Hit a wall - I have no goal

You can’t possibly hit a wall if you do this very basic thing: ask the Admiralty for a mission, go to the port where you retrieve strategic information, ** while doing a maximum of ports reports during your tour ** and then go back. Assemble 2 information if feasible, if not, just give it to the Admiralty. Rince & Repeat, at most 3 times, and you have enough echoes to be able funding expeditions with the only intent of exploring the map and uncovering more quests. The starting ship can transport enough fuel and supply for that, and there are enough Harbor provisionners in various harbors to refill if needed, even if at a higher price.

Refrain from using any exploit dealing with the Surface, as it will just cripple your game until they balance it in a next patch… It is akin to reading the last page of a book and then complaining you don’t feel like reading it anymore. Don’t blame the game if you do that!

[color=#009900]@Zeacat first and only warning - discussing balance issues is fine; being rude to mods and other players means a ban.[/color]

This is you, Alexis, the owner of all events in the json scripts!! :)
I know now who is the true power beyond the Zee!!

[color=#009900]Thanks: I do prefer ‘true power beyond the Zee’ to ‘hatkitty’, which is what the miscreants round here usually call me.[/color]

Moleculor, it’s very hard to empathise with your troubles or in fact think of ways to improve your experience when they all come down to not doing the same basic, essential thing: Paying attention. It’s going to be very hard to progress and enjoy the game if you aren’t.

Check your Journal, expand the sections if necessary. Most of the quests and what you need to do to advance them are explained there. In some cases it’s vague, and the whole thing could be organized better, but most of what you are having difficulties with is found there, including what you need for the Serpent Trap (though not where to find the two items).

Captivating Treasures? Remember those coloured pages from the book? You should really try to figure those out if you want more. In fact you probably already have a few of the items to match them. Maybe after you finish assembling and using the Serpent Trap you should pay a visit to the Curator again, and see if any of the various curiosities you’ve assembled have the right colours.

Hmm. Perhaps if you tried to catch something out at zee?

Uh. I don’t even know what that is. Is that the Wealth ambition?

Put your hands on something you shouldn’t have, did you?

As for places to reach, maybe your &quotgoals&quot should be to reach those far out places (though not the one that requires 25 coffee, necessarily, at least not until you’ve figured out how to meet the Diplomat). Most of the locations in the South and the Far East have stories associated with them, some are even quite lucrative, though you may need decent stats.

Depending on how you ended the story in Pitmore, returning there might help increase your range.

In defense of the original poster, I’m lost too on colors. I acquired by random luck (or because I have visited all harbors) 1 or 2 I believe, but I have not much clue about what to do to find others. I find the description quite opaque. Need more mirrors!! :)

Most of the colour items will fall into your lap while you’re pursuing other stories or killing particularly dangerous foes. I think the pages in your inventory are just to remind you what their names are, so you can look for that in the descriptions of weird things you find.
edited by Olorin on 2/13/2015

I find the premise of the post a bit bizarre: you say you have no goal and at the same time that you have explored barely more than half of the map. &quotExplore&quot should be one of your primary goals at this situation! Personal experience, I could uncover almost three quarters of the map with the basic ship, so while the bigger ones are definitely useful, you can do a decent job by calibrating well you routes (usually I follow some storyline, plus the experience tells me which items is useful to bring in that route). You are at your second captain, so by now you should know more or less what to expect from this or that port.
In addition, if you explore with some awareness, you will seen that the game is scattered with a myriad of secondary quests: there are the officiers; most places have one; some quests force you to make quite a grand tour of the islands, etc. Many islands need more than one visit to be fully exploited. So there is definitely no shortage of short- and long-term goals.

