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This page is about the game Echo Bazaar, a browser game played by several delicious MUDers.
See all Echo Bazaar pages. You can play this game at
All Echo Bazaar material is © Failbetter Games 2010, used by permission.

This page contains information that can be considered spoilers. You Have Been Warned.

Echo Bazaar is a browser game located at, and it requires you to sign up for a Twitter account or a Facebook account if you don't have either yet.


Many delicious MUDers are playing. Add your MUD name and Twitter link to the list if you are:

Ideas From DW Mudders

Vote for these if you like the sound of them.

Hints and Tricks

Skill Boosts and Reductions

Certain items can be equipped to boost or reduce your skills. Many of the lower level items will boost one skill at the cost of reducing another. The interesting part is that you can reduce your skills to access storylets that have closed off. Also, if you reduce a skill below what a card you are holding required to unlock it, that card will disappear from your hand.


Certain cards will always increase your nightmares, certain cards will always reduce them. To reduce your nightmares, you could buy and Drink laudanum. It'll likely wound you, so be sure to have a potion of Vigor, eat a Hearty Meal, or Rest at your Lodgings afterwards. You can also decrease nightmares by using Sudden Insight and relieving your fears to a friend, drinking wine at the refreshment booth of the carnival, or at level 18 Dangerous will allow you to do Guard Duty at the Observatory which occasionally gives a decrease in nightmares along with the usual reward.

You can also reduce nightmares with "A Moment's Peace" opportunity, which will also give you a slight boost to Persuasive. When you get to Nightmares 5, the storylet "A Cheery Gentleman" will become available, which gives you the choice to greet the gentleman (increase nightmares) or ignore him (decrease nightmares).

Once you reach 8 in Nightmares, you'll be taken to a State of Some Confusion, a place where you can't interact with other players, and have far fewer options. (NB: except those times that a storylet requires you to be there.)

Once in a state of confusion, the opportunity cards will either help you hunt down the manager or reduce your nightmares. Facing the manager will allow you to reduce your nightmares further, though not as much as one might expect given the amount of work required to hunt him down. Leaving the state of confusion will remove all your recurring dreams.

As your recurring dreams build up, they start to unlock new opportunity cards, around level 6. This is one of the more difficult things to build up as the cards seem reasonably rare.

Having a pet Goldfish as the active companion will allow you to reach 9 in Nightmares before being taken to a state of confusion, otherwise you'll go once you reach 8.

See also:


Scandal is gained from failures in higher level Persuasive tasks, and also from drinking Hot Wine in the Carnival (often used to reduce Nightmares). At level 8, you are sent away in Disgrace to the Tomb-Colonies to redeem yourself, a similar state to that of the Nightmares - State of Confusion.

In the Tomb-Colonies, your task is to reduce your Scandal to 0, by doing storylets that redeem yourself, sending letters to people to whom you have Connections to (will -cost- reputation with that faction), pay off others, etc.

The Opportunity cards presented will also reduce your Scandal, but can and often will affect other Qualities. Check the Tomb-Colony Opportunities list to make sure you don't move straight from the Tomb-colonies to a State of Confusion.

Scandal can be reduced by Attend a Church Service. This opens up in your lodgings with a Scandal of 3. Other options can be found in Attend to matters of society and scandal.


Animal Face cards allow you to trade connections for skill ups. Generally this isn't worth it, as the skills can be advanced elsewhere, and advancing connections, at least until you've reached rank 3 and can use the Carnival, is difficult. Trading your connections in the Forgotten Quarter will completely drop your connection, but reward you fairly well. Likely this isn't worth it either.

Shadowy Fate

If you advance shadowy, save 25 Fate to unlock the Soul Trade Quest. Future unlockable storylets like this are probable.


See Bazaar Things.


Relevant Things

Look: an eye. The city around the Bazaar is called the Fifth City because, they say, it's not the first the Bazaar chose as a home. You can still turn up bricks from the older cities, now and then. Look: here's one marked with an eye.

