January’s Exceptional Story: The Price of Loss

[color=#cc0099]Delicious friends, the first Exceptional Story of 2019 is here!

Enter a tent where the lost, the grieving and the wounded gather. Share their stories, enter their dreams, and reveal the truth behind their healing rituals. Is the medicine really better than the cure?

The Price of Loss is the second story in the Season of Hobbies, and was written by Kevin Snow. This season will give you the opportunity to spend time with Londoners at their leisure. You can begin each from the Season of Hobbies card.

Editing, design and QA: James Chew and Olivia Wood.

Art by Paul Arendt.


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

  • Access to the House of Chimes: an exclusive private members’ 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 Hobbies 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]

The The Starveling Cat! The Starveling Cat,
Sings like a madman
And purrs like a cat:

Wreck the tent and blame the rubbery,
Fala la la la la
La la la la!

Eat the pastry and blame the mousy,
Fala la la la la
La la la la!
edited by Skinnyman on 12/27/2018

Argh! Difficult decisions ten actions in! Have some pity on us goody-two-shoes, it’s Christmass.

I quite enjoyed this story, possibly because it spoke to me on a number of levels being in the profession of mental health and all, and the difficulties that come with knowing how helpful AND harmful every behaviour or thought or feeling can be, depending on the context. Makes me curious indeed what exactly created I only wish there were a bit of a clearer indication in the epilogue as to the consequences of some of your actions, be it your own choices beforehand or the final choice.

Then again, given you never get a clear answer like that in real life, just an assumption based off how you left it, perhaps that is rather the point.

I enjoyed this except for the ending/epilogue.

The ending came quite abruptly and I expected to get a little more insight into what effect my earlier choices had. The epilogue didn’t clarify that either (though I did run into a bug that caused one bit of text to be unavailable that has since been fixed). The two lines of text I did get were a little disappointing, as well as the final goodbye which amounted to &quotBye. Youre done now&quot.
The choices made during the gathering didn’t seem to affect anything, and it wasn’t clear to me what difference using the mirror made either. This made them feel less meaningful in retrospect.
edited by Monara on 12/27/2018

I… think I made the choice at the end without realizing what it meant. It took talking with the bundled man outside the tent to realize.
Is it my idea, or was the story too short?

I’m not sure what to make of this story. The beginning didn’t feel substantive, but the later parts felt emotionally significant. I don’t know if I made the right choice, or if there was a right choice, so even after finishing I’m still conflicted… I guess that’s to be expected from a story about the complexities of pain.

… I feel like I blinked and the story was over. I would if there would have been more impact had I entered the dream through Honey.

What are the options where you confront your emotional baggage in the dream state? I chose a hard pass on sharing my weaknesses with weird anomalous creatures, but now I’m curious.

Is there any difference to using the mirror as opposed to using honey? Is it just the reward you get?

I diverted from my normal modus operandi and didn’t slay the monster on this one. I mean, what was the bundled man’s beef, exactly? &quotThis thing is bumming my friends out and causing them to indulge in coping mechanisms that I deem unhealthy, so let’s chase it away?&quot Eh. So long as it’s not actively feeding off people in some vampiric fashion while they waste away, it can hang out with anyone that wants to hang out with it.
edited by DeserterKalak on 12/27/2018

I quite appreciated the constant smattering of tier 2 and 3 items. It’s a small touch, but it always adds a little character to the text, especially with all the non-physical resources like Romantic Notions and Appalling Secrets (and it’s a nice top-up for items I’d feel otherwise inconvenienced to dig up). The story was interesting but I never felt especially in control of anything; it all felt like an extended dream sequence that takes place in some pocket dimension, especially since it begins and ends by climbing &quotthrough a misshapen hole&quot. I confessed to an Emptiness and unsurprisingly in the Waswood my Emptiness was unfindable. Was the text different for different confessions? I spooked the Coalescence and received a Night-Whisper for my troubles (which will be promptly sold to Urchins for sad snow).

It was a very interesting, very different, very Yule appropriate story. It might be stretching a bit to say I liked it, but I am glad I did it and it was a good story. Caroline is unsure how she feels about that whole thing, and will likely try to forget.

