"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 their undying Necron masters. 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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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 was slain defending the world of Tarsis Ultra from the Tyranids.
- Cyneworld, 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 MasterLufgt 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 was a former member of the Deathwatch who replaced the captain leading the Ultramarines' 4th Company when he was killed during the defense of Tarsis Ultra from the Tyranids. Uriel 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. 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 Kronus during the Dark Crusade.
- 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
- Damias, Apothecary of the Raven Guard
- 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
- 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.
- Jagatun, Battle-Brother of the White Scars
- Tyrian Kulac, Battle-Brother of the Space Wolves
- Pelentar, Battle-Brother of the White Consuls
- 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."
- 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 Jericho Watch (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, p. 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