# Parabolan War (Guide)

 This guide is incomplete. You can help by expanding it. What needs work: Sections containing cost-benefit analysis of running your train through an opposing army information on creating your Grand Parabolan Company

Waging War in Parabola is a significant amount of content, and will take some time to fully explore. This guide is currently an anemic skeleton, mostly serving as bait to get other editors to write something.

## Getting Started

A Storylet in your Parabolan Base-Camp will instruct you that War is available. You will need to level up your Parabolan Defences to continue. See Parabola (Guide) for how to achieve this. Once you have done this you will be directed to The Dolorous Pavilion and guided into a series of Tutorial storylets.

### Grand Parabolan Company

Assembling a Grand Parabolan Company is expensive, but only needs to be done once, not for each campaign. Your initial one will last as long as you want it to last. You may dissolve it and create a new one whenever you wish. You will need to upgrade Parabolan Armaments and Parabolan Infrastructure three times each, and make selections for which units to recruit for Infantry, Cavalry, and Artillery.

Your choices for which units to recruit are recorded in qualities, but have almost no mechanical impact. They will change the text of some options on the campaign trail, but not the availability, difficulty, or results. The primary gameplay effect for your choice of units, armaments, and infrastructure is to set initial values for Parabolan Oneironaut and Parabolan Cultivator, which has a minor impact on starting Morale. Both of these qualities will also advance over time as you complete campaigns, so the initial values are not so significant. Creating a new Company will reset both qualities.

### Parabolan Counsel

You begin with two choices of Advisor: The Viscountess of the Viric Jungle, and the Ophidian Gentleman. Your choice of Advisor will decide which Tutorial Campaign is available to you. They dispense advice, but have no other gameplay effects. You may freely change Advisors at any point, even while on campaign. Both Tutorial Campaigns will continue to be available permanently; your choice of initial Advisor determines which content you experience first, but you will not be locked out of anything.

Completing full-length campaigns will eventually unlock a third Advisor, unlocking an additional full-length campaign.

Your first campaign must be one of the two Tutorial Campaigns, depending on your current choice of Parabolan Counsel. These campaigns are shorter (three stages instead of five) and simpler (no London theater or General), but still offer proportional rewards to their length. These Campaigns will continue to be available later.

After completing your first Campaign, you will unlock the first two full-length campaigns, and the ability to grow Generals. You must complete full-length campaigns to mature your generals. After completing three campaigns, you will be approached by a third Advisor, who will give you access to another full-length campaign.

## Mechanics At a Glance

War in Parabola is a series of Campaigns. The initial preparations are to raise a Company, pick a Campaign, and choose a General. The meat (read: action-sink) of the campaign is five stages (three for the Tutorial campaigns), each of which requires substantial progress to complete. Narrative content occurs after each stage, and at the conclusion of all stages are rewards for your Campaign and General. After your campaign, you must clear Ravages of Parabolan Warfare before embarking on another.

Your exact choices of Parabolan Company are recorded in gameplay qualities, and effect the text of several options. The gameplay effects, if any, are not fully known.

### Parabolan Campaign

Your choice of which Campaign to wage will affect the narrative text in-between campaigns, the General, and the rewards and effect on Parabola. However, it will not have much effect on the mechanics of waging the campaign itself, except that the Tutorial campaigns have three stages instead of five.

Choosing a campaign does not initiate a campaign. It is possible to change your choice before you embark, if you wish to see different options for Generals or Advisor text.

There are several Generals, and they can be upgraded over the course of several campaigns. You may collect and upgrade all of the Generals at once, although only one may be leading your troops at any given point. They decrease the difficulties of some checks, and your choice of General can be altered mid-campaign among those available.

You gain access to the Generals by spending 3 Human Arms after completing a tutorial campaign. At first, Generals may only be used on Campaigns associated with their Power, and completing such a campaign you will have the opportunity to level up your General, raising Dangerous Gains provided it is already at least 12 and increasing the effect of the general. The first upgrade for each General unlocks a lab experiment that will allow the General to be used on any Campaign, as well as increasing their effect further.

