Well, I turned up the respawn rate, hung out in the area around the port, killed all kinds of sea critters ... finally a pair of crabs show up. Killed 'em, no conch shells. Killed more sea critters, then a single crab shows up - bingo! A much-coveted conch shell (which I almost missed, because I killed him on the shore and the conch dropped into the water .. which obscures the view and cursor .. you can't see it or pick it up unless you are underwater as well .. nice).
This got really boring, so I figured I would sail around a bit, see if I could find some crabs hanging out. That proved fruitful, got the other two I needed. Went back to port, gave the shipwright the three shells, and he turns them into two underwater helmets and one re-breather ...
OK ... so by my estimate, at this rate, another hour of crab hunting should put me at a total of 5 helmets for my party of six ... and two re-breathers. Nope ... not going that route.
But with all the killing, my bard got his next level up and spell selection, giving him the complete suite of transport spells (set portal, teleport, call to home).
So, I set off to explore the underwater city, found an air pocket inside, where everyone could get another breath, so set up camp there. In one of the breather breaks, in walk two soft-shelled crabs .. which both drop conch shells! Pay dirt! ... I thought ... next set of them I encountered had no conch shells.
So, in little (wasted) time, I had enough for my next set of helmets ... set a portal, cast the spell back to port, and traded in my 3 conch shells ... for 1 helmet and a rebreather !?!??!??
WTF? Did I have high-quality conch shells the first time? Did the shipwright break one this time? Is there no governmental body governing the exchange rates of conch shells for underwater helmets! Aaaargh!
Tools for Wizardry(r) 7