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April Exceptional Story: Tauroktonos Messages in this topic - RSS

James StAnthony
James StAnthony
Administrator
Posts: 19

3/28/2019
Delicious friends, the Exceptional Story for April is here!






An ailing professor uncovers a secret beneath a butcher's shop: a forgotten Mithraic temple. Delve into its mysteries, open its great brass door, and lead an expedition of troubled souls along the Devilbone Road.

Tauroktonos is the second story in the Season of Explorations, and was written by Harry Tuffs. In this season you will experience three stories of adventure, mystery and a not inconsiderable amount of peril.

Begin with the Season of Explorations card, available throughout London.

Editing and QA: James Chew

Art by: Paul Arendt

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 members’ club on the Stolen River, packed with content
  • An expanded opportunity deck: of ten cards instead of six!
  • A second candle: Twice the actions! 40 at once!

Finishing all three stories in the Season of Explorations will make you eligible for an additional opportunity, to follow.

If you want to keep an Exceptional Story beyond its release month, you must complete the related storylet in the current Season’s card. This will save it for you to return to another time.
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phryne
phryne
Posts: 1218

3/31/2019
I must say I had no idea where this story was going until we found that Brass Door. At that point, I admit, I had a short "Oh no, not devils again" moment. Is it just me, or is Hell slowly taking over these Exceptional Stories? :P

Of course, I love archaeology/adventure stories, so I couldn't not love this one. But I fully agreed with the Classicist's last words, "That didn't have as much relevance to Roman history as I'd hoped," and my monster-hunter character was deeply disappointed at the end that the devils wouldn't take her with them on their hunt. She would've loved adding a Prince of Hell to her trophy collection. wink

I would like to read the echo for unleashing the Unburdened Beast to disrupt the execution, if someone has it on hand. Btw I really hoped I'd be able to bring it with me to London as a pet but I guess that wasn't possible on any branch of the story?

--
Exceptional Stories, sorted by Season and by writerFavours & Renown Guide
Go play StoryNexus games - while you still can!
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Rasvarmo
Rasvarmo
Posts: 54

4/2/2019
A warning to those who are concerned about Renown:

There is a choice near the end of this story that will lower Renown: Hell, if you select a particular option. Doing so lowered my renown from a hard-earned 50 to 49. Narratively it makes sense that such a choice would lower my standing with the faction, but I find myself annoyed that the consequence was not warned for, mechanically.

--
Rasvarmo - a lady of distinction and ambition. Open to social exchanges.

"No records. No writings. Words can be treacherous. If a story is important, it will be remembered."
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loredeluxe
loredeluxe
Posts: 92

3/28/2019
Here's a tip for everyone. Look up Mithraism before delving into this Exceptional Story as it will provide a lot of context to what's happening in the story.

https://www.ancient.eu/Mithraic_Mysteries/
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PSGarak
PSGarak
Posts: 672

3/28/2019
loredeluxe wrote:
Here's a tip for everyone. Look up Mithraism before delving into this Exceptional Story as it will provide a lot of context to what's happening in the story.

https://www.ancient.eu/Mithraic_Mysteries/

Sure, I'll take a peek.
"First Sentence in the Article" wrote:
... the Indo-Iranian deity Mithras (Akkadian for "contract")...

Ho boy. What was this about souls and brass? Surely a coincidence...

--
http://fallenlondon.com/Profile/PSGarak
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Jolanda Swan
Jolanda Swan
Posts: 1431

3/28/2019
Thank you!
So this was beautifully written, memorable characters, great sense of urgency, good hook, lovely imagery, strong story.
But...

[spoiler] I managed to keep everyone intact and safe, and when I got to the execution, I chose to unleash the beast. Which cost me the veteran. Without warning, while there were warnings for every other case where you might lose a comrade. This felt really bad, and I don't see the point of it - there was no twist, just a loss that my actions caused out of the blue. I mean, if I was given a choice to recover everyone from the bridge, why simply lose him after a few actions without a choice? [/spoiler ]

Other than that, I enjoyed the story. It was a bit stressful, and it really felt like you could simply lose everything with one wrong turn.

