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August's Exceptional Story: The Attendants Messages in this topic - RSS

suinicide
suinicide
Posts: 2077

8/4/2017
My understanding was that drunkenness made challenges harder, while the friendship quality made it easier to persuade people to leave.

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http://fallenlondon.storynexus.com/profile/sunnytime
A gentleman seeking the liberation of knowledge, with a penchant for violence.
RIP suinicide, stuck in a well. Still has it under control.
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slickriptide
slickriptide
Posts: 97

8/4/2017
Any motivation at all would have helped. I'd have been perfectly happy with something like, "No more 'Felicity Beauchamp, Relic Hunter' novels? UNTHINKABLE!"

Sure, you don't want to dictate the player characters preferences, but the Garroulous Novelist could just as easily have asked, "Have you read one of my novels?" and let the player choose whether buxom, half-dressed archaeologists and ancient curses really are his or her cup of tea instead of assuming that the PC is above such things.

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http://fallenlondon.storynexus.com/Profile/Slickriptide
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Kukapetal
Kukapetal
Posts: 1323

8/4/2017
Exactly! I was certain my character had not only read all her novels, but had the Triple Platinum Collector's Set :P
edited by Kukapetal on 8/4/2017
edited by Kukapetal on 8/4/2017
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genesis
genesis
Posts: 783

8/7/2017
I haven't seen anyone discuss the new hieroglyph that appears in the art of story.

I am no Egyptology so I had to rely on Wikipedia to get even some sense of it. But I feel it's a major clue of *something*.

Ignoring the outer oval of the glyph, it consists of two elements. On the top is the sun glyph and on the bottom is the "butcher's block" glyph. Together they form the hieroglyph "Sun on block" which means "day time" or "course of the day". This would be quite a dull Easter egg as it might simply refer to the "The Slow Passage of Time" quality or just the overall theme of the story referring to trying to recapture sunlight and daytime in Parabola. So no secret messages there.

However, the fact that the hieroglyph appears inside an oval suggests that it is intended to be a cartouche (albeit without a horizontal bar), which would imply that it refers to a royal name.

If so, then there might be flexibility to attach different interpretations to the hieroglyph.

The sun glyph - This, quite obviously, can refer to the sun. It can also refer to some concept of time like a moment or an instant. Finally, and specifically in cartouches, it can refer refer to the sun god Ra. In Amarna Ra was equated with Aten.

The butcher's block glyph - the main meaning is the concept of "below" or "under". Perhaps, be-Neath? Alternatively, it can also have the following associations. It's a butcher's block so it can refer to something being butchered or segmented.

So what do we have overall? It can of course refer to "the sun in the Neath" - the idea of the Palace of the Rising. Or it could simply refer to the fall of Aten (as in Akhenaten/Amarna). Curiously, another entity that is associated with the phrase "The sun below" is "The sun below the sea" - Salt. I have no idea what that would have to do with this story but it's interesting to note. Finally, the Second City is also associated with Mr Eaten who was certainly butchered and segmented.

Anyway, I don't have any definitive theories but I thought it's a worthwhile angle to ponder.
edited by genesis on 8/7/2017

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alekth
alekth
Posts: 17

8/7/2017
It definitely felt disconnected at the end, without any investment in either side. I ended up leaving everyone behind with the reasoning that since I'd started the story as the Antiquarian's ex-lover, I'd leave him some company for old times' sake.

--
Ray Trevelyan - Battles of all kinds are welcome - plants, chess and deadly
Aileas Amell - a lady with few goals- vengeance and seeking take their time
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Dudebro Pyro
Dudebro Pyro
Posts: 209

8/7/2017
Also worth adding that I started the story as a complete stranger to the Antiquarian (staying true to life, as I'd never seen him before in-game), which didn't actually end up affecting the story in any way except to make everything even more absurd - the text states that the Antiquarian invited you, the player, because you didn't know the other members, with strong hints that you are an old acquaintance of his and hence he could trust you. Yet in my case, he ended up inviting a completely random stranger for the purpose of an objective/detached judgement, which really seems quite extreme (in an amusing way).
It did, of course, make the last choice even more meaningless - ironically, I felt more attachment to the Princess than anybody else, and based my choice to let everyone stay off that.

--
Dudebro Pyro, eccentric scholar
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Tystefy
Tystefy
Posts: 264

8/10/2017
Ooohhhh... it's this cult. Yeesh.

These sisters are part of an actual old cult that broke away from the Egyptian religion where they worshiped Atun as their main deity.

Atun is the sun disc, or the sun, that was wielded by Ra, the sun god.

