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FFG Ross Watson

New Deathwatch Designer Diary: The Jericho Reach

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Greetings Deathwatch fans!

This week, I am pleased to present a glimpse into the setting for the Deathwatch RPG: The Jericho Reach! This guest designer diary comes from the pen of John French, part of the Deathwatch design team. Enjoy!

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Well, it's the sensible choice, all right, to place the setting on the Eastern Fringe. No issues about whether the Tau or the 'Nids can't be threats, and a suitably war-torn area to boot

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So Chaos, Tau and Tyranids are in.  Nice, and I think the last few sentences hint at Necrons being in too.

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And that Warp Gate looks Eldar to me, and if it is, no way they just give something like up to all comers. That's the kind of thing a whole craft world could devote itself to protect. And we all know there are Orks all over. Looks like all the big bads will be in this one, can't wait to pit my team against those odds.

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Wow.Very impressed with a glimpse of the setting.Should make for some interesting campaigns.Looking forward to the next update..

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Jericho Reach sounds like an ideal all encompassing setting. You could easily put the inquisition and rogue traders in a crusade. I hope a IG supplement or game is on the market soon as well.

It would be very nice to have a appendix or two dedicated to using DH and RT with DW's Jericho Reach.

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Peacekeeper_b said:

Jericho Reach sounds like an ideal all encompassing setting. You could easily put the inquisition and rogue traders in a crusade. I hope a IG supplement or game is on the market soon as well.

It would be very nice to have a appendix or two dedicated to using DH and RT with DW's Jericho Reach.

Couldnt agree more with you.

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    A giant Warp Gate as a McGuffin? Linking to the other side of the Galaxy? Hoo humm as Treebeard would have said bostezo.gif. No offense but this is a bit old cliche. I´ll reserve final judgement about this until we hear something more tangible about it.

   The unholy trinity of Tau/Chaos/Tyranids is in aplauso.gif. Something for everybody. 

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Aajav-Khan said:

    A giant Warp Gate as a McGuffin? Linking to the other side of the Galaxy? Hoo humm as Treebeard would have said bostezo.gif. No offense but this is a bit old cliche. I´ll reserve final judgement about this until we hear something more tangible about it.

   The unholy trinity of Tau/Chaos/Tyranids is in aplauso.gif. Something for everybody. 

I have to agree.  The bit about the warp gate thing made me roll my eyes a bit.  It's just seems like a fairly transparent attempt at having their cake and eating it too (moving DW to the opposite side of the galaxy and having crossover potential with existing DH and RT campaigns).  But like you, I'll reserve judgement until I see more.  I already stuck my foot in my mouth arguing against the plausibility of Ultramarines in the game (they're now the Chapter that makes the most sense).

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Hm, I'm on the fence at this point. There wasn't anything mentioned in that write up about the setting that made me go 'WOW!' (though nothing made me go 'Urgh!' either), and it does smack a little of squeezing all the enemies into a relatively small area so they can all be met. Not necessarily a bad idea, so long as it's done well.

The idea of DW teams clashing with Crusade commanders because they are doing their own thing, often at odds with the Crusade army groups campaigns, is a good one imo.

Can't see that DW teams would be deployed against Chaos forces (such as those mentioned in the Middle Salient) much though.

Ultimately my opinion will be decided by the detail however, and we haven't yet seen that. Unlike with the Koronus Expanse, FFG have no excuse for shirking on detail with the Jericho Reach, and I hope and expect it to be as detailed in it's own right as Calixis was in the original DH rulebook.  

EDIT - Thinking about it I'm not sure about the geography that places Tau forces very close to a Tyranid Hive Fleet. A Hive Fleet anywhere near the Tau would probably spell the end of the Tau imo. Also when is this game set, if it's 815.M41 I do still question the canonicity of a Hive Fleet attacking the Imperium.

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The first Tyrannic War and Battle of Macragge were in 745.41, which means there are no problem facing them after that date.

