Black and Silver
- "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 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.
The origins of the Deathwatch are uncertain in current Imperial records, but can be traced to the arrival of the Imperial Frigate Eisenstein at Terra at the start of the Horus Heresy in the early 31st Millennium when a contingent of Loyalist Space Marines from the Traitor Legions arrived in the Sol System to inform the Emperor of Mankind that the Warmaster Horus had betrayed him at Istvaan III and been corrupted by Chaos. It is implied that Battle-Captain Nathaniel Garro and his Loyalist Death Guard Space Marines, along with Captain Iacton "Half-Heard" Qruze of the Luna Wolves, were amongst the first members of a new Imperial organisation created at the order of the Emperor of Mankind that was the ancestor of the current Imperial Inquisition. While not definitive, it seems likely that the contingent of Loyalist Death Guard Space Marines who had arrived at Terra aboard the Eisenstein formed the initial core of what would later become the Deathwatch, hence providing the name for the new Astartes formation.
The Domains of the Deathwatch
The Deathwatch have stood sentinel in the Jericho Reach long before Achilus launched his Crusade. For millennia, they have watched, waited, and fought amongst the lost stars and abandoned worlds of the Reach. Their domains have stood since a time now long forgotten and lost to the oblivion of dead history. They have seen worlds conquered by the Imperium fall once again to darkness. Their 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 is 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 them in the long watch. These places are held by them and them alone, secret and well-guarded. These domains range from the vast and mysterious Watch Fortress of 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 move 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 Adeptus 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 over-rode all other concerns in the area. To fulfil this compact, the Deathwatch built their hidden Watch Fortress in the dead system of Erioch on the ruins of an artefact ancient before man first walked the soil of Holy Terra. At the fortress’s heart, they constructed the Omega Vault and sealed within it the terrible truths of a future yet to be born.
For millennia, the Deathwatch have ensured that some of their 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 bide 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 is 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 full -- a dire portent, indeed.
The Watch Stations are fortified outposts used by the Deathwatch in the Jericho Reach. There are many Watch Stations scattered across the worlds, moons, and cold void of the Reach, 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 Jericho Reach. 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 Watch Fortress Erioch 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 Watch Stations' valuable data. Thus, the Deathwatch see 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 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 decades without a Battle-Brother crossing their threshold. During the normal course of events, Watch Stations are maintained, operated, and if needs 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.
The following are notable examples of the numerous Watch Station 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 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 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 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 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 left alone and 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 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 Renegade’s 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 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 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 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 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 hanger was created, and ancient equipment was shipped in. Within the course of a 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 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 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 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 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 colonization. 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 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 Tau expansion 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 archaeotech craft that bears no resemblance to any form of starship or void-station within Imperial records. If the Adeptus Mechanicus know of Phaedas’ provenance, they are 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, 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 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 months. What has happened to these missing Fire Warriors and Pathfinders is unknown, but the number of 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 patrols 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 seconds. There have been no Tau in the vicinity of these readings.
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 are not merely intended to cleanse xenos cultures from Imperial space. They are 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 are constantly vigilant for sabotage, or to advise if it is truly safe to use a weapon of xenos origin. The Adeptus Mechanicus are 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.
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:
- 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 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 superhuman 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 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 Marine, 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 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 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 helm and shoulder guards. Their helms 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 it 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 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 serves as the commander 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 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 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.
While the Deathwatch is not directly under the orders of the Ordo Xenos, they have close ties with that mysterious body and it is the Inquisition that identifies many of the targets and missions for them 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.
Masters and Servants
Mordigael is the current Watch Commander of Fortress Erioch and, by extension, the Master of the Vigil. Aiding him in the governing of the Chamber are any recognised Ordo Xenos Inquisitors stationed in the Jericho Reach, one of which will take on the mantle of the Inquisitor of the Chamber so that the Inquisition might have a voice to call for aid from the Deathwatch. Given the nature of the Inquisition and the secretive nature of Inquisitors themselves, this group is always in flux, their numbers expanding and retracting as the members of the group are always changing. Typically, it will never be more than a handful at any one time, and always balanced out by Mordigael and his favoured commanders so that the ratio of Adeptus Astartes to Ordo Xenos remains more or less equal. Depending on the nature of the issues to be dealt with by the Chamber, other advisors my be allowed to give specific council, though this is uncommon.
