Beginners Guide to Deathwatch - Part 4 - Deathwatch Apothecary.

Lets go with an age old system and go through these in Alphabetical order. Apothecary first then and I'll be using the system detailed here to do it,

Deathwatch Apothecary - An Overview.
As expected the Apothecary is the member of your kill-team who patches you up when the dangerous world of 40K role-playing decides to bite you, shoot you, explode around you or otherwise subject you to some event that lowers your Wounds total in some way.

Though each Speciality has it's own role to play, the Apothecary is pretty much essential. Whereas some skills can be attempted by anybody (classed as Basic in game terms) albeit at a penalty, due to the way that Skills work in Deathwatch only those trained in any Skill classed as 'Advanced' can actually attempt to use it at all. Basically this means that even a guy who's never exercised in his life could attempt to jump across a hole in the ground but would be unable to perform brain surgery without the necessary training. The relevant Skill in this case is called 'Medicae' and an Apothecary gets it for free whereas any other Marine would be unable to gain it until Rank 7 (ridiculously high in Deathwatch terms).

If your team doesn't have an Apothecary your going to be in serious trouble should your team get badly hurt in a combat engagement of any kind.

Characteristic Advances.
The Apothecaries primary skills are Weapon Skill, Intelligence and Perception. Of these the most important is Intelligence as it directly effects Medicae. The other two have obvious uses but none of these are important to the Apothecaries primary function.
Ballistic Skill, Strength, Toughness, Agility, Willpower and Fellowship. So basically everything else then...As you can see there's great scope for shaping your Apothecary into a wide variety of secondary areas of expertise as the ability to heal others can be enhanced relatively easily and early on in your career path.
None. Apparently Deathwatch Apothecaries are very well rounded individuals, lol.

If your Intelligence score is below average then you should use your one re-roll at character creation to attempt to improve it if at all possible.

Standard Equipment.
Astartes Power Armour, Astartes Bolt Pistol, Frag Grenades (3), Krak grenades (3), Astartes Combat Knife, Repair Cement and one Chapter Trapping. All Deathwatch Marines get these but I've listed them here just so you don't forget about them.

Additionally an Apothecary gets the following,

Astartes Bolter with Fire Selector.
The signature weapon of a Space Marine as I'm sure you all know. The Fire Selector allows you to switch between up to three different ammo types as a 'Free Action'* and is fitted to Deathwatch Bolters for free.

* In game terms this basically means you can do it so quickly that it doesn't impact on your ability to perform other actions that turn.

This allows an Apothecary to retrieve the Progenoid glands (or Gene-seed as it's also known) from a dead Battle Brother. Though he could still extract the glands without it, the Reductor reduces the time needed considerably (down to a single turn per gland). It can also be used as a melee weapon that doesn't do a great deal of damage but has an excellent 'Penetration' rating so will punch straight through most standard Power Armour (which is sort of the point, I suppose). Progenoid retrieval is extremely important in game terms as it gives some bonus's to the stats at the character creation stage when you build a new character to replace the one that 'died'. This is another reason why the Apothecary is an essential part of any kill-team.


The 'Tool of the Trade' for any Apothecary worthy of the name. In rules terms this device adds +20 to Medicae tests when used on a Space Marine patient, raises the threshold at which a patient is considered Lightly damaged** and doubles the amount of damage healed by first aid. It also can contain up to ten doses of any one drug, but this drug (if any) must be requisitioned separately.

** Briefly then...A lightly damaged character can be healed by more than a heavily damaged one. The Narthecium raises the threshold of Lightly Damaged to three times the characters Toughness bonus rather than two times.

You may also want to requisition yourself a Diagnostor Helmet (15 Requisition) as it gives a further +10 bonus to Medicae. As it's below 20 Requisition you could also take it as Signature Wargear so you don't have to requisition one from the armoury before every mission.

Starting Skills.
Well what were you expecting, lol. This means you can heal people.....without it you can't.....It's that simple.

Performing 'First Aid' on a subject involves rolling against your Medicae score which as a starting character will be you your base Intelligence (40 is average) added to the +20 bonus from your Narthecium (detailed above). If you roll below this score (60 in this example) each of your subjects wounds suffered will be healed by the Apothecaries Intelligence bonus (which would be 4 in this example).

Example: Brother Tripsalot has suffered several different wounds in a recent encounter with something or other scary and is considerably below his starting total of 20 (for the sake of this example). He has taken 3, 7 and 5 Wounds of damage respectively and has asked his teams Apothecary to patch him up. Brother Sawbones has an Intelligence Score of 45 so (but for some reason has left his Narthecium at home) needs to roll under 45 in order to successfully heal his Battle Brother. Sawbones rolls a conveniently below average 40 and so therefore succeeds on his test. With his intelligence bonus of 4 (the first digit of his Intelligence score) he heals 4 wounds to each separate injury. So the 3 damage is healed completely and the other two lots of wounds are reduced to 3 and 1 respectively. Brother Tripsalot is now restored to a more respectable total of 16 and marks this on his character sheet. The 4 wounds total that were not healed are still classed as 'treated' and can not be healed further until extended medical care can be obtained. If he had his Narthecium then he would have needed to roll 65 or under (due to the +20 it gives him to his Medicae score) and would have been able to double the amount healed from 4 to 8 therefore completely restoring Brother Tripsalot to full health.

Special Ability.
You get a selection of three but you can only pick one so choose wisely.

Guardian of Purity.
As long as the Apothecary has access to his Narthecium any Corruption points picked up by him or his team are reduced by 2 (to a minimum of 1). I'd personally only pick this ability if I had an extremely strong role-playing reason for doing it as it's (in game terms at least) the least generically useful.

Create Toxins.
If you can get a tissue sample of a specific race you can manufacture a poison specifically to poison that enemy type. This takes an hour of game time and adds the Toxic quality to the kill-teams weapons for a number of rounds equal to the Apothecaries Intelligence Bonus. This ability isn't bad but as with 'Guardian of Purity' detailed above I'd only take it for role-playing purposes because of...

Enhance Healing.
On a successful Medicae test for First Aid you heal an additional 1d5 Wounds. This is the one that most players should take as it's the most generally useful.

Advance Tables.
As you'd expect, the Apothecaries advance tables deal primarily with the use of chemicals and drugs (Chem-use), bodily enhancements (Resistances, Hardy) and also Interrogation. What you take will depend entirely on how you perceive your Marine's character to be. Fortunately most of the Apothecaries upgrades are pretty obvious in purpose.

Some General Advice.
Re-roll your Intelligence score if it's particularly bad, upgrade your Intelligence score with experience points as a priority and take Enhanced Healing as your Special Ability and your basic duties should be easy to accomplish. What else you wish your character to be good (or bad) at is entirely up to you ;-)

Well I hope that was of some help. Next time we'll look at Assault Marines.....

Thoughts and comments are (as usual) most welcome.
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