An Introduction To The Lore, World & Factions Of Malifaux!

August 2, 2022 by fcostin

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The more I speak about the Wyrd and the wonderful world of Malifaux, the more a large chunk of you want to get involved. However, a lot of folks are unaware of how to get started in a world of such madness. In a universe of fun-loving scheming redneck Gremlins and native magically enhanced beings. Are you ready to your fate in the hands of a deck of cards and throw out your dice for some low-model-count crews?

Introduction - World And Factions - Malifaux

Introduction: World And Factions // Malifaux

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Combining many a genre, Malifaux tickles the fancy of many gamers. Whether you are intrigued by the dark fantastical magical stylings of the Neverborn or the cunning swordplay and savagery from The Ten Thunders? The game takes place in a world fuelled by war in the early 20th century set to the backdrop of a dark Victorian, steampunk setting where many walks of life collide. All of this can be found through a mysterious portal, home to horrors and nightmares in a hotbed of magic. Today, I introduce you to the world and its inhabitants.

Introduction To The World

Malifaux has been on the tabletop scene since 2009 with a whole host of lore growing to the third edition we are in today. However, to fully understand the politics and fragility of Malifaux we have to head back to when humankind entered through the portal in a hunt for magic in an alternate dimension.

Malifaux And The Other Side Artwork - Wyrd Games

This alternative Earth was wrung dry of magic and magical practitioners were keen on finding a way to restore magic to their reality. Through a catastrophic city-levelling event in attempts for more power followed up by their minor successes - a portal opened showcasing a dimension desolate of life. Yet, structures stood tall showing prior civilisation and fresh land for the taking.

Malifaux had high concentrated pockets and streams of magic, highly amped up beyond Earth's capabilities. Becoming more and more populated, explorers set off in search of new discoveries to solidify humanity's venture into Malifaux. All of this was focused on tracking down and harnessing a treasure of the lands, Soulstones. Their aim? To claim and tamper with magic for themselves.

The Guild - Malifaux

These soulstones became a source of powerful magic and a valuable item to have in your possession. All would look to take them back to Earth, and restore the expulsion of magic from their world. Anything was possible, with corrupted dark magic rearing its ugly head and bringing new monstrosities into the world via resurrection.  Malifaux then fought back against its human invaders. The native faction, Neverborn, shut down the portal, trapping some inside with the horrors and then left the humans locked away from magic.

The Neverborn Faction - Malifaux

This forced the humans to fortify within their own dimension, war-torn and once again set apart from the magic they craved. The Guild then began their route to power ruling magic with a militant iron fist. Move on 100 years later and the portal reopened, bringing fresh opportunities for those who dare enter. Factions sent out mining parties on the hunt for more Soulstones, waiting in anticipation for the pending Neverborn attack.

Here we see the beginnings of the first edition in 1901 (in-game year). Fast forward to a developed and scarily evolved world of opposing factions across Malifaux that we have now in 1907. Players are currently positioned in a land that is home to eight factions of the lawless, ambitious and downright petrifying beings. Once again, humanity is set to test fate to obtain the coveted Soulstones, resulting in a whirlwind of crews of every flavour. The perfect setting for a 32mm tabletop miniatures skirmish game.

Introduction To The Factions Of Malifaux

After the restoration of Malifaux, the world evolved and developed alongside the people within. Harnessing magic side-by-side with each faction bidding for power. The eight powers come with individual motives and find themselves in a world repopulated with humans and dark creatures all seeking unique objectives. Oh, what a happy shared world of Malifaux!

The Guild

The Guild - Malifaux

The Guild Art // Malifaux

The firm arm of the law and the strongest political power - or so they think. Vowing to keep human citizens safe against the looming threats of Malifaux is only their second priority. Greed for the magical Soulstones is right at the top. They aim to rake in as much power as possible to hold dominion over weaker nations, smuggling the magic back to Earth to conquer their 'home'. Bubbled away in an illusion of their own making, they flex their mighty strength to keep order and unity. As far as Soulstones are concerned, the illusion of citizens' happiness is a price worth paying when coveting and securing the power of humanity and Earth.

The Resurrectionists

The Resurrectionists - Malifaux

The Resurrectionists Art // Malifaux

If The Guild's tight grasp on power made you feel uneasy, may I introduce you to the Resurrectionists? Playing God and embracing "creation", they are plucking monstrosities from the veil to fight once more across the realm. This means working with the darkest of magic and thrusting the undead into the mix. A strong and mutual hatred had bonded between The Guild's greed and the Resurrectionists' intrigue when it comes to the cruel undead. They listen to the eerie and corrupted whisper of the world and wait for new warped secrets to bring their heretic magic to fruition.

The Neverborn

The Neverborn - Malifaux

The Neverborn Art // Malifaux

Malifaux is their dark and twisted home. The Neverborn are native and familiar with the eerie trees and haunted pathways of this realm. Witnessing humanity's intrusion into their world and their craving for pure magic, they have become disdained with the taste of mortals. Now they hope to cleanse and purge their existence from Malifaux. However, the schemes of these inhabitants are kept under wraps, quietly lurking within the shadows as twisted and tortured apparitions and ghoulish Fae. Their game is indeed patient, with other factions truthfully fearful of their presence and not knowing their true end goal.

