Through the Breach
|Through the Breach (TTB)|
|Wyrd came out with a pen and paper RPG for the world of Malifaux, Through The Breach.
First, the character creation is simple and fresh. Characters are made from a tarot-like set of cards picked from a deck. Each portion of the Tarot provides a different set of attribute points, skills, etc. which the player may allocate as they wish. Most of this is just stats, but the Station card determines your character's background which isn't necessarily who your character is now. This also creates a prophecy called the "Destiny" mechanic. As players complete part of their Destiny by either denying or accepting it, the players may gain certain perks or powers, created by the DM.
This is where people are divided, because there are only five goals of the Destiny, unlike Dark Heresy or Dungeons and Dragons where it can go for several dozen sessions without a clear goal. The idea is that once every few sessions at least one player has the option to complete part of their destiny (But this can be stretched out as pursuit progression is more like actual leveling).
But the next thing can possibly infuriate most neckbeards and call down the wrath of the fucking Blood God. Instead of rolling dice, the players draw from a communal "fate deck" which can decide how encounters or decisions go. And you know what, it somehow fucking works. While constantly pulling up cards like it's Magic can be monotonous, that's only on certain occasions (personally I'm not a fan of Ongoing Challenges as this is what they can become, but for heavy improv roleplayers it can inspire some good narrative). The best part is that you can "Cheat Fate", if you have a better card in your hand you can replace it with what you flip from the deck. Its the equivalent of having die result that you can pull out anytime to guarantee a hit, looking at you Tzeentch!.
If you're interested in Malifaux but not the wargame, or you already play Malifaux and are interested in tabletop RPGs, this can be worth a look. Other people have found this interesting as a Steampunk/Gothic setting though your mileage will vary. The setting is very tied with the rules so it may take some work to make this the system more generic.
The books are written in a feminine format, using she and her as the pronouns for the players throughout. An interesting choice for sure, that really holds a mirror up against a lot of other RPGs out there.
The game is now in its second edition, which involved combining the two core books into one. Second edition mostly just streamlined and retooled a couple things (simplifying magic and soulstone use in particular). All of the first edition supplements and penny dreadfuls are compatible with second edition with a minor tweak here or there.
|The World of Malifaux|
|In late 18th century, magic was running dry, and even powerful mages were finding that their 'pop' was beginning to fizzle. Understandably, the most powerful wizards and greatest scientists of their age gathered to find a solution. They realized that there was another plane brimming with magic behind an extra-dimensional barrier. Out of desperation and a lust to regain their power, the most powerful mages performed a ritual, creating a fucking huge rift stretching a hundred meters into the air, and destroyed the city they were in. This portal (dubbed 'The Breach of the Great Boundaries', or just the Breach) drew in many explorers, adventurers and assorted riffraff and hangers-on, hoping to gain wealth and magical power. What they found on the other side of the portal were the ruins of an ancient city. The Magicians, mercenaries, and gold-hunters settled into their new world, 'Malifaux'.
Many of those who made the trip were granted amazing powers, turning even a commoner into a potent wielder of magic. These early explorers unearthed Soulstones, faintly glowing crystals which granted magic and power to their wielders. A predictable gold rush ensued causing a massive demand for these jewels Earth-side. The stones were used by the rich and powerful to renew and enhance their powers on Earth. Even better for the prospectors on Malifaux, these reservoirs of power didn't hold their charge indefinitely - and once drained, they could only be recharged by the death of a sentient being, which is just one of the reasons some of the more powerful countries Earth-side decided to get their war on.
Predictably of course, it was too good to be true. In Malifaux a great blizzard began freezing the city, and sightings of nightmarish creatures began. The Breach began to shrink, making travel more difficult and dangerous. In the end, no one could get in or out- but superstitious souls Earth-side claimed they could hear the sound of horrific slaughter and murder through the breach. And then, just as the Breach was about to close, a bloodied and bare chested man stumbled out of it. On his chest was carved the word: "Ours".
One hundred years passed. In those years, humanity had only the soulstones brought through when the Breach was open, so demand was high. So high that wars and genocides where waged to get even the smallest chip of the stone in their possession. As magic was about to die completely the Breach opened again, this time by itself, and inside was the same city they had left, but strangely absent bodies of the people who lived there last time - There were no signs of battle, no rubble. Nothing but the city they found one hundred years ago.
Hope was restored to the magicians of the time, now knowing that soulstones were within reach. The most influential magicians didn't want an unregulated gold rush to happen again. They formed an organisation called the "Guild", which took responsibility for the distribution of work, managed the soulstone mining and generally kept the peace to avoid the large out-flux of soulstones that happened last time. They were basically working to keep the soulstones at a reasonable cost by only producing so much of the stuff at a time, preventing a Germany Anno 1933-style devaluing of the stones.
Eventually the Guild forgot about their roots and turned into an authoritarian government who keep the peace, not for the sake of the civilians, but to keep the soulstones rushing out of the Breach, and to make sure they control everything in the name of law and order. Many don't like how the Guild patrol possible mages (and in Malifaux, that's anyone, really) and destroy any opposition with an iron fist. Some smuggle soulstones in the guise of legitimate organisations like the Miners and Steamfitters Union; who fight the Guild both from the shadows and in politics. Commonly renegade mages are called Arcanists, though it's a name only spoken in the darkest corners of Inns around the city.
Others don't feel like holding their skills at bay - When dead people fuel you, why stop there? Why not make zombies?! These "Resurrectionists" have begun springing up everywhere in an alarming rate almost uncontrollable by the Guild, using the bodies of the dead for their vile experiments.
Others, simple outcasts and mercenaries, now arrive to the city in hope of winning a profit on this gang war or to get their own hands on some soulstones.
The Ten Thunders family of the Three Kingdoms in the east are also gaining an increasingly stronger hold on Malifaux, conquering in the shadows.
The wacky Gremlins of the Bayou are going even farther from their beloved swamps to fight anyone who dare mistake the sound of banjos with harmless music.
All this, however, is nothing compared to the Neverborn: nightmares, unthinkable horrors and unresting monsters who are rising from the shadows of the city to reclaim their city from the naive flesh bags who now think it their home. Many of the Neverborn claim to be the original inhabitants of the city, but it is believed that some are in fact humans from the original first rush that were mutated by their magical powers.
All these forces are now fighting in the streets, in the badlands, and in the Quarantine Zone, trying to gain a lasting hold on this city of the damned. Some fear the night, the closing of the Breach, and the slaughter of everyone just as what happened one hundred years ago. Others believe that Earth is next. What only few dare fear is that the ramifications of what will happen are far, far, far worse.
This is Malifaux.
