This is the guide to piracy unlocked with access to Gaider's Mourn. Unlocking the Mourn requires spending a Relatively Safe Zee Lane in Wolfstack Docks with base Zeefaring 5. For general zailing mechanics, see Zailing (Guide). While this content is possible to do in the midgame, the challenges will be very hard for midgame players and you should prepare accordingly.
Piracy is unlocked in Gaider's Mourn with Lessons in Mourning 20. This in turn requires the following items:
- 4000 x Piece of Rostygold
- 3 x Strong-Backed Labour
- 1 x Use of Villains
- 5 x Aeolian Scream
- 15 x Mourning Candle
- 50 x Zee-Ztory (these can also be gained at the Mourn)
This process will also give Zeefaring Ztudies 1 and an Almost-Tame Blue Prophet.
With this process done, you may switch between Piracy mode or non-piracy mode by adjusting your Corsair's Colours.
Gaining plunder and treasure
Plunder is the main resource of piracy, which is converted to Stashed Treasure whenever you dock at a safe port or at Gaider's Mourn. See Zailing (Guide) for an overview of safe ports.
Should you suffer A Demise at Zee you will lose half your current plunder, and it is therefore not recommended to keep a lot of plunder on your person in risky circumstances.
Pieces of Plunder Weighing Down Your Hold/ Stashed Treasure has a value of 0.01 each, and can be gained in several ways:
- Directly on "plunder cards"
- Bounty hunting with your Blue Prophet - tied to the progress quality Chasing Down Your Bounty
- Treasure hunts - tied to the opportunity card A Message in a Bottle
As long as your flag is raised, you will find new opportunity cards with options for piracy, as well as new actions on old storylets that provide opportunities for piracy. Luxurious and Zubmersible ships will have one card that's slightly more valuable than usual. These opportunity cards give between 250 and 500 Plunder per opportunity card, depending on Zee Peril. Additionally, rare successes seem to give an additional 50 Plunder.
Most of these actions have higher challenges than regular Zailing cards.
|Region||Broad reward (rare)||Narrow reward (rare)|
|Home Waters||160||6||300 (350)||250 (300)|
|Shepherd's Wash / Stormbones||160||7||300 (350)||300 (350)|
|The Sea of Voices||160||8||300 (350)||350 (400)|
|The Salt Steppe||210||12||400 (450)||400 (450)|
|The Pillared Sea||220||13||450 (500)||450 (500)|
|The Snares||260||14||500 (550)||500 (550)|
You may start finding a bounty with Matters Piratical as long as your flag is raised (which in turn gives harder opportunity cards). Starting a bounty will allow you to gain Chasing Down Your Bounty on many opportunity cards while zailing. The challenges on these opportunity cards are the same as on the plunder cards above.
The progress gain is dependent on your current zee region, and rare successes seem to give slightly more progress. Once this reaches 15, you will draw Cornering the (Bounty) at Last, which will give between 5334 and 5659 plunder (depending on Zee Region) as well as 1 x A Prolific Pirate. Finding a single bounty takes 2 actions plus 119 CP of Chasing Down Your Bounty. See the tables below for EPA math regarding this. Some examples of expected chasing based on routes:
- London-Court of the Wakeful Eye-London : 8.3 CP/card
- London-Khanate-London with the currents and back against the currents: 9.6 (clipper) or 9.7 CP/card
- Round-trip, visiting London and the Khanate: 10.4 CP/card
- London-Khanate-London through the Snares: 12.5 CP/card
|Region||Chasing gain ()||Chasing gain ()||Plunder gained||Expected EPA by region|
|Home Waters||8 (10)||8 (10)||5334||3.13|
|Shepherd's Wash/ Stormbones||9 (11)||8 (10)||5350||3.34|
|The Sea of Voices||10 (12)||8 (10)||5403||3.37|
|The Salt Steppe||14 (16)||13 (15)||5568||5.06|
|The Pillared Sea||15 (17)||14 (16)||5597||5.08|
