Portrait of Plunder

Sea of Thieves

How to solve Puzzle 3: Portrait of Plunder

updated as needed

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WORK IN PROGRESS: No one has solved the third Puzzle yet. However, as with the rest of the community, we will work on it and share our findings here. Furthermore, if you have any leads you’d like to share, feel free to leave a comment below!

Stage 3 of The Hoarder’s Hunt Mystery is live, and the third Puzzle is now available for all pirates to solve! Before starting, confirm you’ve submitted the codes and completed the Voyage for Stages 1 and 2. Once you’ve done the Puzzle and Voyage for the first two Stages, you can begin working on Stage 3: Portrait of Plunder.

Solving the online Puzzle for Stage 3 will allow you to claim an in-game Voyage from Larinna at any Outpost and work on the next part of the Mystery.

Puzzle 3: Portrait of Plunder

The Letter

As before, Stage 3 of the Mystery begins with a Puzzle for you to solve, and each Puzzle starts with a letter delivered to the Gold Hoarders. The Gold Hoarders have opened the letter for the next Puzzle, which reads:

I see you’re using others in my enigmatic quest.
I warn you Hoarders that about my rules I do not jest.
As when playing CARD games, keep our secrets close to your chest.
Like I have done personally, you must your time invest.

Don’t SPY huge tornado, but smallest cloud up in the sky.
The devil and answers lie in detail – and so do I…
Swear your HEARTS to my CLUB and so you can find my hoard!
Ready your SPADES to uncover your DIAMOND like reward.

Portrait of Plunder Letter

With the clues given inside the letter, you can now scour the internet for the answers. You are ultimately looking for a code to submit on the official Sea of Thieves website. Entering the correct code will unlock the in-game Voyage and allow you to work on the next part of the Mystery.

The first clues you’ll investigate are mysterious portraits released on various social media platforms after the Mystery started!

Mysterious Portraits

Minutes after Stage 3 of the Mystery started, different versions of the same image appeared all over the internet. The image in question contains several portraits of various Gold Hoarder representatives. However, the portraits in each image are of different Gold Hoarder representatives or have different markings on the portraits themselves.

While the first version of the image was discovered just after the Mystery started, the last image found wasn’t posted until the following day. So at the moment, a total of 14 different versions of the image have been discovered.

Twitter Portraits

Several Rare employees and the official Sea of Thieves account tweeted the image containing portraits of different Gold Hoarder representatives. One of the first images came from a tweet by Mike Chapman, the Creative Director of Sea of Thieves. He posted the tweet at 4:06 pm UTC on May 25th. The image he shared contains portraits of Humphrey, the Gold Hoarder, and an unknown Gold Hoarder.

Mike Chapman Tweet Image

Link to tweet

The second image came from a tweet by Joe Neate, Executive Producer of Sea of Thieves. He posted the tweet at 4:07 pm UTC on May 25th. The image he shared contains portraits of the Gold Hoarder, Horace, and Henry.

Joe Neate Tweet Image

Link to tweet

A third image came from a tweet by the infamous Captain Bones. He posted the tweet at 4:22 pm UTC on May 25th. This image contains portraits of Hugh, Horace, and Herbert.

Captain Bones Tweet Image

Link to tweet

And a fourth image from Twitter came from a tweet by the official Sea of Thieves account. The account posted the tweet at 2:15 pm UTC on May 26th. The image shared contains portraits of the Gold Hoarder, an unknown Gold Hoarder, and Humphrey.

The tweet also came with a clue to “look at the scratches differently.”

Sea of Thieves Account Tweet Image

Link to tweet

OneDrive Portraits

Three more versions of the image came from the OneDrive folders, two of which were used in the previous two Stages. One of the images is from bit.ly/sotfruit and was found on May 25th. This image contains portraits of Henry, Herbert, and Hugh.

Fruit OneDrive Image

Link to OneDrive

The second image is from bit.ly/sotfeathered and was found on May 25th. This image contains portraits of Herbert, an unknown Gold Hoarder, and Humphrey.