This story forced Gul to be serious and think about their mistakes and traumas, which they didn’t like even a little bit, but which I liked quite a lot. The Waswood was very beautiful, and the simultaneous lack of most practical context and great deal of implied emotional context for the decisions was certainly interesting. It got me to approach the story from a symbolic perspective, rather than a narrative one, something I think Parabola is very good for. ^_^

I had to think about this one, as I based my “regret” off of my ending to “The Ceremony.” I previously had scared away the Fluke at the end to save its life only for everyone else to…yeah.

When I was confronted with the Coalescence and told to scare it away, it brought several flashbacks to mind about that event. The Coalescence may be living depression and has caused several people to become co-dependent to it, but it’s not malicious like the Daylight Stalker nor does it cause harm to people outside of Parabola. So I tried to soothe it; it probably didn’t solve the situation and the Tomb Colonist is disappointed in me, but I stick with my decisions.

Outside of all the commentary on the ES itself (The Moribund Performer is nice, the description of the Waswood is very charming and adds new lore to the place, etc) I have one thing that I really want to compliment this release for.


We haven’t had any vanity qualities in years, so I’m really glad that the Price of Loss gave us several - both Admission and Needing are going to look nice on the scrapbook, which I cannot say for most of the leftover tracker qualities we’re left with after completing an ES.

So, thank you, whoever is responsible for leaving them in, I’m glad we finally have something pretty to put on our mantles and our books.

(Also, the turn-in item is a mirror! The second (third?) one we ever had as an item! I don’t even want to turn it in, due to how rare mirror items are in this game.)

To clarify, it was beautiful and realistically dream-like. The characters were very well-written and three dimensional. I feel like the moribund performer could be a permanent fixture easily enough. But there was something about pacing at the end, like a missing act. I felt like we needed to find more about the Coalesence, follow it somehow to its source, and instead you woke up. Just like an actual dream.

This and the Ceremony are stories with choices that just aren’t easy… They go rather deep damn… Well done, I’m not sure if there was a right choice at all in either…
I certainly didn’t expect such heavy stories at the end of this year around Christmas and New Year.

I’m impressed loving both stories!
I still need to chose to go with Honey as per usual or take the Mirror-path… And then back to the preparations!

Never has an Exceptional Story struck such a personal chord with me.

You can live forever adrift in a sea of remembrance and nostalgia… I know that personally.

My hands were literally shaking as I brought them all back to reality, tearing them away from the make-believe.

This can’t go on. Dipping into the past is healthy. Being submerged in klexos… is not.

I agree with what many other people said, but I enjoyed the vagueness of the ending, really - not everything must be about my character, and I sort of crave a chance to sit back and just bear testimony sometimes.
I also liked the dream-like quality of it (well duh, it’s set in Parabola!), and the fact that there was no monster fight for once, as frankly some of the stories feel like those old Star Trek episodes that always ended with a cheesy fist-fight between Kirk and the alien of the week.
I won’t say I like this _more_than other stories I’ve played, but I really liked it, and would love to see more of this kind of plots mixed in with the more action-packed ones.

I think I ruined this on the first step–gave a flip answer (as my character does) and the story ended abruptly with that single step. That was the day it came out, and I haven’t seen anything new from it. It would have been nice to get a bit or warning that some answers in the very first step would lead to losing the entire story…pretty disappointing. Is there any way to get it back? I’ve only been an Exceptional Friend for a couple of months, so I’m unsure if this is a common thing.
edited by Asterion Hex on 12/30/2018
edited by Asterion Hex on 12/30/2018

[quote=Asterion Hex]I think I ruined this on the first step–gave a flip answer (as my character does) and the story ended abruptly with that single step. That was the day it came out, and I haven’t seen anything new from it. It would have been nice to get a bit or warning that some answers in the very first step would lead to losing the entire story…pretty disappointing. Is there any way to get it back? I’ve only been an Exceptional Friend for a couple of months, so I’m unsure if this is a common thing.
edited by Asterion Hex on 12/30/2018
edited by Asterion Hex on 12/30/2018[/quote]You probably just haven’t unlocked the story. My guess is you’re referring to the opening storylet available to everyone where you’re asked whether you seek meaning in life, and you gave a flippant answer to that.

That storylet disappears for everyone once it’s played, since it’s just a teaser to hook people in. Have you gone to the Season of Hobbies storylet (the Unsettling Toymaker) and actually unlocked the story yet? When you have a new Exceptional Story, you have to go to the Season page and unlock it first in order to play.