The Three Players
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.
|As with any good RPG, your GM has a fancy name. Fatemasters are the manipulaters of fate, pulling the strings to guide players to meet their Destiny. There are no flips made by the FM, as most pre-existing pieces will have a flat number for the players to flip against, but the game will encourage (and at certain stages require) you to use homebrew aspects to flavour your game. There are LOTS of options to choose from and help guide your creativity so really go ham on this.|
|Player characters, Men and Women (and robots, gremlins, zombies and totally-not-demons) who have always felt like life had a little more in store for them. At some point have been warned of their destiny through seemingly nonsense phrases, and have began to pull on the threads of fate. Be aware that during the early-game, players are much more like regular people fighting to survive day-to-day, and aren't quite the superhumans of the world you may expect from an RPG.|
|Fate/Destiny & Manifested Powers|
|The core of the story, Fated have found themselves guided towards something larger than life, be it for their own benefit, or doom. During character creation, players draw 5 cards, the value and suit of each denotes a specific piece of their Destiny, with an ominous prophecy to match. Each time a character meets the situation described by a Destiny Step, they are given a time to embrace/reject it. Regardless of which they choose, they will gain a Manifested Power based on the way they handled the situation.
Manifested Powers Features that separate normal people to those with some form of surpassing power. Manifested Powers are your feats in Through the Breach, and are special actions you can take. Pursuit Steps will provide you with a pre-written Manifested Power for you to use (such as the Overseer's 'You Lazy So-and-So')
If gained through completing a Destiny step (and through certain Pursuit steps), the Manifested Power is formed by the FM and Fated as a Homebrew ability (yes you are literally instructed to make something up). The Fated player decides what general effect they would like the power to appear to do, and the FM will translate their request into an in-game power. This is likely to be an action with a Target Number (and possibly a suit), but with it being homebrew effects you can really have fun! It does specify that rebalancing is perfectly fine, so FMs, don't worry if you missed the uber-combo the player was sneakily attempting to design, and need to bump the TN or add a second suit to make them put the effort in).
To make things a little easier, Into the Steam introduced a guided method of creating a Manifested power from spells, so if you're not so confident with balancing something yourself feel free to follow from there.
Playing with Cards
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.
As with most RPGs, you are better at some things than others. While there are 56 skills don't fret about remembering them - you only need to know the modifiers of the skills you have Ranks in, otherwise the flipped card is the value you'll use. This makes playthrough even easier than D&D, as you'll likely only have between 6 and 12 skills to check your modifiers on!
|The Fate Deck|
|The Fate Deck is a communal one that all players will flip from, and ends up being quite tactical for anyone that can count cards |
Now it's worth mentioning that this is not like a normal deck as the suits have changed to thematic ones representing the icons of 4 of the major factions in-game. There are decks you can buy, though there is a conversion chart for any normal deck of cards to use before you inevitably cave and buy all of them. In short Hearts are now Rams, Diamonds are Masks, Spades are Crows and Clubs are Tomes.
You'll need to ensure you can distinguish between the one Red and Black Joker in the deck, as these represent your Nat20 (holding an in-game value of 14 and any one suit of your choice), or Critical Fail (a value of 0 with no suit) Note that neither Joker guarantee a success or fail, as you still apply your other modifiers that can tip the final result.
Severity and the Rule of 5
When required to make a flip a 'rule of 5' should be kept in mind. Cards are assigned a Severity based on their value, 1-5(Weak)/6-10(Moderate)/11-13(Severe) (Yes 11-13 isn't an increment of 5 but shush), and the game revolves around different outcomes depending on which severity the flip value comes under. If the damage of a weapon was 2/3/5, and the flipper drew a 7 of masks, that would fall under the moderate category and deal 3 damage.
The rule of 5 also applies to the games version of a Critical hit/failure, in which you have over/underachieved the target number of a flip you would receive a 'Margin of Success/failure'. For instance where you had a target number of 8 and flipped a 9, adding your skill bonus of +6 to make the total 14, you would achieve one margin of success for being at least 5 over the Target Number. You can receive further Margins of Success/Failure for every additional 5 over or under the TN.
Positive [+] or Negative [-] Twists
You may encounter Positive [+] or Negative [-] Twists/flips throughout the game, these are advantages/disadvantages that can be applied to a flip, drawing that many additional cards and using the lowest value for negative flips. For Positive flips however you choose the card to use, as you may have drawn a 13 of Rams, but prefer to dip to the 8 of Tomes to hit a trigger.
Once you understand the concept of flips, everything else should fall into place.
|The Twist Deck & Cheating Fate|
|In addition to the Fate deck, each player gains a mini-deck all to themselves. This special deck allows you to draw cards into a hand to keep throughout the session and Cheat Fate by using one of your hand cards instead. Sad that you flipped a 2 to cast Wrench? Cheat in a 12 of Tomes and watch that Simulacrum take a Seeping Wound critical!
Keep in mind you can't cheat fate on a Negative flip or against the Black Joker, as fate has become too stacked against you that even your
The Twist hand will also be used as a valuable resource, as many abilities require you to discard a card to use them, replacing the normal 'X amount of times per day' found in other games. With only 3 cards to begin a session with normally, this is somewhat limited.
|Unlike most games, high numbers aren't everything you need to succeed. The suits of the playing cards essentially provide bonus effects called Triggers if it's included in your flip/cheat. You'll get one trigger for a skill at Rank 3 and another at Rank 5. Some of these effects can do things like ignoring any armour of an enemy, allow you to take an additional action or cause someone to accidentally reveal a bit too much information under interrogation. There's one trigger possibility per suit per skill, so the options are extremely varied. It's important to note that not all of these effects require you to succeed, so you can mitigate some negative effects on the off chance you fail.
Later on some Pursuits will let you add a specific suit on top of your drawn card, so you can always use your favourite flavour of trickery.
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 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. For low level players Spells may be a little harder to cast in Through the Breach than other games - As they require a target number and suit (the latter of which you can have built-in at later levels, so casting becomes 4x more likely to succeed on your favourite Magia), 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!
|Theories represent where you learnt magic, or how you draw power to cast, similar to the D&D classes (the magic-based Pursuits tend to focus on the particular 'schools'). These can be following the Guild's legal but restrictive guidelines, listening to the maddening whispers of Death itself or even by being any magical practitioner from a real Earth practice!
Each Theory comes with one positive and one hindrance, such as knowing ALL Immuto regardless of whether it's on your grimoire, but if you use any not in the grimoire you become Crazy. Or maybe you apply the Dark Elemental Immuto to every spell you cast, blinding people temporarily while you hurt them....but also when you heal. Don't worry if this is something too much for you though, you can just take the 'Unique Magical Theory' one which doesn't apply any boon or bane so you can just focus on the spells.
|Your spellbook, which may not even be a book (seriously these can be basically anything) and contains your Magia and Immuto known. Typically these will have two or three Magia and up to 3 Immuto, but a generous Fatemaster may provide more full expansive ones later. If the grimoire is gained in character creation you can choose your own Magia and Immuto, but if found mid-game they'll be decided by the FM.
