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The Shuttered Palace
- Writing an opera that is "a light comedy about the lives of the saints".
"Oh, but what a jolly little opera you have written. You establish your mood quickly. The first song has St Augustine chasing Manichaeans off with a broom. The audience chuckles nervously. The Empress doesn't seem to be offended, so the work continues. Two bishops in the front row walk out during You'll Have To Stand Still If You Want To Be A Martyr. The Bishop of Southwark promises to do something very secular to you."
- The "Epic mocking the Empress" option is similarly hilarious, if only because of how damned blatant your character makes it, and the sheer, apoplectic, purple-faced rage it triggers in the Empress. One figures your character thought getting kicked out was worth it just for seeing that face.
- After acquiring a particularly menacing jade idol, you're presented with a list of things to do with it. Leave it, lock it away, feed it the blood of small animals, or feed it the blood of small animals after inviting an audience around first ("because no-one has anything quite this sinister").
- The whole Rattus Faber infestation story... just... seriously, while the L.B.s are quite dangerous in-story (being sapient and extremely good with mechanical systems), the battle with them has texts that escalate the whole thing into Mundane Made Awesome levels! An example of a choice you can make:
The battle of the pantry: defend it against all comers!: "The rats are after your victuals! The pantry is a crucial battlefield. You will protect your last packet of Mr Murgatroyd's Fungal Crackers with your life!"On success: "It's hard to get a good swing in a small pantry, so you settle for jumping up and down on the horde of rats that come for your comestibles. Your milk jug is smashed in the fracas, but you have shown them! They shall not have your dinner!"On failure: "They came. They came by the dozen. They came by the hundred. You fought them. You fought like a cornered beast, but there were too many. They took them. Damn the little furry bastards. They took your crackers!"
- The battle in general has a very WWI-esque feel to it. You can attempt to negotiate during a ceasefire, duck in cover behind tables (a bit like trenches) when tactics go awry, you can engage in a battle of attrition (the aforementioned defense of the pantry) and... play cricket with the enemy for a bit of competition and fun (reducing Nightmares if you win!), after which they go back to shooting.
- If you have a Starveling Cat, you can get the option to "unleash the Thing from the Wardrobe".
- When the Brass Embassy has a backlog of paperwork, you can get a temp job there, and:
"Who knew there were so many evildoers in the world? Or that so few of them knew how to spell?"
Disgraced Exile in the Tomb-Colonies
- Tomb-colonist parties are apparently rather boring when it comes to dancing, as the only moves they seem to know are "Zombie Gait" and "Oh sod, my bodyparts are falling off again". Of course, you can then teach them something a little more exciting in one of the many occasions you have to do so while on exile, and while details are spared, we're told enough to make it hilarious
There were casualties, but there are always casualties in love, war and the mazurka.
- Training up for both Black Ribbon duels and Hunting Dangerous Prey can get a little frustrating, but the grinding is mitigated by the various storylet failures giving you the bloodier, text-based version of Amusing Injuries, as you get to partake in various painful incidents that your character's simply annoyed about.
- The various misadventures one can suffer in founding the Department of Correspondence can be fairly amusing, partly because you're bound to find particularly weird, stupid or prank-happy students, or due to the fact the department essentially involves research into a thing that actively resents being studied. Incidents include
- Your character thinking burning down the University within the year is an acceptable price.
- Finding some particularly odd fellows as your assistants
- Students that think Pyramus and Thisbe were Clay Men from the docks.
- Your attempts to get published causing the Review Board at the unfortunate magazine to flee back to the surface.
- Your colleagues being assholes and spreading horrible rumors about your classes
- Your character getting horrible nightmares over the most innocent things, like the aforementioned Pyramus and Thisbe incident.
The Iron Republic
- Check the Bazaar tab while doing your romp through the Iron Republic. That's right, that's Fuel and Supplies from Sunless Sea. It takes a special kind of chaos to let you buy items for the wrong game.
- "A Polite Invitation". No matter who you are, you'll be invited to a fine party apparently hosted by someone absolutely terrible at picking guests. More likely than not, you will have to narrowly avert a disaster, or be part of one. It helps that London nobility overreacts to anything.
He doesn't know why this keeps happening
- The Jovial Contrarian can end up killing a guy through sheer annoyance, which spoils the party entirely.
