Railway (Guide)

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The Great Hell-Bound Railway, short Railway, is a big project.

In terms of narrative, it is the project to connect London (more precisely Moloch Street) with Hell through a railway, enabling commerce and tourism.

Mechanically, it is a series of locations available to end-game players, and either directly or indirectly a requirement for increasing your main attributes up to 230 by raising attribute caps.

Each station you build increases your attribute cap for Persuasive by 3, and building the tracks towards the first station unlocks or increases your Artisan of the Red Science.

At the stations, collectively referred to as the Upper River, you don't have access to the Bazaar, but instead to the Upper River Exchange, where commerce mostly goes through Hinterland Scrip instead of pennies and echoes. A Scrip is valued at 0.5 echoes.

Starting Out[edit]

A player-created Guide is available for this content: Railway Beginning (Guide)

To begin the Railway project, you need to

In order to actually begin laying track, you also need base Watchful 200 in order to start researching Railway Steel in your University Laboratory.

After starting creating your company, you'll need to convene a Board of Directors (accept as few as you can), bribe a few stakeholders (like Hell and the Bazaar) and deal with administrative issues.

Once this is done, you can get approval from the Board to start laying tracks, grind the materials necessary, and finally start to actually lay tracks. Railway Beginning (Guide) covers this part in the beginning, and Bessemer Steel Ingot (Guide) covers getting railway steel.

Getting approval from the Board involves convincing all members to vote for you. Every potential board member has their own agenda, and if your proposal opposes that agenda, it makes them harder to convince. You can apply leverage or remove members; Railway Board (Guide) covers this aspect.

After you have laid your stretch of tracks, you can build the first station, Ealing Gardens. Of course, you need board approval for building stations as well.

What's different in the Hinterlands?[edit]

Most things here work the same as they do in London, but there are a few key differences.

  • Your Opportunity Cards are drawn from a different deck. Some cards (like A Disillusioned Fungiculturalist) can be drawn in any Hinterlands location, while others (like Engage in Excavation) can only be drawn at a single station. These cards are still kept in your hand when you visit a different station, though. (See Location-specific cards in the Hinterlands (Guide))
  • The Bazaar is unavailable here. Instead, the Bazaar tab will give you access to the Upper River Exchange.
    • Most of the shops in the Upper River Exchange don't take Echoes. Rather, they require payment in Hinterland Scrip (1 Scrip is worth approximately 0.5E). You can easily exchange Scrip for Echoes by buying Tinned Ham for 125 Scrip each and selling for 63.5E, but going the other way is harder.
  • Each time you travel to or from a Hinterlands area, you have to spend 1 action to board the train - you can't travel about freely like you can in London.

The Rhythm of the Railway[edit]

A player-created Guide is available for this content: Railway Board (Guide)

The progression towards building a new station typically goes in these steps:

Convening a board meeting is time-locked by Time, the Healer. Until you have built the last station at Marigold, you get two board meetings per week, after that one per week. This means it takes at least three weeks to build two stations.

Unless you want to draw out the process, it is thus advisable to finish your two board meetings (and maybe the following actions like building tracks and stations) before Time, the Healer visits you.

In board meetings, you can also propose to increase the train qualities Train Luxuries, Train Defences and Train Baggage Accommodations. When you convince your board to do it, it also raises In Corporate Debt. When corporate debt raises above 5, it blocks you from any further actions that raise that quality.

Effect of Railway Qualities[edit]

In Corporate Debt[edit]

The quality In Corporate Debt is raised when the railway needs to spend money, for example for building a station or raising Train Defences. When it gets too high, you cannot do those actions anymore. The rough assumed price is about 5 echoes per CP of In Corporate Debt.

At level 5 or higher, you start drawing the A Word From Your Creditors card in London, which is not dismissable.

To lower corporate debt, you can (not an exhaustive list):

Train Defences[edit]

Moving between stations at the Upper River is a Dangerous check; the difficulty increases with larger distances and higher Seeing Banditry in the Upper River, and is reduced by Train Defences.

Additionally, you need Train Defences of at least 3 when you want to deploy your train in the Parabolan War.

Train Luxuries[edit]

Train Luxuries unlock or give bonuses for some actions in some Upper River locations:

Train Baggage Accomodations[edit]

Train Baggage Accommodations unlock or give bonuses related to smuggling items between London and the Hinterlands.

Of particular note, it unlocks the following actions:

Tracklayers' Displeasure[edit]

Tracklayers' Displeasure generally increases when you build tracks and do not choose the "keep your workforce well-fed" option. To decrease it, you can play Present the union members with a good-will gift at any of your stations (except the last).

