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Video Game / Sunless Sea

Explore an underground ocean. Battle sea monsters. Discover strange lands. Go insane. Eat your crew.
Die.

http://static.tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pub/images/743676596ceb49afa2bdd19bd6f87af5.jpg

Sunless Sea is a Role-Playing Game from Failbetter Games, the creators of Fallen London, following a crowdfunding campaign on Kickstarter. Set in the Fallen London universe, the game casts the player as the captain of a steamship, exploring the Unterzee - the colossal, largely uncharted underground lake that surrounds the sunken city. Noted influences include roguelikes with action elements, like FTL: Faster Than Light and Don't Starve; Wide Open Sandbox exploration and trading games like Sid Meier’s Pirates!, Elite and Taipan!; The Crimson Permanent Assurance; and immrama.

Following a period in Early Access, the game is available through Humble Bundle, GOG.com and Steam. An expansion pack allowing underwater exploration has been announced.


This game contains examples of:

  • Abnormal Ammo: The Icarus in Black, which fires extremely angry & suicidal monster hunters. The reason it's actually able to do this at all essentially amounts to "Made in Iron Republic"
  • Adam Smith Hates Your Guts: Mostly averted; the prices of various commodities and essentials varies between ports with reasonable justifications (e.g. London has fair, manageable prices, but provisioners on a distant backwater island charge twice as much for fuel and supplies as elsewhere). Invoked, however, in Khan's Heart, where you don't have a licence to trade in the city's proper market district, and can thus be extorted - if you're that desperate (though if you managed to get a proper trading license, their price becomes reasonable, and you'll also get access to wider variety of trade goods)
    "The Khanate merchants grin when they see you coming. An unlicensed foreign captain? They'll pick a price and triple it."
  • A Foggy Day in London Town: Even in the Neath, London and its surrounds still have their fogs. Their practical effect, if zailed through, is to impede aiming, and to thoroughly spook your crew.
  • The Alcatraz: Wisdom, a prison in the midst of a sea of enormous lily pads, guarded by huge, multi-eyed toads called knot-oracles. To get someone out, you'll need to either pass a ridiculously difficult Veils challenge or pay an exorbitant bribe.
  • Alien Geometries: Neath's geography is...weird. Alteration is one, then there's the fact at trying to go sufficiently north anywhere in the zee will get you to a single place: Avid Horizon, and that the zee stretches to the east without end.
  • Alien Sea: The Neath does not follow all of the same physical laws as the Surface, and its zee is coloured between black and green.
  • Ambiguous Gender: Like in Fallen London, the player can choose to not declare a gender for their Captain. The game's writing style also likes avoiding gender specific pronouns unless absolutely necessary leading to a lot of characters with genders technically unattributed. A conundrum perhaps lampshaded by the very definitely ambiguous Alarming Scholar.
  • An Entrepreneur Is You: It might not pay so well as exploring distant kingdoms or hunting pirates, but most captains will spend at least some time ferrying goods and passengers between ports.
  • Arc Number: As in Fallen London, the number Seven comes up rather frequently.
  • Arc Words: "Lose your mind." and "Eat your crew." are exactly the same words you see when you reached Kingeater's Castle and are exactly what you do according to the logbook.
  • Ascended Meme: Ratsending. One Fallen London player decided to amuse themselves by using that game's basic gifting system to send the lead dev thousands of rats, fifty at a time. The mythos of transported rats expanded by degrees and infected the spinoff game; a Pneumatic Ratsender is now available as a ship component. And then there's Nuncio, where said player designed the place.
  • Ascend to a Higher Plane of Existence: The Exaltation semi-secret ambition. Whatever, precisely, you end up doing, it's enough to get a brief salutation from all the gods of the Zee.
