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Welcome, delicious troper.

Fallen London (formerly, Echo Bazaar) is a Twitter/Facebook connected, turn based browser game produced by Failbetter Games Ltd. It's set in the aforementioned 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.

There are four stats a player can choose to improve on as he/she/it continues his/her/its story down in the Neath: Dangerous (fighting prowess); Watchful (mental acumen); Persuasive (charm and wit); and Shadowy (stealth and cunning). Doing quests improve one or more of the stats, and better quests are revealed to the player upon reaching a certain stat value. All of them (especially Watchful) will help you learn more about the world and uncover its secrets...except for the Persuasive path, which consists almost entirely of seducing people and writing poetry. Well, until you get to the foreign office...

Fallen London's entrance is at: http://www.fallenlondon.com/.


Tropes present in this game include:

  • The Ace: Anyone with high levels in all qualities probably seems like this.
    • Broken Ace: Several storylets and qualities allow you to paint yourself as such.
  • The Adjectival Man: The Clay Men (friendly golems), the Unfinished Men (unfriendly golems), the Neddy Men (government strikebreakers), the Raggedy Men (eccentric criminals), and the Rubbery Men (eldritch immigrants).
  • Afterlife Express: Moloch Street Underground Station in Ladybones Road is the first stop on the journey to Hell. There's a quest early in the game that has you steal the timetable for a Ragged Mendicant.
  • Allegedly Free Game: A lot of content requires Fate to unlock. Opportunities to find Fate in-game (i. e. without paying real money) are rare and usually get you 1 - 3 points, whereas unlocking storylines rarely requires less than 20 Fate.
  • All There in the Manual: The sidebars are critical to piercing together many of the mysteries of the game's backstory.
  • Always Chaotic Evil: "Devils can't help but do mischief."
  • Angels, Devils, and Squid: The Angels are conspicuous in their absence. The Devils are everpresent, preying on the weak and gullible. The Rubbery Men are alien and bizarre, and the Devils can't stand them, but they seem harmless to mortals.
  • Anonymous Benefactor: A storyline acquired early on, the identity of said benefactor eventually being revealed.
  • 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 10 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. There's an option to fill up your action bar to max by Twittering within the game, usable once every 24 hours.
  • 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 Symbol: The stone knife, especially in the "What The Thunder Said" storyline.
    • The main narrative's arc symbols are candles, candlelight, and mirrors.
  • Arc Number: Seven, kind of. Mr Eaten's name refers to seven candles. There are hints that London is the fifth city of seven, whatever that implies for its future.
  • Arc Words: A few.
    • NORTH. We must go North.
    • Parabola. Ware the Serpent.
    • "Give me a mirror!"
    • Whatever you do, don't fall in love.
  • 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").
  • Attention Deficit Ooh Shiny: In one mission, you are attempting to trail a target through the carnival. If you fail, this happens.
  • Ax Crazy: Jack-of-Smiles, naturally. Not that he uses an axe; he's more of a Knife Nut in that regard.
  • Badass: Any player at high levels. ESPECIALLY those who concentrate on all four stats.
  • 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, a former cavalry officer and hopes to lead an invasion of Hell.
  • Bad Santa: Mister Sacks. He comes at Christmas to take things. He might take your headache away. He might take your auntie. If you're very unwise, he might take you.
  • Bandaged Face: Major characteristic of Tomb-Colonists.
  • 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: Take a wild guess.
  • 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 husband 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.
  • Bedlam House: Subverted by the prestigious Royal Bethlehem Hotel. 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.
  • Beneath the Earth: The "Fallen" in Fallen London refers to its physical location.
  • Blatant Lies:
    • You tell these in some 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 annexe the tomb-colonies! Mr Wines is marrying the skeletal corpse of a nun! The Spider-Council is holding a debutantes' ball! It's almost impossible to stop once you've started. Just keep talking. Everything will be fine."

    • Subverted in a later storylet:

 "You go too far when you tell them that in hyaena clans, the leader is always a matriarch. The crowd are having none of it, and start pelting you with rocks."