To worship Atun is pretty much equivalent to worshiping Zeus's lightning bolt, Thor's hammer, or the literal cross of Christ. I'm talking about worshipping the cross, the physical object, and not what it represents.

That just doesn't sit right with me.

If I'm not mistaken, this cult not only worshipped Atun, but worshipped Atun INSTEAD of Ra, replacing him. Frankly, I'd be mad if that happened to me. If people sent gifts to your Waxwall Knife, and you were not allowed ownership of said gifts because they're for your weapon, wouldn't you be annoyed?

--
Currently borderline AFK- Never mind, I came back for the weasels.
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phryne
phryne
Posts: 888

8/11/2017
Got round to playing this one earlier than expected and immensely enjoyed it - even for the exact reasons others found objectionable, it seems. Sorry in advance for the wall-of-text, but reading through this thread prompted some thoughts about ES writing in general.

I did not find the ending to be anticlimactic. In fact, I'd like to point out how much I appreciate the fact that my character could just leave¹, without being forced to talk to or try and persuade anyone. As someone above has pointed out, "making other people's decisions for them seems to be an ES staple". Of course, I can totally see why that's the case: it's pretty hard to write an engaging, meaningful story without giving the PC some power over NPC's actions. What the writers of ES should try to do as often as possible though is to leave it to the player whether to interfere at all - and I feel like The Attendants achieved exactly that.

Of course I'm not saying there should never be situations where you're given power over an NPC's fate. But these situations lose meaning when they happen all the time instead of just, say, once or twice throughout the story. I think one of the most unrealistic things that interactive fiction can do is put you into a setting where NPCs ask you to influence their course of action all the time. Because that's just not how life works.² I also feel that, in those instances where interfering is possible, the existence of an option not to interfere is incredibly important. Being able to remain passive makes those moments when my char does take action - or has to make decisions - all the more meaningful.

In this story, I was invited by someone I didn't know to a party where I didn't know anyone either. I got the opportunity to explore the host's very interesting abode, both before and after dinner. During dinner, I was able to concentrate on food and drink, and was even kindly provided with the option to be unspeakably rude to anyone trying to engage me in conversation. I wasn't forced to participate in the seance either. At the end, I got to make an even more interesting trip to Parabola, said my goodbyes, and left. For basically throughout this story I hardly had to do anything but explore and observe, and still hugely enjoyed myself and learnt a great deal of lore. I feel like that's as remarkable an achievement by the writer as, for example, the exciting showdown in Web of the Motherlings

I also don't think it's an example of bad writing that all the (seemingly) threatening hints about some sinister plan on behalf of the Assistant turned out to be just the PC being paranoid - in fact, that's extremely realistic! Just imagine the situation: you're in a strange place with people you do not know. The host never shows up, and his assistant makes it plain inviting you wasn't her idea. Of course you're likely to become slightly worried at every hint of possible threat coming from her, and start seeing things that aren't there. To have my expectations so thoroughly contradicted is, to me at least, delightful. I chuckle at the thought of my monster-hunter moving stealthily through the mansion, prepared at every turn to be attacked by something hideous, only to find out that it really was just a game of hide-and-seek after all.

If, by the end of the story, I had been in any way inclined to further interfere with these peoples' lives, the options to do so were there. Not being forced into taking any of them was delightful.

I had high expectations for the Season of Ruins, and so far they've been met. Can't wait for the concluding story!


¹ There have been one or two ES where I craved an option to do just that, since I couldn't see any reason for my char to be interested in interfering at all. The most egregious example was, of course, Our Lady of Pyres, as others have pointed out already.

² For me, the worst example here was The Heart, the Devil and the Zee where I was asked to advise an NPC on matters most private, concerning their family and even their love life. Aside from the fact that why my char would care for this stranger, or why they would be entrusted with these decisions, was never really addressed - having such absolute power over the NPC's life was just totally unbelievable. (The story's saving grace, however, was the wide variety of final options it provided.) Contrary to that, in All Things Must End's final choice the writers did a great job by subtly suggesting the Undertaker being so wracked with indecision, she would just go along with whatever the PC chose. Sometimes the whole plot's credibility depends on details like that.

