Moulin Expeditions (Guide)

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Moulin Expeditions are a repeatable carousel located in Moulin, once you have built a station there. After some introductory storylets and a tutorial expedition, you are ready to hold expeditions Beyond the Cordon into the Wastelands of Moulin.

Beyond the Cordon[edit]

Beyond the Cordon is the story that marks your progress towards unlocking Expeditions. This short story ends with the player paying a payment, one of the following:

Basic Mechanics[edit]

Before the Expedition[edit]

Before the expedition you will need to choose a route and a team.

Different routes will bring different rewards and until you launch your expedition, you can freely change your mind about your choice of route. For an overview of these rewards, look at the reward section below.

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.

Making Progress[edit]

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:

Obstacles
Non-discardable. Playing these cards is the only way to make progress on an expedition.
Opportunities
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 also 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.

Turning Around[edit]

The Moulin: Distance Traversed quality represents how far into the Wastes you have travelled from Moulin. It will increase by 1 every time you play an Obstacle card, until you turn around. After you turn around, it will decrease by 1 every time you play 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[edit]

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, namely of Wounds or Disgruntlement among the Expedition. 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[edit]

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 0.96 and 1.05)

This formula can be explained as :

( Distance Traversed) × (E 10 per distance) × (Balance out Assistants' Cut) × (RNG)

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 1.005 over time.

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 situation (but are not blocked from anything else). Unless you Mithridacy your way out of paying anything, the cost of paying them off will be proportional to the outstanding Cut they were promised.

Strategy[edit]

Some options to progress your Expedition cost 2 x Supplies, and some of them cost 3 x Supplies. The single most important aspect of preparing for your Expedition is ensuring that you always have a 2-costed option, and are never forced to play a 3-costed option. Saving supplies allows for longer expeditions, and more opportunities to play A Lesser Find. There are six obstacle cards, so you need to unlock options on four of them to guarantee that one will always be available.

Obstacle Card Automatic Pass Skill Challenge Stat Challenge
A Clatterwaul Bandaged Navigator - Watchful
A Quandary Tabitha Murgatroyd Transfixing Squirrel ( KT 8 to 100%) -
A Snap-Gap Rubbery Porter Shapeling Arts (10 to 100%) -
A Viric River Silk-Clad Expert - Renegade Claw ( Persuasive)
Movement? - - Dangerous
Clay Soil - - Shadowy

The most useful attributes to have are Shapeling Arts 10, and Kataleptic Toxicology 8 with a Transfixing Squirrel from WHITSUN. Having both of these will enable guaranteed successes on 2-costed actions, without affecting your Expedition Team composition. Almost all Expeditions will have either Renegade Claw, who carries the most supplies of any non-FATE Assistant, or the FATE-locked Silk-Clad Expert.

It is possible to achieve 100% success rate on Skill challenges, but not challenges against primary Stats. Failures do not cost additional supplies, but they do accrue Menaces, making them less desirable than Automatic or Skill options. Removing Stat checks entirely is not possible except with a very odd team composition, but you should minimize the number of Stat options you need to rely on.

Gearing Up[edit]

You cannot change outfits while on an expedition.

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 other sources. 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.

If you don't have a Transfixing Squirrel, you'll want to maximise Shapeling Arts and Shadowy.

Playing the Expedition[edit]

Depending on the number of Supplies that you started with, there will be a fixed number of times that you can play A Lesser Find. Always play this card first, until you have played it the maximum number of times for your Expedition.

Prefer Obstacle cards that you can automatically pass before Stat options (or Skill options you cannot guarantee success). The fallible option with the "best" failure is Employ the help of your Cat's Claw, because it grants Altered, Somehow on failure. Other fallible options are lowest priority. Once you have enough Altered, Somehow to draw An Alteration after your Expedition, cash it out via Something Nacreous.

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.

If instead you play all your lesser finds, these figures become 4.49 (with Disgruntlement among the Expedition reaching 5 in 15 out of 1 million simulations), 4.56, 4.31 (3 disgruntlements) and 4.37.

Profit Analysis[edit]

Without using Fate-locked assistants, the maximum amount of Supplies that an expedition can begin with is 32 (25 from assistants, plus 7 from Para-Archaeologist at the cap). With this many supplies, the maximum Moulin: Distance Traversed without digging for supplies is 8 (starting at distance 1, traveling 7 distance out and 8 back at 2 supplies each). 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. There will be 2 supplies left over which can be spent on playing A Lesser Find.

