- "Amongst a hundred men, there may be none fit for the Adeptus Astartes. Amongst a hundred Space Marines, there may be one fit for the Deathwatch."
- —Watch Captain Brand
The Deathwatch Space Marines serve the Ordo Xenos of the Imperial Inquisition as its Chamber Militant, the warriors of last resort when the Inquisition needs access to firepower greater than the Imperial Guard or a team of its own Acolytes or even Throne Agents can provide. Across the galaxy there are innumerable hostile alien civilisations that threaten Mankind, from the green-skinned Orks, to the monstrous Tyranids, sadistic Dark Eldar, spectral C'tan, and undying Necrons. It is the sacred task of the Deathwatch to stand sentry against all of these terrible xenos races. They are ready to act when such ancient evils rise to threaten Mankind once more. The Space Marines of the Deathwatch form the first, and often only, line of defence against these inhuman horrors.
Unlike other Space Marines, the ones serving in the Deathwatch are not truly a separate Chapter of the Adeptus Astartes; rather, they are a collection of Veteran Space Marines drawn from all of the different extant Chapters who serve together in the Inquisition's service for a discrete period of time. To be chosen by one's Chapter to serve in the Deathwatch is a great honour for any Space Marine, as only the most elite and experienced members of a Chapter are ever chosen for this extremely hazardous tour of duty, the specifics of which must be kept secret by Inquisitorial order and sacred oath even from a Deathwatch Astartes' home Chapter.
Deathwatch Space Marines do not usually form the standard tactical groups like squads and companies generally used by the Adeptus Astartes. Instead, they operate as small special forces units in close-knit groups of specialists called Kill-teams. If a xenos threat is particularly dangerous, several Kill-teams may be assigned to deal with it, but if the threat is still too much for even the Deathwatch to handle, the Inquisition will be forced to turn to a full Space Marine Chapter or to multiple regiments of the Imperial Guard to deal with it. In general, if a group of Deathwatch Kill-teams cannot deal with a xenos incursion, that means that the Imperium has a major conflict on its hands and must deploy a full range of its military forces to meet the threat.
- "We do not hate the alien because he is different, we hate the alien because he had naught but hate in his heart for us."
- — Anonymous Battle-Brother of the Deathwatch
The exact origins of the Deathwatch are uncertain in current Imperial records, but its inception can be traced to 544.M32, and the arrival of the largest Ork WAAAGH! seen since the Ullanor Crusade during the closing years of the Great Crusade. Led by the mysterious Warlord known only as The Beast, this Greenskin invasion threatened the very Throneworld of Terra itself. During this conflict, it was the newly-elected Lord Commander of the Imperium, Chapter Master and sole surviving member of the Imperial Fists, named Koorland, who devised the concept of utilising small elite Astartes Kill-teams to eliminate vital strategic assets of the encroaching Greenskins and eventually, The Beast itself. Though reluctant at first to acquiesce to the Lord Commander's plan to approve the creation of such a force, desperate times called for desperate measures. Therefore, the High Lords of Terra consented to Koorland's proposal. The original recruits for this newly created elite force were drawn from the survivors of the various Chapters who took part in the initial invasion of The Beast's capital world of Ullanor. These Chapters suffered severe losses during the invasion. Thus standing in vigil over their fallen brethren, the seeds of the Deathwatch were sown. Lord Commander Koorland eventually came to an agreement with the Inquisitorial Representative Wienand, to assuage any doubts by the rest of the members of the Senatorum Imperialis, that the Deathwatch would fall under the purview of the Inquisition, but an Astartes would ultimately serve as Chapter Master.
However, there are conflicting accounts which state the Deathwatch's origins occurred somewhat differently, and that it was founded at an unknown time centuries ago. These records state that a conclave of Inquisitor Lords -- the Apocryphon Conclave of Orphite IV -- convened with the sole purpose of formulating an Imperium-wide strategy to combat the many xenos threats that assailed Mankind. The members of this conclave were, in the main, drawn from the ranks of the Ordo Xenos, all of whom shared the belief that one day, there would come a time when Humanity would be consumed by slavering xenos beasts, or enslaved to creatures of unutterably alien origins. They foresaw an age when every alien life form in the galaxy, and others from beyond it, might rise up and the Age of the Imperium would come to an end. They had no inkling when such a terrible age might come, but they knew with dreadful certainty that it surely would, and they determined that no effort should be spared to avert such an end.
The conclave sat for many standard years, and bitter debate raged back and forth between Inquisitor Lords of many different positions. Some believed that every trace of alien life should be purged from the galaxy, while a few advocated the formation of alliances with those alien races that could be tolerated. Some spoke of ancient, god-like beings that have slumbered since before the creation of Mankind awakening to enslave the galaxy, while others foresaw that death would come at the hands of invasion from other galaxies entirely. While many Puritan Inquisitor Lords declared the conclave itself an admission of defeat for even countenancing that Mankind might not prevail against these threats, wiser counsel prevailed, and a strategy was eventually formulated. The conclave would request an audience with the assembled Chapter Masters of the Adeptus Astartes, and ask of them a solemn undertaking. It is not known how many Chapter Masters assembled to hear the words of the conclave, for such an event has only occurred a handful of times in the long history of the Imperium. Nor were the words of the Inquisitors recorded for posterity. Certainly, enough Chapter Masters must have answered the call, for a quorum of sorts was convened. The conclave presented its prophecy to the Chapter Masters, evoking the galaxy-wide threat of the ravening xenos. The Chapter Masters, every one a veteran of a thousand campaigns against the terrors of the void, listened to the Inquisitors' words, and withdrew to consider the matter.
The results of the Chapter Masters' deliberations were delivered to the conclave at sunrise the next day. Each of the Masters and Inquisitors took a solemn oath together. They would form a new Chapter, consisting of Veteran Space Marines highly experienced in combating the xenos. This Chapter was dubbed the "Deathwatch", for it would stand guard against the doom foretold by the conclave. Thus, to this day, this joint oath still stands. The Battle-Brothers of the Deathwatch take the war against the alien to the very darkest reaches of the void, bringing to bear such force as no individual Inquisitor could hope to muster. In this mission, the Ordo Xenos and the Deathwatch are equals, the Inquisitors rooting out the foes for the Deathwatch to eradicate. While neither party is subject to the command of the other, both work in concert towards their common goal, according to those oaths made centuries ago. The two work closely together, ever watchful for that fateful day when the prophecies of the conclave are realised.
Whatever the truth, since the Deathwatch's inception in the 32nd Millennium, there have been periods when the Imperium dared to believe it was holding the xenos menace at bay. By dint of countless martyrdoms, this hidden order has kept the Segmentums of the Emperor's domain safe -- until now. The Time of Ending has exposed how thin a line lies between the present and the alien apocalypse feared by all Mankind.
War Upon the Brink
- "He who allows the alien to live shares its crime of existence."
- —Inquisitor Apollyon
As the 41st Millennium draws to a close, the shield of the Deathwatch has been shaken, shivered and brought to the edge of destruction. Never before have so many threats to the fabric of Mankind's realm risen up at one time; never before have so many powerful xenos races sought to take the galaxy for their own. A thousand horrors gnaw and tear at the fabric of destiny, foes old and new emerging to take their chance as Mankind is torn apart by its long war against Chaos.
The Aeldari fight for a resurgence ten millennia in the making, taking no prisoners as they seek to burn brightly before the end. Their vile Commorrite cousins, the Drukhari, intend to line their larders before the apocalypse breaks, raiding in never-before seen numbers to leave once-thriving worlds empty of sentient life. The Necron dynasties awake faster than the Deathwatch can put them down, long-buried armies lurching to life as ancient overlords attempt to restore a lifeless order to the era of mayhem that greets their awakening. The Orks, a threat long turned upon itself by the Deathwatch's surgical raids, are finally uniting under the prophet of Armageddon. Their green tsunami of violence is set to drown the stars.
On the Eastern Fringe the tech-savant armies of the T'au Empire expand aggressively, their invention of the ZFR Horizon Accelerator Engine pushing them across the Damocles Gulf to steal worlds from the Imperium at a shocking pace. Further out drift the numberless Bio-Ships of the Great Devourer. Hive Fleets Behemoth and Kraken push their rapacious tendrils further coreward with every standard year, leaving nothing but scoured balls of rock in their wake. A dozen others encroach upon the Imperium's borders, their living Bio-ships creeping from the void in numbers beyond sane measure. Perhaps it is Hive Fleet Leviathan that should be feared the most, for its splinter fleets emerge from under the galactic core to menace Segmentum Solar -- the seat of human civilisation itself.
With every standard year more requests are levelled unto the wider Adeptus Astartes by the Deathwatch, citing ancient oaths to claim tithe after tithe. Yet the Astropathic messages flow both ways. Hundreds of Chapters are formally requesting their Battle-Brothers be discharged from their Long Vigils and sent back, despite the tarnishing of their honour that entails. In this time of woe, every Space Marine is vital in the war against the dark powers that seek to capsize reality itself. Whether Humanity will survive to see in a new age is unknown, but the Deathwatch is fighting with every iota of its strength to ensure it.
- Worshippers of the Hrud (Unknown Date) - The Ordo Hereticus uncovered a chronomantic cult that worshiped the time-stealing Hrud upon the warren planet of Rhidl. The Ordo Xenos was notified by astropathic communiqué, and the Deathwatch was sent to burn the tunnels clean acre by acre.
- The Primogenitor's Get (Unknown Date) - Fabius Bile's experiments in melding alien bioforms to form the perfect attack organism came to an abrupt end when the Deathwatch raided his laboratories, fighting its way through a dozen fleshy hells to put the entire complex to the torch.
- The Hammer of the Deathwatch (Unknown Date) - The Prognosticators of the Grey Knights detected a coming Warp breach in the Endasch Sub-sector. Upon Endasch itself, rival Ork Warlords had spilt rivers of gore so copious they were at risk of creating a rift to the Blood God's own realm. Unable to reach Endasch in time, the Grey Knights sent an astropathic pulse to the Deathwatch. A dozen Kill-teams reached Endasch, slaying one of the Ork Warlords and his retinue using only Thunder Hammers, Power Mauls and fists. Bludgeoning the enemy to death with crushing weapons proved no mean feat, and it cost the Kill-teams a full half of their number. Yet by limiting the blood spilt, the Deathwatch prevented the Warp breach from ever happening. The surviving Ork Warlord led a Greenskin crusade out of the sub-sector. A solar week later, Augur beacons traced the Ork crusade into the Eye of Terror, and the matter was considered resolved.
- Bane of the Sslyth (Unknown Date) - The Slaanesh-worshipping Sslyth of the Vensine Sector were attacked in their nests when Kill-team Decurius descended to save the world from a truly disgusting fate.
- Yddylia in Flames (Unknown Date) - After a string of punitive strikes from Craftworld Biel-Tan against the Garravissima Sub-sector proved impossible to stop, the Deathwatch of Fort Ajax gave up the chase. Taking every Flamer weapon they could muster, they instead descended to the Maiden World of Yddylia at the height of summer and -- in conjunction with a firestorm barrage -- set swathes of the world aflame. The Exodites of the planet fought hard to repel them, but the Deathwatch stayed one step ahead. Drawn by the psychic distress calls of their backwater kindred, Craftworld Biel-Tan appeared in the night sky. Within a solar week, the Autarch of Biel-Tan was killed by a Kraken Bolt to the head.
- The Omega Chamber (Unknown Date) - Eldar Corsairs raided Fortress Omega, their target the riddle-carved doomsday sphere secured in the complex's null chamber. They found the Watch Fortress better defended than they expected, for though it is small, it houses only Venator Kill-teams. Hundreds of Eldar raiders were slain before the last of them chanced upon the chamber -- only to find it empty. The doomsday sphere was a myth, misinformation spread to the Eldar via mercenary contacts of the fortress' Black Shields.
- Purge of the Ur-Ghuls (Unknown Date) - An Ur-Ghul migration spilled from the thrice-cursed ziggurats of Shaa-dom. It flowed into the nightmarish Shardmaze, and from there to the Mirrored Palace of Plenitia. When the gangling predators proved strong enough to tear apart the Kill-team that hunted them, the Dreadnought Xenomortis was sent to reinforce its Battle-Brothers. Solar months later, the war machine stormed from the ruins of the now-empty Mirrored Palace, every inch of its hull covered in Ur-Ghul blood.
- The Psychneuein Swarms of Syntax IX (Unknown Date)
- To Kill a Jokaero (Unknown Date) - The Deathwatch of Fort Nullifact attacked a seemingly undefended Jokaero star-frame, only to be met by a fleet's worth of firepower. They retreated to a safe distance, monitoring the simian aliens that clambered upon their star-frame as it slowly spun out of the cosmos into the cold void.
- Amidst the Snows of Atrophon (Unknown Date) - When the world of Atrophon faced devastation by the Orks of WAAAGH! Dregsmasha, a small Kill-team was sent to assassinate the Big Mek leading the war. A misdrop left the team on the wrong side of a storm-swollen river, caught in the teeth of a ferocious blizzard, with Greenskins closing fast. The heroics that followed are the very definition of the Deathwatch's selfless strength.
- Day of the Barghesi (Unknown Date.M41)
- The Kryptman Gambit (Unknown Date.M41) - After seeing the destruction meted out by Hive Fleet Leviathan across a wide frontage of Imperial space, Inquisitor Kryptman ordered a cordon of worlds in its path laid barren or actively destroyed to starve the Tyranids of sustenance. This drastic measure saw Kryptman excommunicated, with many calling for the death sentence. Meanwhile, the Inquisitor's Deathwatch allies stasis-captured a brood of Genestealers from a Space Hulk and sent them into the Ork Empire of Octarius, a Greenskin stronghold coreward of the main Leviathan tendril. The gambit was vindicated when the Hive Fleet followed the psychic spoor of its Genestealers into the biomass-rich Ork Empire, buying the Imperium time to regroup as xenos fought xenos across the system.
- Extractio Extremis (Unknown Date.M41) - Through their Rogue Trader contacts, the Deathwatch was alerted to the presence of a Space Marine Captain in the blood sport arenas of Commorragh. Kill-team Aldric, after seeking the wisdom of the Salamanders' 1st Company, found a method of entering the Webway. By smuggling their Corvus Blackstar within the damaged hull of an Eldar Corsair starship, they entered the Dark City. There they fought into the arena's holding pens. Though it cost the lives of all save Aldric himself, the gladiator Captain was freed in time to catch the Corsair ship as it left, still unaware of its Imperial cargo.
- The Ambull Invasions of Triyix Tert (Unknown Date)
- The Great Usurper (Unknown Date) - On the island world of Tharsis Prime, a Lacrymole shapeshifter posing as the paranoid Planetary Governor Icos Blaille was finally put down after a gruelling war with the mercenary Kroot tribes he had hired to protect himself.
- The Vault of Aza'gorod (Unknown Date) - A shard of the C'tan codified in Ordo Xenos records as The Destroyer was found in the Gulga System, the psychic shadow produced by its actions so dark it was picked up by long-range astropathic reverb choirs. The Deathwatch sent to investigate found the system rife with undeath, both mechanical and biological. After many solar months of warfare involving forces from three Watch Fortresses, the C'tan vault of Aza'gorod was finally destroyed by a sustained Lascannon bombardment from massed Land Raiders and Blackstar dropship wings.
- The Ghosar Quintus Anomaly (Unknown Date.M41) - Chaplain Ortan Cassius led an Aquila Kill-team to the backwater Mining World of Ghosar Quintus, only to find an alien infestation spread not only throughout the planet, but the Segmentum -- and possibly beyond.
- The Thief Inquisitor (Unknown Date.M41) - When Inquisitor Gao of the Ordo Xenos brought a Necrontyr datacane with him to the Watch Fortress Fort Volossia, he unwittingly seeded its demise. The Necron Overlord Zhanatar the Vengeful descended upon the Watch Fortress at the head of a hundred Night Scythes. He brought overwhelming force against the Deathwatch garrison before disappearing, with datacane in hand, taking Inquisitor Gao -- now trapped in a Tesseract Labyrinth -- with him as a cautionary lesson.
- Crown of the Beast (Unknown Date.M41) - Whilst on a destabilisation raid to the war-torn Ork Empire of Octarius, the Kill-teams of the Eye of Octos witnessed a Mekaniak invention that disrupted the synaptic control linking Tyranid organisms to their Hive Mind. Appearing much like a crown of electricity, it was used by the self-appointed King Mek Baddkrasha to break swarm after swarm. The Kill-teams waited for the two xenos armies to decimate each other before diving in, their Furor Teams cutting through to Baddkrasha before escaping with his decapitated head -- crown and all -- for further study.
- Damnos Revisited (Unknown Date.M41) - The ice-locked world of Damnos, scoured of human settlers during the awakening of the Necrons in the events of the Ultramarines 2nd Company's greatest defeat, was revisited by a full half of the Chapter. Chapter Master Marneus Calgar and Captain Cato Sicarius reconquered the planet's surface as a team of Deathwatch Astartes infiltrated the primary tomb complex and destroyed its lords' ability to regenerate before striking the final blow.
- The Enclaves Struck (Unknown Date.M41) - With Commander Farsight and his subordinates joining the war for Agrellan, the Deathwatch made an opportunistic attack on the Farsight Enclaves. They caused untold damage on the Enclaves' command structure before Commander Farsight returned, vengeance foremost on his mind.
- Rise of the Alien (Unknown Date.M41) - The Imperium's armies are spread thin by the ever-escalating threat of Chaos. Across the galaxy, thousands of xenos races that were once content to bide their time now launch full-scale invasions, encroaching upon the borders of the Emperor's realm. The Deathwatch find itself stretched to breaking point and beyond.
The Domains of the Deathwatch
The Deathwatch has stood sentinel in the Jericho Reach long before Achilus launched his Imperial Crusade to reclaim the sector. For millennia, it has watched, waited, and fought amongst the lost stars and abandoned worlds of the Reach. Its domains have stood since a time now long forgotten and lost to the oblivion of dead history. It has seen worlds conquered by the Imperium fall once again to darkness. Its watch has been a thing of millennia. Ancient secrets, long since locked and sealed, are now open, and there can be no doubt: the hour has come round at last, and the future, so long awaited and dreaded, is here.
The domains of the Deathwatch in the Jericho Reach exist to aide it in the Long Watch. These places are held by it and it alone, secret and well-guarded. These domains range from the vast and mysterious Watch Fortress Erioch, which circles a dying star, to the many lesser Watch Stations standing silent vigil on forlorn worlds, airless moons, and in the dead marches of space throughout the Jericho Reach. These domains best serve the Deathwatch by providing places where they can gaze into the darkness beyond, re-arm, gather information, or (as a last resort) hold the line against the many enemies of Mankind that infest the Jericho Reach. The Deathwatch moves between these secret domains using rapid strike vessels and reconnaissance craft, often unseen by both enemies and allies.
The Long Watch
The presence of the Deathwatch in the Jericho Reach is the consequence of an ancient resolution and sacrosanct order. Made under conditions of utmost secrecy, this resolution's cause and purpose remain obscure even to those Astartes that carry out its terms. The order's effect, however, was to place the Jericho Reach directly under the eyes of the Deathwatch in perpetuity, through safety and peril, in a cause that overrode all other concerns in the area. To fulfil this compact, the Deathwatch built its hidden Watch Fortress in the dead system of Erioch on the ruins of an artefact ancient before man first walked the soil of Terra. At the fortress' heart, they constructed the Omega Vault and sealed within it the terrible truths of a future yet to be born.
