Jump to content

Homebrew CoC TtB Rules


Recommended Posts

Alright everyone, the following is my additional rules and character creation guide for my Call of Cthulhu/Through the Breach homebrew campaign. Anybody is welcome to use, criticize, make suggestions, or leave feedback on this. I'm rather proud with what I could manage and still keep the spirit of the Malifaux setting in the Call of Cthulhu table top rpg.

Call of Cthulhu/Through the Breach Character Creation Guide


                Before characters are rolled up, each player will meet with the Game Master to have their crossroad’s tarot laid out to determine their character’s Destiny, bonus skills, and background. The Game Master will record each character’s personal Destiny so as to implement each of the 4 destinies into the game.

                After this, character creation will proceed as normal for Call of Cthulhu 6th Edition, however certain aspects of the character creation process will change to accommodate the new aspects exclusive to Through the Breach.

-The Magic Points Section now determines the number of spells a character CAN know if they wish to perform magic in addition to serving as a mana pool which can be expended to cast spells. NOTE: if a player spends all of their character’s Magic Points, their character will become unconscious for 1d4 hours.

-Most non-Sorcery based magic spells are gained either through tutelage or through study. Any non-sorcery spell is kept in a Grimoire or spell book, which can be created by the spellcaster or purchased from certain individuals. These books represent the accumulation of knowledge and power for many wizards and serves as the only means to tap into certain spells and rituals.

-New skill will be available.

                Artificing: The ability to build, repair, maintain, and augment Pneumatic devices and steamfitter gear which is powered by Soulstone dust. Starting skill 5%

                Magic: The ability to safely draw on the aether and cast spells. Starting skill 10% while in Malifaux. (Note: each type of magic has a base 10% success, and players will have to invest points into these skills individually). There are 5 types of magic that can be cast, as listed below:

                                -Sorcery: Being able to cast spells without the use of a grimoire; elemental based offensive spells, including fireballs, ice spikes, wind gusts, and minor stone manipulation. Offensive spells that would be used ranged are limited only to line of sight.

                                -Enchanting: Able to magically enhance natural abilities on self or other participant; spells include adding elemental damage melee weapons, accuracy to ranged, power efficiency to pneumatics, healing, and temporary physical augmentations. This form of magic can be used in conjunction with artificing increase efficiency of maintenance and repair.

                                -Necromancy: An illegal form of magic, punishable by death on site, the ability to animate the dead or grant temporary “life” to inanimate objects such as dolls or mannequins. Additionally, Necromancers are able augment their undead creations much like the Enchanting magic would, but only works on the undead. A skilled necromancer may use their knowledge to temporarily take control of another necromancer’s construct for 1d3 hours if a successful check is made.

                                -Prestidigitation: Able to conjure illusions, tricks, sounds, smells, lights, and other effects to appear as something else. Additionally, this form of magic can be used to help persuade people or convince them a complete lie is the truth. This, however, cannot be continually used on the same individual as they will become hostile towards the caster. Most prestidigitations do not work on Neverborn or the Witch Hunter/Stalkers which can detect illusions automatically.

                                -Immuto: Able to twist and augment spells of different schools, as well as safely channel Soulstone energy into spells. Immuto also determines the effectiveness of Soulstone recharge when in the presence of death or dying creatures. A successful Immuto check used to augment any skill gains a 5% advantage towards that skill or spell. Immuto is also very useful as it aids in disguising magic from detection or redirecting its detectable origin point temporarily.

                Pneumatics: Only accessible to characters who possess pneumatic prosthesis such as arms, legs, and even special breathing apparatus. This skill can be used in achieve the same effect as another skill if the pneumatic is outfitted to do so. Example, using a grappling hook to climb up a steep surface would require a Climb Check. Someone with a Pneumatic limb outfitted with a winch can make a Pneumatics check to use the machine to pull themselves instead. Starting skill with Pneumatics is 30%.