What was the First City? Only two things are known to remain of the First City: the name, the Crossroads Shaded By Cedars, and the saying: even the First City was young when Babylon fell.

What's the problem with the Second City? Never mention the Second City to the Masters of the Bazaar. Mr Wines will look at you narrowly and give you his worst vintage. Mr Cups will fly into a rage. Mr Veils will harangue you for your discourtesy. Mr Iron will say nothing, only write down your name with its left hand.

A Peculiar Antipathy Certain of the Masters of the Bazaar - Mr Stones, Mr Apples and Mr Wines, and possibly others - seem to have a particular contempt for Egypt and the Egyptological. Perhaps they're simply reacting to the fashion for the Pharaonic that overcame London before the Descent. But it's unusual that they should care.

What was the Third City? No-one talks much about the cities that preceded London. The Third City seems to have been acquired a thousand years ago. It had five wells, they say. And the weather was better.

The lady in the Bazaar exhibition does a veil dance like the ones they used to do in the Third City,

What can you find in the Forgotten Quarter? The Quarter is the last remnant of the Fourth City, which the Bazaar acquired five hundred years ago. Statues of warrior-kings line silent avenues. A fountain shaped like a silver tree stands before a ruined palace at its heart.

Fourth City relics Who carves horse-head amulets out of bone? Whoever lived in the Fourth City. If all the Fourth City amulets on sale are real, they must really have liked horses.

What is the Correspondence? They say it's the map that connects every glimmer of moonish light to a star. They say it's the key that unlocks the secrets of bat-flights. They say it's a trap that someone found inscribed on a wall in the First City, and if you decode its complicated patterns you inevitably decide you're God, to the considerable detriment of your social life.

Relevant Items

  • Relic of the Second City: Gypsum heads and indecipherable clay tablets
  • Relic of the Third City: Cinnabar beads and little square granite gods
  • Relic of the Fourth City: Horsehead amulets carved from bone and blue-glazed potsherds (sic)
  • Skyglass Knife: These turn up in the ruins. From the Third City, it's said. They're useless as cutlery, but handy for murder.

The First City


  • I feel like, if I was writing Echo Bazaar... I'd want to make the First City be Rome. I have nothing to back this up, it just "feels right". Dasquian 12:50, 8 March 2010 (UTC)
  • Breaking news: Rome is OUT. From one of the Correspondance things: "They say it's the letter the Pope wrote, the one without which Rome would have been the Fourth City." If Rome was potentially the Fourth City, it presumably wasn't any of ones before it. Dasquian 23:22, 8 March 2010 (UTC)


Could the first city perhaps be Egyptian? I base this on only a handful of clues - primarily that the Masters have a contempt for Egyptology, and that one of the hints talks about the bricks of the First City as being visible in places, and being marked with an eye (such as, for example, the Eye of Horus). Interestingly, according to Wikipedia, 'In the Ancient Egyptian measurement system, the Eye Of Horus defined Old Kingdom number one', which is very narratively neat. Drakkos 18:10, 8 March 2010 (UTC)

My bad - looks like the Thing about the eye (now added above) didn't explicitly reference the First City. The theory still holds, but isn't quite as strong. --Dasquian 22:06, 8 March 2010 (UTC)
Alas! But still, it doesn't say that the brick doesn't come from the first city, but yeah - it was stronger when we thought it was from there. Drakkos 17:47, 9 March 2010 (UTC)

To square it with the 'the first city was young when Babylon fell' comment, I am increasingly tending towards the interpretation that the cities are dated from when they are dragged into the Neath rather than when they are founded, and that that particular quote is saying 'It was young because it was a failing experiment, and so our first city was replaced with Babylon'. 'Falling' in this context then refers to 'falling into the Neath' rather than 'falling to the Persians'. Drakkos 18:10, 8 March 2010 (UTC)

Slightly more esoteric - the Starveling Cat, which rules over the roofs of the five stolen cities, would have had to have been there during the first city's existance. Cats and Egypt are a well known connection, but what's less well known is that the cat goddess Bastet was held to hold one of the divine eyes in conjunction with her brother Horus. Could that be our Starveling Cat? The fact that Bastet was held to have been a guardian against hunger (and now is starveling) also provides a link.

