So the Malifaux weekend has come and gone. We had 8 players all together including my son and I. Tyler and Jordan came down from New Brunswick, Shawn and Eric from Halifax, and Julian and Ian from Yarmouth. Thanks everyone for making the trip and putting up with cramped arrangements.
We had a story to set the the games in and the last battle was a 3 on 3 grand finale. Julian set the stage by writing an intro story which I will include here. Thanks Julian Smith for writing this up for us.
The boy came running into town on bloodied feet, leaving red spatters on Malifaux’s jagged cobbles. The soles of his shoes were worn right through and his head lolled forward, as if his neck were too weak to support its weight. His legs moved in jerks and spasms and looked on the verge of collapse. He looked as if he were falling, but by clumsy chance his legs kept getting in the way, holding him up for long enough to postpone his fall for another step. He ran as if he had no choice in the matter. He ran as if he would rather die than stop.
It was midnight when the boy’s legs crumpled beneath him at last and his forehead hit the cobbles with a sickening crack. Whether it was ill fate or sinister design we may never know, but the boy happened to collapse in Bantercraft Row, in the Spies’ Ghetto – the one place in Malifaux where the news he brought was guaranteed to be transmitted, via covert whispers, to every person of importance in the city.
The Spies’ Ghetto was on the very edge of the quarantine zone and was ringed by high walls. It housed Malifaux’s community of freelance snoops, professional eavesdroppers, noses and ears for hire. The spies of Malifaux were notoriously untrustworthy, would sell anyone out for a little money, would turn your slightest flaw, your most innocent mistake, into a commodity and sell it to those who wanted power over you. Everybody felt nervous when spies were about – well, anybody with half a brain and something to hide – and so they were treated like lepers. Nobody wanted to live near them. So the spies lived in the Ghetto as a kind of professional courtesy. The general population got to relax a little bit, let down their guard in their daily lives and the spies got to operate amongst a more relaxed, less guarded populace whenever they ventured out of the Ghetto on jobs. A most satisfying arrangement for everyone involved.
Long before the running boy collapsed in Bantercraft Row, word of his coming had already reached the District via a network of runners and whisperers, so when he finally crashed to the cobbles in the dark street quite a crowd had assembled. Witnessing remarkable events was, after all, their livelihood.
At first no one dared get too close to the boy – spies are cautious by nature. An old whisper-merchant named Carro was the first to approach. Carro had worked for resurrectionists and necromancers for years and he pronounced the boy dead before he even touched him.
“What’s more, he’s been dead a long time,” he said. “Weeks, I would guess. You can all smell it, can’t you?”
There were mutterings from the crowd and then gasps and Carro rolled the corpse over. The boy’s body was clearly in an advanced stage of decomposition, despite the fact that he had only moments before been running through the streets. But the most remarkable thing about him were his eyes. They glowed blue with an unnatural luminescence.
In his clenched fist, the boy held a crumpled scrap of paper. With effort, Carro pried the boy’s fingers apart and examined it. It was now badly torn and spattered with blood, but it had clearly been a finely detailed map of the badlands east of Malifaux. Over an unexplored region of badlands, a hasty sketch had been made of a ruined gateway and the words “Come and See” written in a hasty hand. The words and the sketch glowed the same colour as the boy’s eyes.
That night, word went out from the Spies’ Ghetto and spread throughout Malifaux. Messages were transmitted by runners and carrier pigeons and notes left in secret locations. A thousand whispered conversations took place. Money was exchanged. Information was bought and sold. At least a dozen of the spies present claimed to have possession of the original map. Still others claimed to have the boy’s corpse. Before the night was out every person of any importance in Malifaux had heard the news – news found its way to the crypts beneath the city where resurrectionists worked, into the barracks and offices and chambers of Guild personnel, into the hideouts and safehouses used by Arcanists and union activists, to the flophouses and taverns and encampments where Outcasts hold court, even to the unspeakable domains of the Neverborn.
All heard variations on the same story: the corpse of a boy had run into the Spies’ Ghetto clutching a map. A boy who had been exposed to such vast concentrations of pure soulstone, that his eyes glowed blue.