For millennia, the Deathwatch has ensured that some of its number have remained in this dark place, there to stand watch. Their determination has never wavered. Come what may, whether disaster, invasion, or civil war, they have held their watch. The Battle-Brothers of the Deathwatch have fought and died, have known both victory and defeat, and continue to fight against the myriad enemies that swarm in the Jericho Reach like vermin in a midden. They do so to honour their long watch and to guard against the greater darkness to come. The true nature of this secret threat remains hidden from the Deathwatch that bides in the Jericho Reach, hidden until its fated hour approaches. Something of the truth is known by the Watch Commander and the Inquisitors of the Ordo Xenos admitted into the Chamber of Vigilance. This information has been passed down one to another over the centuries, and that knowledge guides the missions assigned to the Deathwatch of Watch Fortress Erioch. In recent times, portions of the Omega Vault's intricate mechanisms have unlocked themselves, as if in response to changing events in the Jericho Reach and the mission logs entered by the Deathwatch into its antediluvian engines. In some cases, an ancient weapon, device, or task has been revealed to the Deathwatch as a result. In other cases, the Omega Vault has yielded data that has drawn Kill-teams to distant parts of the Jericho Reach, sent into certain death, never to return. Watch Fortress Erioch stirs now as never before, and only a few locks remain before the Omega Vault opens fully -- a dire portent, indeed.
The Deathwatch is the most vigilant defender the Imperium has to guard its borders. It operates from remote stations known as Watch Fortresses, each absent from Imperial records, as to the Deathwatch, obfuscation is another moat with which to keep its castles strong.
Each space-borne Watch Fortress is a sovereign domain ruled by its Watch Commander. On his authority, entire sectors are put to the torch without question. These strikes are so effective that the grand crusades of attrition which typify humanity's approach to war are made unnecessary -- many growing threats are contained and expunged before the wider Imperium is even aware of them.
Each Deathwatch stronghold operates under a shroud of secrecy, standing as a hidden sentinel over a select area of the Imperium's dominion. Some are space-borne fortresses that monitor a specific threat -- i.e. Castilos Nullifact watches for the rise of the long-slumbering Necron dynasties in the north of Ultima Segmentum, whereas Fort Pykman monitors the Ghoul Stars and the horrors that lie beyond. Others instead keep watch over a specific area in which aliens have been sighted in great measure. There are those smaller outposts called "Watch Stations" which house a garrison of only a handful of Battle-Brothers, whilst the largest of Watch Fortresses play host to entire Watch Companies. Regardless of size, these space stations bristle with weaponry -- islands of sanity and strength in the midst of the endless sea of stars.
Since the Great Rift tore the Imperium in two, some Watch Fortresses have been cut off in the Imperium Nihilus, while others have been engulfed in the fury of daemonic incursions and empyric turmoil. The Watch Masters of these fortresses have not despaired, instead exploiting every advantage they can with ruthless efficiency to ensure their Long Vigil continues.
Notable Watch Fortresses
- Watch Fortress Erioch - Erioch is a notable Watch Fortress of Deathwatch based within the Jericho Reach of the Segmentum Ultima. Within Erioch the Deathwatch's Kill-teams train and prepare for coming missions. Watch Fortress Erioch combines the functions of a command centre, keep, archive, garrison and more. The Watch Commander often coordinates the monitoring of a hundred different threats; or his attentions might be focused exclusively on one single, overriding concern towards which all of his and his Battle-Brothers' efforts are turned. The commander is assisted in his duties by a cadre of specialists, some of whom are Astartes, such as Techmarines, Apothecaries and the like, while many more are normal humans who are the equivalent of Chapter Serfs who have been assigned to the Deathwatch by the Inquisition's Ordo Xenos. Erioch is also home to all manner of Astartes training facilities. In vast domes, unique environments can be recreated in which the Battle-Brothers can perfect their battle drill and rehearse their missions. Some of these domes have been stocked with life forms, such as Death World flora and fauna, in order to create the most realistic training conditions possible. It has even been known for captured aliens to be set loose in the training domes, to be hunted down by the Kill-teams in deadly mission simulation exercises. At the heart of Erioch is to be found a sealed vault, known as the "Omega Vault," which contains the most sensitive and valuable of assets available to the Inquisition in the Jericho Reach -- and perhaps the galaxy.
The Watch Stations are fortified outposts used by the Deathwatch throughout the galaxy. There are many Watch Stations scattered across the worlds, moons, and cold void of the Jericho Reach for instance, and no two Watch Stations are quite the same. Some take the form of single-blocked armoured bastions from which eagle-headed gargoyles glare out at the silent expanses of Dead Worlds. Others are complexes of forbidding towers strung through the peaks of lunar mountain ranges, while yet others are small, jagged stations that watch from the blackness of space, bristling with Auspex arrays and seer-webs. No matter their location, all Watch Stations exist to serve the Deathwatch as bases of operation, and as an ever-vigilant gaze on the Deathwatch's assigned sector of the galaxy. Each station is fitted with highly advanced sensors that constantly gather information about the area around them. These sensors gaze far into space, scour the air for communications of all types, and even skim the Warp with powerful Witch-sight Augurs. All the information gathered by a Watch Station is stored in data reservoirs in the heart of the station.
When any Deathwatch Space Marine leaves a Watch Station, it is his duty to take a copy of the information gathered by that station and return it to one of the main Watch Stations for entry into its records. Small, high-speed, Warp-capable vessels known as Dark Hunters are designed to slip unseen through the stars while they make their rounds, harvesting each Watch Stations' valuable data. Thus, the Deathwatch sees much that passes in the Jericho Reach that eludes most others. All Watch Stations house weapons and material caches to some extent; arms that can be accessed by any Deathwatch Kill-team that needs them. Many also have extensive medical, analysis, and armoury facilities that any Deathwatch Kill-team that needs them can avail themselves of, although to gain the full extent of their use, the specialised skills of an Apothecary or a Techmarine are required.
Most Watch Stations are not physically manned by Battle-Brothers, except for when they function as a base of operations in the field. Many Watch Stations can go for standard decades without a Battle-Brother crossing their threshold. During the normal course of events, Watch Stations are maintained, operated, and if need be, defended by the finest automated systems the Machine Cult can provide. If a Watch Station is attacked, its protection can sustain it from all but the most determined and powerful assault. If breached, it will self-destruct, annihilating itself utterly, leaving nothing of its secrets for the enemy. A Watch Station's greatest defences, however, are the secrecy, remoteness and concealment of its existence.
Notable Watch Stations
The stations of the Deathwatch are many, and neither the Inquisition nor the Watch Commanders themselves know of them all. Some are only a few centuries old, formed in response to emergent xenos threats. Others have legends that span millennia, their oaths of vigilance and ancient heraldry borne upon proud standards in their Sanctum Bellicos. The following are notable examples of the numerous Watch Stations present throughout the galaxy:
- Talasa Prime - Talasa Prime is the capital training world of the Deathwatch -- not just a void station like most Deathwatch facilities, but a whole planet dedicated to the organisation sited in the Realm of Ultramar. A great Ordo Xenos Inquisitorial Fortress serves as the headquarters for the Deathwatch, dedicated to training Space Marines to hunt the alien. The lords of Talasa Prime's Deathwatch keep their own counsel, though their wars against the Tyranid Hive Fleets and the Tau race have proved critical. The Watch Fortress also recruits, trains and equips Kill-teams composed from the Ultramarines, Scythes of the Emperor and Lamenters Chapters for service against the Tyranids.
- Praefex Venatoris - The Praefex Venatoris keeps watch over a string of alien portals used by the Commorrite Dark Eldar in Segmentum Obscurus. Its forces are constantly on hair-trigger alert, for they must move fast if they are to save the teeming human worlds of Syracia Thrive from alien piracy.
- The Onyx Patrol - The Onyx Patrol is not a Watch Station so much as a fleet, for its quarry is the nomadic Craftworld Eldar. Its web of informants crosses Segmentum Solar, and its Warp-Drives are kept hot. Since the patrol's inception, Eldar sightings in the core sectors have become rare indeed.
- Fort Pykman - The Ghoul Stars harbour hidden threats, from the emergent Barghesi to the awakening Necron dynasties. Fort Pykman favours Malleus tactics; it stands ready to demolish ancient sites should there be even a flicker of suspicion they are linked to Tomb Worlds or alien worldnests.
- Furor Shield - Furor Shield monitors the Ork-held Octarius Sub-sector, into which Kryptman of the Ordo Xenos misdirected a tendril of Hive Fleet Leviathan. Both Tyranids and Orks adapt under duress -- when the victor of this ever-escalating war emerges, the Shield stands ready to slay them.
- The Eye of Damocles - The Eye of Damocles is a vast Watch Fortress that monitors the borders between Imperial space and that of the usurper Tau Empire. Its Kill-teams specialise in vertical assault. Dominatus Teams will often strike from Corvus Blackstars to turn one-sided firefights into bloody melees.
Jericho Reach Watch Stations
The following are notable examples of the numerous Watch Stations present in the Jericho Reach:
- Watch Station Arkhas - Watch Station Arkhas is an armoured space station resembling a spiked iron pinwheel floating on the outer reaches of the Arkhas System. The Watch Station is small, with space to accommodate no more than a dozen Battle-Brothers. Most of the station is given over to the systems of its massive sensor arrays designed to both monitor the Arkhas System and gaze beyond it. Unusually, Watch Station Arkhas is home as a matter of course to an assigned Astropath dedicated to its service. The current Astropath is a deeply experienced practitioner of his craft called Varrus. However, it has been many solar months since he had been able to personally send or receive messages through the Warp with any reliability or clarity, thanks to the growing shadowy presence that moves in the Warp blocking out both Astropathic signals and filling the Watch Station's Augurs with static that buzzes like a swarm of locusts. The Arkhas System itself has a number of planetary bodies, including two that are capable of supporting life. However, both are Desert Worlds, possessed of little or no water, and from which jagged spines of black rock emerge like the bones of great fossilised beasts. There are a few sand-eroded remains which indicate that these worlds played host to intelligent life in the distant past; possibly even human colonies, though nothing of them now remains. The system has long merited the Deathwatch's vigil. It has been both battleground of man and alien and the site of several strange energy phenomena which remain unexplained. The airless third moon of Arkhas II still bears the charred remains of an Ork Terror Ship brought down by a Deathwatch boarding action centuries ago. In the last few solar months, the system and its inhabited worlds have formed the centre of an attempt by the Crusade forces, under the command of General Casterlix, to regroup and dig in following massive casualties inflicted by the tide of Tyranids rising from the rimward depths. Casterlix and his forces are, so far, entirely ignorant of the Watch Station's presence.
- Watch Station Belarius - Deep in the midst of the Hadex Anomaly lies an empty star system composed of little more than a massive, nameless blue giant, a scattering of small planetoids, and trillions and trillions of square kilometres of beautiful, roiling dust clouds. The whole system shimmers with mellow shades of green and blue, and the occasional ice asteroid winks in the dust like a gem on a jeweller's mat. Here in this out-of-the-way system, carved into a massive, deeply scarred asteroid, is Watch Station Belarius, long thought lost and destroyed in the depths of the Hadex Anomaly. Built by the Deathwatch millennia ago to monitor xenos activity in and around the important worlds that once lay at the centre of the Jericho Sector, a billet on Watch Station Belarius was once one of the most coveted assignments for a Deathwatch Battle-Brother. It was newly constructed and located near the beating heart of the sector, but well removed from it and isolated in its system. This arrangement allowed a Battle-Brother solitude for his contemplations and devotions but also kept him close enough to the sector capital at Verronus and many important Warp routes so that he and his Kill-team could respond to threats at a moment's notice. For centuries, the Battle-Brothers of Watch Station Belarius stood vigil over the sector's core worlds, their Kill-teams always ready to respond to xenos activity at a moment's notice. Unfortunately, when the Fall of the Jericho Sector came, the Battle-Brothers stationed at Watch Station Belarius were simply overwhelmed by the sheer number and force of the Daemons screaming in from the Empyrean. When the Hadex Anomaly opened and spilled the raw energies of the Warp into the Jericho Sector, it all but engulfed Watch Station Belarius. In an instant, most of the Watch Station's inhabitants, Chapter Serf and Battle-Brother alike, were mutated or killed outright by the intensity of the Warp energies. Those who survived this initial onslaught were cut off from all support, left alone to defend the Watch Station from the hordes of slavering Daemons and Warp entities that swarmed into Belarius, devouring all before them. The end came quickly for these few beleaguered defenders, quickly but not painlessly. There was a general slaughter in the corridors and compartments of the Watch Station. The Battle-Brothers and remaining Chapter Serfs fought to the last, and the Watch Commander took his own life as his body twisted and mutated before his very eyes. One final astropathic transmission was received by Watch Station Midael seventy-two Terran standard hours after the first arrival of the Anomaly, a short message that stated simply: "We are holding our own."
- Watch Station Castiel - The Dead World of Castiel is part of an abandoned star system bearing little importance to the Imperium. Yet, for all its unremarkableness, the Deathwatch maintains a Dead Station there. Unlike many of the other Watch Stations throughout the Jericho Reach, the Castiel Station maintains a single-manned presence at all times. This vigil has become known as the Lone Watch. At any given time, a lone Deathwatch Battle-Brother maintains a vigil at the Castiel Station, monitoring the data it gathers as well as guarding something deep in the heart of the fortress. The term of this assignment is usually one standard year, when the next candidate comes to relieve the previous guardian. Those who have undertaken the Lone Watch never speak of what lies within this station that requires a living guardian at all times. Its proximity to the Hadex Anomaly lead many to believe it is an ancient Chaos artefact. This remains speculation at best, for the Battle-Brothers who have carried out the Lone Watch remain ever silent on the matter.
- Watch Station Cressid - The Watch Station on Cressid recently came under attack by a group of Chaos Renegades, who believed they had discovered a treasure trove of powerful artefacts. With the aid of the automated defences of the station, a single Battle-Brother on patrol beat back the attackers, though the structure sustained a great deal of damage. The Battle-Brother repaired the damage before leaving the station to continue his vigil. The repairs performed on the station did not address all of the damage as previously believed, however. The Renegades' attack did substantially more damage than anyone could have discovered with standard auguries and analysis. The Chaos forces left behind a Warp entity on Cressid, a being of pure malice and hatred that wormed its way into the station's pathways and data core. The station now possesses a malign intelligence that guides its sensors and readings, searching the surrounding areas for something that only it knows. To date, the information gathered by the station has been manipulated and altered by the daemon and all information relayed to the Deathwatch has been scrubbed of anything of value. To the Imperium, Cressid Station continues to monitor a Dead World and its surrounding environments with little of value detected. Should a Kill-team arrive on Cressid to utilise the station, they would find a common Watch Station with nothing out of the ordinary on first glance. However, if any length of time were spent inside its walls, the daemon's bloodthirsty nature would take hold and subject any within to a hall of horrors.
- Watch Station CX3119 - Watch Station CX3119 was established to study the Hadex Anomaly nearly 800 standard years ago. Due to the reported fluctuation of the Anomaly, this Watch Station was initially created to be mobile, that it might remain ever on the periphery of the Warp Storm. In addition to the usual banks of archeotech sensors, this station also sported powerful Warp Augurs to warn of any dangerous expansions of the Anomaly that may place the structure at risk. Sadly, these devices did not provide enough notice when the Hadex expanded to nearly half again its size, sucking the station into the Anomaly and cutting it off from the Deathwatch. At the time, the station was unmanned, and while the Imperium was loathe to lose a valuable monitoring tool, it considered the station gone and classified it as destroyed. One can imagine the consternation and surprise of all within the Deathwatch when Watch Station CX3119 reappeared in 815.M41. The station's reappearance has provoked great debate amongst the Chamber of Vigilance and the Inquisition. The structure's new location is many light years from where it originally vanished, creating additional speculation on the nature of the Anomaly. Many wish to investigate the station to see what details the station's sensors have recorded during its time within. While the matter is debated, an elaborate system of quarantine beacons has been put in place warning all ships to keep a wide berth of the area.
- Watch Station Iobel - Located deep in the storm-wracked mountain range of Iobel II, Watch Station Iobel is less of a Watch Station and more of a fortress. Its winding halls are carved out of the very mountain itself, and its facilities are large enough to house and train multiple Kill-teams simultaneously. Iobel has acted as the primary launch point for all operations into the Hadex Anomaly, and contains various ancient devices for monitoring and observing the movements of xenos in and around the Warp Rift. Inside the station, the dark halls are all but empty save for a few Chapter Serfs and Servitors and the two Battle-Brothers whose task it was to stay ever vigilant for the rise of whatever unknown threat the desolate planet posed. The Watch Station originally housed no equipment for monitoring the rest of the system it inhabited. From what the Deathwatch could ascertain, its original purpose was to watch over the valleys far below the mountain on which it stands. A grand network of pict-feeds had been assembled and maintained across the surrounding area of the planet, though the images they transmit back to the Watch Station are commonly blurry and distorted from the massive electrical interference within the planet's atmosphere. There was little evidence as to why the architects of the Watch Station desired the barren valleys to be observed. Year after year the pict feeds would return nothing but grey, static images of a barren landscape. Fanciful tales were passed down amongst the Serfs, tales of mechanical horrors that stalked the valleys during the worst of the storms. But this was always dismissed as nothing more than the superstitious legends of mortals. However, there are some Battle-Brothers amongst those who have served at Watch Station Iobel that believe the tales of the Chapter Serfs. Scattered through the archives are different grainy picts, saved from the feeds, that depict looming silhouettes of mechanical spiders, a faint green glow emanating from lines on their bodies through the distortion in the storm. Each time one of these picts was taken, the Battle-Brothers would leave to investigate after the storm subsided, but would find no evidence that any such being ever existed. This has led to the Watch Station getting a strong reputation for ghost stories and tall tales. Since the Achilus Crusade came to the Jericho Reach, Watch Station Iobel has seen a radical transformation. As the Hadex Anomaly expands, it has begun to consume the systems around it. One such lost world housed Watch Station Midael, the closest Deathwatch outpost to the Anomaly. With the loss of Midael, Iobel became the closest, and it began housing all Kill-teams operating in the area. This increase in traffic was far larger than the small tower could possibly house, and as more and more Kill-teams passed through, it became a necessity to expand the Watch Station. Techmarines and Chapter Serfs under the supervision of Harl Greyweaver began construction to enlarge the Watch Station, hollowing out the very mountain it stood on. Intricate networks of passages were carved out, a giant hangar was created, and ancient equipment was shipped in. Within the course of a standard decade, the Watch Station turned from a lonely tower to a veritable Space Marine fortress. Now, the hallways of Watch Station Iobel bustle with activity. Banks of Cogitators process information on xenos activity in and around the Hadex Anomaly, Kill-teams prep for missions, and Ordo Xenos Inquisitors commonly make use of all the facility has to offer. With the explosion of activity within Watch Station Iobel, its original purpose has been pushed to the background, all but forgotten. The network of picters and Cogitators continues to monitor the valleys, but all its fuzzy data is stored away and forgotten. But as the Deathwatch focuses on the Anomaly, something has begun to awaken deep beneath the planet's surface.
- The Iron Bastion - The Iron Bastion is a space-based Watch Station floating through the void in the heart of the Dark Pattern. The station is built into a massive planetoid that is part of a small asteroid belt known as the Kyvoll Belt. This fortification has studied the mysteries of the Dark Pattern for centuries and over time has become the main base of operations for the Dead Cabal throughout the Jericho Reach. The Augur arrays and Cogitation Engines fitted throughout the Iron Bastion are the most powerful anywhere in the Reach. They are capable of studying worlds far and wide in great detail. The Iron Bastion also collates and processes all reports from the Dead Stations in their ongoing analysis of the Dark Pattern. The Iron Bastion differs from many other Watch Stations in that it is constantly manned by at least half a dozen individuals at any given time. This roster rotates frequently, as those assigned here venture out to investigate reports of strange happenings throughout the Jericho Reach. While the Iron Bastion serves as an expanded Watch Station operated by the Dead Cabal, there is a deeper mission that only select members in the Deathwatch know about. This mission is to guard, study, and analyse an artefact that has mystified many of the Imperium's best minds -- the Jovaall Hedron. Discovered on a classified world two standard centuries ago, the Jovaall Hedron has resisted all attempts to unlock its secrets. The only knowledge gleaned from the cube shows that a source of incredible power lies within, and that power has not diminished at all in the centuries that the cube has been in the possession of the Deathwatch. The Hedron is not without danger and some who have investigated it believe it should be destroyed -- if even possible -- or locked away permanently. During an analysis of the Jovaall Hedron, Brother Peregon of the Crimson Fists vanished from a secure chamber while conducting his investigation. Peregon was a Techmarine of unparalleled skill with a long history of unlocking the secrets of xenos artefacts studied by the Deathwatch. The only record recovered of the incident shows a massive burst of energy and light emanating from the cube before all pict-recorders in the vicinity went offline. When other members within the Bastion accessed the room, the Jovaall Hedron sat untouched on a worktable. No sign of Battle-Brother Peregon could be found. Since this incident, all further study of the xenos device has been conducted through remote Servitors and equipment to safeguard against any further loss of life.
