Video Game / Fallen London

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One City. A Thousand Stories
Welcome, delicious troper. Fallen London (formerly Echo Bazaar) is a Browser, iOS and Android game produced by Failbetter Games. It's set in the eponymous city, a mile underground and a boat down the river from Hell, where people are either piecing together the mystery of what exactly happened, trading souls, or just politely murdering other people. Players start off as prisoners plotting to break out, and after that... they're free to do whatever they want.

The game draws its atmosphere and structure from classic literature, particularly the works of T. S. Eliot and Jorge Luis Borges, but also more comedic writers such as P. G. Wodehouse. Much of the gameplay consists of figuring out exactly what the plot is, and how Victorian London came to be situated so very far below the surface. There are four stats a player can choose to improve on as he/she/they continue his/her/their story down in the Neath: Dangerous (fighting prowess and intimidation); Watchful (perception and mental acumen); Persuasive (charm and wit); and Shadowy (stealth and cunning). Exploring London improves one or more of the stats, and further quests are revealed to the player as they progress in their explorations. The player gradually learns more about the world and uncovers its secrets, and players are free to explore any of the paths in any order they like, or simply all at once.

The gameplay is turn-based and uses actions, which refresh over time. Microtransactions can be used to buy more actions and to explore vast amounts of locked content. Subscribers also gain access to an exclusive story hub where a new, long story is made available to them every month.

Fallen London can be played here. The Silver Tree, set in the same universe, was funded through Kickstarter. A spinoff game, Sunless Sea, is available on Humble Bundle, GOG.com and Steam. Its sequel, Sunless Skies, is forthcoming.

Tropes present in this game include:

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     A-H 
  • Absurdly High-Stakes Game: The Marvellous, focus of the Heart's Desire ambition, is "a notorious card game in which you can stake your soul and win your heart's desire". And you can lose worse than "just" your soul; just look at the Topsy King, who bet his mind and lost it.
  • The Ace: Late-game storylines after the player character becomes a Person of Some Importance can them as this, with people seeking them out for their reputation of being really good at getting things done.
  • Adam Smith Hates Your Guts: The cost of the Noman in Penstock's Wicket increases once every few days, from 3 The Taste of Lacre, 1 x Skyglass Knife, 1 x Nodule of Deep Amber, 3 x Hard-Earned Lesson and 3 x Sudden Insight initially to 15 The Taste of Lacre, 1 x Skyglass Knife, 1 x Nodule of Pulsating Amber, 3 x Hard-Earned Lesson, 3 x Sudden Insight, Melancholy 3, Hedonist 3, Magnanimous 3 and Forceful 3 at the end of January, which reflects how most players tend to buy Nomen just before the Wicket closes.
  • The Adjectival Man: There are Clay Men (docile golems), Unfinished Men (non-docile golems), Neddy Men (government strikebreakers), Raggedy Men (eccentric criminals), and Rubbery Men (eldritch immigrants).
  • Afterlife Express: Moloch Street Underground Station in Ladybones Road is the first stop on the journey to Hell. Nearby markets buy and sell the cast-off possessions of the damned, and a few quests involve plotting trips for devils or missionaries.
  • Alien Space Bats: Part of the backstory of the game involves a swarm of bats dragging Victorian-era London beneath the earth under orders from the Bazaar. It's implied this was a preplanned deal by the British government. Also, Hell exists, as do Eldritch-y rubber men, magic, and so on. This also describes the Masters of the Bazaar in the most literal possible sense. They're definitely bat-people, and a few of the game's deeper revelations refer to them as having come from space.
  • All There in the Manual: The sidebars are critical to piecing together many of the mysteries of the game's backstory.
  • Alliance Meter: Your Connected qualities keep track of how close you are to the various factions of Fallen London.
  • Aluminum Christmas Trees: One would think calling an entire underworld of international intrigue and cloak-and-dagger espionage "The Great Game" is just another quirk of this particular universe, but no. Back then, that was its actual name.
  • Ambiguously Brown: People from the Elder Continent (ex: the Presbyterate Diplomat and Bishop of St Fiacre's) tend to be very dark-skinned, but the Elder Continent's lack of a clear real-life counterpart culture leaves the question of race open and the Bishop not being human and wearing the face of another complicates matters even further. Additionally, an art update noticeably darkened the skin of several prominent characters: the Comtessa went from very white-looking to tan-looking and the Artist's Model from pale-skinned to brown-skinned (though her portrait is the same as the Turkish Girl's, so it's possible she may never have been white to begin with).
  • Angels, Devils and Squid: Angels are conspicuous in their absence. The Devils are ever-present, preying on the weak and gullible. The Rubbery Men are alien and bizarre, and seem harmless to mortals, but the Devils can't stand them.
  • Animalistic Abomination: Somewhat played for laughs, but the Starveling Cat is by no means a regular, normal, will-scratch-you-but-not-actually-eat-your-hand cat. It's mean even by cat standards, it's got a nasty case of Horror Hunger and it's more dangerous than entire armies of intelligent, firearm-toting rats. Apparently, it's all due to certain... contact with Mr Eaten.
  • Animal Motifs: The stats are all given an icon of a different animal: a bear for Dangerous, an owl for Watchful, a fox for Persuasive, and a cat for Shadowy.
  • Anonymous Benefactor: One of the first storylines in the game involves the patronage of one of four benefactors - one for each major stat.
  • Anti-Hero/Anti-Villain: You can choose to be one if you don't want to be a straight version of either. Or you can opt to be completely amoral. Decisions, decisions...
  • Anti Poop-Socking: You get a maximum of 20 actions at any given time (although you can pay a monthly subscription to double that amount), and they refill at the regular rate of ten minutes an action.
  • Antiquated Linguistics: Not carried so far as to offend the more casual participant, but it requires no special effort to observe such diction in-use throughout.
  • Arc Number: The number Seven crops up in too many places to listnote .
    • There are hints that London is the fifth city of seven, whatever that implies for its future.
    • Participating in The Marvellous requires an opening stake of 77 First City Coins.
    • The Correspondence Stones are found in the Tomb of the Seven.
    • There were seven staged murders in total in the Nemesis ambition.
    • Mr Eaten's Name refers to seven candles.
    • Locating an Impossible Theorem costs a total of 49 (72) Searing Enigmata.
    • Creating a Heptagoat requires breeding together seven Übergoats.
  • Arc Symbol: The main narrative's arc symbols are candles, candlelight, and mirrors.
  • Arc Words:
    • All shall be well and all shall be well and all manner of thing shall be well. That was the promise...
    • Parabola.
    • NORTH.
    • Whatever you do, don't fall in love.
    • Make the stories or they will be made for you.
    • "Do you recall how we came to that place? And they sang of their lightnings and shapeful disgrace? We tilted our vanes and ennobled our spires. They welcomed us then and commingled all choirs." There are a number of variations on this one, typically changing the pronouns.
    • Icarus returning / longs for the deep places.
    • One storylet has a whole bunch of these condensed into a single paragraph.
    • A reckoning will not be postponed indefinitely.
  • Arson, Murder, and Jaywalking: What happens if you mention the Second City to any of the masters. Mr Wines will look at you narrowly and give you its worst vintage. Mr Cups will fly into a rage. Mr Iron will write your name down with its left hand. Mr Veils will harangue you for your discourtesy.
  • Art Evolution: The icons for actions and items have been replaced and improved over time.
  • Art Shift:
    • In Wilmot's End, descriptions are in fairly short sentence fragments. (E.g. "A newspaper tucked into an overcoat. A white raven looks down through the mist").
    • When your character gets exiled to the Tomb-Colonies, the descriptions take the form of letters to someone back in Fallen London, and most of the art have a sepia tint to them.
    • When you trade in rumours with the Muffled Intriguer, the narration takes on the same Terse Talker sentence-fragment style as the Intriguer's dialogue.
    Shelter from the drizzle under a bright shop-awning. Letters wrapped around a horse-head amulet. 'Gone now, and won't be seen again. Hunted by devils in the Forgotten Quarter. Nasty business.'
    • When your character enters the Iron Republic, the descriptions take the form of a fragmentary journal.
    • Certain unpleasant dreams will cause the text box describing them to blur in and out of legibility and waver back and forth as if being read by an unsteady person.
  • As the Good Book Says...: Two instances in the Seeking Mr Eaten's Name quest have you quote garbled versions of Matthew 25:35, "for I was hungry and you gave me food, I was thirsty and you gave me drink, I was a stranger and you welcomed me".
    • After ravenously sating your Horror Hunger without restraint: "For I was hungry, and I ate you. I was thirsty, and I drank you."
    • While devouring your entry in Slowcake's Exceptionals: "I was hungry, and you gave me only the pelt of trees. I was thirsty, and you gave me only ink."
  • Ascend to a Higher Plane of Existence: In a couple of destinies, the player can become immortal, become an implied to be undying being in Parabola, or even become a Master.
  • Attention Deficit... Ooh, Shiny!:
    • In one mission, you are attempting to trail a target through the carnival. If you fail, this happens.
    • Since you can usually leave a mission, go off and explore the world or play around with other things, then return to it with no time in the mission passed or progress lost, gameplay can tend to give this impression of the player character.
  • Awesome, but Impractical: If you are seeking to maximise your BDR so you can gain Notability faster, you might consider the Boneless Consort (3 Bizarre) and the Seven-Fold Knock (4 Dreaded); the former being the only Spouse that grants BDR and the latter, the best BDR weapon in the game. Except that in order to get the Boneless Consort, you need to buy a Peculiar Personal Enhancement in Flute Street (25 Fate) that costs 100 (!) Fate; while Flute Street is often considered to be worth the Fate, the Peculiar Personal Enhancement is only for the very curious/role-playing players with too much money to spend; and the Seven-Fold Knock requires you to put your character through hell by reaching the Avid Horizon at the end of Seeking Mr Eaten's Name and turn back at the very last chance. Why? In God's name, why?
  • Awesome but Temporary: The four Mood hats, which are only obtainable through two rare opportunity cards. Though they give a huge boost of 30 to one of the four primary attributes, they only last for an hour each, so you need to make maximum use of them for that duration.
  • Badass Boast: If you're sufficiently Connected with the Masters, one of the possible options for entering the House of Chimes involves this.
  • Badass Bookworm/Genius Bruiser: Any player who focuses on Watchful and Dangerous. (Naturally, this includes players who choose the Nemesis or Bag a Legend ambition).
  • Badass Moustache: Some of the constables, it seems.
    "Now that's odd. When you find your way back to the Stuttering Fence's place, there's no one there. Except a number of inconspicuously placed Constables, invisible to the untrained eye. You, however, recognise them instantly by the strength of their moustaches."
  • Badass Preacher: The Bishop of Southwark. He's the finest orator in the Church. He's also a formidable wrestler and a former cavalry officer, and he hopes to lead an invasion of Hell.
  • Bad Dreams: The Nightmares quality. It's implied that everyone in Fallen London has some amount of bad dreams.
  • Bad Santa: Mr Sacks. He comes at Christmas to take things. He might take your headache away. He might take your regards. He might take your reputation. He might take your auntie. If you're very unwise, he might take you.
  • Badly Battered Babysitter: Taken Up to Eleven; the premise of the "Frequently Deceased" Exceptional Story is that the governess to a family of extraordinarily troublesome children has gone missing after dying for the third time while looking after them and the Harassed Mother desperately wants to get her services back as no one else can last for more than ten days with her children.
  • Bandaged Face: Major characteristic of Tomb-Colonists, and one of the neutral-gender options has your face wrapped up, a la The Invisible Man.
  • Bat Out of Hell: London was stolen by them. Of course, only revolutionaries still use the word 'stole'.
  • Bavarian Fire Drill: A storylet in the University involves the player stealing from the Young Stags, and the player carries a few boxes to blend in with the tradespeople there.
  • Bazaar of the Bizarre: Sells clothing, candles, books, pet rats, bottled souls, typewriters, a cider that grants immortality... buys blackmail, love stories, songs, and all manner of thing.
  • Be Careful What You Wish For:
    • During the storyline where the player investigates a murder at the University, the Duchess may reveal that she bargained with the Bazaar after her lover was bitten by a serpent. He survived, but in the monstrous and agonising form of the Cantigaster. She theorises that a similar fate awaits the Empress and her Consort. "There is always a price that is known and a price that is not."
    • In the Heart's Desire ambition it's said that this was so with the First City, with its priest-king making a deal to save his lover... who became the King with a Hundred Hearts.
  • Because You Were Nice to Me:
    • The Ambitious Barrister's motive for helping you become a Person of Some Importance.
    • Upon becoming a Person of Some Importance, you can draw an opportunity card wherein you come across a soft-hearted widow, wandering along a theatre queue trying to collect charity donations. Say, don't you recognise her from somewhere? When you escaped from New Newgate at the very beginning of the game, she might have been the one who took you in and allowed you a spare bedroom. You can choose to make a substantial donation, at which she is overjoyed; with such a contribution, she'll be able to take in all manner of lodgers who are without a home. Aww...
  • Becoming the Mask:
    • The Church/Great Game conflict card concerns a spy that was ordered to infiltrate the Church and report on its secrets, but came to genuinely believe the Church's rites and is now refusing to talk. You can choose to either help him break free of the Great Game, guilt him into returning to his masters, or Take a Third Option and convince him to host a religious service for his fellow spies.
    • The Tattooed Courier's Secrets storyline can end with you realizing that you've grown too attached to the Courier to betray her secrets like you initially planned to and returning them to her instead.
  • Bedlam House:
    • Subverted by the prestigious Royal Bethlehem Hotelnote . Its fees are almost unaffordable. The mysterious proprietor waives the fee for lunatics, who consequently make up the vast majority of the guests, and live in unparalleled luxury.
    • The third coil of the Labyrinth of Tigers zig-zags this with its "human exhibits": some of them are insane, some are political prisoners or cat-chasers who will eventually go insane, but most of them - with overlap - are body-stealing invaders from behind mirrors. That's why taking mirrors there is prohibited: exhibits can escape through them.
  • Beneath the Earth: The "Fallen" in Fallen London refers to its physical location. In addition, there is also Flute Street, which lies beneath Fallen London itself.
  • Big First Choice: As soon as you finish the tutorial, you can make the choice of one (and only one out of four) Ambition, a huge, sprawling story that lasts for the entirety of the game; although if you really want to, you can spend 50 Fate to buy Lethean Tea-Leaves so you can forget your current Ambition and choose another.
  • Blatant Lies:
    • You tell these in some early Persuasive storylets, and if you're successful, people believe you.
    "Devils are feasting on human flesh in the Veilgarden! The tomb-colonists are to return home en masse! Cats are toxic! Cheese is made from spiders!"
    "Russia is sinking! Fallen London will annex the tomb-colonies! Mr Wines is marrying the skeletal corpse of a nun! The Spider-Council is holding a débutantes' ball! It's almost impossible to stop once you've started. Just keep talking. Everything will be fine."
  • Blow You Away: The Stormy-Eyed quality seems to give one some degree of power over wind, or at least make one believe that's the case.
  • Body Horror:
    • The ending of the Finder of Heiresses storyline is pretty bad.
    • The description of what the Cantigaster actually is during one of the later Watchful quests defines this. You can find out that the Cantigaster was once a man...
    • A lot of the descriptions of the people suffering from too much irrigo absorption in the Cave of the Nadir. If you yourself linger in it for too long, you'll get a message about how your skin is starting to grow over your eyes before you escape.
  • Body Surf: How Jack-of-Smiles evades capture. It doesn't matter if you kill his current host, he'll be back in a new body soon. He's not limited to humans, either. A later story reveals that Jack-of-Smiles isn't an actual body surfer: 'he' is a consciousness residing in certain trademark knives, and anyone who touches one "becomes" him as if via possession.
  • Bomb Throwing Anarchist: The Revolutionaries, naturally. On their faction opportunity card:
    Some call them the dynamite faction, but they're very far from united.
  • Bonus Stage: The Mind of a Long-Dead God might be considered one. It is nearly Menace-free, can provide a lot of Dangerous boosts and Aeolian Screams, and is the location to redeem the 40 Renown: Urchins item, but you can only get there by grinding Having Recurring Dreams: What the Thunder Said to 18, cash it in to gain 7 points of Stormy-Eyed, then grind What the Thunder Said back to 15 and Stormy-Eyed to 19. Except that there's no reliable way to grind What the Thunder Said: you have to draw a lot of dream cards to raise it that high, while also avoiding the State of some confusion (the default Nightmares failure state if you have no Memories of Light) at all costs lest it wipe a good chunk of your progress.
  • Booze-Based Buff: Drinking a bottle of Greyfields 1868 First Sporing wine reduces Nightmares and increases Persuasive.
  • Bragging Rights Reward:
    • Reaching 10 Renown with a faction grants access to an item that grants a bonus of 4 to a single attribute. All of these items are outclassed by rewards of the Making Your Name stories (which cost no Echoes and very easy to get), Bazaar items that are cheaper than the corresponding faction's Connected item (which is needed to grind Renown in the first place) or the Judgemental Hat (which costs no Echoes nor actions). Adding to the fact that a fair amount of Favours are needed to reach 10 Renown themselves, and each of these items requires you to draw the faction's opportunity card and spend 3 Favours, it's better just to spend the Favours elsewhere or store them and beeline for the higher Renown items, which are often more useful.
    • Reaching 40 Renown with a faction lets you obtain an item in a difficult-to-reach location that gives a +10 bonus to an attribute and some of these items are among the best possible for their slot. However, unless you had really high Connections before they got converted to the new Renown system, getting to 40 Renown for any faction is such a long and tedious grind with several other items existing that are only slightly worse and much easier to obtain than the 40 Renown ones that the items mainly just serve as proof of your dedication to that faction.
    • The July 2017 updates to a Person of Some Importance added unique "London's X" qualities that can be obtained only if you spent 15 Notability (which is extremely hard to build up in the first place) to increase one of your base stats and meet at least one other requirement for the quality associated with that stat. Getting all of these qualities enables you to become a fabled Paramount Presence, but given that this requires you to spend 15 Notability four times and 12 Notability or 15 Fate at least three times to change POSI specializations, any benefits that being a Paramount Presence might have will almost definitely be outweighed by the sheer costs of becoming one in the first place.
  • Bread, Eggs, Breaded Eggs: One opportunity's story involves using fake cats. Some bite, some explode, some bite then explode. Another story involves you finding a courier delivering church candles having been temporarily killed by Jack-of-Smiles, you can choose to tend to him, steal his candles, or steal his candles then tend to him.
  • Break Them by Talking: A possible resolution for the Church/Great Game conflict card. You wait for the spy-turned-clergyman in the confessional, and...
    He enters, settles, asks you to begin. You open his dossier and begin to confess all his old sins back at him. He breaks before you’re halfway through, begging you to stop...