  • The Pharaoah's daughters. We should never have trusted them!


The comment about the wall from the first city when you read it you start to believe you're God made me think instantly of Jerusalem Syndrome and the Wailing Wall. Drakkos 10:59, 14 March 2010 (UTC)

Tyrish silver (see below) was used in Jerusalem as well, and in later Roman times was the only currency acceptable for the temple tax. The option received when clicking on First City Coins in inventory strongly suggests a link to Jerusalem (or at least Judea). Jerusalem was also a major trade crossroads in the ancient world. Furthermore, Solomon imported cedar en masse from Lebanon to construct a "House of the Cedars of Lebanon" as well as the temple and other structures. Jerusalem was sacked and destroyed by Nebuchadnezzar of Babylon--even Babylon was young when Jerusalem fell (the empire, not the city). The five wells... I can find nothing specific about the number five, but Jerusalem and other cities in the region depended heavily on wells and cisterns for water. -- 10:14, 22 April 2011 (UTC)

Hrmm. Seems I misremembered the clue about Babylon and the First City. Oh well. -- 10:21, 22 April 2011 (UTC)


This is a long shot, but cedars hints at Lebanon, and Byblos was at times called things like "the crossroads of the world". It was famed for its city walls, but mainly because they were really big. And it's a lot older than Babylon. - Marqii

   The Ancient Egyptian Hieroglyph for Crossroads was used as a determinative in the names of town or city placenames, and ancient Lebanon was a cedar forest, which had good trade with egypt at the time. - Shaphron

- I think this is far from a long shot; I'm perfectly convinced of it. Lebanon seems to be integrally related to both Cedar trees and well-known as a crossroads. Of about 6000 Google results from "babylon", "cedar trees", and "crossroads", nearly 4000 remain when you add "Lebanon". From Wikipedia: "In ancient times, Lebanon housed large forests of the Cedars of Lebanon, which now serve as the country's national emblem." and "Lebanon's location at the crossroads of the Mediterranean Basin and the Arabian hinterland has dictated its rich history..."

Further, the city of Tyre in Lebanon had a coin very similar to the one depicted at the wiki, and an interesting script: (see "First City Coin") (scroll down or search for the word "coin") (example of the script)

- Parmeisan

My own take is pointing to Meggido (or Har Meggido: Armageddon.) It's an ancient city around a fort that watches over a crossroads in Caanan. The Egyptians suffered a major defeat in the 7th c BCE there. -- Blkdjn

Not a member of the site, but found it googling. I independently investigated & reached the conclusion that the First City was Meggido. The crossroads, nearby cedar forest, and mysterious/dramatic end (Armageddon) all seem to fit the hints and fallen city characteristics.


  • 'The Marvellous has been played a long time, you see. All the way back to the First City. The stake was seventy-seven of their coins then. It's the same stake now. First City currency isn't easy to come by. But I have a suggestion...'
  • 'First city coins - The package contains a generous number of silver coins in a lovingly polished cigar box, and a scrap of paper in an unfamiliar hand... You now have 50 x First City Coin [?]... One side bears what might be a cedar tree. You've never met anyone who can read the script on the other side' Drakkos 11:17, 13 May 2010 (UTC)

