Tips & Tricks: Zucceeding on the Zee 2 (Gold!)

I posted a thread like this a few releases back ( ) and it went well but enough has changed that it seemed like time for an update, especially since no brave soul has put together a wiki yet that I’m aware of.

Consider this a SPOILERS thread – in here I’m just looking at the game tactically.[li]

  1. The best way to reduce terror is to prevent it. Stay close to shore and when going offshore follow lighted corridors – use lighthouses and travel from buoy to buoy, and plan your routes in advance to minimize travel time through the lightless drowning dark.

  2. Another good non-obvious way to minimize terror gain is to upgrade your engine. Pursuing the Genial Magician’s storyline as early as possible can result in a very significant engine upgrade, meaning much less travel time in the dark, meaning much less overall terror, and with a little luck you can complete that storyline fairly early in a playthrough.

  3. Even though Mutton Island isn’t as effective a way to reduce Terror any more, it’s still a reasonably effective (if expensive) way to raise your Veils and Iron up to 50. Before taking your drinks at the Cock and Magpie, un-equip all your officers and ship gear (except possibly you glim-lamp, if it reduces Veils? untested), so that you can raise your base Iron and Veils scores up to the cap at 50. Then re-equip your guns and officers afterwards.

  4. If you need drowning pearls for the khanate, you can get them from exploring on the Funging Station.

  5. In combat, you’ve got one or two rounds to act before they get you illuminated; after that, you probably want to be evading for two or three actions for every attack or illumination action you take. Monsters and opponents hit hard and damage is permanent and difficult to repair, so the best strategy is usually staying alive and waiting for the perfect shot, rather than trying to tank damage.

  6. When upgrading your guns you’re best off going straight for the Caminus Yards top of the line gear and not bothering with the intermediate stuff. It doesn’t take that much longer to save up 1000 than 500, and you’ll lose so much as you resell your old gear that it’s just much more efficient to make the straight leap.

  7. You can wait on making your first Blind Bruiser delivery to Mount Palmerston as long as you want, but after that he’ll send you just about anywhere, so don’t make that run until you feel confident enough to travel the whole ocean.

There are a few other tricks I’m aware of but they mostly involve exploiting Alt-F4 (ex. the infinite Pages trick at Port Cecil) so they aren’t really &quotfun,&quot at least for me. None of the above is gospel (obviously) and I’m probably missing a lot, so please share other successful strategies and tactics! [/li][li]
edited by Dr. Hieronymous Alloy on 6/19/2014

Thanks for the tips, I didn’t know where to get those pearls :) Have finally managed to start the magician storyline now, but gosh it’s expensive! I got all the way to Kahn’s Heart only to find that helping him would cost me 500 echoes that I didn’t have, so I had to sail all the way back. headdesk I really hope the payoff is worth it. I’m enjoying his story a lot though, it’s the sort of thing I was hoping for with this game. :)

I’m curious, what’s the alt-f4 thing?

Alt-F4 closes the game quickly (back to desktop) so you can avoid negative outcomes, death etc. without the game saving.

There is already a Gamepedia Sunless Sea wiki, but it’s very rough.

I’d like to point out that in the early-game, going to Station III (roughly south-east of Fallen London, and east of Abbey Rock) and obtaining the Report will grant you a neat 100 echoes upon arrival at FL, which should help a lot when starting out. But don’t go back there until later, since the storylets there are (from experience) nasty.

By the way, if you use Alt-F4 and continue (and not load your saved game), what would happen?

