# Mechanics

## Cabinet Noir

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

### Starting a New Identity

A new Cover Identity always starts with Cover Identity: Elaboration 1. With Cabinet Noir 4 and either Favours to spend or Ambition items to show, 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
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
Begin a cover identity with a reputation among gamblers 1 x The Marvellous

### Building Up an Identity

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

Quality Limit Challenge Gain
Cover Identity: Elaboration 10 A Player of Chess (4)
Shadowy (150 + 10 x )
1 x
Cover Identity: Nuance 6 A Player of Chess (4 + )
Bizarre (6 + )
1 x
Cover Identity: Witnesses 6 A Player of Chess (4 + )
1 x
Cover Identity: Credentials 6 A Player of Chess (4 + )
Respectable (6 + )
1 x
Quality Cost Gain
Cover Identity: Backstory 25 x Well-Placed Pawn 2 x
250 x Well-Placed Pawn 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

Repeatable Sales
Action Storylet/Card (Location) Cover Identity Qualities Reward
Clay Highwayman's gang (Non-Marauder) The Next Stretch of Track
( Moloch Street)
Disposs.
10

50
17 x Railway Steel
Clay Highwayman's gang (Marauder) The Next Stretch of Track
( Moloch Street)
Bazaar
10

50
18 x Railway Steel
A Veteran Revolutionary Which meeting?
Upper River
Surface
2 x Favours: Revolutionaries
An Urchin Engage in Unobserved Charity
( Ealing Gardens)
Bazaar
2 x Favours: Urchins
A constable The Constabulary of the Evenlode
( The Magistracy of the Evenlode)
Disposs.
2 x Favours: Constables
1-4(?) x Hinterland Scrip
A Devil Halfway to Hell
( Upper River)
Bazaar
2 x Favours: Hell
Devils Halfway to Hell
( Upper River)
10

500
21
(leads to 1 x Reported Location of a One-Time Prince of Hell)
Spies The Railway and the Great Game
( Upper River)
Surface
10

500
22
(leads to 1 x Rumourmonger's Network)
A Legal Scholar Respectable Passengers
( Upper River)
10

100
1 x Edicts of the First City
( The University)
10

100
The person you were Your Cabinet Noir: The Back Room
( Balmoral)
1+
0+
0+
0+
0+
( + + + + ) x Memory of a Much Lesser Self
Fence this identity Your Cabinet Noir: The Back Room
( Balmoral)
0+
5+
0+
0+
0+
0+
( / 5) x
(N = + + + )
(No ) N x
( Surface ) N x
( Bazaar ) N x
( Disposs. ) N x

### Clay Highwayman Grand Larcenies

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

80
1 x Nodule of Fecund Amber
Seasoned Smuggler Larceny at Jericho Locks 10

80
1 x Fabulous Diamond
Inconvenient Royal Larceny at the Magistracy Bazaar
10

80
1 x Scrap of Ivory Organza
Palaeontological Yank Larceny at Balmoral 10

80
1 x Prismatic Frame
Precious manuscript Larceny at Burrow-Infra-Mump 10

80
1 x Legenda Cosmogone

### One-Time Uses

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)
Bazaar

20
Put up a statue (Moulin) Offices of the Tracklayer's Union: Moulin Branch
( Moulin)

50
21
Identify yourself... A Conversation with Mr Fires
( Station VIII)
Dispossessed

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

# Strategy

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, and Involve the Clay Highwayman's gang in industrial steel robbery (Non-Marauder) costs 73 actions + 1 Favour to receive 17-18 Railway 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.

### Elaboration

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 ${\displaystyle 1/0.75=1.33}$ 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

## Backstory items

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 Adulterine Castle at the Hurlers, this approaches 25 pawns/action ( 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 Esteem of the Guild, Fiddler's Scarlet may be an okay source. Alternatively, if you have a Counter-Church in Burrow-Infra-Mump and 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 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 ( 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 ( 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 x 1.4 per action.

If you have access to it, the Red epilogue of the Chessboard campaign works out to x 1 per action. Take tea with the Diplomat in the Khanate is a good source, using Incendiary Gossip from newspapers ( 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 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 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, x 1.4 per action. Additionally, see diving at the Magistracy, which depends on an efficient way to get Final Breaths.