  • Awesome, but Impractical: The Eschatologue-class Dreadnought. While it boasts the same firepower and more Hull and Hold compared to the Maenad-class Frigate, the Eschatologue is slower, has huge negatives to Veils, and has a massive Crew requirement (which means it will eat supplies like none other). In addition, the prohibitively expensive cost of the dreadnought (30000 Echoes) is better spent on adorning Your Lodgings with heirlooms or having a huge stockpile of money to pass to your scion. Realistically, the frigate has everything you need. On the other hand, the Dreadnought is extremely powerful in terms of combat, and if you feel the need to sail the oceanic equivalent of a Monster Truck, you may consider upgrading.
  • Bad Boss: You, potentially. Several storylines are most easily advanced by sacrificing your own crew, with zero indication that they've done anything to deserve it.
  • Bad Santa: Mr Sacks, The Crimson Beast of Winter, is not your friend.
  • Bragging Rights Reward: The Zong of the Zee is this if your end goal is to become a great explorer. It grants massive stats boosts across the board, but in that ambition the entire point of the campaign was to obtain it in the first place, meaning you've already won the second you get it. Anything you do with it after that is just killing time before you go home and retire (Unless you decide to abandon that ambition and go ahead with founding your own colony).
  • Brutal Honesty: The "Wounding Truth" quality counts how many times you've chosen to tell people the truth, no matter how painful it is.
  • Call a Hit Point a "Smeerp":
    • Your ship's stats are all named for Fallen London's mysterious rulers, the Masters of the Bazaar - Iron for attacks, Mirrors for observation and illumination, Veils for speed and concealment, Hearts for healing and morale, Pages for knowledge and diplomacy.
    • Your Hull score is essentially a hit point meter; in combat it's usually what soaks up attacks, and when it hits 0 your ship sinks.
    • Crew, which functions as currency in some places as well as an overall health meter for land encounters. If your Crew reaches zero, your ship suffers a Total Party Kill. However, even with just 1 Crew remaining, you can still talk to all of your officers. That doesn't change the fact that one more death renders your ship a lifeless derelict.
    • Wounds for your captain, and your captain alone. Three will kill you, and unlike Crew your Wound tolerance can never go higher. Thankfully the game will assume your Captain hides behind your expendable grunts in most on-foot engagements.
  • Chain of Deals: The "Your Father's Bones" legacy quest. Bring something to someone in London; they point you somewhere. Go there, you'll be asked to retrieve something from someone else, who in turn asks for several singular things from around the Zee...
  • Church Militant: Abbey Rock, the coastal convent-fortress of the martial Sisterhood, and Godfall, home to the boisterous pirate-monks who follow the ways of "St Stalagmite."
  • City on the Water: The New Khanate's cities are variations on this style: Khan's Heart and Khan's Glory form a stately City of Canals on a series of artificial islands, while the other side of the Enemy Civil War, Khan's Shadow, is a colossal assemblage of ships roped together.
  • Cool Boat: Several, including the trimarans of the New Khanate; the partly-organic Cladery Heart; the submarine Irrepressible, with its irrigo-cannon and breakfast-pit; and the dreaded Tree of Ages, crewed by giant spiders. Even your own ship might count, if you buy enough upgrades.
  • Cool Gate: Avid Horizon, a literally Cold Gate, sits at the frozen northern reaches of the Zee, and is flanked by two winged sculptures that represent something not totally known. Strange stars twinkle above despite being underground, and it extrudes an unnatural stillness. It remains closed for the moment, and perhaps that is a good thing... And it apparently leads to outer space, somehow ...
  • Creepy Cathedral: The Chapel of Lights, lit only by millions of candles spread about the island. Congregants tend to stick to the shadows between the candles, often only half-seen by those who visit, the temple offers visitors the opportunity to eat from their red bounty, and there is a well there that eats dreams and wounds the soul...
  • Dangerous Forbidden Technique: Several officers' storylines involve making such discoveries. Sometimes, you'll have the choice to help them pursue it, with all attendant risks, or to take a safer, less rewarding option.