- Watch Station Klaha - Klaha has been under attack by factions of the Dark Mechanicus for many years. These fallen servants of the Machine God have come to mine the ores and minerals of the world for use in their war machines. The primary base of operations for the Dark Mechanicus rests atop a highly active volcano they have named Mount Pride, though they have recently established orbital stations above the planet. So far, the dark ones have kept clear of the Watch Station, not wishing to draw too much attention to their activities. They are not aware that the highly advanced sensors of the Watch Station have been monitoring their movements for some time, recording all their comings and goings throughout the Klaha System. The Watch Station has been able to monitor many of the Dark Mechanicus' activities, but there is one major endeavour underway that it has not detected due to the Dark Acolytes' shielding -- a deep drilling project to harness the massive amounts of energy in the planet's core. The Watch Station has detected fluctuations in the planet's electromagnetic field and an increase of seismic activity, but there has been no direct correlation between the two. Seemingly independent of the unexplained phenomena, another distressing development has occurred on Klaha. The Augur arrays of Watch Station Klaha have begun to register massive movements of energy and mass on the far side of the inhospitable world. Movement and numbers are consistent with massing life-forms or xenos migration and herd patterns. As there has been no recorded xenos activity in the Klaha System for nearly three standard centuries, these movements have become a serious topic of debate and speculation among the Battle-Brothers deployed on the Klaha Watch Station.
- Watch Station Midael - Watch Station Midael sits on a Dead World shrouded in metallic grey dust that lies close to the spinward extent of the Chaos-held Charon Worlds. The Watch Station takes the form of a single armoured tower that rises from a spur of rock above one of the world's dust plateaus. Watch Fortress Erioch has not received word from this station in over three standard decades. In truth, it is a dead and lifeless place, inhabited by a lone Deathwatch Battle-Brother, cut off from the outside by the spreading baleful influence of the Charon Stars. For more than thirty Terran years, he has waited for others of the Deathwatch to come and relieve him, standing guard over the thing that is held in the deepest chamber of the tower. Slowly, the Watch Station's Servitors have failed and died, and the tower's systems have become corrupted and atrophied. Every few years, enemy forces come again to claim it. So far, however, they have failed to defeat the lone brother of the Deathwatch who waits within. Outside the tower, the screaming wind howls and the bloody light of the Hadex Anomaly flares ever larger in the cold skies.
- Watch Station Oertha - Watch Station Oertha is a bastion under siege, situated on a semi-arid world within one of the primary warzones of the Canis Salient. The forces of the Tau Expansion believe the planet of Oertha possesses vast resources of fuel and primary material. It has been set in the Tau agenda for some time as a prime candidate for exploitation and colonisation. The world's largely uninhabited status has led the Tau to lay claim to the planet; a claim that is disputed by the Watch Station and the forces within it. Watch Station Oertha is a sprawling and heavily fortified compound that stands concealed in the maze-like ravines of the equatorial Berrick Mountains. In a rare instance of overt and ongoing cooperation between the Achilus Crusade forces and the Deathwatch, Watch Station Oertha has now become the keystone of the efforts to deny the planet to the Tau. Twenty Deathwatch Battle-Brothers, under Watch Commander Codicier Kurita, and fifty allied Space Marines of the Storm Wardens Chapter have garrisoned the Watch Station, using it as a base from which to launch a campaign of devastating raids against the Tau. So far, these raids have made it all but impossible for the Tau to expand on the planet. As matters stand now, both sides are awaiting reinforcements, and only time will ultimately determine the fate of Oertha.
- Watch Station Phaedas - Not a true Watch Station in the conventional sense, Phaedas is a relic of ages past, an archeotech spacecraft that bears no resemblance to any form of starship or void-station within Imperial records. If the Adeptus Mechanicus knows of Phaedas' provenance, it is not forthcoming about it. Phaedas is largely automated, its myriad Machine Spirits demonstrating sophistication that rivals those of the most ancient and revered of Titans. The vessel -- if it can be defined as such -- seems to operate based on incredibly complex logic paths, turning Augury data into plotted courses, and is even able to travel short distances through the Warp without a Navigator. Phaedas is comparatively small for an object capable of self-sustained travel through the Warp -- massing far less than the smallest Warp-going craft in service to the Imperial Navy or Adeptus Astartes. The station has space only to support ten Astartes, but contains a modest armoury and a supply vault sufficient for standard years of travel without requiring replenishment. It is also equipped with a launch bay loaded with a single Stormraven Gunship and a Drop Pod Bay equipped with a single Drop Pod, either of which is enough to deploy the Kill-team occupying it from orbit swiftly and with precision. Its small size and cunning design allow it to avoid all but the most careful of observers, making it extremely effective at conveying its Kill-team while remaining unnoticed.
- Watch Station Skapula - Skapula is a world under Tau occupation. As a Dead World, there is little of value on the planet from a strategic point of view. The world is known to possess pockets of rare minerals used in a variety of crucial manufacturing processes throughout the Imperium, so the planet has been marked for reclamation by the forces of the Achilus Crusade in due time. The Tau have made a number of attempts to breach the Watch Station, but so far the structure has held. Its sensors are keeping the Deathwatch apprised of the situation on Skapula, which provides the Imperial forces with vital data for the future attack. There are pockets of human nomads on the world who used to work the mines when the world was under Imperial jurisdiction. These have been largely left alone by the Tau thus far, as they likely present little threat to the Tau Empire's interests on Skapula. However, the Tau have been losing warriors on Skapula for the past few solar months. What has happened to these missing Fire Warriors and Pathfinders is unknown, but the number of the missing has been steadily increasing. The Commanders of the Tau forces have kept this quiet, only conferring on the matter with the Ethereal in charge of the forces. Almost all of the soldiers that have vanished disappeared in remote locations while alone or separated from their comrades. All patrols are advised to be especially vigilant while conducting their duties and to look for any suspicious activity. The sensors of the Watch Station have detected intense seismic activity along the equatorial band of Skapula. These geological fluctuations include massive bursts of radiation that flare to life and vanish completely after only twenty to thirty standard seconds. There have been no Tau in the vicinity of these readings.
The Deathwatch is organised into small elite companies, much in the style of a Space Marine Chapter. Its numbers are not recruited from a single homeworld, however, nor from trusted source planets rich in quality genetic stock. Instead the organisation is comprised of Space Marines from Chapters that have pledged to tithe a portion of their strength to the endless war against the alien. Its ranks number only heroes, and each of them has already proven himself an expert alien hunter even before his training as a Deathwatch operative began.
As the Chamber Militant of the Ordo Xenos, the Deathwatch is tasked with the study and, if necessary, the extermination of dangerous intelligent alien races encountered by the Imperium. They are also tasked with the observation of alien races, and the acquisition of their technology for further study by the Adeptus Mechanicus. This is because the Deathwatch is not merely intended to cleanse xenos cultures from Imperial space. It is also tasked with the recovery and study of alien devices and artefacts. Sometimes it is necessary to use a weapon against the enemy who created it, although this is never done lightly. The Deathwatch is constantly vigilant for sabotage, or to advise if it is truly safe to use a weapon of xenos origin. The Adeptus Mechanicus is always on the lookout for alien technology; for instance, the C'tan Phase Sword, used by the Callidus Assassins, was recovered from a Necron Tomb World and successfully integrated into the arsenal of the Imperium.
The Loyalist Space Marine Legions and subsequent Second Founding Successor Chapters were bound by an ancient oath made to the Emperor to provide troops to the Deathwatch. However, particularly amongst some of the more radical Space Marine Chapters, this can be a great test of duty, especially for those like the Dark Angels or the Black Templars that see the Inquisition as corrupt and an enemy of the rightful independence and autonomy of the Adeptus Astartes.
Although there is no question of any Chapter or Space Marine failing to fulfill their ancient pledges, Chapters like the Iron Hands, Dark Angels, Space Wolves and Blood Angels have a notoriously strained relationship with the Inquisition. It is not unheard of for radical Ordo Xenos Inquisitors to find the secondment of Deathwatch troops to their command facilitated by aiding one of these Space Marines Chapters against the political machinations of a puritanical Ordo Hereticus Inquisitor.
Other Chapters such as the Ultramarines, Crimson Fists and Imperial Fists have a far closer relationship with the Inquisition as a whole and the Ordo Xenos itself. Space Marines from these Chapters are more frequently and in greater number inducted into the Deathwatch, although a Kill-team may be made up of any variety of Astartes as the resources of the Ordo Xenos' Chamber Militant are positioned around the galaxy. The Space Marines making up a Deathwatch Kill-team can vary hugely in personal philosophy, culture and custom but are bound together by their loyalty to the Emperor and their zealous hatred of the alien enemies of Mankind. A Space Marine will remain with the Deathwatch until the Inquisitor leading the detachment deems that the necessary tasks have been completed so that he may return to his Chapter with honour.
Structure of the Shield
Almost every Deathwatch base in the Imperium has the same core structure. The Watch Commander -- usually a Watch Master -- is attended by a strategium staff of Librarians, Chaplains and Dreadnoughts, whilst his Techmarines are entrusted with rule of the Armoury, and his Watch Captains with the leadership of four largely independent Kill-teams. Though the greater structure of a Watch Fortress is traditionally kept sacrosanct, the teams under a Watch Captain are flexible in the extreme. In times of war against a transparent threat, some may be specialised towards combating a particular breed or even rank of xenos. This may result in Battle-Brothers moving from one Kill-team to another. It is rare for Kill-teams to be kept cohesive for long, though there are those whose histories have spanned the centuries, forming bonds of brotherhood so strong they are counted amongst the foremost assets of the Chapter.
Whenever one of a Watch Fortress' command staff takes leadership of one of its Killteams, the name is changed accordingly -- for example, when led by Epistolary Galius, Kill-team Tidaeus would become Kill-team Galius for the duration of that mission. All teams can adopt more specialist configurations at the behest of its leader, but when the nature of the enemy is unknown, it is common for Kill-teams to adopt Aquila tactics, a wide-spectrum offensive pattern capable of adapting to overcome any obstacle. At the time of the Ghosar Quintus Anomaly, the team led by famed Ultramarines Chaplain Ortan Cassius was arranged in this pattern -- its formal designation was Aquila Kill-team Cassius.
|Watch Company Primus||Watch Company Secundus||Watch Company Tertius|
|Watch Company Quartus||Watch Company Quintus|
The Deathwatch is uniquely organised as a formation of Astartes since the Veteran Space Marines that make it up are drawn from many different Chapters. After being seconded to the Deathwatch, these Astartes are specially trained in small units called Kill-teams to counter xenos threats. They are sworn to serve an open-ended term with the Deathwatch. When they return to their Chapter of origin, the former members of the Deathwatch take their hard-won knowledge with them to share with their Battle-Brothers, as well as supplies of specialist anti-alien weaponry. Specialist ranks and positions within the Deathwatch are very similar to those of Codex Astartes-compliant Chapters with the exception of a few unique specialist positions that are only found in the Deathwatch, including:
- Deathwatch Apothecary - Deathwatch Apothecaries take on a number of additional duties over those performed in their parent Chapter. For starters, they must master the genetic inheritance not only of their own gene-seed, but of a myriad of other Chapters too, so that they might monitor and maintain the Astartes organ implants of all their fellow Space Marines, each of which may be drawn from a different Chapter with a different genetic inheritance. In this matter, Deathwatch Apothecaries occupy a uniquely trusted position. Aside from monitoring the state of the Space Marines' implants and altered transhuman metabolisms, the Apothecaries must also be ever alert to the risk of alien contamination, as Deathwatch Kill-teams often come into contact with numerous xenos species and the bacterial life they contain. The greatest duty that a Deathwatch Apothecary must perform is to recover the gene-seed of a fallen Battle-Brother, so that it may be returned to his parent Chapter, and he may live on through the creation of future generations of Space Marines.
- Deathwatch Assault Marine - Assault Marines are specialists in the brutal art of close quarters combat. They carry a range of weaponry, usually a lethal combination of a pistol and a melee weapon, the most common being the iconic Bolt Pistol and Chainsword. Many choose to take to the battlefield equipped with a Jump Pack, allowing them to close rapidly on their foes, often descending from above in a devastating charge. A Deathwatch Assault Marine is likely to be a warrior who has mastered all of the methods of war, and discovered that he is most skilled at close combat. To serve as an Assault Marine is to go quite literally face-to-face with the most terrible of humanity's foes, and to have pitted wits against the vilest of beasts countless times, and won. When serving in a Deathwatch Kill-team, it is the task of the Assault Marine to close with and engage the enemy in an overwhelming charge. Many of the alien foes the Deathwatch must face are ravening beasts sporting multiple, diamond-hard claws, whipping tentacles, slavering maws or carrying all manner of deadly close combat weaponry.
- Deathwatch Biker - Where the Deathwatch Vanguard Veteran represents the pinpoint application of force, the Deathwatch Biker is a nigh-unstoppable battering ram. A Veteran Battle-Brother at full sprint can break limbs with the weight of his charge, but one hurtling upon the dense tonnage of a Space Marine Attack Bike can plough through an entire battle line, guns blazing and Chainsword juddering until dozens lie slain in his wake. The Bikers of the Deathwatch are excellent shock troopers, especially when several ride to war side by side. When the order for the final charge comes, theirs is a blunt and unsubtle duty -- to smash aside the alien's defences so that the xenos army's throat is exposed for a killing strike. As with many elements of their alien-hunting brotherhood, however, their role is multifaceted.
- Deathwatch Black Shield - Amongst the ranks of the Deathwatch there are anonymous warriors that bear no Chapter mark, their right pauldron showing only featureless black. By ancient tradition, a Space Marine with his heraldry obscured may present himself before a Watch Commander and petition for admittance to the Deathwatch. He may not be questioned or pressed to divulge anything about his origins, all such information having been ritually obliterated by the removal of his Chapter's mark. Should he be accepted, only the silvered skull of the Deathwatch will mark out the allegiance of these so-called, "Black Shields", who shun the company of other Space Marines until the time of battle is upon them. Such warriors are unique to the Deathwatch and even there, they are regarded as figures of ill-omen.
- Deathwatch Champion - Deathwatch Champions are among the mightiest of the Emperor's Chosen. A Deathwatch Champion fears no alien monstrosity or xenos death machine, his skills and armaments the equal of anything the foe can bring to bear. His coming is an inspiration to his Battle-Brothers and a terror to his enemies, as he is an all-destroying comet blazing across the battlefield in an arc of glory. A Space Marine in the Deathwatch may be elevated to the status of Champion by several means. Most commonly it is bestowed by a Watch Captain in recognition of a mighty feat of arms in battle. However, Deathwatch Champions are also elevated on the strength of their longstanding courage and steadfastness, by the turn of the Emperor's Tarot or by a common acquiescence of their Battle-Brothers.
- Deathwatch Chaplain - Deathwatch Chaplains act in a similar role to those of other Chapters by serving as the spiritual leaders of Battle-Brothers undertaking their Vigil with the Deathwatch. However, the challenges facing a Deathwatch Chaplain are unique. The rigours of serving in the Deathwatch can be sorely vexing for Space Marines accustomed to the rigidly ordered life of their own Chapters. A Deathwatch Chaplain must study extensively during his training. He must know the beliefs and values of a thousand different Chapters and their sometimes contradictory legends of the Primarchs by heart. A Deathwatch Chaplain must become a dedicated scholar of the Primarchs and of Chapter histories originating at the very dawn of the Imperium. Thus, when a Deathwatch Battle-Brother stands at the brink of despair or impotent rage, the Chaplain will know the right liturgies and catechisms to speak, and which Chapter heroes or legendary battles of the past to cite that will inspire the warriors of the present.
- Deathwatch Devastator Marine - Devastator Marines are those Battle-Brothers tasked with manning the heaviest and most powerful of portable weapons. In his parent Chapter, the Devastator Marine might recently have ascended from the 10th Scout Company, and therefore be undertaking a crucial stage in the process of mastering all of the arts of war. In the Deathwatch, however, it is more likely that the Devastator Marine has already served in his parent Chapter as a Devastator, Assault and Tactical Marine, and is returning to the role he most excels in -- the application of overwhelming firepower. In battle, the Deathwatch Devastator Marine carries one of a wide range of heavy weapons, and his role is to provide fire support for the other members of the Kill-team. It is often the case that a concentrated burst of fire from a heavy weapon like a Heavy Bolter or Plasma Gun will force the enemy to seek cover, thus allowing the Kill-team to advance across otherwise perilous ground.
- Deathwatch Dreadnought - Rare as it is for a Space Marine to be revered enough to become an Old One, it is rarer still for a member of the Deathwatch to achieve the same honour. The circumstances of the small unit actions undertaken by Kill-teams often make it impossible to retrieve a fatally injured Battle-Brother and inter them within a Dreadnought's cybernetic life-support sarcophagus in time to be transported to a Watch Fortress. Even if such is achieved, the Space Marine must be worthy and willing to remain with the Deathwatch, effectively renewing their vows to serve with the Long Watch in perpetuity. Finally, permission must be sought and received from the Space Marine's own Chapter that he may remain with the Deathwatch. Should all these difficulties be overcome the sarcophagus of a Deathwatch Old One is placed in a great sepulchre with others of its kind in one of a handful of hidden Watch Fortresses. There the Old One will sleep away the centuries until the Techmarines awaken him to seek his knowledge or send him into battle once more.
- Deathwatch Epistolary - Often, the lowest-ranked Librarians, known as Lexicaniums, most commonly undertake a Vigil within the Deathwatch. It is rare, but not unknown, for individuals to unlock psychic powers through their experiences during their Vigil that raise them to the rank of Codicier or even Epistolary while still in the Watch. Other Librarians return to the Deathwatch later in their lives in response to a personal request from the Watch Commander, to finish some matter first unearthed in their formative years or simply because they have come to believe the threat of the alien deserves special attention. Such renowned individuals hold a high rank within the Deathwatch and are liable to be consulted on all major undertakings.
- Deathwatch 1st Company Veteran - The Deathwatch is not formally divided into separate companies as are other Space Marine Chapters. The basic tactical unit of the Kill-team is the only set organisation used and individual Kill-teams can often change their composition from mission to mission as ordered by the Watch Captain in command of them. Nonetheless, there are 1st Company Veterans to be found in the ranks of the Deathwatch, expert warriors who have come to perform their Vigil and bring their considerable prowess to the service of the Watch. More rarely a Space Marine will win such renown within the Deathwatch that he is accorded the rank and privileges of a 1st Company Veteran in recognition for his zeal and purity during his Vigil. When the Battle-Brother returns to his Chapter, it is rare for his Chapter Master not to acknowledge this honour, inducting him into the 1st Company, or that Chapter's equivalent, at the first opportunity.
- Deathwatch Forge Master - A Techmarine who wins sufficient renown may eventually be raised to the honoured rank of Forge Master within the Deathwatch. A Forge Master oversees the manufacture and maintenance of Deathwatch armaments of all kinds in a particular Watch Fortress. A Forge Master must also deal with all manner of xenotech captured by Kill-teams on their missions, studying, categorising and determining its potential value or threat. A Forge Master is commonly a close confidante of the Watch Commander and acts as central cog in the functioning of the whole Watch Fortress and its associated Kill-teams. Whether in a Watch Fortress or out on a mission, the Forge Master's position is one of the gravest responsibility, for Kill-teams rely on the quality of the Forge Master's work in environments where a single faulty bolt round or inoperable Vox receiver could spell disaster.
