University Laboratory (Guide)
Perhaps you are ready for your own Laboratory. There are many studies you can do best with equipment. And obedient students.
The University Laboratory is a Laboratory of your own which you can obtain as long as your Unwelcome at the University level is 0 (Welcome at the University) and you're A Person of Some Importance. It offers a host of new opportunities and experiments to players, and is most useful for those with extremely high Watchful.
Obtaining a Laboratory
To obtain a Laboratory you'll first need to convince the Dean of Supernumerary Faculty that you deserve Your Own Lab:
- If you're a Correspondent, you can simply rely on your professional standing.
- Alternately, you can bribe the man, which requires 1 x Cellar of Wine, 1 x Primaeval Hint, and 1 x Justificande Coin. If you are tier 2 PoSI, the Justificande Coin can most easily be obtained with Accept a share of the coffer of Admiralty coinage from Brawling in the Blind Helmsman. If not, a heist to The Home of an Admiral's Widow, might be the most accessible. There are a few other sources for Justificande Coins, but they are generally less accessible and less efficient.
After either threatening the man or bribing him, you'll get your own Lab and are redirected to A First Commission.
The first few steps (mandatory)
Before you can actually do your own research you'll need to do a few things for the Dean first:
- A First Commission is an introduction to how the Lab works. It gives you an Ambiguous Eolith which you'll need to investigate. Before you can do so you'll need to Improve Your Equipment to level 1, unless you are a correspondent, but it's a good idea to do so anyways since you can't always rely on the one time input of research from reading correspondence shaped horoscopes. This will require a few basic compounds ( 500 x Drop of Prisoner's Honey, 5 x Flask of Abominable Salts, 5 x Bottled Oblivion, 5 x Venom-Ruby, 5 x Bottle of Strangling Willow Absinthe). After having improved your equipment you can start researching. After having reached 5 x Laboratory Research, you can finish the project with the Assess your Progress regarding the Ambiguous Eolith storylet (the project name in the storylet title will change according to your current experiment). Don't worry about failing the Kataleptic Toxicology check, as both Success and Failure will advance the story. Whether successful or not, you will be redirected to Put everything back where you found it and will meet The Dean Again.
- The Dean Again: It turns out that one of the Masters of The Bazaar, Mr Stones, wants a certain coin studied. After accepting the commission you'll be redirected to Adjust the Staffing of your Lab, which will explain how staffing works. After hiring the Numismatrix, you can proceed to study the coin. You'll want to pay attention to her card, which gives Numismatic Research needed to complete this project. Render a report on the coin (under Assess your Progress regarding the Identiﬁcation of a Seven-Sided Coin) and the Laboratory will finally be yours to use.
- Begin a Scientific Investigation / Assess your Progress regarding the (Project Name). These two let you respectively start investigations and complete them. Begin a Scientific Investigation also includes the Petition the Dean for experimental materials option which allows you to gain either Ambiguous Eoliths (on failure) or Unidentified Thigh Bones (on success). This option requires The Prestige of your Laboratory 5.
- Manufacture Supplies. After completing Research the Formula for Perfumed Gunpowder, you can use this storylet to manufacture certain supplies you'll need elsewhere in the game.
- Improve Your Equipment. This lets you increase your Equipment for Scientific Experimentation level; this is incredibly important as a Laboratory with high level equipment can provide significantly more Laboratory Research per action. The maximum level of equipment that is possible without using Fate is 7, with Fate it can be raised to 9.
- Leave your Lab (without Base-Camp) / Leave your Lab (with Base-Camp). This allows you to leave your Lab either to London or to your Reflection of your Laboratory if you have done the relevant investigation.
- Adjust the Staffing of your Lab. This allows you to hire experts such as the Numismatrix. Experts all have an area of expertise in which they give lots of Laboratory Research and an option to give some research for investigations they aren't good in. You have a maximum of two places (three after having done either Expand your workshop or Expand your workshop via persuasion, both of which are also found under this storylet). You can never have more people working in your Lab than the number of work spaces; you yourself do not take up a work slot.
- Manage the Students in your Laboratory. After a certain investigation you can also accept students. Students have their own Opportunity Cards and storylets, and can be graduated to increase the Teaching Reputation of Your Laboratory. High Reputation will give access to better students.
- All the variants of "Dismiss (expert name)" allow you to dismiss experts you have previously hired to free up space in the Lab. This may be desired in order to hire more relevant experts, or simply to remove their cards from the Opportunity Deck.
