News for April 2010
Chapters of the Deathwatch, Part Three 30
The Third Chapter is Revealed!
Deathwatch | Published 09 April 2010

Greetings, Deathwatch fans!

Working on Deathwatch was not only a dream come true for a 40K fan like myself, it was also a great opportunity to dig deep into the rich background of the grim darkness of the far future and get well-acquainted with the particular beliefs and traditions of the various Chapters that are involved with the Deathwatch.

During the development of Deathwatch, I knew we would need to make each Chapter feel special and distinct. There are many mechanics built into the game that accomplish this goal, and among them was a decision to create Chapter-specific advance tables. I took a selection of advances and made them available to all Space Marines of that Chapter, regardless of any other factors, and in this way presented an opportunity for that Chapter to be more distinct and different from the others. For example, due to their nature, the Dark Angels have access to certain forbidden lore that most other Chapters do not! Furthermore, each Chapter has access to certain specific abilities—including (but not limited to) Talents—reserved for them alone.

One of the key elements of the Deathwatch RPG is the idea of these different chapters working together as a team to accomplish the most dangerous special missions against unspeakable threats.


Among the many Chapters of Space Marines, few are more iconic and famous than the Dark Angels. Plus, the opportunity to present the age-old rivalry between them and the Space Wolves is simply too awesome not to include! The redoubtable Andy Hoare provides us with a glimpse into this secretive Chapter, below:

The Dark Angels

“Repent, for tomorrow you die!”
–Battle cry of the Dark Angels Chapter

The Dark Angels stand first amongst the Space Marine Chapters, as they have done since their very inception. Theirs is a proud Chapter, with traditions and rituals that date back to the earliest days of the Imperium. The origins of the Dark Angels Chapter are shrouded in mystery, however. Few records of its beginnings exist, nor are there many mentions of the part it played in the Emperor’s Great Crusade. Most references in the histories of the Imperium to its deeds during the accursed times of the Horus Heresy have been expunged. But yet, a legend persists that at one point the Dark Angels teetered on the very brink of heresy and that an act of the most terrible betrayal discredited all of the Chapter’s feats of valour, leaving an enduring stain upon the Chapter’s honour. Such is their shame that from that time onwards, the Dark Angels have borne the mark of the Unforgiven and must strive for absolution from the sins of millennia past.

Their terrible secret is that during the Horus Heresy, some of their brethren turned to the side of Chaos. The renegades were defeated in a battle that destroyed the Dark Angels’ home world, Caliban, but many of the traitor Dark Angels survived to be cast through space and time by the intervention of the Chaos Gods. These survivors are known to those few Dark Angels granted knowledge of their existence as The Fallen. In the eyes of the Chapter’s leaders, there is only one way that the Chapter can ever atone for its shame, restoring its honour and trust in the eyes of the Emperor: that is, if all of the Fallen are found and either made to repent, or slain.

The Chapter has been shaped by its dark past and is secretive and monastic in nature, with much time given over to worship and prayer. There are many different levels within the Chapter which individuals may gradually rise through. On attaining each new level, they are granted a little more knowledge of the truth behind the Dark Angels’ origins, but only the highest-ranking members of the Chapter know the terrible, shameful secret of what occurred ten thousand years ago.

Although only the upper echelons of the Chapter are aware of the awful truth of the Dark Angels’ past, even those newly recruited are possessed of a secretive, even introverted nature. The idea that outsiders are not to be trusted is drilled into the recruits from an early stage, and they are tested continuously to ensure their compliance until it becomes second nature. After all, a brother who cannot be entirely trusted to keep the Chapter’s secrets is unlikely to advance through its ranks.


Although the Dark Angels have fought beside all of the branches of the Imperium’s vast military machine, they prefer to stand alone. Many, even brother Astartes, find the Dark Angels aloof and uncommunicative. The Dark Angels, for their part are impatient and unforgiving with strangers who pry into their affairs. In truth, those Dark Angels who are aware of the existence of the Fallen are ever watchful for any sign of their activity, and will abandon whatever mission they are about should they gain any clue that one is nearby. In theory, even a Dark Angel seconded to the Deathwatch could go “off mission” in this manner, although the annals of Watch Fortress Erioch do not relate any such incident taking place.

