Progress And Progress Cards

The value of a progress improvement card is determined by comparing it to your alternatives. Frex "Increase your Running Battle… quality: A bandaged gentleman offers his services" grants 12 change points of Running Battle… in return for a cost of 40 Rostygold. So if we play it (one action), and play 2 other actions that earn 20 rostygold each, we have spent 3 actions for a net gain of 12 change points. To gain 12 change points from storylets would take between 4 and 6 actions - so playing the card has saved us between 1 and 4 actions; well worth doing.
"Increase your Inspired… quality: A travelling exhibitor of waxworks!" grants 12 change points for a cost of 40 secrets - on the face of it, the same value as our Running Battle… example. However, Fascinating… storylets normally grant other bonuses. The romantic options at court grant 2-3 change points of Fascinating… plus between 84-90 pence worth of goods; we would actually lose money by using the Waxworks card!

Each form of progress has it's own quirks:

Investigating… (and seeking..)

Once your Persuasive reaches 33 Investigating… can be improved by the The Curate and his… Sister? Intrigue, initially earning 37 x Whispered Secret and 2 change points of progress, and more as your Investigating… improves. (Avoid "Read poetry with the Melancholy Curate and his Sister" though, as unproductive). Rather than completing the story though, it is better to use this Investigating… to complete other Intrigues: starving poet at Watchful 9 and Absconding Devil at Watchful 12. (When pursuing the Asconding Devil plot, be careful to on at least one occasion to finish the story with "Delay the music-hall singer until the ship sails" as this may be your only chance to acquire the Acquaintance: Sardonic Music-Hall Singer. The Curate continues to be useful as a "Father Brown" figure when investigating the Correspondence Stones in the forgotten quarter.
Eventually Investigating… options open up in the flit: however towards the end of these stories the Curate ceases to be profitable. high end shadowy actions provide 2 to 3 change points of Investigating… - while the curate is better than those that provide 2, those that provide 3 can be better than he is! It depends on other rewards:
Investigating the Curate 3 times provides 6 change points, plus 111 Whispered Secrets. Two actions in the Flit (say "Spy on the Topsy King's court") provide 6 change points, so which is better depends on how much you can earn with a third action - and at the tops levels you will start to see actions worth 111 pence or more. So keep an eye on other rewards.
However, the change that ends the Curate's usefulness is when you are investigating a murder while founding your own university department. These actions provide 3 change points and 50-55 cryptic clue; combined with the final rewards in the flit provides superb rewards. (And you do not want to finish the university investigation, as you will be expelled from the university).
"Tea with the Inspector"/'Ask for help with your case' provides 15 change points to Investigating…, while"'You've said that there's a certain well known tree…'" provides change points of either Investigating… or Seeking…. Given the rewards you can get when acquiring Investigating…, you are usually best off saving the latter card for Seeking though: early on this means Find a Tattooed Messenger's contact, while in the flit I recommend combining both Progress types with the "Dropping the Eaves" storylet. "A new piece in the Game"/'Have her help out with your current job' grants 4 change points to both Investigating… & Seeking, but this is difficult to use effectively, it's normally better to use the card's other option ('Set her an interesting challenge' - as it has a rare success granting a Collated Research).


Early in the game, artist and artist's model both require Fascinating… to gain their respective accomplishments. (Acquiring these is needed to unlock future storylines in the shuttered palace: that also require Fascinating….
The honey sipping heiress and uncover hidden tattoos also require Fascinating… - even if you choose not to pursue these, it's worth unlocking them (just use the first action) so they can be continued later.
You will truly master Fascinating… once you are at court. Here, the romantic options grant 2-3 points of Fascinating… in addition to their normal rewards, allowing you to pursue these stories at a nice profit. Should you leave the Court with some Fascinating… built up, you can spend it on any leftover Fascinating… stories that you haven't completed.
Because of this, the "Increase your Fascinating… quality: Fresh flowers from the surface!" card becomes useless once you can access the Court; and as it costs 40 jade it's too expensive when beginning the game.

Running Battle…

There are 3 Running Battle… Ventures in Watchmaker's Hill, ranging from Dangerous 12 through 60. The two Running Battle… cards, "A bandaged gentleman offers his services." and "Rappacini's Envenomings and Toxifications" are expensive but provide many change points, so are very useful late game. "The Parthenaeum" (available from Dangerous 81) provides about 5 change points progress at no cost, so is initially worthwhile but rapidly becomes useless as you gain better options. Fortunately the card disappears at Dangerous 119. The Regretful Soldier provides two change points for a cost of 10 x Greyfields 1879, so is never profitable, and only useful when Wounds have got out of control.

The magor storylets of the Wolfstack Docks is Duelling the Black Ribbon and depends on Running Battle…. Only one of the options involving Captain Vendrick is available at any one time - a friendly duel is possible initially, however once he believes (whether accurately or not) that you have killed the Errant Duellist he will insist on a duel to the death.
The most profitable duel is "Duel with Chi Lan, and cheat" providing a guaranteed 3000 rostygold at Running Battle…13. It requires being a courier for the dead - the best use for this story. a courier for the dead can be regained by returning to a slow boat passing a dark beach on a silent river - either by the wounds you have acquired, losing a duel with Feducci or when you Gaze into Heart's Mirror at the carnival. Extra carnival tickets can be gained when you wrestle a tiger!.
It is worth duelling Feducci, as this provides the "A fearsome duellist" Accomplishment, which is an unlock for a person of some importance.
Duelling the Black Ribbon used to lock when you entered the Labyrinth of tigers: if this still happens, don't worry, you should regain access later. That would prevent you from using the "Arrange a duel outside the Black Ribbon" option when Seeking The Meaning Of The Plaster Face but will not cause any other problems.


Inspired… is initially used for some persuasive commissions: praising fungus in verse at 11, immortalise jack of smiles in another penny dreadful! at 15 and Write about prisoner's honey at 31. The "Increase your Inspired… quality: A travelling exhibitor of waxworks!" can be useful when writing about prisoner's honey, but at 40 whispered secrets is too expensive earlier.
Inspired… first comes into it's own later once [[Persuasive]] is in the high 80s with the Commission: A Royal Portrait storyline. The "Take some art lessons" option reduces Nightmares, often a major problem at this part of the game.
Eventually in court you will use Inspired… to create masterworks - your options for Inspired... grant an average of 10 change points and some grant other benefits (described in life at court) and so are as good or superior to the waxworks card.


Connected: Criminals 6 unlocks the action on the "Increase your Casing… quality: a chat with Fast Hetty's husband" card - this costs 6 change points of Connected, but grants 10 change points of Casing… making it very valuable even at high levels. {Casing… disappears should you be imprisoned, so complete the score before being arrested!}

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