Carving out a Reputation at Court (Guide)
It will no doubt be magnificent. Let us hope the dour old thing will appreciate it.
This is a guide to creating great works of art at The Empress' Court, primarily needed for Making Your Name (early- to mid-game) and achieving the Poet-Laureate quality (mid- to late-game).
Note: The relevant quality used to be called Shaping a Masterpiece for the Empress.
A Name Signed with a Flourish
Upon entering The Empress' Court (and having completed any other creative works-in-progress, e.g. short stories), you can begin Carving out a Reputation at Court on the storylet A slow day.
This segment of the storyline is part of the Persuasive branch of Making Your Name. The object is to raise your Reputation at Court until you are called on to create a masterpiece for the Empress, which ultimately results in being Banished.
Start Carving out a Reputation
After playing A slow day, giving you Reputation 1, the storylet What's your next work? allows you to choose a work to complete. You can choose a minor or a major work. In either case, you will need to raise Inspired... to the target level in order to finish the piece.
- Minor works (plays, songs, symphonies, and ballets) require Inspired 24 (300 CP), and grant +1 CP of Reputation.
- Major works (epic poems and novels) require Inspired 34 (595 CP), and grant +2 CP of Reputation.
Once you are Working on... a piece, a variety of options for increasing Inspired are available at Court; these are discussed in more detail below. Most are Persuasive ~100 skill checks.
Upon reaching the target level of Inspired, a storylet will appear announcing that "Your [work] is complete". This grants a variety of rewards, depending on the work, and raises your Reputation at Court. You can then pick a new piece to work on, and start again.
Complete an opera
With Reputation 4, your options depend on whether you have finished A Name Signed with a Flourish 6, your courtly romance.
- If not, you can have A Word with the Counsellor, which sets your Reputation back to 3, allowing you to continue creating works.
- If so, you will be Called to the Office, progressing your Reputation to 5.
A weighty decision (choose Oblige him) raises Reputation to 6, and Why are you doing this? allows you to begin work on your masterpiece, an opera.
Note for Ambition: Heart's Desire! players: One of the options for completing the opera is to write Tristram Bagley's unfinished masterpiece. This requires you to have Hearts Desire: The Topsy King 22–23 (see Guide) and A Scholar of the Correspondence ≥1 (gained by completing an expedition to The Tomb of the Seven). This option can be used to bypass Tapping the Baton, saving you a Night on the Town, a Bejewelled Lens, and a Comprehensive Bribe, and sets Topsy King to 24.
Banished from the Court
Finishing the opera results in your being Banished from the Court and sent to (temporary) Disgraced exile in the Tomb-Colonies. It sets A Name Signed with a Flourish to 7, completing this branch of Making Your Name.
The banishment quality is necessary to proceed to The Foreign Office and Port Carnelian, once you are A Person of Some Importance. (It is also part of one of the options for proceeding towards PoSI status; see the PoSI Guide for more information).
Restored to the Court of Her Enduring Majesty
|A player-created Guide is available for this content: Port Carnelian (Guide)|
Once banished from the Court, you can start working on being let back in.
First you need to serve as governor of Port Carnelian. Once you complete one term, the Veteran Privy Counsellor tells you that you need to serve a few more so that you can host a state dinner for the Captivating Princess, who then restores you back to the Court.
Once restored, you'll be able to create all the old works of art, as well as new ones, including new types: an Opera and a Film (both major works, requiring Inspired 34) or an innovation of fashion (minor work, Inspired 24).
Unlike before your Banishment, you'll find that creating works no longer raises Carving out a Reputation at Court, but a new quality called A Fine Piece. Spend these on your (long) journey to become London's Poet-Laureate.
All challenges are broad Persuasive challenges unless specified otherwise.
All quality gains and losses are in Change Points unless specified, and CP gains to Persuasive based on the challenge itself are not listed.
The common qualities have been compressed to just images in the tables:
- Persuasive, Inspired...
