Strange Lore Questions

Yeah, when I just started, I interpreted one of the sidebar messages as, “once you die, you’re stuck down here forever,” so I went out of my way to keep my wound score low, just in case I accidentally locked out some content. It ended up going to pot anyways, so I stopped, and it seems silly now.

It’s implied in the Eaten Carnival section that if you return to the Surface, you’ll be destroyed by the sunlight. Which in-game, was the privilege of paying 50 Nex to destroy your character. That might have been seeker-specific though.

With regards to why people don’t move; historically, many urban areas were very poor (which was why a lot of working-class people supported revolutionary or socialist parties), but had steady immigration from the countryside, due to people seeking a better life. Yet, people emigrating from the city was fairly uncommon, partly due to financial means, and partly because of the great risk of pulling up roots and taking a chance elsewhere. An underground magic city would have an even greater lure, and the same constraints would apply to most people. And to be honest, I don’t think Neathy London is especially bad compared to your average Surface capital. I mean, you’ve gotten a load of weirdass **** like talking cats and dead people coming back to life, but workers being exploited by greedy plutocrats, farcically unfair legal systems, constant violence, and a notoriously brutal justice system were par for the course everywhere.
edited by Zmflavius on 3/12/2013

I agree with your explanation on why people don’t just up and move elsewhere. Fallen London can be a cesspool of misery for many of its citizens, but such cesspools aren’t so uncommon on the Surface.

I think people can still freely go to the Surface if the state of their body is healthy enough. If people couldn’t go back and forth between the Surface and the Neath, then how do the Cheery Man’s employees obtain all that sunlight and moonlight? There’s also a spy network with members that report to their Surface employers. What of our characters’ Inconvenient Aunt who returned to the Surface (if you chose that option) and sent letters afterward? FL also imports Surface items, so the merchants must be making round trips. It might be a hard trip, but it isn’t impossible. I imagine the Surface-Neath Road to be akin to the ancient Silk Road: long, perilous and profitable.

Seekers are stained, scarred and chained…so it’s not as if they’re in tiptop shape. It’s incredible that they’re still holding themselves together in the Neath, forget the Surface!

This is one of the reasons I dislike Wilmot’s End so much, and to a lesser degree, the Great Game in general.

If you take the text in Wilmot’s End seriously, either you are going back to the Surface frequently or you personally have closely directed others engaged in a number of intrigues in various Surface cities. The degree of London-Surface communication and commerce required seems strikingly out of line with all of the other FL lore.

Hence, my personal theory that Wilmot’s End is just an opium den, or this being the Neath, some combination of honey and other drugs.

You wander in, take a few hits on a pipe, babble incoherent nonsense to the other patrons and then stumble out and mug the first person you see (stealing their documents or whatnot), all the while concocting a delusion in which you’re a world traveler and of some importance in world events.

How do you mean? I don’t recall anything in Wilmot’s End that takes place outside of that one moderate-sized park.

[url=http://about.failbettergames.com/2011/11/24/you-asked-we-answer-part-2-and-the-scientific-expedition/][i]"Two thoroughfares connect the Neath to the surface: the Travertine Spiral and the Cumaean Canal. If you’re looking for the direct route, take the Spiral. Those of modest means must trudge the stair that winds through a conjoined stalagtite and stalagmite, while the more well-to-do rattle briskly by on a comfortable funicular. If you’d prefer a more stately journey (and you’ve got someone to handle the locks for you) the Cumaean Canal is the route for you. It is a miracle of contemporary engineering, and a journey of dark, Plutonian beauty from the little Italian cave where it begins to the shores of the Unterzee. These will both be featuring in upcoming content."[/i][/url]

Long, perilous, and profitable indeed.

It’s not that you leave the area, but my recollection is that there are a few references to a shared history that you have with some of the people there about Surface goings-on, with some text that implied to me that either you went to Paris as part of the Great Game or you had personally directed some operation in Paris.

