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Video Game / Sunless Skies

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A thousand deaths wait in the skies.
Stake your claim. Fight to survive. Speak to storms. Murder a sun. Face judgement.

Sunless Skies is a 2D, top-down, story-led game of exploration, corruption, and jeopardy from Failbetter Games. It’s the sequel to Sunless Sea and Fallen London, but you don’t need to know Sunless Sea to play and enjoy Sunless Skies.

Sunless Skies tells the story of one possible future of the Fallen London Universe. Ten years have passed since Sunless Sea, and the Liberation of Night has begun. One by one, the Stars are dying out, and with them die the laws of reality. Amidst the growing chaos, Her Renewed Majesty has led an exodus from London to the heavens. There, a revitalised British Empire — ambitious and authoritarian — begins to expand across the skies.

Taking to these skies are "sky-farers" who consist of captains, explorers, and adventurers alike who explore the unknown in massive steam-powered vessels called "Locomotives," (and indeed, they highly resemble and are distantly related to the iron behemoths which once thundered across the rails in the Old Empire) intending to make their mark in the history of the Empire. One such sky-farer is the player character, a crew member aboard the locomotive Orphean, which just managed to barely make it back from the mysterious and dangerous Blue Kingdom. The captain of the Orphean, gravely injured during the expedition, bestows the locomotive to the player, along with a dying wish: Take the mysterious black box in the hold to London, and, no matter what, do not look inside it. From there, it is up to the player: Do you follow your late captain's last orders? Or do you discard them and strike out on your own? Either way, this choice is one of countless others as you set out to claim fame, fortune, or perhaps merely an adventure for the ultimate truth of this weird universe.


Managing your supplies, manpower, and fading sanity while trying to make an honest (or dishonest) living return as game mechanics from Sunless Sea, but with an extensively updated UI and gorgeous graphics for the environments (as the background is not simply a sea, but shows off the terrain far beneath you).

Sunless Skies entered Steam Early Access and GOG Games in Development on 30th August 2017, with the full release arriving on both platforms on 31st January 2019.


This game contains examples of:

  • Absent-Minded Professor: The Royal Society's Chair for the Effulgent Sciences.
  • Adam Smith Hates Your Guts: Inverted by the trading system: by taking advantage of Bargains (opportunities to buy certain goods for significantly lowered prices in certain ports) and Prospects (quests which allow you to sell requested goods for much higher prices than normal), you can sell goods for up to five times what you paid for them. The random nature of these means it's entirely possible to acquire a Bargain for goods you need for a Prospect in the same town, meaning you can buy cheap goods and sell them at an inflated price without even leaving the city.
  • Alien Geometries: The High Wilderness is space, but not as we know it. Space in the actual zones you can visit is fairly normal, mostly because there's still some kind of light to set order in the area even if it's not much. What's around them in the utter darkness is fair game for any sort of strangeness, however, which is part of why Locomotives need a protective coating of Hours to travel between them with Relays.
  • All Issues Are Political Issues: Lacking any real power, Parliament is left pretty much exclusively with the incredibly trivial. When you first arrive, you are asked to take sides in a heated political debate over whether Parliament should rename Wednesday to "Victoria's Day" or rename Victoria sponge cake to "The People's Cake".
  • Almighty Janitor: The Prudent Secretary, who is the de facto head of the Windward Company's operations in New Winchester and therefore one of the most powerful people in the Reach. Notably, when you trade favors to swing the war in London's direction, the chairman looks to the Secretary for approval.
  • Alternate Reality: This game is merely one of the possible future of Fallen London verse, like the destinies presented in FL.
  • Ambiguous Gender: In keeping with the series, there are numerous characters of mysterious and indistinct gender, including the Incautious Driver, the Prudent Secretary, and, optionally, the player.
  • Animal Athlete Loophole: An unusual one comes up in the Truth ambition. There is no actual rule saying that only stars can participate in the Courtesy, which means you can protect yourself from the Fire That Follows by agreeing to kill a sun.
  • Antagonistic Governor: The Governor of the Brabazon Workworld, if you choose to support La Résistance.
  • Anti-Frustration Features: There are a few difficulty tweaks the player can do to make the experience a bit easier. Those being bullet speed, aim assist, and the rate at which resources deplete. The game allows you to change such options too whenever you start a new character in the lineage.
    • The design of the areas of the High Wilderness is considerably more forgiving than that of The Neath. The primary port for the area is always roughly centrally located, making it easy to find and get to, has an infinite-storage item bank that is linked to all other central ports and contains a market that will buy everything at a decent price.
    • Prices for Fuel and Supplies are consistant everywhere and most ports sell at least one of these essential items. Given that Supplies can be reliably substituted for Fuel in a pinch getting stuck is less likely.
  • Appeal to Obscurity: To complete the Song of the Sky Ambition you need to complete significant accomplishments in-game to have something to write about, you do get one for free though, you can claim to have escaped Piranesi because no one in London knows enough about it to prove the contrary.
  • Applied Phlebotinum: Hours, the material form of time. While they can't be used for Time Travel, they can be used to create a Year Inside, Hour Outside effect, or as a Fountain of Youth. They're also used to protect locomotives during interstellar travel.
  • Arbitrary Maximum Range: Justified — the High Wilderness actually does have an atmosphere, albeit a very thin one, so it makes sense that weapons have a maximum range.
  • Arcadia: Port Avon, a small farming community on a fertile archipelago in the Reach.
  • Artistic License – Physics: Gravity, among others, works rather slyly. Particularly egregious in places like Traitor's Wood, where you land on a mountaintop campsite and hike to find a grave you probably flew *right past* to find the dock. It's alright though, because Space Is Magic.
  • Ascend to a Higher Plane of Existence: You can achieve this at Death's Door, pledging your allegiance to the Judgement of the Blue Kingdom, resulting in your physical form (and your entire crew) being incinerated. It is a little unclear whether this is a good thing (for you anyway) or whether you are brainwashed against your will into singing the Judgements' praises for all eternity.
  • Asteroid Miners: Since asteroids make up the majority of habitable ground in the High Wilderness, these make up the majority of miners. Lustrum in particular is absolutely full of them — with the twist that what they're mining isn't ore or minerals, but time itself in material form.
    • Potentially the player as well, if their locomotive is fitted with a mining rig and they come across a minable chunk.
  • Asteroid Thicket: Asteroids in the High Wilderness tend to come in dense swarms and clusters, with vast gulfs of empty space separating each thicket but only narrow gaps standing between individual asteroids in each swarm. In general, most asteroids tend to be close enough to one another that the gaps between them are easily crossed by bridges or hanging vines. The Ormswold, in which the Royal Society is built, particularly stands out: flying through it is very perilous as the gaps between asteroids are very narrow and it covers a fifth of the Albion outer ring.
  • Authority in Name Only:
    • Parliament. The Empress hasn't given royal assent to a bill in years, and they're largely reduced to bickering over utter trivialities anyway.
    • Eleutheria's Cypress King is deliberately made into one, as "Authority" isn't something those who live in Eleutheria want much at all. The only thing the King gets to do is be a tiebreaker in anything that couldn't be settled in the much more powerful Forum.
  • Awesome, but Impractical:
    • The Medea-class destroyer, one of two endgame ships (alongside the Moloch-class luxury liner). Costing 20,000 pounds to purchase, the Medea is specced entirely for combat, able to mount two large-size weapons and three shields, and can have over 200 hull. Unfortunately it is massive, its side-mounted vents are underpowered, and it has the exact same heat gauge as the other locomotives and thus tends to overheat if you try mounting two large weapons in it (who often have 50+ heat per shot). On top of this it has pathetic cargo space for its size, low crew space and only a single auxillary slot, which makes it lousy for hauling cargo and long-range exploration. It can also only be purchased in Pan, which is a b___er to reach in the first place.
    • The Moloch-class luxury liner is the Starship Luxurious of the game, unrivalled in crew space and with decent cargo-hauling or exploring ability plus decent offensive and defensive stats... Unfortunately, for a price of 20,000 it isn't all that much better than the Altani-class outrider, which outside of being only found in the Eagle's Empyrian is almost entirely as good in every way (and has a higher potential cargo space) at half the cost.
