Just 50 minutes to sell the rest of your life to a mortal…or not. One immortal will also accept it just fine.
Based off of histories in branch: 2021.1.b.2
I wanted to make a companion video for this guide, to better illustrate all the verbs running in parallel. But I get dizzy when re-watching it, so I could not add step-by-step subtitles or do a quality check. I recommend reading this guide first unless you are already an experienced adept.
https://youtu.be/FRJ3Kic1Qy0 – [youtu.be]
This guide is intended for those who already Know their way around the Mansus, especially the path of a Forge ascension, but might find it daunting to traverse all the histories of living a mortal life with a fellow cultist. Consider this your spoiler warning; the game is meant to be played by experimenting.
Since the game has many random elements, it is not very useful to consider a fastest possible time, and this guide cannot cover each individual step beyond very early game. Instead, it speaks in terms of goals, priorities, and approaches, not to say it is vague. By following these approaches, my expected time to achieve an Ever After ending is around 50 minutes of real time. You can use this as a baseline to consider whether you want to experience all those histories.
Book Moves (Early Game)
To set the course, the initial priority is obtaining three Marks of Shaping. There is no way to speed up waiting for Seasons of Ambitions, so there will be time to increase your Forge resources then. The first steps can all be played by the book, before randomness becomes a significant factor.
Starting from the top, the first step is to choose your legacy. I have found the Physician to be the fastest, primarily because working does not require using any Abilities. Other perks include good income, no job expiry, and Knock and Lantern lore. If the Physician is not available, go back to the menu to refresh.
Know your in-game hotkeys. Most commonly used are pause, start, collect, and stack cards.
Once the game begins, start and keep working at the institute. Set speed to fast. Captain Obvious saves the day.
Study Notes on the Case of [previous name], then Directions to Morland’s. This unlocks other verbs to enable parallel actions as quickly as possible. Keep study idle for a minute (unless you get unlucky and the very first season is the Season of Sickness, in which case you can get some fresh air to save yourself one funds). This is so we can increase passion as soon as possible. Use your health to explore for Oriflamme’s Auction House, and nap when fatigued.
Sacrifice reason to the Belief? verb. Study to increase passion once. After your first acquaintance is available, talk to found your cult. No need to postpone the inevitable. Establish the Society of St Hydra for easy promoting as well as consuming bad influences. Talk about lore to find more acquaintances. You should be about finished generating two glimmerings by the time you find someone, so this should not interfere with your Study progress. If you have been unlucky and still have not found Oriflamme’s by the time your cult has been established, you can use your believer to search for you.
Make sure there is at least one glimmering on the board before dreaming your way to the Wood. This will make A Buzzing in the Brain an advantage rather than a disadvantage. Increase passion a second time.
Achieving the Third Mark
At this point, you have a way to the Wood, 3 passion, a cult, and Oriflamme’s, which is enough to keep those verbs running efficiently. Progress is probably already staggered depending on your luck. Again, the priority is achieving the Third Mark as quickly as possible.
The suggestions in the rest of this guide assume reasonable odds; there are probably exceptions to everything in extreme cases. So I will omit constantly reiterating “for all practical purposes”.
- Play aggressively; just keep an eye on what the next season is. I often ignore a single dread or fascination.
- Make the most use of painting. Consuming restlessness plus generating contentment is comparable to nullifying two dread.
- Use cult recruitment to consume bad influences when in a pinch.
- If damning evidence is on the board and the next season is the Season of Suspicion, talk to the hunter to distract them. Timed well, this will at the very least buy time.
- If you are waiting for a resource required during an action, but not to begin it, you can save time by getting a head start. For example, you need certain lore to dream the way to the next Door. Start dreaming up to 60 seconds (in-game) before study finishes, then provide the lore while dream is in progress.
- It is well-known that using a card while painting, talking, etc. can be used to temporarily pause its decay. But in addition, simply “holding” a card in a verb, even without starting the action, has the same effect. Seems like a cheap trick, though.
- The RNG is not rigged. Your mentality is.
Explore will be the bottleneck initially. Keep attending auctions at Oriflamme’s, as long as you have a good 3 to 4 funds in reserve. Do not simply buy everything. Only get the books you need (listed below). This will make Oriflamme’s much more frugal than shopping at Morland’s. Working at the institute should be more than enough to support this. The bottleneck will no longer be earning funds, and this will exhaust a large part of Morland’s stock as well (for later).