Despite their Chapter’s tendency towards seclusion, many Dark Angels have served with distinction and honour in the Deathwatch. Their taciturn nature and stubborn refusal to accept anything other than total victory over their foes has served the Deathwatch well, and several noted Watch Commanders are drawn from the Chapter. These keep in close contact with one another, coordinating the efforts of the Deathwatch across entire sectors of the Imperium.

Forward, Battle-Brothers!

Join me next week as we reveal the fourth Chapter for the Deathwatch and discuss more about the mechanics of this action-packed roleplaying game!

Deathwatch is a roleplaying game in which players take on the roles of the bio-engineered super-soldiers known as Space Marines. United with their battle-brothers, players will complete extraordinary missions involving some of the greatest heroes and deadliest opponents the Warhammer 40,000 universe has to offer.

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Comments (30)

Published: 4/10/2010 6:06:24 PM

Big surprise. Do Imperial Fists/Black Templars and Blood Angels, so we can get to the (possibly) surprise 6th chapter.

Published: 4/10/2010 5:15:09 PM

"if all of the Fallen are found and either made to repent, or slain."

That's not true. Even a Fallen who repents will be slain. No heretic is allowed to live in the Imperium (the Dark Angels methods are no exception), and there even is an official short story where a Fallen Angel repents (ok, they later find out he lied) and is subsequently slain.

Published: 4/10/2010 10:17:06 AM

Dark Angels... meh.  Can't say I've become particularly interested.

Published: 4/10/2010 10:03:13 AM

This is excellent news! This book cannot come out soon enough!

Published: 4/10/2010 3:23:00 AM

I'm glad that Dark Angels are present in DW. In RPG terms, their monastic feel, their secrecy and mysterious nature would  provide plenty roleplaying options. And the rest of the team can never be sure if they don't have their own agenda on the particular mission. Nice.

I still hope for Blak Templars. They're just great and it would be a shame not to see such zealous crusaders here.

Published: 4/10/2010 12:07:02 AM

Am I the only one hoping to see the Salamanders?

Published: 4/10/2010 12:00:40 AM

well, as a DH and RT player who has NO background with wh40k, save that which comes in those rule books, I welcome these diaries, for it allows me to learn what to expect in this new game.  Really looking forward to it, and please disregard these detractors who feel it necessary to tear down rather than enjoy what we are being given.





Published: 4/9/2010 10:39:53 PM

Nice to see the Dark Angels make it in...I'm personally hoping that the Imperial Fists and Salamanders make it in, as I'm sure the Blood Angels are pretty much a shoe-in.

Published: 4/9/2010 5:36:01 PM

 Yup Blood Angels and probably Imperial fists to come I would say. As for the final chapter? Probably not Ironhands which is a shame as they are my personal favortes so if we are looking at haveing a chapter that has supiriour tech use involved then I surpose that salamanders make logical sense even if they are second. 

Published: 4/9/2010 5:24:15 PM

Lyinar: You are correct. The the artwork is of a Space Wolves Marine in the Deathwatch.

Published: 4/9/2010 5:12:16 PM

The thing that is important to remember about Deathwatch is that this is the Ordo Xenos.  The Space Wolves hate (or at least resent in the latest codex) the Administratum and Ordo Hereticus/Malleus because of what was done in the first War For Armageddon but have served in the Deathwatch in the fluff.  (See the old White Dwarf with the battle Report of Old Stompy Chair and the Witch Hunters vs the Space Wolves).

The Dark Angels as a chapter is interesting but not out there as their old codex has a rule that their 'Hunt The Fallen' rule was surpressed when an Inquisitor was present.  And with added fluff for DW that they will Hunt the Fallen can have some interesting and/or annoying game effects ("No I'm sure that guy over there is the Xeno, the one in the old black armor").

While giving long time GW players this info may be fish in the bucket, it's also meant as a jumping on point for new people. It also shows that the divergent chapters like Space Wolves and (likely) Blood Angels will be covered and likely with rules that cover their chapters particular issues.

I hoping for Dreadnoughts, BTW

Published: 4/9/2010 5:00:20 PM

jpspore: Actually, Space Wolves have a long history of being in Deathwatch Kill Teams, as do Dark Angels.  I recall both of them being represented in miniature form and illustrations in the pictures that went with the Deathwatch Kill Team rules back in Chapter Approved, and they have both made appearances in books.

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