In Under Quarantine, some Unique Grimoires are made available such as a lucky penny, or a severed head. These come with pre-loaded Magia and Immuto as well as additional effects surrounding their use
|The Spell List. Your core 'What they do' half of a spell, split into 4 schools in the Core Rules, each one associated with a particular suit which you'll always need one of in your flip to successfully cast. (a 5th school for Counter-spelling is introduced in Above the Law).
Each spell comes with a
Enchanting Magia (Rams)
Augmentation of an object/person, typically for shapeshifting/construct shenanigans. It also involves your direct healing spells. If you want your gun to shoot LIGHTNING, or to get a Certain Glowy Shortsword pick up Elemental Weapon.
Necromancy Magia (Crows)
The balance of life and death, obviously this is where interaction with undead is common (though this is not necessarily a good thing for the zombies, many spells specifically only damage them), and also includes your fear/mind control type spells.
Prestidigitation Magia (Masks)
Ahhh the most mispronounced spell in D&D is now even more frequently spoken! P-tation is all about your illusions, teleporting and divination style trickery, with
Sorcery Magia (Tomes)
DAMAGE, this is your school for combat and combat alone. The target numbers and damage profiles for Sorcery spells seem relatively low, but be aware that many of them require an Elemental Immuto to cast which will boost the casting difficulty a bit, and you can use multiple stacks of the Increase Damage Alteration Immuto to make them significantly more powerful.
You can also use Sorcery Magia to summon Beasts/Gamin(minor Elementals) to help out, this can be useful for RP if you want a Fire Gamin as a walking torch!
Counter-Spelling Magia (Mixed)
A Magia written by Sonnia Criid, the Guild's head of the Witch-Hunter Task-force. If you start with a Grimoire, you can include any of these Magia as an option (for backwards compatibility). There's only 3 spells currently available, but each have their uses. Delaying the effects of magic, banishing summoned creatures or to make it harder for a target to cast further.
|Once you've got your bread, add your butter/marmalade/cocaine/bag of sand/all of the above. Immuto are the flavours that your spells come in, and really make them feel unique to you. Want your magic punch to turn the target into a glowy ice cube that blinds it? Want to delay a telekenetic push to nudge the target off a cliff if they don't respond to your interrogation? Sorted.
Each Immuto affects the Target Number of the Magia, and will increase the TN for positive effects, and decrease it to lessen it in some way.
You can add any number of Immuto that you have access to to any Magia, so if you want a very powerful set of Elemental Immuto that will MURDER but have increased the Target Number far too much, you can apply some Alteration ones to bring the TN back down. This can get a little tricky to learn so keep it simple to start with (only applying one or two Immuto), and learn your favourite combos as the game goes on.
Immuto come in two general flavours, Alteration and Elemental.
Alteration Immuto affect the effective parts of a Magia, it's range, difficulty to cast and damage profiles etc. There are some that can reduce the target number to help guarantee the cast at the cost of some damage, or by requiring a second suit, or can increase the TN to make the spell explode on the target, only affect specific character types (like undead/construct etc.) Or even add the effects of a SECOND SPELL in one! Reduce AP is like an Extra attack, reducing the AP by 1 at the cost of +5TN. If you're not using another 0AP action, use this to have a chance at a double strike!
While the damage profile is covered in the Magia, the typing of the spell is decided here. There's no limit on the amount of Immuto you attempt to add, so as long as you think you can achieve the TN (maybe you've got a nice 13 of Tomes in hand), add as many of these as you like. You want to throw an ice spear that's on fire and will cause plants to wrap round the targets legs when it hits? For +8 to the TN you can make it happen!
|The reason humans still risk their lives daily. |
Soulstones are a commodity of high value, and are worth 3 times more Earth-side than Breach-side, so mining and transport through to Earth is a large trade.
In game a soulstone's size and colouration affect its usage (each part adds a 'Lade' value, up to +5 each side), the larger and more clear the stone, the more powerful its effects can be. The resulting lade determines the range in yards the stone will recharge within. A lade of zero will only recharge if the character holding it dies. Regardless of the Lade, a stone may only hold one charge at a time (unless you're lucky enough to have become a Soulstone Aficionado).
There is also Soulstone Dust (crystal shard dust left over from cutting a stone into shape) that holds a single charge and can't be recharged.
Soulstones have three main uses (besides selling them), each one expends the stone's charge:
Augmenting Magic: Adding a positive flip or any one suit of your choice to either a Spell or Manifested Power, (only one charge per action can be spent this way). This is gonna be your caster's main use, both sides are useful as a guaranteed suit is great, or settling with a 50/50 chance of pulling the right suit anyway with a better chance of a higher card value.
Animating a Construct: (for a number of weeks equal to its Lade), there are other ways of doing this if you've got the right magic/pursuit, but for anyone else this does give you a construct pal for a while (and if it kills something it'll recharge itself anyway!)
Healing: As an action, get a 1/2/3 heal flip for you or a nearby pal (as close as the Lade in yards). If you don't have healing in the party this can help in a pinch.
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.
We get one new race per expansion book, abd each book comes with a unique set of Destiny readings, with the last card providing flavour, a Talent or a Skill. (This rule applies to any character choosing their Destiny from the same book regardless of Race, however it is discouraged to have humans use the Into the Bayou Destiny line, and gremlins/neverborn from using the Above the Law line. Of course if you want a unique backstory that's up to you and your FM)
|Regardless of where they've come from, the human race has banded together as their circle of racism has expanded to other-worldy species. Humans don't get much outside of their Station (homelife, typically their parents' jobs), but obviously have the best standing with other humans and are more readily permitted to have access to public zones.
The bonus card flip for an Earth-side citizen is called the Station card, and gives them an extra skill rank which is linked to their parents' work life.
|Constructs, albeit with a little more sentience than their regular walking toaster cousins. Invested are usually pure robots, but depending on character creation flips can end up with a partially organic body. They'll be treated as objects rather than people, but are built to last. You can't be healed with medicine, and need someone with Artefacting to fix you.
The bonus card for Constructs and Humans wishing to flip on the Into the Steam Destiny reading is the Allegiance card, showing who you're the /employeeproperty of.
|Ever wanted to play a zombie? Feel free! Be careful though, being undead is not exactly going to do you many social favours! You can't be healed with medicine, and need someone with Stitching to fix you.
The card flip here is known as your 'Brush' card to find out what caused your death.
|The Gremlins of Malifaux are small goblinoid hillbillies with a flattened bump where their noses should be. They're actually amazing at keeping the genome alive (though with the amount of *ahem* family relations, that genome might have an extra toe or three). Gremlins aren't technically all outlawed, but with the amount of them that steal from humans no-one would bat an eye if a gremlin pup took a bullet, and there's always someone willing to pay for their corpses.
For Kin, (and any Bayou-born human) your Conflict card allows you to gain a double-edged racial talent that often has a strong buff, but equally annoying fault that adds some great comic relief elements to the game.
|Human(Above the Law)|
|Humans who have found themselves in the employ of the largest organisation either side of the Breach.
