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Types of Terrain

All of the Citadel scenery models have a terrain type. The rules for each terrain type are described below.

When one of the following rules refers to a model being ‘in cover behind’ a piece of terrain, this means that the model is at least 25% obscured by the scenery, and therefore eligible for a cover save. On the other hand, when one of the following rules refers to a model being ‘in’ a piece of terrain, this means that model, or some part of it, is actually standing on the piece of scenery, whether it is obscured from view or not.

Open Ground

Open ground covers everything from dusty plains to rolling hills. Models in open ground are often said to be ‘out in the open’. No additional rules are needed for open ground and, unless otherwise specified, special rules and abilities that affect terrain do not affect open ground. The surface of the Realm of Battle Gameboard is considered open ground.


The rules for buildings are quite extensive, and are covered in more detail in their own rules section.

Difficult Terrain

Difficult terrain slows down models wishing to move through it. It includes areas of rubble, woods, ruins, rocky outcrops, boggy ground, low walls, tanglewire, barricades, steep hills, streams and other shallow water, as well as terrain features that combine several of these types. Unless specifically noted otherwise, a model in cover behind difficult terrain has a 5+ cover save.

Moving Into Difficult Terrain

If a unit starts its move outside difficult terrain, the player must declare if he wants his unit to try to enter difficult terrain as part of their move. If he chooses not to, the unit moves as normal but may not enter difficult terrain. If he chooses for a unit to do so, the unit must take a Difficult Terrain test.

To take a Difficult Terrain test, roll 2D6 and select the highest result – this is the maximum distance, in inches, that any of the models in the unit may move. Even if the distance rolled is too short for any of the models to reach the difficult terrain, the unit is still slowed down as described above. We assume that their approach is cautious as they attempt to ascertain whether any enemies are within. You should also note that, if you take the Difficult Terrain test, you are not compelled to move the models, as you might not have rolled high enough to make it worth moving at all.

Moving Within Difficult Terrain

If any models in a unit start their move in difficult terrain, they are affected by the terrain and must take a Difficult Terrain test. No models in the unit can move more than the distance indicated by the test, even if they are not in difficult terrain.

Charging Through Difficult Terrain

Models are slowed when charging through difficult terrain. If, when charging, one or more models have to move through difficult terrain in order to reach the enemy by the shortest possible route, the entire unit subtracts 2 from its total when determining its charge range. If at least one model in the charging unit moved through difficult terrain as part of its charge move, all of the unit’s models must attack at Initiative step 1, regardless of other Initiative modifiers, even if the charging unit is not slowed by difficult terrain. Remember that charging models must engage as many enemies in the target unit as possible.


Ruins are difficult terrain. Models in ruins receive a 4+ cover save, regardless of whether or not they are 25% obscured.

Dangerous Terrain

Dangerous terrain follows all the rules for difficult terrain – you’ve got to watch your step! In addition, each model must take a Dangerous Terrain test as soon as it enters, leaves or moves within dangerous terrain.

To take a Dangerous Terrain test, roll a D6. On a result of a 1, that model suffers a Wound. The model may take an armour or invulnerable save, but not a cover save, against this Wound.

Once a model has taken a Dangerous Terrain test for a particular scenery model, it does not test for that terrain again in the same phase. However, if the model moves into a different area of dangerous terrain, this must be tested for as normal.

Impassable Terrain

Unless noted otherwise in their special rules, models cannot enter, cross or move into or through impassable terrain – they must go around. The exceptions tend to be things like Jump units and Skimmers.

Mysterious Terrain

Sometimes things are not quite what they seem in the war-torn future, and this is certainly true of the terrain found on alien worlds. The effect of a piece of mysterious terrain is not decided at the start of the battle. Instead, the terrain datasheet for the scenery model will include a Mysterious Terrain table. The Mysterious Terrain table is rolled for immediately when a model first enters the terrain or deploys within it.

Battlefield Debris

Battlefield debris is difficult terrain. Unless otherwise stated, a model in cover behind difficult terrain has a 5+ cover save. In addition, some battlefield debris has additional rules, which are either detailed below or on its terrain datasheet.

Ammunition Dump

A supply of ammunition is always welcome in a fight – especially when you hear the dreaded ‘dead man’s click’ of an empty magazine.

Any model within 2" of an ammunition dump can re-roll To Hit rolls of 1 in the Shooting phase.

Barricades and Walls

Barricades and walls can be hastily assembled obstacles or the remains of once proud structures.

A model in cover behind a barricade or wall has a 4+ cover save. Models that are in base contact with a barricade or wall are treated as being in base contact with any enemy models who are directly opposite them and in base contact with the other side of that barricade or wall. Units charging an enemy that is behind a barricade or wall count as charging through difficult terrain.

Comms Relay

A working comms relay can be crucial to the coordination of reserves, and therefore to a swift victory.

Any player with an unengaged model within 2" of a comms relay can re-roll Reserves rolls.


The aftermath of heavy shelling and orbital bombardments, impact craters provide protection to those sensible enough to seek it.

Models in crater terrain have a 6+ cover save, regardless of whether or not they are 25% obscured. If a unit Goes to Ground, then models from the unit that are in crater terrain gain +2 to their cover save rather than +1.

Defence Lines

Defence lines are armoured shield sections that link together to form makeshift fortresses.

A model in cover behind a defence line has a 4+ cover save. If a unit Goes to Ground, then models from the unit gain +2 to the cover save from the defence line rather than +1. Models that are in base contact with a defence line are treated as being in base contact with any enemy models who are directly opposite them and in base contact with the other side of that defence line. Units charging an enemy that is behind a defence line count as charging through difficult terrain.