As for the factions, by 5th Edition TT corerule we have :

Astartes: Ultramarines, Omega Marines, Black Templar, Blood Ravens (they fight remnant of of Bahamoth Fleet after the battle of Tarsis in DoW2)

IG: Artificial World of Dreadhaven as their base in that region

Chaos: Stronghold at Constantinium

Eldar: Many Exodites Worlds, Craftworld Iyanden is close enough to lend support as well as Craftworld Biel-Tan which is known to rush to the rescue of Exodites Worlds.

Ork: Waagh Grog is heading that way.

Necron and Tyrannids: Way more then anyone can handle.

Tau: Their region of space is right there.

Darl Eldar: The only one without a presence in that region.

 

Now tell me, how is it you can't see all of them in one place ? =P

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Bravo, FFG! You managed to come up with a premise that is actually interesting and not just "Marines wailing on stuff". I can already see potential for politcal conflicts and diplomacy. As Peacekeeper_b mentioned, this setting is also great for mashup games of DH, RT and DW.

The Warp gate bit sounds pretty interesting. It's not an overused plot device in 40k, and since the introduction of stable warp gates in 3e TT rulebook (IIRC) we've hardly seen any examples of them. It doesn't really look Eldar to me, and why would Eldar use Warp Gates if they have Webway? On the other hand it is pretty similar to the War in Heaven era starships seen in one issue of Kal Jerico, so maybe a relic of the Old Ones? One of the three legendary "Gateways to the Gods" of the Eldar legend maybe? Regardless of what its exact nature, I'm interested.

What I'd like to see the most is some new and horrifying Xeno race beside the vanilla Tau/Nids/Chaos.

 

 

g about it I'm not sure about the geography that places Tau forces very close to a Tyranid Hive Fleet. A Hive Fleet anywhere near the Tau would probably spell the end of the Tau imo. Also when is this game set, if it's 815.M41 I do still question the canonicity of a Hive Fleet attacking the Imperium.

A few months ago I'd have agreed with you. But then Robin Cruddace came and merrily retconned the Hive Fleet Naga into 812.M41, Gorgon into 900.M41 and Jormungandr into 997.M41. And invented Narvhals <shudder>.

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 Okay, the DD seems to answer some of the questions about the kind of adversaries (Xenos) going to be present. Looks as though it is one big melting pot...or meat grinder...of a war zone. Also, the presence of a warp gate, riffing on Babylon five or the Stargate movie?

Will be interested in how it gels together, though I'm beginning to get the impression Death Watch move around like they're the MiB's of the Astartes from the DD (no prisoners, no witnesses...)

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Lucius Valerius said:

Eldar: Many Exodites Worlds, Craftworld Iyanden is close enough to lend support as well as Craftworld Biel-Tan which is known to rush to the rescue of Exodites Worlds.

Given the presence and utility of the Webway, Eldar operating on the far side of the galaxy from the (often irrelevant) physical location of their Craftworld is not exactly uncommon. Eldar forces can walk from one side of the galaxy to the other if the situation requires it...

Lucius Valerius said:

Dark Eldar: The only one without a presence in that region.

They live in the Webway; technically, they don't have a presence in any region, yet can be found raiding locations anywhere in the galaxy.

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Lucius Valerius said:

 

The first Tyrannic War and Battle of Macragge were in 745.41, which means there are no problem facing them after that date.

As for the factions, by 5th Edition TT corerule we have :

Astartes: Ultramarines, Omega Marines, Black Templar, Blood Ravens (they fight remnant of of Bahamoth Fleet after the battle of Tarsis in DoW2)

IG: Artificial World of Dreadhaven as their base in that region

Chaos: Stronghold at Constantinium

Eldar: Many Exodites Worlds, Craftworld Iyanden is close enough to lend support as well as Craftworld Biel-Tan which is known to rush to the rescue of Exodites Worlds.

Ork: Waagh Grog is heading that way.

Necron and Tyrannids: Way more then anyone can handle.

Tau: Their region of space is right there.

Darl Eldar: The only one without a presence in that region.

