The world of Malifaux is thick with magical energies. Those newly arrived in the world often describe an electric feeling in the air, making the hairs on the back of their neck stand up. Almost all of Malifaux's residents develop some small ability to manipulate this energy, usually manifesting as minor magical talents. A small number will display noteworthy powers, powers that represent a threat to the Guild presence in Malifaux. These individuals have been labeled Arcanists, and the Guild expends significant resources in hunting these dangerous men and women, and have dedicated their Witch Hunter task force to eliminating this unpredictable rogue element.
The Witch Hunters have not proven very popular with the citizens of Malifaux. Each man and women is viewed with suspicion by the Guild, and even the most minor display of magical talent can result in unexpected midnight raids. It is unknown what happens to those taken by the Guild, but everyone has their theories, none of them very kind to the Guild. Occasionally, a fledgling Arcanist will succeed in driving off or evading the Witch Hunters. These cases always result in significant newspaper coverage, sparking the collective imaginations of every Malifaux citizen. These individuals are able to do what the common man cannot: spit in the eye of the Guild.