Advice for Merciless Mode

Hey, first post so here goes…

I am up to about 50 captains right now, and while I have improved significantly in my play, I find that I either have to drag myself back to london a whole lot and disrupt the flow of the game, or die and start again.

A couple of problems I have:

Anytime I have a run in with Mt Nomad. Just can’t get away in time.

Terror getting to 100 trying to complete quests, which is mostly my own fault.

Just general issues with having enough storage to hold supplies and fuel and odds and ends, when ships don’t get passed down through the line.

Is there any way to have my ship passed on to the next captain? Or anything besides officers and guns? I generally pick rival because I have a decent gun to start with that way.

Any general advice would be great, really. I end up dying a lot.

I’m a relatively new player, but I’ve seen some success, completing the Zubmariner ambition and going East to meet Salt. As for advice…[li]
Terror: Watch the terror meter, and manage it carefully. Lights use fuel, so don’t have them on all the time. However, if you’re careful you can get that effect by switching them on and off again at the Terror meter ticks. Going near coastlines or islands helps with this, as the terror meter will actually decrease if you have 2 terror nullifying effects working at once (being near a coastline, having the lights on, being near a buoy) which doubles the length of the terror tick, making this strategy easier to manage. Notes this doesn’t work while in a fog bank or underwater, as those both counteract one of the effects listed above. Also, if you’re near the bottom right corner of the map and your terror is getting too high, you can spend one supply and one fuel at Kingeater’s Castle to remove 25 terror.

Mt. Nomad: Run away. Most notably, run away at full speed, with your lights off, in something other than the starting ship. Also, high veils helps. The usual upgrade from that one only costs a few thousand echoes and has 200 hull rather than 75. If you’re having trouble finding the money, go for the Principles of Coral or Last Curator quests, both hand out sizable rewards.

Fuel and Supplies: It’s important to balance fuel and supplies at the start of a journey. You don’t use both at the same rate. Fuel is dependent on engine power and fuel efficiency, supplies are dependent on crew. Both are time based, so in effect they’re also both dependent on the speed of your ship. Fuel usually goes more quickly than supplies, 25/15 is the mix I usually shoot for in the starting ship. Clay men from the shop in Polythreme (the equipment, not the cargo) also help increase engine power and speed, and reduce supply use as they reduce crew capacity and needs. Fuel will go a bit faster with them on board, though. Also important is not setting out with no echoes. Echoes are useful during journeys mainly for resupply. Although that is more expensive than in London in most areas, it is often essential. Cheap places to resupply include Mount Palmerston (fuel and supplies), the Iron Republic (fuel), Port Carnelian (supplies), Aestival (supplies), and possibly Irem, although I forget what the prices there are like. Basically, save your echoes, include a map border in your route, and don’t be afraid to dump a couple hundred echoes resupplying if you need to.

Unfortunately, ships can never be passed on. Heirlooms, however, can, as can echoes, a whole bunch of them if you have a Scion (to get one of these, just keep going out with your sweetheart in London) and pick both money gaining legacies, which total to 100% of your captain’s money rather than multiplying to 75%. If you do manage to accumulate vast wealth, it can definitely be passed onto your next captain. Unless you go East (I mean completing the alternate ambition, not just sailing off the map border. That can actually be an effective strategy to jump you to Irem, Kingeater’s Castle, or Hideaway), in that case you’ll lose everything. Have fun, hope this helps.[/li][li]
edited by The Lord Breakfast on 2/4/2017

Just out of interest, how long did it take you to sink fifty captains? :)

Good advice up there, a couple fast ones to add:

Fuel is way more important than supplies - it burns off faster, and you can always eat your crew, but (sadly) not shove’em in the oven. Also, never go with a full crew unless you plan on ̶ ̶̶s̶̶a̶̶c̶̶r̶̶i̶̶f̶̶i̶̶c̶̶i̶̶n̶̶g̶̶ ̶̶t̶̶h̶̶e̶̶m̶̶ ̶̶f̶̶o̶̶r̶̶ ̶̶n̶̶e̶̶f̶̶a̶̶r̶̶i̶̶o̶̶u̶̶s̶̶ ̶̶e̶̶n̶̶d̶̶s̶ doing something that actually needs manpower. Just keep a couple more than the skeleton crew, that keeps supply usage down.

