Cave of the Nadir (Guide)

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Obtaining the Route[edit]

First things first, you need to get the Route to the Cave itself. The Secular Missionary and her husband know where it is, roughly. So! You need to raise Intimate with a Secular Missionary and Intimate with a Revolutionary Firebrand both to 10.

Once you reach Intimate with a Secular Missionary 10, you need to wait on another opportunity card, or use a Favourable Circumstance to accelerate matters somewhat by using the Send a Message to a Contact option in your social engagements. Be aware before summoning the card that using it requires Intimate with the Firebrand 10 or 8 Fate.

This sets a short meeting in motion at your lodgings, the conclusion of which will give you Route: The Cave of the Nadir 1. You'll also decide whether you want to trust the Missionary or the Firebrand more. Now you can go caving!

Or can you?

Getting into the Cave[edit]

You won't just need Route: Cave of the Nadir, of course. You will also require Archaeologist 5, at least 60 Expedition Supplies and an Eyeless Skull. Let's break this into parts:

The Expedition Itself[edit]

The Expedition does not have anything particularly difficult lurking within. Your Rival is February, and you can occasionally stall her depending on the Airs of the Quarter. It'll cost you a bottle of Broken Giant, a Presbyterate Passphrase, some Great Game and an Identity Uncovered! It'll slow her down by 2 points of progress, and it's rather expensive.

Should her progress reach 10, you will be forced to face her. She will challenge you to a game of chess; a reasonably difficult challenge, which needs 200 Watchful to be completely straightforward. The match costs four actions. Success will cost you some Supplies and a Revolutionary favour, but you'll gain three Progress, lose five Rival's Progress, and February will sod off and leave you alone with mere second-rate archaeologists to deal with.

Other Airs values may allow you to have a chat with your charming associates, the Missionary and the Firebrand. During this time, you can decide to switch sides if you've decided you don't really want to trust one of them. Or you can spend some quality time with your ally of choice...

Once your Archaeologist's Progress quality hits 60, you'll be able to enter the Cave itself! Or will you? Erm, no, as it happens.

Actually getting into the Cave[edit]

Once you reach the Cave, the Firebrand drops a bombshell: you're going to need a Ray-Drenched Cinder to get inside.

Fortunately, at this point you are offered a number of ways to get a Ray Drenched Cinder of your very own! So you don't need to frantically rummage throughout the entire game looking for one.

These methods are:

  • Spend lots of cold, hard cash!
    400 Echoes and 5 actions will get you a Ray Drenched Cinder. Certainly the easiest way to go, especially if you don't already have a lot of Revolutionary renown.
  • Call in favours with Revolutionaries!
    If you have your own reputation as a Firebrand ( Renown: Revolutionaries 25) you can spend 5 actions and 7 Revolutionaries Favours for The Revolution's Store. You can only do this once.
  • Fight in the Parabolan War!
    Fighting on the side of The Cats will give you the option to Encourage the Prince to accept the King's offer after the fourth stage of the war. You will get the Cinder at the end of the campaign.
  • Buy one with Fate!
    It'll cost 50 FATE. In addition to your Cinder you will receive an Incarnadine Fur Robe which can be traded for various unique items, mostly Home Comforts. The robe is normally available only at Christmas for 30 FATE, but combined with the Cinder this action technically offers the best EPA in the game, albeit at a substantial FATE cost.
  • Trade skulls with the Radical Factotum!
    Should you have a surfeit of Eyeless Skulls banked up for some reason, you can use them from your inventory, spending five skulls and one Revolutionaries Favour for a Ray Drenched Cinder. No more skull cards, huzzah! Plus, you can do this at any time, even after advancing into the Cave proper!
  • Buy from the Rat Market!
    When the Rat-Wind blows in the East, The Rat Market (Area) offers items related to the Nadir. Under a Soft Rat-Moon, you can buy Ray Drenched Cinders directly for 3125 Rat-Shillings. Under a Hard Rat-Moon, the aforementioned skulls run 625 shillings each (3125 for the five needed).

You can acquire more than one RDC before progressing, and may wish to do so if you are pursuing Ambition: Heart's Desire!.

Once you have an RDC, by whatever means possible, the Firebrand will brew you up some mysterious ashy tea. It'll give you a point of Wounds and Nightmares, but more importantly, it'll let you enter the Cave of the Nadir...

