militant. The Ferrum Ursus is recorded to have participated as a vessel of the venerable VI Legion in numerous Compliance campaigns of the Great Crusade. The High Lords of Terra awarded the command of this ancient vessel to the Bears of the Claw Chapter for their diligence and valour during the Cataclysm of Souls in M35.

Chapter Recruitment

Though one cannot be certain that this is the means by which the Bears of the Claw operate, the use of the Nomad-Predation pattern seems to perfectly fit their preferred operating style. If this is the case, the Bears of the Claw most likely replenish their ranks in the same manner as those other Chapters that follow this pattern. Namely, they cull potential Initiates from amongst the young of the survivors of their assaults, provided those survivors are human and free of the corrupting influence of the Warp. These potential recruits are put through bloody trials and gladiatorial combat; only the strongest emerging to be hypno-indoctrinated into the Chapter. This intensive hypno-conditioning and other harsh procedures utilised by the Chapter's Chaplains are designed to strip away any past loyalty, replacing it with the will and attitudes of the Bears of the Claw.

Chapter Organisation

The Bears of the Claw differ somewhat from the prescriptions of the Codex Astartes in command structure, while remaining true to its tenets at the tactical and squad level. Prior to the events of the 13th Black Crusade and the subsequent Indomitus Crusade, the Chapter followed a unique organisation pattern derived in part, due to necessity, following their involvement in a series of campaigns during the 39th Millennium defending the Imperium's borders from raiding xenos, which saw the destruction of three whole companies. Since that time, the Bears of the Claw maintained seven companies (known as a 'Sleuth') per tradition. The Veteran Company, Battle Sleuths conform roughly to their Codex equivalents, maintaining a mixture of Battleline, Close Support and Fire Support Squads. However, since most of the Chapter's companies often operate independently of the Chapter for long periods of time, they also maintain their own detachments of Scout Squads. Like their Battle Sleuth counterparts, the Support Sleuths also comprises a mixture of various squad types, enabling them to operate independently as well, however, their primary purpose is to augment the Battle Sleuths by providing them additional squads of battle-ready warriors should they sustain a high number of casualties.

After their unification with Primarch Guilliman and his Indomitus Crusade, the Chapter's sorely depleted ranks were shored up with newly revealed Primaris Space Marines. The Bears' numbers were not only brought back to its original number of seven Sleuths, but they were granted enough of these superior gene-bred warriors to bring the Chapter's number back to its original Codex-mandated maximum number of 1,000 battle-brothers. With the advent of these new warriors into the Chapter, the Bears reconstituted those Sleuths that had been wiped out during the defence of Cadia as well as bringing back the long lost companies of the destroyed 8th, 9th and 10th Sleuths, whose livery had not been seen by the Imperium since the 39th Millennium.

The organisation of each Sleuth has been designed to operate independently for extended periods. Each possesses an augmented auxiliary force of dedicated spearhead of Terminator Veterans ('Battleborn') who serve as the Sleuth Captain's Honour Guard. They also still maintain the same mixture of Battleline, Close Support and Fire Support squads, however, each type of squad is now further enhanced by the addition of their Primaris brethren. Battleline Squads are comprised of both Firstborn Astartes whom perform the role of a standard Tactical Marine as well as Primaris Intercessors, the standard multi-role heavy infantry that are similar in combat function to their Tactical Marine counterparts. Close Support Squads have been further enhanced by the addition of Primaris Inceptors. Arrayed in Mark X Gravis variant Mark X power armour, advanced jump packs and wielding twin assault bolters, these swift-moving elements strike like a hurricane, hitting the enemy in one sudden and overwhelming blow, leaving them reeling as follow-up waves of battle-brothers arrive to drive home the attack.

Fire Support Squads are now comprised of Firstborn Astartes who still perform the role of a standard Devastator Marine, but have been greatly enhanced by the addition of both Primaris Hellblasters and Aggressor squads. Hellblasters are armed with formidable Mark III Belisarius pattern plasma incinerators, serving in a heavy fire support role, enabling them to crack open an enemy battleline, blunt a foe's armoured spearhead or fell the most hulking of xenos creatures. Not even the thickest armour plating can withstand such tremendous plasma blasts for long. Aggressors are clad in heavy Gravis armour and equipped with a pair of gauntlet-mounted weapons - boltstorm gauntlets which can spray wide volleys of explosive bolts, mowing down waves of enemy infantry, or flamestorm gauntlets - which spray fiery bursts outwards in searing sheets of deadly flame - bringing certain death to tightly packed enemies. Back-mounted fragstorm grenade launchers add to the carnage, blasting holes into oncoming formations with great blossoms of shrapnel-filled explosives. Those few foes that miraculously survive such a hurricane of firepower are met by a pair of swinging power fists, each blow able to crumple a battle tank.

The Chapter also does not maintain a dedicated Scout Company as required by the dictates of the Codex, instead each Sleuth maintains a detachment of Neophytes and Initiates which are considered an auxiliary force. They are utilised for reconnaissance and evaluation of the enemy. However, these scout squads are augmented by the addition of deadly Primaris Reivers - deadly terror troops, trained and equipped so that their sudden appearance spreads fear up and down the enemy lines. It is their role to sow fear and confusion amongst the enemy forces, and so they will emerge from the shadows amidst the blaring of their concussive shock grenades. Gone are their silent ways, replaced with a cacophony. Even the Reivers' quick-firing bolt carbines are modified to add to this effect, the weapons' wave-amplified muzzle blasts roaring.