Best standard method of getting money fast for a starting captain should still be shipping Sphinxstone from the Salt Lions. It’s also pretty hassle-free.

Depending on your map, but mostly Khan’s Shadow is quite centrally located and a good general-purpose supply port. Don’t bother with getting a license for Khan’s Heart until you have time and money to burn.

As was already mentioned - never set out without spare change in your pockets, and enough of that for at least a couple tons of fuel. Can’t stress that one enough. Don’t ever rely on making that money en route. Something will happen.

Mt. Nomad is endemic to Void’s Approach, so if you ain’t got something to actually do there… in general, the best combat tactic is raising your Mirrors, and use a weapon with Staggering effect (Bandersnatch works best). Because then you can just shoot any enemy on close range fast enough to reset their attack buildup before they ever get to do anything. You even can go mano-a-mano with Mt. Nomad this way. *

*(unless you meet her in a fog bank. Then do not try this tactic. Trust me on that.)

As soon as you can write a will and never forget to get one. (Voice of experience)

There are several different places where you can reduce your terror easily. If you are in the North - Frostfound or Irem if you have some coffee. If you have Hunting Trophies Abbey Rock is useful. Choosing the first option in the Temple at Varchas. Visage. One of the options at the Mangrove College.

Mount Nomad is trouble until you work out a Strategy that works. Two guns; high Irons, Mirrors and Veils; and having Scintillack helps. Also fighting somewhere near a port - if you get in a docking circle your enemy will back off and then you can sneak out; attack; retreat until you beat them.

For supplies and fuel - hunting can be useful. Lifebergs and pirates are really good as they give both. The big crabs for supplies. There are various stories in various ports that give supplies. You can get either fuel or supplies from the Fathomking for example.

Don’t forget port reports for refuelling when you turn them in to the Admirality.

I’ve been playing Sunless Sea maybe a month? Maybe two. Sometimes I would die to stupid stuff in quick succession. Man that really makes it confusing as to what you have or haven’t done. Generally I need to be in the Void’s Approach for stuff involving the curator or the sigil navigator. I just hate that, until I get a better boat, that part is just luck and chance.

WHat is the best way to spend my secrets early on? What is the fastest way to get a gun better than what is available in london? What is the fastest way to get a scion once you have the child? I had a scion but the game didn’t get uploaded to the cloud and I haven’t been able to get one again since. It’s very frustrating.

I definitely tend to depart broke, I will have to keep that in mind I think. That might help a bit.

[quote=SpicyDinosaur]Generally I need to be in the Void’s Approach for stuff involving the curator or the sigil navigator. I just hate that, until I get a better boat, that part is just luck and chance.[/quote]Mt. Nomad doesn’t ‘see’ that good… just take it slow and be on the lookout for it. Don’t forget to turn off the lights if you’re getting closer. Also, like the Lady said, if you make it into port (no need for docking) you’re in a safe zone and noone can attack you anymore.[quote]WHat is the best way to spend my secrets early on?[/quote]First stockpile some, like ten or twenty. Then just start spending them on stats - which ones obviously depend on your playing style (more or less belligerent? Sneaky or ramboid?) and your current ones (which background, legacy etc.) I’d probably care less for Hearts or Pages than the rest, but that depends on you (and what you plan to do when and where).[quote]What is the fastest way to get a gun better than what is available in london?[/quote]First, the best gun IMO is in London - the Bandersnatch (Torpedo launcher from Caminus Yards). Second, outside of London there are only two more… Icarus In Black (which I deem more of a practical joke than anything else) does monstrous damage against monsters (only), but the ammo costs about 1000€ per shot - go figure. The Memento Mori is part of the Cannoneer’s questline and is more useful as a political pawn for the Supremacy game - it is not better than the Bandersnatch, it just doesn’t need ammunition (Torpedoes).[quote]What is the fastest way to get a scion once you have the child?[/quote]Just keep returning to London when you have Something awaits You, get Free Evenings, spend them with your family, and feed the child’s desire with gifts and stories.

Okay I actually have the bandersnatch and pass it down from captain to captain. I’ve been focusing on hearts, but maybe I should spread my stats out a bit?

