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Fatalistic Signalman
Fatalistic Signalman
Category Officers
Position Signaller

Mirrors icon.png +6 Mirrors
Veils icon.png +2 Veils
Affiliationvillainy icon.png +1 Affiliation: Villainy
Fatalisticsignalman icon.png +1 Gloomy Guidance

Promotions Sigil4 icon.png 'Signs and Signals of the High Wilderness: an Omnibus'
Data ID 132926
Interaction ID 289576

Fatalistic Signalman is considered a Officer Signaller in Sunless Skies.

Officers description[]

"He is professional enough to prevent his mood from impacting his work. He has no qualms about it infecting other crewmembers, however. "


Location Storylet Name Unlocked With Effects
An Abandoned Signal Box Recruit a Fatalistic Signalman

You detect a whiff of cigarette smoke as you enter. A man in a grey uniform and grey bowler rises from a chair. "Evening. I don't suppose you're looking for a signaller?" He does not sound hopeful. How long has he been waiting here?
The Fatalistic Signalman is an officer: a signaller who increases your Mirrors by 6, Veils by 2, and Villainy by 1.

    Fatalisticsignalman icon.png Fatalistic Signalman = 0
A break from duty

He is startled by your response. "Oh. Right. Was expecting you to say no, to be honest."
You ask what he was doing here. "I work the Isambard Line. I'm the last one, I suppose. Hitch rides between the boxes, make repairs, sweep up a bit. But I could do with a change of scene." He seems unsure.
"Well, I'd better get my things together." He picks up a modest holdall, and checks his hat is on his head. "Yes, I think that's everything. After you, Addressed As."
You can appoint the Fatalistic Signalman to be your signaller when you are docked in port.

    Fatalisticsignalman icon.png Fatalistic Signalman = 1

The Fatalistic Signalman can be recruited from one of the four Signal Boxes found in The Reach so long as his quest line has not already been completed in this lineage.

Note that within his quest line, the Fatalistic Signalman refers to these locations by different names (the Battered, Overgrown, Scorched and Spidered Signal Boxes). These references are different from lineage to lineage.

The Fatalistic Signalman[]

His moustache is stained with nicotine. His Isambard Line uniform is neatly pressed. He always expects the worst, confident in the knowledge that he will still be disappointed.


Actions Requirements Effects Notes
Trade Tales of Terror over tea and biscuits
He is reticent by nature, but can be coaxed into conversation over depressing stories with horrible endings.
Warming to the subject
Soon you are engaged in dismal competition. You raise the sad fate of Parliament and the tragic disappearance of the H.M.L. Parzifal.

He counters with a story of his own past: "I worked on the Isambard Line. It was meant to ring the whole Reach: a chain of accelerators and hour-funnels to speed locomotives between the outer ports. Doomed from the start, it was. Some said cursed, but I reckon building a road around the sky is just b__dy difficult. It were never finished."

He slurps his tea. "I'd like to take a proper tour of the Reach. See exactly how stupid we were."
Ask if he has seen enough of the Reach
As you stopped at each port on your journey, the Signalman spoke with other signallers. He has filled a set of dog-eared notebooks, and is now collating their contents into a book.
Every corner of the sky
He stiffens as you approach, as if you've caught him doing something he shouldn't. "People outside the trade don't understand how signalling works. Every port, every corner of the sky, has its own signs and messages. It's a right mess. I've been cataloguing them: the semaphores, the lamp-languages, the badges and passphrases. Not that anyone will ever read it." He puts the pages into his holdall, suddenly embarrassed. "Anyway. I've been meaning to ask. Travelling has stirred up old memories. I'd like to visit a friend at London. We'll find her at the Steam & Sapphire Yards. She won't remember me. But I should try."
What was it he asked for, again?
It he could just remind you...
Almost coy
"Travelling stirred up old memories. I'd like to visit a friend at London. We'll find her at the Steam & Sapphire Yards. She won't remember me. But I should try." He considers you. "If it's all right us heading there, of course."
Trade Savage Secrets over a slice of Battenberg cake
The Signalman has sunk back into his reticence. This time, you'll need even bleaker tales to coax him out. Something properly grisly.
The Promise of Days
He laps up your stories like a cat would cream. In return, he shares a story of his own.

"Came to the skies as a lad, in the first days. Her Majesty needed a whole country built and granted us thirty years to do it. I took the offer. Helped lay the foundations of London. Built some of the dome over the Throne of Hours. Then I joined up with the Squire to lay the Isambard Line and headed to the Reach.

