Malifaux is a pretty scary place, and that’s just in the city! Untold horrors lie in wait beyond the walls of civilization — out in the Badlands, the forests of the Knotwoods, and deep in the Bayou. Even well-versed Earthside wilderness guides fall prey to maneater plants or enraged Nephilim. There’s a huge opportunity for misadventure, so today I want to share my Malifaux Wilderness Random encounters list for Through the Breach!
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How to use the Random Wildness Encounter table
Flip a card from the Fate deck for the Random Wilderness Encounters table every few days of travel or if the Fated fail an Ongoing challenge. If any of the drawn encounters don’t make sense for the terrain (Gators up in the mountains), feel free to re-flip the result, or lean into the weirdness!
Artwork from Wyrd Games
1-4: Unexpected Downpour. Heavy torrential rain drenches the Fated. All characters must succeed at a TN 10 Wilderness duel to quickly find shelter from the rain. Failure causes the Fated to gain the Soaked Condition (see below) until the rains stop the next day:
“Soaked: Characters with this condition must make a TN 8 Athletics Duel before performing an attack action to keep hold of their weapons: On a success the attack may proceed as usual. On a failure the weapon slips from their grasp and falls 1 yard away in a random direction.”
The Fated lose one day of travel progress from the rain.
5-8: Gator Attack. 1-3 Bayou Gators (Into the Bayou Pg. 164) begin following the Fated from a distance. The gators follow and attempt to catch the characters unaware and make off with a victim. Successfully spotting the gators requires a TN 10 Notice duel. On a success, the gators lose the element of surprise before attacking, while on a failure the Fated are Surprised (see below) when the gators attack.
“Surprised: Characters who are surprised at the start of Dramatic Time (most likely because they failed to notice an ambushing attacker) are considered to be Slow on their first turn of Dramatic Time.”
9-12: Guild Patrol. A small convoy of Guild soldiers riding horses flag down the characters. Their ranks include eight Guardsmen (Core Rule Book Pg. 322), one Huntmaster with two dogs (CRB Pg. 321), and one Sergeant (CRB Pg. 323). The card number flipped determines their intent:
- 9: Hostile. The Guild patrol is a hair’s breadth away from opening fire upon the characters. They stop and investigate the Fated, though they are determined to take them to the nearest Guild outpost. Any Social Duels made to interact with the patrol are made with a minus flip.
- 10-11: Neutral. These officers are tired and want to go home. They stop and investigate the Fated, and as long as everything is on the up and up they let them go.
- 12: Friendly. One or two guardsmen recognize the Fated as friendly faces (if applicable). They stop and investigate the Fated, and as long as everything is on the up and up they let them go. Any Social Duels made to interact with the patrol are made with a plus flip.
Reminder: The Guild tends to shoot first and ask questions later when it comes to the undead and neverborn. If the Fated party includes any visible undead or neverborn, the Guild patrol attacks immediately.
If the Fated left the patrol amicably, the patrol’s directions allow the Fated to gain one day in travel progress.
13: Blood Pool. The characters find a patch of swamp where the water takes on the color and consistency of blood. There doesn’t seem to be any real source of the coloration, and any attempt to discern anything unnatural bears little result: Just one of the weird happenstances of Malifaux! If the Fated investigate the area further, they find a raised island with a single hollowed stump on it alongside a desiccated corpse. Searching the stump reveals a small sack with a small, pinkish Lade 1 Soulstone (charged) within. Retrieving the Soulstone or disturbing the body causes 2-3 Skeeters (Into the Bayou Pg. 175) to attack.
1-4: Rapid Flooding. Nearby water levels rise rapidly and threaten to submerge the Fated, though there doesn’t seem to be a cloud in the sky. All characters must succeed at a TN 9 Athletics challenge to find higher ground. Failure causes the Fated to gain the Tired +1 (see below) condition and must take the challenge again. If characters reach Tired +3, they gain the Suffocating (Core Rule Book Pg. 308) condition until they succeed on the Athletics check and are pulled from the water.
“Tired: When a character gains this Condition, it is applied with a certain value. A character with the Tired Condition has the TN of every action involving Physical Aspects they attempt increased by an amount equal to the value of their Tired Condition. Resting for 30 minutes uninterrupted reduces this condition by 1.”
The Fated lose one day of travel progress from the floods.
