A secret about the Masters

By Hannah Flynn, March 9, 2017 · Kickstarter Sunless Skies

The following information is derived from two highly controversial sources.

The first was an end-of-term paper entitled On the Origins and Descent of the Masters. It was written by a Benthic student, who claimed it was based on rubbings taken from a lost Second City inscription. Her paper (along with the rest of the class’s coursework) was seized by an Auditor from the Ministry of Public Decency. The Principal awarded each student a first, as is traditional when their work is seized by the Ministry.

The student responsible emigrated – abruptly – to the Iron Republic, but not before scratching a choice excerpt into the back of a toilet door with a compass. The passage was discovered by several students and circulated, before the Ministry returned and removed every toilet door in the college at the hinges.

The second source is A Rhyming Revelry a slim book of nonsense rhymes written by a once-celebrated cellist. He was, for a time, a favourite at Mr Wines’ revels. One rhyme concerns eleven pilgrims who travelled from a cold and windy waste. It enumerates each of the reasons the pilgrims were unwelcome in their homeland.

The book is impossible to find these days, but it is said the Jovial Contrarian has a copy, and enjoys quoting it at more libertine events.

By combining these sources, and indulging in a certain amount of speculative recreation, we can suppose the following:

Firstly, that the Masters’ kind are denizens of the High Wilderness. Their hunting-grounds lie in the dark span between the stars. Occasionally, some instinct draws them together to boast of their recent bargains, trade secrets, and battle to establish primacy. Their chiefs are victorious, merciless pedlar-magnates.

Secondly, that the Masters were not Masters in the High Wilderness. Indeed, they accepted the position as emissaries of the Bazaar in order to escape misfortune, failure, and fruitlessness.

Thirdly, we have an inkling about the reasons for their ignoble conditions, although no indication which applies to which Master. The circumstances given in A Rhyming Revelry are:

  • hoarding
  • light-bringing
  • impersonation, and the delivery of false testimony
  • perpetration of the crimes of knife and of candle
  • idleness, and the dwelling-on of dreams
  • runtery, aberration,
  • pursuit of a Treachery
  • failure and defeat; a fall from king to beggar
  • glass-whispering. And worse: charity
  • truth-strangling
  • violation of the Order of Days, “which determines the hour of the hunt, the feast, the council, the bargain, and the slaughter”

This information was released after the community unlocked a social goal in the Sunless Skies Kickstarter. Many thanks to the 77 people who collaborated worldwide to dress as the Masters and to the delicious friends who submitted photographic evidence.


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Maria Luke Dec 18, 12:08am

"light-bringing" ... Mr Candles? No, that doesn't sound right. He wasn't hated for light bringing. He was hated for something else...

Cadwyn Knivlove Feb 1, 3:29pm

hoarding - most likely mr stones, for obvious reasons light-bringing - perhaps mr candles or mr fires impersonation, and the delivery of false testimony - we know mr hearts has a few alter egos, but other than that i'm not sure who this applies to perpetration of the crimes of knife and candle - most likely the gamekeeper of knife and candle in london, mr iron itself idleness, and the dwelling-on of dreams - very likely mr mirrors, if it is indeed a separate entity to mr cups. otherwise, mr spices? runtery, aberration - also possibly mr candles, if the theory about it being a judgment is true pursuit of a treachery - we know mr veils and mr fires have both committed acts that could be defined as "treachery", but those seem more recent. failure and defeat; a fall from king to beggar - confirmed mr wines, as of cricket anyone? glass-whispering. and worse: charity - likely mr cups, considering its associations with magnanimousness and relationship (whatever kind it is) to mr mirrors truth-strangling - almost definitely mr pages, for more obvious reasons violation of the order of days, “which determines the hour of the hunt, the feast, the council, the bargain, and the slaughter” - either mr hearts or mr veils, the two resident cannibals. mr hearts actively goes against what seem to be the rules of hunting/breeding (see: the wings-of-thunder bat) and mr veils is known to have a certain kind of hunting fervor (see: the vake) all of this (except for mr wines) is speculation, though

spic Apr 2, 10:34pm

┏┓ ┃┃╱╲ in this ┃╱╱╲╲ house ╱╱╭╮╲╲ we love and ▔▏┗┛▕▔ appreciate ╱▔▔▔▔▔▔▔▔▔▔╲ runtery and aberration ╱╱┏┳┓╭╮┏┳┓ ╲╲ ▔▏┗┻┛┃┃┗┻┛▕▔

Weasel Mar 11, 7:08am

Hmmmm, hoarding. I do know of a master who comes by every Christmas and demands gifts from us, then proceeds to keep them. As for the order of Days, Mr. Veils has been said to enjoy hunting. Just speculation however.

AzraelWalker Mar 10, 11:00am

Well lets see here: (SPOILERS) Hording: Has to be Mr Stones Perpetration of the crimes of knife and of candle: Mr Irons Idleness, and the dwelling-on of dreams: Mr Wines Truth-strangling: I'm putting my Echos on Mr Pages, seeing as how he does run the Ministry of Public Decency. Glass-whispering. And worse: charity: Got to be Mr Mirrors. I'm guessing the "charity" was letting our friends behind the mirrors out. Light-bringing: Mr Fires?

Billy Cosmos Mar 10, 6:00am

The implications are... extraordinary.

Matt Mar 9, 9:03pm

"runtery and aberration"? Those who have visited a certain lighthouse and dreamed a dream that wounds may have some insight on which Master that was. They're still looking for his NAME, however.

Doctor Curiosity Mar 9, 8:01pm

Lord Exile: Maybe you only _think_ there are 16 Masters, if one(?) is guilty of the High Wilderness crime of impersonation..?

Alice Eidol Mar 9, 7:10pm

Interesting. Would we ever get a chance to read the actual book, I wonder?

RevivalSPACESYMBOLLake Mar 9, 7:10pm

All shall be well, and all shall be well. The crime of charity, lost in a well

GuesssWho Mar 9, 5:31pm

I wonder if the one that failed was Mr. Candles? And I'm guessing that the charitable one was Mr. Pages, he seems the type somehow. Now we just need to know WTF glass-whispering and truth-strangling are.

Keybounce Mar 9, 4:10pm

Ohh! We have an intro setting, 11 people, a list of 11 reasons, all we need now are 11 locations, and a long series of cryptic clues so that we can use logic to identify name, reason, and original location. Logic puzzles FTW! (That's "faster than 'ite", not "for the win". Travel between the stars is gonna take a long time without Faster Than 'ite :-) Oh: Capcha complaint: "six - = four". Clearly, the answer is "two". But I can only type in two letters, not three.

Wiwo Mar 9, 3:28pm

Outstanding! Let the speculation begin!

James T Mar 9, 3:26pm

This post sort of encapsulates my problem with the Sunless' team's writing. They combine intentional obliqueness with a stilted style and it just doesn't work. Good writing should be clear and precise. This is not it. Please tone down the purple prose for the actual game; focus on sharply telling interesting stories and creating evocative descriptions.

Dune the Tired Mar 9, 2:37pm

If the Masters have Masters... I shudder at the thought. I wonder if they're as difficult to get payment from as Mr. Wines.

Lord Exile the Frank Mar 9, 2:34pm

11 pilgrims? Aren't there 16 Masters? Suddenly very curious about the other five... In any case, a fascinating insight into the Neath and its inhabitants...

Connor Wilson Mar 9, 2:30pm

My god....

Ferret Mar 9, 2:21pm

Hmmm, Very intriguing. Many thanks to the exceptional cosplayers who gave us this knowledge.