Through the Breach: The Fatemaster's Almanac by Mors Rattus
Post 1Original SA post Through the Breach: The Fatemaster's Almanac
The Fatemaster's Guide is mostly advice for GMs. It starts with the most important things, though: NPCs never make flips . Ever. Instead, they get a rank, which determines what all of their flips are considered to be. This can range from around 3 for the weakest foes to 11 or higher for the strongest. Any time they would need to make a flip, they automatically get their Rank. They can use PC talents when constructed, but because they have no hand to discard, they instead get a number of Card Points determined by their Rank. They can spend these 1 for 1 to count as discarded cards. Any time the main Fate Deck gets reshuffled, all NPCs get 1 card point, which has no maximum. The NPCs in the book have ranks assigned to them by default, but GMs can obviously raise or lower those ranks as they like.
Rank 0-2 is Negligible - a foe that's not really there to even be a speed bump, just to annoy people or be comic relief. The bat that flaps around your face, say. They aren't a threat in pretty much any situation, ever. They start with 0 Card Points. Rank 3-4 is a Peon, the lowest rank of any organization or group. They're not a threat except in really large numbers, but they get 1 Card Point. Rank 5-6 is a Minion, the most common enemy you'll run into. They're your default thugs for any group, and they also get 1 Card Point. Rank 7-8 is an Enforcer, the heavy hitters of a team. They often get special equipment or assets and also 2 Card Points. Above them, at 9-11, are the Henchmen, the shot-callers and underbosses. They are elites, often having unique and expensive tools. They get 3 Card Points. Above them, at rank 12-13, are the Masters. They are exceptionally powerful, have a lot of resources and are often leaders of groups. They get 3 card points. And above them at 14 or higher? Avatars and Tyrants, the most powerful creatures in the entire world and a challenge for even the most skilled PCs. They get 4 Card Points.
The game talks about the responsibilities of the GM - mostly, judging actions and when to call for a challenge flip. Any TN below 8 or so is almost certain to succeed and probably not worth checking for. 9 or higher, you almost certainly want to check, and 7-8 will want a check in stressful situations. Sometimes, a situation will modify a TN up or down by 1 to 3 points, depending on how good or bad things are - a broken tool might be +1 to +3 TN, depending on how vital it was, while a really good tool might give -2 TN.
Then it spends a lot of time on the social role of the GM - making sure the story keeps going, teaching people how to play the game, making sure everyone's keeping interested and entertained. It goes into a lot of detail on the social contract of the game - finding out whateveryone wants out of the game, trusting each other and setting ground rules on what is or isn't okay, as well as how many players can be absent before a game has to be called off, if there's any house rules and what kind of place you're going to be gaming in. It's all pretty normal stuff, and some stuff I wouldn't really think needed going over, but whatever, that's cool. It has advice on building adventures and so on, maintaing proper pacing, that kind of thing. It talks about how Manifested Powers should be cool and probably fill some gap in the party's capabilities that isn't already filled, and that if a PC wants a Grimoire and to learn magic, they should definitely be able to find one. The book also notes that while the GM should be trying to fulfill parts of the PC's FAtes (or giving them chances to deny them), sometimes it's best to reinterpret events to fit them rather than force it - it can be cooler all around.
I should note that a sizable portion of Malifaux lady art is like this. There's a lot of cool art, but a lot of cheesecake, too, and some of it isn't even in appropriately fancy dresses.
We now go back to IC narration of some setting secrets, provided to us by Jacob Dobbs, compiler of the Undercity Chronicle, which is half tabloid, half revelation of dark secrets. He talks about the factions of Malifaux, adding little new, save that the Guild Guard often prefer to track and trace suspicious people instead of just beating them up these days - they prefer to keep violence out of sight of the rich and powerful, after all. The Guild Guard are often also the most positive members of the Guild, trying to protect as much as enforce law. They can be terrible, and are certainly commanded by the cruel or amoral, but they are usually less bad than the men and women who make up the Guild agency by taking advantage of others. Dobbs also discusses common cons and thieves - the faux damsel in distress leading people to a mugging or the guy who makes off with purses and luggage. They're distressingly common. The Guild maintains orphanages and flophouses - but they're nowhere you'd ever want to live. They're terrible places, the orphanages like prisons and the flophouses horrible motels at best and criminal dens at worst. Better to avoid them.
