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February's Exceptional Story: Borrowed Glory Messages in this topic - RSS

Jolanda Swan
Jolanda Swan
Posts: 1686

15 days ago
Knowing that FB tends to be responsive to feedback, I would love to hear from them and know why the consecutive RNG-dependent stories. Along with the Bat with Attitude, this was an entire month of putting your fate at the hands of the RNG in frustrating ways.

Since some people are gamblers, all three stories could very well give you the option either to gamble, or to grind your way to a better result. That way every player would get what they wanted. Instead, Borrowed Glory, unlike the Last Constable or Fine Dining, didn't even support the idea of gambling narratively - I honestly thought it was a bug or a mistake on my end. It reminds me of when suddenly, Notability was required for everything - an easy fix that supposedly made a task "challenging" (only it made everything a bore). If RNG is meant to create tension... sure, but give me other consequences for failing, nor the failure of the entire story in which you made sure I am emotionally invested.
I know that after both ES, I stopped playing for a couple of days. So I would love to know if there is an explanation for that. When reading the AMA about Fallen London, and noticing that the designers regretted creating a "split universe" with the Last Constable, I felt at least reassured that this was not going to be a trend. So, what about the RNG stories - are they here to stay?

--
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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Pipistrelle
Pipistrelle
Posts: 4

14 days ago
I’d just like to chime in with my own thoughts about RNG and Fallen London.

The 60% luck check when sabotaging the prince’s plans didn’t add anything to this story at all. Okay, so you can help the prince, or you can sabotage his plans at the risk of… well, at the risk of events proceeding exactly as if you’d helped the prince. The Oblique Courtier doesn’t even acknowledge the fact that you tried to rebel.

I passed the luck check, but it seems unfair that 16% of the people who made the exact same choices as me had their choices completely disregarded. Are they meant to gain something from their failure? Am I meant to feel proud of the success I achieved at random? I don’t know.

Fine Dining frustrated me, too. Like a lot of other players, I came down with a serious case of bad luck conga and had the Chef chew me out for something I had no way of preventing. And I mean no way of preventing — I failed the luck checks for the easiest dishes.

This brings us to Family & Law, which I… actually liked. The choice between respecting the Constable’s wishes and ensuring her safety was one of the hardest decisions I’ve had to make in this game. It was an interesting use of RNG — a guaranteed bittersweet ending or the chance of a happier ending counterweighted by a terrible risk.

I didn’t mind the conclusion of Family & Law so much because every ending at least felt in some way earned. Your ally lives but will never forgive you because you rigged the game. Your ally dies because you did the honourable thing. Your ally lives and still respects you because you did the honourable thing.

That being said, I understand why so many players were upset that they got unlucky, and I wouldn’t have enjoyed the story any less had it concluded with a final contest you could actually help your chosen ally win.

I loved the atmosphere and writing style of the last two Exceptional Stories, but I really hope RNG won’t play such a pivotal role in determining the outcomes of future stories. When you feel completely powerless to change the way a story ends, is there much point in that story having multiple endings at all?
edited by Pipistrelle on 2/2/2020

--
https://www.fallenlondon.com/profile/Pipistrelle%20Carter
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silurica
silurica
Posts: 190

14 days ago
After Por Una Cabeza and Fine Dining, I've been speculating the real theme of Season of Animals is "you don't have control over everything". In Por Una Cabeza you're introduced to the embodiment of Crazy-Prepared trope and the outcome at the end will never change no matter what you do or think. In Fine Dining you're thrown into an uncertain situation where you have little information (of how to impress the tiger or just about cooking haute cuisine in general for some) and the people working with you are either panicking or hostile to each other. In both stories, your lack of control is at the heart of the story or justified by the narrative.

Borrowed Glory follows that trend... but it's also the weakest one by far. The only reason I can think of for the luck check to exist is to create tension, but this implementation feels half-hearted and at odds with what was previously presented in the story. Everything else that came before it were regular stat checks, and there was no indication there would be an outcome-defining luck check at the end. An alternate option to go against the Prince after failing twice, even it was a Bad Idea in bold and italic, would've made it more palatable, but here our only option is to follow the Prince meekly, as if he was the scariest thing the PC has ever encountered in the Neath (he is not). How the Oblique Courtier doesn't recognize our failed effort despite a quality for it existing only rubs more salt on the wound.

And the meat? The meat was just very poorly signposted. It only said using the cheaper meat would make betrayal easier. It didn't say using the pricier meat would make betrayal literally impossible. This is simply bad. I can't believe FBG overlooked something as vital as this.