The last card for the Guild employee is the Division Card, which surprise surprise denotes which department you work in. You do still gain a skill buff like the normal Human. Lastly you also gain a 'Vice', as it's not likely a person is completely innocent when being hired by the Guild.
|Placeholder for the Neverborn playable race when From Nightmares is released. It's likely that the unique flip will link to the particular strain of Neverborn the character is, but only time will tell.|
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.
|Fated Almanac/Core Rules Pursuits|
|These core pursuits represent the walks of life rather than exact lines of work, and can feel quite general. All of them work well as supplements to other pursuits and often will work best as a starting point for character creation as they introduce some of the baselines for magic, subordinate characters and construct creation without being as niche as some of those from the supplements.
Combat? No no no, let's have a long conversation instead! The Academic is a class for picking up a book and learning how to apply knowledge to day to day life. Think Wizards without the magic (yep, just a bookworm then), who specialise in the RP side of the game. Due to the mass-multiclass way that pursuits work, this is actually worth picking up for some levels if you'd like to show off a bit of your Malifaux smarts! By dropping a Tome on any mental based skill challenge (Note - this will not apply in combat), they can use any Academic skill instead!
[DPS, Subordinate(Thugs), Masks]
The "Wizard" class. Unlike other games magic has a lot more customization and starting off as a Dabbler has its perks. In particular you start off with a grimoire with a Sorcery Magia, Prestidigitation Magia, and a few Immutos to help customize your magic. Also you get a Magical Theory which boosts magic based actions. While playing a spellcaster is really powerful they also are pretty heavily regulated(see Inquisition). If you play correctly and have a really high card in your hand you can increase your target number(read as DC) to increase damage and amount of burning on a target. For those who don't know the game, this would be the equivalent of knowing you have a Critical Hit in your pocket that you could use at any time.
The Drudge is for those who like to be more survivable than most, and are often associated with manual labourers who are physically capable beyond normal limits. What may help with this is that one of their limbs may be #STEAMPUNKED, with a vibe of getting back up whenever they're knocked down. They can even ignore/delay some Critical effects (Seriously, these are bad news, and are one of the few ways in the game that can outright insta-kill a character), and cheat even on a negative flip (read as Disadvantage) or even against the dreaded Black Joker.
When the EDGE wasn't enough with Criminal, you can now pick up a career in digging graves and looting the bodies! With one of few early-game mechanics for getting some fast dough (Dropping a Crow when searching a body will find you half the card value's worth of scrip), which can actually be a significant income. Be aware though, the FM decides if a corpse is nearby so try not to abuse it or 'Fate' *See - God's Decisions* may land you with an empty coffin when you need a body. Typically Graverobber's are a magic user that specialises in the Necromancy Magia, but can dabble in other Magia a little more than the Necromancer. You also get better at casting Necromancy Magia while around corpses, so keep an eye on the terrain and choose your fights carefully.
[Tank, Tank, Tank...Rams] Tank.
This is how to be the wall incarnate, Impose and the Defensive Stance action are the two things you'll need, plus some tasty self healing to make up for the extra hits you'll be pulling on yourself. Also gain a Df trigger on a Ram to reduce damage by 1 (That can actually go down to 0!), very handy.
"I wanna be a Cowboy baby!" Pew pew pew! Pistolero at the ready! Purely DPS at a mix of ranges, as you have the option to use pistols in Melee range, and the further you advance, the faster you fire! The Fastest Gun Df trigger is pretty sweet, being able to auto-hit the attacker after dodging a Ranged attack. There's also an interesting ability to shoot a pistol to skip a round in an ongoing challenge, which can lead to some fun roleplay.
Gun for hire, emphasis on Hire. The Pursuit is all about MONEY, and how to keep track of/manipulate payment bounties, odd jobs and somehow able to find more scrip on a corpse than anyone else in the group. They can even further down the line spend money to literally buy time and gain another freaking action.
This is what the Mastermind Subclass in D&D wishes it could be. The real reason you'd become an Overseer is for the Supervision ability, where you can discard a card to add its suit to ANYONE'S DUEL. Seriously this is everything, your hand becomes everyone's saving grace. They've got a 12 of Crows but need that extra Tomes to add burning? DONE. The Overseer is a vital part of Ongoing Challenges (A series of skill checks to show complicated maneuvers such as repairing a ship's hull and engine while bucketing water out), who can use their Leadership Skill (Your bread and butter for the pursuit) on behalf of others to help secure a success. You are the voice of the operation, the presence. Command your allies and give them the opportunity to succeed from your armchair while sipping a glass of wine.
[RP, Support, Masks]
For those who played Bard
'Murica. Pioneers are rough and ready backlanders, those who are more comfortable in rugged terrain than a city. Most of their abilities reflect this, and focus on creating/manipulating terrain to give a home-field advantage. They even get the most American ability ever of Manifest Destiny, to just lay claim to a space they want and defend it VERY well, gaining another action while in anything the have claim to call their home.
A neat starter class if you want to just do melee damage without thinking too hard. Able to move quickly and potentially avoid friendly fire. Close the Gap is especially strong, allowing the Scrapper to draw a Twist card (Your hand to NOPE against those low drawn cards) whenever they charge into combat (hint: Do this a lot). There are additional moments to inflict damage than usual, such as when an opponent charges the Scrapper, or when taking an opportunity attack (which normally just stops the runner in range).
The Tinkerer is where Steampunk really starts. They design constructs that are truly one of a kind, which can be a little bit technical as far as creating the construct, so it's advised to read how to do this before throwing yourself in, maybe make a few of them to practice before being stuck with a one-skill-wonder bot that cost you 25 Scrip. It is worth mentioning that once you've mastered this, the abilities are pretty fantastic, giving boons to one or more of your subordinate constructs more so than yourself.
[RP, Support, Masks]
In a game where playing cards are at its core, it's hard not to expect a Gambler-type Pursuit. A large amount of card manipulation that can turn the Wastrel into a character with luck on their side. A general theme of High risk, high reward play. High Aces is a neat ability to choose after flipping to turn a 1 into an 11, and Fifty-Fifty Chance allows them to guarantee a Joker on the next flip once per combat, a random Joker mind so this can be devastatingly good or bad.
|Into the Steam Pursuits|
|These Pursuits revolve around the Arcanist faction, the renegade magic users of the setting. These Pursuits are varied and are not all magic based. These Pursuits also have access to additional General Talent options to those that are in the main book.
The Chaotic Neutral of summoners, Animators forge creatures known as 'Cobbled' from either scrap or flesh, in a much simpler process compared to the true construct creators. The payoff is that Cobbled have a static stat block that you don't have as much freedom to change (though those who find the construct creation mechanics a little too much can still enjoy something similar with this pursuit). You can collect up to 3 Cobbled who can later fuse into a powerful Amalgam.