Feathered OneDrive Image

Link to OneDrive

And one more came from a new folder found on May 25th using a clue from Puzzle 2: bit.ly/sotturkeygoatlives. This image contains portraits of Horace, Humphrey, and the Gold Hoarder.

Turkey Goat Lives OneDrive Image

Link to OneDrive

Twitch Portrait

Another version of the image is from the official Sea of Thieves Twitch page and was found on May 25th. While Sea of Thieves wasn’t streaming, the current Offline Screen is an image that contains more portraits! This image contains portraits of an unknown Gold Hoarder, the Gold Hoarder, and Humphrey.

Twitch Offline Image

Link to Twitch

Xbox Wire Portrait

A different version of the image is in the Xbox Wire article that the community used initially to solve Puzzle 2. The image was discovered on May 25th. The article’s author updated it to include a different version of the image with the portraits. This image contains portraits of Hugh, Henry, and Horace.

Xbox Wire Image

Discrod Portrait

A different version of the image was posted in the official Sea of Thieves Discord by James Bowden, the Social Media Lead at Rare. James posted the image in the Discord at 2:17 pm UTC on May 26th. The image he posted contains portraits of Hugh, an unknown Gold Hoarder, and Henry.

Discord

Link to Discrod message

Facebook Portrait

Again, another version of the image was posted to the official Sea of Thieves facebook page. The image was posted at 2:15 pm UTC on May 26th and contains portraits of Herbert, Humphrey, and the Gold Hoarder.

Like the official Sea of Thieves account tweet, this post also suggested: “look at the scratches differently.”

Facebook

Link to facebook post

YouTube Portrait

And a different version of the image was posted to the official Sea of Thieves YouTube Community page around 2:15 pm UTC on May 26th. The image posted contains portraits of Humphrey, Hugh, and Henry.

Just like the facebook post, this post also came with a clue to “look at the scratches differently.”

YouTube

Link to YouTube post

Instagram Portrait

Another version of the image was posted to the official Sea of Thieves instagram feed around 2:15 pm UTC on May 26th. The image shared contains portraits of Hugh, Henry, and Herbert.

Again, the post came with a clue to “look at the scratches differently.”

Instagram

Link to instagram post

Xbox Club Portrait

Again, a different version of the image was posted to the official Sea of Thieves Xbox Club activity feed around 2:15 pm UTC on May 26th. This image contains portraits of Horace, the Gold Hoarder, and Herbert.

As with the rest of the images posted on the 26th, this one also came with a hint to “look at the scratches differently.”

Xbox Club

Link to Xbox Club page

The Hoarder's Hunt: Update One Video

With all eyes on the portraits, keen pirates noticed that the portrait behind John McMurtrie, head of Video Production at Rare, in the ‘The Hoarder’s Hunt: Update One’ video differed in each uploaded version. So, for example, the YouTube version of the portrait differed from the Twitter version.

You can see the differences at the timestamps 1:24 and 2:00 in each video on each social media platform.

YouTube

Link to YouTube video

Twitter

Link to Twitter video

Facebook

Link to facebook video

Instagram

Link to instagram video

Pigpen Cipher

After days of not progressing, the mysterious ‘H’ explicitly highlighted his last clue about looking at “the scratches” differently. Diligent pirates noticed that ‘H’ updated the portrait uploaded to the bit.ly/sotfruit OneDrive. Not only was the image filename updated to “YouDisappointMe.png,” but the image now has Pigpen symbols painted in red pointing at the scratches behind a portrait.

The painted symbols confirm that the markings on the portraits are indeed Pigpen symbols.

YouDisappointMe

However, it’s important to note that the two Pigpen symbols added are the same symbol but flipped with a question mark after them. So even though we know to use a Pigpen Cipher, we still need to determine the exact letters as we might have to flip the symbols around to get the correct decrypted letter.

That’s where the scratches come in! The scratches outline the previous position of the portrait on them. Keeping the scratches in mind, we can correctly flip the portraits to match their edges with the scratches.

So flipping the portrait with scratches on the far left of the “YouDisappointMe.png” image will turn the ciphered letter from ‘O’ to ‘M.’ And if we flip the portrait on the far right with scratches, it will also turn the decrypted letter from ‘O’ to ‘M.’