There's a lot of detail bnut little of much real interest, except that the Guild Mortuary is run by a guy literally named Douglas McMourning. We get told that due to Gremlins shooting down a zeppelin in an attempt to set the city on fire, free-roaming zeppelins are currently banned in favor of zipline-guided 'aircars.' A Prussian inventor, Hubert Muller, is trying to resolve the zeppelin safety issue and has been testing his latest zeppelin, the Black Kaiser, by night, giving rise to stories of sky ghosts. He's planning a test flight beyond the city walls to prove the use of zeppelins. His secret? Light-weight armored hulls to prtoect the balloon and sealed compartments to prevent breaches or fires from taking the whole thing down. He has named these new kinds of zeppelin the Panzer-Zeppelins.
We do get one real secret shortly after: The Miners and Steamfitter's Union is funding Arcanists, because the main Arcanist organization is run by Dr. Ramos, President of the Union. Thus, the Arcanists have strong ties to the poor and the wild beasts of Malifaux, as they often end up hiding among them and the miners. Some of them have even made pacts with ancient beings, like the primal force of winter and ice known as December, gaining power but also being controlled and influenced by these ancient beings.
We get a look at the Ten Thunders - the first real explanation of them so far. They're a criminal empire, a sort of Asian Illuminati, based out of the Three Kingdoms and commanded by a mysterious Oyabun. They are firmly in control of the Little Kingdom district, and have infiltrators in practically every other faction. They favor Asian weaponry and martial arts, and most in areas they control treat them as the law, not the Guild. The Ten Thunders enforce justice on their people, at the cost of protection money and obedience. Typically they do it in ways that will increase their own power and influence. They also use a smaller, secret Breach controlled by the Three Kingdoms, out in the wilderness. (Technically it is a rumor, but it is a true one according to other Malifaux materials.) Their initiates are often heavily tattooed, as they receive a unique tatoo when they first join, and then have it embellished the longer and more storied their career becomes. These often get referred to as the Painted Men, as their tattoos will end up covering most of their bodies.
A depressing amount of Malifaux art is halter top ninjas. Lady Justice is one, though this isn't her. There's some really great art, and then there's this.
Now we get the names of some important people. Well, titles, sometimes. The Governor-General is a mystery - no one has ever really seen him closely, and no one knows his name. Some say he was a servant of an old cabal in London, sent to rule Malifaux as a sort of punishment - he was the only one brave enough to go, and trustworthy enough to send but not so much anyone would care if he died...and so he has ended up in charge of the most important city in two worlds. Of course, others say there is no Governor-General - he's just a front for the heads of the Guild departments to use, having died long ago. They are ruling in his name now, to keep more influential people from ebing sent. Others say the real power is the Governor-General's secretary, Lucius, but if that's so, he'd have to have once had power and Lucius would have had to secretly usurp it, which would be an immense plot.
The Ortegas are a family of Neverborn Hunters, led by the beautiful but very dangerous Perdita. She and her clan have killed more Neverborn than any other Guild agents, and have even drawn the attention of the notorious Lilith herself. They maintain a stronghold in the Badlands, Latigo, with extremely strong defenses. The clan is immense - cousins, brothers, sisters, adopted friends. It's possible that they are an army in and of themselves. Francisco, Perdita's older brother, is a determined and pitiless killer, and "Guapo" Ortega is a man named ironically, because he is covered in a web of scars caused by acidic Neverborn blood. He's a legendary pistoleer. The black sheep of the family is not spoken of: Manuel Ortega, the weakest of the clan and youngest of the original Ortega brothers. If he truly does exist, he was driven into the arms of the NEverborn in search of the wealth and power his family never let him have, and eventually, he even earned Lilith's favor. It's said that when an Ortega kills a Neverborn, they offer it the chance at a quick death if it will tell them where Manuel can be found, but so far, rumor says, no Neverborn has accepted.