It’s been a while since I played this content (ever since I learned that you didn’t have to spend Dramatic Tension in the same storyline you acquired it), so it’s possible I’m misremembering.

Mostly, this theory was my reaction to the Missing Woman storyline, which seems to me to have a hazy dreamlike feel.

I was imagining some sort of hand-off point for goods/messages. Have an army of Claymen loading and unloading supplies between the surface vessels and Neathian. Obviously you’d pay some sort of premium for their labor so more risk taking traders might make the journey all the way to a surface port.

It’s not that you leave the area, but my recollection is that there are a few references to a shared history that you have with some of the people there about Surface goings-on, with some text that implied to me that either you went to Paris as part of the Great Game or you had personally directed some operation in Paris.

It’s been a while since I played this content (ever since I learned that you didn’t have to spend Dramatic Tension in the same storyline you acquired it), so it’s possible I’m misremembering.

Mostly, this theory was my reaction to the Missing Woman storyline, which seems to me to have a hazy dreamlike feel.[/quote]

I always took that text to be about past happenings. A great Paris adventure your character went on prior to descending to Fallen London.

I, for one, trade with the Surface all the time. My Lizard, bats, mandrake and even Overgoat make their way to the Surface with quite a bit of frequency bringing all sorts of peculiar treasures with them.

Indubitably! Can you imagine the consequences of downgrading the Bazaar’s credit rating? Everyone at Standard & Poor would mysteriously disappear in the night. Seeing as the prices at the Bazaar haven’t changed much in three years, it’s a fairly stable currency too.
Unless it’s up against a zero lower bound or some such, but given that the nature of the Bazaar is constant commerce, I doubt that very much.

Quick, someone call Standard & Poor and convince them to downgrade the Bazaar’s credit rating! :P

Don’t be silly, the Bazaar hasn’t yet had a farcical, immature, and embarrassingly public fight about the budget yet. :P ^.^ Well, I bet Parliament has, but fortunately, their opinion no longer matters as much compared to the Bazaar’s.
edited by Zmflavius on 3/13/2013

Well, you could always have agents stationed in paris that report to you even if you haven’t been there yourself. In fact there are some storylets (see below) that seem to imply that you weren’t personally there during whatever incident happened in Paris.

Also, Paris is a recurring theme with storylines involving the Great Game (including Walking the Paths of Wilmot’s End), to the extent that it’s almost a Noodle Incident. (‘It’s always Paris.’) The rare success for trading stolen correspondence with the Muffled Intriguer even lampshades this:

[quote=]‘Just what happened in Paris?’
A warm day. A scarf over the face and a hat pulled low. ‘Complicated business. Paris. The bishops. The thing with the swan. Take too long to explain. Here’s a dossier. Wait a month before publishing.’[/quote]

That being said, there are some reasonable explanations of why Paris instead of, say, Budapest or Prague:

  1. Britain and France have a historical rivalry that goes back hundreds of years.
  2. During this time period, there is a certain amount of tension between Britain and France over Imperial claims in Africa (the so-called ‘Scramble for Africa’)
  3. Paris could be shorthand for France/the French Government in general, rather than referring to the literal place
  4. Considering the number of agents of different that mention Paris, it could be a locus of Great Game activity on the Surface. (However, France is one of the only (if not only) major European powers that we don’t encounter agents for in Wilmot’s End–which is rather odd, come to think of it.)

However, personally I’ve always mentally thought of the Paris thing as something of a shout-out to Cabinet Noir, since it and the Wilmot’s End content came out around the same time.
edited by protonsinthedark on 3/13/2013

[quote=Zmflavius]Don’t be silly, the Bazaar hasn’t yet had a farcical, immature, and embarrassingly public fight about the budget yet. :P ^.^ Well, I bet Parliament has, but fortunately, their opinion no longer matters as much compared to the Bazaar’s.
edited by Zmflavius on 3/13/2013[/quote]

…This handily answers the earlier question as to “Why don’t people go back to the Surface?”, I think. :P