Having said that, I am looking forward to see other factions than Hell and Parabola in play.
edited by Jolanda Swan on 3/28/2019

--
Lover of all things beautiful, secret admirer of ugly truths, fond of the Parabola Sun... and always delighted to role play.
http://fallenlondon.com/profile/Jolanda%20Swan
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Jolanda Swan
Jolanda Swan
Posts: 1431

3/29/2019
I imagined something greater than the Fingerkings.
As for the Devils... the Bishop's plan is misguided and will get us all killed but he is the only one worrying about the Devils' soul theft and the only one trying to do something. Forget if there is a God - there are "devils" here and they take advantage of the worst aspects of Victorian society. So... I aid him every way I can, though he has to be reminded when he has gone too far (i.e. always).

--
Lover of all things beautiful, secret admirer of ugly truths, fond of the Parabola Sun... and always delighted to role play.
http://fallenlondon.com/profile/Jolanda%20Swan
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Jolanda Swan
Jolanda Swan
Posts: 1431

4/3/2019
Yes, I can see that. Especially when you are warned only half of the times, and in half the ES. Even more so, as Renown was supposed to be different than connections: hard to get, impossible to lose.

--
Lover of all things beautiful, secret admirer of ugly truths, fond of the Parabola Sun... and always delighted to role play.
http://fallenlondon.com/profile/Jolanda%20Swan
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Wilhelm Leibniz III
Wilhelm Leibniz III
Posts: 62

4/3/2019
I am disappointed I did not get the take the beast home with me.

--
Wilhelm Leibniz III, Glassman, Hearts Desire
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MidnightVoyager
MidnightVoyager
Posts: 821

4/13/2019
This isn't accurate. One is less equal than the others.

[spoiler]Sacrificing the classicist kills two, even though it is unmarked.[/spoiler]

--
Midnight Voyager - A blood-cousin to predators. Collector of beasts. Affably mad.
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Optimatum
Optimatum
Posts: 3508

4/2/2019
Finally found time to play this story, and I really enjoyed it. Adding actual significance to our choices through the story was very nice—many ESes expect us to just choose every option outside the Decision Points, but here practically all the exploration sections had mutually exclusive possibilities. I very much enjoyed having to consider my actions more carefully, even though it meant a lot of agonizing choices. (My one objection to this was the excavation section at the beginning, where it wasn't well communicated that there wasn't time to do everything.)

My one quibble with the pacing was the return to London, which felt very abrupt. Given the amount of time we spent traveling on the road, finding myself back in London in the span of one action was very disconcerting! The text described exploring and evading Parabola's dangers, but without doing so as separate actions it felt glossed over. I was glad to see that the return wasn't the end of the story, though, as the actual conclusion was lovely.

phryne wrote:
I would like to read the echo for unleashing the Unburdened Beast to disrupt the execution, if someone has it on hand. Btw I really hoped I'd be able to bring it with me to London as a pet but I guess that wasn't possible on any branch of the story?



Here you go.

--
Optimatum, a ruthless and merciful gentleman. No plant battles, Affluent Photographer requests, or healing offers; all other social actions welcome.

Want a sip of Cider? Just say hi!

PM me for information enigmatic or Fated. Though the forum please, not FL itself.
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Blaine Davidson
Blaine Davidson
Posts: 345

3/29/2019
I rather enjoyed this one simply because I expected this to be a short little archeological jaunt and then suddenly Devils!

Any chance to muddle their plans is welcome in my books. And I'm very glad to have saved The Turncoat. I do hope he keeps his promise in properly rewarding me one day when he eventually returns to London.

