July’s Exceptional Story: Written in the Glim

[color=#cc0099]Delicious friends, the Exceptional Story for July is here!

Can the false-stars predict the future? Help a disgraced astrologer, discover your false-star sign, and embark on a hazardous research trip to find out.

Written in the Glim is the second story in the Season of Embers, and was written by Mary Goodden. This Season will consider how the Neath has changed the City, and the City the Neath. You can begin each from the Season of Embers card.

Editing, design and QA: James Chew

Art by Tobias Cook.


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

  • Access to the House of Chimes: an exclusive private member’s 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 Embers 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]

I have yet to play the story, but just wanted to note that the artist(s) keep upping themselves. That picture is phenomenal! :)

I don’t usually comment on these, but this time the story was exceptionally good! I really enjoyed this one. Definitely hoping to see more like this in the future.

I am at the choice. The Shapey One. Does anyone have any hints at what happens if I take each choice? I’m super curious.
edited by Silverias on 6/28/2018

This was awesome! I can’t wait to run it and let my main be transformed.

Offering: you have to escape from the ceremony (cause an ES shouldn’t be able to permanently kill you)

Very good story. Reminds me of Rat-Catcher a bit. Starts off somewhere fairly mundane, then goes somewhere weird.

Really like the Neith version of the Four Temperaments.

[spoiler]I didn’t even both going to a certain amber ceremony. I figured there’d be something I could do at the “offering” that would ruin it. Sure enough, there was. I managed to get the other prisoner with me out and then me and her got everyone else out.

I decided to turn her into the constables. I can think of a bunch of different ways to test constellation movement then how she was doing it. Killing/forcibly transforming people is going way too far. I also got the feeling something else might have been going on given certain things that happened and she was part of it or at least knew about it and let it keep happening.

Especially given what I learned from the Blind Astronomer I talked to at the end. Apparently, the Astronomers at the Observatory on Watchmaker’s Hill have known about this phenomena for a very long time. In fact, it sounds like she stole research from the Observatory and was doing who knows what with it. The fact that the thing she left behind at the Observatory was Pulsating Amber given the other things involving amber in this story is very unnerving.[/spoiler]

I’ll post relevant Echos after more people have finished it. Some of the descriptions of the choices made are pretty spoilery.

Once again, thanks for the story, and once again could you pretty please consistently mark actions in ESs which are to affect character quirks? That was done neatly in the previous story… in this one I ‘lost’ around 500 echo of value to reinstate my precious quirks. Tear of the Bazaar lost on the 3rd of 4 melting needed, plus a few quirk polishers after that…

See, I thought that if you have not the warning, then there is no damage.
edited by Kharsirr Lynx on 6/28/2018
edited by Kharsirr Lynx on 6/28/2018

My choices were pretty much identical to Obsidian Fire, but I rather enjoyed this story.

I wish I had the option to more adequately fight the Starved Men though. Take the battle to them on the roof.

I didn’t get any unique item from this story, unlike the last few. I let her go but talked to the astronomers; did anyone get something for different choices?

[quote=0bsidian Fire]

Especially given what I learned from the Blind Astronomer I talked to at the end. Apparently, the Astronomers at the Observatory on Watchmaker’s Hill have known about this phenomena for a very long time. In fact, it sounds like she stole research from the Observatory and was doing who knows what with it. The fact that the thing she left behind at the Observatory was Pulsating Amber given the other things involving amber in this story is very unnerving.

I got the impression that her research was entirely original and the astronomers were lying so they could get their hands on it.
edited by Optimatum on 6/28/2018

Optimatum - I’m pretty sure the turn-in thing from this story is a quality, the chart from the end.

This was really cool! I’ve never played Light Fingers to the end, so I’ve never seen any of the Roof content - being able to visit and see the Starved Men & Moon Misers up close was unexpected and pretty awesome. As a devout Seeker-in-recovery, however, I confess I was quite disappointed that I was able neither to mutilate myself horribly via the Shapeling Arts or dive down a Moon-Miser’s gullet. Many-a-time we’ve been faced with similarly self-destructive decisions and been given the tools to follow through on them. Don’t tease me with bone-cracking organ-popping skin-twisting certain doom if you’re not gonna follow through with it - you know how excited I get!