    • The Uninvited, a weapon that fires Eldritch Abomination parasites as Abnormal Ammo but whose unpredictable spread and random bullet patterns make it difficult to use, especially against smaller and speedier opponents.
  • Badass Boast: Her Renewed Majesty gives one, should you threaten to reveal that the Unclear Bomb was never used, and London didn't kill Albion's sun.
    "Reveal all you like. History is mutable. We are not."
    • And if you keep the secret.
    One is timeless. One's dominion is history itself. Chronology bows before one. One is Eternity's Mistress.
    • Translating the Correspondence in the Throne of Hours in the same questline provides another one, who also undercuts the aforementioned boasts:
    Time offers no surety against Death.
  • Bee Afraid: Chorister Bees are swarms of giant, spacefaring bees, which produce music with their wings. Titania in particular has serious problems with them. On the other hand, their honey is quite valuable...
  • Beyond the Impossible: Getting to the High Wilderness was supposed to be this, meaning everything you do in the game is this Up to Eleven!
  • Batman Can Breathe in Space: The Wilderness is not a vacuum. The air is breathable, though it is thin, occasionally toxic, and prone to strange winds. What you really have to worry about, however, is the starlight which, if directly exposed to it, can drive you completely "star-mad" in the time it would take for you to perish in vaccuum anyways.
  • Battle Trophy: You can take the nameplates off locomotives you destroy if they are of certain affiliations, in order to prove that you defeated them to those that might want them dead and thus reap a bounty.
  • Beleaguered Bureaucrat: The First Secretary, who winds up essentially drafting you into Parliament simply on the hopes that you'll actually be able to get something done.
  • Berserk Button: Eleutheria presents you with a Morton's Fork of these. Dousers are fanatically devoted to the Liberation of Night and will try to kill you if you so much as light your front lamp anywhere near them, and Grievers are trying to sleep and will try to put any lights out nearby even if it means taking the entire locomotive out along the way. Empyrean Outriders, of the Eagle's Empyrean, are trying to keep the dark at bay and will quickly get pissed off if you don't have your lamps on where they can see you.
  • Big Friendly Dog: The Inadvisably Big Dog is one very large puppy oozing with affection and happiness, whose eagerness coupled with his gargantuan size tends to bring about property destruction. His portrait is easily the cutest and happiest thing you've ever seen in a Failbetter Games game. As the game puts it, there are very few things in the High Wilderness that are so innocently happy.
  • Big Labyrinthine Building: Piranesi is this to its prisoners due to having lanterns chained to their wrists that cause them to either hallucinate or truly experience Alien Geometries within Piranesi, preventing them from escaping until their gaol-time is up. Langley Hall is, as far as anyone knows, just mundane Bizarrchitecture, being simply huge and maddeningly complicated, but it takes using crew and supplies to go on actual, lengthy expeditions to find specific rooms.
  • Boom Town: Lustrum, which has suddenly found itself absolutely full of prospectors hoping to strike it rich mining hours.
  • Border Patrol: Going off the edge of the map in any of the four areas causes your ship to get lost in the Graveyard of Stars until you go back. Downplayed, in that you can get the Waste-Waif happy with you out there, and it's needed for a couple quests.
  • Brown Note: People who stare at the High Wilderness too long without proper Locomotive windows or the protection of being on a settlement will slowly lose their minds. Even milder places like the Reach have this problem, where many Marauders are afflicted, but in abandoned corners like Eleutheria entire crews of Star-maddened Explorers roam the dark trying to shoot everything that moves because the Wilderness eroded their minds to nothing.
  • Call a Hit Point a "Smeerp": Just like in Sunless Sea, the stats are not named conventionally, instead being named after Masters of the Bazaar: Iron, Hearts, Mirrors, and Veils stand for attack, healing/morale, observation/knowledge, and speed/stealth respectively. Also, the Hit Points are named Hull.
  • Call a Smeerp a "Rabbit":
    • The massive steam-powered spaceships that the player and others use to cross the High Wilderness are referred to as "Locomotives." Many of the Locomotive models resemble actual steam locomotives, and are powered by steam, but are on a massively larger scale and not reliant on tracks. Likewise, the High Wilderness is mostly like space, though it has some notable differences that put it more in line with World in the Sky.
    • Worlebury-Juxta-Mare runs on this. It is, on paper, a perfect replica of British seaside resort, with a few minor exceptions, such as the "sea" being made of corrosive mist and the "fish" being things that are most definitely not fish.
    • It's even applied to the cardinal directions, as there is no North in space; just a particularly bright star, visible from London, that might as well be North.
  • Call-Back: In the House of Rods and Chains you can visit Mr. Barleycorn, servant of the Halved — the Judgement of Measurements. The servant can give you an eye tattoo and tells you his master once observed the Unterzee through a "wound". If you look at the Halved through the windows of the servants' office or saw him on the way (he's a Horror Spectacle) you know he looks like a giant eye — like a black hole, and if you examine the altar in Barleycorn's office you are briefly sent to the bottom of the Unterzee. Also, one of the people you may meet at the House is an ex-zee captain with an extra eyeball somewhere on his body.
    • In the Forge of Souls you can find The Custodian of the Forge, the first person to pass through the Avid Horizon. Apparently he had a zee-captain companion before the Clerk of the Sevens (Implied to be the Northbound Parliamentarian) took over their job out of sympathy. All signs point to him being the Merchant Venturer, who you can help breach the Horizon in Sunless Sea.
  • Cash Gate: The final step of the Wealth ambition is to amass a huge amount of money and retire from space-faring.
  • Celestial Bureaucracy: Like you wouldn't believe. The Blue Kingdom, which is the area of the High Wilderness in which the deceased end up to, is at first glance little more than a titanic administrative nightmare, with countless statuses (some need to have an audience with a judge to be even declared as dead in the first place), courts (each with their very specific area of influence) and protocols which have to be upheld. And of course, the queues to access Courts and statuses are immensely long.
  • Clock Tower: One can find the destroyed remains of the Tower of Chimes (Big Ben, in other words) floating around the Floating Parliament, in the outer ring of Albion. One can still hear its signature (albeit distorted) chime when nearing the area it is in.
  • Close-Knit Community: Port Avon, in the Reach, is a quaint farming community reminiscent of rural England. They're normally not particularly welcoming to outsiders, but become accepting and welcoming quickly once bribed with tea and gossip.
  • Combat Tentacles: The Guests are eldritch monsters that nest inside train engines. At first glance they look like normal trains but when attacked they burst out of the hull and attack.
  • Company Town: Port Prosper, the stronghold of the Windward Company in the Reach. The Brabazon Workworld takes it to an even greater extreme.
  • Complete Immortality: The Martyr-King's Cup is said to have this effect on anyone who drinks from it. In the ending to the ambition of the same name, you can either let the Unseen Queen claim the cup and achieve existence as an immortal, or betray her and claim it for yourself; by all accounts, you are rendered ageless and completely invulnerable to harm.
  • Cool Gate: The Avid Horizon, the frozen gate that permits passage between the Neath and the High Wilderness. This time we can see the other end.
  • Cool Train: You brave the High Wilderness in a locomotive, and there are quite a few models to pick from. All of them capable of ferrying people and cargo across the stars, and all of them heavily armed.
  • Cosmic Horror Story: The stars themselves are dying, leaving empty holes that whisper strange things. Downplayed, in that said stars usually deserve to die, and the world left over is perfectly livable.
  • Crappy Carnival: Polmear and Plenty's Inconceivable Circus. The magician's props don't work, the clown can't do any of his best material because his pet geese won't cooperate, the strongwoman has nothing impressive to lift, and one of the acrobats has run off and left behind a twin who doesn't know how to do any solo acts. Fortunately, you can help fix these problems.
  • Crapsaccharine World: Worlebury-Juxta-Mare is an attempt to recreate The Great British Seaside in the High Wilderness, but not necessarily a very good one. It's difficult to ignore the fact that the "sea" is made of corrosive mist or that the "fish" have far too many tentacles. And that's before you get your first glimpse of the Off Season.