Tracklayer's Displeasure makes some Persuasive checks harder, notably when talking to the leaders of the tracklayer union, or when changing their leader. It does not lead to work stoppage or other severe mechanical effects.

Laying tracks[edit]

Table showing Railway steel needed to different locations
Next station Railway Steel needed Accumulative Steel needed Obstacle
Ealing Gardens 30 or 40 30-40 Non-existent block
Jericho Locks 30 or 40 60-80 Excavation
The Magistracy of the Evenlode 40 or 60 100-140 Worker's Strike
Balmoral 60 160-200 Hellworms or Train through parabola
Station VIII 32 192-232 Bridge Troubles
Burrow-Infra-Mump 30 222-262 Second strike
Moulin 30 252-292 Hillchanger
The Hurlers 30 282-322 Board in disarray
Marigold Station 30 312-352 Tracklayers City

For more information on aquiring the steel required, see Bessemer Steel Ingot (Guide)

When laying tracks, you'll either support the prehistorisists, the emancipationists or the liberationists. These choices will affect the kind of tracklayer's city you can build, as well as difficulties on several actions and immediate rewards.

Table showing general costs of supporting groups of tracklayers
Faction Additional cost Effect(s) Action changes
Supporting the Liberationist Tracklayers 5 x Perfumed Gunpowder, sometimes 1 x Hillmover Advancing the Liberation of Night: increases It gets harder to reduce darkness in some locations and/or reducing LoN. It gets easier to sell Perfumed Gunpowder to liberationists.
Supporting the Prehistoricist Tracklayers 25 x Survey of the Neath's Bones Provides various bones
Supporting the Emancipationist Tracklayers 5 x Basket of Rubbery Pies Lowers Tracklayers' Displeasure It gets easier to sell Corrective Historical Narrative to emancipationists.

Getting a station built usually costs 20 x Hinterland Scrip and an easy board meeting.

Tracks to Ealing Gardens[edit]

You have to lay 3 stretches of tracks from Moloch Street to Ealing Gardens.

After the first one, you encounter an obstacle: a non-existent block. This unlocks Artisan of the Red Science, but also sets you back. You can either work through it, if you have an Impossible Theorem (which is not consumed), or have to build around it, requiring another track laid.

Laying tracks in this region also costs 5 x Perfumed Gunpowder and 1 x Comprehensive Bribe in addition to the usual costs.

Once in Ealing Gardens, you should check out the exclusive Helicon House and the butcher's shop. Helicon is discovered with either opportunity cards or by spending Investigating.... More info can be found at Helicon House (Guide)

You can raise Ealing Gardens Commercial Development at the Offices of the Tracklayer's Union: Ealing Gardens Branch, which unlocks the butcher, which gives repeatable access to some bones that are useful for building skeletons at the Bone Market. If you give the butcher a Device for the Duplication of Bones, you can get those bones without killing the animals, though it costs some raw materials, usually Bone Fragments and Nodule of Warm Amber. More info about building developments see Railway Station Developments (Guide)

Tracks to Jericho Locks[edit]

This location requires another 3 stretches of tracks. Each stretch costs 10 x Railway Steel and 10 x Crate of Incorruptible Biscuits. In addition, you need any of the following:

The obstacle this time is the remains of a prehistoric creature. You may either pave over the remains, or you may excavate it. Either way, you need board approval.

Excavating costs some extra food items, but provides some interesting lore. Paving over is less expensive, so doesn't increase In Corporate Debt as much, doesn't need as much convincing the board against own financial interests.

Once you've reached Jericho, you might want to take a visit to the canals there, with Canal Cruising in Jericho Locks (Guide).

You might also build a library, where you can Do Research.

Tracks to the Magistracy[edit]

This location requires another 4 stretches of tracks. In addition, you have a choice between two routes. If you have a Cartographer's Hoard you can go by the hills or otherwise by the plains. It takes 60 Steel to go by the hills versus 40 with the plains. Going by the plains will also cost Hinterland Scrip. The obstacle this time is a worker's strike. You may either pay the workers, give the workers a part of your company or you may just say no and take a hit to tracklayer's displeasure.

The route you take to the Magistracy which of two options to use Survey of the Neath's Bones is available to you, but the difference is very small, and you could add a short line to gain access to the other side if it's important at a later point.

Once in the Magistracy you will begin to hear rumours of a certain Clay Highwayman. More on that in Balmoral. In addition, A Day in the Life of a Novice Policeman will open after using some actions in branches in the Magistracy. This lets you discover a special area once it reaches 10.

