Seeking the Meaning of the Plaster Face (Guide)

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Seeking the Meaning of the Plaster Face is an old story tied to a set of other qualities in the early midgame. While the story itself doesn't require you to use all of these qualities, they have been collected in this guide for ease of access. Be warned: There are optional parts in this storyline that are possible to lock yourself out of, but you will always be able to reach the end.

A hard requirement to start the story is Dangerous 90, but higher is recommended.

Rewards: Completing the story will either give you a repeatable way of purchasing Casing... / Running Battle... or it will give you the Albino Rat, which can give you a discount when upgrading your University Laboratory to equipment level 7 and some other things. Completing the story will also give 1 x Fate. See the Endings and Epilogue section for more information about rewards.

WARNING: Starting the main story will cause some options to be temporarily or permanently locked.

Qualities and Abbreviations[edit]

The story (with extras) uses the following qualities:

Other abbreviations:

Prelude[edit]

The story starts with an optional prelude that is admittedly hard to find. The investigating part is locked with progress in the main story. In order to start the prelude, you need a Worker and a Ratskin Suit. This will cause you to draw the card Sartorial squeamishness which allows you to start SaRC. Both of these equipment items may be useful at a later stage of the game, the suit as equipment and the rat for improving your university laboratory, so buying them is not necessarily a loss.

Investigating your rats (optional)[edit]

In order to start the investigation part of the prelude, you need the following requirements:

Having these causes a storylet to appear in your lodgings: A night-time conference. Choosing either option gives Inv., which unlocks another storylet. On this storylet you may buy a Disgraced if you don't have it already, as well as options to increase your Inv., until you reach at least 5. The best strategy is probably to just start the main story at this point, as not finishing the prelude gives you a permanent source of Disgraceds in the later stages.

Should you wish to continue, you must Address the problem of this Big Rat. If you addressed the problem by offering to help your rats, you will gain more SaRC, as well as resetting the investigation. This will be handy in the next section.

Raising your Sympathies[edit]

Regardless of what you do, including whether you start the investigations at all, you may increase your SaRC quality by drawing The Departed in Watchmaker's Hill and laying a single rat in the pile. This works as long as you have at least a single cp of SaRC from the clothing card. Beware: Some of the other options will remove your SaRC, and the same may happen if you somehow have both a Midnight Matriarch and a Scuttering Squad and side with the cat.

Having SaRC 3 gives a big advantage in the following section.

The Main Story[edit]

This is the part of the story that everyone does. Make sure that you have started investigating in the prelude if that's something you want to do. Likewise, it is suggested that you either have Playing with Broken Toys 10, or that you're not in a hurry to do that story.

Start the story by checking out The sculpted scowl at your lodgings with Dangerous 90. You will either need to pass a Watchful 100 challenge, or with a Pair of Luminous Neathglass Goggles you may pass a dangerous challenge instead. Continue with The plaster face is sneering. Having a Worker from earlier will let you pass a watchful challenge and you will have SMPF 2. This is where SaRC becomes useful. If you have SaRC 3 you may skip a 10% luck challenge that gives Nightmares on failure. If you don't have this, consider checking the prelude section above.

Investigating the Big Rat[edit]

This is the main section of this story, from level 3 to level 8. Each step will require HRMI 5, which is gained by having your rats investigate.

Table showing investigation options
Option Requirement/Cost Challenge Success Rare Success Failure
Have the Talkative Rat ask the Big Rat's guards Talker Luck 60% Serenity -4CP
Have the Working Rat drill a peephole into the Big Rat's lair Worker Luck 70% HRMI +1 CP HRMI +3 CP Serenity -1CP[1]
Have the Rattus Faber Bandit-Chief discover the Big Rat's next move Bandit Luck 80% HRMI +3 CP Serenity -10 CP
Let the Disgraced Rattus Faber Bandit-Chief loiter Disgraced Luck 50% HRMI +4 CP HRMI +5 CP Serenity -2CP
Make a contribution in Lamplighter Beeswax 100 x Lump of Lamplighter Beeswax
Send a lavish tribute of Foxfire Candles 500 x Foxfire Candle Stub
Deface the face Dangerous 100 Serenity -3 CP
A remarkable piece of good fortune! (9 FATE) 9 x Fate See action
  1. not lower than 5

In order to progress you will need to increase HRMI to 5, which is exactly 15 CP. It's generally not worth it to spend resources here. Using rats and assuming no rare successes you need 5 successes with the Bandit or the Talker, or 3 successes with the Disgraced + 1 success with one of the other rats.