  • Crystal Skull: Prolonged exposure to the light of the Clockwork Sun turns bone into glass, which can produce this effect. In particular, if you choose to return the Unhappy Dead from the Boatman to London, one of them develops a glass skull en route.
  • Culture Police: The Ministry of Public Decency now work for Her Renewed Majesty, and have stepped up their suppression of any possible dissent. All publications are ruthlessly censored, and use of non-English languages is frowned upon.
  • Cyclops: The exclusive scout for Kickstarter backers is a Cyclopean Owl.
  • Dark Is Not Evil: Played with. It seems like it is, given how much of a hostile Eldritch Location Eleutheria is but then it turns out that Eleutheria still has a Judgement, the Halved; it's just actively radiating anti-light instead of light. A truly lightless area is the Reach, and it turns out to be way more pleasant than Albion or the Blue Kingdom, still actively ruled by light.
  • Dead All Along: According to the Royal Astronomer, Albion's sun had already been dead for centuries by the time London breached the Avid Horizon.
  • Deal with the Devil: All around the place, some with literal devils. One outcome to the Truth Ambition involves performing no less than two of these, one with the Halved and one with the Spider Senate.
  • Defeating the Undefeatable: The Judgements are dying, the chain is broken. Humanity wasn't supposed to be able to even scratch beings higher up in the Chain of Being, let alone the ones at the top, and yet the first step in London's conquest of the stars was to murder a sun. Or at least they’d like you to think so.
  • Defector from Decadence: Attempted by the Halved's counterpart. It doesn't work out.
  • Delayed Explosion: Should you decide to bomb the Hour refinery in Lustrum, the delay of the explosion will be most extreme. Since Hours are raw time and you hid the bomb in a barrel full of them, the explosion takes a damned long time to happen, and even the people that were right next to the blast simply walk away, avoiding all casualties. But since no one can stop the explosion the refinery is completely ruined, and everyone in Lustrum who hates the Windward Company (which is almost everyone not working there) spends the afternoon watching the fireball sloooowly wreck everything.
  • Derelict Graveyard: The Flotilla, which can be visited near the Avid Horizon. This small town of decommissioned ships float on the Unterzee waters that spilled from the Horizon's gates when the Londoners breached through it.
  • Deus Est Machina: London has built a fully-functioning artificial god to replace the one they seemingly murdered. And this clockwork god is quite well aware of its status, and is able to brainwash people into worshipping it.
    The Similarly-Dazzled Steward, after trying to fix the Clockwork Sun: "How could I have hoped to fix perfection? A sun cannot die. A god cannot break. There is no such thing as dusk."
  • The Devil Is a Loser: The colony of Devils living at the Well of the Wolf. The place is so horrible they're actually relatively selfless and helpful simply because they're to worn down by living there to be evil anymore. It's implied that Chorister Bees use Devils as a chrysalis (previous games implied Devils were akin to living beehives that migrated to Hell from the Mirror World Parabola, so it's par for the course); these Devils are the ones that the bees hatched from, which may contribute to their condition. Upon coming there, the Repentant Devil is visibly distraught over the witnessing of what his once powerful kin was reduced to after the Exodus.
  • Did You Just Punch Out Cthulhu?: London has defeated a sun and replaced it with their own Clockwork Sun. Actually no, they didn't; it's never left clear if Unclear Bombs would do anything, and actually managing to kill a sun requires a lot more than a false-star... which you end up finding in an ending to the Truth Ambition, not only killing a sun but the ruler of the dead.
  • Don't Look Back: The First Rule of Piranesi.
  • The Dreaded Dreadnought: The Enduring Dreadnoughts, big blue locomotives maneuvered exclusively by Her Enduring Masjesty's most loyal officers. While not necessarily amongst the strongest enemy locomotives roaming the High Wilderness, the same cannot be said about the glowing Glorious Dreadnoughts and the glass-encrusted Deranged Dreadnoughts. While the Glorious ones do not attack you if your are in good terms with the London loyalists, the Deranged ones, which are found flying near the Clockwork Sun, shoot you on sight regardless of your affiliation.
  • Drives Like Crazy: The Incautious Driver, as the name indicates. Your crew will complain whenever they take the wheel, and there is a special option for berating them if your hull's too low, which means they've been driving even more incautiously than usual. Some elements are retained when they develop into the Judicious Driver. Every risk is calculated, but sometimes they take it anyways for the hell of it, as they explain right before Tokyo-drifting through a debris field just to drive the point home.
  • Earth That Was: Since no one's figured out a method to go back through the Avid Horizon unless you figure one out yourself, Earth and the Neath are seen as this.
  • The Edwardian Era: What the game would be set in if Queen Victoria wasn't still hanging on.
  • Eldritch Abomination: Too many to list. There are the stars themselves (including the Clockwork Sun) for starters, considering that they define what is; and then there are the Guests, the Aeginae, the Scorn-flukes, and many more.
  • Eldritch Location:
    • The Avid Horizon is as strange as it was in Sunless Sea, complete with sigils everywhere. The only difference is, this time it's now open wide, and the zee is pouring out into the void with many decommissioned ships floating in the watery mass. It's apparently much bigger on the Void side than on the Neath side, too.
    • The Clockwork Sun, a Mechanical Abomination you can actually board and interact with. Time is entirely screwy around the area, the whims of the Clockwork Sun are made reality, and its radiation will slowly turn your flesh into jagged glass if not shielded properly. And what's worse than a giant artificial mechanical god controlled by an imperialistic queen? The same thing in the middle of malfunctioning, which causes time to fall apart at the seams.
    • Wefts of Unravelling Time are spots where the fabric of time and space, especially time, has frayed heavily. They're places where time gets messy enough that you can experience past and future along with the present, you can do accidental Time Travel, see several of your own possible futures and occasionally displace body and mind in a way that even bring the dead back to life by putting their minds right back into their old, rotted bodies. Just getting close starts screwing with everyone's minds, drives clocks insane, and makes the dates in your logbooks writhe.
    • Eleutheria is an entire region of space whose Judgement has joined the Liberation of Night and as such isn't governing the laws of reality with its light there. The terrible things that starlight usually eradicates, since they're so utterly wrong and against the law of the universe no star wished them around, are congregating in the area, including those that came from places where there was never any light to begin with. Eagle's Empyrean, the last stronghold of the New Khanate, made a whole artificial moon for themselves to keep the night at bay. Most of its surface is high-powered lightbulbs, and even then it's not 100% effective.
  • The Empire: The British Empire is expanding once more, this time across the stars.
  • Everyone Calls Him "Barkeep": With only a scarce few exceptions, everyone is referred to almost exclusively by a descriptive title rather than a proper name. Even if you do eventually learn someone's name the title is still what's most important.
  • Faction Calculus: While it's not a strategy game, the factions that field multiple ships nevertheless fall into this. In particular, the Stovepipes are the Powerhouse, fielding mainly heavily-armored, slow-moving dreadnoughts with rapid-firing autocannons on turrets, while the Tacketies are the Subversive, fielding mostly lightly-armored but agile scouts with long-range, high-impact, forward-firing sniper cannons.
  • Fantastic Drug: Apollonian Cinder, grown from rare plants found in the Leadbeater and Stainrod Nature Reserve, which apparently has effects similar to snuff. As it turns out, long-term use can also cause insanity. Prisoner's Honey also makes a few appearances. There's also a mention of people trying to find one as a substitute to tobacco, smoking just about any herb they could find in the High Wilderness, and finding nothing good; as a result, tobacco shops are still tobacco shops and they're usually fairly bad.
  • Faster-Than-Light Travel: Whether or not it's actually "faster than light" under the rather bizarre physics of the Fallen London universe is unclear, but traveling through the Avid Horizon or a Singh-Jenkins relay has much the same effect in practice.
  • Fate Worse than Death: Subverted on Lustrum. Mr Pennies helps the elders of his people stave off death with the mined hours, as even their half-life is better than having to face the consequences of their sins after they die. Apparently, bending the laws of death with the Red Science failed to work.
