Before leaving consider that while in Polythreme:
- you cannot access the Bazaar
- you cannot use item from your inventory except changing gear
- you cannot send, get or answer social actions
- you cannot reduce menaces (if one rises to 8 you will feel the consequences the second you get back to London)
- you cannot gain second chances
Here is a spoiler free list of items that you might want to acquire before heading out to avoid leaving Polythreme not having done what you came for. Continue reading the guide to find out what they are for if you will.
- Screaming Map (!)
- Mysteries of the Elder Continent
- Volume of Collated Research
- Battered Grey Overcoat
- Exceptional Hat
- The Jack-of-Smiles Case 10
- Ambition: Heart's Desire! 13
- Bottle of Fourth City Airag: Year of the Tortoise
Getting to Polythreme
There are two ways to reach the Polythreme Streets:
- The first is to buy a ticket on the tramp steamer at Wolfstack Docks using 150 Map Scraps. Then build your Approaching Journey's End quality to 9, using the various cards and storylets aboard the Tramp Steamer. Once it is at 9, the There at last! storylet will open up. Selecting Polythreme there will place you in the Polythreme Streets.
- The second method requires a ship of your own (check the PoSI Item Crafting guide to see how to get one) and an assembled Screaming Map. Put to Zee! at Wolfstack Docks and enter The Broad Unterzee with its own cards. Raise Approaching Journey's End to 7, then select The Sea of Voices to move on. Again, this Sea has its own cards. Complete another journey and once Across the Sea of Voices, pick Polythreme in order to finally arrive at Polythreme Streets.
There are a handful of storylines to follow:
- The Jack-of-Smiles Case winds through Polythreme.
- Ambition: Heart's Desire! requires a visit to Polythreme.
- Turn an Exceptional Hat into an Unfinished Hat by learning about Unfinished Men via An Unfinished Story.
- Turn a Battered Grey Overcoat into a Moderately Co-operative Clothes Colony at The Clothes-Colony.
- Do A Little Spy Work, adding Fractious Furniture to the opportunity card deck.
- Take A Guided Tour of Polythreme, adding The Zailors at Polythreme's Harbour to the opportunity card deck.
Basic Mechanics and Actions
Leaving the Island
|Make off with a box of silks||Dangerous 80||+8 x Surface-Silk Scrap||1 CP Suspicion|
|Observe the camaraderie of objects||Watchful 80||+8 x Romantic Notion||1 CP Nightmares|
|Soft to the touch||Persuasive 120||+12 x Surface-Silk Scrap||1 CP Scandal|
|Lurk in the eaves||Shadowy 120||+12 Romantic Notion||-|
Unnatural Exuberance Carousel
To access or advance any of the Polythreme Story Lines you need to complete a 12 action carousel consisting of Beginning your Polythremic Promenade (giving you 11 Unnatural Exuberance (UE), 10 actions reducing these to 1 while changing your F/ I and a last action to collect rewards or advance a story.
Raising Fascinating... and Investigating...
- Buy F/ I at Paying Your Way. Here you can pay to dependably raise Fascinating... or Investigating... by 10 CP. All options are 50/50 Luck challenges that, if successful, will raise the other quality by 10 CP also. Note that you can get most of the items needed on the One Might Profit Even in Such a Place storylet, which doesn't cost UE.
- You can exchange Fascinating... for Investigating... (A Clay Man of Wealth and Influence) or vice versa (Robes and Belts and Masks And Mantles) as soon as you have a single (!) CP of one of them. This costs up to 10 CP of the undesired quality and gain 12 or 8 CP on the other side (50/50).
- The entire opportunity card deck consists of F/ I changing actions, most of them Luck-based (see Opportunity Cards Overview). Note that you can add/remove the Fractious Furniture and The Zailors at Polythreme's Harbour cards to/from the deck by starting/finishing the A Little Spy Work and A Guided Tour of Polythreme stories. Since the opportunity card deck in Polythreme is only between 6 and 8 cards thick this makes a great difference. So think about your stats and what you want to do before adding these to the deck.