                Having a pneumatic installed will require surgery and at least 1 week of rest, in addition to a flat fee of $200 for a basic limb. Weaponized attachments will cost the same as the weapon being attached plus 10%. Any weapon attached to a pneumatic automatically gains a 15% bonus on top of it’s starting percentile. Toot attachments used for mining such as drill components, hammers, stake drivers and picks generally cost $25 dollars from most Union steamfitters. Switching out weaponized attachments or augmentations will require an Artificer check to properly replace.

                Weapons (Pneumatics): Using a pneumatic as a weapon, whether it has a weapon attachment or not, is treated the same as ordinary melee attacks, only with a 15% bonus. So a normal Fist attack which has 50% success is now 60% if the attack is made with a pneumatic limb. Additionally, all melee attacks that use Damage Bonus increase by 1 damage die, so a DB of 1d4 becomes 1d6.

                Ranged attacks made with pneumatic attachments (such as an arm mounted shotgun) benefit from the same 15% success increase, but do not gain additional damage bonuses.


Setting Stats


                Call of the Breach is set in an alternative 1917, where in the last 100 years, technology was geared towards steam and magic energy in lieu of coal electricity. As such, all equipment available is the same as 1920’s or earlier as listed in the Call of Cthulhu rulebook, with costs being relatively the same. Some items, such as chain saws or other “modern” equipment, is available as pneumatic technology.

                Automobiles are rare and extremely expensive. Besides the main Guild operated train system that connects Earthside to Malifaux, public transportation is mainly restricted to steam-powered trollies and mechanical-horse drawn carriages. Many forms of livestock are unable to make the journey through the breach, especially horses and most forms of cattle, which frenzy and end up hurting themselves struggling to get away. The only livestock that are brought in alive are chickens, pigs, and sheep, and typically are transported to the outskirts of the city towards the Badlands and Bayou.




                The law enforcement of Malifaux is entrusted to the Guild of Mercantilers and the many agents at their disposal. These agents, many of which are mercenary, are brutal, underhanded, and corrupt. Most citizens despise the Guild, seeing it as a corruption that doesn’t care about the people who live and work in Malifaux. However, some parties within the Guild are recognized for their contribution and defense of the common man, but these are few and far between when faced with the corrupt bureaucracy that maintains the overall structure of Guild Hierarchy.

                Most common are Hunters, which nearly any citizen can become with basic paperwork. These individuals are paid to hunt down, slay, and drive out Neverborn presence. This, however, means that there is a high casualty rate, as these deputized citizens are almost certainly no match against the supernatural powers they are pitted against. However, some groups, such as the Ortega Family, have made a name for themselves as skilled and deadly Neverborn Hunters.

                Against the threat of Necromancy, the Guild, using strange magics themselves to seek out and combat the undead and those that raise them, implement the Death Marshals. Fierce, unyielding, ruthless, and terrifying to behold, this sect is one of the few Guild Enforcement groups that are held in high esteem. Led by Lady Justice and an imposing fellow known only as the Judge, the Death Marshalls are viewed as protectors, though few would dare approach the frightful visage of a Marshall to offer thanks.

                Inverse to the Death Marshals are the hated and feared Witch Hunters, a collective of spies and magic twisted creations designed to sense, hunt, torture and execute those of considerable magical abilities. Their number one priority is sniffing out any members of the Arcanist movement, going so far as to stage nightly home raids on anybody they suspect or have received tips from. The Witch Hunters are universally reviled by the citizens of Malifaux, even by members of the Guild who have been pushing to end the group’s malicious activities.

                Beyond these, however, there are no true police presences in Malifaux, leaving the city in a state of fear and near lawlessness. If not for the Miners & Steamfitter’s Union, who actively work to protect the citizens of Malifaux from injustice, there is next to no honorable authority in the city. However, the Union itself is not without its issues, and though it works tirelessly to protect workers and their families, it is no secret they have at times extorted citizens for protection.

                The only true protection in Malifaux is what you carry with you. Don’t expect aid unless you have something someone else wants.