- Deathwatch Keeper - A Deathwatch Keeper is a Veteran Space Marine and extremely capable warrior with many long standard years of service. Keepers are often equipped with ceremonial weapons and armour to make their status clear to all. They are often armed with tall powered glaives, double-handed Chainblades or even incredibly ancient Las-lances. Richly embroidered robes cover their armour, save for their helmet and shoulder guards. Their helmets bear the Imperial Aquila or the icon of the Deathwatch, cunningly wrought into their faceplates. Beneath their robes their Power Armour is of the earliest and most hallowed marks, hailing from the days of the Great Crusade. Keepers appear most prominently on Watch Fortresses where their imposing figures bar entry to areas placed off-limits to ordinary Battle-Brothers, and stand sentinel over the captured xenos imprisoned within their walls. Even an Inquisitor may not pass a Keeper without special remit from the Watch Commander. Keepers occupy positions of the most solemn trust as guardians of the sacred and the most profane objects in the care of the Deathwatch. They fulfil sacred duties that in other Chapters would more commonly be undertaken by Librarians, Apothecaries or Techmarines, but amongst the ranks of the Deathwatch such specialists are too few and their tasks too many for this to be practical. Instead these burdens are undertaken by Battle-Brothers who have served the Watch across many decades' Vigils. Keepers are entrusted with all manner of things important to the Deathwatch -- everything from alien prisoners to the starships carrying Kill-teams across the void.
- Deathwatch Kill-marine - A Deathwatch Kill-marine is a specially trained Battle-Brother, skilled in solo operations, who is sent to investigate and exterminate where possible or to call in backup where it is truly needed. Not every xenos-related threat demands the full deployment of a Kill-team, but many seemingly inconsequential incidents can be harbingers of a greater threat that would be unwise to ignore. Under these circumstances, a Watch Captain will deploy these lone Kill-marines to carry out their sacred duty. Scout Sergeants often make superlative Deathwatch Kill-marines with little additional training but these specialists are drawn from all the ranks of the Deathwatch as needed. A certain independence of thought and great personal strength of spirit are in many ways more important than exceptional stealth skills for a Kill-marine, for they must possess the right temperament to operate for long periods of time cut off from their kind and from their Chapter. Kill-marines spend time living alongside those they must ultimately defend, sharing their trials and seeing the world through their eyes.
- Deathwatch Librarian - Librarians are those Space Marines born as psykers, able to wield the powers of the Warp against the foes of Mankind. Most of the Librarians called to serve in the Deathwatch hold the rank of Lexicanium, the most junior of the four ranks of the Space Marines' battlefield psykers. They are nonetheless warriors of fearsome ability and renown. However, a small number of higher-ranked Librarians do serve -- the most senior become the Watch Commanders' most valued counsellors. Within their own Chapters, Librarians may have different titles and unique methods of utilising their powers. Librarians fulfil a number of roles within the Deathwatch. Chief amongst them is that of the combat psyker. Librarians are also the guardians of the secrets of the Deathwatch. Within each Watch Fortress is to be found the sealed Vault which stores weapons and relics too dangerous to be allowed to fall into the hands of Mankind's enemies. Also within the Vault is an archive of forbidden knowledge. Not even the Watch Commander has access to these archives -- only the Librarians are entrusted with their access codes, and only they are judged strong enough to withstand the sanity-shattering secrets sealed within.
- Deathwatch Tactical Marine - Tactical Marines are the most numerous of Space Marine warriors, and as their name suggests they are equipped and trained to fulfil the widest range of battlefield roles. Armed with the iconic Bolter, Tactical Marines provide the bulk of the Kill-team's firepower, which they are able to lay down in a devastating fusillade even as they advance implacably towards their objective. Most Battle-Brothers taking up service in the Deathwatch have advanced to the position of Tactical Marine in their parent Chapters, and so are Veteran warriors well versed in the many disciplines of war. Truly, there are very few enemies that the Tactical Marine has not encountered and defeated, and no battlefield holds any terror for him.
- Deathwatch Techmarine - Techmarines are highly valued for the important role that they perform in the Deathwatch. Their skills in the operation of machines and techno-arcana are an asset to the day-to-day operations of the Watch Fortresses and the advanced technology the Deathwatch has access to within its Vaults at the heart of each Watch Fortress. These weapons and items of equipment are known to be more exotic than even the rare Conversion Beamer. Many are unique, and all are sealed within the Vault at the heart of each Watch Fortress. Just as the Librarian has exclusive access to the reams of forbidden knowledge in each of these archives, so the Deathwatch Techmarine keeps his portion of the Vault sealed to all but his fellow Techmarines. There are weapons kept within the Vault the likes of which are thought to be unique in the galaxy, their secrets impenetrable even to the highest-ranking Tech-priests of Mars.
- Deathwatch Vanguard Veteran - The Veteran Assault Marines sent to the Deathwatch are melee experts beyond compare. Many have put down looming alien monstrosities with no more than a Combat Knife and gut instinct. Once seconded to a Watch Fortress, these killers are armed with a profusion of weaponry and equipped with a comprehensive knowledge of alien anatomies that makes them hideously effective. Where a marksman of the Sternguard has to anticipate his target's movements to make the killing shot, the Vanguard face the xenos beast face-to-face, and more often than not their blades find their mark with unerring precision.
- Deathwatch Watch Captain - Astartes company Captains are superb leaders with a depth of experience excelled only by the Chapter Master himself. A Chapter's Captains are inducted into the greatest secrets and mysteries of their order with the most binding and terrible oaths and when it is time for a new Chapter Master to be chosen he will most likely be elevated from amongst their ranks. When the time comes and they are nominated to be seconded to the Deathwatch, these Captains dutifully set aside their own desires to remain with their company and undertake their Vigil with humility. The Deathwatch traditionally extends the rank of Captain to a Space Marine company commander during their Vigil, but most Captains entering the Watch refuse to accept such a lofty position until they have earned it. Thus, the scarred hero of a thousand battles will accept a role in a Kill-team as a simple Battle–Brother under the command of an individual several centuries his junior until he feels he has learned the ropes. Deathwatch Watch Captains are also raised from Battle-Brothers who have served in the ranks of the Kill-teams with great distinction and undertaken many Vigils in the Watch. A particularly skilled xenos-hunter may be called to duty with the Deathwatch repeatedly. Eventually such a renowned Battle-Brother may be afforded the honour of assuming the rank of Watch Captain and leading the Kill-teams he has fought as a part of for so long.
- Deathwatch Watch Commander - Watch Commanders are the senior-ranking Astartes within the Deathwatch and serve as the commanders of a Deathwatch Watch Fortress or other Deathwatch headquarters installation. Their role is equivalent to that of a Chapter Master of a Space Marine Chapter, save that there are many of them scattered across the galaxy in the myriad Watch Fortresses of the Deathwatch. They are the finest warriors at the very pinnacle of their abilities, for their tactical acumen and uncanny skill at combating the alien is nearly unsurpassed within the Adeptus Astartes. The knowledge and experience a Watch Commander has gained through standard centuries of combat, against the various xenos threats from his time spent throughout the ranks of the Deathwatch, have taught him valuable lessons in the art of war, trained him in the various facets of military strategy and honed his martial instincts to a level nearly unmatched even by the other elite xenos-hunters of the Deathwatch. A Watch Commander acts with authority as he sees fit, according to his own counsel and judgment, answerable to no one except his fellow Watch Commanders, the Inquisition and the Emperor of Mankind Himself.
- Master of the Hunt - Over the centuries since its founding, the Hunting Grounds of Watch Fortress Erioch have always been overseen by a Master of the Hunt. Always bestowed on a senior Deathwatch Space Marine with vast experience in both the hunting of xenos and the training of Space Marines, the title of Master of the Hunt is as unique to the Jericho Reach as the Hunting Grounds they oversee. Often extremely old, even by the standards of long-lived Astartes, and typically heavily scarred by centuries of service, each of these Veterans has overseen the daily operation of the Hunting Grounds during the decades of their stewardship. They are responsible for maintaining the facility and keeping it stocked with xenos specimens, and work closely with the fortress' Forge Master to keep the numerous arcane mechanisms found within the complex operating.
The Inquisition and the Adeptus Astartes
For over ten standard millennia, the Chapters of the Adeptus Astartes have waged unending war in the name of the Emperor. Largely left to their own devices, the Space Marines are not accustomed to answering to others in matters of war. Chapter Masters are some of the greatest human leaders in the galaxy and their decisions affect the lives of billions. So when the Inquisition arrives in a warzone or other engagement and begins making demands, it may draw the ire of the Space Marines.
While most Astartes recognise -- and even appreciate -- the role that the Inquisition plays in the Imperium, there are other Chapters that are distrustful of the shadowy organisation. Anti-authoritarian Chapters such as the Space Wolves have reservations about any group wielding such unchecked power. Other Space Marines may have issues stemming from personal experiences with particular Inquisitors and decisions they did not agree with.
The Ordo Xenos is the arm of the Inquisition tasked with defeating the alien in all its forms, and as such it is counted amongst the Deathwatch's foremost allies, as the Deathwatch serves as its official Chamber Militant. The two organisations frequently work side by side, both on the battlefield and in the strategium. There have been times when a Watch Fortress' commander has been not a Space Marine, but a Lord Inquisitor -- and conversely times when the esoteric forces of the Inquisition have been led by a Battle-Brother of the Deathwatch.
The two organisations do not always see eye to eye. Inquisitors are accorded a great deal of autonomy, and the more Radical members of their order have been known to treat with the alien or even to use xenos weaponry in order to defeat a greater threat. The extreme reaction this engenders in the Deathwatch, which is by nature of a more Puritan bent, has led to bloodshed on more than one occasion.
While the Deathwatch is not directly under the command of the Ordo Xenos, it has close ties with that mysterious body and it is the Inquisition that identifies many of the targets and missions for it to undertake. Some Kill-teams may question the urgency of a mission to recover a minor xenos when a Tyranid threat looms in the Jericho Reach. Many Space Marines often feel that Inquisitors pursue their own agendas over the safety of civilians and this brings them into conflict.
If a Kill-team undertakes a mission to bring down a rogue Inquisitor, then the situation has been deemed especially dire. The Inquisition is loath to let anyone -- even the Deathwatch -- know of such a transgression. Any reports of such a mission would be encoded in the highest levels of security and all involved would undertake additional oaths of secrecy.
The ancient oaths that the Adeptus Astartes have undertaken to the Inquisition guarantees that their warriors will be seconded to the Deathwatch. This tenure provides valuable warriors to serve in Kill-teams throughout the galaxy. But the reasons why individual Chapters will send certain Space Marines to serve the Deathwatch can vary. When the call to send Battle-Brothers to the Deathwatch comes, most Chapters select their finest warriors to represent them. The ancient oaths sworn to support the Inquisition and the Deathwatch are taken seriously and any success that a Space Marine displays while serving the Long Watch will be reflected back on their Chapter. These revered champions of the Chapter seek out glory and honour by exemplary service on all missions they participate in. These Astartes are very eager to be part of the Deathwatch and serve the Emperor in this manner.
Should a Battle-Brother consistently excel in the slaughter of the alien, he will invariably come to the notice of the officers of his Chapter. Most commonly it is the Captain of his company that vouches for his expertise as an alien hunter, his Apothecary that attests to his impeccable physical ability, and his Chaplain that weighs his strength of character and the sanctity of his soul. If all three officers are in agreement, the Chapter Master is consulted, and with his approval the potential recruit's fate is set. Though it may be years until he is called upon to join the Long Vigil, he will become one of the most specialised of all the Imperium's defenders, every waking hour given over to a single overarching goal -- the eradication of the xenos foe.
Most of the Chapters in the Imperium will despatch a Battle-Brother chosen to join the Deathwatch after a ceremony to mark his departure. The Ultramarines gather as much of the relevant company's strength as possible, saluting their departing comrade as he boards the black-hulled Thunderhawk that will take him to his new life. The Dark Angels Chapter sends him on his way under an oath of secrecy, reminding him that he must never speak of hidden truths. Regardless of Chapter, the occasion is a solemn one. All know in their hearts they will likely never see their brother again -- he will join the front line in the war against the alien as a martyr to the cause. In recognition of his likely fate, the Initiate's armour is painted jet black.
Once a Space Marine has completed his Deathwatch training, any former rank he may have held is put aside, and he is assigned to a squad known as a Kill-team. Each of these groups is a band of disparate Battle-Brothers taken from as many as ten different Chapters, all of whom have their own cultures, specialities and insights into the arts of war. This can lead to friction and rivalry as personalities clash and spark against one another, but the members of the team share the same core ideals, and have sworn the same vows -- to defend Mankind no matter the cost.
Upon arrival at the Watch Fortress that will become his new home, the Deathwatch recruit will begin a punishing regime of physical and mental conditioning that takes him to the peak of efficacy. He may have faced dozens, even hundreds of alien species in his former life, but thousands more haunt the dark reaches of the galaxy. Through a gruelling course of hypno-indoctrination, the recruit's subconscious mind is filled with every detail the Deathwatch has gleaned about the nature of its xenos nemeses.
It is unusual, though not unheard of, for some Battle-Brothers to come to regard the Deathwatch as their true home. Though they continue honouring their original Chapter and its traditions during their Vigil, they become ever more bound to those of the Deathwatch. Those that do find a permanent home on a Watch Station inevitably struggle against a gnawing sense of abandonment and guilt, existing fully in neither Chapter and only able to draw spiritual sustenance from the companionship of their fellow Kill-team members.
For some Chapters, tenure in the Deathwatch can be a time for an Astartes to atone for some transgression committed against the Chapter or its ways. The type of infraction varies from Chapter to Chapter. For those who are strict adherents to the Codex Astartes, simple deviation from the tenets in the sacred text are enough to have a Battle-Brother fall under the unforgiving eye of his superiors. Amongst other Chapters, the infraction is usually much more severe to warrant any sort of sanction. A Space Marine who has been deemed lacking by his superiors has a shadow cast upon him that he must exorcise. Any question of a Battle-Brother's ability to carry out his duty brings undo scrutiny upon him and those he serves with. These doubts will linger and fester until he is able to redeem himself in the eyes of the Chapter. This redemption can take the form of Imperial Crusades, quests, and other heroic endeavours. This can also take the form of an extended secondment to the Deathwatch.
If a Battle-Brother has been sent to the Deathwatch as a means of atonement, then that is usually kept quiet from all but the Chapter's leadership and the Space Marine in question. Since serving in the Deathwatch is fraught with peril, this is seen as a perfect way to atone in service to the Emperor. The Space Marine will keep his past transgressions closely guarded from his new squad-mates in a Kill-team; if they were aware of these factors then they would surely look at him with suspicion.
Even among the mighty Space Marine Chapters, those warriors who live long enough to earn the title of Veteran are uncommon, many falling on the battlefield after only years or decades of service against overwhelming odds. Unlike the Imperial Guard or the Imperial Navy, where a man might be considered a veteran if he survives his first taste of combat or earns a campaign ribbon, a Space Marine's Veteran status only comes after genuine achievement, and then only at the end of long years of bloodshed and hard-won victory. The Deathwatch is no different, and those Battle-Brothers who spend their years of secondment fighting the xenos foes of the Emperor are only considered to be doing their duty. Mere survival is not enough for a Space Marine; as the Emperor's favoured sons and chosen warriors, they are expected to acquit themselves well in combat, their foes are expected to die upon their bolt shells and Chainblades, and the honour they earn is the honour of their Chapter. To be considered a Veteran of the Deathwatch, a Battle-Brother must accomplish great and glorious things, and mark himself out as a true instrument of war, above and beyond even the transhuman capability of the Adeptus Astartes.
Web of Loyalties
It is the duty of all Astartes to serve the Emperor and fight for the Imperium against its many foes, but where a Battle-Brother stands in the great chain of command can become unclear once he has spent years serving the Deathwatch. Ostensibly, while serving in the Deathwatch in the Jericho Reach, a Battle-Brother serves the Watch Commander and the Chamber Vigilant, which can include the influence of the Inquisitors of the Ordo Xenos. However, at the same time, he retains his loyalties to his own Chapter and Chapter Master, while retaining any rank he might have had previously, even though he is no longer under the command of his company or squad commanders. As time passes and the Battle-Brother spends more time in the service of the Deathwatch, many of these ties change, either weakening or strengthening, and his loyalty can shift to encompass the members of his Kill-team while his duty to the Emperor and the Imperium becomes broader and less restricted by the specific teachings of his Chapter. This is especially true once he is exposed to the ideas and doctrines of his Kill-team members and they have survived many harrowing battles together.
It is even possible, though rare, that, after long standard years of service, a Veteran Battle-Brother can find that this loyalty narrows until he sees himself as a member of the Deathwatch first, and part of his Chapter second. While the Battle-Brother will always retain a deep connection to his Chapter, long periods of service to the Deathwatch and the secret knowledge he gains about the enemies of the Imperium can make him see his true place as part of a Kill-team. His Chapter Master and his Chapter Battle-Brothers might understand and respect why he would choose to fight for the Deathwatch rather than his own Chapter if they know anything of the nature of the Deathwatch's mission, though it is more likely it will be seen only as divided loyalty. In either case, the chain of command can become blurred for such a Deathwatch Veteran, as the influence of his Chapter recedes and he focuses his efforts against the enemies of the Deathwatch.
A Taste for War
Members of the Deathwatch are often exposed to threats and foes they would not have encountered had they remained within the ranks of their Chapter. While a Battle-Brother fighting as part of his home Chapter will doubtless see years of bloody and terrible combat, he usually does so shoulder to shoulder with his company, supported by Predator AFVs and Rhino APCs, heavy weapon platforms and orbital overwatch. By contrast, while a Deathwatch Kill-team has access to some of the most remarkable technology in the Imperium of Man, they can never rely on having such luxuries in combat, often standing alone against whatever dangers they might face. Added to the fact that a Kill-team is only a handful of Space Marines, the foes they face can be more dangerous and exotic, such as powerful alien commanders and unspeakable xenos horrors. In a few short years serving in the Deathwatch, a Battle-Brother will have faced down and defeated countless alien and Heretic foes, often in close personal combat with only the strength of his Kill-team to back him up. It is little wonder, then, that many Battle-Brothers who are seconded to the Deathwatch rise to the ranks of Veterans as the experiences they accrue and missions they complete give them a wider sense of the terrible struggle the Imperium faces every day and the multitude of hidden foes arrayed against it. In time, this evolution of their skills and knowledge will set them apart from their original Chapters and forge them into something uniquely adapted to fighting and killing xenos.
Thus a Deathwatch Veteran is a Battle-Brother who has not simply spent years serving in the Deathwatch, or one who has formed a bond with brothers from other Chapters. Rather he is one who has adapted to the service of the Deathwatch and the special missions and foes with which it must deal. Indoctrinated by the unbreakable bonds to his Chapter and his sense of duty to his Chapter Master, no Battle-Brother ever leaves these loyalties behind, but instead adds to them, becomes more dedicated to the cause of the Imperium, whether it is through the orders of his Watch Commander or his own personal focus. Not all Battle-Brothers are suited to long periods of secondment to the Deathwatch, many simply doing their duty before returning to their own Chapter. However, those that adapt to the way the Deathwatch functions, and those able to balance the teachings of their Chapter with the autonomy and independence required of a Kill-team become valued additions to the Deathwatch. The Deathwatch values these kinds of Battle-Brothers and is active in developing their skills and abilities, creating Kill-teams that can undertake the most hazardous of missions with a chance of success. Equally, Chapter Masters honour those Battle-Brothers who have acquitted themselves well in the Deathwatch and respect the skills they have mastered.
Over years of hazardous missions and combat, the members of a Kill-team will learn to rely heavily on each other, something which is evident after even a few missions among those newly seconded to the Deathwatch, but which becomes far more pronounced in Deathwatch veterans. Combined with missions that will see the Kill-team operate against some of the worst foes the Jericho Reach has to offer, and often without support from any kind of Imperial aid for weeks, months, or even longer, this creates a powerful autonomous fighting unit. Even in such circumstances, the Deathwatch can still rely on these Veteran Battle-Brothers to live up to their duty to the Chapter and their duty to the Emperor, where Imperial Guard specialists given such operational freedom often become increasingly difficult to command or direct. Such skill and resolve is the mark of a true Deathwatch veteran and Kill-team, Battle-Brothers of such focus and temper that no task remains beyond them regardless of the odds they might face or the enemies which rise up to meet them.
