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Solving Mysteries - General Hints / Tips / Strategy

Posted: Tue Dec 09, 2014 1:07 am
by hanako
Setting aside some space for people to talk about mystery-solving strategy outside of the tech feedback thread where it could get washed away and mixed up in bug reports. Feel free to add your own suggestions for how best to play the game, I'm just going to throw some random bits and pieces together now.

Question - Social + Observation vs Social + Stealth

This is a 'safe' action that doesn't risk losing karma. It's a good way to expose your target's stats so you can figure out what other actions they are weak and strong against. You can get information out of people by questioning them, but since it's just a friendly chat, they might still lie to you, especially if they have something to hide.

Harass - Social + Intimidation vs Social + Intimidation

Putting a little pressure on the target now! You might use this to force someone to tell you things they don't want to tell you, to push someone to do what you tell them to, or just to see if you can make a perp sweat. Harassing innocent people may lose you karma, but people who are guilty will usually give themselves away if you successfully squeeze them.

Stalk - Stealth vs Observation

Following someone around, hopefully without being noticed. People tend to find it a little weird if they notice you doing this, so it might lose karma if it fails. If you succeed, they don't know anything happened, so you can't lose karma for that. This is a good way to find out where people might be sneaking off to, or who they're meeting with.

Inspect - Observation vs Cover

This means looking around in a location where you have a perfectly good reason to be. You cannot lose karma for that, because you're not doing anything wrong.

Search - Stealth vs Visibility, Observation vs Cover

When you're trying to search a location that you have no reason to poke around in, you make a stealth check first. Failing the stealth check will generally lose karma. How much depends on where you were snooping.

Detention - Intimidation vs Intimidation

Now you're really putting the pressure on someone! This is like when the cops lock someone in a small room and try to get a confession out of them. If the subject breaks, you may even gain karma. But if you fail, or the suspect wasn't guilty to begin with, you'll definitely lose karma for being so pushy.

Persuade - Social vs Social

The gentler way of trying to get someone to believe what you want them to believe. It's possible, though unlikely, to lose karma for failing this, if you ended up coming across as creepy. If you succeed, your target will be happy to talk to you, so no problem.

Mislead and Gossip - Social + Stealth vs Social + Observation

These are used when you're trying to get or give information in a roundabout way, without making it obvious what you're doing. (Sometimes Persuasion is too straightforward.) Failing these rolls will usually mean your target is just confused.

Guard - Intimidation + Observation vs Cover + Stealth

This is like blatantly standing in front of a door to scare off anyone from trying to get inside. If you fail to Guard, that means someone might sneak past you and cause trouble.

Stake Out - Stealth + Observation vs Cover + Visibility

You try to hide somewhere so that you can see anyone coming into the area without them seeing you. If you fail, then either you don't see the other people doing whatever, or they saw you and therefore didn't come inside to do whatever you were trying to catch them doing.

(Did I miss any?)

Re: General Hints / Tips / Strategy

Posted: Tue Dec 09, 2014 2:09 am
by Oki
My tip is:

Theyre all hot go for it

Re: Solving Mysteries - General Hints / Tips / Strategy

Posted: Tue Dec 09, 2014 10:50 am
by Franka
Reaching the End of the Game

Here are my tips for at least reaching the end of the game, without that pesky Game Over screen hitting you. I've tried to avoid heavy spoilers, but feel free to censor me if I failed in that regard.

When trying to just get through the game, you’ll want to identify the traitor very quickly (before the end of the first week, if at all possible), so you can start building loyalty at once. It’s possible to finish the game with just four girls, but until you've really learned how to crack all the cases, it will be hard.

A simple guide to finding the traitor: Set your options to Loaded Dice and Show the Odds. During the first week, do not rush to close your first case. Instead, look to make an action against a girl with stats that are somewhere around 10-15 less than your girls' stats (fx a Stalk action with your 20 Stalk vs a girl's 8 Observation or a Question action with your Charm + Observation 60 vs girl's Charm + Stealth 47). The odds will display 100% (or close to it) due to Loaded Dice, but since this check can actually be failed, or at least give an ambiguous result, the traitor will still fumble it. Question actions are best, since they carry no penalty for failing. Double check if still in doubt.

Once you feel sure you know who the traitor is, max her loyalty so she’ll confess to you. This is the simplest way to finish the game, since you can keep playing with five girls. You’ll know it’s worked if she comes forward with information for a new case after you’ve had the meeting where you could have exposed her, but didn’t.