Also, yes: as Gregg said, paying attention to the text is key. I think many players play the game through a prism of a specific game style. I read a lot of &quotroguelike&quot, &quotpermadeath&quot, &quottrade&quot, etc. I don’t say it’s wrong, but it’s surely a very partial view. There are all these components, but Sunless Sea is at its core a game of stories and riddles, and in this sense it’s actually quite close to an old-style graphic (if not even text) adventure grafted on a world with a rich and unusual mythology, where you have to read everything to have the right clues to do something -plus using some brain!
The Venderbight book of colors is one of the easiest examples: you just need to read the description of an item, and if a Neath color is mentioned, it’s probably good for the quest. But you need to read the description!
edited by Master Polarimini on 2/13/2015
edited by Master Polarimini on 2/13/2015

There are four gods of the zee; Stone, the southern god of home and hearth; Storm, the furious god of the sky; Salt, the eastern god of farewells; and Smokingcaptiger, the Surface-god of speculative fiction and ginger-cake.

Generally with the colours there’s the &quotharder to achieve, but cheaper&quot option and the &quotobvious solution, but can be expensive&quot option. As said above, just try to read the description of items you’ve picked up, or at least take in their names. Trying to keep spoilers to a minimum, but Apocyan is Blue, so keep an eye out for something Blue or that specifically says Apocyan in the description. Cosmogne is a redish colour, so again, look out for something that would be red or have Cosmogne in the description.

I do understand that it can be a little difficult to know what you’re looking for. The first time I picked up the quest, I forgot about it for ages, then when I got back realised I had 2 of the items to hand in, but as stated several times, you need to pay attention.

I’m sorry, but I can’t believe that you have hit a wall so early. It took me a long time to first get set up in the game but I manged to do it. It’s hard to say exactly what I did without spoilers, but you need to complete quests and storylets, thats all I can really say. Every time you get back to London, see if you can hand in stuff to the admiral, or the Alarming guy. Some of the quests the venturer gives you to gather items for him can be quite lucrative as well.

And sorry, but with the starter ship, if you want to explore the outer reaches, you’re going to have to buy expensive fuel at port. Just the way it is. You don’t have enough hold space to buy enough from London to keep you going around the entire map. Also remember that the Iron Republic and Mt Palmerstone have cheap fuel. Khan’s Shadow is only 5 echoes more than normal as well, so you have options.

I hope you find a way to continue playing, because it is very rewarding. However I understand that it must be frustrating. Just hope so of the advice we’ve given you will help in anyway.

EDITS: My spelling is awful…

edited by Madmurdock on 2/13/2015
edited by Madmurdock on 2/13/2015

Yes, I’m particularly puzzled because if the Mechanic is already asking for a Serpent-Trap, he’ll already have explained exactly what it is you need to do in order to make one. In multiple places.

Basically, if you get something that glows, or is a funny colour, or otherwise looks weird, it’s worth popping by Venderbight to see if it’s something the Curator wants. (Plus, they’re worth a Captivating Treasure each on turning them in, as well as the big payout at the end. And, if you don’t need the cash, the Keeper-Moth is the best Mascot in the game, and the Yacht’s total stat boosts are eight times higher than its nearest rival.)


Problem is, almost all of those story lines are something I don’t know how to advance. I need some sort’ve &quotStrange Catch&quot (two of them, in fact, and no idea how to get it), a &quotSerpent Trap&quot (no idea how to get it), two live specimens (incredibly expensive, but I can afford it, it’ll be the only thing I can do now at this point so I’ll do that next, goodbye 1000 echoes), expensive coffee beans and a lot more Iron (only a 32% chance to succeed, and considering the costs, I’m wary of trying at that percentage chance), and I need to visit somewhere virtually out of my range (and entirely undiscovered).

So yeah, three entirely unachievable things, two very expensive things, and a thing out of my current range, all for my officers. (One officer has no goal or story, it seems.)
edited by Moleculor on 2/13/2015[/quote]

Ok, I’ll actually help you out. (I feel like a lot of the thread has just been trying to argue with you, but hey, your game is your game and your experience of it is your experience of it).

When you need quest items like that, the best place to check is to go to the wiki and just plug in the search term.

For example, this link will tell you some places where you can get a Strange Catch: Strange Catch - Official Sunless Sea Wiki

Of course you don’t have to do that if you don’t want spoilers, but then you have to rely on Option B, which is sailing around constantly to every port and remembering everything. I view the wiki as my Captain’s collected knowledge from his years of zee-experience and gossip and rumour. The wiki is generally kept relatively spoiler free but there’s limits to that of course given the nature of a wiki.