³ Generally, what I expect above all of Exceptional Stories is probably that they provide some variety. Overall, I was always satisfied on that end and feel like the FB writers have become even better at it recently.
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edited by phryne on 8/11/2017

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a Scarlet Sainta Monster-Huntera Memorya Raven?
Exceptional Stories poll results: 20162017
List of useful thingsFavours & Renown Guide
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annalibertas
annalibertas
Posts: 89

8/13/2017
phryne wrote:
I also don't think it's an example of bad writing that all the (seemingly) threatening hints about some sinister plan on behalf of the Assistant turned out to be just the PC being paranoid - in fact, that's extremely realistic! Just imagine the situation: you're in a strange place with people you do not know. The host never shows up, and his assistant makes it plain inviting you wasn't her idea. Of course you're likely to become slightly worried at every hint of possible threat coming from her, and start seeing things that aren't there. To have my expectations so thoroughly contradicted is, to me at least, delightful. I chuckle at the thought of my monster-hunter moving stealthily through the mansion, prepared at every turn to be attacked by something hideous, only to find out that it really was just a game of hide-and-seek after all.

If, by the end of the story, I had been in any way inclined to further interfere with these peoples' lives, the options to do so were there. Not being forced into taking any of them was delightful.


For the most part i agree with you on this one, being able to get sloshed instead of interfering was delightful (though I felt like it maybe could have made the occasional check harder in hide and seek? i maxed the quality and the assistant, as far as im aware, was completely sober) and the majority of the story was interesting and had some fun implications lore wise.

Like a lot of other people in this thread though, I did find it annoying that i couldn't try to find out the other guests views on staying, only convince them to leave which I hadn't been given any reason to do so I found that kind of jarring

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Amalgamate
Amalgamate
Posts: 244

8/13/2017
Yeah, at 200, all the challenges were straightforward. I even put on a Talkative Rattus Faber and everything was still 100%.

I decided to convince the Garrulous Novelist. I figured that since she'd given up archaeology for trashy archaeology-themed novels, that she wouldn't really want to spend her life building a palace in Parabola. I guessed that the others were sincere, and besides, it's not like they're trapped there forever, technically the assistant can let them go back anytime.

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Mr. Secrets
Mr. Secrets
Posts: 98

8/13/2017
Well Amalgamate, the challenges should all be easy for a level 200. That would be the point, exceptional stories are meant for characters of all stat levels. For the most part, anyway. After all, wouldn't you be annoyed if as a low level character you paid real money for a story you cannot reasonably complete due to low stats?

Regardless of the ease of difficulty, which is found in pretty much every exceptional story, I had the same issues that others expressed. The game of hide and seek in the house was interesting, as was the conversation with the woman in the mirror. However, after that conversation I found myself rather confused.

The archeologist asked me to talk to folks and see if they were willing to stay...and then my only option for talking with them was to ask them to leave with me. Testing with the novelist, I found that there was no option to convince them back the other direction and it was simply a "take some, all, or none" situation. Which didn't sit right with me, there were so few opportunities to get information from or about the other characters. We did not even get a chance to talk to them about the temple/palace/place in the mirror. Heck, I only vaguely could tell the two male NPCs apart and it was mostly because of their pictures rather than their personalities. I had no idea if these folks had families or children to provide for that would lose them if they stayed on their side, or what kind of life awaited them if they stayed on the other side of the mirror. Convincing everyone to leave didn't make much sense, neither did sabatoging the project. I was given no reason to do either of these things, they were simply options that were available. Its like if the game had a button that said "I dare you to punch this puppy," why would I? They had done no harm to me, nor seemed as if they were going to do harm to anyone else, and everyone involved was basically a volunteer.

At the end, I get an enigma and then never see any of the characters ever again...no epilogue card, no word from the Duchess...nothing. I left, the novelist left, the novelist never contacted me, and I never found out what happened to the ones who remained. The story culminated into...nothing.

Meh, to be honest this is the first "mediocre" exceptional story I have run into and I'm not a fan.

--
Mr. Secrets - We Are In Our Ascendance. There Will Be Ten And Then All Shall Be Well And All Shall Be Well And All Manner of Things Shall Be Well.

The Straveling Solider - The Straveling Soldier, The Straveling Soldier hates and hates the beings Solar.
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Addis Rook
Addis Rook
Posts: 89

8/18/2017
You have fallen from grace.

proceeds to play hide and seek while absolutely smashed

for some reason I loved this story way more than I thought I would... just good feelings all around. We need more of those types of stories, the warm and charming side of Fallen London.
edited by Addis Rook on 8/18/2017
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miss_all_sunday
miss_all_sunday
Posts: 18

8/20/2017
Any news on the little extra for playing all three stories of the season of ruins? I honestly cannot remember when those appear.

--
Miss All Sunday, the Dreaming Gentlewoman
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suinicide
suinicide
Posts: 2077

8/20/2017
A bit after the next season starts.

--
http://fallenlondon.storynexus.com/profile/sunnytime
A gentleman seeking the liberation of knowledge, with a penchant for violence.
RIP suinicide, stuck in a well. Still has it under control.
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dov
dov
Posts: 2006

8/20/2017
miss_all_sunday wrote:
Any news on the little extra for playing all three stories of the season of ruins? I honestly cannot remember when those appear.

