Piracy (Guide)

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Zailing corsairsforestsmall.png Late Zailing Content
Bounty Hunting Summary
Limited-Length Activity
Setup Progress End
1 A 8+ A 1 A


Raise Chasing Down Your Bounty to 15. Payout depends on Zee Location.
Items Inputs/Outputs
Raw EPA 5.65 Raw SPA 11.10

This guide is incomplete. You can help by expanding it.
What needs work: New Ships!

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.

Unlocking Piracy[edit]

Piracy is unlocked in Gaider's Mourn with Lessons in Mourning 20. This in turn requires the following items:

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[edit]

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 E each, and can be gained in several ways:

Plunder cards[edit]

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.

  • Broad
  • Narrow
Broad reward (rare) Narrow reward (rare)
Home Waters 160 5 300 (350) 250 (300)
Shepherd's Wash / Stormbones 160 6 300 (350) 300 (350)
The Sea of Voices 160 7 300 (350) 350 (400)
The Salt Steppes 210 11 400 (450) 400 (450)
The Pillared Sea 220 12 450 (500) 450 (500)
The Snares 260 13 500 (550) 500 (550)

Bounty Hunting[edit]

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[1]
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 Steppes 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
Actions needed 17 16 15 14 13 12 11 10
Expected EPA, assuming 5500 plunder 3.23 3.43 3.66 3.92 4.23 4.58 5.00 5.50
  1. Assumes 100% success rate, an even mix of narrow and broad, and no rare successes

Treasure Hunts[edit]

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:

Region Treasure Port Notes
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, though note it will not take you below 1
Shepherd's Wash Iron Republic Streets Requires a cycle through the carousel
Shepherd's Wash Aeschaven
The Sea of Voices Polythreme Docks
Stormbones Port Cecil
The Salt Steppes 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.

Spending treasure[edit]

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
Fabulous Diamond 31250 25

Suggestions and recommendations[edit]

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 Trifling Diplomat for further profit. The diplomat currently wants Ancient amphibians (Amphibian Skeletons).
  • 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
  • To optimize for EPA, with access to Khan's Heart and The Rat Market, the most efficient way to hand in plunder is using Exchange some plunder for a Salt Steppe Atlas, selling this at the Khanate market, using the Coinage gained to purchase Crackling Device at a ratio of 25 devices per 26 atlases. These can then be sold at The Rat Market for 850 Rat-Shilling, the equivalent of 85 echoes. This yields 81.73 echoes per atlas on average, at the expense of a single action to sell at the Rat Market (travel costs can be amortized due to unlimited batch sizes).

Staying alive[edit]

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.

  1. Plan your trip based on your experience and skills. The Snares isn't for everyone, especially not without planning in advance.
  2. 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.
  3. Make use of the safe docks. It's completely fair to dock every couple of zee regions. Remember that except for The Chapel of Lights, neither Stormbones, The Pillared Sea nor The Snares have safe docks!
  4. 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.
  5. 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.
  6. 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[edit]

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.

Overview of opportunity cards
Region Chasing cards Plunder cards Cards with both options Zee dream cards[1] Other non-discardable cards[2] "Good cards" percentage
Home Waters 5.8 6.2 0 0 4.2 74%
Shepherd's Wash 5.8 5.2 0 2 5.2 71%
Stormbones 5.8 3.4 0 2 7.2 61%
The Sea of Voices 6.8 3.9 0 1 9.7 55%
The Salt Steppes 5.8 3.4 1 1 4.2 73%
The Pillared Sea 5.8 3.4 1 1 5.2 68%
The Snares 6.8 3.4 1 0 5.2 68%
  1. Doesn't include Delighted dreams
  2. Doesn't include the Light Fingers card or cards that you can lock yourself out of

Review of pirate ships[edit]

Ratings and relevant actions for each ship for piracy purposes (1-3, high is better):
Category Majestic Pleasure Yacht Zubmarine Swift Zee-Clipper The Heart (LEGACY)
Base Speed 2 2 3 3
Safety at Zee 1 2 2 3
Profit at Zee 2 3 1 2
Stats 3 2 1 2
Overall Score 8 9 7 10

Relevant zailing actions of note unlocked with specific ships:

Majestic Pleasure Yacht
Swift Zee-Clipper
The Heart (LEGACY)