- Menaces: Scandal, Suspicion, Wounds
- Quirks: Melancholy, Hedonist, Austere
- Favours: Bohemians, the Church, Revolutionaries, Hell, Society
- Renown: Bohemians, Tomb-Colonies
Simple Skill Challenges
Straight up grinding here.
|Nature in the Neath: Seek inspiration in nature||98||+10 CP (Rare: 20)||+1 CP|
|A quiet day at your lodgings||99||+10 CP (Rare: 20)||+1 CP|
|Composition: the low path||100||+10 CP (Rare: 15)||+1 CP||Req. working on a Song, Symphony, Ballet, Opera, or Film|
|The men from the Ministry||102||+10 CP||+1 CP|
|A gaggle of artistic temperaments||103||+10 CP||+1 CP||Req. working on a Play, Song, Symphony, Ballet, Opera, or Film|
|Business at the Court||105||+10 CP (Rare: 15)||+1 CP|
|Competition for the post of Imperial Artist-in-Residence||105||+10 CP||+1 CP|
Complex Skill Challenges
These challenges also cost Favours or items, change Quirks, give additional Menaces, and/or provide additional rewards.
|The Decency Evaluator||30%||Costs x 50|
|Yesterday's work||60%||Req. 5|
|The pleasures of the Neath||50%||Costs 15 x Honey and |
20 x Greyfields 1879
Minor works include plays, songs, symphonies, ballets and fashion.
These options require raising Inspired... to level 24, and provide materials worth 30. Note that there is no benefit from achieving more than the needed level of Inspired....
Before being Banished from Court, these provide +1 CP Carving out a Reputation at Court.
After being Restored to Court, they provide instead 2 x A Fine Piece.
|Opening Night!||Making Waves||Results||Notes|
|A Slapstick Farce||+10 CP||3000 x Moon-Pearl|
|A Wry Satirical Comedy||+10 CP||3000 x Moon-Pearl|
|A Heart-Wrenching Tragedy||+10 CP||3000 x Moon-Pearl|
|A Romance of Poverty||+10 CP||3000 x Moon-Pearl||Req. Restored|
|A History||+10 CP|| 3000 x Brass
Scandal +10 CP
|A Celestial Spectacle||+10 CP||3000 x Moon-Pearl||Req. Restored and Celestials|
|Publish your song!||Making Waves||Results||Notes|
|A Rousing Hymn||+5 CP||3000 x Candle|
|A Newly Arranged Folk Song||+5 CP||3000 x Moon-Pearl|
|A Patriotic Anthem||+10 CP||3000 x Moon-Pearl|
|A Drinking Song!||+10 CP||3000 x Rostygold||Req. Restored|
|A Renaissance Piece!||+10 CP||3000 x Moon-Pearl||Req. Restored|
|A Political Anthem!||+10 CP|| 3000 x Beeswax
Scandal +10 CP
|Req Restored and Renown 5|
|Your symphony is complete!||Making Waves||Results||Notes|
|Somewhat challenging music||+8 CP|| 3000 x Moon-Pearl
SoTC +1 CP (up to 10)
Wounds +3 CP
|An exuberant cannonade||+5 CP|| 3000 x Moon-Pearl
Scandal +3 CP
|A choral requiem||+10 CP||3000 x Moon-Pearl|
|A Modern Fantasia||+10 CP||3000 x Moon-Pearl||Req. Restored|
|Something of your own genius||+10 CP||3000 x Moon-Pearl||Req. Restored, Your Own Genius|
|A Rubbery Tone Poem||+10 CP|| 3000 x Deep Amber
Scandal +10 CP
|Req. Restored, Renown 5|
|Stage your ballet!||Making Waves||Results||Notes|
|A light work based around a Neathy folk tale||+8 CP||3000 x Jade|
|A work of romance and automata||+10 CP|| 3000 x Moon-Pearl
Scandal +5 CP
|A work of barely clad decadence||+10 CP|| 3000 x Moon-Pearl
Scandal +10 CP
Disgraced exile in the Tomb-Colonies
|An infernal work||+10 CP|| 3000 x Brass
Scandal +10 CP
|Requires Restored and Renown 5|
|A Carnelian work||+10 CP|| 3000 x Moon-Pearl
3 x Tribute
|Requires Restored, Academics 15 (to get Tribute as a reward)|
|A Blemmigan work||+10 CP||FATE
3000 x Moon-Pearl
Scandal +10 CP
|Requires Restored, Mycologenes|
|A work of burning dance||+10 CP||FATE
3000 x Moon-Pearl
Scandal +4 CP
Nightmares +4 CP
|Requires Restored, Terpsichoreans|
|A Fashionable Extravaganza!||Making Waves||Results||Notes|
|A sleek suit||+10 CP||3000 x Jade Fragment||Requires Restored|
|Practical improvements for undergarments!||+10 CP||3000 x Moon-Pearl||Requires Restored|
|A return to the styles of yore||+10 CP||3000 x Moon-Pearl||Requires Restored|
Major works include poems, novels, operas and films.
