Deathwatch Dreadnoughts are different from the "standard" Space Marine Dreadnoughts in some respects and are thus, 'special'. First, unlike other Marines who are seconded to the Deathwatch, Dreadnoughts are separated from their parent Chapters forever - while they can still contact them and are not struck from the records like a Blackshield, their decision to take the Long Vigil means they will never fight beside their brothers again. Secondly, they may wield unconventional combinations of weaponry or equipment (read: advanced Necron and Eldar tech that is so heretical it would give a member of the Mechanicus a brain aneurysm), to exploit the weaknesses of a particular Xenos foe.
As rare as it is for a Space Marine to be interred inside a METAL BAWKS, it is even rarer for a Space Marine from the Deathwatch, an organization so hardcore they tend even more to fight on when wounded until actually killed, to be given the dubious honor of being interred in one. This is down to three major factors: the circumstances kill-teams fight under make it a nightmare to retrieve a critically injured marine and stabilize them in time. If this is achieved, the Space Marine must be worthy and willing to remain with the Deathwatch in perpetuity, essentially preventing them from ever returning to their Chapter. Finally, the Space Marine's own Chapter needs to sign off on allowing him to remain with the Deathwatch.
Unsurprisingly, these guys are rare - the special xeno-killing snowflakes of special xeno-killing snowflake Alaska. Most of these Old Ones (No, not those Old Ones) are preserved for their unique knowledge of ripping apart the myriad of xenos that the Imperium has fought across the millennia. It's surprisingly common for warp storms to dissipate to reveal xenos species otherwise thought eradicated to reappear, or for alien species to come back from the interstellar dark to menace the Imperium once again; the Old Ones remember every last detail of what was done to bring them down, as opposed to the few half-lost records the Administratum can dig up.
Most Deathwatch Dreadnoughts follow the traditional weapon configurations handed down over uncounted centuries, like the Deredeo with its power claws and heavy flamers, or the Furibundus with its twin-linked lascannon and Cyclone missile launcher. At times of special need, however, Deathwatch Forge Masters have created many of their own armament variants based on these designs, adding in bits to better equip them against specific targets or environments. In ages past, Deathwatch Dreadnoughts have been equipped with siege hammers expressly for the purpose of overcoming Ork fortifications, outfitted with quad autocannons for bringing down Eldar raiders and mounted with additional flamer batteries for clearing Hrud warrens.
A Kill-team with Dreadnought support can face some unique challenges. A silent approach, for example, becomes almost impossible without extensive use of Stummers or other specialist sound-muffling equipment. The local terrain must also be capable of supporting the tremendous weight of the machine. In practice a Dreadnought is commonly kept in reserve, coordinating operations from an orbiting vessel. Once the enemy has been located the Dreadnought is normally inserted directly into combat via drop pod, Thunderhawk gunship or teleportarium to let it rip.
Notable Deathwatch Dreadnoughts
- Horest Cain - Supposedly a former Novamarines member who operates in the Jericho Reach. "Supposedly", because the Novamarines themselves say they never sent any marine by that name to the Deathwatch, and the reasons for him never returning to his home Chapter have been lost to history. Sounds like some secret dickery might be afoot...
- Goremann the Elder - Former Crimson Fists Veteran, who served with the Deathwatch on fifteen separate secondments before he ended up in a Dreadnought. This guy was a master of rip and tear to the point where even the fucking Orks chanted his name after he broke their Warboss in half in single combat (and this was before his Dreadnoughting, mind you!); fittingly enough, his chassis packs twin Dreadnought-sized power fists with underslung flamers for maximum powerfisting potential. He really, really hates being used as a source of knowledge by his brothers and would love to get back into action, but his nature as a Dreadnought heavily restricts him.
- Szobczak - Grandpa Dreadnought. No, seriously: he's a former Imperial Fists Techmarine who's been part of the Deathwatch since the 35th Millennium, and will seize on any opportunity to go on long-winded rants about battles long fought, brothers long dead, and why space marines in his day were simply better at everything; he also tends to get pissed off very easily if he thinks you're trying to provoke him. About the only reason the Deathwatch keep him around is his sheer loyalty, prowess in battle, and incredible experience.
- Xenomortis - You know how much Ortan Cassius hates Tyranids? Turn that hatred up to the point where even an Angry Marine would offer a cold one to CALM YOU THE FUCK DOWN, then extend it to every last alien race in the galaxy. (Seriously, his name literally means "Alien-Death". Subtle, GW!) Xenomortis lost any sense of his identity long ago, supposedly due to putting aside any knowledge that isn't related to xenos and how to kill them; whenever he's deployed, he immediately looks to destroy the enemy's leader as quickly and effectively as possible. He's also hard as fucking nails: when a bunch of Ur-Ghuls butchered a full Kill-Team sent after them, a thoroughly pissed-off Xenomortis replied by storming into their lair and emerged several months later, every last inch of his hull dripping with Ur-Ghul blood. Though this sounds awesome, the Deathwatch Chaplains are quite understandably afraid that he's going to go completely fucking nuts - the big guy's had every inch of hull covered with the blood of a thousand different types of alien scum too many times to count, and he still RAGES just as hard as ever toward them.
|Forces of the Deathwatch|
|Command:||Forge Master - Keeper - Deathwatch Chaplain |
Watch Captain - Watch Master - Deathwatch Epistolary
|Troops:||Deathwatch First Company Veteran - Deathwatch Champion |
Terminator Squad - Veteran Squad - Kill Team - Kill Marine
|Walkers:||Venerable Dreadnought - Deathwatch Dreadnought|
|Vehicles:||Bike Squad - Rhino - Razorback |
Land Raider (Land Raider Redeemer - Land Raider Crusader)
|Spacecraft:||Kill-Ship - Boarding Torpedo |
Drop Pod - Space Marine Landing Craft
|Allies:||Space Marines - Primaris Marines|