In October I began a new playthrough across the three completed Steam Highwayman volumes, but got caught by my old enemy, the Coal Board before really getting very far, and was forced into a year of servitude with serious attribute penalties.
Well, to keep myself in the mode, I’ve been continuing to dip into that playthrough in the last few days while feeling a bit under the weather. Steam HIghwayman was always meant to be as fun to fail as to win, so I picked myself up, shook off the coal dust and made a plan: I would find the in-game ways to regain my attributes and boost them even further!
Freed onto the dirty streets of Camden, I rode down to the Pineapple at Lambeth, where I remember explosives fetch a good price. The Coal Board were more interested in punishing me than confiscating my stuff, you see, and after a year in storage my explosives were still valuable goods in someone’s eyes. They might end up reaching Flat Billy, the crimelord, but I shan’t worry about that for now. Someone told me about the street gang who mudlark on the north bank, so I rode through Southwark, grabbing a cold pork pie on the way, popping over to Spitalfields to buy a new pistol and sabre, and then dropping in on the boys corner of the muddy foreshore. After a little repetitive mudlarking (amazing how many Constables’ whistles the silt can cover) I met the Waterside Boys themselves and, with my abysmally low GALLANTRY, mud-smeared clothes and, crucially, fresh Southwark pork pie, I won their hearts and their allegiance.
Another trip to the outskirts saw me stop the Coal Board once more, grab some loot and a handy codeword, report to the Telegraph Guild at Bloomsbury and claim a fairly paltry reward, considering their hatred for the other faction. I was bleeding in a couple of places after fighting off some stokers in the ambush, so I headed to Hampstead and took at room at the Holly Bush – very much out of the way.
While trying to heal my wounds there, my low INGENUITY really became a problem, so I gave thought to my long-term prospects. If I am to succeed as a highwayman, I will be getting wounded, and if wounded, I will need a reliable way to heal myself. There are a very few ways to heal wounds without resulting in scars, which inevitably lead to retirement and the dreaded epilogue, but self-help is more effective with training… So I set off on a new mission. First, I would buy medical supplies in the reeking metropolis, before heading west into the first two books… I got a cheap bottle of whisky down in the docklands too.
So once on the road to Smog and Ambuscade, I resolutely ignored any temptation to ambush anyone else and rode straight to the Red Lantern in Maidenhead, where I stocked up on one of the rarest, and most game-changing, of medical items. Pink pills (NIM + 2) [_] [_] [_] A boost to your NIMBLENESS just as you are drawing your sword can be very, very helpful in surviving a duel – particularly when you are still carrying the scars of a year’s servitude.
Then it was up to Lane End, where the good Dr Smollett can be found. He was one of the earliest characters I wrote, one I really enjoy re-reading, and one I would love to explore a bit more. I met him, let him rant at me (I really haven’t hurt or robbed anyone he would have patched up… I think!) and then returned to Marlow where, surprise surprise, he turned up in the parlour of the Ship on a dirty night wanting a ride…
So off we went to Bullocks Farm, where I assisted in the delivery of a fine baby boy. Which, incidentally and not at all the entire reason for the escapade, gained me a level of Medical Training (greatly increasing the efficacy of self-treatment – at least in SH3 onwards…).
I returned to Lane End with that bottle of whisky and we sealed our friendship over a drink, the good Doctor and I. Now on to book 2 to gain that other boost…