The Noob Looks At the Deathwatch

Artwork by Hammk. It was too good not to use here.

While catching up on a few things this morning, Caleb tells me about the event coming up on Tues. Oct. 8th on White Metal Games TV where they’re going to be painting a whole army of Deathwatch Terminators. I did not sigh in terror of my schedule or anything. I found myself thinking, “Okay… this is another chapter of the Astartes to learn about. ANOTHER ARTICLE!

Honestly, at this rate, I’m never gonna run out of things to write about. Especially with the release schedule Games Workshop has up their oversized pauldrons.

Derived from some of the original fists of the Adeptus Astartes, this fellow appears more interested in giving this Xeno the boot. Or Greave. Or perhaps grievous injury. One or the other.

So Caleb, being the enthusiastic fan he is, had me look at some of them… and no. The Deathwatch wasn’t JUST a chapter of the Astartes… this was pretty much a chapter of its own made up of all KINDS of chapters of all the OTHER Astartes. What would make these folks leave their own battle brothers to join up with the Nightwatch? Stop me when this begins to sound familiar. Actually don’t stop me. I’m havin’ a good time.

So the Deathwatch are part of the Ordo Xenos of the Inquisition. Essentially, when the Inquisition needs someone UTTERLY badass in battle, these are the MiB’s they turn to. They’re your guys on the wall, making sure no alien may pass. Unlike the Gray Knights, who were engineered by the Emperor, recruit and train up their own as the Emperor’s super-duper double-secret Chapter of last resort; members of the Deathwatch are nominated by their chapters to serve. Only the best of any chapter are selected. (The best, of the best, of the best, as it were.) Typically they don’t do whole armies. Typically, it would seem, they don’t NEED them. They’re more Kill-Teams and smaller groups of specialists. For the inquisition, if there’s a problem, the Deathwatch are the first in. It’s the stuff they can’t deal with that the Inquisition will call out a whole chapter of the Astartes for. Cos’ if these guys can’t deal with it, THEN send in the marines.

While their origins are unclear, the Deathwatch’s inception in the 32nd millennium seem to revolve around marines of all different chapters being gathered and brought together against the threat of alien life. Whether it be any of the other races, or alien gods awakening somewhere out in the deeps of space. And nowadays in the 41st millennium, they’ve got their work cut out for them. And they’re asking the other chapters for more and more to stand on the wall and take their watch.

This is not to say that the Deathwatch forsakes everything they used to be. They bring with them their own expertise, ways of combat and weaponry. They all make their armor black. They all wear the pauldron of the Deathwatch. But they also wear the symbol of their former chapters on the OTHER pauldron. So you’re as like to see Deathwatch using the lightning claws of the Raven Guard, or on the Cycles of the White Scars. Or any number of different affectations or loadouts from all the other chapters. The only thing sure is that if you’re seeing them in that elite black livery, then you’ve likely already lost.

The show would appear to be from the studio that does The Man in the High Castle on Amazon Prime. I do wonder who they’ll have playing him?

Now… I’m told that there’s going to be a bit of a bluish hint to the army that the fellas are doing back in the painting room. Essentially putting our artistic stamp on them to some degree. I’m also told that some of these are going to be painted a bit in the style of the more famous inquisitor, Gregor Eisenhorn, that the live-action TV show currently in development is going to be about. Which I suppose will make for an interesting time for the CG animators doing the Space Marines on-screen. I suppose you’ll see other chapters in the show, but when you see examples from those other chapters showing up in all black… I’m thinking that will probably be your on-screen “OHHH THIS JUST GOT REAL.” moment. I suppose we’ll see if the show makes it out of development hell. I am seeing that there’s a Playstation 4 title with their name on it as well. You know. At some point I really need to get hold of some PC versions of some of these games. If they exist that is. Sometimes the console exclusives tend to leave us PC Master Race folks out. At least until they relent. (I’m told there’s a game called Red Dead Redemption out there about cowboys. That’s a myth says I. There’s no such game for the PC.) Update: There IS one. I’ll look into that later. Old news for you folk. But not for Your Noobness here.

I’ve got a bit of context for what my Warhammer GM had in mind now on a game we tried. I remember we had, in that rogue trader game, an Inquisitor and one of the Deathwatch with us. NOW I get what a big deal this was. They strike me as having a bit of that Men In Black thing going on. Not as much as the Gray Knights. But they’re certainly more Men in Black focused since they they’re Ordo Xenos. Protecting mankind from the scum of the universe, and all that. They also seem to have quite a bit of the Night’s Watch from Game of Thrones going as well. Clad in black, giving up everything they used to be to be part of this elite force guarding the world from alien threats. I’ve got this mish-mash of the oaths they take going on. The whole thing with existing only as Deja Vu. Painting up their ancient antique armors in the uniform black of the Deathwatch. They’re no longer part of the system. They’re above it. Over it. Beyond it. Night Gathers and their watch begins. And shall not end until their death. They are the watchers on the walls. The shields that guard the realms of men. They walk in the dark places no others will enter. They stand on the bridge and no-one may pass… Well… that last bit is Babylon 5. But being similar to the diverse and egalitarian makeup of the Anla’Shok / Rangers is pretty awesome too.

-Edward WinterRose is still ‘The Noob’ in practice when it comes to Warhammer 40K, but is learning more and more all the time. What should he call himself when he’s got enough knowledge under his belt? The Neophyte? That’d be in keeping… ‘DREADWARD’ has been suggested. He’s still chuckling over that one.