A New Brotherhood
Deathwatch Veterans are also unique among the Adeptus Astartes as one of the few groups in which true alliances can form between Battle-Brothers of different Chapters. Space Marines who might have little love for one another and only work together grudgingly can, as part of a Kill-team, over time, form bonds stronger than even those they share with their Chapter. Living lives of stark seclusion broken only by fierce combat, most Battle-Brothers come to the Deathwatch only knowing their own kind, having only encountered those different from themselves on the field of battle or from dim half remembered memories of their lives before their initiation into the Chapter. Suddenly, they are presented with a variety of different opinions, cultures, and appearances, most of which run counter to what they have learned from their Chapter's Battle-Brothers. While all the members of their Kill-team might share a similar duty to the Emperor and a faith in the Imperium of Man, even minor differences can be troubling. This is even truer of combat doctrine and tactical creed, a subject close to the core of every Space Marine. Many Battle-Brothers will never completely accept the other members of their Kill-team for these reasons and will return to their Chapter with stories of the strange practises of the other Space Marines. Those that become Deathwatch Veterans, however, inevitably adapt to these differences, the better to function as part of their Kill-team.
A Brotherhood Apart
It is a double-edged blade that Deathwatch Veterans, while valued and skilled members of the Deathwatch, might grow apart from their own Chapter. Battle-Brothers accept the honour of secondment without question or complaint even though it means leaving their place within their own Chapter and giving up their place beside Battle-Brothers who have become close companions from many battles. Such is the honour of a secondment that both Chapter Master and Chapter usually only afford it to proven Space Marines, even though it can mean losing such a valued asset to the Deathwatch for standard years. For the chosen Battle-Brother, leaving his own Chapter behind can be a burden, even though he understands why he has been chosen and is honoured by the chance to prove his worth alongside others of the Adeptus Astartes within the Deathwatch. Even so, the gulf between Deathwatch and the Chapters of the Adeptus Astartes can create a wide variety of Battle-Brothers, changed in small ways by their crossing. Some might come to the Deathwatch eager to prove the superiority of their Chapter, or the strength of their traditions, while others remain resistant to their Kill-team, remaining reserved and restrained, doing their duty as dictated by honour and ancient covenant but little more.
In one way or another, all Battle-Brothers conform to this new brotherhood, finding their place within the Deathwatch and seeking out their duty to both Emperor and Imperium. A Kill-team is only as strong as its weakest member, and its real strength lies in the bonds of brotherhood it can foster between its Battle-Brothers. So when a Battle-Brother comes to the Deathwatch harbouring distrust of other Chapters, or tries to impose his own ideals on other Battle-Brothers, the Kill-team will suffer. However, Space Marines are superhuman warriors and even these weakest of Kill-teams are stronger than the most veteran of Imperial Guard squads or elite Stormtrooper unit could hope to be. This means that for many Battle-Brothers their time in the Deathwatch will pass with honour as they complete their duty, though they never truly overcome the divisions within their Kill-team. Deathwatch veterans are made up mostly of those Battle-Brothers who have overcome these differences, or embraced them and turned them to their advantage. They are the Battle-Brothers which have changed to meet the challenges of the Deathwatch, and created something more within their Kill-team than the sum of its parts.
The recruitment processes for the Chapters of the Adeptus Astartes are as varied as the iconography on their Power Armour. Some recruit exclusively from the lands of their homeworld while other Chapters utilise a wide swathe of planets for finding new Battle-Brothers, drawing from worlds scattered throughout the Chapter's dominion. No matter where the Initiates are recruited from, one thing remains the same -- the new Space Marine will undergo a long, rigorous series of challenges and trials before he is fully one of the Emperor's finest. It is through these tests and trials that the bonds of brotherhood are first forged for the Space Marines. The time spent learning the beliefs and battle doctrines of their Chapter shapes the mind-set of the Battle-Brothers and how they view their duty to the Imperium and Chapter. These fundamental beliefs are so strongly ingrained into a Battle-Brother that they can bring him into conflict with other Imperial servants who have a different world view than the Chapter. These are the challenges all members of the Deathwatch must overcome if they are to serve their ancient oaths successfully.
When a Chapter sends one of its Brothers off to serve the Deathwatch, it can be something of a culture shock to the Space Marine in question. Everyone expects a Space Marine to follow whatever orders he is given, but behind the armour is more than an automaton. A Battle-Brother's training and beliefs are deeply ingrained, even part of his genetic make-up, so coming to grips with his new role in the Deathwatch can be very trying -- not that an Astartes would ever let that be known.
Becoming part of a new squad under the auspices of the Deathwatch organisation creates many new challenges for an inductee. First of these trials is determining his role amongst his new squad-mates. He must learn how to fight alongside these new Battle-Brothers who each bring their own battle tactics and methods to the unit. In many instances these strategies may directly contradict his own way of waging war. For someone who has fought a certain way for a long time (in some instances a standard century or more), adapting is no small feat.
Unfortunately, the greatest fighting force of Mankind -- the Space Marines -- possesses a long history of distrust, enmity, and open warfare with their brethren, and that is only including the Loyalist Chapters. For over ten thousand standard years, the Adeptus Astartes have fought alongside and against other Space Marines in countless battles. The Great Crusade set the stage for many of the most memorable feuds. During that time, each Legion of Space Marines tried to outdo its brothers in bringing glory to the fledgling Imperium. Fighting side-by-side, the original Space Marine Legions often came to blows over the best way to reclaim a planet that had fallen away from the Emperor's light. These feuds still exist into the present, and can become a grist for problems between members of a Deathwatch Kill-team who hail from feuding Chapters. Among the worst of the currently existing feuds between Loyalist Chapters are the following:
- Dark Angels vs. Space Wolves - One of the most famous rivalries in the Imperium, the tension between these two Chapters dates back to the time of the Great Crusade and the brawls that their Primarchs -- Lion El'Jonson and Leman Russ -- would engage in. While the two Chapters may not always get along, they actually possess a great deal of respect for one another and this rivalry is closer to competing brothers than anything else. The feud also extends to the Unforgiven Successor Chapters of the Dark Angels and any Space Wolves they may serve with in the Deathwatch.
- White Scars vs. Raven Guard - The tension between members of these two Chapters is darker and deeper than a friendly competition between allies. A Raven Guard views the White Scars with suspicion and open contempt in many instances, due to what he believes are failures to aid one another in times of need dating all the way back to the Horus Heresy. This can provide for interesting interactions between members of a Kill-team with Astartes seconded from these Chapters as their new bonds of service to the Deathwatch and its sacred mission overwrite the troubles of the past.
- Space Wolves vs. Blood Ravens - The Space Wolves have a long history, dating back to the Great Crusade and the Edicts of Nikaea, of distrusting what they view as sorcery, and the highly psychic Blood Ravens Chapter has drawn their ire on more than one occasion. During the Battle of Praximil VIII, the Blood Ravens' reliance on Librarian intervention to oust the psyker leader of the Renegades entrenched there sent their Space Wolves allies into a fury. The Wolf Lord who fought at their side believed the use of psychic tactics to be dishonourable and he made this known to the Blood Ravens' Force Commander with a well-placed punch.
- Storm Wardens vs. Blood Angels - On the Night World of Etrimma, a small Blood Angels force had fought a prolonged campaign against a force of Dark Eldar raiders who were intent on securing the ancient ruins of the world for their own dark purposes. As the tide turned against the Blood Angels, a Storm Wardens' Strike Cruiser arrived on the scene to render aid. Without a word, hundreds of Storm Wardens descended on the battlefield and routed the Dark Eldar in a matter of solar hours. The overly proud Blood Angel Captain did not take kindly to this unwelcome intervention. He was convinced that he could have handled matters himself and that his warriors were more than capable of dealing with the xenos threat on their own. For the Blood Angels who fought in this encounter and the brethren they shared the tale with, the Storm Wardens will always be viewed as unwelcome meddlers.
- Iron Hands vs. Ultramarines - A highly regimented Ultramarine values strict adherence to the Codex Astartes above all else. While the Iron Hands may structure their Chapter after the basic tenets of the Codex, they care little for the views of others and do not place much stock in the Ultramarines' complaints against their lack of orthodoxy, preferring to let their long record of service to the Imperium speak for itself. The Ultramarines particularly dislike the Iron Hands' obsession with replacing the organic portions of their bodies with augmetics, viewing it as tantamount to heresy and the result of a real flaw in the Iron Hands' gene-seed.
Deathwatch Combat Doctrine
Deathwatch Space Marines will usually operate in individual Tactical Squads, known as a Kill-teams. Each Kill-team is led by an Inquisitor, |Watch Captain or Librarian. Their missions range from those undertaken alone and without support to accomplish their goals with minimal combat engagement to outright battle while re-enforcing allied forces like the Imperial Guard, Sisters of Battle or other Space Marine Chapters against alien incursions.
The highly perilous and vital nature of their missions means that Deathwatch Kill-Teams have access to exceedingly rare or advanced Imperial equipment, such as Heavy Bolter Gyro Suspensors, M.40 Targeters, and numerous types of specialist ammunition, such as the fragmentation Metal Storm shells or the high-powered Kraken penetrator bolts. If the situation offers no alternative, they will utilise advanced alien weaponry and equipment to accomplish their mission. The Deathwatch often utilises unconventional means of insertion, such as teleportation, high altitude grav-chute drops and Demiurg Termite tanks.
Sometimes, the situation may be more than even a dozen elite Space Marines can handle, and because of this, Deathwatch Space Marines are able to freely requisition any and all Imperial forces they deem necessary to complete their task, from individual Brother Space Marines of other Chapters to entire regiments of the Imperial Guard. A member of the Deathwatch speaks with the full authority of the Inquisition and also possess the unlimited (in theory) authority of that organisation and its servants.
Notable Deathwatch Astartes
- Asger Warfist, Wolf Lord of the Space Wolves, first Chapter Master of the Deathwatch - Asger Warfist was a Wolf Lord in the Space Wolves Chapter in the mid-32nd Millennium when the Ork forces of The Beast invaded the Imperium. He took part in his Chapter's battle against the Orks when they invaded an Imperial star system near the Eye of Terror and he later successfully led his Great Company in defending the Industrial Moon of Fabrikk when it was assaulted by the Greenskins. Afterward, he was commanded by his Great Wolf to travel to Terra, after the Space Wolves received word that their aid was requested for a strikeforce needed to attack the world of Ullanor Prime, which was discovered to be the origin point of The Beast's invasion force. Warfist later appeared before Lord Commander of the Imperium Koorland as part of his Chapter's taskforce sent to defend Terra. He reluctantly tolerated the presence of the Dark Angels, his Chapter's traditional rival, and took part in the first Imperial invasion of The Beast's homeworld of Ullanor Prime. Warfist became one of the first members of the Deathwatch after it was reluctantly created by the High Lords of Terra and took part in the destruction of the Attack Moon over Terra. Shortly before the second invasion of Ullanor that sought to once again slay The Beast, Lord Commander Koorland made Asger Warfist the first Chapter Master of the Deathwatch. Warfist fought alongside Koorland as the Lord Commander died against the second Beast-sized Warlord that revealed himself. During the third Imperial invasion of Ullanor Prime, Asger Warfist commanded one of the five Imperial attack groups. It is not known if Warfist's rank of Chapter Master still exists within the Deathwatch or was simply an early term for what became the position of "Watch Commander."
- Mordigael, Watch Commander and Master of the Vigil of Watch Fortress Erioch - Watch Commander Mordigael is a quick and decisive commander of men with a natural charisma bound to a terrifying skill in battle. A Blood Angel by origin, Mordigael is a paragon of the qualities and traditions of his Chapter. His features are sharp and handsome, as if cut from the pale stone statue of an Imperial Saint, while his eyes burn with almost feverish intensity. He delights in the perfection of all his undertakings, from practice in the martial disciplines to the contemplation on the future implications of all things of note that bear on his sacred duty. For over five Terran centuries, Mordigael has served his Emperor and his Chapter; on three occasions, he has taken up the duty of serving in the Deathwatch. One of these past terms of service was in the Jericho Reach itself. Mordigael's current Vigil in the late 41st Millennium has lasted over five solar decades, and has seen him achieve the honour of being named Master of the Vigil of Watch Fortress Erioch a little more than a decade ago. During this time, Mordigael has seen things change within the Jericho Reach; the implications of the opening of the Warp Gate to the Calixis Sector have affected everything. The launching of the Achilus Crusade concerns him greatly, as he sees the possibility of a greater disaster being created from a war prosecuted through ignorance and arrogance. He sees the encroaching threat of the Tyranids in much the same light, quite apart from the terrible danger they represent in themselves. On more than one occasion, the Master of the Vigil has had to remind Lord Militant Tetrarchus that the Deathwatch is not beholden to the needs of his Crusade.
- Artemis, Captain of the Mortifactors - Artemis has the uncanny ability to sense and recognise alien incursions and influence on Imperial individuals and locations. He was originally a Battle-Brother of the Mortifactors Chapter but was brought into the Deathwatch to put his unusual abilities to use. Artemis commanded several Deathwatch Kill-teams against the K'nib in the Donorian Sector. This was done at the request of the Imperial Guard's Kaslon Regiment. Artemis personally slew the K'nib Alcayde and ended their attack upon Imperial space, even though the credit was given to the Kaslon Regiment. He is quoted as saying: "Do not ask, 'Why kill the alien?' rather, ask, 'Why not?'" He wields a Space Marine Bolter, a Power Sword, an assortment of grenades, and his Power Armour as wargear.
- Audin, Captain of the Mantis Warriors
- Bannon, Captain of the Imperial Fists - Bannon served as Watch Captain of a Deathwatch Kill-team that was summoned to Tarsis Ultra in 999.M41, to assist Lord Inquisitor Kryptman in combating the Tyranids of Hive Fleet Leviathan. When a Lictor appeared in the Imperial city of Erebus, Bannon was ordered by the venerable Inquisitor to capture it alive. Following this deadly errand, Bannon next led his team on an extremely hazardous mission in order to power up a ground-based Defence Laser that was located to the rear area of the main Tyranid assault. Firing the Defence Laser in conjunction with the attack of the Ultramarines' Strike Cruiser Vae Victus allowed the defending forces to destroy one of the two remaining Tyranid Hive Ships that controlled the swarm. Ultimately, Bannon's position would be overrun by attacking Tyranids, and so his Deathwatch team was extracted by a Thunderhawk gunship. Bannon was the last to be extracted, but as he was being lifted aboard by a rappel cable, his leg was seized by a monstrous Tyranid bioform. Refusing to allow his team to be killed, Bannon bravely cut his line, sacrificing himself. Surviving witnesses report last seeing Bannon disappear beneath a tide of chitin and claws, armed with only his Combat Blade, fighting to the last. Following his death, command of the Kill-team briefly fell to Brother Henghast, but was later assumed by Ultramarines 4th Company Captain Uriel Ventris for the team's assault on the final Hive Ship.
- Bron, Captain of the Dark Sons - When Captain Bron was mortally wounded during a confrontation with a Slaugth Overseer in the Black Reef, he recommended that the Marines Errant Battle-Brother Kail Vibius be promoted to the rank of Watch Captain in his stead, a role he has held ever since.
- Cynewolf, Captain of the Space Wolves
- Esteban de Dominova, Captain of the Crimson Fists - An intense, laconic, sallow–faced Battle-Brother with pale, colourless eyes prone to brooding silences and piercing glares, Watch Captain de Dominova hails from the Crimson Fists Chapter of the Adeptus Astartes. Currently serving his fifth Vigil with the Jericho Reach Deathwatch, the Watch Captain is a highly respected Apothecary whose prowess in the operating theatre has reached near mythic proportions among the Kill–teams with which he has served. Indeed, many Battle-Brothers currently serving a vigil in the Jericho Reach owe their limbs, if not their very lives, to his quick thinking and sure hands. Along with his prodigious medical skills, and the usual finely honed warrior abilities possessed by every Battle-Brother, Watch Captain de Dominova is also a noted xenobiologist who is known to work closely with the Ordo Xenos and the Mechanicus' Magos Biologis in various capacities.
- Jerron, Captain of the Ultramarines
- Quiron Octavius, Captain of the Imperial Fists - Instrumental in combating a splinter Hive Fleet of Tyranids near the Herodian IV Warp Gate. He was later slain by a Dark Eldar Talos Pain Engine.
- Andar Scarion, Captain of the Astral Claws - Andar Scarion is a member of the Astral Claws Space Marine Chapter who was seconded to the Jericho Reach to serve in the Deathwatch. His arrival was the cause of much controversy due to his Chapter's questionable actions in the decades before the outbreak of the Badab War. Nevertheless, Scarion was allowed to commence his Vigil with the Deathwatch and served for over five decades with honour, achieving the rank of Watch Captain. Like his Chapter Master Lufgt Huron, Scarion is a proud and ruthless warrior with a keen grasp of strategy and military politics, and has proven himself to be a valuable asset in liaising with the Achilus Crusade's officers. He expects the Kill-teams under his command to perform to the most exacting of standards and does not tolerate laxity, weakness or failure. As is common to many of his Chapter, Scarion regards non-Astartes with a mixture of scorn and pity, holding that the Astartes ideal is fundamentally superior to the frailty of the common run of humanity. He masks this arrogance well when political goals require it, but discards the façade when amongst other Astartes, seeing little issue with collateral damage amongst human allies whom he regards as inherently expendable.
- Uriel Ventris, Captain of the Ultramarines 4th Company - Uriel Ventris temporarily assumed command of a Deathwatch Kill-team, replacing Imperial Fists' Captain Bannon, when he was killed during the defence of the world of Tarsis Ultra from the Tyranids. Uriel Ventris led the Deathwatch Kill-team into a Tyranid Hive Ship to kill the Hive Fleet's Norn-Queen with a gene-poison derived from the genome of a Lictor, which was genetically-engineered to induce hyper-evolution in any Tyranid affected by it. Ventris was later exiled from the Ultramarines for breaking the Codex Astartes, condemned to fulfill a Death Oath in the Eye of Terror against the Iron Warriors. Ventris completed this quest and returned to honourable service with his Chapter.
- Kail Vibius, Captain of the Marines Errant - Kail Vibius is a Marines Errant Battle-Brother who serves as a Watch Captain in the Deathwatch. Vibius has a burning desire for vengeance against xenos, which has marked him out even amongst the alien-hunters of the Deathwatch. During the Corinth Crusade, Vibius and a squad of his fellow Marines Errant were captured by the vile Dark Eldar and taken into the Webway to the dark realm of Commorragh. Surviving their cruel treatment at the hands of his xenos captors, Vibius bided his time until he was able to seize the opportunity to escape, leading a slave revolt against his surprised captors. Eventually the Space Marines fought their way to freedom and returned to the Imperium. Vibius was nominated for the honour of representing his Chapter in the Deathwatch, and rose swiftly through the ranks until he led his own Kill-team. When his former commander, Captain Bron of the Dark Sons Chapter, was mortally wounded, he recommended Vibius be promoted to the rank of Watch Captain in his stead, a role he has held ever since.
- Andreas, Librarian - Andreas was the Deathwatch Astartes who believed that the pulsing, expanding Van Grothe's Rapidity was acting as a beacon for the Tyranid forces that were enroute to Medusa V.
- Ashok, Librarian of the Angels Sanguine - Ashok once served with his Chapter in a campaign against the Tyranids on the planet Hegelian IX. At the time, he was deployed with the Angels Sanguine's Death Company into the planet's catacombs in order to pursue the fleeing xenos, where he and his comrades succumbed to the terrible effects of the Black Rage. Before he was able to regain control of himself, he had killed three of his Battle-Brothers. For the next three years, he became strapped to the Tablet of Lestrallio in his Chapter's fortress-monastery, where he faced the nightmares caused by the Rage. After he emerged from this state, Ashok was presented with the Shroud of Lemartes as a symbol of his mastery over the Black Rage. Though he had successfully managed to deal with the effects of the Black Rage he continued to combat the signs. Ashok was later seconded to the Deathwatch, where he served under the command of Captain Quirion Octavius. Librarian Ashok later deployed with his Kill-team, under the command of Inquisitor Kalpysia, to deal with a splinter Tyranid Hive Fleet on the planet Herodian IV. He is the only known Librarian to have taken on three Tyranid Zoanthropes and survived.
