Moulin Expeditions (Guide)
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This is the bare-bones skeleton of what will hopefully become a guide to the expeditions beyond the Cordon into the Wastelands of Moulin.
When you first get to Moulin, you'll be asked to retrieve the Wayward Historian, leading to a tutorial expedition. This requires no special preparation.
Before the Expedition
Before the expedition you will need to choose a route and a team.
Different routes will bring different rewards. Until you launch your expedition, you can freely change your mind about your choice of route.
The team members you choose affect how much loot you can carry and how much you get to keep. Each possible assistant charges a set percentage of loot and can carry a certain amount of supplies.
During a regular Expedition, you will expend Moulin Expedition Supplies to travel out into the Wastes, dig up a treasure, and spend more Supplies to travel out of the Wastes back to Moulin. The last part is important: you need to reserve enough Supplies for the trip back.
The main part of the Expedition uses University Laboratory mechanics: an infinite deck, with a fixed hand size of three cards. All of the cards fall into one of two general categories:
- Non-discardable. Playing these cards is the only way to make progress on an expedition.
- Discardable. They do not advance the Expedition, but may provide a benefit such as extra loot or Menace reduction. Most of them are situationally useful.
Obstacles may have several actions available, representing different ways to approach that obstacle. Usually one of the approaches requires a specific Assistant. Every approach to an obstacle consumes 2 or 3 Supplies, and moves you one distance in the direction you're traveling. Failing a challenge will only add Menaces, but you will still move forward (or backward) and the number of Supplies used will not change.
Opportunity cards will not make progress (except for FATE The Silk-Clad Expert). In some cases, they will let you expend Supplies. Most assistants add an opportunity card to your deck, with a unique bonus.
The Moulin: Distance Traversed quality represents how far into the Wastes you have travelled from Moulin. It will increment by 1 every time you play an Obstacle card, until you turn around. After you turn around, it will decrement by 1 every time you plan an Obstacle card. When it reaches 0, your Expedition is concluded and you handle the loot.
The normal way to turn is to Dig here!, which requires you to have traversed 4 Distance. You will be assigned a reward value proportional to your Distance Traversed, and gain a Moulin: Returning quality that represents a successful dig. You may also give up at any point and head back. Some non-standard Expeditions will have you turn around for different reasons.
The value of your Moulin: Returning quality represents your reason for heading back, and decides what happens when you return to Moulin, but has no effect on the Expedition itself. If present at any value, you are returning and playing Obstacles moves you closer to Moulin instead of further.
Running out of Supplies
If you run low on Supplies before returning to Moulin, a Storylet will appear giving you options for acquiring more at the cost of Menaces. It is not possible to acquire more Supplies if you are not returning to Moulin, thus the maximum distance an expedition can go before digging is determined by the Supplies you have when you set out, barring FATE The Silk-Clad Expert's Opportunity card. There are no options to progress except by acquiring more supplies. If your Menaces are in check, then this only costs additional actions to scrounge resources. If your Menaces get out of hand, then you may fail the Expedition.
Sorting Through Loot
When you Dig here!, you will be given the quality Wages of a Dig, which represents the total value in pennies of your Expedition findings. This value is locked-in when you dig for treasure, and will not be modified during the Expedition. Once you return to Moulin, your Wages will be reduced by a percentage equal to Assistants' Cut. Then you will receive rewards that total to the remaining Wages (aside from rounding).
The value of Wages of a Dig is calculated as:
- Moulin: Distance Traversed × 1 000 × 1.15 × (value between 0.95 and 1.05)
This formula can be explained as :
The factor of 1.15 is almost exactly canceled out by an Assistants' Cut of 13: 1.15 × 87% = 1.0005. If you hire your Assistants worth that "baseline" value, then you will earn 10 echoes per Distance on average. Different choices for Assistants will adjust your Wages accordingly. The RNG factor adds some variance, but should average to 1.00.
Your choice of A Route through the Moulin Waste will not affect the Wages value of the Expedition, only which form it will take. See the table below for a breakdown of how the different Routes convert Wages into loot.
