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The Call Through the Breach WIP


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Due to the fact I live in a town without an adequate game shop, and nearly all the table top groups here are either D&D/Pathfinder or Warhammer players, finding an experienced player of Through the Breach to teach my players the mechanics correctly is nigh impossible. I was worried, truly, that I would never be able to share with my friends the rich lore and setting of Malifaux in a roleplaying game. That is until, I heard a familiar call from an Elder God.

I'm a veteran Call of Cthulhu Keeper (game master, whatever, Wizard's just needs to relinquish the term Dungeon Master because that's what all of us are if we're not players!), and for the last two years been running the Chaosium Call of Cthulhu 6th edition system with a close group who are very familiar with the system. Over the last few weeks, I've been struggling desperately to figure out a way to teach Through the Breach to the players, but have been finding it a challenge since the Fated Almanac doesn't do a very good job easing new players in. On the verge of giving up and letting my new book collect dust on the shelf, I literally tripped over a stack of books, and landed face first on top of my Call of Cthulhu rulebook. And inspiration struck.

Here's the point of the post: I wanna run down what I plan to do, and get opinions and/or suggestions to implement this.

My plan is simple: taking some of the character creation mechanics, skills, magical abilities, lore, and setting of Malifaux, and running the game through the percentile system of Call of Cthulhu, maintaining the strong emphasis of everyday people facing extraordinary circumstances and either overcoming them or be crushed under the impending nightmare. The Malifaux setting is rife, RIFE with Lovecraftian flavor, from it's gothic architecture, hideous monstrosities in the form of the Neverborn, fear of the unknown as the other world is vastly uncharted, and opportunity to have the players be faced with the various factions, horrors, and wonders that Wyrd has endeared to us.

Character creation:

I thought about this the longest, and I've come to the conclusion that the only major factor I want to impose from TtB to CoC is the Destiny mechanic, options to have pneumatic prosthesis, and access of Magia, as the magic system in CoC is...well, last resort-y (Let's just say that many spells in that game run the very real risk of causing more harm than good for players). What drew me to TtB was the Destiny mechanic, how your origins, interests and ultimate fate were decided through a poker tarot in the Crossroads. I believe that before character creation (rolling stats, the usual crap we all love), I will sit down with each player and individually deal their Crossroad's tarot, giving them their station and 4 destinies. In lieu of the added skill mechanic or stat array seen in TtB, I'll include things like bonus percentiles to certain associated skills (likely a base of 10% on average, with some being higher).

The Pneumatics system will be mostly cosmetic, but it won't be without drawbacks for rewards. First off, aside from the costs, I will require players who want to have pneumatics or undergo surgery during gameplay to take a loss to their total Constitution score, which will somewhat reduce their HP. However, the payoff to this is that depending on the pneumatic device, the PC can use their newfound skill in Pneumatics in place of a standard skill (example: A player wants to climb up a rope. Normally this is a basic climb check, but if a player had a pneumatic that had a winch or other similar attachment, they can take the pneumatic check instead.) Additionally, I'll include attacks for pneumatics, such as melee, ranged, etc. Weapons built into limbs will have one damage die higher than a normal attack, but it's cost and weight will be greater than normal.

Magia...oh boy, this one will be the toughest. Since magic practice in the world is somewhat widespread but regarded by the Guild as dangerous, I will encourage players who play magic using characters to be mindful or face the consequences. Aside from that, I'll will include the new skill Magia, and the 5 different types to specialize in (Sorcery, Enchanting, etc.). In CoC, the magic pool is very limited, and spells work by sacrificing points into the spell along with sanity which may or may not regenerate. I've decided I want to incorporate a different concept: Magic points will equate to how many spells a character CAN know if they have adequate skills to use them. Technically speaking, anybody in Malifaux can perform magic, some better than others. This way, a player who maybe playing a lawyer can dabble a bit in sorcery if they so chose.

Classes don't exactly exist in CoC, leaving the occupation of the PC's and associated skills in the hands of the player. There are plenty of equivalents in the CoC rulebook that match near perfectly with the classes in TtB, but I will be generating an Artificer occupation/skill that relates to the Steamfitting and pneumatics aspect that will be heavily present in Malfaux.

So this is about where I'm at. I'm not sure what else I'd like to implement, aside from possibly make a modified CoC Character sheet featuring the Destiny section and grimoire. I'm trying to figure out how to have a "Cheat Fate" mechanic, but the only thing that I think works without breaking the game is to have bonus' to Luck rolls to determine whether they do or do not succeed in cheating their fate.

Any feedback, suggestions, recommendations and so on are very appreciated guys. Who knows, maybe this homebrew will be a hit with my group? Maybe yours? Let's see. 

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