April’s Exceptional Story: The Murgatroyd Formula

[color=#cc0099]Delicious friends, the Exceptional Story for April is here!

Murgatroyd’s Apothecary is yet to open, and it is already in crisis. Embroil yourself in a feud between Mr Murgatroyd’s ambitious daughters, track down a dealer in moon-milk, and orchestrate the grand opening of the mercantile family’s latest enterprise.

The Murgatroyd Formula is the second story in the Season of Adorations, and was written by Mary Goodden. This season, experience three stories that delve into love of all kinds from friendship to worship. You can begin each from the Season of Adorations card.

Editing, design and QA: James Chew, Caolain Porter and Cash DeCuir.

Art by Tobias Cook.

EXCEPTIONAL FRIENDSHIP

In addition to a new, substantial, stand-alone story every month, Exceptional Friends enjoy:

  • Access to the House of Chimes: an exclusive private member’s club on the Stolen River, packed with content[/li][li]An expanded opportunity deck: of ten cards instead of six![/li][li]A second candle: Twice the actions! 40 at once!

Finishing all three stories in the Season of Adorations will make you eligible for an additional opportunity, to follow.

If you want to keep an Exceptional Story beyond the month it’s for, you must complete the related storylet in the current Season’s card throughout London. This will save it for you to return to another time.[/color]

1 Like

I clicked on the initial storylette but I cant unlock the full ES from the hub, despite having the necessary quality the option still appears locked

[color=#cc0099]Hello! Please email any bugs or issues directly to support@failbettergames.com along with your character name so we can investigate it more easily, thank you![/color]

Just want to say, I love the portrait! Looking forward to meeting Mr Murgatroyd’s daughters :)

So… as far as I can tell, the reward for finishing the story was one Personal Recommendation and one Sworn Statement. That seems just a little cheaper than the usual 62.5 echoes.

I got a Bottle of Fourth City Airag and a Rattus Faber Rifle. I was confused too about forcing to give the moon-milk,but at least you can still save the day later on so it’s ok…I guess. However I really liked this story,I hope the last will be marvelous as the first two.
edited by Nagaretsu on 3/29/2018

I got a bottle of Airag ¯(°_o)/¯.

I think FBG treats a few items as &quotworth&quot 60ish Echoes even if that’s not their resale value to the Bazaar. Players on the forum treat Collections of Curiosities as basically worth 60ish echoes even though it takes some work to exchange them. A previous story granted a Whirring Contraption, which some players complained about but I thought was fine, because it can be converted to 70E of T3 items if you have a Newspaper. A Personal Recommendation, plus a Collection of Curiosities and 7 Society Favors, can be converted into 100ish Echoes and a sizeable pile of Making Waves, which makes it not great but at least better than the stupid useless Books of Hidden Bodies I’ve encountered.

Anyways…

I liked this one. Not quite my favorite, and not as good as last month (although better in some regards), but still very good. It felt like the story told everything it originally intended to, which was good. A few recent ones (including last month’s) gave me the impression that more was planned but got left on the cutting-room floor. This story feels like it was executed close to its original ambition, and is better for it.

One of the things I judge an ES by is by how I react to the choices is brings up, and this one did exceptionally well by that metric: More than once, I had to stop playing and think for a bit, and my thoughts were focused first on my character and my thoughts of the story’s characters, only secondly on the narrative impact (and not at all on material rewards). I also liked how it wasn’t just one three-pronged decision, but a cascading multifaceted series of incremental decisions, building up based on how others react to the previous decisions. If felt like trying to thread my values through a needle, in a good way.

Regarding Robin Alexander’s complaint about mechanic: I have noticed a recent trend to use &quothidden&quot values as story trackers in ES mechanics. I can see the point: It makes the experience feel more like a story and less like a game, because it doesn’t expose the guts of the implementation as much. I think the big problem is just that’s not how the rest of Fallen London works. And it’s nice to at least have clues that certain choices will be shut off at a later point, by the presence or absence of unlock qualities.
edited by PSGarak on 3/29/2018

I feel sorta the inverse of Robin Alexander’s opinion up there: I actually enjoyed the ambiguity of some of the choices for the sense of intrigue they inspired, but the actual story itself was a bit of a slow burner for me-which wouldn’t be a criticism outright normally, but I found myself not really caring about the characters until the second act. At first, I was content to spread just as much misery and woe as I could. Ironically around the time I started caring about any of them, I had done a complete 180 from wanting to drug the damn opening, set the sisters against each other and send Mr. M a volatile disaster. To keeping Harriet’s confidence and setting her up for success, and reverse psychologying her sister into chasing her dreams. Which in hindsight, I belatedly realise was probably the best result for them.

Don’t get me wrong, the overall ES’ format isn’t something I would recommend for future stories-and while a matter of personal taste, I was just a tad disappointed by the relative lack of intriguing lore it touched on-not helped by how underwhelmed I was by the lack of agency in the last Exceptional Season’s ending. It was just a happy accident the execution fit the atmosphere of the story for me, for better and worse.

It’s very rare for me to agree with Robin but this is one of those instances. I just hate this new design direction. For a completely new game unburdened by years of expectations it might be fine. But Fallen London was established precisely on the basis of using quality-driven narrative to give the player a sense of agency and consequence. Seeing your qualities change and new options lock and unlock is precisely what gives you that sense. Otherwise it all starts looking like a Twine game.

