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The Prayer of the First Mission

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My first session of Deathwatch was scheduled for last night, but unavoidable circumstances nixed it for now. It's given me a little more time to work some stuff out. One of the things I want do do is give the Watch Captain who'll brief the players some sort of prayer or blessing to intone when the PCs arrive, commemorating the true commencement of the Kill-team's first mission. Ideally, I want it to sound as badass as possible; the Watch Captain's suit of powered armour has the "Terror be thy friend" history and I have the idea that it'll come out sounding all Darth Vader-ish until the Captain takes his helmet off and he's "Now that we have dispensed with the formalities, welcome, brothers!"


Some notes I'd made so far:

  • Bless these warriors as they undertake their first watch
  • May the spirits of the founding conclave guide their fury
  • May the hold and honour the oaths sworn by the Chapter Masters
  • May the xenos who stand agaist the Imperium tremble before their wrath

Any other thoughts?


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I like the Catachism of the Xenos, in the corebook on page 320.


To be Unclean

That is the Mark of the Xenos

To be Impure

That is the Mark of the Xenos

To be Abhorred

That is the Mark of the Xenos

To be Reviled

That is the Mark of the Xenos

To be Hunted

That is the Mark of the Xenos

To be Purged

That is the fate of the Xenos

To be Cleansed

For that is the fate of all Xenos

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I do this generally through the game mechanic of Oath-Taking, so generally a Chaplain stands and growls one of these:


Oath of The Astartes:

"And the Emperor spoke:  They shall be pure of heart and strong of body, untainted by doubt and unsullied by selfishness. They will be bright stars on the firmament of battle, Angels of Death whose shining wings bring swift annihilation to the enemies of Man. So it shall be for a thousand times a thousand years, unto the very end of eternity and the extinction of mortal flesh.

They are my Space Marines - and they shall know no fear!"


Oath to The Emperor:

"We look to the Emperor at the hour of battle.

We trust to him to intercede and protect his warriors true,

Even as they deal death on alien soil.

Turn their seas to red with the blood of their slain.

Crush their hopes, their dreams

And turn their songs into cries of lamentation,

We ask it in your name, Master of Mankind!"


Oath of Glory:

"O Emperor, in wrath rejoicing, at bloody wars fierce and untamed,

All-conquering Master of Mankind, be pleased with this war's tumultuous roar.
Delight in swords and fists red with alien blood, and the dire ruin of savage battle,

Bring nought to our foes but death and ruin,

Let our enemies fear us - for we are the Emperor's wrath!"


Oath of Knowledge:

"By writ from Codex and from Faith.

Knowledge is Power, we guard it well,

It leads us to know the enemy Beyond,

the enemy Within, the enemy Without.

It will lead us from despair to hope,

from Death to Victory, in the Emperor's name!"



Oath of Loyalty:

"One indomitable heart, Brothers all.

Endless war, ceaseless struggle,

We shall bear its weight together.

Those who stand before us light the night sky in flame.

Our vengeance burns brighter still.

Every faithless soul shall kneel.

Every last traitor shall fall.

Forged like iron in the fires of death, Brothers all!"


Oath of the Weapon:

"Forged in Blood and tempered in battle,

We are the living weapons of Humanity.

With the Chainsword, purge the Corrupt,

With the Bolter cleanse the Unclean,

With the Missile kill the impure!

In the Emperor's name, none shall survive!"


Take, modify, amend, burn, shout Heresy as you please.  If you want to critique and help me refine them, I am open to that too :) some may look familiar...



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Thanks for the inspiration and suggestions, folks! I'll have a think myself.


Some other lines that bubbled up:


Though they may be far from their brothers, may they find brotherhood anew amongst each other.
Of victory unknown, of praise unsung...

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So, I've been looking around in my collection, and found a few things you might be interested in. It's chiefly Catholic stuff, as it is probably the main influence on the style of the rituals of 40k and the majority of the texts can also easily be found in Latin. I'll just put one example here, and if you like it, I can get more in the same vein


The first text to consider is "In Praise of the New Knighthood" by St Bernard of Clairvaux (full English text here), written for the first Grand Master of the Knights Templar - it is extremely fitting as the whole point of the treatise is that the writer enthusiastically embraces the concept of a warrior-monk. The text is quite short, sufficiently old-timey, and almost all of it is quotable in 40k, but see this part as an example:


"This is, I say, a new kind of knighthood and one unknown to the ages gone by. It ceaselessly wages a twofold war both against flesh and blood and against a spiritual army of evil in the heavens. When someone strongly resists a foe in the flesh, relying solely on the strength of the flesh, I would hardly remark it, since this is common enough. And when war is waged by spiritual strength against vices or demons, this, too, is nothing remarkable, praiseworthy as it is, for the world is full of monks. But when the one sees a man powerfully girding himself with both swords and nobly marking his belt*, who would not consider it worthy of all wonder, the more so since it has been hitherto unknown? He is truly a fearless knight and secure on every side, for his soul is protected by the armour of faith just as his body is protected by armour of steel. He is thus doubly armed and need fear neither demons nor men. Not that he fears death--no, he desires it. Why should he fear to live or fear to die when for him to live is Christ, and to die is gain? Gladly and faithfully he stands for Christ, but he would prefer to be dissolved and to be with Christ, by far the better thing.


Go forth confidently then, you knights, and repel the foes of the cross of Christ with a stalwart heart. Know that neither death nor life can separate you from the love of God which is in Jesus Christ, and in every peril repeat, "Whether we live or whether we die, we are the Lord's." What a glory to return in victory from such a battle! How blessed to die there as a martyr! Rejoice, brave athlete, if you live and conquer in the Lord; but glory and exult even more if you die and join your Lord. Life indeed is a fruitful thing and victory is glorious, but a holy death is more important than either. If they are blessed who die in the Lord, how much more are they who die for the Lord!


To be sure, precious in the eyes of the Lord is the death of his holy ones, whether they die in battle or in bed, but death in battle is more precious as it is the more glorious. How secure is life when the conscience is unsullied! How secure, I say, is life when death is anticipated without fear; or rather when it is desired with feeling and embraced with reverence! How holy and secure this knighthood and how entirely free of the double risk run by those men who fight not for Christ!"

*He's talking about the belt on a monk's habit


Just replace cross, Christ and God with Emperor, and knight with Battle-Brother, and that's it. For example, the second paragraph above can be seamlessly inserted into a pre-battle speech by the Watch Commander, or used as a blessing by a Chaplain.


Now, what to do when you need some snippet from the same in High Gothic? First, find the original text (which, in this case, is here). Then, see if there's a word which needs to be replaced (if there is, it's usually a proper noun). If you don't know any Latin, wiktionary is a great help, as it lists the whole inflection table: you find the word you want to replace, mark the case, then check the inflection of the word you want to insert for the same case, and voila: done!


Example (quote is from the same text), apropos of the thread about discipline and penance: "As Scripture testifies, the undisciplined son shall perish and rebellion is as the sin of witchcraft, to refuse obedience is like the crime of idolatry." Swap Scripture to Codex, and you have a neat High Gothic sentence to use. Tattoo on the forehead, use on a purity seal, do whatever you like :)  "Teste Codice, filius indisciplinatus peribit, et peccatum est hariolandi repugnare, et quasi scelus idolatriae nolle acquiescere."


That's how it works, at least for me. Thoughts? Or should I hunt more proper oaths and prayers for you?

Edited by musungu

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