The Armory: Weapons, Armor, and Grenades

Items in Dark Heresy, and in most WH40k games and RPGs, are much more detailed and important to a character’s power level than items found in Dungeon World. I’d like to bring over some of the varying power levels of the weapons in 40K to Heresy World. This will require creating some new tags for weapons, especially ranged weapons.

Ranged weapons in Dungeon World are limited to virtually two things: pointy things you throw and pointy things you loose from a bow or crossbow. Warhammer 40K has many different traits to describe a ranged weapon. Does it scatter like a shotgun? Is it semi-automatic, full automatic or single shot? Does it shoot fire, melta blasts, plasma bursts, bolts, bullets, rockets, grenades, las fire? Is it reliable or does it overheat?

My initial list of weapons will be a simple conversion of the base list of weapons from Dungeon World with a handful of new weapons and new tags thrown in. This first batch should have enough weapons in it for players to pick their starting gear and get some upgraded versions that have more tags.

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Movin’ on Up: Some Arbitrator Advanced Moves

A while ago I posted the initial starting moves for the Arbitrator, which you can read in full here. For a brief recap here are the starting moves:

  • I Am Justice: tell an NPC to do something based on your authority
  • Detective: gives clue-finding abilities to your Discern Realities
  • Confessor: torture a captive to extract useful information
  • Take Them Alive!: forgo doing damage when attacking to attempt to subdue and capture your target

The goal for the first version of Heresy World is to have at least 20 advanced moves per class, with at least 10 available for levels 2-5 and at least 10 for levels 6-10. A lot of these can be pure number upgrades to other moves, but at least a few should introduce new mechanics.

Below I’ve written out some of the new first advanced moves for the Arbitrator.

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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:

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Boring Ol’ Assassin

One of the first three classes I’ll be releasing is the Assassin, which is basically me taking Thief in one hand and Ranger in the other and smashing them together. The idea is to have the character be able to be played as an up close backstabber or a long range sniper.

Because I’m using so many skills that already exist in vanilla Dungeon World, this class is probably the most boring to read about. Hopefully it will still be fun to play.

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Arbitrator Starting Moves

I recently read an article about writing Dungeon World classes that started off with a very simple tip that helped me a lot: brainstorm a lot and write everything down. I wanted to do this, but realized that my code structure for the project isn’t great for drafts and writing. I think the code will eventually be a good place for final products and great way for other people to contribute ideas and pull requests, but it’s terrible for spewing ideas at my computer and seeing what sticks.

In light of this revelation I created a simple Google doc for the Arbitrator – a badass detective – and jotted down ideas for moves. I started with the fiction, as advised in the article linked above, and slowly fleshed them out with bullet point items. I added thoughts for each move as I bounced around between ideas. Here are some of the questions and thoughts I would append to my move ideas:

  • Could this just be a renamed move from an existing class?
  • Should this move require rolls?
  • Is there more than one positive outcome?
  • What are some complications that could arise?
  • What’s a cool name for it?
  • Is this a starting move or an advanced move?
  • Does this move work on its own or is it an extension of an existing move, such as Discern Realities or Hack and Slash?
  • What characteristic best suits this move?

Eventually those moves turned into actual text and were given names. I present below the first batch of moves I have for the Arbitrator, the Starting Moves.

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Reducing Scope

Since I have a tendency to let my projects wane and disappear I’ve decided to further reduce the scope of the DW40K project. In so doing I’ve reduced my goals for the classes to be played, and especially how much advancement they can have.

My goal is to have three classes be playable – Assassin, Arbitrator, and Guardsman – and to only have enough for them to be playable until level 5. After level 5 there likely won’t be interesting choices for advanced moves to take. This will be helpful to get to playtesting earlier. I’ve also deleted the Tech-Priest from the codebase. That class is harder to write and can be added later on.

For each of the classes I’ll be incorporating (stealing) moves from the original Dungeon World, but I also want each class to have a 40k feel to it. To do so I’ll be writing new moves when I can, but more often I’ll just tweak or rename existing moves to have a more 40k feel.

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Vinquisition: The Codebase and Project

Technology Used

Part of the reason I wanted to start this project was to brush up on my NodeJS skills. As such, I’ve written the game into a Node project that runs as a website. The website uses:

  • NodeJS
  • Express
  • AngularJS
  • Bootstrap

I am currently hosting it on Heroku at because it’s so easy to set up and share with people.

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Dungeon World: 40,000 – A Dark Heresy Conversion Project

Note: this project has been renamed Heresy World.

In my spare time I am building an expansion of Dungeon World to work in the universe of Warhammer 40k, specifically the game Dark Heresy. This short post is about my goals and my overall plan of attack. More posts will follow with specific decisions and developments.

I like the rules-light nature of Dungeon World, and its ability to build a narrative with very little preparation. I also love the grimdark setting of WH40k. In an exercise to flex my tiny game design muscles, and to learn some new programming skills, I’ve created a new website for showcasing my ongoing work.

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