  • Festering Fungus: Invasive mushrooms eerily referred to as "children" coming from the fungus-heavy Hybras (spoken as the "children"'s "Mother) are responsible for the wrecking of the Parzifal, spreading through the ship, killing almost all of the crew and putting the locomotive out of commission near Traitor's Woods.
  • For Doom the Bell Tolls: The music that plays when approaching the Clockwork Sun features deep bells knelling ominously. It gets even creepier when in immediate proximity of this mechanical monstrosity since it adds "Psycho" Strings to the mix just like any other Horror Spectacles.
  • Fountain of Youth:
    • Hours can be used to achieve this effect, by using them to add extra time to your life.
    • The fungi of Hybras can also have this effect, and the purpose of the colony there is for the colonists to return to their youth.
  • Fragile Speedster: Tackety Scouts. They're not made to last, and their weapon isn't quite that impressive, but they are quite agile and will actually dodge shots with their lateral jets.
  • Freudian Excuse: After some bad experiences with storytellers, the Halved banned storytelling in Eleutheria. Even port reports qualify, which is why the Cypress King has to personally meet with skyfarers one-on-one in a sealed room in order to receive them.
  • Fungus Humongous: The town of Hybras is located in an area of the Reach covered with titanic growths of fungus and mould. The enormous fronds and mushrooms easily dwarf your locomotive — some of the shelf mushrooms are as big as city blocks — and the great fungi that loom in the background are bigger still.
  • Funny Octopus: Deidre, the Rubbery Suffragette's pet octopus. She lives on the Suffragette's sunhat, perpetually drinks fine wine along with her owner and offers some of the most hilarious dialogues in the game. In the end, she along with her owner are the most lighthearted people you'll meet in the otherwise dreary and foreboding Eleutheria.
  • Gaslamp Fantasy: Goes with being a part of the Fallen London universe.
  • Generic Name: The Office of Works. Exactly what they do is unclear, but it apparently requires a variety of Noodle Implements. It's heavily implied that they somehow use these to keep the Clockwork Sun running.
  • Genre Savvy: Your captain can be this when boarding the wreck of the Boatman. If you have fifteen Tales of Terror, then your captain has read enough horror novels to know that the sealed-off cargo hold is probably the source of the problem.
  • Genuine Human Hide: The quest for the Incognito Princess gives us a rare non-malevolent version of this trope: after her wedding to the monstrous King of Choirs, she transforms into a giant bee monster, leaving behind her empty human skin. Said skin can be given to one of her two admirers who will be able to wear it and take the Princess' place in the crew.
  • Ghibli Hills: Much of the Reach is like this, what with being the starting area and a place where there has been less turmoil with reality than the other zones, and thus things are calmer and make more sense.
  • Gilded Cage: Perdurance, in Albion. The Empress rewards loyal courtiers by placing their children in a "Groundhog Day" Loop of "a single perfect day", where they enjoy eternal youth and comfort. They are not, however, permitted to leave.
  • Glowing Flora: The Reach features a lot of glowing mushroom as well as luminescent spores floating in the air to ramp up the Scenery Porn. Some of these luminous mushrooms are in the same plane as the gameplay, and their blue light is powerful enough to illuminate a decent area around them.
  • God-Emperor: It's possible to fund the construction of a cathedral to Her Renewed Majesty, implying that at least some of the empire's population actually worship her, and as the master of the Clockwork Sun, she certainly has the power to back it up.
  • Good Feels Good: A number of options that are based on helping others for no reward, such as clearing debris that might be a collision hazard to other engines or making sure that dead sky-farers get decent funerals, reduce terror because performing acts of decency heartens your crew.
  • Government Procedural: The Parliamentary quests have you taking the role of a Parliamentarian, as the local head of the place essentially press-gangs you into it just to have enough outside perspective and motivation to get something done, and you roll with it.
  • Great Offscreen War: The early stages of the Winchester War, which established the current status quo in the Reach and left some very impressive debris fields.
  • Green Hill Zone: The Reach, which is largely unsettled and contains enormous free-floating plants, as well as asteroids covered in fields and forests.
  • Hell Is That Noise: While it can be difficult to spot Wefts of Unraveling Time before running into them, as their exact location can be ambiguous and they can remain still for a while, their presence is usually helpfully pointed out by the noise they make as the time within frays. Said noise is rather like a very large door being slammed repeatedly.
  • Identity Amnesia: This trope is part of what it means to be imprisoned at Piranesi: In order to be let out again you have to change everything about who and what you were when you came in — your appearance, your beliefs, your nature, and of course your memories of who you were before. This includes all of the four guides, who are former inmates.
  • I'm a Humanitarian: Veterans of Sunless Sea, be glad to hear that eating your crew is an option once more!
  • Immortality Immorality: Aside from the fact that the upper class hoarding Hours results in this, it seems that the Blue Kingdom particularly hates would-be immortals. To get registered in their kingdom you have to issue a vow that you're never going to try to become immortal (and there's a Well whose cult delights in throwing immortality seekers into it). Of course, anything the Azure says is just is suspect.
  • Immortality Seeker: The London upper class seems to have become this.
  • Intangible Price: All over the place, as in series tradition. Intangible cargo can take the form of Gossip, Bloody Secrets, favors from the Tacketies or the Windward Company, Sky-stories or Tales of Terror, and so on. Funnily enough, what would normally be intangible, like your soul or time itself, can be bottled up and shipped in crates in this universe.
  • Intrepid Merchant: Since the easiest ways of making a profit are quickly snapped up by Mega Corps like the Windward Company, making a living as a trader requires you to be one.
  • Ironic Hell: Some of the punishments at Carillon, such as forcing a habitual liar to copy out an entire encyclopaedia, word-for-word, and begin again from the start whenever they make and error, or having someone overly curious walk around wearing magnifying lenses.
  • Jump Scare: A soundless one, both in-universe and out, is in the mists near Worlebury-Juxta-Mare in the form of some kind of God-Fluke the size of most ports and with one huge, human eye popping out of the mists to give you the evil eye before sinking back down. Since it's an unnerving thing to witness, comes without warning, and raises your crew's terror rapidly while it's in motion, both the player and the people aboard the locomotive are likely having the same "JESUS ____ING CHRIST" reaction.
  • Kaiju:
    • At the Grave of the Silent Saint the player can find the enormous severed head of a dragon frozen in ice.
    • At Faith's Fall is the enormous, rotting corpse of a "leviathan", a city-sized Eldritch Abomination of some kind.
    • The House of Rods and Chains is a city built inside the corpse of a Messenger, a species of enormous crabs that serve the Judgements.
  • Killed to Uphold the Masquerade: The "Truth" ambition involves the player character learning of an entity called The Fire that Follows, which seems to have hunted down and killed one of your character's old friends. Pursuing the ambition reveals The Fire that Follows is a logos, a entity spoken into existence by the stars, which hunts down and kills anyone who learns of the Courtesy. Unfortunately, by the time you learn about The Fire that Follows, the player character is now next on its hitlist...
    You have learned something you should not.
  • Land of One City: Eagle's Empyrean in Eleutheria is the last remnant of the Khanate. However, due to power struggles with Albion in the region and the fact that the transit relay back to the Reach is under Empyreal control, the Khaganians seek to change this.
  • Language of Magic: The Correspondence, the language of the Bazaar and the Judgements.
  • Late-Arrival Spoiler: In Fallen London, the cosmology of the universe and the true nature of the stars was one of the game's deepest secrets. In Sunless Skies, it's part of the basic premise.
  • Light Is Not Good:
    • Just like the Dawn Machine in Sunless Sea, you'll want to avoid the warm glow the Clockwork Sun pours over Albion. Not only is it just as addictive and madness-inducing as before, it also slowly turns the hapless people exposed to it into jagged glass. No wonder many describe this Sun as hateful and malevolent.
    • The Blue Kingdom is still ruled by its Judgement, the Azure, who has set up a vast and inefficient Celestial Bureaucracy to process the dead. It is also a self-centered, petty, and completely amoral Evil Overlord who is only gathering the ghosts of the dead so it can eat them for more power. Even Eleutheria, with the Halved who actively squelches light to create a zone for Judgement rebels to congregate in, is a nicer place to live.