If you were embarked on a non-standard Expedition, or turned around without digging, then you will not have any Wages to pay your Assistants. You will not be able to begin another Expedition until you resolve this stoppage (but are not blocked from anything else). Unless your Mithridacy your way out of paying anything, the cost of paying them off will be proportional to the outstanding Cut they were promised.
Without using Fate-locked assistants, the maximum amount of Supplies that an expedition can begin with is 32 (25 from Renegade Claw and either of Rubbery Porter or Bandaged Navigator, plus 7 from ( Para-Archaeologist at the cap of 10). Because there is no way to progress without supplies other than FATE The Silk-Clad Expert, this means that the maximum Moulin: Distance Traversed before digging (without needing to get more supplies on the way back) is 8. The outbound journey costs 14 supplies (since setting off gives 1 distance for free), the return journey costs 16 supplies, and there are 2 supplies left over which can be spend on playing any Lesser Finds which are drawn.
Travelling further than this should be avoided: each further point of distance costs 3 actions (one on the outbound journey, one when returning and one to gather more supplies) and only increases the payout by ~10 echoes, which is not efficient.
Not counting the action cost of Menaces (or any potential profit from Altered, Somehow), this expedition would take 20 actions (2 to hire assistants, 1 to begin, 7 to travel, 1 to dig, 8 to return and 1 to finish) for an average payout of 8 044 Wages of a Dig after the assistants take their cut (assuming you bring the Bandaged Navigator). Hiring these assistants costs 100 Pieces of Rostygold and 1 Knob of Scintillack (worth 3.5 echoes in total), so overall this works out to 4.02 EPA. If A Lesser Find is assumed to be drawn twice (since there are 2 spare supplies), the payout is increased by 15 on average and 2 more actions are spent (22 in total). In this case, it then works out to 4.34 EPA. Unfortunately, unless you choose (and have access to) the right assistants and equipment, the Menace action cost starts bringing that down - as does the fact that you won't always get two lesser finds in an expedition.
Alternatively, you could choose to play every A Lesser Find you draw and make up for the shortfall by gathering more supplies; this has the advantage of substantially increasing EPA, but does make the grind slightly more complicated.
Assembling a Team
Since A Lesser Find averages 7.5 for a single supply, ensuring that as many possible hands as possible have a 2-supply option in (it in order to ensure you can spend 2 supplies on 2 lesser finds) is a high priority. The Miniature Major-General unlocks a 3-supply option on a card with a 2-supply option, both the Bandaged Navigator and the Rubbery Porter open up 2-supply options on cards with 2-supply options and the Renegade Claw opens up a 2-supply option on a card which otherwise only has 2-supply options. Since the Porter and Navigator both carry the same number of supplies and the Navigator takes a smaller cut, the FATEless team of choice is Renegade Claw and Bandaged Navigator - provided you have a reasonably high Shapeling Arts for the check on A Snap-Gap, at least.
If you've managed to pick up a Transfixing Squirrel from Whitsun, then wear a piece of equipment that increases Kataleptic Toxicology for the check on A Quandary. Try to get as close to 10 Shapeling Arts as you can - A Turnip? and Amber Vision of the Sea of Spines should get you up to 9 if you've completed the Railway, and the last point you can get from either spending FATE, from Whitsun or (if you have a non-companion source of Kataleptic Toxicology to use) from one ending of Ambition: Light Fingers!. Apart from that, try and minimise Persuasive - the failure of Employ the help of your Cat's Claw raises Altered, Somehow and Disgruntlement among the Expedition, but the latter is very unlikely to get high enough to cause issues.
Now all your preparations are done, all that's left to do is choose the right cards on the expedition. If you have a Transfixing Squirrel and Shapeling Arts 10, then in order from best to worst the cards to play are A Lesser Find (provided you haven't played 2 already), A Snap-Gap, A Quandary, A Viric River and A Clatterwaul. If you don't have Shapeling Arts 10, A Snap-Gap drops to between A Viric River and A Clatterwaul. If you don't have a Transfixing Squirrel, then A Quandary leaves the list entirely and Clay Soil is tacked on at the end.