|The Snares||16 (18)||15 (17)||5659||5.65|
|Breakpoints in Chasing gain (CP)||8.0||8.5||9.2||10.0||10.9||11.9||13.3||14.9|
|Expected EPA, assuming 5500 plunder||3.23||3.43||3.66||3.92||4.23||4.58||5.00||5.50|
- ↑ Assumes 100% success rate, an even mix of narrow and broad, and no rare successes
While zailing you may come across A Message in a Bottle, which gives you Directions to a Hidden Stash. You may only have one of these at a time. Unlike the other options, this also happens with your flag lowered. This will lead to a treasure on one of the major ports you have discovered. Possible ports include:
|Home Waters||Hunter's Keep||Requires two extra actions.|
|Home Waters||Mutton Island||Requires one extra action.|
|Shepherd's Wash||Port Carnelian||Requires one extra action. Leaving early takes another action and costs Imperial Legitimacy|
|Shepherd's Wash||Iron Republic Streets||Requires a cycle through the carousel|
|The Sea of Voices||Polythreme Docks|
|The Salt Steppe||The Copper Quarter|
Digging up a treasure gives between 2000 and 4000 Stashed Treasure, and is expected to give 3000 on average. The following table shows your EPA based on how much of a detour the treasure takes. For the Iron Republic you would have to add a whole cycle as well, making treasures in the Iron Republic most likely not worth doing.
|Actions spent||EPA (without Zee EPA)||Modified EPA (assuming 3 Zee-EPA)|
|2 - You were going to the location already||15||15|
|5 - You were in the same region||6||7.2|
|8 - Neighbouring region (one-way)||3.75||5.5|
|More than one extra region||Probably not worth it|
Should you find a treasure map you do not want (e.g. because you don't want to do a whole cycle of the Iron Republic Streets), you may Throw out your map to buried treasure while zailing at the cost of one action.
Once you have converted a stash of plunder you will want to spend it in Gaider's Mourn.
For every 1250 treasure exchanged in this way you gain 1 CP Respected by the Corsairs The treasure can be spent as follows:
|Reward||Cost in Stashed Treasure||Respected by the Corsairs CP Gain|
|5 x Mourning Candle||1250||1|
|Cave-Aged Code of Honour||1250||1|
|Relatively Safe Zee Lane||6250||5|
|Salt Steppe Atlas||6250||5|
Suggestions and recommendations
Piracy is an activity best done in combination with other Zee-related activities. Piracy doesn't give a very high EPA in itself - an estimate around 3-4 EPA depending on skills, luck and route may be a rough estimate when combining bounties, treasures, random opportunity cards and zee-dreams cards. It should be noted that Zee-EPA refers to the EPA while zailing, not including docking actions. This guide will assume Zee-EPA of 3 with grinds based in regions with less than 150 Zee Peril, and a Zee-EPA of 4 in more challenging seas.
Some suggestions for other activities to combine it with include, but isn't limited to:
- Crate smuggling between London and the Khanate.
- There are currently no safe ports in either The Pillared Sea or Stormbones, which means it's probably a good idea to pass through The Snares at least on the way back from the Khanate to London.
- Assuming zailing through the Snares, each cycle takes 24-26 actions depending on optimism, 16-18 of which are zailing actions (not docking), gives a profit of ~45 E + Zee-EPA. Assuming 3 Zee-EPA, that's 3.81-3.87 EPA. Assuming 4 Zee-EPA, that's 4.50-4.54 EPA
- With An Agent of No Consequence, once a week, this should be combined with collecting Emetic Revelations from Khan's Heart. This gives a profit of 107.5 E + whatever you get from zailing at 26-28 actions, 16-18 of which are zailing actions (not docking). With a Zailing EPA of 3, this reaches 5.77-5.98 EPA. Using a Zailing EPA of 4 gives 6.41-6.59 EPA
- You may also sell skeletons to the Diplomat for further profit. The diplomat currently wants Primaeval birds.
