Ambition: Heart's Desire (Guide)

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This page may contain spoilers for Ambitions or other major storylines.

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.

Progress[edit]

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]

Veilgarden

Spite

Veilgarden

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

Spite

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]

To reach Polythreme, you'll need either:

You'll also need a Bottle of Fourth City Airag: Year of the Tortoise. If you haven't been lucky enough to acquire one yet and don't have access to the Railway, your best strategy is probably:

You may want to bring Surface-Silk Scraps to spend on Paying Your Way, as this will make it much easier to successfully complete the Polythreme carousel. They can also be acquired in Polythreme, though keep in mind that you won't be able to reduce Menaces while there—so if you can't 100% the checks (requiring Dangerous 134 or Persuasive 200), it'll be safer to stock up in London. 375 x Surface-Silk Scrap is enough to pay your way 3 times at the start of each carousel, gaining 30–60 CP of the progress qualities.

Polythreme Streets[edit]

The next five steps will require you to complete the Polythremic Promenade carousel five times, getting Unnatural Exuberance to 1 and either ALLURE or COGNISANCE to 12, depending on the step.

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]

The Marvellous (200-245)[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 (250-290)[edit]

Return to Arbor, of the Roses to begin the Honour. Make sure you still have your stake of 77 x First City Coins before entering Arbor, it would be very inconvenient otherwise. Additionally, you'll need at least 5 x Attar to enter and remain in Far Arbor.

First Interlude (300-400)[edit]

Your Opponent[edit]

If Your Opponent is The Topsy King:

If Your Opponent is The Bishop:

The First Round (400-475)[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.

The First Round, concluded[edit]

The Second Round (500-630)[edit]

The Garden of Nightmares[edit]

Second Interlude (631-680)[edit]

Preparing for the Final Match[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]

Aftermath[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
A Novel Birth-Mark 0 1 410
A Wink from the Manager of the Royal Bethlehem 0 1 410
Alluring Accomplice 0 1 330
Amanita Sherry 80 280 12, 410
An Identity Uncovered! 1 11 18, 330
An Infernally Diplomatic Privilege 0 1 410
Ancient Hunting Rifle 0 1 510
Antique Mystery 12 39 40, 210, 210, 230, 235, 680
Appalling Secret 100 500 40, 410
Attar 7 7 210
Bazaar Permit 5 18 170, 220, 632
Bejewelled Lens 0 1 12
Bengal Tigress 0 1 510
Blackmail Material 7 9 130, 170, 240
Book of Hidden Bodies 3 3 670
Bottle of Fourth City Airag: Year of the Tortoise 2 2 14, 560
Bottle of Greyfields 1882 0 1000 235
Brass Ring 6 6 120, 220
Bright Brass Skull 0 4 140, 330
Cellar of Wine 5 15 225, 670
Comprehensive Bribe 0 11 22, 235, 680
Confident Smile 0 20 3, 12, 12, 300
Copper Cipher Ring 0 1 340
Correspondence Plaque 0 200 235, 680
Crate of Expedition Supplies 50 50 30
Cryptic Clue 2100 7140 12, 210, 340, 350, 670
Curious Contrarian 0 1 225
Diary of the Dead 0 3 170, 210, 510,
Direful Reflection 0 1 210
Drop of Prisoner's Honey 540 2940 11, 12, 21, 680
Extraordinary Implication 10 113 12, 210, 235, 330, 340, 510
Extraordinary Short Story 0 1 320
Favour in High Places 0 21 130, 170, 632, 680
Favours: Constables 0 5 320
Favours: Criminals 0 10 410, 631
Favours: Hell 0 15 130, 300, 510
Favours: Revolutionaries 0 10 170, 225
Favours: Rubbery Men 0 5 631
Favours: Society 0 8 235, 330
Favours: The Church 0 11 12, 130, 410
Favours: The Great Game 0 5 340
Favours: Urchins 0 5 631
First City Coin 77 77 12
Fistful of Surface Currency 0 500 170
Foxfire Candle Stub 500 500 12
Free Evening 1 1 120
Hard-Earned Lesson 0 3 305
Inkling of Identity 0 50 12, 510
Intriguer's Compendium 0 1 670
Irresistible Drum 0 1 510
Journal of Infamy 10 113 12, 18, 140
Legal Document 0 5 680
Magnificent Diamond 4 4 210, 240
Maniac's Prayer 550 1050 210, 340, 410
Memory of Distant Shores 0 50 680
Memory of Light 0 1051 210, 680
Meritorious Copy 0 60 320
Moon-Pearl 200 200 8
Mourning Candle 20 110 170, 210, 230, 410
Muscaria Brandy 1 66 120, 230, 410
Mystery of the Elder Continent 20 20 210
Nevercold Brass Sliver 0 5000 20
Night on the Town 7 8 22, 120, 210, 670
Night-Whisper 1 2 225, 340
Parabola-Linen Scrap 0 2 210, 330
Partial Map 5 5 210
Patent Scrutinizer 0 1 12
Patent Scrutinizer Deluxe! 0 1 12, 12
Penny 0 10000 300
Phosphorescent Scarab 0 16 12
Portfolio of Souls 1 1 210
Presbyterate Passphrase 5 5 210
Primaeval Hint 1 2 210, 680
Proscribed Material 0 1000 140
Puzzling Map 0 8 170, 210
Queer Soul 0 1 330
Rat on a String 100 260 12, 12
Ray-Drenched Cinder 0 1 680
Reported Location of a One-Time Prince of Hell 1 2 140, 680
Romantic Notion 520 520 210, 340
Rookery Password 1 1 50
Scrap of Incendiary Gossip 0 200 235, 340,
Searing Enigma 0 11 210, 670
Set of Kifers 0 1 510
Silent Soul 0 1 680
Stolen Correspondence 0 5 3
Stone Tentacle-Key 0 1 20
Storm-Threnody 5 5 230
Strong-Backed Labour 0 40 330, 632
Sudden Insight 0 3 12
Sworn Statement 0 30 410
Tale of Terror!! 0 260 170, 410
Uncanny Incunabulum 0 14 130, 140, 210, 510, 680
Vision of the Surface 10 30 170, 210
Vital Intelligence 3 3 560, 670
Volume of Collated Research 1 60 18, 55, 210, 235, 680
Whispered Hint 30 1030 2, 680
Zee-Ztory 0 110 170, 210, 225