This guide will attempt to analyze the various moneymaking options available to a capped player. As this assumes that the player has done all they possibly can, there are a few options that aren't listed (things that require lower stats, things at the university or court, one-time storylets, etc.) This will also focus on long events rather than single storylets. This guide is partly to aid those players pursuing very expensive things (Overgoat, Hesperidean Cider...), as well as possible for the Failbetter staff to look at and see where the balancing might be a little off. I'll work on completing this as time goes on, and if anyone has any other options they'd like to see me add, just let me know.
Mahogany Hall has a number of options available to capped players, and is perhaps the first out of all these options that a player might run across. Indeed, this content can be done before becoming a Person of Some Importance. In addition, unlike most options available, both options her grant loot when increasing your progress, as well as a payoff at the end.
==Tales of Mahogany Hall==
This is by far one of the most bizarre systems in Fallen London when it comes to balancing. Everywhere else in the game, options that have higher requirements give better loot. In Tales of Mahogany Hall, the reverse is true.
First, a word on the mechanics. By Ticket Touting, Advertising, Burglary, or Variety, you can increase your Tales of Mahogany Hall quality. Variety options increase it by 2 CP each time, but offer the lowest payout (Two options give 1 echo profit, getting licenses costs 2 echoes and only earns 1, so you lose an echo each time, and stealing props earns 1.02 echoes). All the other options only give 1 CP, but reward slightly more (except for the "don't be greedy" option under burglary). As the extra amount rewarded (after account for the cost of lost connections for ticket touting) is fairly low (topping at an extra 6 pence for sabotaging the opera's bills), we're going to assume that a capped player is choosing to steal props for 102 nevercold brass slivers and 2 CP of ToMH.
Once it hits 10, new options open up. You can help Jasper and Frank, which can earn up to 112 per action without reducing anything (So, you can simply spam it if that's enough income for you), or you can use the weekly variety bill. Now, here's where it gets weird. All the options up to Thursday will cost you 10 CP, although they have increasing requirements. Friday, Saturday, and Sunday have increasing costs in CP. Now, the funny part is that as you go up through the days of the week, the loot obtained actually goes DOWN. Your best bet for making money is actually to go on Monday, earning 2 echoes with either option.
Ok, now for the actual profit obtained from this. Taking 5 variety options to earn your CP back up (Not counting the initial amount to get it to 10 in the first place): 510 pence in 5 actions. Plus 1 action to choose the day of the week, earning 30 pence. Finally, picking your option for 200 pence in 1 action. Resulting in ~105 pence per action. So, the Days of the Week are not actually worth it from a monetary standpoint. You'll make more money off your 112 deep amber an action raising fires for Jasper and Frank.
The other major storylet option at Mahogany Hall are the Master-classes in Etiquette, governed by the Pygmalion quality. All of your options work similarly: you have one initial storylet that uses persuasive checks and has a few options to start, plus some more that unlock with more Pygmalion up to 5, and then you have a few new options that unlock at 5, 8, 10, and 12 Pygmalion.
Oddly enough, the later storylets that require Pygmalion checks do NOT give better loot, or even more CP! In fact, in both cases the option at Pygmalion 10 gives worse loot than your average storylet for even someone who's just unlocked Mahogany Hall. So, for the best loot one should stick with the first storylet until they want to finish. Both options give the same amounts for the first storylet, with the highest option at Pygmalion 1 giving 105 pence, the option at Pygmalion 3 giving 108 pence, and the option at Pygmalion 5 giving 111 pence, however those without a soul cannot do this last option for the devil. The final option gives 1000 pence for the devil, and 700 for Lyme. In either case, you get nevercold brass for the devil, and glim for Lyme.
It will take 26 actions to hit Pygmalion 12 to unlock the final option, and 63 to make it a straightforward challenge. Due the Pygmalion challenge at the end, this means the loot per action can vary based on greed and luck. You'll need to do 2 of the highest Pygmalion 1 option, 3 of the Pygmalion 3 option, and the rest can all be done with the Pygmalion 5 option on the first storylet. If you do the final storylet when it is first available, this means 3865 pence over 27 actions, for ~143 pence per action. If you wait for it to be straightforward, this results in 7972 pence over 64 actions, or ~124 pence per action. There are a few more nuances to this, such as whether to go with Lyme or the Devil if you don't have a soul (May crunch the math for this later), or whether to go with Lyme so you can use the glim for item conversion down the line.
