February Exceptional Story: The Tale of Old Fritz

Just finished this story early this morning - Its gotta be one of my favourite ES’.

I might be biased cause I always love Zee content, but I really enjoyed it.


Yes, I have to echo HexBeloved - you’ve misunderstood the text here. The Diver’s gender isn’t in any way uncertain; they’re most certainly a nonbinary individual. With a great big beard. There are men with great big beards and women with great big beards, but the Diver is neither.

Also, ‘themself’ is in no way ‘anti-linguistic’, whatever that might mean. It’s a perfectly simple and valid construction, which appears in a number of dictionaries. As you can see here, it’s been in use for the better part of a millennium.


I’m obviously not Billy so I could be misinterpreting what they said, but I think this is not likely what they were saying. I think they were saying that the syntax gets clunky and you lose cohesion when you unnecessarily use ambiguity. This game has literally always had nonbinary options, so I’m sure it’s not some sort of weird anti-they/them pronouns usage rant, because this would be WAY later in the game than that, I’d imagine. I think in this context “anti-linguistic” is referring to the linguistic principle of using the simplest and most understandable word for a concept to convey information clearly.

I genuinely think it was just misreading or skimming and missing some easily missable words that tip us off as readers that this ISN’T one of the many cases where gender ambiguity is just the vibe in the game haha! Again, feel free to correct me Billy, but I’m fairly sure there was no malice here, it’s easy enough to contextually miss if you skim a few sections of this story!


I think the trolls showing up to complain about well established late game concepts has us a bit on edge re:bad faith interpretations. But I certainly hope you’re right and it was just a simple case of confusion, esp since this was coming from an established account this time


I definitely get that. I just think that jumping the gun to that assumption right from the jump is probably not the best way to foster community, and I like it here :> I want to believe the best in everyone here, but ESPECIALLY of very long time users.


I have to agree that I did enjoy this story a lot. Slow start but the ending kept me waiting for every single drop of energy accumulation :nerd_face:

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Thank you.
I do, however, wish that the use of the 3rd person plural as singular were kept to a necessary minimum. The effect when my eyes hit it is like stubbing a metaphorical toe on a grammatical rock. Maybe it’s because my mother would beat me with a copy of Strunk & White’s, tied to a brick, should I end a sentence with a preposition.
I’m not ready to talk about dangled participles, the memories are too painful.


I have some very bad news for your mother about Shakespeare and Chaucer then I’m afraid.

More seriously, using it to refer to a nonbinary character is not at all superfluous—how else was FL supposed to refer to them?


Honestly I am a little surprised the Neath hasn’t birthed any new pronouns honestly.

Not even in a “the game needs neopronouns or I won’t play it” way, just in a like… there’s literally Rubbery Men you can marry, giant space bats, talking tigers, living clothes, knives that possess people… I just feel like it would end up happening.


RIGHT-- something about being gently/benevolently condescended by higher beings… I really enjoyed this as well, a very solid story overall

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As curious as I am about what would have happened had I taken the escape and left the Diver, this is one of those rare times where my contentment with my decision absolutely dwarfs my wondering about hypotheticals. They returned to their family, I got to perish in a sick whale battle alongside drownies, let’s go.

(If anyone here happened to journal what came to pass when you took the escape and left the Diver I would not be opposed to reading it)

WHAT!!! I also saved the diver but I VERY MUCH did not die!!!

RIGHT SORRY I confused my character’s acceptance with what actually happened —I did not die either… to be honest it would have been really cool to actually perish in an epic whale battle but no I was wrong whoops

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Yeah like there’s been options that cause you to die in ES’s before, but honestly this was a really nice surprise!

As I recall, there was one ES you could only play when freshly dead – which meant some people were unable/unwilling to play it, based on their character choices.

Only a little way in so I don’t have much in the way of comments about the quality (except to say that I found the meal with the wife and daughter over long and rather tedious), but what I’m wondering is if anybody knows what happens if the player’s character does not own a ship yet.

Having a ship seems hard-wired into this one. I’m curious if the Diver somehow secures one or if the story simply tells you to come back when you have one yourself.


I also wondered about that, but I’ve got a ship so I wasn’t able to check–maybe your character is able to hire one on the cheap a la ticket to polythreme

Oh I came to hate this one. Yet another ‘click to see the next huge block of text’ story, my we seem to have had a lot of these lately. Hardly any pretence of interactivity. I didn’t feel I was taking part in a story at all, merely observing one. Yeah, maybe they’re all like that, but the better ones do a good job of disguising it. Not sure how much more of this sort of fare I can take before I cancel my EF.

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I have mixed feelings about this Exceptional Story. On one hand, I thought the pacing and art were great, and I enjoyed meeting the characters and seeing the dynamic between the brothers. The part where you explore the sunken ship was fantastic and was by far my favorite part. And the climax of the story was superb and actually had my heart racing.

On the other hand, I don’t think that the parts with Lady Black were handled well. Up until now she has been such an enigmatic entity which in her few appearances in Sunless Seas and prior Exceptional Stories, but I think this story draws back the curtain much too far. It takes away much of the mystery and terror surrounding Lady Black when we have a regular, down-to-earth conversation with her and discuss her deal-making, as if she’s some kind of run-of-the-mill Devil in a rivalry with the Fathomking. It makes this character seem less interesting to me.

I’m reminded a bit of how disappointed I’ve been with the two most recent films in the Alien franchise, which IMO reveal far too much about the origin of the xenomorphs and in so doing make them much less frightening and, well, alien. What is not seen (or, in this case, spoken to) is often both more frightening and more intriguing than what is seen.

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That’s similar to my experience. [spoiler]
Good building of atmosphere with the family and at sea. I also liked the conflict between the siblings, one driven to fulfil the hunt to the end, the other retiring from a futile venture for a family life. I could see both there perspectives.

But Lady Black was too mundane, just chatting with us and (though that may be my fault) also the whole sequence of searching for Old Fritz, OF disturbing the abyss (turning 50% graveyard in the process???), the crew making the deal and the Doomed Diver returning to land wasn’t really clear to me.

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