News for December 2010
A Matter of Honour 15
A Look inside Rites of Battle, an upcoming Deathwatch supplement
Deathwatch | Published 22 December 2010

Greetings, Deathwatch fans!

I am very excited to start talking about Rites of Battle, the upcoming supplement for Deathwatch. This big, massive tome is stuffed full of great additional options and stories for any Deathwatch campaign! Rites of Battle has been a labour of love from the start, and it was a great opportunity to present some expanded character options, new Specialities, and much more. I plan to talk about this book quite a bit in detail over the next few weeks, and I thought I would start with a guest designer diary from Owen Barnes, one of the authors of Rites of Battle.

Owen was one of the primary authors on the book, and below he explains in his own words about some of the new character options in Rites of Battle: Honours and Distinctions. Enjoy!

From the pen of Owen Barnes:

Space Marines are exceptional warriors in every respect. Therefore, it is only fitting that when a Battle-Brother completes a great task—say saving a world singlehandedly, or defeating an exceptionally powerful foe such as a daemon prince or Tyranid swarm-lord—his rewards are so much greater. This is where the new rules for Distinctions and Honours from the upcoming Rites of Battle come into play—a selection of rewards that reflect the true glory of a Battle-Brother’s achievements beyond the advancement system of Talents, Skills and Characteristic increases.


Distinctions are special rewards created by the GM for the deeds of his players, something more enduring than simply giving out experience points or Renown. Distinctions can also be completely unique, created by the GM to reflect the very specific actions and triumphs of his own players. To help him in this task, Distinctions are broken down into parts called ‘Marks of Distinction’. Each of these Marks (of which there are almost 30) gives the player-character’s a broad set of special rules (reflecting hard won knowledge, the accolades of glory or exceptional experience) and can be modified to suit the Distinction the GM is creating. Some example Marks include Favoured Foe (giving a bonus against a specific enemy), Enduring Name (boosting the courage and respect of those that recognize the Battle-Brother as a great hero) or Campaign Hero (reflecting the benefits from surviving a campaign against one of the Imperium’s great enemies).

Of these Marks, the GM then combines any number to create a Distinction to suit his needs—for example, if the GM wanted to grant his players a special achievement for defeating the Tyranid invasion of the Imperial world of Avalos he could create the ‘Hero of Avalos’ Distinction combining the Campaign Hero (Tyranids) and Enduring Name (Avalos) Marks. Distinctions can also cover existing rewards within specific Adeptus Astartes Chapters, and the Distinction rules also detail a host of example (premade) Distinctions such as Tyranic War Veterans, Sanguinary Guard, and the Emperor’s Champion to name a few.


By contrast, Honours are a far more rigid set of rewards than Distinctions—and are almost without exception set down by the Codex Astartes and observed by the majority of the Space Marine Chapters. Ever wonder just what some icon on a Space Marine’s armour or weapon was, or why some Battle-Brothers have different chest plates or shoulder pads? The majority of these are Honours—symbols of status laid down by the Codex Astartes millennia ago to represent a Battle-Brother’s standing within the Chapter. Honours range from the Crux Terminatus (worn by members of the 1st Company and those who have earned the right to don Terminator armour) and Imperialis (the winged icon worn on chest plates to show loyalty to the Emperor) to the Imperial Laurel (often worn on helmets to mark out a favoured veteran or standard bearer) and Iron Skull (worn on shoulder pads or knee guards to denote the rank of Sergeant).

Unlike Distinctions, Honours do not grant a Battle-Brother any specific special rules. Instead, having an Honour is more of a roleplaying reward and player achievement, though the status it offers within a Chapter is undeniable, and in the case of some Honours (most notably the Crux Terminatus) it is a requirement to use sacred weapons and armour, or even be considered for certain missions. Honours also don’t cost any experience points to acquire, though earning the right to place one on your armour can be just as momentous as earning a Distinction.

Together, both Distinctions and Honours provide some really exciting rewards for Deathwatch players that encapsulate the heroic and legendary nature of their missions and give Battle-Brothers an enduring way of remembering their deeds.

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 (15)

Published: 1/3/2011 2:41:10 PM

"And this question has been asked again and again: Will we get a Free Link to the PDF if we purchased our Super-Limited-Edition of Deathwatch?"

This has been answered before, and the answer was no, you don't get a PDF.

Published: 1/1/2011 1:25:02 AM

 Liu Jen, an Astartes does not have to have been awarded the Crux Terminatus to be considered worthy of continuing the fight in a Dreadnought. Interment is based on the value of the individual to the chapter, the more valuable you are (strength of arms, tactician, age/wisdom) the more likely he would be given the honor to continue fighting.

The Crux Terminatus is given to highly experienced and skilled Astartes. Receiving a Crux Terminatus (or Terminator Honours) usually precipitates a move into the command squad of their company or into membership in the 1st Company. The Crux allows the Astartes to begin training with Tactical Dreadnought Armor, which is exclusively used by the 1st Company in all Codex chapters. 


Looking foward to the book, been wanting to play a Salamander since Deathwatch was announced. 

Published: 12/26/2010 3:01:51 AM

Wow, these honour rules sound really interesting! Hm, definitely worth a look!

Published: 12/23/2010 2:45:30 PM

256 pages?!?!?!?!?!?!?!?!?!??!?!?!?!? wowzers thats a whole lot of reading for me to get done XD

FFG Ross Watson
Published: 12/23/2010 1:53:28 PM
FFG Staff

 Rites of Battle is 256 pages. :)

Published: 12/23/2010 1:47:09 PM




Hardcover: 72 pages
Publisher: Fantasy Flight Games (February 8, 2011)
Language: English
ISBN-10: 1589947819
ISBN-13: 978-1589947818

Usually Amazon receives stuff about 2-3 weeks after release.


Liu Jen Hao
Published: 12/23/2010 12:55:43 PM

Just wondering:

Does a Warrior have to have earned The Crux Terminatus to have the right to become a Living Dreadnaught prior to his "death"?

And this question has been asked again and again: Will we get a Free Link to the PDF if we purchased our Super-Limited-Edition of Deathwatch?

If so, YAY!! Looking forward to having it on me IPAD so I don't have to carry "My Precious" out into a world full of dust, scratches and spilt coffee!!

Published: 12/23/2010 11:05:44 AM

My thoughts exactly tekatana.

Published: 12/23/2010 7:48:28 AM

nice ,  full of flavour and makes me even keener to buy this

Published: 12/22/2010 11:16:55 PM

 I have two questions and a follow up. One, when can I buy this? Two, when can I buy this? and my follow up, When can I buy this?

Published: 12/22/2010 5:56:43 PM

If I had to guess, I'd wager that the bonuses given by distinctions would be something akin to those from Chapter trappings: nice to have but not overwhelming.

Published: 12/22/2010 5:10:12 PM

I am still dying to see what they have for making your own Space Marine Chapter.

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