### Stage of the War

Each stage of the war requires raising Advance! to 24. All Stages have options which raise this by one point per Action. Different Stages will also allow you to gain Campaign Morale while making progress, or let you spend items or Campaign Morale for faster progress. Some stages may optionally be fought in London instead of Parabola, which has broadly similar mechanics but different specific options. Failing stat challenges raises Ravages of Parabolan Warfare.

### Epilogue and Lasting Effects

After concluding your campaign, you will have the qualities Parabolan Dominance reflecting whose side you fought for, Stage of the War reflecting your final choice, and Ravages of Parabolan Warfare as a Menace from failed checks.

Content in Parabola (and London) may be unlocked by the Dominance or Stage of the War qualities. Content unlocked by Dominance will remain until changed by the conclusion of another campaign. This content is mostly located in the Dome of Scales and the Viric Jungle. Content unlocked by Stage of the War will lock out as soon as you begin another campaign. These options are usually an Epilogue representing lasting effects of your choices.

Ravages must be cleared before embarking on another campaign, and has minor gameplay effects in the rest of Parabola.

## On the Campaign Trail

There are five Campaign Stages, which are shared by all Campaigns (although the tutorial campaigns only use the first three).

The second and fourth stages can optionally be fought from London instead of Parabola. You may shift the campaign to London at any point, and retain Advance! if you do. You may not shift combat back to Parabola until you have concluded that Stage.

During each Stage, the Advance! progress quality begins at 0, and must be brought to 24 to complete the Stage. You may also accumulate or spend Campaign Morale, which carries between Stages. Failures usually generate Ravages of Parabolan Warfare, which is a Menace. It does not affect your current campaign, but must be cleared before starting a new one, and has some effects elsewhere in Parabola.

### Action Types

Each stage has a unique set of actions available. Most actions fall into a number of common categories, although the variations are still considerable and there are exceptions. These categorizations are an attempt to map Parabola, with all of the attending caveats.

Progress Safely
These options are the slowest, but the least-risky and usually the least-costly. They are characterized by having easy skill checks (150 or lower), and generating Advance! even on failure.
In the first two Stages (and the London theater of Stage 4), they have no cost above the action and produce 1 x Advance!. In later stages, they cost a 2.50 item and produce 2 x Advance!.
Progress Quickly
These actions can potentially produce faster progress, but are more risky and costly. They have higher skill checks of 250 (reducible with Generals), and cost items worth 3 or more, which are often lost even on failure. Success produces 3 x Advance!, while failure produces 2 x Ravages.
Some actions in this group produce Ravages on success instead of costing items. Actions in the final Stage cost items worth 4 and produce 4 x Advance! on success.
Airs Options
As their name implies, these options depend on Airs of the Parabolan War and each of them is only available 30% of the time. These actions share several features: A base difficulty of 250 (reduced by Generals), successes giving 3 x Advance! and items worth 1.00, and failures giving 3 x Ravages.
Skills Options
These options are characterized by testing against Advanced Skills instead of the Primary Skills. They are somewhat expensive, but do **not** generate Ravages on failure. In general, the challenges have a difficulty of 6, generate 2 x Advance! on success, and cost items worth 1.50 on both success and failure.
Morale Options
There is less variability among these options. Options that generate Morale are usually a Dangerous challenge with difficulty of 175 which produce 1 x Advance! and 1 x Campaign Morale on success and 2 x Ravages on failure. Options that use morale exchange 5 x Campaign Morale for 5 x Advance! with a trivial challenge.

#### Action Type Comparisons

This is a high-level summary of the different action types. Actions that cost items will be compared based on their echo cost, for convenience and easier comparison. A grinding guide should go into more detail about sourcing those items, but this is merely meant to compare whether the faster or slower approach is generally preferable.

Ravages of Parabolan Warfare can be cleared at a rate of 2 levels for 1 action and an item costing 2.50. For simplicity we shall approximate that 1 Ravages = 1 Action. When calculating the Advance! per action, Ravages will be counted as increasing the Action cost, i.e. they will increase the denominator.

