Through the Breach – Choose Your Allegiance – Neverborn (Part 1)
The creatures that haunt the remains of the city known as Malifaux are terrible monsters that spend their time brutally preying on the new arrivals from Earth-side. The Neverborn take a wide variety of forms, from the various sizes of winged Nephilim to those who are scarily similar in appearance to humans and many of the latter are able to walk amongst us undetected. These are by far the most dangerous to the humans as their plans are more subtle than those of their more murderous cousins. Many Neverborn gain their satisfaction from simple murder but the more human-looking monsters have begun to wage a campaign of terror on mankind through organized, efficient raids and subtle but clever attacks on human settlements which are, in many cases so spectacularly successful that some have even dared to suggest that someone with in the Guild has been guiding them in some manner…of course such an idea is frankly preposterous as who in the Guild could benefit from such actions?
Lets look at the three core Neverborn Masters first…..
Her name is spoken with fear among the human residents in Malifaux. The new settlers from Earth-side know her by the names, ‘Mother of Monsters’ and ‘Mistress of Malifaux’ though there are other far less complimentary ones. The Earthside settlers believe that the City belongs to the Guild, while the wilds beyond belong entirely to Lilith. She leads the Nephilim and other Neverborn who will follow her in a campaign of terror against humanity. She is the primary reason why windows remain barred throughout the night and all areas are kept well illuminated if at all possible. Her attacks against human settlements beyond the City is the reason so many humans fear the wilds (though she’s not the only threat by any stretch of the imagination). Lilith herself is an unpredictable creature, calm and seductive one moment, furious the next and her cunning is demonstrated in the brutal efficiency of her attacks. She is by nature mercurial and this makes her an unpredictable foe, specializing in lighting fast strikes before once again fading into the shadows only to strike again at her pursuers supported by double or triple the numbers in her raiding party. Regardless of the success or failure of her attacks it is unknown whether Lilith’s goals are to simply sow fear amongst her enemies, or if her campaign of terror has deeper implications are mysteries the Guild is yet to decipher. She is a terrifyingly intelligent and fearless foe and one that no-one should take lightly.
If your interested in a fast but solid force you should consider using Lilith and her Nephilim. Her melee fighting skills are amongst the best in the game including an ability allowing her to inflict damage on enemies attempting to escape her melee range. She receives an additional Action Point per activation that she can put to use casting spells such as ‘Illusionary Forest’ or ‘Transposition’. She also carries Blood Counters for her Nephilim Minions, who can put them to work in a number of ways from the enhancement of abilities to ‘growing’ Nephilim into larger versions of themselves.
Currently she keeps ‘Black Blood’, ‘Rush of Magic’ and ‘Master of Malifaux’ (which all still work the same). Her Greatsword is almost as deadly as it was before though it’s Cb (Ml in the new system) is reduced by 1 to 6. She also still has ‘Disappear’ as a Defensive Trigger. The whole Blood Counter mechanic has been removed completely from her card and her Spell list and Abilities have been reduced to a basic core like all models in the new system. Her Defence has been reduced slightly to 7 and her willpower is now 5 but her Wounds total remains the same. Though there’s still time for some of that to change as the Beta testing is still ongoing.
A rare few Neverborn (though still too many for the liking of most), like Pandora, have been gifted with features which make them all but indistinguishable from the humans who have come to their homelands. She bears her human features as a disguise which allows her to walk the streets of Malifaux sowing sorrow and discord amongst the men and women she encounters. With the merest glance, she can turn a person’s emotions against him, drowning them in their own myriad insecurities until they would willingly except the release of death or as easily make a human so despise themselves that they are easily capable of doing harm to themselves and others.
Many people who arrive in Malifaux can feel its oppressive atmosphere, and can see how this place seems to inspire intolerance and melancholy. Many have speculated (correctly as it happens) that it is this creature of the Neverborn namely, Pandora who creates this atmosphere of despair. She uses her agents (known as Woes) to walk amongst the herd of humanity and through their influence they turn men and women against each other inspiring the desires for jealousy, greed at the very least and murder as well should it suit her needs.