A simulation of 3.5 million expeditions using this method (with a Transfixing Squirrel and Kataleptic Toxicology 8, Shapeling Arts 9, Persuasive 225 and Wounds reduced using Sneak away from your wounds) gave an estimated EPA of 4.21. With Shapeling Arts 10, this becomes 4.28; decreasing Persuasive further would improve EPA, but not by a great deal. If you lack a Transfixing Squirrel, the EPA drops to 4.02 for Shapeling Arts 9, Shadowy 286, and 4.09 for Shapeling Arts 10.
The only current use for Altered, Somehow is to draw and use the card An Alteration. The card has Standard Frequency and appears in the Upper River when Altered, Somehow is at least 8. It has 5 options, one of which is Fate-locked.
Two of the options' main purposes are to boost your Watchful or Dangerous by a significant amount. Two of the others gain you items; one of these gives 12.988 worth of items at no extra cost, whilst the other gives more situationally useful items that are less quantifiable and +5CP Melancholy up to 14.
Finally, all options set Altered, Somehow to 0 and increase Number of Completed Alterations by 1 level.
All rewards from Expeditions can be used in the Archaeological Institute for writing Monographs, and symmetrically, all materials used in the Institute can be found in the Wastes.
After your Assistants have taken their cut, the sum of rewards from an Expedition into the Wastes will be worth 1 penny per remaining Wages of a Dig (aside from rounding), distributed across the different results. Most rewards from most expeditions can be sold at the Bazaar. Some rewards from expeditions unlocked later can also be sold at the Upper River Exchange for Hinterland Scrip, which increases their Echo value by 1.6% when exchanged for Tinned Ham. A Trace of the First City can only be used for writing Monographs, but can be assigned a value based on all other Monograph options consuming 12.50 echoes of material.
Breakdown of the reward composition of each Expedition. Unless otherwise noted, rewards can be sold for Echoes but not Hinterland Scrip.
- Campaign of '68
- One Unlawful Device @ 1250 Wages (sells for Scrip)
- The rest as Proscribed Material @ 4 Wages each
- Fallen Cities
- 1/4 as Trace of the First City @ 50 Wages each (monograph only)
- 1/4 as First City Coin @ 25 Wages each
- 1/4 as Relic of the Second City @ 15 Wages each
- 1/6 as Relic of the Third City @ 10 Wages each
- 1/12 as Relic of the Fourth City @ 5 Wages each
- Parabolan Artefacts
- 2/3 as Silvered Cat's Claw @ 10 Wages each
- 1/3 as Trace of Viric @ 50 Wages each (sells for Scrip)
- Across the Zee
- 1/2 as Rusted Stirrup @ 10 Wages each
- 1/4 as Silvered Cat's Claw @ 10 Wages each
- 1/4 as Nicatorean Relic @ 250 Wages each (sells for Scrip, and gives the most interesting Monograph text)
Table of Cards
|A Lesser Find||1 x Supplies||Luck: 50%||+50 x Silvered Cat's Claw||+20 x First City Coin|
|+3 x Nicatorean Relic||+1 x Unlawful Device|
|A Rubbery Trench||N/A||Luck: 50%||+3 x Withered Tentacle||+15 x Nodule of Warm Amber|
|1 x Supplies||N/A|| 1 x Unearthly Fossil
+1 CP Altered
|An Alternate Path||Bandaged Navigator||N/A|| +10 x Map Scrap
Discards current hand
|Complaints among the Expedition|| 1 x Supplies
1 x Sausage About Which No One Complains
|N/A||-6 CP Disgruntlement among the Expedition||N/A|
|Scrounged Goods||Miniature Major-General||Luck: 50%||+5 x Certifiable Scrap|| +5 x Silvered Cat's Claw|
+5 x Rusted Stirrup
|Your Wounds|| Rubbery Porter
|N/A|| -4 CP
(Rare Success: +1 CP )
|Your Nightmares|| Renegade Claw