Obviously doomed new cap'n here!

Hello there. I bought Sunless Sea, because I had a beer and saw the trailer and was immediately charmed by its aesthetic and the entire notion of chugging along a vast, under-ground sea of inky despair and giant monsters. It seemed a lovable idea.

I’ve been playing it for around six hours now, and I have been greatly enjoying the game. I appreciate the incredibly atmosphere and world-building the sparse music and the evocative visuals conjure up. And the writing is so nicely judged! My one fear was that it would teeter into a sense of doom and gloom, of whiny emo awfulness. Instead, it’s rather witty and agreeable. Just because a great city has been consigned to the hellish murk doesn’t mean one can’t have a good knees up down at the local ramshackle inn, or go quietly extremely off one’s head with great dignity on one’s own remote, semi-fortified island.

So the character building, writing, music, atmosphere, concept, goal and general style of play are all grabbing me. Excellent stuff. I’m writing stories with my brain as I’m playing, drinking it all in with my eyes and ears. Yes. Good stuff.

Just one thing.

What the hell am I doing? Because I’ve no real idea at all. I don’t know if my progression is woefully retarded, standard or a smidge ahead standard as everything is so tricky to acquire. Now don’t get me wrong, I appreciate the challenge as it does tie in with the sense of being one small captain against the odds and having to carefully judge every expedition. (And when you don’t but somehow survive anyway, it’s frequently hi-larious.) But despite having the singular feat of not having died yet (oddly can’t wait to experience that) I’ve yet to upgrade the ship at all, buy anything nice for myself or generally purchase anything except food, fuel, repairs and the odd officer or hapless cannon fodder zailor. (Oops, there goes another one - stabbed himself in the eye whilst peeling oranges.)

I’ve begun to suspect that trading is pretty much a no-no in this game, as I can’t find any real run that makes any sort of profit that wouldn’t mean a slow, agonising and frankly tedious death of a thousand price cuts. So the secret must be in the quests. And here’s the problem for me… I’m finding it so horribly, horribly obtuse!

I know it might just be me not getting it - in fact I suspect it is, because you lot all seem to be having plenty of larks. But I find it very hard to track the quests I’ve picked up or what I’m generally supposed to do. I know it’s a bad idea story and atmosphere wise to blatantly sign-post things, but I have a horrible feeling that answers are to be unlocked through buying random things from the store and sailing into harbours hoping that this somehow prompts a response. And since most of my money goes on fuel and repairs with a little on supplies (steamed crab and bat stew is pretty morish) I find myself being reluctant to blindly buy things. I am making a wee bit of money with admiralty reports and whispering great game secrets, and bringing the odd tale for the antiquarian, but beyond that I’m sort of stumped.

Am I at all on the right track, six hours in? Or am I missing something blindingly obvious? I’m going to continue because it really is a beautiful piece of work, but this being my first rogue-alike I am finding it daunting in all its statty, quest item chicanery. But heigh ho, my engineer could get used to having wasp eggs for eyes, so what am I complaining about?

See you out there on the briny sea. Or more accurately, not. I turn off my lamp most times, guv’nor.

Oh, PS, a little description to a mate in an email enquiring about how I was getting on:

My character’s a fallen priest who went down to the underworld and set sail for riches so he should never know the humble poverty of his monastic life again. He explores the oceans, bringing news and stories to the far flung outposts before returning with port reports for the admiralty, along with dangerous whispers of the great game being played by the strategic powers. He has a sweetheart at home and a child which he’s acknowledged as his own but is too poor to raise, so he’s leaving the waif to fend for scraps for himself. Of late, his crew keep being killed through sheer bad luck or errors of judgement - usually resulting from fishing things out of the water that weren’t meant to be fished. He is however very proud that at no point - despite the dire circumstances - has he reluctantly resorted to cannibalism. And that one time when in sight of the home port he sacrificed several deck hands to the gods in exchange for magical fuel totally doesn’t count against him. Totally allowed in the Ancient Mariner Rulebook. He’s as honest as the day is long - if only because he got the crap kicked out of him and several of his crew killed through clumsily bungling his one criminal mission by selling the crate of lost souls entrusted to him at the wrong port. Now he has a happy crew of officers and is able to take on ships a little bigger than himself, but at night he wakes up screaming having dreamed about a giant eye in the roof of the world. Although tea with the three sisters usually helps him with that for a while.

He has sided himself with the rats against the guinea pigs.

He still has absolutely no clue what he’s doing.

Oh! And if you want to see some reasonably interesting photographs on my photoblog, go to petetakespictures.com - it’s what I do when I’m not out drinking, reading or wrapping my head around this.



