News for March 2011
Heretics, Traitors, and Warpspawn 20
A preview for Mark of the Xenos, a Deathwatch supplement
Deathwatch | Published 25 March 2011

“The tome you see before you now is the result of our discussions regarding the myriad threats that our Kill-teams have faced amongst the worlds of the Jericho Reach...Of particular note to your Ordo, honoured Inquisitor, is that a number of the threats detailed in this tome are not, in fact, alien in origin. Rather, these enemies are heretics, traitors, warpspawn, or worse...Thus, when I asked for the reports to create this tome, these reports included the threats that were judged worthy of the Deathwatch’s interest in all aspects of war.”
-Codicier Taelon of the White Scars

Though Codicier Taelon would not live to complete his life’s work, having been among the fallen at the Battle of the Darkspire, many Watch Captains have taken heed of his wisdom and his tome has been highly praised by Inquisitors Ghraile and Quist of the Ordo Xenos. For within the war-torn Jericho Reach only the intervention of the Deathwatch Kill-teams can tip the balance in the Imperium. Taelon’s knowledge-laden book, minutely depicting the enemy, aids the Deathwatch in striking back against their greatest foes.

Mark of the Xenos, a bestiary of the monstrous, is the upcoming supplement for Deathwatch. Today we’ll be looking at an overview of Mark of the Xenos, the tome created by the Deathwatch Librarian Taelon, that includes commentaries, advice, and vital information.

Mark of the Xenos is separated into four chapters, each focusing on a different breed of threat that you may face in the course of your duties: The Alien Threat, Radicals and Heretics, The Forces of Chaos, and Advanced Adversaries. The subdivisions within the chapters feature enemy profiles with movement values and weapon damages, presented with options and variations for a Game Master to modify as is required for his game. Also included are ready-made adventure hooks that a GM can use to drop the monsters directly into his Deathwatch campaign.

The Alien Threat

“Let me tell you son, when you hear that sound, you’ve got three seconds to grab your lasgun and then they’re on you.”
-Corporal Hahnsen of the 45th Scintilla Guard

Chapter one centres around the Enemy Without, the primary enemies of the Deathwatch. No enemy is more central to the purpose of the Deathwatch than the numerous hostile alien races scattered throughout the galaxy and beyond. Discover over 35 alien predators that exist within the Jericho Reach!

This chapter features some better-known aliens such as the Tyranids of Hive Fleet Dagon, the Tau forces of the Velk’han Sept, Orks, as well as more minor species like the shapeshifting Lacrymole, and more. Immerse yourself into the minds of the aliens inimical to human life and emerge better able to fulfill the Deathwatch’s main purpose, eradicating such xenos.

Radicals and Heretics

“When the box sings a pretty song; when it saves you from all that’s wrong; when it adds a sudden price, you bless it once to be cursed thrice.”
-Children’s rhyme from the Jericho Reach

The Imperium of Man seethes with anarchy, rebellion, and murder. In the Jericho Reach, hidden from the Light of Terra for thousands of years, billions of souls have wandered far from the salvation of the God-Emperor of Mankind. Including a brief history of heresy in the Jericho Reach, this chapter discusses the enemy within that abounds on the cursed worlds of the Jericho Reach.

Codicier Taelon contended with the Deathwatch about the dangers of even a single heretic or radical, arguing that sometimes the most dangerous threat is the most simple: an idea...subtle, insidious, and difficult to destroy. Within this chapter recidivists misled by the rantings of Apostate Cardinals, the deadly machinations of a Radical Inquisitor, and the horrific constructs of tech-heresy are laid bare.

The Forces of Chaos

“Better to pluck out your eyes and fight blind than to look upon such a vile, blasphemous monstrosity.”
-Chaplain Trakus, White Scars Chapter

The Ruinous Powers command Daemons, warpspawn, Chaos Space Marines, and corrupt hordes of humanity daily; Chaos is the ancient enemy of Mankind and those ensnared by it become a threat of ruination to Mankind. Impossible to destroy, Chaos being an unalterable fact of nature, the Deathwatch can only attempt to quell the growing plague. As the Hadex Anomaly spews forth armies of corruption into the Jericho Reach, every gained detail about the tide of evil depicted within this chapter will strengthen any Kill-team’s cessation techniques.

Prepare your mind for the horror. What follows is a glimpse of the gruesome tales that await you in Mark of the Xenos. An excerpt from the Plaguebearer section:

“Brother Librarian,
When you asked me to share anything I knew about the enemies we regularly confront in the Reach, one incident in particular came to mind. I led a Kill-team on a an orbital station above a world in the Acheros Salient...we faced a group of daemons, each with a single rheumy eye and a black, twisted horn. These daemons were extremely difficult to destroy...for these daemons are seemingly immune to any pain or discomfort, even from missing limbs or wounds that would otherwise despatch an enemy. Eventually, we purged the station by opening that chamber to vacuum, then re-sealing it and cleansing each room with flamers.”

