Chapter F: Field Hazards
In the grimdark future of planet grimdark, there is very little beer

When this ImmortalTech Keg of Maniac Beer crashes into the surface of Planet Grimdark, its automatic defense systems kick in. Two massive skeletal hands form from the volcanic strata of the planetary crust, reaching upwards through the rock only to claw back in again and tear a giant prolapsed orifice in the surface.

Robotic defenders, immune (mostly) to the temptation of the Beer thanks to their mechanikal nature, spring up to man defense turrets against the sea of thirsty invaders sure to arrive. They're defended by a ring of spiked embankments, a moat of molten lava, and a great plain of unstable magma crust. Behind them, the Beer is ringed with barbed-wire fences and proximity mines.

The most lethal factor, however, is the irresistible nature of the Beer itself - no matter how many invaders combine forces to breach the defenses, only one can escape with the Keg, and each attacker will stop at nothing to make sure he's that one.
Photo: stubby
from "Assault on Goatse Bunker"
Elements shown: LEGO

When offensive weaponry isn't enough to finish the job, leftover minifigs can be slaughtered by the environment itself. Field Hazards such as minefields, bear traps, electrified surfaces, razor wire, and poorly-labeled latrine pits all have the potential to ruin an intruder's day. They may be constructed by players trying to advance their individual goals, or they may be natural environmental hazards, equally dangerous to all players and not owned or paid for by any of them. Field Hazards are never secret - every player at the table will know the boundaries of every minefield, although they may need to send some minifigs in to stomp around if they want to pinpoint the individual mines.

Field Hazards don't take a lot of input or oversight from minifig controllers. Instead, their effects are triggered when a minifig or other object wanders into the wrong area. Anti-personnel mines blow up minifigs who step on them, magma flows burn minifigs that swim in them, and poison gas chambers poison minifigs that breathe in them after the benevolent AI has finished warming up the neurotoxin emitters.

A Field Hazard is defined by two attributes: the Field, which is the Hazard's area of effect, and the Hazard, which is what happens to victims who wander into the Field.

The area covered by a dangerous condition is its Field. The Field may be filled with a uniform Hazard, such as molten lava, tear gas, or boy-band music. It may be filled with hidden and unpredictably distributed Hazards, like antipersonnel mines, patches of thin ice, swampy sinkholes, or subterranean BrikThulhoid tentacles waiting to burst through the surface.

Like Structures and Weapons, a Field is defined by its Size, measured by the number of inches across its widest dimension. Players will need to know exactly where the boundaries of the Field are, so it's a good idea to make Fields a different color than the surrounding terrain, or indicate their borders with lines of small bricks or other markers.

The dangerous conditions within a Field are known as its Hazards. Hazards are consistent throughout their Fields - no matter where in a Field a minifig is standing, a Fire's flames are just as hot, a river's current is just as strong, and a minefield's mines are just as likely to be hiding under his next footstep.

F.1: Hazard Dice

Field Hazards
Hazard Dice Options Notes
Smoke - 100% visual cover
Exposure Damage
Damage d6 Damage
Damage d4 Fire
Target Size modifiers affect Damage
Difficult Terrain Move d6" Move Spiked Obstacles may cause Damage
instead of affecting Movement
Concealed Hazard
Damage d6 Damage
Damage d4 Fire
Damage d10 Exp
Move d6" Move
Target rolls Action vs. inches moved
to avoid Concealed Hazard

Target Size modifiers affect difficulty
Energy Shield Any die of ArmorDeflection Deflection dice protect against same Damage die type