Is there any benefit othner than an eventual achievement to not choosing a past?

Is there a list of what rifts are what rite for the Lady in Black, I want to sacrifice a captain to her for the future benefits, but I was having problems finding the rite of hearths.

I tend to want to be sneaky, is veils really a good stat? It seems like a lot of the things I encounter require hearts instead, though I often pick the street urchin background.

ALso, RE: the Constant Companion. What dictates when it comes and leaves. I’ve had it follow me when I moved above land and then went under in another spot. If my hull is at all compromised, I find I end up dead when it shoots me as I try to surface to escape, and it will camp my boat basically if I dock

[quote=SpicyDinosaur]Okay I actually have the bandersnatch and pass it down from captain to captain. I’ve been focusing on hearts, but maybe I should spread my stats out a bit?

Is there any benefit othner than an eventual achievement to not choosing a past?

Is there a list of what rifts are what rite for the Lady in Black, I want to sacrifice a captain to her for the future benefits, but I was having problems finding the rite of hearths.

I tend to want to be sneaky, is veils really a good stat? It seems like a lot of the things I encounter require hearts instead, though I often pick the street urchin background.[/quote]

Veils is very good early on when you must avoid enemies, it has a decent amount of skill checks as well you just didn’t see them(combat in the starter ship is impossible for anything but the easiest pirate ship and the easiest zee monster, don’t bother with it).

I tend to start out as the Veteran. No point in hiding from the early ships when you can blast them for supplies, even with a set of bad guns. You just need to know how to outrun them while moving backwards.

As for earning money early on? The game gives you some opportunities. Go to the Tomb Colonies, drop off a passenger, maybe sell some wine and then head north to explore Wither and Codex. Don’t worry too much about the Lifebergs, just keep your lights off and you should be able to outrun them because they lose track of you very quickly if they can’t see you.

I’m not a big fan of the Bandersnatch. Sure you might find torpedoes lying out in the open but if you have to rely on a weapon that has limited amounts of ammo and requires you to spend money on yet another resource… I’ll just take the regular cannons thanks.
Then again I play FTL a lot so I’m just biased against missile weapons in that you never have them when you need them. The Bandersnatch could be the best thing ever since the underwater cigar but seeing that it uses ammo makes me turn away… and overspend on Supplies and Fuel.

Also, read the wikis on how to proceed with certain events. If you’ve gone through 50 Captains, I think you should read the spoilers and get the best outcome before losing another one.

Lastly: You can do the Salt Lions for early money but honestly, I think you should wait for the Cargo Ship so you can carry more Sphinxstone in one sitting and get more money, then go do the Coffee Run to the surface a few times. That’ll (hopefully) get you the money you need for the Frigate and everything becomes easier.
edited by stylesrj on 2/5/2017

It’s actually the Hellthrasher I’ve been passing down from capt to capt not the Bandersnatch. Since that one doesn’t fit on the newbie ship.

My previous game I got a better ship almost right away, this one I am still putting around in the newbie ship. That one upgrade makes such a difference it is so frustrating.

Does the surface have cheap coffee or something, why did you call it a coffee run? I always end up losing so much crew, and can it even be profitable with the fuel cost?

By chasing the ships in circles I can take up to the pirate poet’s ship, nothing tougher I don’t think, though I haven’t tried. The ships are kind of dumb AI wise and it is easy to stay behind them. Sea monsters are another issue entirely, as they have sort of a rush when they attack and don’t seem to go in circles.

I never have space for sphinxstone tbh.

The Coffee Run is when you take a Cargo Ship, load it up with Darkdrop Coffee from Port Carnelian and then take it to Vienna on the surface. You should only lose up to 1 or 2 crew if you’re just doing the coffee run and not running cargo (that one is RNG).

Darkdrop Coffee is bought for something like 20 Echoes at Port Carnelian but you get double that in Vienna. You can probably get about 90 units of Coffee per Cargo Ship (if you’re really milking it since you need a lot of resources to get up there) and get about 3 runs in before the place burns down but it’s a big chunk of change.

There are guides on how to maximise your profits there though but in general, just deliver as much coffee as you possibly can in one sitting each time.