  • Darkness Equals Death: In a similar system to Amnesia: The Dark Descent, extinguishing your ship's lights can help you hide from enemies and creep past zee-monsters without waking them, but the darkness prevents you from navigating or seeing foes clearly and drains your crew's Sanity Meter.
  • Early-Bird Cameo: Several recruitable officers first appeared as Hallowmas visitors in Fallen London.
  • Early Game Hell: In the beginning, just making enough Echos consistently to keep your ship fueled and provisioned can be a challenge, with a degree of luck required to find the opportunities to break out of that state.
  • Easy Logistics: Mostly averted, providing much of the games challenge. Fuel and Food are used constantly while underway and running out of either can be a death sentence for you(especially if you run out of fuel and then can only drift until you run out of food). Averted in that your Crew doesn't need to be paid after initial hiring and your officers can not only outnumber your crew, but your officers also don't count against your food use.
  • Eldritch Location: The Iron Republic, freed from all laws including the laws of physics and reality. Writing a port report has your captain trying to navigate ever-changing roads while the ink on your paper is constantly shifting. When you go to submit the report, it may be completely blank or explosive.
    • The game is really chock full of these,in every flavor. Looking for a mysterious, confusing place that just doesn't make sense? Frostfound is for you. Looking for a place where rules don't apply? The Iron Republic? A place that drives people mad? Dear God, take your pick.
  • Elephants' Graveyard: The Gant Pole,note  a place "where things go to die".
  • Everyone Has Standards: The pirates on Hearthstake Island in the Empire of hands were shipwrecked there long ago and turned to cannibalism. Not to survive, simply because they longed for the taste of meat. Even then, they refuse to eat a guest. Nor will they ask you to take them home; they've all agreed that cannibalism is the Moral Event Horizon.
  • Fantastic Drug: Red Honey, a proscribed substance described as "too dangerous to be even properly illegal." It is produced by lamplighter bees who feed on the nectar of a particular flower that drives them to madness. It causes them to enter the minds of humans and eat memories, distilling them into the red-staining honey they produce. Every time the honey is tasted, the person it originated from suffers. Needless to say, the Ministry of Public Decency will wish to have some very sharp words with anyone attempting to smuggling it...which makes smuggling it potentially very profitable.
  • Fictional Colour: An entire rainbow (or "Neath-bow") of them. Finding examples of all seven colors is a lengthy, but very rewarding quest.
  • Final Death Mode: Unforgiving Mode only allows a single save, which is automatically overwritten upon death.
  • Fixed Forward-Facing Weapon: Several larger ships are capable of mounting a "forward" class of weapons. It is typically much more powerful than deck guns, but has a much more limited firing arc. Some ships can mount a fixed aft-facing gun as well to discourage chasers.
  • Flare Gun: Flares are used in naval combat - not as weapons, but to light up the enemy and allow a ship's gunners to aim.
  • Fling a Light into the Future: A valid gameplay strategy. After establishing a will (and maintaining it with each heir) it's possible to transmit a limited amount of wealth, equipment, and stats to the next captain. You could potentially devote one captain's entire life to buffing the heir.
  • Fragile Speedster: Cutters are the smallest, lightest and least well-armored ships available - which makes them terribly fast.
  • Fungus Humongous: One of the major life forms of the Neath. The Iron & Misery Company have a station on Demeaux Island dedicated to harvesting them.
    • There's also the Uttershroom, which is the largest Mushroom in an archipelago of them and has a small village on top.
  • Gameplayand Story Segregation: You can have meet someone, have a child with them, and have the child grow up and run away to sea all within the space of a single year. It makes sense from a gameplay standpoint(allowing your child to replace you when you die) but even accounting for the weirdness of the neath it doesn't really many any sense.
    • You can recruit officers with special abilities and stories to sail with you. They never count toward your crew total, they require no supplies to survive, and they are never harmed by crew death events unless the captain dies first.
  • The Ghost: The three gods of the zee - Stone, Storm, and Salt - are never encountered in the flesh. It's possible they don't even exist, but several game mechanics reflecting their attention or displeasure seem to indicate they're quite real.