The effects of a Field Hazard are built up from Hazard Dice that fall into a short list of basic categories.
  • Smoke is the simplest Hazard, with no Hazard Dice. Smoke provides complete visual obscurement.
  • Exposure Damage dice damage their victims by simple exposure, like a burning fire or a poison gas cloud.
  • Difficult Terrain dice hamper units' Movement, possibly damaging them in the process, like barbed wire obstacles or a field of frozen ice.
  • Concealed Hazard dice are inert until a unit steps in the wrong place, like a minefield or on an unstable magma crust.
  • A final type, Energy Shield dice, are used to create special Field defenses rather than being true Hazards in themselves.
Like the d10s in a Creation's Armor rating (7.1: Structure), a Field Hazard can never have more Hazard Dice than its inches of Size, and should be generally limited to a maximum of three Hazard Dice except in exceptional cases. If the Size of a Field Hazard is reduced below its number of Hazard Dice by any means (for instance, heroic firefighters fighting a house Fire by smothering it with stacks of politicians in reputedly-flame-retardant suits), the number of Hazard Dice are reduced to match the new Field Size.

If a Field Hazard is of a type that works passively as part of the landscape, there's no limit to the number of times its Dice can be rolled in a turn, as one victim after another wanders into the Field. A river current sweeps away a dozen minifigs as easily as one, and a volcano melts a hundred ill-advised submarine tours as reliably as a scuba enthusiast diving solo.

If a Field Hazard is a type that's activated and powered by a Creation, then its Hazard Dice can only activate once per turn, and each Hazard Die is treated as an inch of Weapon Size for the purpose of Power consumption. Powered Field Hazards can be designed to be activated automatically on contact or manually by the Creation's operator.

Smoke is the simplest Hazard, with no Hazard Dice of its own. It sometimes appears as a side effect of other Hazards. Smoke blocks vision completely for anyone looking into, out of, or through its Field, but has no other effect.

By default, Smoke Fields are effective up to a height of five inches. Depending on the type of Smoke involved, a Smoke Field might barely cover the ground (e.g., dry ice fog) or it might billow up endlessly with no loss of opacity (e.g., a tire fire).

Exposure Damage
d6 Damage or d4 Fire Damage
Many Hazards damage victims through exposure alone. the Damage from environmental Hazards like acid, radiation, electrified surfaces, hailstorms, and political advertisements only increases with the victim's exposure.

Whenever a unit or object encounters a Field that causes Exposure Damage, it takes the Field's Exposure Damage dice as direct Damage. As with Damage from Arc attacks, the Damage total is modified by the Target Size modifier for whichever part of the victim is exposed to the Field (a victim large enough to have a +2 Target Size modifier, for example, takes +2 Damage from an Exposure Damage Field (5.1: Making Attacks)).

Size zero objects simply take a single point of Damage per Exposure Damage die; these do not count against any Power limit for the Field Hazard.

Certain types of Exposure Damage work differently on different targets. A toxic gas Hazard (sometimes associated with Heroic Feats involving spicy food), for example, only affects living targets that breathe it in, leaving undead and mechanical targets unaffected. A living creature can hold its breath for one turn if it's not caught by surprise, but otherwise if its head is inside the Field then the gas affects it as if the entire body were exposed.

In addition to dealing regular Damage, Exposure Damage also Overloads a target, briefly disrupting its ability to Power its own Weapons and devices. Every die of Exposure Damage a Creation takes costs Power as if it had fired an inch worth of Weapons.

fire is cool
Flames shooting through cracks in the lava crust inspire BFenix's Metal Warriors to rock out for several turns in a row before remembering they're still in the middle of a battle.
from "Assault on Goatse Bunker"
Elements shown: LEGO
Play with fire, you're going to get burned
Hoping to discourage a charge from the Dragon King's cavalry, the Deposed forces set a ground fire. Cederic the Blacksmith's house is unintended collateral damage.
Photo:  Dienekes22
from "Violence Finale"
Elements shown: LEGO
Gather round the campfire
Heroic firefighters rush to suppress this civilian's backyard barbecue.
Photo:  Dienekes22
from "Mystery on Combine - Turn 01"
Elements shown: LEGO
Permanent Fire Hazards
Fire Hazard Dice Type Examples
1Fire d4 Regular Fire campfires, signal pyres
2Fire d4 Fuel Fire furnaces, napalm, gasoline fires, burning oil
3Fire d4 Molten Fire hot lava, smelters, molten metal, Hell
4Fire d4 Atomic Fire nuclear plasma, Nega-matter reactors