- Atreus, Librarian of the Blood Ravens
- Brytnoth, Librarian
- Lyandro Karras, Codicier of the Death Spectres - Karras served as a field leader for Kill-team Talon. His call-sign was Talon Alpha, but amongst his fellow Deatwatch members he was referred to as "Scholar".
- Shaidan, Librarian of the Mantis Warriors - Shaidan was a "Penitent", one of the Mantis Warriors who was still serving the century-long penance for their shameful actions in the Badab War. Shaidan and some of his Battle-Brothers served alongside the Deathwatch unofficially in the defence of Herodian IV against a splinter fleet of Tyranids. Shaidan heroically sacrificed himself and was posthumously inducted into the ranks of the Deathwatch.
- Zadkiel, Epistolary of the Dark Angels - Epistolary Zadkiel is a powerful and honoured Librarian of the Dark Angels Chapter who trained under Ezekiel, the Dark Angels' Grand Master of Librarians, and was seconded to the Deathwatch and rose as a prominent leader in the Acheros Salient of the Jericho Reach. His potent psychic abilities have banished daemons without number, shrieking back into the Warp, and his Force Staff has reaped a bloody tally against the Heretic hordes of the Cellebos Warzone.
- Damias, Apothecary of the Raven Guard - Damias served as a member of a Deathwatch Kill-team led by Captain Bannon. The team was summoned to the defence of Tarsis Ultra in the late 41st Millennium to assist the Lord Inquisitor Kryptman in combating the Tyranids from Hive Fleet Leviathan. Damias continued to serve the team after Ultramarines 4th Company's Captain Uriel Ventris assumed control of the team after Bannon's death before the Kill-team's assault on the last remaining Hive Ship in orbit around Tarsis Ultra. Damias fought valiantly on the way to the Norn-Queen's chamber, and was one of the few surviving members of the Kill-team. He was instrumental in saving Ventris' life after the latter was severely injured by the Norn Queen, keeping Ventris alive long enough for him to be transferred back to Tarsis Ultra for more extensive medical treatment.
- Broec, Chaplain of the Black Templars - Broec was killed in action while defending Herodian IV against a splinter Hive Fleet of the Tyranids.
- Luthar, Chaplain of the Revilers
- Vigilant, Chaplain - A mysterious Space Marine of unknown origin, this Black Shield joined the Deathwatch under auspicious circumstances. Nevertheless, Vigilant continues to operate from Watch Station Andronicus in the Jericho Reach, departing frequently with itinerant Kill-teams venturing deeper into space contested by the Tau.
- Harl Greyweaver, Iron Priest of the Space Wolves - Harl Greyweaver is an Iron Priest of the Space Wolves Chapter. He has been the Forge Master of Watch Fortress Erioch since his predecessor answered a summons to serve the Achilus Crusade a decade ago. While the influence of Greyweaver's time in the unorthodox halls of the Deathwatch shows in his Servo-Harness and other small deviations from the traditions of the Iron Priests of Fenris' Isles of Iron, he is not nearly as compliant with the teachings of Mars as many of the Techmarines who serve under him wish.
- MacKrentan, Senior Techmarine of the Storm Wardens - A member of the Storm Wardens Chapter from the Calixis Sector, the Senior Techmarine is a fervent follower of the Machine God and a master craftsman known throughout the Watch Fortress for his skill as a weapon-monger. An unpopular and radical member of Watch Fortress Erioch's forges, this Senior Techmarine is known, and widely avoided, for his taste for xeno-tech devices, and will do everything in his power to collect these cursed items. It is also widely known that there is an ongoing feud between MacKrentan and Forge Master Greyweaver, whose fervent hatred of alien technology puts him at frequent odds with the iconoclastic Senior Techmarine.
- Keilor, Techmarine of the Doom Eagles
- Korpheus, Techmarine of the Raven Guard
- Sulphus, Iron Father of the Red Talons
- Chyron, Dreadnought of the Lamenters - Chyron considers himself the last member of his Chapter after losing contact with the Lamenters following their encounter with a Tyranid Hive Fleet. Chyron's sense of loss and rage and his need to seek vengeance for his lost brothers is all that keeps him going.
- Szobczak, Dreadnought of the Imperial Fists - Szobczak is an ancient and cantankerous Deathwatch Dreadnought formerly of the Imperial Fists Chapter's 5th Company. Extremely gruff and bitter, he has a tendency to relate everything to his past war experiences, and can find even the most tenuous parallels between current events and his actions years before. If and when he becomes attached to a Kill-team, he will, at every opportunity, ramble on about battles long since fought, lost Battle-Brothers, and the particulars of why, in his days, Space Marines were simply better at everything. He also has a tendency to react with surprising and often inappropriate anger or violence to even the slightest provocation. He can escalate any situation, and excels at making mountains out of molehills. In all, Brother Szobczak is a very trying, capricious, and frankly dangerous companion, traits that are only just made up for by his unwavering loyalty, his prowess in battle, and his incredible skill and breadth of experience.
- Ortan Cassius, Master of Sanctity of the Ultramarines - As a Scout Sergeant, Cassius was seconded to the Deathwatch by his Chapter as part of its normal contribution to that elite organisation.
- Cyrus, Scout Sergeant of the Blood Ravens - Cyrus served with the Deathwatch for nearly two centuries, notably during the Genestealer outbreak on Victoria Primus. Cyrus left the Deathwatch to rejoin his Chapter following the Blood Ravens' disastrous Kaurava Campaign in the Kaurava System.
- Grevius, Sergeant of the Crimson Fists - Killed in action by a Tyranid Lictor during the defence of Herodian IV from a splinter fleet of Tyranids.
- Pasanius Lysane, Sergeant of the Ultramarines 4th Company - Veteran Sergeant of the vaunted Ultramarines 4th Company, Pasanias served alongside his best friend and commander, Captain Uriel Ventris. While defending the world of Tarsis Ultra from a Tyranid invasion, Ventris led his team into a Tyranid Hive Ship to kill the Hive Fleet's Norn-Queen with a gene-poison derived from the genome of a Lictor, which was genetically-engineered to induce hyper-evolution in any Tyranid affected by it. When Ventris was later exiled from the Ultramarines for breaking the Codex Astartes, condemned to fulfill a Death Oath, Pasanius willingly followed his friend into the hellish realm known as the Eye of Terror.
- Pelias, Sergeant of the Black Consuls - During the Siege of Goddeth Hive in 455.M41, the Black Consuls were recorded as being annihilated by the Word Bearers Traitor Legion. Some Black Consuls Battle-Brothers survived, scattered across the Imperium on a myriad of duties. Pelias was seconded to the Deathwatch within the Jericho Reach at the time of his Chapter's destruction. Due to the vagaries of Warp travel and communication, it took several decades for word of the Chapter's demise to reach those of its sons serving in the Jericho Reach. When word finally reached the Black Consuls of the Reach that they may be the last of their kin, they held council. One of their Astartes was despatched to investigate and bring back word, while the remainder would fight on, according to their oaths, until such time as the messenger returned.
- Ruinus, Devastator Sergeant of the Mantis Warriors - Ruinus was a "Penitent", one of the Mantis Warriors who were still serving the century-long penance for the Chapter's shameful actions in the Badab War. Ruinus and some of his Battle-Brothers served alongside the Deathwatch unofficially in the defence of Herodian IV against a splinter Hive Fleet of Tyranids. Ruinus heroically sacrificed himself and was posthumously inducted into the ranks of the Deathwatch.
- Soron, Assault Sergeant of the Mantis Warriors - Soron was a "Penitent", one of the Mantis Warriors who was still serving the century-long penance for his Chapter's shameful actions in the Badab War. Soron and several of his Battle-Brothers served alongside the Deathwatch unofficially in the defence of Herodian IV against a splinter Hive Fleet of Tyranids. Soron heroically sacrificed himself and was posthumously inducted into the ranks of the Deathwatch.
- Alvarax, Battle-Brother of the Howling Griffons - Alvarax served as a member of a Deathwatch Kill-team led by Captain Bannon. The team was summoned to the defence of Tarsis Ultra in the late 41st Millennium to assist the Lord Inquisitor Kryptman in combating the Tyranids from Hive Fleet Leviathan. Alvarax continued to serve the team after Ultramarines 4th Company's Captain Uriel Ventris assumed control of the team after Bannon's death before the Kill-team's assault on the last remaining Hive Ship in orbit around Tarsis Ultra. Alvarax was killed in action aboard the Hive Ship.
- Dark Angel, Unknown Battle-Brother of the Dark Angels - This Battle-Brother of the Dark Angels refuses to speak his true name for unknown reasons.
- Dionis, Battle-Brother
- Elwaine, Battle-Brother of the Salamanders - Elwaine served as a member of a Deathwatch Kill-team led by Captain Bannon. The team was summoned to the defence of Tarsis Ultra in the late 41st Millennium to assist the Lord Inquisitor Kryptman in combating the Tyranids from Hive Fleet Leviathan. Elwaine was seriously injured while defending the Inquisitor from an attacking Lictor seeking to kill him. Though Elwaine survived, the severity of his injuries (which necessitated extensive surgery and augmetic replacements of both arms) left him unable to serve in the Kill-team's assault on the last remaining Hive Ship in orbit around Tarsis Ultra.
- Erasmus, Battle-Brother of the Blood Ravens
- Guilar, Battle-Brother
- Kruidan, Assault Marine of the Mantis Warriors - Kruidan was a "Penitent", one of the Mantis Warriors who was still serving the century-long penance for his Chapter's shameful actions in the Badab War. Kruidan and some of his Battle-Brothers served alongside the Deathwatch unofficially in the defence of Herodian IV against a splinter Hive Fleet of Tyranids.
- Henghast, Battle-Brother of the Space Wolves - Henghast served as a member of a Deathwatch Kill-team led by Captain Bannon. The team was summoned to the defence of Tarsis Ultra in the late 41st Millennium to assist the Lord Inquisitor Kryptman in combating the Tyranids from Hive Fleet Leviathan. Brother Henghast assumed command of the Kill-team after Captain Bannon was killed in action against the Tyranids, but eventually he ceded this role to Ultramarines 4th Company's Captain Uriel Ventris before the Kill-team's assault on the last remaining Hive Ship in orbit around Tarsis Ultra. Henghast fought valiantly on the way to the Norn Queen's chamber, and was one of the few surviving members of the Kill-team.
- Iral'Hasahn, Battle-Brother of the White Scars
- Jagatun, Battle-Brother of the White Scars - Jagatun served as a member of a Deathwatch Kill-team led by Captain Bannon. The team was summoned to the defence of Tarsis Ultra in the late 41st Millennium to assist the Lord Inquisitor Kryptman in combating the Tyranids from Hive Fleet Leviathan. Jagatun continued to serve the team after Ultramarines 4th Company's Captain Uriel Ventris assumed control of the team after Bannon's death before the Kill-team's assault on the last remaining Hive Ship in orbit around Tarsis Ultra. Jagatun was killed in action aboard the Hive Ship.
- Tyrian Kulac, Battle-Brother of the Space Wolves
- Kullen, Battle-Brother of the Storm Wardens
- Pelentar, Battle-Brother of the White Consuls - Pelentar served as a member of a Deathwatch Kill-team led by Captain Bannon. The team was summoned to the defence of Tarsis Ultra in the late 41st Millennium to assist the Lord Inquisitor Kryptman in combating the Tyranids from Hive Fleet Leviathan. Pelentar continued to serve the team after Ultramarines 4th Company's Captain Uriel Ventris assumed control of the team after Bannon's death before the Kill-team's assault on the last remaining Hive Ship in orbit around Tarsis Ultra. Pelentar was killed in action aboard the Hive Ship.
- Darrion Rauth, Battle-Brother of the Exorcists - Rauth served in Kill-team Talon. His secret role within the squad was to act as Lyandro Karras' soulguard, the Astartes charged with ensuring the Librarian's soul remained pure and to act as his executioner should he become a "moral threat" to the squad. This was how he earned the nickname of "Watcher", an appellation he greatly disliked.
- Scullion, Battle-Brother of the Novamarines
- Ignatio Solarion, Battle-Brother of the Ultramarines - Solarion served as a member of Kill-team Talon. He was referred to as "Prophet", due to his habit of delivering negative commentary and chastising diatribes about the team's disregard for the Codex Astartes. A proud member of his Chapter, he was irritated by both his inappropriate nickname and the disregard by the other members of Talon for his advice. Solarion often remarked that he should be placed in charge of the Kill-team, in place of the Death Spectres Codicier Lyandro Karras.
- Toma, Battle-Brother of the 5th Company, Crimson Fists
- Trythios, Battle-Brother of the Blood Ravens
- Venters, Battle-Brother of the Salamanders
- Maximmion Voss, Devastator Marine of the Imperial Fists - Voss served as a member of Kill-team Talon as its heavy weapons and tech specialist. Voss was adept in numerous fields and earned the nickname of "Omni" in recognition of this trait.
- Siefer Zeed, Battle-Brother of the Raven Guard - Zeed served as a member of Kill-team Talon. Due to his pale appearance and his superior skills in stealth and infiltration, he was referred to by the nickname "Ghost".
The Deathwatch in the Jericho Reach maintains a number of warships, light craft, and other diverse vessels for its own uses. Most of these ships operate alone, transporting Deathwatch Battle-Brothers to where they are needed, combating space-borne threats, and providing orbital support to Deathwatch operations. The majority of these craft take the form of destroyers, frigates, and other classes of rapid strike vessels, along with modified Hunter-class Destroyers known as Dark Hunters. Larger warships and also several captured raider and merchantmen vessels are held in reserve should a particular mission warrant their use.
The lighter classes of vessels suit the needs of the Deathwatch admirably, as its missions most commonly need to deploy and extract very small numbers of Deathwatch Battle-Brothers with great speed, precision, and when called for, subterfuge. Like other Space Marine vessels, the warships of the Deathwatch are primarily crewed by Servitors and oath-bonded Chapter Serfs, with a handful of Battle-Brothers serving as command crew. These ships are often highly sophisticated in design, outfitting and armament, even over those used by other Chapters of the Adeptus Astartes.
- Thunder's Word - The Thunder's Word is a modified Gladius-class Frigate that has served the Deathwatch in the Jericho Reach for over two millennia. It is whispered that it was built in the holy orbital docks above Mars itself under the direct supervision of the Arch-Fabricator Castilus. Compact, heavily armed, and swift beyond anything that might be expected of its class, this warship can only deploy a relative handful of Battle-Brothers into action owing to the internal space given over to its massed batteries and powerful engines. Commanded by the venerable Battle-Brother Pellas, the Thunder's Word has been used in some of the most dangerous operations undertaken by the Deathwatch in the Jericho Reach. Its list of battle honours has become legendary: over three score of raider and xenos ship-kills to its name. Its most lauded mission remains the daring raid in which it slipped past the Chaos-fleets above Samech to recover the records from the lost Watch Station known as the Slaughterhouse. It was also the Thunder's Word that first glimpsed the bio-ships off the moons of Freya and warned of the Great Devourer's advance through the rimward systems. The Thunder's Word remains one of the Master of Vigil's favoured instruments should a Deathwatch kill-team need to be deployed deep inside enemy-held territory.
Deathwatch Kill-ships are automated drone-vessels, guided by the most advanced of War Spirits, which are used in the most extreme of circumstances to enact Exterminatus upon a world that has been lost to the Imperium. They are equipped with the most valuable of cloaking devices, often unique examples of long-lost knowledge dating back to the Dark Age of Technology. The mission of a Kill-ship is to enter a star system entirely undetected, to slip silently past whatever sentinels the invaders may have put in place at its edges, and to approach the target world unseen. Travelling on silent running, the Kill-ship enters orbit, delivers its lethal payload, and then slingshots itself away using the planet's own gravity. Even as the Kill-ship departs, the apocalypse is descending upon the doomed world, the final act of the Imperium's vengeance and denial enacted in its wake.
These small, fast ships are all but autonomous thanks to their banks of Cogitators and logic engines hardwired to a tiny crew of Servitors and savants, their fierce Machine Spirits undaunted by mass murder on any scale. Kill-ships are not designed to fight battles; their only purpose is to kill worlds. They rely on a combination of stealth with a sudden, high-speed approach to deliver their payloads of death before slingshotting around their doomed target and disappearing into the void. Kill-ships sometimes fall prey to system defences during an attack, but enough are assigned to overwhelm a protected target that some will inevitably get through, a practice sometimes referred to as Over-Kill. In the event of damage, Kill-ships are fitted with self-destruct protocols that trigger automatically to prevent capture. If the weapons and technology of a Kill-ship were to fall into enemy hands it would be a catastrophic loss with unthinkable consequences.
Some whisper that Kill-ships verge on techno-heresy and that their crews are little more than puppets of the ship's implacable War Spirit. The Deathwatch cares little for such points of dogma and maintains large numbers of Kill-ships at its fortresses. At Watch Fortress Erioch, dozens of Kill-ships are clustered along docking ledges on the underside of the bastion, steel-pinioned harbingers of death awaiting the call to war. Enough planet-shattering weaponry can be found concentrated here to wipe out every world in the Jericho Reach many times over, enough to cause wonder at what manner of target could ever warrant such a fleet being unleashed.
The Corvus Blackstar is a sleek and deadly aircraft, much prized by Watch Fortresses across the galaxy. Like a knife slipping in between the ribs of a colossus, the Blackstar penetrates the outer defences of the alien host to strike directly at its heart. Though small enough to slip through the sensor grids of most xenos strongholds, its weapon systems are highly advanced, allowing the Blackstar to cause devastating impact for a craft of its size.
The war hangars of the Deathwatch are replete with every kind of aircraft the Adeptus Astartes have ever sanctioned. However, such is the Corvus Blackstar's quality that it is used almost exclusively in Kill-team missions that involve air-to-ground engagement. Primarily it fulfils the role of transport, combining the hurtling speed of the Drop Pod with the manoeuvrability of a Stormtalon gunship and the offensive capability of a far larger craft. Propelled by vectored engines mounted on the wing and behind the airframe, the Blackstar is nimble enough to dart through winding canyons, the elegant star-spires of a Craftworld or even the guts of a Tyranid Hive Ship in order to bring a surgical strike to the enemy's heart. Once in position it changes from fighter craft to hover vehicle with a twist of the engines, its front-mounted doors yawning open with a hiss of pistons so that the Deathwatch operatives inside can leap out and charge directly into the fight.
The pilot of each Blackstar is a Veteran Techmarine who has earned the right to field it over long and arduous years of schooling. The pilot uses the same machine each time; so intense is this training that the Techmarine's indomitable will and that of the aircraft's machine spirit become interlinked. This allows the pilot to pull off aerial manoeuvres so spectacular he can leave all but the pilots of the unnaturally skilled Eldar floundering in his wake.
The Corvus Blackstar's first priority is often to secure aerial supremacy. To ensure its Kill-team reaches the fray intact, the Blackstar will plummet through low orbit to fall upon the aircraft or winged bioforms of the enemy like a raptor diving into a flock of prey. Once on the tail of its victims, it will shoot down the enemy craft it judges to be the greatest threat. While many Blackstars mount Twin-linked Assault Cannons, some bear a prow-mounted Lascannon array, able to channel the penetrative power of the Godhammer Pattern guns to destroy heavily armoured targets. Many of these craft carry a Blackstar Rocket Launcher under their wings, equipped with a profusion of missiles. These allow the pilot to choose Dracos air-to-ground warheads that turn swathes of xenos-infested ground into flesh-melting conflagrations, or Corvid Rockets whose spiteful Machine Spirits seek and destroy enemy aircraft so that their master might rule the skies alone.