  • The Goomba: Auroral Megalops. Encountered near Fallen London and by far the easiest enemies in the game, with only 20 HP and dealing 2 damage per attack.
  • A Homeowner Is You: You can buy a house in London, which is needed to raise your child, create heirlooms and build the Zong of the Zee.
  • Honest John's Dealership: Leadbeater & Stainrod are the Neath's largest, cheapest, least reliable provider of ships, ship components and ship repairs. It's entirely possible that they actually want you to drown.
  • Human Cannonball: The Icarus in Black has one purpose: To shoot suicidal human Monster-Hunters at giant zee beasts. The monster hunter does not survive. Usually, neither does the beast.
  • I Know Your True Name: Finding "The Name Which Burns" is the first step to sailing East out of the world. Without the resulting Chain of Deals, the physics-defying silence will threaten to crush you ship and force you to turn around.
  • I'm a Humanitarian: Always a risk when lost at sea, with limited supplies and a cook who's going quietly insane. And then there's Unaccountably Peckish...
  • Infinity–1 Sword: The Serpentine, which is the second-best engine in the game, is also relatively easy (though not guaranteed) to obtain, compared to the Fulgent Impeller, which is far better but requires an extremely long and drawn-out quest chain to get.
    • Many players also favour the Frigate as their end-game ship over the Dreadnought or the Steam-Yacht. The Frigate isn't as tough as the Dreadnought and doesn't have as large a hold, but requires a smaller crew (so less supplies use), is slightly lighter/faster and is half the price to buy, while still being large and powerful enough to complete late-game missions. The Steam-Yacht, meanwhile, has better stat bonuses but isn't as tough, only allows a deck gun and can only be obtained through an extremely lengthy quest.
  • Infinity+1 Sword: The Memento Mori, the Fulgent Impeller and the Zong of the Zee are Infinity+1 Forward Gun, Engine and Auxiliary Equipment, respectively.
  • Interface Spoiler: The trading interface shows the existence of certain items and trade goods before you're likely to find them in play. Notably, the end reward of the Genial Magician's storylet is shown, even before you recruit him.
  • Island of Mystery: Would be more straightforward to list the ones that aren't. Irem probably the pick of the bunch for being literally inexplicable.
  • Istanbul Not Constantinople
  • Joke Item: The Stymphalos-class Steam Launch, a One-Hit-Point Wonder of a ship with a tiny hold, no crew quarters, and a massive stat penalty. Normally, you'll only ever get one if you somehow survive losing your existing ship, but you can buy one in London if you really want to.
  • The Law Firm of Pun, Pun, and Wordplay: Many firms in the naval industry have such names; Cotterell & Hathersage, Leadbeater & Stainrod, Iron & Misery Company, Soothe & Cooper...
  • Leitmotif: Most of the game's soundtrack works like this, in the form of a song appropriate for each area playing whenever you get close to it.
  • Lemony Narrator: The narration can become extremely dry, snarky, or understated depending on the circumstances.
  • Let Us Never Speak of This Again: Your captain's encounter with the Monkey Foundling is detailed in their journal using the following three words: "THIS. NEVER. HAPPENED."
  • Literary Allusion Title: To Kubla Khan. Doubly appropriate, as Xanadu is of established importance in the setting's lore.
    Where Alph, the sacred river, ran
    Through caverns measureless to man
    Down to a sunless sea.
  • Light Is Not Good: The Dawn Machine is an artificial sun that gives the only day-bright light in the entire zee. Anything associated with it causes your crew to get extremely nervous, and the false dawn it creates is always grounds for an Oh Crap! reaction from them, not to mention that Failbetter has said it will be the source of an enemy faction at some point. Justified, given how sunlight is actively hazardous to Neath dwellers (hence why going to Naples is a gamble).
  • Living Ship: The Cladery Heart, a colossal, living heart, clad in iron and set to sea.
