That’s 15 ToL, or 7 Pails of Snow, at least without Mr Sacks. Read the OP, but don’t make your plan just yet, this is still under construction.
EDIT: It looks like we’ll be able to get two Pails of Lacre and five levels of ToL from Mr Sacks, without paying any Fate. Six levels for Doctors and Notaries.

According to the wiki, both &quotinvite him in&quot options give ToL+1.

Also, it looks like the Consonant Violin is really not necessary at all. You can use either the Violin or Greyfields First Sporing.
edited by Rupho Schartenhauer on 11/9/2015

I don’t suppose you have any advice for those of us looking to maximize Masters connection? Not…that I would be after something like that.

This is the guide to get maximum ToL/Pails of Lacre from Mr Sacks WITHOUT Fate. The Fate-guide is in the spoiler-box below.

Day 2: The day with the most options: for ToL +1 you can give him Greyfields First Sporing, or play on your Violin (the latter needs Connected: The Masters 2). If you have neither, &quotTake my good name&quot is another option (requires Renown: Bohemians, Society & Great Game 10, Connected: Masters 1, Notability 1). Or you can give him a Touching Love Story (caps at ToL 5)
Day 4: Today you &quotonly&quot have to decide whether you’ll want to spend Fate. If you did not finish a Fate-locked investigation last year, choose to continue it now!
Day 5: Align yourself with the Celestial school of poetry at the Singing Mandrake and &quotGive Him Your Dream of Skies Untainted&quot for ToL +1. Careful, overcapped players: your Persuasive will drop!
Day 8: Invite the man in, whether you know him already or not, and receive ToL +1.
Day 9: &quotAccept his Heart and Lights&quot will get you a Pail of Lacre!
Day 11: Now’s the time to be a Doctor or Notary as only they will receive a further ToL +1.
Day 12: &quotTake Advantage of the Situation&quot will get you ToL +1 and a Pail of Lacre! You’ll lose 1 CP of Connected: Masters though. Note that this is a rather heartless choice that some role-playing characters might feel uncomfortable with - the Rubbery and Devils Fate-locked options grant the same rewards without Connected: Masters loss.

Per special request, here are the options that increase Connected: The Masters! (it’s usually just 1CP)
Day 1: Would you care for a little of the '68? or Would you care for something… spicier than wine?
Day 2: Would you care for a little of the '68? or Take this eery air! (both give ToL as well)
Day 3: Take this rather larger diamond!
Day 5: Take this dream of mirrors! (requires Recurring Dreams: Is Someone There? 5, and then docks 10 CP off it!)
Day 6: Take this exalted hymn to patriotism! (requires you to have written A Patriotic Adventure) or Take these tales of joy and woe! (requires 10 Touching Love Stories)
Day 7: London is the crucible of desires (GAIN 1 CP Masters, 1x FiHP + 3 CP Hedonist (up to 10!), LOSE 1x Docks & Revs Favour) or Take this work of mine… (only for Bazaarines; GAIN 1-2 CP Masters, 1x FiHP + 10 Echoes cash, LOSE 1x Docks Fav. & 3 Revs Favours!) or It is peaceful here (just 1CP Masters)
Day 11: Accept the invitation (not available for the top-tier Professions)
Day 12: Assist the wreck of Sacks (3CP Masters, 1x FiHP)

Day 10 isn’t useless either: while there’s no ToL or Connected: The Masters on offer, you can get a rare Scrap of Parabola-Linen in exchange for a Storm-Threnody.

[spoiler]There are now nine factions you can investigate Lacre with: Benthic, Revolutionaries & Urchins cost 8 Fate each; while the Widow, the Duchess, Zailors, Rubberies, Rats and Devils come at 12 Fate each. You can choose only one faction each year!
Story-wise, all these investigations are worth playing. For those interested in maxing ToL however, there are differences: the Widow, Duchess & Zailors ones reward you with a net gain of ToL +2 — or even +7 if you choose not to finish the story this year (you can then finish it during next year’s Sacksmas without paying further Fate).
The Rats Investigation gives an extra ToL +1, while Devils and Rubberies grant Tol +1 and 1 x Pail.
The 8 Fate-stories always come on days when you can get ToL without Fate anyway.