Lady Justice is the most famous of the Death Marshals. She is blind, but it hasn't stopped her. She is seldom seen without The Judge, a skilled investigator and actual judge who serves as her eyes. They have slain many Resurrectionists, and Lady Justice's skill with a greatsword is legendary, as is her ability to resist necromantic magic. Some say that Lady Justice and The Judge are both suffering some necromantic plague, either from studying necromancy or from frequent contact with the undead. They say that behind her blindfold are nothing but rotted eye sockets, that her blindness is due to her disease. Others say The Judge's lower face has rotted away, that he has no lower jaw - and that is why no one has ever credibly reported they've heard him speak. Others believe that Lady Justice and the Judge are secretly married, but why that would be secret is rather a mystery.
Next time: Famous Criminals
Post 2Original SA post Through the Breach: The Fatemaster's Almanac
So, wanted criminals. Albus Von Schtook came to Malifaux to study the sky; he hasn't seen it in over a year. He lives in the sewers, scrawling 'lessons' on the sewer walls in muck. He is insane, of ocurse, and a Resurrectionist. His monstrosities emerge from the sewers to collect scrap and bodies to fuel his underground university. His bounty varies between a thousand and two thousand scrip, depending on how recently one of these 'students' heads topside.
Lilith is the first and most feared of the Neverborn, and she has made sure the Guild knows her name and work. She leads a brood of Nephilim of all shapes and sizes, and she is a nightmare made flesh. It is unclear if she raids the city so often because she wants to drive humanity out or because she just enjoys it. Whatever the case, she always seems to figure out what her victims fear an kill them in a strangely poetic way - a man afraid of heights falls to his death, one afraid of spiders dies of thousands of bites, someone scared of her children is bludgeoned to death by a child's toe and strangled by tiny hands. Even those hunters who have faced her and lied speak of facing their own fears and secret phobias made real. The current bounty on Lilith's head is 4000 scrip.
The Mask Serpent is a strange criminal. No one has ever actually seen them, but they've been killing the masked lawyers that serve the Guild. The masks are meant to hide the lawyers' identities and avoid reprisal, as so many court cases are utter shams of justice where the accused could not possibly win. The Mask Serpent has been murdering the lawyers, generally by choking them with a length of chain, perhaps from a manacle, then splitting their tongue down the middle like a snake's.
Nikolai Posie is the former owner of the inn known as the Fox and Blossom. He's wanted for poisoning newcomers to Malifaux and storing their corpses, apparently for the use of some unknown benefactor. He is wanted alive for questioning - perhaps unique among all wanted criminals. He is nowhere to be found, apparently tipped off before the Death Marshals raided his inn. To date, his whereabouts remain unknown.
Pandora is one of those Neverborn who appears to be human, even pleasant, but she spreads despair wherever she goes, filling those around here with a deep sense of hopelessness. Many attribute hthe oppressive feel of Malifaux to her alone, though that is unlikely. It is said that she has started forming suicide clubs - groups that make a pact to end their lives together. Pandora nurtures ther hopelessness and has them seek out the likeminded, manipulating them utterly to convince those who would otherwise be entirely safe from suicide risks. The Guild has no likeness of Pandora, but maintain a price on her head: 3,000 scrip. So far, anyone attempting to claim it has been largely discredited and brought up on murder charges, which doesn't exactly help people want to capture her.
The highest bounty to date, 5,000 scrip, belongs to Seamus, the Red Chapel Killer. Over a hundred murders have been attributed to him, from children to high ranking officials to even Death Marshals. However, the truth is, he only targets prostitutes - any other murders blamed on him are either misattributed or are because they tried to stop him. He has a number of copycat killers, so catching him seems nearly impossible - perhaps he's even already been locked up, since there's been a dip in murders lately with his sense of drama. He is tall, thin and usually wears an immensely oversize top hat.