Greetings Cap’n

I believe that for a first run, you’re doing fine. It’s great that you haven’t died yet. You seem to be holding up well so far.

My advice:

  1. Run mushroom wine to Gaider’s Mourne (3 echo per cask profit).
  2. Find the salt lions and run the cargo back to London.
  3. Do not mess up the Cheery Man’s quests. They are great early game start-ups.
  4. Use Mt. Palmerston and Iron Republic to stock up on Fuel.
  5. Switch your light off when in the range of lit buoys to halve your fuel consumption.
  6. Resting in London to recover from terror is probably cheapest.

That said, in my opinion, this is a game where you are not expected to be successful at everything in the first run. Perhaps dying a few times and making a legacy for your heir will start him/her off with something from your current captain.

Good luck!

[li][li]Making a profit by trading isn’t impossible. In fact, with a big hold it allows for massive profit, for example by trading coffee to the Surface, but that needs correspondingly massive hold space, and is thus only possible with a better ship, which are all outrageously priced. It’s still possible to make small scale trade profit with the starting steamer, but I feel you’re better off just murdering pirates or get quest rewards and sell that directly.
[li]Not buying things blindly was a wise decision. In my experience, quests progression is best done by finding locked storylets, looking at what is needed to unlock them, and then go find that. Shipping stuff around in the hope it will be useful is probably only going to clutter up your hold and/or drive you into bankruptcy. Transport only stuff you either know you need at your destination or got for free, and even that only until you can sell it.
[li]To get yourself some money at the start, I can recommend transporting stones from the Salt Lions to London, if you’ve found them.

Welcome Welcome![li]

So your story sounds quite similar to mine! Don’t worry fair cap’n, the game really starts making sense after a first few deaths. Heres a tip about trading: Don’t do it with the First ship you start with (The Tramp Steamer.) If you’re going to be making item runs you’ll need two things: Knowledge and More hold space.

If you’re going to be trading: Purchase the Merchant’s vessel, it triples your hold space and gives you a massive 300 hull compared to the measly 70 hold you start with which allows you to sail up and down the Unterzee with the ability to take and give a knock to higher level enemies. Did you know you can purchase Wine casks in London, go out on your voyage and transform those wine Casks into Parabola Linen? a 22 gold item can be transformed into a 60 gold item![/li][li]
[/li][li]How do you do this? That’s for you to find out :D Keep sailing and learning more about the game, the whole &quotWhat the heck do I do???&quot feeling will fade and your goal will become clear as you are the one who defines it.[/li][li]
edited by Klubhouse on 2/7/2015

You’re on the right track for a first run thru. You are mostly right about trading as far as commodities goes anyway it alone will barely let you scrape by if you’re lucky and have a good map. Events and quests are where most of the cash can be gotten. Getting to know the ports and getting a feel for fuel/food use rates are the first hurdles and it sounds like your working hard on the first and got the second down pretty well. There are a few high profit runs but they cost a lot of echos and/or storage space. But mostly it’s port reports to pay for fuel/supplies and whatever other things you do enroute between quests. Once you get to know the ports better plan out your route before leaving London to see how much fuel/supply/cargo you need when and to where. (Example, Polythreme has a mission to deliver 6 stonemen to London all you need is the space to hold them, picking them up at the start of your route limits your space the rest of the way however, so best to stop there on the downhill side of it.) This helps maximize opportunities to costs.

If Mangrove college is near Adam’s way exploring the swamp can reap great rewards from quest objects to captivating treasures(1k echos value). It will take at least 5 candles a run and probably more so count on 7/run and you shouldn’t have to abort mid run, also you’ll lose a crewman or two a run and risk wounds. The rewards are generally good enough that I stop there still even when wealthy.

A further note on light use, your light only need to be on for a brief second just before your meter ticks up. If you watch the fear counter and time it right you can flick your light off and on getting the full effect(or near so depending on your timing) for much less fuel.

Is their any way to put Cheery Man’s request on hold now? In the earlier beta he would get angry with you if you refused for any reason and he would get angry when you return to London instead of going where he says (even if, say, you did not have money/supplies to make the trip). Once you start working for the Mafia, you are always working for the Mafia. So now I never bother speaking to him, even if he does pay well.

You can get out safely by doing one last run, but refusing payment.

