Come join the BoLS Crew as we take you through the Wyrd West with the 2nd Edition Core Rules for Through the Breach.
Through the Breach is Wyrd’s roleplaying game set in the world of Malifaux. Step into a world that blends together the frontier of the Wild West, Victorian era mythos gribbliness, a healthy dose of steampunk, and gambling. We’ve got a look at the 2nd Edition of their new core rules, which combines everything from the Fated Almanac and the Fatemaster’s Almanac into one shiny edition, while also establishing more about the setting and updating the rules so that gameplay is smoother and the west is Wyrd…er.
First of all let’s just get this part out of the way. This books is a monster. At 416 Pages, this thing is no joke. Don’t get me wrong, there’s a lot of stuff to unpack, and especially since this game uses a very nontraditional core mechanic, there’s a lot of room needed to set out a lot of the core principles that otherwise would be fairly brief in other manuals. But the game earns it.
Part of what makes Wyrd’s setting work so well is how closely their flavor is baked into the mechanics. The whole idea around the characters in this setting is that they’re exceptional because they are one of the Fated, heroes and villains and extraordinary people who have somehow gained a glimpse of what fate has in store for them. This in turn has afforded them a measure of control over their own destinies. This control is what makes fated stand out–and is represented artfully in the rules.
Fate is represented, fittingly, by a deck of cards–really leaning into the Western aesthetic here. Heroes are gambling with their lives–well with their proficiency. The GM sets a target number, characters add their attribute + skill rating + the card from the top of the Fate deck (which is a communal pool for everyone, and isn’t reshuffled until the end, or other special ciircumstances come up, like I say…this game has complexity). But Fated characters have their own separate deck of cards called a Control Deck which lets them swap out the card on the Fate Deck for one of their own choosing.
Packed into this mechanic are a number of underlying assumptions. There are a limited number of high-scoring cards and once those have cycled through they’re out. So you kind of have to keep track of what’s going on–and there are certain times when you’ll see Fate conspiring against you–when it comes time for one of the party to try something difficult and you know that all your “good” cards are at the bottom of the deck. The mechanics themselves are on board with the central metaphor. It’s nice to see the whole game playing a part in the rules. It enhances that feeling of immersion.
Beyond just the core conceit of its mechanics though, the game has a lot going for it. If you’ve ever played an Only War or Warhammer Roleplaying game, you have an inkling of how the classes work. You pick a job, level that up for a while gaining advances as you go, then whenever you manage to get what you need, you switch careers and play with a new set of abilities for a while, and so on, eventually breaking into advanced classes that allow you to do all kinds of crazy things.
And conveniently enough, all of these have miniatures already to go, you can find them as part of the Malifaux line. Still if you’re looking to get into a setting that combines the best parts of Lovecraft, the Wild West, and adds in a little steam-powered mayhem to spice things up–this is the game for you. We definitely recommend it, there’s a lot to love about it, and you can find it for pre-order sometime in the near future over on Wyrd’s Website.
Through the Breach Core Rules – $60
Through the Breach is a tabletop roleplaying game set in the world of Malifaux. Players take on the roles of various citizens, such as Gunfighters, Drudges, Dabblers, and Entertainers. Each of these characters is as unique as the players themselves. These are the Fated. As a Fated, you know your future, it has been told to you, as cryptic as the sparrow on a moonless night. It is your task to rush headlong into the arms of destiny, or to carve your own future.
This core rulebook for the Through the Breach roleplaying game contains all the rules for character creation, combat, magic, and anything else the Fated player character’s might need on their adventures in the world of Malifaux.
…or close the wall up with our English dead.