When most tabletop fans hear the word “Warhammer” they think of one of the two dark fantasy settings. The original Warhammer fantasy is a dark tale of human frailties allowing Chaos to seep through cracks and end the world. The scientific fantasy of Warhammer 40,000 is a world where Chaos has won and the brave Space Marines hope to emerge in a huge blaze of glory. For their most recent fantasy setting, Games Workshop went in an unusual direction. Age of Sigmar it’s high fantasy it’s more Thor: Ragnarok than the misfortune of his predecessors. Still, there’s still a heart of darkness in the setting, one that’s most explored in Cubicle 7’s role-playing game set in the universe.
Age of Sigmar: Soulbound sets up the players as a circle of heroes whose souls have been bound by the holder Sigmar. For the uninitiated, Sigmar is the central god-like figure of the Warhammer universe who opposes the forces of Chaos. He believes he can win this battle by gathering heroes from the forces of Order to fight Chaos in the Mortal Realms. Sigmar almost lost, until he called the Stormcast Eternals. These heroes of previous ages reborn as angel-like beings of power have turned the tide and pushed back the chaos for once, though the powers of ruin have yet to be completely defeated.
It all sounds like the synopsis of an epic fantasy cinematic universe and related to the soul supports players playing epic heroes with a capital H. Although the system is light and easy to learn, the characters start out at a much higher power level. This is a game where players will find a Stormvault who protects his treasure with impossible traps one week and fight a herd of corrupt wyrmlings who attack their airship the following week. Many RPGs appeal to the aesthetic of heavy metal which Age of Sigmar: Soulbound a shovel. There is even a mechanic called Mettle that allows players to perform additional or powerful actions during a battle. It’s really fun to hear players spend Mettle on awesome projects, as it sounds like “I’m spending a METAL point to jump on the giant’s back”.
The characters can be constructed freely or from various archetypes of the miniatures game. There are amplified versions of some classic fantasy characters, such as the steampunk dwarves who walk around in Iron Man’s armor or their siblings, the Fyreslayers who derive their power from the magical gold tattoos on them. their body. There are also more exotic options like Sylvaneth, sentient giant trees that find themselves motivated to protect nature in all mortal realms. The police are not entirely clean either. The Daughters of Khaine is a playable hero option as they want to overthrow the God of Murder aligned with the forces of Chaos so that they can install their God of Murder in his place.
A key part of this epic feel are the Endeavors players take on between missions. Many RPGs have devoted time to downtime as a place for characters to spend resources and detail what happens to characters between drops with massive monsters. In related to the soul these choices place new scenario choices in the hands of players. Do they want a legendary weapon? They forge it themselves. Do they need a companion like an ice wolf or a magma dog? They are looking for one to tame and befriend. Do they want to get more information about the main villain’s plots? They spend their time laughing in bars or chatting in lounges. Endeavors suggests smaller scenes that the GM can use to balance larger battles with player-driven plot.
Great heroes need great villains to fight and related to the soul does not disappoint. The Chaos Gods prove to be relentless enemies with a few gnarled minions at their disposal. Game masters only need to scroll through the miniature game examples to see some fantastic ideas for villains. Doom points are another mechanic that brings a touch of darkness. Despite the heroes’ power and bonds, Chaos is still a powerful foe, and Doom reflects the way he creeps around the edges. The higher the Doom, the more the Gamemaster shows the collateral damage of the battle with Chaos. Maybe a trusted ally is betraying them. Maybe their hometown is wiped out. Perhaps their brave supporters are killed in the glorious battle. Removing these points can be done via a Decisive Battle or players taking the time to do so during their efforts.
The big heroes versus the big bad guys are at the heart of Hopepunk. Sigmar has lost his War on Chaos a few times already, but this time in the Mortal Realms, there’s a chance he wins. The forces of Order may not all be on the same wavelength, but they band together to face the Chaos Gods wherever they raise their ichor-covered heads. He resonates with fans after the past few years. These are tough times and feeling like a great hero who can smash Nurgle the Plague God in the face with our lightning charged broadsword is something everyone needs every now and then.