Warrior 2.0

The Warrior was originally the Guardsman, and I had the idea of making him like a grenadier who likes to blow stuff up. When I moved Backgrounds into a separate part of character creation and changed the class to Warrior the moves stayed but they didn’t really fit anymore.

I like the Grenade Belt and Explosives Expert moves, so I’m going to keep them in some capacity, but the starting moves for the Warrior and the advanced moves that build off of them are being changed and rewritten.

Starting Moves

The new Warrior now has 4 starting moves. Two of them are very basic: Armored and Tome of War. The former lets the Warrior wear clumsy armor with no penalty and the latter gives them +1 to Spout Lore rolls on all things war related. These are the least interesting moves so I won’t get into them.

For the interesting starting moves I’ll start with Tactical Advantage:

Tactical Advantage

Each battle is different and requires a different approach. At the start of each battle, decide which tactic you are actively employing.

  • Defensive: As long as you don’t attempt to gain ground, you gain +1 to all Defy Danger rolls
  • Reactive: Whenever you are attacked, you can immediately respond and take +1 forward
  • Reckless: You deal +1d4 damage and take +1d4 damage
  • Precise: While you remain focused on a single target, you gain +2 piercing against them

I like this move quite a bit, but I think it needs to be better incorporated into and advance the fiction more. Reckless, for example, is purely a stat change at this point. I would like for it to require that the person describe how or why they’re being reckless, so that it plays out better in the storyline. Similarly, for Precise it’s hard to determine what exactly constitutes remain[ing] focused without additional context.

Lifting the Fog

The fog of war can mask any battle. As you witness it unfold, whenever you or someone you have a bond with takes damage gain 1 Insight (Max 2). During the battle you may spend Insight to:

  • Add +1 to any of your rolls (Max +2)
  • Reroll a damage roll (yours or an ally’s)

At the end of the battle your Insight resets to 0.

I originally had the following options for you to spend Insight on:

  • Change any Hack And Slash or Fire for Effect result of 6- (yours or an ally’s) to a 7-9 (Cost: 2)
  • Reroll a damage roll (yours or an ally’s)
  • Have you or an ally reload instantly

The reload instantly is kinda cool, but I already have an advanced move for that (Rapid Reload) so it seemed redundant. Changing 6- to 7-9 and requiring 2 Insight just seemed cumbersome. The only one I kept was rerolling damage, cause I like that a lot.

The thing I like about this move is how many possible advance moves it lets me make, which I’m listing below.

I would like to get at least 3 options for spending Insight into this move, so if you have any ideas let me know!

Advanced Moves

Deadly Cover 2.0

When you get a 7+ with Suppressing Fire you gauge your enemy’s reaction, gain +1 Insight.

This move originally read: 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.”

I always liked having a move that buffs Suppressing Fire, but this was a bit cumbersome, and seemed a little weak. I like the new text, but I don’t think the name really fits any more so I’ll probably rename it. Let me know in the comments if you have any suggestions.

Field Medic

When you tend to someone’s wounds in combat you may spend 1 Insight to perform your treatment instantly.

Pre Sense

You always start combat with +1 Insight.

This move needs a new name.

Tactical Decision

You may spend 1 Insight to change your Tactical Advantage choice.

I like being able to change Tactical Advantage choice mid-combat, so I’ll probably add at least one more move with a different trigger that doesn’t cost Insight.

Advanced Moves for Levels 6+

Battle Medic

Requires: Field Medic

When you use Field Medic you also heal for +1d8 wounds.

Experienced Eye

Your max Insight is now 4.

Punish Weakness

When you get a 10+ with Hack and Slash or Fire for Effect you may spend 1 Insight to ignore armor and add +1 rending to your attack.

Fire For Effect is a new name for Aim and Fire I’m probably going to add in.

Saw It Comin’

When you take damage you may spend 1 Insight to negate it. Describe how you anticipated the attack and what you did to avoid it.

I like this name. This could maybe be a level 2-5 move and have an upgrade for 6+ that lets you retaliate or take +1 forward or something similar.

Veteran’s Sense

Replaces: Pre Sense

You always start combat with +2 Insight.

Drives Instead of Alignments

The more I use alignments the more I don’t like them. Drives serve the same purpose but with more freedom for writing them. I added four drives for the Warrior. They’ll need to be play tested to see how fun they are and if they’re even achievable.


Blow something up or dismember a foe.

Superior Position

Gain an advantage due to better choice of terrain or surroundings.

Weapon Master

Use a new weapon in combat or begin training with one.

Honor Killer

Challenge a foe to 1v1 combat and defeat them.

That’s the new warrior. You can see the differences in this comparison on GitHub, which also includes some other commits.

Heresy World DOT COM

For the past few months most of my work on Heresy World has been on the structure of the project instead of its content. That means I’ve been working on my NodeJS project that allows me to store game data in one location, and jam it into some pages I’ve written. Those pages are then exported into two different files, one for the website and one for the InDesign print files.

