Khaganian Intrigue (Guide)

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A guide to playing the Great Game in The Khanate, an activity for endgame players.

Beginning steps[edit]

To start the story chain allowing you access to Khan's Heart and the activities within, you need to have advanced the Railway as far as Balmoral, and have fully upgraded your Cabinet Noir to level 4 there. You will also require a Ship.

A ubiquitous opportunity card will appear in London, giving you an Intercepted Document. Deciphering this will give you a Salt Steppe Atlas and Acquaintance: The Reformer of Reputations. This will unlock a new storylet in Balmoral where you can attempt a Zeefaring check to unlock the Khanate as a destination.

To continue the storyline, you will need a Cover Identity. The game details the requirements, but at minimum you need Ties and at least 5 in Credentials, Nuance, or Witnesses. These will influence which challenges you face in Khan's Heart, as detailed later in this guide.

With a complete Identity, you can zail to the Khanate, a fairly long zee journey (as it is effectively one of the furthest points from London).

Once you reach the Khanate, you can speak to the Reformer of Reputations in a storylet in the The Copper Quarter. After a short introductory segment, the option to create a Khaganian front as a base of operations for intrigues and espionage in the Great Game becomes available. Completing it will give a Khaganian Safe-Conduct, allowing you access to Khan's Heart.

Cover Identity[edit]

Main article: Cover Identities (Guide)

Each Cover Identity stat has a different use in establishing a front. Your Cover Identity is consumed in the process.

It is strongly recommended to build your cover identity in a way that will maximise chances of success (see Guaranteeing Success, below).

  • Elaboration increases Khaganian Front: Obfuscation, which determines how long your front can withstand investigation by the White-and-Golds, the security service of the Khanate. If this reaches 0, your front will be lost, and you will need to assemble a new Cover Identity to rebuild it! If your stats complement your choice of strategy to the point of guaranteed success during the whole carousel, you can get by with bare minimum, since you won't lose any Obfuscation, otherwise, it's better to get 10 to prolong your stay.
    Obfuscation can be restored, up to 11, by spending Well-Placed Pawns with The Reformer of Reputations.
  • Ties determines your Outward Appearance of a Khaganian Front, which determines which BDR stat can be used for checks in the Khanate. The highest of those checks can be 100%d with 18 in a stat.
    • Surface ties lead to an Academic appearance, which makes use of Bizarre.
    • Dispossessed ties lead to an Criminal appearance, which makes use of Dreaded.
    • Bazaar ties lead to an Mercantile appearance, which makes use of Respectable.

You want to pick a skill where you can comfortably reach 10. Note that any character can get access to +5 worth of Glasswork items (but less than +2 for the other skills)[1], so unless your profession or ambition gives you an amazing boost to one of the other skills, the mirror is probably the way to go.

A Tourist's Guide to Khan's Heart[edit]

Khaganian intrigue opens up a number of repeatable carousels -- most notably, Stalemates, Oneiric Pearls, and Airag can all be found here with a bit of Airs cycling. However, for a newcomer intending to make the most of their first visit, there are probably three prizes most worth mentioning. (Collectors may consider the Gant-filled Mirrorcatch Box also worth obtaining, in which case they should certainly remember to bring an empty Mirrorcatch Box as well.)

The third one requires 4 intrigues of 130 Infiltrating... each to be done in sequence, along with wrapping actions, and thus has no shortcuts.

The first two, however, require very long Intrigues -- 750 Infiltrating... or about 75 successful actions. However, as long Intrigues they enable the options on False-Dawn (see below), which allow you to trade 62.5E items for 150 Infiltrating... (which item depends on your Methods of a Khaganian Front.) All such items are available in Khan's Heart itself, through beginning Expand your network with various Airs of the Khanate. Since Infiltrator's Footsteps also requires Strength of your Khaganian Network 5 anyway, for Watchful and Shadowy characters (and arguably Persuasive as well) the shortcut is self-funding.

Specifically: Watchful needs Stalemates from the Naive Dissident, or Airs 10-19. Shadowy needs Much-Needed Gaps from either the Immaculate Tailor or Lovelorn Engineer. Persuasive is different because it just requires money, specifically 125 x Assortment of Khaganian Coinage; in large quantities this is probably best gained from The Trifling Diplomat at the Bone Market, though if you build up a stockpile of Surface-Silk Scraps you can sell them at a rate for 200 to 40 coinage and cycle airs while you're doing it. Also note that the rewards of both the physician, the diplomat, Tailor, and the engineer can also be sold at the Khaganian Markets for 125 x Assortment of Khaganian Coinage.

