Age of Sigmar Roleplay
Age of Sigmar Roleplay (or, to give it is full title: Warhammer: Age of Sigmar Roleplay: Soulbound) is a roleplaying game set in the universe of Warhammer: Age of Sigmar, and is basically its equivalent to Warhammer Fantasy Roleplay with rules more in line with Wrath & Glory. Much like how Age of Sigmar is more overtly High Fantasy than Warhammer Fantasy, so too is the RPG; whereas Warhammer Roleplay presumed that players started off as a bunch of randomly generated Low Fantasy schlubs who had virtually nothing and would probably die on their first adventure, with starting careers like Dung Collector, Rat Catcher and Beggar, Soulbound goes a different route, having PCs who basically start out as the equivalent of Hero-level characters from the wargame. Mind, just because AoS is more High Fantasy than Low Fantasy doesn't mean its any less Dark Fantasy than WFB, and even more so in some cases. Things can get pretty horrific.
Binding and being Soulbound
These terms show up a lot in the flavor text, so it's best to try and explain. As stated at the beginning, adventurers in Age of Sigmar Roleplay aren't merely random schmucks looking for gold and probably never going to get it like their counterparts in the World That Was. Adventurers (or at least the kind that AoSR focuses on) are spiritual successors to the Age of Myth, when Sigmar teamed up with the other non-Chaos Gods of the Eight Realms to beat the shit out of Chaos. During that time, the Pantheon of Order would similarly select mortals from their various races to act as champions, often forming them into mixed-race teams for greater versatility. The "Order of the Soulbound" faded into obscurity when the Pantheon of Order tore itself apart and the Age of Chaos began, but as a result of the Necroquake and Nagash's shitstirring in recent years, Sigmar has been trying to re-invoke the Order, to mixed efforts - so far, only the Duradin and Aelf gods have really been willing to do it, but there do exist those soulbound made by the gods of Death and Destruction, though the process isn't quite as helpful.
The term "Binding" refers to the magical rite that creates a Soulbound in the first place, as well as an adventuring party of Soulbound. This is because Soulbound are created in groups, as the Rite of Binding basically causes would-be party member's spirit to be mystically interlinked with those of several other people at the same time. Those who are part of a Binding have effectively become a singular mega-soul shared across multiple bodies, and this merged essence is the foundation of their heightened abilities.
A Soulbound individual gains some pretty neat perks, the most prominent being technically immortal (they can still be brutally murdered, but they stop aging once they become Soulbound... not that they usually live long enough to enjoy this), augmented healing abilities, the ability to tap into their Binding's group-soul for power via the Soulfire mechanic, and a complete immunity to any of the various spiritual malaises that afflict the Eight Realms; Soulbound are immune to the madness caused by exposure to aether-gold, or the sanity-shredding lust for ur-gold that afflicts Fyreslayers, or the endless phantom pain that bedevils Idoneth Deepkin - the first and foremost of these being that Soulbound individuals can't fall into the clutches of Nagash upon their demise. True, nobody is quite sure what happens to them upon death; some believe they simply cease to exist, others believe that they disperse but will eventually reknit themselves. But it beats serving Nagash for all eternity, doesn’t it? The downside? Beyond having to serve the gods as their special champions, which is its own source of danger and goes hand in hand with forsaking a normal life, Soulbound become sterile (which has some really major cultural connotations for Fyreslayers and Sylvaneth) and are also mystically compelled to hang around with the individuals whom they underwent the Rite of Binding with. Exactly how this works hasn't really been elaborated on, but basically, once you join a Binding, you're stuck with each other until you die.
Despite being called the "Order of the Soulbound", the individual Bindings each work independently; they are created for their own initial purpose, and then make their way in the worlds from there. Many Bindings actually don't even know that there are other Soulbound out there!
The rules are pretty much like Wrath and Glory, except considerably more simplified. Each character only has three stats (Body, Mind, and Soul) to derive everything from. Tiers and Levels have also been done away with, considering how vast the gulfs between racial power levels are, with XP now only being used to buy your skills and talents.
Like W&G, you roll on dice pools combining stats and skills to make your testing. However, rather than the static value for success, the target number for a roll to be considered a success is determined by the test's difficulty, as is the number of successes you need. In combat, you have a particular resource called Mettle, which you can spend to on your rolls to influence how many rolls or successes you got.
Combat also takes a decidedly FATE System-like approach, where movement is highly-abstracted into Zones and ranges are similarly generalized. However, here Initiative is a legitimate stat and thus it takes a linear order of progression.