  • Lightning/Fire Juxtaposition: A location-based example with the ongoing rivalry between London and the Khanate. Londoners work primarily with fire as their main source of energy, best exemplified in the old-fashioned Brabazon Workworld, with its huge furnaces pouring pitch-black smoke in the skies, while the Khaganates heavily use electricity: the Eagle's Empyrean, their stronghold in the High Wilderness, is continuously lit with bright neon lights and their self-made electrical Moon, and the Khan's Palace emits notable and threatening lightning bolts.
  • Loss of Identity:
    • At Magdalene's, The Amenable Host has changed himself into so many different people to cater toward his clientele that he no longer knows what his real identity is.
    • Piranesi is a prison for those who refuse to change. Anyone can walk free as soon as they find the exit, but the prison prevents that from happening until the prisoner has changed enough of their identity. The more severe a crime, the farther a prisoner is placed from the entrance, and the more of themselves they have to change. Three of the four Chaplains don't bear any resemblance to who they were when they were first incarcerated, and the fourth only retained his personality, not his form.
  • The Lost Woods: Traitor's Wood, a vast, dark, wild forest scattered across multiple asteroids, where the only signs of civilisation are strange ruins and a small archeological campsite. Exploring the Wood and discovering its secrets requires you to make multiple expeditions into the forest.
  • Lovecraft Lite: Sure, you're a tiny bug barely worth notice, but you're a tiny bug who can kill a sun, and the suns probably are asking for it. In one of the endings for the Truth Ambition, you poison the Azure and join the Sorrow Spiders as the new kings of the dead, and it's heavily implied the dead universally like you and them better - and should you become a conquerer of Albion, it's implied you get rid of the Sorrow Spiders too.
    • On the other hand, It is stated that only a being of comparable magnitude may kill a Judgement (usually another Judgement) and humans have little to no chance against one directly. In fact, the murder of Albion's star was a lie. London essentially arrived in Albion long after the fact, picking up the pieces and pretending it was our work all along. Arriving at Death's Door demonstrates this point further. You can mount a futile protest against the heavens, only to be promptly swatted like a bug by a Judgement just looking at you. Which is why, of course, you have to be clever about it. You can't kill one, but you can make it very likely something else will.
  • Mad Scientist: An occupational hazard in a world where scientists are expected to study Things Man Was Not Meant to Know. The player character will be this if you choose the Academic background and the "interlude in red and gold" facet (which means you actually went mad at some point and got dragged to the Royal Bethlehem Hotel; whether you made it back to sanity or just learned to pretend is your choice).
  • Madness Mantra: Remember the creepy "THE SUN THE SUN THE SUN THE SUN" one when nearing the Dawn Machine in Sunless Sea? Well, you'll be delighted to hear that it gloriously returns when nearing the Clockwork Sun in Albion!
  • Magitek: Some of the New British Empire's technology qualifies:
    • Hour-looms use conventional mechanical technology to use hours, the material form of time, to slow or accelerate the flow of time. They're used both to artificially extend people's lives and to increase the efficiency of factories.
    • Singh-Jenkins relays use hour-looms to coat a space-faring, coal-fired steam train in a protective coating of hours, then use the Correspondence to accelerate it to faster-than-light speeds. The relays look like a clockwork magic circle that lights up sigils in a combination of train-signal and arcane ritual.
    • The exact nature of the Clockwork Sun maybe a bit confusing, but it definitely incorporates both supernatural elements and, well, clockwork.
  • Master of Disguise: The attendants at Magdalene's, who disguise themselves as significant people from their client's lives in an attempt to help them come to terms with their past.
  • Mega-Corp: The Windward Company, which represents London's interests in the Reach.
  • Mighty Glacier: Any sort of Dreadnought that London sends. They're fairly slow to both move and turn, and they have no lateral jets so they can't really do a snap dodge and thus anything aimed at them will hit them. But they all have at least one heavy repeater with an automated turret to complement it, as well as heavy armor that'll make them harder to kill than most other enemies even under heavy fire.
  • Mind Screw: The nature of the setting as a Gaslamp Fantasy Lovecraft Lite Cosmic Horror Story naturally leads to these being a common occurrence.
  • Misery Builds Character: This is the basic working principle behind Carillon — you go there to have the flaws removed from your soul by suffering various horrible punishments. The facility is run by devils and to some degree acts like a purgatory for willing patients.
  • Mister Descriptor: In Lustrum you can meet a cloaked trader named Mister Pennies at The Hanged Man pub, and there's also a similarly cloaked Mister Menagerie traveling around several spots in the Reach, selling scouts. It doesn't take too much effort to figure out that both are part of the same species as the Masters, the Curators. There's also a Mr Pipes and a Mr Barleycorn, the latter of which will send you on a quest to find the rest of his kin.
  • Moral Guardians: The Ministry of Public Decency, as one would expect. Literature they approve ends up terribly bland, deprived of both bite and humor.
  • Multiple-Choice Past:
    • At the start of the game you pick one of ten backgrounds (each of which has three different varieties). Were you a cunning street urchin, a condemned scientist, a starving poet, a zee-captain, a revolutionary or an auditor for the Ministry of Public Decency?
    • When leveling up, you choose a "Facet" that describes your character's past in one of two ways. Some Facets can be unlocked through certain actions in the game, like a near-brush with death for getting your Hull low resulting in such an anecdote appearing as an option.
  • Mundane Luxury: Sensible Plumbing, which gives your locomotive regular hot and cold water, quieter pipes and toilets that actually flush, rather than whatever it is you had before. It raises crew capacity by six, even without any other changes, meaning that your crew will gladly face heavily cramped conditions if you simply have a bathroom that works decently.
  • Murder by Cremation: Attempted by the crew of the Boatman onto the newly revived dead bodies they were ferrying to their final resting place, to the understandable ire of the latters. Though to their credit, from their point of view, it looked like a Night of the Living Mooks and they fully freaked out as a result, not knowing the dead were in fact reunited with their minds and were as harmless as their living selves.
  • Mysterious Mist: The area around Worlebury-juxta-Mare is bathed in very thick clouds of mist, considered to be a sea by the locals. People in the resort can "bathe" in it suspended by hoists, but many unpleasant things lurk within the fog...
  • The Necrocracy: The Blue Kingdom is populated by the dead, and partially run by specialized castes among them. You have to get yourself registered as a pre-dead "antedeceased" to even get anywhere in this bureaucracy.
  • Negative Space Wedgie:
    • Wefts of Unravelling Time will send you careening through a variety of possible futures and may pop you out months before you went in. They can be fixed by more or less sewing time back together, but it's not that easy and requires specialized equipment.
    • There's also Extinguishments in Eleutheria, roiling masses of anti-light that occasionally boil over into existence and will eat away at locomotive hulls if they stray within for longer than a few seconds. The Undeparted, which are semi-living breaches of the rules of life and death, can occasionally spawn them somehow (presumably reality can only handle so much).
  • Neo New City: The center of the Reach is the industrial powerhouse of New Winchester. Averted with London: it's not called New London because it actually is the entire original city of London moved brick by brick to the High Wilderness.
  • Nice Hat: The Tacketies refer to London loyalists as "Stovepipes" due to their choice in headgear. You can also wear one at Worlebury-Juxta-Mare.
  • Nightmarish Factory: The Brabazon Workworld. Imagine the worst excesses of Victorian industry, and then imagine them with the power to ensure that for every hour that passes outside the factory, an entire year passes for its workers.
  • Night of the Living Mooks: Rumoured to be what happened to the Boatman, a Necropolis-line ship ferrying corpses for burial. Subverted. The corpses did come back to life in a bizarre fit of Negative Space Wedgie-induced Mental Time Travel, but they're ultimately the same people they were in life, and they did hijack the ship from its crew, but only because the crew assumed this trope was happening and kept trying to incinerate them.
  • Non-Standard Game Over
  • Noodle Implements: The Office of Works in London is willing to pay good money for these.
  • Noodle Incident: Officially, Albion Standard Time is dictated by the head of the Horological Office's own pocket watch. Except that one time he got drunk, which somehow resulted in the entirety of Albion losing two whole hours.