--
Blaine Davidson, a reserved and sensible woman with a fondness of collecting rarities.
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Greg M
Greg M
Posts: 188

3/29/2019
This story was very, very good. Multiple tracked qualities, several tough-but-fun choices and, if it doesn't hit the heights of "For All The Saints" or "The Ratcatcher," there were enough story-affecting choices that it might be the first EF story I replay.

--
Profile: GregM.
http://www.fallenlondon.com/Profile/GregM

Available for any non-harmful social interactions.
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Jolanda Swan
Jolanda Swan
Posts: 1431

3/29/2019
If you plan to betray the church to the devils, you do need some renown: hell.

--
Lover of all things beautiful, secret admirer of ugly truths, fond of the Parabola Sun... and always delighted to role play.
http://fallenlondon.com/profile/Jolanda%20Swan
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Azothi
Azothi
Posts: 527

3/28/2019
Never thought learning about Mithraic mythology would be useful here.

The Mithraeum is actually inspired by the real London Mithraeum, albeit with Fallen London elements and an earlier discovery (the real one wasn't discovered until 1954).

--
Azoth I, the Amaranthine Wanderer - Midnighter - A Paramount Presence (not currently accepting new Proteges)
Away to where the Chain cannot bind us.
Hesperidean.
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0bsidian Fire
0bsidian Fire
Posts: 109

3/28/2019
I like the recentish trend of developing the Devils to be more then just "crazy bees from Parabola that want to steal your soul". It always bothered me that as a faction, the Devils were so one-dimensional. It's nice to see that trend continue here.

I really liked the structure of this one. It felt like there was a lot of things I could have investigated and at least two big ways to influence the outcome of the story. It also didn't feel like it unnecessarily chewed through my action count. I'm pretty satisfied with the ending I got, but I wouldn't mind seeing what other things I could have discovered on the way there...

[spoiler]
I have to admit, if I hadn't done For All the Saints before this one, I might have picked differently then what I did. As it is, I'd prefer it if the current regime in Hell did not figure out where the Former Princes of Hell are. If the Chandler Saint (and some of the info in Sunless Seas/Skies) is anything to go by, some of those guys actually want to go back to their former job and leave the Neith alone (at least until the souls there are properly dead). So the Turncoat was very much alive for me at the end. I think he was the most interesting new character we got this time around.

The Bishop of Southwark also got some more nuanced character development. It's good to see that he is aware that the devils aren't all one faction and has some concept of greater and lesser evils. On the other hand, it is very true that the majority of the devils from the Brass Embassy have a rather obnoxious one-track-mind when it comes to certain things. I can understand why he doesn't like them.

I wish the Blighted Classicist had been developed a bit more. She didn't seem to be much more then a history nerd and we have plenty of those already. I didn't feel that bad about killing her to save someone else, and I kinda wish I did.

I did like how the Devilbone Road seems to lead not to Hell, but to a region of Parabola. It puts a bit of a wrinkle in the Bishop's plan to get to hell and it makes me wonder which faction of devils made the road in the first place. Finding out that you can kill devils with what is probably the Correspondence is more then a bit freaky.

As far as choices went, I decided not to get the Devils in the Brass Embassy involved even though I had the renown to do so. I didn't do that much exploring as I didn't want to get Hope & Vigor too low. I also kept the Turncoat around for the entire thing. I did tell Southwark about how to kill devils as the Turncoat didn't seem to mind doing so, but I also told Southwark that he really should consider why he started fighting the Devils in the first place and maybe should formally ally himself with the Brimstone Convention. Still, both he and the Turncoat seemed relatively satisfied about how the whole thing ended up.

