It's time for a Through the Breach Side Quest!
Last week, we introduced one of our favorite, but sadly lesser-known TTRPGs: Malifaux: Through the Breach* . If you haven’t heard about it yet, go check out that post first, and then come back to check out this week’s Side Quest for a free Through the Breach encounter!
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If you’re new around here, you may be wondering what we mean by “Side Quest.” Do you ever feel stuck when planning your next TTRPG session?
Perhaps you’re tired of sending your players off into the woods with the same old bandit ambush trope, or they went in a totally random direction you didn’t expect, and now you’re scrambling for a surprise encounter to keep them busy until you can re-write your entire campaign. Enter our Side Quests! These posts are short, free TTRPG encounters with corresponding maps that can be easily threaded into an ongoing or one shot campaign, allowing busy DMs to throw in a random encounter at the drop of a hat. We are really excited to share these short encounters with you, and we would love to hear what you think of them! These Side Quests are provided free of charge thanks to the support on our Ko-fi page. Be sure to tag us when you use or share this Side Quest!
Now that you know all about Malifaux, check out today’s Side Quest for a fun introduction to this spooky world and how its encounters work. Welcome to the Warped Orphanage, our first free Through the Breach encounter.
The Malifaux Home for Wayward Adolescents and Troubled Youth
When the Breach first opened and the original human settlers brought their families to Malifaux City, few considered the possibility of both parents falling to misfortune, leaving their children behind. Unfortunately, between the significant risk of accidents within the soulstone mines and the native dangers of Malifaux, the need for a child sanctuary quickly became necessary.
The Malifaux Home for Wayward Adolescents and Troubled Youth was one such orphanage that opened to house displaced children in what is now the Northeast Quarantine Zone. Dr. Fleming and Matron White ran the orphanage with an iron fist: children who behaved often moved on to new homes, while those who misbehaved were never seen again. The orphanage stayed open until the first closure of The Breach. After its sudden closure, all souls therein were considered lost.
One hundred years later, the orphanage stands silent–its doors ajar in the night air. Few travel the streets of the Quarantine Zone openly, which makes stealth the travel method of choice for the Neverborn stalking the city. The orphanage is now a way point for Neverborn sneaking into Malifaux through the sewers from beyond the city walls. Matron White still haunts these corridors as a tormented mind detached from the present, sending her “Lost” children to locate other children to bring to her care.
Woe be to those caught misbehaving within the halls.
- A rich socialite’s child is missing, and they hire the Fated to search within the Quarantine Zone.
- If the Fated work for The Guild: There are increased reports of Neverborn sightings in the area around the Orphanage, and Guild superiors order the Fated to investigate.
- If the Fated work for The Ten Thunders: Recently discovered, the orphanage is a potential safe house for Ten Thunder operatives. The Fated must explore the building and secure it.
- Matron White
- The Lost (Stolen, Warped Children)
Below is a list of possible Tarot Tie-Ins for the Side Quest, pulling from the Tarots of the following books:
Each card in the different Tarot has a corresponding phrase, and those phrases combine to create the character’s Destiny. Any character that resolves a step in their destiny gains an additional bonus.
- Cross Roads Body Card, 4 of Tomes: ”You will shatter the hourglass” refers to the small timepiece that the Matron has on her person. If the Fated slay her, the chain holding the glass breaks and falls to the floor.
- Cross Roads Body Card, 10 of Masks: “Burlap and steel are bound in darkness” refers to the stolen child found in the basement of the orphanage.
- Waterways Tarot Root Card, 13 of Tomes: “and the lost will drag you into the depths.” could refer to the Lost guarding the sewer grate deep within the Orphanage. If given the chance, the Lost minions will attempt to push any unwary characters into the pit.
- Ram’s Head Mind Card, 12 of Rams: “If you open your arms to the lost” refers to the Lost stopping their fight if the Matron dies. It is up to the Fated what they want to do, but in most circumstances, any remaining Lost will flee down to the sewer room and escape.
Note: Through the Breach doesn’t have Challenge Ratings or character levels in a traditional sense. All Encounters and Target Numbers (TN) below are estimated for a more combat & exploration-focused party of four Fated.
