|Deathwatch | Published 12 March 2010|
Greetings, Deathwatch fans!
One of the greatest challenges I faced when developing Deathwatch was finding the right answer to a simple question: What Space Marine Chapters should be included in the core rulebook?
The Deathwatch is a unique opportunity to showcase the differences between the core beliefs, traditions, and gene-seeds of the various Space Marine Chapters, and there is no better way to showcase that than to focus on some of the most famous and distinct Space Marine Chapters in Warhammer 40,000.
In the background of the Warhammer 40,000 universe, there are a large number of interesting and unique Space Marine Chapters. Working with Games Workshop, we selected six of these Chapters for the Deathwatch Core Rulebook, but there are many more that await in future supplements for the Deathwatch line. I myself am quite a fan of the Space Marines, so I know that there are a lot of fans out there who are waiting with bated breath to see their particular favourite Chapter for Deathwatch.
In addition to that, it is a long-held tradition for Space Marine fans to create their own Chapters, or develop successor Chapters from some of the more famous and well-established ones in the Warhammer 40,000 lore. You can be sure that a thorough and extensive create-your-own-Chapter section is planned for the Deathwatch line in the future!
I am pleased to reveal the first of these Chapters in this Designer diary: The Space Wolves.
The Sons of Russ
The Space Wolves are a personal favourite of mine. These fierce Space Marines hail from the icy Death World of Fenris, and they are a proud and noble Chapter, their battle-lust tempered by cunning. Even in the grim darkness of the far future, there can still be heroes, and amongst their number you will find the savage fury of the Space Wolves. Here are some words from the talented pen of Andy Hoare about these Space Marines and their role in the Deathwatch:
“We may be few, and our enemies many. Yet so long as there remains one of us still fighting, one who still rages in the name of justice and truth, then by the Allfather, the galaxy shall yet know hope.”
–Ragnar Blackmane of the Space Wolves
Since the Imperium came into being, the Space Wolves have fought tooth and nail for the cause of the Emperor. Amongst the most famous of the Chapters of the Adeptus Astartes, their sagas are told from one end of the galaxy to the other. As headstrong as they are fierce, the Space Wolves excel at close-quarters fighting, their warriors vying keenly for glory on the field of battle. The Space Wolves live to fight, and death holds no fear for them.
The Battle-Brothers of the Space Wolves are ferocious and aggressive warriors. Though far from mindless berserkers, they are certainly possessed of a feral exuberance for battle. They have an overriding sense of duty and honour, and are driven ever onwards by a strong desire to right the many wrongs that have befallen the Imperium of Man since the heady days of the Great Crusade. Space Wolves exhibit a fierce sense of loyalty to their comrades in arms and this is on occasion extended to their compatriots in other branches of the Imperium’s military.
Although as devoted to the Emperor as any other Space Marine Chapter, the Space Wolves express their faith not in prayer and piety, but in feats of arms. While the Battle-Brothers of other Chapters may spend the night before battle in solemn meditation, the Space Wolves are more likely to mark the eve of battle in bawdy celebration, raising overflowing jacks of Fenrisian ale to brothers they may be mourning once battle is done. A Space Wolf will drink and make merry, for tomorrow, he may die.
In temperament, most Space Wolves are blunt and plain speaking, even to the point of giving offence to those not used to their ways. They abhor pretension and despise politicking. They are honest to a fault, and expect the same quality in those they fight alongside. Space Wolves embrace their lot with an uncomplicated enthusiasm, from the headstrong, newly recruited Blood Claw to the grey haired and taciturn Long Fang. Each plays the role fate lays before him, knowing that a life spent in service to the Emperor is a life well lived.
In the face of an enemy attack, a Space Wolf bounds forward like a Fenrisian wolf on the hunt, a joyous song of war on his lips.
In the Deathwatch
Many Space Wolves have served in the Deathwatch, and some of the most celebrated Battle-Brothers are drawn from the Chapter. Their propensity to engage the foe head on has led to many great victories, even if none outside of the Deathwatch ever hear of them. Though many Space Wolves have been elevated to the rank of Watch Captain in the Deathwatch, comparatively few have served as Watch Commanders. It is likely that this is due to the brothers’ natural gregariousness, and their desire to return to the great feasting halls of Fenris once their duty is done.
Deathwatch is a roleplaying game in which players take on the roles of the bio-engineered super-soldiers known as Space Marines. United with their battle-brothers, players will complete extraordinary missions involving some of the greatest heroes and deadliest opponents the Warhammer 40,000 universe has to offer.
Really think the book should have the 9 Progenitor Chapters listed, they don't need to reinvent the wheel just talk to GW about getting some of the fluff from them, and most chapters should have similar 'careers'.
Chapter symbols on the Deathwatch main page are Dark Angels (Large winged angel with monks robe and sword on a green field on his left knee, a common location for DA iconography, and combined with the winged helmet screams DAs) and Blood Angels iconography all over the Devastator (sorry about the spelling don't have a SM Codex on me), chances are if they are in the FFG produced Artwork they are in the core rulebook.
