Khaganian Intrigue (Guide)
A guide to playing the Great Game in The Khanate, an activity for endgame players.
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.
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.
- Backstory increases Khaganian Front: Resilience, which (presumably) reduces the impact that failures have on Obfuscation. The benefit is capped at 10 Backstory, all excess will be wasted.
- Ties determines your Outward Appearance of a Khaganian Front, which determines which BDR stat can be used for checks in the Khanate.
- Credentials, Nuance, and Witnesses determine both Methods of a Khaganian Front and Weapon of a Khaganian Front.
Making use of Credentials, Nuance, or Witnesses requires at least level 5 in each stat.
You may only make one selection each for Methods and Weapon, but you are not required to use the same stat for both.
- Methods selects one attribute for checks, but also influences how you can use resources to advance long intrigues. For the latter, Manipulation is the most flexible.
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), 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
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:
- The Infiltrator's Footsteps, which are best-in-slot Boots for Dangerous (+8) and the only Player of Chess item in their slot.
- The Corresponding Sounder, which can be dismantled into a Violant-filled Mirrorcatch Box required to increase your Watchful cap from 218 to 221. (It also sells quite dearly if you care to repeat it, for ~312.5 as a Much-Needed Gap, 5x Vital Intelligence, 5x Emetic Revelation, 25x Discriminating Aconite, 120x Vision of the Surface and a Favours: The Great Game.)
- An Agent of No Consequence, which offers a steady source of Emetic Revelations and unlocks another branch of intrigues that consume these for various profits.
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 62.5 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 125x 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:
- First, run Intercept a cablegram once, at twenty Infiltrating... (four actions including overhead)
- Check your airs to see if your desired agent is available. If not, keep running Intercept a cablegram until they happen to show up -- you'll ultimately need at least 20 for five agents, the Footsteps and the Sounder, and you'll want another 10 later: Strength of your Khaganian Network 10 opens up Tap a telegraph cable, which is much more efficient than Intercept a cablegram for starting intrigues. In total, 30 cablegrams or six runs.
- Then, run Expand your network. You'll need to do this five times, of which four will provide items you need to skip Infiltrating....
- Most likely, you're going to get enough cablegrams for your trip before you have the agents you need. Cycle airs by playing shatar for Opening Novelties or just gather more agents -- you're going to need at least Network Strength 10 eventually.
Persuasive characters have a more consistent approach available to them: do six cablegram runs for 30x Intercepted Cablegram, then grind out 500x 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 150x 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 520x 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, you are better off not spending them here.
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.
Table of intrigues and rewards
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|
|An Agent of No Consequence is required for a weekly reward of 5 x Emetic Revelation|
Planting the Agents - Rewards
An agent must be collected at Wolfstack Docks first.
|1||An Attentive Chambermaid||1x Bottle of Fourth City Airag: Year of the Tortoise|
|2||A Wayward Navigator|
|3||A Bright-Eyed Engineer|
Expanding your Network - Rewards
Each option also increases Strength of your Khaganian Network by 1, as noted above.
|0-9||A Disgruntled Academic||1 x Searing Enigma|
|10-19||A Naive Dissident||1 x Stalemate|
|20-29||An Immaculate Tailor||1 x Much-Needed Gap|
|30-39||A Repentant Thief||1 x Crackling Device|
|40-49||A Shapeless Aristocrat||1 x Mortification of a Great Power|
|50-59||A Bandaged Naval Officer||1 x Mortification of a Great Power|
|60-69||A Scorned Diplomat||1 x Bottle of Fourth City Airag: Year of the Tortoise|
|70-79||A Lovelorn Engineer||1 x Much-Needed Gap|
|80-89||A Radical Physician||1 x Oneiric Pearl|
|90-100||An Idle Soldier||1 x Mortification of a Great Power|
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.
|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
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.
- ✓* - Taimen's Attention increases this option's difficulty level
- ✗ - 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.
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 recommened 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:
|/ / 284|
|BDR||/ 18||/ / 14||18|
Table of Options by Stat
|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|
|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|
|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 actresss|
|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...
|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...
|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|
|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|
These are guaranteed successes.
|12||Midnight||The Sinking Quarters||Confess your sins||Shrine to Saint Joshua||Nightmares (-1 CP)|
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....
|1||False-Dawn||The Sinking Quarters||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|
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 does this, some of which cost resources. These option may also be useful if there are times during the day you can't beat the challenges.
- Explore the canals in a water-taxi (Morning) - provides Cryptic Clue for Assortment of Khaganian Coinage
- Purchase a box of lightbulbs - provides Khaganian Lightbulb for Assortment of Khaganian Coinage
- Supply Surface silk to a tailor's shop - Buy Assortment of Khaganian Coinage with Surface-Silk Scrap
- Commission the manufacture of a Crackling Device - Buy a Crackling Device with Assortment of Khaganian Coinage and Nevercold Brass Sliver
- Take a walk through the Khan's gardens - provides Romantic Notion
- Explore the canals in a water-taxi (Evening) - Buy Appalling Secret with Assortment of Khaganian Coinage
- Stroll into a bookshop - Buy various books with Assortment of Khaganian Coinage