At a single thought-impulse from the Techmarine these prow and wing-mounted weapons can be calibrated for strafing runs. In such circumstances, auxiliary grenade launchers mounted at the rear enable the craft to rain down a hail of explosive projectiles -- either Infernus Grenades that detonate in clouds of burning promethium, or Frag charges that hurl deadly shrapnel over a wide area. A full squadron of Blackstars can clear a beachhead amongst a Tyranid swarm in a matter of moments before their passengers descend to deliver the killing blow.
The Blackstar has advanced systems to ensure its survival from the inevitable reprisal. Its robust construction can shrug off even a direct hit from enemy flak, and when fitted with an Infernum Halo-launcher it becomes extremely difficult to land a telling blow. Should an enemy missile, drone warhead or similar explosive device close in on the Blackstar, high-calibre Auspicator arrays will detect its aura of hostility, and send a wide spread of decoys, interceptors and flares to thwart the incoming munitions. It appears as if the Blackstar spreads wings of smoke and fire behind it, a sight known to the Chapter's warriors as the Wings of the Sky Angel. Many a primitive culture, saved from the predations of the alien, has seen the Blackstar that brought their deliverance as a mechanical seraph and worshipped it for generations afterwards.
The finest wargear the Imperium can provide lines the reliquaries of each watch fortress. Though many of these artefacts are the work of the Adeptus Mechanicus, not even the Tech-Priests of the machine cult know of their true number. The act of innovation is tantamount to heresy in the rest of the Imperium, but it is not forbidden within the Deathwatch Chapter. With every new war the Chapter reassesses and fine-tunes its mission tactics, and its equipment is subjected to the same rigorous scrutiny.
The weapons these black-clad warriors bear to war are painstakingly engineered, customised and auto-sanctified to be the bane of specific alien foes. Not a single bolt round's potential is wasted; be it filled with bio-acid, volatile promethium or superheated plasma, it will be selected and aimed to do the maximum possible damage to its target upon detonation. Even heavy weaponry and the guns of strike craft can be set to fire different ammunition types or discharge variable energies depending on their target. This is a necessary measure, for Kill-Teams rarely know the exact composition of the enemies they will be facing, and consider versatility a weapon unto itself. With a small arsenal of military assets at his command, a member of the Deathwatch can theoretically wrest victory from any breed of foe.
The suits of Power Armour found amongst the Deathwatch are amongst the finest of their kind. Many are so ancient and well-respected, they bear names of antiquity, such as Iron Sanctum or the Pride of Lord Varicco. Just as with guns, blades and other weapons, it is up to the initiate whether he continues to use the battleplate he is familiar with, or whether he replaces it with a suit tended to by the Deathwatch's own Techmarines. There is no uniformity enforced upon this order save the Chapter colours -- the only real dogma is that the Battle-Brother maximises his own effectiveness in the field. It is not uncommon to find a Kill-Team where every member bears a different suite of weapons to war, even to the extent that some use jump packs or ride rugged bikes into the fray whilst their brethren go on foot.
Though many of the Chapter's tools of battle resemble advanced versions of those used by their fellow Adeptus Astartes, there are far stranger and more exotic relics of battle available to them. The war vaults of the Deathwatch contain everything from oversized Thunder Hammers designed to slay alien giants to stasis bombs that use time itself as a weapon. Some even contain doomsday warheads that can set an entire world aflame -- many are weapons of last resort, but the Deathwatch does not hesitate in their use.
- "My boltgun has seen nearly as many worlds as I have. It has awed primitive warriors, overcome lesser foes by the dozen, and has often been underestimated by my enemies. It has served me well."
- — Battle-Brother Rafe Widowmaker of the Space Wolves
- Armourbane Missile Launcher - The Armourbane Missile Launcher (unique to the Jericho Reach Deathwatch) is a squat, wide-barrelled launcher half as tall as a Space Marine. That is where the similarities to a standard Astartes Missile Launcher end, however, for whereas the anti-aircraft Missile Launcher is built to take down airborne targets, the Armourbane specialises in dealing with heavily-armoured ground units. This launcher is typically loaded with Hunter-Killer Krak Missiles, and is fitted with an array of Augurs and special Cogitators to guide its missiles smoothly to their targets. Armourbane Launchers give a Kill-team extra protection against armoured vehicles and large xenos beasts over and above that of a standard "Soundstrike" Missile Launcher. The special Augur array mounted to the Armourbane combines the benefits of a preysense sight and a red-dot laser sight.
- Balefire Gun - Brutally effective against Orks and other xenos with natural regeneration, this Flamer uses highly refined Promethium fuel mixed with a number of radioactive compounds to both burn and irradiate foes. Only rarely deployed due to the collateral environmental damage it causes, Balefire Guns are used solely by the Deathwatch to cleanse particularly resilient xenos. They are quite effective in controlling and eradicating Ork infestations.
- Barrage Plasma Gun - These rare and venerated weapons are jealously guarded by the Techmarines of the Jericho Reach Deathwatch, and issued only to the most honoured Space Marines seconded to the Long Watch. Barrage Plasma Guns are highly tuned, rapid-fire weapons that can lay down incredible volumes of devastating plasma energy. While their ability to fire in semi-automatic and automatic modes make them both versatile and deadly, they use an immense amount of energy and are more prone to overheating than a typical plasma weapon. Deathwatch Space Marines see this as a small price to pay for the ability to spray volleys of plasma energy into charging bands of xenos.
- Barrage Plasma Pistol - These deadly plasma side arms are unique to the Jericho Reach Deathwatch, and few exist even within their hallowed armouries. Like its larger siblings, a Barrage Plasma Pistol features a higher rate of fire at the cost of an increased risk of overheating and energy consumption.
- Cyclone Missile Launcher - The Cyclone Missile Launcher system is triggered at the blink of a rune to send pairs of missiles streaking into the foe -- frag warheads designed to kill swathes of xenos infantry, or krak warheads that strike simultaneously to tear holes in enemy armour.
- Conflagration Infernus Pistol - These powerful weapons are the pistol-sized siblings of the Conflagration Meltaguns. Like their larger siblings, these weapons trade increased power usage for higher penetration and damage yield. These weapons are a favourite of many Space Marines of the Salamanders Chapter seconded to the Deathwatch.
- Conflagration Meltagun - Crafted in very limited numbers by Enthor Calibos, a Techmarine of the Salamanders Chapter garrisoned aboard Watch Station Erioch, these compact, high-output Meltaguns have gained favour among those Battle-Brothers of the Deathwatch lucky enough to have wielded them. Reflecting the fine workmanship and deep love for cleansing flame of their creator, these powerful weapons have higher penetration and damage output at the expense of energy consumption.
- Deathwatch Bolter - Just as with all Adeptus Astartes, the bolter is a sacred weapon to the Deathwatch. Those borne by the Kill-Teams are the best of their kind, thrice-blessed before every engagement and possessed of fearsome machine spirits attuned to the bearer's war-style. They are commonly fitted with auspicator scopes, lumin suppressors, las-accusors, judgement clips and more adjustments besides.
- Deathwatch Frag Cannon - The Deathwatch Frag Cannon is akin to a man-portable artillery piece, capable of laying down a horde-shattering salvo or a dense solid shell that can blast through adamantium at close range.
- Deathwatch Shotgun - Optimised for the close-quarters warfare typically fought in Space Hulks and xenos-infested asteroids, the Deathwatch shotgun has a hair trigger and a wide radius of effect. The Deathwatch shotgun can fire several distinct types of cartridge, ranging from the explosive cylinders of shot known as crypt-clearer rounds to the fanning flame-bursts of the wyrmsbreath shell.
- Deathwatch Graviton Cannon - Yet another field expedient modification made to an existing weapon by the Techmarines of Watch Fortress Erioch, the Deathwatch Graviton Cannon is a higher output and decidedly more deadly version of the more common Graviton Gun. Where the standard pattern Graviton Gun has but one setting that effects the gravity in a sizeable area, the Deathwatch version can also focus its energies into a continuous tight beam of incredibly dense gravity waves.
- Guardian Bolt Pistol - Awarded to Deathwatch Space Marines of any rank for conspicuous gallantry, courage under fire, or actions above and beyond the call of duty, these finely made Bolt Pistols are as much a sign of status among Deathwatch Space Marines as they are a weapon. Any Space Marine wearing one of these Bolt Pistols on his person is immediately recognised as a veteran combatant who has gone above and beyond to protect mankind from ravening xenos. When issued to a deserving Space Marine, his name and deeds are inscribed on the weapon by a Deathwatch Techmarine during the awarding ceremony. Each weapon is one of a kind, tailored specifically to the receiving Space Marine, and is his to keep when he returns to his home Chapter. Many Guardian Bolt Pistols that have not gone to the grave with their owners have found their way back into the Deathwatch armouries. These "foundling" weapons are never re-issued, instead they are enshrined in the Deathwatch data vaults along with the details of their owner's glorious deeds.
- Hellfire Flamer - A modification of the technology that created Hellfire Bolt Rounds, the Hellfire Flamer was recovered from the Omega Vault shortly after the first reports of Hive Fleet Dagon reached the Watch Fortress. Mixing potent mutagenic acids into the refined Promethium mix, the fire from a Hellfire Flamer eats away at chitin and bone with alarming speed, making it an ideal weapon for facing Tyranids.
- Hesh Pattern Bolter - The Hesh Pattern Bolter first appeared in Deathwatch armouries in the 36th Millennium. It was initially designed by Magos Cymbry Jamis, an adherent of the Omnissiah, and gifted to the Deathwatch in appreciation for services rendered to the Mechanicus and Mars. These Bolters are of exceptional craftsmanship, and more compact than typical weapons of their type. Thanks to their relatively smaller size and ease of use, Hesh Pattern Bolters are well suited to close-quarters combat, such as in buildings or aboard voidships, and are favoured by vehicle crews, Tactical Marines specialising in close combat, and, to a lesser degree, Assault Marines. Along with their fine craftsmanship, these Bolters also have an integral folding stock, motion predictor, and preysense sight.
- Hurricane Bolter - The Hurricane Bolter is not a single gun, but a combination of six bolters machine-linked to fire as one. When it fires, a staccato report cracks out -- a moment later the fusillade of rocket-propelled bolts detonates with a series of ear-splitting explosions.
- Immolation Rifle - Not a flame weapon in the strictest sense, the Immolation Rifle is an ancient, exceedingly rare, and barely understood weapon possessed by Watch Fortress Erioch in limited numbers. It is a brutal anti-personnel weapon that fires a seething, short-range beam of intense heat. When used on lightly armoured or unarmoured targets, the beam sears and blisters exposed flesh. This causes a target intense pain and, with enough damage, these weapons can cook enemies alive. While they are incredibly lethal when used against organic foes, the beams cause no damage to inorganic objects like machinery, bulkheads, and weapons. This makes them extremely useful in boarding actions for use against massed crew, as well as in any situation where collateral damage needs to be minimised.
- Infernus Heavy Bolter - Heavy Bolters fire huge mass-reactive bolt rounds, each more comparable to an explosive shell than a bullet. The Deathwatch mag-clamps rare suspensor discs onto their Infernus Heavy Bolters that reduce the weapon's effective weight considerably. Such weapons are further bolstered by underslung Heavy Flamers that can incinerate those enemies that make it through the hail of explosive bolts.
- Special Issue Ammunition - The Deathwatch uses shot selectors and bolt round harnesses that hold specialist bolt rounds. Dragonfire bolts are hollow shells filled with super-heated gas that explode to saturate foes in cover, while Kraken bolts utilise an adamantine core and improved propellant to penetrate the thickest hide. Hellfire rounds douse their targets in voracious acids, while vengeance rounds employ unstable flux core technology that makes them hazardous to use, but incredibly effective against armoured targets.
- Stalker Pattern Boltgun - Fitted with audio suppressors and a longer barrel that eliminates muzzle flash, the Stalker Pattern Boltgun is ideal for long-range assassinations and picking off the leaders of the alien armies.
- Ultra Pattern Mark IX Sniper Rifle - Just over two metres in length and weighing close to fifty kilograms, the massive Mark IX Ultra Pattern Sniper Rifle is as intimidating as it is effective. The Mark IX is a heavy needle sniper rifle used by the Deathwatch for long-range anti-personnel and anti-materiel work. With its long barrel and powerful scope, the Mark IX allows a Deathwatch sharpshooter to engage targets with incredible accuracy at very long ranges. The Mark IX is a highly-respected and revered weapon, and it is often selected as the weapon of choice for Space Marine snipers in many Deathwatch Kill-teams.
- Astartes Executioner Axe - The armouries of Watch Fortress Erioch contain a set of twelve of these large, heavy-bladed two-handed Power Axes. Each weapon is of master-crafted quality, and each has a long history of valour in the Jericho Reach. Only those who have earned the trust of the Watch Commander are granted the use of one of these axes to slay the enemies of the Emperor.
- Astartes Power Falchion - The Power Falchion is a heavy, brutal Power Weapon found commonly among those Battle-Brothers of the White Scars seconded to the Deathwatch who serve aboard Watch Fortress Erioch. Combining the striking power of a Power Axe with the versatility of a Power Sword, it has a broad blade with a single cutting edge that tapers to the hilt; the tip of the blade is heavy and curves up in a dramatic sweep. This makes the weapon more suited to chopping strikes as opposed to deft manoeuvres, and in the hands of a skilled user can rend armour and remove limbs with ease.
- Astartes Power Spear - This Power Weapon requires two hands to use and is rarely seen amongst the Space Marines of the Deathwatch. Some Battle-Brothers of the Iron Snakes Chapter have donated these proud weapons to the armoury of Watch Fortress Erioch.
- Artificer Omnissian Axe - Among the cog-toothed Power Axes of the Techmarines there also exist rare and ancient examples of Artificer technology. These potent weapons combine all the brutal power of the Astartes Pattern Omnissian Axe with forgotten forgings and flawless craftsmanship.
- Crozius Arcanum - The Crozius Arcanum is a Deathwatch Chaplain's rod of office. It is the symbol of his authority and his weapon of righteous judgement all in one. Each crozius is an ancient relic, passed down from Chaplain to Chaplain and bearing each successive warrior's legend in etched script around its haft.
- Guardian Spear - A long and stout-hafted polearm borne only by the Emperor's most trusted warriors, the guardian spear is two weapons in one. Beneath a powered blade crackling with disruptive energies, the spear has a compact bolter that allows its bearer to kill his xenos enemies at range.
- Heavy Thunder Hammer - The largest man-portable Thunder Hammer is used by the Deathwatch -- a giant crushing tool of destruction so heavy that even a Space Marine cannot use it one-handed. Swathed by a powerful disruption field, the heavy thunder hammer is capable not only of cracking open a Carnifex' exoskeleton, but also of smashing through its midsection to break the creature in twain.
- Power Fist & Auxiliary Meltagun - Though the priesthood of Mars forbids the wider Imperium to innovate or adapt in matters technological, the addition of one weapon to another is seen as a forgivable extension of the Omnissiah's will. So it is that many of the weapons used by the Deathwatch have more than one role -- the crushing might of a power fist twinned with the tank-busting potential of a meltagun being just one such example.
- Xenophase Blade - Rarely seen outside the Deathwatch, the xenophase blade is an ancient and barely understood artefact weapon. Some believe it has its origins amongst long-defeated xenos dynasties, though speaking of its history has long been forbidden on pain of excruciation. Its efficacy is beyond question, for its blade ripples with a molecular realignment field that allows it to cleave through force fields and metaphysical wards as easily as it cuts through physical armour.
Special Issue Wargear
- Auspex - A short-ranged scanning device, the auspex utilises broad wavelength detection modes to pinpoint concealed enemies.
- Clavis - This artefact contains ancient machine spirits that can be projected through the air to disrupt a nearby mechanism.
- Combat Shield - Some warriors wear a combat shield fitted to their vambrace to provide an additional element of protection.
- Deathwatch Teleport Homer - Teleport homers emit a signal that allows orbiting Deathwatch Strike Cruisers to lock onto them with teleportation equipment.
- Digital Weapons - Digital weapons are concealed lasers and miniature flamers that lack range, but can take advantage of an exposed weakness.
- Hellfire Shells - Perfected from their original design to better slay Tyranid monstrosities, these heavy shells incorporate a powerful bio-acid.
- Iron Halo - The Iron Halo is a powerful device granted to high-ranking Space Marine officers. Worn behind the head or incorporated into the armour, the Iron Halo contains an energy field that wards against the most potent xenos weaponry.
- Jump Pack - A Jump Pack enables the wearer to make great bounding leaps, or make a boosted flight over short distances. Jump packs also enable airdrop deployment, the wearer plummeting into battle from low-flying dropships, using controlled bursts to slow their descent.
- Rosarius - A Rosarius is worn by a Chaplain for protection and as a symbol of office. It emits an energy field that can deflect the blows of alien monstrosities. It is believed that the stronger its bearer's belief in the might of the Emperor, the stronger a Rosarius' force field will be.
- Storm Shield - A Storm Shield is a large, solid shield that has an energy field generator built into it. Though the bulk of the shield offers physical protection, it is the energy field which is more impressive, as it is capable of deflecting almost any attack. Even blows that would normally cut through Terminator Armour are turned aside with ease by the protective energies of the storm shield.
- Artificer Armour - The suits of Artificer Armour worn by the officers of the Deathwatch are collectively the most advanced in active use. Though these suits are as compact and self-contained as the more common marks of Power Armour, they have been embellished and improved upon by successive generations of artificers until they provide a level of protection surpassed only by the larger and more restrictive Terminator Armour. Each is a work of art in its own right, treated and ornamented in the Chapter's specialist armourium to fit the wearer like a glove. Upon its panels are the diverse honours and scrollworks of the armour's owner, whilst beneath its layered ceramite are hidden sources of indomitable stamina and strength.
- Deathwatch Scout Armour - Based on the Scout Armour fielded by all Space Marine Chapters, Deathwatch Scout Armour is a lightweight, non-powered suit of armour modified by Watch Fortress Erioch Deathwatch armourers specifically to suit the needs of their unique mission. Similar to the armour worn by sniper Scouts of Chapters like the Raven Guard, Deathwatch Scout Armour is composed of a hardened ceramite chestplate that covers the Space Marine's torso, shoulders and groin area worn over a reinforced body glove. Armoured, elbow-length gauntlets protect the wearer's hands, while heavily reinforced, Ceramite-toed Grox-hide boots keep his feet safe and dry. Since Deathwatch Scout Armour is essentially a half-suit over a form-fitted body glove, and is made of light materials, it does not hinder the wearer's movement and allows him to retain his natural agility and stealthiness while still providing excellent protection. This armour is often worn in conjunction with Cameleoline Cloaks.
- Terminator Armour - Terminator Armour, also known as Tactical Dreadnought Armour, is the toughest personal armour in the Imperium. Massively bulky, it contains not only sophisticated sensors and teleport integrators but a full exoskeleton arrangement of fibre bundles and adamantium rods to support the heavy gauge plasteel and ceramite plates that form the outer carapace.
Deathwatch Vehicles Equipment
- Auspex Array - The Corvus Blackstar bears arrays of sensor equipment that contain Vigilus-class machine spirits. Acting much as the auspexes borne by those Space Marines that hunt the alien across the battlefields of the Imperium, these arrays use wide-spectrum strafe readers to detect the presence of hostile life forms and war engines.
- Blackstar Cluster Launcher - The Corvus Blackstar has two rear-mounted grenade launchers, allowing the pilot to sow a hailstorm of munitions in his wake as he strafes his primary targets. The launcher is capable of firing either crater-chewing frag clusters or a matrix of infernus grenades that leave burning promethium in the Blackstar's wake.
- Blackstar Rocket Launcher - The pugnacious silhouette of the Corvus Blackstar heralds a barrage of missiles, each selected the moment before firing to maximise the destruction it wreaks. Whether air-to-air missiles guided to blast enemy aircraft from the skies or warheads designed to turn a strafing run into a violent visitation of hellfire, these munitions are delivered with pinpoint accuracy and perfect timing.
- Ceramite Plating - These hull plates are thrice-blessed by the Chapter's Techmarines and anointed with the seven sacred unguents of thermic warding to protect against the extreme conditions of orbital re-entry. Such precautions also serve to thwart the fury of certain xenos weapons, absorbing and dispersing even the most extreme temperatures and microwave emissions.