Doing and completing Research
All research projects function on the same principle:
- get the required Research and
- trade it in on Assess your Progress regarding the (Project Name) to complete a project
Getting Laboratory Research
Laboratory Research is gained from the following cards:
- Work with your Equipment: Gives (5 + 1.5*Equipment-level) x Research rounded down on success, and (4 + Equipment-level) x Research on failure.
- Direct Your Own Research: Several options.
- Correspondents can get (30 + Equipment-level) x Research once right after starting an experiment.
- Without collaborators, you may Work Alone for 3 or 4 x Research on success and 1 on failure.
- With collaborators, you may exchange ideas for (3 x Number of Workers) x Research on success, or Number of Workers x Research on failure.
- You may turn in 5 Incisive Observations for up to 15 Research.
- On experiments related to Chemistry ( Experimental Object 901-1000), Monsters ( Experimental Object 401-500), or Mathematics ( Experimental Object 1001-1200), you may attempt to get Research based on your Kataleptic Toxicology, Monstrous Anatomy, or Artisan of the Red Science skill, respectively. Failure will give half as much and a small amount of Wounds or Nightmares.
- For certain projects, you may pay Uncanny Incunabula, Whirring Contraptions, Searing Enigmas, or Cantigaster Venom to speed your research.
- All student cards have an option to collaborate with them and receive Research, at varying efficiencies. These options level up your students on their rare or alternate successes. You may also direct the student to work with their peers, which gives 2 x ([Student level] + [Number of workers]) Research on a successes, 50% more Research on a rare success, and 4 + [Student level] Research on failure.
- All experts have an option which gives 5 + [Equipment] Research on areas that they are not experts in, and more for their specialities.
- Some experiments have an additional 'Focus' quality, adding a related card to your laboratory deck, which can have a variety of specialised research sources.
|Draw on your Knowledge of the Red Science ( Red Science Focus)|
|Contemplate your Element of Dawn||Element of Dawn||210||4 + (2 * Equipment)||8 + (2 * Equipment)|
|Contemplate your Impossible Theorem||Impossible Theorem||230||6 + (2 * Equipment)||10 + (2 * Equipment)|
|Draw on your Knowledge of the Shapeling Arts ( Shapeling Focus|
|Consider a Fluke-Core||Fluke-Core||230||10 + (2 * Equipment)|
|Study a Pulsating Amber||Nodule of Pulsating Amber||220||4 + (2 * Equipment)||9 + (2 * Equipment)|
|Study the Rubbery Dragon||Rubbery Dragon||200||FATE|
|Consult your Rubbery Friend||Your Perpetually Festive Rubbery Friend|
Parabolan Research and other types of research
Apart from "ordinary" research there are also some other, specialised types of research. Parabolan Research is by far the most commonly used of these. It is used in almost all experiments connected to Parabola in some way and can unlock extra options when doing some experiments. To gain Parabolan Research, you need to first unlock Reflection of your Laboratory. To do so, you need to Find a Route to Parabola. Once this two-stage experiment is completed, you can enter Parabola whenever you want via your Lab or your Lodgings at the cost of 100 x Drop of Prisoner's Honey per visit (or 50 x Drops for Silverers). Having access to the Reflection of your Laboratory, you can employ your regular staff there to produce Parabolan Research. Finding the Route to Parabola will also unlock the Parabolan Base-Camp and a large amount of new content accesses from there.
|Research Source||Challenge||Research on Success||Research on Failure|
|Reflection of your Laboratory|
|Struggling Artist||2 + Glass Studies|
|Meticulous Student / Potential Librarian||3 + Glass Studies|
|Numismatrix||5 + Glass Studies|
|Lettice, the Mercy|
|Shifty Student / Future Dean|
|Gifted Student / Young Aristocrat|
|Profound Student / Deep-thinking Oak|
|Antediluvian Ushabti||Antediluvian Ushabti 5|
|April||10 + Glass Studies|
|Grubby Urchin||200||5 + Glass Studies|
|Visionary Student / Cloud of Thoughts||12 + Glass Studies
|The Long-Dead Priests of the Red Bird||5|
|Cora Bagley||10 + (2 * Glass Studies)|
|Hephaesta||10 + (5 * Glass Studies)|
|Esurient Smith||7 * ( Glass Studies + 1)|
| Possessed Goldfish
|Red Science Focus||Artisan of the Red Science 6||6 + (2 * Equipment)||(2 * Equipment)|
|Statue to the Dean of Xenotheology, or Yourself, Preeminent Scholar of the Correspondence||10|
Besides Parabolan Research, there are other types of specialised research including Expertise of the Third City, Numismatic Research, etc. These are only used rarely in very specific experiments. The game will mention this when starting an experiment. To gain these special types of research, you need to either hire experts (such as the Numismatrix to get Numismatic Research) or the game will add special cards to your deck that give this research (such as the Terraria-card to gain Amphibian Research).
