Strong-Backed Labor: Too hard to get?

Strong-Backed Labor is unique among many of the things acquirable from the Bazaar Side-Streets in that you often require a lot of it at once. Without giving too much away, there are some storylets that require anywhere from six to as many as twelve of them.

However, the only way to acquire these is a lengthy process requiring a buildup of Dramatic Tension, and even then, only one at a time. Compare this to many of the high-end things you can create several of in one go by combining items.

But perhaps it’s just me. What I’m wondering is this: Should there be easier ways to acquire Strong-Backed Labor?
edited by GG Crono on 4/3/2012
edited by GG Crono on 4/3/2012

I couldn’t agree more.

Huh, I’ve just been using that same method to get lots of the high-end stuff. Is there a better way to get Whirring Contraptions? I need 50 cycles of this to build my Zubmarine…

Certainly it seems the Wilmot’s End route is faster than farming the requisite items for a Bazaar Sidestreets purchase of Whirring Contraptions. Those are the only two sources I know of. (I too am currently working towards my Zubmarine.)

This isn’t an accident. If it were easy to get it wouldn’t be worth having. 34 actions for Strong Backed labour isn’t all that much. Buckle down and do the work.

I do find it to be a bit of a disconnect that Strong-Backed Labour is so difficult to acquire in the needed quantities, especially as logically there was an abundance of it in the really real Victorian London. i.e. the one without the Clay Men, who are more or less made out of Strong-Backed Labour.

Abstract: By stealing from couriers in spite you can get strong backed labor at approx. 19 - 21 actions per order, you milage may vary due to bulk item conversion ratios and rare sucess on the ‘stealing from couriers’ storylet

Strong backed labor is actually some of the easiest items to get. Assuming 1:1 pence item converstion rations (in actuality the bulk conversions give you better ratios):

(15 Comprimising documents * 50 pence) + (50 Intruiging gossip * 20 pence) = 17.5 Echos in worth of stolen correspondence. Which you can get by ambusing couriers in spite at the rate of 20 per action (40 SC from a 2 action storylet, ignoring the rare success that gets you a love story). Calculating actions quickly is a little difficult due to the odd numbers and remainders but the more strong-backed labors you are making at once the more efficent things get. Coming down to about 17 actions per SBL peak efficiency (using fractional actions).

guess I should thank crono here, I’d probably be wasting actions farming wilmot’s end for labour instead of working the sidestreets if it wern’t for this thread

Alas the same doesn’t seem to be true of Whirring Contraptions - grinding for Lamplighter’s Beeswax with Unfinished Business and trading it up is much less efficient than grinding through Wilmot’s End.
edited by SeanH on 4/3/2012

Correct, at perfect efficency it takes 37.2 actions to obtain a Whirring Contraption via the side streets.

Where is Unfinished Beeswax? I’ve been doing “A lovely thought” for 100 wax/action

Thats the best place to get it consistently as far as I know right now. 100 per action what I used for my calculations to determing total time for Whirring Contraptions.

Unfinished Beeswax is Beeswax obtained via Unfinished Business. You’re already there.

ah, was thinking that Unfinished Beeswax was the name of the action. This is going to be a long grind to finish my zub shrug

It’s more that you need 34 actions… multiplied by as much as ten or more to get the stuff. Personally, I only manage to spend about 60 actions per day. That can come out to almost a week of grinding nothing but Wilmot’s End for a single story, and I can probably repeat just about every line of text in that area from memory by now. Is it a serious ordeal? No, but it’s incredibly boring, and that’s not an ideal quality for a game to have. Fortunately, as mentioned, robbing couriers is faster.
edited by Early on 4/4/2012

Obtaining the Majestic Pleasure Yacht is much more fun, in part because two of the components required (Favours in High Places and Cellars of Wine) can be earned through the crafting storylets.

If only there was a means of converting components into other components similar to the tier-3 cycle. That would would make Collated Research more useful at any rate.
edited by Patrick Reding on 4/4/2012

I’m pretty sure the Collated Research would still count as a 250 pence item like it does for all other aspects.

Considering how long it takes to grind your way to a Formidable Basalt Gymnasium (12 strong-backed labour, plus a lot of rat-fighting), the reward is pitiful. +1 Dangerous and a bad opportunity card*? :/

Still, I’d rather the gymnasium (and library) got improved than make the components easier to get. These home comforts are only available late into the game; they shouldn’t be scared to give out significant benefits.

*Either 150 rostygold (strictly worse than just farming it to begin with), or 5 dangerous substats at the cost of wounds (how different is this from just failing a difficult challenge?)

Where are you farming Rostygold at better than 150/action? I haven’t done the math myself, but I was under the impression from the math others have posted here that only the University/Flit exploit came close to 1.5 E/action.

Using the numbers people have posted here, getting the basalt gymnasium takes 34*12=408 actions to get the labour via wilmot end, plus at least 12 or so to get the gym. So you’re spending 420 actions before you can even start getting rostygold.

Grinding at Watchmaker’s Hill gets you 110 rostygold / action. In order for the gym to make up for its own cost, you’d need to use the opportunity card 1,575 times.

I didn’t calculate the 34 actions number myself so I can’t vouch for it, but my calculations could be off by an order of magnitude and the gym would still be a terrible waste of time.