Writing a Monograph (Guide)

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Porticolight.png

A guide on how to writing a Monograph in Porticolight.png The Archaeological Institute.

Writing and publishing a Monograph is similar to Assembling a Skeleton, but with some significant differences.

Mechanics[edit]

Before you Start[edit]

First you will need to unlock access to Porticolight.png The Archaeological Institute in Bookblack.png Moulin. This requires going on expeditions to raise Hellgorge.png Para-Archaeologist, then Constructing an Archaeological Institute at the Offices of the Tracklayer's Union: Moulin Branch. There are a total of three levels of Porticolight.png Moulin Archaeological Institute, with higher levels unlocking more buyers.

Gathering Research Materials[edit]

In addition to providing the Para-Archaeologist needed to construct the Institute, Moulin expeditions are the most efficient way to gather the materials needed to write your monographs. The Moulin Expeditions Guide has an explanation of how to conduct expeditions optimally, but for the purposes of this guide it's important to note which expeditions are useful for which kind of materials:

Notably, while you can grind Maskcomedy.png Ironic materials exclusively, you cannot get Warning.png Cautionary or Masktragedy.png Tragic materials without getting something else at the same time. This is not a problem, as exceptional monographs require all three qualities, but it has implications for how to best grind materials.

Writing and Publishing[edit]

Writing and publishing a Monograph is essentially a series of 4 parts:

  1. Begin composing a new Monograph to start
  2. Continue writing your Monograph until it is ready to finish
  3. Finish your Monograph
  4. Publish your Monograph

Choosing a topic[edit]

Table of starting Topics:
Topic Requires Cost Currency1 copper.png Penny Value Magnifyingglass.png Object Attributes Buyers
Ancientrifle.png Campaign of '68 - - 500 210 Warning.png Cautionary 100 Genericman1.png Fidgeting Factor
Clergy2.png Militant Curate
Devil2.png Diabolical Propagandist
Foliage.png War in Parabola Mirror4.png Touched by Fingerwork 20
Mirror.png Glasswork
Honey.png 1 x Drop of Prisoner's Honey 500 100 Maskcomedy.png Ironic 100 Genericman1.png Fidgeting Factor
Devilessinsect2.png Exiled Antiquarian
Clergy2.png Militant Curate
Rose.png History of Arbor Redhoneyjar.png 1 x A Vial of Queenly Attar - 500 120 Masktragedy.png Tragic 100 Genericman1.png Fidgeting Factor
Devilessinsect2.png Exiled Antiquarian
Tobacconist.png Genteel Elder
Mirror2.png Fourth City's Decline Ruins.png Walking the Falling Cities 20
Mirror4.png Touched by Fingerwork 20
- 500 130 Warning.png Cautionary 100 Genericman1.png Fidgeting Factor
Devilessinsect2.png Exiled Antiquarian
Bohoman1a.png Disgraced Diplomat
Portcarnelian port.png History of Port Carnelian Medal.png Successful Terms as Governor 4 - 500 220 Maskcomedy.png Ironic 100 Genericman1.png Fidgeting Factor
Clergy2.png Militant Curate
Tobacconist.png Genteel Elder
Khansglory port.png London's relations with the Khanate - Pawn.png 1 x Vienna Opening 750 230 Maskcomedy.png Ironic 200 Genericman1.png Fidgeting Factor
Bohoman1a.png Disgraced Diplomat
Clergy2.png Militant Curate
Khanbannerblack.png Khanate's failed invasion of the Elder Continent - Graffitihiero.png 1 x Presbyterate Passphrase 750 300 Warning.png Cautionary 200 Genericman1.png Fidgeting Factor
Bohoman1a.png Disgraced Diplomat
Tobacconist.png Genteel Elder
Nevercold brass.png Fourth City's War against Hell Ruins.png Walking the Falling Cities 25 - 500 310 Warning.png Cautionary 100 Genericman1.png Fidgeting Factor
Bohoman1a.png Disgraced Diplomat
Devil2.png Diabolical Propagandist
Horsesilver.png Khan's Exile Ruins.png Walking the Falling Cities 20 Horsehead.png 50 x Relic of the Fourth City 750 320 Masktragedy.png Tragic 200 Genericman1.png Fidgeting Factor
Bohoman1a.png Disgraced Diplomat
Bohoman2b.png Wistful Stoker
Palmerstoncrater.png Revolution in Hell Shipbig.png 1 x Reported Location of a One-Time Prince of Hell - 500 500 Masktragedy.png Tragic 100 Genericman1.png Fidgeting Factor
Devil2.png Diabolical Propagandist
Bohoman2b.png Wistful Stoker
Roseblack.png Expulsion of Roses Flames.png 1 x Hellish Hymn Devil.png 1 x Favours: Hell 900 110 Masktragedy.png Tragic 100 Genericman1.png Fidgeting Factor
Devil2.png Diabolical Propagandist
Devilessinsect2.png Exiled Antiquarian
Piratepoet.png History of Gaider's Mourn Piratepoet.png The Pirate-Poet - 500 240 Maskcomedy.png Ironic 100 Genericman1.png Fidgeting Factor
Clergy2.png Militant Curate
Bohoman2b.png Wistful Stoker
Snakehead2.png Nicatorean Myth Cycle Snakehead2.png Mithridacy 5 Knifegreen.png 1 x Nicatorean Relic

