News for February 2011
The Origins of a Brotherhood 14
A look at Rites of Battle, the recent supplement for Deathwatch
Deathwatch | Published 11 February 2011

Greetings, Deathwatch fans!

The release of Rites of Battle has got 40k fans fired up about making new Space Marine Chapters for their Deathwatch games. This week, we’ll take a closer look at the Chapter Creation section of Rites of Battle and present an example of how it works... beginning with a step-by-step example of how to use it to create a new Space Marine Chapter!

Chapter Origin

Chapter I in Rites of Battle is all about Deathwatch Origins, and a big part of that section of the book focuses around how to create and personalize your own Space Marine Chapter to use in Deathwatch! The first thing to focus on, appropriately enough, is the Chapter’s Origin; Why was the Chapter founded?

Each section of the Chapter creation rules provides a number of answers and options, and it is perfectly fine to choose the result or roll randomly for it, depending on your preference. For this example, we’ll select Standing Force, meaning that the new Space Marine Chapter was part of a founding intended to bolster the defences of a specific region.

Next, we must answer the question: When was the Chapter founded? This time, we’ll let a random roll decide the Chapter’s fate, and a result of 22 means that the Chapter was founded in the 35th Millennium.

Chapter Gene-seed

A major factor in the creation of any new Space Marine Chapter is it’s gene-seed, the genetic source of all the various enhancements to a Space Marine’s body that transforms him into a peerless warrior. First, we need to answer the question: How pure is the Chapter’s Gene-seed? Space Marine Chapters are all based on the gene-seed of one of the First Founding Space Marine Legions, and answering this question will tell us where the new Chapter’s gene-seed came from. Once again letting the dice decide, a result of 58 means that the Chapter’s gene-seed is originally from Blood Angel stock. Next, we must find out how pure the gene-seed is... and once more, the dice roll! A result of 5 means that the gene-seed of the new Chapter is pure, meaning that it is a direct descendent from the Blood Angels.

A Chapter with pure gene-seed from one of the First Founding Chapters uses all the game rules for their progenitor, meaning that the new Chapter’s characteristic bonuses, demeanour, solo mode abilities, squad mode abilities, primarch’s curse, and psychic powers are all the same as those of the Blood Angels from the Deathwatch Rulebook.

Now that we’ve determined the Chapter’s gene-seed, we move on to the next step in its origin...

Founding Father

Who are the Chapter’s heroes? This is the next question that must be answered. Rather than resorting to the dice, let us select instead that the new Chapter’s hero is the Company Captain of the third Company, and that his Deed of Legend (from another table of options) is that he led an action against an Eldar Craftworld, a gloriously successful raid in which he and the Chapter have earned the enmity of this enigmatic alien race.

Home World

What type of planet is the Chapter’s home world? The dice roll, and the result is 63, a Medieval world. Next, we discover the world’s predominant terrain... a result of 72 means that the planet is predominantly a wasteland. Clearly, the wind-scoured and polluted wastes are dominated by massive, looming keeps where the feudal lords of this planet control and protect the peasants of their households. A further die roll indicates that the Chapter’s relationship with the home world is one of direct rule, meaning that the Chapter’s leaders are figures of ultimate authority on this planet.

The Codex Astartes

The next sections focus on a new Chapter’s traditions and beliefs, beginning with its adherence to the Codex Astartes (a codified set of rules and traditions that many Chapters follow closely), to its combat doctrine and beliefs. Having already decided that the new Chapter follows closely in its progenitor’s footsteps, we choose that the new Chapter is identical to the Blood Angels in these respects.

Current Status

The home stretch for the Chapter creation section, this next few steps helps us determine the new Chapter’s name, current status, friends and enemies, heraldry, and more. The dice roll, and it turns out that the Chapter is endangered, meaning that only a handful of Companies remain after suffering major losses in the recent past. The Chapter counts the Imperial Navy amongst its most staunch allies, and its avowed foe (to no surprise, given the Chapter’s hero) is the pernicious threat of the Eldar.

Time to find out the Chapter’s name! Selecting an appropriate adjective and noun from the lists provided (although, it is important to note that when creating your own Chapter, you may of course come up with a name that is entirely your own even if it is not on these extensive lists), the new Chapter is known as the Crimson Knights. It’s heraldry becomes a sword flanked by blood drops, its livery primarily red with golden greaves.

Tying it all Together

Taking all the above sections and combining them together gives us a very interesting result; the Crimson Knights rule the distant world of Tembron on the galactic rim, a world devastated by massive wars and now consisting of huge fortresses protecting the planet’s remaining population. Founded to defend against the predations of the Eldar, the Crimson Knights have fought a series of battles against Craftworld Kaelor, and has unfortunately suffered a number of severe setbacks, rescued by the timely intervention of an Imperial battlefleet. As a Successor Chapter to the Blood Angels, the Crimson Knights revere their primarch, Sanguinius, and fight as their noble forebears, with swiftly-moving assault forces and fierce assaults. This Chapter is slowly rebuilding their forces, but have nevertheless honoured ancient vows and have sent one of their Battle-Brothers to be seconded to the Deathwatch!