"I'm really not sure that- I'm sorry, how much?"
- The poor, poor Tentacled Entrepeneur has zero idea what's going on through the entire thing, and needs your help throughout the whole party. He's also rich enough to make even the snootiest lord/lady reconsider their stance.
- Some usually minor Cross Cultural Kerfuffle with the Turkish Girl taking off her shoes to dance.
- Expressing an opinion is apparently extremely risky, and saying something even remotely shocking will cause one of the older guests to pass out face-first into his soup from the sheer shock.
- Trying a fiery dance of the Elder Continent, only to find out that exact dance was banned by the Ministry of Public Decency last week. Everyone agrees to never speak of it again.
- The more difficult option on the "Her barbed tongue" opportunity card:
"You spit foul recriminations and vicious calumny. Ladies faint dead away and gentlemen stagger under the barrage. Your target runs, weeping, with her hands over her ears. You follow her! Your tirade continues in the street, where hansoms careen hastily off and urchins fall from rooftops. You pick up your victim's dropped letters and wave them as a final salute. You are spent."
- Also, the second option of the "supply information to a foreign power" storylet. "Your contact can't write fast enough. He breaks a pencil. Another pencil. Russia is sinking! Fallen London will annexe the tomb-colonies! Mr Wines is marrying the skeletal corpse of a nun! The Spider-Council is holding a debutantes' ball! It's almost impossible to stop once you've started. Just keep talking. Everything will be fine."
- The second option of the "Publish a scientific article" card where "It appears that you have showed them all. Furthermore, it seems very unlikely that they will laugh at you again."
- In addition, you can get thrown out of the University. The description of this status says, verbatim, "They laughed at you and so on."
- When asking the Shivering Relicker to recertify your scraps, you may get "A straight answer, at least: 'You know what that is? It's rubbish.'"
- If you lost your Correspondence Stones, you later get a chance to buy them back with a large amount of Muscaria Brandy. If you do, you get this message:
The librarian swaggers off, presumably to poison a few hundred people. You are left alone with your stones. There's blood on one and ash on another, but they're definitely yours. It's like meeting old friends. Old friends that occasionally set you on fire.
- The second option success on the "Dealing with an Assassin" card. You send the assassin a box of chocolates and an insulting note. This gets him so angry that he marches to your door and knocks on it furiously. You respond by dropping a coal bucket on him from the upper floor window, then loot the unconscious body.
- The failure text for the first option on the "A meeting with cats" Shadowy card:
- Some of the "Sever ties with this faction" cards are heartwarming or moral, like saving a soul from Hell or reporting a hypocritical noble to the authorities. Some are just plain dickish, like chasing your tomb-colonist friends out of the house with candles or turning your roof into a deathtrap so urchins won't come back. But writing down the location of spies' super-secret shrine and graffitying its location (and some unsavory secrets to start a cloak and dagger free-for-all) all over London? Taking the chance you were given to give a sermon on proper behavior to rail against the church for hours, naked from the waist down and drunk out of your mind? Switching out wardrobes to something drab and sensible much to your bohemian friends' horror? Finding a zee-bat, which sailors are extremely superstitious about hurting, and cooking it for dinner in front of everyone, making a hardened zailor cry in the process? That's just hilarious. Cruel, but hilarious.
- When you meet a local steamer on The Sea of Voices, it tries to befriend you. If you own a Majestic Pleasure Yacht, the steamer tries to mate with it, or at the very least seduce it.
I say, must you do that?The Steamer sails dangerously close to your yacht, engines purring.What is it doing?The noise! The Polythreme steamer emits a wheezing scream. Perhaps it's music - resolutely atonal music - to non-human ears. The ship bumps suggestively against the hull of your yacht, and the lights at the prow turn an ethereal blue. It looks like you're being overrun by luminescent jellyfish. After half an hour of this, the stranger sighs, cuts engines and drifts off despondently. You steam away from the thing.
Ambition: Bag a Legend
- During the "Bag a Legend" ambition, one will eventually travel to the Convent of the Sisterhood. The Mother Superior finds it necessary for her initiates to test one's mettle:
You dodge the first fusillade of bullets, and kick over a table for cover. Two tiny nuns with daggers leap over it and stab at you. While you're dealing with them, that big bruiser with the axe hacks your makeshift defence into kindling. A novice tosses throwing blades at your face.
