Ambitions (Guide)

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This article is a work-in-progress by Fynnkaterin

Adding more extensive guidance on choosing an Ambition, with contributions from other players.


Ambitions are massive stories spanning the entirety of the game. Each will start easy but grow harder as it goes on, until it becomes nigh impossible for all but the most prepared players.

This Guide is meant to be a spoiler-free introduction to the concept of Ambitions and give a quick overview of the premise of each. Note that links from this guide to other articles are not likely to be free from spoilers.

For more in-depth (and spoiler-y) walkthroughs, see each Ambition's own guide, linked in its relevant section below and on the Guides page.

Introduction[edit]

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Ambitions are the reason your character is in Fallen London. Each Ambition provides a reason why your character descended to the city. There are four Ambitions. Before choosing one, consider carefully which you want as, once chosen, you currently can't change it without paying Fate (except at one point during Light Fingers).

Every Ambition makes use of all four Main Attributes, but each Ambition focuses on two attributes in particular, in both mechanics and narrative.

Ambitions
filller Light Fingers! Heart's Desire! Nemesis! Bag a Legend!
Nemesis.png Bagalegend.png
Heartsdesire.png
Lightfingers.png

Which Ambition should I choose?[edit]

The short answer is, whichever you want. But we know—choosing an Ambition can be daunting. It's a significant part of your experience of the game, and (with one exception, or with Fate) cannot be changed once you've committed to your choice. Therefore, this guide aims to help you choose your Ambition based on some of the most common considerations: the story each Ambition tells, its implications for roleplaying and character development, the mechanical rewards available in the form of unique Ambition items, and how it is made continually relevant through callbacks in other game content. Each Ambition-specific section of this guide will give you a spoiler-free glimpse of what each Ambition offers in these four areas.

Story[edit]

Each Ambition is a story designed to be played over the course of many months. It's likely to be the longest story you play through with your character, and as such, you'll likely want to pick an Ambition whose premise appeals to you. That said, all four Ambitions are great stories, and you are unlikely to be disappointed whichever you choose. In each one, your character will be confronted with difficult choices, learn surprising things about the Neath, and eventually come face-to-face with one or more of the Masters of the Bazaar, who may help or hinder their pursuit of the Ambition.

Roleplaying[edit]

Ostensibly, your character's Ambition is what brought them to the Neath in the first place. If you already know a lot about your character, one Ambition or another may be a better fit for them, depending on their affiliations, beliefs, and interests. Alternatively, you might choose an Ambition without having a firm idea of who your character is, and let the story influence who they become. You can choose an Ambition that complements your character's Profession... or perhaps their Profession is just a job, and their Ambition is their true passion. Whatever Ambition you choose, there are endless ways to incorporate it into the story you're telling with your character.

Mechanical rewards[edit]

The item rewards of each Ambition are fairly balanced—everyone who plays through any of these stories will be compensated significantly for their time and effort. The primary reward is a unique Treasure item with substantial stats, which varies among Ambitions and according to key choices you make in the story. There are also less powerful unique items available during the course of each Ambition, some of which are optional or mutually exclusive. Mechanical rewards that are equippable, or have other uses outside the Ambition, will be provided in tables below—with some item names redacted to avoid spoilers.

Callbacks[edit]

Ambitions have also been incorporated into other areas of the game, with flavour text and additional options available in certain stories to characters who are pursuing or have completed a certain Ambition. These tie-ins have continued to appear in newly added stories and seasonal events, so it's a good bet that, whatever your Ambition, you'll be pleasantly surprised to find it popping up in future content. For this reason, the lists below are not exhaustive.

Bag a Legend![edit]

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A player-created Guide is available for this content: Ambition: Bag a Legend (Guide)

On long evenings at the Medusa's Head, where the monster-hunters drink, they brag about the beasts they've bagged […] But no-one tells stories about […] the Vake, for whose head the Department offers a standing reward of four million Echoes[…]

Story: Ambition: Bag a Legend! is about hunting a mysterious monster terrorising London, and the story is primarily about discovering what this monster is and figuring out how to kill it. It also delves into lore about previous fallen cities, and draws in characters as varied as Sinning Jenny, some very unconventional nuns, and a Revolutionary with a penchant for building weapons. It has elements of monster horror and Gothic horror, evoking stories like Dracula, Frankenstein, and The Strange Case of Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde.

Roleplaying: Bag a Legend might be especially suitable for characters in the Rat-Catcher branch of Professions, which culminates in the Advanced Profession of Monster-Hunter. Characters particularly inclined to pursue the Vake might spend a lot of time in Watchmaker's Hill or Wolfstack Docks, and be associated with The Docks or Revolutionaries or a member of Sophia's—though no one in London is safe from this monster. Dangerous and Watchful characters have an advantage in this hunt.

Mechanical rewards: Rewards of Ambition, and some of the unique items available, vary according to your story choices.

