News for April 2010
Chapters of the Deathwatch, Part 6 73
An All-New Chapter is Revealed!
Deathwatch | Published 30 April 2010

by Ross Watson

Greetings, Deathwatch fans!

I know that I’ve spent a lot of time over the last several weeks talking about Space Marine is difficult to overstate just how significant a Space Marine’s Chapter is to a Battle-Brother, particularly in the Deathwatch. One of the core elements of the Deathwatch is that it is the one unique place where you will find numerous Space Marines from completely different Chapters serving together in the same squad. A great deal of the Deathwatch RPG was built upon the foundation of that one simple idea. The designer diaries up to this point have pointed out many of the differences between the Space Marine Chapters in the book, illustrating what makes each one unique.

One of the best things about getting the chance to build a game about the Deathwatch was a special, once-in-a-lifetime opportunity that speaks to the heart of almost every Warhammer 40,000 fan; the opportunity to create a completely new Space Marine Chapter. I have been a huge fan of all things 40K for over thirteen years, so there was absolutely no way I would ever pass up an offer like that!

I worked very closley with Games Workshop licensing manager Owen Rees to help develop this brand-new Space Marine Chapter, taking it through the approval process one step at a time...from the Chapter’s history to its combat doctrine and battle cry all the way through to its heraldry and colour scheme. As a tip of the hat to original Dark Heresy creators Owen Barnes, Kate Flack, and Mike Mason, I chose to place the new Chapter’s home base upon a world in the Calixis Sector, a forbidden planet known as Sacris. In addition to this, there were a number of Deathwatch RPG-specific details that needed to be designed as well...and many of these details will be revealed in the next few weeks. Designing this Chapter from the ground-up was a very eye-opening experience, and I learned a great deal about what it takes to have our brand-new Space Marine Chapter—the Storm Wardens—join that august group alongside such renowned Chapters as the Dark Angels, Revilers, and Sable Swords.

I gained a lot of inspiration from Space Marine-centric communities like the Bolter & Chainsword forums (particularly from the fan-made Chapter known as the “Warriors Eternal”), and from Black Library novels such as Sons of Dorn, Brothers of the Snake, and the Horus Heresy series.

During the creation of the Storm Wardens, I took a lot of notes about what I learned along way—because I knew that I could apply these lessons towards making a thorough create-your-own-Chapter system for an upcoming Deathwatch supplement. I know there are a lot of Warhammer 40,000 fans out there eager to see this, so it was very important to give it all the space and attention that it deserves! In a similar vein, many of these philosophies could be applied towards creating a successor Chapter to one of the First Founding Chapters such as the Blood Angels and Ultramarines.

Keep an eye on the FFG website for more information about this and more future Deathwatch products in the coming months! Without any further ado, I am deeply honoured to be able to present for the first time, the Storm Wardens Chapter of the Adeptus Astartes:

 The Storm Wardens

“We are the storm! We are the fury!”
–Lorgath Maclir at the Purging of Vigil

The Storm Wardens are stoic defenders often found upon the very borders of the Imperium. Up until recently, these Space Marines focused their attention upon the great warp storms that trouble the Halo Stars region on the galaxy’s western edge. There, they protect frontier worlds from the predations of xenos threats, Chaos renegades, and heretical recidivists. They are often unknown and unsung heroes to those planets they defend, for the Storm Wardens are highly insular, and there are only a relative handful of monuments and records that celebrate their long list of battle honours. A bizarre twist of fate occurred in the depths of the 36th Millennium, during the Age of Apostasy—an event that many hold responsible for the Chapter’s aloof nature.

The Storm Wardens lost many of the records of their founding during what later became known as the Nemesis Incident in roughly 945.M36. This event began during an ill-omened joint operation involving elements of the Inquisition against the Enslaver infestation of the Steropes Cluster. It is unknown exactly what transpired amongst Steropes’ cyclopean ruins, but the aftermath of this campaign forever altered the destiny of the Storm Wardens Chapter.

Upon the conclusion of the Nemesis Incident, the serving Storm Warden’s Chapter Master, Owin Glendwyr, consulted with an Inquisitor Lord of the Ordo Xenos upon a most dire decision. The Chapter Master sealed many sections of the Storm Wardens’ fortress-monastery by the authority of the Lords of Terra. All traces of their history and even the proud legacy of their heritage to one of the primarchs were destroyed or hidden away. The Storm Warden’s home world of Sacris was forbidden to have greater contact with the Imperium at large.