Som'er "Teeth" Jones is the only Gremlin wanted by name by the Guild. All Gremlins, of course, have a two scrip bounty, but Som'er has a 2000 scrip bounty. He is officially wanted for assaulting Union work sites and Guild affiliates, but the problem is proving you've gotten the real Som'er. Gremlins appear nearly identical to most humans (including the author, who claims at least one Guild official called him racist for saying so), but the Guild swears blind it can tell the difference between Gremlins.
There's two other major players listed. The first Doctor Ramos, president of the Miners and Steamfitters Union. He is a powerful man, and the workers love him, but what most do not know is that he is also tied into the Arcanists and the criminal networks that support them. It is probably only his position of power that keeps him safe from the Guild - well, that and never personally getting his hands dirty. He is the de factor leader of the Arcanists, and is very interested in the development of magic and magical science. Some say that he's actually years ahead of the Guild, and that all the stuff you see is only a taste of what's hidden in his lab. One rumor says he's building a kind of soulstone funnel that will draw in the energies of hundreds of soulstones at once, using a special aetheric lens to focus them. This would be able to boost the power someone's magic over a hundred times, turning even a weak mage into a god of sorcery. If that device does exist, the Guild is surely hunting it - and they'd be possibly the only worse hands for it than the Arcanists.
Misaki is an agent of the Ten Thunders, the one who paved the way for them to enter Malifaux. She is an excellent fighter and has killed many who underestimated her abilities. Some of the Guild believe her an even greater threat than the Oyabun - and perhaps rightly, as some say she is planning to take over the Ten Thunders - apparently, they believe the reason the Three Kingdoms recently closed their borders is due to some internal power struggle, and the current Oyabun is part of a different faction than Misaki, who has been promised greatness if she can take him out. Combine that with the rumors of the Three Kingdoms Breach in the wilds, and that could be ar eal problem for the Guild.
After this, we get advice on running games again, focusing on the themes of Malifaux and the different types of games you might run. The frontier, the alein nature of the world, ancient and forgotten knowledge, the power of magic and the fascist control of the Guild are all mentioned. The game suggests four different play styles - the PCs as criminals and renegades fighting the Guild or avoiding them, the PCs as scientists and explorers seeking knowledge or power, the PCs as agents of the Guild, enforcing law and order, or the PCs as traitors to humanity, teaming up with the native Neverborn in order to reclaim the world for its former masters. It also mentions that players might play as Neverborn, intelligent constructs or Gremlins. There are no special rules presented for doing so, so I'd assume that mechanically they would be identical to normal human PCs, at least for now.
Dear god, why would you try to make that sexy?
The game offers an optional rule: Drawing Fate. When it becomes clear that someone's Fate will be resolved during a session, the playeer may choose to Draw Fate, shuffling the main Fate Deck and looking at the bottom card, then showing it to the GM. Each card grants the player a positive effect, generally allowing them to automatically succeed at a certain type of action, and a negative effect, which the GM can call on to have them automatically fail or get into trouble by some type of action. Both the player and the GM may use this ability once during the session. Each card has a different effect.
The Black Joker, for example, can be used to turn a failure or disaster into something useful or profitable for the PC. However, the GM can use it to have some key part of a plan fail or suffer unforeseen complications. The Red Joker lets the PC escape certain death or find a way out when presented with a dead end. The GM can use it to have enemies seek out the character and sense their great destiny. The 11 of Rams can be used by the PC to find a lie hidden amidst truth. The GM can use it to have the PC see a lie where there is none. The 4 of Tomes can be used by the PC to protect an innocent and shield them from harm or psychological trauma. The GM can use it to have dependents or bystanders distract the PC. The 2 of Crows can be used by the PC to have a meaningful brush with death change the opinions of those around them or force their foes to step back and evaluate. The GM can use it to have the PC's plans become unraveled and have people believe them lost. The 9 of Masks can be used by the PCs to control a transformation within them, retaining vital parts of themselves despite any circumstances. The GM can use it to force the PC to change somehow, physically or emotionally.