It varies. Can be anything from a week to a few months after the next season starts.

--
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SleepingD
SleepingD
Posts: 8

8/20/2017
I think it was a fine story, the writing was good and I definitely liked the contributions to the lore, the hunt mechanics also did a decent job of making the search for keys more interesting. I will say the story did not engage me on a personal level the way All Things Must End did but I don't think that was its point and it's fine.

Now for some late spoilers [spoiler]I did miss out on the ritual. I thought I did a fairly thorough job of searching the place but apparently not. Assuming it was indeed tied to airs... on the one hand far as I understand it didn't make a major difference, on the other if it was tied to airs I have mixed feelings on that as a gameplay mechanic. Like most people around here I saw no reason to interfere with the construction or to convince the guests to leave, maybe a bit more of a build-up on their character would make me more invested in this (that or if I was more in league with the Masters and wanted to make them happy by screwing the 2nd city people as much as possible).[/spoiler]

Oh and I really liked the artwork on the Assistant.
edited by SleepingD on 8/20/2017
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Gonen
Gonen
Posts: 784

8/23/2017
Well.. (spoilers)
contrary to many others here, I did not find this story to my liking.
The hide and seek in the mansion was pretty straight forward (which, I like. I hate to think I'm forgetting or overseeing something in a one-time-story) but was not that interesting. Got a painted rock here. Got it there. mm...

The thing which bothered me the most was the journey through the gates. Sure, insert 6 stones here in those six gates (who built this machinery? How?) and whoop - you're at Parabola with the famous and lost daughter of Pharoh from the 2nd city (!). Yap. Just like that. Even for FL wonders this seems a bit like going from 0 to 100 mph in a second with no good explanation.

And the final choices - why would I sabotage the statue?
(I read your theories on this, friends).
And the Antiquarian specifically ask me to convince everyone to stay, but I can only convince them to LEAVE? Why would I do such a thing?
And I get a special ending if I convince them all to leave but the same ending if I convince NONE or SOME to leave?
Makes me want to see that special option even if I don't want to make them leave. Makes me think there is something I need to see, if I invest my actions and succeed in the feat of convincing them all to leave, instead following my heart and narrative of story and just let them be. Something about this mechanic doesn't sit well.

Finally, did not find that much lore wise, but that is probably my fault. I am, most of the time, missing important hints.

One of my least favorable stories. But that's OK. Not all are winners, and most people here disagree enthusiastically with me. Thanks for another ES and keep the good and hard work, FBG!

So, regard to things written here, could you remind me what is the Calendar Code and where can I read it (if someone has a blog about it). You seem to remember a lot of small specific information from there.

--
The Ashen Anesthesiologist - Paramount Londoner

Woe to those who call evil good, and good evil; Who substitute darkness for light and light for darkness.

The long journey to eccentricity:
# of quirks at level 15: 5
# of quirks at level 12-14: 4
# of quirks at level 10: 1
# of quirks below level 10: 0
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phryne
phryne
Posts: 888

8/23/2017
Gonen wrote:
So, regard to things written here, could you remind me what is the Calendar Code and where can I read it (if someone has a blog about it). You seem to remember a lot of small specific information from there.
Um, the Calendar Code was the ES for August 2016
edited by phryne on 8/23/2017

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a Scarlet Sainta Monster-Huntera Memorya Raven?
Exceptional Stories poll results: 20162017
List of useful thingsFavours & Renown Guide
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Gonen
Gonen
Posts: 784

8/23/2017
phryne wrote:
Gonen wrote:
So, regard to things written here, could you remind me what is the Calendar Code and where can I read it (if someone has a blog about it). You seem to remember a lot of small specific information from there.
Um, the Calendar Code was the ES for August 2016
edited by phryne on 8/23/2017



Right. Somehow I remember it as the conclusion for a 3 month ES.
Better go search my journal around August.
Thank you!

--
The Ashen Anesthesiologist - Paramount Londoner

Woe to those who call evil good, and good evil; Who substitute darkness for light and light for darkness.

The long journey to eccentricity:
# of quirks at level 15: 5
# of quirks at level 12-14: 4
# of quirks at level 10: 1
# of quirks below level 10: 0
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Aniline
Aniline
Posts: 46

8/30/2017
The season's conclusion is in.

--
Melantha Prescott. Extraordinary Mind, EF, A: Heart's Desire, soon-to-be Correspondent, tripping on purple.

"3% failure chances crop up nine times out of ten."
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