  • Luck-Based Mission: Several challenges are purely luck based, but fortunately they are never mandatory and the player has an idea of their odds when choosing to try them. More generally, surviving the Early Game Hell requires a certain degree of luck in the zee's alteration, coupled with some existing knowledge of the game.
  • Macrogame: When a game ends, the player can begin a new game with a choice of bonuses, including skill boosts, maps, officers and weapons. Wealthy captains can also write a will, allowing their house and some of their wealth to be passed on.
  • Mad Artist: The Set, a group of highly eccentric and vicious artist-pirates.
  • Madness Mantra: If you get near the Dawn Machine, the logbook will simply say "THE SUN THE SUN THE SUN THE SUN THE SUN THE SUN THE SUN THE SUN THE SUN"
  • Mega Maelstrom: Whirlpools appear as environmental hazards; they're not hard to avoid, but ships that sail into one will have their hull battered until they can overcome the currents and escape.
  • Men Are the Expendable Gender: Strongly averted. While your generic crew don't have names, most of the gender-specific descriptions refer to them as female and they are quite likely to die at sea.
  • Mighty Glacier: The Eschatologue-class Dreadnought, as the description reads. Tied for the heaviest and slowest ship in the game, and absolutely destroys your Veils score, since trying to be sneaky with a ship that size is doing it wrong. In return, it boosts your Iron score (your damage) tremendously, has all three gun slots available to boot, and it's basically indestructible in terms of hull.
  • Mooks: Pirates and zee-beasts are always referred to by generic descriptions. Ships with names are almost always neutral trading vessels except for the Eater of Names and the Tree of Ages.
  • Multiple-Choice Past: You decide your captain's background, social title, and ambition at the beginning of each game. These influence a number of things throughout the captain's time - which of your stats is initially higher, your starting officer, victory conditions, and a handful of other story directions. You can, however, opt to defer these decisions until a later point in the game.
  • Mundane Luxury: For Londoners, foodstuffs produced from the surface such as rye bread, cheese, and fresh fruits and vegetables are considered to be absolute luxuries. If you resupply while in the surface port of Naples, your crew will all look hungrily at the surface food that you purchased.
  • The Mutiny: A ship's crew may mutiny against their captain if Terror grows too high. If they can't be talked down or beaten down, game over.
  • No Indoor Voice: The pirate captain on Hearthstake island in the Empire of Hands. Every word he says is in caps, the narration even says that he's louder than his blunderbuss.
  • No Party Like a Donner Party: If you're low on food, your crew may resort to eating each other to survive. Furthermore, there are several places where cannibalism is practiced, where you may be introduced to the practice. If you've partaken before, you can actively choose this resort should supplies run out. Some storylines clearly show this as a Moral Event Horizon.
    "Starvation walked the ship. We were merciful; our knives were sharp."
  • Non-Standard Game Over: There's several endings that's not part of your ambition that you can achieve. Unusually, these gives you items that will assist you in your future playthroughs. For instance: Going through the Avid Horizon with the Venturer, or stealing the Emperor's Zeppelin and going East. There are also some more traditional Non-Standard Game Over, like choosing to deliver the Monkey Emperor's Wrath (which is part of things you need to do to get the Zeppelin), but chose to return to London instead when you were warned to not go back.
  • Nonstandard Skill Learning: Secrets serve the role of skill points, but they're also a commodity that can be traded, or expended as a part of quests. To actually turn a Secret into a stat increase, one needs to trade it to an Officer who specialises in that stat. Oh, and the Pages stat increases the rate of Secret accumulation, but no Officer increases Pages higher than the beginner range - it can only be raised through questing.
    • Crafting an unusual item, like an Anatomical Cabinet (from a bunch of skulls and other relics) or a Whispering Trophy Case (from strange catches in the Unterzee) requires seven secrets, boosts a skill by seven points, and gives you an item which boosts that skill by another seven.
