Easiest way to the Ray-Drenched Cinder?

So, the Cave of the Nadir expedition just unlocked for me… and I’ve got high enough Watchful to attempt it, barely. Well, I honestly don’t plan to do so until I’m done seeing all that the University has to offer first, but on something like this, I feel it is worth planning ahead.

I know that at the end, I’ll need a Ray-Drenched Cinder, and there are several ways to obtain one. I won’t buy one, though - 400 Echoes is too rich for my blood, and I tend to be quite the pack-rat when it comes to accumulating (rather than selling) materials. I don’t feel particularly inclined to throw Fate at the problem, either.

That leaves two roads - Connection: Revolutionaries to 100, or Eyeless Skulls to 5.

At the moment, I have exactly zero Eyeless Skulls, and I’m not likely to get any without pursuing them deliberately. (I do, however, have a friend I could borrow one from, just to start the expedition, if it comes to that…) My Connected: Revolutionaries, meanwhile, is at 26 - and could be raised gradually just by taking advantage of various Opportunity-cards likely to appear in my deck regardless. Still, it’s a loooong way to 100…

Thus, the question is - which path would be most efficient? And if it’s the Skulls, is ‘Seeking curios’ the best way to get them? Expeditions to the Shine of the Blue Heavens obviously take much longer, but if the odds are significantly greater there…

I think Seeking Curios is the best way to get Eyeless Skulls. You’ll earn other resources as you’re trying to collect them, and if it takes you 2-3 weeks due to poor luck you can just sell what you’ve collected to buy the Ray-Drenched Cinder you need.

And Seeking Curios will boost your watchful … and other stats. As you collect the Skulls you might need to go somewhere that clears your deck - pickpocket’s promenade; heist or menace area for example.

Honestly?
I DID spend fate on it.
One of the few fate purchases that I didn’t end up dismissing as silly.

Well, I’m certainly not hearing a lot of votes for ‘grind Revolutionaries to 100’… so I’ll take that to mean that gathering that much Connection would take more actions than collecting the skulls, even if you’re misfortunate.

What I did on my Lukas Uller (who has 7 Cinders) was the following.

  1. Seek Curios (small chance to acquire skull).
  2. Accumulate Whispered Secrets while seeking Curios (you will get many).
  3. Use the whispered Secrets to fund the 20 supply expedition (the 10 supply does not give skulls).
  4. When you have no more secrets, go back to hunting curios.
  5. Unless you have a massive stockpile of tinctures and laudanum you’re probably better off just going insane with Nightmares and getting sent to the Mirror Marches. The return trip is sometimes quicker than going through bottles of medicine. The hit to your &quotIs someone coming?&quot Dream stat is nothing to fret over.

This method ensures that you are profiting from constant Expeditions while you try to get a Cinder. Granted, I believe that the 400 Echoes is far more economical, especially for Persons of Some Importance, but to each their own. When seeking Curios, be sure to check on the wiki to know which actions have a chance to give you a skull and which do not.


edited by Owen Wulf on 3/31/2015

I’ve actually tried all of the non-fate options, and honestly, 400 echoes is not very much for a POSI, provided you’re not saving up for anything. Skulls are the next best option, as you’re always getting something for your efforts (I used a similar method to that described by Owen^).

I only took the Connected: Revolutionaries option on the character that I used to collect Hallowmas confessions; I grinded suspicion from Giving Public Lectures in the Forgotten Quarter, which gave me enough Connected to cash in for a cinder.

I did the Eyeless Skulls route - note you’ll also need a sixth to actually enter Nadir. It took me about a week to get enough skulls just poking around the quarter. Time to grind 400 Echoes as a POSI? 4 days. And you won’t be Advancing the Liberation of Night that way.

also keep in mind 5 eyeless skulls are worth 312.5 echoes anyways, at least to revolutionaries, so… yeah, you’re not going to be really saving much money this way. might want to do it anyways, but generally isn’t worth it.

Well sort of, you also get to keep all the stuff you got trying to find the skulls on failures. It’s possible it might be more profitable, but it’s certainly faster to raise money.

(And honestly if you take four days as a POSI to get 400 echoes you’re either not playing regularly or using inefficient money sources. It’s doable in two with optimized grinding and 144 actions/day, though three is more likely since most of us need to sleep.)