I’ve also been working on the website: http://www.heresyworld.com

This means that the project on GitHub has changed a lot. You can view it here. It used to just be a collection of game text, but it’s now a NodeJS website written in ExpressJS with the game data located in sub folders. I plan to separate these out. I’ll eventually end up with 4 different projects on GitHub:

  • RPG Parser: my project that injects game data into the HTML pages and saves them into output folders
  • Heresy World: the game data as JSON, and the pages as HTML for Heresy World that will be fed into RPG Parser
  • Heresy World website: NodeJS Express website, which will have the output from the Heresy World/RPG Parser pasted into it
  • RPG Parser Example: an example app using RPG Parser with some standing bullshit moves to show the proper data structure and example usages

Because I’ve spent so much time coding and porting data over to this new system, I haven’t put as much time into the actual game itself. That’ll be next. I’ve got a few things I’m looking to touch on, and I’ll do a more detailed post later, but key things are Fronts/Missions, the Warrior class, and the Investigator class.

Changing Health System in Heresy World

Something I’ve been mulling over for some time for Heresy World is the health points system I inherited from Dungeon World. My biggest complaint is that there is nothing built into the health system to differentiate between someone at 1hp and someone at 20hp.

I’ve been thinking of several different ways to address this and I have a new system I’d like to try. The core mechanic isn’t much different in that you take damage until you hit a certain amount and then you’re dying. The main differences are how that information is tracked and displayed, and the addition of critical hits at certain breakpoints.

The New System

The bullet points for the new system are as follows:

  • Health replaced with wounds
  • Your character has a sort of “wounds bar” similar to a health bar instead of Current/Max numbers
  • Every 8 wounds you gain a critical wound, triggering a custom move

Let’s go through each of those points.

Health Replaced With Wounds

Your character no longer loses health when they take damage, they instead gain wounds. Whereas before getting hit by a rusty dagger and taking 3 damage would mean changing your HP from 10 to 7, it would now mean you change your current wounds from 5 to 8. This change helps when it comes to acquiring critical wounds, and I also think it fits the setting better thematically.

The “Wounds Bar”

I’ve changed how your health is tracked. Instead of writing your current health and reducing it as you take damage, you instead add “wounds” as you take damage. It looks like this:

The hearts on the top bar are filled in to represent how many wounds you can take before dying. At character creation and as your character gains levels, you fill in more hearts to denote an increase in how much damage your character can take.

The blood drops in the second row represent damage you’ve taken. Taking 1 damage means you gain 1 wound and check off, out, or fill in a wound.

Blood drops with a skull next to them are critical wounds. I’ll be getting into those later.

The second bar is a continuation of the first to be used when you go past 24 max wounds.

This example bar shows a character with Max Wounds of 20, Current Wounds at 9, and 1 Crit.

Critical Wounds

Critical wounds represent damage taken that has an immediate or lasting effect on your character. This is something you should already be doing in your games as your players take damage, but critical wounds bake it in. It also means your players know when they’re coming, which I think will prove to be fun.

A lot of the ideas for this move come from this supplement [PDF] for Apocalypse World by Paul Taliesin.

My first playtest will have players gain a critical wound every 8 wounds, but this is subject to change. When you gain a critical wound you immediately trigger the following move:

Critical Hit

When you gain a critical wound, roll+CON and subtract the number of critical wounds you have. On a 10+ choose one from the following list. On a 7-9 the GM will choose one.

  • You lose your footing
  • You are blinded
  • You don’t notice something important
  • You drop something
  • You take an additional wound

On a 6- choose one from the list below. Describe your new scar and write it on your sheet.

  • You are knocked unconscious
  • A limb is broken or maimed
  • You gain a debility
  • You won’t heal from resting, you need medical aid

This will likely need a lot of testing, as I can see many ways it can be rebalanced already. Here are a few ways it could be changed:

  • No negative effect on a 10+
  • Don’t subtract number of critical wounds from your roll
  • Don’t add CON to your roll
  • A 7-9 has you choose one AND the GM choose one
  • A 7-9 has you choose 2
  • Change and add to the lists


Scars are something I’m very excited to add into the game. They do absolutely nothing. Here’s what they might look like on a sheet:

I might add mechanics into the game based on scars later on, but right now there’s no need. I just think it’ll be cool to look to your sheet to remember the marks of battle. Some examples of mechanics there might be room for:

  • Require scars for a certain compendium class
  • Gain bonus to Parley with fighters based on scars
  • Roll +SCARS for certain moves

I’m hoping to play Heresy World this week and I’ll force this new system onto my players to try it out. I’m going to print out some wound bars for them to use (they don’t have real character sheets yet) and fill them in using their max and current hp. I’ll ignore any crits they already have for simplicity’s sake and take it from there. Wish me luck!

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”

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.

Continue reading “Notes and Changes from Play Tests”