  • Nostalgia Filter: Exploited in-universe with Starshine, a contraband item available for purchase in Eleutheria. Starshine itself is described as water that's full of the light of stars visible from Earth, and therefore is in high demand by those nostalgic for the old world.
  • Not So Above It All: The Judgements. Despite giving the appearance that they are in fact above it all, the Judgements are at war against one another, proving that they are just as capable of pettiness, disunity and strife as mortals. One can infer that this is greatly embarrassing for them since they will hunt down those who discover this truth.
  • Permanently Missable Content: Unlike Sunless Sea, where everything's reset upon a new legacy, Skies carry over some things from older runs...including things like some questlines, like, say, officers. So you can get into problem where if you chose a wrong choice and prematurely end their quest, or finish their quest in such a way that they leave you, those will be carried over subsequent runs, which means you'll be either left with a permanently unupgradable officer, or that officer never appears in the game again, without starting a new save file over. On the upside, any officer whose questline you did complete will reappear in their upgraded form for the next captain. The only solace available is that at least you can make a custom officer with the Forge of Souls, but that still doesn't alleviate the problem that the old officer's gone and you can't access their storylines again.
  • Phlebotinum-Induced Steampunk: The New British Empire can do some amazing things with coal-fired steam engines, but not without the help of hours and the Correspondence.
  • Pleasure Planet:
    • Inverted with Carillon, a spa run by Devils where visitors can have various horrible things inflicted on them in order to cleanse and refine their souls.
    • Magdalene's is a straighter example, as it offers people with regrets to relive past events to bring them some closure. This is one of the places where reducing Terror is the easiest.
    • Worlebury-Juxta-Mare is also an example, being an attempt to recreate The Great British Seaside in the High Wilderness. Albeit not a very good one.
  • Portal Network: The four main regions are connected by Singh-Jenkins Transit Relays, which use the Red Science to slingshot locomotives across vast interstellar distances.
  • Possessive Paradise: Langley Hall won't physically stop you from leaving, but you and your crew will suffer weird nightmares until you return.
  • Prospector: There are several in Lustrum, and you can attempt to stake an hour-mining claim yourself. The first one of them was Old Tom, who is said to have made a wish in a Well (actually a black hole), gone to Lustrum and dug up an entire century on the first try (when individual chunks are mere hours; this was a geode the size of a whale).
  • "Psycho" Strings: Disturbing Psycho Strings are heard when nearing Horror Spectacles, accompanied by a blood red, pulsating tint on the corners of the screen. As if most of these Spectacles (Faith's Fall and the Grave of the Silent Saint particularly come to mind) weren't gruesome enough...
  • Purpose-Driven Immortality: Those held captive in the Well of Wonders are forced to perform in and attend to a theatre play reenacting the story of a Prophet that tried to convince the Twin Kings of Eleutheria that a revolution was necessary. When at last the story managed to be told in its entirety thanks to your captain, they all crumbled instantly to dust, as they only had been kept alive and young to fulfill their role into reciting and hearing the complete story of the Prophet Exile. The sole exception was a little girl that became a very old woman as soon as the play ended, and died mere moments later.
  • Put on a Bus:
    • The Echo Bazaar, the Masters, and a lot of the core locations and factions of the previous games don't make a clear appearance. Yet, anyways. And for many, the implications aren't good, so that absence is likely of the unpleasant sort.
    • Players can effectively do this to their Officers by dropping them off at various locations to do busywork and return later to pick them up whenever they want.
  • Quest for Identity: The Amenable Host sends you on one, asking you to visit various ports across the Reach to try and see if anyone remembers him.
  • Rail Enthusiast: Considering spaceships are trains in this setting, it was only natural for trainspotters to be around. Their numbers are unclear, however; the New Gazette's "Trainspotter's Delight" segment, ostensibly there to give trainspotters in New Winchester a guide to particularly interesting locomotives, is actually a concealed bounty board run by the Windward Company and any engines featured in there are free game for company vessels.
  • Reality Subtext: The Industrial Revolution turned time into a commodity. It's just more literal in this game.
  • Reality Warper: The Judgements. Through the use of the Red Science, it's possible to construct artificial Judgements, such as London's Clockwork Sun.
  • Really Royalty Reveal: When your captain first meets the Incognito Princess, one might think she is an incandescent young lady impersonating a princess. Then, when you speak to her to start her personal quest, she removes her tiara... and brings out and even fancier one, stating that she is the daughter of Her Renewed Majesty (probably the Captivating Princess from seen in Fallen London) travelling incognito.
  • Rebellious Princess: The Incognito Princess is hinted to be rather bothered by her status if we are to believe her answer to the question "Why are you travelling around the High Wilderness?":
    The Incognito Princess: "The ambition of any Princess worthy of the name is not to remain so."
  • La Résistance:
    • The Colonial Assembly, also known as the "Tacketies", a loose alliance of colonists fighting for the independence of New Winchester and the Reach.
    • The New Street Line in Albion is similarly fighting to liberate workers from the oppression of the Workworlds.
  • Rage Againstthe Heavens: You can essentially do this at Death's Door. Upon seeing the hellish afterlife of the Blue Kingdom, you can give the Blue Kingdom a (figurative) middle finger. As is appropriate for Cosmic Horror, this is a futile gesture and you will promptly be obliterated. On the other hand, your objection on behalf of mortals is noted and recorded. Considering the rigid, bureaucratic hellhole that is the Blue Kingdom, perhaps that's an impressive achievement in a way.
  • Revenant Zombie: A possible effect of exposing a corpse to a Weft of Unravelling Time is that the mind it had in life is reunited with the body.
  • Right on Queue:
    • The line for Worlebury-Juxta-Mare is absurdly long. If you actually choose to wait in line instead of bribing your way past, it takes multiple days before you're admitted.
    • Since the Blue Kingdom is a very complex Celestial Bureaucracy that has to deal with all the deceased - not only the humans, mind you, all kinds of animals end up here all the same - the queues to get to the Kingdom's numerous courts are obnoxiously long, described as spanning several streets and even the rooftops.
  • Rugged Scar: The Indurate Veteran has one all over the left side of her face, apparently caused by frostbite. One can conjecture it was earned during the first encounter between Stovepipes and Tacketies, and that a hole in the hull of her locomotive was to blame.
  • Sacrificial Lion: An In-Universe example in the Halved's counterpart. The Prophet Exile murdered it to reinforce belief in the Revolution's cause.
  • Sanity Meter: The Terror mechanic from Sunless Sea returns, though tweaked. Terror still rises as always, but when the meter tops out Condition rises by one, and the bar loops back to 0%. The higher it is, the creepier random events will get, and if it hits level 6 at any time that's it.
  • Sanity Slippage: High Condition levels will make it clear, through the random events accosting your locomotive as you traverse the High Wilderness, that you are starting to lose it, your grasp on reality is getting tenuous, and the things you're seeing and interacting are only making matters worse whether they're real or not.
  • Scenery Gorn: Spectacles that increase your terror are usually this, when they're not simply a place that's disturbing in and of itself.
  • Scenery Porn: Spectacles, a kind of terrain feature in the High Wilderness that float in the background and will either increase or decrease your Terror when you get near them depending on what kind of landmark it is, either are impressive to look at.
  • Screw the Rules, I Have Connections!: Your "Affiliations" include the Establishment, Villainy, Boheme and Academy, and having two or more levels in any of them will confer benefits or unlock new options. The most common is getting more deals at the Bazaar in various ports or more possible prospective sales locations for cargo; for example, having some Villainy gives you more chances to see someone selling stuff that "fell off the back of a truck." Other times it lets you unlock solutions to problems; for example, Villainy lets you hire a locksmith to pick open Captain Whately's mysterious black box.
  • Screw This, I'm Outta Here!: One of the possible endings to The Truth ambition is to head back to The Neath and leave behind all the insanity of the Judgements.
  • Sea Hurtchin: Unfortunately for the Sunless Sea veterans, the Flukes didn't stay in the Unterzee. The ones that moved to the High Wilderness are called Scorn-Flukes, and if anything are even worse than in the previous game, charging your locomotive in the middle of open space with all their urchin-like bulk and speaking Correspondence even more fluently. There's also whatever sort of eldritch Fluke that you can find in the mists near Worlebury-juxta-Mare; it can't hurt you, but it's so big and horrible-looking your terror will skyrocket in its presence.