The only sanctioned record of that time, the Liber Tempest, claims that many Storm Wardens were placed in hidden stasis vaults, including the Chapter Master and the entire veteran First Company. The Chapter’s Dreadnoughts are the guardians of these hidden chambers, and each has taken a vow of silence, standing as mute sentinels over these forbidden places.

After the Nemesis Incident, the Chapter re-built its First Company. These honoured Battle-Brothers know themselves as the “The Inheritors”, custodians of the Chapter’s honour until the day their ancestors rise from their timeless slumber.

Ever since this time, the Storm Wardens have redoubled their diligence, and their fortress-monastery mounts sophisticated scanning technology placed reluctantly by the Adeptus Mechanicus as payment for an ancient pact. Currently, the Chapter is led by Lorgath Maclir, a cunning strategist who constantly challenges his captains with tactical exercises and obsessively studies the Tactica Imperialis. Some rumours claim that Lorgath has managed to memorise these precepts of war, an impressive feat even for a Space Marine’s enhanced memory.

The Cleansing of Vigil

A singularly savage conflict was fought entirely underground in the tunnels beneath the dead world of Vigil. In those lightless passages, the Storm Wardens battled metre by bloody metre in a series of close-range firefights against the foul Slaugth and their warrior constructs. The cleansing of Vigil proved to be a crucial test of the Chapter’s resolve, as the tight quarters of the tunnels precluded the use of heavy armour and the alien forces seemed particularly adept at provoking the Storm Wardens into abandoning a cautious, methodical approach. The planet was cleansed at last, but at the cost of many veteran Battle-Brothers. The survivors, however, had learned to pay closer heed to the wisdom of the Codex Astartes, and Chapter Master Maclir promoted many of these veterans to his honour guard.

While fierce upon the field of battle, Storm Wardens are no less committed to the tenets of personal honour and obligation. Generally considered clannish and aloof even by other Space Marines, Storm Wardens prefer to remain distant from the Imperium at large. A Storm Warden is slow to make friends, but esteems and protects those who persevere to become companions.

Amongst the Storm Wardens, one’s word is his bond, and honour is paramount. The night before battle is often spent in meticulous planning of tactics and strategy, sharing quiet camaraderie amongst their fellow warriors. Many of the most senior Battle-Brothers engage in ritualised duals, the victors gaining a coveted place in the vanguard.

Most Storm Wardens enjoy debate and crafting points to support their arguments, although some outsiders see these tendencies as quarrelsome or insubordinate. However, once a course of action has been agreed upon, a Storm Warden will set aside any dispute and carry it out. Perhaps because of their fondness for debate or their own turbulent history, Storm Wardens have an interest in mysteries and engimas. This curiosity has led more than a few Battle-Brothers to volunteer for the Deathwatch.

When battle begins, Storm Wardens fight with keen fervour, often seeking out an enemy champion or commander to test his skills against.

Forward, Battle-Brothers!

Come back next week to see another Deathwatch Designer Diary as we start to dig into more details about how the Deathwatch RPG works, its innovations, and how it connects with the other Warhammer 40,000 RPG lines, Dark Heresy and Rogue Trader.

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 (73)

Published: 5/4/2010 1:35:47 PM

Wow, this actually looks like a WH40k message board now. Good job, guys.

Published: 5/3/2010 4:49:38 PM

But for anything based in the 40k universe?  There's nothing that will help except other 40k material.  No other sci-fi setting has (had) such a dark and gothic feel as 40k, as well as the almost medieval mentality of the Imperium.

Other than Mutant Chronicles?  What about SLA Industries?  Fading Suns?  I'm sure that others could add to that list.  

Despite that, I still love the setting. :D

Shock horror! Everyone's on the way to being happy.

On the other hand, give it a few weeks and a fan will have created some Chapter creation rules for their own game and it will be posted on one of the hobbyist community forums/sites. 

Space Marines are the knights of the future...

That is a statement that, if posted on the various fan forums, you might be surprised how many people don't agree with you. 

I mean, compare the crazy, dark atmosphere and depth of Dark Heresy and Rogue Trader with, like, ANYTHING else made by another developer.

Okay.  What am I meant to be seeing?

Nova Nagilum
Published: 5/3/2010 7:37:49 AM

a) have chosen Chapters that will pretty much always be at each other's throats

I don't know if this is true or not, but if it is, it may be something that is done on purpose, to add more drama to the mix of the story. Whether it is or isn't, every Marine is going to be [at least a little] different anyway.

