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: 4/9/2010 3:11:27 PM

Hopefully the Black Templar get a spot in the chapter section, they are after all the Complete Crusading Chapter.

Published: 4/9/2010 3:00:37 PM

Either that or its the Iron Hands Millandson...

Published: 4/9/2010 1:15:59 PM

The Wolves are seen as religious heretics and have been attacked by the inquisiton for it; the DA have disappeared their own people for getting to close to the Inquisition.  Now, I appreciate that the FFG team wants players to have their favorite chapters available, but, seriously, just pimping the chapters who have their own codexes - no matter the improbability of them serving with the Inquisition - is kinda lame.  None of this is convincing me that the game will be anything more than bolter porn - where roleplaying and story is tossed out so that slavering fanboys who just want all their fantasies fulfilled, and who make us all look bad in the process, will buy the books.

Published: 4/9/2010 12:47:39 PM


How about a special 3 last chapter preview???

Me want!!!


Published: 4/9/2010 12:46:16 PM

Is there any chance that any of these diary entries will tell us anything about the game that a fan of 40k doesn't already know?  I mean, I understand the desire to not spoil the actual rulebook coming out, but it seems like a waste of time for both the designers at FFG and the fans to write and read a description of chapter that could have basically been taken out of a 2nd or 3rd ed. codex.  Don't get me wrong, DH and RT are great games and I'm sure Deathwatch will be as well, and I understand the need to lay a foundation for gamers new to the setting, but it seems a little insulting to describe one of the most documented chapters in 40k and try to pass it off as some wonderful slice of news.  It isn't, and it's become predictable enought that I wonder if I should just read up on the Blood Angels and Black Templars and save myself the trouble of checking the next two designer diaries. 

Published: 4/9/2010 12:28:32 PM

Nice, I'll expect the Blood Angels next Diary then! :P

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