House Rules: Mass Combat - Terrain Battlefield Conditions

In mass combat, the terrain itself can determine the outcome of the battle. Different types of terrain offer both advantages and disadvantages. If an army stays in a hex for at least 1 day without any enemy armies, the army commander may choose how to deploy her camp and army to take advantage of the terrain. If two opposing armies enter the same hex on the same day, then both commanders must make an opposed Leadership check. Whoever wins the check chooses how to deploy their army first.

Arctic hexes are constantly covered in snow and ice, and maintain cold or lower temperatures. Units need to make Morale checks starting at the end of the 4th round of combat in a row to avoid being fatigued.

  • Ice:
  • Snow: Zones with thick layer of snow are considered as difficult terrain.

Cavern terrain is any hex where teh battle is found underground. It can be composed of tunnels, open cavernous spaces, and platforms at different elevations. Hazards and obstacles can include ravines, underground bodies of water, tight spaces, and unstable ground.

  • Ravine: A ravine occupies 1 to 3 connected zones. These zones are considered to be impassable terrain unless the unit can fly or a bridge is built.
  • Tunnel:

Battles on the coastline will have on side of the battlefield bordered by the body of water. Opposing armies may battle along the length of the coast, and units with Boats or the amphibious or swimming special abilities can use the body the water to move up and down the battlefield. If one side has no units that can traverse bodies of water, then their units can only attack enemy units in the water with ranged attacks or flying units. Alternatively, one army can force the other army to begin the battle with their backs against the coast. This would hamper them from routing from the field.

Units need to make Morale checks starting at the end of the 4th round of combat in a row to avoid being fatigued.

  • Dunes: Zones with dunes are considered to be difficult terrain due to the unstable footing.

An army in a forest hex gains a +4 bonus to their Camouflage. The trees provide enough cover and obstacles to impose Disadvantage on Ranged attacks. Units are unable to use the Cavalry Sweep or Furious Charge tactics.

Hills provide different levels of elevation throughout the battlefield, although the battlefield usually features only one hill. One to three zones of the battlefield are considered elevated terrain, and are considered to elevation levels high. The zones adjacent to the elevated terrain are one elevation level lower.

During the battle, ranged attacks from units on a higher elevation against units on a lower one gain a +2 bonus to RV, and the lower unit gains a -2 penalty to RV on attacks against the higher unit. During melee combat, a unit moving from a higher elevated zone into a lower elevated zone gains a +2 bonus to MV against an enemy unit already in the lower zone and the enemy unit gains a -2 penalty to MV on attacks against that unit until the end of the next Action phase. If a unit from a lower zone moves into a higher elevated zone and engages an enemy unit already in that zone, then the unit gains a -2 penalty to MV against the enemy unit, and the enemy unit gains a +2 bonus to MV on melee attacks against the first unit until the end of the next Action phase.

The first army to enter a hill hex gets to choose whether or not to set up their camp on a hill. If two armies enter the same hill hex at the same time, the commanders must make opposed leadership checks, and the winner gets to decide. The battlefield is then setup in relation to the first army or the winner's camp. The other army's camp is considered to be on low ground.

An army in a jungle hex gains a +4 bonus to their Camouflage. The vegetation provide enough cover and obstacles to impose Disadvantage on Ranged attacks. Units are unable to use the Cavalry Sweep or Furious Charge tactics.

Units on the ground without the amphibious or swimming special ability move at half speed in marsh terrain.

3d4 zones contain mountains.

  • Mountain: Mountain zones are made up of a single "peak" zone with adjacent zones considered as "slopes". Requires leadership check to move through mountain zones to avoid casualties. Moving from in or out of a mountain zone requires both acts during the Action phase, and units become vulnerable to attacks until the start of their next Action phase. Falling causes damage. Units on higher elevation gains bonuses against units below them.
  • Ravine: Restricted space and movement within the ravine. Unable to pass over without fly speed or bridge.

The flat, clear land of plains can make this type of terrain the most ideal battlefield for the right commander. It offers no advantages, but no disadvantages either. Armies must rely purely on their own training, equipment, and leadership to win the day.

For a hex to be considered as a River hex, it needs to contain both opposing banks of the body of water (otherwise it is considered as a Coastline hex). If both opposing armies enter a River hex from opposite sides of it, then the battlefield will be divided by the river in-between the two armies' Front zones. The river is equal to 1 to 3 zones depending on its size. Land units are unable to do so unless they use Boats or build a Bridge. Units that are amphibious, or are able to fly or swim, can traverse and fight in the River zone as normal. If both armies arrive in the River hex

  • Current: A calm current allows swimming units and units in boats to traverse the zone normally. Rough current reduces their speed by half. Stormy current reduces their speed by half, and deals 1d4 damage to the unit.
  • Ice: If the temperature is Severe or Extreme Cold, then the River zone is frozen over. It can be traverse by land units at half speed. Battling on ice can be dangerous. Units adjacent to the frozen River zone can make a special Melee attack break the ice under a unit inside the River zone. The ice has an effective DV of 15 and 5 hp. Ranged units with the rock throwing or any spellcasting special ability, non-firearm siege engine on land, and any siege engines in the sky can also target and destroy the ice. If the ice underneath a unit is destroyed, its leader must make a DC 20 Leadership check. If the check succeeds, her unit is defeated, but enough survivors are able to avoid falling in the freezing water, and they can later make it back to the Camp zone to reform their unit with only 1 section. If the check fails, then virtually the entire unit fall into the water, and the unit is considered to be destroyed.

Tundra land lack any notable features except for consistent low temperatures.

Urban terrain exists when battles occur on settlements. This type of terrain is characterized by having buildings of various heights, and streets of various widths snaking between them.


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