                There are many factions existing beyond the breach within and outside the city of Malifaux, each one offering its own benefits and problems. Listed below are 6 of the seven factions that can be joined, excluding the Neverborn, whose agendas are theirs alone to know. Some players may be tempted by power offered by a Neverborn agent, but these individuals are seldom seen as agents of the native forces of Malifaux, unless one welcomes the dark powers to overtake them and turn them into fiends.

                -The Guild: Short for the Guild of Mercantilers, this once lesser trading company has become a dominant force both Earthside and Through the Breach, claiming an iron vice grip on the trade, production and distribution of the coveted Soulstones. While many aspects of the Guild lie in bureaucratic red tape and strict, ever changing laws of commerce, one can, through strength of character and action, work their way up to some level of status. Regardless, though, the majority view of the Guild in the public is less than favorable.

                -The Resurrectionists: The self-titled Resurrectionists are viewed with almost as much hatred by the public as the Guild, except there is no public outcry for the legalization of necromancy, even among Arcanists and magic sympathizers. The term Resurrectionist is a general one, as there is no centralized group, per say, though it is common for Necromancers to offer each other assistance, especially when fledgling Necromancers are involved.

                -The Arcanists: When the Guild began imposing strict sanctions on magic use and soulstone consumption, wizards and sorcerers alike banned to stand against this. Deemed by the Guild as dangerous radicals and terrorists, the Arcanists are those who stand firm against the Guild, doing everything in it’s power to find, protect, and train magic users. They are unsympathetic towards Necromancers, seeing them as a valid threat to the balance of power and ethical ideas.

                -The Outcasts: While the city is in a constant state of struggle with so many groups vying for power, the Outcasts are little more than roguish mercenaries and smugglers. While the term Outcasts refers to the dregs of society that manage to carve out a meager existence, there are many established bands of mercs and illegal goods traders who have garnered the respect of the other factions. These lone wolves answer only to money, caring only for the reward that comes with a successful job. While not all who are considered outcasts are thieves, the common view of the people is that they are not to be trusted for long.

                -Ten Thunders: As the other factions struggle for dominance in the public stage, the Ten Thunders works in the shadows. Once a prominent crime syndicate on Earthside, they were shamed and exiled from the Asian Empire and deemed unworthy. In Malifaux, they have slowly regained their once grand acclaim. This tong of spice traders, martial arts masters, and vicious criminal masterminds has earned them the fear of the Malifaux populace. Many speak of the Ten Thunders in hushed voices, while public officials would claim the group is a myth. For the few that know the truth of this mysterious and dangerous group, they keep their heads down and mouths shut.

                -The Gremlins: A race of diminutive, green skinned, big eared humanoids, these small swamp dwellers care little for city life, preferring to stay in the Bayou. Alone or in small groups, Gremlins are cowardly and seldom attack people. In fact, most are more interested in trading goods. Gremlins care little for money or precious stones, finding no real value in such trinkets. What they do value, however, are the clothes big people wear. If you’re ever looking for a Gremlin who is in charge of a group, look for the most absurdly dressed one or the one wearing the biggest hat. However, despite their hillbilly nature, some large bands of Gremlins are extremely dangerous, especially the ones that managed to tame gators and wild hogs to serve as their weapons.


                Pneumatic Devices Available


                Most pneumatic devices are either prosthesis limbs or excavation or construction related. It is common to see a worker sporting a large pneumatic drill or jack hammer device mounted to their own prosthesis or carried as a tool. All pneumatic devices, from weapons to limbs, are powered by Soulstone residue that is collected as Soulstones are harvested and processed. This dust offers sufficient power for an average of 3 months, upon which the pneumatic must be repowered by an Artificer.

                In essence, any item that would normally be powered by electricity for this time can be powered using Soulstone dust and is considered pneumatic in nature. Tools such as chainsaws, drills, presses, jack hammers or any such item that can be held or attached to a pneumatic limb AND be powered falls into this category.

                Unlike normal Soulstones which regain their magical properties when in the presence of death or dying creatures, the dust does not recharge in this fashion. Once it has expended it’s energy, it becomes like course sand which is cast aside like ordinary dirt.