Storylet: Improve Your Equipment when in the Lab.
Levels 0 to 3 require supplies which you can get at various other locations around London.
Level 4 requires a Voluminous Library, a Home Comfort which you can either compile yourself by getting a bunch of research in the Southern Archipelago and Gather all your work into a library, or grind items for 5 Legal Documents for Pursuing a Case of Books 1.
After this it gets a bit more complicated as you have to generate items through research as well as Parabola for levels 6 and 7. Hillmovers can be obtained by hunting Seven-Throated Warblers in Parabola and Search the Nest.
The last non-Fate-locked level is very expensive as it requires 20 Working Rat at E64.80 each = E1296, plus either an Albino Rat or a Rattus Faber Bandit-Chief. If you don't already have one of the latter, the Bandit-Chief costs E320.
After a first few experiments, you will become able to let University students work in your Laboratory to gain some real-life experience. They require training in order to maximize their usefulness. Students are unlocked after completing a Palaeontological Task for the Dean. Accepting the task will give you your first student and unlock Manage the Students in your Laboratory, which allows you to hire more. Graduating a Student will increase the Teaching Reputation of Your Laboratory by one level and give you a small reward, which depends on the type of student. High Teaching Reputation of Your Laboratory is required to hire better students.
- A Shifty Student. Shifty Students don't produce a lot of research but can be graduated quickly to raise the Teaching Reputation of Your Laboratory. His associated card is Work with your Shifty Student.
- A Meticulous Student. The Meticulous Student produces more research than the Shifty Student, but is also harder to level up. She is also required to create Mirthless Compendiums of Statistical Observations. Without her you'll find out that there are too many errors and you'll need to pass them of to an colleague as they're useless. Her associated card is Work with your Meticulous Student.
- A Gifted Student. A Gifted Student can level up really quickly without you needing to spend time on her. Her associated card is Work with your Gifted Student. Graduating her gives 1 x Favours: Society and a Slim Volume of Bazaarine Poetry. This is one of the few non-card-based ways to grind Favours, and the fastest of the available non-Fate options.
- A Profound Student. The Profound Student is better at research than the previous three but levels up slower than the Gifted Student. His associated card is Work with your Profound Student.
- A Visionary Student is the best of all students; producing just as much research as the Profound Student but leveling as quickly as the Gifted, they are the pinnacle of Students. Their associated card is Work with your Visionary Student.
The table below shows the amount of Research gained from working with each type of student. Note that while students may level from 1 to 5, there are functionally only three bands of skill--Levels 1 and 2, Levels 3 and 4, and Level 5. In some cases, Rare Successes, which will either level up a student below Level 5 or give a point of Disgruntlement for a student that is already Level 5, will give additional research. The bold numbers in parentheses indicate the amount of research that would be gained by a player with Equipment for Scientific Experimentation 7, the maximum that is possible to attain without Fate.
|Student||Student Level||Watchful Challenge||Research on Success ( Equipment 7)||Rare Success Bonus Research||Research on Failure ( Equipment 7)|
|Shifty Student||1-2||215||Equipment; (7)||1; (1)|
|3-4||210||(5/3) * Eq; (12)||Eq; (7)|
|5||205||2 * Eq; (14)||+1||(4/3) * Eq; (10)|
|Meticulous Student||1-2||210||Eq + 2; (9)||Eq + 1; (8)|
|3-4||225||(3/2) * Eq + 4; (15)||(3/2) * Eq + 3; (14)|
|5||220||2 * Eq + 5; (19)||+1||2 * Eq + 4; (18)|
|Gifted Student||1-2||210||Eq + 2; (9)||Eq + 1; (8)|
|3-4||215||Eq + 7; (14)||Eq + 6; (13)|
|5||220||2 * Eq + 5; (19)||+5||(5/3) * Eq + 3; (15)|
|Profound Student & Visionary Student||1-2||210||Eq + 4; (11)||Eq + 3; (10)|
|3-4||215||2 * Eq + 4; (18)||+1||2 * Eq + 3; (17)|
|5||220||2 * Eq + 9; (23)||+1||2 * Eq + 4; (18)|
The most efficient way to progress your teaching reputation seems to be to repeatedly take on the Shifty student, and supervise his research. Rely on the rare/alternative success for him to level up, then graduate him as soon as possible. Repeat this until you can employ the Gifted student. This will produce little research at the start, but you can get to the better students pretty quickly.