Advanced Adversaries

“They came without number and without remorse. They came from every side and at every hour. They came hungry for our blood, and they just kept on coming. Every one that came... we killed.”
-Battle-Brother Glarus of the Crimson Fists

A Battle-Brother facing enemies equal to his numbers is a rare occurrence; nothing exemplifies the strength and power of the Space Marines like their ability to deal with a foe that vastly outnumbers them. Of course, this is what a Space Marine expects on the field of battle. Presenting new rules and guidelines, the final chapter details how to utilise adversaries in a Deathwatch campaign, including the proper use of Hordes which will allow a GM to turn any kind of foe into a mob or combat formation of even thousands of individuals, Horde tactics, the rules for scaling up to even larger conflicts, and more.

With a detailed understanding of the specifics of warfare, a GM can better manage his games. Take a peek at a discussion of one of the keys to encounters and actions in larger conflicts with an excerpt from the chapter:

“Battles are seldom fought to the last man and in many cases the victor is determined not by size, strength or skill of a force, or even the stalwart leadership of its commanders, but by fate and a few chance encounters and actions amidst a much larger engagement. These key moments in a battle are sometimes known as turning points, and can influence the entire outcome of a combat.”

Be vigilant! More previews are imminent in the coming weeks. This Spring, get ready to know your enemy like never before in Mark of the Xenos.

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 (20)

Published: 4/19/2011 10:54:51 AM


This would certainly aid me in writing my campaign for when I become the GM for a while. The guys are gonna have some Tau, Traitor Guard and a very very cruel Daemon Prince of Tzeentch on their hands.

Published: 4/3/2011 1:00:52 PM

"Yes, shame on them for not doing what you personally wanted them to do. How dare they..."


I think his point is that if this book is called Mark of Xenos and is a supplement to a game where you are part of a group of alien hunters, why are two of the chapters focused on heresey and chaos?  If it's meant to instead be a supplement about the enemies specificly found in Jericho Reach, why not call it something like "Horrors of the Reach" instead? That way you aren't implying that it has an alien focus when it's actual focus is all the different kinds of things you might encounter.



Ignace Zane
Published: 4/2/2011 7:26:13 AM

 i will buy it

Published: 3/29/2011 2:00:40 AM

I hope we do have some decent eldar coverage, and i would happily buy major-race focused sourcebooks that cover each group in detail from civilians and their lives (nice details for infiltration games) to their spacefleets which could even have some simple rules for running xenos-character-group games (you could even do that with Tyranids based off old Genestealer Cult background!) and i hope one day FFG will do that. But till then there's this book coming and i want it!

Published: 3/28/2011 9:17:06 AM

I was hoping to see some Eldar mentioned, but I have yet to see it.  With the proximity to Iyanden, and the fact that they were attacked by the Hive Fleet that Dagon supposedly splintered from, I could see them playing a part in the story in some part.

They're a great element to throw into the mix as they are just as often aiding humanity against it's enemies as they are fighting humanity.  They're a good political wrench to throw into the mix to add some depth to the game.

Would be nice to see the Eldar added IMO, I've been fudging their stats...but it just isn't the same.

Magic Pink
Published: 3/28/2011 7:27:25 AM

The Tyranids, Tau and others really all deserve a book of their own; not crammed into 2-4 pages in one sourcebook. And this really should have been one of the first sourcebooks released for Dark Heresy, not Deathwatch. Alien races are a HUGE part of the 40k setting.

Published: 3/27/2011 7:31:33 PM

it is an auto buy book for me... hope they do clean up the hoard rule a little, add a  good amount of race fluffgear/vehicles...ect  and as well as a "advanced adversary" give me some necronsEldar avatars,greater demonsa demon prince so when the demon hunters book comes out for DH can do some grey knight inspired story tellingmakes for a good cross over theme! 

Published: 3/27/2011 10:51:03 AM

not that keen on the name of the book but its not why i am buying it, cant wait to get my claws, er thats hands, HANDS on it! :)

Published: 3/27/2011 9:40:10 AM

Frankly I'm fine with some non-xenos adversaries covered in the book. 35 xenos sounds like they haven't skimped on the main theme of the book. And since the Deathwatch cando fight hereticsdaemons in the Reach, it isn't a bad plan to have more details on those enemies.

Published: 3/26/2011 7:11:45 PM

35 new xeno beastiessapients sound like a nice list.

George Labour
Published: 3/26/2011 4:41:57 PM

To be pedantic Xenos doesn't literally mean alien life form existing in the same space time plane as humanity. It's more a term for anything alienunknown (Literally meaning 'weird' IIRC). So a book on Xenos can include references to all the darkscary things one might find. Much like Creatures anathema included daemonssapient aliens as well as 'dumb' animals.

Still I'd expect the majority of the book to be given over to real space aliens, their vehicles, culture,the chapter on how to use them as adversarieswill be very dissapointed if the daemonrebel/heretic sections are as big,larger. I really would like to see more eldar stuff,minor aliens plus their gear.

Hopefully no one's expecting this to be the DW equivalent of a 'monstrous manual'else they're going to be really dissapointed.

Published: 3/26/2011 2:42:09 PM

Axabrax: I think what he was trying to say was that a book that is called MARK OF XENOS should be about Xenosperhaps Xenos heretics. Not demons. Not Chaos. (Except, maybe Chaos Space Elvesso forth). Not that the other sections are actually wasted.

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