Mask of the Rose – Beginner’s Guide

Maybe you’re the kind of person who likes looking for guides before they play.

Maybe you tried a playthrough and went, “wow, that was short, and boring, surely there must be something more?” Either way, here’s some help in figuring how to get the most out of this game.

Why Was My First Playthrough Boring?

Because you didn’t actually do anything!

This is understandable, of course. You’re still learning the ropes, and you’re presented with a lot to do and not a lot of time to do it. I certainly expected the game to be longer when I first played, too.

It is impossible to do everything in one playthrough. This is by design. The Failbetter team didn’t lock off those starting backgrounds as any kind of new game plus, but as a means of encouraging you to play again even if your first run through was unsatisfying. It’s a clue into the fact that there are opportunities beyond what you experienced the first time.

This game isn’t “short and sweet”, it’s incredibly dense, in fact. It’s intended to be played many, many times, and in many different ways. It’s short so that you can do that in a reasonable amount of time.

Narrative Exploration

With all that in mind, it’s generally not a good idea to read many guides unless you really are stuck. This game is about exploring the narratives and your opportunities within it: Almost any in-depth guide will give you major spoilers because the very point is for you to discover it for yourself. That isn’t to say that sometimes you don’t just need a point in the right direction.

To put it simply, there are no useless options. At the same time, though, this is a game about befriending people… or perhaps social manipulation. Having people who dislike you is interesting, but making friends (or more) is making opportunities.

With that in mind:

  • Romance/Seduction is a narrative option. If you want to focus on something else, try choosing the option to make friends only.
  • The game hints at what people will like, but don’t be afraid to stray or even wear something or choose an option you expect them to dislike. People are multifaceted.
  • You don’t have to save Archie. In fact, if you plan on doing anything else, leave him be.
  • On the other hand, there are a lot of ways TO save Archie. Some easier than others.
  • You’ll get different narrative quests by asking people if they need anything. Some are shorter, others are longer.
  • You can miss items and locations, but there are also many ways to get the same ones. Don’t be afraid to stray from a reliable path.
  • Don’t ignore your bed. Recalling the past changes the narrative in some cases, and can even give you story options you wouldn’t get otherwise.

And Finally… Be Nosy!

Not only will Mr Pages pay you more for in-depth census forms, but nosiness will get you a lot farther in most other quests too. Ask questions. Even if you think you’ll piss whoever you’re talking to off. You might, you might not, but either way you can always come back on a different playthrough with a better game plan.

Not nosing into other people’s business shuts out a lot of the game. Their business is now your business, go out there and nose!

Volodymyr Azimoff
About Volodymyr Azimoff 13533 Articles
I love games and I live games. Video games are my passion, my hobby and my job. My experience with games started back in 1994 with the Metal Mutant game on ZX Spectrum computer. And since then, I’ve been playing on anything from consoles, to mobile devices. My first official job in the game industry started back in 2005, and I'm still doing what I love to do.


  1. I feel stupid for asking this, but how to give Archie his story or in general ask the questions about the stories you made? I don’t seem to get these options although the game tells me I have completed something. With how the saving works it’s kind of hard to test how it works / what I’m doing wrong.

    • make sure the story shows as “ready to turn in”, then look around on the map for options to speak with characters about it. As far as I know many people have had issues with this mechanic and FBG is working on making it more clear.

  2. well said. these tips are a good clear summary of everything i learned by experimenting, trying to figure out how to have a less-frustrating playthrough than my first!

  3. after my second playthrough, this game is very much like Sea/Skies. The name of the game is min/max. there’s just not enough time. you either get scattered lore, or you pursue laser-focus of one-lore path. even romancing can sometimes take away time. even more so, sometimes visiting can yield absolutely no progress, and I think the punitive nature of these options lends itself well to the other FB game roster

  4. Wonderful guide! Sums up perfectly how I felt on my first playthrough and what I’ve learned since, I hope it helps others!!

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