The game then presents a bunch of adventure seeds - a lost railway station, say, or a gambler looking for help on a heist, or a necromancer stealing bodies from a funeral home. There is also some advice on building encounters, both combat and social, and advice on how to make a combat engaging to both PCs that aren't combat-focused and those that are. It notes that a combat being easier than planned is better than if it's harder - it's easier to fix by just boosting the Rank of a foe or two, or having more enemies show up. There are rules for converting characters to the Malifaux wargame if you felt like doing that, too. It notes, however, that the game is not designed to be balanced in that context - indeed, the game is actually designed to be slanted in the favor of the PCs, because if the PCs lost half the time, the game wouldn't last very well, but that's the balance needed for the actual wargame.
Next time: Monsters
Do you guys want a detailed look at the monsters or just a select few interesting or entertaining ones?
Post 3Original SA post Through the Breach: Fatemaster's Almanac
So, a selection of things from the Bestiary. From the Commoners section, there are stats for workers, alchemists and lawyers (who can negotiate you into not attacking them unless they aggress at you), but also children. A Child can't deal much damage, ever, but also requires you to pass a TN 10 Willpower challenge to do anything harmful to them at all, every time you try. Kicking children isn't easy! Gunfighters are notable for being more accurate when they decide to just rain down bullets instead of aiming. Vapid Socialites take damage after punching you because their punch has the thumb inside the fist. Imposing Socialites, however, prefer pistols and are good at them.
The Guild section is larger - it covers the main Guild Guard, their pet dogs and attack birds, their various kinds of death robot, one of which is a goddamn bear trap on tentacles...and also robotic dogs. These are Hunters, made with advanced sensory devices to track convicts. They're not very big, but because they have no soul and can't feel fear, they're really good at fighting Neverborn and undead. They are also really stealthy and have harpoon guns so they can catch people. There's stats for the Death Marshals and their Bag Men - while actual Death Marshals fight resurrectionists, the Bag Men dig up dead bodies, chop off their heads and retrieve them for incineration to keep them from being raised as zombies. The Witch Hunters are also statted up - interrogators, witchlings, witchling handlers who teach the poor, crazy ex-mages to hunt other wizards, and more - stats for convicts enslaved by the Guild, mercenaries, wandering ronin swordsmen.
Look at that fucker.
There's also some thingsz - the Rat Catchers, who spread disease just as badly as the rats they hunt. The Stolen, people infected by the power of Hamelin the Plagued, warped and twisted into disease-ridden servants of their strange master. Abominations - basically, a type of rogue robot-undeadh ybrid which can combine themselves into larger, more terrifying engines of death. Various kinds of Neverborn, ranging from tiny blood-drinking Terror Tots and their mature form, the demonic Nephilim, to Stitched Togethers, which totally aren't Oogie Boogie. The Stitched are a type of Neverborn known as Nightmares, basically a type of monster given physical form by the dreams of a particularly strange psychic child known as the Dreamer. They can't be permanently killed, because they're really just psychic constructs, rather than actual sacks full of dead flesh, and they have an innate sense for the fears of those around them. They like to gamble with lives, and will honor their gambles if they lose...but they rarely lose by their own rules.
Totally not Oogie Boogie.
We get various kinds of zombie, including Rotten Belles (the undead prostitutes raised by Seamus, the Red Chapel Killer), Punk Zombies (zombies with weird, punk-ish hair that are often quite skilled with a blade) and normal zombies. We also get Gremlins! Gremlins are, uh, they're basically two-foot-tall hillbillies with green skin, no noses and a love of pigs. Pigs being defined as giant-ass death hogs that will eat anything. Occasionally, they will taxidermy one while it's still alive, stuff it full of dynamite and point it at their enemies. (They're called Stuffed Piglets.) They live near Solurids - basically, a race of strange fish-men ruled over by hive queens, which can turn you into a fish-man if they kill you.
I like Gremlins.
If you want more details, I suggest you check the book out yourself! But now, we get Advanced Pursuits. They have only five steps, not ten, and earning one is important and difficult. Often they have stringent requirements, and the power of the talents they give access to is often higher than that of normal talents. However, often it's not very fast to advance, requiring some action before you can get the next rank. Not always, though.
