Deatchwatch is another RPG set into the Warhammer 40,000 universe. This time players adopt the roles of mighty Space Marines, member of a Deathwatch Kill-Team. These teams consists of Space Marines from different chapters who work together to fight as the forefront of Mankind’s war for survival against xenos, heretics and demons.
The free PDF consists of 40 lavishly illustrated pages and contains not only the basic rules you need to play, but also 4 pre-generated characters (a Dark Angels assault marine, a Blood Angel devastator marine, a Space Wolves tactical marine and an apothecary from the Ultramarines chapter) and an introductory adventure.
Deathwatch basically uses the same rules as Dark Heresy and Rogue Trader but Space Marines are far stronger and tougher than normal human characters. This is simulated by “unusual characteristics”. In Dark Heresy for example a character with Strength 45 has a Strength Bonus of 4. A Space Marine with a Strength of 45 and Unnatural Strength (x2) has a Strength Bonus of 8. The free PDF provides no rules for character creation, but since all pre-generated characters have Unnatural Strength AND Toughness, I am pretty sure that this is a common trait of all Space Marines.
Because of their supernatural strength and toughness Space Marines are capable of overcoming hordes of enemies. Deathwatch introduces special hordes rules with allows GMs to treat hordes of enemies like one vast creature, which vastly simplifies combat.
Another new concept in Deathwatch will be Demeanours. Demeanours are special traits linked to the various Chapters and are meant to highlight what makes each Chapter unique. The Ultramarines apothecary for example has the Favoured Son demeanor which allows him to reroll Fellowship Test when dealing with either Space Marines or members of the Imperial armed forces.
I have avoided reading the adventure in the end, since I don’t want to spoil myself in the case I get to play it in the future. But I am sure it’s of the same high quality as the rest of this booklet.
I am sure fans of the Warhammer 40,000 universe have eagerly awaited Deathwatch and will probably be very happy with this free preview adventure. When I am not totally mistaken Deathwatch should make its debut at GenCon, so I’ll make sure I pick up a copy there!