A "Short" Guide to Neathmas: (some call it Sackmas…)
This first post will explain the important stories and qualities of the event. The second post will provide information on how best to grind for things you might need.
There are two Fate-locked parts of Sackmas: the Incarnadine Robe and Investigating Mr Sacks with various factions of London. Both will not be discussed here, only hinted at.
The FL Advent Calendar: simply bookmark this page! :)
Putting the Pieces Together: The Taste of Lacre (ptpt:ttol, or for simplicity’s sake, ToL)
What is Lacre? Lacre is Neath-Snow. You’ll be snowed in on every Time the Healer visit between Dec 8 and Jan 6. Each time, you can obtain a Pail of So-Called Snow, and you can get two more from Mr Sacks’ cards (more on them later). Usually, the Advent Calendar also provides one. Paired with specific ToL-increasing options on the Mr Sacks opportunity cards, those pails should be sufficient to push Taste of Lacre (ToL) high enough to create a Noman and/or buy your favourite lodgings at Penstock’s Wicket (between Jan 5 and Jan 31). If you need more ToL, you’ll have to buy Pails of Lacre from urchins.
The price for buying Lacre from urchins is 7 Storm-Threnodies + 1 Night-Whisper (this option also requires Renown: Urchins 10 and is only open as long as you have at least 1 ToL!). Coincidentally, you can sell your soul for this exact price during the Christmas season.
Penstock’s Wicket? Like Penstock’s Land Agency at the Bazaar?
Indeed. A tiny elevator will take you to a place called A Sundered Sea. This is the only time of the year when you can visit this place!
How much ToL do I need?
[ul][li]Depends on what you want to do! If you only want a Remote Address, you can get that for ToL 3, no further requirements.
[/li][/ul][ul][li]If you’re looking for a Remote Address and an exclusive 5-card lodgings, you need at least ToL 10 (+ Notability 3). You can get there with your pails from Time the Healer if you’re lucky/your SotC is 10 or more. All the 5-card lodgings require Notability 3 (which is then consumed); for the upgrade to a Reservation at the Royal Bethlehem you need ToL 7, for the Brass Embassy Guest Room upgrade ToL 8 (and Your Own Infernal Contract), and for the Premises at the Bazaar upgrade ToL 9.
[/li][/ul][ul][li]Note that there are other ways to the 5-card lodgings which are open year-round. The Remote Addresses however are only available at Christmas.[/li][/ul][ul][li]Note also that the lodgings are not mutually exclusive! If you collect enough ToL you can have them all![/li][/ul][ul][li]If you are not interested in lodgings, you might want to know that it’s possible to buy Tears of the Bazaar for 7 ToL in the Cave of the Nadir.
[/li][/ul][ul][li]The price of the Noman increases almost every day![/li][/ul][ul][li]There’s also the Soothe & Cooper Long-Box which you can get for 5 ToL (6 ToL unlock the storylet). It is worth 62.50 Echoes at the Bazaar, or you can sell it at Wolfstack Docks for 3 Favours: The Docks (up to 7), 50 Echoes and a bonus quality for your Sunless Sea character the first time you do it.[/li][/ul]So, how can I get the ToL I need?
[ul][li]The first law of dealing with Pails of So-Called Snow: whatever you do with it, the Pail will be consumed, whether what you did was successful or not!
[/li][/ul][ul][li]Most options to increase ToL with your Snow-Pails are luck-based and capped quite low, while the ToL options on Sacks cards are almost all uncapped.
[/li][/ul][ul][li]The Semiotic Monocle, Tears of the Bazaar and the Dreadful Surmise are the only items that will help increase your ToL beyond 6: up to 8 with the Monocle, up to 11 with Tears and up to 16 with the Surmise.[/li][/ul][ul][li]If you have none of those items, and cannot afford to get them, try to increase ToL to 5 with your Pails of Snow before Mr Sacks comes round (Dec 25). You get one level of ToL for dipping a soul in Lacre, up to ToL 5. Mixing Lacre with a bottle of Broken Giant 1844 and an Extraordinary Implication can get you to ToL 6 if you’re lucky (Note again that the pails are always consumed, meaning you need five pails for ToL 5, and at least six pails for ToL 6). Either way, the Mr Sacks opp cards will be your only options to get further than 6.[/li][/ul][ul][li]You should be able to get four levels of ToL from Mr Sacks, five if you’re a Doctor or Notary. Meaning, even if you’re totally unlucky with your Pails, and can’t afford any fancy items, you should still be able to afford at least one Remote Address!