These options require raising Inspired... to level 34, and provide materials worth 60. Note that there is no benefit from achieving more than the needed level of Inspired....
Before being Banished from Court, these provide +2 CP Carving out a Reputation at Court.
After being Restored to Court, they provide instead 3 x A Fine Piece.
|Your poem is complete!||Making Waves||Results||Notes|
|An Epic Cycle||+12 CP|| 6000 x Moon-Pearl
1 x Epic Poetic Cycle
|A Tragedy of Romance||+12 CP|| 6000 x Moon-Pearl
Fascinating... +50 CP
Scandal +3 CP
1 x Tragedy of Romance
|An Allegorical Satire||+15 CP|| 6000 x Moon-Pearl
Scandal +3 CP
1 x Allegorical Satire
|A Zeefaring Epic||+15 CP|| 6000 x Piece of Rostygold
1 x Zeefaring Epic
|Requires Restored, Renown, Zeefaring|
|An Ode to the Elder Continent||+15 CP|| 6000 x Lump of Lamplighter Beeswax
1 x Ode to the Elder Continent
|A Nocturnal Rhapsody||+15 CP|| 6000 x Foxfire Candle Stub
1 x Nocturnal Rhapsody
|Requires Restored, Nocturnals|
|Your novel is complete!||Making Waves||Results|
|A Gothic Romance||+10 CP|| 6000 x Moon-Pearl
Fascinating... +50 CP
1 x Gothic Romance
|A Tale of the Future!||+10 CP|| 6000 x Brass
Connected: Benthic +10 CP
Connected: Summerset +10 CP
1 x Tale of the Future
|A Patriotic Adventure!||+15 CP|| 6000 x Moon-Pearl
1 x Patriotic Adventure
|A Tale of Espionage!||+15 CP|| 6000 x Jade Fragment
1 x Tale of Espionage
|Requires Restored, Renown 5|
|A Tale for the People!||+15 CP|| 6000 x Moon-Pearl
1 x Tale for the People
|Requires Restored, Renown 5, Renown 5|
|A Bazaarine Tale!||+15 CP|| 6000 x Brass
1 x Bazaarine Tale
|Requires Restored, Bazaarines|
|An Opera!||Making Waves||Results||Notes|
|A Thunderstorm of Morality||+10 CP||6000 x Shard of Glim||Requires Restored|
|A Heartwarming Farce||+10 CP||6000 x Moon-Pearl||Requires Restored|
|An Epic of Far-Off Lands||+10 CP||6000 x Foxfire Candle Stub||Requires Restored|
|Show your Film!||Making Waves||Results||Notes|
|An Innocent Fictional Scene||+10 CP||6000 x Shard of Glim||Requires Restored|
|A Brief Comedy||+10 CP|| 6000 x Moon-Pearl
Nightmares +10 CP
|A Documentary||+10 CP||6000 x Silk Scrap||Requires Restored|
Is it worth it?
Uses for your works
A Copy of your Tale of the Future can come in handy when Designing your Zubmarine if you don't have A Scholar of the Correspondence 3.