"Last time I saw Albion it were just construction. I'd like to take a look around. See what our graft bought."
Ask about his opinion of Albion
You have travelled across the region together. Has he seen enough?
A lot like the old one
The Signalman pauses in transcribing his latest set of notes. They cover the signals of Albion, from the bat-delivered memos of Parliament to the archaic systems of the Home Office. His manuscript grows ever heftier.

"It's not the world we thought we was building. Looks a lot like the old one, for a start, but wi' brighter gleams and darker glooms." He frowns. "We're all afraid to let go of what was.

"Speaking of. When we next stop at London I'd like to take shore leave. It's time I spoke to the Squire." Who is that, you ask. "A purveyor of follies," he responds, obliquely.
What was his request, again?
He mentioned something...
"When we next stop at London I'd like to take shore leave. It's time I spoke to the Squire." Who is that, you ask. "A purveyor of follies," he responds. obliquely.
Speak to the Signalman
Since your visit to Port Avon, he has been sunk in a gloom deeper than you have ever seen; even in him.
A life unlived
He smokes in a constant chain now. The next cigarette is lit before the last has gone out. His work on board has become perfunctory. He has even given up writing his signalling catalogue, which once gave him, if not joy, then a temporary stay of misery.

"What's the point?" he remarks. "I squandered my life on a folly, and it came to nothing."

Fortunately, you have the foundations of a plan. Sympathy and encouragement are unlikely to work on the Signalman. But resentment – that might do the job.

Game note: Acquire a Moment of Inspiration and some Ministry-Approved Literature to enact your plan.

Where does he wish to go next?
He received directions from the baronet in London.
"To find the Squire. In Port Avon, the baronet said."
Rouse him from his gloom
Since Port Avon, the Signalman has been intolerably surly. He has even abandoned work on his signalling book. Perhaps you can find a way to rekindle his spirit.
The trap is sprung
You leave a slim set of approved signalling manuals – stamped by the Ministry of Public Decency – on the galley table.

Discovering them, the Signalman flicks sulkily through. First he tuts. Then he snorts. Then scoffs. "Look at this! They've classified all Scorn-Fluke spasms as 'displays of bravado'! And here – they've not distinguished between the red-chevron flags at Port Prosper and those at Lustrum. That'll get someone killed!"

Oh no. If only there was a better resource to educate young signallers.

He fumes. "I have to do bloody everything, don't I? Fine! Where's my pen?" He storms to his cabin. A moment later he storms out again. "I've been away too long. I'd better check on the signal boxes. No one will have done that, neither."

He's back.

Ask if he is satisfied with the state of the signal-boxes
You have visited each of the four Isambard Line signal boxes, as he requested.
The work continues
He is in his cabin, surrounded by the notes and pages of his unfinished signalling catalogue. A dim light illuminates the scribbling path of his pen on a fresh page. His pace has increased, recently.

"Aye, a good job well done. But if you'll excuse me. I've a chapter to finish."

As you leave, though, he calls back to you.

"Addressed As(CapitalFormal)!" His brown eyes are firm. "Thank you. I don't know why you bothered, but you did."

Game note: The Signalman needs nothing else from you at the moment.

See how his work progresses
He now only leaves his cabin for the performance of his duties.
Perfunctory conversation
He is polite, but distracted. He is clearly relieved when you signal your impending departure from his cabin. "Thank you, Addressed As(SpeechFormal)! I'll be getting on with this, then." He gestures at the sheaf of papers before him.

Ask how he came to work on the Isambard Line
What brought him to an isolated signal box, far out in the wilds?
An admission
"Misfortune, I suppose. Tried to join the navy – wanted to do my bit. So I go down to the recruitment office; sign all their papers, answer all their questions.

"Halfway through the physical, the doctor just stops. Packs his things away. 'I can't admit you,' he says. 'Why not?' I ask – I reckon I'll exercise a bit, try again in a few months, see?

"'Your heartbeat's irregular,' says the doctor. 'The first time a shell goes off within earshot, you'll drop dead.'

"And that's how I learned I had a weak heart. Had to rethink my plans after that."
A Secondment: Listen to the Signalman's suggestion
He's been loitering outside your cabin, waiting for his chance. He's been very patient.
Opportunity knocks
He intimates that he might be able to put his old connections to work for you, if you were to drop him off in London for a little while. He wouldn't be gone forever, of course. Far too much to do aboard your engine.