==Boxful of Intrigue==
Once you've gotten far enough on the "A Survivor of the Affair of the Box" storyline, you will be able to obtain boxfuls of intrigue in order to proceed. Even after finishing the storyline (Or any time once you unlock the ability to do so), you can turn in 13 boxfuls of intrigue for various goods. Three options have no requirements, and give 1750 pence in goods. One option requires 40 in the "Empire's Kingmaker" quality, and gives 2000 pence in Mourning Candles. If you stick with whatever side you're currently with, you get 10 CP in Kingmaker (Switching sides gets you a turncoat quality, essentially a menace. Do this 4 times and you'll need to spend revolution or masters connections to fix it). This means it'll take you 82 times to hit 40, although there is a fate-locked storyline or two that will offer a large increase to start you off with (I do not remember which storyline it is however, nor do I think I could say if I did). Until you do so, you'll have to settle for the lesser options which are around 125 PPA. Once you hit 40, getting the candles is ~143 PPA. This is rather remarkable, as it is the highest reliable PPA currently (Screaming Map and Fidgeting Writer offer more, but are both luck based and require investments)
==Thefts of Particular Character==
The Flit has two options, but I will cover the War of Assassins later. For now, I'll cover the Thefts of Particular Character. This allows you to directly obtain the alternate payment for the highest lodgings, rather than using item conversion to get them. The mechanics here are simple: Pay 32 CP in Casing to earn 12.50 echoes. Setting your gang of hoodlums to business earns 18 CP for 5 actions. This means 1250 pence every 11 actions (or ~113 pence per action) with 4 CP left over. So, over the course of 8 attempts you'll get a second one. Doing this enough times to use up all your casing would be 9 thefts, earning 11250 pence over 89 actions, or ~126 pence per action.
Another rather simple money-making option, the Velocipede Squad is your average carousel routine. Build "Riding the Savage Cobbles" to 7, then get a reward. Along the way, you should choose to enter the boozer with the lads for the first options (for bonus Constable CP), and choose any option EXCEPT dealing with a hard case (As it only gives 1 CP of Riding instead of 2) once it hits 5. When it hits 7, you have a number of choices. Most of them give 1750 pence worth of goods. Talking to the Knuckle-scarred Inspector gives 1800 pence worth of goods if you're on the Jack case. And going to a funeral gives 1850, so let's go with that one. It takes 15 actions, so this results in ~123 pence per action without taking into account the connections earned. You only get 8 constables CP over the course of this, which is equivalent to 16 pence. So, roughly an extra pence per action from that, for ~124.
===Forgotten Quarter & Flit===
==War of Assassins==
Another simple carousel. You can get a comprehensive bribe or a bazaar permit at the end of this, worth 1250 pence. It takes 33 actions to get the 3 Dramatic Tension required, plus another action to claim your reward. This results in roughly ~36 pence per action. However! This event is worthwhile for being one of the few ways to get some materials without paying an arm and a leg, most notably Use of Villains.
Running your newspaper can be one of the more lucrative options out there. The best solution is actually the easiest: Don't use any opportinity cards, just focus on one type of copy and do theatrical accounting, which should get you 77 copy and 500 rostygold. The copy then earns you 110 journals of infamy, or 5500 pence worth. Adding in the 34 actions to earn a whirring contraption, this earns you 6000 pence over 47 actions, or ~127 pence per action.
If you're looking to boost the unique qualites though, you have two routes available. If you don't use theatrical accounting, you'll have 92 copy and need either 2 direct opportunity cards, or 4 interviews. Getting 104 copy adds 500 pence worth of goods to the end, so you're earning 6000 pence over 49-51 actions, for ~117-122 pence per action. If you decide to go for theatrical accounting, you'll only have 77 copy and need 5 cards for the same type of copy, or 9 interviews (Or a mix of the two). This does earn you 6500 in the end, over the course of 52-56 actions, for ~116-125 pence per action.