Any of the other eleven poems or novels saves you 2000 x Foxfire Candle Stub and two Favours when Making Friends Among God's Editors on the Making the Good Book Better golden opportunity card.
A Copy of your Patriotic Adventure can be used for increasing Connected: The Masters of the Bazaar on the 6th day of Mr Sacks, with Mr Sacks! Take this exalted hymn to patriotism!, but unlike the previously mentioned uses you lose your copy. It is possible to give this Sacks 10 touching love stories instead for the same reward.
After completing a library in Jericho Locks, you can lend out several of your books, depending on Airs of Jericho Locks, none of which consumes the book in question. All of these grant 2–3 CP of Making Waves and cycle Airs. Additionally:
- Tale of the Future gets you Nevercold Brass (particularly useful, since it's used when Airs is less than 25, and can therefore help you cycle Airs to get a Deep-Zee Catch)
- Zeefaring Epic gets you Rostygold
- Tale for the People lets you trade Proscribed Material for Nightsoil of the Bazaar
Echoes per action
Whatever you create, it will basically give you a bit more than one Echo per action worth of the various 0.01 items. This is assuming you pass the challenges at 100%. Investing favours or items increases Inspired... but, well, you pay for it.
The optimal choice to get complete works the fastest while Persuasive is below 148 is The Decency Evaluator, which will complete a minor work in 20 actions, cost 1000 x Foxfire Candle Stub, gain an average of 12 x Secluded Address, and gain an average of Suspicion +14 CP, which works out to (30 - 10 + 12 * 0.50) / (20 + 0.25 * 14 + 2) = 1.02 EPA.
Once you have Persuasive 148, The lead becomes the better option on works other than poems and novels. At Persuasive 167, there is no chance of failure and you can rack up the needed Inspired with 20 actions, netting a whopping 30 / (20 + 2) = 1.36 EPA.
Composition: the high path gives 1.5 EPA for minor works, if you have a University Laboratory and a Struggling Artist for Honey-grinding—but this is a lower EPA than simply grinding Honey alone. However, it is useful for pursuing A Poet-Laureate.
You will need 290 x A Fine Piece to reach Poet-Laureate 20, requiring 145 minor works. (Major works cost almost twice as much Inspired CP, for only 50% more A Fine Piece.)
- Basic version: Spend 3 actions to grind 375 x Honey, and 15 actions on Composition: the high path, to reach Inspired... 24. At 20 actions total (including starting and cashing out), this is 2 actions quicker than using The lead.
- More efficient: Sell half your earnings from each work ( 15 of the 30) to buy the honey for the next at Merrigan's Exchange. This takes 17 actions per work on (15 for Composition: the high path, plus 2 actions starting and cashing out). At this rate, it will take 2,465 actions to go from Poet-Laureate 0 to 20 (not counting any actions spent getting Honey for the first work). At 140 actions per day, this would take about 18 days. The reward profit is 2,175 (0.88 EPA, not counting rare successes).
- If you do all Carnelian ballets and have Academics 15, you will also earn 435 x Tribute. Importantly, this option can overcap the 260 Tribute limit. So if you fill up tribute before grinding for Poet-Laureate, you get 420 Tribute without needing to pay for any additional ship voyages. If you have The Minister of Culture, at 4 actions to earn the Night-Whisper and the 1 action to sell it at the Rat Market, that adds 105 actions and 1,785. That works out to 1.54 EPA.
Should you fancy a trip to the Tomb-Colonies, a saucy ballet is the way to go.
Once you max out your Poet-Laureate, you can make a statue of yourself in Ealing Gardens. The statue allows you to trade 4 x Favours: Bohemians for 2 x Ivory Humerus and a little bonus. At a glance this seems very useful, but based on the analysis on the guide page, this may be inferior to calling them in in Jericho Locks.
Composing a couple dozen somewhat-challenging symphonies is the best non-Fate-locked way to reliably grind A Scholar of the Correspondence to 10.