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Warhammer 40K: Rogue Trader

Momentum Bar, Desperate Measures and Heroic Acts Explained

Matt Chard

The Momentum Bar is a fundamental gameplay mechanic in Rogue Trader which increases or decreases depending on what you do in combat, and can be the difference of winning the more challenging battles that the game has to offer. Momentum is directly tied to specific abilities known as Desperate Measures, and Heroic Acts, which are powerful abilities tied to archetypes. Read on to find out exactly what this entails, and how you can master it.

Momentum Bar

The Momentum Bar is the blue bar above your abilities on the right side of your screen. When you perform well in combat such as attacking or defeating an enemy, this bar will gradually increase, while the opposite happens when you take a hit or a member dies. The idea around this is to focus on taking out the weaker combatants to build up the bar before unleashing your powerful ultimate abilities known as Heroic Acts, or Desperate Measures on the more difficult enemies. Momentum has a minimum of 0, and a maximum of 200, and at the start of every battle, you’ll begin at 100 Momentum. If you reach 175 Momentum, any character can use a Heroic Act while if it drops to 25, you can use a Desperate Measure which has numerous negative effects. Doing the math, the use of your first Heroic Act costs 75 points, but each subsequent use increases it a further 25 points. Outside of basic combat principles, there are other ways to increase the amount the bar raises, which is tied to the Resolve attribute.

(1 of 2) The Momentum Bar is the blue bar on the right. It can be found sitting above your abilities. Momentum has a minimum of 0 points and a maximum of 200.

The Momentum Bar is the blue bar on the right. It can be found sitting above your abilities. Momentum has a minimum of 0 points and a maximum of 200. (left), If you hover over the bar, you’ll find out the exact Momentum you have, and what Heroic Acts, and Desperate Measures that character has access to. (right)


Resolve is a stat where its base value is equal to your "Fellowship" iconFellowship attribute, and this can be increased in a myriad of ways such as using various abilities and talents to temporarily increase it, or equipping armor that boosts the Fellowship stat. This stat influences how much momentum you’ll gain or lose every turn or after killing an enemy. For example, if the member at the start of their turn has not used either a Heroic Act or Desperate Measure, the Momentum is increased by the party members Resolve Stat. Upon defeating an enemy, you’ll gain Momentum based on the character that dealt the killing blows Resolve stat x the difficulty of the enemy (enemies will have between I and VII with the latter being the most difficult). Finally, if the wounds of a party member reach zero, you’ll lose Momentum based on the dead members’ resolve stat x 10. So, if "Abelard" iconAbelard has 6 Resolve and loses all his wounds, you’d lose 60 Momentum.

(1 of 2) Resolve can be found on the character sheet underneath the attributes. It is the icon on the far right.

Resolve can be found on the character sheet underneath the attributes. It is the icon on the far right. (left), If you hover over it, you’ll get a short explanation of what it does. (right)

Heroic Acts

You’ve kept hearing Heroic Acts, but what are they? Well, think of them as powerful ultimate abilities that can turn the tide of a battle. These abilities are tied to the Archetype you select. To give you an idea of what you can expect, here are a couple of them. The Warrior has “Daring Breach”, this will immediately restore all AP (Action Points) and MP (Movement Points) while also gaining bonus MP for the rest of the battle which is based on the "Agility" iconAgility attribute. Furthermore, they won’t lose their MP after using attacks, and the attack limit on melee hits is removed for that turn which means you can make multiple melee attacks provided you have the AP for it. Another Heroic Act is the Operative’s “Dismantling Attack”. This will immediately inflict one exploit on all enemies, get a free attack that is guaranteed to hit, and that specific target will get penalties of -30% to dodge and armor for the rest of the battle. As you can see, they are potent abilities, which is why you can only use them once per battle.

(1 of 3) In the Archetype section of the character sheet, you can find the ultimate abilities. Here, you’ll see all the Heroic Acts and Desperate Measures you have.

Desperate Measures

A Desperate Measure occurs when the battle is taking a turn for the worst, and your Momentum reaches 25 points, or if that member is at less than 50% wounds 75, and finally 100 if they are at less than 20% wounds. Using these have a negative effect where the person who uses the Desperate Measure has their Resolve reduced to 0 for the rest of combat, which will affect your overall Momentum long term. Unlike Heroic Acts, Desperate Measures can be used once per round. Here are a couple of Desperate Measure abilities to give you an idea of what they can do. Warrior’s Desperate Measure is “Daring Breach” again, but the difference to this version is that you won’t be able to use "Charge" iconCharge for the rest of the battle while also losing 3 MP. For the Operative, “Dismantling Attack will make all abilities cost an extra AP for the rest of the battle. In short, these are the same as their Heroic counterparts, but you’ll get a negative effect with them, so ideally you will only use these if you’re well…desperate.

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Guide Information
  • Publisher
    Owlcat Games
  • Platforms,
    PS5, Steam, XB X|S
  • Genre
  • Guide Release
    23 November 2023
  • Last Updated
    16 June 2024
    Version History
  • Guide Author

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In the grim dark future of the 41st millennium, there is only war. The Imperium of Man, ruled by God-Emperor of Mankind from atop his Golden Throne, is a vast interstellar empire with countless armies. Despite the Imperium’s apparent strength, however, its enemies are even more numerous and threats to mankind both surround the Imperium and gnaw at it from within. Where the constantly strained military might of the Imperium can’t reach, humanity must find other champions, and blessed with holy Warrants of Trade, Rogue Traders have almost unlimited authority to operate in the unconquered reaches of the galaxy beyond the Imperium’s direct influence. After unexpectedly inheriting the title of Rogue Trader von Valancius, you’ll have to secure your holdings in the Koronus Expanse, establish and develop new colonies, investigate the conspiracy that led to your ascension and fend off threats, internal and externals, humans, xenos and worse…

This guide will provide the following information:

  • Tips and info about various gameplay mechanics, including injuries and trauma, veil degradation, momentum, resolve, heroic acts, weapon types and space exploration.
  • Recruitment guides and builds for every companion in the game.
  • Walkthroughs for main quests, boss battle strategies and the effects your choices have.
  • Complete chapter overviews.
  • Best weapons lists for each chapter.
  • Guides for optional dungeons, side quests, errands and solutions to puzzles.
  • Colony guides, including colony projects and their rewards.
  • A vast database of weapons, armor, accessories, abilities, talents and more!

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