|Battle Cry||The Flesh Is Weak! ("Iron Prevails!" is sometimes chanted after)|
|Successor Chapters||Brazen Claws, Iron Lords, Red Talons, Sons of Medusa, Steel Confessors|
|Chapter Master||Kardan Stronos/The Great Clan Council|
|Primarch||Ferrus Manus the Gorgon|
|Specialty||Bionics, mechanized warfare, and being assholes|
|Colours||Black and White|
"With steel we are stronger, but without a soul we are nothing."
"Flesh withers, but iron serves eternal!"
- – A variation of their original battle cry
The Iron Hands were the X Legion of the Space Marines during the Great Crusade and the Horus Heresy. Their Primarch was Ferrus Manus. It's subtler than GW's usual, but they have a strong resemblance to the Scottish, what with their Clans, gruff demeanor, undeniable backbone, expertise in technology, and tendency to lose despite their badassery - In fact, the 8.5 Supplement mentions the first stock of the X Legion hailing from the region known as "Old Albia". Their names come from a different country of clannish highland badasses, namely Afghanistan. Also, the Iron Hands are masters of mechanised warfare, boasting a great deal of tanks, aircraft and Dreadnoughts. They're basically the best armourmasters amongst the Space Marines, and are adept at both out-manuvering and out-playing their foes when it comes to land warfare. If you want really good vehicles as LSM, Iron Hands are really the way to go, especially given that they now get some fantastic rules due to the new rules for Space Marines.
It’s kind of weird that their robotic replacements are as strong or stronger than their flesh, though. Astartes without powered armor consistently demonstrate strength beyond what any amount of enhancement can provide, so there clearly must be Warp shenanigans involved with their gene-seed and enhancements. We can imagine this extends to their robot limbs because space magic, since even powerful Mechanicus robotics fail before the strength of Astartes. Yet, robotic Astartes limbs apparently don’t have that problem.
They also are notorious for being one the most broken and outright awful factions to play against during the latter part of 8th. A single leviathan Dreadnought could feasibly survive to the tune of an entire Imperial Titan salvo with almost no damage.
Past and Present
The Iron Hands are, like most of their fellow chapters who originated from the first founding, completely bat shit crazy. The chapter worships their ancient Father who got a bad case of worms and ended up with silver metal-coated hands (sounds a bit like the 18th century method of using mercury to cure Syphilis) and subsequently now believe that flesh is weak and as a result the marines try to copy their Primarch and replace their body parts with machinery and cybernetic implants (right down to emotion inhibitors post-Heresy), which Ferrus himself was actually against, believing that they should trust in the strength of their flesh rather than attempting to improve upon the Emperor's work. This is all part of an undoubtedly Freudian complex brought about by the loss of their primarch during the Drop Site Massacre on Isstvan V. Of course, the chapter decided to blame everyone, especially the legion whose primarch shortened Ferrus Manus by a head at neck level. Incidentally, this also includes Ferrus himself, as they came to the conclusion that it was their Primarch's own failure to control his emotions that led to the series of tactical blunders which culminated in his death (even though he didn't make tactical blunders and died because of betrayal, but the Iron Hands have a hard-on (pun!) for the blame-game). In order to prevent this from repeating, the surviving captains (with possible meddling by the Mechanicus) enacted "The Tempering", which saw the Iron Hands purge and repress their emotions in order to better emulate cold, logical machines.
In spite of all this weirdness and being part of the First Founding, the Iron Hands remain one of the most forgettable Chapters among Games Workshop and the fandom at large. Seriously, even /tg/ forgets about them half the time. The only chapter who has it close are the Raven Guard, barring Kayvaan Shrike. To add self mutilation and cybernetic enhancement (insult) to injury, those who do remember them often get confused with the Iron Warriors, and these people are worse than heretics because at least a Heretic knows the difference between "corn" and "Khorne", but the term Iron seems to confuse many. Leading to much fuck'tardery comments like "Iron Within, Iron Without", these people are total bell-ends and deserve to be scorned (Or would that be, sKhorned?). With the publication of the Horus Heresy books the powers that be have finally begun to remember that the Iron Hands were one of the original Space Marine Legions, but aside from their Primarch in resin courtesy of Forge World they've been graced with only two other named characters But Iron Hands don't care cause they are too busy kicking arse, taking names and getting shit done. That said, they really are the Emperor's Tin Men in every sense of the word. In 7th they got their own codex supplement (providing the world at large with a certain slightly competitive character) which made them astartes army of the week, but in 8th they got back to their usual niche, causing the tournament players to shelve them again. With Deathwatch having no unit entry for Killteam Cassius any more, the Iron Hands are left with only one named character, a Primaris Marine named Iron Father Ferrios. Damn Ultrasmurfs and the fan wank they get.....
