Through the Breach

Campaign Week 5: Map it Out
Four factions investigate new Malifaux structures.

Where there was life then death, new twisted structures have risen from these tortured zones. Higher ups have demanded several companies of expendables to explore these new alien structures.

After weeks of investigating the implications of the first rituals, new twisted architectures have erupted from the ground. Thankfully, the aetheric powers of the Malifaux plane have returned to the city, but the heads of several organizations are still skeptical (possibly even fearful) of these new structures. To quell their suspicions, or better, claim any buried treasures, several mercenary groups have been hired to investigate.

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Campaign Week 4: Dead Zones
Four factions find Malifaux drained of life

Whether it is the lingering effects of the first rituals or the indescriminant deforestation of the carnivorous plants, Malifaux is left avoid of both life and magical power.

Blame and evasion of responsibility abounds in Malifaux proper this week. Sanctioned spellcasters and suspected Arcanists complain that the Guild-sanctioned plant-killing has crippled the aetheric lifeforce and energies within the City. Meanwhile, the Guild countered with an official statement saying the current magical drain the is lingering effects of the aggressive plantlife, and their intervention saved the city from further, greater harm. Whoever is to blame, illegal magical activities seem to be in the decline in the current magical state, which the Guild seems weirdly ok with the current state of the City.

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Campaign Week 3: Carnivorous Plants
Four factions battle the Malifaux foliage that is awoken by the rituals.

With the ritualistic slaughter complete, the Frostrun runs red with blood, which has inadvertently fertilized a new bloom of hungry flora.

Whether it is the result of the earlier rituals or not, voracious plants have erupted from the cobblestones, devouring or poisoning all those around them. The Guild has posted a hasty bounty to cut down the invasive supernatural plants, peaking the attention of several mercenary groups. Though some wonder; will there be unforeseen repercussions for such a slash-and-burn policy for this new vegetation? Time will tell.

While the incursion of the vegetation was particularly virulent at the beginning of the week, crews adapted quickly to hack away the opportunistic plant life. Four mercenary crews gained much profit from Guild-sactioned clear-cutting, gaining the notice from some major movers and shakers in Malifaux. The Outcast also received an additional boon, claiming they found the legendary staff “Insight” hidden within one of the thorny bushes.

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Campaign Week 2: Ancient Monument
Four factions continue the ritual

While Delios is setting, the first phase of the ritual has been successfully complete. Now to Step Two.

Sacrificing the weak only proved to be a catalyst for a larger ritual. After the moon past it’s Full Moon phase, numerous, large monuments have erupted out of the Malifaux streets. Their etchings demand for even more bloodshed to progress the ritual. To assist in the slaughter, these monuments pulse with aetheric power, enhancing surrounding magics, much to the four crew’s glee.

Once again, the Cult of December remains on top, slaying and eating dozens of innocents to fuel their frozen magics. The wandering gang of the damned were close behind, as their emissary has made an appearance. The Guild stands strong against the Neverborn tide, even after a crippling defeat earlier this week. The ground shakes; what will these rituals actually raise?

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Campaign Week 1: Extermination
Four factions clash under a new conflict

A lonely, full Delios is rising over Malifaux, and ancient magics are building in kind.

The progression of the alien stars and moons in Malifaux are often harbingers of Neverborn rituals and increased mysticism. Small tag teams from the Guild, Neverborn, Arcanists, and Outcasts, have prepared for this stellar event. The ancient texts demand the blood of the weak… “survival of the fittest” they say. These four crews are ready to deliver.

Unsurprisingly, the Cult of December relished the task, as their cannibalistic ways aligned perfectly to the demands of the sacrificial rituals. The Special Divisions of the Guild fared well, pushing back the increasing monstrous threats with little to no casualties. A tall, lanky spirit accompanied by a ragtag group of Outcasts also pushed their agenda, but at great cost and injury. The Neverborn spirits took the greatest beating over the week, but now everyone is anxious of their inevitable vengeance.

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Tyrant's Torpor
The Party meet one last time in the Epilogue

fourhorses.pngThis was the Extra Life 2015 One Shot using endgame MiM characters!

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Metempsychosis in Malifaux
The Party attacks Osiris and his army.

