Best-Laid Plans: Scarlet Politics


During the Scarlet Keys campaign, when you arrive in Tunguska for Congress of the Keys, you aren’t headed straight for the setup of that scenario. Instead, you are judged by the Red Coterie, with various outcomes depending on how you acted towards its members during the campaign. If you are going for a certain ending, this is going to shape how you want to plan your route through the campaign. This is an overview of the options and how to get there.

Possible outcomes…

You are being deemed a liability: This is pretty much the default outcome, with more (or equal the amount of) coterie members voting against you than for you. You don’t have to work hard to make enemies in this campaign and in turn no special planning is required!

You are being deemed an asset: If you gather more voices in your favor than against you, this is the outcome, unless one of the following more specialized ones is true. To check how to get there, we need to find our swing voters, the ones that vote against you by default, even if you didn’t cross their paths.

You overthrow the coterie: This requires two things: More votes in your favor than against and you need to secure the vote of La Chica Roja, Ece and Desi.

You join the coterie: Again, this requires the vote to end in your favor in total, but also all of Thorne, Tuwile and the Claret Knight must be on your side.

You are spared: This is the result of successfully finishing Without a Trace. The (real) Red-Gloved Man steps in and stops the count.

The coterie is destroyed: The Outsiders manage to infiltrate the coterie from within and hollow it. To get there, any two out of Thorne, Aliki and Desi must be “eerily silent”, meaning they got replaced by outsiders.

There are three different versions of the final scenario that are mostly different during the first act and in what kind of support you are getting from the coterie members.

Version 1 you get when you are deemed a liability, meaning you lost the vote.
Version 2 is for when you win the vote, no matter if it’s by overthrowing the coterie, by joining it or just by being deemed an asset.
Version 3 is used if you are spared or if the coterie is destroyed, as either of those outcomes will pit the remaining members directly against the outsiders.

… and how to get there

Most of these are fairly self-explanatory in concept, but if you want to actually win the vote (more than 50% of the coterie vote “Nay”), this isn’t all that easy. Let’s start by taking a look at the default state of the votes, if you were to just wait out 15 time after Riddles and Rain and go straight to Tunguska without crossing paths with any of the coterie members:

“Yea”“Nay”eerily silentabstain or not present
BeastClaret KnightRed-Gloved ManThorne
AmaranthEceChica Roja
Tzu San
The default voting pattern

Since a tie between the Yeas and the Nays will count as a Yea, you need to sway at least 3 people to your side… and even that’s only enough if you don’t make any other new enemies. We’ll look at the details in a bit, but first let’s also check out how the voting goes if we were to satisfy the conditions for the “overthrow coterie” or “join coterie” endings:

“Yea”“Nay”eerily silentabstain or not present
BeastClaret KnightRed-Gloved ManThorne
(Watcher)Chica Roja
Tzu San
Overthrowing the Coterie: requires La Chica, Desi and Ece on your side
“Yea”“Nay”eerily silentabstain or not present
(Beast)Claret KnightRed-Gloved Man(Beast)
AmaranthEceChica Roja
Tzu San
Joining the Coterie: requires Thorne, Tuwile and the Knight on your side

Remember that just getting the required support from the three coterie members isn’t enough. You also need to win the vote, which in both cases is going to require some additional help. You also need to not finish Without A Trace successfully or have three eerily silent voters, otherwise those conditions overwrite the voting process.

If you want to join the coterie, this is what to do then:
You need to secure the vote from Thorne (which means you need to strike a deal with them in Anchorage), with Tuwile (requires moving from Nairobi to Bermuda without being too hostile to the coterie) and Claret Knight (who by default votes for you, but if you aid him in Alexandria you will also remove Beast’s vote against you). To break the tie after removing Beast from the picture, either bring Desi to your side in Havana (get the intel from Moscow beforehand), make Amaranth leave the coterie in Marrakesh (requires intel from San Francisco) or get Tzu San under your sway in Kuala Lumpur. Out of these three, Desi is by far the easiest to get on your side. You could also try and get La Chica Roja on your side, but that is risky as it does require you to get to the second part of the scenario and then resign (otherwise the Watcher will balance her vote out). Technically, you can do Without a Trace and resign from it without the Red-Gloved Man. That will turn Aliki’s vote in your favor without nullifying the vote completely. That’s a lot of effort though.

If you want to overthrow it, you need to do the following:
Get La Chica Roja on your side. This requires getting to the second part of the Buenos Aires scenario (“Seeing Red”). If you resign during that part, you also stop the Watcher from voting against you so i strongly suggest doing that. Getting Desi on your side is dependent on not just finishing Havana successfully, but also on picking the right Desi out of the two – the wrong one will be eerily silent. So if you go for this ending, get the intel from Moscow to not leave it to chance. Ece is on your side by default and you can just ignore Istanbul for this outcome. As before, you will need additional support from the coterie which means taking Amaranth and/or Tzu San out of the picture (see above for details) or swinging Tuwile over to your side. You can also work with the Claret Knight in Alexandria to remove the Beast’s vote. Tuwile is far easier to gain the support of and will actively vote in your favor instead of just abstaining, so that’s my suggestion here. Again, Aliki is technically an option.

Finally, here’s how to intentionally have the coterie hollowed and destroyed from within:
You need three outsiders in the coterie. You have one by default in the Red-Gloved Man, so you need two more. There are three options, the most difficult by far of them is Aliki, as you will need to take her to Without a Trace, then have her be defeated in that scenario while you resign without rescueing the real Red-Gloved Man. What a waste of time. The two better options are Desi and Thorne. To have Desi hollowed, finish Havana successfully, but pick the “wrong” Desi in the final act. Gain intel in Moscow beforehand if you don’t want to leave it to chance. Thorne needs to disappear as a result of the Anchorage scenario which happens if you complete it successfully while Thorne gets defeated along the way (either as an enemy or story ally).

Best-Laid Plans

This page is part of my “Best-Laid Plans” series of campaign Deep Dives. For Scarlet Keys, i had to break it up into parts due to sheer volume. Find the rest of the Deep Dive and other articles about this campaign at my Scarlet Keys hub.

2 Replies to “Best-Laid Plans: Scarlet Politics”

  1. Unless I’m mistaken, for Aliki to be replaced by an Outsider, you can also decide to not blow the whistle in Without A Trace, which will let you add Agent Ari Quinn to the deck.

    1. Sure, but then you’d need to fail that scenario or Aliki’s status doesn’t matter anyways. Which is not a great use of time, although Quinn sure is a good story asset to have 😉
      Since winning Without a Trace and hollowing the coterie leads to the same version of the finale, the point is largely irrelevant anyways.
      I suppose this means you can go into your campaign with the plan to do version 3. Go for Without a Trace first, not blowing the whistle. If you win, great you did it. If you lose, you can go to Anchorage and kill Thorne and get version 3 anyways through the hollowing backdoor? Meh. 😀

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