Ambition: Heart's Desire (Guide)

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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.

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 main Attributes are Persuasive and Watchful.

For more information on Ambitions and choosing between them, consult the Ambitions guide.


This Ambition can be started in Veilgarden with Persuasive 6. You can check your progress at any time on the Myself tab under Ambition; the number after the title is the part of the story you're currently on. This can be helpful when you're unsure where to go next; just find the corresponding part number below.

Heart's Desire (0–12)[edit]




The next part of the story takes place in The Forgotten Quarter. If you haven't already learned this route as part of the Making Your Name (Watchful) storyline, you have three additional options to unlock it here.

The Forgotten Quarter

Watchmaker's Hill


The Bishop of St Fiacre's[edit]

Acquiring First City Coins
Option Coins Challenge Notes
Send your monkey out into the night looking for coins 1 Luck 10% Increases Inciting a Simian Revenge? by 1 CP, which will be expensive to reduce later.
Gamble for silver! 2 (Rare: 10) Luck 20% Costs 2 x Mystery of the Elder Continent; requires Renown: Bohemians 5
A polypous offer 6 Costs 1 x Favours: Rubbery Men and 5 x Nodule of Warm Amber
Accidentally commission burglaries 6 60 Costs 1 x Favours: Criminals and 10 x Inkling of Identity
Visit the Numismatrix 1 Costs 111 x Fistful of Surface Currency
The Master's Voice 50 Costs Connected: The Masters 1 CP; also yields 1 x Hastily Scrawled Warning Note
Arrange for a theft from the Museum of Mistakes 30 Costs 400 x Cryptic Clue
Twist together the skeins of destiny 20 Costs 38 FATE
Speak to the manager about... 1 Costs 15 CP Tracking down the Manager in A State of Some Confusion

The Topsy King[edit]

The Flit

The Shuttered Palace

The Topsy King 8: Examine the daguerreotype with a Patent Scrutinizer Deluxe!, or a Patent Scrutinizer and 3 x Sudden Insight. You'll keep the scrutinizer either way, but spend the insights. The latter also has a Watchful 77 check.

The Topsy King 9: There are several options here, but you'll either want:

Wolfstack Docks

18: For the next step, you'll need to raise your Nightmares to 5 so you can draw A Merry Gentleman:

Ladybones Road

Your Lodgings

  • Of the options that give you progress, dreams are very slow to accumulate, and you'll need them later anyway. Getting the Stone Tentacle-Key instead requires you to get a boat, which you'll also need soon, and to travel to Hunter's Keep. Getting a boat, in turn, requires being A Person of Some Importance -, so this is a good time to take a break and raise your stats if you haven't yet.

The Shuttered Palace

The Flit

Back to the Manager: Find the Manager — Watchful 127

To Polythreme! (13–17)[edit]

From here on, you'll either need a boat and a Screaming Map to find the route to Polythreme, or 150 x Map Scrap for A Ticket to Polythreme. You'll also need a Bottle of Fourth City Airag: Year of the Tortoise once you're there, so you'll want to get that before you leave.

The next five steps will require you to complete the Polythreme Streets carousel five times, getting Unnatural Exuberance to 1 and either ALLURE or COGNISANCE to 12, depending on the step. For more details, see Polythremic Promenade (Guide).

Convincing the other players (18-210)[edit]

Now that you're done with Polythreme, you'll need to convince the other players to join, starting with the Manager.

18–110: The King's Heart:[edit]

50–90: Old Downy:[edit]

Old Downy is possibly the most difficult section in the entire Ambition, requiring five successful checks in a row and costing a Rookery Password for each set of attempts. To minimize the pain here, you will probably want to get your Watchful fairly high if you haven't already - at least 150 with modifiers - and 4 x Sudden Insight to get a second try on each check. There is also a difficult Shadowy check that can be bypassed by spending 4 x Volume of Collated Research. If you've been saving a Mood card (A dusty bookshop or A little omen), now is an excellent time to use it.

Polythreme Streets

120–160: Virginia:[edit]

Corpsecage Island

170–200: Mr Pages:[edit]

A Marvellous Venue (1–100)[edit]

  • 210: Discuss the venue: Ask Mr. Pages, who just tells you its requirements at no cost.

A Marvellous Deck (1–100)[edit]

Prior Winners (210–245)[edit]

The Honour[edit]

Return to Arbor, of the Roses to begin the Honour.


Your Opponent[edit]

If Your Opponent is The Topsy King:

If Your Opponent is The Bishop:

Interlude 2[edit]

The First Round[edit]

  • 410: The First Round: It is your duty as the newest player to host your first game:

If Your Opponent is The Topsy King:

If Your Opponent is The Bishop:

Afterwards, you have to wait 24 real-time hours for the outcome of the match between the Manager and whoever he was matched with. Then, this message (Waiting for the Next Bout) appears in your inbox.

Interlude 3[edit]

The Manager[edit]

Interlude 4[edit]

Here would be a good moment, just before the final game, to visit the Boatman, to collect the final advice and unique Weapon A Bestiary of the Hearts' Desires ( Persuasive +7, Respectable +1, A Player of Chess +1, Glasswork +1), if you want it.

The Final Match[edit]

Winning path[edit]

Losing path[edit]


  • 21100–21400: You have finished seeking your heart's desire

Long-term rewards[edit]

Ambition Rewards
Ending Unique item Rewards of Ambition
Choose Power The Robe of Mr Cards Further your transformation into one of the Masters
Choose Adoration Newly-Cast Crown of the City of London Bask in your celebrity
Choose Time A Leasehold on All of London Enjoy the benefit of time
Choose Escape A Palatial Holiday Home in the Arctic Circle Visit your other home
Hand over the Marvellous The Marvellous Take out the old Marvellous deck

Items needed[edit]

This is an attempt to list all possible items needed in Heart's Desire, for help with planning. The quantities listed are the fewest you can get away with (min), and the most you will need (max). This list only includes items that can be found outside of this Ambition; items that are acquired within the Ambition itself are listed elsewhere.

Item Min Max Parts