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Polaria

Deathwatch infighting

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Okay, if you are a player in my campaign (you know if you are) STOP READING RIGHT NOW!

 

 

 

 

With that disclaimer out of the way I've been planning on a mission where the Kill Team would come under situation where they have to open fire on another Deatwatch Kill Team. Basically the idea is that Deathwatch and Inquisition have, perhaps unknowingly, given conflicting orders on certain target with one side set to protect the target and other side set to destroy it. Since the attacking side should have no reason NOT to open fire on anything big, black and moving it will probably turn into a firefight between the two Kill Teams at least untill they can identify each other.

Now I want some ideas on the aftermath… Since having two Deathwatch Kill Teams purposefully shooting at each other is rather bad PR and admitting that the top dogs (Deathwatch Watch Commander and Inquisition) aren't agreeing on how to pursue the war is even worse what would be done to sweep the incident under rug?

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 I was planning something similar, but cuts forced me to pull it.  

Inquisitors go up against each other all the time.  If your guys were ordered by someone more radical then they'll be in trouble - if not, then the other KT will be.  

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Identifying the targets before engagement is pretty standard procedure even for zealous Space Marines. As a player, I'd be opposed to anything that forced me into taking action rashly just to follow the railroad tracks.

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HappyDaze said:

Identifying the targets before engagement is pretty standard procedure even for zealous Space Marines. As a player, I'd be opposed to anything that forced me into taking action rashly just to follow the railroad tracks.

There is a good chance that the players will not open fire right away when they are being shot at. However, there is an equally good chance that they will. I'm not forcing them to do anything but usually when I describe a situation where they see a large figure in dark power armour firing at them with aboltgun they won't start to yell "traitor or loyalist?" before they shoot back.

Now the catch is that in this case there is no Inquisitor vs Inquisitor, conservatist vs radical, lines to be drawn. Its basically that Watch Commander has ordered destruction of one target (because he thinks its too late to save it from falling into enemy hands) while Ordo Xenos Inquisitor has ordered to protect the same target from being destroyed or falling into enemy hands (because he still thinks it can be saved). The target in question is Imperial property and both sides have a good reason to believe they have made the right call so you can't really start to point fingers "he is a Radical" or anything like that…

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 Right - in that case it's more cool.  Uh, penalties would vary, but firing on another SM without good reason (they're shouting 'Blood for the Blood God' for instance) should cause an instant renown hit and possibly some form of insanity penalty when they find out what they've done (SMs are hardwired not to do **** like this).  

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AlphariusOmegon7 said:

 Right - in that case it's more cool.  Uh, penalties would vary, but firing on another SM without good reason (they're shouting 'Blood for the Blood God' for instance) should cause an instant renown hit and possibly some form of insanity penalty when they find out what they've done (SMs are hardwired not to do **** like this).  

I'm not keen on giving renown penalties over this, since the Kill Team might actually be doing exactly what their mission is and the other Kill Team might actually be trying to foil their mission. Insanity is surely in order, though. My Kill Team has actually opened fire on supposedly loyalist chapter before (in self-defence, yes, but still) and that time they took insanity points from it.

However, the thing I'm thinking here is if we assume that the insident is mostly caused by the superiors (Watch Captain, Watch Commander, Inquisitors…) messing their thing up, what would be done to cover up the insident? Would it be enough from the Watch Commander to simply state the sad facts "this happened, war is such" and ask the Kill Team to forget what they witnessed? Or would they resort to mindwipes? Or is it enough if the Watch Commander simply decides to silence the issue by ignoring it altogether, never discussing and dispoing all records of it ever happening?

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Polaria said:

AlphariusOmegon7 said:

 

 Right - in that case it's more cool.  Uh, penalties would vary, but firing on another SM without good reason (they're shouting 'Blood for the Blood God' for instance) should cause an instant renown hit and possibly some form of insanity penalty when they find out what they've done (SMs are hardwired not to do **** like this).  

 

 

I'm not keen on giving renown penalties over this, since the Kill Team might actually be doing exactly what their mission is and the other Kill Team might actually be trying to foil their mission. Insanity is surely in order, though. My Kill Team has actually opened fire on supposedly loyalist chapter before (in self-defence, yes, but still) and that time they took insanity points from it.

