Cover Identities (Guide)

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Moonparliament.png

Mechanics[edit]

Cabinet Noir[edit]

In order to construct a Cover Identity, you need at least Envelope.pngCabinet Noir. Higher values of Envelope.png Cabinet Noir enable more advanced Identities with more available Cover Identity Qualities. The Envelope.png Cabinet Noir can be built and upgraded in Railsteel.png Offices of the Tracklayer's Union: Balmoral Branch for the usual scaling cost of Currency3 copper.png (50 x (Moonparliament.png Balmoral Development + 1)) x Hinterland Scrip in addition to the other listed requirements.

Level Requirements Qualities Enabled
2 Secret.png Disappearing... 3 Mask.png Cover Identity: Elaboration
Ridiculoushat.png Cover Identity: Nuance
Whispered secret.png Cover Identity: Witnesses
Envelope.png Cover Identity: Credentials
3 Mask.png Cover Identity: Elaboration 2 Maskpurple.png Cover Identity: Backstory
4 Mask.png Cover Identity: Elaboration 3
Envelope.png Cover Identity: Credentials 1
Compass.png Cover Identity: Ties

Constructing an Identity[edit]

Starting a New Identity[edit]

A new Cover Identity always starts with Mask.png Cover Identity: Elaboration 1. With Envelope.png Cabinet Noir 4 and either Favours to spend or Ambition items to show, it is possible to also set Compass.png Cover Identity: Ties when creating a new Cover Identity. It is not possible to later add or change Compass.png Cover Identity: Ties until you lose your current Cover Identity and start a new one.

Compass.png Ties Action Requirement
Compass.png 0 (None)  Mask.png Begin to construct a cover identity -
Compass.png 1 (Surface)  Clouds.png Begin a cover identity with a background on the Surface Pawn.png 1 x Favours: The Great Game
Cloudsbright.png Use your Surface address to establish a background for a new cover identity Moon.png 1 x A Palatial Holiday Home in the Arctic Circle
Master2.png Make the Society of the Three-Fingered Hand support your lies Master2.png 1 x Society of the Three-Fingered Hand
Compass.png 2 (Bazaar)  Coingold.png Begin a cover identity tied to Society and the Bazaar Salon2.png 1 x Favours: Society
Surveillingspindlewolf.png Incorporate your Surveilling Spindlewolf's surveillance into a cover identity Surveillingspindlewolf.png 1 x Surveilling Spindlewolf
Crypticsecret.png 250 x Cryptic Clue
Compass.png 3 (Dispossessed)  Urchincricket.png Begin a cover identity tied to the less powerful classes Urchin.png 1 x Favours: Urchins
Cardfan.png Begin a cover identity with a reputation among gamblers Cardfan.png 1 x The Marvellous

Building Up an Identity[edit]

Compass.png Cover Identity: Ties cannot be changed after the Cover Identity is started.

Quality Limit Challenge Gain
Mask.png Cover Identity: Elaboration 10 Chesspiece.png A Player of Chess (4)
Sidebarshadowy.png Shadowy (150 + 10 x Mask.png )
Mask.png 1 x 
Ridiculoushat.png Cover Identity: Nuance 6 Chesspiece.png A Player of Chess (4 + Ridiculoushat.png )
Sidebarbizarre.png Bizarre (6 + Ridiculoushat.png )
Ridiculoushat.png 1 x 
Whispered secret.png Cover Identity: Witnesses 6 Chesspiece.png A Player of Chess (4 + Whispered secret.png )
Sidebardreaded.png Dreaded (6 + Whispered secret.png )
Whispered secret.png 1 x 
Envelope.png Cover Identity: Credentials 6 Chesspiece.png A Player of Chess (4 + Envelope.png )
Sidebarrespectable.png Respectable (6 + Envelope.png )
Envelope.png 1 x 
Quality Cost Gain
Maskpurple.png Cover Identity: Backstory Pawn TC.png 25 x Well-Placed Pawn Maskpurple.png 2 x 
Pawn TC.png 250 x Well-Placed Pawn Maskpurple.png 12 x 
Pawn.png 5 x Vienna Opening Maskpurple.png 6 x 
Oxygen.png 50 x Final Breath Maskpurple.png 11 x 
Chesspiece.png 50 x Moves in the Great Game Maskpurple.png 11 x 
Bookred.png 100 x Unusual Love Story Maskpurple.png 22 x 
Whispered secret TC.png 1 x Mortification of a Great Power Maskpurple.png 26 x 