[/li][/ul][ul][li]If you have only the Monocle, you can reach ToL 8 before Mr Sacks comes round. Again, the pails are always consumed, so you need at least four pails for this in total: use the Monocle on one to reach ToL 3, then dip a soul in lacre twice (ToL 4&5), then use the Monocle for the jump from 5 to 8 - you can’t use it at ToL 6! Note that this is A Scholar of the Correspondence challenge! You need SotC 6 to unlock it, it’s straightforward at SotC 10. If you’re below SotC 10 you might fail at the Monocle challenge, melting your Pail and giving you Wounds but no ToL… anyway, once you’re at 8, you can still put four or five levels on top of that from Sacks cards. (Here’s a different tactic, for a specific goal.)
[/li][/ul][ul][li](Another good way to use the Monocle is when rebuilding ToL from scratch after spending it all at Penstock’s: you’ll need three Pails for this. Use the Monocle option on two Pails (= ToL 6), visit Penstock’s and Take the air (-1 ToL), and then use the Monocle again on a third Pail = ToL 8.)
[/li][/ul][ul][li]With Tears of the Bazaar, you can reach ToL 11, but there is a 20% chance of losing your Vial of Tears upon the relevant action. Of course, you need a few more Pails for that, but if you can afford Tears of the Bazaar, you can probably afford buying Pails of Lacre…
[/li][/ul][ul][li]With a Dreadful Surmise you can reach ToL 16! It is however a very difficult Dangerous challenge, difficult enough to make it worth saving a Mood card in your hand for this option! If you’re lucky enough to have a Surmise, don’t fret: it is safe. Even if you fail at the relevant action, the Surmise won’t be devoured. The Pails, of course, are consumed, but you get an Antique Mystery on top if you’re successful.
[/li][/ul]The 12 Days of Mr Sacks: Starting on Dec 25, Mr Sacks will appear 12 times in your opportunity deck, on cards named "Day 1" to "Day 12". This does not mean that you’ll miss out on one if you can’t be online/forget to log in on one of those days! If you’ve drawn and played Day 1 before Jan 6, you’ll be able to draw all the others too. But note that you have to draw all 12 to unlock Penstock’s Wicket. Those cards are quite frequent though, you usually do not have to look long for them unless the RNG holds a special hatred for you (also, the cards become pinned universal storylets around Jan 15).
Note that the Sacks cards are not repeatable! You can play each of them only once, picking a single option!
If you want/need to milk the most ToL points out of the 12 Days of Mr Sacks, you should have a bottle of Greyfields 1868 First Sporing or a Consonant Violin. If you really need every single point, switch your profession to Doctor or Notary for this. Here’s a 12-Days-Guide for those who need/want as much ToL as possible.
Low-level players: it is important to use your Pails of Snow first[/b], and play Mr Sacks’ cards later. Be patient: Mr Sacks might appear in your deck before you have a fifth Pail. Waiting for that fifth Pail before playing the Day 2 card pays off: dipping five souls into the five pails for a certain ToL 5 and then putting the remaining ToL points from the Sacks cards on top is a slow but sure way to get ahead.
Advanced players can be more relaxed about this - they can descend the wicket, spend some ToL, and build it up again with further Pails. Still, you always have to think about doing things in the correct order: it’s easy to waste precious ToL points from Sacks cards - those should always be stacked on top of what you can get out of your Pails! And since Tears of the Bazaar are always at risk of evaporating, only use them when you have no other option.
As long as you can get to ToL 3, you can descend Penstock’s Wicket as often as you like (and can afford) until January 31. When your ToL drops below 3 and you can’t afford buying further Snow-Pails… that’s it for you for this year!
(Post-script: the steps described are based on the assumption that you want to get ToL as high as possible before Penstock’s Wicket opens. I assume that this guide will be read mostly by newish players, and that’s the best way of going about things for them… but there are of course other ways to play this, especially if you’re planning to do multiple Penstock visits. If you have a few Tears, a Surmise, and a very high Dangerous you can, for example, totally ignore your Pails at the start and make your first visit with just the ToL points from Sacks cards.)
- Time the Healer will melt all Pails of So-Called Snow around February 1. You will be warned about this one week in advance![/li][/ul][ul][li]Any excess ToL however will be saved until next Christmas![/li][/ul][ul][li]When it Snows in the Neath, you’ll have the option to either get a Pail of So-Called Snow, or an Incarnadine Fur Robe for 30 Fate. With the Robe, you can get 1 of 18 unique gifts from the Masters themselves (14 Home Comforts, 2 Transports, 1 Affiliation, 1 Glove). You will lose your Robe upon receiving your chosen item, meaning you’ll have to buy another Robe next TtH if you want more than one of the unique items.[/li][/ul][ul][li]Keeping a Noman alive for more than two weeks is not easily done. Here’s more information on this particular venture.[/li][/ul][ul][li]Oh, and of course there are Neathy Christmas Cards! They are not in any way related to the Taste of Lacre or anything. But they’re Christmas Cards! With tentacles! You only get a fixed number of these from Time the Healer, so reserve them for your most delicious friends!
edited by Rupho Schartenhauer on 1/13/2021