The Echo Exchange (Echos of the Choices I made)
Name-dropping Mr. Hearts to the Butcher: https://www.fallenlondon.com/profile/Kharagal%20Mierqid/15966142
Sneaking up on the Blighted Classicist: https://www.fallenlondon.com/profile/Kharagal%20Mierqid/15966279
Exploring the tunnels by yourself: https://www.fallenlondon.com/profile/Kharagal%20Mierqid/15966301 and the next few Echos; I assume that Southwark shows up eventually no matter who you "side" with...
The Burdened Beast in the villa: https://www.fallenlondon.com/profile/Kharagal%20Mierqid/15966592
Defending the Turncoat from the Veteran: https://www.fallenlondon.com/profile/Kharagal%20Mierqid/15966655
Saving the Turncoat from his execution dream: https://www.fallenlondon.com/profile/Kharagal%20Mierqid/15966745
Saving the Turncoat from his actual execution: https://www.fallenlondon.com/profile/Kharagal%20Mierqid/15966929
Suggesting to Southwark that he shouldn't formally ally with the Brimstone Convention: https://www.fallenlondon.com/profile/Kharagal%20Mierqid/15966997
Copying down the Blighted Classicist' notes: https://www.fallenlondon.com/profile/Kharagal%20Mierqid/15967014 [/spoiler]
edited by 0bsidian Fire on 3/28/2019

--
Kharagal Mierqid - Bohemian Correspondent who is obsessed with the Language of Stars...
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Jolanda Swan
Jolanda Swan
Posts: 1431

3/28/2019
Also, a great epilogue. It felt better than the usual ones, echoing out, and with some respect for the characters - like a short story.

--
Lover of all things beautiful, secret admirer of ugly truths, fond of the Parabola Sun... and always delighted to role play.
http://fallenlondon.com/profile/Jolanda%20Swan
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0bsidian Fire
0bsidian Fire
Posts: 109

3/28/2019
I have Echos if interrupting the execution(s) in ways other then the beast. They are hidden by spoilers a few posts up.

--
Kharagal Mierqid - Bohemian Correspondent who is obsessed with the Language of Stars...
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Jolanda Swan
Jolanda Swan
Posts: 1431

3/28/2019
May I ask how do we put spoiler tags in the forum? I need to know so I can properly comment! Thank you in advance.

--
Lover of all things beautiful, secret admirer of ugly truths, fond of the Parabola Sun... and always delighted to role play.
http://fallenlondon.com/profile/Jolanda%20Swan
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Skinnyman
Skinnyman
Posts: 1858

3/28/2019
James StAnthony wrote:
*snip*
open its great brass door, and lead an expedition of troubled souls along the Devilbone Road.
loredeluxe wrote:
Here's a tip for everyone. Look up Mithraism before delving into this Exceptional Story as it will provide a lot of context to what's happening in the story.

https://www.ancient.eu/Mithraic_Mysteries/
Now this should be interesting!
edited by Skinnyman on 3/28/2019

--
I am accepting Plant battles, Neath's Mysteries card, Starveling Cats and boxed cats.
No suppers, no second chances gain and no need to cure my menaces!
Achievement list if you're feeling bored!
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Hattington
Hattington
Posts: 131

3/29/2019
I liked this. I betrayed everyone to the devils. Everyone!

It's funny, I felt far worse for the Saint in the other ES. Now granted, that might be colored by how anti-Judgement the Saints as a whole were revealed to be in Sunless Skies which makes the one in love with the Judgement he once served something of an anomaly, but the bull-Saint just seemed a great deal more unpleasant going by how conflicted his representative devil is compared to the Chorister Saint's.

You know, at this point I'm mainly working with the Devils because of how absurd, shortsighted, poorly thought out and pointless the Bishop's planned war with Hell is. The tactical and Great Chain-enforced disadvantages and nonexistant upsides aside, the very foundation of the Church's basis of authority is questionable when the Judgements' existence makes them out to be a farce at worst and a misguided tribute to the Sun largely supplanted by the Presbyterate since Stone is far nearer at best. To say nothing of how the man seems to be unaware just how bloody awful the consequences of allying with the FINGERKINGS to do it could be, or that said Fingerkings were in cahoots with the Devils at one point.

Speaking of which, any consensus on who the "King of Dreams" is? A Fingerking, or something else?