You may want to spread out some loyalty among at least three different girls, for the purpose of some end game stuff, but it’s doable with just two skilled girls and some items. At least try to put loyalty on girls you intend to train a lot.

Fill up your items from the closet whenever you can. If you end up with bad items, just use them up on a Question action. You can use any and all items regardless of what stat they’re boosting, so make room for some good items. There are certain events in the game that you’ll want to stock up specific items for, but you should probably learn what they are yourself. Allying yourself with the Red Masks, by doing their first case, will help save a lot of time finding the right items.

In order to be successful later, you'll need to complete some cases early on, so you can get skill points. Either you do this the hard way, learning what works and what doesn't, or you cut corners and check out my guide.

First of all, you'll need a minion who can Search rooms and Stalk girls, Rowan is the obvious choice. I dump all my early skill points into Rowan, getting first Observation then Stealth to 50 or so, so I rarely take karma hits for getting caught and will find what I’m looking for (occasionally with the use of a few items of course). Later on, I’ll get those stats to 60 if possible (or 61/61 because reasons), and Observation even higher if I'm rolling in skill points.

Once Rowan is set up, I build a Harass minion who’ll also double for detention, Althea and Thaïs are good for this, but Thaïs will need more points. Althea is perfect if you’re on her route. You’ll need less Social than Intimidation, 50/60 would be my target (or 51/61 due to reasons), but you can actually do with less Social than that in a pinch.

Vonne and Mallory I treat as backup minions, good for Questioning and they can team up for Searching, with some items, if you build up Mallory’s Stealth a little, or if you don't mind taking a karma hit. Mallory can also team up with Thaïs for Harass actions.

Since you can’t add identical stats from multiple girls, you’ll really want a few high stats on specific minions rather than spreading them out. Of course, you don’t want to dump stats on a minion who’ll leave you, so take care if you’re going to kick somebody out of the council due to traitor issues (not necessarily the traitor herself, sometimes you can scapegoat somebody else).

Those are some general tips for finishing the game, they won't apply if you're trying to do something really specific, such as going for achievements. For that, look to my achievement guide (in another topic).

Specific tips for specific girls

When romancing or befriending someone, it’s usually best to have her as the traitor. Maxing out her loyalty will make her confess her traitorous ways to you, and if you then choose her as your Queen, and don’t treat her like filth, she’ll have been dealt with. A new case will then open, where you can follow leads to find out who hired her and why. By doing this, you will keep five minions, for now at least.

If you choose a Queen who is not the traitor, things get a little murky. The easiest thing to do would be to finger the traitor. You’ll continue with four minions. It should also be possible to appease some of the traitors and keep a different Queen, but you’d have to sacrifice somebody else to do so.

In all routes, except her own, Althea may flake out and only stay on half time, meaning she gets a forced rest after each action she takes.

Each girl has an achievement related specifically to them. They're of highly variable difficulty to obtain, spoilers in the achievement guide.

Romancing Althea is easy and can lead to 2 CGs. She’s your age, and you already have a history together. On this romance path, Thaïs may flake out, and either leave or stay on half time, like Althea does on all other paths. Romancing Althea while kicking out another traitor (Vonne or Mallory preferred) and getting rid of Thaïs is one possible setup for a 3 minion achievement.

You can become best buddies with Mallory, but she’s off limits romantically. Besides, she’s a minor. Her 2 CGs are easy enough to find if you keep treating her kindly.

With two different paths, Rowan can become either your romance or your devoted minion. Each of these paths has their own CG, and you’ll need two different games to get both. For her romance, you will need Rowan as the traitor, and from there, bring her out of her shell. For her loyalty, you will need to choose Rowan as Queen while you have another minion as traitor – this means playing with only four girls. In order to obtain her minion CG (and achievement), you’ll have to treat her like your personal slave. Don’t worry, she doesn’t actually mind. Minion Rowan has her own unique case on her path.

Befriending a traitor Thaïs can go two ways, but both should allow you to find her 2 CGs. You can either do as she asks and play with four minions, or convince her that wasn’t really what she wanted and keep five. This leads to different scenarios, but has no real bearing on your blooming friendship. You can’t actually romance her, she’s a minor, but a kiss might not be out of the question. One of Thaïs’ CGs is simple to find if you keep showing interest in her. The other one is harder, requiring specific handling of a certain scenario, plus correct dialogue afterwards. Good luck. Thaïs has her own unique case on her path.