The Cave of the Nadir![edit]

The Cave is the zenith of our little quest. On subsequent trips you'll get a point of Irrigo upon entering, but this is waived for your first visit. Almost everything here is conducted via the means of opportunity cards: There's a little informative pinned storylet with a Watchful challenge, and an option that'll let you leave. But don't do that just yet! The party's only starting.

The Cave of the Nadir's gimmick is that you only have a limited amount of time in it: The previously mentioned Irrigo quality will increment as you do things, and getting it to 10 will get you booted out. More on that in a second, though.

The other gimmick of the Cave of the Nadir is that it can be used to upgrade items. A fair few arbitrary things can be enriched with irrigo: there's almost no way to know about these things if you aren't told. Hence, I am now going to tell you what to bring, and what the thing turns into. Just a fair warning, however, that while these items are pretty good, none of them are currently strictly best-in-slot for anything, and there's a very profitable action in the Cave that will allow you to buy the most expensive gear possible anyway. Still, enriched gear is shiny and purple. Who doesn't like purple?

Anyway! Gear list! Here's what you should pack for your hike into the Nadir, and what they'll turn into:

original → upgraded Card → Choice
Pair of Luminous Neathglass Goggles Pair of Irrigo Goggles A Weakness in the Air Dreams can wait
Parabola-Linen Frock Strange-Shore Parabola Frock A Familiar Face? Sleep's fortress (Parabola-Linen Frock)
Parabola-Linen Suit Strange-Shore Parabola Suit A Familiar Face? Sleep's fortress (Parabola-Linen Suit)
Pair of Hushed Spidersilk Slippers Pair of Forgotten Spidersilk Slippers An Altarful of Strangers Speak to the masked man
Nodule of Warm Amber Nodule of Violet Amber An Altarful of Strangers Speak to the Rubbery Man
Devious Henchman Ravenous Henchman Old Sins Thirst?
Mirrorcatch Box Irrigo-filled Mirrorcatch Box A pause for refreshment A lunchbox?

It is also worth noting that most of these are also occasionally available at the Rat Market, usually even at a cheaper price than the unupgraded versions.

There are a number of other cards and things inside the Nadir for you to look at and enjoy. Keep an eye out for a card with a coffin icon called The Catafalquerie. One option will give you a Complaisant Frost-Moth, a neat little pet (although unremarkable in terms of stat at present). Another will give you Vial of Tears of the Bazaar, at the cost of PtPT:Lacre, worth a whole 312.50 Echoes! Another card (An Unlikely Garden) can give a Searing Enigma, but it has a very high difficulty (a Persuasive stat of 1000 is required to get 60% odds on it. Yep.) An easier way to earn these and other expensive items are on the card, The End of Battles, but this will cost some second chances. If you have A Daughter in the Shadows, Old Bones is a good card. If you have a tattoo, Woods in winter is a good card. If you have dreams and nightmares, you'll draw cards that gain you interesting items worth 12.5 E.

Warning! No cards drawn in the Nadir can be discarded, so you can't just shuffle through them to get a desired one, however having a 5-card lodgings can improve your selection big time.

For detailed overview of available cards and rewards see Cave of the Nadir (Guide)/Cards.

lose → earn
1 x Cryptic Clue Extraordinary Implication
(and lose Watchful)
1 x Journal of Infamy Uncanny Incunabulum
3 x Sudden Insight Bottle of Fourth City Airag: Year of the Tortoise
3 x Hard-Earned Lesson Nodule of Pulsating Amber
3 x Hastily Scrawled Warning Note Collection of Curiosities
3 x Confident Smile Searing Enigma
5 x An Identity Uncovered! Nodule of Trembling Amber
5 x Diary of the Dead Nodule of Fecund Amber
5 x Nodule of Fecund Amber Fluke-Core
10 CP x A Game of Chess (with Nightmares 4) Blackmail Material
10 CP x Is Someone There? (with Nightmares 2) Direful Reflection
10 CP x Death by Water (with Nightmares 6) Favour in High Places
7 levels x Putting the Pieces Together: the Taste of Lacre Vial of Tears of the Bazaar

You'll be able to meet your chosen ally in the Nadir, just once. Then they'll float off into the irrigo void again, and you won't see them until you leave.