The precise shape of your 'tour' of Khan's Heart, then, will depend on both your Methods and your luck:

Watchful or Shadowy:

Persuasive characters have a more consistent approach available to them: do six cablegram runs for 30 x Intercepted Cablegram, then grind out 500 x Assortment of Khaganian Coinage however they like. If you have other things you want from the recruitment reward table, though, you might as well get it by selling silk to cycle airs.

At any rate, once you have enough for four 'skips', you're ready to go. Follow the guide below to get through your days in the Khanate as efficiently as possible, but spend your items at each False-Dawn for 150 x Infiltrating... each. Assuming you pass every check, you'll be able to do this twice per intrigue -- you'll hit the Dawn of the Third Day with 520 x Infiltrating....

It should be noted that grinding for False-Dawn resources by expanding your network is only efficient as long as you have to grind Strength of your Khaganian Network. Once you have reached 20 Strength of your Khaganian Network, you are better of just biting the bullet and spending 75 actions. The same goes for the Front / BDR dependent options with additional costs: unless you can grind a Queen Mate in 2.8 actions[2], you are better off not spending them here.

Intrigue![edit]

Once you establish a Khaganian front, you will receive a Khaganian Safe-Conduct, which grants you access to Khan's Heart, from which you plan, advance, and carry out your schemes.

The main activity and use of your Khaganian Front is pursuing Intrigues, started at the Begin an intrigue storylet. Each intrigue requires a certain amount of Infiltrating... which is gained through various storylets in Khan's Heart. Which options are available to you in a given storylet are determined by Outward Appearance, Methods, and Weapon. Note that you are not able to swap equipment while in Khan's Heart.

Options and storylets available are also influenced by the Current Time in the Khanate, which operates on a 12-action cycle. Each action you complete in Khan's Heart increments the current time, shifting available storylets and actions. Once you have enough Infiltrating..., you complete the intrigue at The Progress of your (Intrigue Name) storylet. Note that each completed intrigue increases Taimen's Attention by 2 CP, except for expanding your network.

Table of intrigues and rewards[edit]

Name Requirements Infiltrating... Result Reward
Acquiring cablegrams
Intercept a cablegram None 20 Collect your intercepted cablegrams
Tap a telegraph cable Strength of your Khaganian Network 10 130 Tap the underzee cable
Spy games for fun and profit
Fabricate blackmail material 2 x Intercepted Cablegram 20 Assemble your manufactured blackmail 1 x Blackmail Material
Plant a mirror 130 Plant an unsecured mirror
Sabotage a power plant 750 Sabotage a power plant
Obtain a Corresponding Sounder 10 x Intercepted Cablegram 750 Walk into the Office of Naval Affairs 1 x Corresponding Sounder
Teambuilding and networking
Plant an agent An Agent in Transit 130 Conclude the infiltration 62.5e worth of items (depends on your agent - see below)
An opportunity: (Opportunity) 100 The Pulling of a Thread: (Opportunity) 62.5e worth of items (depends on the opportunity, see below)
Expand your network 2 x Intercepted Cablegram 130 Expand your network
Growing your influence
Place one of your agents in London 750 Secure your agent's position Infiltrator's Footsteps
Placing informants (see below) 4 x 130 varies

Placing informants[edit]

This is a non-repeatable storyline. Options are done in sequence.

Option / Faction Reward
The Wolf Khan Sets Acquaintance: The Prodigal Wolf to 1
Tortoise Khan Sets Acquaintance: The Prodigal Wolf to 2
Eagle Khan
Khagan Court
An Agent of No Consequence is required for a weekly reward of 5 x Emetic Revelation

Planting the Agents - Rewards[edit]

An agent must be collected at Wolfstack Docks first.

Agent Name Reward
1 An Attentive Chambermaid 1 x Bottle of Fourth City Airag: Year of the Tortoise
2 A Wayward Navigator
3 A Bright-Eyed Engineer

Expanding your Network - Rewards[edit]

Each option also increases Strength of your Khaganian Network by 1, as noted above.

