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Why play TTB?


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My ‘faux collection has spun out of control, now numbering 15 keywords across 5 factions, and so I was wondering if I could have more fun with them otherwise - since I prefer only two keywords.

Which of course led me to Through the Breach. 

I’ve been playing rpgs for 30 years now, with my most memorable experiences coming from Warhammer and Shadowrun - my worst from game-y generic systems like D&D - and the world of ‘faux seems to offer a lot of what these games delivered on. The question is more to the system, does it flow well, does it mechanics support the world? And most important of all is it fun - for campaigns as well as one-shots?

What’s your experience? Is it a great rpg in its own right, or more of a line extension to the mini game?

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I'm not a huge RPGer (played a lot of 2nd edition d&d back in highschool but not much since) and did a 1 shot at gencon (the one with the malisaurus!!!) and had a lot of fun.  From my limited experience it works well as an RPG system.  We didn't play with minis (which honestly would be my preferred method as I'm used to pre-mini RPGs) but if you liked minis I dont see why you couldn't / wouldn't enjoy it that way.

For me the 2 pieces that really stood out was the character creation with the tarot, as it gave some fun possible story hooks for your fated.  I also really liked the way your custom deck worked + the shared deck compared to dice (but I also dislike dice chucking in general).

Things I'm not as crazy about is that the rules are closer to m2e than m3e, so if you've gotten used to m3e rules / gameplay you'll have a bit of a learning curve to remember how m2e worked (like stuff like impossible to wound / hard to wound +2 / terrifying ending activations / etc).  If you miss that stuff, great! but I dont haha.

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I’ve played a lot of TtB, it’s actually the preferred system for my play group, and most of the reasons for that are the mechanics. The world is fantastic, obviously, but there are lots of RPG worlds, most of which are really cool.

The card mechanic is really great, and players (Fated) being able to cheat in better cards means it’s much less swingy than other games. We tend to hate situations where a really cool moment is ruined by a bad dice roll, and cheating fate avoids that entirely. Plus, if someone has taken a few ranks in Wastrel, then they can give their cheat cards to other players, which opens up tons of new options.

Personally, I think switching “classes” (Pursuits) every session keeps everything fresh, too. Getting locked into a single playstyle for 20+ levels is mind numbing to me, and by the fact that you have 15 keywords I’d say you agree. The Pursuit switching works really well, and it makes every session unique.

As for campaigns vs one-shots, I think they both work well. One shots give you the chance to try out wacky character ideas (and crazy-ass enemies), whereas campaigns get really into character development. As an example, here are my wife’s 2 characters, the first from a one-shot:

Madelyn Dalton, a Medium who is possessed by the spirit of her mother. She doesn’t know that she can speak to the dead, or even summon them, and blacks out whenever she uses her powers.

And now her character from our current campaign:

Flora Fauna Fanny-Sutton, a Gremlin who stole some mining gear and convinced a friend to make a Gatling gun out of them. Her adopted mother, a swamp witch named Auntie Fanny, believes all kids grow up, so Flora got big. Now she’s roughly the size of an adult human, and has decided to make her fortune out in the wide world.

Both are fun characters based on crazy ideas, but Flora seemed more fun, so she used Madelyn for a one-shot and will come back to her later.

Campaigns can get a bit difficult to run once the characters get really powerful, but you can slow down their progression a bit to help with that, and make each new power feel meaningful.

Anyway, that’s my massive ramble to say “this game is great, definitely start playing, you won’t regret it.”

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I've FateMastered Through The Breach for several years (I was a kickstarter backer on 1st edition) and it is they system my group seem to enjoy it a lot. ( We've played D&D, Zweihander, Shadowrun, Call of Cthulhu, Numenera in the past).

The card mechanics are interesting for the players, and the Fate Cheating mechanic mitigates bad dice rolls and can add tension with the whole "shall I waste this twist card here..." feeling.