Mountainglow.png 1 x Mystery of the Elder Continent

800 400 Maskcomedy.png Ironic 200 Genericman1.png Fidgeting Factor
Tobacconist.png Genteel Elder
Bohoman2b.png Wistful Stoker

The topic you choose to write your Monograph on will determine:

Furthering your Monograph[edit]

Table of Research options:
Item Base Challenge Success Attributes & Notes
Footprint.png 25 x Trace of the First City Snakehead2.png Mithridacy 6 Currency1 copper.png +1700 x Penny Value

Warning.png +100 x Cautionary
Maskcomedy.png -50 x Ironic

Coin.png 50 x First City Coin Snakehead2.png Mithridacy 6 Currency1 copper.png +1700 x Penny Value

Masktragedy.png +100 x Tragic
Maskcomedy.png -50 x Ironic

Tablet.png 80 x Relic of the Second City Snakehead2.png Mithridacy 8 Currency1 copper.png +1700 x Penny Value

Warning.png +100 x Cautionary
Masktragedy.png -50 x Tragic

Idol.png 125 x Relic of the Third City Snakehead2.png Mithridacy 6 Currency1 copper.png +1700 x Penny Value

Masktragedy.png +100 x Tragic
Maskcomedy.png -50 x Ironic

Horsehead.png 250 x Relic of the Fourth City Snakehead2.png Mithridacy 8 Currency1 copper.png +1700 x Penny Value

Warning.png +100 x Cautionary
Masktragedy.png -50 x Tragic

Book.png 200 x Proscribed Material

Papers2.png 8 x Palimpsest Scrap

Snakehead2.png Mithridacy 8 Currency1 copper.png +1700 x Penny Value

Warning.png +100 x Cautionary
Masktragedy.png -50 x Tragic

Horsesilver.png 125 x Rusted Stirrup Snakehead2.png Mithridacy 8 Currency1 copper.png +1700 x Penny Value

Warning.png +100 x Cautionary
Masktragedy.png -50 x Tragic

Ring stone.png 25 x Trace of Viric Mirror.png Glasswork 6 Currency1 copper.png +1700 x Penny Value

Maskcomedy.png +100 x Ironic
Masktragedy.png -50 x Tragic

Knifegreen.png 5 x Nicatorean Relic Snakehead2.png Mithridacy 6 Currency1 copper.png +1700 x Penny Value

Maskcomedy.png +100 x Ironic
Warning.png -50 x Cautionary

Silverleaf.png 125 x Silvered Cat's Claw Mirror.png Glasswork 6 Currency1 copper.png +1700 x Penny Value

Maskcomedy.png +100 x Ironic
Warning.png -50 x Cautionary

Hillmover.png 1 x Unlawful Device Dawnmachine.png Artisan of the Red Science 6 Currency1 copper.png +1700 x Penny Value

Maskcomedy.png +100 x Ironic
Warning.png -50 x Cautionary

Pen.png 1 x Revisionist Historical Narrative - Removes all Snakehead.png Incoherence

Does not increase Paperstack.png Depth of Historical Study

Pen iron.png 1 x Corrective Historical Narrative - Removes all Snakehead.png Incoherence

Does not increase Paperstack.png Depth of Historical Study
If Chesspiece.png Colour at the Chessboard is Black, also adds Bohogirl7.png The Charismatic Tracklayer as a Buyer

You will then go on to expend resources in order to further your Paperstack.png Depth of Historical Study and change the proportions of Warning.png Cautionary, Maskcomedy.png Ironic, and Masktragedy.png Tragic in your monograph. Each research action taken will result in an increase of Currency1 copper.png +1700 x Penny Value (Icon-echo.png 17) and a net increase of 50 of Warning.png Cautionary, Maskcomedy.png Ironic, and Masktragedy.png Tragic.

