Cover Identities (Guide)

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Cover Identities Summary
Variable-Length Activity
Setup Progress End
1 A 0+ A 1 A


Build out your cover identity.

Max 10:, Max 6:, Unlimited:

Items Inputs/Outputs
Raw EPA 3.60 Raw SPA 5.68


Cabinet Noir[edit]

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

Level Requirements Qualities Enabled
2 Disappearing... 3 Cover Identity: Elaboration
Cover Identity: Nuance
Cover Identity: Witnesses
Cover Identity: Credentials
3 Cover Identity: Elaboration 2 Cover Identity: Backstory
4 Cover Identity: Elaboration 3
Cover Identity: Credentials 1
Cover Identity: Ties

Constructing an Identity[edit]

Starting a New Identity[edit]

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

Ties Action Requirement
0 (None)  Begin to construct a cover identity -
1 (Surface)  Begin a cover identity with a background on the Surface 1 x Favours: The Great Game
Use your Surface address to establish a background for a new cover identity 1 x A Palatial Holiday Home in the Arctic Circle
Make the Society of the Three-Fingered Hand support your lies 1 x Society of the Three-Fingered Hand
Employ your Canny Cuttlefish to forge a life on the Surface
2 (Bazaar)  Begin a cover identity tied to Society and the Bazaar 1 x Favours: Society
Incorporate your Surveilling Spindlewolf's surveillance into a cover identity 1 x Surveilling Spindlewolf
250 x Cryptic Clue
3 (Dispossessed)  Begin a cover identity tied to the less powerful classes 1 x Favours: Urchins
Start a cover identity with a reputation among gamblers 1 x The Marvellous

Building Up an Identity[edit]

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

Quality Limit Challenge Gain
Cover Identity: Elaboration 10 A Player of Chess (3)
Shadowy (150 + 10 x )
1 x 
Cover Identity: Nuance 6 A Player of Chess (3 + )
Bizarre (5 + )
1 x 
Cover Identity: Witnesses 6 A Player of Chess (3 + )
Dreaded (5 + )
1 x 
Cover Identity: Credentials 6 A Player of Chess (3 + )
Respectable (5 + )
1 x 
Quality Cost Gain
Cover Identity: Backstory 25 x Well-Placed Pawn 2 x 
250 x Well-Placed Pawn (2 actions) 12 x 
5 x Vienna Opening 6 x 
50 x Final Breath 11 x 
50 x Moves in the Great Game 11 x 
100 x Unusual Love Story 22 x 
1 x Mortification of a Great Power 26 x 

Selling an Identity[edit]

Repeatable Sales
Action Storylet/Card (Location) Cover Identity Qualities Reward
Clay Highwayman's gang (Non-Marauder) The Next Stretch of Track
( Moloch Street)

10 x Railway Steel
Clay Highwayman's gang (Marauder) The Next Stretch of Track
( Moloch Street)

11 x Railway Steel
A Veteran Revolutionary Which meeting?
Upper River
2 x Favours: Revolutionaries
An Urchin Engage in Unobserved Charity
( Ealing Gardens)
2 x Favours: Urchins
A constable The Constabulary of the Evenlode
( The Magistracy of the Evenlode)
2 x Favours: Constables
1-4 x Hinterland Scrip
A Devil Halfway to Hell
( Upper River)
2 x Favours: Hell
Devils Halfway to Hell
( Upper River)

(leads to 1 x Reported Location of a One-Time Prince of Hell)
Spies The Railway and the Great Game
( Upper River)

(leads to 1 x Rumourmonger's Network)
A Legal Scholar Respectable Passengers
( Upper River)

1 x Edicts of the First City
Academic The Nonspecific Academic
( The University)

1 x Dreadful Surmise
The person you were Your Cabinet Noir: The Back Room
( Balmoral)
( + + + + ) x Memory of a Much Lesser Self
Fence this identity Your Cabinet Noir: The Back Room
( Balmoral)
( / 5) x 
(N = + + + )
(No ) N x 
( Surface ) N x 
( Bazaar ) N x 
( Disposs. ) 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
Eccentric Philosopher Larceny at Ealing Gardens 10 

1 x Nodule of Fecund Amber
Seasoned Smuggler Larceny at Jericho Locks 10 

1 x Fabulous Diamond
Inconvenient Royal Larceny at the Magistracy Bazaar 

1 x Scrap of Ivory Organza
Palaeontological Yank Larceny at Balmoral 10 

1 x Prismatic Frame
Precious manuscript Larceny at Burrow-Infra-Mump 10 

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
Put up a statue (Balmoral) Offices of the Tracklayer's Union: Balmoral Branch
( Balmoral)

Put up a statue (Moulin) Offices of the Tracklayer's Union: Moulin Branch
( Moulin)

Identify yourself... A Conversation with Mr Fires
( Station VIII)

Hillchanger Tower, Changed
Join the gang The Clay Highwayman's Camp
( Balmoral)


Assuming all checks are 100%, the baseline cost of a constructing a Cover Identity is ( Cover Identity: Elaboration + Cover Identity: Credentials + Cover Identity: Nuance + Cover Identity: Witnesses) actions. You may also have a cost of 1 Favour for adding Cover Identity: Ties. The cost in both items and actions of 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.

Involve the Clay Highwayman's gang in industrial steel robbery (Non-Marauder) costs 32 actions + 1 Favour to receive 10-11 Railway Steel. In order to get 10 railway steel from other sources, it takes 2 actions, 230 BSI and 2 Justificande coins. Assuming 2 actions for the coins, and 1 action for the favour, one would have to get more than roughly 7.9 or 8.7 BSI/action to make it more efficiently through other sources. This is in line with the best sources of Steel.

Selling a very advanced identity to Devils or to to Spies costs around 530 actions to receive an Intercepted Document that results in a Reported Location of a One-Time Prince of Hell or Rumourmonger's Network, respectively.

We can also approximate that Fence this identity is upper-bounded at 2.50 EPA. Each point of Cover Identity: Elaboration, Cover Identity: Credentials, Cover Identity: Nuance, or Cover Identity: Witnesses adds one 2.50 E item to the reward and each 5 points of Cover Identity: Backstory adds one 12.50 E item. Spending a Favour to add 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. If you do grand larcenies, you can push this up to a 3.60 echo grind, if you get ivory organzas and use the rat market.


The scaling difficulty check for increasing 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 Shadowy 400 to guarantee success. A realistic value of 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 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.

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


There are several items which can be spent to gain backstory.

Well-Placed Pawn: It's hard to get these reliably. Unless you can get 45 pawns/action, it is always more efficient to Make your Pawns follow your cover identity

Vienna Opening: Overall, this ends up at x ~1 per action.

Final Breath

Moves in the Great Game

Unusual Love Story

Mortification of a Great Power