--
Dreaded and judged
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Lady Karnstein
Lady Karnstein
Posts: 223

3/29/2019
I found the story to be very good and it made me consider Caroline's long term goals several times. So many branching possibilities, but I did not feel overwhelmed. Playing it was an excellent experience.

Caroline was interested in the Archeology as usual, though the wasps made her a little jittery most of the trip.

--
Lady Caroline Karnstein, The Moral Hedonist
Infamous writer, artist, and courtesan. Unrepentant Invert.
Paramount Presence, Correspondent, Nocturnal. Poet Laureate of the Neath, Ambassador to Arbor
Lady Caroline Karnstein | (Description)
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Jolanda Swan
Jolanda Swan
Posts: 1431

3/30/2019
Yes, this sounds like better design! I must say though, I hope it's not always the "evil" (using the word here VERY liberally) choices that get the extra rewards. This is of course a dark game, and the assymetrical rewards tending towards the darkest choices reflect that, but since nothing is a monolith I would hope to see that too.

--
Lover of all things beautiful, secret admirer of ugly truths, fond of the Parabola Sun... and always delighted to role play.
http://fallenlondon.com/profile/Jolanda%20Swan
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Catherine Raymond
Catherine Raymond
Posts: 2316

3/31/2019
phryne wrote:
I must say I had no idea where this story was going until we found that Brass Door. At that point, I admit, I had a short "Oh no, not devils again" moment. Is it just me, or is Hell slowly taking over these Exceptional Stories? :P

Of course, I love archaeology/adventure stories, so I couldn't not love this one. But I fully agreed with the Classicist's last words, "That didn't have as much relevance to Roman history as I'd hoped," and my monster-hunter character was deeply disappointed at the end that the devils wouldn't take her with them on their hunt. She would've loved adding a Prince of Hell to her trophy collection. wink

I would like to read the echo for unleashing the Unburdened Beast to disrupt the execution, if someone has it on hand. Btw I really hoped I'd be able to bring it with me to London as a pet but I guess that wasn't possible on any branch of the story?


I agree with the Classicist too; I wanted more on the Mithraic cult in particular.

I'm not surprised about Hell creeping in, though, as I think they are a linchpin to what is really going on in Fallen London. (And I think that even though I haven't had the opportunity to play Sunless Sea or Sunless Skies.)

EDIT: I'm not currently an Exceptional Friend, but my husband is, and I watched him play through the Story.
edited by cathyr19355 on 4/6/2019

--
Cathy Raymond
http://fallenlondon.com/Profile/cathyr19355

Catherine Raymond aka Mrs. Rykar Malkus http://fallenlondon.storynexus.com/Profile/Catherine%20Raymond (Gone NORTH)
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Julius de Poisson
Julius de Poisson
Posts: 28

4/13/2019
The Unzeen wrote:
I logged in to forums just as I started the story, darting my eyes away from spoilers, to praise the art. Somehow this picture really really moved me. The pose, those eyes, love it.



Likewise, I have to praise the art for it's potency. Though the feelings it evokes in me aren't love but visceral, gut-churning horror.

I am having huge difficulties completing this story because of her eyes. Her eyes.

The macabre, Cthulhulian narrative of The Ceremony wasn't a problem for me, I even revelled in the body horror of that story. But this. This. Thank you for, if nothing else, introducing me to one of my limits.

*runs screaming into the night*

--
Zee captain, adventurer, collector. A friend to the Rubbery. Vive la révolution!

All social actions welcome.

https://www.fallenlondon.com/profile/Julius%20de%20Poisson
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Optimatum
Optimatum
Posts: 3508

4/4/2019
The instructions are a little unclear. I camped three times with no effect, so I'm pretty sure her eyes hatch when you camp after that quality reaches three.

--
Optimatum, a ruthless and merciful gentleman. No plant battles, Affluent Photographer requests, or healing offers; all other social actions welcome.

Want a sip of Cider? Just say hi!

PM me for information enigmatic or Fated. Though the forum please, not FL itself.
+1 link




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