Today we have an excellent post from C7 Developer Elaine Lithgow on the Warhammer Age of Sigmar: Soulbound Bestiary.
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A Fleshcrafter Squeaks
Greetings once more, mortals and monsters! Today I have been dragged chittering and gibbering from the darkest depths of the Clans Moulder Hell Pits to scratch out some words on Warhammer Age of Sigmar: Soulbound.
(I am told this scribe can translate Queekish into a language more suitable for all you man-things out there. But I take no responsibility for lost nuance that may occur, yes-yes.)
This time we will be talking about the newly released Soulbound: Bestiary, and specifically one of the newest nightmares to crawl from the darkest depths of our imaginations and arrive, howling and shrieking in horror, upon the page: ‘The Hell Pit Abomination’ (artwork by the fantastic Clara-Marie Morin) .
Aren’t they beautiful? I lost many assistants to craft such a wonderful form. (I’ve no idea if they are dead or not. I sent three into the central mass to retrieve my lucky scalpel — not one of them returned. Soft-toothed weaklings!)
But let’s take a closer look at the method behind the madness and dive into how exactly one goes about crafting such a creature.
From the Battlefield to the Tabletop
Whenever we set about translating a creature or character from the Warhammer Age of Sigmar battle game into the Soulbound roleplaying system, we first need to do some research. We read all the lore and battletomes we can get our hands on that feature the target creature, with a few goals in mind.
- Make sure we understand how it came to be, what unique or horrifying attributes it has, and its place in the Mortal Realms.
- Consider just what it would be like to face the creature in person. How would it feel to have this creature bearing down upon you, or fighting alongside your party?
- And finally, we scour the relevant Age of Sigmar Warscrolls and consider how we can faithfully translate its abilities from one system to the other.
It can take a bit of time, especially with the more gargantuan monstrosities and larger than life characters that inhabit the Mortal Realms, but it’s all part of the all important research phase. Without this, we couldn’t possibly do justice to these storied and much loved — or reviled — creatures.
(I once knew a Warlock Engineer who tried to skip the research phase and go straight to prototyping. The past-tense is key here.)
The Hell Pit Abomination
So how did we go about bringing the Hell Pit Abomination into Soulbound? Well, let’s take a look at the finer details of the finished creature, shall we?
One of the main goals when translating this particular monster was to really bring home its horrifying nature. These are lurching, towering, nigh-unstoppable abominations that can annihilate entire regiments beneath the mass of razor-sharp claws and bulging muscle. We wanted to make sure this was really reflected in-game.
After granting the beast some truly staggering Attributes, including a suitably beefy Body of 13, we felt satisfied that we were on the right track. The Hell Pit Abomination was already a frightening beast, but we were far from finished! It’s time to move on to my favourite part, the Traits!
(Keen eyed followers of the Horned Rat may notice that 13 — the Horned Rat’s chosen number — is used in a number of ways throughout the Bestiary. In fact, the Skaven chapter is exactly 13 pages long!)
Traits are special rules that apply only to the creature in question, and let us bend or break the core rules to make a creature really stand out from the rest of the pack. As can only be expected from a Hell Pit Abomination, it has a number of Traits that truly make it a nightmare to fight!
To begin with, we have a trio of Traits that will be familiar to any Soulbound GMs who have run some of our large and frightening monsters in the past — Nigh Unkillable, Terrifying, and Regeneration. These Traits simply ensure that the monsters can stand up to an unnatural amount of punishment, and cause lesser mortals to tremble in fear at their approach. (A perfectly suitable response.)
Night Unkillable: The Hell Pit Abomination is impossibly resilient. It’s Toughness is equal to (Body + Mind + Soul) x2. This is included in the above.
Terrifying: The Hell Pit Abomination strikes fear into the hearts of anyone who looks upon it. Any non-Skaven that starts its turn within Medium Range of the Hell Pit Abomination must make a DN 4:3 Mind (Determination) Test or become Frightened until the start of it’s next turn.