An Interlude: Disgruntlement among the Students
As students perform research, they will level up to increase their effectiveness. Once they reach level 5, they will begin to express a desire to graduate, and rare or alternate successes will begin to generate CP of Disgruntlement. When Disgruntlement reaches level 4, the non-discardable card Student Complaints will be added to the Opportunity Deck. At level 6, the card Student Fury will be added, and must be played immediately upon being drawn, costing 200 Research. Disgruntlement is most easily decreased by graduating students. Graduating any student will remove at least 21 CP of Disgruntlement, enough to reset it from level 6 to 0. Because Disgruntlement is not tracked for individual students, it is possible to retain one student indefinitely, while training and graduating other students to lower Disgruntlement.
Note that this mechanic is very useful for maximising research output. Working with visionary or profound students, which is commonly the fastest way to get research outside of some special experiments, can be modified to keep the profound student indefinitely. Through academic cruelty and immediately graduating a visionary student when disgruntlement becomes dangerous, the smaller chance for a profound student to produce disgruntlement can be exploited and the action cost of constantly having to graduate profound students, which loses all of their levels, negated.
Experts are NPCs with expertise in specific fields where you might lack knowledge. They are (mostly) hired from Adjust the Staffing of your Lab. These experts will give a lot of ordinary research in their fields. Some of them also produce specialized research. The topic of an experiment is determined by the current Experimental Object. Certain ranges of the quality are associated with specific topics of research search as chemistry, biology, etc.
Freely available Experts include:
- The Numismatrix is the first expert you'll hire into your Lab. She produces normal research and Incisive Observations, which are needed to level up some students. She can also produce Numismatic Research when you're studying coins (Experimental Object value of 30).
- Lettice The Mercy produces Expertise of the Third City and ordinary research when your Equipment for Scientific Experimentation is level 5 or above. She is good with weapons and explosives (Experimental Objects 101-200), and gives Expertise of the Third City for Objects 110-120. Hiring her will be much cheaper, if you get Lettice, the Mercy as a companion during the Feast of the Exceptional Rose.
- The Struggling Artist. Hiring him will remove his irritating card from your deck and a add a new option which gives 125 x Drop of Prisoner's Honey per action, making it really easy to enter Parabola. It is also an easy 2.5 EPA grind.
- The Grubby Urchin is good for Parabolan Research.
- F.F. Gebrandt (The description for hiring her says "Her true expertise is in chemistry. She also has interesting things to say about palaeontology." I'm not sure what Experimental Objects range that is)
A number of experts only become available after finishing your ambition:
- Hephaesta is good at cartography (Experimental Objects 201-300). She is unlocked after completing Ambition: Light Fingers! but first needs to be cared for in Parabola before she can cross-over to the regular Lab. She also produces an extraordinary amount of Parabolan Research per action.
- April can work with you during Ambition: Bag a Legend! and after it is completed. She is good with weapons (Experimental Objects 10-19) and can produce April's Weapons Research.
- The Mother Superior can be temporarily hired with Ambition: Bag a Legend! 155–210.
- You can hire the Esurient Smith after completing Ambition: Nemesis. He specializes in weapons research (Experimental Objects 101-200) and metals (Experimental Objects 301-400).
- Cora Bagley can be hired after completing Ambition: Heart's Desire!. She is good in experiments that concern mathematics (Experimental Objects 1001-1200).
There are also a few FATE-locked assistants you can hire:
- The Silk-Clad Expert has expertise in biology and living things in general. She can produce small amounts of Parabolan Research without entering Parabola. To hire her, you first need to meet her in the House of Chimes and advise her during Learning from a Silk-Clad Expert.
- The Percipient Cricketer is an expert in correspondence-related research. She originally appeared in Cricket, Anyone?
- The Reformed Protester is an expert in weapons-related research. He originally conspired with you during Five Minutes to Midday.
