Each RPG features player characters exploring a world of magic and monsters that is threatened by the forces of Chaos. This month kicks off with an overview of the rules of Soulbound. Then details on kicking off a new campaign in the city of Brightspear follow to help a GM get started.
In Soulbound the players’ characters are linked magically together and adventure as a Binding to oppose the forces of Chaos and protect the cities of man. In the setting, mankind was nearly destroyed by Chaos and only with the help of the god Sigmar is civilization slowly being rebuilt. However, the forces of Chaos, the rampaging Greenskin Hordes, and Nagash’s legion of spirits threaten to overwhelm Sigmar’s Stormcast Eternals. So mortals are called together as Soulbound in a Binding of a new order of heroes.
While the players have their fellow Soulbound and Binding, the GM has access to Doom. Doom measures the growing threat of evil and danger in the Mortal Realms. As fear, envy, doubt, and anger take hold of mortals, discord, and violence grow between the people of the realms and the forces of evil grow more powerful. They may gain additional armor, make extra attacks, or harness deadly new abilities. The GM combines Doom with the escalating levels of Rumor (whispers), Fear (eyewitness claims), and Threat (visible menacing effects) to drive adventures. Rules like these are the heart of Soulbound for a GM and help make a lasting and worthy campaign.
An obvious launching point for a new Soulbound campaign is the city of Brightspear in the realm of Aspiria or the Great Parch. Aspiria is part of Aqshy, one of eight realms Sigmar was borne to after the aftermath of the destruction of the World-That-Was. Aqshy is a realm of raging passions, simmering aggression, and heat and fire.
Brightspear is a new city built split into three districts, all built on the ruins of an ancient settlement. The ruin is an ancient Agloraxian citadel that holds many mysteries, now simply called the Undercity. Sages and wizards hungry for knowledge and power long to explore its secrets. For now, Lord-Arcanum Salonia Gravewing restricts access to the Undercity.
Brightspear’s greatest enemy is Tzeentch, the Changer of Ways and his followers. This turns things neatly back to the PCs’ Soulbound and their Binding. A party of adventures always has a long-term party goal. One of the suggested goals is driving Tzeentch’s followers from the city of Brightspear. And on that goal, an entire Soulbound campaign can turn.
GMs wanting to run a campaign of Soulbound fighting to defeat Tzeentch in Brightspear have access to additional resources to get started. All are currently available in PDF, with the Soulbound RPG Starter Set (PDF) coming to print in early 2021.
A great kick-off to a Brightspear campaign is starting with the free 26-page Crash and Burn adventure. The Soulbound start off working on an airship tasked with delivering vital supplies to the newly reclaimed city of Brightspear. A crash happens, and hijinks follow. If the Soulbound survive, they make it to the city of Brightspear.
The Soulbound RPG Starter Set (PDF) details the city of Brightspear and provides a starting adventure and pregenerated characters along with other tools for the GM like maps and tokens. The description of the city has vital stats like possible adventures, power groups, various locations, where to buy gear and weapons, cultists, mysterious secrets, and a beer list.
Areas outside the city are detailed as well. The surrounding plains are covered, as are locations a bit farther away, such as The Bright Mountains and the Disintegrating Shores. Soulbound may find Chaos hordes, lost and wrecked airships, veins of precious ore, and more outside the city or farther afield.
The Threat in Brightspear can start with the included adventure, Faltering Light. The Soulbound will need to stop an impending assault by followers of Tzeentch. At the same time, they will feel the Fear of two other growing threats, and hear Rumors of five others. The Brightspear city guide provides details on these growing dangers. Faltering Light walks through the rules, provides new opponents, and gives the PCs the chance to make a real change in the city. Many of the adventure seeds in the Starter Set point the GM to the Soulbound Gamemaster’s Screen (PDF).
Fateful Night is an adventure set in Brightspear and two new adventure seeds. The full adventure describes everything as Rumor, Fear, and Threat and introduces a new way to use Doom called Doomed lands. Doomed lands are locations that become increasingly dangerous as Doom increases.
Trouble Brewing is a lighter adventure of pub crawling through Brightspear. Someone is trying to steal the keg of legendary Jakkob Bugmansson XI, the Brewmaster-General of the Kharadron and the descendant of the most prestigious clan of brewers any world has ever known. Trouble Brewing also introduces the new archetype of Brewmaster which makes this adventure even more worthwhile. If the Soulbound protect Jakkob’s precious ale he may decide to stay in Brightspear more often. He could become a recurring ally and friend of the Soulbound.
Soulbound don’t spend all their time adventuring and fighting. They have downtime, and during those slower moments, they can work on Endeavours. Streets of Brightspear includes new endeavours like taming a Fyrehunter, college training to learn spells, or visiting the strange and mutating streets of the Winds to roll on a random table and see what happens.
Champions of Order (PDF) gives free people of Brightspear a Subfaction bonus called Resourceful as well as providing a Subfaction ability and more background on the Celestial Warbringers. Subfactions provide greater detail on Soulbound and tie them to their home cities or chosen organizations.
A campaign centered on Brightspear can be anchored with solid adventures, new Endeavours, and new rules like the Brewmaster Archetype. Between the vibrant city details and examples of play and how to make adventures, a GM ready to kick off a new Soulbound campaign will find ready resources to get started.
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