  • Noodle Implements: Some of the Merchant Venturer's requests can get... Odd. Some of them make sense, but why does he need romantic literature for a trip through the Avid Horizon?
  • Ocean Madness: It has less to do with the fact that the zee is inherently maddening and more to do with the fact that it is dark, monster-infested, and prone to rearranging itself, but Terror will be your constant sanity-draining bane.
  • Old Save Bonus: You can connect the game to your Story Nexus account, and doing certain new storylets in Fallen London with a linked account can give captains in Sunless Sea starting advantages.
  • Overdrive: Players can dump extra coke into their boilers to drastically increase speed for a brief time. However this is something best done only rarely, since it is very wasteful of fuel, and doing too frequently risks the engine running too hot and causing all sorts of bad things.
  • Phantasy Spelling: Certain words starting with 's' start with 'z' instead in the Neath: 'Unterzee', 'zailor', 'zubmarine', and so on. There's a reason for this.
  • Piñata Enemy: Pirate Frigates net you 1-2 units each of supply and fuel, plus a random loot item like those you get from smaller and larger vessels, and sinking them takes little effort once you can afford a decent weapon + Iron skill. If the Random Number God is feeling unkind, though, all you'll get is a loot item worth a few dozen Echoes.
  • Plunder: Fighting enemy ships to defeat generally leaves them in no condition to be captured, but something can usually be salvaged before they sink, especially their cargo crates. This also applies to large zee-beasts, which when killed usually float up for a while, allowing them to be harvested by the hunting ship.
  • Purely Aesthetic Gender: As is standard in Failbetter games, the Player Character can be addressed as male, female, or any of a number of other descriptors, without limiting their stats, portrait, or options in dalliances. For that matter, if you have a romance with someone in London you can eventually get a letter and choose if your character sired a child or will give birth to one, regardless of your portrait or pronouns or those of your lover. There's even an option where your lover has adopted, and a game note saying "Choose this option if you're unlikely to be either a father or mother." And then you have the option of whether the child calls you Father, Mother, or Captain.
  • Randomly Generated Levels: Aside from major ports like London itself, the map is randomised for each game. Referred to as Alteration by the Londoners, and it's understandably something newsworthy whenever it occurs.
  • Real Time with Pause: Combat and zailing play out in pauseable real time. The clock stops when you have the Gazetteer open, which is usually in a port.
  • Red Shirts: Your officers are named and exempted from crew count and supply consumption. The remainder of your crew are nameless and can be blown up in combat, eaten by zee-beasts, even eaten by fellow crew at your decision.
  • Resources Management Gameplay: Fuel and supplies are necessary to run the ship and maintain the crew, and their use and conservation must be balanced. The integrity of one's hull must also be carefully monitored, as taking damage at less than 50% hull results in (among other things) the deaths of crew. If your ship has 50% or less than its maximum crew capacity, your cruising speed will be effectively halved, which is quite bad. Worse, if your crew count is 25% or lower, your rate of increasing Terror will double.
  • Sanity Meter: The Terror and Hunger stats track the crew's mood. An unhappy crew is at greater risk of going mad, killing each other, mutinying, leaping overboard, destroying precious resources/parts of the ship, or resorting to cannibalism. Your captain will also suffer fits of paranoia, uncontrollable screaming, irrational rage or hallucinations.
  • Schmuck Bait: "Do Not Do This". One of the locations found towards the edge of the world is a mysterious altar that is creepy even by Sunless Sea standards. Two of the options, as well as having activity descriptions that should give most players a clue, are clearly marked "Do Not Do This" by the game. Despite the fact the game has been completely honest with all advice the entire time, forums still contain confused players utterly bewildered at why their game just ended.
  • Screw This, I'm Outta Here!: How you "defeat" Mt. Nomad - as the "grand-daughter of the Bazaar" (yes, that one), it's functionally immortal... but isn't immune to serious injury. At zero Health, you inflict such a bad wound that the Genius Loci decides to cut its losses and submerge to safety underneath the zee until the next Alteration. While you can loot it, it's not you harvesting its corpse so much as sending your crew to get as much from the sinking island as they can before it is fully underwater.