Alternative View: The Iron Hands are the best examples of humans during grief. They feel horrible shame as a result of their Primarch's death, and so act like, and actually become, machines in order to not repeat an error they saw in themselves. They feel so horribly, bitterly afraid to fail again, that they take every precaution against failure. It is in this grief that ironically, they show feeling. It is a shame /tg/ forgets about them, because a philosophical analysis of these warriors actually reveals quite a bit about human nature during tragedy.
The Moirae Schism
After the Emperor's
death glorious ascent to the Golden Throne, there was a bit of debate as to whether He was the Omnissiah or not and, if he was, in what capacity. Tech-priests of the Forge World Moirae found one unique answer, when they detected an anomaly in some Empyrean frequencies that seemed related to the Golden Throne. After extended analysis, they somehow turned this anomaly into a formula which allegedly predicted the future—the endgame of which was a new understanding of the Emperor in his aspect of the Omnissiah that would unite the Ecclesiarchy and the Mechanicum, and usher in a new golden age of the Imperium.
Needless to say, this deeply pissed off the leadership of both organizations. However, either the creed or it’s alleged evidence proved extremely compelling, and the Moirae heresy spread like wildfire through Mechanicum data nets and the Ecclesiarchal flock. This nearly lead to a full blown civil war, and, in the end, the Forge World of Moirae was subject to Exterminatus, and the schismatics either burned for heresy or forced to repent, while the only surviving copy of their dogma and prophecies was buried in an Inquisitorial vault.
Rather than debate it among themselves, the Iron Hands chose to glare angrily at one another until the Admech were done fighting and debating it out. The group of Hands in the minority became the Sons of Medusa and formed their own chapter, which moved into the still-smoking ruin of Moirae as their new home world (or rather, a series of fortified asteroids in the same system). Despite the extreme levels of heresy, everyone kept a level head and remained (relatively—there was a touch of shooting) civil, and all successor Chapters (except the Red Talons, who killed them) allowed their schismatics to join the Sons of Medusa Chapter. Which is a bit unnatural for 40k, honestly, and just shows how few fucks these guys have to give.
Of course, as it later turned out, the prophecies made by the Moirae heretics included both the formation of the Great Rift and the return of Guilliman, implying that everything they were saying was totally right.
Besides, the real confusion is how those who were pissed about a prophecy that confirms the beliefs of the Ecclesiarchy and Mechanicus’s views of the Emperor being one being justified their anger to themselves and the wider Imperium. And shooting people claiming the Emperor would return and bring humanity into a new Golden Age sounds like incredible heresy.
However, this could likely be due to factional differences being put over the good of mankind. The Ecclesiarchy and Mechanicus are too far apart in beliefs to ever truly unite into one group- they may work together, but they'd never intend to JOIN together. The symbolism of this can even be seen with the positions in the High Lords of Terra, where the Ecclesiarchy and Mechanicus Representatives constantly jostle for the second highest position (neither are strong enough to take on the Master of the Administratum).
This event appeared in the Clan Raukaan supplement and it was meant as a form of character development for the whole chapter - whether or not it actually worked, on the other hand, is questionable. It's given more detail in David Guymer's Iron Hand Novels. To understand it further one should look at one of the people that was part of it.
Some important context is required before the greater explanation. For several millennia after the Heresy, the Mechanicus had a nominal say in the running of the Chapter, to the extent of having three representatives on the clan council. Whilst the alliance to Mars was beneficial in terms of technology and war-gear, it turned out that the Mechanicus had been covertly manipulating the chapter to do what they wanted, even to the extent of falsifying historical records and documents written by Ferrus Manus to twist the chapter to their ends.
It also needs to be emphasized how separate the Clan companies of the Iron Hands were to each other compared to other Chapters. Whilst marines frequently transferred between Clans as duty demanded, the kind of collaboration natural to other chapters was, at best, frosty acquiescence for the Iron Hands.