Because the Deathwatch of the Jericho Reach operate within the same areas of influence as the Ordo Xenos and the forces of the Achilus Crusade, the Chamber and its meetings can be coloured by politics as much as war councils, as would be the case if the Deathwatch operated like one of the more traditional Chapters of the Adeptus Astartes. While the Master of the Vigil and his officers are interested in the concerns of the Deathwatch, they cannot remain completely deaf to the presence of the Inquisition -- usually more specifically the desires of a single Inquisitor operating within the Reach. Equally, though the vast majority of the Achilus Crusade remains ignorant of the Deathwatch, the Lord Militant does not, and has been known, on occasion, to try and request their aid. Often, the personal politics of the Inquisitor will be reflected in the choosing of the Inquisitor of the Chamber and this can become a place where rival Inquisitors make their presence known, all of which contributes to another challenge the Chamber of Vigilance must overcome. Deathwatch veterans add another dimension to these proceedings, having earned the right and respect to speak for themselves even in the presence of the Master of the Vigil. Deathwatch veterans are also wiser in the ways of the Crusade and of the Jericho Reach, often having knowledge of the Inquisitors that might influence the Chamber of the Vigil.
It is the nature of the Inquisition that nothing is as it seems, and the same honours and right that will allow a veteran Kill-team a voice in the Chamber of Vigilance will sometimes mean that Kill-team must deal more closely with individual Inquisitors or even, in rare instances, agents of the Lord Militant. Many Inquisitors, of all the Ordos, do not announce their presence to the Deathwatch when they come to the Jericho Reach, following their own personal missions out of sight and reach of the Crusade forces. These same Inquisitors, however, will call upon aid from the Deathwatch when it suits their purposes and when they need the kind of firepower and skill that only a Kill-team can provide. It is here that the reputation of a veteran Kill-team might precede them and the Inquisitor might even choose to contact the Kill-team directly (especially if the Battle-Brothers and the Inquisitor have had dealings before), asking them for aid without any formal declaration to the Chamber of Vigilance. Though it stands in stark contrast to the way most Chapters of the Adeptus Astartes operate, the individual bravado shown by such Inquisitors often earns the respect of Deathwatch veterans. Experienced Watch Captains also accept that Inquisitors work in this way, and much of their agendas do not reach the formal meetings of the Chamber, especially in the case of time-sensitive missions or missions of opportunity. Ultimately, though it remains the remit of the Deathwatch whether or not to come to the aid of an Inquisitor, however he or she calls for it. However, since the objectives of the Deathwatch and the objectives of many Ordo Xenos Inquisitors within the Jericho Reach are intertwined, it often serves the Chapter well to send a Kill-team, using the knowledge and skills of the Inquisitor to vanquish a common foe.
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 on 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.
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 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 the Chapters, tenure in the Deathwatch can be a time 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 theCodex 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 that 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 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 chain blades, 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 superhuman capability of the Adeptus Astartes.
Web of Loyalties
It is the duty of all Adeptus 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 become 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 together they have survived many harrowing battles.
It is even possible, though rare, that, after long 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 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 though 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 Killteams that can undertake the most hazardous of missions with a chance of success. Equally, Chapter Masters honour those Battle-Brothers which 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 which 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 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 seeing 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, rigourous 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-Brother and how he views his duty to the Imperium and Chapter. These fundamentals beliefs are so strongly ingrained into the Battle-Brother that they can bring him into conflict with other Imperial servants who have a different world view from 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 their genetic make-up, so coming to grips with their 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 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-team. Each Kill-team is led by an Inquisitor, Brother-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 utilize 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
- 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, brief 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.
- 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 a Battle-Brother 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 affects 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.
- 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 Space Marine Chapter who has been seconded to the elite xenos-hunting Deathwatch. 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 day, 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' campaign on Kaurava System during the Kaurava Campaign.
- 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.
- 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's 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.
- 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 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's 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 Codicer Lyandro Karras.
- Toma, Battle-Brother of the 5th Company, Crimson Fists
- Trythios, Battle-Brother of the Blood Ravens
- Unnamed Battle-Brother of the Crimson Fists
- Unnamed Battle-Brother of the Blood Angels
- 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 their 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 vessel, 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 their 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 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 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.
- Astartes Assault Shotgun - While not as iconic or widespread amongst Space Marines as the Astartes Bolter, the Astartes Assault Shotgun is a powerful and versatile weapon used by their Scout Marines. These bulky, clipped shotguns can fire in single shots and in both semi- and fully automatic modes, and can use an array of specialty ammunition ranging from armour-piercing Penetrator rounds to the powerful Manstopper rounds. Assault Shotguns are best used in urban and close quarters combat, as well as in boarding actions aboard voidships.
- 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 Omni-Tool - Through the millennia the Forge Masters of Watch Fortress Erioch work 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.
- 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 Station 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 and 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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's 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 detector, and preysense sight.
- 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 un-armoured 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.
- 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 its 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
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. Around the icon passages from various devotional texts are engraved, 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
- 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)
- 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 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