The Deathwatch Epistolary is a special Deathwatch Librarian rank. While a normal Epistolary itself is the third rank of Space Marine Librarians, in which their primary role is chief communications officer, both on the battlefield and beyond. They are able to use their powers to project their mind through the warp, similar to the Astropaths of the Adeptus Astra Telepathica, but without the need to endure the torturous ritual of soul binding that is otherwise required. More commonly, their abilities are used over shorter distances, coordinating attacks and battle orders. For the Deathwatch which have been Retconned from hating all psykers to hating only enemy psykers, the Deathwatch use their Librarians and thus Epistolary in a different way. More importantly, Deathwatch Epistolary uses their warp powers to combat and protect their fellow brothers from other enemy psykers, as the saying goes, fight fire with fire.
As part of a Kill-team an Epistolary wields devastating powers capable of incinerating hordes of enemies and entire nests of aliens. They bestride the battlefield with fire and wielding lightning with the power of an angry god. Not a lot of chumps will stand before the coming of an Epistolary as their minds fill with either "HOLY SHIT THIS GUY DOES NOT FUCK AROUND!" or "HOLY SHIT THIS GUY IS FUCKING UP MY PRECOGNITION!". Those few that can resist the psychic onslaught must face the terrible fury of the Epistolary’s force weapon, a blade blazing with the white-hot certainty of his own will. The most important call made for a Deathwatch Epistolary is to take the field against xenos psykers.
Many alien species boast warp-dabblers and sorcerers of varying talent that make pacts and sell themselves willingly to the Ruinous Powers. Others, like the Eldar, have their own esoteric methods to shape the warp to their will. Yet others have innate psychic powers that can render them immune to conventional weaponry, dominate or stupefy Space Marines. All of these and more represent dire threats to an unprepared Kill-team without psyker support. A Librarian can warn of such perils before they are encountered, or at least in time to act against them decisively with targeted attacks.
An Epistolary can overcome the most potent alien psyker coven or protect his Battle-Brothers from an overwhelming psychic miasma. With an Epistolary present, a battle is fought on two planes, both the physical and psychic, and Librarians are specially equipped for this task. Their powers are channeled through the conductive wiring of a psychic hood, a piece of wargear linked directly into the Librarian’s brain. The psychic hood extends the wearer’s consciousness so that he can “feel” manipulation of the warp and counteract it. Augmetic crystals in the psychic hood help him to focus and enhance his strength in the battle of wills that follows.
With their psychic defenses stripped away, aliens easily fall prey to conventional kill-team tactics. Time spent in the Deathwatch offers a Librarian a unique opportunity to learn about alien psykers and to study their methods for manipulating the warp. A Deathwatch Epistolary is deeply knowledgeable about such matters, a veteran of many encounters with not just xenos creatures but their artifacts and structures too. The reading of xenos minds, while distasteful and even heretical, is acknowledged as an unpleasant art form in its own right that can expose the murky web of motivations and alien thought processes to full examination. Psychometry, the art of object reading, opens insights into the operation and purpose of things made by alien hands (or their equivalent) even long past their extinction. On many occasions looking at past relics has prevented future disasters by correctly predicting the resurgence of an alien threat at a specific site or by revealing a key weakness that can be used to bring about their doom.
Such prolonged exposure to xenos also places particularly stringent demands on an Epistolary. The gradual insinuation of alien thoughts and concepts into the Librarian’s mind is an ever-present peril that must be guarded against. Every piece of knowledge won can bring with it the seeds of potential destruction in the form of memetic trap or a psychic poison. Any psychic contact with an alien mind, living or dead, can bring with it a subtle corruption, a tiny chink in the Epistolary’s mental armour that opens him to further attack. Against these perils the Epistolary must match the power of his will and he must maintain a blinkered mind always closed to new concepts and alien designs. He must master his own mind and know it always to be his own, uninfluenced and pure to the end.
Alien Minds and Bond of Brotherhood are two psychic powers exclusive to the Deathwatch Epistolary.
|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)
|Flyers:||Drop Pod - Corvus Blackstar|
|Allies:||Space Marines - Primaris Marines|