I want to like this story. I really do. I was elated to hear Cassandra Khaw wrote another story for FL, and when it shone, the writing didn't disappoint. But between the shortness and clunky mechanics, Borrowed Glory would find it hard to enter my recommendation list.
edited by silurica on 2/3/2020

--
Meika Osborne, the Reckless Researcher
Leonard West, the Scarlet Informant
Chizuru Nishiooji, the Rueful Ex-Diplomat
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Jolanda Swan
Jolanda Swan
Posts: 1686

14 days ago
Another difference probably is that in Por Una Cabeza, you had no control but you weren't hurt either: in the end, you get what you wanted. In Fine Dining and Borrowed Glory you both fail spectacularly, and dissapoint people who counted on you. On top of that, while Fine Dining gave you the half-excuse that you are not a gourmet chef, Borrowed Glory simply made no sense at all.

--
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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silurica
silurica
Posts: 190

14 days ago
Jolanda Swan wrote:
Another difference probably is that in Por Una Cabeza, you had no control but you weren't hurt either: in the end, you get what you wanted.

Yes, if what you want is to see the lady succeed, but if you want to see her fail or to see Hell succeed, you will never get that from the story despite having the chance to make her lose the final gamble by suggesting the wrong slug to her. This is what I mean by what you do or think not mattering at all.

By having multiple endings, Fine Dining and Borrowed Glory communicate you could have "won" this, you could have gotten something better if only you did it differently*. And there are bound people wishing they had gotten a different ending than what luck gave them. Por Una Cabeza (which ironically is the only story of the season that includes actual gambling) did away with this completely by saying you had no chance at all for a different ending. It effectively only has one ending, which can have issue of its own (see first paragraph), but might explain why the reception toward it was so different compared to other Season of Animals stories.

*) Here I speak in vague terms because I don't want to assume what each player wants from a story. Except... Fine Dining and Borrowed Glory still have a notable difference in how each implemented luck check. Fine Dining still makes you face RNG even if your goal is to cause chaos. Borrowed Glory doesn't make pro-Prince players face RNG at all. It makes sense in each story, but put side by side like this they're... different.

--
Meika Osborne, the Reckless Researcher
Leonard West, the Scarlet Informant
Chizuru Nishiooji, the Rueful Ex-Diplomat
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Jolanda Swan
Jolanda Swan
Posts: 1686

14 days ago
Sure. To re-phrase: in Por Una Cabeza, nobody got hurt. Sure, you might have wanted to hurt this person (already dying) and failed, but failing to hurt Dona Villar didn't result in the abject misery of Fine Dining or even worse Borrowed Glory. You didn't get people accusing you of being a failure or ruining their lives.
I agree that all three stories felt very different. If the theme of the season is "you have no control" the first two gave that sense. The third's mechanics left me baffled.

--
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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silurica
silurica
Posts: 190

14 days ago
I think you're still missing my point. Sometimes a player wants to go against or harm the character(s) in a story for a reason or another, and that's as valid approach as wanting to do them good. Por Una Cabeza didn't let you do harm at all, since at the end, every character in the story still wins except the devil/Brass Embassy.
edited by silurica on 2/3/2020

--
Meika Osborne, the Reckless Researcher
Leonard West, the Scarlet Informant
Chizuru Nishiooji, the Rueful Ex-Diplomat
0 link
Jolanda Swan
Jolanda Swan
Posts: 1686

14 days ago
It is very interesting how Fallen London stories often make people want to go deeper than allowed by the game's design - a limitation intrinsic to the medium, I guess. One positive example I can think of, is how many people wanted more out of the Deacon in All the Saints. Or how many people express desires to do things that should be possible in terms of narrative (i.e. keep a specific pet). I think it is a tribute to how involved the game makes you feel.
I imagine the only medium that can accommodate every desire (or plausibly reject them) is TRPGs, where you can actually talk with the storyteller and explain your motives. Which is why Fallen London would make a great TRPG, even though it would lose some of the allure that comes out of mysteries that remain tantalizingly unexplained in Fallen London.
Thanks for the food for thought!

--
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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Hattington
Hattington
Posts: 140

13 days ago
silurica wrote:
After Por Una Cabeza and Fine Dining, I've been speculating the real theme of Season of Animals is "you don't have control over everything". In Por Una Cabeza you're introduced to the embodiment of Crazy-Prepared trope and the outcome at the end will never change no matter what you do or think. In Fine Dining you're thrown into an uncertain situation where you have little information (of how to impress the tiger or just about cooking haute cuisine in general for some) and the people working with you are either panicking or hostile to each other. In both stories, your lack of control is at the heart of the story or justified by the narrative.

Borrowed Glory follows that trend... but it's also the weakest one by far. The only reason I can think of for the luck check to exist is to create tension, but this implementation feels half-hearted and at odds with what was previously presented in the story. Everything else that came before it were regular stat checks, and there was no indication there would be an outcome-defining luck check at the end. An alternate option to go against the Prince after failing twice, even it was a Bad Idea in bold and italic, would've made it more palatable, but here our only option is to follow the Prince meekly, as if he was the scariest thing the PC has ever encountered in the Neath (he is not). How the Oblique Courtier doesn't recognize our failed effort despite a quality for it existing only rubs more salt on the wound.