These are the final reward items of each story:

12 Fate:
Devils: The Rose Giveth (Affiliation; Dangerous +5, Watchful +2, Bizarre +1) + 3 x Favours: Hell; ToL +1; 1 x Pail
Rats: A Bedraggled, Forlorn Fox (Companion; Watchful +9) + 3 x Favours: Criminals; ToL +1
Rubbery Men: A Perpetually Festive Rubbery Man (Companion; Persuasive +9, Bizarre +3); ToL +1
Duchess: Cantigaster Venom (Weapon; Dangerous +12); ToL +2
Widow: Elemental Secret; ToL +2
Zailors: Dreadful Surmise + 3 x Favours: The Docks; ToL +2

8 Fate:
Benthic: Dreadful Surmise
Revolutionaries: Ray-Drenched Cinder + 3 x Favours: Revolutionaries (not confirmed)
Urchins: Starstone Demark + 3 x Favours: Urchins

Day 6: Today’s Duchess storylet grants ToL +7 (remember you’ll need ToL 5 to finish the story at Penstock’s), while the Rats one grants ToL +1. The Devils option gives 2 x Favours: Hell.
Day 7: Today’s Widow storylet grants ToL +7 (remember you’ll need ToL 5 to finish the story at Penstock’s)
Day 9: Today’s Zailors storylet grants ToL +7 (remember you’ll need ToL 5 to finish the story at Penstock’s) – Today, there’s also an option for ToL +2 if you have a Peculiar Personal Enhancement.
Day 10: Today’s Devils storylet gives another 1 x Favour: Hell.
Day 11: Today you get your companion reward if you’re investigating with Rats!
Day 12: Today’s Rubbery and Devils options each grant ToL +1 and a Pail of Lacre.[/spoiler]
edited by Rupho Schartenhauer on 1/13/2021

Rupho, this is seriously amazing, it has almost everything I ever wanted to know about Sacksmas. Thanks!

Seconding that! You want a Christmas Card, Mr Schartenhauer?

I believe the Consonant Violin option gives one CP on Connected: Masters.

@metasynthie: Note that the 8-fate stories do give 312.5 echo items as well. Out of all the faction choices, only the Dutchess gives an item that is completely fate-locked, but most of the others can only be obtained seasonally or with great difficulty. The Revolutionaries reward is the only one I’d really consider not worth it from a collecting standpoint. Also, note that not finishing the story does allow you to finish it the next year at no additional fate cost!
edited by Optimatum on 11/9/2015

Thank you! I’m glad people find it useful! :)
Thanks also to everyone who contributed information, especially NiteBrite, Metasynthie & Optimatum!

Yes, that’s an important detail: if (for whatever reason) you do not finish your Fate-locked Lacre quest, your progress will be saved and you can take off where you left next Christmas without paying further Fate!

Now, if we could just confirm the information about Day 3’s Fate-locked option…
edited by Rupho Schartenhauer on 11/9/2015

Ech … the daughter in shadows and missing woman options in nadir are, imao, more convenient (available without additional costs, once unlocked) for that.

Ech … the daughter in shadows and missing woman options in nadir are, imao, more convenient (available without additional costs, once unlocked) for that.[/quote]
yeah, it averages a cost of 44.12 echoes for 5 boosts to melancholy, as well as a 2 irrigo replacement cost. (20% loss-rate, 1 ToL for success, 2 on loss, average of 6 ToL per tears.) I’m not aware of the missing woman option in the nadir- educate me, please, since google cannot find it either. If you mean woods in winter, that doesn’t give melancholy for me.
edited by Grenem on 11/9/2015

The option I know of that can increase Melancholy past 10 is the second option on Old Bones.

Some notes based on other notes…

Especially if you’re at a point where you could have looked at it through a Monocle for +3 ToL!

Take my good name is apparently not capped and gives 1 Extraordinary Implication if you have Connections (which don’t get removed): Bohemians 20, Great Game 20, Society 20, Masters 1, Notability 1. Most players with Notability 1 will probably be able to get a Consonant Violin – but in case someone doesn’t have the Violin or Greyfields First Sporing, the requirements for this are relatively easy. The First Sporing and Violin may be more preferable since they give 1 point of Masters connection, and &quotTake my good name&quot doesn’t.

As far as I can tell this one does NOT give you ToL!

