Skip to main content

"Sunless Sea" Walkthrough: The Alarming Scholar

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.

Fallen London is filled with a wide assortment of weirdos and misfits. Some are friendly, some are vengeful, and others are almost indiscernible. The Alarming Scholar of the local University falls into this latter category. An ambiguous woman/dude of bizarre temperament, her/his mood changing at a whim, the Alarming Scholar is nevertheless quite happy to entertain your presence - assuming you bring her/him something of value.

Unlocking the Alarming Scholar

When you begin a new game of Sunless Sea, the University will appear as an option in the London category of activities. Nor, indeed, will it appear as an active one, as you must approach the University with a Secret to gain entry. Once that's done, the Alarming Scholar will appear as her own category, outside the main menu, which you can visit whenever you're in town. Newcomers can easily gain the required Secret by sailing the seas 'round Fallen London and collecting Fragments from discovered landmarks.

The Alarming Scholar's Services

The Alarming Scholar is an Antiquarian, and she (we'll just stick with she, shall we?) wants you to be one, too. She is so danged eager to bring you into the fold that she's willing to give you a giant heap of Echoes in exchange for antiques.

What kind of antiques? All kinds! Well, not really, but you do have a fair number of items that you can pawn off to the Alarming Scholar. Doing so on a regular basis can quickly bolster your store of Echoes and make you into one rich captain. But be warned - almost nothing you can sell to the Alarming Scholar can be purchased at a store, certainly not in London, and most of the items can serve at least one other purpose in Sunless Sea. They're also rarer than the average piece of cargo, and selling something may doom you to never seeing its like again...

Below is a small list of the items you can sell to the Alarming Scholar. It is currently incomplete, and so will be expanded in the future as I come across more antiquities.

An overview of the player's boat in Sunless Sea.

An overview of the player's boat in Sunless Sea.

A Memory of Distant Shores

Stories and tales of far off places. Bringing the Alarming Scholar A Memory of Distant Shores will earn you 10 Echoes. You can find them in some of the following places:

  • Random events in port, largely anything that's wistful or mildly melancholy in nature.
  • Set events in port, such as listening to someone tell a tale in a pub or visiting at a manor.
  • During lengthier stories. The events of Hunter's Keep and the fate of the three sisters, for example, yields several chances to score this item. Speak to Phoebe in particular when visiting at the start of the storyline and you'll get A Memory of Distant Shores each time.

A Strange Catch

Who knows what the heck this thing is. Strange Catches are worth a mere 10 Echoes, commensurate to their relative ease of procurement. You can find them in the following ways:

  • Engaging in set events at certain ports, such as the Riddling contest of Whither.
  • Engaging in random events at any port.
  • Pulling them from Unprepossessing Masses gleaned by killing monsters.

A Lamentable Relic

You don't want this. You don't want to be this. The only person who wants this is the Alarming Scholar, and even then it's just barely. Lamentable Relics are worth five Echoes apiece, not exactly a king's bounty. You're most likely to find Lamentable Relics while dungeon-delving. For example, you'll find a lot of them while exploring the Shattered Citadel under Godfall. Why? Well, it's a mystery...

An Ambiguous Eolith

What is it? A piece of rock? Who knows. Ambiguous Eoliths are problematic. Sometimes... most of the time, in fact... they're worth one Echo to the Alarming Scholar. Every precious now and then, though, the Scholar will buy one for 70 Echoes. Nice! There's no telling when you'll gain the latter boon, though, and buying/selling the things is not a good business. You can find Ambiguous Eoliths in the following places:

  • While exploring dungeons, such as the aforementioned Shattered Citadel beneath Godfall.
  • For purchase in Mount Palmerston.

An Outlandish Artefact

A mask? Fancy. This is where you start to get into the profitable stuff, as the Alarming Scholar will fork over 100 Echoes for An Outlandish Artefact. You can find them in the following places:

  • During random events at port. The event A Serpent-image in Venderbight, for example, yields an Outlandish Artefact if you're successful.
  • During set events at port. If you loot Hunter's Keep you can find a lot of Outlandish Artefacts (though you'll also displease your crew something fierce).
  • Exploring dungeons. The Shattered Citadel strikes again.
  • In Caches of Curiosities or Unprepossessing Masses, gained by killing enemy ships and monsters, respectively. A nice surprise.

Outlandish Artefacts make for good trade items, but bear in mind your win conditions. You need at least a few regardless of the path you choose (at the moment, anyway). Don't give up every Artefact you stumble upon to the Scholar.

The player visits Mount Palmerston in Sunless Sea.

The player visits Mount Palmerston in Sunless Sea.

Captivating Treasure

Best of the best, and oh so sparkly. Captivating Treasures are rare finds, typically found only at the end of longer stories (such as the Wistful Deviless of Mount Palmerston), and will net you a hefty 1000 Echoes if traded. Sweeeet. Like Outlandish Artefacts, Captivating Treasures are important for some win conditions. Don't trade them away without due consideration.

A Live Specimen

It lives! Another relatively rare find, A Live Specimens are most often found by killing more powerful enemies, such as Angler Crabs, and claiming Unprepossessing Masses. You'll gain 100 Echoes for handing one over to the Scholar.


Each time you sell something to the Alarming Scholar, you'll gain points towards Antiquarian status. To be an Antiquarian is to seek the unknown on a regular basis, as well a to ingratiate yourself to the Alarming Scholar. I have no idea what purpose Antiquarian currently serves, if anything, though in the future it will no doubt do something.