- The Eldest Daughter is an expert in poisons. She originally made your life harder during The Frequently Deceased.
- The Stoic Classicist does not have any particular expertise, but being a university teacher, she will be able to advance the students in your Lab much faster than they normally would. Originally, she would help you during Tauroktonos.
(Note: It is not necessary to actually play the fate-locked stories where these NPCs originally appear. But it'll help to get some insight why they are experts in their respective field.)
Some Experts have additional options in their field of research for supervising your students, resulting in a larger than amount of research compared to the Expert or student alone. The student must be completely leveled (Laboratory services from x Student 5). All supervision options have a Watchful challenge of 220.
|Expert||Student||Research on Success ( Equipment 7)||Research on Failure ( Equipment 7)|
|Cora Bagley||Visionary Student||2 * Eq + 12; (26)||2 * Eq + 10; (24)|
|Esurient Smith||Profound Student||2 * Eq + 12; (26)||2 * Eq + 8; (22)|
|F.F. Gebrandt||2 * Eq + 10; (24)||2 * Eq + 10; (24)|
+1 CP Disgruntlement
- April's supervision option requires Red Science Focus instead of a specific Experimental Object.
- Hephaesta's supervision option has an Alternate Success option that also raises Disgruntlement by 1 CP.
|Expert||Research on Success ( Equipment 7)||Research on Failure ( Equipment 7)|
|April||2 * Eq + 12
|2 * Eq + 8|
University Laboratory qualities
- Prestige is a measure of how many experiments you have completed. It is raised by a single level for every completed experiment (or experiment stage if the experiment has more than one stage). It will unlock a few new experiments when raised.
- Reputation is a measure of the amount of students you have graduated. As it increases, better and better students will join your Lab.
- Forgeries are tracked upon certain outcomes from projects, for example in passing off the thigh-bone as a holy relic or publishing inaccurate statistical tables.
To Do List
Important projects to do as soon as possible are:
- "Accept a Palaeontological Task from the Dean": This unlocks both the training of students as well as access to the Bone Market
- "Disambiguate an Eolith": This gives a Perfumed Gunpowder (if you already have one, skip this part!)
- "Research the Formula for Perfumed Gunpowder": this unlocks manufacturing supplies, specifically the bulk-production of Gunpowder
Now you roughly need to do the following:
- At this point you can technically continue improving your scientific equipment, although you don't have the resources yet.
- Go the Base-Camp and hunt the Seven-Throated Warbler. Searching its nest will gain a Hillmover. You need three. While hunting the Warbler, unlock the route to the Dome of Scales and get a Possessed Goldfish (you need to bring a regular one!)
- In your lab, research two more bones (get them for free from A Pedagogically Inclined Grandmother at the Bone Market!) and make up the result to get two Holy Relic of the Thigh of Saint Fiacre
Go to the Bone-Market to get resources to create Gunpowder. You'll need the Possessed Goldfish to be able to draw the Sculptress card which will convert your 2 Relics into 12 Preserved Surface Blooms.
- Unequip the Goldfish to draw the Tentacled Servant card and trade Nodule of Pulsating Amber for Nightsoil (I think you'll need 4x Amber) You can also trade Rubbery Skulls if you have access to Flute Street. (NOTE: It is considerably more economical to create and Sell him your amalgamous skeleton than to trade amber, but amber is far less time-consuming.)
- Now you have the Hillmovers and the Gunpowder and can continue upgrading your Lab up to 7 if you have the remaining resources (or 9 with Fate).
To give you an idea what this is worth: At Equipment 4, a student you train will give at most 16x Research on success and 8x Research on failure. At Equipment 9 (with Fate), a student will give 27x Research on success and 22x on failure.
Also useful to know:
- Having the Numismatrix is an easy way to get Incisive Observations
- Having the Urchin is a good way to get Parabolan Research
if you are willing to buy the Expert for Fate, you don't need the Urchin. I was a bit disappointed in her at Equipment 4, but at 9 she's not bad.
Accelerated Training of Students
There are some projects that have research options that involve specific students interacting with specific research assistants. Some other editor will eventually write those here in this guide.
For now, you will want to know that these options only become available after the students have reached their maximum levels, i.e. they are already eligible for graduation. Thus, you might desire to have them raised to this level.
Unfortunately, training students consumes Laboratory Research, and getting them to level up through their cards is a matter of fickle luck.