 

Now tell me, how is it you can't see all of them in one place ? =P

 

 

Yes Tyranids have attacked earlier than 815, on the date you mentioned they were defeated. The Tyranid Codex states 'the Tyranids had been believed destroyed at Macragge, but over two centuries later there were renewed reports (of Tyranid attacks) on the Eastern Fringe' (ie when Hive Fleet Kraken arrives). Retcons aside this makes sense of the Tyranids imo. If Hive Fleets are not all over the Imperium the concerted campaign to form a line against Kraken (and then Leviathan) makes complete sense, if Kraken is only one of many Hive Fleets the Imperium doesn't credibly stand a chance. That's a retcon in the wrong direction as far as I'm concerned.

The Tau Empire would be swallowed if they got in the way of a Hive Fleet. The Imperium is only able to stand against Tyranids due to it's enormous size and it's numbers.

I'm not even saying squeezing loads of enemies into one war zone is an inherantly bad idea, it's just a bit ... cheezy I guess imo. It risks feels clumsy, unless handled well.

EDIT - Again, I'm on the fence until I get to see the detail. What's the setting like on the ground? What are the individual worlds like? What's the background and fluff on the Chaos forces? What's the story on the Crusade, what forces are there? What's the story to the Gate? etc etc At least this time setting detail and fluff is essential and needed, no more 'we're all about the vagueness' excuses for not doing the work, I hope.

 

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Adam France said:


 Yes Tyranids have attacked earlier than 815, on the date you mentioned they were defeated. The Tyranid Codex states 'the Tyranids had been believed destroyed at Macragge, but over two centuries later there were renewed reports (of Tyranid attacks) on the Eastern Fringe' (ie when Hive Fleet Kraken arrives). Retcons aside this makes sense of the Tyranids imo. If Hive Fleets are not all over the Imperium the concerted campaign to form a line against Kraken (and then Leviathan) makes complete sense, if Kraken is only one of many Hive Fleets the Imperium doesn't credibly stand a chance. That's a retcon in the wrong direction as far as I'm concerned

The Tau Empire would be swallowed if they got in the way of a Hive Fleet. The Imperium is only able to stand against Tyranids due to it's enormous size and it's numbers. 

Are you aware that numerous Hive Fleets of different sizes have struck at the Imperium since the arrival of Hive Fleet Kraken and from different angles of attack (Leviathan is somewhere in the centre of the galaxy)? And that in fact Kraken was defeated and smashed into smaller splinter-fleets at the battle of Ichar IV? A single fleet of Hive ships arriving in the Jericho Reach is hardly unusual or necessarily that big a deal - it depends on the size and strength of the force and whether they have enough time to grow (as in whether they can harvest enough worlds before being destroyed by the Imperium).

This also affects the nature of Tau-Tyranid conflict. The Tau empire has been attacked by some 'nid splinter fleets and destroyed them, though at the cost of a few worlds. The Tau are strong enough to hold off smaller 'nid fleets. It would take a fleet as strong as Kraken or Behemoth to threaten the Empire as a whole, though I think that the Tau would be strong enough to defeat them.

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I think I'll stick with the un-retconned older canon then, as it makes less sense imo to have multiple Hive Fleets trooping around. The quote from the Tyranid Codex I put in my last post made it clear there were (generally) thought to be no surviving Tyranids from Behemoth after Macragge, that's what I'm going to stick with.

Tbh, Tyranids don't strike me as a particularly desirable opponent for pcs in an rpg anyway. 

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The Tyranids always suffer from this. One of my PCs is a 'Nids player on the tabletop and inexplicably want's 'Nids about (My little corner of the Imperium is on the Coreward end of Ultima Segmentum, so could be affected by Kraken, but not Behemoth). I've read all the background concerning it many a tim - like it or not, it's not until Kraken in the 990's.41 that the Tyranids really make thier presence felt. Since the Hive Fleet dates mark the pivotal moment of the war (745 at the Battle of Macragge, 997 Ichar IV and Iyanden etc) I'm prepared to be lenient myself a decade or so in the case of Kraken.

