Learnin’ The Drowned Earth Beta 1.0 Part 4, Terrain, Weapons and Misc.

We’re about done with this monster overview of The Drowned Earth Beta 1.0. Sculpts are being previewed and James is updating the fluff as the days go by. The Kickstarter is looming near. We’ve covered the basic mechanics as well as TDE’s main dice rolls in part 1, quite the original system when it comes to taking tests. We went over movement next in part 2 and followed up with combat actions and the almighty Reaction in part 3. Today we’ll start with Terrain and see where we get to. I’m excited to get my cutouts on the table to playtest once the series concludes. So, without further ado terrain!

Terrain is a major feature of any miniatures game especially theme heavy ones. But it’s a big deal in TDE due to all the different types of movement available to your models and the deadliness of ranged fire in the game. The more terrain the better. They recommend filling at least a third of the table with it, you want the ability to jump, climb, swim and kick ass across the jungles and swamps of TDE. The book points out the more movement tests you take the higher your chance is for additional AP at the end of the movement via Feats on the d10s.


There are four classifications of terrain. Once the board is setup and before deployment you should go through each piece with your opponent to make sure it’s clear. Difficult Ground like shallow water, rough terrain or thick foliage requires a Traverse movement test. Blocking terrain are pieces that would require a model to climb or jump to cross over. Blocking terrain requires a Leap, Climb or Jump Down movement test. Deep Water, areas of water that would be faster to swim across than wade on foot. The last option is Impassable, this type blocks all movement even climbing, and leaping. Think high up rope ladders or lakes of acid! (man these jungles are dangerous, lakes of acid?!).

Terrain contributes greatly as you’d expect to Line of Sight and Cover for models operating within it. Models get cover if any part of their main body mass is obscured. There is some grey area here for models sculpted in dynamic poses or modeled on sweet bases. Using this kind of LoS requires a good deal of cooperation and sportsmanship. I’ve seen many systems chose to use some kind of height characteristic instead. Check these two examples from the book. From my understanding it’s pretty easy to get the cover bonus and many models will have it due to the dense terrain and the fact that only a bit of the model needs to be obscured to benefit.


When it comes to cover there are three options Soft, Hard and Smoke. Models may benefit from soft and hard cover but not more than one instance of a single type. Note there are no exceptions to LoS through your own models, they count too. You can’t go shooting through them as if they were invisible or supremely adept at dodging shots in the back, ha. I like this rule a lot. (Typo the second to last paragraph of page 39) When shooting at enemy models if they are partially obscured by their own models then you need to redirect the shot at the closest model. So placing mini’s in front of one another does have effects on the game and can help keep your squishy dudes running for treasure.


Speaking of running for treasure there are various states that the model can be in like Prone,  Swimming (clears fire tokens!) and Climbing each of these have some specifics for models that end or use any of their activation doing them. I feel as though we covered most of that in the movement article. So let’s take a gander at Weapons and Equipment next.

Weapons are roughly split between Range and Melee. The range is.. Well the range at which the weapon can attack. Remember it’s got two stats to add some chance to making those long shots. The second number can only be used if you roll a ‘Nailed it’ result. The Damage is also expressed as two numbers. The superior damage (second number) can only be had on a ‘Nailed It’ result at ‘Pass’ range. (How’s that for some jargon). Weapons can have special rules that add modifiers to certain rolls and some of them are optional too if they say ‘may’ it means you decide. Templates are used for area of effect weapons. All models under a template suffer the damage and special rules. There are three types of templates in TDE Teardrop, small and large blast. These are in the back of the book for printing and I’m sure they’ll be offered in the upcoming kickstarter. A la 40k or Warmachine a weapon using the teardrop template doesn’t have to roll to hit. It’s just placed so it’s not covering any friendly models or stealth markers. (Yup, this game has stealth! We’ll get to that soon.) using the small and large blast templates requires the shooting model to place the template before making their roll. Cover and line of sight is determined from the center of the template. Small and large blast templates have one base level of damage and the success level of the roll determines the scatter distance.

Not all is well with the new and old weapons being used in TDE. Blunder rolls on marksmanship tests may lead to weapon jams. A Jammed weapon can’t be used again until it’s been repaired. Any model may attempt to repair a primitive weapon. But more advanced models require a model to have the repair skill. Here’s a few weapons for your imagination to run wild with followed by a few close combat weapons and an example of the special abilities weapons can have.




Every model in TDE has at least one skill and many have more than one. There are a good deal of them so we won’t go into the specifics here. I’ll cover them in any battle reps or model reviews when applicable. Here’s a random list of a few though, Backstab, boost, feint, First Aid, Gun Rage, Headshot, Precise, Stealth, Undaunted. Taking a glance through them these will really provide some flavor for each character and much substance for the narrative story telling element of the game. The last chapter of the rules is ‘Other Rules’.

First Damage and Model health. Models go from Healthy (no wounds) to Wounded (some wounds) to Down (0 wounds and prone) to Taken Out (single attack takes wounds equal to or greater than double their current level of wounds). This means prone models can be healed up with First Aide skills, that could be sweet. The Next thing to cover are pass tokens. Down models grant a single pass token to their owner. Basically they can’t activate but they still take up an activation. A Pass token is spend to pass activation back to the opponent. Pass tokens are regained and counted at the end of each cleanup phase of the game.

Falling is never good. Models that fall more than 1″ take damage unless they fall in water. The cool thing here is enemies may react to falling models and the falling models may even spend AP while falling to shoot at folks. Too funny I can’t wait to see how this plays out in some cinematic actions. The one thing to remember here is models can’t fall into base to base, place them 1″from all enemies and as close as possible to their original spot. Last but certainly not least is Stealth. Models with this skill place stealth markers (like infinity) an unrevealed marker may not be shot at. Sometimes models can deploy decoy stealth markers too when a decoy is revealed it’s removed from play. The controlling player can move both the decoy and the model that brought the decoy into the game at the same time to keep their opponent guessing about what and who they are.

Enemies have to make a special Shoot action called reveal to reveal stealth markers. Instead of hitting the model for damage a reveal simply reveals what it is. If a model declares a reveal the stealth model may take a reaction as normal to shoot back. This will auto reveal them, the action is still performed but it allows a model to burst out of cover and fire off a quick shot or lunge out at the last minute with a sword. Reveal is sort of like a weapon or exactly except it doesn’t do damage it just replaces the stealth marker with whatever it was and/or discards a decoy.


That’s it for the game mechanics and rules! We’ve made it all the way through. Please follow my @vorgames and @TheDrownedEarth for more gaming goodness and news as the The Drowned Earth continues to grow. In the next post we’ll cover crew selection as well as the models I have cutouts for and the scenario I’ll be playtesting first.

Cheers all happy gaming, may you roll many crits and/or feats this weekend.




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