IMG_1316.JPGWith an intimidating crew of Mr. H’s Five, Lazarus, a Gatling gun manned by two Friekorpsmenn, and a horde of constructs (including Komodo Ryu), the strike team set off toward Horniege’s controlled Blood-stained Arena. At first approach, it was obvious something was wrong with the surrounding area. With little warning, the team was attacked by a swooping swarm of clockwork pigeons that were roosting in the Crooked Clock Tower, and the team chose to run and take cover into the Arena over standing and fighting off the deadly flock.

Inside the Arena, as the crew feared, more of Horniege’s army seemed to be complete, while the demon-horn-crowned mastermind himself casually draped himself on a massive silvery scrap pile thrown, with Chloe hovering close by. Surprised that the humans came back so willing to their death, Lazarus broke Horniege’s monologue and challenged him to face his crimes against humanity. Taking glee in “decommissioning the failed prototype,” Horniege attached himself to his thrown, which unfolded into the massive Strangealloy scorpion Osiris.

Bullets, magic, and constructs began to fly. While intimidating to behold and quick to close distance, the new Neverdead shells proved to be cumbersome in combat, and it was obvious only Osiris provided any meaningful ranged threat. While the new Gatling gun repeatedly jammed, Ave threw out two Contender’s Flasks, spawning the Pale Rider and Ashes and Dust. Cho’ko’s constructs surged forward, preventing the Neverdead from pressing a melee-advantaged into the ranged crew.

While things seemed to be going well at the off, Osiris revealed he had been preparing for a fight. Two crystalline pillars that Cho’ko accurately identified as massive Death’s Chandeliers pulsed with blood-red light, weakening the heroes’ resolve while not touching the Neverdead. Determined to prevent a second pulse, Cho’ko piloted her Ryu towards the closest Chandelier, but it was the fallen Ashen Core that was able to switch the pillar into a venomous lime-green to the Five’s benefit.

With concentrated fire, Osiris finally fell under the hail of lead, most damaging of which was Ave’s saved Blackfire-coated rounds, which etched and rapidly corroded the Strangealloy body. Mantic now, Osiris seemed not to give up so easily, enacting his Apophis Edict to eject his tail section and become a massive platinum viper.

Seeing their alpha dropped so quickly, denying the last chance of resummoning or the eternal life Horniege must have promised the Soulstone wraiths, the Neverdead began to compromise their Soulstone cores in a desperate attempt to take out any enemy close to them. Frustrated with their lack of faith, Horniege began to retreat from the fireteam, but not quickly enough, as the Apophis frame too crumped as quickly as the scorpion frame under concentrated fire.

Shrieking in horror, Chloe quickly made a move to scoop-up the Osiris head and beat feet while the Neverdead made their last stand. Undaunted by the chaos, Lazarus fired a fatal shot at the Nephilim succubus, drenching the head in caustic black blood, damaging the Soulstone core beyond sanity. As Osiris screamed unintelligibly and each Neverdead detonated their aetheric conflagration, Lazarus strode forward and smashed the last remnant of the Osiris nightmare.

With the Neverdead threat finally neutralized, our heroes got to enjoy the end-credit montage that comes with a happily-ever-after. Using the 4-lade Soulstone that was found in one of the Chandeliers and the Last Will and Testament of Arthur Beswick, James returned to Earth briefly to get his family affairs and business in order, but rounded back into Malifaux to follow his father’s parting words of following his heart for adventure. Cho’ko claimed Horniege’s Arena as her own, and while she can still be seen with James in the day, she frequents the QZ at night to continue her dealings with her Whisperer. Ave finally got in contact with her estranged family, and with the tales she told, Lucius’ vouching, and her ability to fire El Corazon, she was welcomed with open arms into Latigo.

However, questions remain. What are the intentions of the White Rabbit? Will Harvey pursue revenge on the Five? Will Lucius ever call on the crew again? Fates and Destiny are fickle, even for the Fated, but there will always be one certainty in Malifaux:

Bad Things Happen.

An unedited recording of this session can be found here and here.

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Ampersand Accord
The Party meets Lazarus

Androids_playing_Poker_24x30.jpgAfter the brief Beswick Reunion, the Party couldn’t afford to get too distracted and stay focused on the overwhelming Neverdead threat. To pass the time until the midnight unlocking of Ampersand, Cho’ko begins work on Komodo Ryu in Hoffaman’s Enclave Workshop, and back at the hotel, Dr. McMourning removed the body of the late Beswick.

