Cover Identities (Guide)
In order to construct a Cover Identity, you need at least 2 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.
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, 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.
Building Up an Identity
Cover Identity: Ties cannot be changed after the Cover Identity is started.
|Cover Identity: Elaboration||10|| A Player of Chess (4)
Shadowy (150 + 10 x )
|Cover Identity: Nuance||6|| A Player of Chess (4 + )
Bizarre (6 + )
|Cover Identity: Witnesses||6|| A Player of Chess (4 + )
Dreaded (6 + )
|Cover Identity: Credentials||6|| A Player of Chess (4 + )
Respectable (6 + )
|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
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.
|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|
There are also a few one-off opportunities to use Cover Identities, such as erecting statues or advancing storylines.
|Action||Storylet/Card (Location)||Cover Identity Qualities||Reward|
|Put up a statue (Balmoral)|| Offices of the Tracklayer's Union: Balmoral Branch
|Put up a statue (Moulin)|| Offices of the Tracklayer's Union: Moulin Branch
|Identify yourself...|| A Conversation with Mr Fires
( Station VIII)
||Hillchanger Tower, Changed|
|Join the gang|| The Clay Highwayman's Camp
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.
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|
There are several items which can be spent to gain backstory.
Well-Placed Pawn: It's hard to get these reliably.
- Pit one Varchaasi against another from Varchas from Behind the Glass at x 25 an action. (Requires Shadowy Gains 18).
- Consult the Stewards of the Discordance (Adulterine Castle): x 21–27 or x ~1 per action
- At the Chessboard: Offer a draw, or fail at Choose a queen mate or Choose an epaulette mate. At most x 18 per action.
- Direct your network in the Khanate for x 10 per action.
- Buy from Nightclaw's Paw-Brokers at The Rat Market for 2 . Efficiency depends on your source of Rat-Shillings.
- Selling Night-Whispers from Favour-based Tribute gives x ~35 per action, or x ~1.32 per action
Vienna Opening: Overall, this ends up at x ~1 per action.
- At the Chessboard: free for Midnighters or 1 x Vital Intelligence for anyone else
- Attend a Sermon at the Septemberists' Kirk in Balmoral
- Raise a glass to someone at The Fiddler's Scarlet in Jericho Locks for x 5–9; may be okay if you have good sources for Esteem of the Guild
- Manoeuvre the Counter-Church in Burrow if you have a Counter Church; needs A Player of Chess 10 to 100% the check
- Explore the walls in Marigold Station
- These can most efficiently be gained by:
- Writing a monograph in Moulin for The Exiled Antiquarian: based on Cautionary
- Selling to the Tentacled Entrepreneur: based on Amalgamy (see Assembling a Skeleton guide)
- Holding your breath underwater in the Hurlers: x 23 at Darkness 0
- Sell Surveys of the Neath's Bones to the Enthusiast of the Ancient World: x 10 for 5 Surveys. If you can efficiently publish a newspaper (see guide) or perform lab research (see guide), this works out to about ~4.2 or ~4.5 respectively 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
- Writing monographs
- Exchange some knowledge of the Eversmoulder on Halfway to Hell
- For the Game, spending Corresponding
- Read the graffiti on the Statue on its Station VIII opportunity card, for 5–7 stories per action, or x ~1.3 per action. Darkness increases the difficulty, so this is not very compatible with breaking into Station VIII.
- An Exemplary Work of Lapsarian Theological Art; 4 stories per action, and hence x 0.88 per action
Mortification of a Great Power
- Expanding your Network in the Khanate with the Bandaged Naval Officer, Shapeless Aristocrat, or Idle Soldier: 15 actions each (plus shuffling Airs and travelling), approaching x 1.3 per action
- Send an inordinately enormous stack of documents to Mount Palmerston from Spelunking in the Sunken Embassy: 18 actions per item, x 1.4 per action
- Breathe an ancient air while Diving in the Magistracy: Realistically, no more than x 1.2 per action given the impossibility of 100% success on skill checks while diving; costs 75 x Final Breath
- Enforce your demands at the end of the Parabolan War campaign A Dreaming Priest of the Second City, for 3 Mortifications; no analysis has been made on the efficiency of this.