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"Sunless Sea" Walkthrough: Random Events

Matt Bird writes all sorts of nonsense, but he dedicates a large chunk of his time to writing game walkthroughs.

Sunless Sea owned by Failbetter Games. Images used for educational purposes only.

Sunless Sea owned by Failbetter Games. Images used for educational purposes only.

Sunless Sea is not a predictable game. Things will go wrong completely at random, and sometimes you will be powerless to stop them. That's just the nature of zailing the zee. But the game's many events do have at least moderately predictable outcomes if you know about them ahead of time, and choosing the correct path through an event may save you a lot of grief in the immediate aftermath. This article will help you steer through the random events that occasionally pop up while you zail.

Please note that this article is incomplete. Not only am I still in the process of playing the game, but Sunless Sea is also constantly being updated. So, too, shall this article be updated, both with new events and the results of choices that I haven't yet been able to make while playing.

Random Encounters

A White Zee-Bat

One of the sailors is freaking out because a white zee-bat is watching him. You have three different ways to resolve the issue:

  • Salt?: Order the sailor onto the deck anyway. Gain 1 Stone, Storm and Salt.
  • Salt.: Mind the man's beliefs and send him to the infirmary. Gain 1 Stone, Storm and Salt.
  • Feed the zee-bat: Can't hurt. Lose 1 Crew; gain 5 Fragments, Salt's Attention, and 1 Stone, Storm, and Salt
  • Shoot the zee-bat: Take it down! An Iron challenge. Gain Salt's Curse if successful.

A Fallen Stone

Rocks from the cave ceiling faaaaar above your ship have fallen down onto the deck, spooking the crew. You have two methods of dealing with this situation:

  • Do nothing: They're just rocks, guys. Gain 5 Terror, 1 Stone, Storm, and Salt.
  • Make a sacrifice to avert misfortune: Hail the gods. Lose 1 Supplies, lose 1 Terror, gain 1 Stone, Storm and Salt, and gain Storm's Attention.

The Crawling Stars

The Neath's false-stars are shifting in alignment suddenly, which may or may not bode well for the residents of this belowground warren. Your crew wants to observe. You can:

  • "Eyes on the deck!"
  • Record the change and assign a name: A Luck challenge. Gain 2 Terror if unsuccessful.
The player encounters a Bat Swarm in Sunless Sea.

The player encounters a Bat Swarm in Sunless Sea.

A Tooth-Cracking Treasure

You discover a hunk of a diamond in one of your biscuits. Lucky find! What will you do with it?

  • Hang on to it: Forget the gods, you like pretty stuff. 1 Terror, 30 Echo, 1 Stone, Storm, and Salt.
  • Do the careful thing: Toss it in the zee. - 1 Terror, gain Stone's Attention, 1 Stone, Storm and Salt.

Restless Nights

Your crew appears to be having nightmares. You can:

  • Ignore them: Meh. They're just the help. - 1 Terror.
  • Enquire about their dreams the next morning: Pages challenge. Gain 20 Fragments and 10 Terror if successful; gain 10 Fragments and 1 Terror if unsuccessful.

Burning Blue

The light on your ship is sputtering a crazy blue. The crew is summarily spooked. You can:

  • Spin them a story: You know just what to say to calm them down. Requires 1 Zee-ztory.
  • Attempt to calm them: Perhaps a different approach? A Hearts challenge. Gain 1 Fragment if successful.

Desperate Measures

This event only triggers when your ship is down to its last unit of Fuel. Once this happens, you'll immediately be offered three options:

  • Search your Supplies for something of use: Choose this to convert two Supplies into one Fuel.
  • Abandon Hope: Flee the ship and lose the game. If you're hopelessly stranded and have no Supplies left, you may as well resort to this and save a bit of time.
  • A few last Supplies: A Luck Challenge. If you're lucky you'll gain 1 Fuel and lose 1 Supplies. If you're not lucky you'll just lose 1 Supplies.

Roused at Midnight

One of the crew has dropped over the side of the deck. You need to deal with the burgeoning fears of the ship's men and women. (I assume this event only happens if you have a Terror above 70 or so, but I'm not positive.) You can:

  • Distribute an extra rum ration: Lose 1 Crew, 1 Supplies, and 5 Terror
  • Place a guard on the cookware
  • Address the crew: A Hearts challenge.
The player's captain has a Recurring Nightmare in Sunless Sea.

The player's captain has a Recurring Nightmare in Sunless Sea.

Pale Visitors

Drownies appear in the water 'round your ship and begin to sing their horrible songs. You have two options:

  • Down out their song with the roar of the engines: Lose 1 Fuel, 2 Hull, and 1 Terror.
  • Ignore it as best you can: - 1 Crew.

Recurring Nightmares

The Eye sees you. Oh dear. As far as I can tell, this happens if you return to Fallen London with a high amount of Terror (50+) several times. Do this and you'll gain Nightmare's Strength, which gets stronger each time you come back with a high amount of Terror. You can get rid of this status by resting repeatedly at your Lodgings. Do so and you'll gain a Secret.

If you fail? Look below.

Recurring Nightmare: Watched

The Eye is after you! Once your Nightmare's Strength reaches 5 this event will pop up. Not immediately, but while you're out on the zee. You have three ways to get out of this bad situation, all of them requiring a steep Hearts challenge. Note that you're likely to gain large amounts of Terror if you fail these challenges:

  • Go deeper into the Nightmare: Gain 1 Wound, Terror, and 1 Nightmare's Strength, and lose Restful Night if unsuccessful.
  • Confront the Nightmare: Gain 1 Nightmare's Strength and Terror, lose Restful Night if unsuccessful.
  • Flee the Nightmare: Lose 1 Nightmare's Strength, lose Restful Night, gain Terror if unsuccessful.


Your Terror has reached 101, and your Crew is mutinying. You have one chance to save yourself from death. You have two options:

  • Cut them down!: An Iron challenge. Lose 5 Crew and 50 Terror if successful. The game ends if unsuccessful.
  • Attempt to win them around: A Hearts challenge. Game ends if unsuccessful.

Horrors Below

Your zailors have seen something mysterious swimming beneath the ship. You have two ways to deal with this:

  • Call them away: Ignore the beast. Nothing happens.
  • Bring out the nets: Haul it in! An Iron challenge. Gain 1 Terror and 1 Strange Catch if successful. Gain 1 Terror if unsuccessful.


You start to cry. Why? And what will you do?

  • Control yourself: Iron spine, soldier. Lose Salt's Attention.
  • Weep: Waaaaaaaah. Gain 1 Fragment and 1 Terror.


Your engines are aflame! Gained when you push your engines too hard in too short a time. You'll face a quick Hearts challenge, and if you're unsuccessful you may lose Crew and Hull putting it out. Ouch. Go easy on your engines, in other words.

A Questing Tentacle

Something reaches onto the ship and steals one of your Crew. You can do nothing about this. Eep.