Early Safe Progress options gain Advance! reliably at 1 x Advance! per action, with negligible chance of failure. Later options gain 2 Advance! at the cost of 1 action and 2.50 of items. Assuming the items can be obtained at 1 per action, this gives the same rate of 1 per action. Better sources might improve this, but not significantly--if items can be obtained at an unrealistic 5.00 EPA, that would improve to 1.5 Advance per action.

Actions that use Campaign Morale also have negligible chance of failure (except in London without an appropriate General). Options that Gain Morale universally spend 1 action to gain 1 x Advance! and 1 x Morale, while options that Spend Morale generally spend 1 action and 5 x Morale to gain 5 x Advance!. Give gain actions and one spend action will therefore generate 1.67 x Advance! per action, a significant improvement over Safe Progress.

Before the last stage, Fast Progress options spend items to gain 3 x Advance! on success, while accruing 1 x Ravages and a smaller item cost on failure (1/3 to 1/2). The item cost can be incorporated as the number of actions it takes to obtain the items in question. For an item cost of c actions and a success rate of s, the Advance! per action is given by the formula below. The numerator is simply the average Advance per attempt. The denominator is the sum of the actions required: 1 action for the attempt, plus a c-term for actions for the items consumed[1], plus an s-term term for the actions required to clear Ravages afterwards.

${\displaystyle A={\frac {3\times s}{1+c+(1-s)}}}$

The value of A in this formula is is very sensitive to c, and somewhat sensitive to s. With unrealistically optimistic values of c = 0.5 and s = 1.00 (which requires modified stats over 340), the maximum is 2.00 x Advance! per action. More realistically, an endgame-equipped player with 300 stats would have a success rate s = 72% against a base difficulty of 250, improved to s = 87% with a max-level general, giving 1.75 to 1.88 Advance per action, a slight improvement over Morale-based options. At these same success rates, if c is estimated at 1.00, these options give 1.40 to 1.45 Advance per Action, not as good as Morale-options. Overall, the efficiency of these options strongly depends on how you obtain the items they consume.

Airs-Dependent Options give 4 x Advance! on success, and 1 x Ravages of Parabolan Warfare on failure. For a sucess chance of s, the expected Advance per attempt is 4s, and the expected actions is the sum of 1 action for the attempt plus 1-s from Ravages. The formula for Advance per Action is given below:

${\displaystyle A={\frac {4\times s}{2-s}}}$

Our hypothetical endgame-equipped character with a stat of 300 would gain 2.25 x Advance! per action taking actions with the base difficulty of 250, and 3.08 Advance! per action taking actions where a General has reduced the difficulty to 205, a substantial improvement over Morale options. This calculation is extremely sensitive to s, as it appears in both the numerator and denominator.

Options using Advanced Skills do not accrue Ravages on failure, but merely cost 1.50 of materials on success or failure. As before, these items can be accounted for by the number of actions to acquire them. Treating these as worth half of an action each, they have an expected result of ${\displaystyle A=(2/1.5)s}$. Even with a 100% chance of success (which is fairly accessible), this caps out at only 1.33 x Advance! per action, a poor return compared to Morale-based options.

In summary, Morale Options are usually superior to other forms of making progress. Situationally, Airs-Dependent options can be better, for exceptionally well-geared players and when using a matching General.

1. Because fewer items are consumed on failure, this term is more accurately represented by the expression below. Replacing this whole expression with c is pessimistic, but gets more accurate as s approaches 1. The expression assumes item costs are reduced by half on failure.
${\displaystyle c\times s+{\frac {c}{2}}\times (1-s)=c{\frac {s+1}{2}}}$