Iron Father Kristos of the Iron Hands was an individual that would be described as questionable in many ways. An individual that was adherent to the extreme to the Tempering, Kristos was known as a legendary leader of the Iron Hands, and was baited by Iron Father Feirros to take charge of Clan Raukaan after the company suffered greatly in the Skarvus Ambush and lead it to victory. Under his command the clan managed to even retreat against the Eldar on the Paradise World of Dawnbreak, going directly for the main force around an excavation site the Eldar occupied and taking it, while ignoring the Catachans and civilians the Eldar were butchering (not to mention telling the General to fight on and prove his worth while he and his subordinate Captain Graevaar ran off like the cowardly bitches they were).
(It was also on this world that an apparently Eldar device was found dating back to the pre-fall empire. Named the Dawnbreak Technology, the cache was divided between the Iron Hands and two sections of the Mechanicus - with one cache being relocated to Mars itself. Kristos theorised that the technology could free the Iron Hands of their need for fallible flesh - obvious heresy aside and unknown to all, it was the container for an especially nasty Slaaneshi daemon, who would subtly corrupt those who attempted to analyse the technology too closely.)
The final straw came in the form of a controversy around the battle for the Forge World of Columnus against the Weirdwaaagh! where the Iron Council accused him of deliberately sacrificing a company's worth of Raven Guard marines to achieve victory, which in all fairness, he did do. Issue was it was all done in such a way that many in the council accused him of not doing it out of standard cold logic and pragmatism, but personal feelings and a hidden agenda, which was also true: not only did he refuse to assist them in any way, (or accept their assistance) he also actively blocked their communications and left them stranded and dying while he watched on, committing outright fucking treason against the Imperium by doing so; lives are the Emperor's currency, and he just went around pissing away the lives, relics, and gene-seed of some of the Emperor's most valuable troops out of a massive childish grudge.
However, Kristos had himself a cult of personality that refused to accept anything that didn't sing his praises, and found him and his supporters unapologetic despite protests from Captain Verox, Iron Father Marrus and the then young Kardan Stronos (though why no-one outside the Chapter took them to task over this or even asked about the RG's fate remains unknown, despite there near-certainly being evidence of the deed). This would result in the chapter being divided over their philosophy as the whole investigation into his conduct segued into a debate on the merits of the Tempering which ground on for literal centuries.
That would prove a load of horrible problems later on, only to reach its conclusion during the Gaudinian Heresy.
The Sapphire King, a Slaaneshi daemon formed out of Ferrus' rage and frustration at the time of his death and which fed on the repressed emotions and shed humanity of the soul-scarred Iron Hands, saw them ripe for corruption and set a trap on the planet of Gaudinia Prime in the Gaudinia system, because that always works so well. The Iron Hands sniffed out the heresy at the beginning of the 41st Millennium and Iron Father Kristos (still stinking after the Kristosian Conclave) led most of the Chapter to fight on the planet while exterminating mutants and heretics on the other planets.
The Emperor's Children were supposedly only on Gaudinia Prime, but to the Iron Hands' surprise, there was absolutely nobody on the planet - not even a single gaudily-painted Noise Marine. However, scans showed that large amount of bio-signatures were concentrated in the planet's southern hemisphere in the factoria complexes. Kristos took with himself both Clans Raukaan and Sorgoll and waltzed into the area despite Iron Fathers Stronos and Verrox protesting the action.
Down there he found one billion of Imperial citizens fused into some scary techno-organic construct with the machinery. Bloated human torsos made into boilers, screaming as steaming blood vented from their eyes, conveyor belts made out of millions of tongues transporting daemon weapons about, cogs and wires made out of bloodied bone and nerves - some real H. R. Geiger shit, in other words.
The marines moved on while Kristos was bewitched by the whole thing. At that moment, Kristos rammed one of his mechadendrites into the fleshy thing (rambling about its efficiency, utility, and strength as he did so) and transformed into a cybernetic version of that whose name shouldn't be called out-loud; the rest of the Kristosians soon followed him into Chaos's embrace, while those who managed to resist (such as Kristos's closest ally, Captain Graevaar) were promptly torn to shreds by the mutating Kristosians. Tears into reality were opening and Slaaneshi daemons were appearing en-masse, swiftly followed by the Sapphire King himself appearing through a rift with his Emperor's Children retinue. What later happened was a battle mixed with madness as Iron Hands had to fight against their corrupt brethren, the daemons, and chaos marines.
While the battle raged, more and more Iron Hands were succumbing to the warping effects that turned the Kristosians into what they became, while others didn't succumb. Through the power of lazy writing (see below), Stronos quickly realized what was happening. He activated his vox and barked orders to the marines to deactivate their emotion inhibitors. In that moment the Iron Hands exploded with emotions that they repressed for ten thousand years. It was so powerful even Khorne felt it at the back of his skull, and could be viewed as a really stupid move as daemons are supposed to be powered by raw emotion, and this should have made them a lot harder to kill.