  • Blessed Are the Cheesemakers: Or more accurately, blessed is the Cheesemonger, a high-level operative in The Great Game.
  • Blow You Away: The Stormy-Eyed quality seems to give one some degree of power over wind.
  • Body Horror:
    • The spider-councils, massive collectives of sorrow-spiders physically fused together into a horrifyingly sentient monstrosity.
    • The ending of the Finder of Heiresses storyline is pretty bad too.
    • 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. Now he is a living, shuddering sac of poison. His flesh swells green and soft like rotting fruit. Foul venoms ooze beneath his skin. The Cantigaster sighs with relief as his venoms trickle into a stone bucket. Seriously, Failbetter Games seems to love this trope.
    • Snuffers, anyone? The Big Rat comes to mind as an especially gruesome one, a creature that speaks through the flayed faces of dead rats, sewn together and animated.
  • 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.
  • Bomb Throwing Anarchist: The Revolutionaries, naturally.
  • Brain Bleach: A frequent necessity to deal with nightmares. Specific examples--
    • Laudanum. Humorously, it actually does affect your health in exchange.
    • Greyfields 1868 First Sporing also acts like this, only without the Wounds increase. They're hard to obtain, however.
  • Bread, Eggs, Breaded Eggs: One opportunity's story involves using fake cats. Some bite, some explode, some bite then explode.
  • Bribing Your Way to Victory: The game is free to play, but you can buy Fate points with real money. With enough Fate points, you can do things like refilling your actions instantly, refilling the deck of opportunity cards, or opening additional quests not obtainable otherwise. Then again, you can get Fate points through other means other than paying.
  • Brown Note: The Correspondence. Studying makes your eyes bleed and your hair catch fire. 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.
  • 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 fulfills 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.
  • Cap:
    • There's one on each of the four main qualities, though it increases as new content is added.
    • There are also many storylets that do not raise minor qualities (usually quirks) if they are above a certain value.
  • Cats Are Magic: Well, they talk, anyway. And they know many secrets.
  • Cats Are Mean: The Starveling Cat! The Starveling Cat! Want to lose a hand? Give the beast a pat!
  • Chess with Death: And dice, too, with the boatman, which brings you closer to life.
  • Church Militant: During the "Bag a Legend" ambition, one encounters armored combat-trained nuns. Their rosaries have spikes.
  • Circus of Fear: Mrs. Plenty's Most Distracting Carnival.
  • Climax Boss: If the game had an actual combat engine, The Spider-Council and Feducci would definitely be ones.
  • Cloak and Dagger: Spying is one of the non-combat employment options available to the community.
  • 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."

    • And 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."

  • 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.
  • 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.
  • Cosmic Horror Story: Not only does it do it pretty well, it somehow it manages to pull it off cheerfully.
  • Critical Existence Failure: Though Menaces do unlock special storylets or branches sometimes, you will suffer no detrimental effects from them until they hit 8. Due to the fact that there are four different Menaces, this happens four times over!
  • 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. In particular, there is one blog that seems to have narrowed them down to their exact locations and names. (Link)
  • Cthulhumanoid: The Rubbery Men, moist green creatures with tentacled faces and hands.
  • Cultured Badass: Any player who focuses on Persuasive and Dangerous.
    • An NPC example would be Mr Inch.
  • Deal with the Devil:
    • Hell has an embassy in Fallen London and is a possible contact for your character. There is also substantial evidence that London wasn't stolen at all...
    • There are also dealings with Mr. Eaten. Dealings with Mr. Eaten have far, far worse consequences than the mere loss of one's soul.
  • 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:
    • Sometimes. If your Scandal, Wounds, Nightmares, or Suspicion gets too high, you are sent to a special area that will often require you to dent some of your stats in order to escape. These "failure" states can be anywhere from actually beneficial to a legitimate concern for your stats, depending on a number of circumstances.

