inSights - into Malifaux
When mankind had access to Malifaux magic flowed through the world, but then the doorway into that world closed. The Breach began to seal in an otherworldly howl, and as it closed, a single bloody corpse was unceremoniously thrown through the closing gap. It had a single word carved into its flesh. “Ours”.
Then the Breach re-opened in 1887. A hundred years had passed, to the minute. The world had grown accustomed to existence without magic. For a century, Soulstones had been the rarest commodity Earthside and magic was slowly dying. Now, the people of Earth could once again reach into the world of Malifaux.
The first heavily armed explorers through the Breach discovered an empty city. There were signs of a battle, some of them fresh. The city was in ruins, but there were no signs of the people who were trapped on the other side when the Breach closed some hundred years before. No signs of life at all, except a single corpse, hanging from a tree.
Now there is Conflict. Malifaux is ruled by the interests of powerful organizations. The Guild was the first to seize power in this world, establishing a rigid and fascist law that guarantees their control over the precious Soulstones. Despite their control, the Arcanists have managed to build a powerful resistance against that oppression and maintain a black market Soulstone trade. Concerned with the buried secrets of the past, the grim Resurrectionists loot the City of its treasures and claim the inheritance of an extinct people, wielding terrible powers garnered from the grave and forgotten lore. And what agenda the nightmarish Neverborn seek is unknown, but their presence and influence are obvious in the terror they sow. But to assume these forces represent all interests in Malifaux is naïve. Within the tangled skein of dirty politics in this city, there are many players.
The Guild exists for one reason and one reason only. There is talk of justice and peace, but these are secondary concerns, byproducts of their primary interest. The Guild exists to maintain the production of Malifaux Soulstone above all other things. The citizens abide by Guild law because it offers some amount of protection, but no one is confused about the way this force exerts its hold over the City and its resources. The Guild uses many tools, from the Witch Hunters, to the Death Marshalls, each suited to dealing with one of Malifaux’s unique problems.
The Guild’s Witch Hunters have not proven very popular with the citizens of Malifaux. Every man, woman, and child is viewed with suspicion by the Guild’s enforcers, and even the most minor display of magical talent can result in unexpected midnight raids. These individuals are able to do what the common man only dreams of in ragged thoughts, they spit in the eye of The Guild. Of course, some Arcanists garner enough power to be untouchable, protected by the Miners & Steamfitters Union. The Guild does not dare to move against them in overt ways, as a strike would slow Soulstone production to a halt.
The same cannot be said for those who deal in the necromantic arts. The name “Resurrectionist” is a cruel joke, amusing only to the twisted minds of murderers and graverobbers. Resurrectionists reanimate the dead, but the trade of Resurrectionists results not in a body restored but a soulless puppet. Their practices are particularly appalling to the citizens of Malifaux who already must contend with the occupational dangers of the mines and the nightmare spawn of Neverborn. That some of the most terrible monsters this world knows are fellow men and women, former friends and family, is a grim realization.
Those living in Malifaux have more to contend with than just humanity. There are things that go bump in the night. The creatures that stalk the ruined city of Malifaux are terrible monsters that brutally prey on the newly arrived residents of this land. The Neverborn take many shapes, from the giant winged Nephilim to the small murderous Woes. Some are deceptively similar in appearance to humans, able to walk amongst them, and these are by far the most dangerous, as their unknown designs are far more subtle and far-reaching. Where many Neverborn are satisfied by grizzly, indulgent murder, these human-looking monsters wage a campaign of terror on mankind through grand organized raids and clever attacks on human settlements. They, too, are not above the occasional indulgent murder.
Lastly, there are the Outcasts. Perhaps they have been rejected by the power players of Malifaux, or maybe they have their own individual agenda in the city, those not directly associated with the primary powers. In a world of desperate convicts, power mad sorcerers, and blood-thirsty Neverborn, these are the outsiders. The misfits of misfits, they are the shady characters waiting in the back of the bar to be offered a job from a non-descript man in a black cloak. They are the cutthroats and mercenaries, loners and forgotten.