The Defiant is the ship that belongs to the Watcher, used to explore the Deadfire Archipelago during The Hunt for Eothas. Like Caed Nua in Pillars of Eternity, it is Deadfire's main player hub, albeit in a more portable form. It also features much more extensive customization.
By clicking the arrow at the top of the screen while on the world map, you can "zoom in" on your ship, allowing you to navigate abovedeck and belowdeck. Whilst on the ship you are free to talk to companions, and interact with The Steward in your cabin. The layout of the ship changes depending on the type.
Note that access to the ship and the management interface is unavailable until the quest Stranded has been completed.
The Defiant was chartered with what remained of the Watcher's wealth after the destruction of Caed Nua by Eothas, in order to bring the comatose Watcher closer to the retreating god. For one reason or another, Eothas's proximity kept the Watcher alive throughout the travel, but the vessel itself came under pirate attack when it entered Deadfire, beaching near Port Maje.
Your flagship is one of the pillars of gameplay, allowing you to explore the Deadfire Archipelago, fight other vessels, store companions and followers, and of course, pursue Eothas.
Ship management is a core element of gameplay and encompasses gathering your crew, making sure they are nourished, and keeping morale high. There are six core resources you need to look after:
- Morale: Morale measures the crew's overall attitude and sense of common purpose. The mental and emotional health of the crew is vital to success in combat. Poor morale may lead to brawls among the crew - and even mutiny. High levels of morale give bonuses to experience.
- Food: The stock of edible items available to the crew. A hungry crew loses morale and if they suffer fifteen days without a meal, their chance of dying increases significantly. Food is replenished by buying foodstuffs and placing whatever you find in the ship's food stores. A cook crew member reduces the amount of food needed by the crew by 10%.
- Water: The quantity of beverages available to the crew. A thirsty crew loses morale and if they suffer three days without a drink, their chance of dying increases significantly. As with food, you can replenish your water supply by buying drinkable water or alcohol.
- Medicine: The stock of supplies available to heal the crew's injuries. To be healed, a crew member must be resting in the reserves. Surgeons help conserve medical supplies by healing injured crew more swiftly. You can purchase Medical Supplies from all ports.
- Ammunition: The current stock of cannonballs and gunpowder on the ship. Each cannon uses ammunition with every shot. Cannon Shot can be purchased from ports to replenish your ammunition supply.
- Repair: The stock of pitch, lumber, and sturdy linen used to repair damage done to the ship. Repair supplies deplete hourly as the crew mend the hull and sails. You can purchase Repair Supplies from all ports.
Supplies are the biggest ongoing expense of maintaining your ship and should be replenished regularly - especially living supplies. Wages are also paid to your crew members each day, scaling up with their level and capabilities.
Thankfully, neither food nor water are expended while the ship is in port (wages are collected as normal).
- Remove your crew from the ship while you're in Neketaka can save you from paying wages.
- If you're low on Food and Water, it is recommended you buy cuttlefish (7) from Osa in Queen's Berth and water (2) from Port Shop. Both have infinity supply so there's no worry of running out.
- Recruit Haema to save on food expense. A good cook reduce the food consumption so buy more water than food.
- Recruit Worthless Idiot. The faster you get to your destination, the less the resources consumption.
Combat is a fact of life in the Deadfire and your ship will have to engage in it repeatedly. As befits the age of fantasy sail, combat is resolved primarily by shooting your enemy until they sink, the crew is turned to kibble, or they otherwise stop shooting and let themselves be looted. Your performance in combat depends on the upgrades you have installed (see below), the crew you have, and of course, the choices you make.
Why should you fight? Looting enemy ships, whether from flotsam left behind or from intact stores you take, is an excellent source of loot for sale and supplies for travel - plus, you can distribute the coins captured from the enemy crew among your own for a quick +10 to morale.
The player is able to own one of each type of ship (from sloop, voyager, dhow, galleon, junk, and submarine) New ships can be obtained either by purchasing them at the port in Neketaka, or otherwise during the game. Each type of ship has its own strengths and weaknesses. Smaller ships don't require many crew members to operate, and are more maneuverable and agile - but can be weak and are limited to a small number of cannons. Bigger ships on the other hand require more crew to operate, are slower, easier to hit, but are hardier and come equipped with more firepower. Ships can be bolstered by equipping them with better upgrades, which can mitigate the weaknesses of a particular type of ship.
Each ship that the player currently owns is displayed at the top of the ship management interface. A ship may have its own crew and equipped upgrades, but you may only control one ship at a time. Swapping to a ship is done while at Neketaka via the "Set Active Ship" button on the left side of the interface, or by clicking the desired ship in the lower right port interface.
The ship can be extensively upgraded throughout the game, which affects not only its appearance, but also performance in naval battles, capacity, and so on and so forth.
The Defiant requires a proper crew to be seaworthy and maneuver on the high seas. Each crew member requires food, water, and wages.