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This is a guide for complete beginners to Fallen London. It won't tell you everything about the game; rather, it is intended to remove the fear of jumping into a new game by setting you on the right foot and informing you of the basics.

Important NoteEdit

Do not worry about being a completionist! Anything that's possible to be missed is never essential, and some things are even better off ignored.

Game MechanicsEdit

Opportunity Card deck behaviourEdit

On your Story tab left hand edge is a deck of waiting, undrawn cards, face down.

Story flit 3cards

The facedown capacity is six cards for non-subscribers and ten for subscribers.

A new card arrives every 10 minutes until the facedown deck is full.

To the right of the facedown deck are one to five slots for face up cards: only one at the start of the game until the player finds a two-card lodging; three slots for three-card lodgings and remote addresses; four slots for four-card lodgings and five for five-card lodgings.

A player can draw a waiting facedown card whenever there is a free face-up card slot available.

Each face-up card has a button with either "DISCARD" or "CAN'T DISCARD" displayed.

The player clicks on any face-up card to openit and display its options, except for the red auto-fire cards that play when they are clicked.

(The next paragraphs describe deck changing behaviour that is yet to be fully confirmed.)

When the player chooses, or is forced, to move to a special non-London area (confirmed for The Pickpocket's Promenade!, On a Heist, the PoSI party and Cave of the Nadir; not seen for disgraced exile; untested for state of confusion) the new area's face-down deck will be populated with twice the number new area cards as were waiting in the London face-down deck. Similarly when the player returns from the special area (except the Nadir) back to London the London facedown deck will be populated with four (Pickpocket's Promenade, Heist) or two (Nadir, PoSI party) times the number that were left waiting in the special area.

Non-subscriber exampleEdit

The player travels to the Flit in London and waits until three cards are waiting before running the Begin a Heist minigame;

Story heist 6cards

In the Heist area with 6 cards

in the special Heist area the facedown deck will have six cards (two times three).

Story heist 6cards cantdiscard

In the Heist area with 4 cards drawn 3 facedown

When the player finishes the mingame they could wait until two cards are waiting:

Story heist 2cards end

Heist is over with 2 cards waiting

so that upon return to the London (Flit) area there will be six cards waiting (not eight because the deck's limit is six).

Story heist 6cards backinlondon

Back in London but now with six cards

Subscriber example Edit

The player travels to the Flit in London and waits until five cards are waiting before running the Begin a Heist minigame; in the special Heist area the facedown deck will have ten cards (two times five). When the player finishes the mingame he could wait until three cards are waiting so that upon return to the London (Flit) area there will be ten cards waiting (not twelve because the deck's limit is ten).

Storylet and Opportunity Card ColorsEdit

Colors on storylets and cards are often used to convey their significance. White borders are your everyday story snippets, and other colors are a little more special.

  • White borders imply ordinary cards or storylets. These are the most common and occasionally have a level requirement. They often test your main stats and usually give rewards (either connections, items, or a mix).
  • Red cards are autofire cards. These are played as you click them with no chance to back out. This is common for Dreams, but also for other cards. There aren't any red storylets.
  • Bronze borders mark unusual things. This is deliberately a broad category; about the only thing we can safely say about bronze cards in general is that they're interesting.
  • Silver borders stand for larger stories. These are some of the most important decisions you take. Some are "Ambitions" -- epic stories which last throughout the entire game. There are four, and the first step for each ambition lies in a starting area (Ladybones Road, Spite, Veilgarden, Watchmaker's Hill). You may only choose one, and it costs 50 Fate to swap ambitions, so consider all four before making your choice.
  • Gold borders indicate major storylines and important decisions. A lot of these are first opened in the middle game when you become a Person of Some Importance. Otherwise, this is a color the developers use to show you should pay extra attention to the content. Some of these are Fate-locked as well. See Gold Cards and Gold Storylets for lists.