Pandora’s is at first glance more subtle than the other Neverborn Masters. Her abilities allow her to manipulate other models and turn them against themselves and one another. She can appear somewhat weak at first glance at her stats but the ability of her Woes to become the targets of attacks aimed at her makes killing Pandora herself a time consuming and resource draining prospect. She can also influence the sequence enemy models will activate during a Turn which is great for disrupting crews that have a predictable order of activation in order to benefit from one another’s skills. One of Pandora’s most effective abilities is ‘Emotional Trauma’ which inflicts Wounds on models whenever they lose a Willpower Duel near her. Once you learn her mechanics you can guarantee a tedious and frustrating time for any opponent. When asked about using Pandora my first question is “Do you have any friends?” followed by “Do you want to keep them?”
Pandora at her most basic level works the same as before and has many of the same Abilities though they are far better balanced than they were previously. Many of the Abilities that she has lost can be taken as upgrades. If you liked her background and slightly unusual way of winning games then you’ll still enjoy her as a Master…if however you just treated her as an ‘auto-win’ button then you may be a little bit disappointed as ‘actual tactics’ are now a requirement 😉
The old hag of the Bayou knows the truth behind all of Malifaux’s greatest mysteries. She is always present at locations that destiny dictates. Her manipulations of people and events is so subtle that not even the slightest ripple of her influence remains once the wheels are set in motion. Her deserved reputation as a fortune teller and mystic leads myriads of young men and women to brave the Bayou’s many dangers in search of her wisdom. The answers she gives them will reshape their very destinies, assuming they survive the journey there…and back again, obviously. Of course some never return to the City but instead remain at her side, enthralled by her magic forever. such is the fate of those too weak to forge destinies of their own.
The creatures that make the Bayou their home both worship and fear her in (almost) equal measures. When she calls them to service they heed her summons and provide her whatever service she requires…or face the consequences of that refusal. When the forces of fate force her into a confrontation she uses Silurid, Gremlins, Swamp denizens and other weak-willed creatures as expendable assets while she weaves a web of intrigue and misdirection that leaves those weak of mind not knowing which way to turn next. Zoraida is always watching and waiting for the perfect time to attack…or to manipulate others into attacking for her.
Zoraida’s should not be getting involved in melee combat, but rather should weaken her enemies through Spells like ‘Bewitch’ and ‘Hex’ which prevent them from using key abilities they require to be effective. She is also able to turn enemy Crew-members against their own Crews with the ‘Obey’ Spell which creates some interesting situations when the ability your opponent loves to use against you is instead used to ruin his own day rather than yours. Should the worst happen and she becomes threatened she is able to transform into a raven and escape with Flight combined with a greatly accelerated movement speed (10 rather than 3). Additionally Zoraida can select Minions from across the Factions provided their Willpower is low enough (4 or less). This allows her to negate an enemy’s key strengths with her own abilities before drowning the enemy in (hopefully) overwhelming numbers of expendable’cannon-fodder’ before her heavy hitters finish the job.
She keeps ‘Enthral’ and ‘Proper Manners’ and her Defensive Trigger ‘Regret’ which all work the same. Her basic Melee attack is identical though the Offensive Trigger has a different name (Puncture rather than Maim) it functions in the same way. She also still has ‘Obey’ spell and the ‘Repulsive’ Action both of which are as useful as they ever were. She can gain access to the ‘Raven’ Ability via an upgrade card which gives her a nice escape option but its now a (2) action rather than a (0) one though it is (in my opinion at least) actually better now.
She still has that ridiculously high Willpower of 10 and a decent Defence of 5 and though she still has no Charge value (though if your ever thinking “I really wish I could charge with Zoraida at this point” your doing something wrong) her walk has improved from 3 to 5. She still has a nice healthy Wounds total of 10 and is as proficient a Spell caster as ever she was.
She has also become dual faction so can be taken as either a Neverborn or Gremlin Master as you deem appropriate.
On a final note…she was actually apparently quite hot in her youth…
Those are the three originals covered. Next week we’ll look at The Dreamer and Collodi…
Thoughts and comments are (as usual) most welcome.