### Stages

Stage Safe Progress Fast Progress Airs Skill Morale
1: Wastes of Want Rally your army
( , Snake)
Scout the way
( , Cat)
Phantasies
( , Chess)
Forgotten trenches
( , -)
Glasswhispery [stages 1]
Glasswork
Host a hunt
( , Gain Morale)
2: Hanging Mountains Raid from the sky
( , Cat)
Gather Flowers [stages 2]
( , Snake)
False fruit
( , Chess)
Deploy allegiances
( A Player of Chess)
Toxify the waters
( Kataleptic Toxicology)
Hold a feast
( , Gain Morale)
2: War from Home ( London) Deploy reinforcements
( , -)
Provide a distraction
( , Cat)
Boost the spirits
( , Snake)
Bathtub experiment
( Kataleptic Toxicology)
Spy on cats
( , Gain Morale, Cat) [stages 3]
Artistic support
( , Spend Morale, Snake)
3: Writhing River Delegate to yourself
( , Snake)
Poisoned Oracle
( , Cat)
Grow Mounts
( , Chess)
Ancient passages
( , -)
Naval assault
( , Gain Morale)
The Wanting-Way
( , Spend Morale, 1 extra advance)
4: Smoking Shore Petition Cats
( , Snake) [stages 4]
Siege a Spinney
( , -)
( , Chess)
Column of Ash [stages 5]
( , Snake)
Disseminate Falsehood
( Mithridacy)
Enjoy a respite
( , Gain Morale)
Cavalry charge
( , Spend Morale)
4: Mirrorpane ( London) Night watch
( , Chess)
Crime-spree
( , Cat)
Dr Schlomo
( , Snake)
Infiltrate dreams
( Glasswork)
Public health
( , Gain Morale, Snake) [stages 6]
( , Spend Morale)
5: Castle of Forests Pray
( , Snake)
Terror-Bird [stages 7]
( , Chess)
Ignite the Forests [stages 7]
( , -)
Sear the Castle
( Glasswork)
Liberate the dungeous
( , Gain Morale)
( , Spend Morale)
1. Silverer only
2. Gains Ravages of Parabolan Warfare on success in lieu of costing items. Easier challenge than usual (Broad, 150).
3. Harder than other Gain Morale options (Broad 200).
4. Harder than other Safe Progress options.
5. Gains Ravages of Parabolan Warfare on success in lieu of costing items.
6. Compared to other Gain Morale options, has a higher base difficulty of 200, and tests against Persuasive instead of Dangerous.
7. Compared to other Fast Progress options, this costs materials worth 4 and grants 4 x Advance! on success.