You will never see a black-bordered card, and if you ever did, it will already be too late.

Change PointsEdit

The amount of CP (change points, basically experience) you earn for your main attributes (Watchful, Shadowy, Dangerous, Persuasive) is based on the difficulty of the challenge you're trying (see Table 1).

User interface tip: When viewing the results of an action, if you hover mouse over the quality icon next to a Change Points progress bar, it will tell you "X change points, Y more needed to reach level Z" which is useful if you are trying to record exactly how many change points you get from something.

Most challenges require stats just to see it in the first place, so you can't do everything with level 1 dangerous. The challenges in the Low-Risk, Very Modest and Modest categories usually give a good balance between leveling and items.

If your main goal is to get change points, there's nothing stopping you from using reduction gear to get harder challenges, and thus more CP on average. A Talkative Rattus Faber pet is notable as the most potent stat-reducing equipment.

Challenge % Change Points on
successfailureaverage
Straightforward91-100111.0-1.0
Low-Risk81-90211.8-1.9
Very Modest71-80211.7-1.8
Modest61-70211.6-1.7
Chancy51-60312.0-2.2
Very Chancy41-50311.8-2.0
Tough31-40422.6-2.8
High-Risk11-30533.2-3.6
Almost Impossible1-10644.0-4.2

The CP needed to raise any attribute a single level is typically the same as the level it's reaching. To go from level 1 to 2 requires 2 CP, and going from levels 2 to 3 requires 3 CP. The total CP to move from level 0 to 3 is 6 CP since it's 1 + 2 + 3. This means that even though an action dropping you from levels 3 to 0 looks like more of a hit than dropping from levels 6 to 5, they are in fact the same.

This mechanic applies not only to main attributes, but also to menaces, dreams, connections and many other qualities. Your level in an attribute or quality is used to determine if you qualify for certain storylets or cards, and affects the difficulty of any challenge that's checking against them.

  • Once you reach level 50, every level thereafter is also 50 CP, excluding main attributes which will still follow the rule above. Attaining level 60 will require 50 CP, and so will level 150. Dropping whole levels from 81 to 80 or 95 to 94 will also be the same amount of CP: 50.
    • Main attributes (Watchful, Shadowy, Dangerous, Persuasive) need 70 CP to reach levels beyond 70. Other than that, the rules are the same.

Some storylets and cards will advance certain qualities by whole levels rather than CP, but this is uncommon. They will be indicated on the wiki if this is the case: (+1 level) rather than (+1 CP).

Living StoriesEdit

Occasionally, you will see the phrase "A living story will begin soon." Living stories are special story branches which can't be reached instantly; neither can they be accessed through a specific card or storylet. Instead, you have to wait some time (it ranges from one day to a week, depending on the Story) until you receive a message (check your "Messages" tab) that takes you to a unique storylet. These unique storylets usually provide a substantial increase to your stats, a large reward, or advance you to the next phase in a story you're following.

ProgressEdit

Do not be in a hurry to advance. Most storylets have both a minimum stat level before they appear, AND a maximum level at which they are no longer available. The game is designed to take you through the storylines and locations in a logical progression, so sit back and enjoy the ride.

Lodgings and TravelEdit

Purchase new and better lodgings. Even if it won't increase your hand size, each lodging has its own opportunity card which rewards Certifiable Scrap. Having more sources of scraps is quite useful.

  • Contrary view: There is currently no way to dispose of lodgings you no longer want, and almost all of the lodging opportunity cards are a burden once you're a Person of Some Importance, if not before. Remember: Every card you add to your opportunity deck reduces your chance of drawing any of the cards that were already there. The opportunity card for Premises at the Bazaar is actually worth drawing, even late in the game. I rather suspect that none of the others are, other than the Handsome Townhouse for storing up and cashing in Making Waves using Schemes. Even that probably ceases to be worth it once you're a Paramount Presence, but it's sufficiently useful in getting there to probably be worth buying. I suggest that you avoid buying any other lodgings (apart from possibly lodgings that give A Remote Address, since those don't have cards) unless you have compelling RP reasons to do so.

