The CWAL Rubber Room
"The exclamation mark adds gravitas." - Lothos
It is often safer to use earthly methods of dealing with nightmares than to abandon them for fascinating dreams... to a point. Passion must give way to ascension eventually.
There are only very few people who can be persuaded to assist you. All all expendable, but none are replaceable.
A lazy investigator is better than no investigator.
Never lose an auction. NEVER LOSE AN AUCTION.
Poppy will not be refused. Be prepared to give her what she asks. She will only test you once, but she won't settle for asking.
Once you have found a Way, you should return often. Unknown paths through the Mansus hold greater gifts, but it can be difficult to forget what you find in those places.
And to be less cryptic: Turn on the beta branch if you have the steam edition, or download the gateofhorn beta if you can from your preferred source. It has snap to grid. You want snap to grid and to set it to 1/4 card. Life is just better from then on.
Get a good sorting scheme and STICK TO IT. Most people find arranging their cards in rows or columns according to the aspect of their rite is the best strategy. I do columns with cultists on the furthest edge of the board, then high level lore to low level lore, then books. By mid-game your board will be such a disaster you'll miss critical happenings unless you have a strong system in place. Try to keep the center clear, the game has a bad habit of dumping cards there and destroying your nice neat rows.
Read the aspects at the bottom. It's easy to get fatigued with them, but the common ones you'll learn to pick out at a glance. Some cards that don't seem usable in certain ways will be. Some rites can be explored. Some patrons and summons can be studied with. Talk to everyone you can, many of them can render services. All but affairs of the heart bear the risk of taking your agent away should they fail. 1, 5, and 10 are the most important numbers for cultists.
Trappings can be almost anything, but most things you place there will be gone for good. So long as the goal of your work is reached, it doesn't matter if all the cards contribute or not. This can be an incredible resource when your sanity is hanging on the edge, or dread threatens to overwhelm you. All three paths through the Mansus will allow you to use some menaces as inspiration.
You will find yourself stuck in a dead end job that demands much of you. If it has the aspect annoyance, a hireling with at least 5 edge might be able to give you some advice if you speak to him about it. Be wary about moving up too quickly, though. If you become a respectable man, they might be able to make some calls on your behalf, but they won't tolerate you embarrassing them forever.