The Chapter's Sleuths are further enhanced with the addition of deadly Vanguard Space Marines. These Primaris Astartes are ruthless killers, trained to operate behind enemy lines as saboteurs, assassins and infiltrators. Vanguard Marines are not a single unit, but several different types of squads who perform different roles for an overall Vanguard force.

Like all Chapters, the actual strength of the Bears of the Claw can vary greatly based upon current levels of attrition in the ranks and the status of its Scout force. The Scout force in particular can vary in size, as the Chapter is notoriously harsh on its Neophytes, brooking no signs of weakness or failure in them.

Officer Ranks

  • Master of the Claw - Chapter Master equivalent.
  • Chieftain - Captain equivalent.
  • Lieutenant

Specialist Ranks

  • Reclusiarch
  • Chaplain
  • Chief Librarian
  • Librarian
  • Chief Apothecary
  • Master of the Forge
  • Techmarine

Line Ranks

  • Veteran Sergeant
  • Sergeant
  • Brother of the Claw - Battle-Brother equivalent.
  • Scout Marine
  • Neophyte

Specialist Formations

  • Ursus Guard - The Ursus Guard are the elite Terminator-armoured veteran formation that serve as the personal bodyguard of the Master of the Claw. These warriors embody the duality of life as their Chapter Master's favoured warriors; bolstered by the finest wargear and the presence of their sire, yet continuously tested in the most arduous fights so none can question their prowess. The bounty of their lord's favour extends to their extensive arsenal of the Chapter's finest vehicles as well as personal wargear. As the elite of the Bears of the Claw Chapter, these warriors have proven themselves time and again over several decades of constant warfare. Virtually all have sustained severe injuries and possess extensive augmetics. Their value to the Chapter is such, that they are rarely deployed en mass, but when they are, it is said even the most heavily defended enemy position lasts less than a day before it's overrun by these ferocious defenders of Mankind.

Non-Astartes Personnel

  • Bondsman - Chapter Serf equivalent.

Order of Battle

The following represents the order of battle of the Bears of the Claw Chapter as it currently stands:

Headquarters

Sleuth of the Master of the Claw


Celtic Bear Claw Stylised white.png
Lord Karmarth, Eighteenth Bearer & Master of the Claw
Chapter Master of the Bears of the Claw
Chapter Champion Korak Artair, 'Baneclaw'
Totem Guard (Honour Guard)
Command Squad (Chapter Standard Bearer Torbernus Chullain, Chaplain Galvin Murchad, Epistolary Bethor Ragallach, Apothecary Tormah Gormlaith, Techmarine Nereus)
Veteran Squads
Scout Squads (Includes Reivers)
Vanguard Squads
Chapter Serfs
Librarium Relusiarchy Apothecarion Fleet Command Armoury
Librarius Icon.png
Chief Librarian Artio Galek, 'Stormclaw'
Epistolaries
Codiciers
Lexicaniums
Acolytum
Furioso Librarian Dreadnoughts
Chapter Serfs
Reclusium Icon.png
Reclusiarch Uther Orso
Chaplains
Chaplain Initiates
Chapter Serfs
Winged Prime Helix.png
Chief Apothecary Mahon Eremon
Apothecaries
Chapter Serfs
Master of the Fleet Raif Larkin
1 Maelstrom-class Galleass of War (Ferrus Ursus)
4 Battle Barges
7 Strike Cruisers
15 Rapid Strike Vessels (Escorts)
35 Thunderhawk Gunships
3 Thunderhawk Tranports
Machina Opus Techmarine.png
Master of the Forge Kinak
30 Techmarines
95 Servitors
20 Predators
18 Predators
6 Vindicators
5 Whirlwinds
40 Land Raiders
45 Stormraven Gunships