Welcome to the black, the best advice I’ve got for beginners short on money is to take on the colour quests from venderbight (First curator), and the Principles quests (At Port Cecil, play chess till something else occurs), all of which are worth a good amount of money and get you set up to do bigger and better things. The problem that you’re likely having is that if you’ve picked one of the basic ambitions (Retire wealthy for example), then there is nothing else to do in the grander scheme of things, you make the money and then head back to London to retire and hand over the goodies to the next captain who might take on a more interesting storyline (Fathers bones perhaps), and then go on from there. With most of the easy money grinds now removed from the game (I miss searing enigma’s out of Wither), it’s more difficult to get going on the game than it used to be, but it can be done. Salt Lions is a good starter, as are Polythremian Men and the passengers from the Mangroves, but also look out for the Merchant Venturer in London, plenty of good money to be had there.
edited by Rocket Heeled Jack on 2/8/2015

The trick with the cheery man is that you can take as long as you like to make the first delivery and he won’t get mad. Just ignore the option to pick up the cargo at whichever port until you’ve got a good map then you can run his errands with confidence. The other reason to stay on his good side is he’s the best contact to sell sunlight to. He’ll pay you 400 echos a box and not steal your boxes, which cost 250 echos to replace. You can buy the mirrorcatch boxes at Khan’s Shadow and make a ton of money trading coffee with the surface and filling the boxes while you’re up there.

Not sure if anybody else gave this advice already but the Journal tab in the Gazetteer keeps tabs if all your qualities, including next quest locations. If you don’t like taking actual written notes about your progression, this is the best thing.

Edit: bluh, premature posting
edited by dismallyOriented on 2/8/2015

Hello all.

First off thank you for your kindly meant tips. Some of them have proved useful.

I had some good news in finally finding Mount Palmerston. It was a long, long way away. Further than the Khanate in fact. I was a bit shocked. Still, relieved that I managed it.

So, I had the bright idea of trying a tedious hour or so running mushroom wine to Vanderbight. Fine in theory, but once I lost my usual terror deductibles from those lovely sisters, I found myself rapidly becoming more and more terrified on the most boring bit of sea in the kingdom. I was ensuring I had a proper night’s sleep, but in order to save fuel and make some sort of profit I had to be spartan with the lamp. So I began returning home to nightmares. These rapidly multiplied as a couple of night-terrors rode me hard and now I’ve got a big hat full of horror in sleeping head with a nightmare strength of 11. And I can’t get my terror down below just enough to keep me sane and make a profit. So, although I’ve made 800 echoes now from this, hold size means I can’t really get any more and keep my crew fed, ship moving and my self from getting the screaming heebie-jeebies.

So in conclusion, I fear that running supplies to Vanderbight is one big trap. And that other place is a bit of a no-no as it offers the same, sell at 23, I’ve just attempted this and have managed to have my profits fall to 600 owing to fuel and supplies.

Rrrgh. I really shouldn’t have gotten into trading.

Another concern I have is that a fair few of these quests reward me purely with fragments and the odd crate of something. Which is all well and good but again I’m only just covering costs. Am in the doldrums a bit now.

One question, does one have to find a home for the brat in order to pass on the two traits? Or does it happen regardless when you pop your clogs? I fear the days for Cap’n McGowan may be coming to an end, if he keeps on drooling and brushing the imaginary terrors away from his face like this.

I almost cried by the way when I took on a crack frigate on a mushroom wine run and got as my reward… more mushroom wine.
edited by Nervous Pete on 2/8/2015

I’ve never considered running supplies - have you tried selling sunlight instead? If you still have the bruiser’s favour then the profits from that are really great, if you’re sneaky enough (veils) to get them into London from the Surface at the Cumaean Canal.[li]
It’s an act of charity to take in small infants! If you have a line of captains, only the first one needs to cultivate their child to persuade them to go to zee, but then you do need to take your child in.

Another thing you might want to try is talking to your officers (right click on them talk to) Every Officer you pick up has a quest with a storyline of their own (except the officer you start with, they you can only drop of at their requested destination for a decent pay out… they have no storylines, as far as I know)

Edit: Also, make sure you write a will at your lodgings, if you haven’t, this will allow you to choose nice starting perks for your new captain… cause it sounds like your current captain is not much longer for this world
And, running wine to venderbight is something you probably do NOT (as it seems you found out) want to be doing. Find the Salt Lions and carry Sphinxstone to London… with a haul or two from the salt lions you can pretty much fund any expedition you could want to take ;)
edited by GerbilSchooler on 2/8/2015

Trading is usually not profitable on its own (with a few exceptions you may discover later). Think of it as a way to make a little extra margin on empty cargo space if you happen to be heading that way anyway. Port reports and port stories are other sources of income - both tend to be more rewarding the further you get from London. Combine all three and you can often turn a healthy profit. Also take note of where you can find or buy supplies/fuel to extend your range, especially if it’s comparable to London prices or cheaper.

