Through the Breach

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Gameplay[edit]

The Three Players[edit]

Games of Through the Breach are narrative focused. Obviously any amount of combat can be added to quench the thirst of your Murder-Hobos, but the story is the core of the game. Each session has an actual structure it should follow, a Prologue, Narrative/Dramatic scenes and an Epilogue. It is driven through the Fatemaster that the Prologue and Epilogue are written, and through the Fated players' decisions how the scenes play out. The two inevitably have a large impact on one another, as the Epilogue will depend entirely on the actions of the Fated.

Of course there must be chance involved, otherwise we may as well just go write a book. Enter player three: Fate. Unlike most games where stats are the only thing that nudge a result, Through the Breach offers multiple ways to manipulate fate in dramatic fashion to improve the story.

Playing with Cards[edit]

As mentioned previously the core mechanic of Through the Breach does away with your shiny new dice (Sorry plastic crack addicts), replacing them with a deck of playing cards. Anyone who's played Malifaux knows that this is by no means an issue, and actually offers you a lot more control over your choices, as once a card has been discarded, you know that result won't come up again for a while.

Magic[edit]

Unlike most RPGs, magic is a staple part of characters and is the root of most feats (see Manifested Powers). In the world of Malifaux, magic is as common as a toothbrushes - Most workfolk will have access to some form of magic, even if it's in the form of minor enhancements. The Guild have a pretty tight grip on its use however, so any particularly powerful uses are deemed dangerous and illegal. This is one of the core roleplay aspects of the game, as the other factions all want for more freedom of magic use.

In-game, a character's magic is built from three places. Theories, Magia and Immuto, the latter two are decided by your Grimoire.

And the best part? NO SPELL SLOTS. Spells may be a little harder to cast in Through the Breach than other games (As they require a target number and suit, so you've got to Rely on the Heart of the Cards or have planned ahead), but you can attempt your most powerful spells as much as you like, provided the card gods favour you!

Races[edit]

Races are not something expansive in the world of Malifaux, as Earthside we only have Humans, and Breachside only the Neverborn (yet to be released as a playable race in-game, but will drop with the future supplement 'From Nightmares') and the Gremlins (who themselves are technically a Neverborn sub-race). Despite there only being 3 races, Through the Breach also offers additional playable 'races'. Invested, who are literally robots that woke up one day and Stitched, undead who haven't quite planned to move on to the afterlife just yet. Above the Law also introduced a variant human starting point, where the character already has ties to the Guild.

Each 'race' comes with a unique set of Destiny readings, and one extra card that provides an extra flavour.

Pursuits (Classes)[edit]

Unlike other games Through the Breach uses Pursuits instead of classes. The leveling system is based on completing missions(i.e. Discovered/Killed what was threating a town, rescuing an ally from jail). The game is story driven so don't expect to get a level up for Murder-Hoboing. Each Pursuit has ten stages that progress as you complete stories. And you are freely allowed to switch between pursuits between missions, the only change being that you only benefit from the Active Pursuit's special ability; usually this benefit is a "If you fail X type of action, draw a card".

While each Pursuit is different there can be thematic simularities to other Pursuits. For example the Gunfighter and Marksman are both Ranged Pursuits, but grant different benefits. Similarly the Guard and Scrapper are both melee centric, but the Guard is more of a tank whereas the Scrapper is a DPS type. There are no sub-classes in Through the Breach, but with the Pursuit count at over 40 base classes and a further 10+ Advanced Pursuits (Which are unlocked mid-game after completing specific requirements), there's hardly a struggle for diversity.

Some Pursuits will have general themes towards Magic/DPS/Tanking/Support/RP etc. as you would expect, but also may have a particular Suit focus for Triggers (bonus effects that can make the difference between a nice action and a NICE one), so if you're looking into going down multiple Pursuits, you may want to lean into either guaranteeing getting your FAV suit, or choose Pursuits that focus on different ones (so no matter what card you have in hand, you've got a use for it).

Subordinates is a tag used for if the Pursuit can gain Subordinate Characters - followers with a separate stat block that you can spend an action to control. They will defend themselves naturally but won't attack unless ordered.

Advanced Pursuits (Unlockable Classes)[edit]

Special Pursuits that can't be selected at character creation. Each one will have a specific requirement that must be fulfilled in order to enter the path of, which can be extensive efforts of training with a multitude of tests...or just owning a large enough hat. All of the following involve some form of RP/combat element, so they will not be included in the referenced functions. Also included here are specific faction/character associations that may be important for gaining ground with beforehand/within. Advancement in these Pursuits unlike the normal ones does not give any options, and are all set at each step with no General talent slots. They're shorter too, at only 5 steps each before they're mastered but boy are they worth it.

Talents[edit]

Feats for you D&Ders, Talents are your cool heckin' abilities and Manifested Powers that set you apart from your fellows. Your Pursuit levels will often give you a choice of one or two talents from their progression path (so you may have gone down the route of Dabbler, but not taken the Talent for a bonus Tome to your Sorcery skills).

In addition to your Pursuit Talents, there are also a wide list of General Talents that are available every other step on your pursuit. General Talents have a requirement to take them, and not all of those requirements are 'have at least X Might', some specifically require you to have a negative aspect to gain. This is a wonderful way of growing your characters to show how they have overcome their weaknesses.

Some more powerful talents will require you to have completed a certain number of Destiny Steps before you can take them, such as Specialized Skill, which allows you to add a built-in suit to any one skill! TRY AND STOP ME FROM CASTING "THE KITCHEN SINK" NOW.

Publishing[edit]

First Edition Books[edit]

Second Edition Books[edit]

Things to Keep in Mind[edit]

See Also[edit]

  • Malifaux, the skirmish sized wargame set in the universe of Malifaux.
  • The Other Side, the army sized wargame set in the universe of Malifaux.
  • Plast Craft Games, who make the licensed scenery for Malifaux.