University Laboratory (Guide)

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The University Laboratory is a Laboratory of your own which offers a host of engaging experiments and many new opportunities to players, and is most useful for those with high Watchful.

The cheat sheets can also be found separately at the following pages:

Perhaps you are ready for your own Laboratory. There are many studies you can do best with equipment. And obedient students.

Obtaining a Laboratory[edit]

Once you're A Person of Some Importance -, (and not Unwelcome at the University -) you can get Your Own Lab! You'll have to convince the Dean first, however.

After either threatening the man or bribing him, you'll get your own Lab and are redirected to A First Commission.

The first few steps (mandatory)[edit]


Before you can do your own research you'll need to do a few things for the Dean:


  • Begin a Scientific Investigation / Assess your Progress regarding the (Project Name). These two let you respectively start investigations and complete them. Begin a Scientific Investigation also includes the Petition the Dean for experimental materials option which allows you to gain either Ambiguous Eoliths (on failure) or Unidentified Thigh Bones (on success). This option requires The Prestige of your Laboratory 5.
  • Improve Your Equipment. This lets you increase your Equipment for Scientific Experimentation level; this is incredibly important as a Laboratory with high level equipment can provide significantly more Laboratory Research per action. The maximum level of equipment that is possible without using Fate is 7, with FATE it can be raised to 9.
  • Manufacture Supplies. After completing Research the Formula for Perfumed Gunpowder, you can use this storylet to manufacture certain supplies you'll need elsewhere in the game.
  • Adjust the Staffing of your Lab. This allows you to hire experts such as the Numismatrix. Experts all have an area of expertise in which they give lots of Laboratory Research and two options to give some research for investigations they aren't good in (for further details, check the tables in Experimental Object). You can have a maximum of three Worktables (after having done either Expand your workshop or Expand your workshop via persuasion, both of which are also found under this storylet). With FATE you can gain a fourth slot. You can never have more people working in your Lab than the number of work spaces; you yourself do not take up a work slot. The number of people currently working in your Lab greatly influences the Opportunity Deck, and as such, many Research options. Here you can also Offer a sinecure to a certain artist, which gives you the quite profitable option to send said artist out for 125 x Drop of Prisoner's Honey as a storylet, or for 150 x Drop of Prisoner's Honey as an opportunity card during research.
  • Manage the Students in your Laboratory. After a certain investigation you can also accept students. Students have their own Opportunity Cards and storylets, and can be graduated to increase the Teaching Reputation of Your Laboratory and to earn some items. High Reputation will give access to better students. Each student also occupies a Worktable like the experts.
  • Leave your Lab (without Base-Camp) / Leave your Lab (with Base-Camp). This allows you to leave your Lab either to London or to your Reflection of your Laboratory if you have done the relevant investigation.
  • All the variants of "Dismiss (expert name)" allow you to dismiss experts you have previously hired to free up space in the Lab. This may be desired in order to hire more relevant experts, or simply to remove their cards from the Opportunity Deck.

Doing and completing Research[edit]


All research projects function on the same principle:

  1. choose what your project is and get your Experimental Object
  2. get the required Research from cards in your Opportunity Deck and
  3. trade it in on Assess your Progress regarding the (Project Name) to complete a project.

If you are one to optimize, some research formulas can be quite involved to calculate in your head. There are some calculators to make your work easier for you.


In order to gain research, there are several resources to help you.

  • Research Preparations reduce the Watchful challenges to get research and other things. This is important for longer research projects, as they will allow you to succeed more often.
  • Unlikely Connections allow you to use your experts' special options when researching outside their expertise, as well as using advanced skills to get more research. Spending them gives Unexpected Results. They are very useful when not researching your expert's expertise.
  • Unexpected Results can be spent on several different cards for roughly 10 research each.
  • Unavoidable Epiphany can be spent to provide (3 per level of equipment)+18 research, giving a substantial boost.
  • Unwise Ideas can sometimes be gained as well. These can be spent for both research and menaces. Each idea is typically worth 20 research. These are especially useful for longer projects.
  • Deck refreshes help you avoid the cards you don't want to play.

Unspent resources will be converted to Volume of Collated Research once your research is done (see Put everything back where you found it for the formula).

