Skill is a catch-all term in 1931 for the talents that Sadie brings to her personal and professional pursuits. Loosely defined, a Skill is any of 35 scores, each ranging from 0 to 100, that can influence the course of present events - and characters' futures! - in both subtle and profound ways. Skill management is more or less the most intricate 'puzzle' involved in playing the game, because there is only so much time available to prepare Sadie for her confrontations, investigations and discoveries.
Most of the following explanations are lifted from the "breaking of the fourth wall" by Phileas Carter, the family lawyer, in the prologue's optional tutorial.
Throughout the game, you'll be presented with OBSTACLES you must overcome. The number in the little heart on the left is the DIFFICULTY. This is the base difficulty plus Sadie's Stress – more on that later. On the right are a number of different ways to approach the problem known as OBSTACLE PATHS. Each Obstacle Path is associated with a specific SKILL. The higher Sadie's skill is, the greater chance she'll have of succeeding.
Every skill can train up to 100 points, and every 10 points is a new level. This level is reflected as
- the Skill's base value as an Obstacle Path
- the number of Inspirations available in that Skill
In order to pass an Obstacle, you must ensure that Sadie's skill level for the Obstacle Path you choose meets or exceeds that Obstacle's difficulty. In some cases, that'll seem impossible - but there will be temporary bonuses you can use to clear the distance. The slots at the top and bottom of the screen are for INSPIRATIONS, which can be used to boost Sadie's chances of success if her skill level is too low. Don't worry, we'll come back to them when you actually need them. Do note that at the beginning of the game, you will have the ability to store up to ten Inspirations at a time.
Sadie's Map & Skill Menu Edit
Sadie's skill journal lists all of her attributes, skills, and relationships. The Attributes are the seven badges: Wits, Knowledge, Stress, Athletics, Relationship, Charm, and Dream. Hover over or click on one of them, and it will display the Attribute Level and Skills. The Attribute Level is the level of the selected attribute, and in the case of this picture, it shows that the Wits Attribute is level 46. The Skills shown in the picture are the Skills that fall under the Wits Attribute. All attributes have five skills that fall under them. The journal lists all of Sadie's Relationship Points and Dream Points, which impact her Relationship and Dream skills, as explained later.
Clicking on an Attribute and then a Skill brings up this menu:
This menu is what would appear if you clicked on Magic Tricks while in Australia. The top option, 'Where can I learn Magic Tricks?', shows where in Australia you can expand your Magic Tricks level. The second option, 'Where can I be inspired by Magic Tricks?', shows where in Australia you can get inspiration cards that temporarily increase the Magic Tricks skill.
Sometimes, a skill may not be able to be expanded, or it may have two ways of expanding it/getting an inspiration card:
This menu is what would appear if you clicked on Leaping while in Australia. The top option has nothing underneath it, meaning there is no way to expand Leaping while in Australia. However, it lists two ways of getting inspiration, 'Head to Kaoring for a Long Walk' and 'Explore the Outback with Felix'.
Attributes / 'Type' Edit
Sadie can increase her skills during Capers depending on the choices she makes, but she can also TRAIN [Expand] in certain locations. How well does training work? It depends on her ATTRIBUTES.
By the end of the game's prologue - when the player finally gets to decide how she will spend the rest of the day - Sadie will have seven core Attribute scores, ranging from 0 to 30.
Attributes cannot be expanded with simple Actions the way Skills can - they only increase through scripted events and passing certain Obstacles.
STRESS is the exception to this rule:
- it only increases as a result of Obstacle failures and other frustrating, hair-raising, or traumatic moments.
- it can be reduced by certain Actions available on each Map.
- the most drastic of these, which reduce a larger amount of Stress (15-20 points) but have no other effect, are marked with a purple coffee-cup icon.
- various other options will reduce Stress by only 5 points, but include some Expansion or Inspiration as well.
DREAM determines how in tune Sadie is with her Destiny, and also determines the number of Inspirations she is able to store. It will also affect the ending you receive. However, as your Dream score rises, you'll be able to keep more Inspirations: for every 10 points of the dominant Dream Attribute, this 'carrying capacity' increases by one. With the picture above, the Dream of Family is 21, so Dream skills would raise 3 points and Sadie will be able to hold 12 cards.
The RELATIONSHIP attribute works a bit differently. Basically, this one signifies the strength of Sadie's connection to the people most important to her. Throughout the course of the game, Sadie's relationships with her aunt, Anna, and several young men will be tracked simultaneously. The effective Attribute score for the purpose of Skill Expansion only will be equal to the highest of those relationships. Relationships tend to increase faster through scripted events than other Attributes, and sometimes increase during Capers regardless of Obstacle successes or dialogue choices. Sadie sees Anna and Evelyn often, and many adventures offer small boosts to their Relationship score - but to get to know the boys, Sadie will often have to seek them out. Look for Caper titles like 'Felix: The Main Adventure,' or 'Nigel: The Egyptian Adventure' if you're so inclined. With the picture above, the highest Relationship is Aunt Evelyn at 47, so Relationship skills would raise 5 points.
The Other Thing about Stress Edit
INSPIRATIONS are collectable cards that Sadie gains by Actions available at Locations. Each Inspiration is associated with a given skill or Attribute, and has a numerical value. Better Inspirations are generally awarded when Sadie has higher skill levels, but there are many random factors that affect the quality of the Inspiration. Once earned, an Inspiration can be spent on an Obstacle Path to ensure Sadie overcomes an Obstacle successfully. Sadie's skill level can be combined with the Inspiration value for that Obstacle Path. If the skill and Inspiration values added together are equal to or higher than the Obstacle difficulty, she wins! Each Inspiration is unique and carries different bonuses, and many of those bonuses aren't directly related to the original skill, so you'll need to read them carefully to determine how to best use them. You should also keep in mind that Sadie has a finite number of slots for storing Inspirations: 10 + [Dream divided by 10, rounded down].
- Each time you collect Inspirations with an Action, if the number Sadie receives would exceed capacity, you must choose (among those already held and those just gained) which to keep and which to discard.
- Inspirations rewarded for completing Side Capers or progressing in The Main Adventure are the exception: they will be automatically added even if Sadie is at full capacity. This 'overload' will last indefinitely, until either the next time Sadie gathers 'fresh' Inspirations, or the next time she spends one or more on an Obstacle Path.
The Skill Suites Edit
Ordered as they are on Sadie's Skill Menu: