Your character has four main statistics, called qualities: Watchful, Shadowy, Dangerous, and Persuasive. Most actions will increase one or more of these qualities, and very few actions in the game will reduce them. The higher the number you have in these qualities, the better you are, and the better chance you have succeeding in an action. As your qualities rise, more challenging options will open to you.
Actions and opportunity cards in this game are often challenges against these major qualities. The game tells you the likelihood of successfully completing any given challenge, based on the level of your quality. In ascending order of likelihood, they range from almost impossible, high-risk, chancy, modest, low-risk, and straightforward. (In most cases, failing a challenge will still increase a major quality.) Even straightforward challenges has a chance of failure, albiet a small one.
There are other minor qualities that you will gain over the course of gaming in Echo Bazaar. Gaining and/or improving these qualities will open up new actions and opportunities as well. A few challenges in the game are made against these qualities (notably Progress). These include:
- Acquaintance - Useful people you meet in Echo Bazaar
- Ambition - Progress in a major goal for your character
- Contacts - Organziations you learn of in Echo Bazaar
- Menace - Qualities best avoided
- Progress - Progress toward milestones in Stories and Ventures
- Quirk - How you react to moral choices
- Specific Ability
- Story - Progress in a given story
- Venture - Progress in a given venture