The following texts are critical and you should not consider exploring elsewhere until you have found these:
- The Burning of the Unburnt God
- The Six Letters on Necessity
- Gildersleeve’s Latin Grammar
Buy the following as you encounter them as backup for the Stag Door’s Riddle. More on that in the Dream section. Obviously skip as appropriate once you have discovered the Riddle.
- The Orchid Transfigurations, Vol 2: a Birth
- A True and Complete Accounting of the Asclepian Mysteries of the Roots of the House
- Kühner and Gerth
- On What Is Contained By Silver
- Kühner and Gerth
If playing aggressively, the following texts can be bought to speed up discovering the Stag Door’s Riddle, help with the Lantern version of the Riddle, and possibly skip an expedition later if study has been progressing faster than explore (e.g., you found all the right books early). But these are very much optional if you happen to be low on funds.
- The Locksmith’s Dream: a Light through the Keyhole
- The Humours of a Gentleman
If you have found a Knock but no Edge acquaintances, Edge lore can be useful for summonings, for the Knock version of the Stag Door’s Riddle, or for expeditions later. Either of the following texts can provide it. Again, very optional.
- The Victory of Crowns
- De Bellis Murorum
After you have obtained what you need, and if the Stag Door’s Riddle does not require you to dig through Morland’s, further explore actions are no longer directed towards achieving the Third Mark. To be continued in a later section.
Continue dreaming your way to the Wood to farm An Occult Scrap and possibly Peculiar Rumour cards, if talking has been unlucky in finding your soulmate, or appropriate followers. Your 3 passion will allow continuous visits without hindering recruitment in talk, although painting would necessitate a break. Up to six copies total of An Occult Scrap are needed, in case the Hebe Stanton shows up. A Furtive Truth can be broken down into two An Occult Scrap, if study is free. But dream should end up being the most idle verb anyway.
After courting your beloved, change your desire to power if it is not already, and then upgrade it to dedication.
Once you have learned An Operation of the Declining Sun or A Mansus-Glimpse, as soon as possible, find the way to the White Door, then reveal the Stag Door’s Riddle using your desire. This will help set the direction for the study and explore verbs.
If the answer to the Riddle is Secret Histories lore, obviously just farm the White Door.
If the answer is Grail or Lantern lore, these can be obtained by studying the spoils from Oriflamme’s and will be covered in the Study section.
If the answer is Knock lore, sacrifice reason to a Percussigant. The summoning (via the Sunset Rite, of course) would most likely require Heart influence and an Edge follower. Heart influence can be obtained from the Orchard of Lights, or by subverting Winter influence from the White Door entrance. Have a vitality handy. Alternatively, Rapt in the King from Morland’s Shop will provide Heart lore if explore has progressed far enough. Use this together with a Knock follower and Dread as Edge influence.
If the answer is Moth lore, you can search for The Viennese Conundra in Morland’s Shop if explore has progressed substantially. Otherwise, you can sacrifice passion to a Voiceless Dead. Farming the Wood will have to slow down if that is incomplete. There are a variety of ways to summon a Voiceless Dead, depending on which followers you have found. The White Door is the fastest to farm influences, as it provides Winter influence or Heart influence (in the form of restlessness) up front. Should this fail, there is still a chance to obtain Knock or Heart influence at the Lodge of the Sage Knight or Orchard of Lights, respectively.
After you have passed the Stag Door, you should be ready to attain the Third Mark, assuming you have already formed your relationship and advanced to the Second Mark. If you are busy studying your Forge lore, make Ghirbi cry and collect his tears as Forge power for the Burning Key rite.
Obviously, read the books from Oriflamme’s. The most important thing is just to keep this verb busy, but a rough priority order is as follows: First, the texts that allow finding the way to the White Door (STUMM! or On What Is Contained By Silver), to reveal the Stag Door’s Riddle early. Then, those that help answer the Riddle, if it is known. Otherwise, start with the critical texts. During idle time, upgrade Forge lore and optionally upgrade your health once for safety. Influence from the Wood can help with this.
The Six Letters on Necessity and The Locksmith’s Dream: a Light through the Keyhole provide erudition when read. Time these for when you are ready to upgrade your lore. Of course, subvert A Watchman’s Secret with A Smith’s Secret. For the aggressive route which allows skipping an expedition later, and if the answer to the Stag Door’s Riddle is not Lantern lore, first upgrade A Watchman’s Secret to A Mansus-Glimpse. Then, subvert A Mansus-Glimpse with An Ardent Orison twice. It is easier and faster to subvert at a lower level in this case since there are more overlapped challenges. If going the less aggressive path, simply upgrade An Ardent Orison to A Shaping Chant instead.
