Sturm first appeared in the first novel of the Chronicles Trilogy, Dragons of Autumn Twilight (1984). As with the other main characters of the trilogy, Sturm's proper creation was during a role-playing game session where Tracy Hickman, Laura Hickman, Margaret Weis, and Terry Phillips, between others, developed the guidelines and main story for the Dragonlance setting.
It reveals that Sturm Brightblade was born to Angriff Brightblade and Ilys Brightblade (or Anna Brightblade), the Lord and Lady of Avrinet. Just as we are introduced to Sturm's childhood, however, he is forced to flee with his mother to Solace, as the peasants of Avrinet are revolting. They leave behind Angriff Brightblade and Gunthar Uth Wistan, a future Grandmaster of the Solmanic Knights. Sturm and his mother decide to travel by sea to Solace, however are captured by the Kernaffi Navy for trespassing. Sturm later learns that the king of Kernaf, Mukhari Ras, is a black robed priest of Takhisis, who seeks to gain an elixir of life, but needs noble blood in the process. Learning that he himself is to be sacrificed, he remembers that he swore an oath to his father to protect his mother, and so, manages to escape with his mother by killing the king of Kernaf, revealing his bravery even as an eleven year old child.
We see Sturm again as an adult in Dragons of Autumn Twilight (1984) by Margaret Weis and Tracy Hickman as a tall and stern man wearing an ancient suit of armor. Sturm soon meets Caramon Majere, Tanis Half-Elven and Raistlin Majere, revealing to them that his ancient suit of armor is all he has from his father, thus the greatest pride of his life. It is soon revealed that this sword and armor is all he has to rely upon in the upcoming trials of his life.
In the second novel of the Chronicles series, Dragons of Winter Night (1985), written by the same authors, Sturm Brightblade becomes a more active member of the Companions, as he helps recover a Dragon Orb, an ancient magical artifact able to control dragons. At the end of the novel he sacrifices himself to allow the defeat of the enemy army, ending his participation in the series. Alone, he faces Kitiara, a blue dragon highlord. If it wasn't for Sturm's sacrifice, the High Cleric Tower may have been taken, and some of the companions would have died.
Paul B. Thompson and Tonya C. Cook's novel, Darkness & Light (1989) featured Sturm Brightblade and Kitiara Uth Matar, working together to reach Solamnia, a region in the continent of Ansalon. This travel would be used as a background for Margaret Weis and Tracy Hickman's short story "Kitiara's son", published in The Second Generation (1995), with an already dead Sturm, in which the authors reveal Kitiara and Sturm had had, unknown to him, a son named Steel Brightblade.
Michael Williams's novel The Oath and the Measure (1992), fourth in The Meetings Sextet series, gives more information about Sturm's father during Sturm's quest to meet Lord Wilderness, Lord Vertumnus, the only person who informs the true story about the Brightblade castle's fall and his father's death. At the end of the novel, Sturm is formally accepted as a Squire of the Knights of Solamnia.
Several authors mention Sturm's mother, Illys Brightblade. Margaret Weis in the novel The Soulforge (1998), reveals how she died when a plague struck Solace, while feeding the poor and tending the sick as written by the Oath and the Measure, the code of conduct every knight must fulfill. This marks a turning event in Sturm's life as, not bound by an earlier promise to protect his mother anymore, he decides to travel to Solamnia to learn more about his father's whereabouts.
We did not "kill" Sturm arbitrarily. The noble Knight of Solamnia was intended to be a tragic hero from the first inception of the project.
According to the Dragonlance timeline defined by the authors, the Knights of Solamnia were an association of honorable knights fell in disgrace as the regular citizens of the fictional world of Krynn blamed them for not being able to stop the Cataclysm, the event in which the Krynnish gods threw a fiery mountain against the world to punish its inhabitants for their pride. The authors determined that Sturm Brightblade, technically a Squire, a knighthood member who is learning the codes and skills needed to be knighted, would restore the honor of the Knights of Solamnia by sacrificing himself during a battle against the Dragonarmies of Ansalon, armies supporting Takhisis, the goddess of darkness.
The decision is hinted during the first book of the trilogy, Dragons of Autumn Twilight (1984), when the group of friends meet the Forestmaster, the unicorn protecting the mysterious Darken Woods, with the paragraph:
Weis and Hickman had explained, throughout the first two books of the Chronicles series, that a number of factions divided the Knights of Solamnia, making them unable to take decisions to prevent the spread of the invasion by the Dragonarmies of Ansalon, successfully describing a world where hope was almost nonexistent. However, by using his sacrifice, they were able to put an end to the internal quarrels of the association, turning it into the only armed organization able to stop the forces of evil.
In The Annotated Chronicles (1999), Hickman reveals that, while working with the story, he came across a Norse legend in which a king, while standing in the battlements of his fortress, saw an arrow coming his way. A vision flashed in the king's mind, informing the arrow would kill him but, because of it, his warriors would fight courageously until winning the battle. This story was used as inspiration for Sturm's final battle.
Although the authors had foreshadowed his death through two books, the character's end caused an uproar between fans which surprised the authors, Weis explains in the Annotated Chronicles, to the point of being accused of "not caring" about Sturm. In this book, however, both state they cried while writing the scene.
Authors refer to Sturm Brightblade as a major hero of the Knights of Solamnia, at the same level of Vinas Solamnus, founder of the knighthood, and Huma Dragonbane, who defeated Takhisis in the final battle at the end of the Age of Light. In Dragons of a Lost Star (2002), the second book of the War of Souls trilogy, Weis and Hickman write that Laurana Kanan, Queen Mother of the Qualinesti elves, prayed to Sturm moments before confronting Beryllinthranox, the green dragon overlord, while in Jeff Crook's The Rose and the Skull (1999), Crysania of Tarinius, head of Paladine's church, name him along with the two previously mentioned heroes.
The character has a major role in the development of another Dragonlance character, Steel Brightblade, as described by Weis and Hickman in The Second Generation and Dragons of Summer Flame (1995).
Sturm's long, thick mustaches, the age-old symbols of the Solamnic Knights, are a source of pride. His armor is old, dating "almost back to the Cataclysm", and all that is left of his inheritance. Raistlin revealed to Steel that he could not stand Sturm, who was always preaching, always telling the 'correct' course of action. Raistlin told the young man, however, that he liked Sturm better after he discovered the man was only made a knight shortly before his death, that Sturm had all his life been living by a code he was not bound to--a code that many so-called true Solamnic Knights were only playing lip service to, that in his opinion Sturm had been a true knight his entire life.