Few people are violently disposed towards nuns by nature. However, these particular sisters will tear you into chunks unless you defend yourself. You pull a bayoneted rifle from the wall and lay about yourself with it, sending wimples flying. You bludgeon, stab and shoot your way through the sacred warriors. You run out of nuns before you run out of bullets.
Glass and Shroud
- If you fail at asking a bat for work, you get the message, "Can bats look affronted? Apparently they can. You wouldn't think they had the requisite facial muscles."
Seeking Mr Eaten's Name
- Many parts of Seeking Mr Eaten's Name are pure Nightmare Fuel, but ever so often amusing snippets can find their way in.
- The Snicket Warning Labels gradually become longer and elaborate to the point of absurdity. In particular:
THIS WILL PROBABLY DESTROY YOUR CHARACTER FOR EVER AT A COST OF FIFTY NEX AND FIVE CARNIVAL TICKETS. THERE IS NO TEXT WORTH READING BEHIND THE BRANCH RESULT. IT IS NOT NECESSARY TO PLAY THIS BRANCH TO CONTINUE THE STORY. IF IT DOES NOT DESTROY YOUR CHARACTER, IT WILL IRREPARABLY DAMAGE IT AND END YOUR QUEST FOR THE NAME PERMANENTLY. DO NOT CONTACT SUPPORT TO COMPLAIN IF YOU ARE RASH ENOUGH TO CLICK THIS BUTTON.
- The funniest part is that someone picked that option, and their character wasn't destroyed. The player's response to this was to submit a polite bug report.
- At one point, you're asked why you seek the Name. One possible answer is "It's cheaper than a divorce."
"Excuse me," she says. "I seem to 'ave mislaid me sense of yoomour. I 'ad it a moment ago, I swear. Just before you started talkin' out of yer arse."
- Devouring your own entry in Slowcake's Exceptionals:
"I was hungry," you say as you tear the page from the book, "and you gave me only the pelt of trees. I was thirsty, and you gave me only ink. I was mmff mff ff mm. Mmm hmm fm." Your mouth is full of paper.
- The Snicket Warning Labels gradually become longer and elaborate to the point of absurdity. In particular:
The Feast of the Exceptional Rose
- One of the gifts at the Feast of the Exceptional Rose was "A Tear-Drowned Collection of Incomprehensible Love-Poems", which was written by someone under the pseudonym of "Mrs. Frontispiece" (quote marks and all). The descriptions for it are hysterical.
The contents are smeared and mostly illegible. You may never find out if the author managed to find a rhyme for "cohabitude". [...] The pages crack with salt. The ink is a briny smear. Only fragments remain: "Oh, furnial passion, hot as the glance of stars!" "...the palputating beat of my hear..." and the disturbing "...my love; will you reciprocreate?"
To ensure everyone knows that "Mrs. Frontispiece" is a pseudonym, the true author has diligently hung the name with quotation marks every time it appears. But who were they, really? Perhaps some slim clue remains. You find a page with an unsmeared fragment of poetry."Your eyes are inglobulant as pocketed toads,your teeth are fortifically straight.I long for the expositous tone of your voice,and your sighs elegiate."
- And your character tries to guess who could possibly have written it... (In case the cromulence didn't tip you off, it's probably Mr. Pages.)
The Festival of the Zee
- For the 2014 Festival of the Zee, you can hire a fishing boat on Mutton Island and go fishing and may land a catch depending on the "Running Battle..." quality. You may catch:
"If you crossed a pumpkin with a lobster you'd get the front end of whatever this is. The other end is best undisclosed."
"Your catch is inconveniently ambulant. It keeps trying to wander grumpily back into the water. You give it a good talking to and hit it with an oar."
"Oh, look. Just what fish needed: pedipalps. You get a close look at them as it gamely tries to catch your head in a net of sodden silk."
- Also from Mutton Island this year, you can pick up an armored Pre-Emptive Guinea Pig. And he counts as a weapon, not a pet/companion. Which is slightly unfortunate if you wanted to name it Boo.
- The "peace offering" from a certain rage-inducing deity as part of the Christmas Advent Calendar. Which turns out to be — naturally — a pair of dice. Forged from Hell-related materials.