Companies

Veteran Sleuth Battle Sleuths
1st Sleuth
'Battleborn'
2nd Sleuth
'Bloody Paws'
3rd Sleuth
'Ursa Guard'
4th Sleuth
'The Blood Bears'
5th Sleuth
'Fellclaws'
Bear Paw Tribal white.png
Chieftain Dhargus Scanlon, 'Steelclaws',
Regent of the Ferrus Ursus
2 Lieutenants
Command Squad: Standard Bearer, Chaplain, Apothecary, Company Champion, Lexicanium
Honour Guard
Veteran Squads (Includes Terminators)
Scout Squads (Includes Reivers)
Vanguard Squads
Dreadnoughts
2. Bloody Paws.png
Chieftain Acastus Berengar 'Bloodytooth',
Master of the Watch
2 Lieutenants
Command Squad: Standard Bearer, Chaplain, Apothecary, Company Champion, Lexicanium
Honour Guard
Veteran Squads
Battleline Squads
Close Support Squads
Fire Support Squads
Scout Squads (Includes Reivers)
Vanguard Squads
Dreadnoughts
3. Ursa Guard.png
Chieftain Imar Doon, 'Ten-Bears',
Master of the Arsenal
2 Lieutenants
Command Squad: Standard Bearer, Chaplain, Apothecary, Company Champion, Lexicanium
Honour Guard
Veteran Squads
Battleline Squads
Close Support Squads
Fire Support Squads
Scout Squads (Includes Reivers)
Vanguard Squads
Dreadnoughts
4. Blood Bears.png
Chieftain Raif Larkin, 'Swiftclaw',
Master of the Fleet
2 Lieutenants
Command Squad: Standard Bearer, Chaplain, Apothecary, Company Champion, Lexicanium
Honour Guard
Veteran Squads
Battleline Squads
Close Support Squads
Fire Support Squads
Scout Squads (Includes Reivers)
Vanguard Squads
Dreadnoughts
5. Fellclaws.png
Chieftain Rafer Sloan, 'Three-Scars',
Master of the Marches
2 Lieutenants
Command Squad: Standard Bearer, Chaplain, Apothecary, Company Champion, Lexicanium
Honour Guard
Veteran Squads
Battleline Squads
Close Support Squads
Fire Support Squads
Scout Squads (Includes Reivers)
Vanguard Squads
Dreadnoughts
Reserve Sleuths
6th Sleuth
'Silver Claws'
7th Sleuth
'Spirit Bears'
8th Sleuth
'Ripclaws'
9th Sleuth
'Thunderclaws'
10th Sleuth
'Dire Roar'
6. Silverclaws.png
Chieftain Tarl Krotas, 'Bloodmaw',
Master of the Rites
2 Lieutenants
Command Squad: Standard Bearer, Chaplain, Apothecary, Company Champion, Lexicanium
Honour Guard
Veteran Squads
Battleline Squads
Close Support Squads
Fire Support Squads
Scout Squads (Includes Reivers)
Vanguard Squads
Dreadnoughts
7 Spirt Bears.png
Chieftain Riddoc Kull, 'Shadowpaw',
Master of Logistics
2 Lieutenants
Command Squad: Standard Bearer, Chaplain, Apothecary, Company Champion, Lexicanium
Honour Guard
Veteran Squads
Battleline Squads
Close Support Squads
Fire Support Squads
Scout Squads (Includes Reivers)
Vanguard Squads
Dreadnoughts
8. Ripclaws.png
Chieftain Dar Korrac 'Darktalons',
Master of Blades
Lieutenant Tal'n Oghris
Lieutenant Kalidor Toralva
Command Squad: Primaris Ancient, Primaris Chaplain, Primaris Apothecary, Company Champion, Primaris Librarian
Honour Guard
Veteran Squads
Battleline Squads
Close Support Squads
Fire Support Squads
Scout Squads (Includes Reivers)
Vanguard Squads
Redemptor Dreadnoughts
9. Thunderclaws.png
Chieftain Valon Tulak 'Yellow-Eye',
Master of Relics
Lieutenant Marko Balkaz
Lieutenant Lukas Torquil
Command Squad: Primaris Ancient, Primaris Chaplain, Primaris Apothecary, Company Champion, Primaris Librarian
Honour Guard
Veteran Squads
Battleline Squads
Close Support Squads
Fire Support Squads
Scout Squads (Includes Reivers)
Vanguard Squads
Redemptor Dreadnoughts
10. Dire Roar.png
Chieftain Barlok Timar 'Silvermane',
Master of Recruits & Reconnaissance
Lieutenant Raz Kutchek
Lieutenant Tyrus Vohnkar
Command Squad: Primaris Ancient, Primaris Chaplain, Primaris Apothecary, Company Champion, Primaris Librarian
Honour Guard
Veteran Squads
Battleline Squads
Close Support Squads
Fire Support Squads
Scout Squads (Includes Reivers)
Vanguard Squads
Redemptor Dreadnoughts

Chapter Combat Doctrine

The Bears of the Claw are the personification of strength and physical might. Their tactics are centered around their virtually unmatched strength and fortitude. The Bears often begin a campaign with a massive orbital assault, filling the skies with hundreds of drop pods and gun ship transports, and catching their enemies by complete surprise. While their capital vessels unleash a hurricane of supporting fire, the Bears descend through the fire and ash to a planet's surface like a force of nature. The Sleuths prepare a shield wall, while the Assault and Inceptor squads close the gap with jump packs in order to tear their foes apart in a hail of blood.

Marching to the rhythm of war drums, slowly and inexorably, the rest of the Bears proceed to kill anyone that takes up arms against them. Utilising their favoured form of weaponry, the ferocious, silver-clad Astartes rend the air with blade and claw, giving no quarter as their massive chains weapons sing the final death knell of their enemies. There is no mercy and no unrelenting in the Bears' punishment, whether the enemy has to be run down in the fog of war, or ripped from their defensive positions by force. While the Bears' tactics are presumed to be simplistic and blunt, they counter such misconceptions through the use of comprehensive flanking manoeuvres. Utilising fast-attack transports, Land Raiders and Land Speeders columns, the Bears launch multi-vectored attacks from unexpected angles, pushing the enemy into their main assault, in effect, becoming both the anvil and the hammer. Garnering a reputation as both remorseless and feared Chapter of Space Marines, this is not simply due to their sheer power in battle or force of arms, but also because there seems to be no loss they will not accept to ensure eventual victory and no hell they will not endure to reach their foe.