- Hunting Zee beasts such as crocodiles involves two zailing actions per hunt, and you get to play only your preferred opportunity cards. Docking at London once in a blue moon to reset Troubled Waters won't hurt your EPA too much. See Hunting the Beasts of the Zee (Guide) for a guide on this. Assuming crocodiles done in 8 actions for Monster-Hunters, and assuming 3 EPA when zailing, that gives 38 E/8 actions or 4.75 EPA.
- Orphan-grind or other grinds related to Tribute. This can additionally be combined with a trip to the Khanate and crate smuggling.
- Orphan-grind has an EPA of 4.792/4.848 EPA plus echoes from the Zee. With 20-22 actions with Zee profit per 171-173 actions a Zee EPA of 3 increases this to 5.17/5.20 EPA
- Favour-based tribute has an EPA of 6.481/6.441 plus echoes from the Zee. With 10-11 actions of Zee profit per 147.8/148.8 actions, a Zee EPA of 3 increases this to 6.684/6.663 EPA
One of the biggest difficulties with piracy is the risk of dying. For Cider owners this isn't quite as big a deal, but losing 50% of your plunder hurts either way. Hence this section with tips for staying alive.
- Plan your trip based on your experience and skills. The Snares isn't for everyone, especially not without planning in advance.
- Remember that dying will both cost actions as well as cutting your plunder in half. It's better to spend some actions at low EPA than spending actions with the Boatman.
- Make use of the safe docks. It's completely fair to dock every couple of zee regions. Remember that neither Stormbones, The Pillared Sea nor The Snares have safe docks!
- Prepare yourself for dangers ahead! If you're planning a route through the Snares or the northern route, don't start at TW 5. If things go south before you enter the dangerous zone, it's not too late to change your mind.
- Unlock safe options on opportunity cards for use in a pinch. This can be done by having certain items, like your ship (see below for ratings), A False-Star of your Own, A Faceted Decanter of Drownie Effluvia, being a Monster-Hunter, The Crew of the HMS Ramillies or having done Damp Martyrs. Having a few of these options greatly increase your survival odds.
- If you're likely to die, consider lowering your flag to remove the piracy cards, since they are generally less forgiving than the normal cards.
Overview of piracy actions in each zee
The table below shows the amount of Piracy-related cards on the different zees. The numbers are weighted by frequency, and cards only available with 4+ Troubled Waters have had their values halved.
|Region||Chasing cards||Plunder cards||Cards with both options||Zee dream cards||Other non-discardable cards||"Good cards" percentage|
|The Sea of Voices||6.8||3.9||0||1||9.7||55%|
|The Salt Steppe||5.8||3.4||1||1||4.2||73%|
|The Pillared Sea||5.8||3.4||1||1||5.2||68%|
Review of pirate ships
|Category||Majestic Pleasure Yacht||Zubmarine||Swift Zee-Clipper||The Heart (LEGACY)|
|Safety at Zee||1||2||2||3|
|Profit at Zee||2||3||1||2|
Relevant zailing actions of note unlocked with specific ships:
- A combined profitable and fast option in The Sea of Voices (link). Less useful if you have Polythremean Captain's Boots (FATE).
- Additional value on a piracy card
- Specific options in Shepherd's Wash (link), Stormbones (link) and The Sea of Voices (link). As these are in regions with low Zee Peril, they will usually not be very useful.
- Useful option when encountering a Killing Wind with Troubled Waters 4+ (link)
- Additional value on a piracy card.
- A safe option on a card with Troubled Waters 4+ while Zailing the Unterzee (link). This action is similar to one requiring Damp Martyrs (FATE). Additionally, this card has a piracy option that you might prefer in safe waters.
- A safe option on a card with Troubled Waters 4+ in The Sea of Voices (link). As Zee Peril is fairly low here, this option will be less useful.
- Easier challenges on 6 bad cards, potentially making them worth playing in a pinch, 3 in Stormbones (1, 2, 3), one universal action (link), one in Shepherd's Wash (link) and one in The Pillared Sea (link)
- Safe and useful options on two cards (Stormbones, Universal)
- The same safer options as the Swift Zee-Clipper