Deathwatch for Beginners - Specialities - General Information.

I'm going to start briefly with some generic information about how I'm going to format this particular part of the series of articles and then I'll get into the specific specialities later in the week.

An Introduction.
So It's time to look at which career we'd like to pick for our character. 
As I've touched upon in earlier articles the character generation system (if taken strictly in order) generates your characteristics first, followed by Chapter selection and then speciality. This means that strictly speaking you could roll your stats, pick a Chapter that improves those you like and then pick the speciality that your profile would best exploit.
However it's far more likely that you've already decided that you really want to be a Blood Angels Assault Marine or Ultramarines Techmarine or whatever and that's what you'll be playing regardless of your dice rolls. This 2nd method I find makes far more interesting characters as they have often end up with flaws that allow for role-playing rather than have you end up with a 'perfect' starting character which can be quite boring to role-play. For example your Assault Marine might have a low Weapon Skill but shit-loads of Toughness which immediately brings to mind an image of your Marine as a grizzled Veteran who wins combats by just plain refusing to fucking die...


Characteristic Advances.
Everyone's got to be good at something....
Each speciality has their own chart which details just how easy it is for them to increase their particular abilities. These are divided into four levels each of which gives a stat increase of five. These are described as Simple, Intermediate, Trained and Expert and the XP cost goes up each time. In broad terms the skills that are iconic for your character will follow a 200, 500, 1000, 1500 XP progression. Those that are somewhat alien to your archetype follow a 750, 1500, 2000, 5000 progression with the general ones in-between costing 500, 1000, 1500 and finally 2000.
As you can see the system 'encourages' you to increase certain stats over others while still giving you the option to increase those others should you feel so inclined. For simplicity in future articles we'll refer to the various skills as 'Primary', 'Secondary' and Tertiary. For example, A Techmarine's Primary skills are Strength, Toughness and Intelligence with Weapon Skill, Ballistic Skill and Perception being Secondary. Last and apparently also least are Agility, Willpower and Fellowship. It's however worth noting that not all specialities have all of these divisions. I'm personally a big fan of this system as it guides you in the right direction without outright banning you from increasing an unlikely stat if that's what you like*. In the write-ups for each speciality I'll be giving some recommendations on which stats are mandatory and which you can be a bit more flexible with as well as some idea of just how far you need to go with the upgrades.

* Of course your GM might still ban you from doing it...

Standard Equipment.
Cool free stuff.
So each speciality gets the equipment appropriate to his profession. In this section I'll be detailing what equipment they get, what their used for and what other equipment might be useful to get as 'Signature wargear' or to requisition for each mission. In 'background' terms Deathwatch Marines get very little in the way of personal possessions so you'll need to pay XP for the various 'Signature Wargear' upgrades if you want to keep anything different with you for every mission. You don't get many of these as you work through the ranks so the bulk of your 'toys' will be coming from the Deathwatch armoury and I'm afraid the Deathwatch wants them back afterwards. What war-gear you take is entirely up to you but certain choices are optimal.

Starting Skills.
You've done the training course to operate that haven't you?
Certain specialities get Skills and/or Talents for free without needing to pay XP for them. Most of these are pretty obvious as your not going to be much of an Apothecary without the Medicae Skill now are you? We'll look at what you get and how best to utilise them as well as any other abilities that compliment them well.

Special Ability.
You can do WHAT?
Sometimes you'll get a list to choose from and with others you'll just be told what you have been given. In the event that your speciality gets a choice we'll look at what they are, what they do and which are the most useful. If you don't get a choice we'll just look at what they do, lol. At this point I'll mention that just because certain choices are better from the point of view of the games mechanics doesn't make them the only choice....this is a role-playing game after all ;-)

Advance Tables.
But I want my Assault Marine to be a technical expert!!!!!
Bad luck then you should have rolled a Techmarine. There's a wide selection of choices regarding Skills and Talents and it's just plain impossible to earn enough XP to take them all. Certain choices are more optimal than others but it's easy to get caught up in the 'power gaming' frame of mind and neglect the fact that this is an RPG. I'll go through some of the more obvious upgrade choices and tell you which ones are the most useful but like all advice you can ignore it completely and I won't be offended in any way....well not much anyway.....
There is a get-out clause of sorts called 'Elite Advances'. Basically you can take any skill or Talent you like as long as you pay at least 750 XP for it and can justify it to your GM. These sort of upgrades are ENTIRELY up to your GM to approve or refuse and if he's anything like mine the answer will probably be no.....They should also really only be used for character development purposes rather than as an attempt to turn your Techmarine into a close-combat god...

Okay so that's what I'll be doing and how I'll be doing it. If you have any specific questions then you can e-mail me at the address on the right-hand side and I'll see what I can do to help.

For those of you who are interested I'll be starting with the Deathwatch Apothecary ;-)

The rest of the Battle Brothers began to suspect their Apothecary of being a Slaanesh worshipper...
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