When forced into a defensive stance, the Bears prefer to flow like a continuous tide of iron, waiting for the opportunity to launch a counter-charge to cut their enemies off from their chosen targets. They stand their ground and wait for the enemy assaults to falter before striking back with fatal force. Eventually, they crush all those in their path, using their relentless nature and surprising speed to sew panic and dread in their foes. Ultimately, the Bears will decimate the enemy as one cohesive force, launching a final assault as a rolling storm of iron and claw. As they finally near the enemy's position, they unleash their honoured Ancients, with every pattern of Dreadnought represented. Striding towards the enemy like iron-clad giants of ancient legend, the roar of bears blasting from their vox speakers, no defence can stop the inevitable slaughter that ensues.

Chapter Gene-Seed

It is unknown which Primarch's gene-seed was utilised in the creation of the Bears of the Claw Chapter. Their gene-seed seems relatively untainted, if subject to some long-term degradation. The Bears' gene-seed has obviously suffered some mutations from the original source that was given to them millennia earlier. The hostile conditions of their lives, coupled with the rituals and practices of the Chapter changed them drastically over time. Most notably are some unusual idiosyncrasies that have caused some of their genetically-engineered organs normally implanted in a Space Marine to no longer function properly after implantation.

Size comparison of a Bears of the Claw Astartes and a fellow Astartes of the Blood Vultures Chapter.

Due to their inherent battle lust and aggressive style of warfare, the Bears of the Claw have had a troubled history. Though they have won great victories in the Imperium's name, questions remain regarding the stability of their gene-seed, and concerns have grown surrounding the sheer savagery of their conduct in battle. One noteworthy aspect of their gene-seed is that the Bears of the Claw are particularly durable and burly, displaying a strength and constitution far above the average Astartes. They are unusually large and robust physical specimens, even amongst their kind, and are capable of surviving wounds and physical injuries that would normally kill other Space Marines. This could be due to an over-active Biscopea implant, the organ that is responsible for an Astartes' physical combat ability and survivability to superhuman levels. It is also responsible for bolstering skeletomuscular development and density throughout the Space Marine's body.

'The Rage'

In combat the battle-brothers of this Chapter often displays a savage mien and bitter anima, displaying an unyielding stance towards their enemies, and are unafraid of fighting a foe to mutual annihilation. It is not unusual for a Bears of the Claw Astartes to fight on despite suffering horrendous wounds, severed limbs or massive trauma. This is both a boon and a curse, as once the Bears' hackles are up, it is almost all but impossible to halt one of their headlong assaults until they've rent their foes with claw and bolter. Only when their foes are torn to shreds and utterly decimated will the Bears withdraw from the field of battle. Many times in their history, the Chapter has almost faced extinction due to their refusal to withdraw from the field of battle, even when it was beneficial for them to do so.

'Torpor'

Another organ which does not function properly is the Sus-an Membrane, the genetic implant that allows an Astartes to enter a state of suspended animation, consciously or as an automatic reaction to extreme trauma, keeping them alive for many standard years, even if they suffer otherwise mortal wounds. However, this organ no longer functions as it was intended, for as a Bears of the Claw Astartes ages, they are prone to bouts of periodic hibernation periods which can last days or weeks between battles. This fugue state is known amongst the battle-brothers of the Chapter as 'Torpor'. There seems to be a direct correlation between those who are prone to falling into 'Torpor' and those who fall into the hyper-state of adrenaline, known as the 'The Rage'. When this occurs, 'the Rage' can turn even the most taciturn veteran into a berserker, wishing only to release their calculated brutality and savagery upon their foes. Whilst in the throes of a berserk frenzy these battle-brothers seek nothing more in battle than to rush into close quarters with the enemy and tear them apart in a hail of blood. Following the release of such high levels of hyper-adrenaline, once spent, these battle-brothers will often fall into 'Torpor'.

Those affected by this state are recovered from the field of battle and placed in the custody of the Chapter's Apothecaries. The afflicted are interred within a stasis casket and laid beside their fellow afflicted battle-brothers within a sacred chamber, located in their primary Apothecarion aboard their flagship, Ferrum Ursus. Here, the afflicted brethren lie in stasis within the dimly lit chamber, where they might summon the strength of will to banish the curse and recover from their hibernation. At any given time there are at least 10-30 battle-brothers affected by this genetic curse. Fortunately these unusual comatose states only affect those Astartes who are a century or older. This is especially true amongst the Chapter's venerable brothers that are interred within the sarcophagus of a Dreadnought. As the long years take their toll on these ancient warriors, they begin spending longer and longer periods dormant in stasis sleep. As the centuries pass on by, they become much more difficult to awaken and rouse for battle by the Chapter's Techmarines.

Notable Bears of the Claw

Karmath, Eighteenth Bearer & Master of the Claw, Lord of the Bears of the Claw.

