Firmament – Chapter 2

Well, London on the surface and at war, but no Bazaar. I don’t see any indication of Fascism, tyranny, or bring a political prisoner, just war. The pamphlet with the player’s face sounds like little more than the actual recruiting posters from WWI. Instead of Lord Kitchener or King George, it’s you.

Or maybe the rest of Britain has taken offense to the player claiming regency over London, and seek to remedy that condition. It isn’t clear who the war is with, but the fighting is on land, so the other side is either native or an army that crossed the channel. The latter is, historically, less likely.

Edit: I don’t know why my spoiler tags aren’t working, trying to fix.
Edit: Ah, there we go! Why didn’t it work when I tagged manually? Not that it matters.


Tatterdemalion’s option at least directly says that he’s going to sing of the sun. The duchess’s just says that she’s looking at the sea, and that it’s obvious which way she’s inclined.

After rereading HD chained book, I do not see any signs of fascism in it. And quick googling showed scientific paper about mobilization of prisoners in Britain during WW1. Maybe somebody jumps to conclusions.


Actually I followed the authors’ word about the HD anathema:

Bruno in FL Discord: “Adoration doesn’t ||really make you a ruler as such, it makes you beloved. Whereas in the anathema you’re a literal fascist dictator.“

I agree that there’s nothing explicit about Fascism, but I find the tone and the description of the environment to be reminiscent of literature about totalitarian regimes.


Hmm, a grotesque error on the part of a lazy or ignorant writer.
The only literal Fascist dictator was Mussolini, who invented it.
An appalling misuse of both “literally”, and “fascist”.

Fascism is a Totalitarian system, but hardly the only. Socialism (National and otherwise), Communism… Well, Marxism generally.

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The glorification of the leader on the last page of that pamphlet gives off a distinct military dictatorship vibe, even if there’s no concrete info on government policies.

The sheer size of that prison is also not a good sign.


Maybe Heart’s Desire Anathema You invented Fascism before Mussolini! It isn’t entirely out of the realm of possibility, and stranger things by far have happened in the wider FL universe.


During WW1 Britain used vast prison camps like Knockaloe (around 20 000 inmates). Also huge prisons were in operation since the middle of 19th century, like HMP Wandsworth (1600+ inmates).

Author is dead. So Bruno’s commentaries worth no more than any other person.

If London is back to surface, and PC is dictator, how PC survived the Sun after all those years breaking the Laws in a cave?

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Like this?

Or, perhaps:

A recruiting poster does not a dictatorship make.

I was under the impression, that Mussolini invented the term Faschism, but it is now used in a historical context for the totalitarian anti-liberal Leader-Regimes that emerged post WW1. A quick search implies, that this is apparently an unresolved debate among historians?
Nevertheless, I think the term Fascist Leader is sufficiently colloquialised, regardless of the literal definition of Fascism, to get a meaning across. Reading my statement, I fear to slide into revisionist territory, though. Maybe I should be more careful how I use historical terms out of their context.


Concerning the actual storylet: I don’t think the Authors premise needs to be fully apparent in all aspects. I think it’s fine, if the ideology of the leader is vague. It might be intentional even, to not offend players. Or just offer players the room to fill in their own explanations that fit their own fantasy. It IS the PC after all.
Nevertheless, the presentation of the prison and the sounds of battle put me in WW2, and losing in WW2 is historically connected to totalitarian regimes. Also, building the prison on top of where the ‘undesirables’ live smells like an early 20s century regime. Or current regime, actually. And finally, demanding “sacrifice for redemption” sounds like a totalitarian regime to me.


I mean, those posters are from the UK during a time when only ~20-30 percent of the population had the vote, so… it might not have been a dictatorship, per se, but it wasn’t what I’d call a democracy.


Maybe not under contemporary preconceptions, but by 19th century standards it absolutely was. Universal suffrage did not exist in the US or UK until after WWI.
And this is important - the UK wasn’t a dictatorship in any way whatsoever. England became a Constitutional Monarchy when King John signed the Magna Carta. Dictatorship requires unlimited power, by definition.
Constitutions limit government power.

Of course, fallen London is an oligopoly. Well, probably. We don’t know much about the structure of the Masters’ relationship with the Bazaar.

