Happy Monster Press and our local RPG group, the Salem Savages, welcome you to a new Savage Worlds adventure, a non-canonical adaptation of Malifaux. We’ll be playing fast and loose with settings and characters of Malifaux, the better to give the Salem Savages maximum flexibility in their choices and roleplaying, so if veering from canon annoys some readers, we invite those folks to follow East Texas University or Legion of Liberty, instead. Game on!
Malifaux is a gloompunky, skirmish-based miniatures and role-play setting from Wyrd Games, stuffed to the brim with creepy monsters, steam-powered technology, gunslingers, Gothic Victorian horror, and original and intriguing arcane mysteries. Malifaux City is the capital of a world parallel to ours, reachable via a mysterious bridge (called the Breach) which was created by Earth mages who wanted to tap into Malifaux’s source of magical power. You see, in the game of Malifaux, Earth, our Earth, has always had magic and mages, but in the 1780s, Earth’s natural magical sources had all but dried up, leaving a world already dependent on magic desperate to find a new source.
In 1787, the greatest arcanists on Earth gathered in northern Mexico to create the greatest magical Work in history; with their collective power, they punched a hole into an alternate universe to tap that other world’s magical resources. When the hole between universes opened, most of the lesser mages died. Most of the survivors went insane, but a few of the greatest mages survived and were able to pass through what they dubbed The Great Breach (most often referred to thereafter as just the Breach). On the other side, the travelers found a ruined city (Malifaux City), and Soulstones, which, they discovered, are imbued with arcane power by the passing of a human soul—power that can be drawn on the way energy can be drawn from a battery. For ten exciting years, Earth visitors explored Malifaux, venturing farther and farther from the Breach and Malifaux City in search of more Soulstone mines and arcane knowledge, which they found in miraculous abundance.
In 1797, a violent blizzard struck Malifaux City. Observers Earthside heard the sounds of weapons clashing, animals screaming, men dying. As the battle raged, the Breach began to shudder. Just before it closed, a single human corpse flew through the tightening portal, as through flung by some giant hand. On the corpse’s naked chest was carved the word OURS. Presumably, some terrible force, possessive of Malifaux’s resources, had ejected the invaders and reclaimed their sovereignty.
With its supply of Soulstones cut off, Earth descended into intraworld warfare over the remaining supply; these were the Black Powder Wars. The most powerful organization, the Mercantiler’s Guild, came out on top, established a monopoly on the remaining Soulstones, and become, effectively, the governors/dictators of the entire population of Earth.
One hundred years (to the day) after the Breach slammed shut, it opened again. Having assumed power over all arcane matters, the Guild took it upon itself to respond. At first, Guild officials cautiously sent a small number of reconnaissance teams, but the lure of a fresh supply of Soulstones was strong, and the colonization of Malifaux soon resumed. Guarding the Breach jealously—this time only Guild-approved travelers would pass through–the Guild shipped in convicts to work the Soulstone mines, and allowed others to come and settle only under agreement with the Guild. Approved colonists would support the Soulstone mining operations, or would protect these support settlements from Malifaux’s Natives–the vicious, backwoods, infighting gremlins of the Bayou, and the far more deadly and secretive Neverborn.
In the opening session of Happy Monster’s Savage Malifaux campaign, five enterprising souls have arrived in Breachtown, ready to board the train to Malifaux. Although they don’t know it yet, these five people—who couldn’t be more different in personality, goals, and modus operandi—are fated to shape the destiny of two worlds, together.
All characters, the Malifaux setting, and all images are property of Wyrd Games.