D&D Miniatures10/27/2005

Atomic Terror from Space!

News Flash! ...dateline New York ... Incredible as it sounds, reports have reached this bureau that monstrous creatures have emerged from the ocean and are, even now, attacking Manhattan. All bridges leading out of the city are clogged with refugees fleeing the destruction. Army and National Guard units have mobilized and raced into the stricken areas to combat this strange peril. So far, losses have been heavy, as conventional weapons seem to have little effect against the unknown foes. Wait ... we have just been informed that the President is about to address the nation ...


With the release of Avalon Hill's Axis & Allies Miniatures, we have a unique opportunity. Just in time for Halloween, we bring you a thrilling game from the golden age of Atomic Terror from Space!

Pit your D&D Miniatures against the tanks, artillery, and soldiers of the world's most modern army, ca. 1952! Wage life-or-death combat in the streets of New York City! Determine the future of the human race!

The Rules

Except as noted below, all rules are in effect as printed in the D&D Miniatures rulebook.

Warbands: For this game, D&D Miniatures use their statistics as printed on their stat cards. Some figures are much better suited for this type of game than others -- a list is provided below. Stats for army units are also listed below.

Both players have 50 points to spend on their warbands. One player is the Monster player, the other is the Army player. The monster player can ignore alignments. In this game, all monsters are bad.

Terrain: The battle grid represents several city blocks of a developed, downtown area. Terrain tiles are placed upside-down to represent blocks of buildings. For your first game, set up the battle grid as shown below (You are encouraged to create your own layouts once you're accustomed to the game rules).

Battle Grid Layout

All terrain is either open (streets, sidewalks, parks) or buildings. Buildings are impassable to all units. Open terrain costs 1 movement point per space, or 2 movement points for every other space moved diagonally, just as in normal D&D Miniatures rules.

Setup: Roll dice for initiative (no modifiers). The high roller chooses one of the four corner exit areas to set up in. His opponent gets the diagonally opposite setup area. The high roller sets up his units, then the other player sets up. All units must be placed so that they can trace a continuous line of friendly units back to their exit squares -- i.e., every unit must be adjacent to at least one other unit, and at least one of those units must occupy an exit square. If you have only one unit, it must occupy at least one exit square.

Initiative Check: There are no modifiers when rolling for initiative. High roller chooses whether to be the first or second player this turn.

Command: All units are considered to be under command at all times (the Army has radios and the monsters communicate via supernatural senses, or they just don't care). All units are assumed to be under command of a Commander 3 when making morale and rally checks. If the monster warband includes a commander with a bonus higher then 3, then use the actual commander bonus instead. The increased monster bonus applies to all monsters as long as their commander is on the board. If all monster commanders are removed from play, the monsters' commander bonus drops back to the generic 3.


  • Diagonal movement is counted normally (pay 2 points for every second diagonal space).
  • Army units can't charge.
  • There is a new size category -- Long. These are designated MM on the stats table. Long units occupy two spaces (a 1x2 area). They can be positioned orthogonally or diagonally.
  • Halftracks and jeeps can transport other, non-vehicle units.
    • Boarding a transport replaces the transported unit's entire turn, so the unit must be adjacent to the transport when it activates, and it can't attack that turn.
    • Dismounting from a transport also replaces the dismounting unit's entire turn. Place the dismounting unit in any empty space adjacent to the transport.
    • A transport cannot make a double move on a turn when it boards or dismounts passengers, but it can make a single move action and an attack (or vice versa).
    • A unit being transported gets its own activation separate from the vehicle. With the exception of Anti-Tank Guns, units can attack while being transported, but units with more than one attack can use only the first listed attack.
    • A unit can't be attacked while it's being transported, but if the transport vehicle is destroyed, the unit it is transporting is also destroyed.
    • If the transport routs, the transported unit routs along with it. The transported unit cannot dismount while the transport is routed. Both units get to make rally attempts when they activate, and if either succeeds, both rally.
    • A unit can be set up already aboard a transport vehicle.

