My first two captains eventually went mad and were murdered by their crew. My current captain is doing okay, but making sure she isn't driven mad by the zee is still her most pressing concern. Food and fuel are far easier to come by than comfort, especially once you are no longer welcome at Hunter's Keep, and reducing terror at port (aka drinking my troubles away) is expensive and tedious. What else can I do?
First, the obvious: if you return to Fallen London with more than 50 Terror, your Terror will be reduced to 50. And you'll pick up a Nightmare, which becomes a Hearts challenge sometime later when you're out at sea.
The other obvious: Resting at your lodgings will give you a Restful Night, which will help you against the aforementioned Nightmare. It will also reduce your Terror, depending on the quality of your lodgings, but the cost of resting increases with the cost of your lodgings; the practical upshot here is that you'll remove roughly one Terror per 10 Echoes' worth of lodging cost. (The mansion is the most efficient, at 20 Terror for 100 Echoes.)
Otherwise, there's a variety of places to reduce Terror, after ...things... have happened at Hunter's Keep. Here's some of the reasonable ones:
- Killing enemies reduces terror, though no message is shown. Hover the mouse over your terror level when you kill something, and you'll see the reduction a second or so after the final blow. Zee-Bats and Pirate Steam-Pinnaces only remove 1 terror, but the little yellow Auroral Megalops crabs reduce terror by 5, and the red Western Angler Crabs reduce it by 10. This is the main reason why your late-game characters never seem to have a problem with terror.
- Carousing at Wolfstack Docks is better if you have a sweetheart
- Sell Recent News at a Light-Ship (-5 Terror for a cost of ~20 Echoes of value)
- Some of the Something Awaits You stories reduce Terror via visiting one of the locals - this will consume Something Awaits You, but is otherwise free (the Salt Lions, I&M Funging Station)
- As you mentioned, quite a few places have shore leave: spend a few Echoes, lose a little terror, and you can do this repeatedly. Port Carnelian is the best place I've found so far: 20 Echoes for -5 Terror. Polythreme is an awful place for shore leave: -1 Terror for 30 Echoes, probably because the chairs keep trying to wander off and the road screams as you walk on it.
- In the far reaches of the map, there are some conditional ways to reduce terror: Irem (far upper-right) will reduce 10 terror for a sack of coffee and Something Awaits You, and Kingeater's Castle (far lower-right) will reduce 25 terror for 1 fuel and 1 supplies, but only if you're over 50 terror.
None of the answers seem to mention this invaluable tip:
Addition to the Terror meter (the circle next to the terror bar) is calculated at distinct intervals, not continuously over time. If you are not illuminated at all, or have a single source of illumination, that interval appears to be about every 1 to 1.2 seconds (fast). If you have 2 or more sources of illumination, it appears to be about every 3 seconds (slow). Your lamp counts as a source of illumination, but burns fuel at a rate of 1/100th of a fuel barrel per second.
On each tick,
If you have 0 illumination, you gain 2/10s of a point of Terror on the next tick, the Terror meter will be red, your green deck lanterns will turn on, and the next tick will be fast.
If you have 1 illumination, you gain 1/10 of a point of Terror on the next tick, the Terror meter will be yellow, your green deck lanterns will turn off, and the next tick will be fast.
If you have 2+ illumination, you LOSE 1/10 of a point of terror on the next tick, the Terror meter will be green, your green deck lanterns will turn off, and the next tick will be SLOW.
Therefore the most effective way of keeping terror down without burning all your fuel is:
- Route through highly-illuminated areas. This includes the Lighthouses, buoys, and the coasts of cities, among a few other things.
- Toggle your lamp on and off so that it is only ever on for a fraction of a second, DURING the tick, so that your terror change is limited to +1/-1.
- Keep your lamp off if the Terror meter is at 0/10 points towards the next point of Terror and you are already at 1 illumination. You cannot lose a point of Terror this way, so you will just move to +1, which you can (usually) lose on the next tick.
The green deck lanterns are simply a visual queue that Terror is rising rapidly, they do not have an impact on gameplay.
I made that, which covers the major places to reduce terror (they're basically all the ones around the edge).
- Western Coast: London, Venderbight, Cumaean Canal, Whither
- Northern Coast: Frostfound, Irem
- Eastern Coast: Chelonate (risky)
- Southern Coast: Port Carnelian, Adam's Way, Kingeater's Castle
The eastern corner ones (Irem/Kingeater's Castle), especially, have some awesome terror reduction, I suspect specifically because they're quite far from home. Irem needs a sack of darkdrop coffee, though, to open up the option (but you should always keep a wine and coffee on you for random events).
There are some passable but risky ways to reduce terror on all the islands which are randomly positioned, but a lot of them come down to a random check (Grand Geode, can backfire horrifically) or a rough stat check (Chelonate can remove 15 terror for 30 gold, or kill crew but it's an ~150 iron check). Other places are a bit of a lucky dip, usually expensive.
Also, shoot for a kid. Carouse Wolfstack twice, and speak to the same person. Your kid reduces terror by 20 when in London.
Something awaits you can be a risky way to manage terror. Sure, there are a few which save you, but there are also a HEAP of ways it can add terror and other bad things, which is not great if you're already near the limit.
In addition to the methods mentioned already, there's an emergency measure that has saved me at least once: the crew won't mutiny unless there are at least 4 of them. If you aren't going to make it back to London before you reach 100 terror, stop in the nearest port, remove the avid suppressor, then start running at full power until the explosions kill off most of your crew. (You're likely to get other bad events while you're sitting at 100 terror, but at least it won't be the mutiny.)
Hit Surface and haul some cargos. It's not only quite rewarding in E, it also, at the same time, drops your Terror to 0 almost instantly.
If you can't (too high Menaces or distance from Cumaean Canal), simply kill everything you can. YMMV depending on amount of monsters encountered and available firepower.
If that's not an option either, simply get into romance with one of your Officers for an instant Terror drop. Note that this can have a severe impact on your family (i.e. you can lose it easily).