Huh… I guess moneymaking really DOES get much easier once you’re PoSI, huh? Still, I’ll probably go for the skulls. If only because just plain buying it feels… I dunno, a bit like a cheat? Maybe not as much so as buying it with FATE, but still…

“To open the gate to this ancient, forgotten cave of mystery and treasure, a rare and amazing object is required - the mythical Ray-Drenched Cinder! No doubt, a great quest will be required to obtain it…”
“Oh, that thing? Here.”
“Good god! 'tis the Ray-Drenched Cinder! How on Earth or Below did you obtain such a rarity?”
“Oh, I picked it up at the Bazaar. 400 bucks. Tad steep, but hey, I make that much in a couple of days.”

…yeah, I just don’t like it. “I traded five mysterious, Eyeless Skulls dug up from the twisting passages of the Forgotten Quarters to a faction of anarchistic revolutionaries for it” just… feels a bit more RIGHT, somehow. >_>

Technically you’re not buying it personally. You’re giving the Secular Missionary money to make the proper arrangements with someone she knows has one.

edited by Sara Hysaro on 3/31/2015

Note that if you want a Ray Drenched Cinder in the future as a collectable I’m certain the only way is to trade 5 Eyeless Skulls. Sure it was a bit of a grind constantly plagued by nightmares when searching for Curios and scrounging enough materials to go on expeditions. But it’s a nice thing to have.

Plus, sometimes you get Searing Enigmas. I hear that you need an exorbitant amount in the Seeking Mr. Eaten’s Name storyline so I’ve begun stockpiling them for when it returns.

[quote=BlakeTheDrake]Huh… I guess moneymaking really DOES get much easier once you’re PoSI, huh? Still, I’ll probably go for the skulls. If only because just plain buying it feels… I dunno, a bit like a cheat? Maybe not as much so as buying it with FATE, but still…

&quotTo open the gate to this ancient, forgotten cave of mystery and treasure, a rare and amazing object is required - the mythical Ray-Drenched Cinder! No doubt, a great quest will be required to obtain it…&quot
&quotOh, that thing? Here.&quot
&quotGood god! 'tis the Ray-Drenched Cinder! How on Earth or Below did you obtain such a rarity?&quot
&quotOh, I picked it up at the Bazaar. 400 bucks. Tad steep, but hey, I make that much in a couple of days.&quot

…yeah, I just don’t like it. &quotI traded five mysterious, Eyeless Skulls dug up from the twisting passages of the Forgotten Quarters to a faction of anarchistic revolutionaries for it&quot just… feels a bit more RIGHT, somehow. >_>[/quote]

well, for a better story, keep in mind- 400 echoes either equals 40,000 whispered secrets (enough to make a scream of whispered secrets) or most other first teir items, 4,000 maniac’s prayers or most other second teir items, 800 third teir items, 160 4th teir items, and 32 5th teir items.

so, to get it, you’ll need to sell the equivalent of: an orchestral dirge of storm-threnodies, enough favors in high places to make a career in politics from that alone, enough celars of wine to go into buisness as a wine merchant, enough puzzle damask to make a dress or three out of it, or enough bazaar permits to almost kill a lawyer from overwork, or many other options, but the sheer amount of resources will be most costly. even the least significant method possible is selling the bazaar a pile of junk that you could bury a man in. in my opinion, that sounds pretty epic too- as much as bumbling blindly through the forgotten quarter until you find five accursed skulls.

(also, the best cycle is maybe 2 echoes a action, not counting the nadir. so yeah, you’re basically a buisness tycoon or an elite threat at that point. 2 echoes is probably a lot of money for most people. keep in mind, you earn maybe 50 echoes a week with a top-of-the-line job (doctor, for a more mundane one). most people might make 60 echoes a week, after all expenses, if they live carefully.)
edited by Grenem on 4/1/2015

I did the 5-Skull grind twice - once to get the Cinder I needed to access the Cave for the first time, and once to have one for my collection. Took about 3 days the first time, and about 6 the second.

Quite annoying, particularly since I was stat-capped and mostly content-boundaried the second time round and so didn’t benefit as much from the peripheral perks of Seeking Curios. Still, there’s something satisfying about having done it the hard way. Twice. I definitely get where you’re coming from re not wanting to pay the 400 Echoes, even if it is technically the most efficient.

