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Tear Jerker / Fallen London

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As a Moments subpage, all spoilers are unmarked as per policy. You Have Been Warned.

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  • Potentially being forced to deal with your Nightmares. Your character, who can have potentially fought London's worst horrors, is more scared of their sleep.
    • Or even better, imagining your Companions, Acquaintances, Spouse, or pets' reaction to your insanity.
    • It becomes even worse for The Regretful Soldier, as he had to deal with his wife becoming an Empty Shell.
  • Arguably a Fridge Tearjerker: it is well-documented how much the real-life Queen Victoria loved her husband. In Fallen London, she sacrificed London to the Bazaar to save his life when he was about to die of typhoid - and of course went on to become the game's Traitor Empress. Of course, the real-life Prince Albert died in 1860 and Victoria spent the rest of her life in mourning. All of which implies that in our universe she refused the Masters' offer, and watched the love of her life die for the greater good of her subjects.


Heart's Desire

  • If you choose the Heart's Desire Ambition, you eventually get to learn more about the identity of one of the players of the Marvellous: The Topsy King, whose true name is Tristam Bagley. The short of it is that he was a composer, violinist and scholar (of the Correspondence), and that he attempted to write an opera involving some symbols of the Correspondence. He could not finish it, and so he desperately played in the Marvellous, hoping he'd be able to complete it. However, he lost his mind while playing, and has been the Topsy King since. His sister asks you to help him recover his mind, in the only way that is possible - Double or Nothing. To get to the next steps you need to convince him, temporarily bringing him back to sanity by staging his opera. When you manage do so, you next meet him as he once was:
    'We don't have long. I can feel them coming back. The letters, the shapes, the words in the sky... here they come again, up from the depths. I'll burn with them. But you've done enough, and I thank you. Perhaps if I can finish the opera... Perhaps I can get them out. Throw the letters into the sky and be me again. I'll play. Even when I become him again, I'll play. I'll remember. Tell my sister that I love her. And tell the Manager that I won't fall for that bluff again.
    Tristram Bagley looks down at his feet. He drops his cigar. A bat lands on his shoulder. The Topsy King looks up at you. 'Garbles,' he says softly. 'Garbles...'
    • If he ends up facing the Manager again, he loses. It's implied he stakes even more and ends up even worse off the second time, being unable to make music anymore. The first time left him insane. The second time leaves him utterly broken.
  • Keep going and you can start trying to recruit another of the players: the Manager of the Royal Bethlehem Hotel. He promised someone in Polythreme that he wouldn't play it again, but if that someone released him from his promise, he'd do it. Go there, and you learn that the Manager was the Priest-King of the First City, and he fell in love with a traveler who then fell ill.
    'My lover saved me, in a manner of speaking. My fits would have killed me, so he bargained that we should both endure the ages, in return for his city. But the Bazaar isn't kind. Look what it did to me. The Masters took a diamond from the great glowing mountain in the South and gave it to me for a heart. They made me like this.'
    'I no longer love him. How could I, after what he had done to me? But his love abides, over the sea in London. I am his heart's desire.'
    • How long have they been like this? Well. They say that even Babylon was young when the First City fell...
  • If you end up besting the monkey at cards, he offers to stake what's left of his humanity for a final chance. Except he's not looking for a final chance. He's looking to end it. He loves the game as much as he hates it, and if you don't take his humanity away, the drive to continue playing is all that will be left of him. If you do accept his chance, he folds before even looking at the cards, and you get to watch Gregory Beechwood drains from his eyes, until there is only an animal before you, frightened and confused.]] It's not clear which option is the crueler of the two at this point.
    His shoulders are slumped. His eyes are pleading. He is tired of this game, tired of remembering it, tired of playing it, tired of loving it. This is his way out.


  • The entire storyline is about finding out who killed your loved one and why. The descriptions of who it was aren't the brightest, understandably.
    Death of a Daughter: You couldn't protect her.
    Death of a Brother: Twenty heartbeats sooner, and you'd have heard his last words.
    Death of a Spouse: All those years, gone in a moment.
    Death of a Lover: And now you'll never know.

  • Further in the ambition, and you'll find the murderer in the Iron Republic: Scathewick. By the time you find him, however, he's a broken man. You can either fulfill you revenge and kill him, or spare him and let him go. Regardless of what you pick, though, the mystery of your loved's one death isn't over yet.

  • The simple fact that if you choose the resurrection option at the end of the storyline, despite all you've done, sacrificed, and gone through, your daughter or brother doesn't remember you. The murderer still lives, and while your loved one is back, they'll never be the person you knew and went to the Neath for.

    Location-based storylets 

The Cave of the Nadir

  • A lot of the Nadir cards are this mixed with Nightmare Fuel, as the majority are people (or you) weeping as they forget who they loved on the surface.


  • When at a party, you can ask the Turkish Girl to put her name on your dance card. If you fail the persuasive challenge she begins crying and runs away. A woman next to you says the Turkish Girl never learned how to read or write and that "It's a common ailment of the lower classes". Mood Whiplash at its finest.

