Age Of Sigmar: Soulbound Starter Set Review | Cubicle 7

December 1, 2020 by crew

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Last week I dived into a review of the immense Age Of Sigmar: Soulbound and it's Core Rulebook including what it has to offer up to those looking to experience a more heroic and mythic High Fantasy adventure. The Mortal Realms can be a little daunting but that's where the Age Of Sigmar: Soulbound Starter Set from Cubicle 7 comes in.

Soulbound Starter Set Cover - Cubicle 7

Check Out The Age Of Sigmar: Soulbound Core Rules Review

Last year in May I looked at the Warhammer Fantasy Role-Play Starter Set  (Video Here) which was put together by Cubicle 7 and was very happy with what if offered up to prospective adventurers. Packed with pre-made characters, a sprawling introductory scenario and story seeds for future quests, it is (to date) my favourite Starter Set. I am happy to say that the new Starter Set for Age Of Sigmar: Soulbound follows on from its grimdark brethren nicely.

Unique & Interesting Characters

The first thing to address is that currently, the Starter Set is a digital product. You can pre-order it right now in its physical form but it won't be delivered until the second quarter of 2021. However, regardless of the lack of dice that you'd get in the physical version of the Starter Set, the rest of the contents presented here are very nice to read through and tinker with.

Vel Arturious - Cubicle 7

At the heart of the Starter Set are a collection of pre-made characters which show off the diversity available to you when exploring the Mortal Realms. Each of them is presented with a chunk of background to get you started, connections to the rest of the group and also a selection of secrets and goals for you to work towards. You have the likes of Xan Bemyr, the Excelsior Warpriest and Vel Arturious the Knight Quest but also stranger characters like Imren Sealglaire the Isharann Tidecaster and Darach the Kurnoth Hunter. This showcases the range of options available to players who want to do something similar to what they might know whilst also offering up a chance to play someone very unique too.

All of this is presented as part of a wonderful folio which goes through everything that you need to know when it comes to playing a character in Soulbound. Your statistics, attributes, skills, talents and more are all broken down and described and you have an entire leaf of the folio given over to what all of this means. There is even a handy section of the sheet dedicated to The Ladder so you can quickly help out the Games Master as you get stuck into combat.

Imren Sealglaire - Cubicle 7

Much like with the characters available as part of the Warhammer Fantasy Role-Play Starter Set, I really like what Cubicle 7 have presented here. For someone who likes exploring more than just the hack and slash of a roleplaying game, the hints, tips and quirks they have worked into the mix here with these opening heroes mean that you've got plenty of cues to work off. Additionally, for new players, you've also got some nudges as to how you should be playing your character and interacting with the world of The Mortal Realms.

First Time Adventurers

Once you've got characters you also need the adventure to play through. The Soulbound Starter Set offers up a big forty-page campaign called Faltering Light. In this adventure, you'll be taking on the role of the Soulbound as you head to the sprawling magical city of Brightspear. It's no spoiler to say that you are being charged with helping the denizens of this city which has fairly recently been claimed from beneath the yolk of Tzeentch as they seek to reactivate the Realmgate deep beneath the "spear" that stands at the centre of the city.

Faltering Light - Cubicle 7

I won't go into too many details about the story but it has something for everyone from session to session. There are plenty of ways to get stuck into the heroic combat of Soulbound plus lots more for those who appreciate the exploration and puzzle-solving of roleplaying at the tabletop.

All elements of gameplay in regular sessions of Soulbound are delivered to you bit-by-bit throughout the adventure. The quest takes you steadily through doing regular tests, how to deal with combat, what to do when you are faced with various challenges and more. In addition to making it easy for the players, there is also plenty in there to help out the Games Master too. You will need to have a good read of the book all the way through before you begin but Faltering Light offers up a really nice introduction to what Soulbound is all about.

One of the things which makes Soulbound something to consider as your next roleplaying game is just how BIG everything is. This is really hammered home here through the quest that you'll undertake in Brightspear. You meet bombastic and larger-than-life characters, explore a very diverse city and face down monstrous creatures and other foes that nudge things up towards the "superhero".

