In Pursuit of the Western Tower

Working on a second 4-card lodging seems to be going easier so far. My shadowy is behind anyway so unfinished business in Spite to steal souls seems like the way to go for me. I caved in and bought a Brass Skull to clean up after my failures.

This’ll probably take a while, though. Anybody have any better ideas?

Yes. Unless you’re barred from being an Intimate of Devils (i.e., seeking a certain name or having already sold your soul), you’re better off getting this lodging through Brilliant Souls/Muscaria Brandy rather than through Souls.

Oh, sorry, to be clear, I’m getting the souls to convert upward. I’ve already got the ring, the reputation, I’ve been an intimate of Devils for AGES.

I think the flit is probably the quickest way to get what you need, especially if you have a gang of hoodlums.

Then it depends on your Shadowy. Stealing Brilliant Souls/Muscaria Brandy directly is much quicker, but if you need to grind Shadowy to get it up to par, doing Unfinished Business for Souls is as good a way as any, I suppose. (Assuming you have a reasonable of dealing with Suspicion, since you’re going to want to use gear to keep the check in the low-risk range, and IIRC, Unfinished Business gives +2 CPs of menace instead of the usual +1.)

In the case of the unfinished business to steal souls “Prince of…” It actually drops you 2CP of connected Hell every time you fail as the penalty, rather than any suspicion.

Robbing the Brass Embassy in The Flit is good, except you need 18 casing or else you risk losing your connections to hell entirely. That works out to about 67pence per action at my current rate of speed, I think, and I don’t have a gang of Hoodlums.
edited by Finvara on 4/25/2013

EDIT II: Actually, does anyone have the math on this one? Or can anyone do the math? I could see it being more effective to do thefts of a particular character instead of this, although this is safe and useful skill grinding, at least.
edited by Finvara on 4/25/2013

Stealing Souls isn’t the idea; you can use Thefts of Particular Character to directly steal Brilliant Souls and Muscaria Brandy.

Generally speaking, for any Tier 3 item, the default source is probably going to be Thefts or Iron Box (and then converting if necessary). That’s one of the reasons why Shadowy is the most important quality in the game, and why a Gang of Hoodlums is such a good investment.

PS. Shadowy is currently 85+31

I went the souls route. It’s long and hard, but gets you quite a lot of shadowy and it gives you some time to plan what to do next ( if you happen to need it :D ).

I’m waffling on which idea is better, really. I need to level Shadowy, but I honestly need to get a gang of hoodlums eventually anyway

Use “The decoy” Casing option in the Flit to build Casing up to 10 to steal Brilliant Souls and Muscaria Brandy in “Thefts of Particular Character”. The decoy option is 3 actions for 9 CP of Casing. On success, you’ll also receive a small bonus of 10-13 pence of random items. On failure, though, you’ll lose some Casing and gain some Suspicion. With your Shadowy, you should have at least a 90% low risk success chance. If your Suspicion rises too high, switch to grinding for Souls in Spite’s Unfinished Business till Suspicion’s low enough to safely attempt more theft in the Flit.

Are you sure you want a Gang of Hoodlums? If you can stomach what you have to do to gain a gang, then cheers to you. Half of my characters couldn’t do it and the other half enjoyed it. Different folks, different strokes… I’m personally waffling on a Membership of God’s Editors. I can’t tell if it’s better or worse than the book burning done by the Ministry of Public Decency. I guess Zee Dee will just go without an Affiliation till he can start his own Newspaper.

As for your next question: Buy the Lofty Tower with heists at the offices of Baseborn & Fowlingpiece. :p

You could grab 2 Bazaar Permits at once in a heist or aim for the Touching Love Stories instead. A rare success for stealing from “…a Sealed Archive” is a Searing Enigma instead of the 8 Touching Love Stories. If you convert the love stories to Bazaar Permits, there’s also a rare success of a bottle of Fourth City Airag in addition to the permits.

Apart from paying through the nose, I don’t really know what I need to do to get a gang of hoodlums, honestly. Is there some important point on the topic I’m missing?