Nova Nagilum
Published: 5/3/2010 7:33:31 AM

This is excellent! I love everything about this - the originality, the mysterious background, and the tie-in to the Calixis Sector and to the other Warhammer 40k game(s?!). And I love their emblem and colors of their armor too!  :)

I don't really know what all the nitpicking is about. Ultimately, it's your/our world and we - the GMs and players - can and will do whatever we want with it. FFG are giving us a space marines RPG where we get power armor and bolter guns! Given their reputation for developing thematic, interesting, detailed books for Warhammer and Warhammer 40k, I have no doubt that this too, will be epic. I mean, compare the crazy, dark atmosphere and depth of Dark Heresy and Rogue Trader with, like, ANYTHING else made by another developer.

Have some faith [in the GOD EMPEROR! :O]

Published: 5/3/2010 6:44:04 AM

Guys guys guys, (and girls).

Arguments as to how the game will play are irrelevant as no one has a clue yet, except FFG.

The fact that some new players may not have a deep knowledge of the 40k universe is nothing new. It just means the GM will have to work so much harder to paint the picture he needs the players to see. This has always been a problem with 40k material, as it’s so particular in its detail and unique as a sci-fi setting. (Although the lines are becoming more and more blurred).

For instance, nearly anyone could join a game of D&D (any edition) provided they’ve seen any film ranging from Ladyhawk to Lord of the Rings. This will give them a good start on a fantasy setting.
But for anything based in the 40k universe? There’s nothing that will help except other 40k material. No other sci-fi setting has (had) such a dark and gothic feel as 40k, as well as the almost medieval mentality of the Imperium.

I believe a minimal amount of fluff should be included in the corebook, most of that generic, with specific detail only on the history and purpose of the Space marines and the Deathwatch.
To tie up pages on the individual chapters and their traditions is a waste. You may have a group of players who don’t give a fig about the chapters included in the corebook.
In my opinion, all the corebook needs is a heavily detailed chapter creation system along with the standard “example” chapter.( or maybe 2 or 3 example chapters)

Want to have a chapter which thinks just as much as it fights? Crack on.
Want a chapter that specializes in Knee-cap launchers? Be my guest.

Shock horror! Everyone’s on the way to being happy.

As for problems on how to run a Deathwatch game, that’s just plain easy. Space marines are knights of the future, they have an honour system which they do not break lightly (if at all!).
This doesn’t mean they walk around all day with their chest puffed out bumping in to other people hoping to start a fight. They would pay respect to any marine no matter what his chapter, because to not do so would reflect badly on his own chapter . Ian Watson’s novel “Space Marine” (available from Black Library, print on demand) gives an excellent example of the thoughts and traditions of a marine chapter.Just because they fight a certain way in battle, doesn’t mean they act the same way when they eat their dinner!

Besides, if your group spend more time arguing than cracking on with the mission, just put them on a reconnaissance mission into a Tyranid Hive ship. There’s nothing like impending doom to make a team work together!

Adam France
Published: 5/3/2010 1:56:03 AM

Well what I'm saying is that I see these kids for the five or six hours of gaming every other week. and when we play they Do get to use all of my books. But at the end of the day they go back home with me. So if they wanted more time to read them they are outta luck. I have lost several books to "My dog ate it" in the past to loan them out. Also as a GM I use them between game sessions to wright up story line. If this makes you confused, I'm sorry.

I guess you just have to know the kids we game with to understand    

Okay, so at the end of the day they'd surely still face the problem of not being able to read the stuff whether it was in a codex or in the corebook then?

Your point when originally made seemed to be it's good repeat info is going in the corebook as your players have absolutely no internet access (!) and are unable to afford to buy the codexes. Now added to that, they cannot borrow your codexes. However if you don't feel able to lend them the codexes, why would you feel safe lending them your corebook (especially as you'll need it yourself to create next weeks adventure) - sorry but I still don't see this as a credible or even a logical argument for putting the repeat info in the corebook.













































Published: 5/2/2010 10:47:01 PM

Here is something intersting I think.


What would happen if say some rogue group got themselves a geneseed from The Black Legion, lied about where it came from, and made a new chapter of GOOD Space Marines? That would be interesting. At least I think so.

sgt rock
Published: 5/2/2010 8:48:54 PM

Well what I'm saying is that I see these kids for the five or six hours of gaming every other week. and when we play they Do get to use all of my books. But at the end of the day they go back home with me. So if they wanted more time to read them they are outta luck. I have lost several books to "My dog ate it" in the past to loan them out. Also as a GM I use them between game sessions to wright up story line. If this makes you confused, I'm sorry.