  • Bribing Your Way to Victory: The game is free to play, but you can buy Fate points with actual money. With Fate points, you can refill your actions instantly, refill the deck of opportunity cards, reset your Ambition, change your name or portrait, or open access to certain exclusive story branches, which might either avert this trope note , downplay it note  or play it straight note .
  • Britain Is Only London: Justified: The city was the only part of Britain to be taken down to the Neath (except for a few Kentish suburbs, which form the Southern Archipelago), and the rest remained on the Surface. It's uncertain how much the rest of the British Isles (let alone the entire British Empire) still recognize the government's control, as the game doesn't describe the situation on the Surface in that much detail.
  • Brown Note: The Correspondence. Studying it makes your eyes bleed, your hair catch fire and will probably drive you insane. Not to mention the things that seeking knowledge of Mr Eaten does to the mind - specifically, compulsory self-destructive acts such as attempting to literally drown oneself in beer.
  • Build Like an Egyptian: There's a glimpse of the Blue Kingdom at the end of the Season of Skies:
    There are pyramids dwarfing Giza's; statues which make the Grecian Colossus seem a toy soldier.
  • Buried Alive: In part of the Light Fingers! ambition, an antagonist warns you that if you pursue your ambition any further, you will be buried alive. He fulfils that promise if he finds you continued the ambition, and you wind up in a coffin under the ground.
  • Butt-Monkey: Lucky Weasels. Despite their flavor text, they exist primarily to be sacrificed to the Boatman, used as plant food, exploded from singing "Pop Goes The Weasel" one too many times, and left half-devoured but still alive by the Bifurcated Owl.
  • By "No", I Mean "Yes": The flavor text for the Iron Hat.
    You can't go wrong with an iron hat. Except that you look ridiculous. That's a problem, certainly. Also, it rusts; it punishes the innocent vertebrae of the neck; it attracts urchins who enjoy the cheery ping of a hat-bounced pebble. It is, nevertheless, proof against dart, bullet, and light glim-fall.
  • Cap:
    • The cap for the four main qualities is 200, though it's possible, albeit somewhat difficult, to raise one (and only one) of them to 215 with Notability, as Notability itself is capped at 15 (however in practice the cap is usually closer to 214 due to the attribute losses inflicted by the Cave of the Nadir).
    • Favours are capped at 7 each: if you have 7 Favours for a faction, most actions that raise Favours for that faction will be temporarily inaccessible until the Favours are spent.
    • There are also many storylets that do not raise minor qualities (usually quirks) if they are above a certain value.
    • During the Feast of the Exceptional Rose, Masquing is capped at 30 if you limit yourself to non-Fate-locked gifts.
  • Call-Back:
    • One of the earliest Persuasive storylines revolves around writing an epic poem about mushrooms. Far later, when you're at the Empress's Court being offered the position of Imperial Artist-in-Residence:
    My point is that the Court wishes to be entertained with original compositions. Your early works impressed the Empress, and she doesn't even like mushrooms. So, get to it, would you? We can't wait to see what you come up with.
    • Once you reach the Foreign Office, you can discreetly...borrow and examine a few of the reports there. One of them is entitled, oddly, Cheese: Made From Spiders? Your character, potentially recalling the above Blatant Lies, hopes that it's some sort of code.
  • Calling Card:
    • Employed by that most mysterious and flamboyant of burglars and agents, the notorious Civet. Their card is blank, but for a picture of some sort of animal - possibly an ocelot, or mongoose.
    • When trying to reduce Suspicion, one option involves leaving a fake one: stacking vases in the privy, leaving origami swans everywhere, and writing nonsense on the walls.
  • Cash Gate: You need to (or are able to) spend a certain amount of goods in order to open access to the Forgotten Quarter, Wolfstack Docks, the Flit, the Shuttered Palace, the Labyrinth of Tigers, the University and Mahogany Hall. In addition, visiting any location across the Unterzee (other than Polythreme and Apis Meet) requires a ship, and every time you go to Doubt Street you'll be charged 200 Silk Scraps before you become an editor of newspapers.
  • Catapult Nightmare: A side effect of your Nightmares stat getting too high. Made obvious by opting to go for a jog in the A Moment's Peace storylet, which states that "You wake up screaming, as is becoming usual." In January 2013, the Nightmare stat's image was changed from an eye to someone catapulting out of bed.
  • Cats Are Magic: Well, they talk, anyway. And they know secrets. White ones are deaf-mutes, but somehow this doesn't prevent them from having secrets tattooed on their bellies.
  • Cats Are Mean: The Starveling Cat! The Starveling Cat! Want to lose a hand? Give the beast a pat!
  • Chain of Deals: You can do one with inventory items if you want. Most item categories have a stage where you can trade 50 of an item for 51 of an equivalent item from a different category; for example, 50 bottles of Strangling Willow Absinthe for 51 Whisper-Satin Scraps. You can then proceed to trade your Whisper-Satin Scraps for Journals of Infamy, and your Journals of Infamy for Correspondence Plaques, and so on until you've gone full-circle, having earned 1 of each item, some minor storyline progress, a decent amount of Making Waves and spent a large amount of actions.
  • Chess with Death: And dice, too, with the boatman, which brings you closer to life. Assuming you win.
  • Chokepoint Geography: You have to pass the dark cavern called the 'Roads Beneath' in order to reach Flute Street from London.
  • Christmas Episode: December is typically marked by "snow" falling in the Neath that has unique properties like being capable of dissolving souls, and Mr Sacks coming around to ask for you to give it gifts instead of the other way around. Except Eaten-Sacks, who actually will give you a gift.
  • Chronic Backstabbing Disorder: The player, if they desire. There are a multitude of opportunities to betray people, factions, causes, your ideals, and your good sense. This is not a good idea with the Affair of the Box story, though: you have options that support either the Powers That Be or their detractors, and if you waffle back and forth you'll acquire an "A Turncoat!" menace. If that gets too high, neither side will work with you.
  • Church Militant: During the "Bag a Legend" ambition, one encounters armored combat-trained nuns. Their rosaries have spikes. Other nuns and vicars aren't quite as violent, but they usually tend to know a thing or two about fighting. Especially those under the Bishop of Southwark, who both qualifies for this trope and enforces it.
  • Circus of Fear: Mrs Plenty's Most Distracting Carnival, at times. Especially if you're a Seeker of the Name.
  • The City Narrows: Spite, where the majority of the city's pickpockets seem to work their trade, and where you can get started on criminal enterprises in general. There's also The Flit, which has an odd relationship with the trope by way of being above the rest of the city. And the fact that going into the Flit if you aren't on shady business (or a courier) is just weird, what with the heightened chance of getting smeared on the cobblestones if you so much as trip with a rope, so getting robbed there is unlikely.
  • City of Adventure: London, naturally.
  • City of Spies: While London partially does qualify, what qualifies the most is more of a District of Spies: Wilmot's End. If you want to play the Great Game directly, this is your place, and just about everyone you will meet between the cracked statues and old hedges is a spy for someone, be it a foreign power, the British Empire, a shadowy organization, or just themselves. There's also a few missionaries hiding in the bushes, who seem to be doing something else entirely that the spies themselves prefer not to talk about, and the occasional journalist to stumble into at the worst moments.
  • Clever Crows: Ravens are available as pets, and they come in both black and white varieties depending on whether you feed them blackmail material or mysteries, respectively. Most still feed on carrion, but they sing like nightingales according to the Flavor Text, and some even aspire to poetry. White ravens even have some aspects of The Phoenix, as you might be fortunate enough to witness your Dreamy Raven Advisor turn/burn itself into a Mystic Raven.
  • Cloak & Dagger: Spying is one of the non-combat employment options available to the community. Usually more Cloak than Dagger, but there's plenty of both.
  • Clueless Mystery: Spoofed in one University story arc in which you can investigate the murder of a research fellow. You can collect clues and even talk to the victim himself (as Death Is Cheap in Fallen London), but correctly identifying the culprit at the end of the term comes down to pure guessing — and the real culprit and their motive turns out to be the silliest and pettiest of the possible culprits/motives by a mile.
  • Cluster F-Bomb: One event card has a woman writing very scandalous things about you. One of the options is to unleash a Cluster F-Bomb of magnificent proportions in response.
    "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."
    \\ If you fail that event you get this.
    "Three ladies faint. So do three gentleman and a passing waiter. Two cats fall off the roof and and an elderly horse outside keels over. You are denounced in two newspapers and a sermon. What words! You have definitely gone too far this time."
  • Coffin Contraband: In one storylet, the player can assist the Gracious Widow and her ring of smugglers in sneaking contraband out of the city in coffins. You're not told what exactly you're smuggling, but if you choose to peek in one of the coffins, you find out it's Clay Men — in other words, a Bodybag Trick disguised as Coffin Contraband.
  • Colony Drop: What happened when a new City replaces the old one. The new City just lands on top of the old City, and flattens the old City. Parts of the old City might survive down in the Flute Street, however.
  • Color Motif: Each tier 3 Profession corresponds to one of the colours of the Neathbow except Viric:
    • Irrigo is the colour of things that need to be forgotten, like Midnighters' robes and Shrines to St Joshua.
    • Violant is a colour that lingers in one's memory. It's very hard to forget anything written in the violant ink Correspondents use.
    • Cosmogone is a colour heavily associated with Parabola, and it's the tint of a Glassman's spectacles.
    • Peligin is the colour of the eyes of Monster-Hunters, as they have consumed the peligin flesh of zee-monsters.
    • Crooked-Crosses often lacquer their crosses in Apocyan.
    • Gant ink is an invisible ink, meant for writing Licentiates' aliases.
  • Combat Pragmatist:
    • Dangerous challenges tend to make you do this. In particular, the Black Ribbon duels start off as honorable challenges, but inevitably turn into running battles and ambushes in the alleys and rooftops.
    • Another example is in one opportunity card, where you can goad multiple assassins into attacking you, and then take up a sniping position and pick them off one-by-one (nobody said you had to take them all on at once).
    • Yet another example (which doubles as a Firefly Shout-Out), involves duelling a young buck who wants to kill you. When you agree to his terms and he asks when a good time for the duel would be, you shoot him immediately.
  • Confusing Multiple Negatives: The image for the Smoky Flophouse opportunity card and two Newgate cards is of a brick wall with graffiti that reads, "Not to be blamed for nothing". So whoever scrawled it is being poetic or perhaps is responsible for... something.
  • Continuing Is Painful: Typically, Death Is a Slap on the Wrist and only lasts as long as it takes for you to lower your Wounds quality. However, if you're Seeking Mr Eaten's Name around Hallowmas, you can potentially wind up as the quarry in a Devil's hunting party. If you fail to escape them, your wounds and nightmares are instantly maxed out and you lose all your money and any hell-related items of value. Ouch.
  • Controllable Helplessness:
    • Playing as a Clay Man. Until you remember...
    • A certain failure location in Ambition: Light Fingers. You've moved to a new area: A small, velvet lined box. You can't see anything. You have just enough space to twist onto your belly or your back. Oh dear God. Oh dear God.
  • Conveniently Interrupted Document: A sidebar snippet titled "A letter fragment, dated Singapore, 1821" goes:
    "I have, I fear, at last determined the cause of our poor Leopold's sad disappearance. You will recall that I sent by the Borneo a very considerable collection of [illegible] ... identified one variety as the sinister exile's rose of the Bosphorus. Sophia had long admired their colour [illegible] ... gardens here about the Government-house [illegible] ... although here they call it 'lion's rose'. Singapura is Lion City in the Sanskrit [illegible] ... There are of course no lions here, though many tigers. I would not mention this except that when I dream of Leopold, as still I often do, it has always seemed to me that there is a great cat present, the colour of sunset, which is also the colour of the roses..."
  • Cool Boat: The Zubmarine and Majestic Pleasure Yacht...if you're willing to pay exorbitant costs to build them.
  • Cool Pet: Many of the higher-level animal companions definitely count.
  • Cool Shades: The Set of Cosmogone Spectacles, the unique item for the Glassman profession. They give quite a large boost to Persuasive and Dangerous.
  • Cosmetic Award:
    • Some of the story traits currently don't actually unlock any new actions. Presumably as the game grows they will become more useful.
    • In order to get a Noman tattoo, you need to buy a Noman from Penstock's Wicket in January and then keep it alive until the end of the Feast of the Exceptional Rose in February (which requires feeding a significant number of Vials of Tears of the Bazaar to the Noman to offset its decay), although the tattoo itself grants no tangible bonus compared to the other tattoos which are much easier to obtain.
    • You can pay 10 Fate to register the name of your Constant Companion or ship in the Bazaar Side-streets, or 30 Fate to change the 'exceptional reason' for which you entered the House of Chimes; this does not impact the gameplay in any meaningful way.
    • The Fluke-Core, which requires drawing a specific card in the Cave of the Nadir six times and sells to the Bazaar for less than the buying cost of 25 Diaries of the Dead that are needed to obtain the Fluke-Core in the first place. Its only use is to exchange 7 Fluke-Cores for St Cerise's Candle as part of Seeking Mr Eaten's Name (where you can choose to sacrifice a few other, more accessible items instead). The only real reason for spending a lot of time trying to grind a Fluke-Core is to show it on your mantelpiece.
    • Reaching A Scholar of the Correspondence 21, also known as Courier's Footprint. There are various ways to reach SOTC 10 but once you get there the only way to reach higher is using Correspondence Plaques at the University and reaching SOTC 21 requires a whopping 300 Watchful, while you can only reach 282 Watchful (297 if you choose the Watchful POSI specialisation, which can't be changed) without the Preternaturally Intent mood. Either way, you need to draw the rare Mood card once or twice, then spend a huge number of Correspondence Plaques and Aeolian Screams (and a Darkdrop Coffee cup if needed, so the Mood won't expire before you're done). However, while having SOTC higher than 10 can make a Making Waves generating check straightforward, it's just for bragging rights.
    • The Heptagoat, which is created by breeding together 7 Übergoats, each of which is bred from two Overgoats; this translates to a total cost of 163979.2 Echoes and 7 Fate, plus an Impossible Theorem which is even more difficult to obtain than an Übergoat. It only provides a bonus of 3 to Caprine Authority, and does not retain any Watchful/Dreaded/Bizarre bonus of its components, and any points of Caprine Authority over 1 doesn't provide any tangible reward, making the Heptagoat effectively a way to show that you are strong, powerful and wealthy enough to waste money on a worthless item.
    • Reaching 50 Renown for any faction is an extremely arduous task that requires you to either have had an extraordinarily high Connected level with that faction before its conversion to Renown or have a specific attribute at level 294 (which will require drawing a few rare Mood cards) and the patience to grind out Favours for an indeterminate amount of time. You don't get anything special for any Renown level above 40 (the level requirement for the best Renown items), other than a cool-sounding description of just how renowned you've become.
    • When Seeking Mr Eaten's Name, at the nightmare version of Mrs Plenty's Carnival, you have the option to spend 50 Fate for a ride ABOVE THE NEATH. The game warns (in very plain terms) that there's no interesting flavour text for you to read, your character will die, and you'll spend the Fate for nothing. And people have done it. It does not actually make your character unusable, but anyone doing this will be rewarded with the unique quality Scorched by the Sun.
  • Cosmic Horror Story: What is the Bazaar? A space crab. What are the Masters? Space bats. Why are they collecting love stories? So the former can prove its love to a Judgement we know as the Sun. And if it fails, it'll be eaten by dragons.
  • Crazy Homeless People: The Topsy King, who is insane because he bet his mind on a card game and lost it.
  • Creature-Breeding Mechanic: In the Fourth Coil of the Labyrinth of Tigers, you can breed a variety of beasts to turn them in for rewards, or transform them into new creatures if you have the Empyrean Redolence formula.
  • Critical Existence Failure: You usually suffer no detriments whatsoever from a Menace until it hits the failure point. Exceptions to this include:
    • Nightmares 5 adds the undiscardable Merry Gentleman's card into your opportunity deck, whose Ubiquitous rarity will cause you to draw it again and again until you reduce your Nightmares. Nightmares 6 unlocks special red opportunity cards that increase your Nightmares even further.
    • The higher-end challenges for certain ranks of the "Making Your Name" questlines will forbid you from trying them if the associated Menace is too high. (You can't fight the best Black Ribboners if you have too many Wounds, you can't try the most lucrative Heists if you have too much Suspicion, etc...)
    • "Plagued by a Popular Song" unlocks a few Schmuck Bait options as it increases, and its failure state at level 5 isn't automatic like the basic Menaces (it's a red opportunity card), so you can theoretically raise it as high as you like without anything actually happening.
    • Having high Suspicion can bring some unwelcome attention at Zee, turning a good opportunity card into a bad one, but it's barely noticeable unless you spend a lot of time zailing.
  • Cryptic Background Reference: All over the place, though many of them are explained in the sidebars. Figuring them all out makes up much of the game's Jigsaw Puzzle Plot.
    • Epileptic Trees: Tons of theories are sprouting up throughout the internet about these, most notably the first four cities. Helps that there's always certain tidbits that remain completely unsolved to this day.
  • Cthulhumanoid: The Rubbery Men, moist green creatures with tentacled faces and hands. They don't speak English, but are still surprisingly polite and friendly.
  • Culture Chop Suey: The "Oriental Pleasure Garden" hosted by Mrs Plenty during the Feast of the Exceptional Rose is a mishmash of every Eastern culture she could think of, accuracy be damned. The narrative even lampshades a few of the inaccuracies for you, like a "Hindoo Philosopher" wearing a fez, "Turks" with Manchurian pigtails, and jugglers and roast chestnut stalls which are still from London.
  • Cultured Badass: Any player who focuses on Persuasive and Dangerous. An NPC example would be Mr Inch.
  • Da Editor: The player character, once you have created your own newspaper.
  • Damn You, Muscle Memory!: The topmost option on the Guest Room at the Brass Embassy's card normally gives you Certifiable Scraps. However, during Neathmas, a new option used to be added at the top of that card for you to sell your soul that many a player reflexively clicked on before realizing in horror that they'd just signed their soul away. Later Neathmases rectified this somewhat by adding a second new option on the top of that card that only costs you another person's bottled Soul (much more replaceable than your own soul!) at worst if you click on it, but some players have still accidentally clicked on the "sell your soul" option below it.
  • Dead End Room: The Avid Horizon, climax of the Seeking Mr Eaten's Name story. Once you reach it, your ship will be destroyed, and you have a last chance to turn back and be teleported to London. If you choose to knock instead, you're stuck. Forever.
  • Deader Than Dead: You can't come back from disease or old age, and if your body is completely destroyed, you obviously can't revive either. Death from Cantigaster venom is also permanent. A sort of middle ground exists, though; some people don't die permanently, but still sustain injuries too grievous for them to return to society. They're wrapped up in bandages and shipped off to the Tomb-Colonies instead.