[DPS, Ram/Tomes, Crows]
Like Edward Elric, taking this pursuit early on can cost you...an arm and a leg (I'm so, so sorry). One of the most common ailments in Malifaux is, of course, limb loss! Seriously there are entire TOWNS that look like Rush Valley from Fullmetal Alchemist, and man does your
[Support as fuck, ALL SUITS]
Aww friends! This Pursuit allows you to increase everyone else's chances to hit a target, by doing things like giving a suit to every action against the target until your next turn, and free unique triggers for EACH SUIT to all allies within 6". People will LOVE you for choosing this class, as you're not really the one in the spotlight but really help to set up a "Just as Planned". Allies to a Collaborator, cling to them like a parasite with the munchies because that's what you're gonna be to them.
Tinkerer Mark II: Electric Boogaloo! Engineers are the poor sods without access to Soulstones and had to compete with fucking mages whipping up machinery with their damn minds. And you know what? They're fucking good at it. Engineers may not be able to as quickly whip up a construct as other pursuits, but when they do they gain additional construct points (mo points, mo smash) to create the bot with. The Invention Talent is one of those Homebrew parts of the game, where the Engineer designs an invention that uses a Manifested Power, (You can base the effects off an existing Manifested Power from another class, or even a spell if you like to keep things simple).
[Magic(Prestidigitation), Support, Masks, Tomes]
David Copperfield. The Illusionist is master of manipulation and misdirection, gaining loads of Manifested Powers that all require TN10 with at least one of Masks and Tomes, if not both, so be careful of suit attrition as there are no current Pursuits that add Masks as a preload to spells outside of the help of supporters. That being said, the pursuit is fun to distract safely, and eventually can ignore all damage from Weak damage flips.
[RP, Support, Masks]
While the Pursuit is already nice on its own with lots of Sneaky Sneaky I'm a P.I. vibes; Infiltration is why you're taking this Pursuit. Not only does taking this allow you to bypass requirements for Advanced Pursuits (So long as the FM okays it), you can also choose one of 5 requests from an organisation you're involved with to aid you in a mission. This could be having a minion follow you, allowing access to a key location or even the loaning of a soulstone until you return.
[Magic(Anything you fucking like), Subordinate, Any Suits] Light caution:- A pursuit for more experienced players
This class is like the Dabbler on acid. Normally there is a restriction on what can be put into a spell, single Magia with Immuto to create the spell as well as what skill it goes off of. With these guys they don't, with Fatemaster/GM approval they have no limits and there is no spoon. So how are they not overpowered? They have a limitation of complexity, when new Immuto are added to a spell that increases the TN and their spells cannot increase passed their step in the Pursuit +8. So If the TN is normally 10 and the levels in Mage is only 3 then you can only add +1TN worth of Immuto.
You also get a
[DPS, Subordinate(Beasts), Tomes, Masks]
Based on the Malifaux Master Marcus, Primal is essentially the Druid class from DnD. You can get an animal companion and it leads to the character becoming more like a beast than a person. They also become sort of like the Ranger in that they are better at tracking quarries and targeting a single target. You can also call on and tame any of the Malifaux beasts, which range from 2ft rats to the largest cocks you've ever seen (8ft tall Roosters that is).
|Under Quarantine Pursuits|
|Based on the Quarantine Zone location in Malifaux. The Zone is known for being filled with criminals, monsters, and undead. In particular this is used by Resurrectionists as a haven to create Undead creatures. As such the Pursuits are very much focused with this in regard.
[Status, Support, RP, Rams, Crows]
Essentially the Intimidation character. They give out the "Terrified" condition and get bonuses against NPCs with the condition. Honestly this is the closest thing to a D&D class, in that most Pursuit feats don't really build and are more individually powerful. Here though the Manifested Power Terrorize is your bread, and that sandwich is gonna get stacked. Scare everyone around you and then punish them for being scared.
[Status, Support, Crows, all suits]
The Chemist is a chemical expert, master of adding Mentos to
[RP, Support, Crows, Masks] (Ironically I genuinely forgot to put these guys into the page initially)
Flashback. In a Pursuit where your entire theme is altering the memories of those around you to forget you were ever there, Flashback is a POWERFUL and thematic ability. You can tell the FM you remember something that didn't happen (so long as it's reasonable, within the last 12 hours and doesn't directly contradict what has been seen) and it becomes canon. Forgot to get pass slips into the Quarantine Zone and the guild guards are raising their guns? Oh yeah, you'd gone to get the passes earlier hadn't you? Yeahhhhhh. It is at step 9 though so some heavy investment to reach it, but their theme is very fun to play with until you get there.
[Status, Crows(sensing a theme yet?)]
More self-status than dealer of it, the Ghost-Eater gains the Chi+1 stackable condition, which can be applied to a variety of things to be MUCH better at them. Spirit Barrage is a Step 1 Manifested Power that deals 2/3/4 damage at 12" range or combat, this is freaking insane for so early on considering it doesn't require ammo. If you reach step 10 you can literally come back from the dead (with enough sacrifices for tasty Chi-tos).
[DPS, Tank, Crows, Masks, Rams]
A pursuit where you can live out the dream of being a...cannibal? Yeah okay then. The more people you eat, the stronger you feel. Healing methods all around so you're really not likely to kick the bucket. The pursuit gives an additional RP benefit to Stitched characters (but by no means do either part need each other), in that the more they eat the more life-like they appear. You also get a feat called Nom Nom Nom, so...there's that.
[Subordinates(Spirit), Crows(lots and lots)]
Summoner of spirits, starting off with li'l dragons that make excellent lookouts, and ending in the mighty Seirei, who will RIP AND TEAR, TN 12 of Crows is pretty difficult to pull off but Damn is it worth it.
[Subordinates(THE Subordinates Pursuit, Undead), Crows, Masks]
Where Graverobber is a general Necromancy Magia user, the Necromancer is full-on summoner. You start off with a zombie Good Boy, and always have access to the Raise Undead Magia. Their undead remain under their control permanently too so feel free to set up your horde! They can also turn corpses into more fitting undead to who they were in life, rather than standard weak-ass zombles. You may want to take 3 steps into Graverobber too to guarantee your Crows so you just need to worry about high cards for summoning.
[RP, Support, Subordinates(Lab Assistant), Rams, Crows, Tomes]
The Doctor is in! As you might expect the Pursuit is primarily focused on dishing out those tasty tasty hit points, but they can also be guided down a path of some nice DPS and Status causing, so don't expect the doc to be hiding away when the going gets tough. Be aware that the healing actions can only be performed on Living characters though, so you'll need to look to Into the Bayou for healing Undead, or Into the Steam for healing Constructs.
|Into the Bayou Pursuits|
|Based on the Bayou, a collection of swamps outside the city. Chock full of Gremlins and swamp monsters. Most of these Pursuits are for those of you who want to play as gremlins, though gremlins can use any pursuit and non-gremlins can use these pursuits themselves. There's an element of comic-relief as a general theme among all things Bayou, so expect FUN.