I guess you just have to know the kids we game with to understand.


Adam France
Published: 5/2/2010 6:20:30 PM

When I said the "Kids"can't afford the codex,I didn't say that I couldn't. At the same time I can afford the CRB! My point is that some younger players who do not have access to them would like to have some background info.Here is another "For instance" There is a game out there called "THE NAM". If a youngster who wanted to play a game about Vietman in 1965-1975, but has no idea of how things and events played out.The game would be no fun.And yes they could check out some books or vids on the subject. but its nice to have a small amount of history in the CRB. As for that being "Shakey" Well I guesss its all in how you look at it. I don't post on the msg brds to Flame or be flamed. I'm just trying to point out some reasons that may or maynot be their thinking.

I don't understand what you're trying to say. If your players cannot afford the books and use yours, then what's to stop them reading your copy of the Black Templars Codex (for example)? Rather than reading the same info from your copy of the DW corebook.


Published: 5/2/2010 6:03:53 PM

 I think to say that the chapters are "always at each others throats" paints them to broadly.  Space Marines are still people.  Augmented and with a highly specialized set of experiences... but people none the less.  Every marine is different, they aren't a wall of same.

In all the novels marines have differences of opinions and interpret the code they live by very differently.  It's like the people who claim that the Black Templar would NEVER work with the Inquisition even though GW has patently said that they would... by putting a Black Templar Deathwatch marine in the universe.  Marines won't just kill each other if you put 5 in a room.  Yes they will have conflicts, but this is the essence or roleplaying.

I imagine the game being about 5 men from different back grounds coming together under exceptional circumstances to do great things.  Deathwatch Marines aren't scouts... these are marines of distinction.  They are sent to the Deathwatch because they have the right temperament.  Then again I'm a Deathwatch fan.  Love the comics and such.

Published: 5/2/2010 5:05:49 PM

Scaedugenga, my issue isn't that they didn't include my favorite Chapter.  My issues are that they a) have chosen Chapters that will pretty much always be at each other's throats b)have chosen Chapters that are pretty redundant in terms of specialties (I count three Chapters that are known for heavily leaning towards CC for instance) c) are not including any kind of framework for creating Chapters quickly d) are only including a ridiculously small number of core Chapters.  

As far as the whole Ultramarines cover all Codex Chapters thing, it's just not true.  The Codex Astartes is standardized way of organizing a Chapter, it isn't a document that determines a Chapter's culture or personality.  To me that's kind of like saying all businesses are alike because they all (most) use Quickbooks.  It's really a complete misunderstanding of what Space Marine Chapters are actually like.  Technically both Dark Angels and Blood Angels follow the Codex Astartes, yet no one would try and say that a person should just use Ultramarines as a proxy for them.   

Published: 5/2/2010 4:21:17 PM

...I just feel that Deathwatch would be better served with a creation system that focuses on the Chapters...

Is it not a case that, given the conceit of the setup of the Deathwatch as presented, that the Chapter is the character?  This seems to be the intent of the Chapters selectedthe idea that the different stances/perspectives will engender roleplay?

...Ultimately, I'm prone to agreeing with the moderates here - The ones saying "Let's see what's goign to come next."  "Let's get some system information."

It is, after all, about the only way that we can judge what is going on.  Even the playtesters have been somewhat silent on Deathwatch, which strikes me as a tad on the unusual side.

...I'd even suggest a trip to the local library to print off a few suggested pages off the 40k wiki pertaining to the setting...

This, I think, speaks to the discrepancies between 20th-century and 21st-century publishing.  It is something that the gaming industry is going to have to deal with down the line.  Or any publishing industry now that I think about it.

...then I encourage the guy who owns the book to make copies of fluff pages from the main book...

It's not legal, but I think this is an example of where practicality meets legality. :D

...As for the Chapter Creation rules, I'll be adapting to my personal Chapter - at the moment, a sort of nebulous blend of Dark Angels and Black Templars (fluff-wise) who hail from Sentinel...


...Bad Kage! Bad!...

I have been told as much before. ;)

...Kudos, by the way, on reverse-engineering to your own system...

It's not hard.  The system that I use pretty much assumes that you're going to be doing that so... :D

For me the important thing is to come away with unique ways of dealing with the 40k universe.  In this case that would be Space Marines.  Thus, ways of getting the player to mesh with their character.  I remain hopeful that future Designer's Diaries will answer this. :D

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