Objects on Fire
Fire Hazard Dice Type Examples
1Fire d4 Burning Objects house fires, book burnings, witch stakes

Fire is a special kind of Hazard. When minifigs set up a Permanent Fire, like a lava cauldron, nuclear reactor core, or bonfire, it functions as a normal Exposure Damage Field Hazard, and stays the same size and strength unless deliberately extinguished. But like any other weapon or effect that causes Fire Damage, these Permanent Fires can set Fire to other objects, and the new wild Fire is much more dynamic. Burning objects make a Burning Roll each turn that lets their Fire grow, spread, and change shape all by itself.

Catching Fire
Any time an object takes Fire Damage, there's a chance it will Catch Fire. For each individual die of Fire Damage that rolls higher than the object's Weight class, the Fire Catches. If the object wasn't on Fire already, a Fire Field Hazard with one inch of Size and 1d4 Fire Damage is created where the Damage struck. If the object was already on Fire, then the Size of the Fire increases by +1", up to the full Size of the object. Place flame elements (or, in a pinch, red and yellow bricks) on the surface of the object to indicate the size and shape of the Fire.

Remember that an Out of Range penalty affects a Fire weapon's ability to set targets on Fire, since it modifies the individual d4 results for secondary effects.

Units who are on Fire, or trying to use objects that are on Fire, or both, take a -1d4 Action Penalty (unless it's a unit or object specifically designed to use while burning, like a torch or a flaming sword). Units or objects that are on Fire also take a -1d4 Armor Penalty.

On the bright side, any target struck by a burning object or unit takes +1d4 Fire Damage in addition to whatever normal Damage is dealt by the attack or Collision.

Like all kinds of Exposure Damage, Fire Overloads (or, if you prefer, Overheats) affected units and disrupts their ability to Power their Weapons and devices for the turn. A unit on Fire has its Power limit reduced by one inch for every inch of the Fire's Size (for example, a four inch wooden golem burning with a three inch Fire would have its Power limit reduced from eight weapon inches to five).

At the beginning of its turn (or on the turn of the player who set the Fire, for objects with no turns of their own), an object on Fire makes a Burning Roll, rolling 1d4 for every inch of its Fire Size. For every d4 that rolls a 1, or rolls the object's Weight class or lower, the Fire dies down, reducing the Fire Size by one inch. For every d4 that rolls higher than the object's Structure Level, the Fire spreads, inflicting a point of Grinding Damage (7.2: Taking Damage) and adding one inch to the Fire Size (up to the Size of the object) or starting a new 1" Fire on a nearby flammable object (within 1") if there's no more room. This continues until the Fire's Size is reduced to zero inches, extinguishing it, or the object is destroyed.

Fires can be extinguished with water or by rolling around on the ground. If the burning object can be submerged in water or vacuum completely, the Fire is put out instantly. Otherwise, units fighting a Fire can reduce its Size by by one inch per turn for every inch of firefighting apparatus they're using. (Three minifigs dumping water buckets could reduce a fire by three inches; a Size 5" Fire Hose could reduce a Fire's Size by five inches).

Every time the Fire Size changes, the player in charge of the burning object (or the player who set the Fire, for unaligned objects) must adjust the physical patch of Fire to match the new Fire Size, adding appropriate inches of flames or yellow bricks when the Fire grows, and removing inches when the Fire shrinks. He can choose to adjust any side of the existing patch when adding or removing bricks, but he cannot otherwise control the Fire, and the Fire can't spread through physical obstacles without burning around them or destroying them first.

Fire Example: The Von Bragstein Boiler-Mech
The Von Bragstein Boiler-Mech
Elements shown: LEGO
Example: The von Bragstein family is known for its impractical battle inventions, and Reichart von Bragstein is no exception. His prototype boiler-mech enjoys much greater success than many of his earlier infamous creations, until he tries to push it too hard with a failed Heroic Feat and blows up one of the coal-fired boilers in a 1d10+1d4 Explosion.