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I have to say that although I wasn’t entirely sure of the first chapter of Firmament and the whole rain thing, I’ve become completely enamoured of the themes, characters and writing in this chapter.
Borgesian libraries slash unreality prisons with cats seriously starved for attention; enlightened whales flying off to (presumably) meet the Judgements; nightmarish glimpses of how far our deepest wishes and ambitions could lead if unchecked - all perfect examples of the delightful esotery I’ve been addicted to for very nearly full ten years now.

And I have even more hope for the future chapters, with what has been hinted at by the end of this one.

The one thing I find the most interesting, however, is the new character who’s been introduced in the course of the story -
Summer. Considering the topics of Sun and laws, both natural and artificial, given the Tatterdemalion’s history, her title as “the Engineer” and her preoccupation with revolutionary ideas, it seems almost too clear that we’re having the honour of making the acquaintance of none other than June of the Calendar Council, the architect of the Dawn Machine as well as the most apostatic member of the Council. I’m really interested in where the story takes us in the future, such as her interactions with the Tatterdemalion. It’s likewise nice for another Council member to finally get a proper portrait.
Her involvement also might point to the nature of the awakening Dreamer, or at least the stakes of the awakening.
Does anyone care to speculate about the topics of Light, Law and Fire? Anyone remembers something pertinent about June that would invalidate my notion? Or do you agree that we’re now adding Calendar Council to our little crew of misfits?


Unfortunately, people started using “fascist” to mean, “I hate you”, which co.plicates things. While it could be somewhat reasonable to use it to refer to any system adhering to the maxim of, “All within the state, nothing outside the state, nothing against the state.”, (totalitarianism) it isn’t really accurate if the mechanism for economic control is something other than Corporatism (which has nothing to do with corporations past a shared root word). As Benny said, " Fascism is Corporatism".

Not in the UK or US, no, but it did exist or had existed in other parts of the world. The UK was, at that time, less democratic and more authoritarian, elitist and militaristic than some other governments.


I generally find that the only people who want to split hairs about if a specific oppressive authoritarian government model is fascist or not are either people who are so far removed from the consequences of it that it’s all intellectual or people who are sympathetic to authoritarian movements in general and wanting to do some P.R. cleanup. I’m assuming you’re in the first camp, but this whole conversation is leaving a bad taste in my mouth. Is there any chance we could all agree to have different opinions about minutiae and refocus this thread back on the new chapter? /gen


Less spoiler-y warning: At one point in the story there is a three headed crossroads on how to get your way with something. The options are to give up 1000 stuiver, 100 pennies or to pass a Mithridacy check. I for one was locked out of the stuiver option and I wished I could have known about it beforehand. At the point when you get the choice the PC is locked out of the ability to obtain Stuiver (or pennies for that matter, if you happen to be the kind of person whose wealth is wholly concentrated in non-liquid assets).


I believe that in the whalerise versus whalefall choice the developers are introducing a fascinating query, especially for longtime FL players:

Where would you , RL human being, rather live?

Fallen London is so vast and full of world-building that some veterans could conceivably imagine what their life would be like in the Neath. Hence the dilemma.

To maximise the psycho-philosophical spin of it here are some more questions that I am now struggling with as I ponder the binary in-game choice:

1.Why am I playing Fallen London? I will say right off the bat that “The same reason you read books” seems a debatable answer.

  1. How strong have I allowed bleed while playing FL? Is it unhealthy? Could it bring any benefits?

  2. With all the conversation going on about social media’s effects on mental health, what can I make of the not one, but two social media that are embedded in playing FL for me: a. The in-game snippets about my player character’s status relative to various characters b. The RL forums discussing in detail a completely made-up world?

Am I over-thinking this?


What is “bleed” in the context of your #2 question.

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I would generally not consider a pseudonymous forum that focuses on one particular fictional world, or a roleplaying text game where you can interact with characters. to have much in common with what people mean when they say “social media that affects mental health.” That is typically left vague when it’s in the news, but when people have to be specific, it usually comes down to the ease of radicalization through social networking sites like Reddit, facebook, etc, a constant firehose of depressing or infuriating world news as served up by an algorithm designed to keep people scrolling infinitely, and incentivizing people to put their whole lives on display for the judgement of others, especially harmful to teens and children, especially especially when that intersects with beauty or popularity standards.

None of which I think especially apply to Fallen London in any meaningful sense.