A lifelong Mac user, all this talk of Alt-F4ing has me amused and I think glad that I don’t have the choice of cheating death that way…

Related to nasty storylets, I would recommend avoiding trying the it could go either way luck challenge with the drunk devils (if I remember correctly) and dangerous weapons. Failure kills 6 of your crew, and trying to limp back to port from the Funging Station with half speed isn’t the best plan. (I speak from experience, I got attacked by 3 ships in a row, resulting in my quick death)

I found that actively playing with engine speed while on a voyege in a known route vastly, vastly reduces gained terror. Stopping completely next to a buoy while waiting for the rotating lighthouse beam to come your way, then trying to match the light’s speed when moving forward, works wonders. I addition, reducing to half-speed really helps when navigating around corners and in closer quarters - so that instead of taking a wide turn that’ll bring you into the dark, you can keep hugging the landmass and keep the meter low.
edited by IHNIWTR on 6/21/2014

In combat, I usually alternate Flare-Evade-Flare-Evade until I have the enemy illuminated, then alternate Salvo-Evade-Salvo-Evade; if it looks like my illumination is going to hit 50 or above, I can cancel a salvo or flare action and skip right into the queued Evade.

It works like a charm against Steam-Pinnaces, anyway.

Also, Spacemarine9 has started a sister tumblr to the FL hints blog (at, so if anyone comes up with something really good they should pass it that way so it’s likely to be seen, since Spacemarine is internet-famous and all. I liked his suggestion to hit Pigmote Isle early; it’s a bit of a trek for a captain just starting out, but the payoff is pretty impressive.

Thanks everybody for the the Terror-avoiding tips. I just started playing today and have been having huge trouble with it.

[color=rgb(194, 194, 194)][quote=][/color][color=rgb(194, 194, 194)]In combat, I usually alternate Flare-Evade-Flare-Evade until I have the enemy illuminated, then alternate Salvo-Evade-Salvo-Evade; if it looks like my illumination is going to hit 50 or above, I can cancel a salvo or flare action and skip right into the queued Evade. [/quote][/color]
[color=#c2c2c2]Against Steam-Pinnaces (I haven’t been able to take on anything bigger yet) I’ve been queueing up Seek-Flare-Flare-Salvo, then if the enemy’s Illumination hits 50 after the first flare I cancel the 2nd flare and fire away. The vast majority of the time it takes out the Steam-Pinnace before they have a chance to shoot at me. That may be because I’ve been mostly picking urchins (bonus to Veils?) for my characters so far.[/color]
edited by Lashkar on 6/22/2014

I’ve been using the same strategy for both bats and pinacces with good success so far, flare-flare-salvo-salvo (occasionally the first flare is enough and I cancel the second for speed’s sake, I don’t always need a second salvo, rarely I need to add a third, depending on how the RNG is feeling) and they’re usually dead by the end of that.

But then I do have good mirrors because I tend to start with the natural philosopher. Not sure how much of a difference that makes to flares. No idea why sometimes a single flare will illuminate for 70 points, and sometimes it takes 2 to nudge it over 50. The quirks of the RNG I guess?

Very occasionally a pinnace will manage to get a salvo off before me, but not very often, and it’s never enough to scuttle the ship, thankfully (I don’t tend to leave London without 100% hull or near it) Once or twice the bats have gotten tricky with their evasion and I’ve lost crew/supplies to swarm attacks while trying to light the little blighters up again, that’s the most annoying. But it’s rare enough that I tend not to waste time with evasion. Plus my Veils is pretty poor so evading doesn’t help me much.

Obviously this wouldn’t work with bigger enemies, I just run away from those :p Still working on upgrading my weapons (now I finally have the Serpentine engine) I haven’t managed to kill anything bigger than a pinnace yet.

Where does one obtain the Serpentine Engine?

Oh, and just in case anyone wants to… peruse a map (not updated to the latest patch, but still useful) of the Sunless Sea, here’s the link:
edited by Chevalier Wynne Langlais on 6/22/2014

My tactic for the beginnings of fights is Flare-Salvo-Salvo-Flare. If the first Flare is enough to start firing, I can cancel the second at my leisure (if, by ill chance, the two Salvos don’t do the job.) Otherwise, the Salvos auto-cancel, the second Flare triggers automatically without, and I can queue them all up again.

any suggestions on how to make money?
I am currently on a merciful run, quite pleasant, visited most of the ports to follow the requests of the Admiralty and had nice adventures, but apparently I don’t manage to save echoes (that get eaten by fuel and supply, with the occasional refilling of sailors) very rapidly, even if I buy them only in London!
edited by Master Polarimini on 6/22/2014

Very easy one is to run Prisoner’s Honey, Recent News, and Tomb-Colonists to Venderbight and bring back Scintillack, Port Reports, and Bolts of Spider Silk back to London. Far from exciting, but you can make a steady profit from the route. One big way to earn Echos is to take down Steam-Pinnaces and send them back to London with a Prize Crew. Each such effort will cost three Crew, but net 100 Echos upon return to your Lodgings.

