This article is a work in progress.
Beginner's Walkthrough for players trying to get through the demo on challenge mode. Premature game over conditions can result from the horse ride on week 2, the matchmaker's interview on week 3, and later near the end of week 5.
The recommended background for a beginner trying to pass challenge mode for the first time is the pirate's daughter.
The first step is deciding on weaknesses. You can pick two different weaknesses, or the same one twice. If you pick the same weakness twice, the relevant stat will start at zero. Beauty and grace are commonly chosen weaknesses.
Choose these answers to create an overall well-rounded character:
- Your eyes were unusually intelligent.
- You rallied your guards around you (leadership).
- Your speech tutor (eloquence).
- Of course! What self-respecting lady in this day and age can't take care of herself?
- You weren't just any thirteen year old girl. With the right smile and the right words, you charmed the pants off him.
- Remembering the location of a nearby abandoned estate, you suggested they go look for valuables (cunning).
For weaknesses, here is one good option:
Pick whatever you like, but people, politics, and history are recommended knowledge areas.
Other questions in the character questionnaire determine things like faction approval and personality. Pick whatever you're most comfortable with.
At the end of the character questionnaire, greet your maids in a friendly or polite manner to gain a little friendship with them.
The welcome feast has two main purposes: first, to impress the delegates so that you receive their invitations, and second, to increase the insight stat. Insight is a skill that measures how well you, the player, know the characters your MC is talking to. At the end of the welcome feast, you could end up with as much as 70 points in insight. Save and reload to experiment with this. Remember that you can use the mouse's scroller or the page up key to go a few pages back in the story and make a different choice.
Avoid the Revaire delegates, Jarrod and Gisette. They require special skills to handle.
Before you go to the matchmaker on the next morning, be sure to share your breakfast with your maid. This impresses the staff and they will like you more.
You can't succeed at the matchmaker's first interview. If you pay attention to what she says, though, you can learn something about the different stats.
After the matchmaker, Jasper will hand you the invitations for week 1. How many you get depends on how well you did at the welcome feast. If you did well you should at least have invitations from Anaele, Emmett and Hamin. Ideally you should have at least five invitations. The most you can get is seven (not counting the Revaire siblings; ignore them). Accept every invitation, or at least most of them.
Important! At the beginning of each week, the first thing you should do with your first free time slot is go to the explore menu and visit your room. If you've befriended your servants you will get a scene with Jasper and an important skill bonus.
Dates can go well or poorly. If you make bad choices or if you don't have certain skills, the date will cut short and there will be very little dialogue. Successful dates award ten points in some skill or knowledge area. This is a faster and better way to gain skills than studying. Don't reject a date so you can do more studying.
Throwing good events isn't easy, but it's a good way to impress people. Invite people you've already befriended, and take into account their areas of interest. For example: Lyon will always accept an invitation to a history lecture. Penelope will almost always accept an invitation to tea. If your event has high attendance, you'll gain friendship and approval.
Being mysterious is over-rated. Introduce yourself at length to make a good impression. If one of the intro options doesn't go well, roll back and choose another. A good introduction will help a lot in impressing the matchmaker.
This week has a lot more free time than the first week. Explore the castle and you might discover some secret scenes. Some of the delegates you befriended in week one will have automatic scenes that only show up if the romance is going well. You will get friendly invitations from non-romanceable delegates, as many as three. Midway through the week there is the horse ride challenge, that can end your game. At the end of the week there is the boat race challenge, that's a good way to impress people if you do well.
This is the first fail-point in challenge mode.
There are four ways to survive the horse ride. Three of them involve getting rescued by someone else, and the last is rescuing yourself. Don't be fooled, being rescued isn't a bad thing at all. In some ways it can be even better than saving yourself. The point of the game, after all, is to make allies. If you've befriended people and things are going well, you're very unlikely to die.
You may be invited to join either Hamin's or Anaele's teams. You can also put together your own team, but this is a fair bit harder. Racing with Hamin means you're very likely to win.
After the boat race, you'll have one last free time slot.
At the start of week three, you can get gifts for all the named delegates. Check out the gifts page for a more complete guide for the best gifts. Expensive gifts are not always better. Sometimes, getting the right gift can make the difference in whether or not a character's romance route opens up.
After gift-giving, you'll have two free time-slots. Use them wisely.
On the morning of Moonday, you will receive gifts from well-wishers. Getting more gifts is a good sign that you're doing well and impressing people. All gifts give skill bonuses, and if you do particularly well, you can reach the matchmaker's basic skill requirements with very little studying. Gifts that aren't from delegates are usually a sign of faction approval.
On the morning of Earthday (day 5) you'll have the matchmaker's second interview, which is the main fail-point of playing in challenge mode. The matchmaker will give you feedback on whether you've impressed a lot of people at the summit. If you've made many friends and done well in the major challenges, she will commend you. If you've avoided making enemies, this also helps.
Building relationships is the only way to pass this challenge on challenge mode, but there is also an auto-fail condition if too many of your skills are under 50 points. If you follow the character creation as outlined above, it's not very likely that this will happen. Put a little time into bolstering etiquette and self-defense, by studying and by befriending Cordelia and Anaele (respectively). If you've befriended enough people and your skills are up-to-par, you're very likely to pass.
Unlocking romance paths
If you've chosen to invite someone on a personal date at the beginning of the week, that option will become available on Fireday (day 6) morning, before your hosted event. This will open up a selection menu with as many as seven romantic options. Getting all seven is a little complicated, but definitely possible.
If you don't choose someone's date here, it's possible that their romance path will still open up when you go to the matchmaker's final interview on Starday (day 7) morning. However, it's best to make your selection at this point and stick to it. You can choose any romance option and make it work, go for what feels right.
Important! This is the exception to the rule about visiting your room first. If you want to investigate the mystery, you have to check the crime scene on one of the first two open time-slots in week four, or else the option will disappear from the menu.
Solving the second murder and getting a perfect acquittal is quite difficult, but if you've passed the matchmaker on challenge mode, actually losing the trial is almost impossible. Investigate as much as you can and don't worry too much about spending one or two time slots on personal affairs or romance scenes.
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