Parabolan Research and other types of research[edit]


Apart from "ordinary" research there are also some other, specialised types of research. Parabolan Research is by far the most commonly used of these. It is used in almost all experiments connected to Parabola in some way and can unlock extra options when doing some experiments. To gain Parabolan Research, you need to first unlock the Reflection of your Laboratory. To do so, you either need to Find a Route to Parabola (a two-stage experiment) or Look for the Reflection of your Laboratory after you Establish a Parabolan Base-Camp (much cheaper but only available if you are a Silverer). For more details on access to Parabola as a Silverer, see Parabola (Guide). Once either method is completed, you can enter Parabola whenever you want via your Lab, your Lodgings, or The Honey-Dens of Veilgarden at the cost of 100 x Drop of Prisoner's Honey per visit (or 50 x Drops for Silverers).

Having access to the Reflection of your Laboratory, you can employ your regular staff there to produce Parabolan Research. You may also use a card in your lab for smaller amounts of research, provided your Glasswork level cap is at least 6. However, this is only efficient when needing a low amount of Research. Finding the Route to Parabola will also unlock the Parabolan Base-Camp, a hub for a large amount of new content.

Parabolan Research Table:
Research Source Challenge Parabolan Research
Reflection of your Laboratory
Struggling Artist 2 + Glass Studies
Meticulous Student / Potential Librarian 3 + Glass Studies
The Long-Dead Priests of the Red Bird 5
Eldest Daughter FATE 5 + Glass Studies
F.F. Gebrandt
Lettice, the Mercy
Percipient Cricketer FATE
Reformed Protester FATE
Stoic Classicist FATE
Shifty Student / Future Dean
Gifted Student / Young Aristocrat
Profound Student / Deep-thinking Oak
Antediluvian Ushabti Antediluvian Ushabti 5 5 + Glass Studies[1]
Silk-clad Expert FATE 5 + (2 * Glass Studies)
April 10 + Glass Studies
Grubby Urchin 200 10 + Glass Studies[2]
Cora Bagley 10 + (2 * Glass Studies)
Hephaesta 10 + (5 * Glass Studies)
Visionary Student / Cloud of Thoughts 12 + Glass Studies
+1 CP 
Esurient Smith 7 * ( Glass Studies + 1)
Possessed Goldfish
Ichthyological Focus
  1. Failure gives no research
  2. Failure gives 5 + Glass Studies
    +1 CP 

Besides Parabolan Research, there are other types of specialised research including Expertise of the Third City, Numismatic Research, etc. These are only used rarely in very specific experiments. The game will mention this when starting an experiment. To gain these special types of research, you need to either hire experts (such as the Numismatrix to get Numismatic Research) or the game will add special cards to your deck that give this research (such as the Terraria-card to gain Amphibian Research).


There are several factors that affect the cards you get while in your laboratory.

See University Laboratory (Guide)/Cards for a breakdown of all cards.

Upgrading Equipment[edit]

Storylet: Improve Your Equipment when in the Lab.

Levels 0 to 3 require supplies which you can get at various other locations around London.

Level 4 requires a Voluminous Library, a Home Comfort which you can either compile yourself by getting a bunch of research in the Southern Archipelago and Gather all your work into a library, or grind items for 5 Legal Documents for Pursuing a Case of Books 1.

After this it gets a bit more complicated as you have to generate items through research as well as Parabola for levels 6 and 7. Hillmovers can be obtained by hunting Seven-Throated Warblers in Parabola and searching the nest. See Parabolan Hunting (Guide) and Parabola (Guide) for more details.

The last non-Fate-locked level is very expensive as it requires 20 Working Rat at E 64.80 each = E 1296, plus either an Albino Rat or a Rattus Faber Bandit-Chief. If you don't already have one of the latter, the Bandit-Chief costs E 320.

A breakdown of the costs can be found in the table below:

Equipment Table:
Equipment level Items required Echo value Notes
1 17.50 Using buy price for bottled oblivion
2 98.80 Using assembly price of lens and buy price of scrutinizer
3 350 This flowchart shows the best ways of getting MoL
4 Voluminous Library N/A Provides option to remove opportunity card
5 311 Valuing Hillmovers at 12.5 E and Gunpowder at 2.5 E
6 250 Several other options
7 1296 (or 1616) Using buy price, might remove opportunity card
9 10 FATE N/A Fate Only, 8 is skipped.

