There are a few people who help maintain the house. I think these should be fun people who are sources of support and help but could also function as red herrings.
Mrs. Galling: Housekeeper. She’s a stern older woman who’s been employed by Doctor Beaufort for a short time; a few months at the best. She takes her job seriously. Does excellent work. Leaves every day by 6PM, just after finishing dinner. She’s used to Doctor Beaufort, and has gotten to know him better than even he understands. That said, she’s very loyal to her employer and won’t speak a cross word against him. She also won’t reveal any of his secrets.
James Mason: Driver. James has worked for Doctor Beaufort for the last few weeks. He’s anxious to do a good job. He’s a former Guild Guard who got shot during a mine uprising. His leg never healed right, but he’s still formidable. Large and stocky he moves with a slow uneven gate. He keeps the coach in excellent condition and takes pride in how the chrome and bronze shine as the coach rolls down the road. He also takes care of the two horses that pull the coach; Church and Mimsey. James doesn’t live on the property but is close enough that he can arrive in around five minutes should his services be needed. James has a reasonable understanding of who Doctor Beaufort is though he doesn’t know much about him. Being the driver he’s rarely in a position to speak with the doctor. He does know everywhere the doctor frequents should the players need to track him down.
Thatcher: Groundskeeper. Thatcher came with the house. He’s been here since before the doctor owned the property. Thatcher keeps the grounds well. The grass is green and the plants are healthy. He purposely keeps the shrubs ringing the property looking unkempt and forgotten. He is quiet, seems to pop up when no one expects it, and gets angry if anything happens to one of the many plants and topiaries one the grounds. Thatcher has spent some time speaking with Doctor Beaufort and has a good opinion of the doctor. If asked he won’t discuss the specifics of any conversation willingly but will indicate they talked about the house and grounds with specific attention paid to the hedge maze and the possibility of a greenhouse. Thatcher lives on the grounds. He has a hut located inside the hedge maze. It’s possible to find but requires finding two separate hidden levers that cause sections of the maze to open.
Thatcher may be a member of the Neverborn.
The good Doctor: Doctor Beaufort is a dogged researcher with a strong sense of civic responsibility. Finding several patterns of disturbing behavior cropping up around the city he’s tried and failed to get the Governor and the Guild involved. Since then he has taken steps to insert himself into these matters. Beaufort has always been a skilled physician, but a crippling illness has taken his once steady hands and made it impossible for him to perform any of the form surgeries he was once capable of. Still wanting to help, he recently discovered a series of disappearances that were plaguing parts of the city. While researching these matters, he’s discovered far more irregularities. With the Guild rebuking his efforts he’s decided to find outside assistance.
He will be absent during the first session, a puzzle map has been stolen from the entry way of the house. He’s gone to retrieve it from the thieves. By the end of the first adventure the puzzle will return via courier. When Doctor Beaufort returns? I’m not sure right now. He will eventually be back at the manor house, but it may be a few sessions.
Abigail Mason: Sister to Jake Tanner, Abigail is invited into the home by Doctor Beaufort. She may be encountered by the party while investigating Jake’s suicide. Abigail is a seamstress who’s struggling to make ends meet in Malifaux since her husband died in a mine “accident”. Abagail and her son Benjamin are innocents in this. If introduced they will be a source of character development and people to protect.
Benjamin Mason: Benjamin is a normal ten year old. He moves into the house with his mother. He will mostly be included as a red herring since my players will probably assume I’m going with the possessed child bit. I will play into this. He will probably spend time in the play room talking with his uncle.
The ghost of Jake Tanner: Jake is the man who stole the puzzle board. He was put up to it, sort of. He was actually there to hide an amulet on the property but was discovered by Mrs. Galling as he was leaving after hiding the amulet. When she found him he grabbed the puzzle board as a distraction from his real purpose. He thought he had made his escape but Doctor Beaufort cornered him. With fear of revealing who hired him and endangering his family, Jake took his own life. Unfortunately, his spirt became bound to his wedding ring. Beaufort took the ring, an engraved pocket watch, and a photo of Jake’s family for further investigation. Jake bears no ill will to the Doctor and depending on how the party treats him and his sister and nephew he could function as a sort of ally.
Sargent Percy: Elizabeth Percy is a Guild officer. She’s one of the few street level soldiers responsible for dealing with crime. She exhausted with Beaufort. He’s tried to bring the disappearances to her attention and she has ignored him. Ultimately, she just doesn’t care. She once believed in the law and trying to help but Malifaux has worn her down. She no longer cares about the little people from the slums. In her experience they’re always killing each other, stealing, and running away. She’s given up on these small cases of trying to figure out who went missing. It no longer matters to her. Is it possible to recruit/redeem her? Maybe. The group would have to put in a nearly titanic effort to do so.
Fa Ping, The Velvet Crane: Ping was born with a frail constitution. His body had betrayed him. However, he was smart, and looked innocent, this gave him an air of being above suspicion. A trait the Ten Thunders enjoy. He was recruited to the criminal organization as a look out and a courier. He spent several years as a child working his way around the organization and getting to know people. Eventually he began to overhear things that people needed. Then he started introducing people to others who needed their aid. Soon he started incurring favors. People owed him. Ping, is the man who gets things done. He knows someone or can find someone who needs help and gets them to do what you need. When you owe the Velvet Crane a favor you keep your end of the bargain. The shadows whisper the stories of those who failed or betrayed him, the ends are never pretty.
In truth, the reputation is only slightly earned. Few people have ever failed Ping and he’s usually very understanding about such things. He forgives you but you will repay the debt. Betrayal is a different matter. A few people have turned against him or the Ten Thunders and he’s called in favors to have them dealt with. Favors from very dangerous people. While he would prefer to not get so bloody, a message must be sent to those who betray the organization, and he does so with a heavy heart. He’s the one who sent Jake turner into the Beaufort Manor. It was an attempt to dissuade the Doctor’s investigation. It’s also the reason Jake killed himself to escape capture. Having heard the stories he was afraid for his family.
I should take a moment to talk about the Guild here since I’ve mentioned them a couple of times. The guild are the law in Malifaux. They control the production of Soul Stone and use that to keep people in line. They also control the Breach and the train that leads between Malifaux and Earthside. The Guild are corrupt beyond all reason. They’ve outlawed the use of magic, replacing body parts with machinery, or investigating any on the long lost technologies that were discovered on Malifaux when the first explorers came through the Breach. To do this they employ, magic users, people with body replacements, and lost technologies. The only thing they’ve made illegal but don’t employ themselves is necromancy.
It is of note that they’re really bad at their job. The lead forensic investigator and the city’s grave keeper are both leaders of the necromancer movement. There are many other examples of this. The Guild is corrupt and dangerous. They use some old world tactics to keep people in line. The only legal currency in Malifaux is Guild Script, actual money is illegal.
That said, they do have some heroic figures working for them who are trying to make Malifaux safer. Lady Justice is a Guild Officer who hunts the forces of the roaming undead and protects the citizens of the city. The Ortega family are a group of demon hunters who live in the wilds keep the land safe from attack.
Basically, the Guild as an organization is corrupt but many of its members are not.
I think that’s good for today. I’ll come back and post some more later. Next time I’ll talk about the house.