The Let's Play Archive

Sunless Sea

by Black Wombat

Part 1: The making of a captain

Entry zero – The making of a captain

It takes a special kind of person to zail the zee. Courage, greed, curiosity and desperation have sent many ships out into those still, inky waters – Almost all return scarred, if they return at all. Today, a new captain is setting out to zee. What kind of stories will be told of them?

This shows the main method of interacting with things in Sunless Sea – selecting choices in your ship's log. Naturally, we're going to be creating our character now.

Our first choice is who we were prior to being a zee-captain. Each choice comes with a very large increase to one of our stats. Let's take a minute to talk about stats.

Statistics posted:

Like all roguelikes, Sunless Sea has statistics. However, the ones you'll find here are far more abstract than usual, and named after the Masters, the unusual, faceless merchant-kings who run the Bazaar. Many of them are used in the zailing part of the game, and all of them are occasionally checked against in a pass/fail scenario while having adventures in port.
Hearts is the skill of healing and morale. It allows you to prevent your zailors from going mad, resisting madness yourself, and talking people into things. It has no effect on zailing.
Veils is the skill of stealth and subtlety. It is used in ports when you want to not attract attention to yourself. While zailing, the higher your Veils, the longer it takes opposing ships to draw a bead on, and fire on, your ship. More importantly, it also reduces enemy aggro range.
Pages is the skill of knowledge. Pages is tested to see if you know about something or to figure things out. While zailing, a higher Pages score makes it take fewer experience points to earn Secrets, which are spent to raise stats or bartered for rare goods. The overall effect is small, but adds up.
Mirrors is the skill of perception. Mirrors is checked to see if you notice something or if you can find the clues needed to puzzle something out. While at zee, Mirrors reduces the time it takes to achieve a firing solution, increasing our fire rate.
Irons is the skill of conflict. It is tested when one's strength, toughness, or prowess is in question. At zee, it increases the damage our cannons do.
It should be noted, we can raise all of these as we go, and will get officers to help raise them. But, right now, we get to double one starting stat from 25 to 50. None of them are useless, though, so choose whichever origin you think sounds most interesting!

Every captain sets out with a reason. Our captain today is no different. Long ago, the zee had taken someone important out of their life; today, they set out to bring them back... Or whatever is left of them.

This screen lets us determine our own win condition. Both 'Acquire Wealth' and 'Be the greatest explorer of all time' are simply resource-gathering ambitions, with no unique stories, and are consequentially kinda boring. We will be choosing 'Your father's bones'.

One last bit of paperwork was all that was left to file, and then the voyage could be underway.

Sunless Sea, much like Fallen London, is very friendly to the concept of gender fluidity. Our title here does not establish a gender, and gender never actually comes up. Take what sounds best.

And so began the story of a brave new captain.

Finally, we choose our name and our portrait. There are seven feminine, seven masculine, and seven non-gendered portraits to choose from. Below is an image of all of them.

So, we need to know... Who are we? I'll be taking submissions! Things up for choice are History, Title, Name, and Portrait. We also need a name for our ship! I strongly encourage anyone interesting in determining our future also write a few words about who our captain is.