For range with the starting ship what people aren’t telling you that I’ve seen is that turning off your lamp just about doubles your range; your lamp burns slightly more than twice as much fuel as the base starting engine. Of course, there’s the terror tradeoff, but it’s manageable. Also, there are intermediate points where you can reprovision (Khanate is good for this especially if you get a Nephrite Ring for the better shops).
edited by Dr. Hieronymous Alloy on 2/13/2015
edited by Dr. Hieronymous Alloy on 2/13/2015


False. The curator quest has a massive amount of game time / echos investment / other quests to fulfill and you get:

  1. a crappy mascot
  2. like 4k of treasure
  3. a crappy ship you’ve long outgrown
  4. can’t even remember the other option it was so pointless[/quote]

The Curator quest gives you a reward for each turnin AND a reward for the total. I ran it as a side-quest while getting my legacies and all told it gave me something like 12 captivating treasures plus other stuff also (I know because I was dumping all the captivating’s into Heirlooms, so I kept track).


If you play vanilla, and don’t abuse sunlight, upgrading actually harms your ability to make echoes. And you will still be farming port reports even once you just upgraded to the maenada and serpentine! [/quote]

Eeeehhhhhh sortof. The bigger ships are very goal-dependent. You can make a lot of money using the cargo ship to ferry extra loads of Sphinxstone, for example, or using one of the combat ships to farm Mt. Nomad, but if all you’re doing is tootling around island to island then yeah the starting ship is perfectly adequate.

It also sortof depends on whether you’re looking at echoes/fuel invested or echoes/time. Personally, I find that using one of the upgraded quest engines like the Serpentine with the starting ship significantly boosts my revenue per hour of gameplay if not my revenue per unit of fuel.

I agree that if you’re this frustrated with figuring things out by trial and error, you may want to use the wiki. Even after doing quite a lot of playing myself, I still find the wiki handy when I can’t remember which shop sells what.

For the Curator’s quest (the colors), off the top of my head, you can get some of the items required by doing officer or island storylines, find three of them as occasional results while exploring certain ports (although there are other ways as well), find one of them fairly easily in a port that’s far from London, and get one of them by doing something dangerous, doing something else dangerous, or finding a certain rarely-spawning enemy ship.

Also, do finish running Sphinxstone until you get that story’s conclusion. And fulfill the Avid Venturer’s requests. Those are pretty sure ways of getting starting cash. If you’re chronically strapped for cash for fuel money, make sure you’re not running with your lights on all the time; your Terror will increase with the lights off, but it’s cheaper to burn that off in London than to eat fuel by having your lights always on. (Plus running with your lights on in the starting ship is inviting every passing enemy to try to kill you.)

I think he mentioned figuring this out already? I don’t know, I vaguely remember reading that, but it was a while ago and may not have been paying attention the entire time.

If memory serves, Khan’s Shadow has the same prices as the Nephrite Quarter for Fuel and Supplies (and both are better than the prices at Remote London Outposts), so it’s not necessary to unlock the Quarter unless you need the other things they buy and sell. For the basics, though, Mt. Palmerston is better than both of them, as are Iron Republic/Port Carnelian in the South.

edit: Wiki says the Quarter sells Supplies for 15 echoes, but I’m almost certain that’s a typo for 25.
edited by Olorin on 2/13/2015
edited by Olorin on 2/13/2015

It’s not a typo, it’s outdated information. I updated most of the prices after Supplies went up in price, but I never got the Nephrite Ring, so I couldn’t verify the new price on that. Go ahead and change it if you can verify.
edited by Fretling on 2/13/2015

[quote=Dr. Hieronymous Alloy]
Of course you don’t have to do that if you don’t want spoilers, but then you have to rely on Option B, which is sailing around constantly to every port and remembering everything.[/quote]
You actually don’t need to have an elephant’s memory and remember every little detail by heart, it’s sufficient to gasp note what is requested where on a paper (or any suited equivalent - I’m still hoping for an in-game diary to make notes actually).