The two-story orphanage stands with white painted brick reinforcing a wood interior. The second story sits recessed on the roof, allowing anyone to walk across without falling to the street below. Shattered glass fills boarded-up window panes that allow scant light in from outside.
General Interior Features
All rooms inside the building are ten feet tall. The bare, rotting wood of the walls shows random glimpses of spotted, yellowed paint remaining on them. Wooden planks compose the flooring for all rooms except for the stone of the kitchen and basement. All doors are wooden, closed, and unlocked unless otherwise noted. Wall-mounted lamps hang in each room. All are unlit except for the kitchen stove and boiler room. (Note: the map shows lit sections based on where/if the Fated choose to light any)
First Floor (O1 - O8)
Filth covers the entrance to the orphanage from windblown trash working its way inside over the years. The wood floors creak ominously when traversed, loud enough to hear in nearby rooms. The Fated can make a TN 10 Stealth Challenge to avoid portions of the floor that cause noises; otherwise, the Lost on the first floor learn they are in the building.
What was once a place of learning and companionship for the children of the orphanage, now lies in ruin. Broken desks and rotting teaching material lay strewn about the long room. Three Lost (see Appendix below) lurk aimlessly in the darkness, attacking any who enter. They will attempt to flee if overwhelmed.
This long hallway is the main access for the kitchen, the stairwells leading both up and down, a simple lavatory, and a storage closet.
There is a section of the floor near the lavatory that will collapse if any character taller than Ht 1 travels over it. The Fated must make a TN 9 Acrobatics Challenge to avoid falling through the weakened floor to the basement, suffering 2/2/3 damage from the fall.
Storage Closet: A single Lost hides inside the closet clutching a rotting teddy bear and watching the hall from the slightly ajar door. They will attempt to run down to the Boiler Room and alert the Matron of the Fated’s presence.
A rank odor fills this chamber, as the Matron prepares grotesque meals for the children of the orphanage. A thin patina of filth covers all of the utensils stored around the room.
Stove: The stove emits a dim light from its grated door. Inside is a pan filled with a mixture of cake batter and offal. Any Fated who decides to investigate the mixture must make a TN 10 Horror Duel or become Paralyzed for 30 seconds while they process what they saw. Any Margins of Failure add 15 seconds to the duration.
Shelves full of glassware line this small space; jars packed with eyeballs stare blankly at those who enter. If the Fated search the crates near the back, they will find a few days’ worth of edible canned food.
O6. Abandoned Office
The bronze door placard was furiously scratched out, rendering the name illegible. The office contains a neat-looking desk, two waist-high bookshelves, and a globe depicting Earth.
Bookshelves: Most of the books here are moldy medical journals from before the Breach’s first closing. If the Fated search through the books, they will find a small desk key hidden inside a book that also contains a yellowed scrap of paper. The paper reads:
“October 10th, 1796,
My worries that Matron White is trying to kill me are confirmed! Just the other day I saw her move her bookshelf aside, and I could swear I heard cries. When I confronted her, she denied any wrongdoing, claiming the wind in her office howls loudly due to the building’s construction and Malifaux’s inclement weather. Later I checked the meal she cooked for me and found what appears to be rat poison half-dissolved within the stew! I worry for the children that are under our care, and I will ensure she sees justice!”
Desk: The desk contains a few scattered pages on its surface: all too worn with age to be legible. A small desk drawer on the side is locked. The Fated can attempt a TN 12 Lockpicking Challenge to open the drawer, or they can use the key found on the bookshelf. Inside the desk is a Doctor’s Skill Toolkit and a Collier Navy Pistol with 10 bullets (see Core Rulebook for stats)
O7. Matron White's Office
The bronze placard on the door reads “Matron White”. A small desk occupies much of the space in this room, while a planter pot filled with dirt sits next to a tall bookshelf. The desktop is clear, while inside the drawers are a number of books detailing disciplinary measures used by various prisons throughout history.
Secret Switch: If the Fated found Dr. Fleming’s note in his office they find the secret switch immediately, otherwise they must make a TN 10 Notice challenge to detect the device. Once activated, the bookshelf slides forward and reveals a small door.
Matron White kept special prisoners inside this cell over one hundred years ago. Now, all that is left is a singular adult-sized skeleton dressed in doctor’s garb, shackled to the wall.
