Zailing (Guide)

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This guide tries to cover the basic mechanics of zailing. For more info on the locations you may reach (and why you would go there), see the location guide.

This guide does not cover piracy, which alters the mechanics of many of the opportunity cards when zailing. See Piracy (Guide) for that.

Getting a ship[edit]

In order to own a ship, you must be A Person of Some Importance -. Until then, you may travel to Polythreme via A Ticket to Polythreme at the Wolfstack Docks, or to Mutton Island via Board (only during the Fruits of the Zee Festival).

Once you're a PoSI, you can start working towards Acquiring a Ship. The PoSI Item Crafting guide includes details on getting ships. It is generally recommended to start with the Rusty Tramp Steamer, as the Clipper, Zub, and Yacht are significantly more expensive. It is possible to trade in ships at any time.

Zailing Speed is a measure of how fast your ship is. Zubmersibility allows safer passage on several cards and Luxurious open branches that give more material rewards than usual.

Which ship should I get?[edit]

As a new player it may be hard to decide which ship to get. This may also be hard as an experienced player. This section covers the benefits of the different ships in the midgame, before piracy. See Piracy (Guide) for an overview relevant for the endgame. In order to decide, here's what each ship tells about you as a player:

What does my ship say about me?

Rusty Tramp Steamer
  • I can't really afford any of the other ships yet
  • I haven't decided what I want to do with my ship.
  • A ship is a way to avoid swimming (although it's probably equally fast)
Majestic Pleasure Yacht
  • I can zail for days without needing to resupply, and my vessel will always be safe against Zee monsters.
  • I'm an eccentric gentleperson with refined taste
  • A proper ship is a means to explore the entire Unterzee - not just the surface
Swift Zee-Clipper
  • When zailing I'm all about the speed. Why spend time to avoid enemy ships if you can outpace them?
  • I don't care about BDR, I just want to reach my target as fast as possible
  • A ship is a means of getting from A to B in the least amount of actions.
Ratings of each ship for mid-level zailing (1-3, high is better).
Category Rusty Tramp Steamer Majestic Pleasure Yacht Zubmarine Swift Zee-Clipper
Cost of acquirement 3 2 1 2
Base Speed 1 2 2 3
Extra and improved actions at Zee 1 1 3 3
Profit at Zee 1 2 3 1
Stats 1 3 2 1
Overall Score 7 10 11 10

Non-piracy actions unlocked with specific ships:

Majestic Pleasure Yacht
Swift Zee-Clipper

Gaining progress[edit]

Zailing is done on non-discardable opportunity cards. Most cards will provide Zailing... equal to your ship's Zailing Speed and half of that on some failures and other options. They might also give you menaces (see the menace section) or material rewards. For zailing to a new region, you will either zail with the currents or against them. The currents go counter-clockwise on the map, as can be seen on the model below. Experienced zailors may also zail through the Snares (DON'T DO THIS EARLY ON). Once you have reached your region you will zail directly to your new location.

If your destination is in the same region as you, you will need 80 Zailing... and not gain any Zee Legs. Otherwise, you will need 160 or 220 Zailing... and gain 1 x Zee Legs per region on your way, except for your destination region, where you will only need 80. Discounting currents, this means that returning to Home Waters (the easiest region) even from safe ports is generally a bit more difficult than leaving from there but don't fret -- everybody returns to London eventually.

The table below shows how much progress is needed to reach the next region or your chosen area. Options that give half speed are considered 0.5 actions.

Zailing direction Zailing... needed Actions to next region/your area
Rusty Tramp Steamer Majestic Pleasure Yacht Zubmarine Swift Zee-Clipper
Along the Currents 160 4 3 3 2.5
Against the Currents 220 5 4 4 3
Direct route 80 2 1.5 1.5 1.5
Through the Snares 160 4 3 3 2.5
Unterzee map fancy.png

The Broad Unterzee is divided in several different regions. Each has its own difficulty, also known as Zee Peril. Most broad challenges in main attributes ( Watchful, Shadowy etc.) are equal to Zee Peril. Some narrow challenges against skills (e.g. Kataleptic Toxicology) using a logistic relationship to Zee Peril[1]. Some challenges do not adjust difficulty by region, notably the one that tests against Zeefaring.