Failure has the exact same results as Success except it also adds Snakehead.png 5 x Monograph: Incoherence. The only exception is Unlawful Device, which will provide Wounds if failed. Note that once you have Paperstack.png Depth of Historical Study 7, you will no longer be able to remove Snakehead.png Incoherence from your Monograph!

Finishing your Monograph[edit]

While there are four options available depending on Paperstack.png Depth of Historical Study and Snakehead.png Monograph: Incoherence, the only thing that matters is whether or not you publish an exceptional thesis. Publishing an exceptional thesis nets an extra reward item worth Icon-echo.png 12.50 from Buyers and unlocks the option to purchase particular statues.

Finding a Buyer[edit]

Table of Buyers:
Buyer Masktragedy.png Tragic Reward Maskcomedy.png Ironic Reward Warning.png Cautionary Reward Exceptional Reward
Requires Porticolight.png Moulin Archaeological Institute 1+
Devilessinsect2.png Exiled Antiquarian Wake.png 1 / 50 x Memory of Distant Shores Guisemale.png 1 / 250 x Unprovenanced Artefact Oxygen.png 1 / 50 x Final Breath Heartfruit.png Parabolan Orange-apple
Clergy2.png Militant Curate Implication.png 1 / 250 x Extraordinary Implication Trebleclef.png 1 / 250 x Apostate's Psalm Honeymazed.png 1 / 10 x Maniac's Prayer Cross.png Verse of Counter-Creed
Genericman1.png Fidgeting Factor Scrap7.png 1 / 250 x Thirsty Bombazine Scrap Currency3 copper.png 1 / 50 x Hinterland Scrip Bazaar.png 1 / 50 x Nightsoil of the Bazaar Document.png Bazaar Permit
Bohogirl7.png Charismatic Tracklayer [1] Candleblack.png 1 / 250 x Mourning Candle Scaryeye.png 1 / 50 x Tale of Terror!! Scrap7.png 1 / 250 x Thirsty Bombazine Scrap Newgate.png Blackmail Material
Requires Porticolight.png Moulin Archaeological Institute 2+
Devil2.png Diabolical Propagandist Document.png 1 / 20 x Infernal Contract Bottledsoulblue.png 1 / 50 x Brilliant Soul Bottlegreen.png 1 / 250 x Muscaria Brandy Bottledsoulwhite.png Silent Soul
Bohoman2b.png Wistful Stoker Boneshard.png 1 x Bone Fragments Fungalpoetry.png 1 / 250 x Slim Volume of Bazaarine Poetry Library.png 1 / 250 x Volume of Collated Research Scintillack.png Crystallised Euphoria
Requires Porticolight.png Moulin Archaeological Institute 3+
Bohoman1a.png Disgraced Diplomat [2] Scintillack.png 1 / 250 x Knob of Scintillack Chesspiece.png 1 / 50 x Moves in the Great Game Eolith.png 1 / 50 x Ambiguous Eolith Surmise.png Vital Intelligence
Tobacconist.png Genteel Elder Graffitihiero.png 1 / 250 x Presbyterate Passphrase Cherries.png 1 / 50 x Solacefruit Feather.png 1 / 50 x Royal-Blue Feather Diamondred.png Magnificent Diamond

This is the part where you sell your completed monograph. You will have three available Buyers that depend on your Monograph's topic. If you applied a Pen iron.png Corrective Historical Narrative while your Chesspiece.png Colour at the Chessboard was Black, you will have an additional Buyer available.

Each buyer will pay out in a mixture of three different items. Rounding aside, the total value of the three rewards will be equal to the Currency1 copper.png Approximate Value, minus 1% for each level of Snakehead.png Monograph: Incoherence. The distribution of the three rewards will match the proportions of Masktragedy.png Monograph: Tragic, Maskcomedy.png Monograph: Ironic, and Warning.png Monograph: Cautionary that your Monograph has. For example, if your Monograph has 200 Tragic, 100 Ironic, and 0 Cautionary, then 2/3 of your Monograph Value will be paid in the item associated with Tragedy, 1/3 in the item associated with Irony, and you will receive 0 items associated with Cautionary. If your Monograph is exceptional, you will receive an additional bonus item worth Icon-echo.png 12.50.


