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Regarding the Labyrinth of Eels Messages in this topic - RSS

slickriptide
slickriptide
Posts: 97

6/13/2017
While googling, I came across an old thread on the Steam discussion forums regarding said Labyrinth that devolved into a bit of a kerfluffle about the etymology and correct usage of the words "maze" and "labyrinth".

I won't raise that thread from the dead here; what small purpose it had was served long before the last posting to it.

I'll note two things about the Labyrinth:

1) The Storm's Eye view of the Unterzee suggests that the Labyrinth is, indeed, a labyrinth and not a maze.


2) While the unicursal or multicursal nature of the place may be occasion for a certain measure of academic debate (the vigor of which, no doubt, tends to be directly proportional to the amount of amanita sherry in the room), from the somewhat more pragmatic viewpoint of the Explorer entering the place, the most vital aspect of it is, in fact - the eels.

'...until the sixth candle was extinguished. Now we all watched the flame as it stood up, as it were on tip-toe, taller and bluer each heart-beat. Its light grew brighter in the moments before it failed, so that I saw the faces of all my companions, drawn and white as if we were already dead. Then the candle-flame drew itself up like a dancer and was extinguished: dark fell upon us all like a wave, and I heard the hatchlings uncoil - '



This is a closely cropped image of the Labyrinth, in the interests of minimizing bandwidth. It's actually a chain of four islands, each having a greater or lesser amount of the eerie green lights on them.

Some questions pose themselves.

1) What are those lights? Are they individual "lamps" or is the rock literally glowing? (It looks like lamps but the idea of phosphorescent rock is more interesting.)

2) What is the history of the Labyrinth? If there's no reference to it in Fallen London, what do you *imagine* it's history to be?

3) What would you expect to find there if you were sailing by and noticed a port circle had appeared near the entrance?

4) Why on earth do Fallen Londoners rely on candles? Even if Foxfire candles are some sort of special candle? If they have natural gas for lighting and warmth, surely Mr. Fires or Mr. Iron has the resources and technology to distill kerosene for lanterns?

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Teaspoon
Teaspoon
Posts: 804

6/13/2017
Given that actual Victorian Londoners insisted on draughty coal fires despite having access to natural gas (whereas, say, Glasgow switched over about as soon as it was practical), I would say it was a matter of sentiment/social fashions rather than technical issues as such.
edited by Teaspoon on 6/13/2017

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Anchovies
Anchovies
Posts: 395

6/14/2017
This is the Neath we're talking about. Wax is in... plentiful supply, shall we say. Importing the wicks may well be the most expensive part of candle-making, unless cotton's been replaced with some material which can be produced in the Neath. As long as the Wax-Wind's residue can be melted, vaporized, and then burned, it could used in place of paraffin as a candle fuel.

Candles store their fuel in solid form, which makes for a very compact and portable fuel unit. They're also clean-burning and produce virtually no material waste. Oil and gas require metal containers, which would have to be transported or discarded when empty, at significant expense in either case. Non-solid fuels can also leak from their containers, contaminating other supplies, poisoning nearby air and water, or turning campsites into death-traps set off by a stray match or spark. Waxes are also insoluble in water, so the damp of the Neath wouldn't much impede their use.

The waxes available in the Neath may also burn much brighter or longer than surface candles. That wouldn't excuse the fact that people in the Neath seem to hold the candles in hand rather than sticking them in glass-walled lanterns, but it would make them more viable in terms of raw illumination.

Foxfire candles, with their distinctive green wax and flame, are especially common, so I decided to investigate those. After some basic research, I'm fairly confident that the colors are due to minute amounts copper (II) sulfate mixed into the wax prior to molding. The mineral burns green and is a bold blue color which, in the right concentration, could turn a tan or yellow wax to a shade of pale green.

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Lionel Anchovies. Most social actions welcome. Always open to some delicious roleplaying. Please no betrayals, photographer, or lethal sparring. My Time, the Healer arrives on Saturdays at 14:30 GMT
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Machallan
Machallan
Posts: 32

6/15/2017
To me, the sources of light look more like luminescent mushrooms or rocks than actual lamps. On this : https://lparchive.org/Sunless-Sea/Update%2007/10-Petra06013.jpg

picture, you can see clusters of these luminescent sources, and that seems to go against the lamp thesis.

