-By: Elliott (PG_E2lio2tR)
I want you to sit back and think about this one for a moment. Which scene looks more interesting to picture in your mind while playing a game? Cygnar and Trollbloods lined up on an open field to clash in the middle of while having bullets fired at them with no cover for protection? Or how about this one. A Khador army is stationed at an sleepy mill town that is on the border of a forest and the Bitterock River, when a Circle army ambushes them? Like most people, I would say the second one would give a game a much more interesting feel. Today we are talking about the elements of terrain that give the table some interesting things to work around, how the game rules represent them and how some models can bypass them or even use them as an advantage.
The first thing we need to talk about are the two main benefits that terrain can give, Concealment and Cover. These rules will be referenced often in this article, so clearing them up now will help out later on. Concealment will give a model a +2 on their DEF stat versus Ranged attacks and Magic attacks. It can also give additional benefits if the model has rules that use it as a trigger (Prowl for example). Cover will give a model +4 DEF buff instead. They are not cumulative with one another. So standing behind a wall in a cloud will not help any more than just standing behind the wall. To determine if a model can claim either bonus a model must be within one inch of the feature and the attacker has to be able to draw line of site to the target with the line crossing over the feature at some point. A good tool to help with this is a laser line pen. Some features require the model to be fully within it to gain the bonus.
Several different terrain features are classified as Rough Terrain. While they can have other effects which will be talked about in a moment, this has an effect on the movement of a model.
While any part of a model’s base is in the border of something classified as rough terrain, their movement is cut in half. What this means is that for every 1 inch of movement a model takes, it takes two inches to do. To help clarify this some let us take a model with movement stat of 5. If the model wants to move across rough terrain without running, it could only move 2.5 (two and a half) inches. If it wants to run, then it can move five inches.
A common thing to see are splotches of Forests on the battlefield. These areas are considered to be rough terrain and will provide concealment to models as long as it is fully within the feature. This means if the base is slightly outside of the perimeter of the forest (event a sliver) you do not get the +2 DEF but will still have to deal with the speed penalty. If you want to get in the woods, make sure you can fully get in them. This feature also affects targeting and Line of Sight (LOS). A model can not target something that is more than three inches in the forest or on the other side of it. Even if the feature is two inches thick, if the target is on the other side and not touching it, then you can not draw LOS to it. Of course, with every rule there can be something that works around it, that includes this. If the target is on a huge base (Colossals, Gargantuans, Battle Engines) then they can always be targeted no matter where they are in comparison to the forest. They tower over the trees so of course you can see them.
A house that has fallen in on itself and impact craters are common sights to see across the many battlefields full of rampaging beasts and warjacks. These features are labeled as Rubble. These pieces of terrain simply act as rough terrain and provide cover as long as your model is fully within the perimeter of it. Unlike forests, a model can be targeted while behind or over three inches with in the rubble.
Obstacle cover a few different things that can be found on the battlefield. The most common will be a Wall, but can also be hedges or standing ruins or something else that stands about one inch tall. Verse shooting and ranged magic attacks, these features provide either cover or concealment to models behind it. If it is a solid structure, like a stone wall, it will provide cover. Something like a hedge will provide concealment. I mean a rock will have an easier time stopping a bullet then a bush. These type of terrain features have a few other effects on battle. A model behind it that is being attacked in melee from something on the other side, gains a +2 DEF vs. the melee attack. While moving a model can not stop their movement on the obstacle and can not charge through it unless they have pathfinder (more on this in a bit). If a model is thrown or slammed into it, then the resulting damage roll gains an additional die.
Things that are taller than one inch are classified as Obstructions. Obstructions act a lot like obstacles on the table. You gain the same bonuses to DEF in melee and range (cover or concealment depending on what the feature is). Slam and throw damage rolls gain an additional die if it is impacted. The difference between the two besides how high they are, is that models can not move through obstructions. The only way to do so is to have either Flight (indicated by the icon that looks like a wing) or Incorporeal (). If your model has either of these rules and can move fully passed the feature, then you can move the model over it.
A common sight is to see a battle take place among hills. These features simply act as normal open terrain for movement purposes. A model can move over it without slowing down. While a model is fully on the hill, it will gain an elevation bonus. This bonus gives the model a +2 to DEF from magic and ranged attacks originating from models that are on a lower elevation. Depending on the height of the hill, it can block line of sight for declaring charges. Other than this, hills act like normal open ground.
Shallow Water simply acts as rough terrain. Nothing more then that. It will slow down your movement. Some models have a special rule called Amphibious (indicated with an icon that looks like waves). Models with this rule are not slowed by shallow water and gain concealment while they are completely within the feature.
While most models will be slowed down by these features, others come with a way around them. These models have a rule called Pathfinder (). With this rule they can move normally over rough terrain and can declare charges over obstacles, like walls, as long as they have enough movement to get full over it. The only issue they will have is with forests. While they can still move through this feature without an issue, they can not draw line of sight past three inches deep. Other rules can work around that but that is a different story and post.
Trenches can be found throughout battlefields and the Iron Kingdom is no different. On the table, they are represented by a 3”x5” template. These templates can touch each other, forming a long network of them. Think of the trenches in a classic WW1 or WW2 movie.While fully in the trench, a model gains cover from models that are not touching the template themselves. They also do not suffer blast damage unless the point of origin is also within the template. Models can draw line of sight over trenches and models with in them to anything on the other side of it.
Some battles take place early in the morning or even in swamps. A common sight in these settings is Dense Fog. These are shown on the battlefield as either 3”, 4” or 5” Cloud AOE templates. They act just like a cloud would from any other game effect. The difference with these are that they will be removed from the table randomly. Starting at the end of the second player’s first turn, you roll a d6 for each one. If a 1 or 2 is rolled, the template is removed from the table.
There you have it. The basics of common terrain types found in battles across the Iron Kingdoms. Most tables will have six to eight of these on the table. The use of these features will help set the scene for your battle and make it more cinematic and entertaining for you to play on. I promise, you will have more fun playing in the village streets of an abandoned town with dilapidated houses then on the open fields of the flat desert lands. So get out there and play games.