If you've been following our previous DevBlogs, you now have a good idea of possibilities for your ship's loadout, how to provision for a voyage to keep the ship's weapons in working order and received a crash course in ship-to-ship combat. It's time, to look past the horizon for bigger fish to fry!
Captain, a small disclaimer before proceeding. We are excited to be giving you an early look at Skull and Bones. Please be aware some of the details shared here may change before release.
Forts, Settlements, and Outposts
While you and your crew are exploring the seas in your ship, you will encounter land. And where there is land, you can be sure to find people living in encampments, settlements, and even pockets of civilization.
The locations you encounter can be roughly categorized into forts and settlements. All of them are controlled and run by various local factions. Most will allow you to conduct trade and buy supplies if you are on good or at least neutral terms with them. The locations are further categorized into different tiers from one to fifteen. Higher tiers correlate with the types of resources and level of resistance that can be expected and are an indication of the level your ship should be at before you attack such locations. If you are starting out and your vessel's armour and armaments haven't been battle tested, you will want to stick with the lower tiers until you are more seasoned.
We know the buccaneers in you will be tempted to take everything that isn't nailed down, but before we start talking about plundering, let's have a quick rundown of what you will be getting yourself into.
As you sail around and explore the Indian Ocean, you'll discover local settlements dotted along the coast lines. Some are little more than temporary camps while the more established ones are comparable to towns, and the largest ones serve as major commerce hubs or seats of power. Settlements are where people can conduct trade or opportunities for pillage if your pirate heart so desires.
Some settlements specialize in the production of refined materials. If you are looking to make an honest living, these materials and commodities can be bought and resold for trade or for your use in crafting.
Merchants like to frequent these places to trade and load up on goods for transport to their intended destinations along established and predictable trade routes. Without spelling it out for you, a smart and enterprising captain such as yourself may find that bit of information useful.
Here are some productions sites you may encounter.
- Foundry: Metal ores are brought here to be refined into ingots. You will be able to buy refined ingots at these locations.
- Lumberyard: This is where wood is collected and from which planks are produced. If you are looking for wood for crafting a new ship or cannon, you can find them for purchase here.
- Weaver: Here, fibres are turned into various types of fine linens and threads-all ready for purchase.
Before we move onto forts, let us talk about outposts. Outposts are unique in that they are not suitable targets for plundering. They are a neutral area where you can dock and repair your ship, resupply, fast travel to another outpost or den, or simply go ashore to stretch your weary sea legs. Here, you can often encounter representatives or leaders from different factions who are also passing through. There are opportunities for trade and if you are lucky, they may be trying to offload rare crafting blueprints.
Captains interested in work may also find opportunities to pick up contracts.
If you are pressed for time, you can use such area to fast travel, so long as you are not transporting legendary treasure maps. You can only fast travel toward dens or outpost you are familiar with and bear in mind travelling in such a manner has a cost.
There are stories of outposts being used by pirates and smuggling types to stash and secure their ill-gotten gains. Should you come across these caches, you can also use these stashes to free up more cargo space to keep pirating!
Forts are major settlements with a large population that has access to wealth and resources. With all the money that flows into these seats of power, they are inevitably well-armed, well-defended, and will call in reinforcements. Even the best-equipped pirate ships will find pillaging them difficult. These pockets of civilization are protective of their surrounding waters and do not welcome pirates. You are not able to dock or trade with forts and some of them will attack on sight.
Plundering a fort will be far more challenging and not for the unprepared. The area around a fort is usually protected by more defensive towers than settlements. If you want the plundering to go smoothly, those and possibly other defences will need to be dealt with in advance or at some point during the attack.
When you are ready to take that next step in your rise to becoming a fearsome pirate captain, lets plunder them of their riches!
Start the Plundering!
All those riches and goods, they are calling to your pirate soul, aren't they? Apart from outposts and dens, all locations can be plundered! Before beginning, take your time to scout your locations in case a quick getaway is needed. Use your spyglass to scout and gather useful information and scope the place out. Learn about the kinds of defences or reinforcements that can be expected, which faction runs the place, and most importantly, what kinds of loot you will get. You could skip the whole reconnaissance thing if it's not your style but bear in mind that you will not know what you're going up against and may end up biting off more than you can chew. We know some captains like to live dangerously, so onward!
To begin a plunder, sail towards a location of your choice and you will have the option to begin when you are within range. Once you begin a plunder, the attacked faction will deploy all the arsenal at their disposal to defend their resources. The situation and your odds of survival can change rapidly once your attack begins, so make sure you've brought enough to keep the ship seaworthy!
Be prepared for resistance from land-based defences like guard towers, or reinforcements arriving from the sea to stop your progress. The defensive response will be proportional to the size of the attack. Captains who are working together will trigger a more robust defensive response.
Once the plundering begins, you will see a reward track that provides you with a rough idea of how things are progressing. As captain, you will remain in the general plunder area to eliminate static defences and neutralize reinforcements that arrive to stop you and your crew. At key points, the plunder that has been looted thus far can be found floating within the plunder area. You can retrieve the loot right away or wait until the plundering is complete.
After starting a plunder, there are several possible outcomes.
- The plunder can fail when the defenders are successful at repelling the attack by sinking your ship or you flee the area before plunder completion.
- It will be a partial success if you leave the area before the location has been thoroughly plundered. There is no shame in cutting your losses if things are going poorly and the resistance encountered was stronger than expected. You will take a hit to your infamy, but you will still have a working ship, and you get to keep the loot that was brought aboard.
- The preferable outcome is to remain in the area taking care of any static defences and reinforcements to gain time for your crew to finish pillaging the place and recover all the valuables you could find before sailing off triumphantly!
Even if the pillaging is successful, you shouldn’t linger in the area longer than needed to recover the booty. Late-arriving reinforcements will continue to trickle in. Set sail for safer harbours where we can admire our newly acquired loot and money in peace.
Congratulations on a successful plunder, captain! Completing a plunder will increase your infamy and give you a wealth of loot in materials, commodities, and silver. Once a fort or settlement has been plundered, you will understand if they are not interested in speaking or trading with you for a while.
Aggravating a Faction
No one said becoming a fearsome pirate captain will be easy. You will need to step on many toes to get there. Aggressive actions such as pillaging a faction's settlements, forts, or sinking their ships aggravates a faction. Aggravated factions become hostile and will attack you on sight. The good news is, time can heal many wounds, and smaller transgressions are forgotten relatively quickly. The bad news is, if you go on a pirating spree sinking their ships and pillaging their settlements, that can make a faction understandably angry, and they can remain hostile towards you for a while. So, what can you do?
You can find safe harbour at a den or outpost to dock and lay low to wait it out. Or you can continue to sail and explore while trying to avoid the faction.
Once the debt has been settled or forgotten, you will be able to interact with the faction again. Until next time...
Well captain, you now have an idea of how to load out your ship, take care of your crew, and how to engage and plunder loot from both land and sea. Are you ready to start your rise to infamy to become the next kingpin?