Environmental rules (and some Corvettes)

Having not played prior to 2.0 and so never getting to experience them, one thing I’ve wanted to see for a bit is the environmental rules from Reconquest Phase 2 updated to the current rule set. Reading things over it looks to be a fairly simple transition for reasonable house rules. Many of these will end up being unchanged; as the rules are no longer in print or for sale, I don’t think there’s much issue with said rules ending up here essentially as copies. There are a few that require reinterpretation due to referencing now non-existent rules, but nothing impossible. I’m not going to pretend I won’t likely miss something that renders a particular rule unreasonable, but the more casual nature of this means it’s not too big a deal to come back to edit something.

For those unfamiliar, environmental rules are a set of modifiers from multiple categories that can be applied to any scenario to simulate non-standard conditions. They include permanent changes and a phase prior to squad activations where effects are rolled for if necessary. Fauna are part of the environmental rules, but as fauna have been updated they don’t need to be included here, other than noting that as they have already adapted to their environments they ignore all permanent modifiers.

One other thing to mention so that it does not have to be repeated every time it comes up: for all environmental effects, if the unit being assigned a hit is a behemoth, assign that hit to a zone at random.

  1. Gravity
    • Earth normal: No change.
    • High gravity: Non-aircraft units, including those moving as if they were aircraft, reduce move by 2″. Skimmers reduce E countermeasures by 1. Units arriving via drop-harness roll 1 additional dice per instance of landing condition.*
    • Low gravity: All units increase move by 2″. Indirect weapons gain 6″ to R(C) and R(F).**
  2. Atmosphere
    • Earth normal: No change.
    • Airless/toxic: All weapons gain +1 E.
  3. Ecosystems
    • Temperate: No change.
    • Sub zero: Exceptional terrain is treated as if it were normal terrain, all hidden objective rolls take a -1 penalty, and infantry taking fire from CQ weapons gains a +1 armor bonus to a maximum of 9.
    • Jungle: Flame weapons targeting a building or unit inside a building cause an additional D3 damage and collateral damage tokens to the structure. Non-infantry non-behemoth units are able to receive soft and body cover as if they were infantry if that cover is provided by vegetation.***
    • Harsh desert: When firing at a target over 12″ away, E6 and lower weapons suffer a +2 ACC penalty, while all other weapons suffer a +1 ACC penalty.
    • Lava: All non-aircraft units without evasion CM gain E+1 if further than 12″ from the firing unit, and all infantry gain P5+ against weapons with the flame special rule.
    • Subterranean: Destroyed buildings damage units within 3″, and each time a non-landed aircraft activates, a landed aircraft takes off, or a non-aircraft moves as if it were an aircraft, that unit takes a flight hazards test.****
  4. Random Events
    • Calm conditions: No change.
    • Storms: Roll a die at the start of the environmental phase each round. On a 3+, each non-landed aircraft takes a flight hazards test.****
    • Tornadoes: Roll a die at the start of the environmental phase each round. On a 5+, place an area template on the center of the table and scatter it 4D6 inches. At the end of the environmental phase, each template on the table scatters 2D6 inches in a straight line twice. If a board edge is touched, remove the template from play. Units of A9 or lower touched by a template during movement are destroyed, while all other units roll a die each time a template touches them. On a 2+, they take an E10 hit. On a 6, non-behemoth units are destroyed. Buildings take D6 E10 hits for each template contact.
    • Earthquakes: If there has not been an earthquake yet this game, roll a die at the start of the environmental phase each round and add the round number to the result. On a 7 or higher, choose a random table edge, then randomly select a corner or the center of the edge. The fault line of the earthquake runs as a straight line from that point to the opposite corner/center point of the table. For each side of the line, roll a die to determine the distance in inches of the damage zone from the line. Any unit on the ground within a damage zone takes an E10 hit on a 3+, while buildings suffer 3D6 E10 hits.
    • Orbital debris: Roll a die at the start of the environmental phase each round. On a 4+, place an area template on the center of the table and scatter it 4D6 inches. Roll a die to determine the number of debris pieces hitting the battlefield. The first hit lands at the initial template placement, and each piece of debris afterwards scatters 2D6 inches from that origin point, placing an area template with each hit. Buildings and ground units suffer an E11, Devastator-2(All), Devastator-3(Scenery) hit.
    • Completely unstable battlefield: At the end of the environmental phase, divide the table into 4 quarters, labeling them 3-6, and roll a die. On a 1-2, nothing happens, but on a 3-6, roll a die for each unit on the corresponding table quarter (including infantry in buildings). On a 6, the unit suffers an E10 hit. Every building in that quarter automatically suffers an E11 hit.

*The drop-harness penalty is a new addition mostly for flavor; I feel like it should interact with gravity somehow, and a small additional risk of damage on landing as a result of the process having to cope with harsher conditions seems like a way to model that. My only concern is not overly disincentivizing going for a drop over walking onto the board, but this doesn’t seem punishing enough to be too big a factor (unless you like going for very stupid and dramatic drops).

**Originally, this rule increased the value of barrage weapons by 1. One thing this did was increase their range by 6″, as well as boosting their R(F) by another 6″ as barrage weapons are inherently indirect. The other thing increasing barrage value did was that at certain breakpoints, damage against structures would increase, and at a high enough point they would also gain devastator. The issue here is there doesn’t seem to be a clear way to distinguish what was once a barrage weapon versus what wasn’t in the current rules. As near as I can tell, the logic of low gravity increasing barrage seems to be that with a decrease in G, a given volume of airspace could be filled with that many more projectiles to overwhelm countermeasures (although CM might have more time to shoot them down, but we’re spitballing sci-fi nonsense here). From that, I decided changing the rule from the original 6″ extension for R(F) to include R(C) would be a simple but relevant bonus and a soft damage boost.

***”by vegetation” feels a bit vague, but I think it’s reasonable to assume the overgrowth on scatter terrain and buildings that would exist in something considered a jungle ecosystem can make this apply to most structures. I think in this situation hull down and body cover can stack, but cover(x) weapons would apply to remove the relevant body/soft cover bonus.

****The original rule forced aircraft to make a “to the deck” test, a removed rule. To the deck allowed you to fly an aircraft just 2″ above the ground, if needed to stay out of sight of AA weapons, but 2D6 would have to be rolled; on a 2 for standard aircraft, and a 2 or 3 for fast movers, the ship would crash and be destroyed. This means a roughly 3% chance to lose a standard aircraft, or around 8% for a fast mover. My first thought was that it would be fun to bring over the dangerous maneuver test from Flightwing, but that wouldn’t apply well here for multiple reasons. The easy thing is to relabel the test as “flight hazards” and keep the rule as-is, minus the 2″ flight height aspect.

Additionally, I dumped out a set of Munifex. Just the Centurion, which is still busily taking a bath to remove more primer, is left for a reasonable Resistance fleet. I intend to grow it more in the future, but I’ve hit the self imposed limit in my build/paint queue before I’ll permit myself to get anything else.