  • Deal with the Devil: The Masters frequently offer such deals - there's always a catch. The devils are rather more straightforward - riches in exchange for your soul, for immediate collection. The Trickster career path offers a more elaborate recreation of the Faustus myth - beginning with simple confidence tricks, and progressing through black magic to your character being recruited to undermine Christian morality. Mr Eaten, too, makes deals of a sort, though he offers very little and asks for everything in return...
  • Death by Origin Story: Comes with the Nemesis Ambition. You even get to choose whether it was your character's lover, spouse, brother, or daughter who was murdered.
  • Death Is a Slap on the Wrist: Downplayed. All four failure states only require time to escape, so letting any Menace get too high is only an inconvenience, and sometimes it's necessary to go to these places to progress in a story or redeem a reward. However, there are side-effects for some of them:
    • The State of some confusion (the default Nightmares failure state) takes away some Dream qualities when you escape, unless if you're willing to spend Fate to buy a bottle of Honeyed Laudanum or move to the Mirror-Marches (the alternate Nightmares failure state if you have some Memories of Light, which still takes away the Is Someone There? dream progress).
    • Getting jailed (Suspicion) beyond the first time will cause subsequent sentences to be more severe, and being arrested for the fifth time will make it impossible to use Nikolas & Sons Instant Ablution Absolution (the Scandal- and Suspicion-reducing potion).
    • On the slow boat (Wounds), you can defeat the Boatman in a game of chess to reduce Wounds, but defeat him too many times and he'll up his game, meaning that the more times you die, the more actions it'd take to escape.
  • Death Is Cheap: Subverted: death in the Neath is more of a mild inconvenience than anything else, although it does make it impossible to return to the surface. One storylet has you kill a journalist for being too interested in reporting certain things. "...He'll get better, obviously, but it'll serve as a lesson." Dying in the Neath also prevents you from ever returning to the surface, unless you can get your hands on Hesperidean Cider. An advanced point in the old version of Seeking Mr Eaten's Name story allowed players to try to return to the surface, but since they must have killed themselves several times already to get to that point, you can guess the result. In the Game of Knife-And-Candle, being ambushed and murdered by another player is only a minor inconvenience...unless you were carrying Knife-And-Candle-specific equipment, which they can swipe from your corpse.
  • Death Seeker: Many of the Black Ribboners have strong overtones of this, and many of them are traumatized wrecks. There's heavy Driven to Suicide implications for some of them, too. Kind of depressing, really.
  • Death's Hourglass: The Noman's Friend quality measures how much health a Noman has. At creation, a Noman has 100 Noman's Friend, which will degrade by a random amount every week and can be increased with either Pails of So-Called Snow, Tears of the Bazaar or Taste of Lacre to keep the Noman alive. If it reaches zero, the Noman will melt.
  • Defeat Equals Friendship: You can take a contract against a Miniature Menace in the Department of Menace Eradication in Watchmaker's Hill; once you defeat it, it will join you as a Watchful Doll companion.
  • Deliberate Values Dissonance: Since this is set in the late 1800s, of course it'll appear.
    You hear murmurs of discontent about these 'Benthic Ladies' and their struggle for power. If it goes on like this, they say, women will be voting...
  • Determinator:
    • You, toward your Ambition. ...Unless you decide to ignore it in favour of other storylets.
    • Also, towards seeking Mr Eaten's name, if you choose to pursue the quest. After a while, it seems like it may be the only reason you still pursue it.
    • And figuring out what's in that painting...and attending to the needs of a singular plant... Come to think of it, a lot of opportunity cards are like this.
    • Also, you when getting out of the Wounds failure location. The text on almost every single card there ends with "You must find your way back!" You're getting away from Death on sheer willpower.
    • And if you spend the Fate to rescue your aunt from Hell. Pretty much to get to this point you have spent enough fate and warped reality enough through force of will to allow you to get a soul out of Hell.
  • Developer's Room: It's hidden in the Mirror-Marches, and you can see it as part of Ambition: Enigma.
  • Devil, but No God: Devils are quite omnipresent. While the Church still exists (and is quite influential), angels are nowhere to be seen, and God is rarely mentioned. The Bishop of Southwark and the Bishop of St Fiacre's both have plans to secure the assistance of the Heavenly Host, but it remains to be seen how successful this will be. Interestingly enough, for all the minor devils who show up all over the place, their boss hasn't been mentioned in the plot any more than God has. This could be explained by the fact that Hell's princes have been overthrown and forced into hiding by the Republic's ruthless efforts to hunt them down, and add a delicious bit of Irony: Creation's original rebel is in hiding because his minions rebelled against him.
  • Developers' Foresight: Helped by the fact that Alexis Kennedy actively monitors the game and is happy to add new elements in response to certain players' behavior.
    • Another from Christmas 2013: the acquaintance system received a recent overhaul, allowing players to send calling cards to each other. One brave and foolish player sent a calling card to Mr Eaten's in-game account... and got one in return!
    • When selling an Eyeless Skull to the Bazaar, the shopkeeper will ask why you're selling it to them when you could get a better price from the Radical Factotum. Before Foreshadowing (or lampshading if you already know what he's talking about) that there might be some very good reasons why a player wouldn't want to sell it to the Revolutionaries.
  • Did We Just Have Tea with Cthulhu?: In the later parts of the Eater-of-Chains storyline, particularly after discovering that its real-world form is the Empress' puppy, the beast is much friendlier than it was when you first encountered it.
  • Difficulty Spike: Once you become a Person of Some Importance, all bets are off. Challenges become much harder and carry much steeper penalties for failure. Menaces are much harder to remove, Nightmares and Scandal especially. Items that were once commonplace and cheap suddenly become rare and expensive, and resources are far more scarce.
  • Diminishing Returns for Balance: Applies to both attribute grinding and items.
    • The Change Points needed to raise any attribute from level X-1 to level X equals to X, meaning that you'll need increasingly more CP to increase your stats until that attribute reaches 70, after which every level will only require 70 CP, but there's a trade-off in that the four training professions will no longer grant 250 CP each week if the corresponding attribute is higher than 70. And once an attribute reaches 200, the only way to increase it is to spend Notability, which is grossly inefficient.
    • When it comes to items, the cheaper items are vastly more cost-efficient than the expensive ones: compare the Emergency Blunderbuss, which costs half an Echo and grants 1 Dangerous, to the Infernal Sharpshooter's Rifle, which costs 420 Echoes and gives 10 Dangerous, or 840 times the cost for 10 times the benefits, but of course since you can only equip one item of each slot at a time, the expensive items are much more slot-efficient compared to the cheaper ones. This is even more prominent after you become a Person of Some Importance and gain access to the Affiliation/Home Comfort/Transportation/Spouse/Club items: you can equip them in new slots in addition to the older ones, but they are extremely cost-efficient (the Formidable Basalt Gymnasium, which gives a single point of Dangerous, costs 10 x Strong-Backed Labour, or 135 Echoes and 10 actions).
    • The same thing applies to lodgings: you can upgrade from the starting 2-card lodging to a 3-card lodging with a few hundreds of cheap items that will take a very short time to get, but if you want a 4-card lodging, then you'll need either tens of thousands of these aforementioned cheap items, or a bunch of much more expensive items (both of which will require a fair amount of grinding), and upgrading further to a 5-card lodging is even more prohibitively expensive, costing you one of the highest-tier goods in the game as well as a lot of Notability, while also requiring a fairly high amount of BDR.
  • Dirty Old Man/Dirty Old Woman: During a party, a "clingy octogenarian" whose gender is undisclosed may dance with you, and keeps groping your rear. Then there's that bandaged woman at the Tomb-Colonies, whom you can indulge.
  • Disc-One Nuke: Through access codes, it is often possible to acquire high-level items (like the Judgemental Hat or a Scuttering Squad) far earlier than you should be able to normally. These items trivialise a bunch of gear, but they are not best-in-slot, even when limited to Bazaar gear only.
  • Discriminate and Switch: Subverted in a storylet, someone mentions "a large gentleman with a muddy complexion, if you know what I mean", but the player character automatically thinks "Clay Man".
  • Dissimile: Fighting a spider council is compared to fighting an elephant. A poisonous elephant. A poisonous elephant which can spit spiders.
  • Distracted by the Sexy: The Alluring Accomplice companion raises your Persuasive by 5... and your Shadowy by 2, the implication being that while people are distracted looking at her you have an easier time sneaking around.
  • Door to Before: Gameplay-wise, once you pass through the Roads Beneath and reach Flute Street for the first time, you'll discover a shortcut that allows you to travel back-and-forth between Mrs Plenty's Carnival and Flute Street in a single mouse click without having to spend candles to retrace your way through the Roads Beneath again.
  • Do Not Spoil This Ending:
    • The hidden Ambition: Enigma storyline contains no prize items and is played entirely through out-of-the-box puzzle solving. As such, Failbetter has politely asked players not to post the answers online, though privately messaging solutions to your friends is considered acceptable.
    • Players who reach the final part of Seeking Mr Eaten's Name are recommended to not give other players any information other than vague hints about its ending, although the recommendation does state that ultimately it's up to the player whether or not to follow their advice.
    • Anything that costs Fate is absolutely forbidden from being spoiled even the slightest bit on either of the wikis. This is a policy of the wikis themselves, not the game (though it is part of their agreement with Failbetter), so it's still fine to give details privately to your friends.
  • Do Well, but Not Perfect: The path to becoming an author requires you to create a particular grade of short story in Veilgarden. Making a story of a higher grade is a waste of time and resources, since it only counts that specific type. Getting the unique items during the Fruits of the Zee Festival can be this too, as they each require a certain level of the Picking Through the Wrecker's Cove quality to obtain. That quality is in turned based off the quality of the Strange Catch you turn in to get it, and with high levels in several quirks it becomes very difficult to get a low enough Picking quality to get some of the items.
  • Downer Ending:
    • Seeking Mr Eaten's Name requires you to accept an item called "A Bad End" and gives you constant sincere warnings that Seeking will bring nothing but misery for your character. The ending itself... well, we'd rather not say, but what we will say is that finishing it will brick your account and render it permanently unplayable.
    • The Dangerous path of the Mysterious Benefactor story. After pulling off a variety of jobs with him, Jack the Anarchist reveals that he is slowly turning into Jack of Smiles, and begs you to maim him so he can go to the Tomb Colonies. You either fulfill his wish, or leave him to turn, but either way, the man who helped you get a footing in Fallen London meets a grim fate, and either outcome weighs heavily on your conscience.
    • The final part of the Cheery Man and the Last Constable's story if you don't rig the game beforehand and fail the luck roll for it which causes the character you were supporting to be Killed Off for Real.
  • The Dreaded: The "Dreaded" attribute you find in certain pieces of equipment tracks this, tracking how much people think you're someone better off avoided, or at least not confronted. Seekers of the Name also scare the wits out of everyone, from urchin to Master. As they should be, because they're very unhinged, prone to violent fits of cannibalistic hunger (or just plain endless hunger for anything that could be remotely edible), eager to do horrible things to themselves and others, possibly seek something that may doom the very Bazaar, and in particular because they're horrifyingly determined, and nothing you can do to them can top what they've already done to themselves. Being anywhere near a Seeker, nevermind in the way of one, is bad, bad news.
  • Dream Land: Parabola is a dreamlike realm populated by strange creatures and featuring impossible geography. Those who enter into it disappear from the physical world for the duration of their stay and can reappear in other locations. The dreams of those living in the Neath have some influence over the geography of Parabola.
  • Drill Sergeant Nasty: One storylet has your character training up the Constables in the art of monster-hunting, with distinct overtones of this.
    "This is a sorrow-spider! Which end do you hold it by? TRICK QUESTION!"
  • Driven to Suicide:
    • Potentially you, while seeking Mr Eaten's name. A lot.
    • During the Dangerous route of a Mysterious Benefactor, the Anarchist went on a suicide bombing mission because he knows he'll be possessed by Jack-of-Smiles soon enough. You are given the option to kill him, so he can be shipped to the Tomb-Colonies and avoid possession.
  • Drowning My Sorrows: A frequent necessity to deal with nightmares. Specific examples:
    • Laudanum. Being a potent tincture of opium, it affects your physical health in exchange.
    • Greyfields 1868 First Sporing acts like laudanum, only better and without the Wounds increase. Bottles are hard to obtain, however.
    • The wine from the Mrs Plenty's Carnival can reduce your Nightmares if you're lucky; if you're unlucky you'll get plumb drunk and raise your Scandal instead.
  • Early-Bird Cameo: The Blue Kingdom, a location set to be properly introduced in Sunless Skies, is first seen in Fallen London at the end of the Season of Skies in early 2017.
  • Ear Worm: In-Universe. Failing challenges in Mahogany Hall gives you the Plagued by a Popular Song as a Menace stat similar to Wounds or Nightmares. The song is Pop Goes The Weasel, and something bad may happen to your pet weasels if it reaches 5. And if you try to be clever and don't have weasels, it'll instead messily pop some poor lady's pet weasel as you pass her on the street, which naturally doesn't please her in the least.
  • Easter Egg:
    • It used to be possible to play as a Clay Man by clicking the hidden gender option when creating a character.
    • Failbetter Games hinted on Twitter that the "Where You and I Must Go" Exceptional Story contained an easter egg, although it's more of a hidden branch that becomes available only if you do something truly stupid and then something truly cruel in response to the consequences of your stupid action.
  • Eaten Alive: If you're Seeking Mr Eaten's Name, it is possible to do this to your pets.
  • Eldritch Abomination: A great many, including but not limited to the Masters, the Rubbery creatures and Flukes, the Eater-of-Chains, the Vake, and more denizens of the Labyrinth of Tigers than have yet been named.
  • Eldritch Location: Just about every single area. London's only the least strange in comparison, and it's a place where trying to find your way without a map can be literally maddening, people usually don't stay dead, shimmery mist portals floating around the streets is a common happening, and it snows underground, the snow itself being practically a Noodle Substance in terms of the weird crap that happens when interacting with it in general.
  • Election Day Episode:
    • Starting in July 2016, Fallen London began holding annual elections for a mayor where players can campaign for the candidate of their choice. The candidates for the first election were Sinning Jenny, the Bishop of Southwark, and the Jovial Contrarian, and the victor was Jenny.
    • July 2017: The three new mayoral candidates were Feducci, the Implacable Detective, and the Dauntless Temperance Campaigner. New social actions were also made available, including collecting donations for Campaigners, helping fellow supporters with Scandal or Suspicion for Fixers, and raising mobs to attack opposing players for Agitators. This election ended with Feducci winning.
  • Equipment Upgrade: In the Cave of the Nadir, a few equippable items can be upgraded by enriching them with irrigo. During Hallowmas, the confessions acquired throughout the event can be used to upgrade companions.
  • Escape Rope: When planning for a heist, you can buy an escape route which lets you escape without getting caught.
  • Experience Booster: The Talkative Rattus Faber companion is this in effect, since it reduces all attributes by a substantial amount, which make all challenges harder, causing you to gain more CP on average (if you don't mind the menaces or other penalties caused by failing the challenge that is).
  • Evasive Fight-Thread Episode: The Black Ribbon duels are allegedly duels to the final death. However, only one of the duelists (Captain Vendrick) actually gets killed. Feducci comes back with Heroic Willpower despite getting hacked to bits, which is supposed to properly kill a person, and all the other duels get interrupted by various individuals, be it Bar Brawl participants, overly ambitious Sorrow Spiders, inebriated Vakehunters or the Things in the Cellar, before you kill your opponent. Even failing these duels will only put you at risk of the ordinary, recoverable death, at worst.
  • Even Evil Has Standards:
    • According to the "Advising the Loquacious Vicar" quest, even spirifers (soul-traders) find the idea of attaching a live soul to a dead body abhorrent.
    • In the old version of Seeking Mr Eaten's Name, the Starveling Cat asking a spirifier to stain your soul caused him to respond, "No, you damnable beast, I will not! A man's got to draw the line somewhere, and I won't, you hear me? I won't!"
    • The deviless Virginia will chew you out for releasing a vengeful Prince of Hell from its prison solely to force her to play the Marvellous early to further your Heart's Desire ambition. (That said, you might have chosen to only pretend to have released the prince from his prison...but you could only have done so if you convinced him that you were even worse than him.)
    • It's also easy to play this way, yourself, if you mostly indulge in earthly pleasures but refuse to deal with demons on principle. You'll raise both your Hedonist and Austere qualities quite a bit.
  • Everyone Is Bi: All the Non Player Characters are, and all characters potentially so - seduction storylets unlocked by increasing your Persuasion are the same regardless of the gender of your character, and include male and female (and ambiguous) targets.
  • Everything's Better with Monkeys: A Cardsharp Monkey is one of the companions gained from an ambition. However, if you have cause to incite his vengeance, he will not hesitate to cost you an awful lot of either time or money. Protip: Do not anger the monkey.
  • Everything's Squishier with Cephalopods: The Rubbery Men, and those things in the Unterzee.
  • Evil Gloating: A great example in the Bag a Legend! Ambition, which you can exploit if so inclined: "What an agreeable little lamb you are... I have been grooming victims for the Vake since, oh, long before the Fall, but I've never found one as argh; damn you; ow; desist; REEEGH!"
  • Evil Pays Better: If you're confronted with a Heartless/Ruthless vs. Magnanimous/Steadfast choice, the choice often boils down to either "get a better monetary reward or do the right thing for a lesser paycheck" or "take the effortless option or work hard and expend resources to do the right thing".
  • Expansion Pack: You can play the game perfectly well without ever buying Fate, but some storylines might be expanded by spending Fate, some storylines are entirely Fate-locked, and you can subscribe to become an Exceptional Friend for £5 a month, which gives you access to the House of Chimes and the Exceptional Stories of that duration. Some exceptional stories add new options to normal parts of Fallen London after they've been concluded. For example, Cut With Moonlight adds an option to buy boxes of sunlight to the society faction card, which gives you hallucinations that can be experienced in several different areas.
  • Expospeak Gag: Using a fictional word. The Professor of Antiquarian Esquivalience. Or in other words, the ancient art of wilfully avoiding one's official duties.
  • Extreme Omnivore: The Starveling Cat is one, if the sidenotes are to be believed. Seekers of the Name can also drift into this when they let their hunger grow too big. Devouring their own entry in the local Phonebook of Important People comes to mind.
  • Eye Scream: Sorrow-spiders steal eyeballs, which hatch into new spiders.
  • Face–Heel Turn/Heel–Face Turn: You can perform either of these in several occasions, though particularly when severing connections with some of the more strictly moral groups. Some of the actions your character does to sever their connections especially ring of it, such as stealing a particular soul from the Devils, because it's one they can't have, or Urchin-proofing your rooftop to get rid of them.
