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Port Cecil
Port Cecil (Map)
SS Locations Port Cecil Map.png
Port Cecil (Gazetteer)
SS Locations Port Cecil.png
Located in Principles of Coral
Ports Yes
Shops Harbour Provisioners
Shipyard No
Data ID 143364

Among the cluster of islands that are on the Principles of Coral sea, Port Cecil is the biggest and it's in the center of them all.

Port description[]

A sourceless silver glow. A haven for players of games.

Port interactions[]

SS Interactions Port Cecil.png Port Cecil[]

Location description[]

Rumpled convolutions of coral fill the water, glimmering with silvery light. The harder you look, the more you see shapes amid the chaos, almost as if they were sculpted. This one could be a crenellated castle: that one, a horse's head.

A neat little port huddles into the side of a coral island - prosaic Imperial docks and houses tucked away in a baroque organic chaos. In that curious silvery light, among the frozen chaos of coral, the scene has the unreal air of a pencil sketch, crumpled and discarded.


Actions Requirements Effects Notes
Drop off the Chequered Character

He waits eagerly by the rail. He lifts his head to inhale. “I can already smell the chess,” he announces.

Thank you? Farewell?

He says neither of these things. He drops a sweaty bundle of banknotes in your hand, and hares off up the hill, fingers twitching to begin a game. Game-players, eh.


Chess is popular in the Principles. The port is full of exiles, drunks and washed-up zee-traders. They all play, often obsessively.

Be careful. The chess-pieces are carved from scintillack. Here in the Principles, that can be very dangerous.

Failed event Game note: Win enough games, and something else will occur.
A loss

Your opponent shakes your hand. “Time to go” she tells you. “But don't worry. You'll be back.” Her touch lingers. Her fingers are cold.”

Rare failed event (51%)
A distraction

You don't often look at chess-pieces: not really look. The Bishops, with their hooks. The Night, with its mane and teeth. The Kin and the Cream, white mingled with red. The Roots that pin the corner of the board down, to keep you safe from your opponent. You lift a Paw to toy with it: touch its velvety pads.

“Checkmate,” your opponent says. She grins. “Look too closely, did we? You need to be careful with scintillack chess-sets.”

Her face is blank and white as the dome of a chess-pawn. Get out. Get back to the ship, until the waking-dream of the coral clears.

Successful event
A disciplined success

Odd thoughts bubble up each time you touch a chess-piece. This one longs for home. That one has a secret desire for revenge against the slayer of its rank-mate. This will be a queen one day. Those would do better as metal: you taste the metal. You ignore these thoughts, and move methodically to a victory over your opponent. He blinks. “Checkmate?” he asks helplessly.

Rare successful event (40%)
One more game

You don't know how long you've been playing. You won a match, another. The rough coral tips of the chess-pieces are smeared with blood: yours, your opponent's. But you have begun to realise that your moves recapitulate the movements of the powers of the Neath: the Flukes and their shapelings. The Bazaar that lurks in London. Mt Nomad, that prowls the sea. Salt, Stone, Storm. With every move you take, the shape of it becomes clearer in your mind, sharper.

“Checkmate,” you say. One more game? Your first officer is tugging at your arm. Ignore them. You have chess to play.


The chess-players watch you carefully...

"No, no," one tells you. "No, no. There's only one left who will play against you. You'll need an extra move to find it."
An Extra Move

As you reach the cross-roads in Port Cecil, a voice whispers: "Pawn to Bishop Six." A rearing shape the size of a cottage - rather like a mitred bishop, indeed - stands six yards to your right. A crevice in its coral side might be a cave-mouth.

A stronger silver

You squeeze through the crevice, into a narrow space like a stair. Irregular steps lead down. The silver light is strong here, and it grows stronger with each step downwards.

Explore the coral knoll around Port Cecil

Sea laps dark around silvery coral. Humps and columns rise from the coral - a bewildering maze. Go carefully.

A contact in the labyrinth

The Admiral gave you directions to take to meet your contact. Left, right, down, into the labyrinth of coral outside Port Cecil. Over the silvered vein. Past the castellations to the Unfinished Court.

Rubbery torment

Here is a Rubbery Man: one of the squid-faced bipedal things that infest the sadder hovels of Fallen London. It looks ill, or infected. The pearly glow of the coral throbs from a seam along its shoulder, its arm - pulses in its face-fronds. “Otharooth,” it pipes, cheerfully. It hands you a page of notes smeared with tangerine goo. Can Rubbery Men write? The hand is elegant and disciplined - times and dates precisely recorded.

Gather intelligence

What happens here?

Chess, dreams, silver light

The older inhabitants of Port Cecil carry coral encrustations like a disease: splotched with silvery light. They like to go up into the limestone heights behind the harbour, to lay their heads against the pillars and towers, stare at the roof of the Neath, dream, open-eyed. Sometimes, they speak of things far away: the Khanate's work, the smuggler wars, the Fathomking's secrets. Perhaps it's not all invented...

Bring the Port Report to The Admiralty Survey Office in London for +1 x Admiralty's Favour and +30 x Echo.
Sell your Apocyan Chess-Piece

If you have no other use for it, one of the chess-addicts certainly will.

Mine! Mine!

She capers away, chanting moves, leaping diagonally.

Put a blemmigan ashore

Are you certain?

Mesmeric silver

The blemmigan doesn't hesitate. It scurries to the rail and leaps to a coral hillock. The coral trembles, folds, and subsides beneath the water. The blemmigan is gone. A mashed tendril floats on the surface.

Gather Scintillack

The best of the coral will fetch a high price in London. But walk the reefs of the Principles, and you risk delusion and despair. Take your crew, and go carefully.

