This is my custom Adeptus Astartes Chapter. Essentially they are the biggest kept secret of the Deathwatch.
Daughters of Death
Late in M38, with the increased threat and loss of worlds to Tyranid Hive Fleets, the Omega Vault revealed one of its most provocative and controversial treasures: An ancient Space Marine in Mk. IV Artificer Armor contained in stasis along with samples of its pure gene seed and instructions on the formation of an all-female Space Marine contingent. The Space Marine herself remembered little of her past, perhaps mind wiped or suffering from Amnesia due to long-term stasis sleep. However, the memories she could pull up revealed murky memories of betrayal and millions of Astartes losing their lives at the hand of a great betrayer.
Why Was the Chapter Founded:
Increased hostilities in the Jericho Reach, including the coming of Tyranid Hive Fleets and Warp Anomalies, resulted in the opening of one of the vaults many mysterious chambers. Inside was a lone Space Marine in stasis and pure samples of gene seed from one of the Lost Primarchs with clear instructions for Imperial Biogeneticists and Cybergeneticists to create a unique Space Marine Chapter composed entirely of females. The implications that one or both of the Lost Primarchs was female sent ripples through the highest echelons of the Imperial Hierarchy, all the way up to the High Lords of Terra themselves. Arguments and schisms erupted over what to do with the new information and the Space Marine herself. Some argued that all evidence must be purged completely, while others argued that this information must be circulated - if not through the Imperium at large then at least through the other Astartes Chapters. A minority of the voices made the case that this was proof of the Emperor's plan to unite all of humanity, not just males, with male and female Astartes leading the way. At long last a compromise was made and it was decided that a small contingent of female Space Marines would be maintained at all times within Watch Fortress Erioch as a permanent fixture of the Ordo Xenos`s Deathwatch. It then became the duty of all high ranking Xenos Inquisitors to keep an eye out for suitable female candidates for Astartes conversion while they visited various systems and planets within the Imperium. Of the key conditions for candidacy, purity of the mind, body and soul is paramount. The Daughters have an extremely pure gene seed, and maintaining this purity is of their highest priorities.
When Was the Chapter Founded:
Early in M39, the Deathwatch chose to retain a force of Adeptus Astartes as per the Watch Commander’s interpretation of the Omega Vault’s instruction. The force would be much smaller than full Chapter strength, but strong enough to be fielded within various Kill-Teams at any given time within the Jericho Reach (and outside of it if the need was great enough). These Battle-Sisters would train extensively in the art of Xenos-warfare and remain as a highly guarded secret; those that serve alongside them are required to take oaths of secrecy upon learning of their existence. Breaking this Oath is not only a stain of honor upon the Marine and his Chapter, but it has been said that the Ordo Xenos will take any steps necessary to ensure the existence of the Daughters is kept confined to the Deathwatch.
No information available. The Daughters of Death do not know of their origins or even of who their Primarch was, although whispers and rumors postulate that it was one of the two Lost Primarchs, and that at least one of the Lost Primarchs if not both were female. Due to the fact that their gene seed was pure before going into stasis, the Daughters of Death suffer no genetic deficiencies.
"Individual." The Daughter is determined to earn honor by her own deeds, and not those of heroes long dead. While she venerates her unknown Primarch, the Emperor and her Mother Chapter Master, she knows that only her actions alone can bring honor to the Daughters of Death, the Deathwatch and the Emperor himself. She maintains the philosophy that guided by the Emperor’s hand, she shall make her own fate. Daughters of Death hold the purity of their gene seed, and by extension the purity of their minds, bodies and souls in extremely high regard. Because of this they suffer not any to live who would sully the purity of humankind. They show an unnatural fury towards Xenos lifeforms and make attempts to eradicate mutation and heresy wherever they may find it. This seemingly obsessiveness with purity often puts them at odds with other members of Astartes whose Chapter’s gene-seed may not be as stable as their own. They have a particular hatred for the Chaos God Nurgle and those who follow him.
"Sisters in Battle." The Battle-Sisters of the Daughters of Death Chapter contain an unusually high number of Apothecaries among their ranks. This is partly the result of the training handed down from the first Mother Chapter Master that continues to be ingrained into all new recruits, and also because of the Chapter’s obsessive tendencies regarding the recovery of their gene-seed. In order to maintain the purity of their Chapter, they take no chances and are willing to sacrifice themselves willingly in order to prevent the loss or contamination of their gene-seed. There is nothing that a Battle Sister would not do for her fellow Astartes as well, often leaving any differences she may have aside during battle and sacrificing her own well being to save a fellow Astartes. The care they show for their own gene-seed extends to the Battle Brother’s in a Daughter of Death’s kill team as well.