The mech has a Size of 4" and a Weight class of 2. The Explosion rolls a 5 on the 1d10 and a 3 on the 1d4. It's not enough to dent the mech's Armor roll of 12, but the 3 is enough to exceed the Weight class and set the boiler on Fire. With a single boiler remaining, von Bragstein ignores the flames and fights bravely on.

On the next turn, the Fire rolls a 3 on its 1d4 Burning Roll, beating the mech's Weight class of 2 again. The mech takes one point of Grinding Damage and the Fire spreads one inch onto the cockpit roof. The Fire now has a Size of 2".

On the third turn, the Burning Roll is now 2d4, and the Fire rolls a 1 and a 3. The Fire dies down one inch from the roll of 1 on the first 1d4, letting the ruined boiler go out, but the second roll of 3 does another point of Grinding Damage and allows the Fire to spread another inch, setting the shoulder of the cannon arm on Fire and bringing the Fire back up to Fire Size 2".

On the fourth turn, the Burning Roll is 2d4 again, and this time the Fire rolls a 3 and a 4, bringing the total Grinding Damage up to four. The Fire spreads another two inches, fully engulfing the cockpit and reaching the Size 4" mech's maximum Fire Size of 4".

The mech is now completely engulfed in flames. The cockpit is now included in the Fire Hazard, dealing 1d4 Fire Damage to von Bragstein on each turn in which he fails to abandon ship.
Bondsmen to the Daemonslayer
Not all Poison effects are wholly detrimental. Bound by their oaths to the Daemonslayer Legionidus and cast out with him from Volhalla to the shores of hell, these slain Vol warriors grow in power by drinking the blood of the Daemons they defeat. The increasing Daemonic taint in their souls is a small price to pay for unholy strength in battle and the chance to one day return to Volhalla.
Photo: Tuefish
from "The collected Vol ground forces"
Elements shown: LEGO (modified)

Alternate Fire Types
The Fire rules are used as the basis for other types of corrosive Damage that have a lasting Burning effect from turn to turn.

  • Acid burns a victim like Fire but can only die down, never growing.
  • Ion Damage temporarily Overloads technologikal systems without growing or causing any permanent damage.
  • Poison, infection, and disease burn like internal Fires, but can only spread to living creatures, and only through attacks that break the skin. (Alternately, a computer virus can only spread to computers that interface with an infected machine.)
Alternate Fire-like effects can lead to alternate final stages besides death and destruction. Infectious bites, daemonic posession, mutagenetik accidents, and religious evangelism can all turn victims into unrecognizable monsters. Creatures and objects suffering from one of these alternate forms of Burning still feel the usual effects of Being On Fire - the penalties to Armor, Action, and Power, the Burning Roll, and the ability to make whatever alternate version of a Fire Attack makes sense for their condition.

Spike Effectiveness
Spiked Obstacles are often only effective against a limited range of targets. Barbed wire can be viciously damaging against fleshy targets, but is lucky to even slow down metal machines. A line of sharpened anti-calvary stakes can be a wall of death for Horses, while infantry can almost ignore them completely as long as they don't run in at a Sprint. Spiked caltrops are murder on feet, hooves, and rubber tires, but have no effect at all on tank treads. Players will often be called on to make special judgment calls about the effectiveness of a particular set of Spiked Obstacles on a particular set of targets.
Difficult Terrain
d6" Move
The purpose of Difficult Terrain is to hamper or disrupt unit movement. Difficult Terrain can slow units down or move them in directions they don't want to go. It can also let them go whichever direction they want, but decrease their ability to slow down or change course.

