Does a good beginners' setting guide exist?

A huge part of Fallen London are its mysteries. Spelling them out in some guide would be self-defeating, of course. As such, it’s obvious why there’s no comprehensive guide to the setting.[li]

However, I would very much like to run a pen and paper roleplaying game, set in Fallen London, with some of my buddies. Most of them have no interest in playing the browser game, even though they find the setting itself intriguing. It is a little difficult to pull off, though, if they know barely anything about Fallen London and the life there.

As such, I was thinking of putting together some kind of a basic guide in the vein of &quotevery citizen of Fallen London knows this.&quot Basic descriptions of the various districts, of important individuals, of societies and things like madness and death and the lack of. No answers to genuine mysteries, but enough information to get my players started, give them enough information that they can actually act the role and operate like the city’s citizens should.

It is, however, a lot of effort. I was wondering if something like that existed already. A concise tourist’s guide to the city. Anyone know of anything like that?

I know this isn’t exactly what you’re asking for, but does the campaign require that they already be in Fallen London? It might be better to handle the issue of not knowing anything the same way the game does - have them just coming down from the surface.

IIf you’re deadset on having them be citizens what you’ve listed should be enough. Just take into consideration that many of the things that come in early in Fallen London, such as the Cheesemonger, the Great Game, or the Secular Missionary and the Firebrand, aren’t actually things your average citizen knows anything about. Wilmot’s End can be completely skipped, and you don’t need to say much about the Tomb Colonies or New Newgate unless they’re going there/are from there. You can also skip discussing madness - not every mentally ill individual ends up in &quotA State of Some Confusion.&quot

The only important individuals you’d need to introduce up front are the Traitor Empress and the Masters of the Bazaar. Maybe the Duchess and the Widow. All of those can be summed up in one line as well, so it shouldn’t be too much work. The Masters, for example, can just be described as &quotbizarre robed figures who are the captains of industry in London. Each one is wholly dedicated to one specific subset of London’s economy, such as Mr. Apples’ focus on food, and the Bazaar.&quot You can even skip a few of the masters. I don’t know that your average fallen londoner knows about Mr. Chimes, Mr. Mirrors, and certainly not Mr. Eaten.
edited by Alonois on 11/23/2013
edited by Alonois on 11/23/2013

Hello there! This may be tremendously nerdy of me, but I’ve been thinking of writing up something like you describe - a collation of the everyday facts of Fallen London, that don’t concern our adventures so much as the city’s humdrum economy and society. I’ve made something of a start in my guide to the Streets and Locales of Fallen London, with the aid of everyone in the Mapping Fallen London thread. Off the top of my head, though, the things that every visitor to Fallen London should know…

[ul][li]London was stolen underground in 1861, and now sits in a massive cavern beneath the earth.[/li][li]It’s very dark in the cave - known as the &quotNeath&quot - though some illumination comes from the lights on the cavern roof. London maintains a façade of a day-night cycle with street-lamps and suchlike, and people use a lot of candles and gaslights.
[/li][li]Queen Victoria retains the throne, though she is now popularly known as the &quotTraitor Empress.&quot[/li][li](What happened to the rest of Britain, and what you’d find if you went to where London used to be, is not clear.)[/li][li]London’s districts and locales are sort-of kind-of in the same places as they were before, and keep much of the same character - the West End is the centre of government and the elite, while the East End is the industrial hub and is afflicted with some truly terrible slums and criminal gangs.[/li][li]A new district of sorts has appeared on the rooftops, where an overhead underclass of lunatics, feral children, criminals and who-knows-what-else have set up a series of shanty-towns.
[/li][li]The markets of the south bank of the Thames (which is now known as the Stolen River) have had appear among them a massive and bizarre spired building known as the Bazaar.[/li][li]The Masters of the Bazaar are widely recognised as the true powers of the new London, thanks to their great knowledge and wealth, and the small army of enforcers and secret police they employ.[/li][li]There are odd new goods available for purchase, like pearls that reflect the phases of the moon (useful for timekeeping!) and items of clothing that come to life like pets.
[/li][li]Strange creatures walk among Fallen Londoners, and no-one knows much about them. Clay Men are imported by the Masters to use as labour. Devils control parts of the West End, and try to blend in among people and do business. Rubbery Men cannot blend in and have no powerful allies, so they are most likely to be targeted.[/li][li]Oh, and some but not all animals can talk. Almost all cats, for some reason, and some rats. And possibly others, but it’s hard to be sure.
[/li][li]For some reason, everyone living in the Neath heals more quickly and effectively from injuries, and can even come back to life if killed. But, not all injuries heal cleanly, and people with weeping wounds and misshapen bodies are a social embarrassment, so most of them are packed off to overseas colonies which cater to their needs.[/li][li]Tomb-Colonists are a morbid bunch, but - because so many of them are veterans, etc., and have kept up martial practices - known to be pretty tough.[/li][li]Philosophically and morally, London is rather confused. Established lines of political and economic power were severely disrupted by the Fall - Parliament re-formed and still meets, though it’s not clear what real power it has. Strange new churches and doctrines have appeared in the Neath. What keeps the city together, despite the disappearances and the monsters and the close-harmony singing, is commerce, trade, and the routine of working and putting bread on the table and maybe going out to see a show or just get drunk at the end of the day.

And once again, Sir Frederick puts forth a wonderful list of information. Thank you - this is excellent.

Oh, that’s very kind of you - glad you like it!

Oh man, that is excellent. I was looking for pretty much something exactly of that sort. Brilliant work.

Writing up short descriptions of the various districts and the few key people (as Alonois said, there’s no need for the players to know about most of them to begin with at all) should be easy enough, stuff like that was the hard part.