Wolfstack Docks

    Opportunity cards 
  • The Rubbery Men are a species of squid-humanoids who can't speak common tongues. They're disrespected by most and hated by some, and regularly get rocks thrown at them. On their opportunity card, the player character has the option to be cruel and kill one.
  • The ending of the Watchful and Dangerous paths of the Mysterious Benefactor storyline. You can make the Watchful path less of a tear jerker by convincing the Mendicant to stay out of Hell and pursue the nature of God by other means. He's a little dismayed, but you may have literally saved him from an eternity of torment.
  • If you play the long game and raise an orphanage, you can reunite a talented orphan with his well-off family... only to discover later that they were servants of Mr. Eaten, who plans to... well, the name says it all.

    Non-repeatable storylines 
  • The ending of the Comtessa storyline, mixed with a bit of Player Punch. You arrive too late to do anything; the Comtessa is in the process of being turned to stone by her Clay Man lover. You are given no information as to whether or not the Comtessa gave consent, or what the end result of the process is, only a frightened look in the Comtessa's eyes. Your only options are to Mercy Kill the Comtessa or turn and leave. Yeah, it's a Downer Ending.
  • The entire Cheesemonger storyline could be considered this. It starts off with you doing increasingly shady and morally blurred things to people who don't seem to deserve it. Then you get to talk to people who used to be agents of the Cheesemonger like yourself. They're hiding in the darkest corners of Fallen London, terrified that the Cheesemonger will come after them, saying she's snapped and wants to Kill 'Em All. If you investigate her past, you find her reasoning for this: her family used to all be operatives in the Great Game, but her entire family was assassinated. As revenge, she decides to ruin the Great Game forever so that no one will suffer like she did ever again — by "wiping half the pieces off the board". If you agree to help her and make all the operatives who killed her family Deader Than Dead ("Can you live with that much blood on your hands?"), the Cheesemonger is eventually found dead. Furthermore, the Game was merely paused for a few weeks, not stopped — so the whole thing was meaningless in the end. The alternatives aren't much better: you can kill her yourself, which means she dies without any sort of fulfillment, or you can have her packed off to the Tomb-Colonies and put her "daughter" into her place, which is probably the last thing she ever wanted for her.
  • The climax to Family and Law, the story of the Last Constable and Cheery Man, can end bittersweet all the way to senseless and depressing. You CAN help alter the odds in your favor... but the side you support will never forgive you, even if you save them. If you don't, you need to succeed in a gamut of the same Luck-Based Mission that makes Polythreme a nightmare to get through, and unlike a great number of storylines in Fallen London, there is no reset button. To say that it has put a rend into the hearts and attitudes of long-time players is a major understatement.
    • Even winning said Luck-Based Mission can be sad. You can confess to the Last Constable that you are helping her because you have fallen in love with her, but the end of the story makes it perfectly clear that you will never see her again.
  • The Case of the Absconding Devil is about the titular devil that plans to run away to the tomb-colonies with a human woman - the Sardonic Music-Hall Singer - whom he fell in love with. Through the quest, you find sketches of her plastered on his mirror as well as a response from a church in regards of marriage. If you choose to warn him about both the singer's impending betrayal and the Brass Embassy being on his trail:
    [...] "Of course I knew. Of course." [...] He is expressionless as he takes out a handkerchief. He wipes his yellow eye and presses something into your hand before heading up the gangplank. In your hand is a teardrop-shaped diamond.

    Seasonal events 
  • The Noman. A Lacre based alter-ego who will inevitably melt away and knows this.
  • During Hallowmas 1894, you can obtain a confession from the Illuminated Gentleman that reveals that he had a lover who became separated from him after they descended into the Neath. The Illuminated Gentleman missed his lover so dearly that he accepted a commission to kill someone in the Neath to give himself an opportunity to track down his lover there, only to find out that his lover was the one he had been assigned to kill. He still felt compelled to do his duty and erased his memories of his love to be able to carry it out. To make all of this even more tragic, you can later meet a "friend" of the Illuminated Gentleman who's very clearly his former lover, still alive but in such an advanced state of decay that he can no longer speak and he must also be aware that his lover no longer remembers him.
  • Mr Eaten's visit during Sackmas. Even in a dream, he is so frail and fleeting. The tone is so melancholy and mournful; you really can't help but feel sympathy for him.
    A trace of sadness, like the frost which silvers the night
    The light on the edge of sleep was mine. I was Mr Candles. I will not be again.

    Fate-locked content 
  • The Regretful Soldier's backstory, which you can hear from him if you have access to the House of Chimes. He was a member of the cavalry that attempted to invade Hell and failed, and his wife had to sell her soul to rescue him from the underworld. He now lives with the soulless shell of her.
  • The end of the Long Lost Daughter storyline. The woman who you thought was your daughter was an imposter. While you can get your revenge on her, at the end of the day you have no idea what happened to your real daughter.

    Jossed fanon 
  • This one holds some gigantic spoilers, but when you've figured the whole "why" of it out, the main surrounding plotline counts. Don't say you weren't warned 
  • The entire game gets sadder when the sequels are taken into account. Sunless Sea has the player characters exploring the Unterzee and leaving London behind, while Sunless Skies has the stars being murdered and the Empress herself abandoning London. That said, these are only alternate futures, which mean these occurrences may or may not come to pass.

Melancholy is increasing...

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