Airs Name Reward Sell to Khaganian Market?
0-9 A Disgruntled Academic 1 x Searing Enigma No
10-19 A Naive Dissident 1 x Stalemate No
20-29 An Immaculate Tailor 1 x Much-Needed Gap Yes
30-39 A Repentant Thief 1 x Crackling Device Yes
40-49 A Shapeless Aristocrat 1 x Mortification of a Great Power No
50-59 A Bandaged Naval Officer 1 x Mortification of a Great Power No
60-69 A Scorned Diplomat 1 x Bottle of Fourth City Airag: Year of the Tortoise Yes
70-79 A Lovelorn Engineer 1 x Much-Needed Gap Yes
80-89 A Radical Physician 1 x Oneiric Pearl Yes
90-100 An Idle Soldier 1 x Mortification of a Great Power No

Pulling Threads[edit]

See Khaganian Intrigue (Guide)/Opportunity cycles for a graph theory analysis of this.

See Khaganian Intrigue (Guide)/Loyalty shifts for a graph representation of politics.

Opportunity / Title Name Reward In Echoes Faction Next Opportunity
0-1: An agent resurfaces / debrief an old agent Debrief him, then release him 5 x Vital Intelligence 62.5 Eagle 2: A zailor defects
Debrief him, and then betray him 5 x Vital Intelligence 62.5 Leopard 3: A codebook is misplaced
2: A zailor defects / shelter a defector Tell the Forlorn Captain the truth 1 x Salt Steppe Atlas 62.5 Eagle 4: Blueprints go missing
Arrange for the Forlorn Captain's desertion 1 x Bottle of Airag 62.5 Tortoise 8: A secret is unveiled
3: A codebook is misplaced / steal a codebook Alert the Leopard 1 x Parabola-Linen Scrap 62.5 Leopard 9: A telegraph chatters
Obtain the codebook, and sell it 4 x Favour in High Places
415 x Surface Currency
62.45 White 5: Someone slips through a mirror
4: Blueprints go missing / retrieve stolen blueprints Warn the Eagle 2 x Silent Soul
5 x Queer Soul
45 x Brilliant Soul
1 x Favours: Hell
60.0 Eagle 11: A Master plots
Distract the Navy's investigators 3 x Vital Intelligence
5 x Extraordinary Implication
5 x Vienna Opening
62.5 White 3: A codebook is misplaced
5: Someone slips through a mirror / locate a Taciturn Magician Snap him out of his daze 1 x Oneiromantic Revelation 62.5 White 4: Blueprints go missing
Leave him in his state 1 x Oneiric Pearl (125) Black 7: A trove is discovered
6: A device is completed / break into a quiet factory Leak this information to the Tortoise 1 x Vital Intelligence
1 x Hillmover
5 x Perfumed Gunpowder
25 x Correspondence Plaque
5 x Mourning Candle
37.5 + (25) Tortoise 2: A zailor defects
Warn the Revolutionaries 2 x Vital Intelligence
2 x Blackmail Material
4 x An Identity Uncovered!
1 x Favours: Revolutionaries
60 Black 5: Someone slips through a mirror
7: A trove is discovered / secure a treasure Proceed as planned; let the Bazaar have these books 125 x Khaganian Coins (125) Black 9: A telegraph chatters
Buy out the Bookseller's inventory and cast it into the Zee 1 x Searing Enigma 62.5 Bazaar 10: A Master covets!
8: A secret is unveiled / investigate unusual shipments Leak the location of the warehouse to the Bazaar 5 x Bazaar Permit 62.5 Bazaar 7: A trove is discovered
Observe without interfering 1 x Searing Enigma 62.5 Tortoise 6: A device is completed
9: A telegraph chatters / contact a dissident Vouch for the Foppish Revolutionary 1 x Bottle of Airag 62.5 Black 6: A device is completed
Leak their identities to the Khagan 4 x Vital Intelligence
20 x Moves in the Great Game
1 x Favours: Society
60.0 Leopard 10: A Master covets
10: A Master covets / interfere in a trade dispute Give them a push 125 x Khaganian Coins (125) Bazaar 11: A Master plots
Leak this information to the Khagan 125 x Khaganian Coins (125) Leopard 1: An agent resurfaces
11: A Master plots / answer a request from Mr Stones Deliver the Mummified Priest to the Khagan 2 x Bazaar Permit
3 x Magnificent Diamond
62.5 Bazaar 8: A secret is unveiled
Put the Mummified Priest on a London-bound ship 1 x Much-Needed Gap (125) Eagle 1: An agent resurfaces
Faction Loop length Reward
1 - Eagle 4 5 x Vital Intelligence, 1 x Salt Steppe Atlas, 2 x Silent Soul, 5 x Queer Soul, 45 x Brilliant Soul, 1 x Favours: Hell, 1 x Much-Needed Gap
2 - Leopard 4 9 x Vital Intelligence, 1 x Parabola-Linen Scrap, 20 x Moves in the Great Game, 1 x Favours: Society, 125 x Khaganian Coins
3 - Tortoise 3 1 x Bottle of Airag, 1 x Searing Enigma, 1 x Vital Intelligence, 1 x Hillmover, 5 x Perfumed Gunpowder, 25 x Correspondence Plaque, 5 x Mourning Candle
5 - White/Surface 3 4 x Favour in High Places, 415 x Surface Currency, 1 x Oneiromantic Revelation, 3 x Vital Intelligence, 5 x Extraordinary Implication, 5 x Vienna Opening
6 - Black/Deep Power 4 1 x Oneiric Pearl, 125 x Khaganian Coins, 1 x Bottle of Airag, 2 x Vital Intelligence, 2 x Blackmail Material, 4 x An Identity Uncovered!, 1 x Favours: Revolutionaries
7 - Bazaar 4 8 x Bazaar Permit, 1 x Searing Enigma, 125 x Khaganian Coins, 3 x Magnificent Diamond