[RP, Magic, Status, Subordinates, All Suits (primarily Masks)]
The Bokor are shamans, manipulators of fate through Voodoo. They focus on hexes and control over other characters, the Hex Bag Manifested power is nice seeing as it's a 0 action that deals damage in some form (or dazes, which is still great). You also get a little Voodoo Doll familiar which, for anyone that plays Malifaux will know, is an absolute pain to be on the other side of.
[DPS(Oh sweet, sweet DPS), Crows, Masks]
As the name may suggest, this Pursuit is all about adding BANG to your buck. Every single talent gained from this pursuit means more damage to your enemies, o less to your allies, focusing on adding Blast to Shotguns, and increasing the damage from blasts. Deadly Crits is great too, adding half your Boomer levels to the result of any critical effect results your guns cause. This can make the difference of changing some pain into a headshot(and not the kind you come back from).
[RP(ffs), Status, All Suits]
Get ready, because this is a genuine RPG class for being an alcoholic
and it's actually fucking good. In addition to being able to handle your drink better than most, you can also learn to make your own homebrew and offer it to opponents as a distraction (because it's hard to fight someone offering you the good stuff). Further along the pursuit you can learn how to fling your used bottles like a damn Kyle, or light that BELCH to turn into a fire-breather. The fluff here is really fantastic as the last talent you gain is caused by your liver failing, and just accepting taht your new fuel is ethanol. You thought Bards piss off your GM? Get ready to role-play a drunkard and have GROUND to say "It's what my character would do!"
[Fun, Subordinates(Big Beasts), Masks, Crows]
"See that big gator? The one ripping a demon in two? I'mma RIDE IT." Ever wanted to grapple something into submission? This is the pursuit for you. It only works on Beasts of equal height or larger than you so you'll need to know your target (easier to do if you're a Gremlin being Height 1), but once you're mounted, you get better. Charge everywhere on your 4 armed spike-bear, and heal your friends that you rescue! *Texan accent not required, but expected*
[RP, Kind of everything]
Copycats come from the Gremlin fluff that while they have short-term memory, they have incredible mimicry skills. Their main talent Imitation allows them to constantly mimic (very fun RP content here) the target to temporarily gain their ranks in a skill (up to +3 of their own in ranks of the same). That's pretty damn useful and can make the Copycat a valuable toolbox where the target's skill would be best used in two places at once. There are quite a few ways they can mimic, most of which use the Imitation action as a base.
[DPS, Tank, Status, Tomes, Masks]
When you want to be Brick from Borderlands, and just get into the brawl. Pugilists funnily enough focus on using the Pugilism skill, that means their favourite weapon is a knuckle sandwich. They're pretty damn tanky, as their Adrenaline condition (that they gain 1 stack of each time they take damage) will keep healing them. You can later gain and spend Adrenaline stacks in other ways, namely gaining a second round for a turn!
[Subordinates(Pigs), Masks, Tomes]
YOU ARE MASTER OF PORK, CALL FORTH THE BACON ARMY. Every session, you gain more piglets to join your herd. This is interesting as a resource, as RP sessions are essentially you stocking up ready for heavy combat ones. If at least one piglet survives the session, from step 5 onward one can grow up into a Bayou Pig (more bacon rage), and at the end you can temporarily transform any of your pigs/piglets into a mighty WAR PIG.
[Status, Support, Masks]
Ever wondered who's going round designing the traps for dungeons? Probably one of these guys. Traps are real fun as they cause the Useless Limb Critical Effect. Allies do NOT follow the Trappers footsteps, as this condition is seriously bad in a fight. There's a lot of other nice talents too, based on the theme of a careful hunter that stalks from the underbrush.
|Above the Law Pursuits|
|From the book focusing on Guild characters, these pursuits focus on people who likely work for the Guild, but can be freelance or work for other groups. The tone of these pursuits lean towards more true lines of work rather than the generalist tones of previous expansions.
[RP, Rams, Masks]
Ever wanted to play a politician in-game, and be benefited for it beyond the offerings of the GM? Try out the Bureaucrat, a pursuit dedicated to climbing the ladder of political control. The Web of Allies talent is interesting, in that you gain someone who will, with a large enough nudge, assist you in your requests (even going as far as destroying evidence for a large crime the party has inevitably committed). Plus the Talent 'The System is Rigged' lets you treat Rams and Masks as each other, so Triggers for DAYS.
[Subordinates(Soldiers), Status, Masks, Rams(Subordinates)]
The Commander pursuit is centred on leading a group of their own, gaining benefits from having any subordinate characters. This is important to note as while the Soldiers they bring are pretty useful on their own, combining with other subordinate pursuits can make the Commander a force to be reckoned with. There's also a nod to those who may be recruiting from the Bayou or the Ten Thunders in that the soldiers they hire may replace their weapons with more thematic crossbows/longbows respectively.
[Tank, DPS, Status]
Thank god they added more heavy guns in Above the Law, because the Core Rules did not include a heavy gun cheap enough to start playing this as a first pursuit. The Gunner is master of heavy firearms, which includes flamethrowers, fumigators, spinny-barrel guns and generally stuff that's gonna take two hands to lift off the ground. Thankfully with the sheer amount of cost this gun takes, the Talent Behind the Gun allows you to use it as if it were Heavy Armour without lowering your Defence (this is fucking OP and makes you a damn beast of a tank already, and that's only Step 1). Enemy hiding behind cover? Shoot Through It will make that wall have so many holes it's basically Swiss Cheese.
[Magic(Enchantment), Support, Rams]
Your Enchantment Pursuit. Bolster is a nice side effect for an Enchanter, as you give the target of your enchantments a +1 to any one aspect for the spell's duration. You can store Elemental Immuto effects in weapons, without using Elemental Weapon. The main usefulness of this is that you just discard any card, no suit requirement, and secondly it's a 0 action! With this being a primary Magia Pursuit you of course get your free Rams added when casting. The Final step turns all of your Enchanting Spells affect every legal target in a pulse. This, as I'm sure you're aware is fucking incredible.
[DPS, Status, Crows]
This is what the art of the Mercenary suggested. The Marksman is your sniper, focusing on the Long Arms skill. You can even keep shooting distant targets while enemies are trying to beat you down with the No Distractions talent. You can use the accuracy of your shot to instil fear into your foes, and even make them pass out from fear.
[RP, Support, Masks]
A pursuit for those ready for some strong RP. Based on Malifaux's Nellie Cochrane (this Wiki-Writer's favourite Master), you are the one controlling the story. Your primary Talent Voice of the People, gaining bonuses to your craft skills for spreading rumours every time you succeed on a social duel. Interesting in that these stacks remain until the end of the session, so the first half of each game will likely involve you trying to forefront interactions to stack this up. Rumour Mill will help stir shit up, as you can literally come up with a new rumour that people within a large area will likely believe. This can have genuine impacts and can turn people's opinions in favour of the character, or against someone enough to not support them when the time comes. Be careful with your rumours, you want them to be as believable as possible while nudging the direction to benefit you.
