The Let's Play Archive

Sunless Sea

by Black Wombat

Part 2: A new Correspondent's course

Journal entry one – A new Correspondent's course

From The journal of Captain Petra Blackwood
November 27th, 1887

While preparing for my voyage overseas, I noticed a very particular thing in the newspaper today. The Gracious Widow had commissioned a fair-sized obituary for my long-lost father in The Magazine Formerly Known as the London Magazine. (The new name is rather a mouthful, isn't it?) I went to speak to her about this matter – I had no idea why the Widow would care so much about my father, so I went to speak with her. She claims information about him, but would not part with it easily.

She requires that I provide her with scintillack, the mesmeric coral. You cannot find scintillack in London – it is more important than ever that I receive my sailing papers.

November 30th, 1887 – Morning

I received the notice from the Admiralty yesterday afternoon. Finally, all my paperwork has cleared. They have been convinced I am neither spy nor traitor and will be permitted to sail the Unterzee! I can barely contain my excitement! And it comes not a moment too soon. Daddy's money is almost gone; I barely had enough echos to lease a room above the Blind Helmsman for a night in preparation for my departure.

But just because I am eager does not mean I can deviate from my routines. Routines fortify the mind. I took breakfast as I usually did, while reading the morning papers. I must admit to eating faster than I normally do, but one cannot blame me for my eagerness. Soon, all my preparations and study will come to a fruition! I am beyond excited to finally test some of my theories.

Your lodgings are is the best place to get rest. Resting is good at getting rid of Wounds, and poor at getting rid of Terror. Once we have some Echos in our pockets, we can upgrade to a proper house and do a bit more here. For now, let's move on.

Fortified by a proper meal of fishcake and fungus, I ventured out into London to make my final preparations.

The central London card is mostly used to repair your hull and restore crew, and meet new NPCs, who get their own cards once we know them.

My first stop was the Admiralty office. They informed me they would pay for information about goings-on at other ports in the Unterzee. While I am not exactly interested in compiling reports for the benefit of others, they will pay for them, and zailing is not a cheap endeavor. So long as I am compiling reports, I may as well make second copies for the Admiralty and make a few Echos on the side. They told me they especially needed a report on conditions at Gaider's Mourn. I made a note of that, thanked them, and back to London.

It is time to gather my crew. I had already recruited them, of course – Most zailors are unwilling to go on a voyage with a new captain into the unknown, so I did not tell them those things. It made recruiting far simpler, and I would not let myself be straddled with delays for my departure. In particular, a friend of mine, who studied with me at Benthic, has come aboard.

The second button is supposed to have a 'Chat with the Plausible Surgeon' tag besides it... All the other starting companions have it.

He apparently wants to visit some sort of beast-corpse repository, far to the east. While I admire his willingness to take risks in the pursuit of knowledge, I do wish he was seeking more dignified knowledge.

November 30th, 1887 – Afternoon

Finding my men was no difficult task. They are a diverse lot; the sort who are willing to sign on to voyages far from London usually are. The most dependable-looking of the lot is a man who calls himself Grandalt. I've elected him as my boatswain, and set him with most of the tasks of preparing the Correspondence for launch.

As my ship was preparing for departure, a ragged-looking tomb-colonist approached one of my zailors and asked to speak to me. He asked for transport to Venderblight, a city not far too the north. It seemed to be a good first trip for the Correspondence, and agreed to give him passage. (I think it was a him. It can be hard to tell with colonists.)

It was only after Jones and Meis carried him aboard did I realize it was traditional for tomb-colonists to travel in coffins.

With final preparations underway, I decided to walk the ship and examine the state of things myself.

The Correspondence may not be the finest ship on the Zee, but she's dependable enough. Her engine is old but serviceable, and her deck gun enough to deal with any threats we'll encounter close to London.

The Ligeia-class steamer is, as one would expect from our starter, a bad ship. It's got a small cargo hold, is fragile, lacks any optional equipment slots, and starts with a peashooter. We should avoid any but the easiest of fights until we get upgrades. The weapon statics are, in order – Damage to boats, damage to zee-monsters, crew damage, firing rate, and stun duration.

And with that, we were off.

This is the full-sized view of the game. This is the screen where zailing and combat happen, and what you'll be looking at for most of the game. Let's talk about what we're seeing here.

The HUD posted:

In the upper-left, you have the speed indicator and health indicator making up the upper- and lower-halves of the circle. To the right, you have our Fuel, Supply, and Terror gauges. We currently have 10 barrels of fuel (9 in reserve and a whole one in the engine), 5 crates of Supplies, and 0 terror. Running out of Fuel is disastrous, but supplies can be converted into fuel at a 2:1 ratio. Running out of Supplies is bad, unless you're into cannibalism. As Terror goes up, bad things start happening – Getting progressively worse until we reach 100, at which point – well. It's bad. Let's say that.

On the upper-right, you have our lovely portrait, along with those of all our officers. Below those are our stats, and our crew count – currently sitting at 8/10. If we get down to half, it seriously hampers our ship. Let's try to avoid that.

The lower left is our log. It'll record when we find things in the zee. Above it is our XP bar – when that fills, we get a Secret. The blue part is permanently filled, thanks to our Pages score.

The lower-right shows currently available stories. Those are what we can do in port, or if there's an event at zee that needs our attention.

The bottom is controls. We'll cover those another time.

November 30th, 1887 – Evening

We'd barely left London when we saw a island rising from the inky blackness of the Neath. Hunter's Keep, home of the three Sisters. Supposedly, they collect stories and relics from far across the zee. Supposedly, sometimes, strange singing is heard and odd lights are seen.

So naturally as a gracious zee-captain and envoy for Her Enduring Majesty, I felt it my responsibility to check in on the occupants of Hunter's Keep.

We also have an option to spy on the house, but our Veils is too low to have a good chance of pulling it off. Besides, Captain Blackwood isn't one to snoop on people like this.

Despite the relatively late hour, the sisters invited me in for lunch. Of course, with no sun, who can say it is not lunch? Perhaps it is they who know best.

And here we have our first choice! I honestly don't know if which of the Sisters you dine with, or what order you do it in on subsequent visits, changes the fate of Hunter's Keep... But perhaps it does. Who should we dine with today? And, for that matter, is there someone we should snub on future visits? And once we've had our lunch, should we continue north, to Venderblight? Or turn east, and try to find Port Cecil for the Widow?