With minutes to spare, the Party headed to the Qi and Gong to get ready for Ampersand. Using James’ accurate time-piece, they opened the third door North behind the Qi and Gong, just as English Ivan described. Inside they found a vaulted, pitch dark room, with only a wooden floor to ground the massive indoor space. Only the keenest of eyes could possibly see a light source in the far distance, far further than the Qi is deep, but they marched forward, fumbling in the dark.

But as the Party ventured deeper, other light sources began to glow: different sizes, colors, and brightnesses began to follow the Party like a clinging constellation of stars. But, after Ave triggered her Strangemetal Shirt, they soon found the stories to be true, as each light was a different defunk construct mechanically eyeing them with a mixture of curiosity and suspicion.

When the party finally found the primary source of lighting in the center of Ampersand, they were greeted by a very strange sight; a collection of anthropomorphic constructs playing poker with gears and cogs for chips. When the game finally ended, the winner revealed himself to be Lazarus himself. With only a little convincing, Lazarus offered to organize a Freikorps strike team and finally realize his revenge on Horniege once and for all, fulfilling Cho’ko’s destiny step when an additional mining construct offered to be the primary Soulstone component for her second creation.

An uneditted recording of this session can be found here.

Image taken from I Love My Walls.

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Familial Forgiveness
The Party is visited by Beswick's past

nautilushotel.jpgAfter the near-miss with the unmasked-megalomaniac that once was Dr. Horniege, Mr. H’s Five report in completeness to Lucius Mattheson on the state of Horniege, his Neverdead army, and the war factory that has been created in the Blood-soaked Arena. Resolved to eradicate the threat, Lucius offers to give the Party command of a small Guild strike team, unless they can recruit one unnamed individual who might have an axe to grind against Horniege. Not naming the person by name, Lucius only wrote a word on a card to help them find the place the contact might be; Ampersand.

Before launching their investigation too heavily, the Party first wanted to cash out the Vault tickets that Horniege absentmindedly threw their way in their last meeting. From these tickets, James found a stack of damning Project Lazarus and Project Osiris documents, which he only took a small sample to read later. Ave on the other hand found a sizable drawer that contained beautiful and polished pneumatic limbs, ambidextrous attachments for one full arm and one full leg replacement. Before leaving, however, Ave was able to pilfer one other poorly-locked drawer and gained what would later be identified as an Alp horn. Cho’ko was naturally ecstatic at the wonderful pneumatic craftsmanship of Ave’s finds, and was resolved to immediately attach these new superior parts.

While Cho’ko went under the knife to upgrade herself, James and Ave began the search for Ampersand. Initial leads were completely useless, and it wasn’t until they intimidated a street urchin in the Industrial Zone that they learned that Ampersand was an urban legend, a sanctuary for discontinued, decommissioned, or run-away Guild and Arcanist constructs, a place regarded to have the same level of reality as the Island of Misfit Toys. Pressing the ragamuffin further finally came up with a lead on another name, English Ivan, who’s famed heists, which recently focused on the capture of several Peacekeepers, might have a useful affinity towards Ampersand, assuming it’s a real place.

Heading towards a bar in the Burns to follow this flimsy lead, James and Ave find Phil, who grills them on the purpose of their visit until English Ivan summons them from a side room. Proving to be a friend at the right price (the cost of one bag of Soulstone powder this time), English Ivan revealed that Ampersand is indeed a real place, but changes location every night. Tonight, Ampersand will be in the back alleys of the Qi and Gong in Little Kingdom.

Returning to retrieve Cho’ko, who’s now excited to use her new pneumatics to finally create her much discussed Komodo Ryu, they resolve to first visit James’ visitor from Earthside. A quick visit to the train station validates James’ fear; his father, Arthur Beswick, is now in Malifaux. The station thankfully also provided the hotel he’s staying at in Downtown, so the Party resolved to head there directly.