Attacks and Damage:

  • Soldiers (Riflemen, MGs, Bazookas, Flamethrowers, Mortars, and ATGs) don't affect LoS or provide cover against attacks.
  • All vehicles except jeeps provide cover as statues. All Army units, and small and medium monsters, can benefit from this cover.
  • Only buildings, or other large or huge monsters, provide cover to large or huge monsters. (Large and huge monsters tower over everything else on the battlefield, so Army units can easily shoot over any intervening figures.)
  • Units with ranged attacks are not restricted to attacking the nearest enemy. Every enemy unit in LoS is a legal target.
  • An Army unit can use its ranged attack(s) when in a square that is threatened by a monster, but the target must be the threatening monster (or one of them, at least).
  • DR is not automatic. Monsters that have DR get its benefit by rolling 11+. A separate die roll is made against each attack. If the monster rolls 11+, its DR functions against that attack; otherwise, it takes full damage.

Victory: This is a fight for survival. The winner is the player who eliminates all enemy figures. Standard tie-breaker conditions (pg. 26 of the DDM rulebook) apply.

Variant Rules

  • Set any point limit on your warbands. The best way to do this is to pick one or two monsters, or build an interesting monster warband, and then select army units of equal value.
  • Every time that a large monster ends its activation adjacent to a building, roll a die for that building. On a roll of 18-20, the building collapses. From then on, its spaces are considered rubble (difficult going, but passable).
  • Substitute the face-up Mushroom Tangle tile for one random building. This is an alien garden that sprang up overnight from space spores. Any Army unit that moves into or through at least one alien garden space during its activation must save vs. poison (5 damage whenever poisoned creature activates; DC 12; Tanks and Heavy Tank Destroyers receive a +4 bonus on the save). The Army player gets 10 bonus points when building his warband.
  • Subsitute a shrine tile for one random building. This represents the monsters' mysterious power source or unholy temple which either crashed down from space or burst from beneath the ground. Only monsters benefit from occupying the sacred circles. The Army player gets 15 bonus points when building his warband.
  • Monstrous Allies -- The Army player can spend some portion of his points (one-fourth or one-third are good benchmarks) on friendly monster figures to fight alongside his Army units.

Army Units

Stats for all the available Army units are listed below. A few notes --

  • Tanks have their attacks and damage listed in what seems like reverse order. The first (weaker) attack represents machine guns, the second attack the main armament. To fire the main armament (use the second attack), the vehicle must be stationary, as with normal multiple attackers.
  • Vehicles have no melee attacks, but they can use their ranged attacks when in threatened spaces, as noted above.
Unit Cost Level Speed AC HP Melee Attack Melee Damage Ranged Attack Ranged Damage Size
Rifleman 5 1 6 14 10 +4 5 +4 (rg 10) 5 S
Special Abilities -- Conceal 6
Examples -- M1 Garand, SMLE No. 4 Rifle
Bazooka 8 3 6 15 5 +1 5 +6 (range 6) 5 + 5 fire S
Special Abilities --
Examples -- Bazooka, Panzerfaust
Mortar 12 3 4 15 5 +1 5 +5 10 S
Special Abilities -- Hide
Examples -- Mortar M2, Light Mortar
Flamethrower 10 7 4 14 5 -2 5 +8 (range 3) 10 fire S
Special Abilities -- Death Burst (10 fire dmg; DC 15)
Examples -- Marines M2-2 Flamethrower
Machine Gun 16 5 4 14 10 +1 5 +6/+6/+6 5 M
Special Abilities -- Conceal 6
Examples -- Vickers Machine Gun, MG 42
Anti-Tank Gun 11 6 4 12 15 -2 5 +8 10 M
Special Abilities -- Slow Ranged Attack
Examples -- 6-Pounder ATG, Pak 38
Jeep 13 3 10 12 5 +5/+5 5 M
Special Abilities -- Transport
Examples -- Jeep
Halftrack 15 4 8 16 10 +6/+6 5 MM
Special Abilities -- Transport
Examples -- SdKfz 251
Armored Car 12 5 8 16 15 +8/+8 5 MM
Special Abilities --
Examples -- Humber, SdKfz 222
Light Tank 16 5 8 16 20 +6/+6 5/10 MM
Special Abilities -- Stable Footing
Examples -- M3 Stuart, Pz II Ausf. C
Medium Tank 20 6 6 18 25 +6/+10 5/10 L
Special Abilities -- Stable Footing
Examples -- M4A1 Sherman, M3 Lee, Pz IV Ausf. G
Heavy Tank 24 7 4 20 40 +5/+14 5/15 L
Special Abilities --
Examples -- M4A3E8 Easy Eight, Panther, Tiger
Lt. Tank Destr. 16 6 8 15 15 +5/+8 5/10 L
Special Abilities -- Stable Footing
Examples -- M-18 Hellcat
Hvy. Tank Destr. 24 8 4 20 40 +4/+16 5/15 L
Special Abilities --
Examples -- Jagdpanther
Self-Prop. Arty. 14 4 4 14 15 +8 20 L
Special Abilities -- Hide; Slow Ranged Attack
Examples -- sIG 33

