The Mortal Realms are in terrible peril. The only thing standing between the fall of the Cities of Sigmar and the beginning of a new Age of Chaos is you, an elf pirate, a dwarf rune smith with a massive mowhawk, and a blind elf riding a gigantic flying fish.
In AOSRP: Soulbound, you are one of the Soulbound, a member of an ancient order who sacrifice their own souls and immortality to guard the Mortal Realms.
The game is set in the world of Age of Sigmar, a wargame by Games Workshop, while this RPG is published by Cubicle 7, who created the 40k RPG, Wrath and Glory, as well as The One Ring.
When I first started playing Age of Sigmar, I didn’t know too much about the lore of the setting. I knew that the Warhammer Old World had been destroyed and that Sigmar rebuilt everything into Eight Realms, each aligned with one of the Old World winds of magic. I ended up diving into the lore, however, and love it.
Soulbound presents and explains the universe. These eight realms are each drastically unique, having no defined border, but connected through realmgates. They’re like extreme versions of the planes of D&D.
The setting is a lot more dynamic and unique than the generic fantasy world of the Old World, which cut and pasted elements of real-world history onto a map that vaguely resembled our own.
The shakeup of the Old World also changed the races of the world. There’s a lot of speculation that the purpose was so that Games Workshop had a much narrower and specific IP. As a result, Dwarves are now Druardin, divided into Fireslayers (drawn from the Slayers of old) and Kharadron Overlords, which are like steampunk dwarves in heavy armor and flying ships. Elves are now Aelves, split between the Idoneth Deepkin who are blind undersea elves, Black Corsairs who are the old dark elves, and the new Lumineth Realm-Lords who are based on the old high elves. There are other races, such as the dryad-type creatures known as the Sylvaneth, Orruks (Orcs), and others. There’s also the forces of Chaos, both mortals and demons, who are out there trying to tear the Mortal Realms apart.
It’s a really dynamic setting, and is really well fleshed out and explained in a concise way.
The rules are pretty straightforward. When you’re rolling, it will be to make a test.
A test will have both a difficulty and a complexity. The difficulty is the number you must roll in order to succeed on each die, while the complexity is the number of successes you need to succeed.
If, for example, you are making a Dexterity check, it may be a 4:2 Body (Dexterity) check. This means you’ll need to roll a 4 or better, and need at least 2 successes to succeed. You’ll roll a number of dice equal to your Attribute score, plus your level of Training with the Skill being tested. An easy check may be 2:1, meaning you only need to roll a 2 or better and score at least one success to win. Pretty straightforward. There are also degrees of success. Getting more successes than you were required to will provide larger benefits.
Soulfire and Doom are two other important mechanics. The Soulbound all have souls intertwined with each other. Characters are able to tap into this with their Soulfire. Spending Soulfire allows characters to automatically succedd on checks, reroll dice, recover their Toughness, and even cheat death. Soulfire is increased by completing short-term goals, making a last stand, and other things. Because this is a shared resource, if any other members of your party don’t want you to spend it, you have a choice. You can either agree with them and not spend it, or spend the Soulfire anyway, which will increase your group’s Doom.
Doom tracks the unease in the Mortal Realms. It increases because of the reason above, but also when party members die, when they flee, etc. As Doom grows, enemies will gain extra armor, extra attacks and some extra abilities. It makes everything far more dangerous. It’s a really cool mechanic.
The art throughout the book is absolutely gorgeous. The realms are gorgeously given life, as well as the various beings that fill the land.
The bestiary section is well fleshed out, and the stat-blocks are nicely laid out to make it easy to give you the information you need without needing to flip through the book to find further details. The forces of Chaos, Greenskin Horde, the Skaven, and the new AOS army Ossiarch Bonereapers, are all detailed.
This is a really fantastic book. The mechanics are really interesting and well executed, the setting is impressively explained, and is great for both Age of Sigmar fans and those unfamiliar with the setting.
This review originally appeared at DiceMonkey.net
[5 of 5 Stars!]