Only one of the players at the table was a Malifaux player, but everyone bought into the setting really easily, as it has so many influences it can be molded to whatever the situation demands, and being ignorant of the setting can be interesting from the perspective of having factions subtly influencing what's happening.

We have genuine fondness for the characters that we've had over the years, and it feels like a shame sometimes once all the destiny steps have been fulfilled and it's time to move on, but equally it's exciting to see what will happen next. We're in the process of poring through "From Nightmares" trying to work out what pursuits/character types to go with next as some of them have some really fun synergies.

I think it's a great system in it's own right, which happens to be fortunate enough to be tied to a great game setting and share some thematic mechanics with a strategy game. It's not dependent on crunchy rolls and can lead to some fun narrative moments.

One of my favourite memories of FM-ing it was one of our players had a Gremlin character who took the trait that meant that there'd always be random family members turning up every session. He always made a point of cold-bloodedly murdering whoever turned up at the end of a session to see how I'd approach the next incoming character. It got really really weird 😄




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Sounds like there's a lot of fun to be had with it the system - and of course the amazing setting.

Next question :

What's the quality of printed scenarios? A friend had picked one up, and reviewed it as "You arrive at a gremlin village, and is tasked with rounding up some chickens, while random things blow up.". Which to me sound more like a great Saturday morning cartoon than a good setup for an RPG session. Another thing is that it is common for RPGs to publish a ton of 'splat' books, once they get the ball rolling, usually focused more on adding new powers/items/rules to the game and speaking to the min/max players, rather than creating better stories.

So what's your experience with the quality of scenarios and source books beyond the main rules?

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Well, the additional main sourcebooks are all about adding new ways to create characters, new pursuits, new powers, etc, but I wouldn’t say they’re for min/maxing. They’re more for exploring new areas of the world and getting more options. That’s not to say you can’t min/max with them, you can create some pretty broken builds, but that’s really not what TtB is for, so I’d steer players away from that idea. 

As for the published adventures, they vary between the Saturday morning cartoon ones you described, some that are jumping-off points for campaigns, some are better inserted into the middle of an ongoing campaign, and the bigger ones are almost full campaigns in their own right (In Defence of Innocence springs to mind).

I’d say your best bet is to read the little descriptions of the adventures, and maybe ask for opinions here before buying one, but the vast majority are really great. 

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  • 2 weeks later...

I've played and ran in this system a lot, I love it but because I love it I wish it was a lot better. If you love malifaux lore and card mechanics then this is the best place for you but here's a list of my pro's and con's

Pros;  IT'S MALIFAUX, The magic system is really cool, Lots of interesting classes and fun interactions, Tarrot brings unique flavor to every character, player focused direction and narritive, combat feels great very tactical. lot's of social/skill options that matter allowing intrigue among other great emergent moments.

cons;   math on the game can warp easily and it's not hard to break the game even by accident, game doesn't scale well, following the players fate lines can be pretty messy, some hold over mechanics and classes from 1e need tuning. construct, undead making needs a bit of work, meaningful purchases evaporate fairly quickly making script more narrative than anything. there is no guidance on encounter creation no rating to know if you are throwing too much or too little at your players. it is also surprisingly hard to kill players / make them feel like they are in danger. The grimoire system throttles magic a little too much imo.


All that being said, if you want a game that lets you explore malifaux and it's gritty and dark mysteries, if you like tactical combat that feels more dynamic and interesting than DnD, If you like games the encourage and support systems and skill other than an a typical dnd adventurer would take then this is the place for you.


I love this game with all my heart, it's got a lot of quarks and glitches, but it is a good game, It's biggest flaw tho is how slowly the content comes out. I know wyrd isnt an rpg company but an expansion book every 1-2 years is pretty slow especially when there's still factions people want supported so they can feel like their team has representation in the game. truth is if you love malifaux, you'll love this, hopefully as this community grows we'll get enough community content to help spackle over some of these things. I love the engine this game is built on and have thought about using it to make my own rpg more than a handful of times.



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