(According to the author, the Kristosians took the whole thing with the Tempering way too literally (completely cutting off their emotions and replacing them with cold logic, as opposed to supplementing emotions with logic), and this obsession with purging themselves of their emotions (a core tenet of theirs) was what would be the chapter's undoing. Ironically, every failing that had to do with this whole incident was directly or indirectly related to getting too emotional and not from lacking emotions; whether or not this explanation holds up to scrutiny is a matter of contention.)
Filled with sheer rage and true determination, the Iron Hands RIPPED AND TORE their way through their corrupted brethren, the daemons and Emperor's Children towards the Sapphire King. Stronos slew the thing that was once Kristos while the Librarian Epistolary Lydriik beheaded the Sapphire King himself with the Mindforge Stave so hard that (combined with being deprived of the Hands' repressed emotions), the daemon was actually permakilled. After wiping out the chaos forces, the remaining Iron Hands, disgusted and horrified with what they experienced, skedaddled back to their fleet and blew the factoria to kingdom come in order to wipe out any survivors left.
After the whole thing, it was discovered that a third of the council was either dead or corrupted. If the Inquisition knew what happened to them, then the consequences would've been fatal for the sons of Manus. In an emergency session, the council babbled and argued about how the chapter should function. At this point Stronos unplugged himself while rising from his throne and, in his natural voice, spoke that the chapter was given a gift: "With steel we are stronger, but without a soul we are nothing." Words that would be eternally immortalized all over the chapter's Ironglass plaques on Medusa and beyond. It was also the first time in ten millennia that the sound of applause would be heard on Medusa. And that's something...
On that day Kardan Stronos became Chapter Master Smashfucker (and would be re-elected at every single opportunity by the council) despite the disquiet of the few remaining Kristosians (aka older Iron Hands players) that somehow survived the situation and the Voice of Mars (the seat the AdMech were retconned into having on the council so that they could manipulate the chapter), yet even with what he said it wouldn't reverse ten millennia of indoctrination. It would be a long and difficult period for the sons of the Gorgon, but it was indeed a new beginning for the chapter.
The Gaudinian Heresy wasn't an immediate character shift for the chapter, and was arguably somewhat forgotten about. The Iron Hands are (mostly) still angry cyborgs operating on cold calculation. Yet the council saw the Imperium plunging into darkness and their former allies falling to madness and corruption. Thus the Grand Calculation set forth to determine where they would serve best, and their successor chapters would also be included into the equation.
There is still some hope for the Iron Hands even if Stronos bites it. An Iron Hands pilot found better performance from his craft's machine spirit once he eased off with brute logic and started feeling it a bit more.
13th Black Crusade and the Great Rift/8th Edition
The Iron Hands are no longer sacrificing their allies for total pragmatism or out of past grievances but trying to change their habits. Under Stronos, they have saved the Imperial Guard on a number of occasions.
Medusa was invaded twice, first by a large tank division of Traitor Guardsmen and later by a coalition of Nurgle-worshipping Chaos Astartes. As they were facing a chapter which excels in mechanized warfare and are living in what we can shortly describe as mobile fortress-cities bristling with guns and angry superhuman cyborgs: all of them failed. After they got their affairs in order, they decided to assist in the Mordian system, slowly being overrun by loosed traitors and assorted heretics (Is that what we're calling daemonic invasions these days? It was daemons). Though the Imperial forces stationed there were starting to retreat, the Iron Hands managed to turn things around and salvage the planet of Mordian with help from their renowned regiment. This served to rouse their successor chapters (even those weird Sons of Medusa lads) as well as a couple other chapters to join cause and clean out the system. The Eldar had shown up before the Iron Hands and told the Mordians to evacuate as the planet was lost. As usual, human badassery proved the Spelfdar wrong. Stoopid spelves. Maybe if they'd gotten off their prissy asses and shot some daemons, Mordian would've been just fine before the Iron Hands showed up to kick ass.(Though knowing Eldar and their “just as planned” shenanigans, they might’ve told the guardsmen to give up so they would end up staying just to spite the Xenos scum...and coincidentally keep the planet alive long enough for the Iron Hands to show up.)