Region (Current 🠗) Zee Peril Narrow Challenge Notes
Home Waters 100 3
Shepherd's Wash 110 3 Southern Wind is found here
The Sea of Voices 150 5
The Salt Steppe 200 9
The Pillared Sea 210 9
Stormbones 110 3 Northern Wind is found here
Between the regions
The Snares 250 12
  1. The exact formula appears to be:


The following table shows the different areas, based on region and additional requirements or notes. See the location guide for a more in-depth guide to the locations. Safe ports remove Troubled Waters and all zee-threat qualities upon docking.

Locations that can be visited more than once
Location Zee Location Requirements / Notes Safe Dock?[1]
Abbey Rock Shepherd's Wash Ambition: Bag a Legend! 44
Apis Meet Shepherd's Wash FATE Flint
Bullbone Island Home Waters Embarking on a Voyage of Scientific Discovery 3
The Chapel of Lights Stormbones [2]
Corpsecage Island Stormbones
The Court of the Wakeful Eye Shepherd's Wash Associating with Radical Academics 20
Gaider's Mourn The Snares
Godfall Shepherd's Wash Discovered: Godfall
Grunting Fen The Sea of Voices
Hunter's Keep Home Waters
The Iron Republic Shepherd's Wash Iron Republic Safe-Conduct
Khan's Heart The Salt Steppe Discovered: The Khanate
London Home Waters
Mangrove College The Sea of Voices Discovered: Mangrove College
Mutton Island Home Waters
Polythreme The Sea of Voices Screaming Map
Port Carnelian Shepherd's Wash Imperial Legitimacy
Port Cecil Stormbones Discovered: The Principles of Coral
The Tomb Colonies Stormbones FATE All Things Must End
One-time and similar locations
Location Zee Location Requirements / Notes Safe Dock?
The Approach to the Mountain Shepherd's Wash [3]
Avid Horizon Stormbones Embarked on a Sanctioned Expedition to the North
Cline Shepherd's Wash Associating with Radical Academics exactly 100
NORTH Stormbones SMEN 77 [4]
Your Flotilla Home Waters Ambition: Light Fingers! 51-64
  1. Sorting by this will also group by area, so that you can easily find the closest safe dock.
  2. Moves you to Your Lodgings
  3. Moves you to Your Lodgings via The Chapel of Lights
  4. Also removes your ship and An Explorer of the Unterzee -

Hunting Locations[edit]

As these aren't docks, they will not reset Troubled Waters. All hunts require Making Progress in the Labyrinth of Tigers 16. See Hunting the Beasts of the Zee (Guide) for details.

Location Zee Location Requirements / Notes
Feral Crocodile Hunting Grounds Home Waters Monstrous Anatomy 5
Angler Crab Spawning Grounds Shepherd's Wash
Lifeberg Hunting Grounds
Plated Seal Spawning Grounds Stormbones No Plated Seals

Discovering locations[edit]

In order to see a location on the Zee map (and subsequently travel there), you need to have first discovered those locations. For the locations where this is mentioned as a requirement, there are typically different ways to do this.

  • Mangrove College is discovered by passing by. This typically involves travelling to any location in the Sea of Voices.
  • the Khanate is discovered by one of several actions. You may either pass by. This typically involves travelling to the Sea of Voices, and then switching destination to London and zailing with the currents. Alternatively, there's an option when looking at Salt Steppe Atlases that requires some Zeefaring, as well as an option from the story in Balmoral.
  • It seems like Irem will use discovered qualities in some way or another as well, once it's released.



The Broad Unterzee is full of menaces. Some of these are just general menaces, while some are more specific. These qualities (except for Wounds and Nightmares) are all removed when docking at a safe dock.

Note that Zee-Menace cards are Urgent, meaning that they will always be drawn before other Zee-cards if eligible. If you have more than one Zee Menace with Troubled Waters 7, you will not be able to draw other cards. Zee-Menace cards have a dark green (or black) border, showing that these are sinister cards.

Troubled Waters

  • If it reaches 7, you will begin to draw cards depending on the other menace qualities you have.
  • If it reaches 8: Tuesday, __th of ____, ____. This will give you A Demise at Zee: and either kill you or make you mad. The exact manner depends on your other menaces. After you have returned to London, you can regain access to your ship by meeting the crew at Wolfstack Docks at the cost of a single action. Note that this will take precedence to arriving at your destination.