==Lady and The Game==
There's technically two routes here, but they operate the same, require the same amount of dramatic tension, and only vary in terms of precise rewards and flavor text. If you're after money, your best bet would be to play the game at wilmot's end, and choose the legal document. However, even that only rewards 1250 pence for a whopping 34 actions, or ~36 pence per action. Wilmot's End should be avoided unless you need whirring contraptions or legal documents, the rest can be acquired cheaper elsewhere.
==Working Towards a Foreign Posting==
The Foreign Office is similar to the Velocipede Squad. Both are carousels that go up 2 CP at a time with a reward at level 7, for 15 actions to do the whole thing. Doing the ministry run or the devout intriguers itinerary reward 1800 pence, for ~120 pence per action. Though, unlike the Velocipede Squad, you can earn money from the fate-locked portion. How much, I am not at liberty to say... give it a try, for the story at least.
===Labyrinth of Tigers===
Theological Husbandry is one of the more difficult ones to plan out a pence per action for, because outside of the Somnolent Hyena and Rubbery Hound (which we won't be getting into currently due to it coming from Flute Street), the other two have variable amounts of time to get to them (Either getting Troubled Waters to 11 or getting yourself to the tomb colonies for most folks), and then come from cards on top of that. I'll try my best to get the facts down as best I can, however.
For the Somnolent Hyena, it takes 2 turns to get to coil 2, 1 to capture the hyena, and 2 more to go back to coil 4, for a total of 5 actions. Each step of breeding takes 7 actions (hitting level 6 at 3 CP per action), and doing just one will earn you 1500 pence in goods. Two will earn you 2200 (2290 for "A Firm Hand"), and all three will earn you 2900 in goods. However, it costs 200 pence in honey to get, which makes it 1300, 2090, and 2700 respectively. Now, as you can see, using more options gives more pence, but not necessarily equal to the time spent working on it. If you ignore the time spent getting a beast, just picking any one option will give the best pence per action, and likely still will for the hyena due to how quick they can be gotten. 5 to get, 7 to train, 1 to turn in is 13 actions, over 1300 pence results in 100 pence per action. Picking two is 20 actions, 2090 profit, is ~104. And pulling out the stops is 27 turns total, for 2700 pence, or 100 pence per action. They're all about equal at 100 except 2 actions, which is only marginally better.
Now, for the tomb-lion it can be difficult for me to get an exact pence per action. So far, the most effective way I've found of visiting the tomb colonies is to get other players to dupe you. This raises scandal by 6 CP each time, and at 36 CP to get in normally, this means 6 turns if you're not using any gear, but you can easily get +4 scandal in gear (Modish Bonnet, brass ring, and silk stockings), meaning only 2 actions to enter the tomb colonies. Getting out would be difficult, but if duping a player removes as much CP as it gives to the other player, that'd be 2 to get back out. Huh, once again 2 to get there, 2 to get out, and one to get the critter if you're lucky with your cards. Choosing one option (except toadstools) gives 2000 pence, choosing fungus and devils gives 3100 pence, and pulling out all the stops gives 3700 pence. Assuming 5 to get the critter, that's 13 actions for 2000 pence for 153 pence per action. Using fungus and pious wrath grants 3100 pence over 20 actions, for 155 pence per action. Choosing to pull out all the stops gives 3700 over 27 actions, for 137 pence per action.
Finally, the plated seal. Getting the animal to start with is so luck intensive, that I'm going to assume that you get your seal as a bonus when business takes you out to zee. This is a lot more variable in terms of rewards, but you get 2700 pence worth of goods for using just discipline, 3500 for using any two methods, and a hound of heaven for using all three. If you want the most money for the amount of time spent training, you should go for just using discipline. If you want the most money for your seal, use any two options. The hound of heaven can be turned in with an extra action for 50 CP of church connections, and one cellar of wine. This is a value of 1350 pence, which you'll note is the smallest reward for any breeding method, though it may possibly be worth it if you want to raise church connections just for the sake of doing so.