Leaving the Cave of the Nadir[edit]

You can choose to leave at any point. However, if you hit Irrigo 10, you'll be forced out with a double penalty. What sort of penalty? Well, each point of Irrigo you accrue will cost you 5CP in all stats once you leave the Cave, if your Irrigo is at 6 or above. So leaving at Irrigo 8 will cost 40CP of stat; two thirds of a level.

If you hit 10 Irrigo, it'll hit you twice; In other words, you'll lose 100CP of all stats, a level and a half in everything! Ouch.

If your Irrigo is below 6, when you leave you'll receive only 1CP stat loss per point of irrigo. So 5 levels of irrigo will make you lose 5CP of stat.

Once you leave for the first time, you'll meet the Missionary and the Firebrand having a little... disagreement outside. You can choose to side with one or the other: this’ll give you your chosen ally as a Companion, which may later be upgradeable, possibly even transforming into a Constant Companion. Alternatively, you can choose to abandon them and nick some of their Mourning Candles, which prevents you from getting either as a Companion. But you'll have some candles! And you can be really rude about it too, if you want. They probably deserve it.

Returning to the Cave[edit]

You can't re-enter if you have any Irrigo. Fortunately, that will be cleaned up when Time, the Healer comes calling. If you're impatient, you can pay 50 Fate to purge Irrigo. Going back to the Cave has no major cost, only taking 3 actions and giving you a point of Irrigo. You do not need another Eyeless Skull or Ray-Drenched Cinder.


This guide is incomplete. You can help by expanding it.
What needs work: Favours don't take into account cashing out with Tribute or in Jericho, calculation for An Unlikely Garden is very outdated with current endgame stats, and should also take into account the possible profit from the Discordant Studies card, or at least allude to it.

It takes effectively five actions to visit the cave: three to enter, one to leave, one to clear the Irrigo. Assuming you have a hand size of 5, you will draw five distinct out of 23 possible cards after entering. You have about 24% to encounter any specific card upon entering. The below cards provide greater than 2.5 EPA.

Low value cards
Card Value Irrigo Notes
Something Moves 0E 1
A Weakness in the Air 0E 1 Increases dream qualities
A Waking Dream of Reflections 12.5E 1 -10cp Having Recurring Dreams: Is Someone There?
An Altarful of Strangers 2.5E 1
The Web 2.5E 1 Requires Brachiating Spindlewolf
A pause for refreshment 1E 1
Lost at Sea 2.5E 2 Only 1x Irrigo with Ambition: Light Fingers!
Unjustly imprisoned! 1 Stat loss


The most profitable cards of the ones above are:

Play any of these cards immediately. On average, this will net you some 28E for about one action.

Afterwards, redraw. Assuming you played one card (the mean case), you should have 1/19 to draw any of the good ones, which comes at around an expected value of for actions. Of course, if you drew a good card, you redraw again!

As even the best luck is limited by Irrigo, this effectively works out to for 0.35 actions.

This also means that playing substandard cards to draw better ones (as long as your Irrigo does not reach 10) will have an EPA boost of between (when you reach Irrigo 9 with the substandard card) and (when just reaching Irrigo 1 and you could still process five good cards in a row) on top whatever the card itself yields.

For the total EPA, let's assume that you do not play substandard cards. You pay five actions for the trip in total, plus 1.35 actions playing good cards, for a total of 6.35 actions. This gives you 36E worth of loot on average for some 5.7 EPA.  

After the Cave[edit]

So, you've found this Cave. You can go back to it once a week. But what else can you do with it? Sell its location, obviously! Four parties are interested in the Cave's location, and they'll buy it off you for a rather hefty sum. You can only sell the location once, though! Because, um. Economics. You can still enter the Cave again after you sell it, though!

Selling the location is done via the means of opportunity cards! The option will appear on the relevant faction's Connection card. Selling the location will get you a rare item, all seven Favours for the faction you sold it to, and also change your Closest To -! So if you want to switch allegiances to this very specific set of people, you can do that.

Anyway, the parties interested in the Cave are:

Alternatively, you can opt not to sell the location to anyone at all! It is a rather dangerous (and profitable) secret, after all.

And... I think that's all I have to say on the matter of the Nadir! Have a nice trip! It's not exactly the best holiday destination, you forget all of the fun parts and misplace your luggage. But it's a nice place to go, and properly eerie as well.

  1. This assumes an opportunity cost of 4EPA, 2.2E per CP of SiC and that you draw the right confict card