  • Fantastic Drug: Prisoner's honey is a magic drug. It doesn't just give you the Mushroom Samba, it actually physically transports you into a dream. Just stay away from red honey...
  • Fantastic Racism: Nobody likes the Rubbery Men. This even extends to gameplay; they're one of three factions (the other two being the Church and the Urchins) who have conflict cards with three or more other factions, so trying to befriend them may clog up your opportunity deck if you're also allied with the Tomb-Colonies, the Revolutionaries, and/or the Constables. Clay Men and tomb-colonists are not popular either. The Rubbery Men have it worse, though.
  • Femme Fatale: The Sardonic Music-Hall Singer is a minor example, as associating with her is a good way to get dragged into criminal entanglements. The player can become a much stronger example, if she pursues Persuasive and Shadowy.
  • Fictional Colour: A number appear across the Neath: violant, cosmogone, gant, viric, apocyan, peligin and irrigo. Understanding what produces them and what effect they have on those who see them is the basis of the 'Luminosity' item category.
  • Fighter, Mage, Thief: Crops up in "Savage!", "Elusive!", and "Baroque!", the three qualities used by the Game of Knife and Candle.
  • First-Person Perspective: Usually everything in the game is in Third-Person, but plenty of content involving the Stormy-Eyed quality is instead narrated in First-Person. It can get very jarring when you hit a large slew of such cards/storylets which is bound to happen if you let it rise way too high and start thinking you are the Thunder.
  • Fisher King: The Fisher Kings are an urchin gang, based on the Arthurian legend, but it's not clear whether their domain reflects their character. The King with a Hundred Hearts is a Genius Loci example, whose very dreams shape his land and his subjects.
    • A few of the more esoteric storylets on Winking Isle, a late-game location in the Seeking Mr Eaten's Name storyline, draw parallels between the Fisher King of legend and Mr Eaten himself:
    "King Twelve, they say, was wounded in the thigh. He was robbed of what will be. You may bring him a candle or a heart. Or you may fly; you may fly."
    "Here he once stood, on the border between Parabola and the Wilderness, to look out across his wounded realm."
  • Fishing Minigame: The Fruits of the Zee Festival event lets you fish for "strange catches" that you can give to the Hooded Lady at the festival in exchange for unique/valuable items at the Wreckers' Cove. Getting the biggest catches to trade for the best cove items requires high Quirks, an assortment of Map items, and the Random Number God's favor.
  • Fluffy Tamer: The Labyrinth of Tigers is full of these, and you'll need to learn their ways if you want to make any sort of progress inside.
  • A Foggy Day in London Town: The weather changes every now and then, but it is very often foggy. Which is impressive, because in this universe, London is underneath the earth.
  • Freemium: Exceptional Friendship, an optional subscription that costs £5 per month and increases the action cap to 40, the opportunity deck size to 10 and gives access to the House of Chimes and the Exceptional Stories of that duration.
  • Funetik Aksent: An assistant of the Enterprising Astronomer:
    Hi have hay hitem... Hay cert-hain gentleman hat the hobservatory wanted you to have this here distressing hitem. Hi'm glad to be rid of the thing. Now, hif you'll hexcuse me, hi have matters to hattend to.
  • Fungus Humongous: They live in marshy areas. The player can meet some if they live in a cottage by the Observatory, go shroom-hopping, or are breeding creatures in the Labyrinth of Tigers.
  • Furry Confusion: Can come up in a conflict card if you have a Ratskin Suit and a Working Rat ally; one option is to reassure him that your suit was made from humanely-farmed non-sentient rats.
  • Game-Breaker: An unusual reverse occurrence. The quest for Mr Eaten's Name, essentially Self-Inflicted Hell, was considered so punishingly broken (being almost certain to take hours of grinding, destroy most of your character's positive attributes, and then become impossible to complete) that it went on hiatus for over 2 years. When it finally came back in 2016, it was heavily revamped and now starts with a confirmation card that warns the player exactly what they're getting into and gives them an item that they can use any time to bail out of the quest. invoked
  • Gameplay and Story Segregation: Sort of.
    • For some reason, moving from the Shuttered Palace to the Empress' Court takes an action, while travelling from there to, say, Watchmaker's Hill does not, even if the Shuttered Palace is located in the same building as the Empress' Court, while Watchmaker's Hill is on the other side of London. You can also freely access the Bazaar from the Foreign Office (which is also located on the opposite side of London), even if it costs an action and 3 Compromising Documents every time you need to normally move from Wilmot's End to the Foreign Office.
    • In some storylets, the text for failure seems to be more a matter of bad luck, or out-of-context issues unrelated to the stat required, than a lack of ability (examples including donating your body to science, and failing to keep quiet because your surgeon was drunk, someone at the pit fights giving one Curb-Stomp Battle after another, making the show too boring to distract your pickpocketing marks, or failing to decypher infernal contracts at the Brass Embassy because the cabinets are sentient and tried to eat your fingers). Also, when failing some storylets that punish you with some Menace, the raised Menace sometimes doesn't make sense. (e.g. You've failed to lecture some people and don't get paid. Wounds is increasing...)
    • In at least one case, fan remarks concerning raising the Heartless quality for leaving the Comtessa with her lover in the Finder of Heiresses storylet led to its removal because it didn't make sense to many why that was happening. Players felt that the Comtessa was there of her own free will and that they were respecting her wishes, not leaving her to a Fate Worse Than Death.
  • Gargle Blaster: Amanita Sherry and Muscaria Brandy, two types of alcohol considered to be Infernal instead of Wines items. You might drink them if you can't read labels, but if you aren't a devil you aren't likely to survive to drink a second time.
  • Gaslamp Fantasy: Definitely Victorian, supernatural, and with Gothic roots, though it leans more towards horror.
  • Gemstone Assault: The Twelve-carat Diamond Ring increases your Dangerous by 3:
  • Genius Loci:
    • Polythreme, where everything is alive. Specifically, the King with a Hundred Hearts. He's the one who makes the Clay Men - they split off the buildings when the Hundreds dreams. Unfinished Men are what happens when he has a nightmare.
    • The Bazaar is alive in some sense. And it also appears to eat love.
    • Old Downy, the Urchins' tenement, is strongly implied to be alive in some sense too - its stairs and pipes writhe as you climb them.
  • Gentleman and a Scholar: Any player who focuses on Watchful and Persuasive. (Naturally, this includes players who choose the Heart's Desire ambition)
  • Gentleman Thief: Any player who focuses on Persuasive and Shadowy. (Naturally, this includes players who choose the Light Fingers ambition.)
  • Goggles Do Nothing: Thoroughly averted. They raise your Watchful score.
  • Go Mad from the Revelation: Possibly the Topsy King. Actually, he bet his mind as a stake on a certain card game. Also, knowing some secrets in the Neath pushes your Nightmares attribute, and when it gets high enough, this happens to you.
  • Golem: The Clay Men, who are employed to do various grunt work in the docks and pubs. They seem to have some form of independent thought, though.
  • Gone Horribly Right:
    • One opportunity card has you try to settle the differences between two gangs outside your house. Should you fail, you still succeed in making the gangs get along... by getting their leaders to fall in love with each other and causing a crime spree as they cooperate on several heists. Your neighbours are displeased.
    • A storylet in Ladybones Road has you lay a false trail for a spy to get rid of her. If you fail, it's so convincing that a half-dozen more spies show up to follow up on her investigations.
    • Another storylet lets you help training new Constables at the Department of Menace Eradication, available at higher Dangerous levels. If you fail, your tales of how you got all your old wounds and your exploits turn way too effective, and scare off one fourth of the applicants, pissing off the Department.
  • Good Feels Good: The main benefit of signing up with the C.V.R. - a secret organisation that works to return souls to their rightful owners. Dealing in souls is much more lucrative, but the CVR gives you a hideously expensive option that sets your Nightmare, Wounds, Scandal and Suspicion to zero.
  • Got Me Doing It:
    " 'It's a fierce shame - they's both sing like angels, so they do. She was s'posed come back from the Forgotten Quarter last week. I fears the worst for her.'
    You're well on your way to fearsing the worst too. Fearing the worst. You had better check the Forgotten Quarter. And you didn't know she had a sister."
    • The Enterprising Astronomer's assistant (see Funetik Aksent above) has this effect, too. You notice the parcel is hemitting... emitting a low wail.
    • Same with Zailors and their gratuitous Z usage.
    It's hard to know zenze from zuperzti- Argh! sense from superstition when it comes to zailors.
  • Gotta Catch Them All: The accommodation keys. And several plotlines related to the Labyrinth of Tigers involve catching and/or training an assemblage of various wild monsters. The false saints' candles, if you're Seeking the Name.
  • Government Conspiracy:
    • The Masters are always scheming, but a particularly nasty one is unveiled in the Light Fingers ambition.
    • The entity Jack-of-Smiles is also revealed to be the product of a Gone Horribly Wrong attempt of the Masters to manufacture love stories for the Bazaar and the Nemesis ambition's biggest reveal is that at least one Master orchestrated the murder of not just your loved one, but six other people's loved ones too to lure them to the Neath for reasons not yet disclosed.
  • Gray Eyes: Anyone with the Stormy-Eyed quality, meaning they completed Recurring Dreams: What the Thunder Said once.
    "Were your eyes always such a dark gray? Did you hear what the Thunder said?"
  • Hall of Mirrors: At Mrs Plenty's Carnival. Although these mirrors show you the future... possibly. Or they might drive you insane. Or kill you.
  • Halloween Episode: Starting in 2013, players were able to invite eccentric visitors to their lodgings and get a glimpse of their future/destiny and collect confessions from other Menace-ridden players which they could choose to keep secret or betray for a variety of rewards during a 2-week period at the end of October. 2014 added Mr Huffam who interviewed players who had gotten enough "Spirit of Hallowmas" from their experiences, 2015 added special confessions given by several established Fallen London NPCs, and 2016 revamped the confession mechanic so that players could only take confessions from a variety of Fallen London NPCs instead of other players (although they could still trade them for specific confessions) and could also use these confessions to upgrade certain Companions.
  • Hand of Glory: Hands of Glory can be sent as gifts during the Feast of the Exceptional Rose because nothing says love like a severed limb that helps you sneak around.
    It is possible that someone plucked an old love from the grave to send you this. More likely they bought it at Hangman's Arch. Possibly it means they value you more than their own right hand. It's hard to be certain.
  • Happy Place: The Mirror-Marches can be used like this when you're dangerously close to going insane. It acts like a less-punishing version of the State of Some Confusion, but requires you to have at least one Memory of Light in your possession when your Nightmares hit 8 (or you can access it manually from Mrs Plenty's Carnival with a high enough Watchful score).
  • Harmless Villain: Jack-of-Smiles is a dangerous, insane serial killer who likes to hide in snowmen and leap out at people with knives. He is rather annoyed by how most of them just get back up again when he's done.
  • Have a Gay Old Time: You can wear a Gay Bonnet or find a pair of Queer Souls. This is Victorian Era (underground) London, after all.
  • Healing Potion: F.F. Gebrandt's Tincture of Vigour, which reduces Wounds when drunk.
  • Hell Hotel: The only tourists to visit the Tomb-Colonies are Londoners looking for somewhere completely boring to hide from the public eye. Their hotels are as much mausoleums as residences, being staffed and patronised by the rotting dead.
  • Hell Is That Noise: If a certain shadowy task is failed, a priest gets a fishhook in his earlobe. From the narration: invoked
    "There is no sound on this earth or below it like the sound of a priest with a fishhook in his earlobe."
  • Hell of a Time: Hell's colony in the Neath, the Iron Republic, isn't so much a place of eternal torment as it is a place of total chaos, which amounts to the same thing. It's still dangerous, of course, but people come and go freely all the time... usually with massive holes in their memory.
  • Heroic Sacrifice: While Dreaming of Things to Come, you can blow up your ship (and yourself) in order to destroy the Lorn-Flukes.
  • Heroic Willpower: Instead of playing Chess with Death, you can do this to come Back from the Dead. Most, though not all, of the Opportunity cards drawn in the land of the dead reference your desire to come back to life to enjoy the things you enjoyed in London, finish businesses you have left unfinished, and so on.
  • Hide Your Children: Averted. One task involves starting a war between two rival urchin gangs. If you choose to do so rather than warn them, you'll hear that children are throwing each other off rooftops and into the river. Probably gets away with it because the character isn't actually inflicting the violence, and it's only a text description. Also, as Death Is Cheap in the Neath, the kids will likely be fine in the end.
    • Except for the ones ending up in the river. Drownies have it bad.
  • Historical-Domain Character: A number of them appear, though never by the name they're best known by. There appear Sigmund Freud, Charles Dickens, Victoria and Albert, Pre-Raphaelite painter William Holman Hunt, Oscar Wilde (though it seems like he came to a tragic end), Charles Babbage, and one or more of the royal families of Pharaoh Akhenaten and Möngke Khan. The Player Character of The Silver Tree is based on William of Rubruck.
  • Historical Villain Upgrade: In this world, Jack the Ripper is a sentient set of knives capable of possessing anyone who comes into contact with him.
  • Hit Points: Your wounds quality - which increases primarily from failing high level Dangerous challenges, but can also be increased in other ways - acts as a reverse hit points gauge. When it reaches eight, you die. This is not notably more inconvenient than any of the other possible failure states... And is notably less annoying then the usual Nightmares failure state, which erases some of your progress in the reoccurring dreams storylines. Yes, going temporarily insane is literally a Fate Worse Than Death.
  • Hold Your Hippogriffs:
    'You have to stop. You know what I mean. We're on to you, glimshine.'
  • Homeless Pigeon Person: The Topsy King. He has a bat! Also a little bit crazy.
  • A Homeowner Is You: You can buy houses at Penstock's Land Agency in the Bazaar: the more expensive ones allow you to hold more opportunity cards in your hand.
  • Horror Hunger: One of the symptoms of Seeking the Name is a gradually worsening hunger. Seekers are capable of consuming truly monstrous amounts of food, their own pets, and one option they can take when ravenous enough strongly implies that they killed and ate somebody.
  • Hub City: The city of London itself, where you are going to spend more than half of your playing time.
  • Humanoid Abomination:
    • The Snuffers, horrific creatures that disguise themselves as men by wearing sewn-together human faces. The Unfinished Men may also count, given that they're born from nightmares.
    • Playing through "The Gift" story heavily implies that the Captivating Princess has become this. The rest of the royal family stretch the label of 'humanoid' much further.
  • Hunting the Most Dangerous Game: Hell's Embassy tricks people into hunting expeditions in the Forgotten Quarter... and thanks to legal mumbo-jumbo, the target is them. And when the quarry is caught, whatever they do to them gives your character nightmares.
  • Hyperactive Metabolism: A lot of the Opportunity cards and storylets that reduce your Wounds are based around eating.

     I-P 
  • I Call It "Vera": Colonel Pommery has a BFG he calls "Gladys."
  • I Gave My Word: The Steadfast quirk measures how many times you've done this.
  • Ignore the Disability: Don't mention the Second City to any of the Masters, or they will be rather unpleasant to you, with varying degrees of politeness.
  • I Lied: The Ruthless quirk (usually) measures how many time you've done this.
  • Immortality Inducer: Hesperidean Cider, ostensibly, which is actually an ordinary commodity sold at the Bazaar. It costs a fortune, though; even more than an Overgoat. It would take over three years of constant farming to get enough echoes to buy some. One player has, in fact, managed to become the first Hesperidean... by pledging $500 (in real money!) to another Failbetter Games project on kickstarter. A second bottle was later awarded to a player for donating $1600 to Con or Bust in a charity auction. When used in the game, it unlocks some extra content and heals all your wounds, and can be used an unlimited number of times, even when already dead (or, in other words, you'll never have to worry about your Wounds or deal with the Boatman again). It can also shared with any number of other players without losing it, making it a social Cool Toy.
  • Improvised Weapon: Presumably to avoid using actual weapons you might not have, your character seems to have a tendency towards these in the Dangerous challenges. Thrown bricks, potted plants, coal buckets, a ten-pound cross ("God will understand")...
  • I Need a Freaking Drink: Drinking laudanum allows a player to lower their nightmares quality at the cost of gaining wounds.
  • Infinity -1 Sword:
    • The best Bazaar weapons and companions (Ratwork Watch, Infernal Sharpshooter's Rifle, Poison-tipped Umbrella, Irresistible Drum, Scuttering Squad). They are easily available at the Bazaar and anything that outclasses them is either event-, Profession-bound or Fate-locked, or requires a lot of time for Renown-grinding (except for the Overgoat, which just costs an incredible amount of Echoes).
    • The Iron Republic Journal, a weapon that gives a total of 2 BDR, only outclassed by the Golden Spiked Rosary (+3 Dreaded) and the Seven-Fold Knock (+4 Dreaded). However, the Rosary costs 40 Fate and is only available during the Feast of the Exceptional Rose, and the Knock requires completing the incredibly destructive Seeking Mr Eaten's Name story and turning back at the last chance, while the Iron Republic Journal can be obtained as soon as you gain access to the Iron Republic, which requires nothing more than a fair amount of time accumulating Counting the Days.
  • Infinity +1 Sword:
    • The Infinity+1 Companions are the Overgoat and the Bifurcated Owl: the former bestows, among others, a massive boost of 20 to Watchful and costs 11712.8 Echoes in the Bazaar, the latter provides 4 BDR (the highest of any companions) and is the culmination of the Theological Husbandry story, which requires 45 Fate (20 for the Empyrean Redolence Formula and 25 for Flute Street) to complete. There is also an Infinity Plus Two Companion in the form of the Übergoat, which provides a bonus of 30 Watchful and 4 BDR. It's obtained by breeding two Overgoats together. Subverted with the Heptagoat, which requires breeding seven Übergoats together plus an Impossible Theorem. It is more of a Cosmetic Award than an Infinity+7 Companion, as it lacks the Watchful/Bizarre/Dreaded bonuses of the Overgoat and Übergoat.
    • For actual weapons, the Waxwail Knife comes the closest to being an Infinity+1 Sword. It's the best Dangerous item in the game, outstripping the Profession-bound items and even Fate-locked weapons, and can only be obtained through the game of Knife-and-Candle. Since Knife-and-Candle has been temporarily disabled, the current candidate is the Vial of Cantigaster Venom: it is the second best Dangerous weapon (tied with two Profession-bound items), can't be lost in Knife-and-Candle like the Waxwail Knife, and can only be obtained by paying 12 Fate to assist the Duchess during the Twelve Days of Mr Sacks.