The Labyrinth, is undoubtebly some sort of trial. Unlike Minos legendary one, this one is fairly short and easy to navigate, so I don't believe it might have been built/created to hold something prisoner. I'd see it more like some sort of ancient pilgrimage, challenging trespassers not through it's complexity, but rather on a more... mental area.
Of course, that was long before London Fell, and now that Luminescent fungis have colonized parts of the island chain, who knows what could lurk between it's crumbling walls? Blemmigans? Rats? Worse?
All this assuming that we are indeed seeing the whole labyrinth, and not just the tip of the iceberg. What if the center sheltered only a doorway to an unfathomable network of depths and long forgotten corridors?


Just out of curiosity, are you actually planning to add a port there?
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slickriptide
slickriptide
Posts: 97

6/15/2017
Machallan wrote:

Just out of curiosity, are you actually planning to add a port there?


Well, one has to start somewhere and it seemed safest to start somewhere away from established shipping routes. :-p

Initially, simply as an experiment in building a port from scratch.

Ideally, it will be a launching point for what I'm setting as an informal modding goal - The addition of a new Ambition: Things Man Was Not Meant To Know. Sort of an extension of the Natural Philosopher origin story, with the goal becoming an Alarming Scholar oneself, in a sense.

I had originally seen exploring the Labyrinth as an Indiana Jones type of adventure, but after quite a bit of thought and a re-read of _The Shadow Over Innsmouth_ I came more around to the sort of ideas that you are suggesting. Ideally, a captain who conquers the Labyrinth will find himself embarking on the opening stages of an odyssey of sorts.

The Neath is an odd dichotomy from a story standpoint. On the one hand, it's a place where Reality is bendy and strange Nameless Things exist just out of sight (or, in the case of Hell, just up the river from town). On the other hand, Fallen London has this substantial back story that any story consistent with the setting has to take into account; yet Sunless Sea hides most of that backstory so thoroughly that a casual player will never encounter it and London itself is just a figurative "truck stop" where you refuel and grab a plate of pancakes for the road.

Only the most determined Sunless Sea player will experience all of the possible outcomes of the various story decisions open to the captains plying the dark waters of the Unterzee.

So, basically, it's a magical place of wonder and lost civilizations, but there are rules behind everything that exists and the rules are themselves mostly hidden from casual examination. You can't just make up your own magic, rules, and people without having a similarly thorough explanation for how it all fits consistently into the greater setting.

Then there's the question of rewards. Sunless Sea is dreadfully short on ways to reward players for taking the time to experience a mod that's about expanding the story of the game rather than making the player invincible or his ship into a speedboat. Writing a compelling story that rewards the player by leading to even more compelling stories requires, well, that the author be a compelling writer. ;-)

Finally, there's what Alexis Kennedy described in an interview as something his co-founder at Failbetter called a "cigarette break moment". That is, a decision that causes you to stop what you're doing and indulge in a cigarette or coffee or donut or something while you mull over the ramifications of the choice before you.

Mechanically, creating a storylet with a few choices that finally gives you some Echoes or a Cache of Curiosities at the end, isn't too difficult. Making it something that the player is going to tell his friends, "Hey, you should try this!" is something else again.

Still - the initial goal IS simply to create a new port with some interactions, a climax, and a modest reward. Once that's all done successfully, then I'll see about where that leads.

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Optimatum
Optimatum
Posts: 2772

6/15/2017
Is it actually possible to add new ports to the game? I was under the impression you could only edit qualities and storylets.

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slickriptide
slickriptide
Posts: 97

6/15/2017
Optimatum wrote:
Is it actually possible to add new ports to the game? I was under the impression you could only edit qualities and storylets.


While I won't call it definitive without actually trying it firsthand, I would say that based on this screenshot I just made that yes, it's possible to add a port to the game. ;-)

The tiles database that defines the map labels also contains the port data.

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Optimatum
Optimatum
Posts: 2772

6/16/2017
...isn't that just the normal London port with the map text edited?

--
Optimatum, a ruthless and merciful gentleman. No plant battles or Affluent Photographer requests; all other social actions welcome.

Want a sip of Hesperidean Cider? Send me a request in-game. Here's an_ocelot's guide how.