Captain McGowan’s job is to gather as much information as possible to make your next captain’s life easier before finding his inevitable doom in the briny deep - a task at which he is singularly failing running wine to the colonies, although it sounds like he started well. My suggestion would be to load up the ship with fuel and supplies for a long voyage and steam boldly into the dark. 600 echoes should be more than enough of a bankroll for this along with some terror reduction options if you need them, and it sounds like you will (11 Nightmare’s Strength is pretty impressive - I wonder if you could get it up to 50? There has to be some kind of achievement for that). Do you have an Admiralty Commission to go and find some far-off place you never heard of? Try to reach it. Then if you succeed, try to make it home. You might get lucky - and if nothing else, your Captain will die the kind of death that will be spoken of in hushed whispers at the Medusa’s Head.

Now that’s the kind of talk Cap’n McGowan likes to hear! Kicks the crate of mushroom wine overboard

I do have a mission to grab more strategic information from Mt. Palmerston, which I’d already done once, so I’ll do that again. Then probe further beyond into the far East. If I could find a way of getting rid of those nightmares I might be moved to try something less suicidal though!

Last night I dreamt that everybody else in the crew had a mullet. It was horrible. Then I dreamt that Michael Bay had been chosen to direct my favourite Patrick O’Brien books, ruining quality literature with explosions. Also that we only had Marmite left in the ship’s larder. I awoke a shaking wreck. Can somebody please save me from these terrible nightmarish depths of insanity!?

I must investigate these terror reduction options.

That’s the spirit. Please ensure the Cap’n is well supplied with paper, ink, and bottles with watertight stoppers in case he does not return to tell the tale in person.

Pete, have you found Shepherd’s Isle? Two casks of mushroom wine can get you a Revelatory Chart from the story telling zailors there, which is worth something to the Admiralty. (150 echos? Something like that.) Can’t say for sure whether it’s a repeatable trade. I’ll have to check for myself.

Don’t toss that wine just yet!

It’s not very worthwhile. That action also requires a fair deal of supplies.
edited by Fretling on 2/9/2015

Transporting Clay men from Polythreme to Fallen Londen is a good way to gain cash. It pays 120 Echos. If you grab the report for Polythrene to deliver to the admiral that also pays another 50 echos. Polythrene is usually East of Demaux island, NW of Khans Heart. Note the locations varies each game as the location of islands shifts, but they can roughly be found in similar regions.

The beauty is that the island of the rat/guinea pigs is usually in between Londen and Polythrene- Solving the quest for either the guinee pigs or the rats will allow you to restock and repair (rats) or rstock and get a banquet which reduces a whopping 25 terror…for free (but requires “a story when you arrive in your next ahrbor” trigger, reflected by the little lantern in the top right of your message window). As mentioned above, between this one and the seal island stone hauling, you will get good cash.

Mushroom wine and demon dice is a basic (if not super) trade run between Londen and Mt Palmerston (3 echos p/p) and Stygian ivory from Khans Shadow to Londen runs at 3 Echos.

Note that the best trade route is between Londen and one of the cities in the far east (as mentioned above), coffee that trades for linen. COffee buys at 21 echos, and you get linen there which you sell in Londen for 60 Echos. WOnt say which city- explore and thou shall find :)…Hvaent trades the sunlight yet, but this Maffia guy and I had a fall-out so I cant sell to him. Suppose you can sell it somewhere else, but havent done so yet.

Anyway- superb game. But a bit buggy. I just ended up in the far east, low on fuel and supplies, I drag my steamer in Mt Palmerston- but I cannot buy fuel or supplies. Selling things doesn add the echos to my account. It does subtract the item from my inventory though…There is space in my hold, echos to buy and supplies available on the market, but it just wont let me buy. Qiuit and reloaded- nothing…Went to another harbor using my last fuel…same thing… I am about to die now after 36 hours play without dying…will run out of fuel. This is pretty annoying- have a scion, and a elegant townhouse with heirloom, but will have to build my crew again and re-explore the map. Sigh :(

Did you know you can purchase Wine casks in London, go out on your voyage and transform those wine Casks into Parabola Linen? a 22 gold item can be transformed into a 60 gold item![/quote]
Ah! How couldn’t i think of that? I think just of &quottrasmute&quot Coffee in Parabola Linen and so in echoes :p (it shoud be 21 echos into 63 echoes, in the right ports! Really nice!)