Age Of Sigmar: Soulbound Bestiary Review | Cubicle 7

May 4, 2021 by brennon

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One of the great things about The Mortal Realms of Warhammer Age Of Sigmar is that it is packed with absolutely fascinating monsters, minions, creatures, villains and more. Twin that with the incredibly heroic feel of Cubicle 7's Age Of Sigmar: Soulbound and you've got a recipe for a good time. Thankfully, the Age Of Sigmar: Soulbound Bestiary PDF is now available (physical versions available later this year) and it is packed with over 180 amazing foes for you to face.

Soulbound Bestiary Cover

When I looked at the Core Rulebook and Starter Set for Age Of Sigmar: Soulbound, one of the things that came up as a common question was when we were getting more monsters and villains? The offerings in the back of the Core Rulebook are handy and offered up the basic set of foes from Death, Chaos and Destruction that you were likely to face but people wanted more and bigger challenges for their heroes.

Foes For Every Fight

Within the pages of the new Bestiary, you'll find masses of them. They are broken down into the Forces Of Order, Monsters And Beasts, Seraphon, Beasts Of Chaos, Blades Of Khorne, Disciples Of Tzeentch, Hedonites Of Slaanesh, Maggotkin Of Nurgle, Skaven, Slaves To Darkness, Flesh-Eater Courts, Soulblight Gravelords, Nighthaunts, Ossiarch Bonereapers, Gloomspite Gitz, Ogor Mawtribes, Orruk Warclans and Sons Of Behemat.

Magmadroth

Phew. I'm fairly sure that this pretty much covers all of the factions that you might end up fighting during your campaigns. The Core Rulebook deals with a lot of the Minions that you might face, especially when looking at the forces of Chaos, but this Bestiary expands beyond that and introduces a lot more Warriors, Champions and even Chosen which will provide you with a bigger one-on-one challenge. This doesn't mean that they've forgotten about the Minions that you slaughter at will...there are still plenty of those, especially for the factions of Death and Destruction.

Two of my favourite sections of the book are dedicated to Monsters And Beasts and the Forces Of Order. With Monsters And Beasts, you've got access to a myriad of different creatures that could be used as mounts or monsters that you encounter when traversing The Mortal Realms.

I love the idea of running away from a towering and lava-covered Magmadroth or being chased across the planes by an angry Dracoth. We've seen these as part of larger armies in the tabletop wargame but it would be excellent to see how they work in a roleplaying context.

The other section I mentioned was the one dedicated to the Forces Of Order. As is often the case, your heroes will no doubt end up finding themselves facing off against those on the "same side" simply because they are standing in their way. Maybe you could have a lot of fun aboard an airship when being chased by a bunch of angry Kharadron Overlord privateers? This section also means that you can drop more incidental allies into the mix when a scene would call for it.

There are plenty of interesting options to pick from, especially when it comes to Champions and Chosen. Brutal mechanics are worked into each of their stat blocks meaning that they should be a real challenge for a band of Soulbound. Take the Varghulf Courtier for example which deals more damage when surrounded and features the rule Nigh Unkillable. I guess you can work out exactly what that means.

Using The Bestiary

The array of monsters are all well and good but the Bestiary also comes with a selection of helpful hints for helping you use them in your games. Before the start of each of the sections mentioned previously, there is a block of text talking about how best to introduce these creatures into your games.

Ogroid

For example, when you take a peek at the Seraphon section of the book it introduces interesting thoughts on this army of Order. Are the Seraphon there as allies or are you standing in the way of plans that you can't quite comprehend? The same goes for the Sons Of Behemat too. How do you bring in these massive Gargants? Are they mercenaries fighting for a rival warlord or have they simply blundered into your quest? It does help get the neurons firing when planning out your narrative and the Rumours give you tantalising ideas for scenarios and where adventure seeds could be introduced.

A number of the creatures and characters in the book also come with extra boxes of text which give you a few alternative options or ways in which you can help add additional colour to creatures. These are all handy options for Gamemasters who are scratching their heads and working out the best way to layout the next session or encounter.

One element of encounter building that D&D does really well is the "maths" involved in plotting an adequate challenge. Because Soulbound is such a superhero-style experience it's sometimes hard to work out how best to actually balance a fight so it becomes a challenge for your heroes. The Bestiary builds on the advice in the Core Rulebook here with a short breakdown on what kind of enemies you should pit against a starting party and those with more experience.

It's not as solid a system as D&D but then again, Soulbound is a lot more free-flowing in its action and the power level of characters involved. A bit of Gamemaster tinkering is always needed but it's good to have this starting point. There is also a good breakdown of the types of foes available and how they might each fit into a scenario.

Another of the handy sections of the book is fairly small but the table of Encounter Complications could be a lifesaver, especially during a spur of the moment fight. With a quick D6 table you can work out an alternative objective beyond just slaughtering the opponent. Think about the best Marvel or DC fights in movies as an example. More often than not they are excellent because the heroes are having to stop the villains or an outside force from doing something else at the same time as beating them up.

At its core, the Bestiary offers plenty of advice for building fights and each entry in the book then follows it up with an array of excellent powers, abilities and more that you can throw at your heroes.

Worth Picking Up?

If you're planning on diving deep into Age Of Sigmar: Soulbound or you're already invested then I think that the Bestiary is a very important book to pick up. The Core Rulebook and Starter Set are good starting points but the array of options presented as part of the Bestiary will open your mind to all manner of interesting encounters.

Gargant

I think of the Bestiary very much like the Monster Manual for D&D. Yeah, you can get by on the creatures in the back of the Player's Handbook but things become all the more impressive once you can explore the possibilities in the Bestiary.

As a parting thought, I should add that one of the best things about the Bestiary beyond the array of creatures is the fact that there is LOADS of art to draw from. Most if not all of the monsters get some form of artwork to illustrate what they're like and when there isn't a picture, you've often got a sizable chunk of text explaining how these wild creatures look. This helps a lot when trying to describe these things!

Have you had a look at the Bestiary and could you see yourself picking it up for Age Of Sigmar: Soulbound?

"I think of the Bestiary very much like the Monster Manual for D&D...."

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"Brutal mechanics are worked into each of their stat blocks meaning that they should be a real challenge for a band of Soulbound..."

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