Hi all, a short soulbound update using the pro features from Inkarnate (not a sponsor – maybe one day it will mean something to say that!).
I asked a few veterans to RPG systems over the last week to help me explore how to run Soulbound campaigns in the future so I whipped up a few encounters each increasing in difficulty to see what the limit is with the number of creatures I throw at them.
So lets look at the encounters planned so far.
Encounter 1 – Ambush at Traders pass
For this encounter I have a 10 creature swarm of grots, 4 squig hoppers, 10 creature swarm of squigs (squig herd) and a fungoid cave shaman. The creatures ambush the party on the road as they are moving from where they underwent the soulbinding to Anvilguard (or maybe Brightspear – this is meant to drive out some connections between the party and let new players explore the system without too much risk to permanent death.) The squigs charge at what ever they find after a comical entrance (one falling down into the middle of the road then the rest of the swarm rushing forward to attack what ever they see) then the bounders attacking cackling madly as the 10 grots rain down arrow fire upon the wagon (Causing it to flee) from behind the logs and in the dense trees.
The Shaman stands atop the hill and throws spells and insults at the party screaming “Get them, feed my squiggies, get them get them!”
The zones are easy. Zone -1 (Zone 6 I guess) is the tress to the bottom left of the map, Zone 1 is the road, zone 2 is the trees to the top of the map, zone 3 is the clearing before the hill, zone 4 is the hill, zone 5 is the bottom right trees.
The encounter was easy for the party, Spread on ranged weapons and a pretty strong melee fighter that can dish out enough damage to kill a swarm by themselves made it a cake walk. The squig herd died down to 3 creatures from the first shot (stand and shoot talent) the squig hoppers died in melee but did some damage – which the branchwych managed to heal back very quickly. The Range on the rifle got a few damage on the shaman (who fled leaving a bloody trail to the next area), the grots didn’t do much apart from the plot hook but the volume of dice rolled meant that a few damage got through good defence. The Shaman did the most damage but failed two spells! (out of three being cast with his once per battle, and mettle being spent).
The Squig Pit – Here we had three units of 10 creature squig herds, four squig herders and a loonboss on giant cave squig. This was 3 swarms of 10 minions, four warriors and one chosen. The chosen was super strong here and the minion swarms hurt a lot – despite the group being able to demolish all of them.
Called shot meant that the loonboss spent most of his time on his back AND stunned – both are very powerful but when he did finally get to attack (from hiding) he managed to inflict deadly wounds on two different characters – this was quite the surprise to the party. The squigs did a lot of damage this time with the herders and the loonboss buffing their attack profiles up a rank on the ladder (to a total of two rungs!).
The layout was confusing here. Top of the fallen tree and the road and the trees was zone 1 upto the rocks above the cave, below the fallen tree and upto the rocks was zone 2, the rocks were zone 3, the pit and walkway was zone 4, the northern ledges were zone 5m the bottom ledges were zone 6 and the cave was zone 7. This is another ambush IF the party cant sneak up (stealth(body) checks) – if they succeed on stealth they ambush the grots, if they dont the get ambushed by squigs in the forest and one in the pit.
This encounter saw two characters get deadly wounds and only through the branchwych healing and casting Thorn shield every round did we see the party not take more wounds. The note here is to decrease difficulty (or number of creatures/units.. things) if there is extreme synergy.
Thanks for looking into my madness a bit, I anticipate that future sessions will see more updates and hopefully more maps as I see the different in details with the pro version of Inkarnate makes these maps look much better as both of these maps were made by hand – well mouse and keyboard by myself.
Don’t forget to look out for my end of week write-up also coming out later tonight and as always, don’t forget to roll with advantage, The Brazen Wolfe
Hi all, I wanted to put up a quick post to touch base on Soulbound! Yup, the TTRPG created by Cubicle 7 as I finally had a, admittedly quick, chance to have a few players run through the system with me today.
So below you will find copies of the characters I am using for the test playthrough I am running so I can get my head around the DM aspects of this RPG as, unlike D&D and other systems, the encounter balancing is an art, not a defined science.
So in order for me to try and balance encounters I came up with three characters of my own (as one of the players I had working with me today brought their own character based off Irondrakes/Thunderers from Age of Sigmar) each with a specific role in mind. Ranged, Melee, Hybrid and spell casting support.