  • For Slow Fields that slow or stop units (like mud, glue, or rubble), the Hazard inches are subtracted from victims' Move for the turn.
  • For Fields of Current that carry units in a specific direction (like river currents, wind machines, or greased ramps), the Hazard inches are applied as Thrust to the unit at the beginning of its Movement, and it may then use its full Move as normal.
  • Slippery Fields (like ice, oil slicks, or spilled marbles) force units to continue in whatever direction they were already moving (or to remain stuck in place if they weren't moving), spending their own Move inches equal to the Hazard inches. They may then use their remaining Move inches, Additionally, units standing in a Slippery Field fall over and become Disrupted on any Critical Failure on an Action Roll.
  • A Spiked Obstacle Field (like barbed wire, anti-cavalry stakes, caltrops, cursed thornbushes, or clawed skeleton hands reaching up out of the grave) forces travelers to choose between losing Movement inches or taking Damage. If they spend an Action to focus and move carefully, the Spiked Obstacle acts like a Slow Field. For units moving uncontrollably or moving while focusing their Action elsewhere, a Spiked Obstacle inflicts its d6es like an Exposure Damage Field instead.

Please ignore the dismembered corpses
This hallway looks totally safe.
Photo: Silent-sigfig
from "The Jackpot"
Elements shown: LEGO
Concealed Hazards
d6 Damage or d6" Move
Concealed Hazards add the element of surprise to Hazardous terrain. Units are never quite sure whether their next step will crack through thin ice, drop them into quicksand, or set off a landmine. Concealed Hazard dice cost half as much as the equivalent Exposure Damage or Difficult Terrain Dice.

When using Concealed Hazards, it's important to bring bricks or other markers to show spots where the Hazards have already been set off. Units may cross over the same patch of land a hundred times before the bear trap goes off on trip one hundred and one, but once triggered, hidden pits don't re-hide themselves, mine craters don't grow new mines, and falling block traps don't lift their fallen blocks back up into the ceiling to reset themselves.

Units traveling into or through Concealed Hazards must declare their path through the Field Hazard and then roll their Action die to see if they make it safely. (This is a passive check that doesn't spend the Action die.) If the number rolled is equal to or greater than the number of inches the unit is traveling through the Field, then nothing happens - play continues as normal. Otherwise, the number rolled is the number of inches it was able to travel safely through the Field before setting off the Concealed Hazard. On a Critical Failure, the Concealed Hazard is triggered immediately, before the unit travels any distance at all.

Large units have a higher chance of setting off Concealed Hazards than smaller ones. For whatever part of an object enters a Concealed Hazard, it takes a modifier to its Action Roll equal to its own Target Size modifier in reverse. (For example, a Size 8" unusually large Cow with a +4 Target Size bonus would take a -4 penalty to its Action Roll for traveling through a Concealed Hazard.) Size 0" objects are too small to set off Concealed Hazards.

Objects that leap, fall, or are thrown into a Concealed Hazard roll against the number of inches traveled while airborne. On any failed roll, the consequences occur at the point of impact. Objects without an Action die of their own roll an incompetent d4.

If an object is being carefully set on the Concealed Hazard (for instance, by minifigs attempting to build a platform over unstable ground), the unit setting the object in place makes an Action Roll. Even though the object isn't traveling any distance, it can still set off the Hazard on a Critical Failure.

Walking in eggshells
Dr. Pang's personal shield activates automatically as rogue security drones attempt to stop Dr. Mikoto from hacking their central AI.
Photo: Colette
from "A Certain Infinite Line Charge"
Elements shown: LEGO, iPhones, plastic egg
Energy Shields
ArmorDeflection die
While not Hazardous in the usual sense, Energy Shield dice are treated as a type of Hazard Dice, subject to the same Field Size limits as other Hazard Dice. Energy Shields must be created by Shield Projectors somewhere on the surface of the Creation they protect.

Energy Shields are not especially cost-effective as a replacement for standard Armor or Heavy Armor, but they do open up extra protection options for a Creation that has already reached its maximum Weight class. An Energy Shield Die grants one level of Deflection against an incoming Damage die of the same type. Each Energy Shield Die can be spent once per turn, and costs one inch of a Creation's Power for the turn when used.

Weapons with Damage ratings measured in Action Dice might have any die type depending on who's swinging them. Rather than force Energy Shield dice to match the Actions of attackers, these weapons are all blocked by Energy Shield d6es.