Rumbling Stomachs

Silent Stalker

  • Gained when Zee-monsters notice you.
  • Together with Troubled Waters 7: Signs of Pursuit

Creeping Fear

  • Gained when your crew is afraid of something.
  • Together with Troubled Waters 7: A Growing Concern

Groaning Hull

  • Gained when damaging your ship.
  • Together with Troubled Waters 7: Taking in Water

Mutinous Whispers

Unwelcome on the Waters


  • When Nightmares reaches 8, you will go mad as usual. Storylet: Into Dark Water


Zee-Menace Cards at a Glance
Menace Card Check Other Option
Rumbling Stomachs A Worrying Appetite Requires 1  Unaccountably Peckish
Silent Stalker Signs of Pursuit Spend 10 x Deep-zee Catch, gain Rumbling Stomachs and is locked on it
Creeping Fear A Growing Concern Spend 1 x Crate of Incorruptible Biscuits, 100 x Foxfire Candle Stub, 100 x Bottle of Greyfields 1882, gain Rumbling Stomachs
Groaning Hull Taking in Water Spend 500 x Nevercold Brass Sliver, gain Creeping Fear
Mutinous Whispers Signs of Disloyalty Spend 250 x Shard of Glim and 250 x Moon-Pearl
Unwelcome on the Waters Zeeborne Pariahs Spend 50 x Inkling of Identity, gain Mutinous Whispers

Dream Qualities[edit]


The wind qualities allow you to dream new dreams in London. Actions first increase the wind qualities by 4 CP, then by 1 CP per card. Conveniently the cards that initially raise the wind qualities have a blue border. The wind qualities do not reset when docking and once you have experienced the winds for the first time, more cards will increase it. Each finished dream storyline will give you an Oneiric Pearl, reset the storyline and grant a special quality that will allow you to dismiss the related dream and clear its wind once you draw the card again - or you may keep dreaming for more Pearls.

Rosy Colours Leaping on the Wall work slightly different in that the dream cards are drawn at zee and require a quality from an equipped hat instead of a wind quality. Instead of providing a Pearl, it produces Whirring Contraptions. The first cycle gives a lot more contraptions than subsequent cycles.

Southern Wind
Northern Wind
Eastern Wind
Delighted + Nightmares

Opportunity Cards[edit]

See this page for a list of all the opportunity cards at Zee.

Minimizing Troubled Waters[edit]

Below are the cards that do not increase Troubled Waters. Options that have a Challenge won't increase Troubled Waters on a success, but usually do increase it on failure, unless specified otherwise. Some cards also actually decrease Troubled Waters, whereas others just give 0 CP.

All Zee Menace cards (dark green or black borders) also always reduce Troubled Waters, except for one option on A Worrying Appetite.

Somewhat ironically, one way to avoid accumulating to much Troubled Waters is to travel through the Snares instead of around. For example, going from the Salt Steppes to London along the current would take you along the Pillared See, which is just somewhat safer than going through the snares. But afterwards you will have to pass through Stormbones, giving you additional chances to lose your mind or becoming dinner. {{Citation needed}}

