Hi all and welcome to fight night where tonight I am getting ready for a warhammer game against an old friend and rival who has requested that I bring my Skaven once again to the front lines and do battle with his noble Fyreslayers.
But, tonight being fight night and I did say that I would bring some more Soulbound this week I wanted to explore combat and the “Creature Stat Blocks” for Soulbound.
So I will take you through some of my beloved Skaven models and do my best to explain the concept of these stat blocks (as I am still learning how the system works).
So without begging forgiveness for any mistakes I made, let’s roll on!
Skaven in Soulbound
Second only to labourers and slaves, Clanrats are the most numerous and low ranking of the Skaven. Despite this, like
all Skaven, every Clanrat is convinced of its superiority and the inevitability of its ascension to greatness. They clutch rusted arms stolen from dead rivals and seek any
opportunity to advance their station.
Individually, a Clanrat is no match for a prepared hero, in fact, a lone Clanrat is just as likely to squirt the musk of fear and flee than stand and fight. Yet Clanrats rarely fight alone, instead swarming together in hordes of frenzied fighters that throw themselves at their foes in a smothering wall of stinking flesh and chittering savagery.
So first things first, it looks a bit different to a Dungeons and Dragons stat block but there are a few things to go through so we will go from top to bottom.
The Clanrat is classified as a minion, they are lowest fodder on the battlefield and really only strong in numbers, as true to Skaven on the tabletop as possible.
They have Poor Melee, Accuracy and Defence (but rated as average with a shield). This relates to the ladder I mentioned in my first glance of the system. If you have poor defence then the Clanrat will need to have a Difficulty Number (DN) of 4 Body (Weapon skill) where from the dice pool they create from both their Body attribute (down the bottom of the block) and the levels in training they have in their Weapon Skill skill they need to roll 4 or better to beat your defence of poor. But, if you have Average defence then they will have a DN of 5 which means from your dice pool you need to roll a 5 or better to hit. If the Clanrats target has good or better defence then only a 6 on the dice roll will hit.
Having an armour of – means that any damage that is dealt (the number of successful hits + any damage modifiers from the weapon) isn’t stopped by armour. Armor reduces the damage dealt to the creature by 1 for each point in armour.
Toughness is the stamina before the creature takes damage through to their wound. Having a toughness of 1 means that they can have 1 point of damage allocated to them before they stat suffering wounds. The neat thing about toughness is that it will recover outside of battle if you spend a few minutes (I think 10) having a short break before charging into the next throng of enemies.
A wounds of – means that they are truly weak creatures and that by reducing their toughness to 0 that they will suffer a mortal wound and die.
Mettle is a resource which Characters and strong enemies have that enables them to push past the normal barriers in ones physical or mental training and or one moment gain and advantage. Having no Mettle is common for creatures.
Now Speed. To understand speed we need to understand how the game field is laid out in what we call Zones. A zone is an area of space, generally seen as 15ft but its broken up by natural barriers like a wall, fence, trees, door, a incline or decline (trench or parapet). The area where your Character stands is called “Short Range“, the zone adjacent to your zone is “Medium Range” and the zone adjacent to that (2 zones from you) is called “Long Range”
So if your character is in a room and you hear skittering outside the zone you are in now (the room) is short range, the space outside the door, a small field where a fence divides the wheat field and mill from the yard around the building you are in is Medium range, the field is Long range and the mill within the Field is “Extreme Range“. This helps to imaging distance as something relative rather than having a grid to move your character along 6 squares at at time which represents “30ft”.
Now back to Speed. If you have a Slow speed you can move anywhere in your move action to move within their current zone (short range) and must use the run action to move into the zone adjacent (medium range). A Normal speed, such as our Clanrat, means it can use a free action to move within the current zone “Short range”, use a move action to move to the zone adjacent (Medium range) and the run action to move into the next adjacent zone (Long range). Most creatures have a Normal speed but you can encounter creatures with a Fast speed which can move as a free action within their current zone and use the move action to move up to the two zones adjacent (Long range). See simple right?
Ok maybe not simple, its a big change to D&D but I think it does make sense.
Initiative is your Mind attribute and your the levels in training in the Reflexes and Awareness skills. I love this. No longer is it just who is quickest of body strikes first but those who are aware and keen of mind also can think and react quickly to danger. So our little Clanrat has an initiative of two.
Natural Awareness is really Soulbound’s version of Passive Perception.
Skills are shown here in their training level. Training level is represented by xd6 where x is the level the creature is trained in. This little rat has awareness (+1d6), Stealth (+1d6,+1) and Weapon Skill (+1d6).
