- The winds are wild, the lacre deep. The snarling stones arise from sleep. The Fifth's tales may exalt the suns, but never hope to halt what comes.
Each December, false-snow covers the city, a mysterious hooded figure stalks the streets demanding gifts, and a passageway opens to a sundered sea in the heart of the Bazaar.
Beginning from the 1st of December, doors on the advent calendar will open, one a day at around noon UTC. Each door usually remains open for a day or two after being unlocked, so make sure to open them quickly. The rewards behind each door can range from useful equipment to rare items, but consistently include a level of Putting the Pieces Together: the Taste of Lacre and an Unusual Pail of So-Called Snow - these will come in useful later.
From early December (usually noon UTC on the second Monday or Tuesday of the month) through to the 6th of January, each Time, the Healer will bring a snow-drift to cover your door if you have lodgings, preventing you from accessing them. You can Clear the path yourself, Pay urchins to clear the path or Clear the paths of others, then your own; each will give you an Unusual Pail of So-Called Snow. Alternatively, you may pay FATE to have a Master of the Bazaar clear out your path, which will get you a quite different reward.
During this time period, Time, the Healer will also increase the number of Potential Christmas Cards you have up to 7; each card may be sent to an acquaintance to reduce one of their menaces and grant them some Second Chances. You will receive your first 7 cards on the 1st from the Advent Calendar.
Buying and Selling
A detailed guide on Mr Sacks can be found here.
Over the twelve days from the 26th to the 6th, a series of cards will appear in the opportunity deck, starting at Abundant Frequency, then becoming Ubiquitous and finally becoming pinned storylets around the 15th (provided you've played the first one). Each card (bar the fourth) is a visit from Mr Sacks, a mysterious hooded figure who demands gifts.
On the fourth day, you can spend FATE to investigate Mr Sacks with one of 9 factions. Each investigation continues over the rest of the visits, with some concluding during the visits and some ending in Penstock's Wicket; each gives some lore and a reward at the end.
The Wicket and The Sea
On the 6th of January, Penstock's Wicket opens to those who have experienced all of Mr Sacks' visits. If your Putting the Pieces Together: the Taste of Lacre is at least 3, you may descend from the Wicket to A Sundered Sea in the Bazaar's heart. Here, Putting the Pieces Together: the Taste of Lacre can be traded for various rewards:
- With at least 3 levels, 1 level can be traded for a variety of random rewards by taking the air or searching the store
- 3 levels can be traded for a remote address (the Temple, the Pit and the Shell), 3-card lodgings where City Vices cards will not be drawn
- If you have at least 6 levels, then 5 levels can be traded for a Soothe & Cooper Long-Box, which can be sold to the Bazaar for 62.5 or to zailors for 50 , 3 Favours: The Docks and a special quality
- If you have a 4-cards lodging, at least 3 Notability and meet some other conditions, between 7 and 9 levels can be traded (along with the Notability) to upgrade the 4-card lodging to a 5-card lodging
- You can also create a Noman, a short-lived being formed of lacre and a little of yourself. The cost of creating a Noman rises rapidly over time, starting out at 3 levels and ending up at 15. A Noman can be taught about the world - or have its life extended at great cost - via an opportunity card. If it learns enough, it can reveal an Elemental Secret before it dies; if it lives long enough you may receive a tattoo to commemorate it.
The Wicket closes on the 31st of January.
But How Do I Get Enough Taste of Lacre to Buy What I Want?
Although you can get up to 6 levels of Putting the Pieces Together: the Taste of Lacre for free, this isn't enough to get the most expensive things available. This is where the Unusual Pails of So-Called Snow come in useful; they have a variety of options that allow you to gain more Taste of Lacre, the best of which are:
- Dip a soul in it, which will grant 1 level up to a maximum of Taste of Lacre 5
- Mix it with an old wine, which has a 40% chance of granting 1 level up to a maximum of 6
- Examine it through your Semiotic Monocle, a Narrow A Scholar of the Correspondence 6 check. On success, it grants 3 levels provided you have at most 5 levels beforehand
- Feed it to a Wild Boar, a Dangerous 200 check which requires a Dreadful Surmise. On success, it grants 1 level up to 16.
On both success and failure, each of these options (and all the other options to use a pail) will consume the pail.
As none of the Sacks or Advent sources of Taste of Lacre have a cap, it is advisable to try and use Pails before these sources, though obviously this isn't always possible. Deciding in advance exactly what you want from the Wicket and planning out your Taste of Lacre gains accordingly is highly advisable. Some more advice on how to do this can be found here.
Other Uses for Pails
If you are a Correspondent, then Write a monograph on it...in it can be a good but expensive source of A Scholar of the Correspondence. If you don't yet have a Destiny, then The Oracle of the Lintel will allow you to gain one at the cost of a pail; see Destinies (Guide) for more information.