Thom (pronounced tôm) came from a lower class family, which couldn't afford to hire a master to teach him. Which he figured was just as well, since he never considered himself particularly bright. He was, however, quite strong, which made him a valuable asset to a local Tonadian street gang, the Victors, which he joined in his teens, in the early 890s. Thom became friendly with various members of the gang, including its leader, Kane. He saw various members come and go, over the years, including a young woman named Larami, who joined the gang in 896. Three years later, when Kane retired, Larami became the gang's new leader. She soon fired a number of the gang's members, for various reasons, such as their being, in her opinion, "too young" or "too unintelligent." (This included Xander, who had joined the Victors a few months earlier. Thom had gotten along reasonably well with him, as they were both people who most others dismissed as being "all brawn, no brains.")
Not long after she took over the Victors and began making these changes, Larami merged her gang with two others, from First Village and Plist, to form InterGang. The branches in each village became more organized, separating gangsters into specific departments. To his surprise, Larami made him her chief enforcer (shortly after he broke up a fight between aspiring chief enforcer Rolf and rival Frag). In fact, he'd been surprised she kept him in the gang at all, considering she clearly had no respect for him intellectually. But apparently, she had little interest in the ability of her enforcers to think, merely to fight; and Thom was clearly the best fighter in the gang. Even so, if he'd been younger, he supposed he would have been fired, just like Xander and others. While he never liked Larami, he didn't see that he had any other job options, so he made the best of the situation.
In 904, when the surname law was passed, Thom chose the name "Bipolar," owing to the fact that he suffered from occasional "upswings" and "downswings" in his mood, because of a chemical imbalance in his brain. For the most part, he medicated himself with alcohol, whenever not on duty. And when he was on duty, he was generally strong-willed enough to control his emotions, and concentrate on the job.
However, one night in 912, Larami assigned him to work when he was supposed to have the night off. Unfortunately, this came just as he was heading into a downswing, and started an unlikely chain of events which led to LandOrder forming an alliance with The Chaos. It also led to Larami being reprimanded by her capo, Amelia Mysshroudedtery. That in turn led Larami to decide to break off from InterGang, and form her own gang, the Illuminati. While many of those in Larami's employ (especially her enforcers) felt she had badly mistreated Thom, many of her employees went with her to form the new gang. Those who remained loyal to the capo were later transferred to Plist. This included Thom, who became the chief enforcer of that village's branch of InterGang.