Q&A Time! What’s Coming In Cubicle 7’s Age Of Sigmar: Soulbound Starter Set?

April 29, 2020 by brennon

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We got to have a chat with Cubicle 7's Emmet Byrne about the new Age Of Sigmar: Soulbound roleplaying game and also the Starter Set which is going to be dropping after the Core Rules get released.

Q&A Time! What's Coming In Cubicle 7's Age Of Sigmar: Soulbound Starter Set?

This new roleplaying game will drop you into the Mortal Realms and have you playing as some iconic heroes drawn from the Grand Alliance of Order. Come and learn more below...

Ben: Age Of Sigmar: Soulbound is just around the corner with the core rules kicking things off. After that, we've got a new Starter Set. Could you give us a brief rundown of what's included in that set?

Emmet: Sure. The Soulbound core rules will come out first, so folks can get their hands on that very soon. After that, we’ll have the Starter Set.

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The Soulbound Starter Set includes a forty-eight-page introductory adventure, a sixty-four-page guide to the city of Brightspear, five pre-generated characters, rules reference sheets, Soulfire and Doom tokens, and a set of six-sided dice.

B: If you were giving your elevator pitch for the Starter Set, what about it do you think makes it the perfect way to dive into not just Soulbound but the Mortal Realms?

E: The Starter Set is intended to introduce new players to the world of Age of Sigmar, and the Soulbound roleplaying game. For those who are brand new to Age of Sigmar, you’ll be dropped into this incredible setting and get to learn more about the world as you meet some of the key factions and explore the themes of Age of Sigmar.

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For fans of the battlegame, you’ll see lots of the things you love about Age of Sigmar and get to explore it in a way you never have before, interacting with the inhabitants of the Mortal Realms and exploring a newly founded City of Sigmar — Brightspear.

As you play through the adventure and explore Brightspear, you’ll learn the rules of Soulbound. They are quick and easy to learn, provide a lot of opportunity for creativity, and are built to let you play through the epic confrontations we expect from Age of Sigmar!

B: The Soulbound system brings with it an interesting sounding set of gameplay mechanics. Could you tell us a little bit about that and why you chose to go with it?

E: Soulbound uses a d6 dice pool system. Players add their Attributes and Skills together to get their dice pool. To pass a Test, you must equal or exceed the difficulty to get a success, with some Tests requiring multiple successes. Training in a Skill adds dice to your dice pool, but players also have Focus. Focus allows you to add +1 to one or more dice to modify the result.

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There are a few reasons we created the system as we did. Firstly, everyone has seen a d6. For fans of the battlegame they will be very familiar, and for people who have never played an RPG before they will still have seen a six-sided die in family board games.

Using dice pools and counting successes allows you to know at-a-glance if you’ve succeeded. There’s no adding up a lot of numbers to get the result.

And lastly, and most importantly, using d6 dice pools gave us the right feel for Age of Sigmar. It feels good to pick up a lot of dice and throw them. It gives that sense of power and epic scale that we see in Age of Sigmar and wanted to recreate in Soulbound.

B: Could you tell us a little bit about the pre-generated heroes that we'll be getting in the box?

E: The Starter Set comes with five pre-generated characters. These are actually the characters you see on the corebook cover, and the cover for the Starter Set.

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We call them our "iconics". We have…

  • Vel Arturious, a Knight-Questor of the Stormcast Eternals. She embodies Sigmar’s beliefs completely and is determined to stand against those who would see a return to the Age of Chaos. Vel is a champion of the Celestial Realm, charged with a holy duty by the God-King himself.
  • Xan Bemyr, an Excelsior Warpriest of the Devoted of Sigmar. He was born and raised on Aqshy, and fire is in his very soul. Xan is quick to anger and shows no mercy to those who would stand against Sigmar. He is a warrior-priest of the God-King, willing to do anything in the name of his divine liege. Xan is always accompanied by his loyal Gryph-hound Tolla.
  • Ímren Sealgaire, a Tidecaster of the Idoneth Deepkin. She is pragmatic and resolute, undertaking the bleak tasks she is assigned with grim resolve. Ímren is a master of current and motion and can control the ethersea with brutal efficiency.
  • Malgra Dainsson, an Endrinrigger of the Kharadron Overlords. Harnessing the power of an Aether-endrin, Malgra flies above the land, employing aetheric devices to ensure the success (and profitability) of their ventures.
  • Darach, a Kurnoth Hunter of the Sylvaneth. He is quiet and contemplative and has been sent by Alarielle to protect the people of Aqshy. Cultivated to serve as a defender of the natural order, he wields bow, sword, and scythe to oppose all who threaten the forces of Order.

B: In the Warhammer Fantasy Roleplay set you designed characters who had some fascinating links to each other. Is this something you've added into the mix this time as well to gel the adventuring party together?

E: The Soulbound are unique in that they are already linked. The gods brought them together, binding their very souls to one another, and tasking them with protecting the realms. However, each character has their own goals and motivations — there is a reason they chose to become Soulbound. Becoming Soulbound means binding yourselves to others until you die, and agreeing to become a servant of the gods and the very realms themselves.