[/b][quote=Rupho Schartenhauer]Day 3: Take this rather larger diamond! (the free version gives Connected: Masters, but no ToL. The Fate-locked version probably gives both. Probably.)[/quote]
Nope, no ToL for either choice; Stones is a creep. You do get Connected: Masters though.

Urchins can get you +1 ToL over not paying any Fate at all. And might be useful if you need their connections or Storm-Threnodies for buying pails… but yeah, not as worth it.
edited by metasynthie on 11/9/2015


As far as I can tell this one does NOT give you ToL![/quote]
As far as I can tell, you’re right. Don’t know why I wrote this. :headscrat:

Nope, no ToL for either choice; Stones is a creep. You do get Connected: Masters though.
Does the Fate-locked option give you more CP: Masters at least? There has to be a difference!

Anyway, I’ve taken the Magnificent Diamond out of the listed useful things in the OP as it does not give any ToL. Also, I further polished the OP again as some things were explained too much in a roundabout way. I hope to convey the importance of thinking ahead and doing things in the correct order. In recent years I often just clicked on Sacks cards without thinking about my ToL - so easy to waste precious points that way!
Also, the fact that Sacks cards are not repeatable - that you can play each only once - might not be obvious to newer players, so I’ve added that fact as well.
edited by Rupho Schartenhauer on 11/10/2015
According to the wiki, this can. It’s pricey, but if you care about melancholy 15 you’ll need to pay through the nose in some fasion.

Oh, definitely. I meant the option I knew of within the Cave of the Nadir.

Is there a extant, cheaper non-fate method you know of?

There’s this once Penstock’s Wicket opens up, though I don’t think I’d want to be spending ToL in that way (especially since it’s not guaranteed). I’d just wait until more connections get switched over to Renown and see which one of those will boost Melancholy at its highest tier.

Edit: Wait, there’s also this. Depending on where the quirk caps that might be okay, though I forget where it was when I tried it last time.

edited by Sara Hysaro on 11/10/2015

As far as I can tell from the wiki, the Fate option is locked when in possession of a diamond, which implies that it is merely a fate cost for a same or similar outcome, sans item cost.

That option was nice back when it was first introduced since Magnificent Diamonds were brand new then. A way to acquire them was discovered shortly, but I was feeling impatient/lazy.

Take the air caps at 10! The other things mentioned (Daughter in the Shadows at Nadir, spending ToL on searching the shore of the Sundered Sea, and sniffing Tears) are the only repeatable ways to get Melancholy above 10 as far as I know. I don’t even think there is a Connection item for raising Melancholy higher once it gets to 12. And it’s worth noting that in order to use Tears the rest of the year, you have to keep at least one ToL unspent after Xmas!
edited by metasynthie on 11/10/2015

It’s more efficient bucket-wise to examine the pails with the Semiotic Monocle twice, ToL from 0 to 6, then ‘Take the air’ or ‘Search the shore’, to drop your ToL from 6 to 5, then examine another pail through the Monocle again, bringing ToL to 8. This requires 3 pails as opposed to 4 listed above. The benefit of doing the method you listed, is being able to get ToL as high as possible before Mr Sacks comes.

What’s the fate thing? For the life of me, I can’t recall.

[quote=metasynthie]Temple of Uttermost Wind: ~10% chance of each of the following… 2 Magnificent Diamonds, 2 Night Whispers, 1 Tears of the Bazaar. 20% chance of 1 Airag.

Gallery of Serpents: 24% chance of 1 Airag, 26% chance of 1 Tears of the Bazaar

Interestingly, any of these have a 50% chance of netting you SOMETHING useful for Xmas, but the more fate you pay the more powerful that something will be.[/quote]
Okay. First, sorry for nitpicking.
Second. YES. The data I’ve collected on Fate expeditions comes in handy!

The Temple of Uttermost Wind’s Unpredictable Treasure goes down to a value of at least 54, which means there’s either a 7% or 9% chance of ‘A wooden mask?’ + others, and twice that for Airag (depending on whether the UT value goes all the way down to 1 or not)

The Gallery of Serpents has equal chances of Airag and Tears, both 25% each.

Where are you getting your information from? Did you collect your own? I’ve got mine in my signature, oh, well, you have to do the survey first, so here.

What more of these are there?

edited by Cecil on 11/10/2015