A Deathwatch Watch Commander, sometimes referred to as a Master of the Vigil, is one of the senior-ranking Astartes officers 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 of the Long Watch 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.
The Watch Commanders of the Deathwatch are amongst the most experienced Space Marine xenos-fighters in the entire galaxy. Prior to their secondment to the Deathwatch, a Watch Commander is likely to have progressed to the rank of Captain, and some have even served as Chapter Masters of their parent Chapter. The role of Watch Commander, like any other position in the Deathwatch is, in theory, only a temporary one. However, most of those Astartes who take up the position do so in the knowledge that they may never return to their Chapter again, such a vital and heavy burden is the rank. As such, the duty is a lonely one, for the Watch Commander sees countless Battle-Brothers serve under him before they return to their Chapter, and he knows that in all likelihood, he will never do so again.
The process by which an individual is elevated to the rank of Watch Commander varies from case to case, but most have first served in the capacity of Watch Captain. The promotion may come about by default, as the previous incumbent is killed in the line of duty and the most senior Watch Captain under his command simply takes over. Sometimes the process is driven by the Watch Captains electing one of their number to take overall command, while on other occasions an Inquisitor of the Ordo Xenos may make the appointment, which must be ratified by the Watch Captains of the Watch Fortress at issue and other Watch Commanders. In a handful of cases, a Watch Commander has actually joined the ranks of the Inquisition, appointing his replacement before he leaves the Watch Fortress. Watch Commanders hold a position of great authority and responsibility, for they have access to records and archives otherwise only available to the senior members of the Inquisition. They have full knowledge of the terrible threats they guard against, knowledge that in most cases is only ever imparted to those whom the highest echelons of the Inquisition hold in great trust. They have the ear of the Inquisition and the Adeptus Astartes both, and on their authority entire sectors may burn. They, and they alone, hold the access codes to the sealed vaults at the heart of each Watch Fortress, and they hold the power of Exterminatus itself in their hands.
- Artificer Power Armour
- Terminator Armour, Optional
- Iron Halo
- Bolter or Bolt Pistol
- Frag Grenades and Krak Grenades
Optional Deathwatch Watch Captain WargearEdit
- Storm Bolter
- Combi-weapon, including Combi-flamer, Combi-melta or Combi-plasma gun
- Close Combat Weapon - Power Sword, Lightning Claw, Plasma Pistol, Storm Shield, Power Fist, Relic Blade or Thunder Hammer
- Melta Bomb
- Digital Weapons
- Auxiliary Grenade Launcher
Notable Deathwatch Watch CommandersEditWatch Commander Mordigael
- Watch Commander Mordigael - Watch Commander Mordigael is a quick and decisive commander of men with a natural charisma bound to a terrifying skill in battle. A Blood Angel by origin, Mordigael is a paragon of the qualities and traditions of his Chapter. His features are sharp and handsome, as if cut from a pale stone statue of an Imperial saint, whilst his eyes burn with almost feverish intensity. He delights in the perfection of all his undertakings, from practice in the martial disciplines to the contemplation on the future implications of all things that bear on his sacred duty. For over five standard centuries Mordigael has served his Emperor and his Chapter; on three occasions, he has taken up the duty of serving in the Deathwatch. One of these past terms of service was in the Jericho Reach itself. Mordigael’s current Vigil has lasted over five decades, and has seen him achieve the honour of being named Master of the Vigil (Watch Commander) a little more than a decade ago. During this time, Mordigael has seen things change within the Jericho Reach; the implications of the opening of the Warp Gate have altered the situation tremendously. The launching of the Achilus Crusade concerns him greatly, as he sees the possibility of a greater disaster being created from a war prosecuted through ignorance and arrogance. He sees the encroaching threat of the Tyranids in much the same light, quite apart from the terrible danger they represent in and of themselves. On more than one occasion, the Master of the Vigil has had to remind Lord Militant Tetrarchus, commander of the Achilus Crusade, that the Deathwatch is not beholden to the needs of his Crusade.
- Deathwatch: Core Rulebook (RPG), pp. 306-307, 335-336