First, you need to be a POSI. Once you are a POSI you will draw a card that, if you successfully play, will give you the “Gaining a Criminal Reputation” quality. First you pay a lot of Rostygold (I think 20k). Following this are a few actions that don’t cost resources, but will increase your Suspicion (following the first free action). Once you get your Criminal Reputation quality up to 5 you need 8 Use of Villains to finally acquire your Gang of Hoodlums.

Do note that you will need your Criminal connection at 20.

That’s what I expected. I wasn’t sure if there was some hidden cost, like not being able to do some other storyline or get some other cool thing.

LOL, I meant the story itself, ya silly ducks. Personally, handing out thousands of Rostygold pieces to every passerby was the easy part. If I could just purchase a gang with Echoes, all my characters would own private street gangs. You can’t gather or control a criminal organization with money alone – not for long, anyway. You must also demand respect and obedience with acts of fear.

Zee Dee is all right with people terrorizing him but much less so when he has to terrorize in turn. Obtaining a gang of hoodlums is one of the most character defining stories even though it’s short. There is no gray area for you to rationalize or lurk behind. You’re either someone who can handle “hard work” like the Cheery Man or not; there’s no middle ground. The hardest part is living with yourself afterwards. Or, okay, fine, sometimes the hardest part is dishing out barrels of Rostygold. You decide.

Professor Varald may be a great humanitarian, but he’s still going to catch his nemesis eventually. Scruples shouldn’t get in the way of pragmatism EVERY time.

EDIT: Currently fighting a war of assassins to get the Use of Villains
edited by Finvara on 4/26/2013

My Nemesis alt thoroughly agrees. If achieving his ultimate goal require that he burn down an orphanage while its occupants are still inside, he’d hesitate momentarily before lighting the match. Regardless, he views the Gang of Hoodlums as fluff and nonsense. It’s a tool for monetary profit at the cost of one’s morals. Let’s not confuse “crazy profits” with “crazy necessary”. He won’t form his personal street army till it’s necessary. He’d usurp the Cheery Man if the Nemesis goal called for it. One could say he’s an eager chap. :P

Zee Dee is just hunting the Vake so what does he care? He’s half delusional from downing so much Black Wings Absinthe in pursuit of some winged…leathery…man…hybrid thing. He has better things to do than gather ruffians for heists. He could be spending those actions chugging more absinthe! Besides, if his hoodlums got into his drinks cabinet, they’d be disbanded by schizophrenia before night’s end.

My other other alt is mostly buying the Use of Villains in the Bazaar Side-streets. She has a tub of Cryptic Clues to mass convert. Are you embroiled in the wars of Illusion? That’s how she got so many Cryptic Clues. It’s good for exercising Shadowy, too.

I’m not embroiled at all, no. I’ve considered it in the past. Do you think I should go that route instead of the assassin war? I’m already 1/8th of the way there.

EDIT: Oh WOW, I forgot how many Cryptic Clues I had. I’m at 4/8 now, and only stopped because I ran out of actions. I might be able to finish in the morning.
edited by Finvara on 4/26/2013

Actually, I still have IwD while being soulless. Admittedly I lost my soul to the Deviless, but I still count as having IwD.

There’s no efficient way to get Use of Villains. It holds true for many of the PoSI ingredients.
I usually check that table to see if it’s worth converting at the Bazaar Side-streets with lower tier items instead of running through a story carousel like Dramatic Tension. I always finish a story at least once to experience it, but if I’m just trying to gather a number of PoSI ingredients, I find myself converting in the Side-streets half of the time.

You don’t have to complete the Embroiled story all at once. In order to start it, you need to build up the story quality with rare successes from Flit storylets. You might as well unlock the story now rather than later since you plan to train Shadowy. All the early Embroiled-related storylets offer hundreds of Cryptic Clues as a reward. Use those to mass convert to the Journals of Infamy and Appalling Secrets needed to buy Use of Villains. It’s roughly as fast (slow, really) as Fighting a War of Assassins to gain Use of Villains. Finish your current war, try the Flit storylets next and see which method you prefer.