Strategy[edit]

Profitability[edit]

To make writing monographs worthwhile from a profitability standpoint, it is important to always aim to Conclude an exceptional thesis on the subject, which has three requirements:

Avoiding Snakehead.png Monograph: Incoherence is ideally done by succeeding all the writing checks, which requires Snakehead2.png Mithridacy 12 and Mirror.png Glasswork 10. Some of the relics from The Deep Layer have an easier Snakehead2.png Mithridacy check, but since it is impossible to grind those without picking up other materials, it will be inefficient in the long term to rely on them exclusively. If the ideal skill values can't be reached, then Snakehead.png Monograph: Incoherence will sometimes need to be removed with a Pen.png Revisionist Historical Narrative or Pen iron.png Corrective Historical Narrative before the final research step. Once Paperstack.png Depth of Historical Study reaches 7, Snakehead.png Monograph: Incoherence cannot be removed, so those with less than ideal stats should save an easier writing check for the last step before finishing the monograph to reduce the risk of having Snakehead.png Monograph: Incoherence sneak in when it cannot be addressed. The cost of obtaining Narratives means that removing Snakehead.png Monograph: Incoherence cuts significantly into the profitability of monographs, so the worse the odds of succeeding all checks, the less viable this is as a money grind.

Utility[edit]

Several of the items that monograph buyers pay out are difficult to acquire in quantity elsewhere. Some of them (such as Oxygen.png Final Breaths) can be obtained more efficiently on a per action basis elsewhere, but with less overall profitability. As such, when writing monographs it is often worthwhile to target a specific payout that is of value beyond its monetary worth by biasing the monograph toward a particular quality while still having a little of the other two to keep it exceptional. The general rule of writing with regards to monograph qualities is:

With that in mind, there are two general strategies for targeting a specific payout. In the first, you start with a topic that adds your target quality, spend four actions writing to improve that quality, then use the final two writing actions to sprinkle in the other two qualities without reducing your target quality. The second involves picking a topic with a starting quality that will not be reduced by grinding your target quality, such as using a Masktragedy.png Monograph: Tragic topic when your target is Maskcomedy.png Monograph: Ironic. Then you can spend five actions improving your target quality and one action adding in the third quality at the expense of your starting quality. Examples of both approaches will be provided below. In either case, the final result is usually close to 500 of your target quality, 100 of a secondary quality, and 50 of a tertiary quality, but specific topics can modify that, and varying your approach can help with expending research materials evenly.

Since Warning.png Monograph: Cautionary and Masktragedy.png Monograph: Tragic materials cannot be farmed without picking up a second type, some forethought is helpful when planning expeditions to gather research materials. If you're focused on a Masktragedy.png Monograph: Tragic payout, for instance, sooner or later you'll end up with a surplus of Warning.png Monograph: Cautionary materials. It's a good idea to identify an alternate payout to target using that surplus so that you can benefit from it. It's also worth noting that The Deep Layer and The Silvered Front expeditions provide the pattern-breaking research materials that are often helpful for maximizing a specific payout, so as a general rule those two expeditions will be the most useful, although Across the Zee will still be a useful gap-filler for some strategies.

Research Outlines[edit]

Simple Scrip Grind[edit]

Every item The Disgraced Diplomat pays out in (with the exception of the bonus bottle of wine) can be sold on the Upper River Exchange for scrip, so if you don't want to worry about prioritizing a specific quality, writing exceptional monographs for him is a simple grind. Start with The Fourth City's Decline or The Fourth City's War against Hell as a topic and follow the circle of research (Ironic to Tragic to Cautionary) to ensure that no quality gets reduced to zero. Finish it as exceptional, sell, and repeat. One of the payouts is in Scintillack.png Knobs of Scintillack, so if you use the Renegade Claw as an assistant on expeditions, this helps make that part of the grind more self-sustaining. Since you only have to make sure no quality ends up at zero, you're also free to vary the proportions in order to use excess materials of a certain type.

Backstory without Breaths or Bones[edit]

The Disgraced Diplomat pays out Moves in the Great Game in proportion to the Maskcomedy.png Monograph: Ironic of your monograph, which can be used for Maskpurple.png Cover Identity: Backstory. Grinding breaths in the Hurlers provides better Backstory per action, and selling exceptional monographs to The Exiled Antiquarian provides breaths and a Parabolan Orange-apple, which can be converted to further profit in the Bone Market, but the Diplomat has his place for those who would prefer to avoid selling skeletons as much as possible, and as a way to burn excess Maskcomedy.png Monograph: Ironic materials leftover from selling to the Antiquarian.

