I'm currently playing in a Deathwatch game, but I'm considering what my next character might be, if my current one sacrifices himself to prevent the release of a ruinous power (as I think might be possible soon).

Given that the rest of the Kill-team are more investigatory than most kill teams, I'm considering bringing in a character from either Rogue trader or Dark Heresy. Either an Inquisitor of Ordo Malleus, seconded to the Ordo Xenos to assist with the problems the kill team is having, or possibly a Rogue Trader, looking for opportunities in the Jericho Reach that they have co-opted to help them get around more easily.

Our Deathwatch characters are all around Rank 4 (so 25,000+ XP). That would mean bringing in either a Rank 12 Dark Heresy Inquisitor or a Rank 7 Rogue Trader.

Obviously both Dark Heresy characters and Rogue Trader characters have much lower starting stats than Deathwatch characters, and even though it is much cheaper for them to raise their stats, they will never be able to raise their most important stats as high as the Battle Brothers. On the other hand, their skills, talents and (in particular) psychic powers are much cheaper, and I have no idea how powerful an ascended Imperial Psyker Inquisitor might be once converted to Deathwatch rules, nor how powerful a Rank 7 Astropath transcendent might be compared to a Rank 4 Librarian.

Even if we discount psyker powers, I wonder if the low cost of talents and skills for Dark Heresy and Rogue Trader characters might give these characters too much of an advantage outside of combat. The final obvious point is even if the Inquisitor/Rogue Trader has power armour, non Space Marines are pretty squishy compared to Space Marines, so I wonder how well they could survive in Space Marine combats, even keeping out of the way.

So, have you tried integrating Dark Heresy and/or Rogue Trader characters into your Deathwatch game, what problems did you have, and how did you solve them?


Aside from purely combat-related problems that aardvark outlined (well, I personally would not place a certain bet on a space marine against an ascended character, and survivability whilst refraining from combat is not an issue) you will have a purely roleplaying one, namely - social interaction.

While the rest of the party are god-like warriors to be feared and all, you also have a human nearby - someone who isn't feared to talk to, and someone who propably will have tons of peer talents to further complicate matters for GM.

  • \$\begingroup\$ Our campaign is actually quite low combat for a DeathWatch game, we prefer investigation and interaction with brief stints at serious overkill, so I don't think that would be much of a problem. *8') \$\endgroup\$ – Mark Booth Sep 21 '11 at 0:47

I've actually done the opposite of this, in that I play a Space Marine in my groups Rogue Trader game. While regular humans are more squishy than your standard Space Marine, the difference isn't all that great. The only bonus the Marine gets is his power armor and Unnatural Toughness. What does help is adjusting the weapons stats around (a bolter is a bolter is a bolter) a little bit to feel more like the tabletop game of 40k. That said, plasma and inferno pistols jump in damage and pen. But the only difference I've found even then is that I tank just a little bit better than our psyker (who has one less wound than me and wears full Rogue Trader power armor). Unless it comes down to melee combat, which a Marine is quite frankly just BETTER than anyone else because of his Unnatural Strength.

But there are some interesting things the GM can use. Space Marines are not well known for subtlety, with few exceptions. Having an Inquisitor or Rogue Trader along means they can handle a lot more social situations than a Battle-Brother can. They're able to ferret out a lot more information than a Marine could ever do.


Deathwatch and Rogue Trader use different psychic power rules to Dark Heresy; there is a half hearted attempt to reconcile them in the core Rogue Trader book but they're still not really compatible. This is probably worth bearing in mind if you're going to bring psyker characters from the Dark Heresy into Deathwatch.

Dark Heresy uses a system derived from Warhammer Fantasy Roleplay. As a brief summary, in order to use a power a psyker rolls a number of dice equal to their psy rating and compares the total to the power's threshold; if the total is equal to or higher than the threshold the power activates.

The Deathwatch system is based on willpower tests against a difficulty set by the psyker, the powers are different and do not have threshold ratings. As a result you would either have to convert Dark Heresy psykers to Deathwatch or carry them over as is and use the two separate psychic systems alongside each other.

Although I did not import any Dark Heresy player-characters into my game I did use some NPCs and I also brought in some NPCs from WFRP. In these cases I stripped out their existing powers and used the closest equivalents -- mechanical or thematic -- under the new psychic system.

  • \$\begingroup\$ I have some experience of Rogue Trader and Dark Heresy that I thought might be useful. I've added a bit of clarification. \$\endgroup\$ – kelvingreen Jul 9 '13 at 16:01
  • \$\begingroup\$ I see. The rules around here seem to have become more strict since I last visited. My intent is to be helpful so I will come back to add some specifics. \$\endgroup\$ – kelvingreen Jul 9 '13 at 18:48

Main Problems:

  1. Squad mode. Non Deathwatch just cant have it. Partialy can be solved by RT crew.
  2. Nonmarines are very-very squishy. Even power armour dont fix this.

If you want nonmarine in marine crew use ascension book. They have enough power to be in rank with marine and someone even have more power with access to inquisition wargear.

  • 1
    \$\begingroup\$ Ah, squad mode, my character spent 12 sessions as our killteams squad leader trying to get them to work as a team - eventually he just gave up. His final act as squad leader was to get drunk, resign and then incite his battle brothers to break into the Space Wolf distillery on Watchstation Erioch and drink it dry. That was a fun session. *8') \$\endgroup\$ – Mark Booth May 3 '11 at 17:10
  • \$\begingroup\$ Hmmm, and 4 months on, we haven't been in Squad mode once since my character was squad leader. When we get back to Watchstation Erioch he is planning to become a Chaplain, then he'll have words with he new Squad Leader about his leadership skills - maybe we will eventually work off our permanent Cohesion penalty. \$\endgroup\$ – Mark Booth Sep 21 '11 at 0:52

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