Unique Items
Item (spoiler-free description) Stage when acquired Item effects Uses
A Vast Network of Connections Wherever the Bazaar's Influence can be Found (Treasure) Ending (choice) Refreshing Lab consumables; joining the Railway Board; Bone Market stall; Beyond the Cordon
The Long-Dead Priests of the Red Bird (Treasure) Ending (choice) The Efficient Commissioner's Tale; Lab (storylet and card) and Reflected Lab research; Oneiropomp; Helicon House
Society of the Three-Fingered Hand (Treasure) Ending (choice) Cover identities (Surface ties); Chessboard
A Winged and Taloned Steed Formerly [spoiler] (Treasure) Ending (choice) Parabolan Defences; Magistracy digs; Station VIII
Deafening Hat (Hat) 4
Free-roving Teeth (Hat) 160
Gradually Recuperating Pony (Transport) 150 (with prerequisite)
Half-Wild Mandrake (Companion) 5
Jaguar Blade, Remembered (Weapon) 2000
Vake-Killing Club (Weapon) 22
[spoiler] of the Vake (Weapon) 400 Assemble a skeleton
Spiked Rosary (Weapon) 31
Vake Claw (Weapon) 230 The Efficient Commissioner's Nightmare
Rewards of Ambition, available every 4 weeks
Ending Value Rewards
BaL 2000 (Connections)
BaL 3000–3100 (Society)
BaL 4000–4100 (Steed)
BaL 5000–5100 (Priests)

Callbacks

“He who fights monsters should see to it that he himself does not become a monster. And if you gaze for long into an abyss, the abyss gazes also into you.” —Friedrich Nietzsche, Beyond Good and Evil (1886)

Heart's Desire![edit]

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Main article: Ambition: Heart's Desire! (Full guide not yet available)

They say that once every nine years there's a card game where you can gamble your soul and win your heart's desire. That sounds like tremendous fun.

The bit about gambling your soul is bound to be an exaggeration. Surely.

Story: Ambition: Heart's Desire! is about investigating, staging, and playing an underground card game, The Marvellous, in the hope of winning what you want most in the world. The promise of this prize draws players from all over the Neath: a bishop, a madman, a deviless, and even stranger beings. What is your heart's desire? And what are you prepared to do—or willing to risk—to get it? Heart's Desire is part mystery, part high-stakes game of advantages and sabotage, but with a lighter tone than other Ambitions, and offers a glimpse of the inner lives and most fervent wishes of several familiar faces in Fallen London.

Roleplaying: A character who wants something seemingly unattainable—or who only knows they desperately need something, but isn't sure what—might be drawn to The Marvellous. Or perhaps they're driven by curiosity about what other people want so desperately? Persuasive and Watchful characters are particularly suited to this Ambition.

Perhaps the ambition best suited to a kindly character ... you can endeavour to aid others for no reason but it being the morally right thing to do. A hedonist with a heart of gold (like my Bohemian-loving character) will have a good time. Austellus

Mechanical rewards:

Unique items
Item (spoiler-free description) Stage when acquired Item effects Uses
A Bestiary of the Hearts' Desires (Weapon) 320–700
A Bright Brass Button (Weapon) 620 A state of some confusion; The Efficient Commissioner's Tale; Oneiropomp
A Dream of Truth-Strangling (Hat) 680
A Leasehold on [spoiler] (Treasure) Ending (choice) Joining the Railway board; Bone Market stall;
A Palatial Holiday Home in [spoiler] (Treasure) Ending (choice) Oneiropomp; Adulterine Castle; Laboratory research; Cover Identity
Cardsharp Monkey (Companion) 9
[spoiler] Cardsharp Monkey (Companion) 680
Fruit of the Tree of Knowledge of Good and Evil (Home Comfort) 680
Marvellous Monkey (Companion) 1904
Newly-Cast Crown of [spoiler] (Treasure) Ending (Choice) Addressed as; Helicon House; join the Railway Board; A Trade in Reputations
The Marvellous (Treasure) Ending (Choice) Laboratory upgrade; cards in The Hurlers; Cover Identity (Dispossessed ties); Oneiropomp; Spite Dr Blemmigan
The Robe of [spoiler] (Treasure) Ending (Choice) Join the Clay Tailor Club; refreshing Lab consumables; Station VIII statue; Spite Dr Blemmigan; A Kitchen for Artists; cards in The Hurlers
The Thief-Oath of Tristram Bagley (Affiliation) 620 An Encounter with Tristram Bagley (card)
Rewards of Ambition, available every 4 weeks
Ending Value Rewards
HD 1100 (Robe)
HD 1200 (Crown)
HD 1300 (Leasehold)
HD 1400 (Home)
HD 3000 (Marvellous)

Callbacks: [in progress]

We are always striving for things forbidden, and coveting those denied us. —Ovid, Amorum (16 B.C.)

Light Fingers![edit]

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A player-created Guide is available for this content: Ambition: Light Fingers (Guide)

Before you came down here, you heard through a contact here that she had a line on a diamond 'the size of a cow'. She did tend to exaggerate. But even if it's only the size of, say, a pig, or even a kitten, it's worth your time.

Of course, by the time you got out of New Newgate she'd disappeared. No-one seems to know how, or where, or they're not prepared to admit it.