- Deathwind Launcher - Deathwind launchers are fitted to some Drop Pods to provide a level of anti-infantry fire support to their passengers, giving them the precious seconds they need to secure a perimeter.
- Stormstrike Missile - When the Stormstrike Missiles borne by the Corvus Blackstar detonate, they do so with the force of a thunderclap, ripping open their targets and stunning those lucky enough to survive.
- Frag Assault Launchers - The hulls of Land Raider Crusaders and Land Raider Redeemers are studded with explosive charges designed to blast clouds of shrapnel into the enemy as the tank closes in and the troops inside it charge out.
- Infernum Halo-Launcher - When a Corvus Blackstar comes under attack from enemy flak, missiles, or biological equivalents, the pilot will deploy a complex spread of sanctified flares and decoys from its Infernum Halo-Launcher. These fan out around the Blackstar like the white-feathered wings of an angel from Terran myth, baffling and intercepting the incoming xenos munitions.
- Locator Beacon - Locator Beacons are often mounted onto Drop Pods and Corvus Blackstars. They provide a system of signalling packages, broad-spectrum communicators, and geo-positional trackers. When activated, the beacon uploads detailed positional information to the Watch Captain's tactical grid, allowing precision reinforcement from the second wave of the attack.
- Astartes Omni-Tool - Through the millennia the Forge Masters of Watch Fortress Erioch worked to master and perfect the technology of the Deathwatch, often creating devices far superior to those used in the Imperium at large. This is the case with the Omni-Tool, an improved version of the ubiquitous Imperial Combi-Tool. For all intents and purposes, the Omni-Tool functions as a Combi-Tool. The Omni-Tool is also specifically designed to repair bionics and Servitors.
- Adamantine Mantle - These intricately worked cloaks take their name from the most common variation: small adamantine scales worked into a protective yet flexible defensive covering. Similar, personalised designs exist, all using unbreakable materials to form an impressive cloak. Each one is the labour of decades by master Artificers, who temper each individual scale and thread for maximum resilience. Their work is then blessed by Chaplains before finally being laid upon the shoulders of its first bearer. The mantle protects him not just through its physical strength, but also by making his movements more difficult to predict as the opaque cloak whirls about him in combat.
- Augury Malifica - The Augury Malifica was crafted by the techno-seers of the Grey Knights Chapter. A heavily modified Auspex scanner, it is barely recognisable as the original device. Strange attachments have been added, subtle alterations have been made, and seven rituals of detection were performed to consecrate the Augury. The result is a piece of equipment that can, with a reasonable degree of accuracy, detect the malignant auras of daemons in the vicinity, and even, on rare occasions, predict an imminent Warp breach. However, the Augury's presence in the Deathwatch Vaults is not with the blessing of the Grey Knights, for they are entirely unaware that the Deathwatch has it in its possession. Rather, they believe it lost to the foul hands of the Word Bearers Chaos Space Marines, and have been actively seeking its recovery for many standard years. It would be most detrimental to Chapter relations should the item's real location be revealed.
- Banebolts of Eryxia - Arch-Magister Eryxia spent her entire life in search of the perfect bolt shell. She spent decades working with the Deathwatch, perfecting not only the specialist ammunition of the Chapter, but also the bolter clips that dispensed them. Though few in number, some of her finest creations are still extant, housed within ammunition clips cased in platinum. Whatever the nature of the foe, just one of Eryxia's Banebolts, when delivered to the centre mass, can slay its target in a second.
- The Beacon Angelis - The Beacon Angelis was devised to guide the Deathwatch to the threshold of the alien adversary. Housed within a reliquary, the Beacon Angelis calls out to the augur arrays of the Deathwatch with the voices of a hundred electric cherubim. Its summons is so strong it will draw the righteous unto its locale regardless of what darkness may surround it.
- The Corroded Falchion - This ornate, curving blade is a revered relic that has seen countless standard centuries of service with the Deathwatch. However, roughly fifty Terran years ago it was used against the encroaching swarms of Hive Fleet Dagon, and plunged into the toxic flesh of a Venomthrope. After the battle, it was discovered that bio-acid blood of the Tyranid organism was eating into the blade, weakening its structure. All attempts to cleanse the Falchion and halt the corrosion failed, for the acid had penetrated at the molecular level. So the Chapter Artificers constructed a sheath that keeps the blade in stasis as long as it remains inside, undrawn. On rare occasions since, the Falchion has been used in battle and the ingrained bioacid has caused swift and horrific damage to its victims. However, even a few minutes out of the stasis-sheath bring the inevitable collapse of the blade closer to fruition.
- Cruciform of the Crusade - In the early days of the Achilus Crusade there were many bloody battles to establish the Imperium's foothold within the Jericho Reach. In one such battle a squad of Battle-Brothers was dispatched to deal with the emergence of a Chaos Cult during the Argoth Uprisings. In the course of the battle the Battle-Brothers were forced to make a stand in an Imperial Chapel, where they held their ground for several days. At one point in the fighting a Heretic missile knocked the sacred Aquila down from the chapel's spire. Enraged by the affront to the Emperor, one of the Battle-Brothers dropped his weapons and hefted the eight foot stone cross and eagle on his shoulder, charging the Heretic lines, instantly followed by his brothers and ending the battle in less than an hour of bloody carnage. Since then, the Aquila, known as the Cruciform of the Crusade, has been a relic for the Deathwatch of the Jericho Reach. The cross may be carried into battle by a Battle-Brother or by one of their followers.
- Dominus Aegis - This artefact takes the form of an ornate tower shield; when its edge is slammed down hard into the ground, it projects a hemispherical force field that protects all those within its reach from baleful energies. Carried to war by those Kill-Teams expected to plunge into the heart of the xenos hordes, it has saved countless lives, the bearer and his team fighting to victory as the dome-like force field keeps the worst of the alien scum at bay.
- Fist of Dragos - Brother Dragos battled with great success against Orks, Eldar, and even Space Marine Renegades, always seeking out the most heavily-armoured targets to destroy personally with his Combi-Melta and his mighty Power Fist. Battlewagons, grav-tanks and even Dreadnoughts were added to his tally. However, Dragos was never satisfied with the performance of his wargear. After every engagement, he would return to the Chapter forges and beseech the Techmarines to make adjustments and modifications. The Techmarines protested that such tinkering would offend the Machine Spirits, but given Dragos' victories in the field, his wishes were usually granted. His obsession was finally ended when his overcharged Meltagun exploded in his hand as he attacked an Ork Dreadnought. His Power Fist was recovered intact along with his mangled body.
- Firestorm Multi-melta - Created millennia ago by a forgotten Deathwatch Techmarine as a field modification of a damaged Maxima Pattern Multi-melta, Firestorm Multi-meltas trade higher energy consumption and shorter range for higher damage yield and the ability to fire short bursts. Although modifications of this kind are typically frowned upon by the Adeptus Mechanicus, the Deathwatch Techmarines of Watch Fortress Erioch have received special dispensation to perform this operation on limited numbers of existing weapons.
- The Glorious Standard - The Adeptus Astartes have a history of many proud and glorious victories; they stand for the might of the Emperor and His triumph over His foes. The Glorious Standard recounts this legacy in a complex pattern of images and heraldry, from the carnage and fire of the Horus Heresy through the first clashes with the Tyranids to their current exploits, such as supporting the Achilus Crusade. A Battle-Brother that carries the Glorious Standard becomes a rally point for the Astartes, infusing them with the righteousness of the Emperor.
- The Krixian Chainglaive - The Krixian Chainglaive combines the power of a long, curved, two-handed blade with the rending teeth of a chain weapon on its cutting edge. The design was produced secretly during the Keflan IX Techno-schism, by an unsanctioned forge-complex in the Krixis System. The templates were subsequently declared unsound, and removed to Adeptus Mechanicus stasis-vaults. This is thought to be the last actual example surviving.
- The Osseus Key - The ancient clavis known as the Osseus Key is said to be the most powerful of its kind. While the other devices of this kind that still exist within the Imperium are made from sanctified platinum, the Osseus Key is made from the knuckles and phalanges of deceased Imperial Fists heroes that fought in the Horus Heresy. It was scrimshawed with inhuman care and imbued with the mightiest machine spirits of the age. Only those Deathwatch officers who have proved their valour beyond all doubt are entrusted with the Osseus Key, for no portal can bar its bearer from entry, and no xenos machine can stand before his wrath.
- Plasma Gun 438 - The weapon denoted 438 in the Deathwatch armoury vaults is a Plasma Gun of ancient, pre-Heresy design. It has a noticeably different muzzle casing than that of later patterns and exposed cooling ducts. While the gun is undeniably a powerful weapon, its provenance is entirely unknown. As such, many of the Deathwatch refuse to contemplate its use, for fear it has been in the hands of Traitors, tainted with the blood of brethren.
- The Pleician Tome - The Pleician Tome was created by a senior Tech-Priest of the Adeptus Mechanicus, as a portable font of certain archives, templates and pieces of ancient lore. Even to a trained eye, the information is a seemingly random collection, with no easy means of navigation, and so it takes much study to glean anything relevant to a particular task. Indeed, only those with a wide knowledge of Machine Spirits and engine lore have any hope of understanding the information contained within. However, those with patience and the appropriate skills can find secrets of great use within the datacore.
- Deathwatch Relic Blades - A standard Power Sword is no better than a flimsy metal spike in the humbling aura of a Relic Blade. Remembrancer works from the Horus Heresy depict these magnificent Power Weapons in the hands of their heroes, and accounts can be found through the ages of how their wielders turned the tides of key battles. Few enough have survived the millennia, and only a precious handful of those are reserved for the Astartes of the Deathwatch. Relic Blades take various forms, but are always a great weapon of some fashion. They require two hands for even a Space Marine to wield. Most Relic Blades have been in the service of the Imperium longer than the Watch Fortresses that maintain them. Some predate the Horus Heresy, originally wielded by the first and most powerful of the Space Marines, only to be passed to the founders of the Deathwatch at the dawn of the Imperium that exists today. It is seen as fitting tribute to those ancient heroes that these giant powered blades are still used to defend Mankind to this day.
- Redemption of St. Sulech - A Deathwatch Kill-team posted to the isolated colony of St. Sulech was caught up in the fighting when an Ork raiding force attacked. Delaying their extraction and the completion of their mission, the Space Marines chose to join the defence. Brother Frosius, a Devastator from the Imperial Fists Chapter, deployed in the highest tower of the Imperial shrine with his favoured Heavy Bolter, while the others remained below. Thanks to the devastating bursts of accurate fire from the tower, the Orks were defeated, but not without the loss of the rest of the Kill-team. Upon his return to Watch Fortress Erioch, Frosius was severely censured for the decision to stay and fight. To this day, his Heavy Bolter remains a symbol of honour, but also a disregard for orders.
- Remembrance Shield - Roughly four hundred years ago, the Deathwatch was engaged in operations against the Eldar of Craftworld Ulthwé. The xenos had been launching sudden raids in the Slinnar Drift Star Cluster, then disappearing before a military force could be mobilised. However, when a Kill-team secured information about a forthcoming attack, the Chapter was able to lay a trap. The next Eldar raid met not disorganised Guardsmen, but a large force of black-armoured Space Marines. The majority of the raiders were cut down, and the few survivors vanished back into their webway portals. To commemorate this crushing victory, a combat shield was fashioned, incorporating a number of large, deeply coloured jewels, taken as trophies from the fallen xenos. The shield must offend the Ulthwé Eldar greatly, for there have been numerous attacks over the intervening years apparently designed to seize the shield and kill the one who bears it. So far, all have failed.
- The Righteous Fist - A weapon from the first battles against Hive Fleet Dagon, the Righteous Fist is a massive, pitted and scarred Powerfist reputed to have crushed the skull of a Carnifex with a single blow. Repaired by the Techmarines of Watch Fortress Erioch, the Fist excels at taking on large targets, where its oversized grip is perfect for massive necks and limbs.
- Salvation of Correus - Deathwatch Brother Correus was seeking information about a high-ranking Dark Eldar known as Lady Malys, when he was captured, his mission compromised by a false lead. After many weeks of horrific torture in the dungeon of a Master Haemonculus, his tormentor bound Correus onboard a grav-craft, and forced him to watch a hideously devastating surprise attack on a Space Marine force. When another Battle-Brother was dragged, unconscious, onto the craft, Correus broke his bonds and grabbed the new victim's Combat Knife. He plunged the blade deep into the heart of the Haemonculus, before leaping to the ground. He was found several solar hours later by Space Marine Scouts, still clutching the weapon, and eventually returned to Erioch. The Combat Blade meanwhile was tainted with whatever vile concoction passed for blood in the Dark Eldar's veins. The slightest scratch from it now causes nightmarish visions and agonising pain.
- Shard of Bekrin - Among those defending the Shrine World of Bekrin from the invasion of Hive Fleet Dagon was Tarvos, a Blood Angels Battle-Brother in the service of the Deathwatch. During the evacuation of the world's clergy, Tarvos gave his life defeating a Hive Tyrant in a glorious display of heroism. Though his body was not recovered, his broken Power Sword was returned to the armoury of Watch Fortress Erioch. Remarkably, the weapon still hums with power though half its length is gone, and those that look upon its stained blade at once feel the power of the brother who once wielded it. The blade has since become a relic of the Deathwatch in the Jericho Reach and has found use both as an icon of valour and a weapon, especially against the Tyranid swarms.
- Skapulan Bolter - The Deathwatch of the Jericho Reach is strangely silent about the history of Watch Station Skapula, and how this lethal Bolter remains from the abandoned station. Techmarines fortunate enough to examine the advanced weapon frequently debate the number and nature of Machine Spirits necessary to achieve its flawless performance, but the most widely accepted theories place a union of over one hundred Machine Spirits within the casing of tenebrous alloys. In addition to accuracy and power unrivalled in other Bolters of its size, the Skapulan Bolter integrates a Fire Selector, a Targeter, and a melee attachment equivalent to a master-crafted Combat Knife.
- Skull of Brantor - This Servo Skull is unusual in that it is built around the cranium of a Space Marine, three service studs clearly embedded into the brow. Brother Brantor was a highly skilled tracker and marksman, and his current position allows him to continue his service to the Deathwatch. The skull is fitted with a low-noise anti-grav unit and various scopes and tactical sensors. As such, it has proved extremely useful for covert reconnaissance, and is regularly requisitioned for field missions.
- The Tome of Ectoclades - This grimoire, bound in the skin of the alien, holds the most powerful truths the Deathwatch has uncovered about its xenos foes. The bearer can ascertain the vulnerabilities of those he is about to face -- such knowledge has in the past saved not only the book's custodian, but entire worlds.
- The Thief of Secrets - The Power Sword known as the Thief of Secrets is inhabited by a machine spirit that has an unquenchable thirst for knowledge. When it tastes the vital fluids of an enemy, those liquids are absorbed into the blade and codified by the honeycombed array of logicum cells within. The biological secrets of the impaled creature are then analysed by the blade's machine spirit, allowing its wielder to exploit the stolen knowledge from that point on.
- Triflame Vambrace - This gauntlet was forged and first worn by a Techmarine serving in what is now the Orpheus Salient. The Deathwatch has long utilised shot selectors to deal with the unending diversity of aliens' deviant designs. This forearm-mounted flamer embodies the same idea: a variable feed of dihydropromethium to a trifurcated ignition chamber allows versatility in how the rare fuel is expended.
Upon being seconded to the ranks of the Deathwatch by his parent Chapter, a Battle-Brother enacts a ritual in which his Power Armour is repainted black. Not all of the armour is repainted, however, for the right shoulder plate is left in its original colour so that the Astartes' original Chapter may be known. To obscure one's Chapter icon is regarded as an act that would anger the armour's Machine Spirit greatly and invite its ire at a crucial moment in battle. Thus, the origins of any Deathwatch warrior are clearly visible by the heraldry displayed upon his right shoulder. On the warrior's left shoulder he bears with great pride the ornate heraldry of the Deathwatch.
Aside from these details, the armour of a Deathwatch warrior is often decorated with a combination of Purity Seals and holy icons and symbols unique to his parent Chapter. Space Wolves, for example, commonly adorn their armour with all manner of runes and talismans derived from the culture of their homeworld of Fenris, and these can often be seen on the armour of Space Wolves serving in the Deathwatch. Blood Angels Space Marines are known to bear many small teardrop icons, while the Battle-Brothers of the Dark Angels Chapter often carry small winged sword pendants. The longer he serves in the Deathwatch, the more adorned with Purity Seals and devotional scripts an Astartes' armour becomes. Having faced the vilest horrors of the galaxy, the Battle-Brother knows that, ultimately, it is faith that defeats the xenos. While he carries the very finest arms and armour available, spiritual purity is the most deadly weapon the Deathwatch can bring to bear against their foe.
The shoulder plate and the entire left arm is electroplated silver, and polished to a high shine. At the centre of the plate is the icon of the Deathwatch -- the ancient Inquisitorial "I", mounted with a death's head and crossed bones. This icon is set over the Litany Xenomortis, but at times some Battle-Brothers of the Long Vigil are known to engrave various devotional texts, including the Catechism of the Xenos and the Third Abjuration of Terra. Such passages remind the Battle-Brother of his duty at all times, and it is not uncommon for him to chant the lines of such prayers in battle, steeling his heart and those of his comrades against the evil of the xenos.
- Chapter Approved 2003, pg. 74
- Codex Adeptus Astartes - Deathwatch (8th Edition), pp. 3-29, 99
- Codex Adeptus Astartes - Deathwatch (7th Edition), pp. 6, 8-10, 26-31, 44-45, 109
- Deathwatch (Graphic Novel)
- Deathwatch Core Rulebook (RPG)
- Deathwatch: Final Sanction (RPG)
- Deathwatch: First Founding (RPG)
- Deathwatch: Know No Fear (RPG)
- Deathwatch: Litany of War (RPG)
- Deathwatch: Mark of the Xenos (RPG)
- Deathwatch: Oblivion's Edge (RPG)
- Deathwatch: Rites of Battle (RPG), pp. 228-232
- Deathwatch: The Achilus Assault (RPG)
- Deathwatch: The Emperor Protects (RPG)
- Deathwatch: The Emperor's Chosen (RPG)
- Deathwatch: The Jericho Reach (RPG)
- Deathwatch: The Nemesis Incident (RPG)
- Deathwatch: The Outer Reach (RPG)
- Deathwatch: Honour the Chapter (RPG), pp. 138, 140-144
- Deathwatch: Rising Tempest (RPG)
- Imperial Armour Volume Two - Space Marines and Forces of the Inquisition, pg. 193
- Index Astartes II, "Purge the Unclean - The Grey Knights & Deathwatch Chapter" by Graham McNeill, pp. 40-43
- Inquisitor (Specialty Game)
- White Dwarf 306 (UK), "Chapter Approved: Deathwatch Kill-Teams," by Graham McNeill, pg. 30
- White Dwarf 317 (US), "The Fall of Medusa V"
- White Dwarf 287 (US), "Last Stand of the Firebrands"
- White Dwarf 260 (AUS), "Index Astartes - Purge the Unclean"
- White Dwarf 247 (US), "Third War for Armageddon - St. Jowens Space Dock"
- 13th Penal Legion (Novel) by Gav Thorpe
- Heroes of the Space Marines (Anthology), "Headhunted" by Steve Parker and "One Hate" by Aaron Dembski-Bowden
- Ultramarines: The Omnibus (Novel) by Graham McNeill, pp. 382, 454-455, 474, 487-488
- Victories of the Space Marines (Anthology), "Exhumed" by Steve Parker
- Warrior Brood (Novel) by C.S. Goto
- Warrior Coven (Novel) by C.S. Goto
- The Hunt for Vulkan (Novel) by David Annandale, Chs. 3-4, Epilogue
- The Beast Must Die (Novel) by Gav Thorpe, Ch. 3
- Watchers in Death (Novel) by David Annandale, Ch. 3
- The Last Son of Dorn (Novel) by David Guymer, Chs. 17-18
- Shadow of Ullanor (Novel) by Rob Sanders, Ch. 7