Experts and Students[edit]

When first setting up your university laboratory, you are the only one working there. As long as you don't have enough researchers, you will keep drawing some bad cards, which will make progress slower. The easy solution to this is to recruit people. At first you will only be able to recruit experts to help you, but eventually, with Prestige, you will start unlocking students. Experts typically give options to research in their fields, as well as options to spend Unlikely Connections to play them at other points. Students, on the other hand, typically help you gain research directly, as well as spending Epiphanies in order to gain more research. A good lab will probably contain a mix of the two.



Experts are NPCs with expertise in specific fields where you might lack knowledge. They are (mostly) hired from Adjust the Staffing of your Lab. These experts will give a lot of ordinary research in their fields. Some of them also produce specialized research.

The topic of an experiment is determined by the current Experimental Object, as well as "Focus" qualities. Certain ranges of the quality are associated with specific topics of research search as chemistry, biology, etc. Some projects will set additional qualities like Red Science Focus or Monstrous Focus, which unlock Expert research options.

Some Experts have options in their field of research for supervising a specific type of student as noted in the expertise table below, resulting in a larger than amount of research compared to the Expert or student alone. The student must be completely levelled (Laboratory services from x Student 5). All supervision options have a Watchful challenge of 220.

Different experts will also provide different lore depending on Experimental Object.

Expertise Table:
Expert Experimental Object Experimental Focus Compatible Students/Experts
April [1] 101-200 (Weapons) Red Science Focus
Cora Bagley [2] 1001-1200 (Mathematical) Visionary Student
Esurient Smith [3] 101-200 (Weapons)
301-400 (Engineering)
F.F. Gebrandt 901-1000 (Chemistry) Profound Student
Hephaesta [4] 201-300 (Cartography)
Nautical Focus Visionary Student
Lettice, the Mercy 401-500 (Biological)
Numismatrix 250
1301-1600 (History)
Percipient Cricketer FATE Correspondence Focus Profound Student
Reformed Protester FATE 101-200 (Weapons)
Silk-Clad Expert FATE 401-500 (Biological) Gifted Student
Stoic Classicist FATE 1301-1600 (History) Numismatrix
The Eldest Daughter FATE Toxicological Focus Silk-Clad Expert
  1. Unlocked from completing Ambition: Bag a Legend!
  2. Unlocked from completing Ambition: Heart's Desire!
  3. Unlocked from completing Ambition: Nemesis
  4. Unlocked from completing Ambition: Light Fingers!

Freely available Experts include:

  • The Numismatrix is the first expert you'll hire into your Lab. She is the only source of Numismatic Research for your initial study of Justificande coins (Experimental Object value of 30), and provides regular research benefits for later coinage projects (Experimental Objects 250 & 980), and Historical projects (Experimental Object 1300-1500). The Numismatrix also provides lore on currencies you have in your possession.
  • Lettice The Mercy produces Expertise of the Third City and ordinary research when your Equipment for Scientific Experimentation is level 5 or above. She is good with weapons and explosives (Experimental Objects 101-200), and gives Expertise of the Third City for Objects 110-120 and 1320. Hiring her will be much cheaper, if you get Lettice, the Mercy as a companion during the Feast of the Exceptional Rose.
  • F.F. Gebrandt is London's leading expert in chemistry (Experimental Object 901-1000). Despite the claim that "she also has interesting things to say about palaeontology", she has no particular talent in this area beyond enthusiasm. You can also create Superior Laudanum, Tincture of Vigour and Collated Research while working with her.

The following NPCs can staff your lab like Experts, but are much less useful to providing research.

A number of experts only become available after finishing your ambition:

There are also a few FATE-locked assistants you can hire:

(Note: It is not necessary to actually play the fate-locked stories where these NPCs originally appear. But it'll help to get some insight why they are experts in their respective field.)



