Deathwatch Champions are among the mightiest of the Emperor's Chosen. A Deathwatch Champion fears no alien monstrosity or xenos death machine, his skills and armaments the equal of anything the foe can bring to bear. His coming is an inspiration to his Battle-Brothers and a terror to his enemies, for he is an all-destroying comet blazing across the battlefield in an arc of glory. A Watch Fortress will often have several Champions operating with different Kill-teams in a range of missions, their presence fortifying and exhorting their fellow Space Marines to greater efforts against the deadliest of foes.
Deathwatch Champions excel at killing aliens and are masters of dispatching them in close combat with expert blade thrusts and crushing blows. As a result of this fearsome martial prowess the Champion has the ability to outright kill xenos with a single well-placed blow.
Becoming a Champion
A Space Marine in the Deathwatch may be elevated to the status of Champion by several means. Most commonly, it is bestowed by a Watch Captain in recognition of a mighty feat of arms in battle. However, Champions can also be elevated based on the strength of their longstanding courage and steadfastness, by the turn of the Emperor's Tarot, or by common acquiescence of their Battle Brothers.
A Deathwatch Champion might already be a hero of great renown before attaining his station, long noted as being destined for great things; or he could easily have been a newly arrived Space Marine, just beginning his Vigil and virtually unknown among the Deathwatch, up until the point in which he performs a feat so daring it demands the recognition of his peers. The celebrated Deathwatch Champion Arrestus, for example, was so elevated after his very first Kill-team mission, during which he killed a bull Vorasaur single-handedly.
Training and Wargear
The Emperor chooses his own, and it falls to the Deathwatch to arm and train their Champions for the confrontations ahead without prejudice.
Deathwatch Champions wield Power Swords and a Combat Shields as standard issue wargear. As per tradition, the deepest armoury-vaults are opened and the most sacred vestments of war are brought forth to garb a newly-raised Champion. The most finely crafted armour of ceramite and adamantium is fitted to their body and heavily laden with purity seals and inscriptions praising their ultimate progenitor — the Emperor. Weapons of the most illustrious heritage are proffered for the Champion’s selection, from ancient and deadly chain blades with glitter teeth of mica to flashing Thunder Hammers and power fists once wielded by great heroes of the past.
How to fight is the choice of the Champion himself but almost without exception they train and arm themselves for close combat. Hypno-indoctrination is redoubled to instill a subconscious understanding of a host of different alien species and their specific vulnerabilities. The finest combat masters of the Deathwatch will dedicate themselves to a Champion’s tutelage and their intensive instruction will include techniques drawn from the deepest mysteries of the Watch. The Seven Paths of Opening, for example, were learned from Officio Assassinorum operatives long ago and are only taught to a select few in greatest secrecy. The Seven Paths are a series of devastating blows any one of which will cripple an opponent and leave them vulnerable to a follow-up attack. The Thirteen Ways of Ending is the result of centuries of study and teaches the Champion thirteen fatal points that will kill any even vaguely humanoid xenos in a single blow.
A Deathwatch Champion fights in concert with a select Kill-team commonly chosen from his comrades prior to his elevation. The Champion will seek out and destroy the strongest foes under the cover of his Kill-team, demoralizing the enemy with his deadly skills and dominating the battlefield. He will loudly proclaim his desire for the enemy to send their best to face him and will never refuse a challenge, no matter the odds. Few enemies can battle the Champion as an equal and lesser foes are dispatched with contemptuous ease.
With their Champion before them, Space Marines become nigh-unstoppable, and their combined fury will shatter all but the stoutest defences. They will give no thought to retreat until the battle is won.
Fate of a Champion
A Deathwatch Champion may fight on for decades, or endure for only a single engagement. It may be a Champion’s destiny to participate in a righteous purgation of xenos races beneath a dozen alien suns or to eliminate a single mighty enemy of sufficient stature to change the course of a war. Few Champions survive to eventually rejoin the ranks of their Chapter, and those that do usually bear terrible wounds.
Even through their death a Deathwatch Champion can serve a higher purpose. The Deathwatch will avenge a fallen Champion with a cold and dreadful determination. However strong the force needs to be, more Kill-teams will be dispatched to retrieve the Champion’s geneseed and battle gear.
Should a fallen Champion prove truly unreachable through even the most determined efforts of his Battle Brothers then Kill-ships will follow. The Kill-ships will unleash their hellish payloads onto the enemy, turning the site of the Champion’s martyrdom into a funeral pyre of continental proportions.
|Command||Watch Master • Watch Captain • Chaplain • Librarian (Epistolary) • Forge Master • Keeper|
|Elites||Veteran • Vanguard Veteran • Terminator • Champion • Dreadnought • Venerable Dreadnought|
|Vehicles||Rhino • Razorback • Land Raider • Land Raider Redeemer • Land Raider Crusader|
|Aircraft||Corvus Blackstar • Drop Pod|
|Fleet||Kill-Ship • Strike Cruiser|