Paying Your Way
It's extremely difficult to get Investigating... up to 12 by using cards only, so it's best to use Paying Your Way a few times at the beginning before resorting to cards (as the cost of Paying Your Way) increases as Unnatural Exuberance decreases.
If this results in also receiving extra of the quality that you don't want, see above for swapping it for the one that you do.
|UE range||Cost||raise Fascinating...||raise Investigating...|
|11-8 (4)||25 x Surface-Silk Scrap (2.50 Echoes)||Give surface-silk to Clay Men||Offer silks to a clothes-colony|
|7-5 (3)||50 x Romantic Notion (5.00)||Spread tales of love and glamour||Speak of romance to an empty garden|
|4-2 (3)||25 x Mystery of the Elder Continent (12.50)||Speak of the Elder Continent at Arcimboldo's|
|4-2 (3)||5 x Volume of Collated Research (12.50)||Present your findings to an academic gone native|
Opportunity Cards Overview
|At the Market||Attract attention at the market||Luck 70%|
|Wander around the market||4|
|The Temple||Have a look around the temple||Luck 70%|
|Poke around the grounds||4|
|The Priest at the Temple||Speak of his spiritual work||Luck 50%|
|Speak to the Clay priest of matters romantic||8|
|The Ruin||The walls are rattling||Luck 50%||+15 CP|
|What's that fluttering?||8|
|Fractious Furniture - Examine the carvings||Spying on Polythreme 1||
|The Zailors at Polythreme's Harbour - Speak with the zailors||Writing of your Polythreme Travels 1||
|The Masked Man - Bid him a good morning||Luck 70%||-|
|The Wax Wind Comes - Crouching in a low stone building||Luck 50%||+5 CP||+5 CP|
Spending Fascinating and Investigating
|A Distressing Lack of Progress||-||
65 x Maniac's Prayer
|The Voice in the Fog||
65 x Intriguing Snippet
|There's someone in there||
2 x Bazaar Permit
|What's going on in the bay?||12.50||0.96|
|Speak to a matched pair||
10 x Stolen Kiss
|What's going on here?||
130 x Maniac's Prayer
|A walk in the villa gardens||
10 x Touching Love Story
The required number of CP for the relevant levels are (91 CP for lvl13), (78 for 12), (36 for 8) and (28 for 7). It therefore seems easier to get F8/ I8 than F12 or I12 (36+36=72 vs 78) but since most cards raise one quality while reducing the other it is not.
The highest rewards, easily obtainable if you draw the right opportunity cards, will result in 2.08 Echoes per action. However, this number decreases dramatically if you have to discard cards because each opportunity cards you do not play means an unused action that you have to sink into One Might Profit Even in Such a Place for 1.20 E/A. your overall performance in Polythreme therefore depends significantly on your Lodgings since having more cards slots means you can keep more unwanted cards in your hand and hopefully draw a useful one from a smaller deck.
[Insert heaps of math concerning what cards to play and what luck challenges can be failed while still reaching F/I13 here. There's some discussion on this here.]
All of the listed storylets become available with exactly 1 UE. Playing any option will remove that last one and finish the cycle.
Note that all of the story lines require F12 or I12 but not all offer a PoSI option needing F13 or I13. Therefore; it is smart to spend a lvl12 round on a story that only has a lvl12 option even if it is not the one you wanted to advance right now (or just get a lvl13 reward from Spending your Time). But you would rob yourself of the chance to advance that story with a lvl13 round for double the item reward just as it would be a huge waste of a lvl13 round to advance a lvl12-only story since you throw away half of your item reward. Regardless of how you cash in your F/ I, you will lose all of it with your last UE. There is no way to Begin your Polythremic Promenade with any amount of F/ I.
If, maybe because of bad luck, you will reach neither F7/ I7, F12, nor I12 you can spend small amounts of F/ I via some of the opportunity cards to increase the round's revenue. Picking up 20 x Surface-Silk Scraps requires 10 CP of F or I, while getting 60 x Romantic Notions requires at least F8 or I8 and costs all of it. Remember that you will be able to gain 65 x Maniac's Prayers at Spending your Time no matter how low your F/ I is.