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Wilderness Rules


The Wilderness Rules were included in the Empire in Flames supplement, and expanded on in the Nemesis Crown Supplement.

The following tables are meant as guidelines for typical terrain found in a game set in the Empire in Flames setting. Obviously there are no jungles or deserts in the Empire – most of the countryside is either open plains or forests, low ground broken up by low hills, with more hills being present the closer you get to the mountain ranges. Small farms break up the wild landscape, and these are surrounded by fields that are either clear or filled with crops, depending on the time of year.

Open Ground

  • No movement penalty.
  • Fallow fields (or fields which just haven’t produced crops yet).
  • Low, open hills.
  • Bridges or fords in waterways.
  • Steps or ladders leading up or down.

Difficult Ground

  • Models move at 1/2 speed.
  • Small streams (moving water less than 4" wide).
  • Rocky ground.
  • Fields filled with crops.
  • Abandoned ruins.
  • Marshy ground.
  • Woods.

Very Difficult Ground

  • Models move at 1/4 speed and may not charge.
  • Rivers (moving water 4" or more wide).
  • Swamp or deeper marsh.
  • Hedges or thickets.

Impassable Terrain

Models may not move through this terrain. If forced into this terrain for whatever reason warriors are counted as out of action.

  • Tall rock outcroppings.
  • Deep rivers or lakes.


The woods of the Empire are very dense and very dark, consisting of many huge ancient trees that block out the sun. In games in this setting, warbands rarely stray into the deepest, darkest woods so only small copses and clumps of trees need be represented. The rules below reflect the effects of woods:

A stand of woods blocks line of sight to the other side, no matter how wide the stand is. This means that two models on either side of even a 1" wide section of woods cannot see each other if neither has actually entered it.

A model within a stand of woods can see or be seen for 2". This means that there must be no more than 2" between a warrior in woods and an enemy model for the warrior to freely charge or shoot at the enemy, and the same goes for enemy models who wish to shoot at or charge a warrior in woods. Models with more than 2" of woods between them may still test to see if they can charge unseen enemy models as per the normal Mordheim rules, of course.

Woods are difficult ground, and reduce movement to half speed.

Nemesis Crown addition


Unless the scenario dictates, players should agree which stands of trees represent which type of woodland at the start of the game.

Dense Woodland

A stand of trees represents an area of dense forest, where sight is limited to 2". This is the type of woods described on page 13 of the Empire In Flames supplement.

Dense woodland counts as difficult ground. Mounted models may not enter dense woodland without dismounting.

Light Woodland

Here the terrain is wysiwyg (what you see is what you get), i.e. a stand of four trees represents a copse of four trees. To determine if the trees block line of sight you'll need to crouch down and squint through them.

Light woodland counts as open ground.

Mounted models may enter light woodland without dismounting.

Swamp Or Deep Marsh

There are many areas of the Empire where water from the various waterways has built up over time and formed treacherous swamps. Models entering these wild places are taking their lives into their own hands, as swamps are some of the more dangerous places in the wilderness. Poisonous reptiles, bandit bands, crazed hermits, witches, and sucking bogs may all be found within a swamp. Many areas within a swamp are actually clear, but the following rules cover movement over actual swamp terrain section (represented by a small pond).

Whenever a model moves through a swamp section, roll a D6. On a roll of a 1, the model has stumbled into a sucking bog! The model may not move until rescued, and, if not rescued within D3+1 game turns (at the end of the last turn), he is sucked under and lost (remove the poor soul from the warband’s roster). We suggest placing a D6 by the model with the number of turns remaining showing face up. To rescue a trapped model before the time runs out, a friendly model must move to within 2" of the trapped model and pass a Strength test on a D6 in that player’s next Close Combat phase. If the Strength test is successful, the trapped model is dragged free (may move normally from that point on, and no longer has to worry about being sucked under). If the Strength test is unsuccessful, the model may still roll again in the next Close Combat phase. Additional models may help to pull the trapped model free, by either making additional Strength tests of their own, or adding +1 per helper model to the Strength of the original model making the test. Note that a roll of a 6 on a Strength test always fails. Note also that a model engaged in close combat may not attempt to pull a friendly model free, or help in such an attempt (the model is too busy trying to save himself to worry about his comrade!).

Swamp sections are always very difficult ground.


The Empire is dissected by many huge, fastflowing rivers. These are the lifeblood to the Empire as they bring trade to the bustling cities and act as the major source of transport between them.

To represent how models interact with water these basic rules apply:

Players should establish which way the river is flowing at the start of the game.

All rivers count as difficult (or worse) terrain for all models except those considered as aquatic. See Terrain Types previously.

Models swimming with the current will double their base move.

Models swimming against the current of a slow moving river may only move a quarter of their base move, but you may not swim against the current of a fast moving river.

Aquatic models suffer no reduction of their base move when swimming against the current of a slow moving river but may not swim against the current of a fast moving river.

Models wearing armour may not attempt to move through any water deeper than shallow. Shields and bucklers do not count for this as they are assumed to be strapped onto backs. If a model wearing armour finds itself in deep water – they are, literally! Each turn the model is in the water it must make a Strength test and, if unsuccessful, is taken out of action.

