|Years active||2009 to present|
|Playing time||1–2 hours|
|Random chance||Deck of cards used for task resolution|
Malifaux is a skirmish-level miniatures wargame manufactured by Wyrd Miniatures involving gang warfare in the ruins of a crumbling city. According to the game's backstory, the city of Malifaux was discovered through a portal into another world. This world is a source of the valuable mineral known as "soulstone" which allows for magical effects. Games pit masters and their crews against one another for control of this resource.
Released at Gen Con in August 2009, Malifaux uses a card mechanic in lieu of dice. Numbers are randomly generated by drawing numbered cards from a "Fate Deck". A number of mechanics in the game allow for manipulating this draw. The game also has the three expansion rulesets Rising Powers, Twisting Fates and Storm of Shadows. A second edition of the game ("M2E") was released in October 2013, with a pre-release at Gen Con in August 2013.
The universe of Malifaux
The fictional universe of Malifaux as presented in the rules books and the online Malifaux Record and Wyrd Cronicles is both a city-state and a world in a parallel dimension. This universe is also the setting for the role playing game Through the Breach. The first known breach (also called The Breach of The Great Boundary) to this world was created in 1787 after our own world was threatened by the decline of magic and magicians looking for a new source of magic discovered a world separated from ours by a thin barrier. The creation of the breach destroyed the city surrounding the ritual site ripping the life force from its inhabitants creating a new equilibrium between the two worlds. Beyond the breach was discovered the city of Malifaux, surprisingly similar to many of our own but devoid of inhabitants. The new world turned into a new frontier when crumbling mining towns surrounding the city were rebuilt into boom towns in the search and trade of soulstones, the source of magic. With exploration continuing during the following decade, hostile natives called Neverborn were encroached upon. Tombs were discovered and with them the magic of resurrection. Discovered too were intelligent machines powered by soulstone.
In 1797, the breach was destabilised by a blizzard collapsing while smoke and the sound of battle was heard Earthside. After turmoil the Guild was formed by those who had made the Breach in the first place, controlling the dwindling resource of soulstones left Earthside and preparing for its reopening. In 1897 the Breach spontaneously reopened. The Guild was ready and took control with the Breach and the reopened frontier fuelling a new boomtrade in Soulstone.
The present is 1901 Earthside. The Guild's control is precarious. Lesser, unstable breaches have appeared. A significant part of the workforce have organised themselves in the Miners and Steamfitters Union and smuggling is rife.
The city of Malifaux
The city itself is walled. Reclamation is underway, but large segments are still uninhabited, quarantined and walled off to protect the human population. A railway runs through the breach and into Malifaux as well as to a few mining towns. The city is run by the Governor General appointed by the Guild.
Around Malifaux human settlements are concentrated to boomtowns and pioneer towns.
Malifaux features seven different factions led by different masters supplement by different crews. Some crew masters belong to more than one faction.:
The Guild is the law in Malifaux. They exert a fascist control over the city and are more concerned with the production of soulstone, a substance which allows for wielders to perform supernatural feats, than they are with the safety of its inhabitants. The Guild offers a mix of ranged and melee combat and aesthetically possesses a number of Wild West motifs. The crew masters of the Guild are:
- Sonnia Criid: a Guild master, Criid uses fire magic and her runed blade to hunt down illegal magic users and recover soulstone.
- Lady Justice: a Guild master, Lady Justice leads a group of Death Marshals against the undead and is loved by the populace as a protector of the people.
- Perdita Ortega: a Guild master, Perdita is a gunslinger who leads the Ortega family.
- C. Hoffman: a Guild master, Hoffman is a senior Guild official who uses multiple machines in his crew and has relations with the Arcanists.
- Lucius: a Guild and Neverborn master and the secretary of Governor General of all of Malifaux, Lucius has mysterious connections with the world Malifaux is located in.
- Nellie Cochrane: a Guild master, Nellie is a journalist who does not hesitate to expose the truth behind the happenings of the Malifaux universe.
The Resurrectionists are necromancers who command forces of the undead. Where the other factions are concerned with collecting soulstones, the Resurrectionists loot the ruins of Malifaux for magical devices and tomes of knowledge. They are very resilient characters in play, with the ability to absorb a lot of damage and to raise dead models as additional combatants. The crew masters of the Resurrectionsts are:
- Seamus: a Resurrectionist master, Seamus is one of the most audacious and vile characters in the Malifaux universe, having a crew composed of undead women.