Play the "neighbor" storylines in the starting areas:

Finishing each of them gives you access to other storylines from your Lodgings.

Take note of where you need to go next in the Lodgings storylet Open a way to other parts of the City, and be ready to unlock areas when you need them! You won't get far in your Fallen career if you never go beyond the four starting areas.

Where to level?Edit

Areas usually focus on a single attribute to advance. If you out-level an area, you'll normally get clues as to where to go next, but as a refresher:

Quality Levels Location
Watchful
Owl 1-60Ladybones Ladybones Road
60-90 Forgottenquarter The Forgotten Quarter
90-100 University The University
Persuasive
Fox 1-60Veilgarden Veilgarden
60-90 Palace The Shuttered Palace
90-110 Empresscourt The Empress' Court
Shadowy
Cat 1-60Spite Spite
60-100 Flit The Flit
100-110 Mahoganyhall Mahogany Hall
Dangerous
Bear 1-60Watchmakershill Watchmaker's Hill
60-100 Wolfstack Wolfstack Docks
100-120 Labyrinth The Labyrinth of Tigers

More suggestions for levels 100+ are listed on each attribute's page!

MenacesEdit

Sometimes, when failing challenges (and sometimes even succeeding!) you get qualities called menaces. If these qualities get high enough, they do something bad to you. This could be madness, death, exile, etc. Don't worry too much about getting them, however; none of the states are permanent and they're often some of the best places to cure said menace. Those places also have their own stories, so you might actually need to go there at some point...

The menaces gained upon failing challenges are usually dependent on the quality you fail. You are taken to a menace-specific location when it reaches level 8. The level check is equipment dependent, which means that wearing items that increase or decrease menaces would affect your actual menace limit. For instance, equipping the Cheerful Goldfish (-1 Nightmares) as companion would not drive you to a state of some confusion until your nightmares reach level 9.

These are not the only menaces. There are some in addition to these, but those aren't quite as common and have different mechanics and effects.

Watchful gains Nightmares which lead to a state of some confusion or the Mirror-Marches.
OwlsmallSidebarnightmaressmallMadsmall or Parabolasmall

Shadowy gains Suspicion which leads to New Newgate Prison - again!
CatsmallSidebarsuspicionsmallNewgatesmall

Dangerous gains Wounds which lead to a boat trip.
BearsmallSidebarwoundssmallDeathsmall

Persuasive gains Scandal which leads to disgraced exile in the Tomb-Colonies.
FoxsmallSidebarscandalsmallScandalsmall

ProfessionsEdit

Make sure to change your starting profession when its core attribute reaches level 70; the starting profession won't raise that attribute further (other actions will still advance it normally).

You may choose a new starting profession earlier if you feel that another attribute needs to be exercised. Switching starting professions is easy and has no penalties. You can abandon your current profession by writing a letter at Lodgings. Once you are without a profession, all starting professions will be available to you from your lodgings.

MoneyEdit

Try to avoid buying goods from the bazaar. Barring the London Street Sign, Bright Brass Skull, Rookery Password, Diary of the Dead and Nodule of Pulsating Amber, all goods are commonly given out by various storylets or item crafting. Try to keep a small stockpile on hand in case you run into a delightful storylet that requires some.

In contrast to the above tip, don't be a compulsive hoarder. If you need money and have quite a large stockpile of an item, there's an opportunity to earn some echoes. If the item can be used to make a higher tier item (it'll say "This will always get you X. There may be other effects."), do so. Succeeding the luck check will get you a nice income in extra items, and a rare success can give you extremely valuable items.

  • If that's no longer profitable, you should use the bulk options which say "This will always gain you many X." on lower end items. (No rare successes, but it saves you time and still turns a small profit).