First: the zee-bat has a limited range. It not reporting anything means there’s nothing NEARBY, sure - but it does not mean that you’ve found everything already.

Second: on that note, 4 of the 36 ‘tiles’ that make up the map… do not have actual ports. (I know i hate these) Sounds like you might’ve hit a nearly-full column of these, and concluded that the map was over. It’s not. I point this out because it definitely sounds like you haven’t found a lot of the ports out there.

Third: if you actually have seen most of the ports, take another look at the pages. Two of them, Cosmogone and Apocyan, each have a word in their descriptions that should make a particular port a VERY OBVIOUS option on where to look - if you’ve actually been to those ports. What you’ll actually have to DO there, that’s not as obvious at all. The Peligin page also has a pretty strong hint about one place you could look, but it’s not nearly as direct. Viric and Irrigo don’t so much, but they’re also probably the most common to find even if you weren’t actively looking for them. Gant and Violant, I’ll grant, really are extremely difficult to figure out, and while there are a couple places where you can actually see something violant/Gant available all the time, but are extraordinarily expensive.

Forth: based on what you said about Pigmote, if sounds like you don’t understand SAY (Something Awaits You). There isn’t more story there, no, but depending on who you sided with, you can stop back for really excellent bonuses! A bunch of food, or fuel, or repairs, or terror reduction, all for free, are among the options that might be available, depending what you did (unless you ended up being a colossal jerk and screwing over all of them, of course). It does, however, require SAY.

So, how SAY works: every sixty seconds that you’re out on the zee, there’ll be a bell noise, some flavor text will pop up in the ship’s log, and a lamp icon will appear in the top-right corner of the log. This is all just to let you know the SAY quality is active (if you most over a green SAY icon, active = “stories await you when you next make port”). When inactive, there’s no lamp (and the quality will say “that’s all for now”).

SAY is a random quality (behind the scenes, it has a value of 1-100 when active, or 0 when inactive). A lot of storylets at various ports are “locked” unless SAY is active; others (like Pigmote) won’t even show up if SAY isn’t active. Most of these are just small predictable bonuses - if you’re having tea with someone, you PROBABLY will get some terror reduction, maybe some food to take with you, maybe some information items - but some (usually with “explore” in the title) can have several different events, from little bonuses to rare or dangerous encounters. In some cases, options actually advancing a storyline require SAY. Almost all actions requiring SAY to be active will set it to inactive afterwards. A few options only show up when SAY is INactive; these are generally just you being turned away and told to come back some other time, though.

Fifth: the “become London’s most venerated explorer” ambition IS the one about writing the Zong of the Zee, which is less a poem and more the treatise/memoirs of an incredibly well-traveled zee-captain who’s discovered far more at zee than anyone else. And yeah, that requires a huge amount of knowledge items. If you want a more quest line-y ambition, go for Father’s Bones on your next captain. It’s hard and expensive too, I’ve heard, and probably cryptic at times, but at least it’s structured more like progress towards a goal, with concrete steps to focus on, rather than just a massive list of things without context and you either have em all or you don’t. Right now, the only ambitions are being rich, writing the Zong, and Father’s Bones, though it looks like a couple more are coming out this month?

Fifth: this IS literally a story-based game about mystery, exploration, terror, and survival. Cheesy unbalanced sun-smuggling aside, it’s supposed to be hard and mysterious! You’re expected to die or retire and discover new things on different captains, not find and finish all possible content on one captain. That can be really frustrating sometimes - I’m very much a completionist at heart - but it’s what this game is about, and it’s not going to be something else. MAYBE it just isn’t for you, and sure it has flaws, but do come to the game with that mindset of looking for mystery and discovery. Figuring out how things work is supposed to be part of the fun.

I know this setting is steampunk and everything but that just seems like taking the archaism too far. Plus then I’d have to find it again and who could possibly do that on my desk?
edited by Dr. Hieronymous Alloy on 2/13/2015