The Second City

  • I think the second city is Babylon, based on the relics (gypsum heads and indecpiherable clay tables). However, one of the 'things' is that 'The first city was young when Babylon fell'... one reading of this is that the First City was a short experiment, followed up by the second (Babylon)... another reading is that the first city was just founded shortly before Babylon fell (which would invalidate the thoery). Drakkos 12:28, 8 March 2010 (UTC)
This is supported by one of the Things: "Residents have been known to say 'since the Fall', to mean, not the Biblical Fall, but the Descent of London. Well enough. But what do they mean by 'since the Bazaar was between stars'?" Dasquian 22:29, 8 March 2010 (UTC)
The stars might mean nothing more than the fungus glow "stars" mentioned in other Things. So 'since the Fall' would be since the latest addition to the Bazaar, 'since the Bazaar was between stars' would be ever since the Bazaar was in Earth's underground. --Siilaan 08:45, 9 March 2010 (UTC)
  • Very tenuous theory based on the timing of events: the First City could be Nineveh. According to The Other Wiki, it was massively enlarged in 700BC, and fell and was razed to the ground in 612 BC, while Babylon fell to the Persians in 539 BC. This would make Nineveh reasonably "young" since it was a proper city, as well as since it was added to the Bazaar (assuming this happened when it was conquered.) It being the site of a massacre is also appropriately dramatic. --Siilaan 08:45, 9 March 2010 (UTC)
However: I have no idea how to reconcile this with the fact I don't believe Babylon was any of the cities because it was explicitly mentioned in the Things, and that the Second City relics indicate that it's this one that comes from Mesopotamia. It doesn't sound Right that both the First and Second would be from there. Or the Egyptian theory being much stronger--Siilaan 08:45, 9 March 2010 (UTC)
It's a fair point that Babylon being explitly named is suspicious, but several things: 1) We know the name of London, so explicitly naming cities is not Out, 2) The 'when babylon fell' comment has a double meaning, as opposed to say 'When babylon became the second city', so the ambiguity there can be part of the mystique, 3) We've never heard anywhere that the names of the cities are actually secret, just that they don't get talked about and that as time has passed, memory of them as faded. Nineveh would be a perfectly valid suggestion for the second city - there's nothing aside from the Babylon quote that suggests the Mesopotamiam city (which I'm sure the second city is) was Babylon as opposed to any other suitable city. It's just... Babylon is 'one of those cities' that fits into this kind of thing. Drakkos 17:45, 9 March 2010 (UTC)

The second city apparently used columns in its architecture (a weird erruption of Second City columns you'll see if you lead the gentleman that got lost in a dangerous area to safety)

  • All rivers flow to Hell. It's only a matter of time.
  • I'd suggest that the Second City is somewhere in Egypt, as the Masters of the Bazaar find the mention of it more than a little distasteful, as they do with matters of Egyptology.
  • Also, it's mentioned that the zummara (double clarinet) was played in the Second City. This indicates Egypt or Mesopotamia.
  • If the city is in Egypt, it could be Thenis, Memphis (called "White Walls") or Thebes (now Luxor) or even Alexandria (a lot of columns there).
  Also, gypsum (the material of the second city relics) was widely used in mortar and construction in ancient egypt - Shaphron

Not a member of this site, but found it googling. I too think the Egypt interpretation is likely, and that something happened in the second city that pissed off the masters. "picture-writing" is found beneath Flute Street, and while Egyptians obviously didn't have a monopoly on that, Egyptian script is clearly the most famous example of that. I don't know what city it would be, but I think the secret lies in cornering the Duchess somehow.

The Third City

  • I think the Third City is Zadar. There is a hint which talks about it having "five wells" and nicer weather. Zadar is on the Adriatic coast and has a "five wells" square. It is also in a region where cinnabar would've been available, and I am led to believe Third City relics are cinnabar beads. Dasquian 12:32, 8 March 2010 (UTC)
  • The spoilers below imply a Turkish or Arabic city. There is a tenuous link to Salome there, which suggests Galilee or Perea (which in turn leads to... Tiberias, maybe?). However it could be as generic as a city from a region with belly-dancing. Dasquian 22:37, 10 March 2010 (UTC)
  • Apparently Giza was a source of mercury and cinnabar - could the Third City have been our Egyptian city? Dasquian 13:11, 13 March 2010 (UTC)
  • The artefacts suggest pre-columbian America. I suggest the Maya city of Hopelchen ("place of five wells"). - Marqii
    • This is a really interesting suggestion, especially since I too favour a Mayan interpretation of the relics (I believe everything that man just said, because it was exactly what I wanted to hear). I've never heard of Hopelchen though, which puts it a little out of step with the kind of cities we're talking about. Is it a more notable city than my complete ignorance would suggest? Drakkos 12:31, 3 April 2010 (UTC)
    • I can't name any Maya cities but [2] gives a list of archaeological sites in the area. - Marqii
  • The spoiler dealing with the Correspondence refers to a code made out of beads on cord... This sounds a little like quipu, the still-mostly-undeciphered mnemonic system from the Incan Empire. The Incas had cinnabar, but I don't remember anything about five wells in any Peruvian city. -- Raikha
  • Another small note: skyglass knives? Sounds like obsidian to me... - Erisraven
    • "Skyglass" could also be the glass created by lightening strikes. - AndrDrew
  • Let him lie where he drowned.