  • Karmath, Master of the Claw - Karmath is the current Chapter Master of the ferocious Bears of the Claw Chapter. Known for his massive physical size, the imposing Karmath stands taller than all of his battle-brothers. Even without his battle-plate, he still dwarfs most other Astartes. Such is Karmath's strength, that he is able to deliver a single killing blow with his master-crafted relic weapon, known as The Claw. A bellicose and fearsome warrior, Karmath's personal valour is second to none. Despite his grim and stern nature, Karmath's taciturn demeanour and no-nonsense approach as leader is appreciated by the warriors he commands. Due to his brutal tactics and terrifyingly effective methods in battle, Karmath has garnered a reputation as a merciless soul who seeks nothing more than the utter destruction of his foes. He has little time for councils and strategic planning, and his absence at war councils when working with other Imperial forces usually goes unnoticed as he rarely speaks when called upon to attend. However, his aloofness displayed to other Imperial commanders is sometimes viewed with suspicion. Karmath has led the Bears of the Claw Chapter for less than a century, but has served the Chapter for more than three centuries. As the current Chapter Master of the Bears of the Claw, Karmath is the one who has the honour of wielding the Chapter's most holiest relic, the destructive weapon known as The Claw.
  • Chieftain Dhargus Scanlon, 'Steelclaws' - Dhargus Scanlon serves as the current Chieftain of the 1st Sleuth, the elite "Battleborn". Dhargus is a widely respected warrior and leader, whose battlefield accomplishements and deeds are second only to the Master of the Claw himself. Known for his massive physical size, Dhargus stands head and shoulders above his fellow battle-brothers, and even without his prodigous custome-sized battle-plate, still dwarfs most other Astartes warriors. Such is his strength and focus of will, Dhargus is able to deal a single crushing blow with his power mace or his power fist as easily as a swing of a sword. Besides his physical prowess, Dhargus is also a highly skilled commander and formidable tactician. Leading his warriors into the heart of where a battle is bloodiest, Chieftain Scanlon and his retinue of Honour Guard are natural hunters, showing their inherent talent for seeking out the strongest foes and most powerful enemy leaders. Wearing the proud moniker 'Steelclaws', Dhargus is famed for encircling his foes after leading them into well-planned traps. Sending advance forces to lure a much larger force of the enemy, they feign retreat in the face of an enemy's front-line advance. Once lured to the designated kill-zone, the trap is sprung, and Dhargus unleashes his warriors in a display of savagery and violence, rending their foes into bloody pieces. Dhargus also acts as the Master of the Claw's Equerry, and offers Karmath his battlefield wisdom earned on thousands of battlefields during his long tenure as a warrior of the Chapter.
  • Chieftain Acastus Berengar, 'Bloodytooth' - Acastus Berenger, known by his fellow battle-brothers as 'Bloodytooth', serves as the current Chieftain of the 2nd Sleuth, the "Bloody Paws". His is also tasked with the secondary duty as the Chapter's Master of the Watch, and is responsible for serving as sentinel of their Chapter's flagship, the Ferrus Ursus. Like his fellow Chieftains, Acastus is a highly capable commander and strategist, particularly in the fields of void-borne warfare and Zone Mortalis operations, and is often tasked with leading line-breaker or 'forlorn objective' assaults.
  • Chieftain Imar Doon, 'Ten-Bears' - Imar Doon is the current Chieftain of the 3rd Sleuth, the "Ursa Guard". Known by the moniker 'Ten-Bears', Doon is notable amongst his battle-brothers for his ability to survive the most vicious battles and dire circumstances, no matter the odds. A ferocious and headstrong warrior, Chieftain Doon excels in the realm of 'Zone Mortalis' operations, and his warriors have also shown an affinity for sheer relentlessness and painful endurance in the harshest of environments and against the most powerful of foes. His Sleuth serves as a single unified instrument of their Chieftain's will - achieving victory through sheer single-minded tenaciousness and unstoppable will, striking down their faltering enemies with fatal force. As Master of the Arsenal, Chieftain Doon is tasked with overseeing his Chapter's arsenal of weapons and munitions.
  • Chieftain Raif Larkin, 'Swiftclaw' - Raif Larkin is the current Chieftain of the 4th Sleuth, "The Blood Bears". A formidable commander and brilliant strategist, Chieftain Larkin is a protégée of some of his Chapter's greatest fleet masters. Skilled in the realm of void-warfare, Larkin is regarded as the supreme commander in the realm of ship-to-ship combat, and serves as his Chapter's current Master of the Fleet. His Sleuth is often selected to engage in ship-borne assaults and boarding actions as well as various close-quarters actions, which includes Space Hulk purgations, boarding operations and line-breaker attacks.
  • Chieftain Rafer Sloan, 'Three-Scars' - Rafer Sloan is the current Chieftain of the 5th Sleuth, the "Fellclaws". Known as 'Three-Scars' by his battle-brothers, for the three large ugly scars that extend from the top of the left side of his brow down to the right side of his jawbone, Chieftain Sloan is a mirthless and no-nonsense commander, bearing an intense countenance and commanding presence despite his soft-spoken demeanour. However, he has proven to be a highly efficient leader and excellent strategist and is responsible for helping achieve many notable victories during his tenure. As well as leading a Sleuth, Chieftain Slaon also serves as his Chapter's Master of the Marches, responsible for overseeing the deployment of the Chapter's fighting strength.
