|Deathwatch | Published 11 June 2010|
by Ross Watson, Senior RPG Developer
Greetings, Deathwatch fans!
This week, I want to focus on the wargear of the Adeptus Astartes, the arms and armour of the mighty Space Marines. It is difficult to find items that are more iconic of the Space Marines than his power armour and his boltgun. These items are a Space Marine’s metaphorical sword and shield, and as long as he honours the war-spirits of his wargear, they will not fail him.
For the Deathwatch core rulebook, we included a vast array of weapons and wargear that a Space Marine might bear against the enemies of the Emperor. In addition, we present detailed rules for the Mark VII power armour, from the auto-senses that enhance the Space Marine’s ability to find his foe to the recoil suppression systems that allow him to fire his bolter one-handed if necessary. Deathwatch also contains an extensive chart for the proud history of the Space Marine’s power armour. A Battle-Brother’s armour may have advanced targeting systems and a predilection for ranged combat, or its war-spirit may hold a particular grudge against a specific type of enemy, or the armour might be inscribed with litanies of authority and heraldic battle honours that give its wearer an enhanced ability to command.
Some Battle-Brothers may gain enough renown to be granted the coveted honour of the Crux Terminatus, a special distinction that includes training in the use of powerful Terminator Armour, whilst other Deathwatch Space Marines might, at rare times, choose to use lighter Scout Armour when stealth is paramount.
Space Marines who earn a great deal of Renown (a resource gained from accomplishing objectives during a mission—see some of my previous designer diaries about missions for more!) might also be granted the use of a selection of ancient and powerful relics, many unique to the Deathwatch, whilst others have been gifted from individual Space Marine chapters.
All in all, the Space Marines of the Deathwatch are amongst the best-equipped in the galaxy, and the vaults of Watch Fortress Erioch hold vast arrays of artefacts ranging from master-crafted weapons to bizarre alien technology.
Now, I am very pleased to present some words from the author of the Armoury chapter of Deathwatch, Andrea Gausman! (some of you may remember Andrea as the winner of the 2009 Dark Heresy Adventure Contest).
Andrea Gausman Speaks
Working on the Deathwatch Armoury was an exciting yet exacting opportunity. Power armour, bolters, and other iconic gear are so central to the Space Marines. As anyone who has been on the Warhammer 40,000 Roleplay ride for Dark Heresy and Rogue Trader knows, the Armoury is a balancing act. It has to consider what has already been established in the roleplaying version of the game, what the Games Workshop background says about a piece of wargear, and the expectations fans bring with them from the statistics of the tabletop game.
One of the things that was very important to me was to keep in mind synergy with the other Warhammer 40,000 Roleplay lines. I think it is very important that Deathwatch characters be able to interact with player characters from Dark Heresy and Rogue Trader without causing a lot of extra work for the GM. Each game is stand alone, but they should be able to integrate if the GM wants them to. The Deathwatch Armoury definitely supports the co-existence of all the games in the same universe. That isn’t to say that Adeptus Astartes weapons are just oversized versions of the gear you’ve seen so far. We tried very hard to emphasize the superior technology base of the Space Marines’ legacy, and many of their weapons have their own special rules because of it.
So what else will you find in the Armoury? Well, there is power armour, of course (several points of which were guessed pretty accurately in some recent speculation by our fans at Dark Reign). A couple of my favorite Armoury sections are Relics and Chapter Trappings. Relics are unique, powerful items like frost blades and the other gear you’d find on Space Marine special characters. They’re very distinctive items, and also lay a good framework for GM’s to create Relics specific to their campaigns. Chapter Trappings are all based on the different visual and personality styles of the Adeptus Astartes Chapters. Equipping your Dark Angel with a hooded robe or your Space Wolf with a wolf pelt really drives home the flavor of your Chapter, and also helps to overcome the idea that everyone looks the same just because they’re in Deathwatch black.
You’ll also find many references to the Jericho Reach setting; I have always admired the equipment in The Inquisitor’s Handbook for the way it was so colored by the Calixis Sector. I tried to make sure that the Deathwatch Armoury had a similar feel. The importance of bridging the gap between the rule abstractions and the in game reality of the setting is something I think FFG pays a lot of attention to, and I’m sure you’ll see more of in upcoming releases for Deathwatch. I’m very excited about what is coming next. And for anyone attending Gen Con this year, I’ll be running a Deathwatch game so please look for myself and some other members of the Iceberg team to play or learn more about the game.
I am excited to report that I am currently working on a project that will pull aside the veil of time and reveal more about the upcoming Deathwatch projects for 2010 and 2011. Keep your eyes on the FFG website and your faith will be rewarded!
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.
I can't wait to see this game and I'm really looking forward to playing Final Sanction next week at this year's Free RPG Day. Once again FFG is bringing us some truly fantastic products. Keep up the good work!