Deathwatch is the third of five sets of roleplaying game rules thus far released under the Warhammer 40,000 Roleplay line. Its purpose is to allow a group of players to jointly create stories centred around the most well-known of the factions in Games Workshop’s long-running Warhammer 40,000 universe: the mighty warriors known as the Space Marines.
While an increasing number of roleplaying game fans are engaging with each other across the globe via online tools such as Roll20, Fantasy Grounds and Discord, Deathwatch is a tabletop roleplaying game, intended to be played by a group sitting around a table and using pencils and paper. The participants have their surroundings described to them by a Game Master and determine the success or failure of their actions by rolling dice. The GM presents the players with intriguing characters, tense situations and urgent stakes; the players choose how to engage with them. From there, the group’s story evolves as the GM responds to the payers and vice versa.
Deathwatch takes place in the grim darkness of the setting’s war-torn 41st Millennium. Although Space Marines are typically found in unique self-contained armies called Chapters, Deathwatch allows players to bring Marine characters together under the auspices of the special operations group dubbed the Deathwatch; allied with the Inquisition of a brutal human Imperium, the Marines of the Deathwatch are organised into Kill-teams and snt on missions behind enemy – and even friendly – lines to vanquish threats too small for a full Marine deployment yet too great for the Inquisition. While combat tends to be the focus of Deathwatch sessions, Space Marine characters are by definition larger than life, allowing players to bring a unique grandness to their characters’ interactions with each other and the people of the Imperium
Deathwatch was originally developed and released under license by Fantasy Flight Games, LLC. After their license with Games Workshop ended in 2017, the Warhammer 40,000 Roleplay line was picked up by Ulisses Spiele’s North American branch; while the books themselves are not being reprinted, digital versions have been restored to availability via DriveThruRPG.
Ulisses North America are instead focusing on a sixthWarhammer 40,000 Roleplay game with a new set of rules intended to cover the breadth of character options in the Warhammer 40,000 universe; this new game will be entitled Wrath & Glory.