After a first few experiments, you will become able to let University students work in your Laboratory to gain some real-life experience. They require training in order to maximize their usefulness. Students are unlocked after completing a Palaeontological Task for the Dean. Accepting the task will give you your first student and unlock Manage the Students in your Laboratory, which allows you to hire more. Graduating a Student will increase the Teaching Reputation of Your Laboratory by 1-3 levels and give you a small reward, which depends on the type of student. High Reputation is required to hire better students.

  • A Shifty Student. Shifty Students don't produce a lot of research but can be graduated quickly to raise the Teaching Reputation of Your Laboratory. His associated card is Work with your Shifty Student. Graduating him gives only 1 reputation.
  • A Meticulous Student. The Meticulous Student produces more research than the Shifty Student, but is also harder to level up. She is also required to create Mirthless Compendiums of Statistical Observations. Without her you'll find out that there are too many errors and you'll need to pass them of to an colleague as they're useless. Her associated card is Work with your Meticulous Student. Graduating her gives 3 reputation!
  • A Gifted Student. A Gifted Student can level up really quickly without you needing to spend time on her. Her associated card is Work with your Gifted Student. Graduating her gives  1 x Favours: Society and a Slim Volume of Bazaarine Poetry. This is one of the few non-card-based ways to grind Favours, and the fastest of the available non-Fate options.
  • A Profound Student. The Profound Student is better at research than the previous three but levels up slower than the Gifted Student. His associated card is Work with your Profound Student.
  • A Visionary Student is the best of all students; producing just as much research as the Profound Student but leveling as quickly as the Gifted, they are the pinnacle of Students. Their associated card is Work with your Visionary Student. Graduating them provides 3 reputation, but at this point you won't have any use for reputation anymore.

The table below shows the amount of Research gained from working with each type of student. Note that while students may level from 1 to 5, for most purposes, there are functionally only three bands of skill--Levels 1 and 2, Levels 3 and 4, and Level 5 (however, some cards do calculate results from the total level of your experts and students). In some cases, Rare Successes, which will either level up a student below Level 5 or give a point of Disgruntlement for a student that is already Level 5, will give additional research. The bold numbers in parentheses indicate the amount of research that would be gained by a player with Equipment for Scientific Experimentation 7, the maximum that is possible to attain without Fate.

Student Table:
Student Student Level Watchful Challenge Research on Success ( Equipment 7) Rare Success Bonus Research Research on Failure ( Equipment 7)
Shifty Student 1-2 215 Equipment; (7) 1; (1)
3-4 210 (5/3) * Eq; (12) Eq; (7)
5 205 2 * Eq; (14) +1 (4/3) * Eq; (10)
Meticulous Student 1-2 210 Eq + 2; (9) Eq + 1; (8)
3-4 225 (3/2) * Eq + 4; (15) (3/2) * Eq + 3; (14)
5 220 2 * Eq + 5; (19) +1 2 * Eq + 4; (18)
Gifted Student 1-2 210 Eq + 2; (9) Eq + 1; (8)
3-4 215 Eq + 7; (14) Eq + 6; (13)
5 220 2 * Eq + 5; (19) +5 (5/3) * Eq + 3; (15)
Profound Student & Visionary Student 1-2 210 Eq + 4; (11) Eq + 3; (10)
3-4 215 2 * Eq + 4; (18) +1 2 * Eq + 3; (17)
5 220 2 * Eq + 9; (23) +1 2 * Eq + 4; (18)

The most efficient way to progress your teaching reputation seems to be to repeatedly take on the Shifty Student, and supervise his research. Rely on the rare/alternative success for him to level up, then graduate him as soon as possible. Repeat this until you can employ the Gifted Student. This will produce little research at the start, but you can get to the better students pretty quickly.

Disgruntlement among the Students[edit]

Gaining Disgruntlement[edit]

As students perform research, they will level up to increase their effectiveness. Once they reach level 5, they will begin to express a desire to graduate, and rare or alternate successes will begin to generate CP of Disgruntlement. When Disgruntlement reaches level 4, the non-discardable card Student Complaints will be added to the Opportunity Deck. At level 6, the card Student Fury will be added, and must be played immediately upon being drawn, costing 200 Research.

Several other cards involving students can also produce Disgruntlement.

