Follow TV Tropes

This is based on opinion. Please don't list it on a work's trope example list.

Following

Nightmare Fuel / Sunless Sea

Go To

https://static.tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pub/images/300px_salts_eye.PNG
I SEE YOU!
Just like in Fallen London, the Neath holds plenty of unpleasant surprises for you. This game, if anything, shows you even more of them, now that you can cross a monster-filled zee and visit places no one in their right mind should.

Advertisement:
  • Polythreme, and the surrounding areas. A world where Everything Talks turns out to be less of a whimsical land of adventure and more of a place of eerily subservient clay golems that seek to only work, dangerous and amoral golems lacking something the others have and are almost impossible to stop from a rampage, and where everyday objects plead you not to harm them or plot your demise.
  • The Chapel of Lights is arguably the most horrifying location in the whole game, maybe even the whole franchise. On the surface it's quite whimsical, filled with voices, music, and many, many candles, and hey, they even have free food! Then you learn the inhabitants worship "The Drowned Man" (that is, Mr Eaten), and suddenly the Smiling Priest's charity seems a little...fleshy, and your captain is feeling rather Unaccountably Peckish...
    • The services in the Chapel are all rather creepy, but St. Gawain's service trumps over them all. The ritual to create St. Gawain's Candle, which you can subject yourself to, consists of keeping a person alive via Correspondence sigils as their head is cut off, their organs are scraped out, and the now hollow interior is pumped full of burning hot wax and the spine is replaced by a wick. It's non-fatal: the sigils keep you alive afterwards. Oh, and said wax is said to have been donated by lesser worshipers (that is, rended from their body fat), and the wick is said to span from the crown of your head all the way to the hollow of your groin. Feel free to puke now.
  • Advertisement:
  • Your captain can be a terror as well, especially if they're Unaccountably Peckish. A certain ritual done in Kingeater's Castle, upon the poor Sigil-ridden Navigator, will tell you as much, and you easily partake in rituals and meals that involve slaughtering someone and feeding them to your unknowing crew.
  • In addition to pirate ships, you will occasionally meet named peaceful ships on the zee. They often sail bizarre courses that lead nowhere, or spin in circles, or just disappear in the middle of nowhere. That could be because their implementation is buggy, or because their captains are succumbing to madness, or because the entire crew has starved to death, or because your captain is seeing things that aren't there, or because something just dragged an entire ship underwater in the blink of an eye...
  • Advertisement:
  • Avid Horizon, like its Fallen London incarnation, is Nothing Is Scarier made into a place. There's the stars above, the two statues, and a gate. That's it. There's nothing else, anywhere in the area. And you get no clue as to why it's there, or where it leads. Or, more importantly, whether it's unopenable from the other side as well, as remarked in the Port Report. Looking at it underwater is also pretty unsettling, it glows red compared to the rest of the ice shelf and is covered with creepy sigils, and directly underneath it is what looks like volcanic magma which is only found underwater next to Mt. Palmerson.
  • Dahut, one of the new locations added in Zubmariner. Every action you take there slowly erodes your willpower to resist the Drownies' Glamour.
  • The two most powerful zee-beasts are nothing to sneer at:
    • The Tree of Ages. Remember the sorrow-spiders from Fallen London, and how they could form spider-councils? The Tree of Ages is one lurking near Saviour's Rocks, one bigger than a dreadnought. The picture that appears for the event when you kill it is quite creepy as well, showing a humanoid figure towering over what looks like a city, completely covered in spiderweb. Also, the spiders at Saviour's Rocks are planning to form the Tree of Eons, presumably incorporating the Tree of Ages into something even larger.
    • Mt. Nomad. A grandchild of the Sun and child of the first Snuffer (see below), that lurks near the Chapel of Lights and Avid Horizon. "There are reasons no one likes going near the Avid Horizon. Mt. Nomad is at the top of the list". It can wield the Correspondence as well, much like a Lorn-Fluke, befitting of the relative of a Judgement, the Bazaar, and the Fathomking. Nothing quite compares to seeing a mountain of black glass, looking like a Lifeberg gone wrong, cruising leisurely over the edge of the screen towards you.
  • The Dawn Machine. Even leaving aside what you learn later on about it, even if all you know is how it looks, it can be eerie. Props to the art department for managing to make an enormous, amber-glowing clockwork machine look creepy.
    • What do you learn about it later? That it's, in a sense, alive, likes brainwashing people, it's taken over a chunk of London's admiralty, it plans on usurping the Judgements, and more importantly, it hates you. The machine only wants to rule, and you're either a pawn or something to be deleted.
    • THE SUN THE SUN THE SUN THE SUN THE SUN THE SUN THE SUN THE SUN THE SUN
    • There's a quality called Supremacy: The Dawn Machine. And yes, it can be maxed, leading to the damn thing winning
  • The Eye. Yes, that one you might remember from the trailer. You never find out much about it, other than it belongs to something forgotten, that only the eye is bigger than any ship you can have, and that you just woke it up. Naturally, spotting it causes your terror to skyrocket. It shows up in your (in-game) nightmares too.
    • In said nightmare, conquering the eye is as simple as running away. As the Eye never actually attacks you, that wisdom will serve just as well in reality.
    • It gets even better underwater when you have the Zubmariner DLC, as the eye is terrifyingly detailed, and its pupil always follows your ship. As soon as you get near it, the music is abruptly muted, terror jumps by 10, and you get a message saying "We are beheld!" It turns out that it's more or less a kind of entrance to some unknowable realm, and that it's apparently connected with the Liberation of the Night, adding to the mystery of just exactly what the hell it is or why it's there.
  • Kingeater Castle. An abandoned shrine to the gods on the edge of the Zee. The architecture is bad enough, but the dark rituals that you can conduct there for things such as the the Fulgent Impeller cement it as a place of dark, incomprehensible and otherworldly power.
    • There's a huge stone limb jutting out from the zee near Kingeater. Zubmerging allows you to see the massive statue of a person it's attached to. It looks like it's in the middle of gasping for breath.
    • While most things have at least some explanation in the lore at large, King-Eaters Castle does not. There is only the vaguest notion of who built it, when it was built, and for what purpose. However, if you're knowledgeable in the Fallen London lore, you can realize that this is most likely the place where Mr. Candles was given to the leaders of the Third City so that they could feast on its flesh to grant them untold power. That's right: this is where Mr. Eaten, a.k.a. the Drowned Man, was betrayed. Still feel like staying? The possibility that it is not that place, which also has evidence backing it note , is equally unnerving, too. That would mean Mr Eaten and whatever happened here are separate terrible events, as if one wasn't enough.
    • Kingeater Castle also seems to have some kind of connection with Salt, the sea god, as a questline added in the Zubmariner expansion allows you to gain Salt's attention (and lift Salt's curse) here. Entering the centre of Frostfound alludes to a 'terrible hunger' that the traveller left behind when it went East, which could make Kingeater Castle the physical incarnation of Salt's hunger, left behind in the Unterzee... Or just the end result of what happens to a place when a god decides to give up something in a physical location. Either way, not a pleasant place.
  • The Iron Republic can be this if viewed from the right way. While it's possible to gain a stat boost just by being there, it's also possible to lose points. The place just does not follow any of the rules of reality, and it's a reminder that those rules existed for a good reason.
    • Having high enough terror leads to a scene where, upon pulling into port, your nightmares gain physical form and "line up on the quay, waiting, waving like old lovers." Subverted if you accept their invitation — your embrace of them halves your Terror and gives you Fragments.
  • The Low Barnet seems rather tame, at least compared to most of the other locations. Until you ring the bell. The Bell is alive, and some sort of Eldritch Abomination. You get a terrifying first person description of what it does to you.