                If a player wishes to recharge a pneumatic device, they must be in possession of Soulstone dust, which can be procured in a small number of ways. The first is to collect the glowing powder from mining operations, which collects on the ground of soulstone mines. Most mine foremen don’t take kindly to random people trespassing, but if in possession of a license (legal or otherwise), will allow the dust to be collected. Another option is to purchase it from any Steamfitter or Artificer, both trades abundant in the lower downtown wards of Malifaux. On average, a 5 pound bag of dust runs for about 30 dollars.

                The final, and most dangerous method, is to destroy a soulstone. Breaking down, crushing, or putting unnecessary physical stress on a Soulstone can reduce it to a powder form. This, however, is often deemed a suicidal gesture, as such exertions on the stone will almost certainly result in a magic recoil, which has the ability to produce massive explosions, create terrible magic vacuums which drain any nearby creature of magic, and even (in the most extreme possibilities) draw the attention of Neverborn, which are attracted to magical fluctuations.

                Very few pneumatics are directly powered by solid Soulstones, as this option is extremely expensive, though this option does provide several years’ worth of power that can be recharged easily. This also provides greater enhancements and magical augmentations to be placed on said pneumatic device which can also last considerably longer than standard enhancements.




                The Soulstones are arguably the greatest and worst thing to happen to humanity. From these greenish blue stones is pulled the power to awaken innate magic and augment one’s own natural talents. Able to power great machinery, produce clean electricity and generate countless effects that are still subject to study, this precious mineral is the cornerstone for the Guild’s assertive dominance over Malifaux.

                Soulstone is in many ways a form of currency as it is coveted commodity, and many high end establishments accept the precious stones in lieu of other form of commerce. Malifaux’s government does mint a coinage based on the value of Soulstone, called the Governor’s Mint, and nearly the whole of the populace despise this currency. For starters, this currency is not based on the Dollar amount, and at any given day will have fluctuating value. These notes and coins are seldom accepted in most establishments and are seen as a paltry coupon redeemable only through the Guild’s direct outlets, and even then, a man in possession of $100 soulstone notes may only have less than a few dollars in actual value.

                As such, physical Soulstones are seen as having true value for its many purposes. The average direct cost of a single 1 oz. Soulstone can run for $20-$50 if rough cut, and double that if refined. Soulstone sale is closely monitored, and most individuals who purchase the precious substance are likely to find themselves being followed by Guild spies. The only official sources to purchase Soulstones is through Guild vendors, who require a number of signed authorizations, licenses and other documents before purchase, though it is said that one can grease the wheels to get what they need faster.

                Black market Soulstones cost roughly the same, however refined pieces are usually 3 times the normal value, as only the Guild currently possesses the means to safely and correctly refine the raw material.

                Soulstones can be activated in a number of ways based on intended use. If used as a direct power source for machinery or pneumatic devices, a successful Artificing check is required. However, most commonly Soulstones are used to enhance, strengthen or increase magical prowess. A Sanity check is required to tap into the wrap power within a Soulstone, and upon success can render 1 of the following possibilities:

                -Increase Magic Points Pool by 1d6 points for up to 12 hours

                -Guarantee an automatic success for any magic skill check

                -Increase one magic skill by 1d4 percentiles permanently

                -Increase any skill by 25% for 12 hours

                -Increase the damage die of any weapon, ranged or melee, by 1 die (i.e. d6 to d8)

                Once the power of a Soulstone is tapped into, it has a 50% chance to expire. When a Soulstone expires, it turns from a glowing blue-green stone to a black stone that emits no light. However, a Soulstone is subject to recharging if it is within 30 feet of a dying or recently dead creature. Because of this property, it is common to see doctors and morticians holding expended stones over cadavers or dying patients to recharge. No check is needed for this to work.





                For simplification, all costs in Malifaux at this time are equivalent to 1920’s costs of goods and services, with variances based on location, trader, reputation, etc. The US Dollar is present, and still falls to the gold standard. Gold, silver and other precious minerals are also accepted as currency, and can be either pawned or traded directly across the board for its weight value against the cost of goods purchased. Quite commonly you will see more people with gold or silver coinage over paper dollars and bonds.