Story: Ambition: Light Fingers! is a horror story disguised as a heist caper. Its sudden (and surprisingly early) twist, and shift to a much darker tone, is why it's the only Ambition offering a free chance to forget the whole thing and pick a different story. Characters who choose to keep going face difficult moral decisions and high emotional stakes—yet with the potential of a small, glimmering hope at the end of it all.

I can think of at least three points in the ambition where people/beings/entities who previously had antagonistic roles can become allies. And I think that plays into the hopeful tone that Light Fingers can take, even with its horrific atmosphere. Even-Narwhal-75

Content warnings (spoiler):

Body horror (pregnancy-related), non-consent, stalking

Roleplaying: [in progress]

If you want to roleplay a character who starts as a less morally sound origin and comes to make good choices in the end, it's the perfect ambition. The-Deaf-Prophet

Mechanical rewards: [in progress]

Unique items
Item (spoiler-free description) Stage when acquired Item effects Uses
A False-Star of your Own (Treasure) Ending (choice)
A Kitten-Sized Diamond, Liberated from the Mountain (Treasure) Ending (choice)
A Loyal Nightmare of [spoiler] (Affiliation) 390
Drownie Song of the Deep (Weapon) 21
Everlasting Candle (Weapon) 42
Lyon Pursuivant of Arms Extraordinary (Affiliation) 375
Smiling Mask (Hat) 285
Tatterskin Shawl (Clothing) 375
Rewards of Ambition, available every 4 weeks
Ending Value Rewards
LF 1500 (Diamond)
LF 2500 (Star)

Callbacks: [in progress]

Nemesis[edit]

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A player-created Guide is available for this content: Ambition: Nemesis (Guide)

Someone you loved is dead. You swore you'd scour the world for the killer. Your search brought you under the world.

You have crossed oceans and spent your whole inheritance to find this man. You even had yourself sent to New Newgate, as the quickest route down here to the Neath. Surely the hardest parts are behind you?

Story: Ambition: Nemesis is a tale of murder and revenge. A loved one is dead and you will not rest until you've repaid their murderer in kind. Travel across London to find out who did it and exact a horrible revenge. It focuses on the Dangerous and Watchful you need to locate and punish the killer. It can be started in Ladybones Road through Ambition: Nemesis 0.

At each major turning point of the story, your character gets a choice between mercy and ruthlessness, and it's up to you to decide where they draw the line. acetimetraveler

Roleplaying: [in progress]

Mechanical rewards: [in progress]

Unique items
Item (spoiler-free description) Stage when acquired Item effects Uses
A Book of Red Murder (Weapon) 160–199
Blooded Knife (Weapon) 36
Dream-Shadow of a Curator's Vestige (Affiliation) 4300 (choice)
Dream-Shard of the Mirror of Knives (Home Comfort) 4300 (choice)
Myriad Keys (Weapon) 9
The Bloodied Travelling-Coat of [spoiler] (Treasure) Ending (choice)
Violant-Winged Bat (Companion) 150
[spoiler], Returned (Treasure) Ending (choice)
Rewards of Ambition, available every 4 weeks
Ending Value Rewards
N 4300–4500 (Coat)
N 5000 (Returned)

Callbacks: [in progress]

Revenge is the sweetest morsel to the mouth, that ever was cooked in hell. —Walter Scott, The Heart of Midlothian (1818)

A True Denizen of the Neath[edit]

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Completing an Ambition awards you the quality A True Denizen of the Neath to signify that you've finished the reason you descended and that the Neath is now your home. But what will you do now?

After all the work you've put into your Ambition, you're almost certainly an End Game-level character. Check out the Endgame Guide and the dynamic list of End Game-level content to find stories that are particularly suited to your level. Some examples—many of which have special options and callbacks that reference Ambitions—include:

  • Fate-locked Stories: A massive amount of exclusive content is available by spending Fate, with a new story available each month to Exceptional Friends. Visit the Fate page to learn more about these stories and Exceptional Friendship.
  • The Great Hellbound Railway: A transportation works project that opens up several new locations and major activities out in the Hinterlands beyond London.
  • Parabola: While access to Parabola is available from the midgame, there are a number of pursuits here you may not have delved into while engrossed in your Ambition, including waging war, guiding dreamers, and The Chessboard.
  • Khaganian Intrigue: A complex carousel of clandestine activities in the Khanate. (Requires having a Railway out to Balmoral and a Cabinet Noir so that you can create Cover Identities.)
  • Overcapping your stats: Many late-game activities involve especially high stat challenges, so you will likely want to overcap your main Attributes (up to 230, over several stages) and your Advanced Skills (up to 7).
  • Becoming a Paramount Presence: The culmination of your journey as a A Person of Some Importance, reflecting your mastery of all four specialisations.
  • Treasures of the Neath: For true completionists (or masochists, depending on your perspective), there are a number of particularly difficult achievements to work toward.
  • Seeking Mr Eaten's Name: Speaking of masochistic choices, this incredibly ill-advised quest to answer a question that should never be asked can be considered the original endgame content, with a dreadful emphasis on "end".

Wiki note: Special thanks to members of the Fallen London subreddit who shared their impressions of their Ambitions for inclusion in this guide. Read more of their comments here.