Failed event
Polypoid whispers

It's against local law and custom to break coral from the reef, and you've seen the scars of those who tried - the acid-burns, the blind silver eyes. So you're looking for loose fragments. Today the zee is calm, and you find a good few candidates. They lie shining softly like droplets of moon.

But after a little while, you become concerned that they're eyes: that each is watching you. When you close your fist around one, it examines your blood with amused delight. When you put them together in your pocket, they clatter and gossip together. Of course, you think. They broke from the Shining Mind: they have its vitality, but not its weariness or experience. You will have to lock them in a separate boxes, lest they peep at you when you're bathing, and see who you are. The thought of their sight on your skin fills you with horror. What if your skin turned clear? What if they saw your bones?

You come back to yourself when you see one of your zailors fall on his back and start kicking delightedly in the air like a beetle. “Gravity!” he cries. “I have fallen!” You hasten back to the ship with your haul of coral, before it can do any further damage.

Successful event
Fragments of silver

Where the zee washes across the coral's edge, it glows a rich purple. Each time it washes across your boots, you expect it to leave stains. You edge along the slippery coral, picking up lumps of brighter-glowing stuff here and there: and though the zee doesn't stain, eventually it begins to whisper to you: phrases so clear that you catch yourself looking over your shoulder in case your crew have spoke. They have not. They're looking around, just as you are.

Between stars, the zee says. Descend the chain. When it runs out across the coral, it sounds almost like a soft chuckle. I rest here, it tells you. I forget.

Failed event
Something has changed

The Shining Mind has dissolved: you know why, and how. The coral is fading. You find nothing, although the water is tinged with mindless contentment...

Successful event
Something has changed

The Shining Mind has dissolved: you know why, and how. The coral is fading. You find only a single scintillant lump.

Assist the Gnomic Gallivant in his revolutionary scheme

There is a door carved in the crenellated castle. The Gallivant holds a gaily wrapped package in his arms. A long string trails out of it. "This is it, Addressed As. Steel yourself. And get the door for me, please?"

Failed event
The best of a bad situation?

Ten diplomats and dignitaries are gathered around a chess table. A dark man from the Presbyterate is in their number. The Gallivant frowns. "Casualties are unfortunate," he says, pulling the package's string; "But acceptable." He tosses the package into the room and slams the door shut. An explosion blasts the door from its hinges; it falls between you both. You peek into the room. The bodies are scattered like chess pieces from an upturned board.

Successful event
The right person, place, and time

Beyond the door is a long hall of chess tables. A dark man from the Presbyterate sits alone in the centre of the room, playing against himself. The Gallivant pulls the package's string. "A thousand years is more than enough. Don't you think?" He tosses it into the room, before slamming the door. An explosion knocks it from its hinges, crashing between you both. You peek into the room: the man is dead as any of the pieces.

The right person, place, and time

Beyond the door is a long hall of chess tables. A dark man from the Presbyterate sits alone in the centre of the room, playing against himself. The Gallivant pulls the package's string. "A thousand years is more than enough. Don't you think?" He tosses it into the room, before slamming the door. An explosion knocks it from its hinges, crashing between you both. You peek into the room: the man is dead as any of the pieces.

Refuse to assist the Gnomic Gallivant

Maybe you're not as keen to clear the board as he is.


The Gnomic Gallivant pouts, and awkwardly shifts the heavy package in his arms. "I suppose history is filled with inconveniences like this." He sighs. "But I am no tyrant. Your payment is in my pocket, Addressed As. I'm afraid my hands are full - perhaps you could reach in and... yes, there you are. For your service thus far. Good day." Carrying his package very gingerly, he leaves your ship.


Port Cecil story events
The Pulse of the Principles
Arcade of SighsBultitude's House of VisionCaminus YardsCarrow's Naval SurplusDahut ExchangeDaily BreadDearly DepartedDockside MarketFire in the BellyFortune & FortuneHarbour ProvisionersHollow TempleHouse of HarmsHouse of HarvestsHouse of MilksHouse of PleasuresHull-harvestJonah's EndLicensed ExchangeLow ChurchMalebolge ExcavationsMrs Plenty's Shipside ProvisionersPeleghast's PostPortentumRed Stallion PublishingRequisitionsSapphire ExchangeStonemarketTemple of LaboursThe Arrant LimpetThe Charnel LoungeThe Fisher of DawnThe Hunter's CageThe Iron & Misery CompanyThresholdTraveller's FriendUncle Ankle's Lean PlaceWind-Come-CallingWolfstack Exchange
Ports Abbey RockAdam's WayAestivalAigulAntheAvid HorizonChapel of LightsChelonateCodexCumaean Canal Staging AreaDahutDemeaux IslandEmpire of HandsFallen LondonThe Fathomking's HoldFrostfoundGaider's MournGant PoleGodfallGrand GeodeHideawayHunter's KeepIremIron RepublicIsle of CatsKhan's GloryKhan's HeartKhan's ShadowKingeater's CastleLow BarnetMangrove CollegeMount PalmerstonMutton IslandNookNuncioPigmote IslePolythremePort CarnelianPort CecilRosegateSalt LionsScrimshanderShepherd IslesStation IIIThe UndercrowThe UttershroomVarchasVenderbightVisageWhitherWisdomWrack
Places of Interest An Abyss...The Admiralty Survey OfficeAvernusThe Brass EmbassyDawn MachineDrydockThe EyeThe Forgotten QuarterThe House of the QuestionLight-ShipNaplesQuaker's HavenRoser's WharfSurfaceThe UniversityViennaWolfstack DocksThe Wreck of the NocturneYour Lodgings
Characters Blind BruiserMerchant VenturerThe Dark-Spectacled AdmiralThe FathomkingThe First Curator