  • Chieftain Tarl Krotas, 'Bloodmaw' - Tarl Krotas is the current Chieftain of the 6th Sleuth, the "Silver Claws". Tarl is an intelligent and determined warrior, known for his stubborness in the face of overwhelming odds and refusal to accept defeat. A driven and ferocious fighter, he has earned the apt-moniker, 'Bloodmaw' by his fellow battle-brothers - driven to constantly test himself in battle against the deadliest and strongest of foes. Tarl constantly seeks glory and fame like those Bears that came before him and the chance to be immortalised in the Chapter's sagas. He also takes great pride in his battle scars, his massive bearskin cloak that hangs upon his battle-plate and his tattoos. As Master of the Rites it is Chieftain Krotas' sworn duty to record and preserve the martial traditions of the Chapter. Loud and bombastic, this is a duty that 'Bloodmaw' is imminently suited for, as he exudes a sense of martial pride and fervour to his fellow battle-brothers on the field of battle. His warcries and inspiring rhetoric are amplified by a large servo-skull fitted with an incorporated vox-caster, extolling his fellow warriors to feats of valour and insane bravery, even as they clash with the foe.
  • Chieftain Riddoc Kull, 'Shadowpaw' - Riddoc Kull is the current Chieftain of the 7th Sleuth, the "Spirit Bears". Kull is the undisputed master of strategic interdiction operations, reconnaissance and guerrilla warfare. A figure of gruesome repute and ill-omen by his battle-brothers, he was given the moniker 'Shadowpaw'. Chieftain Kull has shown a natural affinity for stealth and the more subtle tactics and mudered-honed skills of infiltration and assassination. His company, the "Spirit Bears", follow the tenets set in place by their stoic Chieftain, and possess the highest number of Vanguard Marines and Scout Marines within the Chapter's ranks. As a master logistician and planner, Chieftain Kull is also tasked as the Chapter's Master of Logistics and is responsible for all the Chapter's supply needs, particularly those pertaining to sustenance and other personal requirements of his fellow battle-brothers as well as the Chapter's bondsmen (human support personnel).
  • Chieftain Dar Korrac, 'Darktalons' - Dar Korrac is the current Chieftain of the 8th Sleuth, the "Ripclaws". A bellicose and ferocious commander, his sinister reputation and fiery temperament has garnered him the apt-moniker 'Darktalons' by his fellow battle-brothers. Possessed of a dark mien and malevolent soul, it is whispered that he has killed several Astartes of his own Chapter in duels over "slights of honour" and is known to tear out the throats of those who gainsay his commands. Ruling his Sleuth with a cruel and unforgiving fist, the "Ripclaws" are the consummate masters of the realm of shock assault tactics, close-quarters actions and 'forlorn hope' objective assaults. As the Chapter's Master of Blades Chieftain Korrac is the undisputed master of melee combat - willingly rushing headlong into the ranks of enemy - heedless of his own physical safety, intent on rending the foe into ravaged pieces of bloody meat and viscera. Due to his fervent spirit, Korrac's brutal and direct personality has not garnered many close relations with his fellow Chieftains, however, they have come to accept their fellow commander's bloody and efficient methods, and understand that he is one of his Chapter's most deadliest assets.
  • Chieftain Valon Tulak, 'Yellow-Eye' - Valon Tulak is the current Chieftain of the newly reconstituted 9th Sleuth, the "Thunderclaws", and is one of only two Primaris commanders within the Chapter. A former member of the Indomitus Crusade's Unnumbered Sons, Valon was marked out early on by senior command for his innate intelligence and fervour. He quickly proved a dour and driven warrior with an uncommon flair for both fire support doctrine and siegecraft. By the time he was united with his Firstborn brethren from the Bears of the Claw, the young warrior quickly proved himself in his chosen realms of combat, and was eventually chosen to lead one of the Chapter's two long lost companies. Not only was he made Chieftain, he was also granted the additional duty of his Chapter's Master of Relics for his unmatched expertise in the tactics of long-range warfare. He is charged with the custodianship of the Chapter's many technological relics, and is the ultimate arbiter in the decision to bring to bear the most dagnerous of these relics to the field of battle in times of great need.
  • Chieftain Barlok Timar, 'Silvermane' - Barlok Timar is the current Chieftain of the newly reconstituted 10th Sleuth, the "Dire Roar", and one of only two Primaris commanders within the Chapter. A former member of the Indomitus Crusade's Unnumbered Sons, when Barlok was finally united with his fellow Firstborn brethren, he showed an extreme eagerness to learn all he could from the Chapter's veterans. He rapidly assimilated the Chapter's traditions, culture and battlefield doctrine and expertly applied them to the field of battle. Through his dedication and zeal, Barlok was quickly recognised for his natural leadership abilities and rapidly rose through the ranks of his Chapter. When it came time to reconstitute the long lost 10th Sleuth, he was personally selected by the Master of the Claw himself for command. This proved to be a wise decision, as Chieftain Timar has shown a natural affinity for leadership as well as a gift for mentoring future Astartes. As a result, he also holds the title of Master of Recruits and is responsible for the selection and training of future generations of Astartes. Possessing a large number of Vanguard Marine elements within his Sleuth, Timar is also entrusted with the duties of the Master of Reconnaissance - charged with overseeing the Vanguard Marines and their application of covert operations.
  • Lieutenant Tal'n Oghris - Sub-commander of the 8th Sleuth.
  • Lieutenant Kalidor Toralva - Sub-commander of the 8th Sleuth.
  • Lieutenant Marko Balkaz - Sub-commander of the 9th Sleuth.
  • Lieutenant Lukas Torquil - Sub-commander of the 9th Sleuth.
  • Lieutenant Raz Kutchek - Sub-commander of the 10th Sleuth.
  • Lieutenant Tyrus Vohnkar - Sub-commander of the 10th Sleuth.
  • Chief Librarian Artio Galek, 'Stormclaw'
  • Reclusiarch Uther Orso
  • Chief Apothecary Mahon Eremon
  • Master of the Forge Kinak
  • Chapter Champion Korak Artair, 'Baneclaw'
  • Ancient Torbernus Chullain - Chapter Standard Bearer.
  • Chaplain Galvin Murchad - Chaplain of the Sleuth of the Master of the Claw.
  • Epistolary Bethor Ragallach - Librarian of the Sleuth of the Master of the Claw.
  • Apothecary Tormah Gormlaith - Apothecary of the Sleuth of the Master of the Claw.
  • Techmarine Nereus - Techmarine of the Sleuth of the Master of the Claw.

