Caveat Emptor

by Chandler Groover profile and Failbetter Games

Episode 69 of Fallen London Exceptional Stories
Fantasy
2020

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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful:
A bloody Exceptional Story that uses lodgings creatively, January 1, 2021
by MathBrush
Related reviews: about 2 hours

This game (the first Fallen London Exceptional Story of 2020) deals with an auction at an abandoned taxidermist's estate, where the mysterious Vicomte de V________ shows up (where rumours abound that his reflection cannot be seen in mirrors, that he likes his meat VERY raw, etc.)

Interactivity is unusual in this story, and it seems like Groover is still playing around with new ways of getting interactivity in the Fallen London format.

(Only mild spoilers follow about the story structure, but I'll tag them in case people want to be surprised)

(Spoiler - click to show)You are provided four different new lodgings in this story, each of which you have to move into at different times. In each lodging, there is at least one repeatable story you can use to farm things, as well as an unlimited draw deck that lets you either explore the lodgings or attract the Vicomte's attention. If you attract too much attention (or do it on person), he comes.


Following that, there is a final confrontation and denouement.


The rewards are interesting, seemingly strongly focused on the bone market. I gathered more bones than I've gotten anywhere else in the game, as well as substantial amounts of Nightsoil of the Bazaar and (the biggest thing) (Spoiler - click to show)a Soothe and Copper longbox.

The different lodgings all seem like 'haunted' versions of regular lodgings, which I thought was nice.

I wasn't captivated with this story, but the mystery was a good one, and the finale definitely made me more invested. Also, having a permanent lodging as a reward is also nice.

The overall concept is a great way to take a familiar concept and make it work in the game's universe. It reminds me of Dr Who doing similar things, using sci-fi to explain stuff like witches.

This is not my favorite Groover exceptional story, but not the worst, and definitely better than most other exceptional stories

Here's my score:
+Polish: Eminently polished
+Interactivity: I'm intrigued by lodgings, and seeing them used in this way worked for me. The card deck required some stumbling around to operate, although I suppose all the details were in a handy pinned storylet.
+Descriptiveness: The lodgings were distinct and unique, and the Vicomte himself was disturbingly written in conflicting ways that left me unsettled.
+Emotional impact: Mostly unsettled and surprise at the ending.
+Would I play again? I would definitely be interested in seeing other paths.



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