  • Shout-Out: The schematics for the Irrepressible include mention of protective measures "to guard against the bites of sharks".
    • The Finknottle Abyss. Perhaps there are newts there.
    • There's also a Shout-Out to Coleridge's The Rime of the Ancient Mariner if you ate your crew at Kingeater's Castle.
    • On the topic of the Ancient Mariner, it's possible to shoot a white bat that follows your ship. Since the white bat is sacred to the zee-god Salt, just as when the Mariner shot the Albatross, you'll deeply alarm your crew (reflected in huge jump in Terror) and draw the ire of other powers. It's a bad idea.
  • Silent Running Mode: Useful for evading enemy ships and slumbering zee-monsters - unfortunately, it requires cutting the lights, and Darkness Equals Death.
  • Smash Mook: Most zee-monsters fight this way. Once you're spotted, they'll continue to charge at you until either they or you are dead, or when they can no longer spot you. Except the most powerful monsters, which have additional attacks.
  • Songs in the Key of Panic: When you reach 90 points of Terror, an extremely tense song replaces whatever was playing at the moment, and will not stop until you go below 90 once more.
  • Soundtrack Dissonance: Approaching the Iron Republic, that bastion of absolute lawlessness and general inexplicably strange events, is accompanied by a joyful Irish-esque tune that'd be more fitting for an actually pleasant place. Perhaps this place even overwrote whatever laws of narrative made this inappropriate.
  • Submarine Pirates: The Pianolist, one of The Set and captain of the Irrepressible.
  • Temple of Doom: The Vault of the First Emperor was built by monkeys who attempted to imitate this trope as seen in human culture, and as such is something of a Deconstructive Parody of this sort of level:
  • That's No Moon!:
    • Lifebergs and Mt. Nomad look like bits of island. They are not. What they are is large, malicious, and extremely hazardous to shipping.
    • There's additionally The Eye, a huge eyeball embedded in the zee-floor. And based on the surroundings, this leads one to believe at least a fair bit of the zee-floor is a part of this thing's head.
  • Threatening Shark: Bound-sharks are enormous and attack any ship that gets too close.
  • Too Awesome to Use: Sure, the Icarus in Black is such a powerful device it can two-shot Mount Nomad, but those monster-hunters it fires are expensive as hell, and finding places where to hire them in the first place is quite rare too. So aside from Mount Nomad and possibly an emergency it's mostly useless from it.
  • Turtle Island: The Chelonate, a city built on the floating carcass of a colossal turtle. Its inhabitants subsist largely on the the products of the zee - they wear sharks' skin and drink their blood.
  • Underground Monkey: Angler Crabs come in three variants: the red Western, the blue Eastern and the green Elder.
  • Unstoppable Mailman: The residents of Nuncio are bound and determined to sort through all the mail there, no matter how insurmountable the task.
  • Weakened by the Light: Neath-dwellers are harmed by The Power of the Sun, which makes any kind of extended trip to the surface risky. However, that same risk also makes it potentially very profitable.
  • What the Hell, Player?: The game chastises you if you attempt to toss human passengers overboard like cargo. "Captain! What are you thinking?!"
  • Wooden Ships and Iron Men: The ships are iron with hearts of steam, but the vast, dangerous and largely unexplored Unterzee is a setting much more like the Age of sail.
  • The World Is Just Awesome: If the player makes a trip to the surface, a splash image of a sunrise is shown in place of the regular Zee map for as long as they remain.
  • World of Chaos: The Iron Republic, where men rebel against the very laws of physics
  • Understatement: When contemplating betraying a Dapper Chap to the Hands-On Diplomat, the Lemony Narrator has this to say:
    It's safe to say this will end your relationship.
  • Villain Protagonist: The player, horrifically so, depending on their choices. The poor Sigil-eaten Navigator.
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