May Exceptional Story: The Sunken River

Exceptional Story for May: The Sunken River

"The interior of the Questionable has a noisy, almost raucous atmosphere. It’s inevitable – in such tight confines, trapped in this metal coffin, sound cannot escape, and men make jokes to keep the fear at bay. But when the bell sounds and the officers gather in the bridge, a hush falls over the ship. Descent is, to the zubmariner, a sacrament."

The Unsanctioned Zubmariner has one last voyage to make – and, through the Admiralty’s machinations, you’ve just been promoted to First Officer. Embark on an ill-advised, officially unacknowledged expedition beneath the dark waves. Follow a trail of blood to the very heart of the Unterzee. Try not to crack under the pressure.


All Exceptional Friends receive:

  • A new Exceptional Story every month
  • Memories of a Tale from each story to spend on exclusive companions and items
  • A second candle (up to 40 actions at once)
  • An expanded opportunity deck: ten cards instead of six
  • Three additional outfit slots
  • Access to the House of Chimes, including monthly gameplay perks

Enhanced Exceptional Friends receive all of the above, plus:

  • A past story, or two resets of stories you’ve played from a monthly menu
  • Memories of a Tale from every past story or reset
  • Extra monthly perks in the House of Chimes
  • Three seven-action refreshes per month

So are we going to have more stuff about the admiralty? okay, that’s nice. Can’t say I’m super interested in them but it’s good for those who are.

1 Like

Another Admiralty story. Lovely.


I should really find time to dig through my backlog. These new ESs seem so neat!


Oh, wow - tough Persuasive check for an ES. Failed twice at 316! Do you get anything particularly special for passing?

Edit: Aha. Having done Star Wars last Estival, we’re now doing Alien. I do hope we get some The Thing soon, too.


The admiralty just shows up at the start and end. Most of the story is not about them.
ETA: By now I guess you figured this out, but if others are wondering…

These checks are all so late game! I’m having a hard go of them even! Haha!

Enjoying the whole bit here, I am curious what happens if you succeed at the Cthonosophy check! A way to raise it perhaps?

Edit: I succeeded and it just progresses you, nothing unique reward wise.


They scale with your base stats, so even late game they are hard.


Does anyone know the purpose of the Zee-rubies? Are they worth collecting?

You have the opportunity to get a way to cash them out, for a very good value, but you don’t get to keep them otherwise, as far as I could see. Oops. I mean that you get to keep them only as an item of no value (and not sellable to the Bazaar) or you can cash them out

1 Like

First of all let me just say that from a structural point of view, this is basically the perfect ES from me. No searching London. No action sinks or deck-reliant cards I have to hope are drawn. Just wham, bam, off to sea ma’am. CONSTANT tension which again, GOOD-actually feels like I’m on some kind of tense nautical voyage. And apologies to new players because I know they’re nightmarish, but as a years-long player LOVE these tough late game checks giving me something to do with my outfit arsenals.

Now uh, the plot. It’s a strange matter where the concept is insanely cool but…I also feel like the voyage while it was actually ongoing was more interesting than what happened at the start or finish? The part where you have the option to sell the Unsanctioned Zubmariner’s doppelganger on the wonders of London made me seriously question how socially awkward the Unsanctioned Zubmariner herself must be to have never tried it before. I mean, there wasn’t even a Persuasive check, it wasn’t difficult at all. Likewise between being deliberately misleading about the whole of the matter and vague about what their actual intentions were, I ultimately felt no loyalty or investment in whatever the Admiralty was trying to accomplish. Did I glimpse an allusion to the Thief-of-Faces briefly? The doppelganger definitely comes across like some sort of Snuffer-relative given her…fecundity

Don’t get me wrong though, the voyage itself was heaps of fun so this was definitely a solid ES even if it did ring a little more hollow than I’d hoped.

Also as a bonus: I rarely if ever feel much attraction to Fallen London NPCs. The Unsanctioned Zubmariner is very much an exception despite the limited look into her personal life because the moment we killed a blood man-eel thing together really charmed me, and honestly that’s the only reason I didn’t sell everyone out to the Admiralty. If you’re reading this FB, please make her an option at the next Feast of the Rose or attainable from Mr. Chimes’ Lost and Found or…something.


I passed most checks, are you referring to the one right at the start? Nothing too special, just a gruff welcome to the crew.

I found it very enjoyable, I liked the new difficulties being related to your stats, and, though they probably wouldn’t fit with all checks, they are very enjoyable to succeed and fail. I hope the Zubmariner’s [spoiler/] friendship can be connected at a future point, and the adoptive child grow/is seen again [spoiler]


I liked this one, thanks Bruno and Failbetter!

Now standing before the final choice in the Epilogue. And I´m totally indecisive which one to pick.

Any hints/ideas/suggestions? Keep another batch of U&U*-items, which may become useful in a few years by some Failbetter mood? Or just cashing it in for something that I already have?

*Unique and Useless

For what it’s worth (lol), one of the other options gives a u&u quality.

Anyone take the Significant Betrayal option? I’m quite curious, but not quite enough to do it.

Aye, c’mon, and that would be which one exactly…?

There’s the one with the sounder, which is what was on my mind. It’s called out as Significant. But now there is the curiosity about faking her death. Or, rather, not.

I’m not quite into the meat of the story yet but these skill checks are surprising considering ES’s being available to all Exceptional Friends— 80% chance of success with Watchful at almost 300 (that I failed of course)? On top of that it references me having a ship. Is the storyline actually dependent on the player’s progress in the game??

Speaking of the Watchful check, if anyone happens to have the Journal entry of successfully figuring out how prevaricating the Overworked Commodore is being then I would not be remiss to read it. (Spoiler’d just in case but it’s from the beginning of the story)

1 Like

Enjoyed the tough checks and did not see the part with the captain swinging the axe lol. That was too good. Decided to keep the rubies as a memento. I also didn’t betray the captain at the end but curious to know what would happen if you did.