Selling an Identity[edit]

Repeatable Sales
Action Storylet/Card (Location) Cover Identity Qualities Reward
Maskpurple.png Clay Highwayman's gang (Non-Marauder) Railsteel.png The Next Stretch of Track
(Ladybones.png Moloch Street)
Compass.png Disposs. 
Mask.png 10 
Envelope.png
Ridiculoushat.png
Whispered secret.png
Maskpurple.png 50 
Railsteel.png 17 x Railway Steel
Maskpurple.png Clay Highwayman's gang (Marauder) Railsteel.png The Next Stretch of Track
(Ladybones.png Moloch Street)
Compass.png Bazaar 
Mask.png 10 
Envelope.png
Ridiculoushat.png
Whispered secret.png
Maskpurple.png 50 
Railsteel.png 18 x Railway Steel
Mask.png A Veteran Revolutionary Flag.png Which meeting?
Railway.png Upper River
Compass.png Surface 
Mask.png
Flames.png 2 x Favours: Revolutionaries
Mask.png An Urchin Rookery.png Engage in Unobserved Charity
(Handstop.png Ealing Gardens)
Compass.png Bazaar 
Mask.png
Urchin.png 2 x Favours: Urchins
Mask.png A constable Porticolight.png The Constabulary of the Evenlode
(Ruinssecond.png The Magistracy of the Evenlode)
Compass.png Disposs. 
Mask.png
Constablebadge.png 2 x Favours: Constables
Currency3 copper.png 1-4(?) x Hinterland Scrip
Mask.png A Devil Devil.png Halfway to Hell
(Railway.png Upper River)
Compass.png Bazaar 
Mask.png
Devil.png 2 x Favours: Hell
Maskpurple.png Devils Devil.png Halfway to Hell
(Railway.png Upper River)
Mask.png 10 
Envelope.png
Ridiculoushat.png
Whispered secret.png
Maskpurple.png 500 
Envelope.png 21 
(leads to Shipbig.png 1 x Reported Location of a One-Time Prince of Hell)
Maskpurple.png Spies Chesspiece.png The Railway and the Great Game
(Railway.png Upper River)
Compass.png Surface 
Mask.png 10 
Envelope.png
Ridiculoushat.png
Whispered secret.png
Maskpurple.png 500 
Envelope.png 22 
(leads to Note.png 1 x Rumourmonger's Network)
Tablet.png A Legal Scholar Judge.png Respectable Passengers
(Railway.png Upper River)
Mask.png 10 
Envelope.png
Maskpurple.png 100 
Tablet.png 1 x Edicts of the First City
Mask.png Academic Chesspiece.png The Nonspecific Academic
(University.png The University)
Mask.png 10 
Envelope.png
Ridiculoushat.png
Maskpurple.png 100 
Surmise.png 1 x Dreadful Surmise
Gleam.png The person you were Maskpurple.png Your Cabinet Noir: The Back Room
(Crown2.png Balmoral)
Mask.png 1+ 
Envelope.png 0+ 
Ridiculoushat.png 0+ 
Whispered secret.png 0+ 
Maskpurple.png 0+ 
Gleam.png (Mask.png + Envelope.png + Ridiculoushat.png + Whispered secret.png + Maskpurple.png ) x Memory of a Much Lesser Self
Handstop.png Fence this identity Maskpurple.png Your Cabinet Noir: The Back Room
(Crown2.png Balmoral)
Compass.png 0+ 
Mask.png 5+ 
Envelope.png 0+ 
Ridiculoushat.png 0+ 
Whispered secret.png 0+ 
Maskpurple.png 0+ 
Diamondred.png (Maskpurple.png / 5) x 
(N = Mask.png + Envelope.png + Ridiculoushat.png + Whispered secret.png )
(No Compass.png ) Bottlegiant.png N x 
(Compass.png Surface ) Scrap7.png N x 
(Compass.png Bazaar ) Adoration.png N x 
(Compass.png Disposs. ) Paperstack.png N x 

Clay Highwayman Grand Larcenies[edit]

When you are part of the Clay Highwayman's gang, you have the opportunity to perform larcenies across the Hinterlands. The highest level larcenies require Casing 10 and moderately advanced Cover Identities and reward you with 312.50 Echo items.