The powers of Malifaux began to stir.
Each of the great factions of Malifaux gained their information through different channels. Arcanists approached Carro and used trickery and magic to get the boy’s note from him. The Neverborn intimidated and extorted the Spies of the Ghetto, pulling the information out of them like teeth. Outcasts listened to rumours and sent trackers and footpads to follow those who knew more than they did. The Guild set ambushes, captured prisoners and forced the information from them. And Resurrectionists obtained the boy’s corpse and breathed a gasp of unlife into him, and made him to speak.
Arcanist agents spread disinformation to lead the Guild astray. Guild propagandists did the same, claiming the portal was really located out in the bayou or in the frontier town of Newport, or didn’t really exist at all. Versions of the note were forged. These lies were spread and repeated evolved and returned to their creators only partly-recognizable, until nobody knew what was true. Malifaux became anarchic, with confusion and violence. And when the factions met, blades and guns were drawn. Much blood was spilled over the note and the corpse – and over old Carro.
Of all the crews searching for the location marked on the boy’s map, drawn by the promise of soulstones and by the mystery of the portal, only six managed to reach it. All the others were caught in skirmishes with competing factions or led astray by trickery and disinformation.
The six masters who reached the portal reached it simultaneously, coming from different directions, following different leads. The ruins of a circular tower rose out of the dust and rock of the badlands, and in the center of the circle, a swirling sphere of blue and electric green hovered. It sparked and crackled and churned and seethed, and everyone who saw it felt the power that radiated from it. All the magic users present felt energized by it, their spells stronger, their senses keener. But everybody also felt a terrible malevolence emanating from the sphere, and trembled in fear.
For a moment, the six rival crews stood paralyzed, gaping in awe and wonder. But only for a moment.
The battle for the portal was about to begin.
We all met at the house and then traveled to a nearby pub for a good lunch and talk before the games began, as most of us have never met before.Besides the games we had plenty of food, some good conversation, a few drinks (thanks Ian and Julian for bringing down the jugs-o-beer) and a viewing of the movie "City of Lost Children" in keeping with the weekend theme. I think everyone picked up something we weren't doing quite doing right and I really enjoyed playing against different crews and different players. I wish we had time to get enough games in so that I could have played against everyone but we kept it a relaxing, fun weekend and were not pushing getting a ton of games in.
We had plenty of crews present with the following played:
We had more crews but decided to play one Master over the course of the weekend.
|The Badlands table. The card tent listed the terrain effects for the table.|
|The Bog/Bayou table.|
|The Frontier Town table.|
|Left to right Tyler, Eric and Jordan before the games begin.|
|Games in progress. The far table is the City table|
|Tyler, Jordan, Julian(hiding) and Eric.|
|Julian, Eric and Jordan.|
|Ian and Shawn.|
|Shawn, spreading his wisdom to Ian and Tristan.|
|Ian and Jordan. Day 2.|
|Criid walks down main street.|
|Eric reaching for dice! Hey there aren't any Eric.|
|Tristan vs Julian. Shawn vs. Tyler. Ian looking for something.|
|The final 3 on 3 battle as the crews try to claim the gateway.|
|Ian being drawn into the gateway. Tyler looks on.|
|Jordan(Ramos), Tristan(Marcus) and Julian(The Dreamer) on 1 side.|
|Someone on the other side of the table must be trying something sketchy!|
|The other side, Tyler(McMourning), Ian(Criid), Me not shown(Nicodem)|
|Making skewers for the BBQ|
|At the BBQ, Ian and Julian were lucking enough to get the trailer!|
|Julian telling stories.|
Thanks to my wife for letting the house get invaded for the weekend. She is now sure we need an extension built on the house!
I think it will be time to switch gears a bit. The next game up will probably be Force on Force and then maybe Trafalgar. By the next post I plan on having the Force on Force battlefield ready as well as the American force painted up, then on to the 1/1200 Langton miniature Napoleonic ships and then...well that's too far ahead to predict.
See you next time, time to get back to a jug-o-beer!
I almost forgot, I painted up 2 more minis, all I had time for I'm afraid.