Oh so new to the game. Really. Tips, please?

So I’m embarrassed to admit I only just discovered Fallen London after a dear friend moved to Tokyo. When I asked how she was going to spend time during a four hour layover at an airport, said, &quotI’ll play Fallen London.&quot You can fill in the blanks from there, I suppose.

Last night I created my account, tried to figure it out, then deleted my account today and restarted because I’d done it wrong. Sigh. I tried to find some Let’s Plays or introduction videos, but everything I found was severely outdated. The interface looks nothing like this one, and so on.

Can anyone recommend a good getting started guide? Am I supposed to do all the quests, some of them, or whatnot? How social is the game? Is it required or voluntary?

I feel like I have no idea what I’m doing in a game that proudly procaims &quotYour decisions have consequnces.&quot

Thanks for any help. And sorry I got to the party soooo late.

Elizabeth Desmond (in game, Bethany IRL).

Here are two bits of suggested reading. The first is a beginner’s gameplay guide and the second is nearly spoiler free lore guide to many of the basic story elements of Fallen London. I would recommend reading both, but I would suggest bookmarking the lore guide as you can come back to it if something in the narrative is confusing you.



As soon as you get out of New Newgate, potter around the areas available to you. Each is devoted to a skill you’ll be building as you Make Your Name among us here in the Neath. You’ll soon find stories and start acquiring things and people.
If you put a link to your character in your signature here, others will be able to add you to their acquaintance. There is a social element, and some people enjoy role play as part of the interactions. Find out about the factions at the Carnival. And take your time deciding on an ambition. Is your character a brave fighter, a scholar with a questing mind, a social charmer or subtle and not too fussy about other people’s property? Find out what mix appeals to you.
In due course, you might find yourself a patron on here to help with progress.
And don’t fret: I had bookmarked Fallen London for at least a couple of years before I finally took the plunge and saw what I had been missing.
(Incidentally, four hours would be an unusual length of time to play; it’s more like ten minutes now, another ten minutes in a few hours’ time… Unless you pay a chunk of real life money for the extra turns. Which hardly anyone does, I shouldn’t think.)


Meradine Heidenreich (Captain)

Something to note is that there are very few things which truly permanently harm your character, and it’s very hard to go &quotwrong&quot. One thing that’s possible from the early game is increasing your Criminal Record - every time you go to prison (at Suspicion 8), it increases, and there is no existing way to lower it again, ever. This is a very notable exception to how almost everything else works, however.
And speaking of going to prison, while the game warns you not to increase the four menaces (Nightmares, Suspicion, Scandal, Wounds) past 8, there’s nothing to actually be afraid of. You face an inconvenience which takes about half a day to clear, often much less, and then you’re free again with the menace reset to 0 and no permanent consequence (other than the aforementioned Criminal Record for Suspicion).
So, don’t be afraid to fail skill challenges, to die, or in general to experiment. Also, early game is considered to end when all four of your main stats reach 100, so you’re more or less expected to explore most of the available early game content (at your leisure).
In fact, even stat loss can happen and is absolutely not an issue in most circumstances. Stats max out at 200 and if you play for even just a few months, you’ll hit up against that cap - and naturally if you stay for years, as many have, stats become rather inconsequential unless you suddenly lose 50 levels or somesuch. Same goes for money and almost everything else.

That’s pretty much what I wish I’d known when I started playing. tl;dr: do whatever and enjoy yourself, there is no such thing as true failure as almost all setbacks are completely temporary and you’ll make back anything you might lose, and vastly more, as you keep playing.
edited by Dudebro Pyro on 8/7/2019

One that will help you and anyone who can do so: avoid the Struggling artist like the plague! Be aware that the Struggling Artist’s Model is another NPC which doesn’t really become a nuisance.
edited by Skinnyman on 8/7/2019

Thanks to everyone for the help! Some quick comments:

@loredeluxe: Thanks so much for the links. The Wiki will be so helpful and I read most of the lore page on Reddit last night. The latter really cleared some things up and made the game more understandable and enjoyable. Thanks again.

@Meredine: Thanks. I’ll link my character as soon as I figure that out. As to my friend and her four hour layover, I don’t know what’s up with her, but last night it took me maybe an hour plus to burn through my 20 actions, but I’m a newbie and still reading everything. One a 45 minute train ride this morning, I couldn’t finish. After reading your comment, I checked out fate and for about ten bucks I can get enough actions to play for hours. So I might spend it just to have something to do in an airport other than buy drinks at the airport bar. Or then again, I might just do both. :)

Dudebro Pyro: Yeah, what freaked me out was the two nightmare cards in a row I pulled out of the deck - and failed them both. I ended up with like 5+ nightmare. Also - talk about missing the obvious - but I completely missed out on selling my prisoner clothes and getting something that buffed my stats. So I was kind of failing a bit.