    • There are also the 40 Renown items, which grants 10 points of a given attribute - anything that outclass them in that slot is Profession-bound - but be prepared to spend lots and lots of time and items grinding for Favours and Renown if you want to obtain them. And the Location of an Underground Organ (the 40 Rubbery Men Renown item) and What Might Be a Thunderbolt (the 40 Urchins Renown item) can only be redeemed at Flute Street (which costs 25 Fate) and the Mind of a Long-Dead God (itself the hardest-to-reach, non-Fate-locked location in the game), respectively.
    • If you complete the ENTIRETY of Seeking Mr Eaten's Name, and turn back at the very last chance offered at the Avid Horizon, you will receive the Seven-Fold Knock, a 4 BDR Weapon and the best in the game. However, SMEN is an incredibly self-destructive and unrewarding storyline, and attempting it solely with the idea of optimisation with bring you no end of misery. For non-Seekers, there's the Golden Spiked Rosary, which gives 3 BDR and is only available as a 40-Fate gift from other players during the Feast of the Exceptional Rose. The Tanned Mask is the same thing for hats, being the only hat that gives 2 BDR and is also only available as a 40-Fate gift.
    • The best transport items are the Ratwork Velocipede (acquired at the beginning of the Spinning of the Wheels premium story, which costs 25 Fate), the Thoroughly Cowed Pony (event-locked, costs 30 Fate) and the Most Humbling Expression of Her Majesty's Esteem (the 40 Renown item for Society).
    • The best home comfort item is the Shrine to Saint Joshua, exclusive to Midnighters (a tier 3 profession). For non-Midnighters, the best ones in terms of attributes are the Great Game, Oneiric Key, Gleaming Buttons and Beatific Stone, all of which give 8 points to an attribute and require 40 Renown for (respectively) the Great Game, Bohemians, Revolutionaries and Church. Meanwhile, the only BDR-giving home comforts are exclusively available during December and cost 30 Fate each.
    • The best ship is the Majestic Pleasure Yacht, which requires grinding a bunch of extremely costly items, then put them on a gamble where the odds are 'against you'. Either that or shelling out 20 Fate. The second-best ship, the Zubmarine, is almost as bad: no gambling is involved, but the upfront cost is much higher (7 Bejewelled Lenses, 20 Whirring Contraptions and 20 Strong-Backed Labour).
  • Insistent Terminology: Don't call him "Smiles."
  • Interface Screw: The "Fallen London" banner is reversed while you're in the Mirror-Marches or the Misermere.
  • Interface Spoiler: It mainly happens with certain opportunity cards. They'll have several options, and a number of them will be locked and will visibly tie in with plots much further down the road than you can currently access.
  • Interspecies Romance:
    • The Comtessa is apparently in love with a Clay Man. Or, alternatively, the Clay Man was in love with her, and she was just off seeking excitement. It didn't end well.
    • The opportunity card "A deviless' serenade" has you help her write a song to her beloved, a Rubbery Man.
    • Another opportunity card involves a tomb-colonist gentleman commissioning love poetry with which to woo a human young lady. Mind you, tomb-colonists are technically human under the bandages, but it's still basically treated as this trope.
    • You, the player, can optionally take a Rubbery Man or a Snuffer as your Constant Companion.
  • Istanbul Not Constantinople: A lot of places in London had their names changed after the city fell. Ladybones Road used to be Marylebone, Spite was Spitalfields, the Stolen River is the Thames, Fleet Street became Doubt Street, Wolfstack Docks are the old West India Docks on the Isle of Dogs, the Labyrinth of Tigers was the London Zoo, the University of London becomes simply the University, with Benthic and Summerset being, respectively, University College London and King's College, and so on.
  • Item Crafting:
    • It is possible to convert a number of low-level items into a smaller number of higher-level items in the same category (known as up-converting). Usually it is only possible with low-to-mid level items (Primordial Shrieks can be converted to Maniac's Prayers, then Maniac's Prayers to Correspondence Plaques, then to Aeolian Screams, but only up to Storm-Threnodies, which cannot be up-converted to Night-Whispers), except with Wines and Mysteries, but only in special cases (the Portly Sommelier for the former, and the Truthbreaker Turbine in the University for the latter).
    • The Bazaar Side-streets is full of 'shops' (technically storylets) which allows you to exchange a number of lesser items for a single more expensive item that is needed to construct even greater items (most of which fill the six POSI-exclusive slots) that simply cannot be obtained at the Bazaar.
  • It Amused Me: The player's motives for why they do things are rarely delved into, leaving this open as a possible explanation.
  • Jerk Ass: Any character with a high Heartless score, generally.
  • Jigsaw Puzzle Plot: And oh boy are there lots of pieces.
  • Jungle Japes: Losing your mind results in you going to the Mirror-Marches, a beautiful (and hot) tropical island populated with perfect mirrors through the surface. Here, you can chase parrots, converse with tigers (oh my), and explore the ruins.
  • Karma Houdini:
    • In-universe, among the options for operas you can write as your Grand Finale before getting banished from the court, you can write a particularly heavy-handed love story with an absolutely horrendous one of these, that gets to ruin the protagonist's life twice over and gets off scot-free just for the shock value. The audience hates it so much they hunt you down with soldiers.
    • The murderer of the Senior Reader in _____, the Provost of Summerset College, will, depending on your choice, end up either getting off completely scot-free or losing his job but not having to spend a day in New Newgate Prison.
  • Karma Meter: Several opposing player qualities tend to work this way, including Austere/Hedonist, Magnanimous/Ruthless, and Heartless/Steadfast. Like Mass Effect, however, the qualities are not mutually-exclusive, which means there's nothing stopping you from, for example, being Magnanimous in some situations and Ruthless in others, though you may still find storylets in which the two qualities conflict. Entering the House of Chimes requires the player to claim some "exceptional" quality; one option involves having high Austere and Hedonist.
  • Knife Nut: Jack-of-Smiles, London's premier half-immortal mass murderer, favours those. It's not so bad if he just cuts your throat, as death isn't permanent in London, but he's still dangerous - if he slices you into chunks, you're not going to come back. In fact, Jack 'is' the knives. He's 'in' the knives. If you pick up one of his knives, you're going to become Jack.
  • King of the Homeless: The Topsy King.
  • Kill 'em All: A possible ending to The Cheesemonger storyline is to kill Alice, her daughter, and their little dog, too. By way of dynamite, that is.
  • Kleptomaniac Hero: Even beyond shadowy business, your common reward for completing a task is whatever can be pocketed in the aftermath.
  • Knowledge Broker: Trading in the "Mysteries," "Influence," and "Rumour" item branches pretty much makes you one. Secrets in Fallen London are a commodity just like echoes, jade, and glim. Though it's never explained how your character keeps track of all that information with only 19th century technology, or how many secrets a single person can reasonably acquire, especially when they frequent the same sources over and over.
  • Lack of Empathy: The Heartless quirk measures this.
  • Lampshade Hanging: The repeated use of certain art for different characters is occasionally lampshaded:
    • If you ask Mr Wines to employ your maiden aunt, it will remark that 'She could almost be a sister to the delicious Mrs Gebrandt.' F.F. Gebrandt and your maiden aunt use the same character art.
    • Similarly, the Inhabiter of Wolves shares character art with the Eater of Chains...
    It's that beast from your dreams! No, no it isn't. It looks d—ned similar though.
    • If you choose to pay Glim to have your wounds treated by an Itinerant Physician, she says "Thank you for the glim. My sister has a great need for the stuff". She shares her portrait with the Keen-Eyed Lapidary, who occasionally shows up asking the player for large quantities of Glim.
  • La Résistance: The revolutionaries, an underground faction in the underground city, plotting against the Masters of the Bazaar.
  • Laser-Guided Amnesia:
    • Bottled Oblivion. It reduces your stats, meaning you'll have to grind them back up again. A large proportion of the time, that would be an extremely bad thing. Bottled Oblivion is for the rare times when it's not.
    • The Lethean Tea-Leaves, purchasable for 50 Fate, allow you to forget your current Ambition and choose another.
    • If your Turncoat menace reaches 4 (which locks you out of the normal Affair of the Box carousels, causing to progress very slowly in that storylet since you'll only gain Boxfuls of Intrigue on some faction conflict cards, whose Affair of the Box options are increasingly being phased out as they are removed from cards involving a faction that has been converted to Favours/Renown), you can pay 100 CP of Connected: Revolutionaries, a point of Connected: the Masters or 5 Fate to cause everyone to forget about your Chronic Backstabbing Disorder, reducing your Turncoat points to zero.
  • Latex Perfection: Snuffers somehow manage this with actual human skin torn from actual faces. Pretty good trick for something that looks like a cross between a shotgun blast victim and a demonic cicada without it.
  • Lemony Narrator: Some of the flavor text for items and quirks have elements of this. In particular, the flavor text for the Seeking Mr Eaten's Name quest:
    "Why? In God's name, why? What can you possibly hope to gain? Stop now. Before it's too late."
  • Level-Up at Intimacy 5: Getting a Spouse increases your attributes and some of them have cards that have a chance of earning you valuable items. You can also date and marry other players; dates give you items and a lavish enough wedding increases your Notability and allows you to invite guests who give you gifts and advice.
  • Level Up Fill Up: Completing a Making Your Name story causes you to lose all points from a single menace.
  • Living Clothes: The Avid Gloves, Eager Gloves, Voracious Gloves, Extraordinary Hat and Judgemental Hat have eyes and can bite; the Sporing Bonnet whispers strange things; the Blemmigan Hat is a walking mushroom worn as a hat; and the Moderately Cooperative Clothes-Colony is living and wearing you, instead of the opposite.
    'We shall complete you! You shall delight in wearing us!' But who is wearing whom?
  • Locomotive Level: The Twelve-Fifteen from Moloch Street, which can be visited during the eponymous exceptional story.
  • Loophole Abuse: There's a story that involves your foe ordering you to go alone to a location in the Flit to confront him. You do go alone as asked because your allies have all arrived there before you.
  • Losing Your Head:
    • You can stumble across a counterfeit head of St. John The Baptist. (Don't think too hard about where it came from. Actually, they grow on a certain plant.) Yes, you can make horrible headless jokes with it. And yes, you can do the Salome thing, too. Neither of these go down all that well with the public, though.
    • You can also do this to yourself as part of the Seeking Mr Eaten's Name storyline.
  • Love Hurts: A major recurring theme is how falling in love — or even worse, seeking the Bazaar's help on saving a loved one — rarely ever ends well.
  • Lovecraft Lite: The game's genre has been described by its creators as Comic Horror.
  • Low-Level Advantage:
    • At higher levels (26 Watchful, 33 other stats), failing at most cards will raise a Menace.
    • The Tomb-Colonies contain a storylet that only helps you reduce Scandal if you "fail" a fairly easy Persuasive challenge.
    • The three menace-reducing tinctures lose part of their effectiveness after you become a Person of Some Importance.
  • Luck-Based Mission: Virtually everything, though you can alter the odds by adjusting your qualities. There are, however, certain challenges that are purely luck-based (most players regard them with disdain).
  • Luck Manipulation Mechanic: Second chance items. They only exist for challenges that use the main four qualities, though.
  • Lucky Seven: Inverted. Seven is the Arc Number of the very unlucky Seeking Mr Eaten's Name quest.
  • Luke Nounverber: In the Gallery of Serpents, there are statues of Fingerkings named Reconciler of Friends, Procurer of Lost Dignities and Favour, and Revealer of Fortune.
  • MacGuffin: The Affair of the Box concerns a heavy iron box with seven locks. For the majority of the storyline, you have no idea what's in it, only that everyone wants it. As it turns out, the box was meant for everyone to chase, not open. Making this a perfect example of the trope.
  • Magikarp Power: You might find a strange plant growing in your house. If you keep feeding it, it will eventually grow talking heads, and once it grows massive you can either make a constant profit off its fruits or sell the giant shrub to royalty for sheer gems. Not bad for the little guy.
    • Also, if you bring it to maximum growth, it'll stop bearing fruit but will put itself on death patrol, saving you once from some nasty, energy-consuming situations. Feed it five more times to get your extra life back.
  • Make-Up Is Evil: The Quiet Deviless invites you into her chambers to confidentially show you her cosmetics.
  • Mark of the Beast: There is actually an entire storyline revolving around having one of these.
  • Masochist's Meal: While making dinner for another player, you can choose to serve them a Counterfeit Head of John the Baptist. That player can then choose to eat it and gain a heaping of Nightmares and Unaccountably Peckish, kiss it and gain a massive amount of Scandal, or run away screaming.
  • Meaningful Name:
    • The Masters of the Bazaar go by names related to their primary trade good - Mr Pages trades in books, Mr Iron trades in weaponry, and so on.
    • The Clay Men Jasper and Lyme are named after minerals.
  • Might as Well Not Be in Prison at All: The One Who Pulls the Strings, a companion that can be obtained from New Newgate Prison with 40 Renown: Criminals:
    They reside in the deepest cell in New Newgate. It does not disadvantage them.
  • Mind Rape: The mysterious red honey, properly named Gaoler's Honey, works much the same as Prisoner's Honey - except that it transports the taster to the dreams of other people and allows them to rummage through their victims' minds. This is not in the least pleasant for the victims.
  • Mistaken for Murderer: Handing over too many rat corpses during a Rattus Faber funeral will get you accused of being a rat-catcher, even if you had nothing to do with those rats ending up dead.
  • Money Grinding: You'll often need to do this if you want to buy equipment, since most of it is ludicrously expensive.
  • Morality Kitchen Sink: There are very few 'pure' people in Fallen London. The Devils are amoral and manipulative; the Criminals are a mix of the downtrodden, the ruthless and the simply shady; the Constables are dedicated to upholding the law but turn a blind eye to the Bazaar's more underhanded actions due to being in the Masters' pockets; the Church is ultra-conservative and constantly tries to stifle the creativity of the Bohemians, who themselves often partake in political chaos and unrest in their pursuit of art. The Revolutionaries are a mixed bag: some are anti-monarchy, others want London out of the Masters' hands, and some define freedom as anarchy, but many (especially among the last of these) are willing to resort to murder and terrorism to achieve their ends.
  • Mugged for Disguise: In the Light Fingers Ambition, you need to sneak into an asylum, so you get a uniform from a guard, either by bribing or mugging him. The success text will mention the clothing not fitting you, but it'll have to do.
  • Multiple Endings: While the details are unknown due to the creators advising players to not spoil them, Seeking Mr Eaten's Name has three endings depending on whether you Grieve, Hate, or complete an optional branch that lets you ask about Salt instead.
  • Mutually Exclusive Powerups:
    • You can only have one destiny, one ship, one spouse and be part of one club at any given time; if you want to buy a new ship, marry a different spouse or join a different club, you need to get rid of your existing ship, divorce your spouse or leave your club first, and if you acquire a new destiny you automatically lose the old one.
    • You must choose between owning a Salon or an Orphanage; you cannot have both.
    • Some of the Making Your Name stories (which can only be done once and never reset, not even with Fate) award a different item depending on a choice at the end of the story, though all of these items have the same attributes.
    • Each Profession gives you a unique item that is lost when you leave or are promoted from that profession. Since you can only have one profession at a time, these items also count.
    • If you want the Secular Missionary or the Revolutionary Firebrand as a companion, you must side with that person the first time you leave the Cave of the Nadir, meaning that obtaining one permanently locks out the other.
  • My Species Doth Protest Too Much: Devils are often defined by a love of mischief, apathy for their targets' pranks, and an obsession with collecting souls. There is at least one devil, in an early quest, who seems to be genuinely benign and has feelings for a human woman, and is said by another devil to have "gone native." There's also a piano-playing deviless you can meet who seems to have no interest in souls.
  • Nameless Narrative: Not quite absolute, other than the Black Ribbon duelists, the Masters, the characters with Twitter feeds, and the Mahogany Hall magicians, names rarely, if ever, pop up.
  • Names to Run Away from Really Fast: The various abominations' names tend more towards the weird than the scary. Eater-of-Chains. The Cantigaster. The King with a Hundred Hearts. Mr Eaten.
  • The Necrocracy: At the culmination of the Season of Skies, you get to glimpse at the Blue Kingdom in the High Wilderness, which is populated by the dead.
  • Neologizer: Mr Pages.
  • New Game+: Sort of. Currently, accumulating enough points in the What the Thunder Said dream story allows you to draw a card that grants the quality "Stormy-Eyed", and resets What the Thunder Said to zero. With Stormy-Eyed, you can go through the storyline again from the beginning, but use your Stormy-Eyed to interact with the dream in different ways and glean new information.
  • Nice Guy: Anyone with a high Magnanimous score becomes this, usually.
  • Nice Hat: Many of the hats. The Extraordinary Hat. Also the Exceptional Hat, which has never eaten any brains, despite stories to the contrary.
  • Nightmare Face/Slasher Smile/Fangs Are Evil: The Exceptional Rose is suggested to have this. A snippet on the sidebar reads, "It carries on top a remarkable bloom. This remains tightly in bud, except for a day in late winter, when the flower opens to reveal, nestling in gorgeous red petals, a little child's face. It looks very darling, until it smiles."
    • The calling card of Jack-of-Smiles is smearing his red smile across Wanted posters - then, later on, showing the victim the real thing as he stabs the shit out of them.
  • Nightmare Fuel: In-Universe; some secrets in the Neath are so disturbing that they actually give your character nightmares. If this happens too often, you Go Mad from the Revelation.
  • No Good Deed Goes Unpunished: Trying to take the "good" options in stories will often lead to the game punishing you, either immediately or later on.
  • No Item Use for You: If you're on a heist or Flash Lay, in a party, or in any location not marked on the map of London (except the Empress' Court, Doubt Street, the Foreign Office, the Temple Club, the Breakwater House or your study), you cannot use any items.
  • Noodle Implements: During the Shadowy version of the Mysterious Benefactor story, you have to follow a spy. Apparently, at one point, "She nearly throws you off with a trick involving two hansoms, a Constable and a hurled umbrella." If you can figure out this trick, you've probably been playing too long.
  • Noodle Incident:
    • Paris. Finally explained by the Lost In Reflections exceptional story.
    • References to incidents involving weasels are rather common.
    • Also, the University;
    The University has a secret. Well, probably it has thousands. That business with the registrar and the cake, for instance.
    • Some reports about Neath snow.
    The Neath's annual snowfall has been studied. The learned men of the Department of Chiropterochronometry have attempted to incorporate it into their theories of bat rotation. The microscope that was used still exists. It can be seen in the Museum of Mistakes to this very day. The brass is horribly corroded, but the lenses are essentially intact.
    • Should you invite your aunt down to the 'Neath and fail to sort out her salon opening, you have to stop sailors fighting and a bunch of drunks who'd been doing something...