F.2: Traps

Not all battlefield hazards are based on environmental conditions. Every once in a while, minifigs have the time and attention span to assemble something more deliberate and specific. Defense turrets, slamming blast doors, rolling boulders, strategically positioned sleeping tigers, auto-flushing toilets - if a Creation, Weapon, Field Hazard, or other device can be activated, then it can be engineered into a custom Trap.

Trap mechanisms are not capable of initiative or independent thought, so players have to be specific about the exact conditions that activate a Trap, and what it does once activated.

Traps are activated by specific Triggers. Any object physically represented on the battlefield can be designated as a Trigger for one or more Traps. Minifigs may be required to interact with the object in a certain way (typing the proper code into a keypad, turning the arming keys before pulling the self-destruct lever, or playing a particular tune on a skeletal pipe organ), or the Trigger may be set off by any interaction at all (a loose doorknob wired with a mercury switch).

Some Triggers are obvious (the comedically oversized power switch, or the giant red "DO NOT PUSH" button), but many are not (the disguised torch lever that opens the secret door, the throw rug over the spiked industrial blender pit). In theory, opposing minifigs won't know the location of these secret Triggers, but in most cases all the players will, unless the game has an impartial moderator or host to keep secrets secret. Often the easiest workaround for secret Triggers (as well as other types of hidden objects) is to build a large number of potential Triggers and roll dice whenever one is tried to see if it's the real one.

Triggers are sometimes built into Concealed Hazard Fields - hidden pressure plates, motion detectors, tripwires, or some equivalent are scattered throughout the area, and tripping one of them will set off the device. (By default, concealed weapon traps are automatically pointed at the spot where the Hazard happens to be tripped. Even if the players can't know in advance exactly where the tripwires will be, the minifigs who built the trap presumably did.)

Weapon Traps
Weapon Traps are often single-use (until reset by a minifig technician - those hidden crossbows don't re-arm themselves), and they make their Attacks with an inanimate object's default Action d4. A Smart Weapon equipped with a simple robot brain or magical enchantments can be treated as a kind of Programmed Half-Minded Creature (10.1: Minds), allowing it to be re-used from turn to turn and to attack with a larger Action die.

F.3: The Scout

The Scout
(Download the Scout card)

When dealing with Traps and Field Hazards, most units are limited to two options: avoid them completely, or shrug and hope they survive the Damage. For a faction that makes sure to always be prepared, there's a third option. With a specially-trained Scout leading the way, many Hazards can be safely bypassed or neutralized.

A Scout must carry and use binoculars, a telescope, or some other Scouting Tool in order to take advantage of his Specialty abilities.

Pathfinding Specialty Action:d8: Action vs. Field Hazards; stops safely before setting off Concealed Hazards for self and others
A Scout has the Pathfinding Specialty, giving him the ability to recognize hidden dangers and safely navigate dangerous terrain. A Scout rolls his Specialty Action:d8 on any Action Roll involving a Field Hazard or Trap.

When traveling through Concealed Hazards, a Scout rolls his Specialty Action:d8 rather than his Action die to see how far he can safely travel, and he stops at that distance before setting off the Hazard. He can safely lead any number of other units traveling with him in single file.

Tracking Specialty: automatically Detects Stealth; allows Marking of targets for +1 Action Bonus for Ranged attackers
The Scout's keenly-refined paranoia and sixth sense for danger also makes him a master of detection. All units, objects, Traps, and devices within a Scout's field of view are automatically revealed to him and his allies, even if they're Hidden or invisible, and their advantages from Stealth or camouflage are negated (11.6: Covert Units).

A Scout is able to instantly communicate detected enemy positions to all of his allies, which is useful for firing artillery shells or archery volleys over the top of an obstacle at enemies hiding behind it. Any target visible to a Scout is visible to all of his allies.

The Scout can spend an Action to take this ability one step further, pinpointing a single target he can see within 8" and Marking it for attack. Until the beginning of the Scout's next turn, the Marked target is considered visible to all allies, and all allies making Ranged attacks on a Marked target do so with a +1 Action Bonus.

Marks are not cumulative. Even with multiple Marks, the Action Bonus is still +1.