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Agenda

Your agenda makes up the things you aim to do at all times while GMing a game of Heresy World:

Everything you say and do at the table (and away from the table, too) exists to accomplish these three goals and no others. Things that aren't on this list aren't your goals. You’re not trying to beat the players or test their ability to solve complex mysteries. You’re not here to give the players a chance to explore your finely crafted setting. You’re not trying to kill the players (though heretics might be). You’re most certainly not here to tell everyone a planned-out story.

Your first agenda is to portray a grim dark galaxy. Heresy World is all about rooting out the vileness that threatens the Imperium, both from within and without. It’s about characters who have found themselves in a life of duty with glory in death being a satisfying end. It's your job to participate in that by showing the players a galaxy embroiled in war where their characters are needed. Without the player characters important regions of the Imperium would fall to xenos, mutants, psykers, or worse — it might still even with them. It’s up to you to portray the fantastic elements of that galaxy. Show the players the horrors of the universe they’re in and encourage them to react to it.

Filling the characters’ lives with adventure means working with the players to create a world that’s engaging and dynamic. Acolytes are always embroiled in investigating and disrupting plots against the Imperium

Heresy World missions never presume player actions. A Heresy World mission portrays a plot in motion—where players big and small are operating with their own goals. As the players come into conflict with that setting and its denizens, action is inevitable. You’ll honestly portray the repercussions of that action. Success is not guaranteed.

This is how you play to find out what happens. You’re sharing in the fun of finding out how the characters react to and change a city, a planet, a sector, or even the entire galaxy. You’re all participants in a great battle for mankind that has been unfolding for millenia. So really, don’t plan too hard. The rules of the game will fight you. It’s fun to see how things unfold, trust us.

Moves

All of the moves available to the GM in Dungeon World still apply. In addition to those you may also:

Test their will

When someone sees something truly horrific or blasphemous, or when Chaos or psyker powers attempt to influence them, they need to do something to remain calm and not succumb. Tell the characters what strange feelings they feel creeping up: the oily taint of chaotic energies, the rising feeling of panic, or the encroaching sense of overpowering dread. Ask them how they respond to this and go from there. They'll likely need to roll Defy Danger, but they might just pull out their Lasgun and start firing. In the event of failure remember the fiction and consider using the two new moves: traumatize them and mutate them.

Terrify them

If a character is unable to maintain their composure in the face of what they witness, they may suffer a temporary trauma that renders them near useless. Have the player either choose an effect from the list below or roll a d6 on it, or pick for them as the GM:

Roll Effect
1 You repeat the same phrase over and over
2 You run away as fast as you can
3 You are frozen by fear
4 You laugh hysterically
5 You try to self mutilate
6 You sob uncontrollably

It's up to that player and their allies to decide how best to help the overwhelmed character recover and return to fighting form. Keep the fiction in mind when they do. A slap to the face might trigger a Defy Danger roll with Wisdom for the person slapped, or a Defy Danger roll with Charisma for the person slapping. A rousing speech or memorized litany espousing the benelovent nature of the Emperor made to a particularly pious character might not require a roll at all.

Mutate Them

When the power of the warp seeps in from the Empyrean, it can cause physical changes in those caught up in its path. When things go wrong and someone is affected in such a way they roll a d10 on the table below. For GMs, keep in mind that being mutated is almost surely a death sentence for any member of the Imperium.

Roll Effect
1 Extra eyes: the character sprouts 1d4 extra eyes on their head. They take +1 to any rolls that would benefit from better eyesight.
2 Monstrous limbs: the character's limbs grow in length and size, becoming massive trunks of flesh. They gain +1 Strength.
3 Bone mutations: the character's bones sprout extra potrutions that pierce through the skin. The player gains +1 damage when attacking in melee.
4 Translucent skin.
5 Beast's mouth.
6-10 The character gains a random debility. If they already have all the debilities they roll again.