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Announcing Firmament

You dream of rain. You dream that the ink that is your flesh is running off the page, smeared into dark rivulets on the vellum. When you wake, you can still feel a stiffness in your back; as if your spine is being held tautly by yarn.

In the dark of the cabin, your mind enumerates sensations as your eyes adjust: The sway of the gondola. The vibration from the engine in the starboard nacelle above you, rattling slightly – still no replacement for the broken fuel intake.

The noise of water rapping against a porthole window.

Hello, delicious friends. It appears that time, very disrespectfully, has chosen to march on until it is very nearly April. The time has come to talk about our major future plans for Fallen London.

A new major storyline

Firmament is Fallen London’s next major expansion, a main story arc that adds on to the game’s ongoing progression. Acquire an airship – permanently, this time. Fly to the Roof. Explore the stalactite fields ruled by the Starved Men, the carved paths of the Moon-Misers, the inverted jungles of the Antipelago, and more.

This expansion focuses on the Roof. Just like the unterzee gets stranger and darker as you zail away from familiar shores, so do the upper airs of the Neath contain more than what you know about. As these castles on the ceiling open to you, you will learn more.

Firmament will launch over the course of April, with a prologue becoming available on April 11th, and the full first chapter on April 18th.

While Firmament is in some ways a follow-up to the Railway storyline, we are aware of how long it takes to get to the very end of the game’s (current) highest-level story. When Firmament launches, you will be able to start it as long as you have already begun the Railway storyline and reached Ealing. While you will need to advance your railway further to access the latter parts of Firmament, there should be ample time to catch up on the Railway in between Firmament chapters.

New mechanics

The Railway arc added new advanced skills. During the Zeefarer cycle we added revamped Zee travel and the new Boon/Burden mechanic. This set of updates comes with its own mechanical expansions to the game.

New item slots

Airships make their return as full-fledged items. Much like zeefaring ships, they serve you mostly in air travel – Aerial Prowess and Aerial Armament also make their return. But we’re also adding a few other item slots, while we’re at it.

Adornment includes all manner of jewellery and accessories – rings, necklaces, earrings, neckties, brooches, and more. Previously, items in this vein would appear in slots like Gloves or Clothing, leading to the somewhat odd mental image of wearing your Pendant of Helicon Amber and nothing else. With this update, these items gain their own space, enabling more player expression and empowering players to reach slightly higher stats.

Several existing items will be shifted to the Adornment slot, slightly buffing them by allowing them to stack with other existing items. Adornment is intended to be a part of the game from relatively early on – around the later parts of Making Your Name. A new Bazaar store, selling Adornments, will be added in a future update.

Crew is a complement to both ships and airships. We’ve long wanted to give ship crews (distinct from the vessels themselves) a bit more personality. Are they experienced or green? Are they Admiralty men through and through, or a band of privateers and villains? These kinds of concepts never really fit the Companion or Affiliation slots, so we are creating a purposeful slot for them.

Crews will be made available in a future update, initially accessible to players who have a ship.

Luggage may seem like a slightly odd addition, but so much of Fallen London, and Victorian fiction in general, is about travel and the mystique of travel. A battered steamer trunk that’s been everywhere. A briefcase full of secrets. Phileas Fogg’s carpetbag. Luggage is intended as a midgame slot. In a future update, you will be able to assemble some initial Luggage items in the Bazaar Side-Streets.

New Skills

We are conscious of not adding too much complexity to the game, especially not all at once. Firmament doesn’t add a full suite of new skills, like the Railway. It adds one new skill, and two new qualities of a somewhat skill-like nature.

  • Chthonosophy, the study of the root of things, has already been teased – but you’ve not really been able to obtain it, thus far. It is the major new skill for Firmament, playing a role similar to the role Zeefaring had in Evolution.
  • Inerrant and Insubstantial join Neathproofed as its two other counterparts. Like Neathproofed, these will appear more as additive benefits; they help your checks with other skills, more so than being checked in themselves. They exist to add a little extra, to help differentiate otherwise-similar items, and to act as an occasional bonus. As part of Firmament, we are pushing to make more use of Neathproofed, and carve out that space for its new counterparts, also.

Roof Travel

I won’t go into too many details about Roof travel, other than to set expectations. Yes, there is a new map. No, Roof travel is not quite a fully-fledged activity like zailing is.

We aimed it at a sort of middle ground between Railway travel (which is convenient and fairly predictable) and Zee travel (which is a whole venture unto itself.) Traveling from point to point on the Roof mostly takes one action; very occasionally, two. But it is drastically more variable than rail travel. There’s a broad variety of different things you can encounter in the upper airs of the Neath. And as you progress this storyline, you will encounter stranger things as you travel through the air.

And other delights…

Of course, we have other things planned for the rest of 2024. Our usual festivals will run as usual. A new Estival. Monthly Exceptional Stories. Various other surprises, including a series of more grounded new stories set in London. But we’ll talk about these things in detail sometime after Whitsun, which should take place, as usual, in May.