Chapter Fleet

  • Ferrus Ursus (Maelstrom-class Galleass of War) - Flagship of the Bears of the Claw Chapter.
  • Malum Ferio (Battle-Barge)
  • Malevolens Spiritum (Battle-Barge)
  • Veloces Ungula (Battle-Barge)
  • Sanguine Ingluviem (Battle-Barge)
  • 4 Battle Barges
  • 7 Strike Cruisers
  • 15 Rapid Strike Vessels (Escorts)
  • 35 Thunderhawk Gunships
  • 3 Thunderhawk Tranports

Chapter Appearance

Chapter Colours

A Bears of the Claw Astartes displaying the typical runic tattoo designs that are commonly applied to their faces and bodies.

Bears of the Claw runic Squad Specialty Symbols

The Bears of the Claw primarily wear silver-coloured power armour. The Aquila or Imperialis on the chest guard is also silver in colour. The inset of the shoulder pauldrons are emerald green in colour while the shoulder pauldron trim is black in colour. The unique runic squad specialty symbol on the right shoulder pauldron indicates squad specialty (Fire Support, Close Support, Battleline, Veteran or Command). A black-coloured runic numeral located on the inset of the shoulder pauldron near the trim, indicates squad number. The stylised black-coloured claw marks on the left poleyn (knee guard) also indicates squad number. The unique totemic icon on the right poleyn indicates a Battle-Brother's company assignment.

The Astartes of the Bears of the Claw Chapter often ceremoniously apply runic tattoos of protection and power upon entering the Chapter. These tattoos usually cover the arms and sometimes the face of the battle-brother, reinforcing their fearsome warrior heritage. The Bears of the Claw also take fierce pride in their heraldry, using the arts and styles of their ancestor's runemasters. Their armour is often engraved with primitive runic script or magical runes, whose meanings are not understood by those outside the Chapter. Their ancestor's believed that through the use of such powerful magic runes, that it might help one to fulfill their innermost needs, wants and wishes. These pagan traditions have carried over to the Bears of the Claw. They believe that by incorporating such runes as well as the potent bear talismans and fetishes they wear on their armour, that they will invoke protection and strength against their enemies.

The veteran warriors of the Chapter are the only ones honoured enough to inherit the ancient power armour of the great warriors of the past, to continue carrying on their legacy. Veterans in particular wear ornate battle-plate immersed in centuries worth of talismans and etched symbols, accumulated from great heroes over the ages. Scouts are the only elements of the force that don't decorate their armor extensively, preferring to maintain their anonymity when performing their dangerous reconnaissance missions. The adaptation of their ancestor's traditional pagan symbols has also spread to some of their traditional Astartes insignia. Patterned specialization designations follow the Bears of the Claw warriors' individual artistic style and are painted in black on the right shoulder pauldron. Classical Imperial icons are rarely seen on a Bears of the Claw Astartes' battle-plate.

Chapter Badge

The Bears of the Claw chapter icon consists of a large, stylised black coloured roaring bear's head, centered on a field of emerald green.

Chapter Relics

  • The Claw - The Claw is an ancient weapon said to be many millennia older than the Chapter itself. This long-cherished artefact is worshipped by the Bears of the Claw Chapter who believe it was crafted by the Emperor's master artificers and blessed by His holy hands when He still walked amongst Mankind. Legends hold that this weapon was gifted to their Primarch and subsequently passed down to his sons. It is believed that during the Bears of the Claw's inception, that this mighty weapon was supposedly passed onto them by their mysterious Progenitors, but their Chapter records do not clearly state their identity. The Claw is a master-crafted lightning claw - a heavily armoured gauntlet that houses a number of articulated blades - and takes the form of a massive bear's paw. In close combat, this deadly weapon is all but unmatched, as The Claw's unique disruption fields enables the cutting edges of its blades to sunder all energy fields and force barriers they encounter, slicing through ceramite and adamantine plate effortlessly. Wielded by none other than the Chapter Master of the Bears of the Claw, the bearer of this unique weapon is therefore known as 'The Master of the Claw'. This deadly weapon suits Karmath perfectly, as he prefers to participate at the forefront of battle and heavy assaults.

Chapter Relations

Allies

Blood Vultures

Armorial of the Blood Vultures Chapter.