Magic is a rather familiar fare, split between the CRB disciplines (though they don't exist as such anymore) - Pass the associated test, and you can pull any extra successes to boost your spells while failure makes a guaranteed bad-things roll based on the difficulty on the test. Fortunately, these rolls aren't Perils of the Warp bad, with the worst being summoning an out-of-control Endless Spell. There's also Miracles, a special talent variant for all the priest-like characters. This requires you to take a feat to declare fealty to your chosen god (Or the Ethersea for Idoneth)- You then gain access to the various miracles which act somewhat like spells, though not all require tests to trigger.
Glory and Doom exist here as well, though in different ways. Glory would be renamed "Soulfire" to emphasize it's nature as an inter-party resource (and to which the Sigmarines cannot contribute considering that their souls are already property of Sigmar himself). Soulfire acts like WFRP's Luck, letting you re-roll tests, turn a test into a sweeping success, restoring health, and even cheating death - something that was usually reserved for a very limited resource like Fate. This is offset by two factors: One is how any actions you take with Soulfire requires the entire party to consent to it or else risk giving the GM a point of Doom. The second is that the quantity doesn't necessarily restore per session, but only on accomplishing character goals, expending downtime, and a few very rare exceptions. Doom, meanwhile, no longer acts as a GM resource for dickery and instead a vague tracker to determine the threat level of the enemies.
Soulbound allows players to play five different species by default; Human, Stormcast Eternal, Aelf, Duardin or Sylvaneth. Death and Destruction races have been confirmed for future supplements, with Champions of Death being confirmed so far to add Ghouls, Nighthaunt, Vampires, Wights and Ossiarch Bonereapers, and Champions of Destruction adding Orruks, Grots, Ogors and Troggoths. These supplements will apparently have rules for entire Death/Destruction parties in addition to Soulbound from those particular Grand Alliances.
In addition, each faction has special rules for hailing from a specific location or group from the Mortal Realms, taking the place of a background.
The analogue to WFRPG's Careers, Archetypes are the class structures, though they also serve as a way to establish membership in specific subraces - if you want to specifically play a Fyreslayer Duradin or an Idoneth Deepkin Aelf, you pick the appropriate Archetype. That said, there are rules for custom archetypes if you wanna build more generic or unseen concepts (Such as the Lumineth Realm Lords or maybe just more Freeguild equivalents), like you could in W&G.
In addition to the Trade Pioneer Archetype, which is open to any race, the archetypes actually mostly serve to reinforce racial choices.
Humans can take the Battlemage or Excelsior Warpriest archetypes.
Free Peoples' (aka, generic) Aelfs have access to the Darkling Sorceress and Black Arc Corsair archetypes. Other Aelven Archetypes are specifically tied to the two most developed factions of aelves so far; the Daughters of Khaine (Hag Priestess, Witch Aelf, Khainite Shadowseer) and the Idoneth Deepkin (Akhelian Emissary, Isharann Soulscryer, Isharann Tidecaster, Isharann Soulrender). The Champions of Order splatbook introduced rules for Lumineth Realm-Lords (Alarith Stoneguard, Alarith Stonemage, Scinari Cathallar, Vanari Guard)
Duradin are strictly restricted to archetypes based on membership in either the Fyreslayers (Auric Runesmiter, Battlesmith, Doomseeker, Grimwrath Berzerker) or Kharadron Overlords (Aether-Khemist, Endrinmaster, Skyrigger, Aetheric Navigator) subraces.
Stormcast Eternals and Sylvaneth are restricted to racial archetypes; the Knight Azyros, Incantor, Questor, Venator and Zephyros for the former (due to not actually being Soulbound and having joined either of their own volition or on orders from their Chambers) and the Branchwych, Kurnoth Hunter, Tree-Revenant Waypiper, and Spite-Revenant for the latter (due to the fact Eldritch fay types don't really do trade, which remains the only generic universal Archetype).
The Mortal Realms
Whilst the gods of Order and Chaos have been a part of the Age of Sigmar world for a while, the AoSR corebook goes into particular detail about how the current pantheons stand at the moment.
The Pantheon of Order consists of eight recognized deities:
- Sigmar, the God-King
- Nagash, the Undying King
- Alarielle, the Everqueen
- Gorkamorka, the Greenskin God
- Grimnir, the Shattered God
- Grungni, the Maker
- Malerion, the Shadow King
- Morathi, High Oracle of Khaine
- Teclis, the Illuminator
The Gods of Chaos, in comparison, number five strong: Khorne, Nurgle, Tzeentch, The Great Horned Rat, and Slaanesh, who is the odd ball out since s/he’s currently imprisoned between Ulgu and Hysh but has since gained influence and power.