Notes and Changes from Play Tests

Both of the groups I have play tested with and written about previously have played through the rest of what I had prepped for the Shattered Hope mission. I took notes throughout both sessions and have made a few minor changes. Below you’ll find my notes and any relevant changes.

Grab Grenade and Explosives Expert
Rolling for both grab grenade and then throw grenade or explosives expert is cumbersome
+1 to Throw Grenade OR Explosives Expert

The first problem here is for the Guardsman when it comes to grabbing a grenade and chucking it at someone. Having to roll both to grab and to throw is a little cumbersome, but I’m not sure of a way to fix this. I can’t really combine them as anyone can use Throw Grenade, and sometimes you need to Grab Grenade without immediately throwing it in combat.

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Terrible Sights and Insanity

I’ve been working on a series of custom moves for Heresy World to be used when a character’s mental resolve is tested. When you’re greeted by a slobbering mutant, or a gruesome murder scene, or a daemon of the Warp, you must steel your mind to resist succumbing to your fear.

My first iteration of this mechanic used two moves, listed in this commit. The first is when you see something terrible:

Fight Your Fear v1.0

When you witness a terrible sight, roll+WIS. On a 10+ you steel yourself against the horrors you see, take +1 forward. On a 7-9 you maintain your resolve, but your mind is shaken – you take -1 forward. On a 6- you gain 1 insanity.

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Notes From Two Play Test Sessions

I just wrapped up my second session of Heresy World. Both sessions I’ve done were with people who are new relatively to Dungeon World and have no experience with Warhammer 40k. Both games used the Shattered Hope front and its enemies and went very well.

During this first playthrough both groups talked a bit to a blabbering survivor of the fighting in the mines, then talked to the Commissar and the Quartermaster. The blabbering survivor was tortured by the Arbitrator for information both times, and gave the players some idea of monsters and mutants attacking the Guardsmen and the rebels in the mines.

Neither group has advanced far enough into the mines to fight the Mutant Abomination or get near the Antithesis Stone, but they have both fought rebels and some mutants.

I’ve pasted some of my raw notes below, and described any changes they necessitated.

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Guardsman 1.0

Imperial Guard
By CrisM1A1 on DeviantArt

The first version of the Guardsman is now complete. This was made easier by my decision to include a master list of advanced moves that all classes can take, because I didn’t need as many for this class. The explosives stuff is probably enough, but I’d like to introduce some more social moves so this class isn’t limited to only fighting.


Your maximum HP is 10+Constitution.
Your base damage is d8.

Guardsman will likely be focused on fighting so I put his stats as pretty high.

Starting Moves

Grab Grenade

When you search your belt for a suitable grenade roll+WIS. Expend one use of your Grenade Belt and choose a grenade from this list:

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

On a 10+ 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 move hasn’t changed since I described it in this post about grenade moves, although Throw Grenade was changed to a basic move.

Explosives Expert

When you set up a triggered explosive say what materials on hand you’re using and choose your trigger: timed, remote, proximity. Roll+INT, on a 10+ choose 1, on a 7-9 choose 2, and on a miss choose 3:

  • It takes a bit longer to set up
  • You need to something extra to get it to work, the GM will tell you what
  • It will go off a little late (or a little early)
  • It isn’t as powerful as you wanted

I haven’t playtested this move yet but I like it a lot.

First Hand Experience

Your time with the Guard had you fighting a particular type of enemy of the Imperium – gain +1 to Spout Lore rolls that deal with them. Choose the type of enemy:

  • Mutants
  • Xenos
  • Chaos
  • Psykers

I think a small line requiring the player to describe their experience with the chosen group could help facilitate some character development.


Your load is 9+Str.
You start with flak armor (worn, 2 armor, 2 weight), grenade belt (3 uses, 1 weight), your trusty Lasgun (near, far, long, 4 uses, 2 weight, 2 proven) and a Box of Ammo (3 ammo, 1 weight). Choose your melee weapon: Short Sword, Axe, Mace (1 weight, close)

I started the Guardsman with a trusty Lasgun, which has the added tag of 2 proven. This is one of the new tags for Heresy World, it means that rolling below 2 damage counts as rolling 2 damage.

Advanced Moves for Levels 2+


When you charge towards the enemy, you and those you lead take +1 forward.

Stolen from Paladin.

Hold the Line

When you don’t fall back despite imminent danger you and your allies gain +1 armor as long as you don’t retreat.

I like the theme of this one. Holding the line seems very Imperial Guard to me. We’ll see how the mechanic works out.

Imperial Infantryman’s Uplifting Primer

You gain +1 to Spout Lore rolls about war.

I might make this a starting move instead just because of the name. Or maybe just change the names of this and First Hand Experience.

Battle Senses

You gain +1 to Discern Realities while in combat.

Stolen from the Fighter.


You ignore the clumsy tag on armor that you wear.

Shield of the Imperium

You always gain +1 hold when using Defend, even on a 6-.

Stolen from the Paladin.

Deadly Cover

When you get a 7-9 on Suppressing Fire you may choose to expend another use of your weapon to deal your damage. On a 10+ you may choose to expend another use of your weapon to deal +1d4 damage.

Baptised by Bullets

Whenever you run through enemy fire, take +1 to Defy Danger.

I like the name of this one.

There’s the Guardsman’s first go. I have a playtest session with a new group on Thursday, hopefully someone tries it out.

Advanced Moves For Everyone!

While making new moves I often felt bad limiting them to a single class. This was especially true when drawing inspiration from Dark Heresy talents. For example here is the advanced move Hatred that I created:


Your hatred for a particular enemy of the Imperium runs deep. Each time you take this move, select one of the groups below and describe how your hatred took root. You take +1d4 damage ongoing against them.

  • Xenos
  • Criminals
  • Daemons
  • Psykers
  • Mutants

I wanted everyone to be able to take this. I like the small addition of “describe how your hatred took root.” My hopes are that it will lead to people exploring their characters’s pasts and motivations more. To make it so anyone can use this move I’ve created a list of advanced moves that are available for all classes to take when they level up. Here are those new global advanced moves:

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Volley and Ammo Changes

I recently did a short play test with some friends and got together some notes. One thing that didn’t surprise me in the slightest was that I wasn’t entirely happy with how the clip/ammo/Volley/reload system worked, so I’ve made some changes. You can view the full changes in this commit on GitHub.

The first change was getting rid of the clip tag, and simply giving weapons uses. For example the Laspistol’s tag as of right now are near, far, 3 uses, 1 weight. Whenever you fire your Laspistol for a bit you mark off a use. An important thing to keep in mind is that one use of a weapon isn’t one shot, it’s a brief moment of you firing shots.

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