The Arcanists

The Arcanists - Malifaux

The Arcanists Art // Malifaux

Amongst the Minors and Steamfitters Union, a faction has risen in secret with the ideals of using magic freely. They would rather not simply feed The Guild machine and would rather harness their power with free reign. Not afraid to get their hands dirty, the faction includes commoners amongst their ranks, workers who are no stranger to labour. Although they may be seen as criminals to those under the care of The Guild, they are non-conformists. Ambitious for their own cause and willing to work with magic, to feast on its power.

The Outcasts

Outcasts - Malifaux

The Outcasts Art // Malifaux

Want to carve your way in the world of Malifauk; away from the fearful fist of the law, no longer playing a cog in The Guild's overarching, Soulstone hoarding agenda? When ambition and coin are your drives, loyalty is bought simply by the highest payment. These highly skilled Mercenaries certainly irk those who stand amongst the hierarchy in the realm. The Outcasts have individual agendas and are happy working with like-minded morally shady allies. Whether their cause is to revel in their own power or to live rich in existence - self-serving purposes may be the main motivating fuel. Payment will ensure the deed is done.

The Bayou

The Bayou - Malifaux

The Bayou Art // Malifaux

Humanity has had many watchful eyes on their cause since their breach into Malifaux. Organising, boozing, shooting and causing chaos to the east of the City, we have the Gremlins. Twisted through the ages to survive their harsh environment, these Gremlins lurk and live plentifully (to their own means) across the swampy Bayou, sharing borders with many a dangerous Malifaux beast. Their environment is incredibly dangerous to enter, creating a pig-loving, human mimicking, gun and drink-loving society complete with redneck mechanics central to their homeland. They are tolerated by the natives and humanity is easily swayed,  often underestimating these chaotic little green charm-filled yokels!

The Ten Thunders

The Ten Thunders - Malifaux

The Ten Thunders // Malifaux

Swordplay, combat and the fine art of trickery are within the arsenal of The Ten Thunders. Making a homestead in the Little Kingdom, and established by a Japanese Earth-born crimelord family, to deal with The Ten Thunders is to deal with an intricate organisation. These spies, assassins and soldiers have devoted their lives to their mission of taking Malifaux for their own cause. Working in hiding and amongst a network of crime; there's nothing too illegal that stands in the way of ultimate control; patiently and skillfully chiselling towards their goal of domination.

The Explorer's Society

The Explorer's Society - Malifaux

The Explorer's Society // Malifaux

A thirst for knowledge is key to the Explorer's Society. A band of adventurers seeking the unknown to understand and gain a wider scope of the vast lands within Malifaux. The newest formed and released faction from Wyrd, life on the road requires hunting down precious artefacts and unlocking the unknown. Home to many an educated man and dark tourist with a thirst for "the journey", adventure and answers. This includes branching out into dangerous un-scouted territories and claiming discoveries and trophies across uncharted and savage wildlands.

Where To Go Next?

There is a true dragon hoard of lore built by Wyrd since they started in 2009. The narrative itself is what drives the game and each character is dripping with context, being embedded into the world seamlessly. You can also cross into Earth for a fight with a different and more savage miniatures game in The Other Side. Plus, there is also the chance to crossover some characters, and venture into the harsh lands for deeper context and lore in the Wyrd world-tied RPG, Through The Breach.

Core Rulebook - Through The Breach

Core Rulebook // Through The Breach

The Other Side Starter Box - Wyrd Games

The Other Side Starter Box // Wyrd Games

If getting involved in a new game is putting you off, Malifaux is incredibly supported by Wyrd and the community behind each of its games. With a wide bunch of gamers, painters, and hobbyists pulling together.  With fresh sets every month, regular booming painting competitions, the official Breachside podcast, and weekly news peering through the breach you're not going to be left behind. Whether you are simply a keen miniatures hobbyist or looking for a new easy-to-learn skirmish title that uses cards as its main mechanic, you may want to take a peek into the portal yourself.

Bayou Starter Box - Malifaux

Bayou Starter Box // Malifaux

A lot of players have spoken about the complexity of the sprues and the smaller intricate pieces were a bit of a nightmare. However, the models have truly come a long way from the first and second editions. The new starter sets have plastic models pre-assembled for less kerfuffle! They also contain Master and crew options, with signifying keywords for some cross-faction opportunities.

Getting started in your game would be simply getting stuck into a faction. I not only enjoy the lore of The Neverborn but adore the dark fantasy stylings of each grim character, the narrative feeds my keen observation of the world. The natives to me, I felt sympathy for - and they merely use their ridiculously dark and whimsical powers to stay alert to the threat of humanity. This all then jus bubbles over until they're ready to strike invaders with some homebrewed truths. Although I adore the models, connecting to the lore and faction itself is what drives my hobby and gaming with this particular faction.

Killjoy Artwork - Wyrd Game

Killjoy Artwork // Wyrd Games

If you are looking for a way into Malifaux, take a step back and have a look at what faction you gel with. Now that you have been given a brief overview of the world and its inhabitants, the next step is to understand how to get a crew together and play the game.

Let us know in the comments if you are a Malifaux player and what faction you've sided with. Or if you have been tempted to dive through the portal yourself and what may have stopped you before. Over the next few weeks, I will be taking players through a small series looking at getting their feet planted in the game. Next, we'll have an introduction to Crew Building and Gameplay including keywords, masters, hiring and an overview of the game mechanics and play.

Are you intrigued by Malifaux? What faction are you drawn to the most? 

"The narrative itself is what drives the game; each character is dripping with context and embedded into the world seamlessly..."

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