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Sunless Sea Walkthrough: Stories and Circumstances

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

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

A life is composed, roughly, of two things: Stories and Circumstances. Stories are the little details that flit in and out of day-to-day life; Circumstances are the more permanent particulars that come of those Stories. Sunless Sea features both Stories and Circumstances, found in your Journal, and measuring both gives you an interesting look at the experiences of a captain in the Unterzee.

This article covers the Stories and Circumstances that may be bestowed upon you while playing Sunless Sea. You'll start with some, gain others while you travel, and lose yet others by making decisions, for good or for ill. Some are mere window dressing, while others can have a marked effect on your progress. This article will help you puzzle out what means what. (In time, anyway. It's still a work-in-progress.)


Terror - The measure of your Crew's fright while at sea, gained through unfortunate events or by travelling in the dark. A Terror count of 100 will lead to immediate mutiny. Fail to assuage the mutineers and the game will end.

Time, the Healer - A count of how long you've been at sea. As this count grows things and events will change around the world.

The player's journal in Sunless Sea.

The player's journal in Sunless Sea.

Stone, Storm and Salt - A measure of your relationship with the three gods - Stone, Storm, and Salt - that watch over the Unterzee. You'll typically pick these up whenever you deal with omens, portents, or straight-out encounters with the forces of one of these three gods.

Admiralty's Favour - A measure of the Admiralty's gratitude for completing Commissions and bringing Port Reports to Fallen London. You can use Admiralty's Favour to use the Admiralty's personal shipyard in Fallen London, among other things.

Nightmare's Strength - A measure of the power of the Nightmare that will seize your captain should you return to Fallen London with 50 or more Terror. The higher this number, the more often you'll get A Recurring Nightmare - and the more powerful the effects when it strikes.

Peculiar Noises - The status of your engine. Drive it too hard and you may hear Peculiar Noises. Continue to force it along and you may start a fire. Fires can result in Hull damage and lost Crew.

A Recurring Nightmare - Status gained during the Nightmare. You are watched by the Eye. Getting a Rested Sleep will fight this off. Failing to fight it off may result in an event with painful repercussions for failure.

Antiquarian - A measure of your love of collecting old stories and artefacts and handing them over to the Alarming Scholar in Fallen London.

A New Recruit? - Someone wants to join your Officer complement back in Fallen London. You'll get this status whenever you return to London after a lengthy voyage.

Encounters with the Wistful Deviless - A count of your meetings with the Wistful Deviless of Mount Palmerston. This number will increase by going along with her requests.

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Soulless - You have given your soul to the Wistful Deviless of Mount Palmerston.

Uncovering Mysteries: the Shattered Citadel - Gained after you've explored the depths of the Shattered Citadel beneath Godfall and plundered its treasures.

Collecting Cargo for the Cheery Man - An indication that you've been sent off by the Blind Bruiser to deliver or collect cargo for the Cheery Man in Fallen London. This is the only way to rediscover your destination if you've forgotten since last speaking to the Blind Bruiser.

The player has Recurring Nightmares after accumulating too much Terror in Sunless Sea.

The player has Recurring Nightmares after accumulating too much Terror in Sunless Sea.


Quality of Lodgings - Your Lodgings. Begins with a Room above the Blind Helmsman; improves if you purchase new Lodgings in Fallen London. Until you have Lodgings above and beyond the Blind Helmsman you cannot retire, whether in victory or as a 'tie'.

Your Past - Your chosen history at the beginning of the game, determining your base stats.

Ambition - Your game's end-point, chosen at the beginning of the game.

An Admiralty Commission - A mission from the Admiralty to collect Strategic Information from a distant port.

Sojourning with the Sisters - Acquaintance with the sisters of Hunter's Keep. This will change the more you visit the sisters.

Everything is Probably Perfectly All Right - Gained if you repair your ship and the Leadbeater and Stainrod Shipyard in Fallen London. Not a good thing. (I suspect this may have something to do with the frequency of fires when driving your ship to full speed, but I'm not certain.)

Someone Back Home - Gained if you romance - and continue to romance - a fellow or lass back in Fallen London.

Nasty Things in the Dark - Gained while you're adventuring in the Shattered Citadel beneath Godfall. A sign that evil creatures will fall upon you if you run out of Foxfire Candles. You'll lose this status if you leave the tunnels beneath Godfall.

An Infernal Fate - Tied to the story of Mount Palmerston's Infernal Deviless. This will inform you of Hell's disposition towards her.

A Proposal from a Man of Business - The status of your dealings with the Blind Bruiser, and, by extension, the Cheery Man. 'Refused' typically leads to some ugly confrontations.

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