The player's ship is the central gameplay element for going to sea and explore The Neath, the subterranean world of Fallen London. It works like a steamship, with a rudder for steering and an engine telegraph to control speed. Fuel and supplies are finite resources, and running out of either may leave you in terrible peril.
Every ship has at least four (up to six) slots to outfit with a number of Ship equipment:
These slots above are available for every ship. The Deck and the Engine slots are provided by default with basic equipment (weapon and engine).
The following ones are reserved for particular ships, in different combinations:
Every ship is additional determinated by a couple of particular attributes, the Ship statistics. These attributes are:
Additionally, a ship may have bonuses (sometimes penalties) in particular Captain statistics.
Controlling the ship
The Arrow keys are used to pilot the ship. While the Left arrow and Right arrow steer the ship left and right, the Up arrow and Down arrow move forward and backward accordingly. By pressing Up arrow or Down arrow twice, the ship gets additional speed in forward or reverse respectively. This speed is denoted in top left corner in the "Engine Order Telegraph" EOT display that also shows current hull strength.
Alternatively the W, A, D and S keys can also be used. The W, A, D and S keys mirror the functions of the arrow keys. They can be used exclusively, simultaneously as well as in conjunction with the arrow keys automatically and without adjusting settings and using default key bindings.
Additionally, controls can be reviewed and modified as needed by opening Main menu then selecting Options then selecting Edit Keybindings.
There are currently seven types of purchasable ships available for the player to control. You start off with the Ligeia-class steamer at the Wolfstack Docks, but can exchange it for another ship at any Shipyard.
When you Trade your current ship into a new one you are really selling it to buy another. This means you cannot keep past ships in London (even though their name remains in the Shipyard screen), and to exchange into your previous ship you will have to spend more money again.
This is especially important to know when you're pursuing story-related ships, as they'll replace your current one without receiving any sort of refunds. If you have a big ship, it's advised to sell it for a smaller one before getting the Cladery Heart or the Steam-Yacht.
There are two unique ships available for the player to obtain through the stories of Sunless Sea.
Keep in mind that, once you accept the ship in the Story Events, they'll replace your current one without receiving any sort of refunds, or being able to get back the old ship (unless you pay again the full amount). If you have a big ship, it's advised to sell it for a smaller one before getting the story ones.
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"A vessel for diplomats, merchants and wealthy spies."
"It thrums. It wanders. It has a delightful stink."