Advanced Pursuits (Unlockable Classes)
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 is slightly different as the normal ones, in that your Fatemaster may allow you to take a step further at the end of a session instead of your current Pursuit for the session, rather than committing to playing at the start. Also unlike the normal ones, Advanced Pursuits do not give any options and are all set at each step with no General talent slots, and may only be advanced if the session has a focus on the Pursuit's development (or at FM's discretion, which is strongly advised not to chain as a max level Advanced Pursuit can easily create balancing issues if used too early). They're shorter too, at only 5 steps each before they're mastered but boy are they worth it.
|Core Advanced Pursuits|
(Guild, Lady Justice) [Crows]
The Death Marshals are the Guild's primary anti-necromancer division, and yes the hypocrisy is clear. These Skeleton Detectives are permitted use of any necromancy Magia that does not cause an increase in the number of undead, and can fling at enemies the coffin that they built to be buried in when they die, and even trap them in a pseudo-dimension within temporarily. Kind of Ironic that their department are supposed to be banishing all Necromancers but hey-ho: That's the Guild for ya.
(Outcasts, Freikorps, Leopold Von Schill) [Masks, Tomes, All suits a little]
Ze Germans! The Freikorps are a group of elite mercs, initially part of the human
(Resurrectionists) [Crows, a little Mask]
The Edge King, which you know is true when you see the first ability titled Servant of Death. The abilities are centred on those who have been spoken to by the Grave Spirit (Read as the actual Death in spooky ghost flavour), and are now amazing at summoning better undead, as well as being open to TEAR OPEN A FUCKING DIMENSION DOOR TO HAVE CTHULHU LICK AND UNDEADIFY THINGS UNDER THEIR CONTROL. This can get truly game-breaking if used at the right time (plus it would be pretty fun to have Lady J become the very thing she seeks to destroy, mastered by a necromancer).
(Arcanists, Miners and Steamfitters Union,
It's relatively easy to become a Steamfitter, and chances are if you're a construct maker this will be of use to you. More efficiency with using construct points makes big happy golem even more big and happy. Also gives you access to the vault of the
(Ten Thunders, Misaki Katanaka) [Masks, Crows]
The Torakage are ninjas with an arsenal of weapons, and significant training in them. This is reflected in gaining ANY SUIT OF CHOICE to an attack made with one of the 10 weapons,
|Into the Steam Advanced Pursuits|
Cannibal followers of the
The other side of the cult to the December Acolytes. These are the mute worshippers of the Tyrant December. Originally they would have their tongues removed, but this has been changed as the Winter Witch Rasputina has taken leadership of the cult. Expect few to take this Advanced Pursuit unless they are a female character. Male Silent Ones have to be castrated when they take their vows. In Through the Breach they always have access to some damaging Magia and the powerful Ice Elemental Immuto. You can also summon an Ice Gamin quite easily, or an Ice Golem. Though the latter is much more difficult to cast (at TN17 with TWO Tomes), having an Enforcer-level Elemental on your side is more than worth the tax.
[(Arcanists, Colette, The Starlight Theatre), Subordinate, Masks]
Ladies only! As a newfound cast member of Malifaux's most famous entertainment establishment, you'll get a Mannequin buddy to 'fix your clothes' -and save your ass to boot! The Armour+2 is a beautiful mini-tank to take a hit, and with the step 3 talent Mannequin Bodyguard, you can make sure that happens whenever you like!(Provided the Mannequin is close enough to you). You also gain abilities focusing on your new celebrity status which really help smooth things over with the locals.
[(No affiliation), Magic(Enchantment)]
As the name suggests this is your Circle of the Moon Druid, and you can Shapeshift into beasts starting at Peon or Minion level, but later into Enforcer. Save your hand cards, as Rejuvenation allows you to heal 1/2/3 damage whenever you would fall unconscious.
[(No affiliation), DPS]
When you want to release your Vincenzo Santorini, this is the Pursuit for you. Learn how to craft a variety of Explosives, and ignore the damage from them. Also add blast to all Moderate and Severe damages from ANY WEAPON. Combine this with the Boomer Pursuit and you're gonna have some fun.
|Under Quarantine Advanced Pursuits|
|Abettor of Obliteration
[(Obliteration, Tara) Tomes, Masks]
So Obliteration is a Tyrant, let's start there. It exists currently in the Void, a space created from its own body. In Malifaux, its presence is felt by its chosen Herald, Tara. She teaches the power of nothingness, and how to manipulate the Void itself to their advantage. In Through the Breach, the Void abilities link to time and space manipulation. With Adrift in Time, you can steal time from or give it to your future self. Gaining an action on either the current or next turn, but losing one on the other. Teleports available too, or plucking a target out of existance for the round
[(The Guild, Death Marshals, Lady Justice), Crows]
Where the Death Marshals focus on slaying zombies, Exorcists are as you would expect, are here to take down
[(Resurrections), Subordinate, Crows]
When you want your best pal to reek of decay! Revivalists focus on one of their li'l minions and make them incredible. The only requirement is that you really care about the undead, and perform a ritual to bring them back better than before! This lets them partially remember who they were and speak with relative normalcy, being known as a Retainer. You can also never lose them, as once you're on Step 3 you can spend an Action and hit a TN10 of Crows to re-summon Bae at full health!
[(No affiliation), Crows]
[(Resurrectionists, University of Transmortis, Albus Von Schtook ) Support, DPS?]
The students of the infamous Professor Von Schtook teaching lectures on necromancy and augmentation in the Necropolis, Malifaux's secret under-city. The students perform the Prof's advised experiments on themselves, proving he was surprisingly right! You get 40 scrip worth of pneumatic limbs/steam augments and become Undead and a Construct! You get to choose a field of study, which makes you better at fixing and...un-fixing one of Living, Undead or Construct. Also able to change the suits of two cards in your twist deck, so you can be better at doing the things you want to do!
|Into the Bayou Advanced Pursuits|
[(No affiliation), Bard]
The only damn pursuit not placed in alphabetical order - The Virtuoso is a master musician! And you'll need to prove that to be one. You use your musical performances to distract, insult and befriend all around. Can give a positive twist to all Ongoing Challenges that aren't Stealth, but don't expect any magical control from this class, it's just literally being a great musician.
[(Gremlins), Subordinates(Bayou Gremlins)]
This. This is how to Gremlin. To be a Big Hat...you've got to gain the respect of a gremlin group, and have a big fuckoff hat. You can call on the help of a retinue of idiots to die for you, literally the gremlins last for 10-20 minutes then either pass-out, wander off or accidentally kill themselves. You can also have the gremlins 'help' in an ongoing challenge, and if you fail you can have them die dramatically to ignore a Margin of Failure. Oh you also monopolise on their death too, drawing cards and healing, so have fun!
