Other The Council Guides:
Skills and Effort Points
When choosing a profession, you automatically unlock all of that profession's skills to level 1. Unlocking any skill outside your profession will cost you 4 skill points, and upgrading them will be much more expensive.
Having a skill unlocked allows you to use it regardless of difficulty and skill level. However, you will spend more effort points using a low level skill on a high difficulty choice.
Traits are permanent skill bonuses awarded to you for completing certain actions during the storyline.
Talents unlock various bonuses. Keep an eye on them, especially those pertaining to items use or related to skills you are well-versed in.
Manuscripts are collected in-game during exploration. You can select one to read at the start of each quest, granting you a permanent skill bonus. Manuscripts stack with each other from one quest to the next.
Items can be used at any time during the game, even (and especially) during dialogues and confrontations. If you use more than four items during one quest, however, you will gain a debuff and will no longer be able to see any dialogue or action timer until the quest is complete.
-  Royal Jelly restores two effort points and is hotkeyed to 1.
-  Golden Elixir cures any debuff you have and is hotkeyed to 2.
-  Devil's Thorn will highlight dialogue options a NPC is immune or vulnerable to, and is hotkeyed to 3.
-  Carmelite Water reduces the effort points costs of your next skill to 0, and is hotkeyed to [4.]
The game is divided in episodes, each of them divided in quests. You get an opportunity to level up and prepare at the start of each quest, then a summary of your choices, failures, and missed opportunities at the end.
Exploration, Opportunities, and Confrontations
The gameplay itself can be divided in three phases: exploration, opportunities, and confrontations.
Exploration phases are self-explanatory. You are encouraged to use them to talk to NPC, explore the Manor, and stock up on items and information, unless your current quest is time-sensitive.
Opportunities show up during cutscenes and, provided you have the corresponding skill, will highlight several elements with an interaction marker. Clicking on the correct interaction marker before the time limit expires nets you additional informations or advantages.
Confrontations are crucial dialogues sequences during which you will have to make your case, convince, reassure, or otherwise threaten other characters. They count heavily towards your progress in the game, your character's survival, and the ending.
Build a Decent Skillset
Your starting profession will not carry you very far into the game. I would recommend levelling some of your profession's skills to level 2, based on what you find the most useful, in order to get the effort points discount, but after that you should invest in other skills.
Linguistics, Occultism, and Subterfuge are good observation skills, allowing you to translate foreign texts or understand foreign NPCs, gain insight into the game's occult mysteries, and picking locks or noticing traps.
Psychology, Conviction, and Manipulation are good interaction skills, allowing you to read some NPCs' behavior, and convince or manipulate them to do your bidding.
Keep in mind that NPCs all have immunities, and a level 1 skill can save you in a tight spot.
Make Use of Your Items
You will probably find a lot of consummables if you explore the game at least a little.
Royal Jellies should be used as little as possible, preferably at the end of a quest when you no longer have to worry about the debuff associated with using too many consummables. It's a good idea to stock up on them until your inventory is full, and only eat one if your effort points are getting low and you just found another jelly you can't pick up. Otherwise, they only give you two points back and shouldn't be your go-to item.
Devil's Thorns should be used during confrontations or difficult dialogues with NPCs you know nothing about. The game will punish you for hitting on a character's immunities, so don't take too many chances.
Carmelite Water is your go-to item for high difficulty skill checks belonging to other professions. Never spend more than 3 effort points on a skill check unless you absolutely have to.
Explore Whenever You Can
Be aware that the game has hidden timers. If you need to rescue someone, for example, it's most likely a good idea to do it before anything else.
Interacting with everything is often mostly safe. Don't stick your hands in obvious traps and don't insult NPCs to their faces, but do break into other characters' bedrooms to discover their filthy secrets.
The game has many small chests and containers containing consummables, which you can obtain using vigilance or subterfuge. I would advice against using any effort points on them. Keep in mind that you will be able unlock most of them with level 2 subterfuge.
Everyone is Your Friend, and Also Your Enemy
Blindly trusting others with your secrets is a bad idea. Treating everyone as potentially untrustworthy threats is an even worse idea. You generally want to appear trustworthy and trusting to other characters, until you get familiar with the intrigue and develop your own playstyle.