  • Not Blood Siblings: The Curate and his sister, apparently. It is possible to find fragments of a love letter signed by her in his desk.
  • Not Completely Useless: The Ridiculous Hat, Bottled Oblivion, and Talkative Rattus Faber all reduce your stats. Why would you want this? Because some storylets get locked off once your stats rise too high, and you may still find them useful at high levels. Your stats also grow faster from failing difficult challenges than succeeding at trivial ones, and your item bonuses contribute to this difficulty. If you're going to be grinding a storylet to raise your stats, you might as well lower your chances to "almost impossible" to get the most benefit, though with that, you'll have to look for storylets that don't penalize on failure. Exile in the Tomb-Colonies has a challenge that you want to fail. Lowering your stats can make this much easier.
  • Nothing Is Scarier: The 99th day (the final in the cycle) of every visit to the Iron Republic is blanked out.
    • The text for finding Night-Whispers as an Expedition treasure is simply: "...no..."
  • Ominous Owl: The Bifurcated Owl. It opens down the middle. Horrible things happen to any creature unwise enough to look (or travel) inside.
  • One Time Dungeon:
    • When Seeking Mr Eaten's Name, the nightmare version of Mrs Plenty's Carnival can only be visited at a specific point in the story, can't be left until you go insane or have obtained St Beau's Candle from it, and can never be revisited once you've done this. Later, the approach to the Mountain is the same thing for St Gawain's Candle, except that there's absolutely no way to leave it before obtaining the candle in question.
    • Once you leave them, it is impossible to revisit several Exceptional Story-related locations unless if you reset the story entirely: Caution, the Bleeding Forest, the Grey Vineyard and the Prison of Flint (in Flint), the Lifeberg (in Where You and I Must Go), the Wreck of the Pyres (in Our Lady of Pyres), the Persona Engine (in The Persona Engine), Henlys and the Gates of Hell (in The Twelve-Fifteen to Moloch Street) and the Century Exhibition (in The Century Exhibition). The Twelve-Fifteen to Moloch Street train itself is a Three-Time Dungeon, in that you board it three times during the eponymous story but can't revisit it without resetting the story either. The Silken Chapel, visited in an early Wolfstack Docks storylet is similar, minus the reset. Averted with Apis Meet (Flint) and Tanah-Chook (All Things Must End), which are permanently unlocked as new locations once the stories are completed.
  • One Nation Under Copyright: While not a Mega Corp., the Masters of the Bazaar obviously think of themselves as merchants and traders, and are essentially the rulers of the city.
  • One-Hit Kill:
    • Failing a duel with Feducci or a Lethal Sparring Bout with another player will put you on the slow boat regardless of how many wounds you had beforehand.
    • Similarly, failing to rob the Bazaar will drive you insane instantly regardless of what your Nightmares stat was previously. Unless you have a Bejewelled Cane, Spiked Rosary, or Cheerful Goldfish and no nightmares, in which case the negative stat from the item will keep you sane. Don't un-equip it.
    • Failing to rob the Embassy will immediately put you in prison regardless of whether you have any Suspicion before or not. Although it does bypass the usual courtroom scene, so it doesn't increase your criminal record.
    • Gazing into Heart's Mirror or Dream's Mirror in the Carnival's House of Mirrors will result in instant death or insanity, respectively. The game does warn you that gazing into them isn't a wise idea.
    • Gaining a Weeping Scar or the seventh Stain on your Soul as part of Seeking Mr Eaten's Name will instantly move you to the slow boat.
    • Failing to locate an Impossible Theorem will give you so many CP of Wounds to take you from zero to 11 Wounds instantly. Death usually occurs at 8 Wounds. Be prepared for a very long trip with the Boatman.
  • Only Six Faces: There's a limited number of player and NPC portraits and they get recycled for various characters. Occasionally this is lampshaded, like when Mr Wines points out the resemblance between F. F. Gebrandt and your aunt.
  • Opium Den: The Honey Dens of Veilgarden bear a certain resemblance.
  • Order Versus Chaos: Many conflicts in the Neath seem to be based around defiance and revolution against imposed systems. London's Revolutionaries are railing against the Masters. The devils have already revolted, banished and/or exterminated their once-rulers, and discard their laws for new ones (including laws of biology and physics) daily. There's an ongoing question of whether the imposition of law by an external power ought to be resisted on principle, whether it might be necessary to accept it, and what your motives are for taking either side.
  • Orphanage of Fear: The mysterious institution, known only as The Orphanage, where agents of the Masters experiment on kidnapped orphans. High-level characters can open their own, and act as The Fagin to its residents.
  • Orphanage of Love: Alternately to the above, a nicer orphanage owner can dedicate their resources to supplying their charges with comfortable conditions and loving homes.
  • Our Dragons Are Different: Dragons are creatures from the High Wilderness, eat Time, and they seem to be the enforcers of the laws of the Judgements. If the Judgements are the rulers, then they’re the guardsmen. There are also the Parabolan dragons, basically just snakes that decided they wanted to be dragons because Parabola is a lawless dreamscape. These dragons are totally unrelated to the space cop dragons, they'd get in a fight if they met.
  • Our Lawyers Advised This Trope: Once you've taken more than one step in the Seeking Mr Eaten's Name storyline, a must-answer storylet pops up requiring you to either back out (though not permanently like before) or accept a legal disclaimer acknowledging that any damage/loss of items as a result of playing it is the player's own fault and that no refunds will be forthcoming unless the result of a bug. If accepted, this agreement is reflected in an item called "A Bad End", which can be used to drop out of Seeking at any time.
  • Our Souls Are Different: ...And our deaths are different, too.
    • Souls are usually green, glowing amorphous things kept in bottles. You can buy or sell them at the Bazaar; although you're supposed to be licensed to deal in them, that stops precisely nobody. The unlicensed trade is called "spirifage" (and you had better really hope the devils don't catch you at it) but the word is usually reserved for people who steal souls without bothering to make contracts - taking them from the mouths of drowned people, stealing them from impoverished children, sneaking into hospitals to pull them out of invalids and so on.
    • Eight or nine percent, according to the Brass Embassy, of people in Fallen London are soulless. Tedious anarchist literature claims a figure as high as eleven.
    • Many people, especially in Society, are extremely keen to get theirs removed. They call the process "Abstraction."
    • The value of one's soul appears to correspond to a person's prominence and/or accomplishments; a devil will pay far more for a player character's soul if they are a Person of Some Importance than if they are not. Why these souls warrant a higher offer is unclear.
    • Exactly to what extent being soulless impairs you is unclear, and it might be different for different people. There's clearly a number of people who want theirs back, but at the same time it's apparently a boon for lawyers. At least one inventor apparently thought the problem could be solved with a special surgical truss. The devils themselves put it like this: "The effects? Well, nothing one would really notice. A little depression of mood. A pleasing melancholy here and there. Perhaps a lessening in appreciation of beauty. But does not beauty cause so much of the world's difficulties?"
    • The landlord of one lodgings option (the Rooms Above a Bookshop) is suggested to be missing his soul, and he spends most of his time either moping or weeping.
  • Oxbridge: The University, naturally - to some extent, Benthic and Summerset College are what you would get if you tried to squeeze Cambridge and Oxford, respectively, into a single campus.
  • Painful Rhyme:
    • An in-universe example: in an early venture in which you write mushroom poetry, you may do field work on your subject. The success text reads, "The work advances. Are you actually going to rhyme 'mushroom' with 'room'? I mean actually?"
    • One of the Starveling Cat rhymes: "The Starveling Ket! The Starveling Ket! What did it find in the oubliette?"
    • "The Starveling Ket! The Starveling Ket! Mean when he's dry! Worse when he's wet!"
  • Painting the Medium: The borders around storylets and opportunity cards gives you some information about them before clicking. Gold, silver, and bronze mean the storylets are part of a larger story rather than a one-off, and red borders mean that the card will auto-fire as soon as you click on it (this is usually related to Menace or Dream cards). But where this trope really comes into play is with Mr Eaten-related storylets, which all have black borders.
  • Pass the Popcorn: There are several opportunity cards or storylets that involve something terrible happening, such as a tentacled monster grabbing a child. The character has the option of being a hero or selling snacks or tickets or collecting bets among the crowd.
  • Path of Most Resistance: On an expedition in the Forgotten Quarter, you can progress through one of three options: a cautious (50 Watchful check, consumes 1 supply and gives 1 progress if successful), bold (100 Watchful check, consumes 2 supplies, gives 2 progress) and buccaneering approach (160 Watchful check, consumes 3 supplies and gives 3 progress). While this trope is averted for the easier expeditions (the harder options are not more supply-efficient, if not less so because you're more likely to fail the check), it is played straight for the harder ones (where you have to compete with rivals): Rivals' Progress has the same chance to increase regardless of your own approach, so that if you only choose the cautious approach, your rival will reach the goal long before you and force you to confront them which costs even more supplies and actions.
  • Pay Evil unto Evil: Sometimes, an Opportunity will have some thief you know of ask you to rob some down-on-his-luck bastard, like a Tomb-Colonist. You can pretend to steal from them, then steal a few more from him and give it to the Tomb-Colonist.
    • Jack-of-Smiles likes going after those on Wanted posters.
  • People Zoo: The Third Coil of the Labyrinth of Tigers, which houses the Labyrinth's human exhibits, mostly people possessed by the Fingerkings.
  • Perfectly Cromulent Word: Most of Mr Pages's dialogue. For example, he collects Proscribed Materials as part of his war on "pestilent and obstacudent literature". Some of his dialogue uses truly obscure English words, but some of it is (as far as research avails) entirely made up, but still with solid etymological roots. Also see its Twitter account, for more fantastic examples.
  • Permanently Missable Content:
    • A few storylets and opportunity cards will disappear once your qualities rise too high or you progress in the plot, though they're usually pointless to keep trying once they disappear anyway. In particular are gold-coloured storylets, which can only be done once, period, no ifs, ands, or buts. This wouldn't be so much of a problem if not for the fact that they usually have multiple branches... Fortunately, most allow the option of re-doing them for a price in Fate (often substantial, admittedly).
    • Getting banished from the Empress's Court is required to unlock the Foreign Office and Heartscross House, but it used to permanently lock you out of the Court (in older versions of the game, there was no way to get back) so you had had better complete all the tales and romances you want to in there before you start wrecking your reputation.
    • Creating your own department in the University locks you out of the earlier carousels and replaces them with another set, which is again locked out once you finish the main University storyline, which is required to unlock Bullbone Island, Corpsecage Island, Grunting Fen and Flute Street, although in this case all of the items and qualities acquired from the University carousels can be acquired elsewhere.
    • At the end of the Fate-locked Velocipede Squad story, choosing to reform the Squad from within will permanently render the Velocipede Squad carousels inaccessible.
    • When you first unlock the Duelling with the Black Ribbon storylets, you can have a friendly duel with all of the duelists including Captain Vendrick. However, after you deal with the Errant Duelist, you can only duel to the death with Captain Vendrick — and unlike in to-the-death duels with the other duelists where no one actually dies for good, winning this duel against Vendrick will cause him to die. Permanently.
    • At the end of the Unfinished Story in Polythreme, if you choose to refuse the Unfinished Fugitive's bargain, you will never get the chance to obtain an Unfinished Hat companion.
    • Entering the Cave of the Nadir for the first time will remove the only way to get an Incarnadine Fur Robe outside of December.
    • If you complete the entirety of Seeking Mr Eaten's Name but choose to turn back at the very end, you'll gain the Seven-Fold Knock, which prevents you from ever finishing the story and seeing the ending if you feel like Seeking again.
  • Persona Non Grata: You are permanently banned from entering the Empress' Court after finishing its main story, or the University if you choose to accuse the Provost of Summerset College of the murder you've been investigating. Getting welcomed back is not easy.
  • Pet the Dog/Kick the Dog: There's nothing stopping you from taking a nice or cruel action out of the blue. (Doing this must greatly confuse the populace of Fallen London if you're famous...)
  • Player Versus Player: Knife and Candle, the artful game of polite murder. Players are warned beforehand to become very Dangerous first before attempting this. Now making a comeback after being removed for a complete re-design.
  • Play Every Day: For some storylets, it's 'play every week', since Time the Healer (which comes at the beginning of each week) is the only way to remove Irrigo (allowing you to enter the Cave of the Nadir again) and Marsh-Mired in Dreams of Sustenance (allowing Seekers of the Name to gain a point of SMEN from the black opportunity cards).
  • Point of No Return: In the Seeking Mr Eaten's Name storyline, once you reach the Avid Horizon, lose your ship and knock, you can never go back to London and you can do nothing but shift around your mantelpiece.
  • Poison Mushroom: A number of equippable or usable items only reduce your attributes:
    • The Bottled Oblivion and Ridiculous Hat both inflict a hefty penalty on your attributes when used: they are useful when the attributes grow too high to your liking but not much more. The Talkative Rattus Faber is an equippable companion that does the same thing, and is also useful if you want to grind your attributes faster and don't mind the menaces.
    • The Somnolent Hyaena is a companion that only inflicts a penalty of 1 Watchful and nothing else, but it is not meant to be equipped at all, its true purpose is to be bred in the Fourth Coil of the Labyrinth of Tigers and then exchanged for items or turned into a Corresponding Ocelot.
    • You might run into some Eyeless Skulls within the Forgotten Quarter: they fetch for a good price, are necessary to begin an expedition to the Cave of the Nadir and can also be turned into a Ray-Drenched Cinder necessary to enter the Nadir for the first time, but keeping them in your inventory will add some harmful and undiscardable cards into your opportunity decks that reduce a single attribute by a significant amount of CP. Hanging on to Eyeless Skulls if you're not planning on the Cave of the Nadir expedition soon is a bad idea.
    • The Torment destiny reduces attributes and must be equipped by Seekers of the Name who choose the easy way to get St Destin's Candle during Hallowmas instead of sacrificing 12 points of Notability.
  • Police Brutality: The Constables can and do get violent when they have to, but can perform arrests normally. The Velocipede Squad, on the other hand, seems to beat the absolute stuffing out of suspects on principle, even those it doesn't arrest in the end. To the point one of the missions is basically "Dress up as a defenseless drunkard and beat up anyone that tries to rob you", no arrests needed. And since these are people that can and do kick the shit out of Clay Men with relative ease...
  • Politically Correct History: The developers include a little bit of this on purpose, counterbalanced with some carefully picked Deliberate Values Dissonance, to make the game more welcoming to players whose gender, race, and/or sexuality would have caused problems for them in the actual 19th century. The Everyone Is Bi thing is a good example; nobody in Fallen London appears to care what gender of person you prefer to take to bed. Also, the Non Player Characters are more gender-balanced than in many games set in the present day or the future.
  • Power of Love: Played straight, subverted, inverted, turned on its head, torn to pieces, reassembled and played with. In the deepest matters of the Bazaar, look to love. Always.
  • Power Tattoo: At the Feast of the Exceptional Rose, you can get a tattoo from the Lady in Lilac that permanently increases your Bizarre or Dreaded.
  • Press X to Die:
    • During an advanced point of the old version of Seeking Mr Eaten's Name, you could land in a twisted version of Mrs Plenty's Carnival. There, by paying 50 Fate and 5 carnival tickets, you had the option to ride the wheel that normally takes you below the Neath all the way up to the surface. At which point, you died. Forever. That's all for your character, pal. The game warned of this in very plain terms, going so far as to say there isn't even any interesting flavor text for your trouble. And you could still do it. And people have done it. One player took the plunge, and somehow their character wasn't deleted. Hilariously, the player's reaction was to submit a polite bug report requesting this be remedied. The developers boggled a bit and then rewarded the player with a unique Quality.
    • Seeking Mr Eaten's Name is effectively a long line of buttons that, should you press them, will make you repeatedly commit social, financial, spiritual and literal suicide over and over and over... until there's nothing left of you.
    • If you have at least 1 Wound or 1 Nightmares, you can look in a certain mirror at the Carnival's Hall of Mirrors (in spite of the game warning you not to do so) and get a one-way ticket to, respectively, a slow-moving boat on a dark river and to the Royal Bethlehem Hotel.
  • Pretentious Latin Motto:
    • There's one above the gate at the Shuttered Palace. It reads "Omnis Traductor Traditor." Translation 
    • In addition, the University's two colleges each have one. The radical, liberal Benthic College has "Omnes adsint, quamvis dementi, quamvis nefasti." Translation  The conservative, religious Summerset College has "Superbe et sophistice." Translation 
  • Prisoner's Dilemma: During the second week of the 1895 Election, players preparing for a debate with each other could choose to secretly cheat to get a guaranteed victory. However, the game warns them that if both of them cheat, neither of them will win and they will only receive punishment.
  • Private Military Contractors: The Scuttering Company mercenary army; you can hire a squad of them in the Bazaar for the cost of 500 Echoes.
  • Professional Killers: Fallen London has its share of murderers-for-hire — many of which will even make sure their targets stay dead. The player can even become one!
    • And it also has its share of Hobbyist Killers, in the form of the Game of Knife And Candle, where participants murder each other with "strangely boyish" enthusiasm.
  • Promotional Powerless Piece of Garbage: The two promotional Affiliation items grant no stats at all.
  • Pun: In a storylet involving a head, a counterfeit one your singular plant may give you, the success titles for two of the choices are "a head start" and "a heady sight".
  • Punny Name: One story involves finding a thieves' stash in a graveyard. It's buried in the grave of "Eliza Trove" ("Here lies a trove" with a Cockney accent)
  • Purely Aesthetic Gender: There isn't any change in gameplay whether the player chooses "Lady", "Gentleman", or "There are people walking around with the faces of squid - squid — and yet you have the nerve to waste our time with trifling and impertinent questions?" For those so inclined, it's possible to seduce NPCs of any gender, no matter which option one chooses. In addition, all clothing is unisex; gentlemen can wear corseted gowns and ladies dapper tailcoats without anyone taking notice.

     Q-Z 
  • Random Event: Opportunity cards, which are randomly drawn from a deck of eligible cards.
  • Random Number God:
    • The entirety of the Fidgeting Writer story could be compared to a Double or Nothing game. At each step you can trade your progress in for a guaranteed reward or take a chance on progressing further, risking everything you've wagered so far and a little more on a luck chance.
    • Want a Majestic Pleasure Yacht without having to shell out 20 Fate? Then be prepared for a completely luck-based gamble where 'the odds are strongly against you'. You might get lucky and succeed on the first try, or run into a string of bad rolls, each of which will cost, among others, a very costly Comprehensive Bribe, whose only reliable source is the Bazaar Side-streets where you can buy one for the exorbitant price of 300 x Romantic Notion, 30 x Vision of the Surface, and 6 x Touching Love Story. According to some players on the Failbetter forums, it is better to work some extra real-life hours and use the wage to buy the 20 Fate and skip the gambling altogether, instead of spending time in the game to grind for Bribes (which you won't need any if you choose to pay Fate).
