How exactly is becoming a city an upgrade on the chain?

This has been a question on my mind for a while, brought into stark relief when I was reconsidering my alt’s Destiny and started mulling over the Iremi options.

Because when you contrast becoming a city with every other option available? It feels like a lateral move at the very best. Especially after talking to two of them directly in CiS.

If you were interested in becoming a city for longevity’s sake? The Hanged Man is preferable (as is Hesperidean Cider). Because when push comes to shove? The Neath is basically a cave that eats cities. And you volunteered to be one of its eventual meals.

If you were interested for the sake of sheltering and protecting your loved ones? The Lovers are preferable. Because while Parabola may not be the most hospitable place, and you might not be sporting multiple spouses, that destiny specifies that people close to you survive, and are happy. The Moon does not.

If you wanted to become more powerful and formidable in a tangible sense? Almost every Destiny edges out becoming a sedentary hotel, but the ones that immediately come to mind are the family of Destinies that turn you into a Curator. Somehow becoming an interstellar chiropteran business magnate who buys cities feels like a bigger step up than skewing cobblestones when you feel snippy as a city.

(London talks an enormous game, and then you remember that it’s just an arrogant half-sunken ruin that got spanked by Hell and put on a literal leash by the Bazaar.)

You don’t even get to hold onto your identity as a city as far as I can see. You just become a hodge-podge of every vacuous personality that squats in your streets. Which IIRC was one of the Dilmun Club’s big worries about proposed methods of immortality. Immortal and non-perishable are not the same thing.

…Which come to think of it? Would also mean that London’s population are objectively bad people on average. Rubberies and Urchins included.

Oh, and you can already make yourself a city without having to mess about with Destiny through the Discordance. So on top of all the above? The Moon is also redundant.

(Which doesn’t really pertain to the question at hand, but still bears pointing out for the sake of cost/benefit analysis.)

EDIT: It’s also worth going through this particular thought experiment when thinking about this Destiny and/or the ending of the GHR. Most people who play FL are presumably urban people, born and raised in major cities (or at least a city). Tell me… does the idea of sharing a mind with every jerk you’ve ever met sound appealing? Or like a horrifically literally interpretation of Jean Paul Sartre’s:

“Hell is other people.”



I think sometimes we have a tendency to think of things through one perspective and not another.

You’re trying to be optimal.

Someone who wants to become a city may not be.

It’s a fundamentally altruistic desire, if a self centered one, and I think that perhaps doesn’t mesh with your conception of why someone would do something in a game that neither rewards nor punishes you based on altruism or lack thereof, understandably! But more options for people to roleplay with is always better, to my mind. And to that extent I could see this being useful to some people!

That said, I hate the Irem content personally and took my Mark of Acceptance and scrammed with my old destiny that I’m still quite happy with, so this is just a guess about why SOMEONE might view it in that way, not my personal opinions, hahaha!


My sticking point is that even if you’re dead set on altruism it’s probably the worst option available.

The Mushroom, The Star, The Oath… any number of options give you more leeway to be helpful than The Moon does. The Moon basically just lets you be a residence for a population of unknown providence and makeup… with no real ability to protect or provision (or even meaningfully influence) said population.

Bare minimum the CiS gets the Creditor babysitting it. You as the unnamed city in The Moon Destiny have no such arrangement, and no Sorceror-Scientist player character to look after you. Meaning: you’re prettymuch at the mercy of whoever moves into you.

That does not strike me as an objective improvement in existential terms. lol

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Nothing about The Chain is objective and that’s literally the whole point of it.

Like have you never noticed how even different factions of revolutionaries disagree about what breaking the chain or placing themselves higher on it actually looks like? like obviously it’s a light hearted jab at real life revolutionary movements and infighting, but it’s also because there is no objectively correct way to understand the chain. If you can’t think about it in more emotionally driven human terms as opposed to what’s optimal you’re never going to be able to grasp it because it’s not a future driven by logic.

Not a dig at you, just an acknowledgment that this might just be content written for a person with a different playstyle and evaluation metric than you!

I think it’s also like. You either get it or you don’t, why someone would want to be a city. Like. Why did (HD spoilers) Beechwood want to be a monkey? Why might your character want to become a Curator, or something rubbery, or any other manner of nonhuman change? For some people the act of physical reformation is compelling, either to their character’s arc or as a form of catharsis for them personally. The fact that The Moon is the KT stat destiny corresponds with this I think. Some people just want to become something else, and I think transhumanist plotlines are something this game has always handled pretty well, and also always kept fairly niche and opt in. If it isn’t for you, hey, that’s fine, there’s other options for you to choose instead! But I think that’s a big part of why it’s there.


I mean… the top is made up of beings who literally will their thoughts into existence via a language of physical law. Which they passively radiate over stellar distances. If you view the chain as a rather obvious stand-in for the food chain? It’s pretty clear that the top dogs are objectively on top.

And viewed through that lens, it’s still hard to conceive of a living city as one step up from a person… considering that said cities are by their own admission wholly shaped by (and technically subordinate to) the people who live in them. It’s less like a higher order of consciousness and more like… a temporary incidental gestalt that can be broken apart with passive aggressive conversations as demonstrated by the Russet Spindlewolf.

If it isn’t for you, hey, that’s fine, there’s other options for you to choose instead! But I think that’s a big part of why it’s there.

I’m just sincerely asking what the upside is for people who picked it. Because as I’ve outlined… I cannot actually think of one. No matter which angle it is (longevity/power/altruism/etc.)? There seems to be a better option to reach for.