  • "Man, my terror's already 70? Guess I better dive to avoid all the surface enemies. What's the skittering? Where's it coming from? Why is it getting louder? WHERE DID THE GIANT SPIDER COME FROM?! WHY IS IT SO STRONG?! WHY CAN'T I ASCEND FASTER?!" Ladies and Gentlemen, introducing the Constant Companion...
  • The Irrepressible, a zubmarine lurking near the Gant Pole, supposedly the most feared vessel in the Unterzee. There's something not right about it. It uses Irrigo ammunition, and it is implied that the zub is alive in some sense, what with its hull appearing to be Peligin like the skin of a zee-beast, and it being described as "like a wild animal" during "death".
    • That same feeling of a living being extends to your crew if you fail to loot its wreck. They return empty handed and spooked, telling you of wondrous riches and treasures aboard the completely deserted vessel, but that they felt they were constantly being observed. Upon your frustrated command for them to get back over there and bring some of that treasure back, the wreck tears itself apart with a "tuneful roar", seemingly just to spite you.
    • Its captain, the Pianolist, barely gets to show up, but is described as one of the single most dangerous individuals in the zee. Only one event has you interacting in any way with him, and while he's reasonable, he's very much an eerie presence (speaking only through the zub's communicator that sounds like singing through an old gramophone), and he will not tolerate anyone leaving his crew. If you have any ex-Set members onboard, he'll ask you to hand them over, because betrayers being betrayed is a delicious thing. His punishment is mostly unseen, though very much heard, with crunching and slicing and an unusually terrifying rendition of a Vivaldi piece, and he will give you back the punished ones' hearts as thanks... and you will see he made pianola sheets out of those hearts. The game has very few opportunities to interact with The Set, and every last one of them has its terror.
    • Claiming it's signature weapon, the Irrigo Cannon, reveals that the cannon is actual an ordinary gun firing supernaturally charged ammunition. While you can apply the same irrigo-boosted gunpowder to your own shells for a substantial boost to your Irons, you learn that your magazine is now host to ethereal whispering.
  • It is possible to pick up "a Raggedy Fellow". Or not, where he curses you "to be abandoned, just as you abandoned him." This turns out to be a very good idea, for there is a chance that he is a Snuffer. The first sign you get is finding a peeled off face on the decks, that of the Raggedy Fellow, and you begin losing crew to the Snuffer. Thankfully, there are a variety of methods to stopping him. Including your crew rearranging his organs and tossing him into the zee. But if this continues to the point where it's just you and one crew member... Good luck. For you might murder your own human crew member, or the Snuffer kills you and escapes. Or you are the Snuffer.
  • Mr. Sacks.
    Mr. Sacks: I WILL TAKE ALL YOU CAN GIVE. I WILL TAKE ALL YOU HAVE. I WILL TAKE MORE.
  • Salvaging wrecks and corpses on the surface of the Zee is already an invitation to brush with malign and supernatural things, but doing so at the helm of a Zubmarine introduces myriad new horrors for your zailors to fall victim to. Or to inflict upon others who roam the depths.
    • Recovering the corpse of a Neither sees you dispatch a pair of hapless divers, only for them to be quickly and brutally enveloped by the churning, dissolving mass and vanish. One lives long enough for you to behold their fear-twisted face, crying out in terror before the murk consumes them. You assure yourself that it's impossible, but the crew insists they could hear the screaming through the hull.
    • Putterponies are deep-zee cargo haulers from the Khanate, easy prey for an enterprising captain, but if you're feeling charitable, you can opt to hear the last wishes of the crew as their vessel sinks. Failing a Hearts test nets you the soul-chilling sight of their hands frantically slapping at the glass of the airlock, pleading for an impossible rescue from the ship that doomed them. Succeed, however, and a single woman appears at the porthole, and with her final breath mouths to you across the void, "Neither of us should be here."
Top

How well does it match the trope?

Example of:

/

Media sources:

/

Report