Fuel Pipes

Promethium relay pipes are such a common sight in the 41st Millennium that weaponspecialists have long since learned how to tap into their release valves and siphon off a fraction of unrefined fuel to intensify the fury of their flame-throwers. Promethium relay pipes can also serve as effective cover from incoming weapons fire, though sheltering behind pipes filled with highly flammable liquids can sometimes have unfortunate side effects…

With the exception of vehicles and monstrous creatures, a model in cover behind a fuel pipe has a 4+ cover save. However, each time a unit successfully makes this cover save on the roll of a 6, immediately roll a further D6. On a roll of 1, the shot has caused an explosion and the unit that made that cover save immediately suffers an additional D6 Strength 4 AP5 hits with the Ignores Cover special rule. These additional hits use Random Allocation, and vehicles are hit on the armour facing nearest to the Promethium Relay Pipes.

Gun Emplacements

Though once abandoned to the tides of war, this gun battery still functions and will serve the cause of carnage once again.

A model in cover behind a gun emplacement has a 4+ cover save. One non-vehicle model in base contact with a gun emplacement can fire it instead of firing its own weapons. A model that fires a gun emplacement has the Relentless special rule for that shooting attack.

A gun emplacement can be shot at and attacked in close combat. It is hit automatically in close combat and has the following profile:

Gun Emplacement - - - 7 2 - - 3+

Imperial Statuary

The cold and noble gaze of this ancient hero inspires determination in those who have it not.

A model from the Armies of the Imperium that is within 2" of Imperial Statuary terrain has the Fearless special rule. A model in cover behind Imperial Statuary has a 3+ cover save.


Detritus of battles past litters the ground – twisted metal and shattered ceramite that can be used as cover, if the conflict is desperate enough.

Models in rubble terrain have a 4+ cover save, regardless of whether or not they are 25% obscured.


Deployed primarily to deter infantry assaults, the barbed coils of tanglewire can prove fatal to fighters who don’t watch their step.

Tanglewire is dangerous terrain. A model in cover behind tanglewire has a 6+ cover save.

Tank Traps

These obstacles allow all but vehicles to pass by unhindered.

Tank traps are impassable terrain to non-Skimmer vehicles, dangerous terrain to Bikes, and open ground for other units. A model in cover behind a tank trap has a 4+ cover save.



 Q: Do the weapon options for a Vengeance Weapon Battery count as emplaced gun emplacements or just emplaced guns?
They are emplaced weapons, and cannot be used as gun emplacements – another model may not fire them.
 Q: Can a Fortification Scout?
 Q: The coverage range of the Void Shield Generators’ void shields is 12". If a unit is not entirely within the 12" range, does it still benefit from the Projected Void Shield special rule?
 Q: Can Bikes, Super-heavy Walkers, Walkers, and Monstrous Creatures move and/or assault units on the higher levels of ruins?
Yes. For simplicity and ease of play, the core game rules allow most models to climb any piece of scenery. Use the ‘Wobbly Model Syndrome’ rule if it is not possible to place the model in the position it is meant to be occupying. If you wish, you may want to say that models are only allowed to move to places that they could reach ‘in real life’, but you will need to apply a certain amount of common sense and discretion in order to make such a rule work well.
 Q: If a vehicle model fully crosses over an Aegis Defence Line using its movement or Flat Out (as opposed to beginning or ending partially on it), does the vehicle still take a dangerous terrain test?
 Q: Do Gauss, Melta, Haywire, and Graviton special rules affect void shields?
Yes – Gauss, Melta and Haywire special rules work as normal. Graviton hits cause a void shield to collapse on a roll of 6, but cannot affect void shields on buildings.
 Q: Some pieces of terrain (woods, ruins, craters, etc.) provide a cover save to a models even if they are not 25% obscured. Does this really include large models like Monstrous Creatures?
No. Just like Vehicles, Monstrous Creatures and Gargantuan Creatures are not obscured simply for being inside terrain such as woods or ruins.
 Q: If you are on top of, under, or inside terrain (such as a ruined building or crater), but an enemy unit can see your model completely, do you get a cover save from being inside, on top of, or under a terrain piece?
Most scenery has a rule which makes clear whether your models need to be obscured to get the cover save. You should discuss unusual scenery with your opponent before the game.
 Q: Does an Aegis Defence Line have to be deployed as one continuous line?
 Q: When measuring special rules that use a radius whilst in a building, does the escape hatch count as part of the building?
 Q: Can an opponent assault an escape hatch – the unit can’t assault out of one but can it be assaulted as a normal Access Point?
 Q: Does a void shield intercept Psychic Shriek?
 Q: If both players have models in base contact with a gun emplacement, which player controls it?
They both do.
 Q: A ruin (e.g. a Shrine of the Aquila) is treated as difficult terrain, but does this mean that models can move through the walls?
 Q: What cover save do you get behind the petals of a Skyshield Landing Pad?
None – the cover provided is represented by the Shielded special rule.
 Q: Can the petals of a Skyshield Landing Pad be opened in a Dawn of War deployment?
 Q: Do all flamer weapons benefit from the Fuel Siphon special rule for the Promethium Relay Pipes? Some of them are a bit contentious.
All weapons that are specifically noted as being flamer weapons receive the benefit of the Promethium Pipes special rule.
 Q: Does a model that benefits from a cover save benefit from a void shield as well? For example, does an infantry model sitting on top of the battlement of a Void Shield Generator benefit from the cover save before the void shield is stripped?