Other than that, I’ve got no complaints! In my opinion it was a really cool little self-contained narrative with some meaningful and difficult decisions that explores an underexplored section of the Neath - great stuff.

Edit to whack in some spoiler tags, it’s still day one after all - whoops!
edited by Barse on 6/28/2018

Literally joined the forums to say how much I enjoyed the story! I’ve only been Exceptional for 3 months but this and the Rat Catcher have convinced me that it’s worth keeping the subscription going.

[spoiler]I loved the depth given to the different &quotstarsigns&quot and how much you could look into them before going along with the astrologer’s plan. I tried to take the diplomatic route but started to run like hell as soon as things got bad, though I did go back for the prisoners because I’m nothing if not neutral good.

I saved the astrologer and kept her work secret. Probably because the Appalling Secret artwork makes my brain fixated on the associated option a little more often than I’d like.[/spoiler]
edited by Arcengal on 6/28/2018

This was my reading; it struck me very much as a bald-faced lie.

[spoiler]&quotIn fact we have a – what did you call it? – etymological astronomy department here. Had one for years.&quot

They’ve had one for so long they, apparently, had to ask you the name for it.[/spoiler]

Shoulda figured making them mad would make things more difficult. Wonder what would have happened if I just charged in guns blazing.

Will this be one of the ones we can reset? I would like to do it again.
edited by Wilhelm Leibniz III on 6/29/2018

As much as I like the story, I can’t help but find it a little absurd that upon being caught having tried to sacrifice you to giant moon insects the perpetuator’s first excuse is “WHY CAN’T YOU SEE IT WILL HELP PEOPLE?!” as if 1. astronomy is anywhere near as influential in the Neath as, say, the average cup of coffee is in Vienna, 2. as if that would realistically dissuade the average angry sacrifice and 3. without having any reasonable way of showing you proof the thing works or knowing you read her notes since all signs point to her getting the hell out of dodge the second she realised you were coming back.

I sitll let her go and kept her secret, though. Mostly because I’ve thrown people to the metaphorical wolves for less and because I’m impressed with the sheer nerve it takes to stand there and scream about the greater good right after your human sacrifice has basically proven a very big weakness in your work simply by retaliating faster than the constellations could predict.

Well, that and also to put one over the Observatory and Shoshanna.

Yeah, the astronomers were almost certainly lying. Which is weird, because they definitely seem to study the false stars?

@Hattington: her point was surprisingly valid, if you ask me. And there is some validity to the whole thing, given that she clearly was a sort of revolutionary. Maybe she was hoping that the player was of a similar mindset.

I’ve arrived to the Amber Chamber and just rescued the trembling man from becoming a Starved Man. Having read the echoes from people who’ve taken both options, I know that there are two prisoners that are in immediate peril. What I didn’t know was that you have a quality that measures the ammount of help you offer your fellow prisoners, and that you have the option to choose to be eaten as a last-minute change from the plan of becoming one of your captors. Now, I REALLY want to see what happens when you pick the Light Fingers option by trying to argue you’re already one of them. However, if I’m able to switch to the feeding platform and rescue the other prisoner as well, I’m going for that option instead. So, does anyone know if both prisoners can be rescued by visiting both options?

You can.
edited by Doc Webb on 6/29/2018

If you haven’t angered the Starved Men, the first prisoner will be unscathed, and the second will be saved but injured. You can then return to the rest of the prisoners if you so choose and save them also.

I ended up letting her go not for the sake of science, but because the constables report to the Ministry of Public Decency. If her predictions are as accurate as her notes looked, turning her in might have given that predictive power to any number of unsavory authority figures up to and including the Masters. I do wish I’d known I could take her notes separately afterward; I’d probably have chosen to turn her in, but keep the notes secret.

Wonderful story, wonderful location, felt like an actual adventure, atmospheric, and like the rat-catcher, especially Neathy. These two stories together really give you a sense of the wilderness that surrounds the city of London. Well done!