- Molly: a Resurrectionist master, Molly was once a journalist before being brutally murdered by Seamus. Mysterious, she had developed autonomy and controls her own undead crew free from the control of Seamus.
- Nicodem: a Resurrectionist master, Nicodem is responsible for finding gravesites for the dead of Malifaux, attempting to raise an army of undead zombies to rebel against the Governor General.
- Kirai: a Resurrectionist master, Kirai's fiancé was murdered by her father, resulting in grief so powerful that it led her to break the barrier between life and death.
- McMourning: a Resurrectionist and Guild master, McMourning is the Guild's coroner, but secretly experiments with the dead bodies that come his way to create freakish undead creations.
- Reva: a Resurrectionst master, Reva was discovered with incredible powers of communicating with the dead by a priest and now instills purpose in the undead.
The Neverborn are the native inhabitants of the world of Malifaux. They are nightmarish monsters that terrorize the human settlers in Malifaux. Their existence is linked with a calamity that occurred in the world's ancient past. They are known for their speed and abilities that confound their enemies. They possess few ranged attacks but are very deadly in melee combat. The crew masters of the Neverborn are:
- Lilith: a Neverborn master, Lilith is the first of the Neverborn who, being centuries of years old, desires to kill the humans who have entered the world of Malifaux.
- Pandora: a Neverborn master, Pandora is a youthful Neverborn who carries an ancient box of suffering and toys with the humans who live in Malifaux, killing all hope.
- The Dreamer: a Neverborn master, the Dreamer is a young boy whose nightmares are transformed into reality, followed by a Neverborn monster called Nytmare, or as he calls him, "Lord Chompy Bits".
- Collodi: a Neverborn master, Collodi was a living puppet left behind in Malifaux during its first incursion, filled with loneliness and rage against humanity.
- Zoraida: a Neverborn and Gremlins master, known as the Swamp Hag, Zoraida is actually a human that was left behind in Malifaux during its first incursion and has lived there for so long that she has been twisted by its local environment.
- Titania: a Neverborn master, the Queen of the Fae, and the Keeper of the Old World. TItania is attempting to reclaim control of Malifaux as its rightful Queen.
The Arcanists are individuals who practice magic. The Miners and Steamfitters Union is run by one of Malifaux' prominent Arcanists, Ramos. The M & SU is an organization that represents the labor class in the city. The Arcanists are actually made up from different groups that range from the Order of the Chimera to the show girls of Collette. Their primary strength is in the wide variety of spells they can cast and they also boast a number of mechanical and elemental constructs as well as beast minions. The crew masters of the Arcanists are:
- Ramos: an Arcanist master and the leader of the Union, Ramos runs a machinery heavy crew while running the Miners and Steamfitters Union (M&SU), a secret crime syndicate with its cover as a worker's union as a front.
- Rasputina: an Arcanist master, Rasputina was a strong willed woman who made a deal with a primordial being known as December, receiving cryokinetic powers.
- Colette Du Bois: an Arcanist master, Colette is the owner of the Star Theater, a nightclub which acts as a front for the Arcanists for its smuggling operations.
- Marcus: an Arcanist master, Marcus was a professor who discovered the primal energies of the wilds of Malifaux, becoming a bestial and mystical shaman.
- Ironsides: an Arcanist master, Toni Ironsides is an enforcer for the MS&U, having a hatred for the Guild as they executed her mother.
- Kaeris: an Arcanist master, Kaeris devoted herself to magic and discovered the power of the Eternal Flame and the uncontrolled potential magic had.
- Sandeep Desai: an Arcanist master, Sandeep was born in Guild occupied India devoted to learning before his own master was arrested by the Guild. Since then, Sandeep had dedicated his life in a quest for arcane knowledge and took up his master's cursed Gada to fight the Guild's occupational control.
The Outcasts are a group of smaller interests unassociated with the major factions in Malifaux. A number of Outcasts are also mercenaries that may be hired by the other factions for use in their crews. The crew masters of the Outcasts are:
- Viktorias: Outcast masters, Viktoria of Ashes was left with a body double as part of a Neverborn plot, a doppelganger whom she bonded with as a sister. Her crew seeks to find artifacts which they can sell back Earthside.
- Jack Daw: an Outcast master, Jack Daw is a mysterious corpse that hangs from the top of the Hanging Tree, which is filled with the hanging bodies of dead men. During nighttime however, Jack leads an army of the undead, ravaging towns and people in areas of betrayal.