If the answer to the Riddle is Lantern lore, upgrade your Lantern lore to An Unmerciful Mantra and then subvert later. Alternatively, subvert A Wood-Whisper with A Mansus-Glimpse. The Moth lore can be learned from Kitling Ripe and the Moldywarp’s Grave (and Other Stories) from Morland’s, or by downgrading An Ecdysiast’s Parable. The Dream section detailed ways to obtain the latter. Oh, and consider your expedition skipped.
If the answer to Ghirbi’s riddle is Grail lore, read A True and Complete Accounting of the Asclepian Mysteries of the Roots of the House and The Orchid Transfigurations, Vol 2: a Birth. Then subvert Words that Walk with A Megalesian Incantation.
After passing the Stag Door, studying is no longer required for the Third Mark, but it will become the bottleneck later if not already, so keep it busy.
Keep speaking about lore to find acquaintances. Recommended to use something other than Forge or Lantern lore to avoid hindering study. Make sure you find at least one Knock (preferred) or Lantern follower for summoning King Crucible later. And of course find your beloved and make some time for a date. (Don’t be like me in the video. I even tried going for someone else out of panic. And failed.)
Edge/Grail/Moth followers will be useful for the mandatory expedition later, and Forge/Lantern followers for the optional one. Moth followers are also useful for destroying evidence.
Poppy can provide a large funds boost if you happen to be short.
In general, the more followers the merrier, but you can also consider keeping talk idle to be ready to consume bad influences via recruitment. Leave some acquaintances unrecruited for this purpose.
The same strategy continues to apply past the Third Mark, until near your ascension.
Default is working at the institute, naturally. Paint as necessary to combat restlessness or dread, or to provide glimmering for lore subversion. Completing commissions can also provide erudition or glimmering, or you happen to know the lore. Summon as needed for the Stag Door’s Riddle. As expected, work is not very interesting. Hurry up so you can perform the Burning Key rite.
After the Third Mark
The bottleneck at this point is going to be study. So prioritize things that will unblock or speed up upgrading your lore.
After acquiring the necessary books, start exploring An Occult Scrap. Find Strathcoyne’s Residence. Start the expedition as soon as you can reasonably defeat watchers. Two appropriate disciples (even of different aspects) provides high chance of success. Alternatively, you can summon something.
While you are readying your resources, and after your expedition, continue to buy out Morland’s. Once done, switch your headquarters to the bookshop to speed up studying. If you have not yet found Cater & Hero Limited, continue exploring An Occult Scrap only after you have your library. This is an optional expedition. The obstacle to overcome is treacherous ground.
Read The Locksmith’s Dream: Stolen Reflections, obtained from Strathcoyne’s Residence. Subvert An Ecdysiast’s Parable with An Unmerciful Mantra. Stolen Reflections also provides fascination, which would normally expire by the time you reach that upgrade challenge, but it can be extended via paint or otherwise “holding”. However, chances are you will still need to wait for a library, as the Season of Visions would steal your fascination from you.
After learning Phanaen Invocation, remember to dream your way to the Spider’s Door before subverting it.
Lord Franklin Bancroft: Diaries, 1750-1790 from Cater & Hero provides An Unmerciful Mantra, which can also be upgraded from the Oriflamme books, hence the reason it is optional. Technically, the Diaries plus The Viennese Conundra from Morland’s might be considered equivalent to Stolen Reflections, but obviously, reading two books is less efficient reading one.
Obtain Callidate Invocation either by subverting An Unmerciful Mantra, or upgrading A Shaping Chant, depending on the path you took in the previous Study section. Then subvert Phanaen Invocation.
Once this is done, you are at the home stretch.
The Conflagration of the Heart
Summon King Crucible using the Sunset Rite. If you have a Knock disciple, Lantern influence is easy to get by reading a collection of essays, of which you should have three stockpiled from Morland’s. Otherwise, you will need a Lantern follower and farm Knock influence from the Stag’s Door or Streets Strange by Moonlight.
Simultaneously, visit the Malleary via the Spider’s Door to search for An Incandescence. You should have plenty of followers other than your lover whom you can betray. If not, imprisoning hirelings works too.
Use tactics (e.g., paint) to keep your summon or influence alive. Once you have everything at the same time, invoke the Conflagration of the Heart with Formula Fissive, King Crucible, and An Incandescence.
Finally, spurn immortality with passion…actually, I suppose you don’t have to. Maybe you have yet to experience becoming a Name of the Forge?
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