Obtaining the RouteEdit
First things first, you need to get the Route to the Cave itself. The Secular Missionary and her husband know where it is, roughly. So! You need to raise Intimate with the Secular Missionary and Intimate with the Revolutionary Firebrand both to 10. The cards can get pretty rare towards the back end of both storylines, which is frustrating.
After that, you need to wait on another rare opportunity card. Or, you can accelerate matters somewhat by heading to your lodgings and using the Write Letters option. For the low low price of 8 Fate (or 7 points of Notability), you’ll be able to get the card you need straight away! You'll need to buy Favorable Circumstances first, which is where the Fate (or Notability) cost comes in. If you have Intimate with the Missionary 10 but don’t have Intimate with the Firebrand 10, you’ll need to spend 15 Fate extra.
This sets a short meeting in motion at your lodgings, the conclusion of which will give you Route: Cave of the Nadir 1. You’ll also decide whether you want to trust the Missionary or the Firebrand more. Now you can go caving!
Or can you?
Getting into the CaveEdit
You won’t just need Route: Cave of the Nadir, of course. You will also require Archaeologist 5, at least 60 Expedition Supplies and an Eyeless Skull. Let’s break this into parts:
- Archaeologist: This is increased by the simple task of doing Forgotten Quarter Expeditions. More difficult Expeditions increase Archaeologist by a larger amount; but if you haven’t been keeping up with your archaeology you may need to do a fair few to get to the magic number of 5.
- Crate of Expedition Supplies: The game says to bring at least 60, but unless you’re planning on doing a flawless runthrough of the Expedition I wouldn’t recommend trying with that few: you probably want 80-90. If you need some extra supplies, the following code will hit you up with some bonus ones
- Eyeless Skull: Now this is a tricky one, and a bone (heh) of contention with many unlucky players. To my knowledge, there are currently six methods available to obtain an eyeless skull. Perhaps there are more I don’t know of. It’s hard to tell.
- The end of the Shrine of the Deep Blue Heaven occasionally gives an Eyeless Skull instead of the usual Unpredictable Treasure.
- High-value (fate-locked) Unpredictable Treasures occasionally give two Eyeless Skulls and some Jade.
- A rare success from "See the sights" under "Seeking Curios", the last storylet on the page.
- A rare success from "Wander the Quarter", likewise under "Seeking Curios".
- A rare success from drinking Bottled Oblivion, along with a Searing Enigma (Note: this is a very bad idea as each bottle will cost you 50 CP in all stats)
- Begging! If you have everything you need but a Skull, you can Ask a friend to send you an Eyeless Skull. Skull charity!
The Expedition ItselfEdit
The Expedition does not have anything particularly difficult lurking within. Your Rival is February, and you can occasionally stall her depending on the Airs of the Quarter. It’ll cost you a bottle of Broken Giant, a Presbyterate Passphrase, some Great Game and an Identity Uncovered! It’ll slow her down by 2 points of progress, and it’s rather expensive.
Should her progress reach 10, you will be forced to face her. She will challenge you to a game of chess; a reasonably difficult challenge, which needs 200 Watchful to be completely straightforward. The match costs four actions. Success will cost you some Supplies and revolutionary connections, but you’ll gain three Progress, lose five Rival’s Progress, and February will sod off and leave you alone with mere second-rate archaeologists to deal with.
Other Airs values may allow you to have a chat with your charming associates, the Missionary and the Firebrand. During this time, you can decide to switch sides if you’ve decided you don’t really want to trust one of them. Or you can spend some quality time with your ally of choice...
Once your Archaeologist’s Progress quality hits 60, you’ll be able to enter the Cave itself! Or will you? Erm, no, as it happens.
Actually getting into the CaveEdit
Once you reach the Cave, the Firebrand drops a bombshell: you’re going to need a Ray-Drenched Cinder to get inside.
Fortunately, at this point you are offered a number of ways to get a Ray Drenched Cinder of your very own! So you don’t need to frantically rummage throughout the entire game looking for one.
These methods are:
- Buy one with Echoes!
400 Echoes and 5 actions will get you a Ray Drenched Cinder. Certainly the easiest way to go, and worth it unless you happen to have a lot of connections/skulls.
- Buy one with Connections!
If you are a revolutionary Demagogue, you might be able to convince your contacts into handing over a RDC. It’ll cost five actions and, no doubt, a colossal wodge of connections. (2500CP, apparently) This is worth it over the echoes if you value your connections at less than 16p/CP.
- Buy one with Fate!
It’ll cost 50 Fate. I cannot tell you exactly what this option does or Alexis Kennedy will shoot me to death. It'll suffice to say you get some extra lovely things alongside your Cinder.
- Buy one with Skulls!
Should you have 5 skulls banked up for some reason, you can swap all 5 for a Ray Drenched Cinder. No more skull cards for the win! Note that, if you choose this option, you will need a total of six skulls from the beginning, as the one used earlier is consumed!
You can acquire additional Cinders at any time by accumulating 5 skulls and clicking on them in your inventory.
Once you have an RDC, by whatever means possible, the Firebrand will brew you up some mysterious ashy tea. It’ll give you a point of wounds and nightmares, but more importantly, it’ll let you enter the Cave of the Nadir…
The Cave of the Nadir!Edit
The Cave is the zenith of our little quest. You’ll get a point of Irrigo upon entering. Almost everything here is conducted via the means of opportunity cards: There’s a little informative pinned storylet with a Watchful challenge, and an option that’ll let you leave. But don’t do that just yet! The party’s only starting.
The Cave of the Nadir’s gimmick is that you only have a limited amount of time in it: The previously mentioned Irrigo quality will increment as you do things, and getting it to 10 will get you booted out. More on that in a second, though.
The other gimmick of the Cave of the Nadir is that it can be used to upgrade items. A fair few arbitrary things can be enriched with irrigo: there’s almost no way to know about these things if you aren’t told. Hence, I am now going to tell you what to bring, and what the thing turns into. Just a fair warning, however, that only one of these items is any better than existing equipment at present, and there’s a very profitable action in the Cave that will allow you to buy the most expensive gear possible anyway. Still, enriched gear is shiny and purple. Who doesn't like purple?
Anyway! Gear list! Here’s what you should pack for your hike into the Nadir, and what they’ll turn into:
There are a number of other cards and things inside the Nadir for you to look at and enjoy. Keep an eye out for a card with a coffin icon called The Catafalquerie. One option will give you a Complaisant Frost-Moth, a neat little pet (although unremarkable in terms of stat at present). Another will give you Vial of Tears of the Bazaar, at the cost of PtPT:Lacre, worth a whole 312.50 Echoes! Another card (An Unlikely Garden) can give a Searing Enigma, but it has a very high difficulty (a Persuasive stat of 1000 is required to get 60% odds on it. Yep.) An easier way to earn these and other expensive items are on the card, The End of Battles, but this will cost some second chances. If you have A Daughter in the Shadows, Old Bones is a good card. If you have a tattoo, Woods in winter is a good card. If you have dreams and nightmares, you'll draw cards that gain you interesting items worth 12.5 E
Warning! No cards drawn in the Nadir can be discarded, so you can't just shuffle through them to get a desired one.
You’ll be able to meet your chosen ally in the Nadir, just once. Then they’ll float off into the irrigo void again, and you won’t see them until you leave.
Leaving the Cave of the NadirEdit
You can choose to leave at any point. However, if you hit Irrigo 10, you’ll be forced out with a double penalty. What sort of penalty? Well, each point of Irrigo you accrue will cost you 5CP in all stats once you leave the Cave, if your Irrigo is at 6 or above. So leaving at Irrigo 8 will cost 40CP of stat; two thirds of a level.
If you hit 10 Irrigo, it’ll hit you twice; In other words, you’ll lose 100CP of all stats, a level and a half in everything! Ouch.
If your Irrigo is below 6, when you leave you'll receive only 1CP stat loss per point of irrigo. So 5 levels of irrigo will make you lose 5CP of stat.
Once you leave for the first time, you’ll meet the Missionary and the Firebrand having a little… disagreement outside. You can choose to side with one or the other: this’ll give you your chosen ally as a Companion, which may later be upgradeable, possibly even transforming into a Constant Companion. Alternatively, you can choose to abandon them and nick some of their Mourning Candles, which prevents you from getting either as a Companion. But you’ll have some candles! And you can be really rude about it too, if you want. They probably deserve it.
Returning to the CaveEdit
Once a week, your Irrigo quality will fade completely, taking some of your Menaces, Making Waves and Notability with it. You can’t go back into the Cave if you have any Irrigo at all.
Going back to the Cave has no major cost: It costs you merely 3 actions, no Ray Drenched Cinder or Eyeless Skull. You can return once each week to pillage and investigate the strange place. If you're impatient, you can pay 50 Nex to purge all your Irrigo.
Or, if you solve this Puzzle, you can get back in straight away, once only! Or you can use it inside the Cave to eliminate your irrigo while you’re in there. Either works!
(Update: Access code is already used up, but for puzzle lovers, it's still worth trying to see if you're right.)
The Puzzle is as follows: What name did Mr Iron trade under in the Fourth City? The answer is all one word for the purposes of the access code, but the answer itself is not just one word, if you catch my drift. The answer itself is inside the Nadir: it’s unlikely you’ll know it if you haven’t been there, and if you use the code with no Irrigo it’ll merely burn up and do nothing. You might think you know the answer without having gone into the Nadir, but i’ll give you a hint: No, you’re wrong. Unless you’re right. I dunno.
Fit your answer into the following format, without the curly brackets.
After the CaveEdit
So, you’ve found this Cave. You can go back to it once a week. But what else can you do with it? Sell its location, obviously! Four parties are interested in the Cave’s location, and they’ll buy it off you for a rather hefty sum. You can only sell the location once, though! Because, um. Economics. You can still enter the Cave again after you sell it, though!
Selling the location is done via the means of opportunity cards! The option will appear on the relevant faction’s Connection card. Selling the location will get you a rare item, a huge chunk of Connections and also change your Closest To! So if you want to switch allegiances to this very specific set of people, you can do that.
Anyway, the parties interested in the Cave are:
- The Great Game: Will purchase for a Reported Location of a One-Time Prince of Hell (Worth 1562.50 echoes)
- Revolutionaries: Will purchase for Vial of Masters' Blood (Worth 1562.50 echoes)
- Hell: Will purchase for a Scrap of Ivory Organza (Worth 312.50 echoes)
- Urchins: Will purchase for a Starstone Demark (Worth 312.50 echoes)
Alternatively, you can opt not to sell the location to anyone at all! It is a rather dangerous (and profitable) secret, after all.
And... I think that’s all I have to say on the matter of the Nadir! Have a nice trip! It’s not exactly the best holiday destination, you forget all of the fun parts and misplace your luggage. But it’s a nice place to go, and properly eerie as well.