  • Sentient Stars: The stars and our sun are known as the Judgements, almighty gods that use their light to impose their laws upon everything they shine upon. Well, probably not for long, as they are all being killed.
  • Senseless Sacrifice: Attacking Death's Door, while noble and brave, is stupid, naive, and pointless. You will become nothing but a footnote in the Blue Kingdom's archives if you somehow think a locomotive can somehow blast a sun in the face. If you want a revolution, you have to be smart about it.
  • Sequel Escalation: Players of Fallen London and Sunless Sea will be surprised to find how much the world has been shaken up in the Time Skip between Sea and Skies; the central premise of the plot focuses on the all-powerful, enigmatic Judgements being killed, when they previously seemed near-godlike.
  • Settling the Frontier: The Reach, a vast wilderness ripe to explore, to colonise, and to exploit. Here, the Empire is opposed by the environment and a growing movement of settlers determined to rule themselves.
  • Shoot 'em Up: Combat plays out in basically this style, with manually-aimed weapons that shoot avoidable projectiles in specific patterns.
  • Shout-Out:
    • The teashop owner Melusine Murgatroyd's name is a reference to Melusina, a mermaid with the tail of a serpent in Celtic mythology.
    • The Eleutherian prison of Piranesi is named after the Italian artist Giovani Battista Piranesi, who was known among other for his etchings of imaginary prisons, or "Carceri d'Invenzione". The shop found in the place is even named "Carceri" as a further reference.
    • While working for the Royal Horological Office the player may encounter a certain Englishman and his valet attempting an eighty day journey around the Reach.
    • The malady that befalls the researchers at Leadbeater & Stainrod Nature Reserve, and the Cinders that cause it bear a striking resemblance to how the war on drugs plays out in A Scanner Darkly by Philip K. Dick.
  • Sibling Yin-Yang: The Murgatroyd sisters met at Lustrum and Achlys are basically polar opposites. The older sister Amberley can barely wait for the day she can take control of the company, is far more narrow-minded, and holds utter contempt for her little sister. Younger sister Melusine dislikes being under her father's thumb and working for the tea company, longs for other pursuits in life like her inventions, and is more open-minded. Thrown into situations that aren't quite to their liking to expand the tea company, Melusine has adapted as well she can and wants to explore Lustrum to further her knowledge while Amberley loathes Achlys because she can hardly make a dent into its market and can't wait to leave. Just about the only trait they share is their equally determined ambition to achieve their goal.
  • Sinister Sentient Sun: While artificial, the Clockwork Sun on the ridge of Albion is a hateful and malevolent entity that bathes Albion in a toxic light that can turn the nearest people and environment into jagged glass, bringing them excruciating pain. The people operating it must wear a full-coverage suit in order to avoid those effects. Also, the Sun houses a prison that leaves its prisoners without any protecting gear, leaving most of them them to turn into glass and go utterly insane in the ordeal.
  • Skull for a Head: The Graven are prominent figures in the Blue Kingdom, usually working as administrators and judges in several Courts. All the skin of their head and neck have been thoroughly peeled off leaving a bare skull that had been encrusted with countless gemstones. It had however been mentioned that they can abandon their status, which will have them grow their faces back.
  • Soul Jar: The Heart-Catcher plants in Eleutheria are a variation, they can capture a death, preventing a person from dying in a specific way. As the Greenfingered Old Warhorse explains though, using this to gain immortality is highly impractical. In a place like the High Wilderness being killed by something that you expect, and therefore arranged a Heart-Catcher for, is far less likely than getting killed in ways you didn't think possible or living through something you wish you didn't.
  • Sound-Coded for Your Convenience: All enemies will make you very aware of the fact they've targeted you, or someone else, through tell-tale sounds that act as a battle-cry of sorts. Whether it's the gurgling of a Cantankeri, the horn-blast of a Star-Maddened Explorer or the shrieking of a Scrive-Spinster, you'll know when you've become a target. Also useful in case of charging enemies, especially the aforementioned Explorers; you hear them, and it's time to get dodging.
  • Space Clouds: Nebulae in the High Wilderness are much denser in real life, and provide a safe source of natural light. Port Avon, for example, is lit by a golden nebula that interacts with its atmosphere to create an Earth-like blue sky. Often, they're also quite toxic to breathe.
  • Spot of Tea: Tea is more present in this game than its predecessors.
    Tea is always a good idea. In a universe of horrors, tea is never wrong.
  • Space Cold War: The Winchester War. The initial stages of the war were very hot indeed, but by the time the game starts a tentative and uneasy ceasefire seems to be in place. Emphasis on uneasy; even if there's no all-out war, there's a high chance that you'll hear the sounds of Tacketies and Stovepipes shooting at each other while docking at New Winchester.
  • Space Is Cold: Without proper insulated clothing, going out in the Wilderness will freeze you dead within fifteen minutes. It's also why running out of fuel is very immediately lethal; no fuel means no steam, and thus no heating inside the locomotive.
  • Space Is Magic: In the cosmology of the Fallen London universe, the laws of physics as we know them are actually the arbitrary decrees of the Judgements, enforced by sunlight. But the law is disappearing as the stars go out, and in the darkest parts of space the law never applied at all.
  • Space Madness: Staring into the stars for too long is bad for your mental health. Most ships have stained-glass windows in order to ameliorate this effect. Marauders, a relatively common enemy, are ships whose crews have partially succumbed to this with the captain often being crazy, and the Star-maddened Explorers of Albion have completely lost it and have filled the walls with constellations that don't exist while they hunted for things to shoot at.
  • Space Navy: The Royal Navy, which fields extremely powerful dreadnoughts.
  • Space Opera: It's a very, very unorthodox example, but an example nonetheless.
  • Space Whale: The Cantankeri "swimming" around in space look very much like small whales or porpoises and are generally peaceful so long as you don't come too close. When provoked into attacking, though, they reveal their multiple legs and the carcass is described to be more akin to an insect's carapace. They're also grumpy enough that a group of Cantankeri is referred to as a "disgruntlement".
  • Starfish Aliens: All of them. There are very few aliens that are even remotely human-like, and even the few that are are generally the result of aliens that are distinctly not human-like using the Red Science to assume A Form You Are Comfortable With.
  • The Stars Are Going Out: The stars are being murdered en masse.
  • Star Killing: The poor Sun has been completely obliterated by Her Renewed Majesty's Unclear Bomb. Its cooling and ravaged remains can actually be seen from far away near the Most Serene Mausoleum, and the part above the wound caused by the bomb acts as a Horror Spectacle.
  • Steam Punk: Played absolutely straight compared to the game's predecessor titles. Being set in space means the steam-powered technologies have to be a lot more advanced than mere Victorian-era science in order to function.
  • Survival Sandbox: The game is basically a Wide Open Sandbox in a procedurally generated world, focused on resources management, and including permadeath.
  • Tentacled Terror: If you spot an innocuous-looking locomotive suddenly sprouting black tentacles, flee: this particular ship had been invaded by Guests, tentacled monstrosities that can invade space locomotives and are drawn to the warmth associated with places that had been lived in. And as their stolen home grows cold, they will frantically search for a new locomotive to take over. Like yours.
  • This Is Gonna Suck: Your captain's inevitable reaction when they try to hire on crew in London, and see their Inconvenient Aunt is at the station, and has noticed them. Longtime players of Fallen London should know that this is troublesome news (for some reason, all aunts in the Neath and London in general get up to an embarrassing amount of trouble and it's utterly impossible to stop them from getting into it), so it's entirely justified.
    Your aunt is here!
    Dear God.
  • Tick Tock Terror: A creepy, loud and distorted version of the iconic Big Ben chime will sometimes ring when flying in the desolate and ominous area surrounding the Floating Parliament. Justified since one of the spectacles found there is the Tower of Chimes — the remains of the actual Big Ben.
