GW test writing

The Test Brief Part 1 – Maximum 250 words

A Space Marine fighting an Ork – Write a fight scene that depicts a Space Marine engaged in battle with a vicious greenskin. It should feel brutal and violent, but not gratuitous. You may include dialogue, but first and foremost we want to see and experience earth shattering action as they trade blows. The Space Marine must be from a First Founding Chapter mentioned in Codex: Space Marines (2013) and the Ork must be from a Tribe or Clan mentioned in Codex: Orks (2014). The location can be of your choosing, as can the victor, although one must be defeated.

Option 1

Booted feet slammed into Nino’s chest, sending him back down into the mud. A hand, scarred and thick with muscle locked around his throat.

The ork grinned at him, its teeth slick with bloody saliva.

Nino roared, punching up with both fists, shattering the vile grin. Combat stimms made his blood bubble and filled his veins with poisonous lightning. He kicked the ork hard between the legs, shoving upwards and rolling. He came astride it, his hearts beating double time and his helmet filling with bloody froth.

He yanked the pipe from the ork and brought it down in a two handed blow, caving in its squealing face. He struck again, feeling the thick skin and bone split. He howled as he struck again and again, each strike painting his armour with filthy blood.

He smashed the pipe down until there was nothing left but broken bone and bleeding meat.

The crowd hollered and fired their crude pistols, throwing junk and dung into the fighting pit. Some tossed bones and scraps of armour, trophies they had taken from the Ultramarines on the battlefield.

Oh, for a bolter and chainsword! He would leap from the pit and slay and slay until the shame of capture was buried under a tied of dead.

Nino raised his head to look at the bellowing hoard of ork’s that stamped and shouted at the edge of the pit.


Option 2

The ork cracks my skull. It punches me so hard that his claw grabs my guts. Another blow shatters my collar-bone.

In vision edged by flame I see my opponent holding my arm in its mechanical claw. I laugh as he crushes it into paste.

This Warboss cannot stop me.

How can he? I cannot stop myself.

Fire fills me, the joined power of the Librarius  flooding my blood. I let a fury I never knew I had wash over my mind. It is the hate of a hundred generations of Epistolary’s and Codicier’s. I surrender and let it take me.

The ork dies as I fill its body with a monsoon of fire. A hundred more scream their war-lust at me and charge, but I am inviolate to their wrath; I am wrath itself. My brothers pour strength into me, filling me with the essences of every member of our Librarius , using me as a conduit for their strength.

More orks die.

I am the Immolus itself, Mount Death Fire incarnate!

Other sons of Vulkan open fire in my shadow, bolters and flamers holding the orks at bay. I will show you true destruction, brothers.

I kill them too, turning the fire on the Fireborn. This is my gift to you brothers. Burn and know the will of Vulkan.

I can hear myself screaming and a part of me knows I have done wrong. I do not care. I have power enough to challenge the Emperor himself!

Option 3

The Test Brief Part 2 Maximum 250 words

A Space Marine Sergeant briefing a squad of scouts before they embark on their first mission -–Write a scene where an Ultramarine Sergeant is giving a rally speech to a squad of scouts or discussing tactics/training before they set out on their first mission. The emphasis here must be on dialogue and character. The location and specifics of the mission are up to you.

Warmth, care, paternal pride.

Option 1

“A bloody big bomb,” sergeant Pilus interrupted.

The Martian Adept that had been speaking blurted scrap code in displeasure. Its mechadendrites ruffled its robes in indignation.

“That is not strictly correct, sergeant. The Xenos have aligned the pillars as a form of energy gathering matrix that, according to our calculations -”

“Will it explode, Adept?”

“Affirmative, but -”

“Then it’s a bomb as far as I’m concerned.” Pilus turned back to his squad. “I’m sorry this had to be your first mission, lads. I wouldn’t wish this on the First Company, but we’re here, so we’ve got a job to do.”

“What can we expect sir?” a scout asked.

“Glad you asked, brother,” Pilus grinned, “looks like the Tau have found some sort of xenos architech down in their mines. We’re going to be sneaking our way through tunnels tighter than a ratlings arsehole, trying not to get shot by their damned Fire Caste. I saw Kroot life signs on the scans, as well. Remember that talk we had about Kroot?”

A few heads nodded.

“Good.” Pilus cracked his knuckles. “How long do we have, Adept?”

“Two hundred and forty-eight minutes.”

“No problem. Right, Saul, you and -”

“Error… one hundred and six minutes. Error… ninety minutes and forty seconds. Error… twenty minutes and thirty seconds.”

The squad watched the Adept tremble for a moment in the agony of calculation.

“Correction; twenty minutes and twenty-four seconds.”

“You’re sure?”


Pilus turned to his squad.

“Let’s get cracking, boys.”

Option 2

Nino raised a hand to the vox bead in his ear.

“You never said there were orks down here.”

“I never told you a lot of things, scout,” came the response, “and you should address me as ‘Sergeant’.”

Nino ignored the reprimand.

“How many are there?”

“Enough. I believe we started with six, collected from Tariun IV. It is possible they have multiplied.”

“Why would you do that?” Ipath interrupted, sweeping his bolter across the tunnel mouth. Tomaz, Ikedon and Saul kept their weapons up as the squad crept down the burrow.

“I have high standards.”

“That is not an answer, sergeant.” Ipath’s voice was rich with anger.

“It is all the answer he needs, brother,” Saul said.

“Of all people, Saul, I thought you -”

“Fun as this bickering is,” Tomaz hissed across the vox, “I want to live to see full implantation. So, kindly, shut up.” The squad stalked in the tunnels artificial night, their light scout armour already edged with frost.

Nino could hear his brothers misty breathing all around him, could just make out their forms in the darkness. Beneath the sound of the squad he could hear something else.


“Yes, scout?”

“What else is down here with us?”

The breathing was a low, deep sound. Nino pictured massive lungs powering each exhalation.

“Many things, brother.”

“Anything big? Bigger than an Astartes I mean.”



The breathing became a purr, like a well-run engine. Nino knew the sound.


“A Carnodon,” the sergeant said.

Commentary; option 1 feels like a safe bet, although its just a little vanilla. To make it really something I think it needs to be quicker, faster paced and more visceral.

Option 2 is more sketchy. I like the idea but feel that its a bit out there, even for 40K. As far as the writing goes, I like it. it has all the speed and punch that the first one lacks. If only I could combine the two.

For the second test I like both of the options more than I like the previous ones. I think its because you get a much better sense of character in each, although the second one is perhaps a little too crowded.

All thoughts and criticism welcome.



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