      However, whatever you do, do not let your Nightmares hit 8. The State of Some Confusion is by far the most punishing of the failure states -- upon leaving, you lose some of that hard-to-gain dream progress. Better than when it used to, oh, wipe it out completely, but still a pain.
    • The only way out of the Light Fingers failure location mentioned above is death... unless you've been diligently attending to the needs of a singular plant.
  • Death Is Cheap: Death in the Neath is more of a mild inconvenience than anything else, although it does make it impossible to return to the surface.
    • Deader Than Dead: Death can still be permanent, however. You can't come back from disease or old age, and if your body is completely destroyed, you obviously can't revive either. 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.
  • Death Seeker: Many of the Black Ribboners have strong overtones of this, and many of those who are are traumatized wrecks. There's heavy Driven to Suicide implications for some of them, too. Kind of depressing, really.
  • Deliberate Values Dissonance: Since this is set in the late 1800s, of course it'll appear.
  • Determinator: You, toward your Ambition.
  • Devil but No God: Devils are quite omnipresent. While the Church still exists (and is quite influential), angels are nowhere to be seen. 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.
  • Discriminate and Switch: 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".
  • Downer Ending: The ending of the Comtessa storyline, which is also full of Tear Jerker.
  • Dream Land: Prisoner's honey sends you there. Gaoler's honey sends you to someone else's.
  • 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!"

 "Could that long ululating moan be 'A path unmarred by obstacles'? Or perhaps 'A future consumed and forgotten' would be more accurate? Well, you'll find out soon."

  • 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.
  • Everyone Is Bi: All the NPCs are, and all characters potentially so - seduction storylets unlocked by upping your Persuasion are the same regardless of the sex of your character, and include people of both sexes as 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.
  • Extreme Omnivore: The Starveling Cat is one, if the sidenotes are to be believed.
  • Eye Scream: Sorrow-spiders steal eyeballs, which hatch into new spiders.
  • 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.
  • 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.

  • Gameplay and Story Segregation: Sort of. In some storylets, the text for failure seems to be more a matter of bad luck than a lack of ability. 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...)
  • Gaslamp Fantasy: Definitely Victorian, supernatural, and with Gothic roots, though it leans more towards horror.
  • 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.
  • Genre Savvy: The second option of the Death and the River opportunity card lets you be this. "Dark night, doomy river, dying stranger, sinister idol. Yes, that'll end well."
  • 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.)
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • Government Conspiracy: The Masters are always scheming, but a particularly nasty one is unveiled in the Light Fingers ambition.
  • Gray Eyes: Anyone with the Stormy-Eyed quality, meaning they completed Recurring Dreams: What the Thunder Said once.

 "Were your eyes always gray? Did you hear what the Thunder said?"

  • Hall of Mirrors: At Mrs. Plenty's Carnival. Although these mirrors show you the future(?). Or they might drive you insane. Or kill you.
  • 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.
  • Hell Is That Noise: If a certain shadowy task is failed, a priest gets a fishhook in his earlobe. From the narration:

  "There is no sound on this earth or below it like the sound of a priest with a fishhook in his earlobe."

  • 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.
  • 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.
  • Homeless Pigeon Person: The Topsy King. He has a bat! Also a little bit crazy.
  • Humanoid Abomination: The Masters. Maybe. And 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.
  • I Gave My Word: The Steadfast quirk measures how many times you've done this.
    • I Lied: The Ruthless quirk (usually) measures how many time 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.
  • 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. To our knowledge, no player has ever actually managed to buy it yet.
    • In fact, it would take over three years of constant farming to get enough echoes to buy some.
  • Insistent Terminology: Don't call him "Smiles."
  • Interspecies Romance:
    • The Comtessa is apparently in love with a Clay Man.
    • The opportunity card "A deviless' serenade" has you help her write a song to her beloved, a Rubbery Man.
  • Jack the Ripper: Jack-of-Smiles is an obvious Expy, but is a little more supernatural.
  • Jerkass: Any character with a high Heartless score, generally.
  • Jigsaw Puzzle Plot: And oh boy are there lots of pieces.
  • Karma Meter: Several opposing player qualities tend to work this way, including Magnanimous, Ruthless, Heartless and Steadfast.
    • 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.
  • Lack of Empathy: The Heartless quirk measures this.
  • Lampshade Hanging: 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.
  • La Résistance: The revolutionaries, an underground faction in the underground city, plotting against the Masters of the Bazaar.
  • 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."