  • Time Master: The Traitor Empress rewards her favourites with months to prolong their lives, while those who displease her are condemned to the Midnight Cells, where every minute lasts a day. And it's implied she could easily fix the Wefts of Unraveled Time if she actually bothered (a task that requires a downsized Hour-Loom for you to even attempt to knit time back together), but apparently finds it beneath her; no one's about to ask.
  • Time Police: Officially, the Horological Office's job is just to make sure that every clock in the Empire shows the same time, but they occasionally lean towards being this.
  • Time Travel: Can be done using wefts in time. It's mostly of the mental sort, and terribly uncontrollable, but you can leave before you arrive.
  • Timey-Wimey Ball: Rare instance of this being present even without Time Travel due to differences in the flow of time; although it's officially only been ten years since the events of Sunless Sea, the New British Empire has made such extensive use of mined hours that it'd be easy to be mistaken that centuries have passed (and for some, they have).
  • Towering Flower: Gigantic flowers are a fairly common feature in the the lush and fertile Reach.
    • To say that the flower on which Titania is built is giant is one big understatement: after all, a whole town has been built on it, with each district standing on a different petal. Unfortunately for the Titanians, this big flower attracts equally big bees.
    • There is also the verdant Leadbeater and Stainrod's Nature Reserve, which is built in a lush and verdant if threatening area of the Reach, which features among other giant tubular flowers larger than the locomotives players roam around in.
  • Town with a Dark Secret: It wouldn't be the Fallen London setting without them.
    • Port Avon, likely the first town you will hit outside of New Winchester, is an insular and somewhat xenophobic farming community resembling the classical English countryside, built upon ancient ruins full of ancient souls of a Precursor civilization. It's actually a subversion, as despite how many red flags it throws up to the Genre Savvy the town is exactly what it looks like. Worst thing they'll do is constantly drain sky stories to avoid you wearing out your welcome there.
    • Worlebury-Juxta-Mare is, on the surface, an attempt to recreate the British seaside in space, and doing remarkably well, considering the fact that the ocean is made of corrosive mist and the fish have far too many tentacles. But there's something not quite right about the place. Then you find your way into the Off Season, and discover a cult using the Red Science to engage in some serious Body Horror.
    • Langley Hall is seemingly a large, luxurious if somewhat difficult to navigate mansion where you can rest from your adventures, but you and your crew find themselves unwilling to leave and you have dreams of weird insectile creatures in the basement.
  • Turn Undead: Subverted in one possible option on the Wreck of the Boatman: upon discovering the undead passengers, you can attempt to turn them away with prayer. This results in them joining in, and then thanking the player for lifting their spirits after their recent ordeal.
  • Translation Convention: Undoubtedly taking place, considering that a number of locations, especially in Eleutheria, are given stylized names that reference literature and mythology despite not originally being built by humans.
  • Tree Top Town: The artists' colony of Titania, which is built on top of a giant flower.
  • Undying Loyalty: The entire Truth Ambition can be played through by the Player Character wanting to do right by their missing (and assumed dead) friend and what they were trying to do before they died. In the end, the player can go so far as to give up the High Wilderness forever, or spend a century imprisoned in Piranesi, just to give that friend a second lease on life. Alternatively, you can subvert this and sacrifice them for a Deal with the Devil.
  • United Space of America: There are striking similarities between the Colonial Assembly and the Continental Congress.
  • Unstable Equilibrium: The way Terror works, every time the bar is filled raises your Condition by one level. At 6, you instantly lose, and the higher it is the harder it is to keep your terror low thanks to random events besieging you; at high Condition levels your captain is losing their mind and the hallucinations and actual weird shit attracted to maddened minds visiting the locomotive do not help. By then, it's best to try and drop at Magdalene's even if the price is exorbitant.
  • Vast Bureaucracy:
    • The New British Empire's civil service. Branches include the Ministry of Public Decency, which serve as Moral Guardians and censors, the Horological Office, which tries to make sure that time is consistent throughout the Empire, the Home Office, which originally processed immigration through the Avid Horizon but now merely keeps an eye on the detainees stuck there, the Bureau of Entertainments, which runs Worlebury-Juxta-Mare, and the Office of Works, whose primary purpose appears to be purchasing Noodle Implements.
    • The entirety of the Blue Kingdom is one giant bureaucracy for the souls of the dead to go through, being sorted, re-sorted, classified, promoted, demoted, refined and purified before they're allowed into their final destination at Death's Door.
  • The War of Earthly Aggression: Although Earth itself is not involved (London having relocated) the Winchester War has shades of this.
  • Wardens Are Evil: Averted by most of the Chaplains, who act more like teachers and counselors than wardens. However, the Glib Performer plays it straight, going out of his way to torment prisoners for no reason and to trick you into breaking Piranesi's rules.
  • Warrior Poet: Titania, if you encourage them to build the Academy of the Bloody Arts and the Fortress of Apollo.
  • Weird Weather:
    • Of the Weird Wind sort, but one often finds some harsh winds blowing through the High Wilderness that have strange effects on your vessel and its passengers/cargo. Most common are the Peacock Wind of the reach, that'll cause vegetables aboard to sprout and grow with edible, but unnerving nodules, and the Candlewind that'll rot away your supplies and starve all aboard, not to mention occasionally has a reverse push on your vessel than it'd seem (as in, going against the wind is faster). Both, naturally, cause your Terror to rise.
    • The Storm That Speaks also occasionally pops up in certain places in The Reach. Think of a sentient, extremely lightning-prone hurricane with familiar whispers on its winds and with which you can strike up conversations if you're charismatic enough (or have brought gifts of bottled souls), and you've more or less got it. It's a weird entity even by this universe's standards.
    • Both these weird weather events are explained with the right ambition or dialogue options: They are the souls of murdered stars. To be specific, the Peacock Wind is the ghost of the Gardener King, the dead Judgement of the Reach, and the Storm That Speaks is the remnant of The King of Hours, frozen in time as a vengeful ghost.
  • Wham Shot: The Albion launch trailer gives us the first look at the Clockwork Sun, and reveals that we'll be able to visit the other end of the Avid Horizon.
  • What Happened to the Mouse?: The mysterious builders of Titania.
  • Wicked Toymaker: The man in charge of Worlebury-Juxta-Mare, who makes sure the place runs proper and is your handler when it comes to dealing with the cult dwelling in the Off-season, is simply called the Toymaker; whenever you talk to him, he's always in the middle of sewing up yet another plush toy far too adorable for the situation you're in. And while he's not necessarily malevolent, he's definitely ruthlessly pragmatic and creepy as hell.
  • Wild Wilderness: The Reach, in comparison to more throughly settled areas such as Albion. By and large, it is a wild and mostly unsettled frontier, where most settlements are small and relatively young villages and outposts separated from each other by vast stretches of wilderness, where life grows riotously and wild and where travellers are threatened by monsters and spacefaring outlaws. Some of the less-settled areas of the Reach, such as Traitor's Wood, give off this vibe even compared to the rest of the area.
  • Wishing Well: Old Tom's Well is an extraordinarily unusual example. Found near the Leadbeater and Stainrod Nature Reserve in the Reach, it is said that a prospector had made a wish into it and soon after discovered countless veins of hours on the Mother of Mountains and became excessively wealthy. Since then, people from all over the Reach come to the well in order to have a wish granted. How is that unusual? Old Tom's Well is a black hole, and the small settlements built above it are cold as ice and ravaged by strong winds. Some deluded wishers still swear they saw gold at the bottom of it, though.
  • Wolverine Claws: Scrive-spinsters can pry locomotives apart with their bronzewood fingers.
  • Wrong Genre Savvy: The crew of the Boatman reacted understandably poorly to the dead reanimating, but apparently forgot that in this universe, most undead (e.g. tomb-colonists) are Revenant Zombies who are generally their living selves minus a spot of mold.
  • A Year and a Day: You can let the entity inside the Regent's Grave borrow your body for a year and a day so it can do maintenance work on the Traitor's Woods.
  • Year Inside, Hour Outside:
    • The Midnight Cells, where every minute lasts a day, and no one leaves until their hair is white and their bones are bent.
    • This also occurs on Workworlds, as a side effect of the hour-refining process.


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