Grand Larcenies
Action Card Cover Identity Qualities Reward
Bohoman2a.png Eccentric Philosopher River2.png Larceny at Ealing Gardens Mask.png 10 
Envelope.png
Ridiculoushat.png
Maskpurple.png 80 
Amber green.png 1 x Nodule of Fecund Amber
Oldman2.png Seasoned Smuggler River.png Larceny at Jericho Locks Mask.png 10 
Envelope.png
Whispered secret.png
Maskpurple.png 80 
Diamondpurple.png 1 x Fabulous Diamond
Crown2.png Inconvenient Royal Ruinssecond.png Larceny at the Magistracy Compass.png Bazaar 
Mask.png 10 
Envelope.png
Ridiculoushat.png
Maskpurple.png 80 
Scrap1.png 1 x Scrap of Ivory Organza
Boneknife.png Palaeontological Yank Moonparliament.png Larceny at Balmoral Mask.png 10 
Envelope.png
Ridiculoushat.png
Maskpurple.png 80 
Bone5.png 1 x Prismatic Frame
Bookpurple.png Precious manuscript Church.png Larceny at Burrow-Infra-Mump Mask.png 10 
Envelope.png
Ridiculoushat.png
Maskpurple.png 80 
Cosmogone.png 1 x Legenda Cosmogone


One-Time Uses[edit]

There are also a few one-off opportunities to use Cover Identities, such as erecting statues or advancing storylines.

One-Time Uses
Action Storylet/Card (Location) Cover Identity Qualities Reward
Maskpurple.png Put up a statue (Balmoral) Railsteel.png Offices of the Tracklayer's Union: Balmoral Branch
(Crown2.png Balmoral)
Compass.png Bazaar 
Mask.png
Envelope.png
Ridiculoushat.png
Whispered secret.png
Maskpurple.png
Angelclose.png 20 
Khanatearmourembossed.png Put up a statue (Moulin) Railsteel.png Offices of the Tracklayer's Union: Moulin Branch
(Bookblack.png Moulin)
Envelope.png
Maskpurple.png 50 
Ravenblackskull.png 21 
Mask.png Identify yourself... Master.png A Conversation with Mr Fires
(Telescopeglim.png Station VIII)
Compass.png Dispossessed 

Mask.png

Hillchanger Tower, Changed
Maskpurple.png Join the gang Clayman2.png The Clay Highwayman's Camp
(Crown2.png Balmoral)
Compass.png Surface 
Mask.png
Ridiculoushat.png
Whispered secret.png
Mask.png

Strategy[edit]

Assuming all checks are 100%, the baseline cost of a constructing a Cover Identity is (Mask.png Cover Identity: Elaboration + Envelope.png Cover Identity: Credentials + Ridiculoushat.png Cover Identity: Nuance + Whispered secret.png Cover Identity: Witnesses) actions. You may also have a cost of 1 Favour for adding Compass.png Cover Identity: Ties. The cost in both items and actions of Maskpurple.png Cover Identity: Backstory depends on the options used to raise it, but can also be fairly approximated as 1 action per Backstory with some exceptions.

From this, we can determine that Provide an Urchin with evidence that she's a long lost heir, Sell an undercover identity to a constable, Sell a socially plausible cover identity to a Devil each cost 5 actions (not including travel) + 1 Favour to receive 2 Favours. We can also approximate that Put up a statue in honour of your Cover Identity (which is to say, yourself) costs 14 actions + 1 Favour, and Involve the Clay Highwayman's gang in industrial steel robbery (Non-Marauder) costs 73 actions + 1 Favour to receive 17-18 Railsteel.png Railway Steel. Selling a very advanced identity to Devils or to to Spies costs around 530 actions to receive an Envelope.png Intercepted Document that results in a Shipbig.png Reported Location of a One-Time Prince of Hell or Note.png Rumourmonger's Network, respectively.

