Not long after I reviewed the Corebook, I had the fortune to use the Soulbound Starter Set in two instances: A public con, and a private playtest to see if this was a game that would work for me and my circle of friends. In both instances, I ran the Starter Set Adventure: Faltering Light, and used the pregenerated characters included in the game.
What’s in the box?
While I did use the PDF for it, the Starter Set is billed as “Everything you need to begin roleplaying epic adventures in the perilous lands of the Mortal Realms” and honestly, they’re not exaggerating.
Included in the PDF set are the following:
- A Read This First guide to the set and the files you’re getting
- 5 premade characters
- Rules, Combat and Spellcasting Reference Sheets
- Doom, Mettle and Soulfire tokens
- Faltering Light, the starter set adventure
- The Brightspear City Guide
- Several maps of key locations as well as player-facing maps that are safe as handouts
It’s a complete set and enough to run the game online.
Rules and ease of play
The Reference sheets and the learn-as-you-play formatting of the adventure was a great way to get things going. There’s very little downtime spent as a GM in poring over the rules as everyone gets to learn the system as you play.
In addition, the character sheets were complete with quick lookups for the most common rules concerns as well as having neat little narrative tie-ins with each other. The team is also fairly well balanced, with good synergies among the characters.
As far as starting adventures go, Faltering Light goes heavy on the cinematic nature of Age of Sigmar’s mythic high fantasy tone. The characters don’t start off killing rats, and the nature of the adventure has the team digging through some very memorable setpieces for battle, opportunities to explore their abilities, before ending up in a very strong climax involving a threat that will make any fan of the Warhammer game happy.
That said, the adventure does have a few downsides. The beginning feels slow, with a lot of sightseeing to get your bearings in the city of Brightspear. While I understand that it’s important to get players familiar with the city they’re meant to protect, it doesn’t do well on a one-shot. That said this section is over soon enough, when the adventure shifts towards an exploration and combat focus.
The exploration bit is neat, and not entirely linear. There are quite a few skill checks made to navigate the rooms which felt more like an exercise to get people lost in the dungeon. That said this can be made longer (or shorter) as time allows, and there’s a LOT of interesting things happening in the dungeon section of the adventure to differentiate itself from the usual dungeon crawl.
I did appreciate the fact that there were a few pieces in the story that were modular, allowing the GM to change key plot twists with every time they run, making it so that even if someone’s played this before under someone else, another GM’s run might be very different.
The City… of Brightspear
That said, outside of the adventure, what really makes the box set shine is The Brightspear City Guide, which describes the various districts, key locations and hidden plot hooks within the City of Brightspear in loving detail. It’s a fantastic supplement that really ups the value of the boxed set and allows for the GM to expand the campaign way past the initial events of Faltering Light. So if it’s value you’re after, the Starter Set has it in spades (and the physical copy will have dice too!)
Age of Sigmar is a setting full of potential, and the Starter Set manages to communicate it well to new players. There’s a boatload of support for a new GM, from reference sheets, to well designed character sheets, and a full guide to the city that can fuel an entire campaign.
The Faltering Light adventure is cinematic and full of interesting things that play up the mysterious nature of Brightspear, but might benefit from being the *second* thing you play, shortly after you’ve had a low-stakes adventure involving exploring the city, for example. With a better emotional investment in the city, the events in Faltering Light suddenly become much more interesting.
For it’s price, you’re getting a ton of value, and enough gameplay to inform you of whether or not you want to commit to the Soulbound RPG line by Cubicle7. My experience in running this adventure twice has convinced me that I’m going to have a lot of fun with it and I hope you’ll also give it a chance.
If you’d like to get a copy of the Age of Sigmar Soulbound Starter Set, you can grab it over at the Cubicle7 webstore In PDF or Physical (currently on Pre-order) formats or on DriveThruRPG in PDF for $14.99