Options in Khan's Heart[edit]

Note that you are not able to swap equipment while in Khan's Heart. Overview

  • ✓ - There's an option for the given stat at the given time.
  • ✗ - There's no option for the given stat at the given time.

Challenges based on Method stats are Broad with difficulty 170, giving 100% at 284.
Challenges based on Weapon stats are Narrow with difficulty 6, giving 100% at 10.
Challenges based on Appearance stats are Narrow with difficulty 10 or 14, giving 100% at 14 or 18, respectively.

Warning! This article/section sets colors manually, instead of using the appropriate CSS classes. As a result, the colors may be hard on the eyes, particularly in dark mode.

Hour Time Methods Weapon Appearance
1 False-Dawn ✓*
2 Early Morning
3 Morning
4 Midday ✓* ✓*
5 Early Afternoon
6 Afternoon
7 False-Dusk
8 Early Evening
9 Evening
10 Late Night
11 Nearly Midnight
12 Midnight

Guaranteeing Success[edit]

There are three (relatively) easy ways to dress for success in Khan's Heart and guarantee 10 Infiltrating... per action:

  • Use level 10 of any of the advanced skills for Time 1-4, and use Respectable 18 for Time 4-12. This option does not depend on Persuasive, Watchful, or Shadowy, but picking Manipulation is recommended because of the False-Dawn benefits.
  • Use level 10 of any of the advanced skills for Time 1-4, use 14 of any BDR for Time 4-9, and use level 284 of Persuasive, Watchful, or Shadowy for Time 9-12.
  • Use Bizarre or Dreaded 18 for Time 1-9, and use level 284 of Persuasive, Watchful, or Shadowy for Time 9-12. This option does not depend on any of the advanced skills.

Note that these three methods avoid the challenges that are made more difficult by Taimen's Attention.

In addition to one of the above methods, consider also achieving level 12 of A Player of Chess to ensure a guaranteed success when cycling airs via the always-available Play a game of shatar (see Cycling airs, below).

Whichever method you choose, please ensure that you set up your cover identity appropriately.
Also note that you are not able to swap equipment while in Khan's Heart.

The below table shows your options graphically:

Times 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12
/ / 284
BDR / 18 / / 14 18
Advanced Skills 10

Table of Options by Stat[edit]

Persuasive[edit]

Unlocked with Methods: Manipulation, acquired with Credentials 5, and the challenge is Persuasive 170.

Hours Times Storylet Branch Notes
4-9 Midday - Evening The Iron Quarter Strike a conversation with a factory manager Taimen's Attention increases the difficulty by 5 per level.
9-12 Evening - Midnight The Nephrite Quarter Extricate information from a Recalcitrant Informant

Watchful[edit]

Unlocked with Methods: Observation, acquired with Nuance 5, and the challenge is Watchful 170.

Hours Times Storylet Branch Notes
1-4 False-Dawn - Midday The Graphite Quarter Surveil the factories Taimen's Attention increases the difficulty by 5 per level.
9-12 Evening - Midnight The Nephrite Quarter Surveil a merchant

Shadowy[edit]

Unlocked with Methods: Subversion, acquired with Witnesses 5, and the challenge is Shadowy 170.