You can also go diving in the basement if you're feeling adventurous.

Tracks to Balmoral[edit]

This location requires another 4 stretches of tracks. It takes 60 Steel to go by the hills, in addition to other supplies. The obstacle this time is a mountain side, which either has to be dug with Hellworms or you may choose to have your train transported through parabola instead. Having your train go through Parabola is beneficial when fighting Parabolan Wars, so this should be worth considering. This can be built in hindsight, however.

Once you've reached Balmoral there are several things happening. A first priority should be crowning a castellan with a board meeting, as this allows you to get a weekly item worth 125 Scrip. Other things worth considering is to build a Cabinet Noir as this is a requirement for Khaganian Intrigue in Khan's Heart. In addition to this, you may discover the Clay Highwayman's lair (which lets you steal Railway Steel directly instead of making it yourself, but at a pretty steep action cost) and learn more about Cornelius.

Things to check out related to Balmoral:

Once you have built your Cabinet Noir, you can also track down Cornelius. You can tell he's important by him having a proper name, and tracking him down gives you more options in some of the upcoming obstacles.

Tracks to Station VIII[edit]

From now on, stations require less tracks. You only need 32 tracks in order to reach Station VIII (or St8tion for short) This location requires only 3 stretches of tracks. The obstacle this time is that Furnace Ancona is abducted, and you need to find a new (temporary) leader of the tracklayers. This could either be a tracklayer that is most likely a representative of Mr Fires, but if you have gotten to know Cornelius, he's another choice.

Once you've reached St8tion you should (probably) try to find Furnace Ancona. This will lead to getting to know more of the Bazaar's agreement with Hillchanger, and you will eventually be able to restore Furnace, or keep your temporary leader of the trackleaders, should you wish to do so. Mechanically, it allows you to unlock and/or increase Steward of the Discordance.

In order to use St8tion more efficiently, you must first restore it, and subsequently discover different areas inside the factory by breaking into it. Once you have discovered the dirigible mast, this allows you to raise your Watchful cap to 215 and then to 218, compare Raising Attribute Caps (Guide).

Other things to do in St8tion includes cooking. See A Kitchen for Artists (Guide) for more information about this.

Tracks to Burrow[edit]

You only need 30 tracks for each station from now on. The next area on the Railway is Burrow, a place in the middle of nowhere. That is, until you build a church there. This involves many expensive steps and can be read about in A Church in the Wild (Guide).

Of course, before you actually reach this station, there's another strike. The way to deal with this will depend on your leader of the Tracklayers. Anything from making the stations brighter to making a tracklayer mammoth. Yes, you read that correctly! (If you want to go that route, Cornelius must be the leader of your tracklayers, and you need a Mammoth Ribcage on hand in the board meeting where you resolve the blockage).

Tracks to Moulin[edit]

The next area on the Railway is Moulin, a small village which makes it profits by doing expeditions into the wastelands. That is, until you arrive and the Bazaar messes up everything. By helping the local community, you will get access to Moulin Expeditions (Guide) and eventually also monographs.

This time, you have a choice about which station to build; this choice influences how easy or hard it is to convince certain board members to approve. There are no long-term mechanical consequences to this choice.

Of course, before you actually reach this station, you have to deal with Hillchanger again. This time the obstacle comes up when building the station, not while laying tracks. To resolve it there are several options:

Tracks to The Hurlers[edit]

The next area on the Railway is The Hurlers, a cold wasteland in the wilderness. Here you will be able to build a spa, do investigations in the ice, play some hurling and eventually learn more of *Redacted*.

That is, if you can deal with your board suddenly getting in disarray and some laboratory investigations related to this. This happens when you are proposing a plan for track towards The Hurlers. To be prepared, it is handy to have the following on hand:

Once you have gone through with it (trying to avoid spoilers here), a living story will start, and 24 hours later, you can finish it, and then actually build the tracks towards your next station.

Laying tracks costs the usual 10 x Railway Steel, plus 100 x Foxfire Candle Stub per stretch of tracks, and looking for bones costs an extra Comprehensive Bribe.

After all the hubbub in the first board meeting, you do not need another board meeting to build the station at the Hurlers,

Tracks to Marigold[edit]

The next area on the Railway is Marigold Station, by the walls of Hell itself. Congratulations, you made it! Well, you'll first have to give the tracklayers a city of course.

Upon reaching Marigold, you will receive a suit, and once you've built statues in all areas, you will also get a special Home comfort. Visiting hell for a few weeks will also give you a flower. This and several other activities are detailed here.