                Malifaux’s mineral rich landscape offers many of the same precious resources found Earthside, but most sought after are claims on Soulstone veins, with gold, silver, and even diamonds falling to secondary concern. The Guild does not heavily regulate the prospect, mining and transportation of other minerals, and a man who is only staying in Malifaux a short time can return Earthside a wealthy individual.

                Claims on non-Soulstone sights are easy to come by, protected only by the law of one’s own ability to defend what’s theirs. Soulstone claims, however, are very expensive, and require a long, tired process that only the most patient can endure. Those who manage to get through the miles of red tape and can afford their own Soulstone claim will quickly find themselves among the wealthy elite within the City and held in high esteem by the Guild on both sides of the Breach.


                Sanity, Elder Gods, and Fate


                Like in Call of Cthulhu, Sanity will be the most bombarded stat, as players will be pitted against horrors straight out of myth and nightmare. Because many of Lovecraft’s horrors are of a cosmic nature, having the presence of beings like Cthulhu, Nyarlothotep and more does not disrupt the balances of power in Malifaux. Because magical cults already exist, it stands to reason that Elder Gods and cosmic horrors would have a presence in this world as well as on Earth. These beings may serve as puppet masters or beings of worship to the Neverborn. Statistics for these beings will remain the same as detailed in the Call of Cthulhu 6th edition Core Rulebook and other supplements relating to such creatures.

                Fate serves as the primary narrative of the Through the Breach setting, and as such, game masters should work towards building scenarios and stories that will intertwine individual PC’s fates towards their conclusion. Because the nature of the Destinies listed in the Through the Breach Fated Almanac are meant to be vague and offer game masters the chance to interpret them as they wish, remember that these prophecies also are intended to shape characters and what they feel the outcome will be. Devote some sessions toward fulfilling these great events in their lives.

                When a player’s destiny is achieved, and if they are still alive, they automatically may gain 1d10 points to spend on any skill or skills they wish as if they leveled up without having to roll a percentile first. Once a character’s entire Destiny is complete, they have the option to have a second Destiny Crossroads tarot laid out for them, subtracting the Station card. In this way, players with successful characters can continue to grow them and lead them towards new possibilities.

                On a final note, these rules are not set in stone, and as such, any game master interested in implementing this system is free to change what they feel to better appropriate both game systems as they see fit. I the author am in no way claiming my homebrew system is superior to the source materials, and highly recommend you invest in one or both of the systems described above. Both Call of Cthulhu and Through the Breach are excellent RPGs with great systems of play, and this homebrew is my attempt to marry two things I love and providing an easier transition to my players into a new system which none of us have experience in nor can be tutored in proper play by an experienced player or Fate Master. Perhaps in time we will see Malifaux made into other systems such as D20 games like D&D and Pathfinder.

                At the end, this was made for the love of the setting, and I hope that it provides enjoyment to both my players and those I share it with.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

The separation between Investigation skills and Action skills would be the main system difference.

  • Investigation skills are not rolled, but are instead a spend resource, with each rank as a point which can be spent in a scene to gain clues, but only if they exist. If the scene clues don't exist then the spend is wasted.
  • Action skills are normally tested, but are player-facing (in the same way that Through The Breach is)

I'd also suggest checking out Nights Black Agents (same Gumshoe system to Trail) for its Conspyramid (with the ranks can be mapped to Henchmen, Enforcer, Master, etc), as it is a more action-focussed variant.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Join the conversation

You can post now and register later. If you have an account, sign in now to post with your account.

Reply to this topic...

×   Pasted as rich text.   Paste as plain text instead

  Only 75 emoji are allowed.

×   Your link has been automatically embedded.   Display as a link instead

×   Your previous content has been restored.   Clear editor

×   You cannot paste images directly. Upload or insert images from URL.


  • Create New...

Important Information