Since she’s had a crush on you for years, romancing Vonne is as straightforward as it gets. Missing her 2 CGs would only happen if you deliberately sabotaged the relationship. Vonne's path and personal achievement are necessary for the 2 minion achievement.

Re: Solving Mysteries - General Hints / Tips / Strategy

Posted: Tue Dec 09, 2014 2:05 pm
by Franka
Tips for Cases

Fair warning: If you treat this guide as a bible, you’ll probably ruin your enjoyment of the game. If you just can’t break a case though, I might have found a way.

I do not claim that this is an extensive list of how to solve cases, these are just my experiences. The major plot cases are covered in SPOILERS. Also, everything is subject to evil changes implemented by the devious mastermind behind all this.

Generally speaking, Question and Harass actions will get you answers if you succeed, even if that answer is no answer. Harass costs you karma if you’re leaning on innocents or fail your roll, so using that right away is only good if you’re a lucky guesser. Both actions usually give you tells if you need to put more pressure on a suspect or search their rooms, so learn what the default answer is, because that’s usually not somebody you can do more with (yet) on this case. Sometimes questioning just doesn’t give you anything to go on, and you’ll have to toughen up and risk your karma, or let things run their course and hope the case was just a red herring.

When Question doesn't lead to anything, Stalk is usually the best alternative. Lots of girls go strange places and do strange things they're not supposed to, and they may not exactly be up front about it. When it looks like nobody's doing anything wrong, Stalking them can uncover all manner of filth.

Harass or Detention is usually the way to deal with people who’re doing something they shouldn’t be doing, while Persuade is the way to deal with people who just need a little guidance.

Suspension is something you use against masochistic girls who want to be punished (they’ll tell you so if you Harass them). Or you use it on ring leaders to give yourself more time to clean up a case.

Expelling somebody is something you would usually do to cut your losses. Some cases will cause heavy losses, so taking a -5/-5 karma/reputation loss may be the least damaging option.

A Black Sheep in the Flock
Question one of the gossips to learn what your suspected goth is supposed to be guilty of. Now Search her room and find out if she hates everybody or just one of the girls picking on her. If it’s just one girl, go punish her. If your goth hates everybody, you can attempt to Persuade her or Harass her. It might also be possible to Harass both the gossips into silence. Sometimes Stalking the gossips can lead you to Search one of their rooms, then Persuade the goth? or punish the gossip.

A Delicate Blossom
Treat this urgently, it usually has a harsh time limit. Question her, see if she’s uncertain. Persuade her if she is. If that doesn’t seem to be enough, Stalk her to see who’s bothering her, and Harass her (other) stalker. You will get 5 reputation if all goes well.

A Lost Lamb
Urgent case, it has a harsh time limit. Search her room while you Question her friend. If you find something in her room, send out a strong Observation/Stealth minion to bring her back. If her friend acts suspiciously, Search her room, then treat with punishment. If the missing girl shows up on her own, Harass her and make her stop leaving school.

A Plague on Both Your Houses
Question both girls. If they’re in the same class, Search the classroom for clues, then Harass or Persuade the girls if they’re faking. If they’re in separate classes, Search the cafeteria to find out if there’s a problem with the food. If you Search their rooms and find pills, get to their supplier and punish them. Sometimes it was just a coincidence.

A Special Event
Question the star student to identify the understudy while you Search the location for any problems. Question the understudy. If she talks about sabotage, Stalk her to see if she's actually the one contemplating sabotage, then punish either the star or the understudy depending on the result. You will earn 5 Reputation if all goes well.

A Struggling Student
Search the classroom to find a tutor. While you Persuade the tutor, Search the girl’s room. If you find evidence that she’s a slacker or worse, punish her.

A Vandal on the Loose
Inspect the location. If this leads you to a girl, punish her. Otherwise, Guard the location.

But is it Art?
Search the room to see if the artwork is appropriate. If it isn’t, punish the artist until she changes her ways.

Cell Phone Madness
This case can grow worse over time. Question everybody to learn who’s acting suspiciously. Search their rooms for evidence, and punish them as you go. If you’re lead to the person who started this, you’ll have to Persuade or punish them. Sometimes questioning is too mild, and you'll have to Harass girls to get more leads.