The first advanced Pursuit is Death Marshal , the elite Guild undead hunters. They don't take just anyone, and they are all trained by other Death Marshals - usually the experienced Jacquiline Jac. All training is at night, dusk to midnight, for at least a month. After that, you can do whatever you like as long as you answer Death Marshal summons to patrol twice a week. Rogue Death Marshals are a serious threat, and while none have ever been documented, it's likely Lady Justice herself would become involved. Every Death Marshal is required to leave a single drop of blood with The Judge, though it's unclear why. To become one, you must slay at least one undead in the presence of a Guild officer who will recommend you to the Marshals. Further, it has to be a significant undead, not a zombie - or a lot of zombies. Alternately, you might claim a bounty on a notable Resurrectionist. On top of that, you may not have any Magic Theory talent other than Thalarian Doctrine.
As they advance, they get:
1. Peacebringer: You get a custom issue Peacebringer Pistol (remember, the giant-ass handguns with giant-ass bayonets), which you can get a replacement for if you somehow lose it. Frequent loss, though, might be cause for disciplinary action.
2. Coffin: You construct the coffin you will one day be buried in. This is a focus for your spellcasting, prevents you from ever being raised as a zombie and gives you the Hard to Wound talent if you don't already have it. You may carry the coffin as if it weighed only ten pounds, but its actual weight does not change.
3. Special Dispensation: You replace your Magic Theory talent with a special version. You always have access to the Undead Genus Immuto, and may not have Sorcery or Prestidigitation above 3, but can raise Necromancy freely. Your eyes may appear sunken, you may lose hair and you may bcome pallid. Or you might exist in a state of constant remorse and barely contained rage. Either way, you get a penalty to all non-Intimidate Social duels.
4. Pine Bos: Your coffin now grants you a Manifested Power while you carrying it, allowing you to trap someone in the box and remove them from the Dramatic Time. AT the start of your turn, you must pass an opposed Willpower challenge or they will be freed next to you. They will also be freed the next time you use Pine Box or when you die.
5. Flaming Head/Flames of the Pit: You learn how to make even mindless zombies feel fear. When you use this, your head and flesh burn with phantom flame, and your face becomes a skull. You can use this once per day, for ten minutes. Undead must pass a TN 12 Horror duel to attack you or end a movement within 2 yards of you. You can take a Wound when the effect ends to extend it another ten minutes.
She beats people to death with coffins and is also Ghost Rider.
Next time: Freikorpsmenn, Steamfitters, Grave Servants and Torakage.
Post 4Original SA post Through the Breach: Fatemaster's Almanac
The Freikorpsmann is the cream of the crop, when it comes to mercenaries. Von Schill is so famous that several groups owe allegiance to him without actually being the literal Freikorps. He's fine as long as they report in regularly and pay their dues - a third of all earnings. Recruitment to the Freikorps itself, however, is highly regimented, and there's a dozen would-be Freikorpsmenn being tested at any given time. Once their training starts, they get assigned to a loose squad, run by a captain who meets with each member weekly and sends in reports to Von Schill. When duty calls, the captain will call for the squad to gather, and failing to respond to this summons or check in weekly can cause disciplinary action. All your jobs get screened through your captain to ensure you don't go up against another Freikorps team, but once you have permission, usually you can get away with not checking in until its done. You owe a third of any earnings to the company, to cover costs. However, you'll never need to look for work - the Freikorps keeps a list of open jobs. And you can charge higher than most others, because Freikorps means skill. To join, you have to pass Von Schill's tests, which in the past have included spending 24 hours standing at attention (which would be a succession of increasingly difficult Toughness duels), hitting a bottle on a moving cart while a Freikorpsmann shouts swears in your ear (a TN 15 Pistols check which can't use Focus) or listen to the whispers of a Freikorps Librarian for one full minute without weeping, a TN 10 Centering duel.
As they advance, they get:
1. Powder Wars Training: You may take the (0) Reference the Field Guide action, discarding a card to add the suit of that card to all actions for the rest of your turn. On top of that action, they also get a Masks trigger on all Ranged Combat duels, allowing them to move up to 3 yards whenever the trigger is hit.