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.

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Comments (14)

Alpharius Omegon
Published: 2/25/2011 11:22:20 PM



The ISBN from the back of our copy is 978-1-58994-781-8, which appears to be the exact same as the number you posted.  It may be a problem with your supplier.

Published: 2/20/2011 7:12:00 AM

Hello People

I am trying to order this book in Switzerland and my local bookshop reckons that the ISBN/UPS: 978-1-58994-781-8 does not register with major book retailers. I told them that they had best try again because I have ordered all my FFG books thru them. Could it be that there are any Problems?

Published: 2/14/2011 7:50:27 AM

I just got the book yesterday, and it made me even more pumped up for Death Watch. Am I the only one really excited about the Crimson Fists? If I read it right, chronologically, this book happens before the original Rogue Trader book from 1987. How cool is that!

Published: 2/13/2011 7:15:03 PM

I cannot compliment FFG enough on these Create’a’Chapter rules. They are amazingly robust and give players and GM’s alike the tools for creating a near limitless amount of different and interesting Chapters. Someone had a concern about rolling on ‘more tables’. None of these rules require rolling – and it is perfectly feasible to simply pick all the results in consultation with a GM and with good justification/fluff to back it all up. With these rules I’ll be able to add Deathwatch Marines from two of my own homebrew Chapters – the Iron Paladins and the Emerald Vipers – easily and efficiently. Looking forward to it.


And as a bonus, you can roll all sorts of really silly Chapter names, like Flesh Fists, Death Death, Ultra Fists, Bloody Blood, Doom Fists and even Imperial Guard. :-D


Published: 2/13/2011 6:38:26 AM

These rules are NOT gimmicks: there will be a million players wanting to play chapters from Imperial History, and instead of a GM having to come up with particular rules all the time, they can just say 'create it using chapter 1' and feel happy the resulting chapter won't be broken.

(it also makes it much easier for GMs to generate their own chapters for NPC characters).

And it IS nice to see you can 're-create' standard chapters using these rules - but what I might have liked was an example of how to create an already-known chapter, e.g. Imperial Fists, for which there are no current rules.

Published: 2/12/2011 4:22:42 PM

From what is sounds like, the custom chapter creation rules are more of a gimmick. I can see every gamer trying it out once and creating their own chapter and then ending up using one of the canon chapters. There'll be an occasional fringe player who'll actually use it but... I guess from what it sounds I would say that it's a cool thing to have but the hardcore gamers would rather have seen more canon chapters in RoB.

Me, I am not quite so negative about this - I think an official way to create your own chapter is rather nifty and will go down well in the history of 40K (the game, not the game world). I wonder if we'll see a few more custom chapters based on this in the tabletop.



The Laughing God
Published: 2/12/2011 3:42:13 PM

Not too enthusiastic about more dice rolls and tables. A medieval storm-scoured world, we can make that up for ourselves without having to resort to dice rolling ....

Martial Hubris
Published: 2/12/2011 2:29:27 PM

Agreed... I did not need help taking an already existing chapter and renaming it... I have actually looked at the book and even the tables for chapter creation are set in blocks. I would have liked to see something that helped me actually create new solo and squad mode abilities. I know as a GM I can do this anyways, but not as a player. Also the "custom" chapter advances would have been much better if it would have had something like "Select 1 skill from this table, 1 skill from this table, 1 talent from this table..." You get the idea, ha ha.

Oh well, it's still a good book overall and does have lots of exciting stuff in it that is really cool.

Published: 2/12/2011 8:52:17 AM

@  N0-1_H3r3: That's what I hope and believe. :-) It just irks me if a game I want to succeed does bad marketing. If you want people to buy something you show them some of the best stuff you have, like the Chaplain advancement.

I think that showing how you can create a truly interesting and unique chapter with the rules with the promise of there being dozens to hundreds of other combinations would get more people to order it than cloning the Blood Angels and hinting that you could maybe create something different.

Published: 2/12/2011 5:45:03 AM

@Mjoellnir: The example isn't perhaps the best one of what can be done with the Chapter Creation rules; a chapter with "Pure" geneseed does tend to end up as a reflavoured Progenitor Chapter, certainly, but there's plenty of room for things other than "Pure" chapters, and lots of tables that allow for such variations.

Published: 2/12/2011 5:25:06 AM

I will buy it as soon as it is available, but this preview of the chapter creation rules is just sad. You essentially made Blood Angels with different fluff. That's something I could have done with the core rulebook and the tiny bit of fantasy and setting knowledge every roleplayer should have.

Published: 2/11/2011 5:39:35 PM

 Will order this once I get a little extra cash flow, no worries FFG ;)

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