The ideal starting topic would be London's Relations with the Khanate but that requires a Pawn.png Vienna Opening, which is difficult to source efficiently, so instead we'll rely on Fourth City's Decline. Examine Viric-tinged Trinkets five times, then finish with either Masktragedy.png Monograph: Tragic material. This will provide a payout of:

If you have Pawn.png Vienna Openings to spare, using London's Relations as a topic will give you a better proportion of Moves and allow you to use any Maskcomedy.png Monograph: Ironic material four times before adding Cautionary/Tragic in the final steps.

Cautionary Orange-apples[edit]

The Exiled Antiquarian provides a Heartfruit.png Parabolan Orange-apple for exceptional monographs, a useful item that is otherwise expensive to source, and she also pays out in Oxygen.png Final Breaths which are useful for Backstory. Once again, we start with The Fourth City's Decline as a topic, write for Warning.png Monograph: Cautionary four times using any appropriate materials, then Examine Viric-tinged Trinkets once and finish by using either Masktragedy.png Monograph: Tragic material. The final payout will be:

To help vary the research materials used, you can also Write about the War in Parabola for your starting topic. Use any Warning.png Monograph: Cautionary material except Footprint.png Trace of the First City five times, then finish with either Masktragedy.png Monograph: Tragic material. This route does cost a Honey.png Drop of Prisoner's Honey, but it eliminates the need for Maskcomedy.png Monograph: Ironic materials, simplifying your expedition priorities (i.e. you can just hit The Deep Layer over and over).

Tragic Orange-apples[edit]

As above, we're selling to The Exiled Antiquarian, but in this case we're prioritizing the Wake.png Memory of Distant Shores payout for up-conversion into Library.png Collated Research. If you have Devil.png Favours: Hell to burn and don't want to wait around for card draws, writing about The Expulsion of Roses lets you fold a 4 echo cash in into starting the monograph, but for the purposes of grinding, the two topics to use are The History of Arbor or (once again) The Fourth City's Decline.

With The History of Arbor as a topic, write for Masktragedy.png Monograph: Tragic four times, then for Maskcomedy.png Monograph: Ironic once (do not Examine Viric-tinged Trinkets), then Examine traces of the First City.

With The Fourth City's Decline as a topic, write for Masktragedy.png Monograph: Tragic five times, then for Maskcomedy.png Monograph: Ironic once (do not Examine Viric-tinged Trinkets).

Correspondence Through Prayer[edit]

While salacious newspapers are the most action-efficient way to grind Scrawl1.png Correspondence Plaques, The Militant Curate offers an overall more profitable alternative through bulk Honeymazed.png Maniac's Prayers paid out for Warning.png Monograph: Cautionary.

Start with The History of Port Carnelian or The History of Gaider's Mourn as your topic, then write for Warning.png Monograph: Cautionary five times without using Traces, then finish using Masktragedy.png Monograph: Tragic materials. Upconvert your Honeymazed.png Maniac's Prayers in bulk as you go to get your Scrawl1.png Correspondence Plaques, and if you have Clergy2.png A Submerged Rector, you can sell the Cross.png Verse of Counter-Creed on A Jurisdictional Dispute for Scrip.

Shepherd Amidst the Wolves[edit]

The Diabolical Propagandist is the best source of Document.png Infernal Contracts in the game, bar none. This is primarily only notable for Shepherds of Souls, but it who knows what other uses may crop up? With this, it may even be reasonable to Unleash Baseborn & Fowlingpiece to deal with Sidebarsuspicion.png Suspicion (or perhaps that's a stretch).

Pick The Campaign of '68 or The Fourth City's War against Hell as your topic, then write for Masktragedy.png Monograph: Tragic five times before finishing with a non-Trace source of Maskcomedy.png Monograph: Ironic. This approach favors Bottledsoulblue.png Brilliant Souls over Bottlegreen.png Muscaria Brandy as your secondary payout.

Alternatively, use The Revolution in Hell or The Expulsion of Roses as your topic, write for Masktragedy.png Monograph: Tragic four times, then for Maskcomedy.png Monograph: Ironic (non-Trace), before finishing with Examine traces of the First City. This approach favors Bottlegreen.png Muscaria Brandy as your secondary payout (and allows you to optionally burn a Devil.png Favours: Hell for more value).