I’d be interested to hear what the angle I may have missed is, is all.


I think the food chain is not the best analogy here, actually. The Great Chain of Being from Christian Theology is much closer, I believe. As I understand it, basically the order of the chain is simply decreed by the Judgements. If they say “Cities are above humans.”, then cities are above humans in the great chain. That is pretty much the point of this chain. It dictates what your place is and you are not allowed to rebel against it because that would be blasphemy.

Well, conversations using mind reading, perfect imitation of other living beings and heavy manipulation of other people’s perception, so a “little” step up from more mundane means of conversations. (The Spindlewolf reads the targets minds, imitates another person they love or care about AND make them believe that this person is talking to them right now, even though the target knows they are in London)
And, I mean, human beings can simply be killed by very small clumps of RNA that are not even real living things. Basically the Spindlewolf is like a supernatural version of HIV. You can’t deal with that a s a human yourself either. You need to rely on extensive medical care or medication developed by a lot of people over decades of research, so I don’t think this holds up as the city being very vulnerable.

Just my two cents I want to throw in here, I might be wrong about these things of course, I am no Lore Master.

I personally didn’t choose the destiny, because I would not want to turn into a city this way either. But I can definitely relate to the fascination of changing into something else. And a sentient city? That is something else, all right. And we know, that Furnace is still there, changed into a mind of a different dimension. I don’t think people who choose this destiny see it as loosing themselves, rather changing. And I think, Furnace still has her ways of helping people, it may just not be as visible to the player.
I would actually say, from all we see in CiS, Furnace, by changing into a city, has done more good for so many people, than any player character has. She provides the opportunity to lead a good honest life free of oppression from the Masters, from the Royal family, from God knows what.
This I guess is what I would disagree on with this argument:

She provides homes, and we see her personality and her desires reflected in the design of the city. And a city’s design influences a lot. CiS has explicit descriptions of places for rest in between, being welcoming etc. The design of the city is part of her influence on the population and its politics.

Sorry for the rambling just wanted to add my thoughts, as it is a very interesting discussion.


So the thing is, the Chain is created by the beings at the top of the Chain, for the benefit of the beings at the top of the Chain. It is not created for the benefit of beings anywhere else on the Chain. If you have a Liberationist bent, it’s created by tyrants and is the literal embodiment of tyranny. Even if you don’t, the Judgements are beings of Law, not of food, and the Chain embodies the hierarchical exercise of power, not of personal empowerment.

Being higher on the Chain is synonymous with subjugating beings lower on the Chain. Making your own will into law, and the ability to enforce that. Being higher on the Chain makes you more suitable as a tool for the Judgements. Benefit to yourself, and your own goals or ambitions, is entirely coincidental.

A city has enforcement mechanisms. Written law, and a police force. Social mores, and social consequences like ostracization. Economic and political structures that distribute power in ways that incentivize certain behaviors. In short, it has power over the individual people in the city.

This is related to your opinions on CiS, right? The City was attempting to enforce its will upon you, and expecting you to conform. That’s because it’s higher on the Chain.

I’ll also point out that a lot of what the player-character can accomplish, especially in Destinies, is a result of the Chain not being so rigid down here. Several of those Destinies are explicitly Chain-breaking, such as Hanged Man and anything from the Abyssal Future, and several others involve a Treachery or two.


That’s also part of it for sure, yes… but in this universe? God is also an apex predator who breeds (in part) by spooring like a mushroom. Ergo both parallels are definitely there.

It’s persuasion on steroids, yes… but it’s still persuasion alone.

The salient point is that if a city is just a gestalt of minds associated by geography alone? A single natural event/evacuation is enough to rend it like tissue.

Aesthetic layout and amenity-free shelter are not much from a survival POV. The Creditor literally grows ready-to-eat food out of nothing for the TLU, which gives them a fighting chance in the barren hinterlands.

Absent that? It’s literally just a refugee camp waiting to starve (which is what the CiS is when you arrive as a player… and teach the Creditor the above trick).

Only if the city’s citizens say it does.

And the CiS explicitly doesn’t have any of the above… because its resident don’t like the sound of it.

Ergo the city is completely toothless absent the Creditor being an angry cane-waving grandfather on its behalf.

(Or the player masochistically volunteering to be its sole defender out of sheer pig-headed altruism.)

All of which ties back to: you’re at the mercy of whoever moves in… which have no say in. And if they all move out at once? You explicitly cease to exist. As in total ego death just before being blithely subsumed by the Creditor like an undigested meal.

And I was explicitly trying not to make this topic about that, but since you asked? No, it wasn’t. The City was attempting to force the TLU’s will upon me, because it has zero identity beyond being a reflection of the TLU.

Please do not drag me down this tangent again. I pored through the wiki and counted the number of times my actual character’s will/decisions/etc. come up in the entire expansion via my double the second I read the words:

“But none of you has been lost.”

And burst out in mirthless laughter.

Spoiler? It’s a single digit number. And nearly a third are ambition-locked and wholly cosmetic. YOU as an individual have NOTHING to do with the Tracklayers’ City. Nor does Cornelius, or Furnace, or the Manager. The process of becoming a city makes actual-literal-window dressing of your personality and experiences. The rest is just union advocacy and Creditor simping because that’s who moved in, and that’s how it’s written.

Maybe I should go the the CiS sometime soon for my first time. It sure sparks a lot of deep discussion in these forums.