Codex Primarch's Curse:
Although their Primarch is unknown to them, the Daughters of Death still feel the effects of its curse when their spiritual or mental stability begins to falter. Often times when their minds and spirits have been damaged badly enough, their natural inclination to be healers and Apothecaries manifests itself into reckless disregard for their own safety.
Name: Blood of my Blood.
Level 1 (I Feel Your Pain): The Marine takes every wound to her Battle-Brothers and Sisters as a personal failing on her part. If a particular wound is serious enough and a member of the Kill-Team has been reduced to 5 or fewer wounds, she will make treating that Astartes her top priority.
Level 2 (Everything for Everyone and Nothing for Myself): The Battle-Sister no longer administers to her own wounds if other members of the team are injured, fearing that she may use up lifesaving medicines on herself that could potentially save others. When a member of the Kill-Team has been reduced to 10 or fewer wounds, she will make treating that Astartes her top priority. She will only consider healing herself if all allies have been administered to and no threat or danger is present or near.
Level 3 (Reckless Abandon): The Battle-Sister no longer cares for her own well-being. She will put herself willingly in the way of enemy fire to save an ally's life or pull them from harm. She will no longer consider healing herself and may only consider seeking treatment long after the mission has been completed and her allies have been properly cared for. When a member of the Kill-Team is reduced to 15 or fewer wounds, she will cease fighting in order to treat her injured allies.
Gene Stock Purity:
A New Generation – Free of degradation; absolutely pure. Such Chapters often go on to define their own traditions and write their own histories, looking forward to the future more than back to the past. While they are free of corruption, the Battle-Sisters of the Chapter may be shunned, should their brethren outside of the Deathwatch learn of their true nature.
Gene Seed Deficiencies:
"We Stand Alone." Because of their unique existence and focus on secrecy in all manners of dealings with other Imperial bodies, the Daughters of Death often find themselves untrusting and leery of those outside of the Deathwatch. During the times when they are forced to work alongside other Imperial Forces, every effort is made to hide their identities; they will refer to one another as “Brother,” maintain full armor, and take more extreme measures if need be to silence those who would make their existence common knowledge.
First Mother, Chapter Master and Apothecary Primaris Joana Jovich: The enigmatic and mysterious founder of the Chapter is an object of myth as much as she is a living hero. Revealed in a stasis tube with little to no memories of her past, her existence secured the creation and propagation of the Daughters of Death. It is said that when she awoke and was subsequently questioned by Inquisitors and the Watch Commander himself, she could give no details of her life before awakening. Her memories were vague and murky at best. However, she did feel a compelling loss. When it was declared that she was not a threat to the Imperium, she was debriefed as thoroughly as possible into the current state of affairs. Not able to comprehend the full complexity of the information she was given, she locked herself in meditation in her chambers for two weeks without food or human contact. While she was granted limited visions from the Emperor, they provided more questions than answers. One thing she knew for certain was that she had slept while thousands upon thousands of her original legion fought and died. Knowing that she was the last of an all but extinct legion of Astartes, she took a vow of silence and embarked upon a fifty year crusade of the Jericho Reach, attached to various Imperial elements in the region. For fifty years she fought continuous battles against the enemies of the Imperium, marking the Xenos and the mutant as the prime targets of her wrath and penance. It is not known, but exactly fifty years after her departure, she returned to Watch Fortress Erioch, no longer bound by silence. She learned that in her absence a new Chapter of Space Marine was being cultivated at the Watch Fortress and that they were directly descended from her genetic material. Assuming the title of First Mother and Chapter Master/Apothecary Primaris, Joan oversaw the training and outfitting of the first batch of Daughters personally.
For centuries, Joan led her Daughters of Death on various missions throughout the Jericho Reach – cleansing Xenos infestation, heretical cults and Chaos incursion alike. With flame, bolt and sword, the Joan led by example, earning much glory and honor for her small Chapter. Joan was ultimately lost after clearing the Space Hulk Despair’s Champion with three Kill-Teams of Daughters of Death under the direction of Inquisitor Traxius of the Ordo Xenos. As the ship’s infernal engines began priming for a Warp jump, Joan secured her teams in exit-torpedos, launching each of them into the Void personally before retreating back into the Space Hulk to recover the lost Inquisitor Traxius. Joan’s exit torpedo never launched, and those under her command watched helplessly as Despair’s Champion made its fatal jump into the Warp. It is said that the Daughters of Death await the final days when the Despair’s Champion will resurface; it will be during this time that their First Mother will lead them all to victory with the Emperor at her side.