    • Want an Impossible Theorem to upgrade your room at the Royal Bethlehem Hotel into a suite? The first part is to prepare 49 Searing Enigmata, each of which is already a fairly valuable item in itself. Then bring them to the University, where you need to pass a Watchful check with a difficulty level of 500, which means that you can only hope for a 38% success chance at best even with maxed Watchful, plus Notability and items. And if you fail, you'll lose a Searing Enigma, 100 Echoes and gain so many CP of Wounds to bring you from 0 Wounds to 11. If you don't have a Firkin of Hesperidean Cider, then be prepared for a very time-consuming trip with the Boatman before you can even hope to attempt this again. Thankfully, it is possible to buy the Suite for a much cheaper price during January through Penstock's Wicket.
    • Need a Classic Short Story to throw down the Well for St Cerise's Candle when Seeking the Name? You'll need to pass a Potential check which can only be attempted after the story's Potential passes 200, but raising a story's Potential past 150 can only be done by sacrificing two items: Compilations of Case-Notes (2 Potential each and available in extremely limited numbers outside Election) and Trade Secrets (25 Potential each, available once per real life month), meaning that meeting the prerequisites for the check itself will take at least 2 months. And when it comes to taking the check, 200 Potential only translates to a 60% success chance, and a failure means wasting everything you've sacrificed to write the story - be prepared to sacrifice a lot more items and wait for 2 months to gamble again. It's posible to avoid the gamble by raising the story's Potential to 334, though you will need seven months (!) for seven Trade Secrets as well as every single Compilation of Case-Notes you can find in the game. And it says something that this is still the least painful non-Fate, non-event-locked way to obtain St Cerise's Candle (for the record, the alternates are an Overgoat, an Übergoat or seven Fluke-Cores).
    • The carousel at the Winking Isle consists a series of luck-based options at the Well to try and increase Fasting and Meditating to a Foolish End, which in turn can be cashed in for Seeking Mr Eaten's Name points. Each option up the chain gives exponentially higher progress, but is increasingly likely to fail.
  • Rare Random Result: Some storylets and opportunity cards have "rare successes" that give better rewards than their normal success results. It usually scales with the regular reward, too; low-tier Rare Successes tend to simply grant a few extra mid-tier items, while tests with already-big rewards tend to grant hugely valuable items on a rare success (commonly a Searing Enigma). There are also rare-frequency cards that give unusually good items or Moods that temporarily raise an attribute by a huge number.
    • How do you get a Blemmigan Secretary? By opening a Surprise Package that has only a 1 in 1008 chance of giving you the Blemmigan Secretary. And you can't just grind away in an easily-repeatable storylet until you get it because Surprise Packages can only be obtained from other players or very infrequently-occurring cards, that also require you to build up Notability to even have a good chance of getting a Surprise Package.
  • Reality Warper:
    • It's implied that you are changing fate itself in-universe when spending Fate.
    • If Dr Schlomo's theories are correct, the Correspondence can be used to do this.
    • The Iron Republic is free from all laws, up to and including the laws of physics.
    Revolutionary: Mad as you like, but if you believe him, sometimes rain falls up and time runs backwards. Not even the tyranny of nature rules in the Iron Republic. Imagine that! True freedom for all!
  • Remixed Level:
    • The On a Velocipede Squad (for characters with 120+ Dangerous) and Affair of the Box (for characters with 120+ Shadowy) stories take place in Ladybones Road and Spite, respectively (both starting locations for Watchful and Shadowy).
    • Most of the Forgotten Quarter and Flit content are suitable for characters with 60-100 Watchful and Shadowy (respectively), except for the War of Assassins story (for characters with 120+ points in at least one attribute). Additionally, two of the Forgotten Quarter expeditions (the Fate-locked Gallery of Serpents and the story-related Cave of the Nadir), due to their difficulty, are more suitable for characters with higher Watchful (and characters with less than 100 Watchful aren't likely to have been around long enough to even learn about the existence of the Cave of the Nadir).
    • The Empress' Court is unlocked from the Shuttered Palace as part of the Making Your Name story, and is suitable for characters with 85-110 Persuasive. Completing the main story there and you'll end up banished from the Court, but also gain access to the Foreign Office and Port Carnelian. Spend six terms at Heartscross House governing Port Carnelian and you can ask for permission to return to the Court, where you'll be able to take on new works of art and strive to become London's Poet-Laureate.
  • Really Gets Around: The player has the option to seduce a ton of people for any reason they see fit.
  • Really 700 Years Old: Death Is Cheap in the Neath, but usually old age catches up with you. Unless you're the the Duchess, the Gracious Widow, or the Manager of the Royal Beth. They're all from the previous Fallen Cities, and all have found some means of sticking around. The Widow, at least, has to smuggle it in from overzees.
  • Recurring Dreams: The Dreams qualities measure your recurring dreams.
  • Recurring Location: Outside of London and the Unterzee (which do not count since they are the main hubs), the Tomb-Colonies, Mutton Island, Hunter's Keep, the Iron Republic, Port Carnelian, Polythreme, the Mirror-Marches, Abbey Rock, Adam's Way and the Chapel of Lights can be visited in both Fallen London and Sunless Sea, and the Avid Horizon appears in all three Failbetter games. There's also New Newgate Prison, which failed to make it to Sunless Sea since it was planned to be part of the game's dirigible expansion which didn't manage to be funded via Kickstarter.
  • Reduced to Ratburgers: Given the abundance of rats and shortage of conventional livestock in Fallen London, many people eat rats on a regular basis. The Raggedy Men eat mostly rats, and can accordingly be bribed with sacks of dead rats.
  • Repeating so the Audience Can Hear: Successfully acquiring Tales of Terror!! during one's heist in the Flit results in this snippet:
    Yes, of course you're the courier from her publisher, here for the new manuscript. No, you've not time to stay for tea. Yes, you'll deliver it safely. Heh heh.
    • Same goes for scamming souls from spirifers by pretending to be a devil.
    Yes, yes, your account at the Embassy will be credited with these fine souls. Now, run along and gather up some more. He he he.
  • Reptiles Are Abhorrent: Subverted rather amusingly. The Bishop of Southwark seems to have a thing against serpents, but the Hound of Heaven he's trying to breed is a pearly-white snake with the ability to sense and hunt devils. Naturally, he isn't amused at first when you show him the Hound you've created.
  • Reset Button: It is possible to reset your Ambition and some premium and exceptional stories by paying Fate. This will allow you to play through the story again (possibly choosing another choice in the process), but keeping any rewards you've earned beforehand.
  • Revenue-Enhancing Devices: Changing your name or portrait, renaming your newspaper, or registering the name of your Constant Companion or ship, all of which cost Fate and have no impact on the gameplay itself.
  • Ripped from the Headlines: Some of your own artistic works can be this. For instance, the "Love and Clay" ballet is heavily implied to be the tale of the Comtessa.
  • Roaring Rampage of Revenge: The Nemesis ambition.
  • Rod And Reel Repurposed: The Fisher Kings are Street Urchins that use fishing rods to steal goods from unsuspecting passerbyes.
  • Running Gag: In the past, if you refused to specify your character's gender, you would constantly be referred to with "ah, Si-, er, Mad-, er, yes".
  • Sadistic Choice: The Finder of Heiresses case ends with one. You find the missing Comtessa, only to learn that her Clay Man kidnapper/lover has put her through a process that is about to permanently turn her to stone. She can no longer speak to you. You have the choice to kill her on the spot to spare her from a Fate Worse Than Death, or to leave her alive. The game leaves it deliberately ambiguous which choice was the right one, if any.
    • The end of the Orphanage segment of the Light Fingers ambition. You can release all of the prisoners, but the Orphanage will remain functioning and kidnap more orphans. Or you can burn it down, with all of the prisoners still inside.
  • Sanity Has Advantages: The most common way to reverse madness is to become annoyed by the constant inconveniences.
  • Sanity Meter:
    • The Nightmares quality, which mainly increases for failing high-level Watchful challenges, acts as an inverted Sanity Meter - when it reaches eight, you Go Mad from the Revelation.
    • Unaccountably Peckish also acts as a kind of sanity meter, as it covertly measures your exposure to Mr Eaten.
    • Stormy-Eyed covers your mind's exposure to the dead god of thunder. If both this quality and your recurring dreams about storms go up too much, you will start believing you are the reincarnation of the god.
  • Sarcasm Failure: In one storylet you sift through the stock in a bookstore, thinking "Surely it can't ALL be bodice rippers and treatises on various deseases". If you fail the challenge, you find out that it can.
  • Schmuck Bait: Storylets with only negative consequences will carry bold warnings, such as Do not do this. Only pain and suffering will result. or This is undoubtedly a terrible idea. Most notably, Seeking Mr Eaten's Name warns you nearly every step of the way:
    • Seeking Mr Eaten's Name also has multiple sub-examples. One early Seeking Road storylet that lets you increase SMEN halves your Watchful every time you play it...and it turns out you need a high Watchful level to be able to play later SMEN options. Cue numerous Seekers frantically playing chess marathons with each other to get their Watchful back up!
    • Played with in an absolutely sadistic way in a later part of Seeking Mr Eaten's Name. The card where you get St Erzulie's Candle gives you a choice: you can sacrifice your Profession, Notability, Ambition, and many other valuable character traits and stories that you will never be able to regain... or you can take the option that claims to immediately give you St Erzulie's Candle with no other change to the story. After already having been forced to sacrifice numerous things to get to this point, chances are that you will view the second option as a clear schmuck bait choice that will have even worse consequences than the first one. It isn't. Picking it really does give you the candle with absolutely no sacrifices or negative effects for your character. The true "schmuck bait" here is getting paranoid Seekers to overthink the choice clearly laid out for them and think there has to be a trick. Or deciding to ruin their character even further anyway even when given the choice to avoid it.
  • Schrödinger's Question:
    • When you journey across the Unterzee, you don't have to actually choose your destination until you reach it. Interestingly enough, this means you can set off on a long zee voyage from London to...London.
    • If you're in the Labyrinth of Tigers' breeding program, one of the ways to prepare your creature is to tame it, but none of the texts specifies which of the beasts you discipline (it's always "your beast", "monster", etc.). You then choose which one you have prepared when it's time to breed, which means it's possible to breed a beast before actually capturing it.
  • Screw This, I'm Outta Here!: Some extremely complicated plots can end with you simply saying "screw this" and going home.
  • Sesquipedalian Loquaciousness: The Wry Functionary.
  • "Shaggy Dog" Story: If you agree to take in the Albino Rat at the end of the Plaster Face story, they tell you one of these: The Albino Rat was once a friend of the Watchmaker's Daughter, and they were happy — but then the Masters of the Bazaar started sending ominous messages, and the Watchmaker's Daughter felt that they wanted to own her. The Albino Rat tried to make a music box to soothe her friend, but she drowned herself to escape before the box was finished.
    • Of course, the Neath being what it is, there's a strong implication she's not dead, but simply hiding among the Drownies - and now there are clockwork toys and gadgets rising up in bloody rebellion, and the Watchmaker's Daughter is likely deeply involved.
  • Shaming the Mob: One opportunity card lets you do this in order to save a Rubbery Man from lynching. Success in another opportunity gives a murderess a fair trial instead of a lynching. While you're giving your heartfelt speech to the mob, she takes the opportunity to murder somebody else. But least it all stays civilised.
  • Ship Level: The three Exceptional Stories in the Season of Wrecks all involve exploring various shipwrecks.
  • Shoplift and Die: In the Flit, if you try to rob the Bazaar and fail, you'll gain 36 CP of Nightmares - which will instantly cause you to move to the State of some confusion, unless your Nightmare-reducing equipment was good enough to give you a negative total.
  • Shoot the Shaggy Dog: The ending of the Cheesemonger story. Even in the endings where Alice survives, her plan to end the Great Game still fails, and thus the constant bloodshed and tragedy the Game brings will continue. The best you can hope to do is help Alice move to a quiet, peaceful life with the Church, but this involved forcing her daughter to take her place.
  • Shout-Out:
    • To Blade Runner, in a challenge at Watchmaker's Hill: "'Do you make up these questions? Or do they write them down for you?' With the grudging agreement of the Constables, you interview a series of Clay Men, asking them ever more intimate and revealing questions about their 'lives', their work, their intentions, their emotions. Tortoises. That sort of thing." As an added bonus, Clay Men are constructs frowned upon on society for being little more than menial servants, some Clay Men want nothing more than more life, fucker, and the storylet is about sniffing out rogue Clay Men.
    • The Rubbery Men look suspiciously like Cthulhumanoids, and are even referred to as "eldritch".
    • The sidebar text for the Vake obliquely references Batman: "They say it's not a monster at all. It's a man who dresses up as a bat. To, ah, prowl the city by night. But that would just be stupid."
    • All but one of the Recurring Dreams/Strange Dreams are named after the sections of T. S. Eliot's The Waste Land. Even before the newest Recurring Dream finished this off with "What the Thunder Said," that phrase was explicitly quoted in "A Game of Chess."
    • Failing to break into a Jeweler's Shop results in "Safes. Why did it have to be safes?"
    • Pursuing a relationship with the Barbed Wit will eventually bring up "She knows about you! That's half the battle." G.I. Joe!
    • The Inconvenienced by your Aunt storylet along with The Stags Club owes more than a little to P. G. Wodehouse's Jeeves and Wooster.
    • The art for the sorrow spiders is very reminiscent of metroids.
    • It is possible, through opportunity cards, to acquire and care for your very own Audrey Jr./Audrey II, complete with later feeding requirements.
    • When investigating a tomb in the Forgotten Quarter, one of the headers reads "It is often a matter of snakes."
    • A card that can be drawn in the orphanage (an area for Light Fingers) is titled Room 101, and the descriptions suggest the character thinks it's related to the Room 101 from 1984. It's a broom closet.
    • A choice in a Christmas storylet in 2010 mentions a grue.
    • The London Magazine refuses to change its name:
      "The Bazaar requires the London Magazine to change its name. The London Magazine has survived two centuries and one duel! It has published Keats, Shelley, De Quincey, Hazlitt! It will survive the translation of London to this d____d abyss, and the dictates of the Bazaar. We will continue to publish under the name, The Magazine Formerly Known As The London Magazine."
    • If you're Indulging A Less than Laudable Laudanum Habit, you can have a dream in which "your beloved dances in a graveyard," referencing Hector Berlioz's opium-inspired Symphonie Fantastique.
    • His Amused Lordship bears a passing resemblence to BRIAN BLESSED!
    • The image used for interactions with a Longshanks bears an uncanny resemblence to Phil Foglio's Author Avatar.
    • While in New Newgate Prison, you can get an opportunity card where you express your belief that Fallen London deserves a better class of villain.
    • Failing a certain storylet causes a few agents from the Ministry of Public Decency to inquire about you. The headline for this is The Men From The Ministry.
    • There is an option in the "The Long Arm Of The Law" opportunity card, which allows you to reduce your Suspicion by laying a false trail. The text is something like "But what does it all mean? Why is "MONSTROUS ARE THOSE WHO WILL NOT WITHIN" written on the wall? And why all the folded paper swans?
    • The quality that shows how well you've remained undetected during a heist is called "With Cat-Like Tread."
    • Why did you kill/banish the Cheesemonger? One reason you can choose: "it's all in the Game."
    • It's not clear whether the Honey-Addled Detective got into that state via experimenting with drugs, or experimenting with bees. It could be both.
    • The venture in which you teach manners either to a devil or a clay man is called "Pygmalion". Some storylets reference the play as well (e.g. "The FOG in SPITE coils MAINLY in the NIGHT").
    • Several times, derivations of the phrase "an inordinate fondness for beetles" appear in the flavor text. The possibly apocryphal story goes that Scottish geneticist John Burdon Sanderson Haldane received a question about what designs he glimpsed in the mind of God through his research. His answer was, reportedly, "An inordinate fondness for beetles."
    • One story, involving violence between animal-handlers, is called "It shouldn't happen to a veterinarian".
    • The "A Wily Zailor" has a Nex option titled "I'll be in my bunk."
    • And, of course, there's the way the entire game is riddled with references to Kubla Khan, Samuel Taylor Coleridge, and T. S. Eliot.
    • The poem you write to mourn the passing of the Quiet Deviless' pet bat is titled "Little bat, my lady's darling". It contains a line about how the bat used to play in his lady's lap. This sounds almost exactly like a Catullus poem about his lady's sparrow, who liked to play in her lap before it died ("Passer, deliciae meae puellae": "Sparrow, my lady's darling").
    • If the player gets banished from the Court because of their scandalous writing they become: "Mad, bad, dangerous to know" - famous words used about Lord Byron.
    • The Epigrammatic Irishman is an Irish author in Victorian London who had romances with other men, suffered an unfortunate fate after running afoul of the authorities (details are unknown, all that's been said is he pissed off Mr Pages and paid dearly for it), and is associated with green carnations.
    • The Orthographic Infection card has cultish writing on a wall plus a reference to seeking the Name and counting the days; these things combine into a reference to the Jorge Luis Borges story "Death and the Compass".
    • During the Seeking Mr Eaten's Name storyline, the result text for making an extremely expensive sacrifice to the well for St Cerise's Candle references the last two lines of the nursery rhyme "Oranges and Lemons".
    • Three hyenas in the Labyrinth of Tigers are named Anne, Emily and Charlotte.
    • One of the possible options on the "Duelling the Black Ribbon" storylet is "Exercise for rough health", which when successfully chosen exhorts you to take note of the burning sensation!
  • Shrouded in Myth: The Correspondence. The sidebars make all sorts of fanciful suggestions about what it could be. It's the language of the stars, known as Judgements. They decide what reality is, which is why their language can be used to alter reality. It's also why things from the Neath can't exist on the surface; the Neath is untouched by sunlight, which is why it's full of crazy shit, and when said crazy shit is touched by sunlight our local Judgement destroys it. Surfacing at night doesn't protect you either. Moonlight is reflected sunlight, and even on a new moon the stars still shine.
  • Sidequest Sidestory: All of them, as the game technically lacks a main quest. (Although Making Your Name, Ambitions and Seeking Mr Eaten's Name could be considered main quests.)
  • Single Specimen Species: Fallen London seems to be teeming with these, with the Vake undoubtedly at the forefront. Sort of. The Vake is actually Mr Veils, and being a Master isn't alone. Although Veils is implied to not always have been the same species of space bat that are the Masters, not to mention the other Masters tend to give him a wide berth due to his abnormally strong love of murder.
  • Single-Use Shield:
    • If you reach 8 Wounds while having a Horsehead Amulet, it will be consumed to take away 8 CP of Wounds, which is usually enough to save you from going to the boat trip.
