Running Soulbound sessions within the Animosity campaign can be done easily, either by taking a party of Heroes who stick together to accomplish their missions, or disparate groups of Heroes who come together for individual missions each campaign turn.
Gathering a Party of Heroes
We suggest three main ways of using the Soulbound RPG system to play games in Animosity Campaigns:
- A party of Soulbonded Heroes. This is the default manner of playing Soulbound, where a party which has undergone the Binding Ritual gathers together and fights together, using their power of Soulfire. This is a party that has been tasked by their deity directly (or their representatives) to come to the Dominion: this can be any one of the Gods of Order, but potentially also Nagash or Gorkamorka (see below).
- A party of veteran Heroes. These are Heroes who are not Soulbound, but are highly skilled agents and warriors. Simply ignore the rules for Soulfire, or replace them with Hero Points (Soulbound Core Book pg. 298). This makes it easier for players to convert original characters they already have and do not wish to become Soulbound in canon, or simply get together a group of disparate characters that can then disband after the mission is complete.
- A party of rank and file folks. Using the Grim & Perilous framework, which uses only 20 XP to create an archetype from scratch (Soulbound Core Book pg. 296), this allows players to play Soulbound sessions where their characters are not Heroes and skilled agents, but simply average people trying to fulfil their leaders’ orders (and getting caught in mortal danger). They can, of course, rise to greatness over the course of their adventures.
Heroes from other Allegiances
The Archetypes provided so far by the Soulbound rules focus on the Heroes of Order, but soon also on the Champions of Death. While we await books like the ‘Champions of Destruction’ (or Chaos) to give us archetypes for the remaining Grand Alliances, we suggest the following:
- Start with a Bestiary entry for the character you wish to play, which must be a Warrior, Champion or Chosen with a total of Body, Mind and Soul no greater than 10.
- Ignore any rules on its statistics block that refer to Doom. If the total of the Body+Mind+Soul in their Bestiary entry is less than 10, you gain +4XP per point of difference to spend on additional advancements. If the statistics block does not include any Wounds or Mettle, calculate these for the character as normal, from their characteristics.
- Use this as the Archetype to create your character.
Crafting a gaming session from Narrative Paths & Story Hooks.
Each turn, every Coalition will receive three Narrative Paths to choose from, and the Game Master should craft missions for the party shaped by what the Path is asking players to perform for their Coalition.
Furthermore, within the Setting information for the Prime Dominion, there are many interesting locations and descriptions which Game Masters are encouraged to use as hooks to develop and turn into part of their stories. Remember, all sorts of unexpected things can happen in Lux Umbra (the underside of the Prime Dominion) that you wouldn’t expect from the Ceraphate if you knew it only from the surface.
Iscarion in particular has been created as a location for Games Masters to create stories of intrigue and skullduggery, capturing incriminating documents or planting evidence. There are many locations within Iscarion that will provide hooks for Games Masters to create their sessions. Additionally, rumours of goings-on in Iscarion will be released each Campaign Turn for Games Masters to use as leads and ideas to connect their players’ mission to the respective Narrative Path.
If you wish to confirm something about a particular location or character that is required for you to run your game, simply message @SaulP-WarbossKurgan#3466, @Mura#8955 or @Nick0000000000000000000#5083 directly on Discord.
Can my party of players be from different Coalitions?
Ah, a logistic and creative challenge. This is possible, although it is more difficult for a GM to manage.
Players need to agree beforehand that the session cannot descend into never-ending player arguments and fights: this is very important. Players should not pretend to “know” more than their characters do, even if they know the Coalition allegiance of their fellow players.
That being said, if you REALLY REALLY wish to do it, here are a few ways a GM can bring together groups of players that are signed up to separate Coalitions. Each player can then afterwards submit a Play Report for that session in that turn to their individual Coalition as normal.
- The enemy of my enemy is my friend. If there are only 2 or 3 Coalitions represented in the group of players, the GM can present them a challenge in the form of a rival Coalition’s plot that is severe enough for the players to ally with each other. This is the simplest implementation, and helps especially when there are more players from one Coalition in the party, from getting the upper hand on the others.
- Incognito at a social event. Each player is from a different Coalition than their fellow players, but none of their characters is aware of each others’ allegiance. The group is at a neutral social event, roleplaying either their main Animosity character or a new character, and each player is given a secret mission to complete. It will be up to players to act on their mission objective as their target is revealed to in the course of the session by the GM, without other players noticing.
- New characters who are double agents. Introduce just one or two party members from an outsider Coalition as characters who nobody has seen before (as in, not their regular Animosity characters/leaders), who are there to help. These are actually double agents: they MUST help the party with their mission in order not to blow their cover. This way, they do not interfere with the main party’s mission which minimizes conflicts. But they learn information during the mission from the GM that they can then use to submit a Play Report to their own coalition as gathered intel.
How much creative freedom can I have as a Games Master?
Team Animosity wants to give GMs as much creative leeway as possible to craft original stories and ideas from the hooks we provide. We ask only that these guidelines be followed:
- No killing Figureheads or their lieutenants. While GMs can have parties interact with these characters, the amount of interaction should be kept to a minimum. These characters cannot be eliminated, imprisoned or defeated by groups of players. Any attempt should be severely counteracted during the game by the appearance of dozens of guards, magical defenses and/or stealthy escapes.
- No destroying the restaurants or their owners. ‘The Epicurean’ and ‘Five Guys, Nurgle & Flies’ food establishments exist to provide a roleplaying location for players in Discord, and as information brokers both within Discord and for groups playing Soulbound. GMs should be encouraged to have players interact with them. However, just as for Figureheads, these are well protected due to their importance, and very armed security will quickly evict troublemaking characters and defend their owners.
- No destroying entire islands or cities. Individual locations, such as waystones, ruins or other story hooks may be attacked, sabotaged and looted. However, destruction that alters the map should not be allowed during Soulbound sessions unless cleared with Team Animosity. It is possible that crucial acts of sabotage by Soulbound groups will end up having a bigger effect once the Unfolding Narrative is revealed, so player groups can still try to contribute to such larger plans together with the rest of their coalition.
- Ensure that all open battles within Iscarion are quickly met with armed guards implementing the armistice. No open battle is allowed in the city of Iscarion, as all Satraps refuse to allow the violence to consume the beautiful city that is the beating heart of their culture. The amount of guards, which should definitely include wizards employing deadly spells, must always be more than the players can deal with, even if it is just to force them to stand down or escape. In the undertown below Iscarion in Lux Umbra, however, the armistice is not enforced in the slightest.
- Ensure that unsightly or unsavory characters stick to Lux Umbra undertowns and outside the cities during the day, where allied citizens won’t spot them. Followers of Chaos overtly displaying their blessings, as well as upright ratmen or marching zombies, are a tad scandalous in the cities of the Prime Dominion in open daylight. In the underside of Lux Umbra, however, they are not only tolerated but their secrets and skills are highly valued. Surface raids on rival Coalitions’ camps and supply sites, during the twilight night time, are also highly encouraged.