You may notice that out little Clanrat has a Stealth skill of (1d6, +1) which represents that he is trained in Stealth 1 level and that he has 1 point in Focus. Focus is really a floating 1 value that you can apply to any one dice roll made. An example is needed I feel.
This Clanrat is sneaking up through the wheat field and wants to make sure he is not found, mainly so one of the other Clanrat’s around him takes the first arrows and not him. he rolls DN4:1 Body (Stealth) he has 1 point in Body and 1 level of training in Stealth so he rolls 2 dice. He gets a 5 and a 3 but has 1 point in focus so he turns that 3 into a 4. This grants him 2 successes (nice!).
The next is traits. These are little things that the creature can do that make it.. it really. In this case this poor little Skaven Clanrat feels stronger and braver with friends and begins to fight as one horde of seething, chittering rat-men when he has friends! When he is joined by buddies they become a swarm of Clan rats where you attack as one when they are in the same Zone. This is reflected by gaining +1d6 to their attack pool and having +1 toughness (where each damage dealt kills 1 Clanrat per toughness decreased). However, area of affects (spells, weapons with a spread property, cleaving strikes and the like) deal double damage to a swarm.
Now attacks. This creature has two attacks and can pick one or the other. In this instance the rust blade or the rusty spear *(note it’s not trusty.. its definitely rusty) these attacks are both poor, have 2d6 in their dice pool (1 from body and 1 from weapon skill) and deal x+S damage.
The Rusty blade deals 1+S Damage which is 1 damage base + the number of successes. The Rusty blade is one handed so the Clanrat can wield a shield with the stabby-blade an bring his defence up to average from poor). The Spear deals more damage (2+S) but is just as bad as the rusty blade but is two handed – so no shield (watch out little rat!)
Finally we are down to attributes.
Attributes are simple in Soulbound – Body, Mind and Soul
Body represents your physical strength, your reflexes and coordination, and your overall body awareness. Characters with a high Body tend to be able to hold their own in a fight and rarely balk at manual labour.
Mind represents your intelligence, your awareness and perception, your deductive reasoning, and your ability to think on your feet. Characters with a high Mind are often inquisitive, quick witted, and studious, and are adept at thinking their way around a problem. Mind is also important for wizards and practitioners of the arcane arts.
Soul represents your inner being. It is your sense of self, your spirit and determination, and your ability to resist the influence of Chaos. Characters with high Soul are frequently spiritual leaders or champions, and are absolutely assured in their beliefs.
All attributes feed into Defence, Accuracy and Melee effectiveness as well as toughness, mettle, initiative, natural awareness and skill tests. Each test will be based off one of the three attributes and then a skill. The attribute may change from time to time (so Awareness may sometimes be related to a Soul (awareness) check instead of a Mind (awareness) check if something is trying to overcome your resistance to chaos.
These also form your basic pools in combat. Body for Melee dice pools, Mind for ranged pools and spell checks (Mind (Channelling) test).
Now, I wont go through it all again but lets look at the brutal muscle of the Skaven forces – the Rat Ogor
The Rat Ogor
Stitched, grown, and mutated under the claws of Clan Moulder’s most demented fleshcrafters, then sold to the highest bidder, Rat Ogors are the horrific fusion of Skaven and Ogor. Hulking masses of muscle and claw capable of ripping entire battalions to shreds, the Rat Ogors are singularly violent monsters, who’s only drive is to kill.
While effective in the right circumstances, Rat Ogors are brutally stupid beasts, incapable of comprehending even the simplest of orders or using any weapons aside from their own teeth and claws. Yet with the symbiotic grafting of a secondary, and always unwilling, brain into the proceedings, a Rat Ogor is somewhat elevated. While the creature will never gain true intelligence, the parasitic brain can enforce its will upon the Rat Ogor, allowing it to follow commands, and more Importantly, wield weapons.
As you can see the Rat Ogor is a champion with exponentially better in melee a whopping body of 6 with weapons training (+2d6), a bunch more toughness (with Armor!) and a few other traits and attacks that make it a lethal killing machine.
I could go on and on giving more examples but, frankly, I don’t have that much time left in me for tonight and this would turn into a book rather than a blog post.
I am excited to bring some adventures through to you for Soulbound and hope to have a few games to build up interest for my local gaming group (and maybe beyond).
Don’t forget to come back this weekend for more content including the end of March writeup (yes its April already.. but I will wrap up March first!). And, as always, don’t forget to roll with advantage,
The Brazen Wolfe