The quest called "The Play's the Thing" can be obtained in Chapter 3. In it, the Player take a small but important role in the performance of a play.


The quest is obtained by talking to the playwright Incisive Chorus, who can be found lamenting his situation in the Golden Way. He will only appear after the Player has passed through the Golden Way once and spoken to Silk Fox in the Scholar's Garden. Incisive Chorus tells the Player that he wrote a play which he sees as a masterful "commentary of man's inhumanity to man", which has now been brought to the Imperial City thanks to sponsorship from a southern noble. However, the noble demanded certain changes to the script, making the play a satire of the Empire. Incisive Chorus considers this to have ruined his artistic vision and may also draw the anger of the authorities.

Incisive Chorus asks that the Player take a role in the pivotal scene and perform the play as he originally intended. Although the role is for a Lady Fourteen Flowers, it is available to both male and female characters — traditionally, all actors are supposed to be male anyway or at least pretend that they are. The Player is directed to Thespian Phong, who is found at the pagoda in the eastern part of the Golden Way. Phong gives them a copy of the revised script, and tells them to study their lines — this can be done on the scroll-stand nearby.

On stage, the Player acts the role of Lady Fourteen Flowers, who represents a recently-conquered kingdom in the court of Sagacious Tien, the first Emperor. She is in a conversation with another noble, Fortunate Puzzle. Having just returned to the Imperial City with news of Tien's campaign against the Horselords in the north. There are six lines to be delivered and at each, there are several possible options — the Player can choose those which accord with the original script, with the revised script or with neither. The actor playing Puzzle will go with whatever script Player decides to follow, although if the Player delivers a line which is not correct in either script, he will fall back on the original script and improvise a response which moves the play along. Before the play begins, a pair of Lotus Assassins appear in the audience, having been tipped off that the play might contain seditious messages.

  • First line: Puzzle asks what banners fly over Lady Fourteen Flowers' entourage. Both the original and revised scripts say that the banners should be white, which is symbolic of peace. The Player can deviate from the script by saying that the banners were red, blue or yellow, which the actor playing Puzzle tries to justify as representing impending marriage, the sky, or the earth. The Player can also take the facetious option of saying that the banners were "a blend of egg-white and fuchsia".
  • Second line: Puzzle asks what time it was when the decision that there would be peace in the north was reached. According to the original script, the correct response is that it was dusk, but in the revised script, it was midday, because "the Flower Guardians would allow nothing else". This is a barb against the Lotus Assassins and their influence — Puzzle's lines in response are to say that "the Flower Guardians always seek to cloud the Emperor's thoughts", and that he hopes "emperors of the future will know better to trust flowers plucked by the hand of death itself!" Alternatively, the player can say that Tien reached the decision at dawn, during the night, or, facetiously, while he was "indisposed".
  • Third line: Puzzle asks where Sagacious Tien was at the time. Both scripts say that the answer should be "at the edge of a vast plain, the ground covered in snow". Alternatively, the player can keep the mention of winter, but say that Tien was in a forest, beside a river, or facing a wall of mountains — in this case, the actor playing Puzzle seizes on the mention of winter to press forward. The facetious choice is to say that Sagacious Tien was "raking sand in the impromptu meditation garden he'd had constructed".
  • Fourth line: Puzzle suggests that if Sagacious Tien was experiencing the cold of winter, the news might be out of date, since the Imperial City had been feeling "the gentle drafts of spring". The original script calls for the Player to say that the world is large enough that different parts of it experience different weather, while line from the revised script is another attack on the Lotus Assassins, saying that "the Flower Guardians may blossom but the warmth of spring can hide an icy heart". If the Player selects the latter, Puzzle replies that the sun can become "locked away where none can see its warming face", a reference to the Emperor's reclusive tendencies. Other options are to acknowledge that the news is old, to say that the northern lands are always locked in winter, or, facetiously, to claim that the events "happen as we speak, as Lady Fourteen Flowers has the gift of prophecy!"
  • Fifth line: Puzzle wonders to whom Sagacious Tien turned when he was making his decision. In both scripts, the reply is that he "turned to the heavens themselves, as they had already turned to him". The Player also has the option of saying that he turned to the earth, to no-one, to Lady Fourteen Flowers herself, or, facetiously that it was "none other than Two Drops Yi Tan, the emperor's personal food taster".
  • Sixth line: Puzzle then receives direct word that the Horselords have not been conquered, and asks Lady Fourteen Flowers what halted the expansion of the Empire. In both scripts, the correct line is that "a shooting star traced the border of our lands". The alternative lines are that there was no more land to conquer, that the Horselords were too strong, that burning fires forced Tien to turn back or facetiously, that Sagacious Tien "just got a little bored with always winning".

After the play, the Lotus Assassins the the audience will leave — if they decided that the play was treasonous (this only happens if you deliver the revised script), they will talk of gathering others to make arrests, whereas if they decided that the play was innocuous (if you delivered the original, got most of the lines wrong or turned it into a comedy), they will say something about retribution against the informant who they believe has wasted their time. The Player then speaks with Thespian Phong again, who pays them an actor's fee if they got their lines generally correct (either the original or revised scripts, but not wrong lines or facetious ones). After this, the player can return to Incisive Chorus, who is still standing where he was originally found and who will reward the player if (and only if) they delivered his original lines.


  • 1000 XP, 1000 silver after speaking with Thespian Phong
  • 1000 XP, 1500 silver after returning to Incisive Chorus only if the Player performed the original script

Journal entriesEdit

  • First assigned: "A playwright has approached you, hoping that you can help him preserve the integrity of his play. You agreed to take on a small but pivotal role in the performance."
    • "Find an Actor in the Golden Way: An actor named Phong in the rich area of town seeks a replacement actor. He should be near the large pagoda that overlooks the district."
  • Spoken to Phong: "Copies of the original and your revised role as Lady Fourteen Flowers in hand, you have a moment to study up on your role in Incisive Chorus' play."
    • "Inform Thespian Phong When You are Ready: There is a scroll stand nearby where you can look over the two scripts side by side. When you have your lines memorised, talk to First Degree Thespian Phong."

Use original script... Use revised script...

  • Play performed: "The director may not be happy, but the scholars loved your soulful and deep presentation of Lady Fourteen Flowers. Chances are Incisive Chorus will feel the same."
    • "Return to Incisive Chorus: Return to Incisive Chorus, who is waiting out in the city w
    • streets."
  • Play performed: "The director was impressed enough with your reading of the new rendition of the play that he offered you a bonus. The peasants screamed with joy as well, though something tells you Incisive Chorus wasn't quite hoping for that reaction."
    • "Return to Incisive Chorus: Return to Incisive Chorus, who is waiting out in the city streets."
  • Quest completed: "Ecstatic with your performance, Incisive Chorus rewarded you for your accurate portrayal of his 'vision'".
  • Quest completed: "Pleasing the peasants and the director is all well and good, but Incisive Chorus was unpleased with your rendition of the altered script. He stormed off without paying you his reward".



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