YouDisappointMe Flipped

Flipping the Scratched Portraits

Going back through the portrait images, you’ll find scratches on the wall behind the bit.ly/sotfruit, Joe Neate, Captain Bones, Xbox Wire, Discord, YouTube, and instagram ones.

You’ll also notice that only two Gold Hoarders throughout the images have scratches behind them: Hugh and Henry.

In no particular order, we compiled all the portraits, marked the Hugh and Henry portraits we flipped with a blue asterisk, and decoded what we thought the Pigpen symbols were. These have yet to be confirmed and are more work in progress to help get the ideas flowing. Let us know if you spot a pattern, notice anything interesting, or think differently about one of the symbols!

Flipped Portraits

What's next?

As with the rest of the community, we are stumped. However, our current lead is the various portraits marked with different Pigpen symbols and scratches behind them.

With the hints “CARD,” “HEARTS,” “CLUB,” “SPADES,” and “DIAMOND” from the letter, many believe that we can turn the portraits into playing cards. We currently have 42 posters from different versions of the same image and an additional eight from the various video versions, for a total of 50 portraits!

At the same time, the community is trying to spell words with the Pigpen symbols, with each word comprised of symbols from the same Gold Hoarder representative. As a result, some words match some of the words spoken by the parrot in Puzzle 2.

While we don’t know the answer just yet, we will update this article as we find more clues!

To the Tavern!

Aye, we pirates do love a good tavern. ‘Tis a place to share our findings and adventures. ‘Tis a place to clap each other on the back. ‘Tis a place to glean further insight.

Happily, we’ve found proverbial taverns on several social outposts—each bustling with a vibrant pirate community! Want to join in the merriment? Ye will always find a hearty welcome at our table!

Follow Along

To the Tavern!

Aye, we pirates do love a good tavern. ‘Tis a place to share our findings and adventures. ‘Tis a place to clap each other on the back. ‘Tis a place to glean further insight.

Happily, we’ve found proverbial taverns on several social outposts—each bustling with a vibrant pirate community! Want to join in the merriment? Ye will always find a hearty welcome at our table!

Want to keep a weather eye out?

Jot down yer email, and we’ll be sure to let ye know when there’s something new on the horizon.

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77 Comments
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Rellik

So we have to different Mark’s in the pics but to what?

Nikko

Don’t know

darkwindz3

also something to note: the contents of the two bit.ly links from before have changed aswell

An axolotl

The letter says “CARDS” and “HEARTS, CLUB, SPADES, DIAMOND” which are the four whatsits of cards.

DarthRe7an

they’re called suits.

An axolotl

Noted. Thank you

An axolotl

Also I’d bet that the lines near the eyes have something to do with the mystery

TheActingMan98

It’s got to be a solitaire cipher the pictures all represent a suit of cards I bet.

Fixer40
Fixer40

Someone on Sea Of Thieves Discord found this.

Fixer40

Someone on Sea Of Thieves Discord found this.

TheActingMan98

Try Japanese multiplication on the lines to get values

lucas

I think it’s a trifid cipher, given the 3 lines showing up everywhere. Use the names of each hoarder in the pictures to make a cipher and then encode only the ones with the lines.

TheActingMan98

very likely

Cainer

How do you know which layer to use?

lucas

I don’t know whether this is a wild goose chase or not, but I found this: https://www.gamesradar.com/sea-of-thieves-started-life-as-spy-game/

Pandaroonii

I saw the release date for SoT on here is borked. Says March 20, 20218

michal

the painting behind the man on official twitter vido changin and reveal other portraits

Last edited 2 days ago by michal
MrTLWolf

The Xbox Wire article that had last week’s solution also has one of these images.

Rallo

There are some lines above the eyes on some potraits.This could be a Pigpen Code again. I recieved: FHFFI+FEFH

foobar

The posters have a different one bluer than the rest in each pic. That’s probably significant.

Meirujo

Has anyone gotten the code yet?

Kellen

What if you use the portraits from 13:00 in A Message From H as a key for the others?