The similarly bellicose Blood Vultures Chapter possess a strong relationship with the ferocious Bears of the Claw Chapter, and on many occasions have helped them during their most trying times, including when the latter Chapter didn't possess many Astartes when they came under attack during the latter years of the 39th Millennium and faced annihilation. Since that time, these two brutal Chapters have fought on many occasions down the millennia, and will answer the other's call for aid in their time of need, a debt the Bears have paid many times over.

Claws of Arktos

Armorial of the Claws of Arktos Chapter.

The Claws of Arktos are a similarly fierce and savage Chapter that hails from the lineage of the Bears of the Claw. Created during the 23rd Founding, the so-called 'Sentinel Founding', the Claws of Arktos were one of several Chapters tasked to take and hold the Aliris Sector, located to the galactic south of Cadia in a star rich part of the Segmentum Obscurus. Claiming the isolated death world of Arktos as their own, the Chapter garrisons the planet from above in their ancient star fortress Ferus Unguis. Taking their name from the deadly world, the 'Claws of Arktos' Chapter began their endless Crusade, to bring their unfettered wrath down upon those vile xenos races that would dare assail the Emperor's domain. Many of the Chapter's earliest exploits occurred against now-extinct xenos horrors, and the Claws of Arktos frequently operated on their own far from the support of other Imperial institutions. Some Imperial savants often cite this situation as the main reason for the Chapter's somewhat isolationist outlook and haughty tendencies, which has earned them a somewhat cold reception from their fellow Adeptus Astartes Chapters, whom believe that the Claws are wanting in brotherhood. Though the Bears of the Claw have only fought alongside their Successor Chapter on a handful occasions down the millennia, when they have done so, they have achieved monumental victories on behalf of the Imperium by utterly decimating their enemies.

Spectral Wolves

Chapter armorial of the Spectral Wolves Chapter.

In recent years, the ferocious Bears of the Claw Chapter have come to admire the Spectral Wolves for their sheer tenacity, ferocity and stubbornness in the face of overwhelming odds. These are traits that are greatly admired by the Bears, for their Chapter has also faced similar circumstances, for they too, do not possess the usual number of battle-brothers, and possess less companies then the Codex Astartes-proscribed number of ten. These two similarly bellicose Chapters complement each other when they have fought as allies, and are quite devastating to their foes. They have fought together on at least a half-dozen occasions, forming bonds of friendship stronger than tempered adamantium, forged in the fires of war.

Enemies

Notable Quotes

Feel free to add your own

By the Bears of the Claw

"When my day comes to die, I will not beg for mercy, nor will I weep. I have led a life filled with glory! My hope is that I leave this world with a smile on my face, and the courage to sing my own death song, and that I will be judged worthy to sit at the side of the Allfather."
— Purported last words of Rurik Grimclaw, Second Bearer & Master of the Claw, before the final battle of the Xalaxian Xenocide
"Even the brave are scared by a bear three times: first by its tracks, again by its roar, and one last time, face-to-face."
— Chaplain Galv Krogan, 2nd Sleuth ('Bloody Paws')
"He that flees from the roaring bear will be set upon by the bear in waiting."
— Sergeant Tethys Bain, 6th Sleuth ('Silver Claws'), 1st Battleline Squad.
"One should not go searching for bones in a bear's den..for two bears in one cave will not end well."
— Brother Chulane Tarlach, commenting to a fellow Brother of the Claw during an unannounced visit by an Inquisitor aboard the Ferrum Ursus, investigating allegations of 'atrocities' committed by the Bears of the Claw
"How will my enemies know my face if I do not face them personally to deliver the Allfather's divine justice with my claws? I'm a firm believer in the ancient proverb, 'You may know a bear by his claws.'"
— First-Captain Dhargus Scanlon, 'Steelclaws' - Lord of the 'Battleborn', 1st Sleuth ('Battleborn'), explaining his preference for close-assault over stealth tactics.

Feel free to add your own

About the Bears of the Claw

"The roars of the mighty bear sends shivers up my spine for they are messengers of war. Wherever the roars are loudest, that is where battles are at their thickest. That is where we shall be, fighting alongside our ursine battle brothers. Ezen Khaan Ni, my ursine friends."
— Akhmad Jorgen Makhal of the Laughing Skull Chapter.
"A wave of roaring, tearing Marines who only stop when the foe is dead. Be sure to bring extra pants when fighting them."
— Inquisitor Jacob Flux

Acknowledgements

I cannot take sole credit for this article -- the Bears of the Claw were originally created by Alekpanda over on the affiliate Warhammer 40K Fanon Wiki. He was the original inspiration and originator of this outstanding Chapter, and was kind enough to place his faith and entrusted this article to me, in perpetuity, and let me revise it as I saw fit. Thanks for the bode of confidence Alekpanda! I hope I didn't let you down!

Twentieth Founding Space Marine Chapters
Dark Angels Successors
White Scars Successors Warriors Tempest
Space Wolves Successors N/A
Imperial Fists Successors
Blood Angels Successors Seraphs Sanguine
Iron Hands Successors
Ultramarines Successors Ardent Shields
Salamanders Successors
Raven Guard Successors
Unknown Lineage Bears of the ClawDragon's Crater


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