Wednesday 24 June 2020

Underwater Adventuring Rules

Thanks to strange and powerful magics, your crew can now breath, move, and even fight underwater. You still aren’t as capable as those that are native to the depths, but with great risk comes great reward!
            The following rules are for players who would like to take their games of Frostgrave and Ghost Archipelago underwater – both for the purposes of creating new terrain and fighting new monsters as well as the chance to change the feel of their game by adventuring in this strange new environment. These rules don’t include any specific justification for why you can operate underwater, nor do they attempt to be a realistic depiction of moving and fighting in the depths. They exist simply to have fun while creating an impression of being underneath the waves.
            As always, players should take what they like from these rules, discard what they don’t like, and add in anything they believe would make their games more fun. Really, these are just my ‘house rules’ for underwater games!
(If you have any thoughts, suggestions, ideas for these rules, please include them in the comments below).


Players may only use group activation if every figure involved in the group activation is either aquatic or amphibious. Otherwise, activation works as normal, and spellcasters, Heritors, and wardens, may still activate up to 3 figures during their phases.


Unless a figure is aquatic or amphibious, it may take a maximum of one move action per activation. Aquatic or amphibious figures follow the normal rules. Being underwater does not affect movement by spells. Otherwise, all figures move at their normal rates.


Figures may climb at their normal movement rate. It is not halved.

Rough Ground

To be considered rough ground, the terrain must extend vertically at least 2”. Otherwise figures may swim over it.


All jumping distances are doubled. So a figure that moves 6” in a straight line may then jump 12” horizontally. Also, for every inch jumped horizontally, a figure may freely move up or down 1” as well. Such jumps could very easily consist of more movement than a figure has available in one activation. In such a case, place the figure on the table but mark their ‘height’ above the ground using a die or some other token. Once a figure has started such a jump, they must continue it from activation to activation until they touch down again.


Falling works as normal except no damage is ever suffered from falling.  


Swimming Rolls are not required for normal movement. They may still sometimes be called upon in situations where there are strong currents, areas of suction, etc. In these instances, a figure that fails loses their activation, but suffers no damage.


Amphibious and aquatic creatures count as having Flying for the purpose of these rules, whereas figure that actually have Flying cannot use this ability while underwater.


Combat works as normal with the following modification. Unless a figure is aquatic or amphibious, it only grants a +1 bonus for being a supporting figure in a combat. Aquatic and amphibious figures grant the normal +2 bonus.


Shooting follows the normal rules with the following modification. If a figure is the target of a bow, crossbow, javelin, or throwing knife shooting attack, it receives an additional +2 to its Fight Roll as it is easier to see these attacks coming and dodge out of the way.

Collecting Treasure

It is slightly easier to move heavy treasure under water. A figure carrying a treasure token suffers -2 Move instead of the normal half movement rate. It still suffers a -1 Fight as normal.

Casting Spells and Activating Heritor Abilities

There are no changes to the rules for casting spells or utilizing Heritor Abilities; however, some of the rules above may change the use or effectiveness of such powers.


Some players might wonder why I haven't made these rules fully 3-D. While moving in three dimensions is more realistic for an underwater environment, I have always found that attempting to keep track of a figure's height above the ground,greatly slows a game down, while adding nothing to the fun. 


  1. Love "rules" posts! Thanks for this

  2. Also, any thoughts as to how "Lightning Strike" might be affected by being underwater? I would imagine that electric-based abilities would get a lot more dangerous/random, while any fire-type abilities would be nearly useless.

    Speaking of electricity, some bio-electric beasts would be fun to see. Free stuns for everyone!

    1. I think, in most cases, it's probably best not to worry about the physics of magic!

  3. Perfect timing! having just kickstarted an Aquatic STL pack that includes underwater terrain and mounts! But Seahorse and turtle mounts among others though, a few tweaks for these I think ;)

  4. How would you model the effects of the temperature any water in Frostgrave is likely to be? Most cold weather gear isn't going to work as well once it's soaked!

  5. Perhaps a reduced maximum line of sight underwater, similar to in Breeding pits ?