2. Outfitting: You are issued standard Freikorps gear. This includes a Clockwork Pistol, Freikorps armor and a hunting knife. If these are lost or destroyed you can get replacements, but doing so too frequently will draw attention.(Freikorps clockwork weapons are exceptionally good at keeping a target from attacking you, and the armor's required for some other tricks. Plus it's Armor +1!)
3. Survival Training: If you don't have them, you gain the Armor Training talent for free, to a maximum of 2 total times, and the Unimpeded talent for free. In addition, when wearing Freikorps armor you are immune to area damage, including blast damage.
4. Endless Drills: You get a Skill Specialization in a suit of your choice for one of Alchemistry, Heavy Guns, History, Melee, Pistols, Long Arms, Athletics, Toughness, Track or Wilderness.
5. Superior Outfitting: You get your choice of a Clockwork Rifle or Flammenwerfer for free and can purchase them for 17 Scrip each if you want more. (Yes, that's a flamethrower. It sets people on fire and ignores cover.)
Steamfitters are all members of the Miners and Steamfitters Union, and they are a special type of magewright led by President Ramos. Their abilities are not well known outside the Union, and deliberately hidden from the Guild. The Guild correctly believes they are capable of making and controlling pneumatic constructs, but incorrectly believe that all of them are Darlists. Ramos encourages that belief, but the Union understands the value of other magic. They'll protect practically any kind of spellcaster. Many find themselves serving the Union more often than they expected, but most are happy to do so, even if it means breaking the law. They are trained by each other, pairing up members who can teach each other new magic most of the time. Besides the standard Union dues and training duties, Steamfitters can also be called on to do less savory things as payment in advance for specialized training. For example, if you want some specific Grimoire, they might ask you to do a hard job. They still frown on necromancy - some dabble in it, but summoning the undead is a strict breach of Union charter and any member found doing so will be censured in the extreme, usually involving framing them for crimes and leaving them for the Guild. To become a Steamfitter, you must have a Magical Theory talent that isn't Thalarian Doctrine or the Whisper. You must have Sorcery or Enchanting at 3 or higher, and have either two Mastered Magia or an animated construct you personally built and can animate that is worth at least 50 scrip. Also, dues are 10 scrip a year. For life. After all, you're joining the Arcanists as well as the Union. You don't get to leave.
Rather than a normal progression, however, you get choices. At each of the five Steps of the Steamfitter Pursuit, you can select a different Talent, and may select any of the listed talents at each step. You choose what you want and go learn it from another Steamfitter. Generally, the Union does its best to accomodate what you want to learn. Available Talents at each step are:
Bleeding Edge Tech: You get a small field disruptor looking like a broach or bracelet. You can turn it on as a (0) Action, and while it's active, all magic duels by anyone other than you within 3 yards are at a penalty.
Clockwork Limb: You get a clockwork limb. This is identical to a pneumatic limb, save that it contains a soulstone powerful enough to animate it indefinitely without needing to be refueled, and in addition, it will heal itself of 1 damage every minute and can never be destroyed by use as a Darlin Theories focus object, regardless of the TN of any spell channeled through it.
Construct Skill Efficiency: The GM chooses a skill. When you spend a Construct point to purchase that skill for a Construct you're building, it gains 2 points instead of 1.
Construct Prowess: The GM chooses a Physical Aspect. When building a Construct, the first point spent on the noted Aspect raises the Aspect to 0 or adds 2 points to the Aspect, your choice each time.
Mastered Immuto or Magia: You gain a Mastered Immuto or a Mastered Magia, which need not be in any of your GFrimoires, as you learn it directly from another Union member.
- New Grimoire: You are given a new Grimoire rather than training. It contains 3 Magia and 3 Immuto of the GM's choice.