Shipping wine to Godfall in lots of five returns a 3-to-2 profit, though there’s nothing to ship back but Port Reports, and I suspect that this is one of the opportunities that closes off once you’ve returned to London enough times. So, get in early!

Combat: my standard start-queue is Flare-Evade-Flare-Evade. The small headstart over enemies’ action timing is really helpful. All enemies thus far start with either Seek (most) or Flare. If Seek, then that hits in the middle of my first Evade and often they will commence some attack that gets cancelled out when my Evade completes and drops my Illumination, which is excellent for me.

I prioritise defense vs offense: eventually I’ll win, but in the mean time I want not to get hurt. The variance in enemy damage is big enough that’s almost vital; one bite from a Lifeberg did, if I recall correctly, 179 Hull damage…

The fact that I have an Evade second means also that I can observe how well the first Flare worked. Against live enemies, if it got >50 then I’ll start flensing attacks rather than bother with a second flare; against major non-live enemies (e.g. Lifebergs, Mt Nomad) then I wait until I get >100 Illumination and can launch Devastating Salvos.

In general, any time the enemy has an action that might Illuminate you to the point of being attacked, you want to be in the middle of an Evade: that gets you the ideal circumstance of having their attack begin but then be voided. If you have an action queued after your Evade to start immediately, you are once again ahead in the timing race.

A common enemy action for live monsters is Submerge: that will remove all Illumination BUT takes 10 seconds. As soon as you see that start, if you’re not already attacking then cancel and get an attack going because it will complete while they are still submerging. Behind it you can queue Flare or Evade as appropriate. If you’re already attacking, make sure that you have a second attack to follow. Similar tricks work against Seek sometimes: you can get two attacks to fire off before the enemy can complete Seek-plus-attack.

Lastly, against minor enemies (pinnaces, bats) I start with Flare-Salvo-Evade. If the Flare doesn’t get >50 then I auto-skip the Salvo, but if it does than the chance of their being wiped out before being able to act is (almost? hasn’t failed yet) 100%.

[quote=Inky Petrel]
But then I do have good mirrors because I tend to start with the natural philosopher. .[/quote]

This actually reminds me of something else –

There’s a good argument that Philosopher and Poet are the best starting choices, because they boost Mirrors and Pages, respectively. Iron and Veils you can raise through a repeatable (if expensive) action at Mutton Island. Mirrors is pretty hard to raise because there’s not an easily repeatable option to raise it, at least currently, and given the value of scintillack you’re giving up some valuable opportunities to raise Pages through chess at Port Cecil (plus starting with higher Pages means more Secrets long-term).[/li][li]
[/li][li][quote=Chevalier Wynne Langlais]Where does one obtain the Serpentine Engine?[/quote]
[/li][li] Pursue the Genial Magician’s storyline until you get him Satisfied. If he comes back as &quotUrbane Magician&quot instead, you may have a problem, not sure. [/li][li]
edited by Dr. Hieronymous Alloy on 6/22/2014

The choice I took with the Magician on my main game thus far is my only real possible regret to date. I killed him off as per what I thought were his wishes, but it seems that (i) I may have been wrong and (ii) regardless, it had a significant cost in preventing my from obtaining a Serpentine. Ah well.

If he comes back Urbane then you can’t make a Serpentine anyway. You can eat him, though. So there’s that.

Honestly, if you have the echoes to do it, just skip the colonists altogether and use the hold space for more honey. Honey is not only worth more, it doesn’t eat your food and get angry when you tell it not to. Or maybe it does, but I haven’t gotten that card out at zee and [color=#c2c2c2]pray I never will.[/color]