However, the thing I'm thinking here is if we assume that the insident is mostly caused by the superiors (Watch Captain, Watch Commander, Inquisitors…) messing their thing up, what would be done to cover up the insident? Would it be enough from the Watch Commander to simply state the sad facts "this happened, war is such" and ask the Kill Team to forget what they witnessed? Or would they resort to mindwipes? Or is it enough if the Watch Commander simply decides to silence the issue by ignoring it altogether, never discussing and dispoing all records of it ever happening?

Why a coverup? The Deathwatch really doesn't answer to anyone. There's no one they have to keep it from. If Crusade forces wonder what happened, they meet the silent wall of the Space Marines/Inquisition, because they don't need to know. Many things a Kill Team is sent to do they are prior sworn to secrecy, so they wouldn't really need to speak of it, and if both groups survive, and later go on to meet again, it's as likely they will just say "we were following orders", that's also something Space Marines are programmed for. While they certainly aren't so dim as to be point-and-sick drones, stuff like the Dawn of War games shows that they'll doggedly fight other forces of the Imperium, or even each other, if the orders dictate they must, and they won't hesitate, just because the enemy used to be/could still be friendlies.

As for whose going to have trouble, that's up to the Watch Commander and Inquisitors. In the current iteration, Space Marines have nigh carte blanche authority to tell the Inquisition to kiss off, and I often feel they are now included in the DW mostly as a tack on/courtesy, because they can mostly be ignored by the Adeptus Astartes, unless the Inquisitors REALLY want to start a pissing match, and it's one they're better off not participating in (luckily, the great Marines have just as little power over the Inquisitors, so they usually feel mutually respected). On that note, I doubt any Space Marines are sent on missions the Watch Commander doesn't know about, and their orders should come from him. I'm not entirely sure how an Inquisitor would get his team of Space Marines in, without the WC knowing, and with conflicting orders.

I could be just looking at this too narrowly, of course, and if you can find a fun way to make it work, all power to you.

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venkelos said:

As for whose going to have trouble, that's up to the Watch Commander and Inquisitors. In the current iteration, Space Marines have nigh carte blanche authority to tell the Inquisition to kiss off, and I often feel they are now included in the DW mostly as a tack on/courtesy, because they can mostly be ignored by the Adeptus Astartes, unless the Inquisitors REALLY want to start a pissing match, and it's one they're better off not participating in (luckily, the great Marines have just as little power over the Inquisitors, so they usually feel mutually respected). On that note, I doubt any Space Marines are sent on missions the Watch Commander doesn't know about, and their orders should come from him. I'm not entirely sure how an Inquisitor would get his team of Space Marines in, without the WC knowing, and with conflicting orders.

I could be just looking at this too narrowly, of course, and if you can find a fun way to make it work, all power to you.

 

I don't think its very difficult for the WC to not know what every single KT under his watch is doing right now or what their exact mission they are on. The Watch Commander probably handled the big picture and leaves the details to the Watch Captain and the KT. And while the commander no doubt wants to be informed on what's going on, I would suspect that a good Captain would be able to blind the commander to a mission or two without to much difficulty. Or maybe I'm underestimating how much knowledge the Commander really has.

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Okay, its worth explaining a bit on how the Deathwatch works in the games I run:

Watch Commander is the supreme head of the Deathwatch Jericho Reach. Theoretically he controls everything and is responsible for everything. However, he is just one man. This means that much of his time is spent liaising with the Inquisition, Imperial Guard, Imperial Navy, Space Marine Chapters, Administratum, Officio Assassinorum, Planetary Governors and dozens of other organizations. In addition to this he controls the resources. He makes the decisions on how many Kill Teams, Kill Marines and Kill Ships are assigned to each "operational direction". He also approves all requests for really expensive or uniques resources like Land Raiders, ships, relic weapons, terminator armour and so on. He does not have time to check each and every mission. Thats what Watch Captains are for.