High Rollers
This case can grow worse and worse if left alone. Search the location. If the girls are playing Clue, you should immediately expel Colonel Mustard. If they’re playing strip poker, punish one of the participants. If you get a list of suspects, Search rooms for clues. If somebody owes money to another Search their room for evidence. Punish freely. If you want, you can gain karma for punishing each participant before punishing the ring leader.

Just Say No
A case that grows to horrifying reputation losses if left alone. Stalk a girl. If this leads you to a location, Search it. If it leads you to another girl, Search her room and hand out punishment.

Missing Items
Question both admirers and Search the owner’s room. If an admirer acts suspiciously, Search her room. If you have reason to believe the owner is responsible, punish her, otherwise punish the admirer. If you have no other leads, Search the location where the item was lost.

Missing School Supplies
Search the classroom and Question girls for suspicious answers. If this leads to a new location, Search that. If you find evidence of a girl’s involvement, punish her. If not, sometimes a mistake was simply made.

No Handbills, No Flyers
If there’s a victim, Question and Persuade her, it might solve the case. Otherwise, Inspect the location, and if that doesn’t work, Stake Out the location repeatedly. If you’re lead to somebody, punish them.

Prancing and Pawing
Question both girls. If the roommate is amused, punish her. If not, you’ll have to Inspect either the room or the hallway (pay attention to the clues), then possibly Stake Out that location or Search another girl’s room, and hand out punishment as needed.

The Secret Society
Question one girl and Stalk the other. If neither leads to anything, Harass a girl. If you’re lead to a new person, Harass them, Search their room, whatever it takes. If you find evidence of a slave ring, Stake Out the location on the correct date to identify slaves. You can then Persuade each of them to close the case.

Shock to the System
There’s a strict timeline here, act on it quickly. Stalk one of the potential saboteurs. If this leads to a new girl, Harass girls and Search rooms. If you find a location and a date, you may Stake Out or Guard the location on the proper date to solve the case (depends on the case). If you don’t learn anything, Stalk the gossip and punish her if she's up to no good.

Suspicious Similarity
Search the classroom. If you have a disgruntled teacher, Search the rooms of two different girls. If there’s a cheat sheet, Question and Harass girls with the same test score. Most of the time, this will end in a stalemate when time runs out.

Trouble in Paradise
Question both roommates. If the friends are disagreeing, Question both of them, then Persuade one. If somebody’s jealous, Harass the jealous girl, then Question and Persuade the new friend. If that doesn’t work, Harass the new friend.

Plot Cases
Serious spoiler warning here. I’m not responsible for ruining your game experience if you CHOOSE to unspoil this!

The Traitor
If the traitor supplied you with clues, good enough. If not, Search her room quickly, or you’ll lose your leads.

You’ll need to do a Mislead action quickly, this is Charm and Stealth, so you’ll probably need two girls for this. After this, you have a long time to complete a few Observation tests. They're a little hard, so you may need some items, but there's no penalty for failing them, so you can scout out their difficulties.

The Red Masks
When called, go into the forest. If you now choose to join for the delicious item hunts, there’s three girls to Harass, then one girl to Mislead, and you have a fair amount of time.

Later on, you may Send A Signal to get another task from the Red Masks or Set A Trap to attempt to betray them. Sending a signal will give you a task where you need to first successfully Harass a girl, then put her in Detention. These will be very hard checks, you'll want Inimidation items for them. Setting a trap requires Observation, Stealth and Charm, and you'll only get that one chance. After that, there's a Gossip check and a hard Persuade check, so you'll want some Charm items, but there's less pressure here.

Steam Tunnels
First off, Gossip to find possible entrances, Mallory is perfect for this. Her questions may be foiled by girls you’ve slighted in the past, keep going at it. There are multiple locations, Search each of them, and if it’s locked, move on to another. Once you have the location, it’s time for a hard Stealth check and a very hard Observation check, you should stock up on items for this.

Now it’s time to enter the cave, and you’re going to need either very high Charm OR very high Intimidation, so stock up on items!

Final Boss
Yes, there’s a final boss. You’ll need an Observation check to find the boss. Here’s what you need for the fight: As high a stat for each skill as possible (doesn’t matter if it’s on different girls as long as their loyalty is high), five items that increase stats, girls with loyalty (30+), and preferably have all your stats end in a “1” (train for that). Use your items to increase your highest stats even higher. You’re rolling your stat vs. one of the boss’ stats OR blocking. By blocking, you’ll decrease both your and the boss’ relevant stat, first by 5, later on by 10. If you have girls with low loyalty, block with those first! Also, block with girls who have low stats, and leave your high stats alone. Don’t let a girl get to 0 in a stat unless she's all worn out or you have to in order to maintain your high stats. Once the boss stats get lowered, start rolling, and you’ll eventually decrease a boss stat to 0. Congraturation!! A winner is you!!

