Szobczak is an ancient and cantankerous Deathwatch Dreadnought formerly of the Imperial Fists Space Marine 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.
Brother Szobczak is a wily and ancient Dreadnought who currently serves at Watch Fortress Erioch with the Deathwatch of the Jericho Reach. His origins are murky at best, for though the venerable Brother Szobczak is known to be superb at the art of sweeping aside enemy walls or fortifications, there is no information on how he came to be in the Jericho Reach. While Szobczak can remember his early days with the Imperial Fists and his first Vigils with the Deathwatch well enough, he remembers little to nothing about his time as a Dreadnought. He can offer no insight as to how he ended up in the Jericho Reach or how he came to be entombed in the Omega Vault. Records at Watch Fortress Erioch mention no Imperial Fists matching his name or description, and he is not entered into the list of Battle-Brothers slumbering in the Watch Fortress’s Chamber of Elders where the few Dreadnoughts officially attached to the Deathwatch are kept.
What is known is that Brother Szobczak was born a technomat by both training and inclination, hailing from a long-lost Imperial Forge World in the Gothic Sector that was consumed by a Chaos invasion. He survived his trials and was inducted into the Imperial Fists' 10th Company Scout Marines in the late 34th Millennium where he served with distinction. As a Scout, he exhibited an ability to size up the strengths and weaknesses of enemy positions and fortifications quickly and accurately with the merest glance, and displayed a real genius for dealing as much damage as possible to fortifications with as few friendly losses as possible. He rose through the Imperial Fists' companies, and was sent to Mars for training as a Techmarine. As a Techmarine, Brother Szobczak was attached to the Imperial Fists’ 5th Company, where he distinguished himself as both a gifted siege engineer and Tech-priest. Few fortifications could stand against his critical glare and the pinpoint precision of his use of force, and he gained a reputation among his Battle-Brothers for his miraculous ability to keep wargear functioning in the field with only the most basic tools and little in the way of materials or spare parts.
For nearly two centuries he served with the 5th Company, smashing the fortifications of thousands of Renegade and xenos worlds. In the early 35th Millennium, Brother Szobczak was seconded to the Deathwatch and took his Oath of Vigil at a long-lost Watch Station in the galactic east of Ultima Segmentum. During his first Vigil, he led a small, highly trained Kill-team composed of Scouts and Techmarines renowned among the Battle-Brothers of the Watch Station for their skills at infiltration and fortress breaking. At the end of his Vigil, Brother Szobczak petitioned to be allowed another, as he felt that his work was far from complete in that part of the galaxy. He was granted his request and served three more Vigils, acting as an infiltrator and sapper, until he was grievously wounded in a campaign supporting the Imperial Guard against an Ork WAAAGH! His experience, vast knowledge of siege tactics, and his unique insights into the tactics of xenos were deemed so important to the Deathwatch that he was honoured by being placed in a Dreadnought so that he could continue to serve.
Brother Szobczak is an Ironclad Dreadnought, a rare and wondrous chasis of Dreadnought optimised for both brutal, close-in fighting and siege work. They are armed with close range weaponry and exceedingly heavy armour:
- Seismic Hammer (Left Arm)
- Auxiliary Astartes Meltagun (Left Arm)
- Dreadnought Close Combat Weapon (Right Arm)
- Auxiliary Astartes Flamer (Right Arm)
- Reinforced Hull
- Siege Auspex - Brother Szobczak is equipped with a rare piece of wargear known as a Siege Auspex. These powerful scanners can see through the densest materials to find their weak points. They are used for finding stress fractures, reinforced or uparmoured areas, hidden passages, power conduits, and numerous other items of interest to a siege engineer. The Machine Spirits of a Siege Auspex, while canny, can only see so far through solid objects and have a fixed range of about 20 metres. Things like energy fields, thick bulkheads, iron, stone, Armourplas, and Plasteel can reduce the range of the unit or blind it all together.
- Deathwatch: Rising Tempest (RPG), pp. 79, 132