Do note that for all options except for the hound of heaven, there's a 70% luck chance that you might only earn 75% of the normal reward. So, on average (assuming my math is correct) you should earn about 92% of what's listed here. Applying that to the most profitable action (Using fungus and pious wrath on the tomb lion, assuming a partner helps you in and out of the colonies), makes this ~142 pence per action.
Pursuing the screaming map is fairly luck based, but we can still make a few estimates. Now, first off you're going to want to pursue the right-hand half of the map and sell it to certain parties. This will earn you 2500 pence and a detective's card. This means you're going to want to push your dreaded or bizarre as high as they can go: You'll need 10 for a straightforward challenge.
For this game of cat and mouse, all luck challenges appear to be a 70% chance. For the first 4 steps, you earn 5 Cat, and the cost to pay is 50 glim. The next 4 earn you 8 Cat, and cost 250 glim if you pay. The final step at 2 Mouse gives 10 Cat, and costs a whopping 1250 glim to pay. You need 50 Cat for the map, and getting 60% will earn you 1250 pence worth of goods.
Now, due to the 500 pence cost of starting this, essentially your reward at the end is 2000 pence. If you only take the luck options and somehow manage to get 60 Cat by the end, your reward for the whole endeavor would be 3250 pence over the course of 13 actions, for 250 pence per action. If you went with the astronomer, you can pay 150 pence in whisper-silk to spend 2 mouse and get 10 Cat. You can do this all the way until only 7 Mouse remains, but past 8 Mouse and you're only getting 5 Cat when you could be getting 8, although you are saving on actions. Using it when above/at 8 Mouse saves on actions, but costs 50% more than spending normally. However, doing this is actually beneficial in the end. Using the aforementioned "luck all the way", route but with using whisper-silk for the first four, we earn 2950 over 11 actions, for 268 pence per action. However, of course, to do this one must pass 5 70% luck challenges in a row, which has a 16% chance of occuring. Failing just one of these checks will still let you get the map, but you'll lose out on the bonus, earning 154 pence per action. While it has a greater chance of occuring, it's still a fairly low chance.
Now, since the cost per action of the luck method is over 250 pence per action, this means you can actually pay for the middle phase and not go into the negative... but this of course lowers your profit and makes it more painful if you fail the check. Paying in such a manner for all except the last one earns you 1950 over 11 actions, for ~177 pence per action. If you fail the check, you'll still get the map but no bonus, earning a mere 700 pence over 11 actions, or ~63 pence per action.
We can refine this just a LITTLE bit further. The previous method makes you wind up with 53 or 63 Cat. But, we can trim a little off to save us a bunch of money. By spending glim for one option at the start, then spending whisper-satin twice, we get 5 Cat for one Mouse where we would have gotten 8 instead, losing 3 Cat. But, we spend 200 less pence in goods, and doesn't hurt us in any way. Doing it this way, we can get 2150 over 11 actions if we pass, or 195 pence per action, or 900 pence over 11 actions if we fail, for ~81 pence per action.
No matter how you look at it, this is a mechanic that is for the gamblers. You can decide how much to risk, though I prefer the safe bet myself. If my amateur probability skills are correct, you're looking at ~160 pence per action in the long run using the final refined method listed.
Mutton Island is another carousel routine, with increasing rewards as you go up until you hit a big payoff at the end. As with most carousels, your average action advances 2 CP at a time. From 1-6, you don't actually get anything from the storylets, except for a rare success on "An Island with Secrets?", which gives 30 pence in appalling secrets. Of note, however, there is an option for players with Stormy-Eyed unlocked. This option does NOT progress the carousel, but it gives you 2 CP of Stormy-Eyed. You can spend 1 CP of stormy-eyed on most "What the Thunder Said" cards to gain 125 cryptic clues (a 250 pence value). There's also an option on those cards to gain stormy-eyed. The neat thing about this storylet, however, is that it gives 2 CP of stormy-eyed, whereas the cards only grant one. By getting your stormy-eyed up here, then solely using the option to spend it on the thunder cards, you're getting 500 pence over 3 actions, or ~166 PPA.