We can also approximate that Fence this identity is upper-bounded at 2.50 EPA. Each point of Mask.png Cover Identity: Elaboration, Envelope.png Cover Identity: Credentials, Ridiculoushat.png Cover Identity: Nuance, or Whispered secret.png Cover Identity: Witnesses adds one 2.50 E item to the reward and each 5 points of Maskpurple.png Cover Identity: Backstory adds one 12.50 E item. Spending a Favour to add Compass.png Cover Identity: Ties when starting the identity does not increase the reward at all, but merely changes which 2.50 E items you receive. That said, while it does not compare favorably to other options as an Echo grind, this is a good source for some of the possible rewards.

Elaboration[edit]

The scaling difficulty check for increasing Mask.png Elaboration means even top-level characters will not be able to guarantee success when building an Identity that require high level of Elaboration. The challenge to add a 10th point of Elaboration has a difficulty of 240, which would take Sidebarshadowy.png Shadowy 400 to guarantee success. A realistic value of Sidebarshadowy.png Shadowy 300 gives only a 75% chance of success. On average it will take attempts to achieve success.

The table below summarizes the scaling challenge, success chance, and cumulative action cost for a character with Sidebarshadowy.png Shadowy 300. The scaling is not exactly proportional, but is somewhat close. A character with 280 Shadowy would take 11.78 actions on average to reach Elaboration 10, while a character with 320 Shadowy would need 10.74 actions on average.

Mask.png Elaboration Challenge Success % Attempts Needed Cumulative Actions
1 150 100% 1 1
2 160 100% 1 2
3 170 100% 1 3
4 180 100% 1 4
5 190 95% 1.05 5.05
6 200 90% 1.11 6.16
7 210 86% 1.16 7.32
8 220 82% 1.22 8.54
9 230 78% 1.28 9.82
10 250 75% 1.33 11.16

Backstory items[edit]

There are several items which can be spent to gain backstory. Here's a breakdown on sources that give around 2.5 EPA or better of the items:

It's hard to get these reliably. With access to the St arch.png Adulterine Castle at the Hurlers, this approaches 25 pawns/action (Maskpurple.png x ~1 per action), which is still not very impressive. An alternative is working on stalemates (or failing epaulette mates) at the Chessboard; this reaches at most ~18 pawns/action.

These can be gained while playing chess at the chessboard, either for free for midnighters or for vital intelligence for others. They can also be gained slowly with opportunity cards, but you will always get 1 opening per action or less. If you have good sources for Revolutionarymask.png Esteem of the Guild, Fiddler's Scarlet may be an okay source. Alternatively, if you have a Counter-Church in Burrow-Infra-Mump and Chesspiece.png A Player of Chess at least 10, you can get 1 opening per action. The Edict of Towers also provides 1 opening per action. Overall, this ends up at Maskpurple.png x ~1 per action.

These can most efficiently be gained by writing monographs in Moulin, selling a skeleton to the Tentacled Entrepreneur or in the Hurlers (Oxygen.png x 7.2 per action). You may also get them by trading Bone surveys, which will be efficient as long as you have a newspaper or good lab equipment (Oxygen.png x ~4.2 or ~4.5 respectively per action). See Publishing a Newspaper (Guide) for more information on this. Breaths sourced from the Hurlers give Maskpurple.png x 1.4 per action.

If you have access to it, the Red epilogue of the Chessboard campaign works out to Maskpurple.png x 1 per action. Take tea with the Diplomat in the Khanate is a good source, using Incendiary Gossip from newspapers (Maskpurple.png x 0.9 per action). Otherwise, writing monographs is a reliable source. Also consider Exchange some knowledge of the Eversmoulder on Halfway to Hell or maybe spending your Corresponding for them.

You can get these from the Statue at Station VIII, but this is dependant on opportunity cards and not very compatible with breaking into Station VIII, as that requires darkness. A better source is An Exemplary Work of Lapsarian Theological Art, which allows for 4 stories (and hence Maskpurple.png x 0.8 ) per action.

These can be gained in the Khanate for 15 actions each, plus actions to shuffle Airs and an offset for travelling; this approaches Maskpurple.png x 1.3 per action. Mortifications can also be reliably gained when Spelunking in the Sunken Embassy below Moloch Street at a rate of 18 actions per item, Maskpurple.png x 1.4 per action. Additionally, see diving at the Magistracy, which depends on an efficient way to get Final Breaths.