THE BENENIMOUS MASTER OF THE BAZAAR, Mr. CHIMES, graciously invites YOU to take part in a CELEBRATION of SUBTERRANEAN PURSUITS – the GRAND CLEARING-OUT!
The MASTERS call on ALL LONDONERS to EMPTY OUT YOUR ATTICS and RECLAIM BURIED TREASURES from beneath LONDON’S OWN STREETS. Participants will be rewarded handsomely with THE SPOILS OF EXCAVATION.
Mr Chimes’ Grand Clearing-Out is a new, one-off festival in Fallen London. It is the weirdest, most experimental festival we have ever done.
And we do want to emphasize it is experimental. This event will not be repeated; next year’s summer festival will be something else, something informed by your response to the Clearing-Out’s ideas and mechanics, though it may further a different story thread.
When the Grand Clearing-Out begins on the 20th of July, five dig sites will appear around London. Excavating these dig sites will unlock new repeatable activities – permanently, for all players; each one is roughly the same size as Brawling with the Dockers. They touch on many different corners of the setting, from Clay Men to Sorrow-Spiders and beyond. The Grand Clearing-Out has no end date and will continue until all five dig sites are excavated fully.
We had three goals in mind when designing the Grand Clearing-Out:
- Capture the same sense of community mobilization that the Election did, but in a collaborative (rather than adversarial) way.
- Create an event that would change London in a permanent way, but with the immediate payoff that the Election never had.
- Give Fallen London a true you-had-to-be-there moment.
The Spoils of Excavation
The principal goal of the Grand Clearing-Out is fully excavating five dig sites around London. These are collective projects that all of you will be working towards, together, with goals that will be reached based on the added contributions of everyone.
To complete a dig site, you will be making progress alongside other players. There are three ways to contribute to each excavation. When enough contributions have been made, of all three kinds, the dig site will unlock a new activity.
- You can pick up a pickaxe and just start digging. Every player can contribute actions this way, and player actions all contribute at the same rate. There are rewards for digging, tuned to be relevant to midgame players, too.
- You can help feed the crews working at the dig sites – this progression track is fueled by spending various Upper River and Bone Market sustenance items like Incorruptible Biscuits. This is intended to be relevant to late game players, with rewards to match. It’s an optimization puzzle for the community – how fast can you generate those resources? Which of them is most efficient to use?
- Third, you can spend Fate; using Fate to buy new items from this festival (or old items from Elections) will contribute to a dig site of your choice.
Those three progression tracks need to be filled separately, so Incorruptible Biscuits can’t substitute for spending actions digging, nor can Fate substitute for the other two tracks. The idea is that everyone, at any stage of the game or level of investment, has an avenue to meaningfully contribute.
While the activities hidden beneath them vary, all the dig sites are more or less mechanically identical. We wanted to not push you towards choosing one over the other – which one you’re most interested in will depend on hints and clues about what lies beneath them. We hope you will enjoy comparing notes, sharing echos, and figuring out together what lies beneath the streets.
We’re using this festival to experiment with a structure that roughly reflects how Fallen London is actually funded. A lot of our Fate purchases acknowledge the Fate spend with story or mechanical rewards for the person who made the purchase. That’s still true here: Fate-spenders can get festival items that reward the expenditure.
But spending Fate is also paying for the entire game, for everyone. And not just for new content – you’re paying for servers (the furnace-weasels don’t feed themselves), you’re paying for us to be able to answer support emails. You’re paying for bug fixes and the ongoing technical work of keeping a game alive on the web in the face of constant changes to browser technology and the ensuing bit rot.
At the same time, there are hugely important ways that non-Fate-spending players contribute to the game and keep it viable: fan art and wiki editing, spreading buzz on social media and answering other players’ questions and joining in forum discussions, sending in feedback or the occasional supportive email. We read everything, even if we don’t have time to answer all of it — and it matters hugely.
The Grand Clearing-Out is structured to reflect both of those strands. Digging out new content has tracks for both Fate and non-Fate contributions. When the work is done, the new material is live for everyone to enjoy, permanently.
There are also still festival items for individual players. As we’ve done in a few other places, we use a festival currency for these — which means that players who spend Fate can get some extra, but we can give some of that festival currency to everyone, for free.
All of the ways to spend Fate on this festival will be visible immediately, upfront, when the festival starts. While surprises are part of the game and we think players enjoy them, we don’t want to spring any surprise Fate spends on you mid-festival.
To buy festival items or past Election items, you will need a new currency called Chthonic Scrip. This new currency is 1:1 to Fate (10 Fate buys you 10 scrip), but it exists so we can tie Fate purchases to progressing specific dig sites – so if you buy Chthonic Scrip in Spite, that will count towards the Spite dig site, and so on. Like Whitsun ha’pennies, it also exists separately from Fate so we can give it away for free; you’ll get 30 to start with if you take part in the festival, which you can pick up at one of the dig sites.
This blog post covers the basics, but in our traditional style there are other parts of the festival that are there for you to uncover.
This festival is unlike anything we’ve done before. We hope you’ll join us for this experiment on the 20th of July.
How long will the Grand Clearing-Out last?
Because the events of this festival are driven by you, it has no set end date. We expect it to last from one to two weeks, but it wouldn’t surprise us if it ran long or short. Either way, even after all five dig sites have been completed, we will keep parts of the festival going for at least another week, to give you a chance to pick up items you might have missed and catch up on the story.
What if I don’t spend all my scrip?
As this festival is one-off, Chthonic Scrip is only useful for the duration. If you buy scrip with Fate and don’t spend it all before the end of the festival, you’ll still be able to spend it or convert it into other in-game resources afterwards.
What about past Election items?
Past Election items will retain the same Fate cost as in previous years, but converted into scrip – again, this is 1:1, so an item that cost 30 Fate will cost 30 scrip. Yes, this means you’ll be able to pick them up with the initial 30 scrip you get for free.
There are some exceptions:
- The Poisoned Pen, Polythreme Drinking Vessel, and Wax-Hardened Boots can be excavated at dig sites without spending Fate or Chthonic Scrip.
- Same goes for the Prelapsarian Speaking Tube, which felt unusually weak relative to other Election Fate items, and has been made into a free item.
- Companions from past elections will be available this Hallowmas, like companions from Hallowmases past, rather than as part of this event. This just seemed to make more sense, long-term, in the event’s fiction.
How many new items are there?
There are five new items that can be purchased with scrip, in addition to the back catalog of Election items.
There are also several new items that you can get in other ways, without spending Fate, by participating in the festival. We won’t spoil how many there are or where they are.
I still have a Free Gift from last Election! Is that worthless?
No! At the start of the festival you’ll be able to turn your Free Gift into 30 Chthonic Scrip.