What Is Momentum In Warhammer 40,000: Rogue Trader

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  • Heroic Acts And Desperate Measures

Your trusty chainsword will go a long way in Warhammer 40,000: Rogue Trader, but sometimes you need a little more if you want to survive in the grim darkness of the far future. Whether driven by faith in the Emperor, the need to see a mission through, or simply the will to survive, your retinue is capable of heroism and desperation in equal measure.




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Momentum measures how a battle is currently going, either in your favor or your enemy’s. When your party is doing well, they can surge forward in a final heroic push. When they’re up agaisnt the wall, a risky gamble could be the way out.

What Is Momentum?

Idira Tlass on a battlefield in Warhammer 40k: Rogue Trader. The Momentum Meter is circled.

Momentum is tracked by a meter on the right side of the HUD, above the current character’s Origin and Archetype abilities. By default, Momentum is set to 100 at the start of a battle, and you receive a small amount of Momentum at the beginning of each character’s turn. It can rise and fall to a minimum of zero and a maximum of 200.

Dealing damage to enemies increases your team’s Momentum, while taking damage reduces it. The gain or loss is increased if the target is killed or incapacitated by the attack.

A character’s Resolve, indicated by a winged skull icon on their character sheet, affects the rate at which they generate Momentum.


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Heroic Acts And Desperate Measures

A Chaos Space Marine with a heavy bolter in Warhammer 40k: Rogue Trader

Once a character has gained sufficient ranks in an Archetype, they unlock that Archetype’s Heroic Act and Desperate Measure. Heroic Acts are extremely useful abilities that can only be used if Momentum is 175 or higher.

Using a Heroic Act reduces your current Momentum by 75. This cost increases by 25 each time you use a Heroic Act in the same battle.

Desperate Measures are identical to their associated Heroic Acts, but inflict a penalty on the user and can only be used if Momentum is low enough. If a character is badly wounded, they can use Desperate Measures earlier, as follows:

Remaining Wounds

Momentum For Desperate Measures

More than half.

25 or less.

Less than half.

75 or less.

Less than one-fifth.

100 or less.

Using a Desperate Measure sets the character’s Resolve to zero until the end of the combat.

Each Archetype, except the Exemplar, has a different pair of Heroic Acts and Desperate Measures. Certain Psyker Powers, notably Warp Lightning, can be greatly amplified as a Heroic Act as well. Look for gold icons to appear when your Momentum is high.

Tier 1 Archetypes

Heroic Act



Desperate Drawback

Finest Hour


  • An ally immediately takes an extra turn with full AP, MP, and no attack limit.
  • The Officer’s Fellowship is halved for the rest of the combat.

Dismantling Attack


  • All enemies gain one stack of Exploit.
  • The Operative makes a free melee attack.
    • The target of this attack reduces their Dodge and Armor by thirty percent for the rest of the combat.
  • The Operative’s attacks cost one additional AP for the rest of the combat.

Firearm Mastery


  • The Soldier immediately reloads their current weapon for free.
  • The Soldier can make a number of additional attacks equal to that weapon’s rate of fire at no AP cost.
  • Each time the Soldier hits a new enemy this turn, that hit is automatically critical.
  • The Soldier reduces their maximum AP by one for the rest of the combat.

Daring Breach


  • The Warrior immediately recovers all spent AP and MP.
    • They also gain additional MP equal to their Agility Bonus.
  • The Warrior can make as many melee attacks this turn as their AP will allow.
  • Melee attacks do not cause the Warrior to lose MP this turn.
  • The Warrior’s maximum MP is reduced by 3 for the rest of the combat.
  • The Warrior can no longer use Charge for the rest of the combat.

AP stands for Action Points, MP stands for Movement Points.

Tier 2 Archetypes

Heroic Act



Desperate Drawback

Steady Superiority


  • The Arch-Militant can make one additional attack per turn for the rest of combat.
  • The first attack by the Arch-Militant each turn costs no AP.
  • The Arch-Militant suffers Bleeding, losing ten percent of their maximum Wounds each turn.
  • The Arch-Militant’s Toughness is reduced by 30 until the end of combat.



  • The Assassin attacks with their current weapon at twice their current Dodge Reduction, Parry Reduction, and Armor Penetration. If it’s a ranged attack, it cannot miss.
  • The attack deals fifty percent more damage than normal.
  • The attack deals additional damage equal to one-fourth of the target’s missing Wounds.
  • The Assassin takes double damage from all sources for the rest of the combat.

Wild Hunt

Bounty Hunter

  • The Bounty Hunter makes a number of attacks equal to the number of enemies currently Marked As Prey.
    • These attacks will only target Prey, and will be divided among viable targets as evenly as possible.
  • Each Wild Hunt attack is an automatic critical hit.
  • The Bounty Hunter’s Ballistics Skill, Perception, and Agility are reduced by 20 until the end of combat.

Take And Hold

Grand Strategist

  • The Grand Strategists chooses one of their Strategic Areas currently in play. At the start of the Grand Strategist’s next turn, every ally in that area gets an additional turn with 2 MP and 1 AP.
  • The MP and AP of the additional turns are increased for every enemy that dies in the chosen area before the Grand Strategist’s next turn.
  • The Grand Strategist’s maximum MP is set to one for the rest of the combat.

Orchestrated Firestorm

Master Tactician

  • The Master Tactician targets a 3×3 area.
  • Every party member, including the Master Tactician, that can see an enemy in the target area immediately makes a single attack with their current weapon if they’re in range.
    • If multiple enemies are in the target area, each ally chooses their target at random.
  • The Master Tactician’s Fellowship is reduced by 40 until the end of combat.
  • Every ally who participated in the attack reduces their Weapon Skill and Ballistics Skill by 20 each on their next turn.

Unyielding Guard


  • The Vanguard gets unlimited melee retaliations until their next turn.
  • During that period, the Vanguard will also attack any enemy that attacks one of the Vanguard’s allies within three spaces of the Vanguard’s position.
  • The Vanguard suffers thirty percent more damage from all sources for the rest of the combat.


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