You'll find a lot of use out of this book and I could easily see the introductory quest taking more than one session to play. Depending on how much time you devote to it and how often you meander away from the main storyline, it could easily play out over two or three.

Background Reading!

Faltering Light is then supported by a second book which also comes in the Starter Set, the Brightspear City Guide. This is another reasonably hefty tome which comes with all the information you need to add colour and spice to the city of Brightspear. The Mortal Realms can be a confusing and often blindingly wild place but Cubicle 7's team has done a great job of listing all the things you need to know about the city plus its essential places and people.

Brightspear City Guide - Cubicle 7

Sprinkled throughout the City Guide you'll find lots of ways to embellish and build on the encounters that your players have when playing through Faltering Light. At the back of the book, Cubicle 7 have also provided Games Masters with eight additional Threats which your party can follow up on. Each of these is presented in a simple way meaning that you can tweak them to fit your own campaign and would be a superb way to follow up on Faltering Light with a few more one-session quests. I could easily see plenty of sessions being played out in the aftermath of Faltering Light where the Soulbound continue to help the people of Brightspear who are assaulted on all sides.

I find these kinds of books in Starter Sets to be invaluable. There is nothing worse than having to come up with a lot of information on the fly and the City Guide which supports the campaign does a good job of helping to answer all the questions your inquisitive players are likely to have.

Helpful Gaming Aids

As well as the two main books and the character folios you've also got a myriad of accessories to keep gameplay flowing. There are references handouts for spellcasting, combat, general rules and more plus maps that you can lay out for your players during the game too. These range from a wonderfully detailed map of Brightspear through to the maps you'll need for the key encounters that you play out during the course of Faltering Light.

The PDF version of the Starter Set also comes with a set of tokens that you can print out which are used to track Soulfire, Doom and Mettle for each player and the Games Master. I am eagerly waiting for the physical version of this Starter Set to come out so I can get popping tokens and playing around with those nice dice that they've promised!

A Great Introduction To The Mortal Realms?

I am a big fan of this Starter Set and what Cubicle 7 have produced for new players. The characters are interesting and presented with plenty of scope for newcomers and veterans to roleplaying. Faltering Light acts as a really nice step-by-step adventure which steadily introduces the concepts of Soulbound and guides you into a game packed with High Fantasy action. Additionally, the Brighspear City Guide not only offers up help for the Games Master when playing through this introductory quest but also seeds for future adventures that your players can enjoy.

Brightspear City Guide - Cubicle 7

Throughout the set, you've got oodles of lovely artwork, well-written descriptions and information which manage to deliver the information you need without overwhelming you. It's a tough thing to get the tone of Soulbound and the Age Of Sigmar right but I think Cubicle 7 have done a neat job here.

As I mentioned during my review of the Core Rulebook, I think starting out here with Faltering Light and the Starter Set is a good place to begin your Age Of Sigmar journey. It manages to get past that sometimes bewildering amount of names, places, backgrounds and such that The Mortal Realms throws at you and offer it up in a simple way. Telling these smaller stories, centred around a few unique individuals and with the introductory of themes, concepts and foes bit by bit as part of a single city means that you're more inclined to return to Soulbound session after session.

The real question is whether or not you order this now or wait for the physical release next year? I am a big fan of actually having things in my hands and roleplaying around an actual table so I would ideally have waited until it got released in 2021. However, because of the world we live in right now, it could well be a fun option for those that want to play something different in the Fantasy genre right now.

Even if you burn through the Faltering Light quest over a few weeks the contents of the Starter Set should be helpful regardless as you tell more stories in Age Of Sigmar: Soulbound. Brightspear is a great place to centre your adventures and with the additional threats presented in the City Guide, you could move from having fun digitally to playing physically next year with ease and still feel like you get worth from the box when it arrives.

Are you tempted to give this Starter Set a go?

"At the heart of the Starter Set are a collection of pre-made characters which show off the diversity available to you when exploring the Mortal Realms..."

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"Faltering Light acts as a really nice step-by-step adventure which steadily introduces the concepts of Soulbound..."

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