Lurching Movement and Writhing Mass are two Traits that seek to replicate the unpredictability of the Hell Pit Abomination as seen in the Age of Sigmar battle game. You never know quite how fast this beast is going to move on any turn, but as you begin to defeat the various limbs and heads in this writing mass, you can slowly whittle its damage down.
Regeneration: The warp-magic that animates the Hell Pit Abomination constantly regrows their twisted flesh. At the start of its turn, the Hell Pit Abomination heals 7 + Doom Toughness, up to its maximum.
There are a number of Conditions that characters can apply to creatures in the Soulbound system. Blinding, Deafening, or Stunning a creature is a common way of making a singular terrifying monster more manageable to fight. But given the unique nature of the Hell Pit Abomination, with all its redundant heads and arms, it didn’t feel quite right that blinding any one head should blind the whole creature. That’s where Incomprehensible Anatomy comes in.
Incomprehensible Anatomy: The Hell Pit Abomination is a twisted mass of countless individual creatures. It is immune to the Blinded, Charmed, Deafened, and Stunned Conditions. In addition, it cannot be knocked Prone.
Warpstone Spikes is a wonderfully flavourful Trait that is built into the lore and warscroll of the Hell Pit Abomination, and makes the beast truly terrifying to both physical and magical combatants. Nothing will make a spellcaster more concerned than hurling a reality shaking spell at a beast, only for it to turn around and consume it for breakfast.
Warpstone Spikes: The Hell Pit Abomination has had numerous magic consuming warpstone spikes embedded in its flesh. Any time a spell is cast targeting the Hell Pit Abomination or the Zone it is in, the Hell Pit Abomination can spend a Mettle to consume the spell as if it were unbound per the Unbind Talent.
Finally, Too horrible to Die is the final piece of the Hell Pit Abomination puzzle. Doom is a unique mechanic in Soulbound. Through a party’s actions, inactions, success, and failure, the Doom rating of the Mortal Realms can increase or decrease. This not only alters the setting around the characters to reflect their actions, but it can also directly impact certain Champion and Chosen creatures to make them more powerful as the realms become more dangerous or corrupted.
In the case of the Hell Pit Abomination, not only does it gain additional points of Mettle equal to the current Doom level, making them much more dangerous as darkness sweeps across the land, but if the party finally manages to slay this nightmarish monstrosity, if Doom is high enough, there is a chance that it could explode into a swarm of frenzied rats, or lurch back to life for round two — a truly terrifying prospect for any party.
Too Horrible to Die: The Hell Pit Abomination is a mass of redundant organs and countless living creatures sewn together with foul alchemy and magics. The first time the Hell Pit Abomination dies, immediately roll 2d6 plus the current level of Doom and check the result below
- 3–6: The Hell Pit Abomination is actually dead.
- 7–12: The Hell Pit Abomination’s flesh ruptures and spews out countless frenzied rats. The Zone becomes a Major Hazard. Skaven are immune to the Hazard.
- 13+: The Hell Pit Abomination lurches back to life. It clears its Wound Track and heals Toughness equal to 2 × Doom.
With all those Attributes, Skills, Traits, and a delightfully horrifying artistic rendition, the Hell Pit Abomination is complete! We bind it in the strongest warp-laced chains and pages we can, and distribute it across the world. Leaving the creatures ready to burst its way into Soulbound games across the world, accompanied by baleful shrieks and the gasps from shocked players.
But the Hell Pit Abomination is just one creature lurking in the pages of the newly released Soulbound Bestiary. With over 180 monsters, allies and potential pets to weave into your adventures in the Mortal Realms, who knows what nightmares await.
(Note: Do not pet the Hell Pit Abomination. That is how I lost assistant number eight.)
Ah, yes-yes. The scribe seems suitably appeased by my ramblings and is beginning to look concerned. Now if you don’t mind, I must return to the pits and begin work on my newest creations…
Until next time, go slay some monsters!
(Oh, what’s this? My lucky scalpel! It was in my pocket the whole time!)
Elaine Lithgow, C7 Developer
Cubicle 7 Entertainment Ltd.© Copyright Games Workshop Limited 2021