Hours Times Storylet Branch Notes
4-9 Midday - Evening The Iron Quarter Slip into a factory Taimen's Attention increases the difficulty by 5 per level.
9-12 Evening - Midnight The Porcelain Quarter Pickpocket an actress

Bizarre[edit]

Unlocked with Appearance: Academic, acquired with Surface Ties.

Hours Times Storylet Branch Challenge Notes
1-4 False-Dawn - Midday The Graphite Quarter Attend a Liberationist meeting in disguise 14
4-9 Midday - Evening The Realgar Quarter Listen to a Paranoid Novelist 10
The Imperial Colleges Arrange a realistic forgery 7 Costs 10 x Assortment of Khaganian Coinage
Gives 16 x Infiltrating...

Dreaded[edit]

Unlocked with Appearance: Criminal, acquired with Dispossessed Ties.

Hours Times Storylet Branch Challenge Notes
1-4 False-Dawn - Midday The Graphite Quarter Attend the presentation of a new weapon 14
4-9 Midday - Evening The Iron Quarter Make arrangements with smugglers 10
The Realgar Quarter Intimidate a Bureaucrat 6 Costs 25 x Well-Placed Pawn
Gives 13-14 x Infiltrating...

Respectable[edit]

Unlocked with Appearance: Mercantile, acquired with Bazaar Ties.

Hours Times Storylet Branch Challenge Notes
4-9 Midday - Evening The Realgar Quarter Attend a Society party 10
The Imperial Colleges Remove academic impediments to your scheme 10 Costs 1 x Queen Mate
Gives 38 x Infiltrating...
9-12 Evening - Midnight The Porcelain Quarter Attend an operetta 14

Advanced Skills[edit]

Hours Times Storylet Branch Weapon: Challenge
1-4 False-Dawn - Midday The Nephrite Quarter Start a market panic Disinformation ( Credentials 5) Mithridacy 6
Influence certain dreams Dream-Shaping ( Nuance 5) Glasswork 6
Dispose of an impediment Poison ( Witnesses 5) Kataleptic Toxicology 6

Profession[edit]

These are guaranteed successes.

Hours Times Storylet Branch Requirement Menace Reduction
12 Midnight The Sinking Quarters Confess your sins Shrine to Saint Joshua Nightmares (-1 CP)

Using Resources[edit]

For long intrigues (presumably where Scheme Complexity is 750), there is an option at False-Dawn during the first half of the intrigue to spend a 62.5e resource (the specific resource depends on your Methods) to gain 150 Infiltrating....

Hours Times Storylet Branch Methods: Cost Menace Reduction
1 False-Dawn False-Dawn Create a pause in events Observation 1 x Stalemate Taimen's Attention (-10 CP)
Exploit a gap Subversion 1 x Much-Needed Gap
Distribute bribes Manipulation 125 x Assortment of Khaganian Coinage
Implant misleading fantasies in the dreams of Taimen agents Any, but requires a Mesmeric Parasol 1 x Oneiric Pearl

Managing Taimen's Attention[edit]

Failures and finishing most intrigues earns you an amount of TA (up to level 10). Your current TA level makes some checks harder.

Time, the Healer reduces it every week by a CP amount depending on your current level of TA. ([- (TA * [ TA + 1] / 3)] CP).

Old Level 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10
CP Loss -1 -2 -4 -7 -10 -14 -19 -24 -30 -37
New Level 0-1 1-2 2-3 2-4 2-4 4-5 3-5 4-5 5-6 5

As you can see, it may be more advantageous to raise your TA to the next full level before bowing out of the Khanate for the week. For example, a level of 9+9 CP will land you at 6+3 CP when Time comes, whereas a full level 10 will land you on 5+3 CP.

The "rollover" that will earn you a bigger drop in TA is in the table below:

If your current Taimen's Attention level is ... 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9
then go for the next level if you have at least ... CP in the current level 2 2 3 3 3 4 4 4

Additionally, TA may be lowered on False-Dawn if your Scheme Complexity is at least 750 and you are at most half-way done. It is also automatically wiped if you lose your Khaganian Front.

Cycling airs[edit]

If you're looking for a certain reward from improving your network, you may want to change your airs of the Khanate. There are several options which do this, some of which cost resources. These options may also be useful if there are times during the day you can't beat the challenges.

Always available:

Morning:

Evening:


Footnotes[edit]