The chapter itself is ruled by the Great Clan Council, composed up of 10 seats, each representing one of the ten clans (the Iron Hand equivalent of a company). The clans themselves are all highly autonomous and are nomadic, travelling across Medusa in mobile fortresses and represent the original ten clans that founded Medusa. Each clan nominates a notable warrior to nominate as "Iron Father" represent them at the Great Clan Council and together, the ten warriors get into all sorts of debates and political shenanigans.
The logic behind this is that with no central leadership role, the chapter cannot be lead astray like so many others have and if that central leadership dies, the rest of the chapter won't fall into disarray. This immediately makes the Iron Hands smarter then the rest of the fucking Warhammer 40,000 universe because they're smart enough to realise that having everyone led by a de facto dictator was a pretty retarded idea. Then again, they also believe that replacing their dicks with drills is the best fucking idea in the world, so I suppose your mileage may vary. (And the fact that /tg/ considers this sort of setup as fucking ridiculous based on where the suggestion comes from, so again, your mileage may vary.)
That said, they do have a chapter master of sorts. When something major happens that affects the whole chapter, the council elects one of their members best suited for their current state (the real life citation was the old republic of Rome, who elected for a short time a rightful and strong man as dictator until the emergency was resolved). For example, if they're fighting orks the one who has the most experience fighting them will lead the chapter, and once done he will step down. This makes him more of a Chapter President than a Chapter Master; the chapter master prevents the council from getting caught up in red tape and the council makes sure he doesn't lead the chapter astray.
Organisation and doctrine wise, the chapter follows the basic idea of the Codex Astartes, while changing all the bits they don't like or cannot follow due to the heavy losses/destruction of equipment at Isstvan V (yup 10,000 years later and the Departmento Munitorum has not yet resupplied them, fucking REMF's). Each company is called a "Clan" and there isn't a specific company for Scouts; instead each Clan recruits their own Neophytes...until 7th Edition just effectively undid that and let the Tenth Clan-Company return to Scouts and Vanguards.
Once the recruit is indoctrinated, his left hand is replaced with a cybernetic replacement. The 8.5E supplement does note curiosity that the Tenth doesn't subscribe entirely to the clannish behaviour of the rest of the chapter, as all marines will possess at least one piece of tech from them (a vertebra, first of hopefully many that also acts as a supplement of a traditional chapter's service studs, as each vertebra will denote a decade of service to a particular clan), though those who hail from the Tenth Company do remain as Scout Sergeants and Vanguards.
As an Iron Hand serves his Chapter he gets more and more augmented: appendages, limbs, organs; the whole shebang until the Marine is little more than a brain in a shell. There are also rumours that dead warriors are instead replaced with automatons rather then new Neophytes - Something not entirely false as augmetics have been harvested and handed down to future generations and the chapter is very rigorous about the indoctrination via uploads as well as emotional suppressors. Because of their extensive augmentation the Iron Hands are amongst the strongest Space Marines: strong enough to dual-wield weapons that regular Space Marines would need both hands for like the Multi-Melta.
Due to the destruction of equipment at the Drop Site Massacre, the chapter lacks in Terminator armour. However veterans are often given suits of Terminator armour and placed in charge of leading squads, called "Klaven", of Tactical Marines, who see the suits giant pauldrons as inspirational. This doesn't mean that the Iron Hands have enough suits to kit out EVERY squad-leader like this, of course - certainly not if they're also equipping leaders, their guards and entire squads of specialists in Terminator armour.
Additionally, Dreadnought chassis are highly revered and sought after pieces of equipment, and being entombed within a Dreadnought is the considered the best fate possible for an Iron Hands Marine. Finally, due to their shared love of machines the Iron Hands and Adeptus Mechanicus are pretty much bros 4 lyfe, with much Bromance and fist bumping.
The one general exception to this is the Librarius of the Chapter, who tend not to get heavily augmented (and often still have both organic hands) and are frequently not Medusan.
In combat they are utterly unforgiving and relentless, hate Daemons and the warp with a rare and intense hatred and utterly despise heresy and cowardice. In other words, they're pretty much like most Space Marine Chapters. During one particular campaign involving the rebellion of an entire sub-sector, the Iron Hands got in and fucked shit up so bad that they executed a third of the sub-sector's entire population. That is not killed. Executed. As in the ones they did not kill in battle, and those who surrendered and begged for mercy.
Despite this they are seen by some as a wholesome and pious chapter, unlike some others that murder everything within sight regardless of whose side they're on or level refugee camps because there are hostiles within the perimeter. Either way, don't piss them off lest you fuel their murderboner; and whilst on the subject of boners, it is believed they hate Slaanesh with the intense hatred of a billion Æonic Orbs because they're the Prince of Excess and the Iron Hands believe THE FLESH IS WEAK (the previously-mentioned one-third-of-a-subsector-getting-blammed was because of Slaaneshi orgies and daemons).