Watch Captains are assigned a number of Kill Teams (usually one, but sometimes as many as three). They might be assigned an "operational direction" to work on, or be in general rapid reaction duty, working anywhere the Deathwatch is needed. Watch Captains take in all the hundreds of warnings, pieces of intelligence and request for help that arrive through the Imperial organizations and the Deathwatch Kill Teams. They sift through all this stuff, prioritize and make them into Mission Requests. He is basically responsible for checking all the facts. Prepared Mission Requests are sent to Kill Team to handle. Unless Watch Captain or Watch Commander says otherwise the Kill Team will handle all the Mission Requests they are given as soon as they can. In my games they are usually flooded with Mission Requests so they simply can't handle all. They pick what they think they can do and everything else is put on back log to be handled by other Kill Teams or sent back to the organization requesting it with a polite "Sorry, but we cannot help you at this time" -letter.

Once the Kill Team takes on a mission they are supervised by the organization that requested the Mission. This is either Deathwatch (if the mission was requested by Deathwatch) or Inquisition (if the mission was requested by someone else). But mostly they are veteran marines of hundreds of battles and they are trusted so they are pretty much given a free rein to complete the mission how they choose.

Now the catch is that Watch Commander and Watch Captain are continously overtasked with the sheer amount of information coming in that they cannot always keep an eye on the Kill Teams. The whole Deathwatch is so overtasked that it is working hand-to-mouth, day-to-day trying to juggle all the problems and is in the brink of cracking under the load. And when that happens, things fall through the cracks… 

* * *

Now, as for "why the coverup?"

Well, Watch Captains were the guys that made the mistakes by letting these things slip through. But if the original requests for assistance came, for example from Inquisition and Adeptus Mechanicus, then it is the Watch Commanders best interest not to tell them just piss off. Yes, he has the authority and the power to do so, but he wasn't put into the position of a Watch Commander so that he can swing his **** around and make everybody hate him right away. Quite the opposite. He was chosen because in addition to being a brilliant military commander he can navigate his way in Imperial politics and make sure that Deathwatch will continue to get the best support from people like Inquisition and Adeptus Mechanicus. Marching right in and saying "You f***ers are fighting each other and involving us in it. Piss off now or I'll shoot you" won't make that happen. Instead it will make **** sure the Inquisitor offended will start to hold back important intelligence and the Adeptus Mechanicus Magos involved will stall the Deathwatch ship repairs behind the curtains.

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Polaria said:

I'm not keen on giving renown penalties over this, since the Kill Team might actually be doing exactly what their mission is and the other Kill Team might actually be trying to foil their mission. Insanity is surely in order, though. My Kill Team has actually opened fire on supposedly loyalist chapter before (in self-defence, yes, but still) and that time they took insanity points from it.

However, the thing I'm thinking here is if we assume that the insident is mostly caused by the superiors (Watch Captain, Watch Commander, Inquisitors…) messing their thing up, what would be done to cover up the insident? Would it be enough from the Watch Commander to simply state the sad facts "this happened, war is such" and ask the Kill Team to forget what they witnessed? Or would they resort to mindwipes? Or is it enough if the Watch Commander simply decides to silence the issue by ignoring it altogether, never discussing and dispoing all records of it ever happening?

Which would be the most entertaining for your group? Which will get them the most keen to go, "We gotta do something about this!"?

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Some points:

1. Deathwatch marines have a common set of training and are used to fighting alongside other Deathwatch marines. Unless one killteam is going out of its way to disguise their body language, attack patterns and physical form, it is going to become apparent pretty quickly that each side is facing fellow Deathwatch marines. What the sides do with this information is up to them, but the reaction may well be something different than "oh well, may as well kill them all". Incapacitation, communication and trickery are all possible.

2. The watch commander and watch captains certainly have incentive to not outright deny their allies. The key word being "outright". The Deathwatch are nothing if not inventive and sneaky. One killteam could easily be given plausible but flawed intelligence while the other achieves its mission. Of course, this itself could go wrong.

3. A loyalist marine who realises that he has killed a fellow loyalist should be in for insanity points, worse if he did nothing to avert that outcome.

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Im not sure what would needed to become hidden in this case, that 2 kill teams ended up on opposite sides of a mission? Im also not sure who would want to hide it.

But i guess every team have to make a report of the events that happened, and whoever wants to hide something could attempt to stall these reports reaching the watch commander. Maybe if its really bad they could make a false report and get that report to the commander while stealing the original and then destroy it. Then convince the marines in question to never speak of this mission again because it would damage the trust between battlebrothers on the station.

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