In front of Room 202, the Party meets a familiar face; Tanika-san, the family butler. Only allowing James through, James finds his father strapped to a steampunk gurney, health obviously failing. With his dying breath, the two Beswick men forgave each other for past failings. As a final gift, Arthur gave James the Sapphire Lexicon, which enraged the Nothing Beast when James not to ascend with the Grimoire and Obliteration’s Gifts, fulfilling his final destiny step.

An unedited recording of this session can be found here.

Image taken from willy111’s Photobucket.

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Melani's Malevolence
The Party reports to Lucius and fight their way into the QZ

neverdead.jpgAfter fulfilling the disastrous summons from Harvey, Mr. H’s Five felt it was high time to return to the waiting Horniege. Collecting the Steam Trunk and settling their tab at the Gear and Sprocket, they headed their way to a QZ entrance.

Trudging through the still new snow, however, they found however their closest gate to their HQ was closed and unmanned, barring their way back. Disheartened and unsure how to proceed, they were approached by a disheveled Drew, who claimed Harvey survived the hostile Ten Thunder takeover, and implored the Party to follow him to the wounded crime-boss. Naturally skeptical of Drew’s story, but still clueless how to proceed on their current objective, the Party followed him to an abandoned building in one of the neighboring slums.

Inside, Drew ducked away in the darkness, and Lucius Mattheson revealed himself and some of his cronies from the shadows. Lucius demanded an update from the crew, and while they were hesitant to divulge Horniege’s covert operations, the Party opted to tell the whole truth to avoid Lucius far more dangerous ire. After inspecting the contents of their Trunk, Lucius revealed some of his suspicions about Horniege’s new devious goals, in response to the Five’s updates. After revealing some family history for Ave in response to some of the Vault items inside the trunk, Ave manifested her fourth Destiny step by accepting a Brusker-Ortega wedding ring from Lucius.

To confirm Lucius’ suspicions, he charged the Five (the only humans that Horniege would allow into his sanctum) to still deliver the filled Trunk to Horniege, but pump him for information and report back if Horniege proves to be as nefarious as Lucius knows. Giving each of the five a fountain-pen sized gadget and explaining it will return them to safety if things go awry, Lucius directed them to a sewers entrance that should get them close to the Arena.

Navigating the Undercity seemed to be direct enough, until the Party encountered a sobbing woman, who turned out to be a beaten-down Melani. Screaming for blood and revenge for keeping her away from Horniege, Melani and her minions attacked. Desperate to reach their goal instead of engaging Melani in a lengthy brawl, the Party sprinted for a man hole exit with the Trunk, but managed to eliminate the disturbed Woe before making their exit.

Using the Crooked Clocktower as a guide, the Party finally made it back to the Arena, but much has changed in their days of absence. With the interior looking more like the inside of a pocket watch than the bare stone arena previously, Horniege’s head seemed to have created multiple soulstone-powered constructs to make an army instead of making a replacement body as he claimed. With all the parts delivered, Horniege thanked the Party for their services, tossed two last remaining Vault tickets, and promptly began to ignore their presence. When pressed on the Arena’s remodel and constructs, Horniege freely explained his true intentions, since the Five were as good as dead now.

Horniege was never human, even before his Robotic Rebirth. He was a Mimic, an infiltrator inside the Guild, and while the on-paper intent of his Project Lazarus was to help mankind towards a better, more complex construct under Guild servitude, Horniege’s intentions were always to use the Project’s techniques and science to enslave the Malifaux colonists and drive the Guild out of Malifaux. Lazarus’ success proved too temperamental and free-willed to control, and after Lazarus’ explosive closure, Horniege founded Project Osiris to continue the work not to subjugate humanity, but to breath life back into his own fallen kind the Neverborn. Using the soulstones provided by a new Woe companion, Chloe, Horniege has successfully revived ancient Neverborn consciousness and souls from her stolen soulstones. As a protest against the name Neverborn, he named these new Strangemetal constructs the Neverdie, and set the partially-made army upon the Five.

With quick reactions, Cho’ko activated her pen-teleporter, sending the entire crew safely to an all too familiar location; Lucius’ office. With his unmasked face turned away from them as he sips tea overlooking Downtown, we close with Lucius hissing the questions, “What do you have to report?”

An uneditted recording of this session can be found here.
Image taken from New Phyrexia art from Magic: the Gathering TCG.

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