New Artifacts and Relics

In my last post I talked about upgrading equipment and gear, and mentioned that I would like to have artifacts and relics that the Inquisitor’s cadre can find, borrow, or be gifted. Below I’ve compiled an initial list of five such items.

I’ll be giving some of these items to my players in upcoming playtests to see how they fare.

Krozium’s Wrath – Sword

Close, +1 damage, razor-sharp, 1 weight

This sword once belonged to Arcaius Krozium, a Commissar of the Imperial Guard who did what few soldiers of the Imperium do – die of old age. His blade accompanied him through many battles of the Vartis Crusade against Chaos before he was no longer physically able to fight. Records of the swords whereabouts after his retirement are conflicting.

Whenever you score a 12+ using Krozium’s Wrath for Hack & Slash you add the Messy, Forceful and Tearing tags to your attack.

This artifact was copied verbatim from my previous post.

Chalice of Divine Clarity

0 weight, slow

Golden and silver rods have been shaped and bent in a spiral to form the base of this chalice, before circling up to create the handle and joining into six tendrils that grasp the grim bowl of the chalice. This bowl, made of the lower half of the skull of an anointed Hero of the Imperium, is said to aid worthy servants of the Emperor whose senses must be sharp.

After blessing the cup and its contents by reciting the proper hymns and litanies over it, drinking from this sacred relic grants you a serene clarity of thought. The next time you Discern Realities, roll with advantage.

Jacque DeTerre’s Recordings and Tales of Bravery of Mankind’s Great Crusade

0 weight, slow

This ancient tome, nearly ten thousand years old, has managed to stay in a usable form only through the careful ministrations of countless adepts throughout the ages. Its cover is decorated with a fading golden-threaded embroidery of a company of Space Marines charging the bristling cliff-like face of a xenos fortress.  The pages are filled with tales of bravery of the Emperor’s Adeptus Astartes during the Great Crusade of the 31st Millenium, recorded by the remembrancer Jacque DeTerre. Mankind’s reclamation of the stars is detailed in these accounts and in the transcribed interviews of Space Marine veterans.

When you take the time to read the tales of this book before embarking on a mission, the actions of mankind’s bravest warriors take root in your mind, and can be called upon to inspire you. You and those you read to gain 1 hold, with a maximum of 1. You may spend 1 hold to add+2d6 to a damage roll.

A Spout Lore roll of 10+ on this artifact lets the player name which Space Marine legion the remembrancer Jacque DeTerre was attached to when he wrote the book, and a 7-9 lets the player choose from options presented by the GM.

Mordelan’s Pendant

0 weight, worn

A chain necklace, made of a cacophony of links of various metals in all states of rust, supports a diamond shaped circuit board of dizzying complexity the size of a child’s palm. Lights intermittently dance between the minuscule components of the circuit board, encircling a small crystal at its center. The circuit board and crystal, designed by Forge Master Mordelan, contain technology long since lost to the Adeptus Mechanicus that grants its wearer a powerful force field against xenos attacks.

When the wearer of this pendant would take maximum damage from a xenos weapon or enemy it creates a temporary force field around them and the damage is negated.

A Spout Lore roll of 7+ on this artifact lets the player describe what the crystal at its center looks like. A 10+ also allows the player to describe what the force field looks like when activated.

Shield of the Eternal Candle

1 weight, +1 armor, worn

When a member of the Imperial Guard threw herself before a surprise counter attack aboard a Chaos frigate, armed only with the makeshift bulwark of a detached metal door, she selflessly protected three Sisters of the Order Hospitaller from the incoming enemy fire. Standing braced against the hail of bullets as the door factured and broke in her hands, she gave the Sisters the seconds they needed to retreat, saving their lives.

As grateful witnesses to this valorous event the three Sisters later returned and collected the shattered pieces of the improvised shield from where they lay next to the perforated corpse of the Imperial Guardsman. These pieces were then used in the forging of a new shield that was gifted from the Order of the Eternal Candle to the fallen guardsman’s company.

When using this shield to defend another, you heal for +1d4 health whenever you are attacked.

A Spout Lore roll of 7+ on this item lets the player describe what decorations, if any, are present on the face of the shield. A 10+ lets the player name and describe the fallen guardsman.

The original effect on this shield read “Whenever you take damage while defending another, roll using the smallest die that could achieve that amount of damage you took and heal for that amount. Taking 5 or 6 damage would mean healing for d6, and taking 9 or 10 damage would mean healing for d10.”

I think this would’ve been too much extra math and rolling for this item, but it’s kind of a cool mechanic. The current effect is a lot easier to manage, but it might end up being too open ended in its trigger. I also had the following other mechanical benefits:

  • Damage you take is halved
  • Whenever the person or object you are defending takes damage, you take that damage instead
  • You and those you are defending gain +1 armor
  • When you heal another you heal an additional +1d4

I have ideas for two more artifacts I hope to add in later: a holy symbol that grants visions when you dream, and a gun inscribed with the names of its owners that does… something. I’d like for it to do more than extra damage.

