- "Black of fur, the Skaven elite are reared from birth to be the ultimate warriors. Trained to fight and die if need be, Stormvermin are equipped with the best weapons and armour that the Lords of Decay have to offer. On the battlefield they have no equal, as they are rats bred for battle and weaned on the blood of their enemies"
- —Steffan Paulus Adelhof, Scholar of Wolfenburg.[2a]
Stormvermin are, to an individual, larger than the average Skaven, well-muscled, and proficient in the use of various weapons and armour. They are aggressive by nature and are given to overt displays of prowess in order to intimidate those around them.[2a] Like the Grey Seers, their future is determined at the time of their birth, for only a Skaven with black fur are elevated to the ranks of the Stormvermin. As such, there is a certain air of ego shared together by all Stormvermin that is lacking in other Skaven groups.[1a]
Of course, this camaraderie will only stretch so far. Stormvermin are constantly on the lookout for any weakness in their peers, and those who show such flaws will be mercilessly cut down by their brothers. Position in the ranks of the Stormvermin is achieved through a series of duels, though it occasionally falls on the last remaining survivor of a unit to take command. These officers, known as Fangleaders, are some of the deadliest Stormvermin of all.[1a]
However, an even deadlier and unique variety of Stormvermin exists, utilised by the Council of Thirteen as their personal bodyguards. These white-furred elites are known as Albino Stormvermin, and are counted among the Council's greatest assets.
- "A Chieftain is only as big as his Stormvermin."
- —A common saying amongst Warlord Clans.
The progression from Stormvermin to Fangleader to Chieftain to Warlord is common, although not as traditional as betrayal. Stormvermin are linked to a clan leader, serving as his bodyguard and the enforcers of his will. Opposition to a leader is regularly met with butchery and an armoured cadre of Stormvermin is ideal to do such work. To ensure their strong-arm regiments remain loyal, cunning leaders lavish attention, praise and, most importantly, gifts upon "their" Stormvermin. Food, Skavenslaves (often the same thing) and breeding rights are popular motivators. Particular ferocity, anticipating treachery, or eating the existing Fangleader are the standard ways of rising from the Stormvermin ranks. Once established, a Fangleader that can keep his leader safe while savagely carrying out commands can virtually name his price.
As treachery abounds, bribing a Fangleader is a common tactic. Amidst the double and triple crossings, baseless pacts, and false promises, a Fangleader is quickly immersed in the only training that can forge a black-hearted Chieftain, wicked and wily in the ways of both battle and intrigue. Few Chieftains survive without the support of a core of fighters, so when (almost invariably) a Fangleader makes his move to replace a Chieftain, he will assure the support of at least some Stormvermin. A top lieutenant takes the vacated role of Fangleader and so the typical dynamics of power shift...
- "Black Skaven are much-strong and loyal-loyal. Stormvermin guard Grey Seers and Warlords."
- —Skreelin Thurntik, Grey Seer.[2a]
Stormvermin regiments are outfitted with the best spoils of war in the clan's armoury and their duties may include forming a retinue or bodyguard for anyone from a minor Chieftain to the mighty ruling Clan Warlord himself. This puts the Stormvermin at the vanguard of the army where they can ensure continued preferential treatment by fighting with ferocity and zeal for their leaders. Most Warlord clans maintain the unwritten law that the first feed after a battle belongs to the Stormvermin. Those who dare to feast before their proper station are often openly attacked by the elite Skaven warriors, who take any opportunity to violently demonstrate their favoured status. As further reward, many Stormvermin regiments are assigned their own legions of Skavenslaves. These lackeys see to the comfort and needs of their masters. On the battlefield the Stormvermin normally form the bodyguard of Warlords and Grey Seers.[1a]
- The Red Guard - Queek Headtaker's personal bodyguards.
- The Bonehides - A legendary band of Stormvermin.
- Albino Stormvermin - Also known as the Council Guard or the Albino Guard, these elite Stormvermin are taken from birth due to their albinism and trained to be uncharacteristically loyal and disciplined, for theirs is one of the most important jobs in the Under-Empire. They are the personal guard of the Council of Thirteen, the ruling body of all Skavendom.
- 1: Warhammer Armies: Skaven (7th Edition)
- 1a: pg. 35
- 2: Children of the Horned Rat (Fantasy Roleplay)
- 2a: pg. 72