MzTerrry
Snake

Each suite of a deck of cards is mentioned in the riddle. By using something called a Pontifex cipher, or Solitare cipher on the riddle, you get the code HLAYF ZOHMW MKNXY XDHVP OSZDW VDUIR ZEYTV VUQHE UGVQM. Is there anything that can be found about this code?

MystikJedi

It’s not simple cipher, I shifted this pattern 24 times with no result to anything legible.

Pirate

So I moved the letters around in AI Chat and got this… FLY THROUGH SKY LIKE A WIZARD MOVING UP AND DOWN WITH EASE

Flankke

This link was floating around Discord? Is it a new picture?
https://bit.ly/sotturkeygoatlives

Fixer40

Portraits.png – OneDrive

Another picture found by someone in Sea Of Thieves Discord.

DarthRe7an

is it possible that we only need to use the images and symbols from them with the gold hoarder from the painting with red paint? The riddle does say “As when playing card games, keep our secrets close to your chest.” He literally has his hand on his chest in his picture. That would narrow down the symbols from each picture and video.

Learned

The crosses on some of the portraits shown in the images seem like they may be important.

Dragonthor

Hyde is the only hoarder who doesn’t have a poster. Could he be the mastermind?

Captain Fob

I think it’s possible especially with the reference to the devils roar

ShroomyBrain

There are a couple of cards that have a dot next to it’s symbol I think these are the cards we need to decipher to get the next clue

nox

The parrot video also have such pics with crosses above the eyes, but don’t know if they belong to the rest of the pics.
https://www.youtube.com/live/J5M-W_ilwfE?feature=share&t=770

Bestfreestylist

Masonic cypher lines and some have a dot on the image. I tried and gave up. But I’m sure there is a hidden work in certain letters

Imara Ravenfire

New photos are up across the socials, not sure about the onedrive folders just yet

KitchenWitch

“Spades” is misspelled in the 3rd to last paragraph. You have it spelled “SPAEDS”.

KitchenWitch

No problem!

Monstie

What about the posters from the message from h it didn’t have anything to do with the puzzle 2 but it did change in the background maybe that is still connected in a way and those symbols look similar to the puzzle we had to solve before.

ShroomyBrain

What happened to the pic with all the cards

ShroomyFingers

Yeah, I was heavily using that, too.

Old Bones

anyone else make note of the smaller marks/dots next to the scratches when you zoom in on the images?

DarthRe7an

I noticed those as well.

Dfff

I think the lines are resprenting the types of cards

GrimmFox535

This is a long shot but maybe the shades of the images represent the suits red and black darker shades being black and lighter red

GrimmFox535

just a thought

Cboss18

Maybe it’s a different form of pigpen I can see dots on posters as well

DarthRe7an

I don’t know if this helps but there are 4 suits to a deck and 13 cards in each suit. Plus 2 jokers. Ace, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, Jack, Queen, King. There are hundreds/thousands of card games that have been invented. Some of those need multiple decks to play. What are some of the types of card games pirates would have played? Rummy? Gin Rummy? Go fish? Spades? Blackjack? Cribbage? A version of liar’s dice but with cards? I feel like they would have played games with stakes that they could wager in.

Captain Fob

What if you include the 4 misfits posters from the parrot video to get to 54 posters. A 52 card deck usually has 2 jokers as well

Learned

Did anyone notice that the number of scratches almost never exceeds 4?

Last edited 1 day ago by Learned
Learned

(post deleted by author)

Last edited 1 day ago by Learned
Learned

If you look at the seven portraits at the top of the post (right above the twitter images). All the portraits, with the exception of the gold hoarder portrait, can be divided into pairs based on their markings and colors. Here are the pairs:

Humphrey and Herbert
Hugh and Henry
Harry and Horace

The markings that separate the portraits into pairs are located near the bottom right hand corner.