Joan went into battle in a full suit of Artificer Mk. IV plate. She wielded an ancient Power Spear named “Chaos Bane” and carried an arm mounted storm bolter on her left arm. On her right arm she wore the traditional Apothecary tools. After her disappearance, the Forge Master of the Watch Fortress presented the new Chapter Master with an identical suit of Mk. IV plate, commissioned in the rare instance that Joan’s armor was damaged beyond repair.
Those few who have served after her have retained the simultaneous position of 'Chapter Master' and Chief Apothecary.
Chapter Master Mariana Cleara: Current Chapter Master and Chief Apothecary, Battle-Sister Mariana Cleara serves the Deathwatch as a trusted adviser and councilor to the Watch Commander. She has seen many varied engagements within the Jericho Reach, and is a force to be reckoned with when deployed. Few enemies are powerful enough to stand against her and many foes have paid the ultimate price for underestimating her abilities. In battle she carries the ancient power sword handed down from Joan De’Ark herself, affectionately named "Death's Whisper" for both the lack of noise its power field emits and the hushed awe it creates when unsheathed. On her hip is a master crafted melta gun that has felled multitudes of Xenos and Chaos monstrosities alike. On her opposite hip, hanging from a long adamantine chain is the “Book of the Daughters” which contains all of the deeds and names of every Daughter to ever serve and die within the Deathwatch. They say the psychic energy of all the Sisters immortalized within provide extra protection for Master Mariana during battle.
As destructive as she is on the battlefield, Mariana displays an almost matronly quality in regards to her Battle-sisters; she personally oversees the creation of each new Daughter of Death, carefully monitoring their vital signs and easing their transitions from human beings into mighty Adeptus Astartes. She never leaves the sides of those few whose bodies reject the genetic implants and personally grants them the Emperor's Peace - each loss carried personally on her shoulders and turned into a fuel to ignite against the enemies of the Imperium.
Her Power Armor is an ancient suit of beautifully maintained Mk. IV Plate, handed down through the Chapter Masters from the first mother herself. Master crafted, the suit of armor is naturally black ceramite with black and silver adamantine inlays. In the center of the plate is an incredibly intricate carving of a broken black heart being coiled by two snakes. She is one of a select few Daughters of Death to display only one Deathwatch shoulder Pauldron (most other Battle Sisters don identical Deathwatch Shoulder Pauldrons on each arm); her right shoulder pauldron is a depiction of a bowed angel's head, two hands clasped together in prayer. Her helmet is crafted elegantly in the visage of an emotionless face, androgynous in sex yet beautiful and terrifying at the same time.
Her eyes are a piercing blue and her hair is as black as her armor. She has a smooth creamy complexion, with a proud nose and high cheek bones. Most would consider her beautiful if they weren't terrified of the raw power she exudes. She stands tall at 7'3" and exhibits an air of authority that few could fail to appreciate. She is calm and calculating, always choosing her words before she speaks and as a result has made many friends within the Deathwatch. It is unknown how old she is, but given her battle experience and command presence, it is postulated that Mariana had given four centuries of service to the Deathwatch before her ascension to Chapter Master.
None. The Chapter uses Watch Station Erioch as its Fortress Monastery and is much smaller than a Codex Astartes compliant Chapter. As they are less a chapter than they are a small maintained fighting force overseen by the Ordo Xenos, the Daughters of Death rely on Ordo Xenos Inquisitors to bring back fresh recruits from the various worlds and planetary systems they come into contact with. Thus, philosophical and cultural beliefs may differ among Battle-Sisters of the Daughters of Death as much as they may between separate Space Marine Chapters.
"Unique Organization." Since the Daughters of Death are not a traditional Astartes Chapter, they do not, and because of their numbers cannot, adhere to the letter of the Codex Astartes. Much more akin to the specialist Grey Knights, the Daughters of Death do not comprise of companies, nor do they come close to the Codex approved 1,000 Astartes. They are versatile and trained to fight in any environment and situation, adapting as combat may change. They have no favored "style" of fighting and will use whatever is at their disposal to destroy the enemy. Some more fanatical/puritanical Daughters choose to exemplify terror when putting down their enemies. More than one potential rebellion has been put down by the appearance of a single Daughter of Death in full battle regalia casting promises of destruction and sermons from the Emperor over her Vox unit They are often loath to unnecessarily sacrifice any Imperial forces, especially themselves or other Astartes, but have been known to do so under the most dire of circumstances and only at the behest of those who are to be lost..
