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Before his untimely demise, my character met a guy Blind Bruiser, who gave him a thousand credits and orders to go pick something up from a port I'd never heard of and return with some goods. I read the flavor text carefully but didn't see any indication of where that port was. He told me not to come back without the goods, so I basically sailed around looking for it until my crew went crazy, mutinied, and murdered me.

Is there some way other than

  • Already having been there, and thus having it on your map
  • Cheating and looking it up on the Internet

that I'm supposed to be able to determine where exactly a port is when an NPC sends me on a mission? In this particular case, it was unfortunate because by the time he told me the name of the place I had to go, it was too late to back out. On a related note, the admiralty also wanted me to do something at a particular port but gave me no real indication of where that port was.

Are you just sort of supposed to sail around until you get lucky, or is there a way to get a general location of things that I'm missing?

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  • This is one of my biggest issues with the game.
    – Ash
    Feb 8 '15 at 21:12
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Alright, after playing this more and doing a lot more reading on the net, it sounds like in many cases, no, there is not going to be any indication in-game of where to go. You'd better just start sailing and hope you get lucky if you aren't already familiar with the game and don't want to look it up on the Internet.

That said, even if you do want to look it up on the Internet, you might still have to do some sailing, because parts of the map are randomized.

This Steam guide - Unterzee Navigation 101 by King Banhammer does a pretty excellent job explaining how the randomization works. Go read it if you want help knowing what general area to explore when you're looking for a particular location. If you read that, you probably don't need to read any more of this answer, but just in case you want a summary I'll try to highlight some details below:

  • The game map is divided into a 6x6 grid, for 36 total zones. 11 of these are fixed, and the other 25 are randomized to some extent
  • The 6 tiles in the western column will always be the same.
  • The 6 tiles in the southern column will always be the same.

That's 11 tiles that contain locations (such as Fallen London or Venderbight) that will be the same from game to game, and that you can reliably go find.

After that, it sounds like various locations will always appear in general area of the grid.

  • The northern 5 tiles are randomized (only 5 instead of 6, because the western one is fixed as per above), but will always contain the same locations in some order.
  • The eastern 5 tiles are randomized (only 5 instead of 6, because the western one is fixed as per above), but will always contain the same locations in some order.

So, if something is known to be in that northern zone, you can just head north up the coast from Fallen London, then head east when you get to the top until you run into it. You could do something similar for the east, but good luck not dying way out there.

The 16 "middle" zones are where things get really random, and if you are looking for something in there, you'll unfortunately probably just need to sail around and hope for the best. But, hey, at least you're down to 16 random map tiles to look through instead of 36! You just cut the amount of random sailing you have to do by more than half!

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    The middle zone isn't as bad as you'd think, either: It's broken into three zones (roughly a 3high x 2 wide block just east of London, a 5-tile block east of that (another 3x2 with the bottom right cut out), and a five block L-shape that runs along the south edge (just above the Actual Southern Edge) that jots up into that space that's missing from the eastern 3x2. So once you learn what's in each "neighborhood", it gets easier. (Map showing the blocks here: hydra-media.cursecdn.com/sunlesssea.gamepedia.com/thumb/4/43/…) Mar 28 '16 at 21:31
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Regarding randomisation, it's exactly as you say.

For the first couple of captains, you might consider taking the map legacy while you work out how best to navigate (although you don't gain fragments from discovering places, so it's a balance). Also, don't underestimate the use of the zee-bat (push 'z'). You can click the report that pops up, and it'll tag the port/islands on your map.

The Admiralty will generally give you a pretty solid clue for the location of the Commission you're on. If it says "somewhere near London" then it's within a couple of tiles. If it says "Far to the east", it's in column 4 or 5, and so on.

Now, to the Blind Bruiser. The first place he sends you is Mount Palmerston - always in the north, and I believe he tells you this pretty explicitly. The problem is, he only says in the mission briefing, not in the journal notes. The next places are Gaider's Mourn, Khan's Heart and Polythreme (I forget the precise order). Those are all mixed up in the middle somewhere, but the zeebat will help here, immeasurably.

I would try and have uncovered 50% or more of the map locations before you return from the Mount Palmerston mission (there's no time pressure on this one). Generally speaking, I'd do the Venderbight mission first (for 100 echoes), sell the trainer book then buy 20+ fuel, and don't return to London until you have 15 or so port reports. If you die at that point (although you really shouldn't, just use "full power" (f key) to escape anything scary), you can restart with little lost. You'll return to port with around 500 echoes from port reports alone, lots of free fuel (from the same port reports), and probably have a load of interesting things to sell, which puts you in good shape for your next journey, where you want to do the same, but pick up a few new ports on top of the ones you've uncovered.

You can manage terror at lighthouses, and most ports have some interaction to reduce terror, and it generally warns you if it's expensive. Also, learn which ports have cheap fuel and supplies (some are painfully expensive) and you can plan your trips accordingly.

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