  • 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.
  • Lost Forever: Most storylets 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).
  • 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.
  • 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: Subverted. Seven is the Arc Number of the very unlucky Seeking Mr Eaten's Name quest.
  • Mark of the Beast: There is actually an entire storyline revolving around having one of these.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • Money Grinding: You'll often need to do this if you want to buy equipment, since most of it is ludicrously expensive.
  • 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: Subverted. 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.
  • New Game+: Sort of. Currently, completing the "What the Thunder Said" dream storyline once will give you a special quality, "Stormy-Eyed", and reset your dream quality 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 / The Messiah: Anyone with a high Magnanimous score becomes this, usually.
  • Nice Hat: The Extraordinary Hat. Also the Exceptional Hat, which has never eaten any brains, despite stories to the contrary.
  • Nightmare Face/Slasher Smile: 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."
  • 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.
  • 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. Also, the University;

 The University has a secret. Well, probably it has thousands. That business with the registrar and the cake, for instance.

  • 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.
  • 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.
  • Only Six Faces: There's a limited number of player portraits.
  • Opium Den: The Honey Dens of Veilgarden bear a certain resemblance.
  • Our Souls Are Different: ...and our deaths are different, too.
    • 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."
    • Exactly to what extent being soulless impairs you is unclear. 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?"
    • You can sell your soul at one point in the game. You even get your own infernal contract.
  • Owl Be Damned: The Bifurcated Owl. Horrible things happen to your weasels if you allow them to explore it.
  • 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.
  • 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 this troper can tell) entirely made up, but still with decent etymological roots. Also see its Twitter account, for more fantastic examples.
  • Pet the Dog / Kick the Dog: Even if you're a Complete Monster or The Messiah, 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. Currently removed while it undergoes a re-design.
  • 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.
  • Pretentious Latin Motto: Above the gate at the Shuttered Palace. It reads "Omnis Traductor Traditor." [1]
  • 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 you have the nerve to ask me my gender?". There are storylines that allow the player to seduce NPCs of any gender.
  • Queen Vicky: The Traitor Empress is never explicitly named, but very strongly implied to be Victoria. Consider: her consort is stated to have been suffering from Typhoid prior to London's fall--in the real world, this was the disease that killed Prince Albert. Conveniently enough, he recovered after the Fall.
  • Reality Warper: If Dr Schlomo's theories are correct, the Correspondence can be used to do this.
  • Roaring Rampage of Revenge: The Nemesis ambition.
  • 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, in its own strange way, also acts as a sanity meter. For some reason, being hungry is related to knowing Things Man Was Not Meant to Know. It makes a little more sense when you consider that the easiest way to become Unaccountably Peckish is by eating the wrong piece of deep-fried sea monster. Or being anywhere near the Starveling Cat.

      Whole new dimensions of terrified understanding are gained when you realize Unaccountably Peckish measures your exposure to Mr. Eaten...Rubbery Lumps are boiled in HIS wellwater.
  • Schrodinger'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.
  • 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 death by mob.
  • Schmuck Bait: Do not do this. Only pain and suffering will result. Not that that stops Seekers of the Name.
  • Shoot the Shaggy Dog: The ending of the Cheesemonger story.
  • Shout-Out:
    • To Blade Runner, in a challenge at Watchmaker 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."
    • The Rubbery Men look suspiciously like humanoid Cthulhus.
    • 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 owes more than a little to PG 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.
    • 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!
    • Longshanks, one of the older Urchins, 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.
  • Single Specimen Species: Fallen London seems to be teeming with these, with the Vake undoubtedly at the forefront.
  • 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.
  • Socialization Bonus
  • The Soulsaver: An optional subplot leads to your character becoming one of these, literally rescuing people's Soul Jars from devils.
  • 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.
    • Also, 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!
  • 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.
  • 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, player who is A Person of Some Importance can disguise as a devil to collect souls from gullible spirifers. This trope applies again.
  • 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 Am 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.)
  • 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 Parlor 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...
  • 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, though. They have actual names.
  • 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 Weapon of Choice for revolutionaries.
  • 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 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.
  • The Unfettered: Anyone with a high Ruthless score becomes this.
  • Vendor Trash: Before the Economy Update, Glim and Primordial Shrieks. Now, Rats-on-a-String, Nevercold Brass, Fourth City Relics, Rostygold, and Moon-pearls.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • A Worldwide Punomenon: 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".

Notes

  1. "Every translator is a traitor"
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