Daughters of Death Characters:
As a result of the natural inclination for Daughters to become Apothecaries, all Daughters of Death characters start with Medicae as a trained skill; those who choose to become Apothecaries may roll an additional 1d5 when healing members of her Kill Team. Another effect of living and operating exclusively within the confines of Watch Fortress Erioch has given the Daughters access to the many libraries and hypno-learning stations within the Fortress, as well as training in a multitude of Xenos-based fighting tactics. As a result, all Daughters characters start with +5 Intelligence and +5 Willpower and the Hatred (xenos - pick one) talent OR the Hatred (mutant) talent.
Daughters of Death also start with the "Natural and Adaptive" Solo Mode Ability. Pick one skill; at rank 1, the Daughter of Death may re-roll failed tests with this skill and the Medicae skill. At rank 4, the Daughter of Death gains +10 to all tests with this skill and the Medicae skill. At rank 8, the Daughter of Death gains a bonus degree of success.
Daughters of Death characters may choose to have a new suit of Mk. VIII Armor instead of the much more common older sets. However, because these suits are not ancient, the player may not choose a Power Armor history for the suit.
Daughters of Death Squad Mode Abilities:
Name: Oath of Vengeance; Action: Free Action; Cost: 1; Sustained: No. When any member of the Kill Team suffers damage, the character receives a +4 bonus to Damage Rolls against the Attacker. At rank 5, this ability may be sustained.
Name: Only in Death; Action: Free Action; Cost: 3; Sustained: Yes. Daughters of Death are tenacious in their ability to stave off the effects of damage that would kill lesser beings. Through a mixture of medical expertise and stimulant use, the Daughters and those around them ignore the most grievous of their wounds. When active, the Space Marine and those within support range ignore the effects of any critical damage that would not kill them. Once this ability ends they suffer the full effects of any critical damage they may have received.
"You give up your humanity that the citizens of the Imperium may keep theirs. Pity or despise them, but never expect them to understand."
The Daughters of Death are recruited from a number of various worlds and as such bring much of their original cultures with them. They do, however, conform to a stringent belief that the Emperor is above all. He created the Primarchs in his own image, male and female alike. It is only because of the Emperor that their existence is possible. Belief in the Emperor as a deity is up to the individual Battle-Sister and a product of where they were from, how they were raised, and what they believe after being inducted into the Adeptus Astartes, but more often than not he is worshipped as divine. They are quick to denounce the Xenos and Warp entities as obvious opponents to the glory of humanity's galactic empire and can find themselves at odds with Imperial Institutions as well: the Ecclesiarchy especially. For some, their humanitarian inclinations towards healing extend to all of humanity, for others, their healing grace is reserved for fellow Astartes only - such is the extent of a chapter with so few, yet so varied individuals.
Under Strength. As their only designation at the moment, as agreed upon by the High Lords of Terra, is to supplement Kill-Teams with extra fire power, the Daughters of Death maintain a strength of around 200-250 Space Marines at any given time. They often operate in Kill-Teams of other Daughters with a Watch Captain accompanying then should they need it. When the need arises, Battle-Sisters may be selected to serve in various other Deathwatch Kill Teams as necessary.
"Onward, Sisters! For Glory, For Joana, For the Emperor!"
The Daughters of Death wear no personal chapter heraldry. Instead, they wear two identical Deathwatch Shoulder Pauldrons on each arm. If a Sister gains particular renown, it is not unknown for their right pauldron to be removed and replaced by a custom fitting depicting something dear to that particular Sister or a specific enemy bested. Chapter Commander and Chief Apothecary Mariana Cleo is an example of such a case, with a likeness of an angel in prayer adorning her right shoulder pauldron. Other notable designs have been mythological beasts from the Sister's homeworld or visages of the Emperor himself.
As permanent members of the Deathwatch, the Daughters of Death have no livery to speak of. Their armor is jet black, as are their helmets. Their shoulder pauldrons and left arms are always completely silver, just as all Deathwatch. Their Apothecaries, however, bear one solid white line down the middle of their helmets, and a pair of white twisted snaked on their right knee pad. They may also take a white stud on their chest armor for every century of service.
Chapter Advance Table:
Xenos Bane (pg. 42, RoB). Trained extensively in the art of Xenos hunting, the Daughters of Death excel at purging the galaxy of the most vile alien threats to humanity.