Wastes of Want Type Challenge Success Failure [Expand]
Rally your army onward Safe Progress Persuasive 150
Snake General
1 x Ravages
Cat General
1 x Ravages
Deploy Counter-Factual Phantasies Airs Watchful 250
Chess General
4 x Advance! 1 x Ravages
Host a hunt Gain Morale Dangerous 175 1 x Advance!
1 x Morale
2 x Ravages
Employ the arts of Glasswhispery
( Silverer only)
-3 x Moves in the Great Game
+3 CP Nightmares
-1 x Moves in the Great Game
The Hanging Mountains Type Challenge Success Failure [Expand]
Cat General
1 x Ravages
Gather the Flowers of Nevermore Fast Progress Persuasive 150
Snake General
2? x Ravages
2 x Ravages
Lure the (enemies) with false fruit Fast Progress Watchful 250
Chess General
-6 x Solacefruit
1 x Ravages
-3 x Solacefruit
Deploy a whirlwind of allegiances Advanced Skill A Player of Chess 6 2 x Advance!
-3 x Well-Placed Pawn
-1 x Moves in the Great Game
-1 x Well-Placed Pawn
Toxify the waters of the (enemies) Advanced Skill Kataleptic Toxicology 6 2 x Advance!
-3 x Deep-zee Catch
-1 x Deep-zee Catch
Hold a feast Gain Morale Dangerous 175 1 x Advance!
1 x Morale
2 x Ravages
The War from Home Type Challenge Success Failure [Expand]
Deploy reinforcements Safe Progress Dangerous 150 1 x Advance! 1 x Advance!
1 x Ravages
Provide a distraction Safe Progress Shadowy 150
Cat General
1 x Ravages
Boost the spirits of your Company Airs Persuasive 250
Snake General
4 x Advance! 1 x Ravages
Spy on the movement of cats Gain Morale Shadowy 200
Cat General
1 x Morale
2 x Ravages
Inspire artistic support Spend Morale Persuasive 90 5 x Advance!
-5 x Morale
-5 x Morale
The Writhing River Type Challenge Success Failure [Expand]
Delegate to yourself Safe Progress Persuasive 150
Snake General
-1 x Memory of a Much Lesser Self
1 x Mirror-Fed
-1 x Memory of a Much Lesser Self
1 x Ravages
Consult a Poisoned Oracle Safe Progress Shadowy 150
Cat General
-1 x Glass Gazette
-1 x Glass Gazette
1 x Ravages
Grow mounts to speed your passage Fast Progress Watchful 250
Chess General
-6 x Royal-Blue Feather
1 x Ravages
-2 x Royal-Blue Feather
Illuminate ancient passages Fast Progress Dangerous 250 3 x Advance!
-3 x Memory of Light
1 x Ravages
-1 x Memory of Light
Launch a naval assault Gain Morale Dangerous 175 1 x Advance!
1 x Morale
2 x Ravages
Sail the Wanting-Way Spend Morale Dangerous 90 6 x Advance!
-5 x Morale
-? x Morale
The Smoking Shore Type Challenge Success Failure [Expand]
Petition Long-Dead Cats Safe Progress Watchful 250
Snake General
-25 x Silvered Cat's Claw
-25 x Silvered Cat's Claw
1 x Ravages
Consult a Column of Searing Ash Airs Persuasive 250
Snake General
1 x Ravages
2 x Ravages
Siege an Insidious Spinney Airs Dangerous 250 4 x Advance! 1 x Ravages
2 x Solacefruit
Dream your way past the (enemies) Airs Watchful 250
Chess General
4 x Advance! 1 x Ravages
2 x Trace of Viric
-3 x Palimpsest Scrap
-3? x Palimpsest Scrap
Enjoy a respite Gain Morale Dangerous 175 1 x Advance!
1 x Morale
2 x Ravages
Mount a cavalry charge Spend Morale Watchful 90 5 x Advance!
-5 x Morale
-? x Morale
Shadows on the Mirrorpane Type Challenge Success Failure [Expand]
Establish a night watch Safe Progress Watchful 150
Chess General
-1 x London Street Sign
-1 x London Street Sign
1 x Ravages
Embark upon a crime-spree Airs Shadowy 250
Cat General
4 x Advance! 3 x Ravages
Call on Dr Schlomo's assistance Airs Persuasive 250
Snake General
4 x Advance! 1 x Ravages
-3 x Memory of Light
-3? x Memory of Light
Initiate a campaign of public health Gain Morale Persuasive 200
Snake General
1 x Morale
3 x Ravages
-5 x Morale
-5 x Morale
The Castle of Forests Type Challenge Success Failure [Expand]
Pray Safe Progress Persuasive 150
Snake General
-1 x Apostate's Psalm
1 x Ravages
Summon a Terror-Bird Fast Progress Watchful 250
Chess General
-3 x Memory of Light
-1 x Wing of a Young Terror Bird
1 x Ravages
-1 x Memory of Light
-1 x Wing of a Young Terror Bird
Ignite the Chorus of Forests Fast Progress Dangerous 250 4 x Advance!
-3 x Correspondence Plaque
-1 x Glass Gazette
1 x Ravages
-1 x Correspondence Plaque
-1 x Glass Gazette
Sear the Castle with Viric Advanced Skill Glasswork 6 2 x Advance!
-3 x Trace of Viric
-3? x Trace of Viric
Liberate the dungeons of the Castle Gain Morale Dangerous 175 1 x Advance!
1 x Morale
2 x Ravages
Assault the Citadel of Vineyards Spend Morale Watchful 90 5 x Advance!
-5 x Morale
-? x Morale

### Morale

Morale is gained at the beginning of each campaign based on your level of Parabolan Commander, with a maximum of 9 Morale, plus 1 if your ethos is aligned with who you're campaigning for - i.e. if you have Parabolan Cultivator> Parabolan Oneironaut for Cats, Parabolan Oneironaut> Parabolan Cultivator for Fingerkings or the two qualities equal for the Chessboard. It is also gained, along with one Advance!, on certain options (e.g. Host a hunt, Hold a feast), but it is not possible to have more than 16 at any time. It can be traded with various options at a rate of 5 morale (and one action on a relatively easy stat roll) for 5 Advance! (except when Along the Writhing River, where it is 5 morale for 6 advance). Effectively, this means that with the morale options, you are spending 6 actions for 10 (or 11) Advance!, assuming no failures. These options also don't cost items. However, failing them will add 2 Ravages of Parabolan Warfare, which have to be removed by either spending actions and items, or waiting for Time, the Healer.