[quote=WormApotheote]Well sort of, you also get to keep all the stuff you got trying to find the skulls on failures. It’s possible it might be more profitable, but it’s certainly faster to raise money.

(And honestly if you take four days as a POSI to get 400 echoes you’re either not playing regularly or using inefficient money sources. It’s doable in two with optimized grinding and 144 actions/day, though three is more likely since most of us need to sleep.)[/quote]

Shrug, you can probably get 400 echoes in 3 days, but I never skip doing useful opportunity cards because they’re more rare than any grind.

Pay Fate. Sell the Cinder. Repeat. Buy an Overgoat in one day.

I can’t speak as to the efficiency of grinding out a skull (since not all Seeking Curios yield skulls, which one you can access is random, and the chance of getting a rare skull success is currently to my knowledge unknown), but I can certainly say that my (admittedly non-POSI) math says it’s by far easier to grind up 100 in Revolutionaries than 400 echos.

You earn 15 cp per action by Reaping the Academic Benefits of The Correspondence in the Forgotten Quarter, with a target cp of 3700, that takes about 250 actions. As far as I know, the optimal echo grind even for POSIs yields around 1-1.2 echos per action, for about 400-330 actions. Additionally, each Reaping also bestows 15 cp of Society and Bohemian, which can be kept after the purchase.

To get into exactly how efficient this is, we have to factor in that each successful Reaping also bestows one point of Suspicion. Management of this menace must also be accounted for in the action cost of this endeavor. If you can Confound the Constables in Spite with the help of a vocal companion, you can reduce Suspicion by 4 cp per action, or 3 cp with a few Infernal Contracts for the road. Assuming those interest you, you’ll need one action of menace management for three of Reaping, yielding a total action cost of around 320, still far more efficient than echo grinding at the university, and with extra rewards to take home.

If you’re not willing to risk the potential long-run randomness (and Nightmare difficulties) of searching for skulls and don’t want to come out of your expedition poorer than you went in, farming connections seems by far the most efficient method, and it leaves you richer to boot. If you care more about quickly gaining a Ray-Drenched Cinder than coming out ahead, check your net worth; if you can’t raise 100 echos by liquidating assets, it’s probably still quicker to grind out connections.

Do tell me if I’ve missed anything in my math.
edited by The Machinist on 4/2/2015

[quote=The Machinist]As far as I know, the optimal echo grind even for POSIs yields around 1-1.2 echos per action, for about 400-330 actions.[/quote]I use a couple of scripts that were posted in these forums to check how many Echoes my resources would be worth when sold at the Bazaar, and then I compare the result to the last time I checked, and see how many days are in between. That way I get an actual number for how many Echoes I make per day. Nowadays I’ve scaled back quite a bit, particularly when it comes to drawing opportunity cards, but for the last couple of months I still got 255.75 Echoes/day, which would be 1.78 Echoes/Action in a 144-Action day. 1-1.2 Echoes/Action sounds like unfinished business to me, and that is not optimal, as even the boxful of intrigue is said to give more. Though I’ll admit that most of my income comes from abusing the University investigations, which require one to not proceeding with that story. Which could be considered less than optimal from a gameplay perspective. I guess for someone who’s story-capped, and who doesn’t draw enough cards to take full advantage of collections of curiosities (which applies to me now), unfinished business might be the best option for money?

No way.
Getting drama points and cashing for collected research in wilmot’s end is consistent 147 ppa.
Affair of the box on the correct side is consistent 143 ppa.
Baseborn&Fowlingpiece heists in flit (the ones that go to different area) were around or just under 200 ppa in TLSs and searing enigmas for me (over about 100 attempts, accounting for turns spent removing suspicion and echoes spent buing the absolutin solutions for that, and even a few completely bombed attempts where I had to evade constables and got nothing). Requires 5-card lodging and not being RNG’s monkey.
Archaeological expeditions should be in the vicinity of 170 ppa too, according to my calculations (using unfinished business for rostygold, lyme for glim, pewter tankard for docks, buying supplies by spending docker connection, and 100%-ing buccanneering approach, with only occasional "A sign"s and a conservative estimate of always getting only 1 point of progress at the start).
Revolutionary connection is worth far more when cashed in in flit for favours, anyway. If your opportunity cost is 200 ppa (and it probably isn’t that high), a single CP is worth 22.33 pences, so getting 3700 is “worth” 826 echoes - way more than the cinder.