Not counting Menaces or 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 E 3.50 of goods, so overall this works out to 3.85 EPA. If A Lesser Find is used twice on the 2 extra supplies, the payout is increased by 15E on average and 2 more actions are spent (22 in total), bringing the payout to 4.18 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.

Access to FATE-locked team members will change the payouts. Tabitha does not change the overall strategy, but just allow for longer Expeditions. Optimal play for the Silk-Clad Expert is difficult to model, because her unique card advances distance without costing supplies. Her card should be drawn once every 12 cards; for the table below, we shall round that to twice per expedition. The saved supplies can be used to travel further into the wastes, or to excavate A Lesser Find more often. Outcomes for both strategies are show below, with digging also separated by how many Lesser Finds you think is reasonable to draw on a single Expedition.

The table assumes your Para-Archaeologist is 10, thus giving you an extra 7 supplies.

Assistants Expedition Summary Income & Expenditures EPA
4.18 EPA
4.33 EPA
4.34 EPA
4.04 EPA
4.38 EPA
4.49 EPA
4.18 EPA
4.51 EPA
4.62 EPA

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.

Expeditions to the Wellspring[edit]

Once you reach Para-Archaeologist 8, a new expedition is unlocked to The Wellspring of the Waste. This Expedition has slightly different mechanics and will not get you a direct reward, however there are some special rewards that may be available once you reach The Wellspring of Moulin.

The first time you visit your Para-Archaeologist increases to 10 and you get some extra items. On all visits you will get the following:

Flask of Waswood Wellspring Water can be exchanged for 13 E worth of items or to find Hiding Place of a Peculiar Item, which subsequently can be used in heists to gain 87.5 E worth of items (110 E with rat market).

Once you've reached your destination and gained your rewards, you may choose to leave the same way as you came, or alternatively leave through Parabola. Doing the latter also gives you The Mirror's Hunger 2 (or 1 for Silverers). This will get you an opportunity card, which will either cost a lot of Memory of Light, Wounds, Nightmares or Watchful.

Strategy[edit]

As you only need to reach Distance 6, you won't need much supplies. You will also want to reduce your costs as much as possible, because these costs will still have to be paid some way or another. It is recommended to have the Major-General and the Bandaged Navigator, as these should get you enough supplies.

Actions overview:

  • 11 action to reach the Well, claim the weekly reward and the flasks

Either:

  • 8 actions to return to Moulin and pay your assistants at the end

or

  • 4 actions to deal with the mirror (menace reduction not included) and pay your assistants at the end

In addition each expedition costs 100 Piece of Rostygold to recruit the Navigator and possibly 10 to pay your debts. It takes 18 actions to complete the cycle without the weekly reward and 19 with the weekly reward, in addition to ~6 E worth of expenses. This can be translated to roughly 5 actions per flask. Exchanging these directly for 13 E therefore gives an EPA around 2.2, which is a lot worse than other expeditions at this point.

Using the flasks for heists (assuming 5 actions for each flask)

  • 5 actions to convert flasks into hiding places
  • 4 actions for Parabolan Casing...
  • 1 action for entering Parabola
  • 3 actions to prepare for the heist
  • 6 actions to complete the heist
  • 1 action to convert items to rat shillings

Gives an approximate EPA of around 4.4 without the weekly bonus.

Other Notes[edit]

Altered, Somehow[edit]

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 E 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.

Reference Material[edit]

Rewards[edit]

All rewards from Expeditions can be used in the Archaeological Institute for writing Monographs. See Writing a Monograph (Guide) for a guide to these.

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 almost only be used for writing Monographs, but can be assigned a value based on all other Monograph options consuming E 12.50 echoes of material. (The other use is Study the Prelapsarian history of the Red Science).