The Sphinxstone run depends on how far the Salt Lions are from London. You can spare 20 units of space on the basic ship. Just do the run with your lights off. Of course, don’t actually leave port with 20 units to spare. Just be sure that when you arrive that you have space

What is the best way to spend my secrets early on?[/quote]

Mirrors first, up to 40, so you can convert 2 Strategic information into Vital Intelligence.
Then Veils. Definitely Veils. In the starting ship, fighting is completely out of the question for the really dangerous stuff, and that means you run away. Crank Veils up as high as you can. 75 or 80 is a good starting point, but by the end of the game with most captains I have it nearer 130 or 150. Other stats are useful, and I don’t like having anything below 40 (50 or 60 by end game), so don’t use secrets for just Veils, but Veils is incredibly useful. You can get Veils high enough that you can sail right past Mt. Nomad with your lights on and never be seen (Note: DO NOT TRY THIS. It’s technically possible with high Veils, but will get you killed most of the time).

I generally start out as a Poet for the Pages bonus, for skill challenges and to maximize secret gain, but I believe the starting crew members for non-Poets all give Pages for Secrets. If you don’t go Poet, it’s worth keeping those crew members for a while to get your Pages up to 50, as I don’t believe any other crew members trade Pages for secrets. Also worth doing is the Principles of Coral quest, which hands out a lot of secrets and Pages (and scintillack, which is good for money).[/li][li]
[/li][li]Oh, and as for the Constant Companion: It appears when you dive with Terror at about 65-70 or above. If you have 70+ Terror, do not dive. That’s what the loading screen means when it says that some Zee monsters can &quotsmell your fear&quot. If you have already dived, and your terror is getting high, you should be able to hear the skittering leg sounds the Companion gives off before it appears. Surface if you hear those sounds. They’re… pretty distinctive. And terrifying. Do not wait for the Companion to appear before surfacing.[/li][li]
edited by The Lord Breakfast on 2/5/2017

Yea I’ve heard that sound enough to recognize it. So NOPE. Good to know what dictates its appearance. I tend to run high on terror, way too high.

I haven’t been spending my secrets at all lately and have chosen the mysterious background. I want to have enough to buy things I need in Irem. Oddly, my stats aren’t too bad, at least for early on.

The Mysterious Background is not a good idea. Unless you’re going for a hidden item that’ll give you a starting boost in a stat for the next Captain. You’ll want to do the Sphinxstone to get it though… not sure if you have to deliver the final load to where it needs to go or if you give it to the Bazaar.

Also, that Constant Companion skittering is deceptive. Some areas underwater make a crackling sound or stuff that resembles a giant spider chasing after you. I check my Terror to find it’s at like 30 or 40 or something and I still wonder why I can hear that spider…

If you are moving through the stuff that damages your hull and usually encircles shiny things, you also kind of hear a skittering sound. I’ve mistaken it before.

I’m actually trying to end this particular captain by summoning the lady in black and staying with her. But in the process of finding the right abysses, I’ve been doing so much I’m not sure.

Good idea. The Lady In Black will get you a bonus. But I recommend you do the Sphinxstone thing a few times. Your run won’t end once your past has been revealed by the events. But Lady In Black will.

Although if you can, try and do as many events as possible that get you legacy rewards before taking the ones that end your run. So try and solve the mystery at Hunter’s Keep (you need a high Veils though) and at Station III.
The guides/event list on the wiki might help you get those.

Yeah, my current captain doesn’t have a past because I was shooting for the legacy item from running Sphinxstone, and also for the achievement for completing the game without choosing a past, but until you have several legacy items and a fairly good handle on the game I do not recommend it. That +25 to a stat is incredibly useful. I wouldn’t let secrets pile up, either. Keep maybe 5 on hand for events and the like, but if you find yourself with 20+ secrets you can afford to spend some on stats. If you don’t have a past yet, definitely finish running the Sphinxstone, but after that I’d very much recommend picking a past for the stat boost.

I did it, got 5 steam achievements out of finishing the game with no past (didn’t do sphinxstone runs though) and going with the lady in black. The reward, +10 pages to new captains felt kind of meh for all my effort and the progress I lost to end it that way but oh well. Now I can try other things. Do you have to be pastless to do the sphinxstone ending?