But he wouldn't mind the opportunity to do some consultancy work with the big movers and shakers of London's new economy. He might be able to garner you a few favours in London.

Game note: The Signalman will be able to generate Ministry Gratitude for you while on Secondment.

Quality status[]

Fatalistic Signalman has different statuses according to your actions, defined by the comment in front of the quality.

Interaction description[]

These desciptions appear specifically when the value changes.

  • [0] The Fatalistic Signalman has gone.
  • [1] You have recruited the Fatalistic Signalman.


Interactions in Brief[]

Click Expand on the right for more.

Interaction Action Result Type Change
Explore London 'Allow the Signalman to curry favour with London's elites' Default / Challenge Fail = 0
The Chief Mourner 'The Fatalistic Signaller' Requirement ≥ 1
An Abandoned Signal Box 'Recruit a Fatalistic Signalman' Requirement ≤ 0
An Abandoned Signal Box 'Recruit a Fatalistic Signalman' Default / Challenge Fail +1
An Absence of Cigarette Smoke 'Check his cabin' Default / Challenge Fail = 0
The Signalman in London 'The Signalman has something for you' Default / Challenge Fail + [q:139871]
The Signalman in London 'The Signalman has something for you' Default / Challenge Fail + [q:139871]
The Signalman in London 'Pick up the Signalman' Default / Challenge Fail + [q:139871]

Interactions in Detail[]

Click Expand on the right for more.

Story Action Required Effect
Explore London Allow the Signalman to curry favour with London's elites Default:

The Chief Mourner The Fatalistic Signaller
    • Fatalisticsignalman icon.png Fatalistic Signalman ≥ 1

An Abandoned Signal Box Recruit a Fatalistic Signalman Default:
    • Fatalisticsignalman icon.png +1 x Fatalistic Signalman

An Absence of Cigarette Smoke Check his cabin None Default:

The Signalman in London The Signalman has something for you Default:
The Signalman has something for you Default:
Pick up the Signalman Default:

Triggered Events[]

Click Expand on the right for more.

Story Requirements Type Location
The Fatalistic Signalman
    • Fatalistic Signalman ≥ 1
Story Event (Always :100%) Limbo
The Fatalistic Signalman: Looking Up an Old Friend
    • Fatalistic Signalman ≥ 1
Story Event (Always :100%) Steam & Sapphire Yards
The Fatalistic Signalman: Shed Four
    • Fatalistic Signalman ≥ 1
Story Event (Always :100%) Steam & Sapphire Yards
Fatalistic Signalman: in Search of the Quixotic Squire
    • Fatalistic Signalman ≥ 1
Story Event (Always :100%) The Ministries
The Signalman: on the Trail of the Quixotic Squire
    • Fatalistic Signalman ≥ 1
Story Event (Always :100%) The Village Green
An Absence of Cigarette Smoke
    • Fatalistic Signalman ≥ 1
Story Event (Always :100%) The Sky

First Officers Quartermasters Signallers Chief Engineers Mascots
Clayconductor icon.png Clay Conductor

Incognitoprincess icon.png Incognito Princess

Fortunatenavigator icon.png Fortunate Navigator

Locket icon.png Old Friend

Royaldispensation icon.png The Portrait of the Unseen Queen

Inconvenientaunt icon.png Inconvenient Aunt

Chiropteroushoarder icon.png Chiropterous Hoarder

Forgedcompanion icon.png Illusive Forged Companion

Forgedcompanion icon.png Poetic Forged Companion

Forgedcompanion icon.png Pugilistic Forged Companion

Forgedcompanion icon.png Studious Forged Companion

Fatalisticsignalman icon.png Fatalistic Signalman

Sigil4 icon.png 'Signs and Signals of the High Wilderness: an Omnibus'

Repentantdevil icon.png Repentant Devil

Amiablevagabond icon.png Amiable Vagabond

Incautiousdriver icon.png Incautious Driver

Ratbrigade icon.png The Rat Brigade

Felinedeccentric icon.png Felined Eccentric

Uselesscat icon.png Useless Cat

Inadvisablybigdog icon.png Inadvisably Big Dog

Blemmigan icon.png Blemmigan Voyager

Perfectpangolin icon.png Perfect Pangolin

Urchin icon.png Sky-Worn Urchin

Obviouslydeliciousrabbit icon.png Obviously Delicious Rabbit

Template:Navbox Signallers