PM me for hints enigmatic or fated. Though the forum please, not FL itself.
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slickriptide
slickriptide
Posts: 97

6/16/2017
Yes. The point is that you can mod the file that contains the port data. If you can change the labels, you should be able to change all of the data in the tiles.json file.

That means adding, changing and/or deleting ports.

The reason I didn't create a new port as a demonstration was that a proper port has a storylet to go with it and I didn't have a storylet defined. It might very well have loaded anyway but it only takes one corrupt bit of data to make the game unloadable.

I'll make a demonstration port in the next day or two to prove the concept.

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Hattington
Hattington
Posts: 71

6/16/2017
slickriptide wrote:
While googling, I came across an old thread on the Steam discussion forums regarding said Labyrinth that devolved into a bit of a kerfluffle about the etymology and correct usage of the words "maze" and "labyrinth".

I won't raise that thread from the dead here; what small purpose it had was served long before the last posting to it.

I'll note two things about the Labyrinth:

1) The Storm's Eye view of the Unterzee suggests that the Labyrinth is, indeed, a labyrinth and not a maze.


2) While the unicursal or multicursal nature of the place may be occasion for a certain measure of academic debate (the vigor of which, no doubt, tends to be directly proportional to the amount of amanita sherry in the room), from the somewhat more pragmatic viewpoint of the Explorer entering the place, the most vital aspect of it is, in fact - the eels.

'...until the sixth candle was extinguished. Now we all watched the flame as it stood up, as it were on tip-toe, taller and bluer each heart-beat. Its light grew brighter in the moments before it failed, so that I saw the faces of all my companions, drawn and white as if we were already dead. Then the candle-flame drew itself up like a dancer and was extinguished: dark fell upon us all like a wave, and I heard the hatchlings uncoil - '



This is a closely cropped image of the Labyrinth, in the interests of minimizing bandwidth. It's actually a chain of four islands, each having a greater or lesser amount of the eerie green lights on them.

Some questions pose themselves.

1) What are those lights? Are they individual "lamps" or is the rock literally glowing? (It looks like lamps but the idea of phosphorescent rock is more interesting.)

2) What is the history of the Labyrinth? If there's no reference to it in Fallen London, what do you *imagine* it's history to be?

3) What would you expect to find there if you were sailing by and noticed a port circle had appeared near the entrance?

4) Why on earth do Fallen Londoners rely on candles? Even if Foxfire candles are some sort of special candle? If they have natural gas for lighting and warmth, surely Mr. Fires or Mr. Iron has the resources and technology to distill kerosene for lanterns?



  • 3: I'm just going with Occam's Razor here, based on the fact that the Zubmariner DLC adds slithery, giant eel-like entities under the sea whose deaths spawn windows into Parabola.

    So I'm assuming the Labyrinth is full of very big, very hungry, very eel-like cousins to the Fingerkings.

    --
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    slickriptide
    slickriptide
    Posts: 97

    6/16/2017
    RE: Ports - Here's a screenshot of a mod-created port near The Wreck of The Emporer Wolfgang. It's linked to Port Cecil which means I'll have to be careful to log out at the real Port Cecil before I remove the test port, heh.

    Hattington wrote:


  • 3: I'm just going with Occam's Razor here, based on the fact that the Zubmariner DLC adds slithery, giant eel-like entities under the sea whose deaths spawn windows into Parabola.

    So I'm assuming the Labyrinth is full of very big, very hungry, very eel-like cousins to the Fingerkings.


  • So, when you kill a Neither, you're seeing into Parabola? Interesting. I can work with that.




  • edited by slickriptide on 6/16/2017

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    lady ciel
    lady ciel
    Posts: 2477

    6/16/2017
    In the early days of Sunless Sea Albino Morays used to spawn near the Labyrinth of Eels. I never see them there anymore though.

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    No Calling Cards or boxed cats please. Will take dupes on the affluent photographers. Other social invitations welcome though loitering might be inconvenient at times. Parabolan Kittens usually available, send me an in-game social action saying you want one and I will get one to you as soon as possible.

    storynexus name - reveurciel
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    Machallan
    Machallan
    Posts: 32

    6/17/2017
    This is all very interesting. I'd be curious to know how you managed to add the port... and to see what you're going to make of it.
    I'd also be delighted to lend you a hand, should you need help, advice or simply ideas smile

    About the Labyrinth though, it doesn't seem flooded, so I hardly see how it could be crawling with eels. Maybe in hypothetical lower levels? Maybe the name too is a vestige of days long gone?
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    Optimatum
    Optimatum
    Posts: 2772

    6/18/2017
    Perhaps the laybrinth is not the maze, but instead the cluster of islets.