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For characters such as the Idoneth Deepkin and the Kharadron, this is almost unheard of. There must be something they are getting out of it — likely a steady supply of souls for an Idoneth, and aether-gold and wealth for the Kharadron.

Each character has their own goals and their reasons for becoming Soulbound. They are linked to one another and to the events in Brightspear, and GMs can weave each character’s optional sidequest into the story as they play.

B: Following on from that, who is your favourite of the pre-generated characters and why?

E: My favourite is probably Vel, the Knight-Questor. A big part of it is the art, but I’m also fascinated by the internal conflict that many of the Stormcast Eternals face. Their very soul has been twisted and reshaped, forging them into living weapons, and they are tasked with fighting a seemingly unending war.

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They are expected to be loyal and not question the God-King, but Sigmar and the other gods have already proven to be fallible, and prone to rage and hubris. The Knight-Questor’s take this even further. They are pulled from their Stormhost and tasked with a quest, likely given no explanation or reasoning.

I find there is something really tragic about the Stormcast Eternals. A roleplaying game is a perfect place for us to explore these sorts of themes.

B: Could you give us a little bit of a preview of what the introductory adventure is going to be about?

E: The city of Brightspear has only recently been founded. It is built atop an ancient Agloraxian citadel and for centuries was held by the forces of Tzeentch. The Celestial Warbringers pushed the Tzeentchian forces back and now the city of Brightspear has begun to grow and expand. However, the forces of Tzeentch have not been fully driven back, and are assaulting the city through a rift in reality near the Disintegrating Shores. The remaining Celestial Warbringers try to hold them back and the Soulbound are tasked with descending into the Agloraxian citadel to relight the beacon of Brightspear. Once lit, the beacon can hold Chaos back for a time and may even be able to close the rift to the Realm of Chaos.

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But it is not that simple. The Agloaraxian’s were incredibly powerful wizards and spellcasters, though they were all but wiped out during the Age of Chaos. They built these underground citadels to try to wait out the war, almost like fallout shelters. Or at least, that is what people believed. All manner of arcane experimentation is rumoured to have been going on, and no-one knows exactly what the Agloraxian’s were up to — and what Tzeentch was seeking beneath the city. The party will explore this strange underground complex and learn the truth of what lies beneath.

B: Not many Starter Sets come with guides which help develop things beyond the core adventure. With the Brightspear City Guide (and the Ubersreik Guide from the WFRP set), what made you consider adding such a weighty extra tome into the mix?

E: One of the problems with Starter Sets is that after you run the adventure, they sort of just take up space. You could run them for another group, but for the most part you’re finished with them. With the WFRP Starter Set, Dom (our CEO) wanted to create something that you could keep using. That is where the Guide to Ubersreik came about in WFRP, and that is why we have the Brightspear City Guide in Soulbound. It is a mini-campaign setting, filled with tonnes of hooks and mini-adventures to keep you playing in Brightspear for as long as you like. 

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We will also be releasing our GM Screen, which includes the Cities of Flame supplement that has another five mini-adventures set in Brightspear. So lots of adventure to be had!

B: Age of Sigmar: Soulbound is a new entry into the Mortal Realms for a lot of people. What have you included in there to give people a flavour of the wider world beyond Aqshy, the Realm Of Fire?

E: The Starter Set just focuses on Brightspear. It gives an overview and set up for the Age of Sigmar, but we want people to get stuck into the adventure and get hooked for more.

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The Soulbound corebook has a lot more information. We have a chapter on the Mortal Realms, which has over forty pages of lore and information on life in the realms, an overview of each realm, and the major factions you’ll meet. We also have a twenty-plus page setting guide to the Great Parch, which includes history and lore, and information on numerous major locations in the Parch.

As Soulbound grows, one of the things we’re really looking forward to doing is exploring the other realms. Personally, I can’t wait to take a road trip to Shyish and see how the Soulbound fair against the Legions of Nagash!

B: Does much change mechanically from what we're presented within the Starter Set and what is going to appear in the final rulebook? Is there much more people will need to learn in order to dive straight into their own adventures?

E: The rules in the Starter Set are the rules from the corebook. We’ve tried not to overload folks, but playing the Starter Set is the Soulbound experience. To make your own character you’ll need the core rules, which has over twenty Archetypes to choose from, as well as dozens of Talents and spells.

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It also has rules for creating your own Archetypes — perfect for if your favourite hero didn’t make it into the corebook!

B: Is there anything else you'd like to share with us?

E: We’ll have more exciting news about Soulbound once the corebook launches, so be sure to follow us on Facebook and Twitter, and keep an eye on our website!

Make sure to keep an eye out for both the Core Rules and the Starter Set coming in the near future. Tell us which of the "iconic" Starter Set characters you could see yourself playing as too in the comments below.

Thanks again for the chat, Emmet!

"I find there is something really tragic about the Stormcast Eternals. A roleplaying game is a perfect place for us to explore these sorts of themes..."

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"Personally, I can’t wait to take a road trip to Shyish and see how the Soulbound fair against the Legions of Nagash!"

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