This could mean they are more apt at fighting the minions of She Who Thirsts, but there is, as all things Iron Hands related, not much to elaborate on this except they are getting shit done. (It could also be due to their particularly strong hatred of the Emperor's Children, for a long list of reasons that include a certain Primarch decapitating a certain other Primarch.)
There's also the tactic known as "The Hammer and the Storm", a military doctrine that dates back to a peculiar conflict on Rust during the Great Crusade. The basis of it was essentially to gather the entire enemy force in one location with one force, then gather the rest of the army to surround and eradicate the gathered enemy with a nonstop hail of firepower. There's nothing subtle about the tactic, and it appeals to the heavy-weapon and tank fetish of the technophiles. What it doesn't factor in, however, is that it won't factor in the enemy's intelligence, meaning that a competent enough strategist might realize that they're being clumped together and then orders the troops to disperse far enough to spoil any ability to blast them all at once.
In the Book "The Eye of Medusa" by David Guymer there is a description for "Helfathers", the honor guard of the Iron Fathers and the best of the best. They're clad in black, bulky and heavily augmented suits of Terminator Armour. They have neither clan nor klaven-insignia on their armour and even their bionics are darkened and ancient. There is the superstition that the attention of an Helfather is bad luck, even among Iron Hands. Kardan Stronos (at the time, a squad leader) told his accompanying tech adept:"The Helfathers aren't even human in the the way I am human. I don't know how many of them exist. I never heard any of them speak. As far as I know, they don't even have names. And believe me, Melitan Yolanis, I don't wish to know any more".
It's also said that they rarely, if ever, leave Medusa, so we won't see any rules for them anytime soon.
(Unless we already did... in two Heresy short stories by John French, an Iron Hands warband starts using the "Keys of Hel". This was Meduson tech that Ferrus himself had forbidden and sealed away, including the means of "true mechanical resurrection". The narrator in the second refers to his multiple deaths. So this suggests that the Helfathers may be renowned warriors who who haven't just been wounded unto death, but outright killed and brought back.)
- Clan Avernii: The "Veteran" Company. Due to the way the clans are made, it's not exactly true that each member is indeed a veteran, but they tend to make up for the lost time through many uploads, countless simulations and hypno-indoctrination. While this does result in a critical attrition rate, it also makes them far more robotic.
- Clan Garrsak: Believe in using willpower to suppress emotions. Their plans tend to be very thoroughly planned in advance thanks to simulations and even time instances where they can cut loose for a bit.
- Clan Raukaan: The dangerous mofos. It seems to be a clan trait that they are ruled by emotions more openly than others, as attested to during that Gaudinian Heresy. While this has cost countless lives, it has also brought them renown both in and out of the chapter.
- Clan Kaargul: Their plans tend to be very long-term and meticulous in regard to contingencies. They treat melee as an absolute last resort, after having exhausted all other venues.
- Clan Haarmek: Watch over the countless tech-relics on Medusa. This duty is so critical to them that if a relic is stolen from their watch and not retrieved, then the captain responsible is stripped of rank and forced to undertake the Silver Pilgrimage practically naked, a quest that demands the disgraced captain find a single scale from the wyrm that Manus slew.
- Clan Sorrgol: Responsible to watching over the Medusan Expanse, the fiefdom that the Iron Hands prize for supplies.
- Clan Borrgos: Apparent remnants of the Moirae Schism who weren't deemed extreme enough to be booted to the Sons of Medusa. Is often accompanied by Chaplains, to make sure there's no funny business going on in their ranks. The current Iron Captain also subscribes to purges.
- Clan Morlaag: Focus their strategy into a single killing blow rather than a hundred weaker ones. They also have a lot of trophies kept in their fort.
- Clan Vurgaan: Being deemed too wild, this clan tends to have the most emotion-inhibitors installed. These inhibitors tend to have long-reaching effects, for even after they are removed the brothers of this clan tend to display tics from their reliance on the augmetics.
- Clan Dorrvok: The closest thing the chapter has to a Scout Company post-7th. The company itself is compared to a sort of alloy, as scouts from all clans are gathered here, with those native to Dorrvok just remaining as veteran scouts and Infiltrators. Furthering that analogy is their component of the Forgechain, a symbolic augmetic that replaces a vertebra and marks a decade in service to a particular clan - While all the other companies get to make their vertebrae in all sorts of exotic metals otherwise unique to their clan, Dorrvok makes theirs out of an alloy of all these metals as a symbol of their shared origins.