Sometimes, necromancy calls out to someone. Some of them go mad or are hunted by the DEath Marshals. Some become Death Marshals. And some thrive. These are the Grave Servants , called out to by the Quarantine Zones, masters and competitors. They are warped, tainted and amplified by the power around them. Some say that Malifaux is haunted by the Grave Spirit, which grants them some of its power. They are eclectic, but their growth follows a pattern. However, to grow in power, they must undertake increasingly large and potent necromantic deeds, which vary for each practitioner. To become a Grave Servant, you must raise at least a dozen corpses as zombies within a single year and must spend at least 3 months living in the Quarantine Zone. To gain each step on the Pursuit, you must also perform an increasing feat of necromantic prowess, the nature and details of which are between you and the GM, but which should be individualistic and require you to perform adventuring to do. Examples include murdering more potent necromancers, creating unique undead, raising hordes of zombies to attack the city vwith, creating sentient undead or killing Death Marshals of notable power.
As they advance, they get:
1. Madness Unleashed: Choose one Mental Aspect. Any undead you create may subtract 5 from that aspect rather than lowering it to -5.
2. Semblance of Life: The physical skills of zombies you create are not halved.
3. Desecrated Flesh: All undead you create gain the Hard to Wound talent.
4. Thankful Grave: You attract undead. If you have no undead under your control then you can spend a night in the quarantine zone to get an undead servant. Flip a card, which can't be cheated. For a Crows card, you get 3 mindless zombies. For a Masks, a Rotten Belle. For a Rams, a Punk Zombie. For a Tomes, 3 Canine Remains. And for a Joker, an Abomination or unique undead.
5. A Life Once Lived: Your undead retain their memories, if not personalities. Any undead you create also keep their mental skills at half their original value, rounding up.
The Torakage are agents of the Ten Thunders, criminals who serve directly rather than as sleeper agents in other organizations. They are overseen by Misaki, leader of the Last Blossom clan. She trains them all herself, as each Torakage is meant to perform a specific task. They are trained in what are known as the Ten Weapons of Wxu-Shu as well as meditative techniques to control the body, making them excellent liars and infiltrators. All of them live dual lives, secretly serving the Ten Thunders as needed. They have no way to know each other's identities, for they train wearing masks, and are trained only sporadically. It's possible that even Misaki doesn't know who all the Torakage are. Their training is piecemeal and eclectic, so they have a widely varying skillset. To become one, you must somehow draw the attention of the Ten Thunders as a possible asset. You must show some divided loyalty and be in appropriate physical condition, but need not be Asian - they'll take any ethnicity. You must have Speed and Grace at 1 or higher, Resilience and Strength at -1 or higher, and either Charm or Intellect at 0 or higher. If you get picked, they'll give you a hooded robe and a location of a temporary dojo. You must attend intensive training for at least a week without anyone in your normal life being suspicious of you. Once that's complete, you will get additional training as you advance.
Torakage training is not linear. Rather, each step along the path gives you one of the five available talents. By thend, you will hve all five and be a master of the Ten Weapons of Wxu-Shu, but the order varies. The techniques were developed centuries ago and include only five actual weapons - the rest are techniques paired with the weapon. The weapons are generalities, at that: Blade, Chain, Hammer, Shuriken and Fist. You bring your own weapons to better be able to hide your Torakage life. The talents are:
The Crowding Blade: You get a Masks trigger on all Close Combat duels, allowing you to move behind your target if you damage them. Also, you impose a penalty on all Ranged Attack actions against you while you are within 3 yards of anyone else, friend or foe.
The Blossom Trail: All of your Close Combat and Thrown Weapon duels get a Crows trigger, allowing you to give the Poison +1 Condition after damaging a foe.
The Leaves Upon the Breeze: You can manufacture Shuriken thrown weapons, with a range of 8 yards and 1/2/3 damage. You can make them out of anything that can eb sharpened, making 5 per hour without tools or 10 per hour with a heat source and raw materials. Further, you get a Masks trigger on all Thrown Weapon duels, allowing you to move 3 yards after the action resolves.
The Wicked Chains: If you do not already have them, you get the Wicked and Rapid Fire talents.
- The Lonesome Stone: You get a bonus to all Close Combat duels while no other friendly characters are within 3 yards.