And the meat? The meat was just very poorly signposted. It only said using the cheaper meat would make betrayal easier. It didn't say using the pricier meat would make betrayal literally impossible. This is simply bad. I can't believe FBG overlooked something as vital as this.

I want to like this story. I really do. I was elated to hear Cassandra Khaw wrote another story for FL, and when it shone, the writing didn't disappoint. But between the shortness and clunky mechanics, Borrowed Glory would find it hard to enter my recommendation list.
edited by silurica on 2/3/2020


No offense, but I do hope you're wrong because I actually find the "Wings-of-Thunder Bat" trapped in the church very interesting. And I'd be very disappointed if no matter what you do, it just anticlimatically leaves in a hearse to put it's clothes back on and become Mr. Hearts.

--
Dreaded and judged
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silurica
silurica
Posts: 190

13 days ago
I highly doubt the baby bat roosting in the church is Mr Hearts, regardless of the thematic point of the season.

--
Meika Osborne, the Reckless Researcher
Leonard West, the Scarlet Informant
Chizuru Nishiooji, the Rueful Ex-Diplomat
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Shadowcthuhlu
Shadowcthuhlu
Posts: 1529

13 days ago
Maybe the theme is more mirroring that the church is helpless to do anything onto the bat decides to leave because it got too big to hang around. Which would make all the church ladies sad.

--
https://www.fallenlondon.com/profile/Dirae%20Erinyes. Closed to calling cards, but open for all other social action. I also love to roleplay.
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James Sinclair
James Sinclair
Posts: 239

12 days ago
Wren wrote:
In both stories the player wasn't given enough information to make and informed decision. What's worse, the final outcome was dependent on pure chance (with bad odds). Cumulatively this robs the player of a sense of agency and immersion.

A certain degree of risk is fine, if the failure is amusing, or provides lore, or a unique reward, or if the stakes are low - these did none of this.



Jolanda Swan wrote:
Seriously? A single choice that wasn't signposted enough was your only chance?

And it would still be RNG dependent even if you had made the "right" choice (which was morally repugnant)?
I don't get it. The reaction to Fine Dining showed clearly that a great portion of the playerbase (probably the majority) is frustrated by this type of gameplay. The Last Constable was also an indication of the same frustration. Not diminishing the experience of those who enjoy it, but why repeat what clearly was an unpleasant experience for many two times in a row?


I agree completely with both points. I finished this ES just a few minutes ago, and my reaction on seeing the 0% success rate near the end was "Seriously? That's complete BS." When choosing whom to buy the meat from, the text for the cheaper cut implies not that it will make the actual process of using the poison easier, but that it will make betraying the Prince more palatable to your character (because you didn't have to pay too much for a fine cut for someone you don't intend to help). I fully intended to betray the Prince and aid the Oblique Courier, but I had no way whatsoever of knowing that my 'choice' was being made right then and there. Buying a fine cut, I assumed, would make the Prince less suspicious of my involvement and make it all the easier to poison the offering. Judging from the other posts here, I was hardly alone in my bewilderment at the surprise pointless RNG check.

...and what's worse, from reading other posts here it seems that even if I had chosen the poorer cut, I would still be completely at the mercy of the dreaded RNG. The chaos of Fine Dining was somewhat enjoyable, but the RNG-dependent ending in that one and in Borrowed Glory was frustrating and mildly enraging. Which is sad, because I enjoyed the writing in Borrowed Glory so much. The Prince, Seneschal, and Courier were such great characters, and I loved exploring the Court near the end. But the final choice, over which I discovered I suddenly had no control, was depressing and left a sour taste in my mouth. This could have been one of the great Exceptional Stories for me, but alas, it is not to be.

[Idea: A better way of handling this might have been to have the choice of cut affect the initial outcome; say, 60% success if bad cut, 40% if fine cut, but to allow expenditure of resources (such as Tales of Terror and other items obtained while exploring the Court) to affect the outcome. For example storylets to "Distract the Prince by asking him about what you found in the kitchen/heard in the halls/saw in the garden", etc, success based on a fairly low Persuasive/Shadowy check, success increases chance of successfully poisoning the homunculus by 10%, failure decreases by 10%, can be repeated. Allow player to back off and explore the Court further to replenish resources if necessary, e.g., "Beg the Prince's pardon for a moment." That way, players that truly want to affect the outcome and lack the necessary items will have to sacrifice additional actions to obtain them, but can still do so.]