Last edited 1 day ago by Learned
MzTerrry

It’s Humphrey in the pic with the red paint. It’s possible the red paint indicates card suit color (ie Heart or Diamond), that would maybe mean that Humphrey and Herbert represent one of the red suits and Hugh and Henry the other. Additionally, Harry and Horace posters are a different, much darker colour than the others, maybe meaning they represent the black suits (ie Spades or Clubs). That said, I still can’t find any good cipher/code matches for the symbols on the poster faces.

MzTerrry

The sides of the frame with the red paint has red diamond shaped gems on either side so maybe that means Humphrey and Herbert represent the diamond suit.

Cainer

I’ve been looking more at the original portrait with the red paint on it. Two things I’ve noticed:
There is a very faint signature on the bottom left corner, possibly OP, but possibly some other symbols or initials?

There are parts of the portrait that seem unfinished, or he has bandages or something. The side of his face, part of his hand and undershirt, then his hand on the bottom right corner.

Any ideas????? There was the whole “close to your chest” line in the original letter. Head, Heart, Hand….

TheActingMan98

That’s the gold curse that he has. All of those spots are his skin but gold.

Nikko

It says OM

Rellik

What say om

Last edited 19 hours ago by Rellik
Nikko

Red pigpen

GEW CAIAPHAS

Maybe we need to use the markings on each picture as the actual pigpen. Pigpen is made on a graph and some letters are coded with a dot some without. The symbols on the card seem to be the letter location on the graph part of pigpen. Some have a dot off to the side some do not. So the question could be perceived as is it an o or an m?

SouthofHeaven

Why isn’t Hyde from the Devils Roar listed in the portraits? Hyde of the Gold Hoarders, nice to meet you. Bring me chests, you get a cut. A fair cut, honest… cross my heart.

BlazingBacon

Why has no tried turning and swapping posters around so that the edge of the poster is in the correct rotation as the scratches which are the outline of where the posters originally were

Learned

An interesting thing I noticed is that with the portrait images, there are four images with one scratch, half as many with two, and a quarter as many with three. Seems like it could be a pattern clue.

Last edited 16 hours ago by Learned
Learned

There was also an image posted in the sea of thieves official club a short time ago that had one of the scratches on it.

Learned

What if the scratches represent the suit? The videos show four different types of scratches, and there are four suits in a deck of cards.

Cainer

When you say scratches, do you mean the lines across their faces? We’re working with those as pigpen cipher indicators

Learned

Yes, I am referring to the lines across their faces. I confess I do not know very much about pigpen ciphers so they could very well be part of one. However, it seems like too large of a coincidence that there are four different types of these scratches in the videos and four suits in a card deck.

Last edited 14 hours ago by Learned
Esh

I think you’re on to something, I had the same notion about the scratches.

Michal

I cant see that red pigpen cipher on the scratch in original photo… then i start thinking what if the scratches on paintings are the piece of tic-tac-toe (used on pigpen cipher) pattern,the nose is painting the letter and the dot means that is obviously with the dot pattern or not. Then if we find correct order of the portraits(maybe alphabetical) maybe we have the answer.. i put some portraits into it and i found that the HTTP pattern is possible with it but my head is exploding right now…So do i guys

Learned

On some of the portraits, you can see a small dot next to the head of the gold hoarder represented. For example, in the image right below the first image, there is a small dot on the far left portrait. I wonder if this what “Don’t SPY huge tornado, but smallest cloud up in sky” refers to. Additionally, all of the dotted portraits have scratches on them. Perhaps the dotted portraits form some sort of clue? The portrait with the pigpen ciphers drawn next to it has a dot on it, and some pigpen ciphers contain dots, which seems to support my theory.

Edit: Upon further reflection it seems like some scratches are combinations of pigpen ciphers, and some do not appear be pigpen ciphers at all. Perhaps more than one type of cipher is at play here?

Last edited 14 hours ago by Learned
Learned

It seems like some scratches are combinations of symbols (e.g. the >< scratch can be broken into the pigpen ciphers > and <).

DarthRe7an

I noticed that you left out the posters from the videos. These have Pigpen markers as well and could change the results. My second thought for today is could the pigpen letters be an anagram like from the first puzzle? Each hoarders’ set of posters forming a word, or multiple words and when combined make a complete sentence, or link?

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