- Leveticus: an Outcast master, Leveticus is a salvager who has discovered how to cheat death and, according to Zoraida the Swamp Hag, is the center of Fate's design.
- Hamelin: an Outcast master, Hamelin was a lowly thief who became possessed by an old alchemist named Plague.
- Von Schill: an Outcast master, Von Schill is a mercenary who worked with his own mercenary crew, the Freikorps for any group willing to pay.
- Tara: an Outcast and Resurrectionst master, Tara was a member of the Freikorps before being killed by a sniper after making a deal with a Neverborn named Obliteration.
- Parker Barrows: an Outcast master, Parker Barrows is the leader of the Barrows gang, a group of outlaws and bandits who rob from any group in Malifaux for profit.
Released at Gen Con in 2012, the Ten Thunders is a shadowy faction, their masters associated with the other factions as well as their own. Inspired by the Triads and Yakuza, the faction springs from the Three Kingdoms earthside (an unified Japan, China and Vietnam) and is currently led by the Katanaka clan. Their means of transport is through a lesser breach within the Three Kingdoms unknown by the Guild. The crew masters of the Ten Thunders are:
- Shenlong: a Ten Thunders master, Shenlong was possessed by a primordial being known as the Dragon after discovering his temple, a being who has now turned its sights towards Malifaux.
- Misaki: a Ten Thunders and Outcasts master, Misaki slowly gained the respect of the Ten Thunders, although she is torn between doing things her father's way and things her own way.
- Mei Feng: a Ten Thunders and Arcanists master, Mei Feng discovered that she could heat and forge metal, a skill she uses to create constructs for the Ten Thunders.
- Lucas McCabe: a Ten Thunders and Guild master, Lucas McCabe was an adventurous explorer who became even more reckless after his fiancee died. He intentionally allowed himself to be arrested in order to become closer to the Guild, who are unaware that McCabe already owes a debt to the Ten Thunders.
- Yan Lo: a Ten Thunders and Resurrectionist master, Yan Lo was cursed to walk the Paths between life and death for eternity before being brought back into the material world, and later Malifaux, by his niece Chiaki.
- Jakob Lynch: a Ten Thunders and Neverborn master, Jakob Lynch owned a nightclub who made a deal with two mysterious men to house a monstrous creature underneath his basement, a fact he did not learn until it was too late. Having made the deal because of a huge debt to the Ten Thunders, Lynch is now trapped between the two factions and seeks to find his own fate free of both.
- Asami Tanaka: a Ten Thunders master, Asami experienced great pain in her entire life. When she became mortally wounded, she allowed a demon into her soul, granting her power in exchange for a ravenous hunger for life.
Originally included as part of the Outcasts faction, it was announced as part of the update to Malifaux Second Edition that the Gremlins will now be a faction of their own. Natives to the lands around Malifaux, the Gremlins are a wild and rambunctious group. Their playstyle is characterized by often random acts that can at times injure their own fellows as easily as their enemies. They lean towards a ranged focus although this might change with new minis being released in the future. The crew masters of the Gremlins are:
- Som'er Teeth Jones: a Gremlins master, Som'er is a notorious criminal who is being hunted by the Guild even today. He wears a big hat as a symbol of his authority over all the other gremlins in his crew.
- Ophelia: a Gremlins master, Ophelia was an ambitious gremlin before her crew was massacred by the Ortega family. Having stolen Perdita Ortega's hat herself, she now leads another crew of gremlins, causing trouble wherever she goes.
- Mah Tucket: a Gremlins master, Mah is the infamous leader of the Bayou Bushwackers, a crew wanted for multiple counts of assault and battery. She uses cookware and is a formidable foe against her enemies.
- Ulix: a Gremlins master, Ulix is a hog breeder, and the master of hogs and all things hoggish.
- Wong: a Gremlins master, Wong is one of the most eccentric master of all of Malifaux, wearing blue robes and uses theatrical firework displays to hide his own powerful magical potential, which he plans to use against the Ten Thunders organization.
- The Brewmaster: a Gremlins and Ten Thunders master, the Brewmaster discovered moonshine, and brews multiple variants of this cocktail within a group of fiercely loyal and independent gremlins known as the "Tri-Chi".
- Zipp: a Gremlins master, Zipp is the most feared Sky Pirate of all of Malifaux, owning a ship called Infamy and raiding all the other organizations of Malifaux with his sky pirate crew.