[quote=San ]Paris is a recurring theme with storylines involving the Great Game (including both of the Wilmot’s End storylines), to the extent that it’s almost a Noodle Incident. The rare success for trading stolen correspondence with the Muffled Intriguer even sort of lampshades this:

[quote=]‘Just what happened in Paris?’
A warm day. A scarf over the face and a hat pulled low. ‘Complicated business. Paris. The bishops. The thing with the swan. Take too long to explain. Here’s a dossier. Wait a month before publishing.’[/quote]

That being said, there are some reasonable explanations of why Paris instead of, say, Budapest or Prague:

  1. Britain and France have a historical rivalry that goes back hundreds of years.
  2. During this time period, there is a certain amount of tension between Britain and France over Imperial claims in Africa (the so-called ‘Scramble for Africa’)
  3. Paris could be shorthand for France/the French Government in general, rather than referring to the literal place
  4. France is one of the only (if not only) major European powers that we don’t encounter agents for in Wilmot’s End–which is rather odd, come to think of it.

However, personally, I’ve always mentally thought of it as something of a shout-out to Cabinet Noir, since it and the wilmot’s end content came out around the same time.[/quote]

I’m going to guess that Paris has a reputation in the public consciousness as a good place for clandestine meetings and spy operations thanks to the work of the French Resistance in World War II; enough books, movies, and TV shows have spotlighted the Resistance to solidify the trope of “intrigue in Paris” in future stories for the forseeable future.
It also doesn’t hurt that Paris is one of the most iconic European cities, on par with London itself. ;-)

I’ve wondered about the Surface question a great deal. Moriarty is incapable of returning to the Surface; Laplace has zero interest. Interestingly, besides the Boatman story, it seems as though there isn’t really a tally that’s shown in the UI as to how many times, or whether, you’ve died. This calls into question if the game even keeps track of this metric. My immediate guess is there’s going to be a sort of ret-con/ band-aid in the endgame/denouement that will let you escape, once and for all.

Perhaps Peach Cider could do it. Just enough to keep you from burning.

[quote=Nigel Overstreet]I, for one, trade with the Surface all the time. My Lizard, bats, mandrake and even Overgoat make their way to the Surface with quite a bit of frequency bringing all sorts of peculiar treasures with them.

Fhoenix wrote:

Well, if the Cider can really be bought for a sufficiently large sum of Echo, as the Bazaar would make us to believe, I’d say Echo has a much better backing, than dollar.

Indubitably! Can you imagine the consequences of downgrading the Bazaar’s credit rating? Everyone at Standard & Poor would mysteriously disappear in the night. Seeing as the prices at the Bazaar haven’t changed much in three years, it’s a fairly stable currency too.
Unless it’s up against a zero lower bound or some such, but given that the nature of the Bazaar is constant commerce, I doubt that very much.[/quote]

This is the biggest reason why I suspect the Revolutionaries aren’t simply yet another cyclical pattern encouraged by the Masters. Monetary policy and economics define national influence to such an extent in the Industrial era that repeated attacks on functionaries, bankers, and currency summits could, more than anything, drastically impact the extent to which London is seen as a safe haven for wealth. Standard and Poor would never risk downgrading their credit ratings; but if their representatives keep getting blown up, it sends a similar message to the international community. That’s why Fires is stamping out the Unionists, and that’s why Revolutionaries have been driven to the Flit. Revolutionaries mean nothing in terms of morale, propaganda, or even mortal cost; men are cheaper than horses in the Neath. But if they introduce currency fluctuation, that could be a big deal. And if the Neath’s economy had a really bad day, it could unravel the whole affair. And a bad day in the Neath isn’t like Black Tuesday. It will be cosmic horror on a truly unimaginable scale. The stone pigs are sleeping, Mr. Sacks used to say. But Mister Sacks isn’t here now.