The early verdict is that spell casting feels strong, especially the supporting magic (Shield of Thorns is very strong) and that in order to balance out encounters you need to really understand your parties output potential as I had each character utterly destroy what ever they fought against.
The melee Kharadron, Teegahn was exceptional in melee, perhaps too much so, and as a converted Endrin rigger (lost their endrin and replaced it with a Endrin-harness) they were a one person demolition crew when it comes to melee combat. The custom character modelled after a Thunderer or Irondrake, Drek, managed to kill seven Squigs in one shot, which was all the squigs in that swarm.
Both the Black Ark Corsair, Krylla, and Branchwych, Kalera, held their own, suffered some wounds but with the healing magic as well as supporting magic they were in no real danger even when a 10-man squig herd, 4 Squig Hoppers, 10 Grots (with bows) and a fungoid cave shaman attacked them they suffered maybe 17 damage in total whilst they dished out around 85 in the same amount of time.
Further playtesting should see how the same characters fair with stronger enemies, not just grots (goblins) and their pets, but more warriors and tougher foes to fight and potentially even something that I am sure they wont be able to best easily.
Thanks, that’s all I have for now! Hopefully I can convince the others to come and join me for the second half of the adventure where they may find that they are not the gods amongst mortals that they feel like they are now.
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
Hi all and welcome to another night here at Brazen Wolfe Tabletop! Tonight I wanted to touch on how we can refine our important NPCs just that little bit more so that when a player asks us them a question like “Whats your family like?” we are prepared with a well thought out answer – whether or not the NPC chooses to disclose this answer is another story.
So taking a leaf out of the Soulbound core book I wanted to delve a bit more into the idea of refining those key NPCs. I wouldn’t suggest spending hours on these questions for all NPCs but maybe limiting it to a quick minute for each significant (not Key) NPC so we can look at having something prepared for for when our players do ask these questions (or similar ones).
Now instead of “What is your name?” “What is your quest?” and “What is your favourite colour” these questions are designed to prod and poke a bit further and to encourage character development.
What was your childhood like?
This question really drives a few deeper thoughts, did they have present parents? A guardian? A community? No one.? Was there siblings or people they got along with? What was their social economic status like? Wealthy, poor, somewhere in between? Happy, sad, filled with fear or love or both?
This question poses a few bigger thoughts and can probably be enough to flesh out enough of a basic character that the party doesn’t spend a lot of time with.
Who do you least want to run into and why?
Old romantic interest and how did it end (if it did)? What’s their name? How did you meet? What did they do to you? What did you do to them? Where would be the most common place to meet them and why?
Establishing a connection can help drive narrative and quests or at least adventures for the party. Having a person responsible for grief, anxiety or fear means that there is a response when that person is encountered by the party which drives the story and character development.
What motivates you to do what you do?
What do you desire? What do you fear? What are you running from or towards? Why are you doing this?
This one is maybe a bit of a bigger more ambiguous question but it can help with an important question – what motivates the character to do what they are doing – plain and simple.
What do you think is overrated in this world?
A virtue? A freedom? Money? Food? What is it that they think the world could do without?
This one isn’t too difficult and I would maybe save this one for those really deep and importance characters that you just want to really develop and refine. This could help identify character flaws, their alignment (Evil-good), refine their motivations and potentially get a bigger glimpse at their personalities than what the other questions could reveal.
What can’t you live without?
A pet, item, trinket or other possession? A substance (addiction)? A person? A faith or belief? A talent or skill?
Short of the obvious (food, water, air, sunlight) this can introduce interesting little character flaws, dependencies or traits that make the character who they are. If they have an alcohol problem but believe in the guidance and forgiveness of Torm then this is also something that can be explored and used by a good DM to drive plots, stories and the Player character development by interacting with this individual.
The above questions, although maybe not as comprehensive as some that are out there like this one (The Ultimate Character Questionnaire) could be used to flesh out an important NPC or Character in general to help shape and drive their involvement in the stories you write or facilitate (as the players are the real story tellers in our games).
Thanks for joining tonight for a little refinement workshop on NPCs, I will practice the above and hopefully this week come back with a more full and refined character for our D&D campaign.
Don’t forget to come back again tomorrow to look at the midweek madness that is twists, turns and pivot night where we look at what else can shape the adventure we are working on and what can enhance the adventure we create.
And as I wish and remind you each and every night, don’t forget to roll with advantage, The Brazen Wolfe