Gem running

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For more information on gem spawning basics and pricing, see the article on gems.

Gem running is the practice of transporting gems, either in large or small quantities, from their spawn island to their destination island. Gem running can either be done as a solo enterprise or group effort. The following sections will address all possible ways of successfully running gems.

The Basics

  • Never leave gems unattended for more than 15 minutes. They will be stolen by thieves and any investment in them lost. There are a few ways to avoid this problem which will be addressed later.
  • Gems occupy little mass and volume. It will never be necessary to transport them with anything larger than a sloop.
  • Plan ahead: Know your spawn rates and patterns to be an effective runner in mass quantities.
  • Become adept at the navigation puzzle or alternatively at the sailing puzzle or the rigging puzzle.
  • Set your voyage type to evading.
  • Always try for the disengage. Brigands will not have enough bots to generate movement tokens to catch you when soloing and live players should generate enough to counteract their NPP personnel when not.
  • Only one kind of gem spawns per day, but they are not deleted if not transported by the start of the next spawn day. Early morning gem runners (Y!PP time) may often find a market with 2 different types of gems. Leftovers from the previous day's spawn, and the current day's spawn.

Solo Gem Running

Running gems solo is extremely profitable as there are no partners to split the profits after interest with. This does however increase the risk when moving the gems as it requires soloing a sloop with only bots to help.

Single Spawn

Finding a single spawn is generally simple. At any given time, there is quite a large chance that at least one commodities market has gems for sale. It is usually best to start in an archipelago and visit all of the islands by ferry before whisking around. Take note of the gem that is spawning that day and start in an archipelago far away from the destination island for higher profit margins. When gems are found, they must be purchased from a ship docked at the spawning island.

Please note: Gems cannot be purchased via the interface in a shoppe or stall; they must be purchased from the market interface on a ship.

Once the gems are on board, chart course for the destination island. Use the aforementioned gems page to determine the destination for that day's particular gems. There are two effective techniques to soloing the sloop which will be examined now.

Emphasis on Sailing or Rigging

If a player finds themselves soloing a sloop with gems and has an experienced understanding of the sailing puzzle or rigging puzzle, then they may want to solo with their emphasis on sails or rigging. This is generally accomplished by beginning the trip with either 1 bot on sails accompanied by the player, 1 bot on carpentry, and 1 bot on bilge or 2 bots on sails accompanied by the player and 1 bot on carpentry. In the event the latter route is taken, one of the bots on sails is moved to the bilge after full speed is met. These techniques, with excellents and incredibles in sails being reported, will generally produce full sloop speed in 0.85-1.5 leagues.

The helm should be taken before setting sails, otherwise the player will be forced to dismiss the sailing or rigging station in order to take the helm during battle. The helm is automatically taken after double-clicking the wheel.

Emphasis on Navigation

If a player finds themselves soloing a sloop with gems and has an experienced understanding of the navigation puzzle, then they may want to solo with their emphasis on navigation. This is generally accomplished by beginning the trip with the player on the navigation station, 3 bots on sails, and 1 bot on bilge. Once full speed is met, one of the bots on sails is moved to the carpentry station. This technique, with excellents and incredibles in navigation being reported, will generally produce full sloop speed in 1-1.5 leagues.

Multiple Spawns

To increase their profit margins, players often attempt to run multiple gem spawns. This may either include stopping at every island between the first spawn and destination and checking for new gems or buying gems at multiple islands at the same time and traveling to all of them with the gem destination being the final target point. This is most noticeably hampered by the limitation that gems may only remain unattended for 15 minutes before they disappear. This hamper is often solved by the use of alts.

Your Friend, the Alt Account

Players often bypass the 15 minute limitation by leaving an alt account player on a ship with gems while their main player moves another ship also with gems to intercept or pick up more. Often, this is done on multiple islands and with multiple accounts. First, find a spawn far away from the destination island. Purchase those gems on a sloop, job an alt you can keep active, and use your main to go find more gems. Purchase the next batch, job another alt onto that ship and move to the next island. A player can go to as many or as few islands as they wish depending on how may stops they want to make between their start point and their destination islands. When they have purchased all the gems they wish to run at that time, they must return to their starting point, retire that first alt, and set sail for the next closest island on the route. The player travels to all the islands they purchased gems on being sure to keep the alts active, picks them up, and eventually arrives at the destination island with a larger quantity of gems than a single spawn could ever supply. This method also significantly raises both the investment in the gems and the profits from selling them.