Gene-seed body dysphoria?
The Iron Hands love to replace their body parts with bionics, but these bionics actually do little to improve upon their already superior physiology. It's possible that the Iron Hands suffer from body dysphoria, seeing weakness in themselves where there is none. This is all but stated in an analysis by a senior tech-priest in the novel Wrath of Iron. This psychological illness likely comes from their gene-seed, since they all suffer it. It's not a far-fetched hypothesis, because the Blood Angels also suffer from a common mental illness passed on through their gene-seed: the Red Thirst.
Good news is they got a much needed bone in 6th edition. Robin Cruddace realized how stupid it was for a chapter with close ties to the Ad-mech to not have a lot of gear; they're now loaded with tanks, aircraft, and dreadnoughts. Their variation of Chapter Tactics gives all marines 6+ FNP (which is a great bonus that will save a few marines here and there, but is not something to be built around), all of their characters and vehicles get It Will Not Die, and Techmarines/Masters of the Forge get +1 to Blessings of the Omnissiah. The strength in this particular set of Chapter Tactics is that basically every single model benefits from it, allowing you to play a wider selection of builds while still playing to its strengths.
...And then they get their own supplement, Clan Raukaan. Interesting, it would seem GW is dealing with not knowing what to do with them by portraying the Chapter as full of contradictions, such as despite the clans being autonomous they do act like Codex companies. Apparently the Codex Astartes was simply "more logical" than the admittedly terrible idea of telling Guilliman and Dorn to go fuck themselves.
Also, the codex kinda skimped on the fluff. The Contqual campaign is pared down to mostly just the final battle on the Shardenus hub, and Supplement: Raukaan skips it entirely, instead introducing the Gaudinian Heresy (see above) instead of the campaign mentioned all over the fucking promotional material. It's also deeply suspicious that for a Chapter which must absolutely revere their Apothecaries, potentially folding them into their Techmarines like Space Wolves and Blood Angels do with their Chaplains, since they'd be the ones in charge of installing new cybernetics, their fluff consistently yammers on about their Techmarines and just doesn't discuss their Apothecaries at any great length.
Crunch-wise in 8th edition, it doesn't seem so crap. They've kept their 6+ FNP from 7th edition although as of the rulings on Disgusting Resilience they have to roll it for each point of damage, not wound now. That said, ignoring 16.6% of all incoming damage is helpful. Like all chapter tactics however the rule doesn't effect vehicles and the Iron Hands no longer gain a benefit to fixing tanks either. Changed as of 8.5 Marine Codex, with everything in the codex except Servitors gaining Chapter Tactics, as well as the chapter tactics themselves letting marines hit Overwatch on a 5 or 6, and Vehicles counting their wounds as double the remaining number for damage tables, as well as the 6+ Feel No Pain. This also applies to Forgeworld models like Relic Leviathans, and the Astraeus Tank. Indeed, it seems that the Iron Hands' specialism of armored warfare has swung over busted for the sake of overcompensation.
With their own codex supplement, Iron Hands are gaining a named character in the form of Iron Father Malkaan Feirros, as well as bonuses for being a pure Iron Hands army, such as ignoring movement penalties for heavy weapons while the Devastator combat doctrine (+1ap for heavy Weapons) is active, six warlord traits, relics, special issue Wargear, and the Technomancy psychic discipline. Chapter Master Smashfucker rides again?
- Ferrus Manus: Primarch of the Iron Hands. Stone-cold zealous mofo who drowned a Necron construct in lava and got its skin fused to his arms, hence his name. Was obsessed with being the best soldier possible and took no shit from anyone. Got decapitated by his BFF Fulgrim during the Drop Site Massacre, giving his legion unresolved daddy issues forever more.
- Shadrak Meduson: Terran-born Iron Hand who took charge of the largest surviving chunk of the X Legion after the Drop Site Massacre and embarked on a guerrilla campaign against the Traitor Legions. Was pretty bro-tier, but he ultimately got betrayed and left to die by some of his fellow Iron Fathers because they didn't like how he was doing things.
