Charts and maps can be held in a pirate's inventory or on the navigation table of a ship. However, they can be placed or removed from the navigation table only by the deed holder or by someone ranked fleet officer or above in the deed holder's crew.
Island charts may be bought at shipyards or shipyard stalls from the current island to any neighbouring island in the same archipelago. The price of these charts is believed to be relative to the measurable distance of the route . Charts between islands with no shipyards on both side (so that no maps can be bought, uncolonized islands also count) or between archipelagos must be pillaged from brigands, or bought privately from other players. Forum threads to list rare charts for purchase or sale in each of the oceans can be found here.
In order for a ship to sail, a course must first be charted. This course goes from the current island or league point to the final island destination. For the course to be valid, the league points used must either be on a chart on the table, in the pirate's inventory, or memorized by the pirate doing the charting.
Inter-archipelago charts have a decay rate of 90 days. Intra-archipelago charts have a decay rate of 45 days. When charts have expended around half their lifespan, the chart icon changes to a more tattered version, this can be used to judge how soon a chart will turn old.
Charts on a ship's navigation table will decay based on real (i.e. calendar) days. Charts in a pirate's inventory will decay based on log-in days, except for sea monster and expedition maps, which always decay based on calendar days.
Sea Monster maps
Sea Monster maps are the only way that a crew can gain access to an Atlantis outpost, Cursed Isle or Haunted Seas. These maps can be won in pillaging battles, from chart boxes, on rare occasion from black boxes and one person will always win one from skellie, zombie, and werewolf frays.
Sea Monster maps have a decay rate of 8 days. Unlike most items, they decay in 8 calendar days, not login days.
To use the map to chart, it must be placed on the chart table of a ship to which the map owner has access. Since all Sea Monster encounters are sinking, the ship must be set to battle ready if the officer charting isn't holding the deed to the ship. The vessel may then chart a course to the Sea Monster location shown on the map. While the vessel is charted to a Sea Monster lair or is at the lair, the map may not be removed from the vessel. If your vessel is sunk at a Sea Monster encounter, then the map is lost along with the ship.
While a course is charted to a Sea Monster Hunt, the vessel can have its voyage configured for "Sea Monster Hunting". This causes any jobs posted to the notice board to reflect the intent of the voyage.
League points in Sea Monster maps cannot be memorized.
Imperial outpost maps are acquired from an explorers' hall, and are available in different types which correspond to difficulties and payout levels. Maps decay in three calendar days from the time they show up in the shop and reduce in price until they are purchased as they decay. They come with three different variables:
For more information on which maps are best for a given situation, see: Imperial outpost
Viking raid maps are acquired from an explorers' hall, and are available in different types which correspond to difficulties and payout levels. Maps decay in three calendar days from the time they show up in the shop and reduce in price until they are purchased as they decay. They come with three different variables:
- Swordfight or
For more information on which maps are best for a given situation, see: Viking raid
Brigand King compasses
Brigand King compasses are a type of expedition map, and can be purchased from explorers' halls. The prices of these compasses vary, depending on the Brigand King in question. Placing a Brigand King Compass on your vessel's charting table will trigger an expedition for the particular Brigand King. The compass will disappear after you have battled the Brigand King, regardless of whether you win or lose the battle.
- Originally, charts had to be purchased from a NPP. They became available to purchase at shipyards when the shipyards were introduced with Alpha release 2003-06-05.
- When bazaars were introduced, charts couldn't be purchased from shipyard stalls. This was made possible with release 2005-02-11.
- Sea monster map were introduced in release 2007-09-04 although they were only obtainable by "cracking open" antediluvian conchs. Bugfix release 2007-09-06 allowed Sea monster maps to be obtained through pillage and skellie frays.
- Route difficulty was made visible with release 2009-03-18.