Treasure: Inside the coat pocket on the skeleton is a gold pocket watch that is worth 10 scrip if sold to the right buyer.
Second Floor (O9 - 010)
O9. Boys' Dorm
The boys of the orphanage used this attic for sleep and recreation when not learning or doing chores for Dr. Fleming and Matron White. Three sets of double bunk beds block line of sight across the whole room. Two Lost wait in here for the Matron’s orders, attacking anyone who enters.
Bunks: Any spaces with bunks are considered Severe Terrain as the Fated attempt to maneuver around the beds.
Roof: The Fated may pull the boards off the window with a successful TN 8 Athletics Challenge or deal 4 damage to the wood planks to break them (the boards have a Defense of 6). With the boards gone, the Fated may traverse the rooftop and enter the Girls Dorm (O10) without needing the key to the door.
O10. Girls' Dorm
The doorway leading into this room is locked. The Matron carries the key, or the Fated can attempt a TN 14 Lockpicking Challenge to unlock the door. Any Margins of Failure causes the lock to break, rendering the key useless. Cobwebs cover the bunk beds and dressers in this room, as it has not been used in over a century.
Treasure: Inside one of the dressers is a pair of opal earrings set in gold in a folded linen cloth. The earrings are worth 20 Scrip if sold.
Basement (O11 - 014)
Sections of the basement walls are collapsing in on themselves, causing whole sections to become blocked off.
O12. Boiler Room
The stone slabs underfoot are warm to the touch. The Matron is here maintaining the antique boiler system, gibbering to herself and lost in thought. If alerted to the presence of the Fated she gathers any Lost in the basement and attacks to protect the orphanage.
O13. The Box
Bolted into the walls are multiple sets of rusty manacles inside this narrow room. Deep gouges mar the floor where Matron White imprisoned those who misbehaved. The socialite’s stolen child is located here, chained to the wall near the back of the room. The Matron has the key to the manacles, or the Fated can unlock the shackles with a successful TN 16 Lockpicking Challenge. Once freed, the child will cling to one of the Fated until returned home.
O14. Sewer Room
Neverborn are able to enter the city via the massive sewer grate in the center of the floor in this room. The grate opens above a twenty-foot deep pit which leads deep into the Malifaux sewers. Two Lost guard the tunnel entrance.
Neverborn Intruders: For a tougher encounter for the Fated, a number of Neverborn can emerge from the sewer grate to join in with the Lost or the Matron. Below is a random table of possible Fatemaster Character options:
- Rams: 1 Stitched Together (Core Rules Pg. 370)
- Crows: 1-2 Young Nephilim (Core Rules Pg. 365)
- Tomes: 1 Bandersnatch (Into the Steam Pg. 216)
- Masks: 1 Poltergeist (Core Rules Pg. 363)
The Lost are Malifaux’s stolen children, warped into malign forms and loyal to the mad ravings of the Matron. Their original innocence is gone, replaced with puckish cruelty towards any but their kind. These creatures maintain the size of children, but their skin grays, dark lesions form all over their bodies, and their eyes glow orange lambent. The Lost use their numbers to overwhelm larger foes and will flee to the shadows to regroup.
She was once Matron White, headmistress of the Malifaux Home for Wayward Adolescents and Troubled Youth. Now, her visage is wracked and twisted with madness from a century spent tortured by low whispering voices. Her mottled gray and purple skin seems to squirm of its own accord, and her eyes glow the same dull orange light as her children. She drifts through the hall, tending to her Lost while maintaining a facade of presentability as she welcomes new Neverborn.
This concludes our first free Through the Breach encounter! From here it’s up to you to decide if you want to create a deeper story arc involving The Matron, the child, or anything else you enjoyed about this encounter. We would love to know if you use this Side Quest, so please drop a comment here on the blog, on Twitter, Facebook, or Instagram to let us know how it went! Lastly, if you’d like access to more maps and content, including downloadable PDFs of this adventure and our other adventures, check out our Patreon. We’re able to do what we do because of all our amazing Patrons!
We hope you enjoyed this glimpse of the spooky possibilities available in Through the Breach, and if you haven’t picked up the game already, we really cannot recommend it enough.
Happy Side Questing!