Spawn Rates

Please note: The following estimations of gem spawn rates and patterns are not proven facts. They are observations of gem behavior that have been recorded as being accurate approximately 90% of the time. The remaining 10% have been known to occur on days where an unscheduled reboot or immense lag has occurred.

Gems spawn on a three hour cycle per archipelago. Every three hours in any given archipelago, two islands will spawn gems. One hour later, two islands in a different archipelago will spawn gems. One more hour later, two islands in yet another different archipelago will spawn gems. The next hour (three hours after the first spawn) the cycle repeats and two islands (that may or may not be two from the previous spawn cycle) will spawn gems in the first noted archipelago. Multiple archipelagos may spawn gems on a single cycle. For example:

  • 12:00 PST - Gems spawn on Alpha and Turtle islands in the Diamond Archipelago.
  • 1:00 PST - Gems spawn on Xi and Lagniappe islands in the Jet Archipelago and Eta and Jorvik islands in the Ruby Archipelago.
  • 2:00 PST - Gems spawn on Delta and Meke islands in the Coral Archipelago and Zeta and Frond islands in the Pearl Archipelago.
  • 3:00 PST - Gems spawn on Oyster and Byrne islands in the Diamond Archipelago.

Use spawn rates to your advantage. If it takes two to three hours to get from your start point to your end point, there is a decent chance that one of the islands you already bought gems on, or one close to it, has spawned more gems that you could purchase. Never leave a market without checking that a spawn cycle has not just happened.

Gems will also not spawn at the markets with their cheapest sell price after they have sold out, but will become cheaper over time. The rate at which their price drops is unknown.

Cooperative Group Gem Running

Cooperative gem running is very similar to solo gem running in many respects. Its principle differences are that when working with other people, traditionally the profits are split between all involved however the actual moving of gems is slightly easier and less risky with other players on board.

Single Spawn

Essentially the same as solo running a single gem spawn. The player finds gems in a commodities market and purchases them on a sloop. The player and partners then sail to the destination island in whatever station configuration works best for their individual skills. The gems are sold and the profits split.

Multiple Spawns

Essentially the same as solo running multiple gem spawns. The principle difference however is that players may be used to either watch gems on ships in place of alts, or sail with the currently moving gems to make the trip slightly easier. It is up to the player and partners to decide the best configuration of sailing partners and gem watching partners for their particular circumstances.


Due to the brigand spawn being disabled during the 30 minutes period prior a reboot it is always possible to do at least a part of the planned route during that time. If you happen to be at sea during the reboot your ship will be ported at the closest island and your gems will not be stolen, if you are back within the 15 minutes timeframe.

Benefits of Navigation

If a player does the navigation puzzle, setting the voyage type to trade or evading will reduce the rate of brigands spawning and will also inhibit the ability of other players to attack, if they do not have a duty navigator puzzling at equal to or better than the gem runner.

The Do's and Don'ts


  • Always stock enough grog/swill/rum for the trip. When dealing with multiple spawns over the course of a few sailing hours, even a soloer can consume up to and beyond 30 units of fine rum by themselves. This is compounded heavily when partners are involved on long trips.
  • Ensure before a major run that you have at least one unlocked ship at all markets you plan to visit. It can be quite disappointing to get to a market that has accrued 2-3 spawns and find there is no ship to buy them from.
  • Have your alt accounts ready to hop on easily for multiple spawns. If your computer processor can't tolerate multiple accounts running at the same time, use a second computer to run just the alts. A lag out on a gem watching alt can fast become a lost investment if not immediately noticed.
  • Attempt to avoid brigand battles. They both slow your sailing progress down and risk your gem investment. Once at full speed, brigands will only spawn ahead of you heading in the same direction and will target and engage you as you approach them from behind. A quick turn about and then another one when out of range will easily remedy this. A green alt can sit in the crows nest to give early warnings on when to turn, since sometimes brigands will appear to be waiting at a league point and attack you.


  • Put the bots on stations and then laze. No group of bots is good enough to get to max speed without player help before being engaged. A player must sail or navigate to effectively solo their sloop.
  • Leave a market island without checking to see if gems have spawned. Every hour somewhere gems are spawning. It could be the island you just stopped at to pick up your last batch. Always check the market before moving on.
  • Set course for the wrong destination island. Fairly self-explanatory but has been done on occasion by sleepy and/or inebriated pirates.
  • Try and take the brigands solo. Whatever might be won from them during an engagement is not worth the possible loss of the gem investment. Disengage is the gem runner's ally.

See Also

External Links

Main forums discussion on gem running and pricing (Including a preliminary version of the gem pricing guide found on the wiki.)