    --
    Optimatum, a ruthless and merciful gentleman. No plant battles or Affluent Photographer requests; all other social actions welcome.

    Want a sip of Hesperidean Cider? Send me a request in-game. Here's an_ocelot's guide how.

    PM me for hints enigmatic or fated. Though the forum please, not FL itself.
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    slickriptide
    slickriptide
    Posts: 97

    6/18/2017
    Machallan wrote:
    This is all very interesting. I'd be curious to know how you managed to add the port...


    Here's the Reader's Digest Condensed version:

    The map consists of a series of tiles that are shuffled and laid out according to the tile rulesets when a new captain is created. The geography folder holds all of the data that defines the map.

    Tiles.json describes the contents of each tile. EVERYTHING you see on the map as you sail around the Unterzee is described in Tiles.json. It's quite literally possible to write your own custom map for the game if you had the time and inclination to do so. There is a lot of duplicated data in the tiles files with no clear indication why it's duplicated. Probably it's redundant but it's worth keeping in mind that editing this stuff means you should edit wherever it appears, to be safe.

    Amongst other data, a tile has an array of PortData objects. A PortData object has assorted bits of info, including an Area and a Position. These two objects describe the ID of an entry in areas.json (in the entities folder) and the X & Y map coordinates where the port circle should be displayed.

    Mechanically speaking, a player moves her ship around on the map. When she moves to a port circle and presses the 'E' key, that instructs the game client to open the gazeteer and show all of the storylets that have a LimitedToArea ID that's the same as the ID of the Area object in the port's PortData object. (Storylets may also have quality requirements that affect whether they are shown or not.)

    For my demo port, I just used Port Cecil's area ID and effectively cloned Port Cecil at the Wreck of the Emperor Wolfgang. A real custom port would have a custom area entry in areas.json and at least one event (storylet) in events.json with a LimitedToArea object that linked to the area ID of the port.

    Yes, this means that a Cheater McCheaterson could mod The Salt Lions to be at the end of Wolfstack Dock, though you'd have to ask why such a person wouldn't just edit his save file to give himself several thousand echoes instead of going to the trouble of modding the map.

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    slickriptide
    slickriptide
    Posts: 97

    6/18/2017
    You have a maze on an island,in a chain of islands called The Snares.

    Maybe the Labyrinth is a trap rather than a treasure. wink

    I wouldn't be too concerned over treating the Labyrinth on the map as a literal representation of the Labyrinth's interior. It could be partially flooded. Knee-deep or waist-deep water would be sufficient for ordinary eels or even man-sized eels if the water in the maze was connected to a larger hidden grotto.

    Likewise, I wouldn't see much sense in trying to depict the twists and turnings of an actual maze. Given the "choose your own adventure" format of Storynexus games, it would be difficult to literally traverse the maze. It would be more like visiting the Wisp Ways or perhaps Zailing The Empire of Hands.

    We also should keep in mind that despite the Storm's Eye view of the Labyrinth that lets players visualize it adequately, the "actual" Labyrinth would not be lit in any significant way. There's the "mooonish light" of the Neath, which would make the passages of the Labyrinth just short of can't-see-your-hand-in-front-of-your-face dark without a light source.

    Still, assuming that the labyrinth is as easy to solve as it appears, the goal at the center must be something other than simply arriving and finding something. It must be more like a series of tests that finally reveal something - a gateway to something darker and more dangerous, or a dark truth that leads one to pursue further, darker truths.

    It might be interesting to involve the other islands in the journey through the Labyrinth but it would need to be something compelling and not simply the equivalent of a bunch of fedex quests for keys that amount to a lot of padding and not much else.

    And, maybe, The Snares would have to live up to their name. Maybe an unlucky or reckless captain could come to a bad end there.

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    Machallan
    Machallan
    Posts: 32

    6/19/2017
    slickriptide wrote:

    Here's the Reader's Digest Condensed version:


    Thanks a lot!

    I've been exploring thoses files, and from what I seem to understand, it is not only perfectly feasible to add ports, but it should even be possible to replace the generic empty tiles with usermade ones! The only limitation I'm envisioning would be that we can only use native assets and prefabs. Other than that...