Thanks again, everyone.
edited by Elizabeth Desmond on 8/7/2019

You do you, of course, but assuming you aren’t planning on giving up on the game within a few days/weeks, anything you might spend on action refreshes is gonna be inconsequential. An active player will spend something like 1000 actions per week, and correspondigly many per month and year. Even 60 bucks worth of fate barely gets you half a week’s play; 6 months later this will have been completely forgotten.
On the other hand, there are plenty of extra stories that can be bought for fate. Some are self-contained narratives that are heavy on lore and reading (most of the older monthly Exceptional Stories, which you also get for free - the new ones, that is - if you subscribe). Others give nifty and exclusive items; those are mostly useful for later-game players, though: once you become a Person of Some Importance and gain access to Notability, items that increase Bizzare/Dreaded/Respectful become very valuable, and the very best ones are usually fate-locked (while most of the items for the normal 4 stats are free); others are rare or valuable mostly for lore/RP reasons rather than mechanical ones, and may not be properly appreciated until you’ve seen a large portion of the content available in-game.
Incidentally, the Soul Trade is a widely recommended paid story, which among other things adds a few option here and there in the early game. I suspect a lot of players generally start spending money after some while of playing for free (at least I did so), and thus miss out on those options (though the other benefits are still worth it), so if you’re inclined to purchase paid content right away I’d recommend this.

So it is my opinion that simply buying a couple hour’s worth of actions is almost never worth it, compared to buying a completely new story or an exclusive item. (Unless maybe one were to hypothetically purchase all the content on the Fate page, and still wish to throw money at the game.)

If you plan to spend money, simply get a subscription! It gives you a second candle, and an extra story each month.
Otherwise, enjoy the city, draw cards and do the storylets on each place. Other places will open up eventually, with even more options.
My profile is in my signature - if you need help with menaces or need to ask a question, just send a social action in-game!

Advice. There are some choices that you cannot change. Think things through before you do something, you never know if they’re reversible or not.

Okay, that’s kind of worriesome. Is there any way to tell if my life will be forever changed by a single decision?


I agree with you (and I’m not arguing). My credit card has stayed where it belongs. :)

My only point was in the very rare occassion where I might find myself waiting for multiple hours in an airport (which has never really happened to me, not even when I flew to Barcelona or later Saint Petersburg), I might buy some Fate if I was bored. Or I might drink (which would be more expensive). Or both. :)

But your response prompts another question. Is there a difference between a &quotstorylet&quot and the stories you purchase? I see them on the Fate page and sometimes in the Story page. I feel like I finish most &quotstories&quot in less than 10 actions, with some actions being redundant. Are these stories more developed? Is there more to them? Because I can’t see spending money for a story I finish really quickly.

Thanks again.

edited by Elizabeth Desmond on 8/7/2019
edited by Elizabeth Desmond on 8/7/2019

Okay, that’s kind of worriesome. Is there any way to tell if my life will be forever changed by a single decision?


Honestly, when the game says &quotYour decisions have consequences&quot, it’s exaggerating a bit. Basically everything you do has some consequences, in that you gain stats or items or whatever. However, most individual decisions aren’t recorded, just the fact that you did something. For example, if a story called for you to find out a character’s secret, it wouldn’t matter whether you robbed their house or seduced them or spied on them. You’d get different text for your choice, but the story’s tracking quality would just record that you had moved to the next step.

That said, some decisions do have permanent repercussions. Say you can choose between arresting a character or letting them go free. The story’s quality might be set to different levels depending on your choice, or you might get the character as a companion. Don’t worry though! Because Fallen London is structured as a bunch of independent stories, the game won’t lock an entire story based on one choice elsewhere. At most you might unlock an extra option in another story, or if you sided against someone previously you’ll have to pay them more items.

(That said, while your choices won’t lock content, some choices may permanently open content you don’t want. Skinnyman mentioned the Struggling Artist, whose storyline unlocks a permanent opportunity card that’s mechanically worthless. Another thing to watch out for is Lodgings. All the Lodgings purchasable from the Bazaar add a card to your deck, most of which are bad in the lategame, and there’s only one very difficult way to remove Lodgings right now.)

Technically speaking, a storylet refers to any of the events in a location, as opposed to opportunity cards. For example, &quotThe Season of Bargains&quot is a storylet advertising the current group of subscriber-bonus Exceptional Stories, and &quotConsult the Nervous Lawyer&quot is an option under that storylet.