If you have plenty of something and can't convert it higher, either because you lack the right connections, it's the end of the category line, or it's an item like Piece of Rostygold or Moon-pearls that can't be traded up at all, simply sell some of your surplus.

Buy gear. Various pieces of equipment allow you to temporarily boost or damage your levels. Higher level storylets earn more money, so you'll earn back your investment over time. If it's an upgrade and it's affordable for you, get it; don't just hold out for the very best. Having a variety of gear lets you manipulate your level. There are several areas where you may have a large gap between the difficulty of your current storylet and the difficulty of the next higher one. By adjusting your level, you can keep gaining a decent amount of experience from your storylet until you have enough of a level to put on your best gear and continue on with the next higher storylet. This allows you to maintain a flow of optimal CP, and it's another way that gear pays for itself. Some items, especially pets, have extra uses in certain storylets or cards, and outside of a few rare cases where the equipment is spent (mostly giving pets to folks), you'll only ever need one. Also, take very close note of the benefits each piece of gear provides; don't just buy something because it's more expensive. (Ex: While 400 Echo Tub of Gloam-Foam is the only really expensive item that offers a Shadowy benefit from Maywell's Hattery, it provides a lower Shadowy bonus than the Sneak-Thief's Mask, which is 28 echoes and 80 pence.)

ContactsEdit

Connections are your friends. They can be used for a lot of interesting things, even though you can't sell them directly. (Though for the record, most are worth about 2 pence per CP if you trade in connections for items). Try to earn them whenever possible without hurting your normal grinding, but don't be afraid to use them if a particularly profitable storylet or card calls for them.

  • Don't forget that upper tier professions (available through Connection cards) give much better monetary rewards than starting professions (but they don't advance your attributes). Choosing such a profession requires high connections (level 25) to its relevant faction and sometimes an additional quality.
  • There are conflict cards where you are asked to pick between one of two factions, lowering your connections with one but raising them with the other. Choose to help the one with which you have lower connections; you earn a net profit in connections, so over time, you'll wind up raising both of them higher this way.

FateEdit

Fate is occasionally rewarded by storylets, but it's not really something you can grind by any means. Even if you get fate for free, spend it like you paid for it. Also, don't spend fate to unlock areas. If you can't unlock it normally, you're likely not at the level where you can access its storylets and cards. Most areas have a secondary way you can access them through a bribe of some sort; if you must access them early, do so with that.

Social ActionsEdit

  • Visit The Singing Mandrake at the official forum to find players to befriend, scandalize or devour at your leisure.

Take advantage of social actions. From your lodgings, there are a number of storylets that let you earn "second chances" in the form of Confident Smiles, Hastily Scrawled Warning Notes, Hard-Earned Lessons, and Sudden Insights. These will let you re-attempt a challenge for your main stats when you fail.

Thankfully, you can also perform social actions in your lodgings to ask a player for help in reducing menaces. Note that nightmares and suspicion need to be at least level 4 before you can send a request out, and wounds works backwards by having someone send you a request to heal your injuries. All of these requests reduce a menace by ~4 CP, and outside of wounds, they increase the other player's menace by 1 CP. So, be respectful, do your math, and don't send out more requests than you need to keep your menaces under control. For instance, if your menace is at level 5, that's 15 CP, so only send out 3 requests at most.

Person of Some ImportanceEdit

One of the biggest hurdles in the game is attaining the A Person of Some Importance status, and acquiring its associated gadgets and affiliations. The journey starts when one of your main attributes (Watchful, Shadowy, Dangerous, Persuasive) reaches 100. A card appears which results in your being recognized as A Person of Some Little Consequence. The Ambitious Barrister shows up and asks you to do a series of tasks across the city.

Eventually you'll need level 100 of each attribute as well as an assortment of different items, so maintain a decent storage; several dozen to several hundred of the upper tier items will likely suffice. If you still require certain components, many options to obtain them shall be available to your character.

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