Welcome to this weeks #MortalRealmsMonday! Today, Elaine Lithgow – a freelance writer for C7 offers some excellent tips for crafting your own Soulbound adventures! Check out Elaine’s previous post here.
With the launch of Soulbound, a new day has dawned. All around the world groups are coming together to forge legendary characters to roleplay with in the Mortal Realms for the first time. These characters undergo the agonising Binding Ritual to tie their souls together and become divinely blessed heroes for the forces of order.
Talk about an epic beginning.
Now that your characters are Soulbound and ready to rock, they need an adventure to tackle. But what does your average Soulbound adventure look like? What makes them unique? As a Gamemaster, how do you craft the unique Soulbound experience?
I’m here today, fresh from the forge of working on a free adventure module, Crash & Burn, to give you some of my personal top tips for crafting your own Soulbound adventures.
Let’s get started.
What Does That Make Us?… Big Damn Heroes.
First and foremost, always remember that the Soulbound are not a simple band of mortals adventuring for wealth and fame. Sure, individual members of the Binding may have their own personal goals, but as a whole, they are a destined group of heroes. Each is hand picked by the gods themselves. Their souls are eternally bound by divine power and from that day forth they serve as prized champions and vital agents for the forces of Order.
As a result, a Binding is rarely tasked with simply fighting for their own survival or searching for valuable treasure, and they will most certainly not accept a contract for financial gain. Soulbound are not forged for such mundane purposes. Instead, Soulbound are tasked with defending the weak from the endless hordes of Chaos, rooting out corruption that erodes the foundations of society, or reclaiming powerful artefacts that could spell disaster should they fall into the wrong hands.
In your adventures, there should always be something important on the line. Soulbound deal with high-stakes challenges with far reaching repercussions. If the Binding fails, their lives are not the only things at risk, the Mortal Realms could fall into a new Age of Chaos.
Tick Tock, Tick Tock!
Nothing adds to a sense of urgency and agency to an adventure like a ticking clock.
There are only three days until the horde of Bloodreavers reaches the isolated outpost. The ritual to open the Skaven gnawhole and flood the city with ratmen will be complete in six hours. The Ossiarch Bonereapers will return in one month to claim their grizzly tithe. The civilian’s only means of escape from the servants of Chaos is across a massive plain which floods every wet season, and rain clouds are brewing. If the Aspirian artefact isn’t returned in one week, the entire Floating City of Bataar will fall from the sky…
The Mortal Realms are living, breathing worlds which continue on with or without the actions of the Binding. Use this to your advantage to generate near-infinite drama and meaningful choices. Offer players meaningful choices to effect this timeline, like risky shortcuts to save time or expensive detours to rally aid.
Pit your party against the clock and you’ll never be disappointed.
I Have a Particular Set of Skills
Many Archetypes in Warhammer Age of Sigmar: Soulbound come out of the gate with incredible abilities that can cause some Gamemasters concern. It is often tempting to limit the effectiveness of these abilities or keep them in check, but every incredible ability your party has should be looked at with excitement for the potential drama it can create.
Some Archetypes like the Kharadron Skyrigger can fly at will. While this may trivialise a two dimensional maze encounter, it offers an incredible opportunity to give this character a unique role in an adventure. Why not have part of a puzzle only visible from the air? Or make important villains take to the sky to escape.
Stormcast Eternal characters are immortal. If they die, they are reforged by Sigmar’s hand and can return some time in the future. But this shouldn’t make you feel like death is meaningless, or any less of a threat. Instead it should incentivise these characters to make heroic last stands or acts of valor. To throw themselves into an unwinnable situation to buy time or save a lost soul.
Look closely at the outlandish abilities your party has and think about how they can make the players feel awesome, rather than how to hinder them.
Location, Location, Location.
Fire streaks across the sky as the Binding fights atop a narrow bridge spanning a lava filled canyon in Aqshy, the Realm of Fire. Weak light struggles against the haunted shadows as they flee through a crumbling necropolis in Shyish, the Realm of Death. They cling to the railing of a Kharadron airship as it attempts to navigate the rippling spires of twisting metal in Chamon, the Realm of Metal…
These are just a tiny handful of the outlandish and exciting locations that your Soulbound adventures can take place in. There are eight whole realms to explore, or nine if you count the accursed Realm of Chaos. Each is a unique and surreal landscape, filled with people and civilisations both living and long dead, all shaped by the magic of the realms.
Create breathtaking locations for your players to explore. Set battles in mind bending terrains that only the Mortal Realms can offer. A Binding can be called to embark on a quest in any of these realms at any time. So let your imagination run wild with the possibilities for your adventures.
Here They Come!
Most Soulbound characters are incredibly powerful warriors in their own rights, capable of single handedly taking on entire units of lesser foes without breaking a sweat. At no point is this more apparent than when a Binding comes together to hold a defensive position against seemingly impossible odds.
There is a reason so many of the key art pieces depict a Binding outnumbered and fighting back-to-back against the encroaching hordes of Chaos. These are the epic climaxes that make our players feel like true heroes.
Even though a Binding cannot stand against the crashing waves of Chaos, Death, and Destruction forever, they can buy time — lean into these moments where you can.
Give the Binding something to protect, establish a set number of rounds to hold off the enemy and giggle with delight as you pour more and more threats onto the table every round. You might be surprised at just how much damage a sufficiently motivated Binding can bring to bear!
Slowly wear them down. Break their armour, dish out wounds, show the darkness rising against them and pile on the Doom until things look their most bleak… then let them turn the tide!
Summon the big boss they can finally defeat, open the realmgate so the civilians can flee, activate the arcane device that levels the battlefield. Reward the Binding’s tenacity with the cathartic power to rise against the odds and snatch victory from the jaws of defeat.
That’s what it means to stand against the infinite enemies of Order. That is what it means to be Soulbound.
And there we have it. Some of my top tips for crafting your Warhammer Age of Sigmar: Soulbound adventures. So what are you waiting for! Get on out there and have yourselves an adventure.
The Mortal Realms aren’t going to save themselves…
Warhammer Age of Sigmar: Soulbound – FREE Adventure Out Now!
Age of Sigmar: Soulbound Pre-Gens
Have you downloaded the sample pre-generated characters yet? You can can find pre-gens of the five iconic heroes you see on the corebook cover here .
Browse all pre-order Warhammer Age of Sigmar: Soulbound titles here. The Rulebook and Collector’s edition both come with a PDF so you can get started straight away!
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