Suggested Monsters

As noted above, some monsters are better suited for use in this game than others. Players aren't limited to this list, but it's a good idea to use these for the first game or two, at least. Besides, they just make more sense in this context.

Underdark Angelfire Deathknell Aberrations
Ankheg Abyssal Skulker Ambush Drake Achaierai
Balor Barbed Devil Beholder Chuul
Dark Naga Blackscale Lizardfolk Bloodhulk Fighter Destrachan
Dolgaunt Monk Chraal Boneclaw Ethereal Filcher
Draegloth Efreeti Celestial Dire Badger Fiendish Giant Praying Mantis
Gray Render Feral Minotaur Couatl Flesh Golem
Half-Fiend Ogre Fiendish Dire Wolverine Dire Bear Formian Warrior
Hunched Giant Hezrou Ettin Skirmisher Green Dragon
Iron Golem Imp Fiendish Monstrous Scorpion Half-Illithid Lizardfolk
Large Deep Dragon Large Air Elemental Giant Frog Hook Horror
Loyal Earth Elemental Large Copper Dragon Gold Dragon Ice Troll
Marut Magmin Grell Iron Cobra
Medium Silver Dragon Red Slaad Kruthik Hatchling Mad Slasher
Roper Steel Predator Large Blue Dragon Mind Flayer Telepath
Spider of Lolth Troll Slasher Skullcrusher Ogre Myconid Guard
Swarm of Spiders Vargouille Thaskor Taer
Xorn Werebear Zombie White Dragon Wyvern

Giants of Legend Archfiends Dragoneye Harbinger
Basilisk Abyssal Eviscerator Abyssal Maw Dire Boar
Behir Aspect of Bane Black Dragon Displacer Beast
Blue Slaad Aspect of Demogorgon Blue Wyrmling Hell Hound
Bronze Wyrmling Aspect of Lolth Brass Dragon Kuo-Toa
Bulette Aspect of Orcus Bright Naga Large Earth Elemental
Dire Rat Bone Devil Carrion Crawler Large Fire Elemental
Dire Wolf Clay Golem Chitine Mind Flayer
Displacer Serpent Gauth Dire Ape Ogre
Drider Sorcerer Hill Giant Dire Lion Owlbear
Ettercap Large Silver Dragon Dretch Shambling Mound
Fiendish Tyrannosaurus Medium Earth Elemental Gargoyle Troll
Grick Medium Fire Elemental Large Monstrous Spider Umber Hulk
Lemure Nothic Large Red Dragon
Manticore Ochre Jelly Medium Air Elemental
Otyugh Vrock Medium Water Elemental
Red Wyrmling Xill Salamander
Warforged Titan Small White Dragon

About the Author

Steve Winter is a writer, game designer, and web producer living in the Seattle area. He's been involved with publishing D&D in one form or another since 1981. Tiny people and monsters made of plastic and lead are among his favorite obsessions.

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