We've had our differences. But this is Christmas. Best wishes, the Fallen London Probably Random Number Algorithm.
- If a "friend" tries to give you a Starveling Cat and you accept, the game will give you this message:
The Starveling Cat has moved into your Lodgings. May God have mercy on our souls.
- One of the rarer non-Fatelocked items is a Blemmigan Secretary, a large, mobile, tentacled mushroom that eats people. When you discover one, it emerges with a small pointy blade, and scratches onto the lid of its box:
OBLIGATION BEGINS NOW AT BOX-OPENING YOU HAVE FIFTEEN YEARS OF BLEMMIGAN TIME. DO NOT ASK PERSONAL QUESTIONS.Don't look a gift mushroom in the hymenophoric lamellae.
The last thing you'd expect about a savage and eyeless anthropophagous mushroom is this: that those tendrils enable wonderful penmanship. The Blemmigan Secretary will be delighted to take dictation.
- Then when you look at it in your inventory, the description says:
- Several messages when you deliberately deal with dangerous secrets are amusingly deadpan. For example, if you decide to "Repeat a great many Maniac's Prayers":
- And the result:
Some time later
A room. Possibly your room. You don't know the time of day, or which day it is, or your name. But these are trifles, and your hair will grow back eventually.
- And the result:
- One of the items available from the charity drive to raise funds for the Mediterranean refugee crisis is an Outlandish Artefact. The description is a subversive Take That to Indiana Jones:
This belongs in a museum! Assuming that colonial-imperial appropriation for the purpose of hegemonic taxonomisation is a suitable response to the problem of intercultural contact. Which it probably is, because museums are magnificent institutions.
- If you're a Correspondent, the message when you get your pay reads:
"Your investigations bear fruit. Occasionally the fruit is on fire."
- The Alt Text for one sidebar snippet about the Starveling Cat: "Yes, it can haz cheeseburger. It can haz anything it wants!"
- For a snippet on where revolutionaries gather to hand out pamphlets and rant about the Bazaar: "Why can't they just rant on Facebook, like everyone else?"
- A bit meta, but there is one player who takes every opportunity they get to send the head developer Alexis Kennedy rats-on-a-string every time the relevant card comes up. At the Feast of the Exceptional Rose, this happened. And then this.
In a pinch, cats will also suffice, because you can turn a cat into a rat by rubbing out a bit of the c.
- It gets even better when they decided to test how many words the message box will allow. At 4 am. And became an "honorary rat consultant" for frightening Alexis Kennedy.◊
- And once more, the rat game continues. Literally.
- There is now a category in the inventory named "Ratness". You have Contraband, Academic, Wild Words, Curiosities, Elder, Cartography, Advantages, Goods, Influence, Legal, Luminosity, Rubbery, Rag Trade, Wines, Rumour, Nostalgia, Mysteries and...Ratness. Alexis Kennedy says it was actually always intended to be a division, but got a bit lost - that certain player's antics inspired FB games to sort it out.
- Alexis now has a quality called "Accepting No Further Rats"◊. Of course, the aforementioned player decided he'd set up a whole Ratmas project so everyone else in Failbetter Games gets swamped with rats. And for reasons unspecified sending Christmas cards to Mr Eaten, which is either hilariously dangerous or sweet.
I was bored (again), and so to amuse myself I decided to bother Alexis on Twitter, asking him how many rats I’d have to send him to get news of a SMEN or Ambition update. This was in, like, January or so. His response, which may some day be written in letters of fire above the ruins of Proto Neo London, was “*what is the number*, that’s always the question”; so, of course, I set out to send as many rats as I possibly could.
- In honour of Alexis' departure from Failbetter, said player declared an emergency Ghost of Ratmas Past and asked everyone to send dead rats to Alexis (and Alexis' test account).
- The secret origin of ratsending (among other things) was finally revealed in their giant Seeking Mr Eaten's Name memoir:
- A character without a specified gender will be referred to as "ah, Si-, er, Mad-, er, yes,". Amusing from an urchin. Moreso in stuffy, official correspondence. Or from a talking cat. Others will simply address you as a "...whatever you are", which is particularly funny when coming from people that are otherwise cultured and polite, like Mr. Inch when dealing with Labyrinth topics.