Learnin’ The Drowned Earth Beta 1.0 Part 3, Shooting, Close Combat

Hey friends and freaks it’s time for another dose of our Learnin’ The Drowned Earth Beta 1.0 series. Make sure to get up to speed by checking out the first two as well (part 1, part 2). We’ve covered the basic game mechanics, table setup and movement so far. Today we’ll start with the three Combat Actions available on your models activation. Shoot, Close Combat and Dodge. Remember each action costs one AP which spent immediately after declaring the action.

The first up is Shoot. Shoot can be declared at the beginning, middle or end of a move action or any other time on the models activation where they have one AP to spend. That’s right folks matrix like stuff can down. Your opponent is allowed to take ‘Reactions’ to Shooting actions and I promise we’ll get to that. There are three things you need for a shoot action, Line of sight, range on your weapon and a marksmanship test. You may not take shoot actions at enemies who are engaged in melee with their enemies (you). If the desired target is partially obscured by one or more enemy models then they cannot be targeted.

To take the shot you declare a Shoot action, your opponent claims any cover bonuses and both players agree on the TN for the marksmanship test. The Target Number for the test is the shooters Marksmanship + any positive or negative mods for things like cover or weapon properties. If the roll is successful then the shot hits which requires the defending player to make an armor roll.  Like many stats in TDE weapons have two damage values denoting the number of hits caused, determined by the range and success level. The first value is normal damage and the second is superior damage. A ‘Nailed It’ result is required to use superior damage but only if the model didn’t have to a roll a ‘Nailed It’ for the range. Hmm, Okay might sound confusing but let’s check out a weapon profile below.

Looking at this Tactical Bow a model could take a shot at it’s ‘Pass’ range of 10 inches. If it rolled a ‘Nailed It’ on the Marksmanship then 3 damage would be applied. If the model choose to take a shot at something 14 inches out they would take their Marksmanship Test needing a ‘Nailed It’ result just to reach the target. If this still isn’t concise just remember Superior damage can only be inflicted at the Pass range for weapons. I like this chunkiness and I think it’ll smooth over in playtesting when you get used to the lingo. I mentioned armor rolls, let’s say you hit and do superior damage with the tactical bow. The model hit rolls a d10 for each hit, in this case three, to succeed the die need to be equal to or under the targets Toughness. Subtract the number of hit’s whose armor roll failed from the targets Wound total. Nobody wants to be wounded so we’ll cover the Dodge action next.


Dodging is declared in response to another model’s shoot action. The Dodge requires an Agility test and will be an opposed role against the model shooting the dodging character. Due to the narrative, always engaged style of the game the dodging player may be active, target or reactive model. The action costs 1AP, that’s why you may consider leaving AP on models rather than spending them all. Having that AP in the pocket to declare a dodge at a crucial time may be valuable indeed. Results for Dodge are listed on pp30 of the beta 1.0 book. A ‘Nailed it’ for example allows extra movement. I’m excited to see some models fighting it out! There are cases where the active model is dodging against many shoot actions at once. (picture two models taking reaction shots at an active model moving into their range, the active model declares a dodge), in this case each reacting roll (marksmanship test) is compared to the single dodge roll result and effects are resolved normally. No matter the number of shots fired the model need only spend 1AP to dodge them, not 1 per attack. There are some weapons that utilize templates for damage, think flame throwers and bombs here. Models can declare dodges after the template is placed if they have the AP to do so but they must do it before the template dice are rolled. This is not an opposed test so the model could dodge out of the way if they’re lucky. The template dice are rolled after that. The target model in this case is just hoping to dodge out of the template footprint.


Last but not least, Close Combat! The CC attribute is used for these opposed tests between two models fighting in base to base. Any move action that ends in Base to Base with an enemy triggers a round of close combat without spending additional AP. This is the Charge move of the game for you miniature wargaming veterans. If you’re already in Base to Base with AP to spend, for 1 AP you can initiate a round of close combat. The target has a chance to declare a reaction first. The target model could choose to react by engaging in combat (opposed cc vs cc) or taking a shot at incoming models (m vs cc). In the shooting case the charging model still reaches base to base. Duels are the close combat equivalent of a firefight. Think two characters giving it their all to survive. Only the winner of the opposed test in close combat will inflict damage. (I think this means you may not act in CC if you have no AP left to react which makes charging previously activated models quite deadly.)

We all know many combats involve multiple enemies or allies, any model in the CC gets a +1 mod for each other friendly model in base to base with the target they are attacking. There are a few other modifiers. The one I’m digging the most is ‘Airborn Charge’, in my minds’ eye I’m picturing folks diving off ledges and pouncing on opponents, too cool. To disengage from CC a model must make a successful dodge roll, the enemy may react to the declared dodge with a CC action which leads to an Agility vs CC opposed test. The inactive player being targeted by a close combat attack may react by dodging and attempting to disengage as well.


I’ve mentioned them a lot  so I feel like we’ve got a good understanding but now it’s time to touch on them officially. Reactions, they allow a player to respond immediately to their opponents actions a la Infinity and AFTERGLOW. If you haven’t used reaction mechanics it’s a bit to adapt to but you’ll find the involvement on both sides of the table gets intense. No more feeling like you’re helpless on your opponents activation. The valid reactions to take are Shoot, Dodge or Close Combat and they each require 1AP and Line of Sight to the acting model. Note that the active player may never take a reaction only the inactive one. There is no limit to the number of reactions that can be declared against a single action as long as each model has the AP and aforementioned line of sight. As far as timing the reaction can be taken at any point during the acting models action. See diagram below for visual aide.


When reacting against a shoot or potential stab in the thigh with a poisoned blade it’s considered ‘initiating a firefight (duel in CC case)’ rather than a reaction. What this means is that the rolls are opposed. In combat with many models if there are any opposed firefights or duels happening roll those first. A note on gamer etiquette and using reaction mechanics. Both players need approach this with a ‘spirit of friendly cooperation and generosity’, it’s hard to determine LoS if a model hasn’t actually been moved. I think this means you may need to place a counter where the model was initially and be willing to move him around for your opponent to assess LoS and range before deciding whether or not to react. This means you really don’t want to play that guy who needs to win all the time or if you do there is at least a rule in the book that specifies the kind of cooperation required to play.

There are two Miscellaneous Action types, a Skill Action, usually Intelligence Tests and an Interact Action normally defined under scenario specific rules, stuff like interacting with a control panel or trading a golden statue with a bag of sand before triggering the trap. In any case see the scenario for the details.

That’ll do for today’s post. We’ve covered all the actions that can be taken in the game and how models can avoid being the victim of those actions via reactions. The remaining topics to cover are Terrain, Los and cover, Weapons and Equipment, Skills and ‘Other Rules’. Please take a look at the other learnin’ series on the site if anything interests you and follow myself @vorgames and @TheDrownedEarth for more game goodness and updates on the TDE project.



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