Managing Disgruntlement[edit]

Disgruntlement is most easily decreased by graduating students. Graduating any student will remove at least 21 CP of Disgruntlement, enough to reset it from level 6 to 0. Because Disgruntlement is not tracked for individual students, it is possible to retain one student indefinitely, while training and graduating other students to lower Disgruntlement.

Note that this mechanic is very useful for maximising research output. Working with Visionary or Profound students, which is commonly the fastest way to get research outside of some special experiments, can be modified to keep the Visionary student indefinitely. Through academic cruelty and immediately graduating a Profound student when disgruntlement becomes dangerous, the fact that a fully upgraded Visionary student can tutor your other students can be exploited and the action cost of constantly having to graduate Profound students, which loses all of their levels, negated.

Alternately, the option to give the students a day off on the "Directing your Team" opportunity card reduces disgruntlement by 2 CP and provides a modest amount of research. As none of the options on this card are particularly competitive with high-level students or relevant experts, this also serves to get rid of the card.

Another alternative, if your only student is the Visionary Student, is to only use Leave your student to their own devices, which never gives disgruntlement. Non-student sources of disgruntlement only give disgruntlement if you already have some, allowing you to permanently keep disgruntlement at zero.

University Laboratory qualities[edit]

There are several qualities for the Laboratory: The Prestige of your Laboratory, Teaching Reputation of Your Laboratory, and Record of Successful Forgery.

  • Prestige is a measure of how many experiments you have completed. It is raised by a single level for every completed experiment (or experiment stage if the experiment has more than one stage). It will unlock a few new experiments, cards and storylets when raised (notably the card to get a Protective Labcoat).
  • Reputation is a measure of the amount of students you have graduated. As it increases, better and better students will join your Lab. A certain reputation is also required for an option while Publishing a Newspaper.
  • Forgeries are tracked upon certain outcomes from projects, for example in passing off a thigh-bone as a holy relic or publishing inaccurate statistical tables.

Short To-Do List[edit]


If you still aren't sure what to actually do, check this to do list by Rahv7, which he made in a reply on the Fallen London subreddit and is used here with his permission:

Important projects to do as soon as possible are:

Now you roughly need to do the following:

Further Increasing Equipment[edit]

At this point you can technically continue improving your scientific equipment, but you don't have the resources yet.

To get resources to create Gunpowder, go to the Bone-Market.

Now you have the Hillmovers and the Gunpowder and can continue upgrading your Lab up to 7 if you have the remaining resources (or 9 with Fate). Having your lab at level 7 makes some options almost double as efficient.

Also useful to know[edit]

The Urchin is a good way to get Parabolan Research, but he's not good for anything else. If you are willing to buy the Silk-Clad Expert for FATE, you don't need the Urchin. She also has good synergy with the Gifted Student.

Prestige Grinding For Watchful Gains and the Railway[edit]

To get the first increment of Watchful Gains and unlock Railway Steel, you must have Prestige of Your Laboratory 40. Very few projects grant more than one of this quality when finished, and the shortest project which grants more than 1 Prestige is 1600 Research, for Prestige, in two stages; it is generally infeasible to reach this goal in merely 3x the time required for a short project. (It may, however, be overall more profitable.)

Many simple projects require 100 Laboratory Research, and grant Prestige, and so you can grind much of the required prestige organically; in the course of improving your Equipment and Teaching Reputation, you'll most likely Create a Mirthless Compendium of Statistical Observations 10 times, for example. (You'll also likely do the slightly longer and more expensive process of Researching a Devilish Probability Distributor.) Various other projects you will probably do as one-offs to see what happens, like Studying the Focused Albatross. However, if you're in a hurry to get the rest of your prestige and move on, consider these:

The first two can get their raw materials from Petitioning the Dean, which is an easier check though it costs an extra Bottle of Strangling Willow Absinthe and is unpredictable. The latter requires no inputs, but does need either a Parabolan Base-Camp or the FATE-locked Silk-Clad Expert for the research into Is-Not.


In order to get the most out of your lab, it's essential to:

  • Improve your instruments as much as you can
  • Employ experts and students in order to fill up work benches and avoid some bad cards
  • Have a decent balance between experts and compatible students, so that you can have them work together. Ideally, you want at least one of your experts to be able to use their expertise, but this can't always be guaranteed, especially not at the beginning of your lab career.