All Regions Option Challenge Requirements TW Loss Zailing... Progress Menaces [Collapse]
A Corvette of Her Majesty's Navy Exchange pleasantries via semaphore Suspicion < 5 -2 CP Speed
A Giant Angler Crab Full reverse! Turn us away! Shadowy Speed/2
Ready the guns and fire at its soft spots Monstrous Anatomy -2 CP Speed
A Huge Terrible Beast of the Unterzee! Delicious, delicious lumps Dangerous Speed +1 x UP
Gives Rumbling Stomachs
A Navigation Error Correct your course Watchful Speed
Listen to the Zee Zeefaring Speed
Let your own star guide you Persuasive A False-Star of your Own -5 CP on success, 0 CP on failure Speed
A Spit of Land Stop briefly at the island Luck (50%) -2 CP Speed/2
FATE-locked The Cladery Heart -1 CP Speed
Passing a Lightship Stop and exchange news 7 x Zee-Ztory None
Zail on Speed
Rats in the hold Negotiate with them Persuasive Speed
Go on a rat-catching expedition A Notched Bone Harpoon or Ratting Piece Speed
The Killing Wind Make ready to dive Zubmersibility -2 CP Speed
What do the Drownies Sing? Cure the ignorance of your zailors Kataleptic Toxicology A Faceted Decanter of Drownie Effluvia -5 CP Speed
Your False-Star Navigate by the light of your star Looked Upon Fondly -5 CP Speed
Home Waters Option Challenge Requirements TW Loss Zailing... Progress Menaces [Collapse]
She's Going Down! Stop and rescue them -2 CP None
A Steamer full of Passengers Invite them aboard for a party Luxurious None +2 CP 
Shepherd's Wash Option Challenge Requirements TW Loss Zailing... Progress Menaces [Collapse]
A Steamer full of Passengers Invite them aboard for a party Luxurious None +2 CP 
The Wax-Wind Shut off the engines and hide belowdecks -2 CP None
Dive! Zubmersibility -1 CP Speed
Row, row, row Zail on by Speed Speed
Brawl with the monks Dangerous None
Stormbones Option Challenge Requirements TW Loss Zailing... Progress Menaces [Collapse]
A Tiny Coral Island What's that down there? Zubmersibility -2 CP Speed
Recognise its shape Shapeling Arts Speed
A Wind from the North Keep your crew on course Persuasive Speed
Help them Dangerous Speed
Sighting a Lifeberg Keep your distance; make observations Watchful Speed/2
Zail quickly past the lifeberg Speed Speed +2 CP 
Ram the lifeberg and claim a piece of it! A Notched Bone Harpoon None
A Mountain of the Unterzee FATE-locked The Cladery Heart -1 CP Speed
The Sea of Voices Option Challenge Requirements TW Loss Zailing... Progress Menaces [Collapse]
Crossing Paths Hail the ship and have a chat with the captain -2 CP Speed/2
Meeting a Local Steamer Hail the steamer to exchange news -2 CP Speed/2
I say, must you do that? Luxurious -1 CP Speed
The Iceberg Have a look around under the iceberg Zubmersibility -2 CP Speed
The Salt Steppe Option Challenge Requirements TW Loss Zailing... Progress Menaces [Collapse]
A Chelonite Hunting Ketch Hail them and purchase a bag of assorted bones 500 x Moon-Pearl
500 x Shard of Glim
Offer to help a Sharp Hunter Chirurgical Touch None
Hail them and exchange stories 10 x Zee-Ztory None
Regale them with tales of your own hunts A Notched Bone Harpoon
10 x Tale of Terror!!
-4 CP None
A Distant Gleam Measure the measureless Artisan of the Red Science Speed +1 CP 
A Khaganian Patrol Vessel Give them a wide berth Shadowy Speed
Brazenly hail them Persuasive Speed/2
Record their position Shrine to Saint Joshua Speed/2
The Pillared Sea Option Challenge Requirements TW Loss Zailing... Progress Menaces [Collapse]
Becalmed Look into the glassy water (50%) Luck Speed/2 +1-4 CP Nightmares
Cross the threshold Glasswork
Parabolan Base-Camp
No The Mirror's Hunger
Redirects to Drowning (which then redirects to Your Lodgings, and gives +7-8 CP Wounds and sets The Mirror's Hunger to 1 or 2)
Of the Pillars You will look towards her shores Luck (90%) -2 CP Speed
You will turn your helm away from her Speed/2
You will change currency 25 x 
Justificande Coin
The Snares Option Challenge Requirements TW Loss Zailing... Progress Menaces [Collapse]
Navigating the Snares Slow and steady does it Speed/2


Whenever you leave a region, you gain 1 x Zee Legs. These can be expended in Wolfstack Docks to improve your skill in Zeefaring. The required amount of Zee legs required increases based on the table below. Zeefaring is required in order to trace a route through the snares, which is often useful for shortcuts. Zeefaring is also used on several opportunity cards at zee, especially when doing piracy. Zee Legs can also be used to assemble Cartographer's Hoard.

Zeefaring Ztudies increases the cap past 5. This is first unlocked by doing some storylets in Gaider's Mourn. See Piracy (Guide) for more info.

Zee Legs Desired level
Starting level ↓ 6 5 4 3 2 1
0 56 35 20 10 4 1
1 55 34 19 9 3
2 52 31 16 6
3 46 25 10
4 36 15
5 21