Flipping through the Through the Breach rules I find myself super inspired for roleplay once more. Much like delving into the amazing, and creative, world of Rogue Trader from Fantasy Flight, I began generating multitudes of characters to see what the system can provide. Amazingly enough, my first rolled character has ended up being my personal favorite, enough to tackle a protagonist kit and build an awesome tinkerer with a screwdriver (of the sonic variety?) and a large mechanical fist.
Character creation, in particular, really pulls you in to creating a character through its unique Tarot system for stat distribution and history. If you have played Rogue Trader you will be familiar with a "Character tree" where you choose your characters history and it is reflected in the character's stat lines. It is a great mechanic and really helps you create a character you can feel out before even playing. Well, Through the Breach does this in an even more elegant way, by adding RNG as well as some clever twists.
So, as you know, Wyrd likes decks of cards, and their RPG is no different. When creating a character you will first shuffle up some cards and deal them out as pictured:
|Remove the cross card in the middle and you have your character stats!|
One in the center (not two as shown), one to the West, North, East, and finally South. Each of these cards refer to a table that gives you your familial history (Station), your youthful endeavors (physical abilities), Skills you picked up at a young age (Skills), Education (mental abilities), and Fated skills (Special skills related to your Pursuit). The suit of the card and the rank are referenced on a table within the book for each position on the Tarot map and give you information like added or reduced characteristic bonuses, unique skills, and a line from your Fate. This last part really makes the game come together. After you have laid out your cards you read them backwards to learn your characters fate, something the fatemaster will then weave into the story.
I drew out the following cards: Center - 12 of Tomes; West - 4 of masks; North - 2 of masks; East - Red Joker; and South - 3 of masks. My fortune reads as "When your power begets your heresy your deeds will be undone before the thirteenth step but there are dragons here. Escape is impossible, freedom is inevitable and it is the Emperor who will bring the gift." Is it telling me to be careful of my growing power? Will my tinkerer create some evil abomination destined to destroy me?
On top of that I earned some cool special things from the Tarot reading. One of my parents (Father) was a mad scientist, eccentric and aloof. His inventions eventually destroyed our family and left me nothing in the world to live for. With that Doctor Wilfred Horatius Obermann has decided that a life in Malifaux is more appealing than staying behind and living with the guilt of his father's carelessness. From this I earn the Station Skill Crafting: Artefacting, meaning that I can manufacture curios as needed. I have also developed a fairly even spread of physical traits, -2/-1/+1/+2 across all my physical stats. I earn 3, 2, 1,1,1,1 in Root skills, allowing me to branch out in to multiple Root skills, but only be really good in one of them. Mentally, I am stable, with a nice low spread of -1/0/0+1. And my Fated skills are 3, 2, 1, 1, 1, 1, allowing me more Jack of all Trades abilities.
Lastly, after basic equipment has been assigned, derivative aspects have been calculated (think saves in DND/Pathfinder) and I have chosen a talent, I will craft my Twist deck (think your hand for cheating in Malifaux). This deck is created by choosing where your characters strengths, vices, weakness, and personality lie, giving you predetermined cards based on what you choose.
All in all, the character creation process is really unique and fun, lending well to your character's natural growth and helps you understand the world of Malifaux better, even as a noob to the fluff.