Reward Table
Expedition Reward Fraction of Reward Division factor for wages Currencies Monograph
Campaign of '68 Unlawful Device Always one 1250  E , , Ironic
Proscribed Material Remainder wages E Cautionary[1]
Fallen Cities Trace of the First City 1/4 50  N/A Cautionary
First City Coin 1/4 25  E Tragic
Relic of the Second City 1/4 15  E Cautionary
Relic of the Third City 1/6 10  E Tragic
Relic of the Fourth City 1/12 E Cautionary
Parabolan Artefacts Silvered Cat's Claw 2/3 10  E Ironic
Trace of Viric 1/3 50  E , Ironic
Across the Zee Rusted Stirrup 1/2 10  E Cautionary
Silvered Cat's Claw 1/4 10  E Ironic
Nicatorean Relic 1/4 250  E , Ironic
The Wellspring Special
  1. Used together with Palimpsest Scrap


Card Tables[edit]

Obstacle Cards
Card Options Requirements/Cost Challenge Success Failure
A Clatterwaul Identify a route through it 2 x Supplies 220 N/A +4 CP 
Rely on your Bandaged Navigator 2 x Supplies
Bandaged Navigator
N/A N/A N/A
A Quandary You Will Find Yourself on the Other Side 3 x Supplies 200 +1 CP Altered +3 CP 
+3 CP Altered
+3 CP 
Disgruntlement
She Will Have Been Prepared For Such An Eventuality 2 x Supplies
Tabitha (FATE)
N/A N/A N/A
You Will Rely on Your Transfixing Squirrel 2 x Supplies
Transfixing Squirrel
4 +1 CP Altered +3 CP 
A Snap-Gap Go around 3 x Supplies N/A N/A N/A
Slither Through 2 x Supplies 6 +1 CP Altered +1 CP Altered
+3 CP 
+3 CP 
Disgruntlement
Employ the help of your Rubbery Porter 2 x Supplies
Rubbery Porter
N/A +1 CP Altered N/A
A Viric River Ford the River 3 x Supplies N/A +3 CP 
Disgruntlement

+4 CP Altered
N/A
Dream your way across 3 x Supplies
1 x Drop of Prisoner's Honey
6 N/A +2? CP 
Employ the help of your Cat's Claw 2 x Supplies
Renegade Claw
180 N/A +1 CP Altered
+1 CP 
Disgruntlement
Employ the help of the Silk-Clad Expert 2 x Supplies
Silk-Clad Expert (FATE)
N/A N/A N/A
Movement? Sorrow-Spiders, of course 2 x Supplies 200 +1 CP 
Disgruntlement
+2 CP 
+3 CP 
Disgruntlement
A coordinated assault! 3 x Supplies
Miniature Major-General
N/A N/A N/A
Clay Soil Go around 3 x Supplies N/A N/A N/A
Go through (Clay Soil) 2 x Supplies 220 N/A +2-4 CP 
Discardable Cards
Card Requirements/Cost Challenge Success Failure
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 
+1 CP Altered
N/A
An Alternate Path Bandaged Navigator N/A +10 x Map Scrap
Discards current hand
N/A
Complaints among the Expedition 1 x Supplies
Disgruntlement 6
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
3
N/A -4 CP 
(Rare Success: +1 CP )
N/A
Your Nightmares Renegade Claw
3
N/A -4 CP  N/A

Table of Assistants[edit]

Table of Assistants
Assistant Supplies & Cut Obstacle Card Bonus Card
Miniature Major-General 5 x Supplies
5 x Assistants' Cut
Movement?
Spend extra Supplies to avoid Disgruntlement
Scrounged Goods
Worth E 1.75 on average
Bandaged Navigator 10 x Supplies
5 x Assistants' Cut
A Clatterwaul
Skip Watchful challenge
An Alternate Path
Discard your hand
Rubbery Porter 10 x Supplies
7 x Assistants' Cut
A Snap-Gap
Skip Shapeling Arts challenge
Your Wounds
-4 CP Wounds
Renegade Claw 15 x Supplies
8 x Assistants' Cut
A Viric River
Save Supplies, but add Persuasive challenge
Your Nightmares
-4 CP Nightmares
Tabitha (FATE) 15 x Supplies
7 x Assistants' Cut
A Quandary
Save Supplies and skip a Persuasive challenge
Pay 3 x Assistants' Cut to receive 5 x Moulin Expedition Supplies (storylet, not card)
Silk-Clad Expert (FATE) 15 x Supplies
9 x Assistants' Cut
A Viric River
Save Supplies and skip a Glasswork challenge
Glasswork challenge (100% on level 7), consumes 1 x Drop of Prisoner's Honey and increases/reduces Distance Traversed by 1 (depending on if Moulin: Returning is present)