    I also believe that it could be possible to control the access to a port using "UnlocksWithQuality" in [PortData/Area]. Although now that I mention it, it would much simpler to simply use the even system to create conditions for access.

    I even stumbled upon a "Terror" Condition for the spawns, wich could allow us to spawn certain enemies in certain tiles after reaching a specific level of terror and madness (much like the Eye Below).

    This makes for a whole lot of new possibilities that I never thought possible. Much thinking required.
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    slickriptide
    slickriptide
    Posts: 97

    6/19/2017
    My understanding of the generic tiles is that they are random tiles picked from a pool of five. The idea is that every map has something unpredictable on it.

    On old maps from alpha, those tiles were The Sea of Wings and, uh, something I don't recall now.

    ***edit***

    Oh, I think you meant "generic" to mean a tile with all of its data blank. If that's correct, then yes - you could create any map you wanted. In fact, one of my eventual goals is to see if I can create a custom setting with a custom map and move the player from the default setting to my setting and back again as part of a chain of events.
    edited by slickriptide on 6/19/2017

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    GoingFTL
    GoingFTL
    Posts: 113

    6/20/2017
    chickeness here, I stand by my statement that it's the Crete Labyrinth. It's entirely possible for there to be a column, stretching down from the Mediterranean above to the Neath.
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    slickriptide
    slickriptide
    Posts: 97

    6/20/2017
    GoingFTL wrote:
    chickeness here, I stand by my statement that it's the Crete Labyrinth. It's entirely possible for there to be a column, stretching down from the Mediterranean above to the Neath.


    Are you suggesting that the Labyrinth on the map is a cross section of something that's actually some kind of stalagmite that joins the Snares with the roof of the Neath and contains a tunnel that opens out in Crete? I have a hard time buying that. I'm not entirely against the idea that the Labyrinth on the island is the Labyrinth of Minos, though.

    I actually spent a lot of time this past weekend learning more about Minoan Crete than I ever wanted to know, LOL. The real question is how it got to the Neath if it's the "real" Labyrinth.

    We know that the Bazaar is not responsible for all of the people in the Neath. Varchas and Irem are separate from the Fallen Cities, and the Presbyterate may predate the Bazaar and so, by inference, The Mountain as well. Then there's Visage and Nuncio, which have sketchy origins. Granted, those last two were a result of player input from the Kickstarter campaign if my understanding is correct, but it still is evidence from a lore standpoint of human habitation of the Neath independent of the Bazaar. (Visage could potentially be explained as an offshoot of the Second City, IMO.) For that matter, I'm not at all certain where Whither fits into the general anthropological picture of the Neath.

    But, let's wave our hands and say, "When Thera (the volcano that erupted 70 miles away that certainly damaged Minoan civilization even if it didn't entirely wipe it out) blew, Something happened. Heck, maybe Visage IS the remnants of the Minoans. I mean, they seem to have a bull for a god which fits with the Minoans. Let's imagine that the Minoans saw the tsunami coming (the tsunami may not have actually happened, but we're hand-waving here) and they did Something metaphysical that, probably unintentionally, dropped part of Crete into the Neath and formed The Snares. Maybe Crete used to be bigger or was part of an archipelago that just isn't there any more because it's now a mile underground.

    Since the Fall involves the Labyrinth, it seems reasonable to assume that a priest class was probably involved and that most of the survivors of the Fall were priests, magicians, and other metaphysically inclined types. The sorts who might be likely to deliberately put on weird masks and mix up ritual and role-play until they were indistinguishable.

    They pulled themselves together, discovered that the local waters were full of hostile "eels" or something, and took their chances on the Unterzee. They discovered a new island and through the kind of metaphysical reality bending that tends to happen in the Neath, they became aware of Salt, Storm, Stone, Parabola, and the rest and Visage was the end result of trying to reconcile their knowledge of their new home with what remained of their knowledge of their ancestral home on the Surface.

    Which raises the question - What's in the Labyrinth?

    There's probably NOT a Minotaur. However, there could be a Searing Enigma; knowledge of how to rebel against the tyranny of the Judgements; if only momentarily. Sometimes, a moment is all you need...
    edited by slickriptide on 6/20/2017
    edited by slickriptide on 6/20/2017

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