1 Like

Dirae Erinyes wrecked some havoc, poisoned a lot of people with moon milk, and then sent both daughters off to chase their dreams. A productive but not too exceptional of days

I discovered both sisters’ secrets, exposed said secrets to their father, ensured that Tabitha’s potion went on the market, and encouraged both sisters to leave the family firm and pursue their dreams. And I only got a Rattus Faber rifle and a bottle of potion for my pains.

1 Like

I really loved this story. I don’t think hidden qualities are that big a deal, and the writing and art was excellent. If the only consequences in a story are the visible ones, it makes it difficult to actually surprise the player. It should be assumed that all actions have consequences. This Exceptional Story was very fair, too: it made sure that the player was aware of the ramifications of their choices, insofar as it made sense to be.

I could totally see Tabitha as an Officer in Sunless Sea, by the way. The Cladery Heir and her could certainly swap stories. And I’m sure she’d get along quite well with the Tireless Engineer. Actually, since we have such a wonderful portrait, that could be a great mod. A quest chain where she came aboard as a passenger (like many other quests in Zubmariner) would also be awesome.

She’s also a bit insane: when she mentioned moon-milk I just stopped, stared, and repeated “NO” for a minute or two. I love when rational choices like reporting to the Constables appear, and I did so here. Sunlight is a vice, but red honey and moon-milk are dangerous and cruel abominations.

I got the impression Tabitha didn’t actually understand what moon-milk does, so I’ll give her a pass.[li]
edited by Saklad5 on 3/29/2018

The only thing that could make this better is the ability to visit the apothecary and purchase that charisma formula. I get why that isn’t an option: having a readily-available Mood of sorts would be a ridiculous game breaker. But still, it’d be fun.

Oh, and I really don’t see why people complain about the action use. This is what the game is all about: there’s hardly better ways to use actions than story.

Besides, I was able to complete the entire thing in one sitting when I woke up. 40 actions is plenty.

Honestly, I only get annoyed with action use when I have no choice but to do something repeatedly. cough Poet-Laureate cough Even that wasn’t something I had to do, though. If I wanted to, I could have skipped getting that entirely. And there’s plenty of instances where I’m too busy to really play the game much. When that happened, I just dumped actions into that grind to avoid waste.[li]
edited by Saklad5 on 3/29/2018

Just wanted to say I think my original comment was vague . . .

My issue wasn’t wish hidden qualities, as such, but that when I clicked a choice often only the journal entry was visible. 99.5% of the time in &quotFallen London&quot, you have two boxes; the text of the story itself, then qualities or flavour text or airs changes, etc. Even if nothing changes, that box appears to let you know ‘nothing has changed, but here is some flavour so you know that much’.

I only saw the story text, even after siding with characters very early on, which felt like massive decisions . . . I wouldn’t have cared about quirk changes or nothing happening or surprise results, but I felt like I needed to know something happened. I was literally confused whether the game/story was bugged or whether nothing happened . . . I shouldn’t be left wondering: &quotokay, did something happen or nothing happen? if something happened then how/where can I find out what? have any of my quirks been affected&quot?

I half-suspect it was a bug, but - if not - it does need to be tweaked.

Edit: Unless that’s what people are on about with the talk on hidden qualities, but I always assumed that referred to the decisions where we get the surprise quirk changes and things like that, or qualities that track progress in the background without telling us (like countdowns, days, time passed, points accrued, etc.) - again, I really don’t mind those as such, but this was just a weird thing where clicking a choice would give me nothing in any way, shape, or form; I was left totally lost as to what having clicked any choice actually did.
edited by Robin Alexander on 3/29/2018[/quote]
That’s what hidden qualities are, yes. They actually aren’t hidden in the iOS app, and this Exceptional Story seemed like it had over a dozen. And no, I don’t know why I even opened that thing. I switched back to the browser when I came to my senses. It even skipped text at some points.[li]

I just got half way the story (visited 1 daughter, busy talking to the other). Then I got a message, used &quotperhaps not&quot to g to my lodgings to write a letter with the idea to continue later. But I cannot find the storylet anywhere anymore. The &quotThe Season of Adorations&quot card only has the &quotFeed the bats&quot storylet.
Does anybody know what’s going on? Where can I continue the Exception story?

[quote=Lidea]I just got half way the story (visited 1 daughter, busy talking to the other). Then I got a message, used &quotperhaps not&quot to g to my lodgings to write a letter with the idea to continue later. But I cannot find the storylet anywhere anymore. The &quotThe Season of Adorations&quot card only has the &quotFeed the bats&quot storylet.
Does anybody know what’s going on? Where can I continue the Exception story?[/quote]
Spite.

[quote=PSGarak]Spite.[/quote]Wouldn’t you know. Checked all places but that one :( Thanks PSGarak!

I rate my enjoyment of a story based on the difficulty of the choices and so I had a very good time with this one.

Choosing between what is expected of you and doing what you actually want to do is one thing, but counseling someone on it is an entirely different story and while this trope can be overused I still greatly enjoy because it’s so relatable.

Is there a card or a storylet to find out what happens after? I haven’t searched everywhere yet.

Does anyone have echoes for what happens when you ask Murgatroyd the three questions? I’m kinda waffling on what to ask.