After 14 actions, you'll be on the 7-8 section of the carousel. Everything except Dinner in the Fallen Columns (and The Mouths of Children, but that requires SMEN, so you know it's bad news) rewards 145 whispered secrets. However, they also all have rare successes, which actually offer LESS rewards except for Well Watching, where it grants 150 pence in memories of distant shores. Also, Inside the Cock and Magpie gives "Acquainted with Miriam Plenty's Past", which you may wish to take advantage of. It offers a new 100 PPA storylet back in london which you may spam, and can also be spent (along with some bohemian connections and all your tickets) for 3 Broken Giant.
Once it hits 9 in 9 more actions, you're at the end of the carousel. You have a number of options here: Saving sailors rewards an unknown amount of Docks connections, salvaging a wreck rewards 600 glim, attending a feast boosts all your stats and lowers nightmares (though, all by an unknown amount), though the best offer for money is the Scrap of a Diary, offering 620 pence worth of goods.
All told, this is 24 actions to earn 1925 pence, which is about ~80 pence an action. At least the stormy-eyed can be nice, but going here solely for that is a bit of a waste unless you plan on stockpiling a LOT of that quality.
Lastly, you can trade in extraordinary implications. You can trade them in for whispered secrets, cryptic clues, or uncanny incunabula, at an equivalent exchange. You also get 1 50 pence item for the secrets or incunabula, but 2 50 pence items for the clues. Still, for 100 pence per action you might as well have not left London.
===Journey of Scientific Expedition===
Embarking on a voyage of scientific discovery can be quite a lucrative endeavor, but it does have it's own balances in place. First off, your research has no direct price, although it can be converted into goods. The best option for money is to use the options to trade in 500 research at a time. While it might be tempting to do the collated research options for the souvenirs, this is VERY inefficient for money: As can be seen by comparing them to the "treasure" options on the island, research is balanced at 10 pence per research (which also correlates with how much you get turning them in 500 at a time). However, spending 120 research only gets you one collated research, valuing the research at a mere 2 pence each.
When it comes to actually assembling the research, if your only concern is money then you actually should choose to get treasure while on the islands. While this occasionally results in a little less money on a few options, you don't need to spend actions cashing them in. This means most of your research will be gained by cards at zee: Both the Fleet of Truth card (15 research, or 150 pence worth), and the Share Research cards (50 pence profit when sending, 450 pence profit receiving, 500 pence across 2 actions when sharing for 250 PPA).
Of course, what about the islands? Over the course on an island, you will make roughly 3790 pence worth of goods, give or take a little variance on options. It will take you 21 turns from when you land there (Not counting the final turn spent at unterzee choosing a location), until the time you leave. This is, on paper, quite profitable at 180 PPA, until one realizes that you cannot spam the carousel in one trip: Finishing kicks you back out to the unterzee, and you must make another trip to get back in. Sadly, I cannot give an exact PPA because there is a degree of randomness in terms of what cards you get and how often you pass luck challenges, although I will say that it may be worth it to do this at the Grunting Fen, as the Sea of Voices is a lot kinder, with more stat check cards to increase progress, and a number of the cards also come with bonus lucrative rewards, so it won't be as if you're earning nothing out there. Still, assuming you spend about 20 actions at zee (Averaging a little over 2 CP progress a turn), and ignoring any loot from zee, that makes about 90 pence a trip.
===Someone is Coming===
While this may seem like a rather complex item, it is in fact rather simple. Winning gives ~1300 profit, depending on which path you take. Unlike the screaming map, paying takes 2 turns, making it woefully inefficient. Even if you use luck challenges the entire way, that's still just 130 PPA if you win, and if by some miracle you succeed in getting the 60 Cat bonus, you'd get ~2800 profit, or 280 PPA. However, the chance of doing either is VERY low, making this not very useful for money (Unless you're lower level, like at the 60 when it unlocks).
Far more useful is the option to spend 100 whispered secrets for 5 incendiary gossip, for a 150 pence profit. You need to be in the middle of a cat and mouse game... making this an ideal thing to do while waiting for a screaming map piece to arrive.
edited by Urthdigger on 7/30/2012
edited by Urthdigger on 7/30/2012
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