That’s why the Foreign Office, the Great Game, and Wilmot’s End is such a big deal. Can you imagine if French agents or dignitaries could be allowed free reign? What happens if some Tzar comes down and gets a gulp of cider stolen? What if Dutch agents start letting the Mirror-Creatures loose? Foreign manipulation in the Neath could have dire consequences. And honestly, it’s hard not to think there’s a great deal of angling for the control of the Bazaar. Let’s not forget, bats can still make the journey to the surface. It’s not hard to imagine having assets on the Surface being conducted by contacts you control. Hence, “agents, and the agents of agents”.

Also, I’m glad the Great Mirror Chase taught us all the sigil of the Masters is the Hat. It was a great way to find out.

With this in mind: The Bazaar said the “The first taught restraint and the second betrayed. The third taught us hunger: the fourth we remade. The fifth will live on in the heart of the Sun, and the sixth…”
We know of some examples of the Masters being fallible, and overreaching in their…experiments. Particularly with Smiles. That could be the First. The Third, could be the Era of Eaten. And why they won’t say a d-ed word about it. The fourth was of course shown to us by Silver Tree.
As such, new questions:

Does anybody know what went down in the Second City?
If sunlight can be harvested, is the Neath dark by design?
Are the Masters even aware of the Rubbery Men- and their agendas?
Is Downside, a place referenced in Outlandish Copy, a real place? Are the “choirs” what the Violet-Eyed Urchin was talking about?
edited by friendshipranger on 3/13/2013

I haven’t finished his story yet, but was Jack around during the Era of the first city? I have always assumed he was recent, and restraint has something to do with the King with a Hundred Hearts.
Also I always thought Mr Eaten was from the Second City era. The Masters all decline to speak about Egypt, as if it never existed. And Mr. Eaten is the only other thing they usually refuse to acknowledge. He was certainly betrayed (or feels that way).
What did the Silver Tree show exctacly?
edited by Fhoenix on 3/13/2013

If we can equate the Third City with the Three Priest-Kings of Xibalba, well, they certainly know hunger.

[quote=friendshipranger]With this in mind: The Bazaar said the “The first taught restraint and the second betrayed. The third taught us hunger: the fourth we remade. The fifth will live on in the heart of the Sun, and the sixth…”
We know of some examples of the Masters being fallible, and overreaching in their…experiments. Particularly with Smiles. That could be the First. The Third, could be the Era of Eaten. And why they won’t say a d-ed word about it.

Does anybody know what went down in the Second City?[/quote]

If I recall correctly, Mr. Eaten has his little incident during the Second City. Pretty sure it’s the Second that the Masters don’t like talking about too. The betrayal of the second led to the hunger of the third, perhaps?

Either way, the Third is more commonly associated with the Elder Country, Snuffers and Face Tailors.
edited by T WO Chandler on 3/14/2013

Slightly off topic, but…I just realized that Face-Tailors and Liber Visionis item are a nod to the fact that that storyline is/was the exclusive storyline you get from connecting your account to FACEbook. (…it even SAYS ‘Book of Faces’ in the item description!)

Wow, am I supremely late to the joke. Nearly 3 years late, in fact. I feel completely stupid now. facepalms in shame

Slightly off topic, but…I just realized that Face-Tailors and Liber Visionis item are a nod to the fact that that storyline is/was the exclusive storyline you get from connecting your account to FACEbook. (…it even SAYS ‘Book of Faces’ in the item description!)

Wow, am I supremely late to the joke. Nearly 3 years late, in fact. I feel completely stupid now. facepalms in shame[/quote]

You’ll have to face the consequences for not getting that joke. You might have to book it.

Slightly off topic, but…I just realized that Face-Tailors and Liber Visionis item are a nod to the fact that that storyline is/was the exclusive storyline you get from connecting your account to FACEbook. (…it even SAYS ‘Book of Faces’ in the item description!)

Wow, am I supremely late to the joke. Nearly 3 years late, in fact. I feel completely stupid now. facepalms in shame[/quote]
So that’s why I’ve never seen it! I had no idea.

I believe Alexis confirmed someplace that they are keeping behind the scenes- track of this. That is not to say they’ll ever use that knowledge.