5-8: Abomination Ambush. The Fated stumble upon a scene of utter carnage: ripped and torn bodies lie strewn across the ground in a grisly tableau. The bodies appear to be human, though a successful TN 8 Doctor or Notice duel reveals that some carcasses have grotesque modifications. A number of bodies equal to the number of Fated minus one are Abominations (CBR Pg. 350) lying in wait. They wait for one character to get close enough and strike when their back is turned, causing Surprise on the Fated. A successful TN 12 Doctor or Notice prevents the characters from being surprised.
9-12: Wandering Resurrectionist. A troupe of misshapen, wandering undead led by a garishly-dressed resurrectionist crosses paths with the Fated. Their ranks include one Rank 8 Mindless Zombie Horde (CRB Pg. 361), one Resurrectionist (CRB Pg. 356), and two Zombie Swordsmen (CRB Pg. 355). The card number flipped determines their intent:
- 9-10: Hostile. The resurrectionists’ only thoughts are to add the characters to their growing horde. If the Fated have undead of their own, the resurrectionist is neutral instead.
- 11: Neutral. The resurrectionist is wary but approachable. As long as the Fated don’t display signs of aggression, the resurrectionist offers polite but useless small talk before leaving.
- 12: Friendly. The resurrectionist is eager to speak with someone who can speak back. They share a rambling story of their travels, allowing the Fated to flip two cards on the proceeding day and pick the card they want.
If the Fated left the resurrectionist amicably, they grant the group the use of an undead raven. This bird leads the Fated for a day, allowing them to gain one day in travel progress.
13: Ghost train. The characters find a set of railroad tracks in the middle of their path. The tracks stretch 40 yards in either direction before disappearing into the ground. As the Fated get closer, the sound of a train whistle blows in the distance. If a character places a hand (or their ear) on the track they can make a TN 10 Track duel to determine the train’s distance. After a few minutes, the whistle blows again, only closer. Abruptly, an ethereal train barrels over the tracks, kicking up great winds and debris. Any creature standing on the tracks is knocked up to 5 yards away, landing prone, and suffers 1/2/3 damage. The train disappears as quickly as it comes, and the area settles after its passing.
1-4: Dust storm. The air around the characters becomes filled with dirt as a dust storm picks up. All characters must succeed at a TN 10 Wilderness duel to quickly find shelter from the swirling dirt. Failure causes the Fated to gain the Gritty Condition (see below) until the storm stops the next day:
“Gritty: Characters with this condition have a minus flip on vision-based skills and duels”
The Fated lose one day of travel progress from the storm.
5-8: Abandoned camp. The Fated find an abandoned camp in the middle of nowhere. Three tents sit aside a fully furnished outdoor kitchenette next to a still-burning fire. Searching the area reveals no signs of conflict or even footprints. Characters that elect to stay and use the camp’s amenities must take a TN 10 Centering duel. Characters that pass feel at ease, while those that fail gain the Dazed condition (CRB Pg. 307) for three days as they become paranoid of their surroundings.
9-12: Rogue Construct. The Fated find a single Rogue construct (CRB Pg. 343) as they travel. The machine appears worn and out-of-date by city standards, but still quite functional. The card number flipped determines their system setting:
- 9: Haywire. Blood covers the construct’s chassis, and it attacks the characters on sight. The machine does not respond to any methods of communication and must be destroyed or fled from.
- 10-11: Patrol. The construct seems to follow a route that takes the characters on a miles-long loop if they choose to follow. It doesn’t seem to mind the characters’ presence but will attack if they try to deviate it from its path.
- 12: Inquisitive. The construct is as curious as a puppy and will follow the characters if they allow it. It trails the Fated for 2-3 days, aiding in combat if needed, before leaving on its own.
13: Arcane Nexus. Aetheric power swirls around a 20-yard diameter wooded grove lined with large standing stones. The standing stones have intricate carvings of spirals embedded in their surfaces, while other spirals hide elsewhere in the grove. Deciphering the meaning behind these spirals requires a successful TN 13 Literacy Duel. A success reveals that the patterns may be read to intuit the future. The Fated may then attempt a single TN 18 Prestidigitation Duel (paired with the Cunning aspect) to learn about upcoming events, allowing them to “undo” one character’s death in a future session. Flipping a black joker or failing the duel by more than 10 causes an aetheric backlash that burns out the eyes of the caster, leaving them permanently Blind (CRB Pg. 306).
Once the Fated leave the grove, they can never find it again — reflip any card draws that lead to this location.