After the back of Kraken was broken, the so-called Splinter fleets did indeed slip past the cordon towards the galactic core, but given the speed at which Hive Fleets move (Agonisingly slowly), this probably doesn't mean they've spread much further than the core (At least until Leviathan attacked across the whole breadth of the galaxy)

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The 'Nids not making a big impact on a galactic scale doesn't mean much at the sector or planetary level.  They'll work just fine as a local menace.  I'm digging the warp gate, a concept dating back to 1st edition but not often put to use.  Vanguard elements of the 'Nid hordes make great enemies for PCs.  It isn't coincidence that genestealers and lictors have already been stated out in Creatures Anathema and they'll continue to useful.  Add in a space hulk, alien ruins, or the possible arrival of additional Tyranid elements if they aren't extinguished and the players have their hands full even if they are Deathwatch.

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Still can't say I'm entirely sold on this.  Especially after reading "The Killing Ground" to get a rough idea what RPing a Space Marine would be like.  But on the other hand, I like the sound of Jericho Reach, meeting the Tau at last, and the openings for Dark Heresy and Rogue Trader characters.

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I like the setting idea, especially since I've been reading the Gaunts Ghost novels for a while, and generally like the 'crusade feel' if they can get that rolling.

The warp gate is an acceptable 'carrot on a stick' for the factions, but it won't feature as much except a rumour in my games most likely. My focus will be on the political impact of the DW in the crusade and around the crusade, as well as on telling epic stories in the 40K universe on a different scale than DH or RT

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Psion said:

Still can't say I'm entirely sold on this.  Especially after reading "The Killing Ground" to get a rough idea what RPing a Space Marine would be like.  But on the other hand, I like the sound of Jericho Reach, meeting the Tau at last, and the openings for Dark Heresy and Rogue Trader characters.

 

Who told you to read that detritus? If you want depth in your Marines, read Rynn's World (Parker, such a good book), the Heresy books, Iron Snakes (Abnett), or maybe some of the short stories in Heroes of the Space Marines. One of them was specifically about a Deathwatch team and it was decently written.

Do NOT read: The Blood Angel series by Swallow, The Ultramarine series by McNeil, or the Deathwatch series by Goto (I think).

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BrotherAtrox said:

Psion said:

 

Still can't say I'm entirely sold on this.  Especially after reading "The Killing Ground" to get a rough idea what RPing a Space Marine would be like.  But on the other hand, I like the sound of Jericho Reach, meeting the Tau at last, and the openings for Dark Heresy and Rogue Trader characters.

 

 

 

Who told you to read that detritus? If you want depth in your Marines, read Rynn's World (Parker, such a good book), the Heresy books, Iron Snakes (Abnett), or maybe some of the short stories in Heroes of the Space Marines. One of them was specifically about a Deathwatch team and it was decently written.

Do NOT read: The Blood Angel series by Swallow, The Ultramarine series by McNeil, or the Deathwatch series by Goto (I think).

BA series do not do the chapter justice, and isn't entirely well written. The second ultramarine novel is acceptable.

I'd advice reading some of the Space Wolf novels for a view of one of the extremer chapters.

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BrotherAtrox said:

Who told you to read that detritus? If you want depth in your Marines, read Rynn's World (Parker, such a good book), the Heresy books, Iron Snakes (Abnett), or maybe some of the short stories in Heroes of the Space Marines. One of them was specifically about a Deathwatch team and it was decently written.

Do NOT read: The Blood Angel series by Swallow, The Ultramarine series by McNeil, or the Deathwatch series by Goto (I think).

The magical ability called random selection.  It's an intensive process involving standing in front of a section of my bookstore, only having one variable (Goto sucks,) and grabbing the first book with a neat cover on it.  And you're right, it does suck.  Only two Space Marines in it for the majority of the story and neither of them had enough characterization for me to keep them straight.

As for the rest, I'll pass.  I still have to read the first Hammer's Slammers omnibus, the last two books in the Vatta's War series, A Hymn Before Battle by John Ringo, and a whole mess of random novels from one author or another.  Don't have the time for more space knights.

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