--
James Sinclair

Curator of the Sanguine Ribbon Society 🗡

A fully-fledged rêveur of The Night Circus.

Wines is red
Spices is yellow
But old Jack-of-Smiles
Is a murderous fellow
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ClearFavourite
ClearFavourite
Posts: 50

12 days ago
This story made me unhappy, but in a bad way. I didn't even read the last few storylets because I just lost all my taste for it, for the reasons described everywhere else on this thread.

--
The Boisterous Bounty-Hunter
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Kaigen
Kaigen
Posts: 529

12 days ago
Put me down as another person disappointed by the lack of effective signposting, the all-or-nothing, RNG-dependent approach to the final choice, and the failure to recognize the player's efforts. A story reset would be nice to at least get around the first problem, now that I know what the story failed to communicate, but it would do nothing for the other two.

--
Just a simple doctor with a chess habit. Publisher of The Flit Dispatch.

"One must remember that the impossible is, alas, always possible."
-Jacques Derrida
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Dagforth
Dagforth
Posts: 3

11 days ago
Managed to get the typical disappointing result. Curious to see other outcomes if people are willing to share.

[spoiler]
Also, I etted the Meatloaf. Are there echoes of the other dining options?

After failing the check twice and being forced to comply: https://www.fallenlondon.com/profile/Dagforth/17679349


He angles a look at you as he passes, and grins, all teeth. "If it helps, I don't take it personally. And besides, this was decided even before you started."


I'd almost take that as a hint that the 16% ( (1 - .6)^2 ) chance of failing was deliberately misleading with a real probability around 1 if earlier comments hadn't confirmed success.
[/spoiler]

Hoping for a spectacular denouement in the season finale.
edited by Dagforth on 2/5/2020
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James Sinclair
James Sinclair
Posts: 239

11 days ago
Dagforth wrote:
Also, I etted the Meatloaf. Are there echoes of the other dining options?

Here's an echo of the drink.

--
James Sinclair

Curator of the Sanguine Ribbon Society 🗡

A fully-fledged rêveur of The Night Circus.

Wines is red
Spices is yellow
But old Jack-of-Smiles
Is a murderous fellow
0 link
BillyCosmos!
BillyCosmos!
Posts: 30

10 days ago
I want to add my voice to the Chorus of The Terribly Upset.
I wanted to stop the Prince. I detest the fingerkings, and the idea of working with a traitorous feline is simply appalling. As fascinating as obscene experiments may be, my allegiance to the cats and shroud overwhelms the curiosity.
I’d have smashed the urgent on his face and hoped the opportunity to escape presented itself.
60/60 be damned!


I blew fine dining too, but this is worse. It’ll take way more than dice for the RNG to make good on this run of screwage.

--
Overjoyed to finally have a decent secretary to take dictation. Even if it is a somewhat more mushroomy sort of secretary than one might be used to.

Dictated, thuroughly read.
William, "Billy" Cosmos, the !
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Jules Asimov
Jules Asimov
Posts: 79

9 days ago
I actually won the 60/60 coin toss, but that doesn't make me much happier, especially since I know of all the people who got screwed by the random number god.
Also I feel like the prince was a wonderful idea that had tons of potential, all of which was wasted by having him appear in this story.

--
https://www.fallenlondon.com/profile/Jules%20Asimov
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phryne
phryne
Posts: 1329

7 days ago
It's been two hours since I played the conclusion of this story, and I still feel like I got slapped in the face.

This has got to be the most badly constructed ES of all time.

Por una Cabeza and Fine Dining were light-hearted stories. I didn't mind about being an unwitting part in Doña Villar's plans and applauded her for her gumption. I laughed about the chaos I caused in the Illustrious Chef's kitchen and owned up to it.

This time round, the subject of the story was far more serious. And then I learn that an innocuous mid-story decision, which wasn't signposted as particularly important in any way, completely screwed me up, with no way out. Tee-hee, ha-ha, you lose. Slap in the face. To add insult to injury, I do not even get the chance to explain myself to the Oblique Courtier. This is far worse than failing a luck-check, or missing an oblique hint. These things happen in games. This was more like being lured into a trap and being laughed at for falling into it.

I need to restrain myself from writing more now, when I'm still very emotional about it all, to avoid saying things I might later regret.

I'm massively disappointed.

--
Ambition summaries project (work in progress)
Exceptional Stories, sorted by Season and by writerFavours & Renown GuideDestiny Guide
Go play StoryNexus games - while you still can!
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Pnakotic
Pnakotic
Posts: 252

4 days ago
Another well written story ruined by a horrible rng mechanic. It's a shame I have to wait for months to delete these from my character history with a reset.

--
J. Ward Dunn, Glassman

Book of All Hours 9:99: Journey's end in lover's meeting. Progress is ascendancy.
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