Equipment Upgrading and Ancient Artifacts

The equipment section needs to be expanded. I’m going to some new sections to it to go over a few things:

  • Keeping in mind the fiction when setting scarcity and cost of items
  • Upgrade list with names, effects, and cost estimates
  • Guidelines for pricing out items in a non-linear fashion as their upgrades grow in number and power
  • Some examples of ancient artifact items that Acolytes can find or earn through great deeds

The Fiction

Not everything will always be available everywhere. Keep the fiction in mind when a player says they want to find an exotic weapon or get work done on their current weapon to add an exorbitant amount of upgrades, but also keep in mind that a straight “no” can be stifling.

Have players use the Supply move if you think the item might be found, but if they’re looking for a Thunder Hammer on a recently discovered Feral World, for example, then it probably doesn’t make any sense for it to be available. If something is well beyond their grasp, as it many things will be to low level Acolytes, then give try to give their characters details on what sort of deeds earn those items, or what great legends are said to have wielded them. You can tell them “no” while still filling their heads with possibilities.

When it comes to pricing items, keep in mind who they’re buying from and the current environment. A quartermaster on the Inquisitor’s flag ship selling directly to Acolytes going on an expedition is going to charge much less for the same 2 piercing upgrade to a warhammer than a criminal artificer selling on the black market in a Hive City teeming with gang wars.


Effect Cost Notes
+n damage start at 10-15 thrones Each level past +1 should be more than double the cost of the previous
n proven start at 5 thrones The first few levels of proven should be cheap, as it doesn't increase damage as much as +1 damage, but the cost should ramp up a lot once they get near their max damage. If proven is too high then rolling doesn't matter and that's no fun.
silenced 20-25 thrones Some weapons are harder to silence, and some are near impossible.
scatter 15-20 thrones Weapons that are meant to be fired long range aren't likely to also have the scatter tag.
tearing 30-40 thrones
+1 to uses 25-30 Extended magazine for your weapon.

Multiple Upgrades

As more and more upgrades are made to a weapon, it becomes harder and harder to add new ones. The price of further upgrades should be higher as more upgrades are added to a weapon. Consider applying a multiplier for each new upgrade based on how many previous ones there are.

Example: The cost of adding tearing to a spear with +1 damage, 1 piercing should be 2-3 times the normal cost.


Krozium’s Wrath – Sword

Close, +1 damage, razor-sharp, 1 weight

This sword once belonged to Arcaius Krozium, a Commissar of the Imperial Guard who did what few soldiers of the Imperium do – die of old age. His blade accompanied him through many battles of the Vartis Crusade against Chaos before he was no longer physically able to fight. Records of the swords whereabouts after his retirement are conflicting.

Whenever you score a 12+ using Krozium’s Wrath for Hack & Slash you add the Messy, Forceful and Tearing tags to your attack.

I couldn’t think of any more artifacts just yet.

Heresy World Book Structure

As the game continues to take shape and go through testing I find myself at a point where I need to write fewer new mechanics and instead shift my focus to writing the rest of the text for the book. I’ve already begun writing some of the sections below, including an Introduction and a few changes to the GM section. Before I continue writing these sections and the rest required for me to move to publishing, I’m going to detail what each section will entail. Here are the main sections, with subsections and descriptions written below:

  • Licensing
  • Introduction
  • Character Creation
  • Basic Moves
  • Special Moves
  • Classes
    • Assassin
    • Investigator
    • Warrior
  • Advanced Moves
  • The GM
    • Agenda
    • Principles
    • Moves
  • Missions
  • Equipment

Continue reading “Heresy World Book Structure”

Heresy World Mission Structure

Moving forward I’m going to try replacing Fronts from Dungeon Worlds with Missions. Missions will serve a similar purpose – providing the GM with a framework to use when they aren’t sure what happens next – but will have a slightly different structure. Missions will be composed of the following sections:

  • Briefing: the first chunk of information relayed to the players. This is the hook, and should include the objective of the mission.
  • Revelations: pieces of information that the characters can learn about their mission. These will include blanks for the GM to fill out later, and checkmarks to mark off when the characters learn them.
  • Stakes: questions the GM asks before the mission starts that help the play stay open ended.
  • Cast: important characters involved in the mission. Any allies, named enemies, or notable locals will be part of the cast.
  • Setbacks: off-screen responses that the opposition can take in response to either character actions or bad rolls.

While writing up this post I’ve copied over my examples into a new Mission. If you want to you can skip the explanations and see it in full here on GitHub as it exists at time of writing.

Continue reading “Heresy World Mission Structure”

Expanding Character Creation: Backgrounds and Home Worlds

I’ve got some ideas I’m going to put into place for character creation to give players a few more options and separate what they do from who they are. Classes will no longer be tied to a specific origin, but rather to a set of skills. What the characters used to do will now be part of their Background.

The new system would have characters be created using three main choices: Class, Background, Home World.

Continue reading “Expanding Character Creation: Backgrounds and Home Worlds”