Character creation should be fairly easy
Chapter => Homeworld & Homeworld traits (maybe two types per chapter, were you born a noble on your world or a base hive ganger, did you come from a feral or feudal world) => Path (I would expect this to be kind of like RT with different campaigns/events shaping your characters experiences, aka did you fight on Armageddon or against the 13th black crusade) => 'Career' aka assault, Chaplin, techmarine
Chapters I would expect:
1) Dark Angels (First founding chapter, torn apart by a secret heresy, fanatical devotes of the Emperor eternally seeking redemption – mystery and redemption it’s a good bet these guys will be there)
2) Ultramarines (you pretty much have to have them show up in anything SM, they also form the basis for more than half of all SM Chapters)
3) Blood Angels (go to chapter for tragedy and loss among the SMs, noble and glorious warriors faced with a consuming and tragic flaw in their gene seed which makes them blood-crazed warriors - there is too much ink spilt and history written into the 40k universe for these guys not to come out and play)
4) Space Wolves (even without this article, the space-pups are popular, and while I don’t play SW what can we say but that there is an appeal to these guys with the contrast between the high-tech nature of the SMs and the feral ‘space Viking’ warrior culture of the SWs)
5) White Scars or Raven Guard (Raiders and infiltrators, overlooked often but have a definate appeal to them, and getting more recognition in the new editions)
6) Crimson Fists or Black Templars (maybe Imperial Fists but the CFs and somewhat less the BT seem to be the favoured sons of Dorn when it comes to publication time)
I would NOT expect Iron Hands because while they initially seem kinda interesting they come down to pissed off and bitter marines who pretend they aren't pissed off and bitter while fanatically following more the Lex Omnissiah then the Pax Imperialis (if they aren't included you can use this as a guide to playing them, you also need to just lop off your left hand and replace it with a cybernetic system). Note they also got the shaft in the SM codex.
For a first pass I also wouldn’t expect to see Salamanders (to bad cause they really have that whole noble warriors of the God Emperor thing going more then almost any other SM Chapter, even giving the Ultramarines a run for their money in this department), or really any of the Successor Chapters. Core rulebook = set the scene.
Anyways have fun building your own chapters based on whatever 6 they give us.
Hope Deathwatch is as good and as fun as Dark Heresy and Rogue Trader have been so far. Really looking forward to this one hope its out soon so I can start linking the three.
Most Likely the six chapters in the core book will be the old GW standards, Space Wolves, Blood Angels, Dark Angels, Ultramarines, Imperial Fists and Black Templars. They said other chapters will be presented in other supplements and who knows maybe they will give rules to make our own chapters as while.
If Purge the Unclean is any indicator, the Hammers of Retributon stand a good chance of being in this book.
Indeed, Ultramarines with thair hatred of tyranids should be an obvious choice, and also the "imperial fists" and successor chapters with their loyalty and stubborness.
Didn't some novel about the Deathwatch tell that IF are often chosen as captains or commanders?
Surely, rather than 'the six most iconic' they should be picking 'the six most distinct'?
Looking at it that way, e.g.:
- Black Templars (Intolerant/single minded/adventuring)
- White Scars/Space Wolves (Feral/bawdy/ribald/raucous?) [Alternatively: mutants, include Blood Angels here]
- Ultramarines/Fists (Classic/Strict/Militaristic)
- Salamanders/Iron Hands/Praetors of Orpheus/'New' (Focus on techy-thinky side)
- Raven Guard (Stealth)
- Exorcists/Blood Ravens (Magical)
Of course, there's a ton of variations there. The Space Wolves/Blood Angels are an obvious dichotomy in that "fighting against a genetic flaw" is a bit of a one-trick-pony (even if everyone's is unique [imagine a Black Dragon, a Space Wolf, a Raven Guarder and a Blood Angel]).
In any case, I'm rather excited.
Cool. Gotta start reading those two SW Omnibuses. :)
It doesnt come out for another 5 months, so I doubt the final print is at the printers just yet.
tHere's no sense arguing about the book itself & what can be included & changed, etc. It's already in the printers, by all indications.
Hehe, cool. Space vikings. Blood angels I can definately see next, as well as Black templars. But, I go Can we expect Ultramarines? I know, they are THE iconic space marine chapter, the one everyone thinks of when someone says Space Marine. But, I believe we can safely assum the Jericho Reach is probably somewhere in Segmentum obscurus, near the Calixis sector and Koronus Expanse. Given that Ultramar is on the exact opposite side of the galaxy, would they be operating in and around the jericho reach? I honestly don't know.
That said, If FFG left them out, I would be gobsmacked.
Sure I'll take a bet. My monie's on the Blood Angels> you're move. :D
Actually, I'd be expecting a successor Chapter for the Blood Angel's (since they don't have many) such as the Flesh Tearers.