- Autek Mor: Incredibly angry man and teamkilling asshole who nevertheless was a senior Iron Father in charge of Clan Morragul. Tried and failed to save Ferrus and the Iron Hands on the ground at Istvaan V, and later embarked on a campaign of ass-kicking for great justice against all traitor scum, during which he did things like nuke an entire planet for surrendering without a fight and dropping an entire goddamn moon onto the World Eaters' main recruiting world. Went on to become first chapter master of the Red Talons after the Heresy.
- Frater Thamatica: The Professor Farnsworth of the 31st Millennium. Came up with all kinds of wacky plans (like using a melting-down plasma reactor to boost a ship's engines and break a Battle Barge in half by ramming it) and doomsday devices basically just for fun. Considered to be the highest-ranking Iron Father after Istvaan. Ultimately died in the Solar War while helping secure the Magna Mater, a powerful relic used to create the first Space Marines (and maybe the Primaris, if it's the same as the Sangprimus Portal).
- Kardan Stronos: Current big cheese of the chapter, though he's technically not chapter master. Has realized that the Iron Hands' obsession with metal over flesh was hurting more than helping and is slowly trying to reform them to be a bit less beep-boop.
- Malkaan Feirros: Iron Father who stepped across the Rubicon Primaris and the only named Iron Hands character with rules (discounting Stronos' official "profile" due to it being mostly generic).
- Kristos: Former Iron Father and basically the Anti-Kardan Stronos. He was responsible for the massive casualties the Hands took in the Gaudinian Heresy and a major proponent of the "Machines über alles" approach. Died to kickstart the chapter's character development, to mixed results.
While each Clan Company has its own rituals and traditions, the following should be considered an outline of the Iron Hands daily routines:
- 04:00 - Morning Prayer: The Iron Hands of the Clan Company are awoken from their power stations and reconfigure their Power Options for best performance, ready for the Iron Father to lead them in sermon which is completely told in Binary.
- 05:00 - Morning Firing Rites: The Iron Hands engage in fire practice. The targets will typically include cutout or actual slaaneshi cultists.
- 07:00 - Battle Practice: The Iron Hands gather for practice in the cages. Often the Iron Hands end up repairing the damage they inflicted on the practice servitor themselves. On more than a few occasions Chapter serfs have been unable to tell the difference between a battle-brother and a servitor.
- 11:00 - Morning Maintenance Rituals: The Iron Hands polish and repair their wargear and augmetics.
- 13:00 - Midday Meal: A light meal is prepared by the Chapter serfs and occasionally accidentally given to a Servitor. During the meal, the Iron Hands repeatedly watch animations of their primarch dying in battle, fueling their rage.
- 13:30 - Tactical Indoctrination: The Clan-Commander gathers the Iron Hands for a tactical sermon on potential enemies, pointing out the vulnerable weak flesh to fire bolters at. They also will take turns using an ancient combat simulator named "War Thunder" to keep their mechanized warfare skills sharp.
- 14:30 - Land-Behemoth Maintenance: The Clan Company assists in repairs to the Land-Behemoth which serves as the Clan's mobile fortress-monastery. Mostly because by this point the vessel has taken on too much ash and soot from Medusa's volcanoes to continue moving. Raising questions about whether this means machines are weaker than flesh earns a battle-brother one hundred days of penitential duties.
- 16:00 - Evening Battle Practice: Having gotten the Land Engine working again, the Clan Company assembles for evening battle practice. Again, they will often repair any damage they inflict on the practice servitor.
- 17:00 - Evening Firing Rites: The Iron Hands will use any ranged weapon possible to destroy their targets, from predator cannons to storm Bolters. Interestingly, their targets will typically be painted pink and Urine yellow.
- 18:00 - Evening Prayer: The Iron Hands gather for the Iron Father to preach to them. Areas frequently covered include the sinfulness of still having your own kidneys, why washing machines are superior to many humans and mortification of pathetic, weak flesh by poking yourself repeatedly in the eye.
- 20:00 - Evening Meal: A feast is prepared by the Chapter serfs. Overcooking or undercooking the food will result in the serf being banished to the Enginerarium decks (trust us, for people born on a half-frozen planet, nothing is worse than the heat of the Enginerarium decks of a Land-Behemoth).
- 21:00 - Evening Maintenance Rituals: The Iron Hands spend the rest of their day overseeing maintenance of their wargear and augmetics with adjustable Spanners, Watchmakers and ratchet Screwdrivers. Many magnetic heads are lost on the Marines Armour in very hard to reach places, Rare Earth Magnets are banned.
- 00:00 - Rest Period: The Iron Hands retire to their power stations for the evening where they configure themselves to low power mode