November Exceptional Story: The Stripes of Wrath

Since Failbetter staff have apparently been doused with irrigo, I’ll jump into the breach. We can’t have an ES without a forum thread!

The Detective taps her temple. “Allow me to present my prudentials. The Case of the Missing Muffins. The Lizard of Lacewhisper Street. The Mysterious Weasel Thief Who Definitely Weren’t Arnold Even Though The Missing Weasels Showed Up Inside His Hat. That were all me. I mean, it were me that solved 'em. Not me that done 'em.”

A hideous murder attempt rocks London – an attack so vicious it sends its victim off to the Grand Sanatorium. A tangle of magicians, tigers and insects has the Constables scratching their heads and the greatest detectives in London flummoxed. But what did the cabbies see? And what is that persistent buzzing noise…

Exceptional Friendship

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
  • Access to Mr Chimes’ Lost & Found, a shop in the Bazaar where you can exchange currency earned through playing Exceptional Stories for exclusive companions and items
  • Three additional outfit slots
  • An expanded opportunity deck of ten cards instead of six!
  • A second candle – twice the actions! 40 at once!

The Honey-Addled Detective, relevant again in a story? Do my eyes deceive me?

Also, it’s been ages since I’ve thought about the Shroud but the last I recall-they were renowned, even to the FL player character, for being “real” magicians that actually just use stage magic. Is this necromancy thing a new development, or a difference of presentation?

Edit: Poor tiger. Did the right thing in the wrong place for the right reason. London is littered with the bodies of the well-intentioned but foolish. Not today, though. I left the old bugger to his dreams


I am near the ending and I have to say that I have really enjoyed this one. I guess it is mechanically too plain for some people (there is little to no challenge and most of it consists on just following different storylets), but as a detective story it is pretty well done: it gives you room to form different hypotheses from the clues given and the solution is not obvious, but makes quite a bit of sense (poor guy).

And I specially likes the meeting of minds, both for the old, stablished (and in one case, quite forgotten) detectives and for the new introductions. The Urchin Detective is charming -I have a massive soft spot for urchins, anyway- and the Banded Sleuth… well, a large cat as a distinctly hardboiled private eye? Makes me wonder if Mr. Inglis has been reading Blacksad lately.

All things considered, narration-wise this might be one of my favourite exceptional stories.


Though I didn’t like the fact that all of the storylets that were part of the investigation cost an action (even the ones with the most obvious of answers!) the denouement made the story worthwhile! Smart, and sweet. I really enjoyed seeing the various detectives play off of each other. I chose the ending where the detectives withdraw to leave the elderly tiger die in peace, and having that option available really made the ES for me. Thank you, Failbetter!


Idk how you guys decide which stories are fan favorites but… you should mark this one as a fan favorite when it goes to the market.

I’m at the climax of the story and this might be the most fun I’ve ever had in a storyline in this game. No notes.

If anyone is reading this and thinking about becoming an exceptional friend while this is a story… do it. You won’t be sorry.


I was wondering if anyone has the text for Closest Tomb Colonists at the start of the story? I’ve always been curious about Tomb Colonists but I don’t think I have the resources to get closest to them right now.


Closest to TC option:


I rather enjoyed this story. It felt well written, and the ending was well handled by the time you get there.


This was definitely one of my favorite stories in quite some time! The offhanded descriptions and little grace notes in the writing were wonderful (when the detective asks to see the Banded Sleuth’s paw and the urchin holds out her hand!). And the epilogue was adorable. I would love to see a whole series of “the best sleuths in Fallen London unite to solve the case of X” stories.


I got a bit behind and only just now got around to playing this story, but I had to come on and mention it, I really, really loved it. It was pretty simple mechanically, sure, but the story was so good, I think that’s forgivable.

For a little while now, I’ve felt like Fallen London has a weakness in lacking continuity. Of course this is a challenge given how much content can be done in essentially any order, but I do think more stories need to be told about the characters rather than just building out the setting forever for it to go anywhere new, even if that means having “lower stakes” in some circumstances because we know, for example, that the Implacable Detective won’t be killed off or something. I think that’s why the Railroad and Furnace are so popular, on top of just being well done. Getting to see the established detectives in this really made the story feel more interesting for me, because we were actually getting further interaction for once with these established characters instead of just one-offs who will never be seen or matter again no matter how excellent they are. I’d really love more of that. And the Urchin Detective in particular was so great.


Absolutely adored this one, probably my favourite story of the year. A real blockbuster detective thriller, I used three cups of Darkdrop just to keep reading.

I think it’s fair to say that all of London - all of the Neath! - would’ve conspired to kill the Apiarist, knowing what he was about to do. Deepest thanks to the old tiger.

The deep lore implications of this story are huge.
If humans - and in the Neath, where Parabola is so much closer, all the other sapient creatures, as well - were to lose all their creativity, fantasy and imagination when contact to Parabola is severed, it follows that the “Opening of the Glass” was a significant moment in human evolutionary history - and must have happened a long long time ago indeed.

And if it’s the devils’ roses and bees that are necessary to keep that connection to Parabola open, I can only deduce that it was their flight from Parabola which kickstarted the development of homo sapiens as an imaginative, creative being. I know devils have often been described as very old, but that’s very very old.

From which we must in turn deduce that devils - whether intentionally or not - created modern humans, in a certain way of looking at it. No wonder they’re so smug when dealing with us, and can’t take our botched attempts at reconstructing our origins seriously (the Garden, the Snake, the Tree of Knowledge…).

I’m sure the Bishop of St Fiacre’s knows all this, but has anyone tried telling the Bishop of Southwark?


I was thinking about this too!!! Bees pollinate fruit… the implication that the devils, in their true bee forms, are directly involved in the events mythologized in the abrahamic mythologies is an absolutely fascinating one to me?? I kinda love the implications that has for the greater theology of the war between the church and devil factions.