[(Gremlins, Wong), Magic(all), DPS]
There is a gremlin named Wong who holds a bag that gives him magic. Lightning Bugs are the 'students' of Wong, and he has a unique selection process; caring more for the power of the magic than its control. Lightning bugs deal bonus damage to all characters within 3" of one of their spell's targets, which includes allies and the bug themselves. Randomly on Fire is a fun talent catching on fire (Gaining Burning +3) to gain two turns in one round. Eventually allows all of their magic to ignore Armor.
[(No affiliation), Status]
GUYS AND GALS THERE'S A FUCKING POKEMON REFERENCE. The requirement of this Advanced Pursuit is that you have somehow acquired a (somewhat)functional jetpack...yep, we're going quite specific here. You get better at using it as time goes on, and can dish out Burning+3 to everyone in 3". You can zip around and dive bomb targets, you know...standard jetpack stuff. Just watch out as there're quite a few risks involved with zooming about on an unstable device propelled by fire.
[(No affiliation), Subordinate, Crows]
When Gremlins were encountered during the first breach, and languages were shared there was apparently a mistranslation for the word Taxidermy. In the time between the first breach closure and the opening of the second, Taxidermy had evolved to mean the returning of dead pets to life. Taxidermists have mastered this craft and have found how to resurrect beasts (and then for some reason thought to use them as gunpowder storage). Their undead have an ability on death called Bacon Bomb (linked to Gremlins' interesting relationship with pigs, that has them blow up in dramatic fashion. Eventually you can just wack limbs from other creatures together to give Talents from the...donor. Anyone say something about flying pigs?
|Above the Law Advanced Pursuits|
[(Guild, Guard), D.P.Fucking-S, Rams]
I just...This Pursuit man. This is for when you don't care about the FM re-balancing combat to the point where only you can survive. You have got to sacrifice one or more hands to be replaced with Executioner claws, but with a damage track of 3/5/7 at Step 1 with +1 per Ram involved in the attack, who cares? If that's not enough, you later gain rams to your combat attacks (4/6/8) and can insta-kill on a double ram.
[(Guild, Lucius Mattheson), Status]
LUCIUS IS THE DEVIL OKAY? It's still not officially confirmed anywhere but I swear he is. And now you're gonna owe him. Step 1 talent is Sold my Soul (C'monnnnnnn) where you flat gain a positive twist to Willpower duels (Wow.) The downside is that as an action AT. ANY. TIME. Lucius Mattheson (THE. DAMN. DEVIL.) can deal 3/5/6 damage to you. He's not there, he's in his office. He just can. The payoff for this obvious detriment means that all of the talents are incredible. They're also too long to describe, but the kicker is Sign Your Life Away; creating a fully real legal document to blackmail someone into performing any course of action, no matter how complex. Be smart on your wording though as any loophole can be exploited, and if the contract is made public...Lucius will not be pleased.
[(Guild, Witch Hunters, Sonnia Criid), Magic(Counter-Spelling, Rams]
It's in the name., The irony is clear as you've got to fight magic with magic. It's also the only way you can get
[(No affiliation), Soulstones]
So long as you've got two soulstones and an idea of how to tune both of them to get more power, you can be an Aficionado. Soulstones in your possessions' Lades are increased by the levels in the Pursuit. Soulstones can also now hold extra damn charges equal to their respective Lades. I cannot tell you how good this is, as long as you keep killing you can have a lot of charges to kill more. Not quite the circle of life but you know.
[(Guild, Witch Hunters, Sonnia Criid), Subordinate, Status, DPS, Rams, Crows]
Again with the irony, the Witch Hunters need you to be able to cast spells to begin the process to become a Handler. In return you'll get at least one Witchling Stalker, an ex-mage that Criid reduced into little more than a husk with its soul eternally on fire, as a pet at the start of each session. You can keep track of them if they're captured so feel free to use them as bait through the use of your runed weapon(usually a greatsword), which also serves as your symbol of office. Do. Not. Lose. It. Sonnia is not a merciful leader. You also get better at dishing out FIRE stuff.
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.
First Edition Books
|*Through the Breach RPG - Fatemasters Almanac (1st Edition): The Dungeon Master's Guide/Beastiary.
|*Through the Breach RPG - Penny Dreadful - In Defense of Innocence: Equivalent of a campaign setting in its own right.
|*Through the Breach RPG - Penny Dreadful One Shot - In the Gutter: A shorter adventure expecting to last about a single session.
Second Edition Books
|*Through the Breach RPG - Core Rules|
|*Through the Breach RPG - Penny Dreadful - Fire in the Sky: An Adventure linking Malifaux to The Other Side.
|*Through the Breach RPG - Penny Dreadful One Shot - Jurassic Faux
Things to Keep in Mind
|Through the Breach offers a LOT of character options, with very few linear paths to take. While this is wonderful for creating truly unique characters unlike anywhere else, it can cause confusion for people who rely on knowing the leveling steps of classes for other RPGs. And unlike most other RPGs, many features come with a direct cost to the character in the form of a negative ability.
One solution is to have Fatemasters keep tabs on the negative abilities of their Fated, and Fated players keep track of their positives. This would also help Fatemasters
A similar situation of rules bloat had occurred in Malifaux 2E, and resulted in the new 3E being much more streamlined. Through the Breach 2E was made with backwards compatibility in mind, so I'm unsure how they would tackle doing any streamlining if a TTB 3E was released while using the rules for the previous editions.
|In 1st edition, the magic system had a lot of hiccups. To give a quick overview there aren't pre-set spells; mage characters would have a basic spell template and then add modifications to it. For example if you wanted to throw a fireball, you'd take the range elemental attack then add fire and damage by increasing the difficulty to cast.
In a group playing the Night of the Carver module there was a player who created a dabbler. The module was supposed to have the Carver harass the players as they try to retreat to the walls of Malifaux city. The Carver is a Master level NPC who was not meant to go down easily, in fact he had high armor that could reduce most attacks down to only 1 damage. But this dabbler had read his Fated Almanac and knew the power of fire. The first encounter with the Carver he wasted a few spells, until he was reminded of the Burning condition which ignores armor. He also had a high card in hand, he applied as much fire as he could to make his Burning +7. He flipped a low card, cheated in his high one and did one wound of damage, but Burning +7. At the end of the turn, the Carver exploded into fiery bits. The Carver reappeared three times, the group not at all afraid of the creature. With the module completely broken by one super fireball the players managed to get to the city, except for the Dabbler who wasn't allowed in because he clearly was a magic user... Moral of the story, don't cheese fire or you are gonna get burned.
2nd Edition update This was mitigated substantially, as there's now a cap on burning added to spells at +3, and each stack will cost +3TN so you have to really commit to multiple high cards now. Still powerful if stacked, but the shared Fate deck will make multiple sorcery spells difficult to confidently cast in succession without soulstones/suits gained through other means.
- 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, Terraclips have each previously made licensed scenery for Malifaux. Wyrd themselves have since produced a series of scenery called Wyrdscapes.