If your probability of succeeding at a morale option is p, then on average doing it will net you p Advance!, p Morale and 2(1-p) Ravages, requiring 1-p actions and materials worth 2(1-p) to clear. So accumulating 5 Morale and then spending it will on average take 5(2-p)+1 actions and 10(1-p) of materials to gain 10 (or 11) Advance!. For example, if your chance of success is 100%, you'll use 6 actions for 10 (or 11) Advance!, whereas a 50% chance will take about 8.5 actions and 5 for 10 (or 11) Advance!.

### Choo chooooo!

If you are in the middle of a campaign when you convene a Board Meeting of the Great Hellbound Railway, you may have an option to use your trains for war. This requires having built track to Balmoral, and potentially building a Spur Line depending on your choices there. This board action will automatically complete the Stage you are on (sets Advance! to 24) and gives 8 x Ravages of Parabolan Warfare.

Depending on the number of Board members you have, deploying a train can provide Advance! far more efficiently than any other option, if you discount the Ravages of Parabolan Warfare. Time, the Healer reduces the latter by 10 each week and allows you to send another train, so the following strategy can be used to maximize the benefit:

1. Prosecute the war using non-train methods until you possess at least 2 x Ravages of Parabolan Warfare (or exactly 2 if you are on the final stage) and exactly 0 x Advance!.
2. Begin a Board meeting (after any other Board-related preparation) and deploy a train before concluding.
3. Await Time, the Healer.

This may be repeated indefinitely for maximum value.

## Reference Material

### Composing a Grand Parabolan Company

Name Cost Cultivator/Oneironaut
Infantry (1)
The Wakeful Gentlemen -
The Satrap-Saints 3 x Favours: Fingerkings
The Pax Homines 15 Having Recurring Dreams: A Game of Chess
Cavalry (1)
The Company of the Exiled Rose A Vial of Queenly Attar
The Peace of October -
The Pale League of Irem -
The 77th Queen's Own Hussars 1 x Flask of Waswood Wellspring Water
The Order Speculorum Glasswork 7
Munitions (3)
Words, Broken 1 x Memory of Discordance
The force of law 1 x Legal Document
The Spectre of Decay 1 x Thorned Ribcage
An Antiphonal of Doubter's Hymns 1 x Verse of Counter-Creed
A Vision of Peace 1 x Crystallised Euphoria
Muster the Workers' Dreams 5 x Strong-Backed Labour
Logistics (3)
Sew a crop of Flourishing Aurochs 1 x Horned Skull
Reorient Parabola 3 x Vienna Opening
2 x Memory of a Much Lesser Self
Summon dreams past 5 x Memory of a Much Lesser Self , +1 x Mirror-Fed
Kindle a dream of pigs 1 x Sausage About Which No One Complains
Draw upon Parabola's bounty 3 x Crate of Biscuits
2 x Tin of Zzoup
1 x Parabolan Orange-apple
Build a Parabolan waterway 1 x Cellar of Wine

### Rewards

Parabolan Campaign Stages Rewards Leaning Other effects
Cats 5 1 x Parabolan Parable 3 x  Dominance 3
1 x Ray-Drenched Cinder 3 x
Fingerkings 1 x Parabolan Parable 3 x  Dominance 1
1 x Edicts of the First City 3 x
The Chessboard 1 x Parabolan Parable 1 x  Dominance 4
1 x Waswood Almanac 1 x
Yourself 1 x Concentrate of Self 3 x
1 x Waswood Almanac 3 x
The Viscountess 3 3 x Night-Whisper 1 x
3 x Stalemate 1 x
The Ophidian Gentleman 3 x Night-Whisper 1 x
3 x False Hagiotoponym 1 x