Re: Solving Mysteries - General Hints / Tips / Strategy

Posted: Tue Dec 09, 2014 2:20 pm
by hanako
Interestingly, I generally find the drugs cases to be easy to wrap up - my most dreaded case is one of the gambling variants. Some of the gambling variants are easy, but some of them involve so many people that finding the right target in time is tricky.

A hint on the drugs case - questioning will never get you information. Every single girl will always deny being into drugs, no matter what. Progress on a Drugs case is best made through Search and Stalk.

Re: Solving Mysteries - General Hints / Tips / Strategy

Posted: Tue Dec 09, 2014 2:27 pm
by Franka
You're right of course, the questioning was a snafu, let me edit that. While I did rank them, they're both really troublesome and I'll happily save scum to avoid them. :wink:

Re: Solving Mysteries - General Hints / Tips / Strategy

Posted: Tue Dec 09, 2014 9:56 pm
by wendymarlowe
Question: does the traitor manipulate only her own die roll, or the suspect's as well? I'm trying to keep track of successes/fails/ties, but sometimes the traitor is obvious and sometimes I seem to have all my girls doing equally well (i.e. succeeding at most things but not everything).

Re: Solving Mysteries - General Hints / Tips / Strategy

Posted: Tue Dec 09, 2014 11:01 pm
by Franka
In my opinion, both. But I'm not an authority. Pay attention to the odds though.

Re: Solving Mysteries - General Hints / Tips / Strategy

Posted: Wed Dec 10, 2014 12:19 am
by wendymarlowe
Franka wrote:In my opinion, both. But I'm not an authority. Pay attention to the odds though.
I'm trying to track "is this a success/fail where a 1 or a 20 would have made a difference in the outcome?" but that depends on whether the opponent's die is a variable too!

Re: Solving Mysteries - General Hints / Tips / Strategy

Posted: Wed Dec 10, 2014 12:50 am
by Franka
If you show the odds, and it's like 90% success, but you get an ambiguous result, there's a good chance you've got your traitor there.

Re: Solving Mysteries - General Hints / Tips / Strategy

Posted: Wed Dec 10, 2014 5:01 pm
by wendymarlowe
Suspicious Similarity - I found "empty coffee cups and crazy scribbling" in the classroom. It sounds to me like the teacher messed up, but I don't see what I could do about it - the only option for the classroom is still "search." The conclusion was a scandal - overworked teacher gave the students the wrong grades - but I'm not sure how questioning/bothering the girls or searching their rooms would help?

Re: Solving Mysteries - General Hints / Tips / Strategy

Posted: Wed Dec 10, 2014 5:10 pm
by hanako
The girls know nothing about what's really going on in that case, but - searching their rooms would let you find the actual test papers. If you find multiple test papers with the same grade and different answers...

Searching the classroom alone is not enough to resolve that. Try actions and see what happens?

Re: Solving Mysteries - General Hints / Tips / Strategy

Posted: Tue Dec 16, 2014 2:22 am
by seangmz
So this thread has been invaluable in getting me at least into the second term, (now I just go crazy every time because I can't get the tunnels under control.)
Is there anyway to increase loyalty other than going out on the weekends?
Also: Does Althea always flake out in the second term, or am I just a terrible president?

Re: Solving Mysteries - General Hints / Tips / Strategy

Posted: Tue Dec 16, 2014 2:34 am
by hanako
Althea always flakes unless you're on her path OR you're already down a minion (having expelled one earlier) and had enough loyalty with her that she decided it would be too cruel to do that to you It is possible to restore some of her loyalty later through events.

edit: this has been altered in the most recent versions, if you have her loyalty high enough before semester 2.

Re: Solving Mysteries - General Hints / Tips / Strategy

Posted: Tue Dec 16, 2014 8:50 am
by Franka
I updated the case hints, after more experience with various cases, and solving more drugs, alcohol and gambling. There are still some case variants where I either can't find the effective solution, or expelling people really is the way to go, but I'm doing more of the trial and error thing.