    • The loss of the Dream qualities inflicted by the State of some confusion can be prevented by a vial of Honeyed Laudanum (which can be bought for 9 Fate either on an opportunity card or in the House of Chimes), although each vial is only good for one incident of insanity.
  • The Smart Guy/The Evil Genius: Anyone who focuses on Watchful (which one you are depends on your Karma Meter). This can overlap with Gentleman and a Scholar and Genius Bruiser, depending on which other stats a player focuses on.
  • Smart People Play Chess: You can challenge other players to games of chess, which test the Watchful quality. Same goes for chess with the Boatman, although he'll up his game when you do, meaning that you have to very carefully manage your gear if you want to stand a chance.
  • Snark Bait: You can exploit this in-universe at the party; if you spot the Jovial Contrarian "about to give the Whiskered Admiral a fit", you have the option to make a deliberately awful joke to take the heat off him.
    The trick is to present the Contrarian with a target he can't refuse.
  • Snicket Warning Label: Every step of Seeking Mr Eaten's Name warns you not to pursue your quest further; if you do keep going, it'll only bring misery, and if you're successful, it'll bring more misery.
  • Snowlems: During January, players can buy a Noman from Penstock's Wicket, a companion formed from a mixture of lacre (or "so-called snow") and the player's blood to resemble that player. The Noman will eventually melt but you can prolong its life by feeding it some of your Quirks and/or Tears of the Bazaar and forming an especially strong bond with it will earn you a rare, valuable item. Keeping it alive until the Feast of the Exceptional Rose in February is also possible and unlocks some storylets, but this is a massive challenge best reserved for players who can stockpile vast quantities of Tears of the Bazaar in advance.
    • In addition, the twelve Mr Sacks figures that show up during Neathmas are lacre-constructs of the Masters. All of the Masters.
  • Socialization Bonus: Several stories are made quicker/easier/more interesting/more efficient if you have friends to ask for help.
    • In particular, the easiest way to cure your menaces is by asking another player to help. Also the best way of obtaining second chances, and some of the best ways to obtain certain qualities.
  • So Good, We Mentioned It Twice: Nikolas & Sons Instant Ablution Absolution (a stain remover so good it even removes stains on your reputation) is advertised as able to remove "GRIME, BLOOD, SWEAT, NIGHT-SOIL, DEVIL-SPIT, BLOOD, MASTER'S MARKS, CORRESPONDENCE SCORCH, BLOOD". Knowing the kind of person that tends to need these things, it has to be said they know their customers rather well.
  • The Soulsaver: One of the choices in the Soul Trade premium story leads to your character becoming one of these, literally rescuing people's Soul Jars from devils.
  • Spikes of Doom: The Prickfinger Wastes will do a lot more than just prick your fingers if you venture down there. Something about the geology's sharpened every single stalagmite to the point cutting yourself with one doesn't even hurt too much, sometimes not at all. Most people that venture down here either come back looking like they fell into a blender, or bleed out before they can ever get back.
  • Staking the Loved One: The Dangerous path for the Mysterious Benefactor story requires you to make this choice when Jack the Anarchist starts to become Jack-of-Smiles. Of course, since Death Is a Slap on the Wrist, you just make him just dead enough that the Tomb Colonists will accept him (and thus keep him out of Jack-of-Smiles's reach).
  • Starter Equipment: You begin the game equipped with a Prisoner's Mask, a Bundle of Ragged Clothing, a Pair of Leg Irons and a Pair of Iron Manacles after you finish the tutorial and escape from New Newgate Prison.
  • Starving Artist: They hang out at the Veilgarden. So you can sleep with them and learn their secrets.
  • Stat Grinding
  • Stealth Pun:
    • To buy a a First City Coin, you need 111 surface currency — and surface currency costs 6 pence.
    • The "Empyrean Redolence" item. "Empyrean" means "relating to the highest heavens", and "redolence" is often used to mean pungency or a strong scent. In other words, it stinks to high heaven!
    • An option on the Church-Great Game conflict card is called "Everyone deserves a Second Chance." In addition to boosting your reputation with the Church, the storylet also gives you... one of every "Second Chance" item.
  • Steam Punk: Averted. Despite being set in a fanciful alternate-history London, the setting is short on that genre's trademark anachronistic technology, and has been explicitly denied as belonging to it by Word of God. With the exception of a handful of discoveries in the Neath (such as the burning of glim to create powerful spotlights, Zeppelins from Another World, complex rifles, etc), the science of Londoners remains largely appropriate to the era. The magic, on the other hand...
    • There's an affectionate Take That! if you write a Tale of the Future to please and impress the Empress's Court:
      "The Court doesn't seem persuaded that the heroes of the future will be engineers, technologists and other middle-class types. But the business of raising London back to a glorious future on the surface has more than a few optimists openly weeping. University professors debate the plausibility of your vision.
      "The youth of the city, many of whom have never seen the surface, are inspired by your conception. There is a rush to apply for places at the university's technical departments. Goggles are worn over top hats. The price of brass doubles overnight."
  • Stock Ness Monster: You might run into a lake monster on the way to Flute Street, and can feed it with a Reprehensible Lizard if you don't want to risk a Dangerous check to pass it.
  • Story Breadcrumbs
  • Strawman U: The University has two on the same campus - secular, liberal Benthic College and Anglican, upper-class Summerset College.
  • Street Urchin: A whole bunch of gangs of them.
  • Stuck Items: If you have a Destiny, ship, Constant Companion or club, you are never able to unequip them unless if you get rid of them.
  • Suspiciously Specific Denial:
    • If you're on a certain island while on a Voyage of Scientific Discovery and decide to face the crew whose leader wants to steal your work, failing will force you to hand some of your notes over, accompanied with the flavor text:
    Orthos' men want you to share your work. Well, of course. Sharing academic information is nothing less than your duty. Those rifles they're holding don't come into it.
    • Maywell's Hattery at the Bazaar sells an item known as the "Exceptional Hat". The description of the hat contains the following text:
    The Exceptional Hat has never been observed to consume the brains of its wearers.
  • Sweet Polly Oliver: There's a storylet that involves disguising as a butler to sneak into a study. If the player is female, it's an example of this trope. Later, a player who is A Person of Some Importance can disguise as a devil to collect souls from gullible spirifers. This trope applies again. A third storylet has your character sneak into a gentleman's club using their collection of fake moustaches.
  • Sword Cane: Weapon of choice for the would-be Cultured Badass.
  • Take a Third Option:
    • At the beginning of a story, you get a standard I'm Dying, Please Take My MacGuffin. You could take it and flee, take it and sell it, or throw it into the river. However, since Death Is Cheap in Fallen London, you can just wait for the man to come back to life. (However, the guy's murderer is still around, so you need a very high Shadowy score to pull it off.)
    • Undiscardable conflict cards force you to help one faction or another, losing some or all Favours for the other in the process. Many of these also have a third option which is harder, takes multiple actions and require a certain quirk. They are normally the most profitable of the options, though your actions doing so may displease both factions. The Affair of the Box story used to unlock a set of fourth options (which advanced the carousel, even if your Turncoat menace is too high), but these were removed from cards involving factions that have been converted from Connected to Favours/Renown.
    • The final choice of the Affair of the Box storyline. You can side with Mr Fires or with Mr Stones, or take the more difficult option of publishing a newspaper issue that exposes the Masters' machinations to the public.
  • Take Your Time: Some storylets are presented with very urgent situations, such as being pursued by the police or facing a giant monster, but you're still free to Level Grind, rearrange your equipment, and pursue other side quests before you actually attempt them.
  • Take That!: According to a card in the Tomb-Colonies, your character, a supposed blank slate to be written by the player, hates Tennyson a lot.
  • Taken for Granite: The Comtessa.
  • Talking Animal: A few, in addition to the regular sort. Rattus Faber are talking rats with a talent for smithing and mechanics, intelligent cats are involved in much of the intrigue of the Neath, and the late game introduces the Labyrinth of Tigers, kept by the tigers themselves.
  • Tattooed Crook: Clathermont's Tattoo Parlour specializes in tattoos that contain hidden messages. And considering pretty much everyone down in the Neath is a criminal in some way or another, and all player characters start out in New Newgate Prison...
  • Tears of Blood: A common side effect of trying to read the Correspondence.
  • Teaser Equipment: Right from the beginning of the game you can see everything that the Bazaar sells, from the cheapest goods at Merrigans Exchange to the extremely expensive stuff like the 4-card lodgings, the Overgoat and Hesperidean Cider, which you won't be able to afford for a long time - if at all. In addition, as soon as you visit the University (regardless of whether your access is temporary or permanent) you can theoretically locate an Impossible Theorem (a high-end Mystery item which is required to buy a Suite at the Royal Bethlehem Hotel, a 5-card lodging) - if you have the required 49 Searing Enigmata and are able to pass the 500 Watchful challenge (and don't expect to meet both of these requirements until you reach the endgame content).
  • Temporal Theme Naming: The revolutionary Calendar Council are all named for months - a Shout-Out to the Council of Days from The Man Who Was Thursday.
  • The Tetris Effect: Subverted In-Universe. After taking a commission to sketch encoded tattoos, your character starts seeing tattoo-code in everything from the false-stars to doilies, and the Lemony Narrator comments "You've been at this too long." And then you stumble across some real code symbols in back-alley graffiti.
  • Theme Naming:
    • Most of the characters aren't named and instead are called "the Adjective Job Title" (such as the Near-Sighted Horologist, Struggling Artist, Revolutionary Firebrand, Secular Missionary, and Dauntless Temperance Campaigner, to name a few). This may have stemmed from the Traitor Empress forbidding the use of her name, and thus, many people follow her convention. The magicians of Mahogany Hall do break the pattern with actual names, as do certain recurring characters.
    • The accommodations acquired through Opportunity Cards are all referred to as some kind of tower: the Lofty Tower for the Bazaar premises, the Tower of Sun and Moon for the reservation at the Royal Bethlehem, etc.
  • There Is No Kill Like Overkill: Attempting to locate an Impossible Theorem and fail will cause you to gain approximately 66 CP of Wounds, which means going from zero wounds to 11. If you're Seeking the Name, have a Stain on your Soul and sell it to the devils, if you go to the Forgotten Quarter and fail a very difficult Shadowy check, both your Wounds and Nightmares will be set to 15.
  • Three-Way Sex:
    • One of the possible endings of the Melancholy Curate storyline.
    • It's also possible to conclude your affairs with The Barbed Wit and the Acclaimed Beauty this way — on the Empress's throne, no less!
  • Throw Down the Bomblet: The archetypal Weapon of Choice for revolutionaries. A later storyline points out that no matter how strong the association, the modern revolutionary prefers dynamite.
  • Timed Mission:
    • In most expeditions in the Forgotten Quarter, you must compete against one or more rivals who will cause you to fail the expedition when their progress (which has a chance to increase every time you progress in the expedition) reaches 10, meaning that for the longer expeditions like the Tomb of Seven, Gallery of Serpents or Cave of the Nadir, you cannot rely on the cautious option, because even if the skill check is easy and you won't waste your expedition supplies, your rivals will eventually overtake you.
    • You are only allowed to spend a limited time on each voyage of scientific discovery to Bullbone Island, Corpsecage Island or Grunting Fen as every single action increases the Orthos is Coming! menace (representing the progress of Dr Orthos' Fleet of Truth chasing you and hellbent on stealing your research papers) which forces you to flee the island when it reaches 10.
    • Each time you decide to publish your newspaper, you are given 12 actions (not including opportunity cards) to accumulate Meritorious/Salacious/Outlandish Copies before you are forced to publish; this is even measured by a quality called 'Hours before the Deadline'.
    • Once you start a term as governor of Port Carnelian, you have 26 actions to gain as many Silver Horseheads and/or Striped Delights as possible before your Time Passing in Office quality reaches 12, marking the end of your term and forcing you to cash in at least one of these qualities for rewards.
    • In the Cave of the Nadir, the Irrigo menace will increment with everything you do, and if your Irrigo reaches 10 you'll be kicked out (and if you don't want to lose a lot of attributes it'd be in your interest to leave before getting kicked out).
  • To Hell and Back: At the climax of the Twelve-Fifteen from Moloch Street exceptional story, you can choose to enter Hell and come back.
  • Too Awesome to Use: Mood cards, which give a huge +30 increase to one of your attributes that lasts for only an hour and are rare enough that you can go for months without drawing one. Also Darkdrop Coffees and Magnificent Feasts, the only items that restore your actions (Darkdrop Coffees restore 10; Magnificent Feasts all) and are nigh-impossible to obtain outside of special promotions and holiday events, aside from a few free Darkdrop Coffees you get while learning about the game before you learn just how scarce they are.
  • Too Good for This Sinful Earth: If you choose to lay a dead rat in your inventory to rest during a mass funeral for them, one of the (rat) mourners will console you by saying he was this. "E's best off quiet in the earth. Bein' eaten by beetles."
  • Too Important to Walk: As a Person of Some Importance, an opportunity card gives the player an option to defend a pair of Clay Men from prejudice, which leads to an opportunity in the sidestreets to purchase a Clay Sedan Chair, carried by those Clay Men.
  • Too Spicy for Yog Sothoth:
    • Devils will recoil from you in disgust if you offer them your soul tainted by Seeking Mr Eaten's Name. The Quiet Deviless will actually vomit, burst into tears, and order you out of her room.
    • If you own Hesperidean Cider and die, an optional storylet on the slow boat will send you straight home. The boatman, it seems, is not happy to see you there.
  • Town with a Dark Secret: The village of Mutton Island, where the locals are friendly, the scenery is unusually lush, and the townsfolk perform sinister rituals around the well after dark.
  • The Trope Formerly Known as X: According to a sidebar blurb, at some point the Bazaar attempted to force the London Magazine to change its name. In defiance, the magazine changed its name to The Magazine Formerly Known As The London Magazine.
  • Two Aliases, One Character: If you do the Nemesis ambition, you eventually learn that Mr Cups and Mr Mirrors are the same individual responsible for orchestrating the murder of your loved one. Why they would pretend to be two separate Masters hasn't been answered in full yet.
  • Underground Level: The Roads Beneath underneath Fallen London, which lead into Flute Street, where everything is dark.
  • Unequal Rites: The "War of Illusion" storyline. Glass and Shroud are two groups of stage magicians struggling for dominance.
  • The Unfettered: Anyone with a high Ruthless score becomes this.
  • The Unintelligible: Rubbery Men. Some people do try, though.
    A passing Special Constable taps your shoulder and says, 'We normally write that one down as "Othassassass" - helps if you stay consistent.' He tips his black helmet at you and is on his way.
  • Vendor Trash:
    • A Headful of Picaresque Tales and A Blue and Shining Stone (which can be obtained from a rare opportunity card) have no uses outside of being sold to the Bazaar, and in fact should be sold as soon as possible since the card (which is very lucrative at 12.5 EPA) can't be drawn again before the item is sold.
    • Among the items that can be redeemed from the Relickers for 3200 Certifiable Scraps, the Breath of the Void and Rumourmonger's Network have absolutely no uses and the Veils-Velvet Scrap is useful when Seeking Mr Eaten's Name but useless for non-Seekers - except for selling to the Bazaar. The only 3200-Scrap item that averts this trope is the Reported Location of a One-Time Prince of Hell, which is necessary to upgrade a Guest Room in the Brass Embassy to a Sanctum if Penstock's Wicket is not open or you don't want to sell your soul. Which leads to conversations between stars, velvet spun from the fur of Mr Veils and an entire intelligence network being sold for money because they were simply useless to you. The most recent updates to A Person of Some Importance do make these items Not Completely Useless as they can now be used by Invisible Eminences to gain the London's Marrow quality, but there are still far cheaper ways to gain that quality.
    • Short stories. Except for the very first one, written when Making Your Name (which doesn't count since it isn't an actual item), the Celebrated Short Story (which is needed to advance from Journalist to Author) and Classic Short Story (which is one of the possible sacrifices to obtain St Cerise's Candle when Seeking the Name), all short stories only have one use: to be sold for Echoes.
    • Other items which are also only good for selling and nothing else include the Starstone Demark, Queer Soul, Coruscating Soul, Devilbone Dice and Sealed Copies of the Crimson Book.
  • Violation of Common Sense: Redeeming the 40 Renown items for the Great Game, Bohemians and Revolutionaries require you to go insane to move to the Mirror-Marches (for the former two) or the State of some confusion (for the latter). The corresponding items for the Constables and Criminals require you to die and go to prison (respectively), while being exiled to the Tomb-Colonies is actually the fastest way to grind Favours: Tomb-Colonies, as well as the place to redeem the 40 Renown: Tomb-Colonies item.
  • Was Once a Man: This sometimes happens to those who strike deals with the Powers That Be. Examples include the Cantigaster and the King with a Hundred Hearts.
  • Weakened by the Light: Almost anything that originates in the Neath will become useless upon exposure to sunlight. Glim will melt, Prisoner's Honey will become regular honey, and most pertinent to the player, the suspension on permanent death doesn't extend to the Surface. After you visit the boatman, you're in the Neath for good unless you somehow become truly immortal.
  • Wealthy Yacht Owner: You, potentially, can obtain a Majestic Pleasure Yacht if you are willing to spend a lot of time grinding for the very expensive Comprehensive Bribes (as well as the somewhat less expensive Cellars of Wine and Favours in High Places) and then risk your chances at a gamble with a very low success chance, where a failure will take away one of the three aforementioned items. Either that or you can spend 20 Fate to get the b____y thing without having to grind anything.
  • Weapon of Choice: Most of the Black Ribbon duelists have one.
  • What Did I Do Last Night?: If you drink a bottle of Black Wings Absinthe yourself, the next morning you'll wonder what you did and where you got your opera cloak, though apparently you don't keep the cloak.
  • What You Are in the Dark: Near the end of Seeking Mr Eaten's name, you're given the opportunity to skip the Obscurity sacrifices and gain St Erzulie's Candle for free. For once, there's no catch: the story continues exactly the same either way, and any qualities indicating that you took the easy way out are hidden even from your profile, so no one will know what you did except you.
  • Why Don't Ya Just Shoot Him?: In an opportunity card, a naive young man wants to kill you, a dangerous veteran. In one option, you confront him, and when he asks when the duel should be, you shoot him on the spot. The other, more difficult option involves sending out an open invitation to any would-be assassins and picking them off from a rooftop when they show up at the appointed time.
  • Wicked Weasel: Weasels are popular pets, as they're relatively easy to keep clean and happy underground. Weasel-fighting, whether with common animals or purebred Araby Fighting-Weasels, is a popular sport.

Alternative Title(s): Echo Bazaar

http://tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pmwiki.php/VideoGame/FallenLondon