Anyways, most Fate stories are significantly longer than the free ones. Mostly though that says a lot about the early-game stories, which were written early in Fallen London’s existence. (The couple Fate stories written that early are definitely shorter, though usually cheaper as well, and are simpler both in writing and mechanics.) Most of the Fate stories are pretty good, though they do vary in quality and the usefulness of their rewards, so if you’d like specific recommendations we’d all be happy to oblige.
edited by Optimatum on 8/7/2019

An Exceptional Friend story will start with a ubiquitous gold-framed storylet. The story will lead you on from screen to screen, often involving several choices and outcomes based on what you chose.
Cards are rare but not unheard of in these stories; mostly, you are just given information on where to head next – to Spite, say, or Ladybones Road.

The Exceptional Friend Stories may well take you to places not on the usual London map: we’ve had Lamentation Lock, which leads up to the surface, the hazardous Prickfinger Wastes, various island locations, the Mirror Marches and even the slow boat to the shores of death. Very occasionally, these locations remain open after the end of the story.

An EF can take me anything up to three session of 2 candles each to complete. But that is because I’m obsessive about not missing out on content, and exploring all the branches and even checking back because sometimes, branches change after the story has moved on and further decisions have been made.

The decisions are often the hardest part – I have at least two stories sitting unfinished because I can’t make up my mind. Often these are things involving betrayal, sacrificing one character for another, putting one’s own character in jeopardy, doing things the player might not do in RL.

Hope that gives a flavour!


I enjoy Exceptional Stories; in time, I have purchased almost all the ones I missed from the Fate tab. But I did that after a couple of years of playing Fallen London, and after a year of playing as an Exceptional Friend. You are in the early stages of the game, and there is still a lot to do witout the need to purchase anything yet. Some Fate stories make gameplay a bit easier, but even then you will need the benefits they offer after you have become a Person of Some Importance (when all your stats are 100+). So just take your time and enjoy the huge amount of stories that are available to you right now, read the lore, perhaps meet some people you can exchange social actions with,and the rest will come.

In the category of &quotthings you can’t un-do&quot: buying houses is, surprisingly, one of them.
Each (or at least, almost every) property you buy has an associated Opportunity Card attached to it. Some of them are useful - but others, significantly less so.

One of the mistakes I made was to buy every property I could find.
Which doesn’t sound bad at first glance, until you consider that sometimes I’ll be waiting for a specific Opportunity Card to show up and that deck is being diluted by the ‘Key to your Rooms above a Bookshop’ (etc.) which isn’t useful to me anymore.

This is part of why the Struggling Artist is considered to be such a nuisance. He shows up fairly frequently in your Opportunity Deck, doesn’t provide much useful stuff -certainly not once you’ve been playing for some time- and can’t be removed.

So yeah, pick and choose where you want to live. Certain properties will provide a hand-size of 3 Opportunity Cards. Others will provide a hand size of 4 (and can be upgrade to 5).

‘Key to a Handsome Townhouse’ is a solid choice if you’re not sure, though it does require 500 Romantic Notions (about 50 Echoes worth of the stuff) so acquiring it might take a little time. Depending upon how far you are through the game. ^_^

[quote=Elizabeth Desmond]So I’m embarrassed to admit I only just discovered Fallen London after…
Thanks for any help. And sorry I got to the party soooo late.[/quote]
You’ve nothing to apologise for btw. ^_^ We all start somewhere, after all.
edited by Kittenpox on 8/14/2019

I’m New, myself. As soon as I figure out how to add friends I’ll add any new people. :) You included, if you’re short on friends!

Better to be lost with others than lost alone, right?
edited by Aerrie Rosewinde on 8/15/2019

Check into the “Introduce Yourself” thread for fellow new, and friendly old, citizens ::


-:- Yggdrasil “Drazzle” Fawlty Psmyth, esq. Citizen -:- Between Newbie and ‘POSI’: In Neath since Feb. 14th, 1897 -:-

Your Lodgings -> Attend To Matters Of Society -> Send A Calling Card.

There are various Social Actions you can send without being formally Acquainted, but the calling card opens up a few more options between you. ^_^

Your Lodgings -> Attend To Matters Of Society -> Send A Calling Card.

There are various Social Actions you can send without being formally Acquainted, but the calling card opens up a few more options between you. ^_^[/quote]

Thaaank you. I figured that much out- I have an entirely new problem, now (I &quotprepared some dinners&quot for people and they…disappeared? I don’t know where to find them? Maybe I failed at it? How do I invite folk to dinner?! Aaah.)