1-4: Lost in the fog. A dense fog covers the land for miles in every direction, causing the characters to lose the path. Sound behaves strangely, echoing at times with ominous pitches, or becoming so muffled characters must shout to be heard. The Fated lose one day of travel progress from the fog until it abates the next day. The card number flipped determines what else lurks in the fog:
- 1: Abhorrent gamblers. 2-3 Stitched Togethers (Core Rule Book Pg. 370) find the characters and offer a game of chance. If the Fated win, the Stitched Togethers will lead them out of the fog (negating the loss of progress). If the Stitched Togethers win, they take a random small body part (finger, ear, toe, etc.) from each character. Refusal to play causes the nightmares to attack.
- 2: Maddening silence. Almost all sound is muffled by the fog, forcing the Fated to be alone with their thoughts. 1-2 Insidious Madness (CRB Pg. 367) use the fog as cover and attempt to drive the Fated mad.
- 3-4: Nothing. The fog contains nothing more than the overactive imaginations of the characters.
5-8: Bug swarm. Angry swarms of tiny, nine-legged insects descend upon the characters. The swarm is overbearing and gets in everything. Attempting to cast magic is made with a minus flip while the swarm is active. All characters caught in the swarm must succeed on a TN 8 Wilderness Duel or gain the Infected +1 condition (See Under Quarantine Pg. 150 for more). The swarm lasts for half a day, though characters will occasionally find insect carcasses in their belongings for weeks to come.
9-12: Gremlin huntin’ posse. A wandering posse of diminutive gremlins find the characters. Their ranks include twelve Bayou Gremlins (CRB Pg. 374) and one Bayou Boss (CRB Pg. 375). The card number flipped determines their sobriety:
- 9: Stone sober. These gremlins failed to pack enough moonshine on their trip and are mighty ornery about it. If the characters appear to wear fancy clothes or big hats, the gremlins decide that they aren’t in the mood for diplomacy and take what they want. Any Social Duels made to interact with the posse are made with a minus flip.
- 10-11: Buzzed. The gremlins maintain a healthy buzz on their trip and can be persuaded to trade for goods and information.
- 12: Drunk. These gremlins haven’t found much to hunt, but they’re still having a great time! If the characters appear to wear fancy clothes or big hats, the gremlins hyperfocus on them, which the Fated may use to their advantage. Any Social Duels made to interact with the posse are made with a plus flip.
If the Fated left the gremlins amicably, they (drunkenly) provide directions which allows the Fated to gain one day in travel progress.
Reminder: The Guild has an open bounty on gremlins, so the kin don’t take kindly to high-falutin’ Guild types in their territory. If the Fated party includes any visible Guild members or paraphernalia, the gremlin posse attacks immediately.
13: Scarecrows. The Fated discover a large clearing filled with rows of large, T-shaped timbers rising out of the ground. Each timber is decorated with a seemingly normal scarecrow. The clearing is 100 yards long by 15 wide, with a pole sticking out of the ground every 6 yards. Upon closer inspection, most effigies are straw-stuffed figures in either Guild or MSU uniforms.
The Fated must succeed on a TN 10 Horror duel if they want to investigate the scarecrows closer, otherwise they are repulsed by the figures. A successful TN 8 Notice duel reveals an embossed wallet with $5 Guild scrip within, while a TN 12 Notice Duel allows the Fated to spot a rusty Peacebringer pistol (with the Shoddy and Finely Tuned modifications).
Reminder: Peacebringers are illegal to own for anyone not connected to the Guild, so players might need to keep it hidden.
Lingering in this area draws the attention of several Sorrows (CRB Pg. 362) equal to the number of Fated minus one. These Woes attempt to follow the characters and cause them harm but will avoid outright combat.
Black Joker: Solar eclipse. Total darkness envelops the land as one of the two moons of Malifaux crosses in front of the sun. This triggers a nightmarish change in the fauna surrounding the characters for miles around. Weird yipping cries and howls sound in the darkness mixed with unnatural ripping and tearing. For every 5 minutes the Fated are outside without shelter they must make a TN 12 Toughness or Evade Duel or take 1/1/3 damage as creatures great and small tear at them.
The eclipse lasts for 1 hour.
Red Joker: Settlement. The characters find a tiny homestead out in the middle of the wilderness. There are a handful of log structures housing a few families, as well as places for livestock & horses. While unusual, these folk are seemingly unbothered by the dangerous Malifaux wildlife and live comfortably out alone. The Fated may find rest with the homestead, as well as trade and gather information if desired, though a sense of unease never leaves. After a night of rest, the characters are free to leave but those that stay may bring about unsettling discoveries…
I think that’s enough exploring for today! Hopefully you enjoyed this Malifaux Random Wilderness Encounters table and get to use it in your own games soon. Remember to stay safe out there, and never forget Malifaux’s mantra:
Bad Things Happen
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