|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 Chapters...it 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.
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.
That must've been very exciting for you! They look really cool. I look forward to seeing how they play. I already added them to my Dawn of War 2, too bad I had to choose between coloring the boots and coloring the pauldrons.