Generally speaking, Bandit > Disgraced > Talker for speed, but due to the economical benefit of using the Talker, in practise you will probably prioritise the Talker over the Disgraced. Don't worry too much about Serenity at this point.

At this level you will have the option of doing things yourself or having your Talker do things. Doing it yourself is a Shadowy 110 challenge, while using your rat is a Serenity 7 challenge. If your serenity is high, it is suggested that you let your rat do this for you, while if you have low serenity, you might as well do it yourself, assuming you have a decent shadowy. Succeeding yourself will reduce serenity by 20 CP, while failures with the rat will cost your rat, but increase serenity by 10 CP. As the Talkers are fairly cheap, this is not a big sacrifice, and probably one of the cheaper ways to increase serenity.

For these levels you will have to send a rat. If you fail you will LOSE your rat, so unless you have 100% chance at an option, always use the Talkers. If you want to use a rat that isn't talkative you also have to spend more time investigating, so it's best just using your Talkers. As usual, failing will increase Serenity, and thereby increase your odds.

Same as before, but a rare success with the Disgraced will give you a Bandit! Of course, anything but a rare success will cost you your Disgraced...

If you did the Investigating your rats section of your prelude you may be able to get as many Disgraced rats as you need until you succeed, for a chance to gain a Bandit. Otherwise it might be best to use Talkers here too, at least until your odds with the Disgraceds is decent.

Now you probably have a lot of Serenity, but in order to proceed, you will have to lower it all the way to 4. Unless you want the quality to stick around it might be nice reducing it all the way to 0, if you like having cleared qualities.

Gathering your forces against the Big Rat[edit]

In order to defeat the Big rat you will need to raise Running Battle... (RB) up to at least 5, but preferably at least 6 for killing the Big Rat and preferably at least 10 for capturing the big rat alive. This assumes a gain of at least 3 CP/action of Running Battle... and gives estimates of 13.7 actions on average for killing the big rat at RB 6 or 29.2 actions for capturing the Big Rat at RB 10 (Correct values are likely slightly higher). See Running Battle (Guide) for other sources of RB.

Defeating the big rat, one way or another will give a bounty of 2000 rostygold (or 500 + favours if handing him to the constables. Allowing the Big Rat to live and defeating him one way or another give different endings (see below). Note that allowing the Big Rat to live will give a hit to SaRC.

Gather your forces against the Big Rat
Option Requirement Effect
Use the cats Making Use of Cats 3 RB +3 CP
Advertise a spot of hunting Renown: Society 10
Contact Mr Inch Acquiring Exhibits for the Labyrinth of Tigers 4
Set a watch on the area Renown: Urchins 15 RB +3 CP
Assemble those rats who would prefer to be free Dangerous 103 (challenge)

Endings and Epilogue[edit]

There are two different endings, one if you kill or imprison the Big Rat, one if you team up with him. It's not completely clear which one is mechanically superior, because it depends on how much you will be using Casing..., as well as how much you'll draw the somewhat negative opportunity card.

General reward[edit]

Regardless of your ending, you will gain the following:

Ending the Big Rat[edit]

If you chose to end the Big Rat, you will eventually draw a card: The Albino Rat's story. This will give you the Albino Rat, which will cause another opportunity card to enter your deck from time to time: Rat Melancholy. This is not a particularly good card. In addition, you will be able to upgrade your equipment in the University Laboratory for a reduced price - equal to one Rattus Faber Bandit-Chief, which has a buy price of 320 E . If you already had improved your equipment, you may employ the rat in your lab on the albino rat card to remove the card either way. In addition to this, you gain a discount on 10 Whirring Contraptions when making a Gear-driven Skeletal Monkey in The Bone Market.

Reward summary:

Joining the Big Rat[edit]

If you instead chose to ally yourself with the Big Rat, this opens up a permanent storylet in your lodgings: Alliance with the Big Rat. This allows you to do several actions, of which the following are notable: