It will no doubt be magnificent. Let us hope the dour old thing will appreciate it.

Shaping a Masterpiece for the Empress is now a defunct story Quality. All the associated cards and mechanics still exist, though. This page now serves as the guide to creating great works of art at The Empress' Court.

Start Carving out a Reputation at CourtEdit

Upon entering The Empress' Court and obtaining Persuasive 90 you unlock A slow day where you get your first point of CRC (you must not be working on anything, e.g. a short story). You can now access What's your next work? and pick one of the following masterpieces to craft which locks your Working on... and won't let you choose another project until you finish it. To do so, you need to aquire a certain level of Inspired..., which is either 34 for the poem and novel or 24 for the other art forms. Note that this requires either 300 or even 595 CPs whereas the challenges give you roughly 10 CPs per action. So it is advisable to not start work on a masterpiece for the Empress unless you have high enough stats to reliably pass Persuasive 100 skill checks. For advice on what to work on check the conclusion section.

  • an Epic Poem
  • a Novel
  • a Play
  • a Song
  • a Symphony
  • a Ballet

Inspired... Progress Edit

The number in parenthesis denotes the level of the skill challenge. All challenges are broad Persuasive challenges unless specified otherwise.

All quality gains and losses are in Change Points unless specified, and CP gains to Persuasive based on the challenge itself are not listed.

The common qualities have been compressed to just images in the tables:
Fox Persuasive , Lantern Inspired...
Sidebarscandal Scandal , Sidebarsuspicion Suspicion , Sidebarwounds Wounds
Quirkmelancholy Melancholy , Quirkhedonist Hedonist , Quirkaustere Austere
Clergy The Church , Flames Revolutionaries , Devil Hell , Bandagedman The Tomb-Colonies
Bohogirl1 Favours: Bohemians, Salon2 Favours: Society

Simple Skill Challenges Edit

Straight up grinding here.

Option Requirement Challenge Success Failure
A city of culture Bohogirl1 Favours: Bohemians Fox 97 Lantern +10 (Rare: +20) Sidebarscandal +1
Nature in the Neath Fox 98 Lantern +10 (Rare: +20) Sidebarscandal +1
A quiet day at your lodgings Fox 99 Lantern +10 (Rare: +20) Sidebarscandal +1
[1]Composition: the low path Fox 100 Lantern +10 (Rare: +15) Sidebarscandal +1
You have rivals Salon2 Favours: Society Fox 100 Lantern +10 (Rare: +10, Conversation 2 x Scrap of Incendiary Gossip) Sidebarscandal +1
The men from the Ministry Fox 102 Lantern +10 Sidebarscandal +1
Business at the Court Fox 104 Lantern +10 (Rare: +15) Sidebarscandal +1
Competition for the post of Imperial Artist-in-Residence Fox 104 Lantern +10 Sidebarscandal +1

Complex Skill Challenges Edit

These challenges spend items, give additional menaces, change quirks or connections for sometimes various rewards and have no ++ unless denoted.

Option Requirement Challenge Success Failure Rare Success
The people's art Flames 15 Fox 100 Lantern +15
Sidebarsuspicion +1
Sidebarscandal +1
Sidebarsuspicion +1
Devils and art Devil 15 Fox 100 Lantern +15
Devil -10
Devil -10
[1]The music of the tomb Bandagedman 5 Fox 100 Lantern +10
Quirkmelancholy +1 (up to 5)
Sidebarscandal +1
Quirkmelancholy +1 (up to 5)
[2]The lead Fox 100 Lantern +15
Quirkhedonist +1 (up to 5)
Quirkaustere -5
Lantern -20
Sidebarscandal +1
Lantern +15
Quirkhedonist +? (up to 5?)
Quirkaustere -5
Diamond 2 x Flawed Diamond
Religion and Art
Call on the help of the Church
Clergy 5 Fox 100 Lantern +15
Clergy -10
Clergy -10
Religion and Art
Mortification of the flesh!
Lantern +5
Quirkhedonist -3
Quirkaustere +3? (up to 10)
Religion and Art
An organ recital at All Christs
Quirkaustere 7 Lantern +20
Jade -10 Jade
Quirkaustere -3?
Clergy +3
Lantern -1
Jade -10 Jade
Sidebarscandal +1
[2]A gaggle of artistic temperaments Fox 103 Lantern +10
Bohogirl1 +1
Bohogirl1 -1
Sidebarscandal +1
The Bohemians Bohogirl1 5 Fox 107 Lantern +15
Bohogirl1 -10
Lantern -20 Lantern +20
Appallingsecret 2 x Appalling Secret
[1]Composition: the high path Fox 108 Lantern +20
Honey -25 Honey
Lantern -16?
Honey -25 Honey
Sidebarnightmares +1
Lantern +20?
Sapphire 1 x Sapphire

Luck ChallengesEdit

Option Requirement Challenge Success Failure
The Decency Evaluator Cardfan the odds are strongly against you here Luck Demetergreen -50 x Foxfire Candle Stub
Lantern +17?
Fox +2
Door +2 Secluded Address
Demetergreen -50 x Foxfire Candle Stub
Lantern +15
Fox +2
Sidebarsuspicion +1
Yesterday's work Lantern 5 Cardfan It could go either way Luck Lantern +25 (rare +35)
Confidentsmile +1 Confident Smile
Lantern -20
Sidebarwounds +2
The pleasures of the Neath Quirkhedonist 3 Cardfan It could go either way Luck Honey -15 x Honey
Bottleandglass -20 x Bottle of Greyfields 1879
Lantern +18
Quirkhedonist +? (up to 10)
Quirkaustere -(6-9)
Honey -15 x Honey
Bottleandglass -20 x Bottle of Greyfields 1879
Lantern +10?
Quirkhedonist +(3-4) (up to 6)
Quirkaustere -3?

  1. 1.0 1.1 1.2 Unlocked only when working on a Song, Symphony, Ballet, Opera, or Short Story.
  2. 2.0 2.1 Unlocked only when working on a Song, Symphony, Ballet, Opera, Short Story, or a Play.

Conclusions Edit

When you reach the required level of Inspired... you may complete your work of art and decide what kind it is, granting you slightly different rewards. Note that there is no benefit from achieving more than the needed level of Inspired....

Any poems and novels increase Carving out a Reputation at Court by 2 CP, give 6000 Moon-pearls and increase your Bohemian connection by 50 CP. They also give other boosts as stated below but most importantly you will be able to keep a copy of your work.

The other masterpieces basically half these rewards, advancing Carving out a Reputation at Court by 1 CP, granting 3000 Moon-pearls (TODO) and increasing Bohemian by 25 CP. Additional gains are noted below as well.

This overview is designed to give the important information on one page. Some of the options give a small amount of menaces which is omitted here. Check the respective page for details.

Your poem is complete!Edit

Your novel is complete!Edit

Opening Night! (Play)Edit

Publish your song!Edit

Your symphony is complete!Edit

Stage your ballet!Edit

Having a tale of the future comes in handy when Designing your Zubmarine while any of the other five poems or novels helps to start Making Friends among God's Editors on the Making the Good Book Better golden opportunity card. Should you fancy a trip to the Tomb-Colonies, a saucy ballet is the way to go.

After all whatever you create, it will basically give you a bit less than one Echo worth of pearls, candles or jade. This is assuming you pass the challenges at 100%. Investing connections or items increases inspiration but, well, you pay for it. I personally suggest either grinding the simple challenges at 90% chance to get a solid 1.9 CP of persuasive for each success and a completed small work of art after ~35 actions (1 to choose a masterpiece, 30 to get Inspired... 24, 1 to finish a masterpiece, add some for failures, subtract some for rare successes). If you have Persuasive 167 and work on a musical based piece, you can grind The lead to gain 15 CP Inspired... per action without the risk to lose 20 CP when failing. But even with equipment you probable leave The Empress' Court (forever) before getting your stats this high. But assuming you cling to the old days and still hang around like a 25yo in front of a high school, you can rack up the needed inspiration with 20 actions, netting a whopping 30 / (20+2) = 1.36 Echoes per action.

What next? or A Tale of BanishmentEdit

After having finished a masterpiece you do what all artists do: get on with life and do something productive or start over. Should you decide to keep pursuing the arts you will eventually reach Carving out a Reputation at Court 4 which locks working on any more masterpieces and has the Veteran Privy Counsellor ask you to craft one last work of art. If you oblige, you will work on an opera and after presenting it, be banished from The Empress' Court. You can refuse him to reduce your CRC to 3 and do more things at court. But who wants to stay there anyway, right? So you grind up to Inspired... 24 and end it like the artsy little fellow you are. (Although you can pick the flavour of your masterpiece as usual, there are no different results this time around. You collect 2000 Drops of Prisoner's Honey, 2 Fate, a bunch of Scandal and your one way ticket to the Tomb-Colonies.)

Epilogue: If you are wondering why you should burn this bridge, lets just say choosing a certain kind of opera to perform lets you advance with a certain ambition (SPOILER: if you are A Scholar of the Correspondence you can choose to have written the Topsy King's opera, basically warping you to the end of that part of the Heart's Desire story. It saves you a lot of trouble the alternative would imply.)

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