Evolution of a Move: “Bag of Grenades”

This post is about a couple of moves in development for the Guardsman revolving around grenades. The Guardsman is meant to be a sort of battle hardened explosives expert veteran, and I wanted him to be able to use grenades in a similar way to Adventuring Gear or Bag of Books in Dungeon World.

This “Bag of Grenades” type move, called Grab Grenade, exists based on the creation of another move: Throw Grenade. This move might go through some more iterations, but here are the first two versions of it I had:

Throw Grenade v1.0

When you prime and throw a grenade, roll+Dex. On a 10+, the grenade lands where you aimed. On a 7-9, the grenade lands near where you aimed for a reduced effect.

While this was serviceable, I decided it would be better to include 7-9 options similar to the ones from Volley. Making choices is fun. Here’s the updated version:

Throw Grenade v1.1

When you prime and throw a grenade, roll+Dex. On a 10+, the grenade lands where you aimed. On a 7-9 choose one:

  • The grenade lands where you aimed but you have to move to make the throw placing you in danger as described by the GM
  • The grenade only lands near where you aimed, for a reduced or dangerous effect as described by the GM

I kept that a 7-9 only lands near your target, but I made it one of two options. I also made it so its effect was either reduced or “dangerous”. I didn’t want to limit GMs to just nerfing the effects of thrown grenades, I wanted them to have other complications. Maybe the Frag Grenade lands near some red oil barrels, which as we all know are explosive. Or maybe the Stun Grenade isn’t thrown far enough and it accidentally blinds one of your party members. There should be lot for GMs to do with that.


Both Grab Grenade and Throw Grenade rely on some key new items, most notably grenades. The other key item is the Grenade Belt, which the Guardsman takes in his starting gear. The Grenade Belt starts with 3 uses, meaning it has 3 grenades in it, and can be refilled through trade or plunder.

Grenade Belt
A belt with several pouches that a Guardsman uses to store grenades.
1 weight, 30 thrones, 3 uses

The stats of the grenades are not done yet, but the general idea of each is already set in the WH40K universe.

Frag Grenade
Deals damage in a blast radius to harm people and creatures.

Smoke Grenade
Covers an area in smoke for a period of time.

Stun Grenade
Emits a loud noise and a bright flash, temporarily disabling or confusing those caught in the blast.

Krak Grenade
Deals damage in a very small radius to puncture armor. They are generally used against vehicle and structures.

Fire Bomb
When the bomb is lit and thrown, the canister breaks on impact and the accelerant inside covers an area in flames.

Melta Bomb
A melta bomb creates a large explosion capable of destroying large vehicles and entire buildings. Melta bombs cannot be thrown.

Those are the basics of the grenades, here’s the first version of the move for getting grenades:

Grab Grenade v1.0

When you search your belt for a suitable grenade roll+Wis. On a 10+ hold 3. On a 7-9 hold 2. On a miss hold 1 in addition to what the GM says. When you spend hold equal to the cost of the grenade, add that grenade to your inventory and expend 1 use of your belt.

  • Krak Grenade, costs 3
  • Melta Bomb, costs 3
  • Frag Grenade, costs 2
  • Fire Bomb, costs 2
  • Stun Grenade, costs 1
  • Smoke Grenade, costs 1

I wanted to cost out the different grenades so that some were more expensive than others, so I gave different hold for your roll and costed out the grenades based on hold. I originally thought this was a good way to make the more exuberant grenades harder to get, but I found it made rolling a 10+ boring when you didn’t want a fancy nade.

Additionally, using two resources for one item was cumbersome. You would both spend hold and mark off a use of your Grenade Belt when you wanted a grenade. This seemed excessive.

The next version of the move did away with the hold, and simply provided different lists of grenades based on your roll. This still makes a 10+ boring when you need something basic, but we aren’t done with the move yet.

Grab Grenade v1.1

When you search your belt for a suitable grenade roll+Wis. Expend one use of your Grenade Belt and choose a grenade to add to your inventory. On a 7-9 choose from this list:

  • Frag Grenade
  • Fire Bomb
  • Stun Grenade
  • Smoke Grenade

On a 10+ the same or you may choose from this list instead:

  • Melta Bomb
  • Krak Grenade

On a miss the GM will offer you a different grenade, or the one you were searching for at a cost.

While this was better, I soured on the idea of more exuberant grenades. I didn’t like the Melta Bomb and Krak Grenade being in their own list. I thought the Melta Bomb was too different from grenades to be in this move, and the Krak Grenade was too similar to be in its own list. The next version of the move dealt away with Melta Bomb and moved the Krak Grenade to the rest of the options. Now I needed something for a 10+. Here’s v1.2

Grab Grenade v1.2

When you search your belt for a suitable grenade roll+Wis. Expend one use of your Grenade Belt and choose a grenade to add to your inventory. On a 7-9 choose from this list:

  • Frag Grenade
  • Fire Bomb
  • Stun Grenade
  • Smoke Grenade
  • Krak Grenade

On a 10+ the same and you also take +1 forward to Throw Grenade.
On a miss the GM will offer you a different grenade, or the one you were searching for at a cost.

This version is better, but I think +1 forward could be more interesting. I’d like to change it to a choice, similar to the option that you get on a 10+ with Hack and Slash that lets you add an extra d6 damage while opening yourself up to attack.

More changes are sure to come, but for now I’m considering these moves good enough to move on to other things.

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