Aquatic models in water, either swamp, streams or rivers, can elect to be hidden at the discretion of the player. Models cannot move upstream in fast moving rivers without floating transportation, such as a boat or canoe.

Fighting in Water

Most players will find it advantageous to fight around, or actually in, a waterway. We have included some simple rules to cover fighting in water.

If a non-aquatic model is knocked down in a shallow river or stream they are swept downriver D6". Aquatic models that are knocked down will not drift with the current and can still get back into combat the following turn.

If any model is stunned while in shallow water it must make an Initiative test. If it passes, it can be turned over in the following turn. If it fails, it is considered drowned and will be taken out of action. The player will need to roll for injuries at the end of the game. This doesn’t mean that the model is gone for good but is just a bit waterlogged!

Any Undead model that is knocked down in shallow water will recover as normal according the standard Mordheim rules for Undead.

Any model fighting in a shallow stream whilst wearing light armour will be considered out of action if stunned. No Initiative test is to be taken. This does not apply to models whose skin or clothing is considered natural light armour.


The Empire can be a dangerous place, and no place more so than out in the wilderness. Buildings are treated a bit differently in games set in Empire in Flames. These rules do not cover ruins, which are simply considered difficult ground in most cases.

Curses, Locked!: First of all, unless the building is an inn (inn doors are only locked at night), the doors will be locked (or someone will simply be on the other side holding the door!). Secondly, buildings will have windows that are actually shuttered and/or have actual frames and intact glass. To move through a locked door or shuttered window, the warrior has to first open it, which requires a bit of force. The warrior can either attempt to rip the door open using his bare strength, chop the door down with his weapons, or rush the door. Ripping a door off its hinges with bare hands is done at the end of the warrior’s Movement phase, and requires that the warrior pass a Strength check at -2 to his Strength. If the warrior fails he can try again next turn. Only one warrior may attempt this at a time. Chopping a door down takes D3+1 complete game turns of doing nothing but attacking the door. Up to two friendly warriors may help chop the door down – subtract -1 turn from the total (down to a minimum of one turn). Rushing a door may be done at the end of any of the warrior’s Movement phases, and requires a successful Strength test. If passed, the warrior is inside the room on the other side of the door (his momentum carries him inside). A warrior entering a room this way is placed 1" straight ahead into the room, pushing aside enemy models to make room if necessary. If he ends up in contact with enemy models after being placed, the warrior is considered to be engaged in close combat with them and he is considered to have charged. If the Strength test is failed, the warrior takes an automatic hit at his own Strength and will have to try again next turn if he wants that door open.

Doors that have been chopped down may never be locked again (see below). Doors that have been forced open may only be locked again on a roll of 4-6 (roll as soon as the door is forced open), otherwise they have been too badly damaged by the ill treatment to be locked until they are repaired (some time after the game!). Unlike the doors to the outside, doors inside a building are considered to be unlocked.

Opening or locking a door obviously requires that the model actually comes into contact with the door when he is trying to interact with it! Also, a model that has just forced a door open will prevent enemy models from locking it (he may shove his foot or a weapon in there).

Get Out Me ’Ouse!: A warrior stepping into a building during a game will likely find it occupied. A warrior moving into an intact building will suffer D3-1 automatic hits from those inside, at Strength 3, as the inhabitants show their displeasure at him bringing the battle to them. If the player wishes, the warrior may spend a complete turn attempting to quell the inhabitants – roll a Leadership test for the warrior. If he is successful, he will suffer no more hits while in this building. If he fails, he immediately suffers another D3 automatic Strength 3 hits this turn, as the inhabitants have found his argument for them not attacking him to be unconvincing. If members of two enemy warbands are inside the same building, this rule is ignored, as the inhabitants realise that the battle has now reached their home and it’s time to go and find a place to hide!

Clutter: While areas outside are often free of debris, inside a building is a whole different story. Tables, chairs, other furniture, dropped dishes, firewood, etc, all make for tricky footing in a fight. For this reason, inside a building is considered to be difficult terrain.

Combat through doorways: If both sides are unwilling (or unable) to go past a doorway, they may fight through it. If this occurs, the number of models that may fight on each side is one more than the number of models that could walk abreast through the doorway. In most cases this will mean that two models from each side may take part in the combat, though some especially large doors (eg. barn doors) may allow more models than this to get their licks in! As soon as a door is opened, both sides may place up to this number of models in contact with the doorway. Any models that were within 1" of the door when it was opened may be moved this way, and each player gets to control which of his models gets moved into the combat. The side opening the door will count as charging in the first round of the combat.

Stairs and such: Buildings with multiple floors will have a way to get from one to the next. This is usually stairs, though it’s possible that it may be ramps, ladders, ropes, etc. A warrior climbing a rope (or the wall!) must follow the rules for climbing, as outlined in the Mordheim rulebook. Ladders and stairs are a bit easier, however. A warrior may move up a ladder or flight of stairs to the next level in a single Movement phase. The model must start his move within 1" or the bottom of the ladder/stair, and it takes all of his movement to get to the top. If there is an upright enemy model (or models) within 1" of the top of the stairs or ladder, the climber may charge it.