Not a member of the site, but found it googling. An obsidian ritual knife is trapped in the amber beneath Flute Street, so Central/South America is almost certainly the location. Hopelchen is a great possibility based on the name. Another possibility is Tiwanaku, capital of an empire predating the Inca, who found it abandoned and had legends about the place. (Remember, a city is more likely if it vanished in mysterious circumstances.)


  • Careful study ' study most carefully as Miss Forward performs a dance of antiquity from the Third City. Note the sinuous motions and ungodly rhythms of this ancient art. From the costume we must deduce that the Third City was very warm...' Have you been studying carefully? You have, haven't you?
  • You have learned something very new! ' study most carefully as Miss Forward performs a dance of antiquity from the Third hypnotised by the rhythmic movements of her hips...marvel at that thing she is doing now with that silk veil...' The lady catches your eye and her lips curl in a slow smile. You saunter over, ever so casually, and find out more than you thought you would.
  • What is the Correspondence? ... They say it's the last accounts of the last days of the Third City, strung in beads on cord in a code no-one living understands...

The Fourth City

  • The Fourth City seems very likely to be Karakorum. The relics are carved-bone horse heads in blue glaze, and the Mongols were famous horse-users. There is also a reference in a hint to it having a silver tree fountain, which matches up very nicely to the one in Karakorum (credit to Siilaan). --Dasquian 12:35, 8 March 2010 (UTC)
  • Following on from the previous point, the silver tree existed in Karakorum during the reign of Ogedai Kahn. One of his generals was due to attack an area of Egypt with 100,000 men but was called back when Ogedai Kahn died. So a battle that never happened. - Oneiroi (Ayame17)
  • That battle never happened. And they say wicked things about the Bazaar, my delicious friends, wicked things!
  • Isn't it likely that the Fourth City was Troy? 'The battle that never happened' and afinity to hourses may be the point.
  • I'm quite sure it's Karakorum. One can get a bottle of Fourth City Airag that's labeled "For the Khan of Dreams"
  • Not a member of the site, but found it googling. You guys got much further on this one than I did! Troy was tempting but we know the city was captured 500 years ago. Do the dreams of armies surrounding the city the night before it was taken corroborate the Karakorum evidence?


  • Your investigations lead you to a venerable and abandoned stone stable, and in the filthy floor of the place you unearth a trove of relics from the Fourth City. Wherever the city was in its surface days, it was definitely somewhere closer to Samarkand than Rome. Fascinating, and reasonably profitable.

Why the cities fall

One of the references in the Bazaar links refers to stone pigs lying under the city that need to be sedated. If we assume that the first city was destroyed very quickly after it fell (it was young when the second fell) then one possibility is that the first was destroyed by something they weren't expecting - Previously unknown rampaging monsters would fit this bill, and it would also explain why subsequent cities have been destroyed as they awaken.

New cities are brought down onto the remains of the old one, which would also make it true that the first four cities are below London.

Drakkos also pointed out that Pig in Latin is 'Porcus' and 'Orcus' was the roman god of the underworld and punisher of broken oaths.

Something that becomes a little more compelling when you combine it with the following Thing: These are sometimes referred to as the 'stone pigs', but that's probably some sort of mistranslation. Drakkos 19:48, 8 March 2010 (UTC)

Heliotic 19:12, 8 March 2010 (UTC)

The Masters of the Bazaar

See The Masters

External links