May Exceptional Story: The Mudlark's Lament

Exceptional Story for May: The Mudlark’s Lament

The child before you – for, improbably, a child she appears to be, and not some imp risen from the silt – is spectacularly grubby. She has levered a long, wooden stick from the mud and now uses it as a sword, battering the empty air. “Everyone else is scared. But I 'ent scared.” She grins a fierce, snaggle-toothed grin. “I’m gonna be a monster-hunter!”

There is a beast in the sewers beneath the Fifth City – or so the urchins believe. But the Precocious Tosher has no fear, and a good, honest monster-battering is the only thing standing between her and the ballads of urchin legend. All she needs is an expendab— ahem, a dependable longshanks to bear witness to her heroism.

What terrors – and what treasures – might be found in London’s mucky depths? There’s only one way to find out, and it doesn’t smell good.


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A light story, but a fun one, with lots of impressive descriptions and a genuinely happy ending.


I had a lot of fun with this one. Even for an Urchin story, it’s a cut above. The right balance of serious and silly for a good adventure. I saw most of the plot twists coming, but I don’t think the point was to be surprised, it was to be delighted and I was.

Plus I mean, belly scratches to a Rubbery doggo.

I am honestly sad to part ways with the Wordless Drownie. Maybe she’ll add an option to a zee-card? Maybe a Feast of the Rose companion? Maybe, uh, Mr Chimes Lost & Found? Please? Pleeeeeeease?


That was a fun one indeed. I don’t think that the decisions mattered too much (and I’m pretty sure how clean you kept your clothes for the first part of the sewers had no effect, right?) but that was ok, didn’t feel like the kind of story that needed weighty stakes for each click.

Oh no, the Mr. Crapper event is finally canon…

Edit: After finally finishing my investigations, sadly it appears Mr. Crapper is not in fact canon. I’m not sure if anyone got anything drastically different, but it feels like none of the choices I made to influence the urchin mattered in the end. I could be wrong; perhaps some of you ended up with hardened or even more starry-eyed urchins. Despite that, the literally childlike whimsy of the whole thing and the tenseness of sewer-spelunking was great. Definitely quite fun, as ESes go.

Not yet canon, at least.

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This is so adorable!!!

Unlike my ES backlog. :frowning:


As somebody that worked and works in muddy, swampy and nasty places, the epilogue ringed very true in my kokoro.

Such a fun story. I wondered why my character with all his funny appendages couldnt find his way out of a short drop though.

RNG was absurd on this one. Essentially overwhelming vast majority of chance checks were failed despite most of them were in rage 70-90 % for me (more 20-30 % chance of success). I reached 23 stench level because of this, lovely.

Did that affect anything? I’m still curious whether the stretch level has any effects past flavor text

I would be interested to know if anyone made it the whole way down clean. I failed about 2 or 3 myself (could have gone for my 100% but that’s completionism for me).

Not much I think, just text flavors when you did check up during sever section and then near the end of story when you will have to clean yourself. Albeit I’m not sure as I didn’t see alternatives for those who were clean or at least cleaner.

I enjoyed the actual story here well enough, and agree with the general sentiment that this was basically low-impact but pleasant. But, maybe it was an actual glitch I was running into or something, but there was something going on with the difficulty of the checks that I hated. I’d see the difficulty listed for the options, switch my gear to try and optimise it for what I wanted to pick, and then my likelihood of success on everything would be lower? Like, a Monstrous Anatomy challenge that has a 30% chance of success on my character’s level 7 or on my total equipped level 17 is just stupid. If this was intentional and you want to neuter outfit min-maxing then just state that upfront and outfit lock it. I’ve played for so long and tried to get every item I could for a reason though, and it’s not to have my high stats be completely irrelevant. If this was an intentional mechanic I hope it is genuinely never used again.

I’m really glad that someone else has noticed the crazy challenges, because these made me feel not really well with my sanity. They seem to change completely randomly. They don’t depend on the stated characteristics, at the very least. I’ve tried equipping&unequipping the same item for a few times, and each time got different results! Sometimes the chances were affected for qualities which I could not modify with equipment, like Steadfast or Walking the Fallen Cities or Having Recurring Dreams… Cherry on the top, I’m pretty sure I’ve failed a 100% challenge once :thinking: Honestly, I would think this was a test run for the mechanics intended for something like Irem or Iron Republic or The Mirror Marches, because these are supposed to fall out of logic and common sense.

At the same time, it feels like it’s a way to give a message: one can’t guarantee to stay clean when delving into the sewers. Even with all the equipment and manipulating, it would take to get exceptionally RNG-lucky to avoid the damage to hygiene. It doesn’t seem to influence anything, though, even the flavor text, regarding also that you DO get muddy one way or another. I admit, I like this bit of roleplay. It’s about what’s in my head as well as what’s in-game.

The lack of the relevance of my choices that felt disappointing was in the Tosher’s storyline. One of my characters taught her to admire spiritual treasures and to accept anyone for what they are, while the other recommended to find practical value in things and be cautious of the unknown. She makes as we tell her, but then she might as easily be influenced by someone or something else. The story suggests that you make choices that are important to her development, but in the end it doesn’t seem of that much influence. Were it positioned more about the choices I make, the expectations wouldn’t have been hurt.
Also, the choices themselves are too limited. I can only advise her to pick one of the treasures, but not to keep both or drop both, as well as choose either fight or talk, but not hide and watch. I’d be happy to see more dimensions to it, rather than a flat scale with the extrema not even strictly opposite to each other.

In general, the story makes a pleasant impression, a kind and funny tale of adventure, enjoyable indeed.

I did some playing around with the tests back when I ran through this and from what I remember, I think the tests randomised their difficulty whenever you reloaded (which meant switching cllothing could change them but they were being effected by clothing). No idea how failing a 100% works but maybe they’re even randomising difficulty as you roll them?