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The chapter homeworld of the Hammers of Russ is the planet Jotunheim. A cold a desolate world where the planet is covered with snow all year around, though in most parts of the world the snow is hardly more than a couple of feet deep. The world is mostly covered with water, with the a high salt content among other things often keeping the water liquid rather than freezing it and the land is heavily forested. Despite being covered in snow all year around, the temperatures aren't too horrible (at least in the livable areas) due to the large amount of water on the planet. The places where the natives live generally keep around -10 to -30 Celsius in the winter and in the summer the temperatures are often between -5 and 5 Celsius.
Iron and other metals are plentiful on this world, and most members of the populous are capable of forging their own weapons from an early age. The people of the world are constantly at war. Far from what you would expect, though, they fight not to gain land or resources, but they fight to prove themselves to be great warriors to join the great lord and his god- servants against the fallen gods. Apart from the battles, the tribes of the world are quite cordial with each other outside of battle. Their belief is that in the eyes of the gods they are all brothers and that its not for themselves but for the gods that they fight. It is not uncommon for two tribes to work together during a particularily harsh winter and trading smithy techniques and training together and then go back to warring with each other during the summer. Fights between are honourable and face to face-> an ambush against their fellows does nothing to prove that they are strong nor do they feel it would help the gods, and it dishonours those killed and those doing the killing. Ambushes are tricks are used to kill the beasts that threaten them-> beasts have no honour so there is no honour to be gained by killing them in direct combat.
The beasts of the land are often large and powerful. Armour is useless against them, though shields are often used. It is far better to have an arm broken or to lose and arm then to die. Even if you cannot fight anymore, there is still honour to be gained in teaching and preparing the next generation of warriors.
The balance of the battle was eventually broken when one clan saw a large burning thing fall from the sky. When they went to investigate they discovered a ship full of large, dead beings in strange armour-> their lower body was gold and the upper body was black, and on their gold shoulder pads they had the symbols "|\/|[" over a picture of a hammer. They knew they had found some dead gods. They found the weapons of the gods and decided to use them against the other tribes. They had found many different weapons capable of killing from a range, blades that could slice through iron, swords with dozens of moving blades capable of shredding flesh, giant gloves to large and unwieldy for mortal men, and hammers capable of smashing apart boulders. The weapons that could kill from a range were used at first, but after some of them detonating and killing their own clansmen it was determined that the gods did not find them worthy of using the weapons. The holy relics were sealed back into the ship if the gods, which by then was converted to be a holy shrine. While the blades that could shred flesh and the ones that could cut through iron were impressive, what had truly impressed the clan were the large hammers and the great shields that could defend against any weapon they could imagine. They determined that these must be the weapons of the greater gods and that the other weapons must have been for lesser gods and that truly this vessel must have been sent from the heavens to help prepare their world to join the war of the great Lord. The greatest smiths of the clan analyzed the weapons of the gods in an attempt to emulate them. While there were many failures, after a few hundred years they had created lesser version of the godly weapons. By this point knowledge that the greatest gods used hammers and shields of immense power, with hammers and shields becoming the weapon of choice throughout the clans of the world.
While armour had been effective in the wars against other clans before, these new hammers based on the greatest weapons of the gods made a mockery of armour of any sort, though their power still paled in comparison to the weapons of the greater gods, and the new shields could defend even against the mightiest of beasts. Thus the clan that had created these dominated the other clans and soon reigned supreme and had no equal.
However, the leader of the great clan was not happy with this situation and proceeded to summon the greatest elders and shamans from across the land to speak with them. It was there that they had decided that one clan reigning supreme was against the wishes of the gods and it would likely make them weaker and less worthy of fighting with the gods against the fallen. After all, using godly weapons to defeat mortals is one thing, but what would happen if they fought others who also wielded godly weapons and as such they no longer had that advantage? It was considered that they would seal away the weapons of the gods and forbid their use, but one elder gave it some though and declared that perhaps it would be better to continue to use the weapons of the gods but share the knowledge of their creation. After all, if these are the weapons they would be using when they join the war of the gods, why not gain some experience with them before hand? And so the knowledge on how to create the hammers and the shields were spread across the land and the weapons of the gods were shared between the clans such that no clan would retain all the power, and so the clans now fought on equal ground.
Then the waaugh came.
The Great War:
The warriors fought against the green skinned invaders with zeal, the different tribes of the world banding together to fight their strange foes. Realizing their new enemies lacked the honour of the tribes, the tribes used tactics previously reserved only for fighting beasts-> ambushes, traps, raids. The enviroment of the planet made it difficult for the greenskins to use all but the largest of their wheeled contraptions. Despite their advantage of terrain and their weapons, the warriors were losing to the greenskins. That is, until the gods returned to them.
The tribes were being forced back by a fierce greenskin assault when the sky lit up with fire. Dozens of large metal objects fell from the sky. From them came dozens of gods and large constructs of which the warriors had never before seen. Fighting with the gods, of whom eventually introduced themselves as the Sons of Russ, the warriors of the planet eventually pushed back the green tide and rid the planet of them.
The Wolves of Space were impressed with the warriors who fought hard and strong against the greenskins. The tribes learned from the Wolves of Space about many things-> about the great Lord, the Emperor, and about the greatest of his servants Leman Russ. When the gods left the planet, they took some of the warriors with them.
The Creation of the Hammers of Russ
On Fenris the warriors went through the procedures to be inducted into the Space Wolves. Many died, but several thrived in their new enviroment. One, Hres, rose through the ranks to become a Wolf Lord, leader of a great company. For his symbol he chose a hammer, the weapons that was legendary on their home world. Hres and his company had great victories and when the Space Wolves chapter was ordered to make another founding, Hres found himself the Great Wolf of a new chapter which he named the Hammers of Russ. He selected Jotunheim as their home world and made their base in the polar regions where no one but a space marine could survive.
Over the years, many of their legends have diverged from those of the Space Wolves. In the Hammers of Russ it is said that Russ' original weapon was a great hammer that was lost in the crusades and that he only took up an inferior weapon such as a spear to give his enemies a fighting chance. Thunder hammers are (obviously) the preferred weapons of the Hammers of Russ and they train extensively with them and storm shields.
Since their inception the Hammers of Russ have fought in many campaigns, becoming known as fierce warriors in the same way of their original chapter, the Space Wolves. Their chapter colour is grey and their symbol is a hammer. Those of whom are gifted with thunder hammers paint their shoulder plates and knee pads gold in an ancient tradition that was first started to honour the gods. Though they know now that the dead are space marines of a destroyed chapter, the tradition is still continued in the Hammers of Russ.
Battle Cry: "Stop! Its Hammer Time!"
40K armies: Tyranids (2001), Space Wolves (2008), Sisters of Battle (2011)
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