October is upon us! It’s the time of year when we allow our imaginations to play in the dark, anxiously awaiting the frights it will find.
On the Sea of Thieves, it won’t be the sea breeze that chills your bones. There’s dark magic haunting now sinister shores.
“Old Boot Fort” is no more. Ah, yes, the fort is still there. Veiled in shadowy mists, bathed in an eerie glow, and decked in the Ferryman’s markings—it is now the Fort of the Damned!
Unlike other Skeleton Forts throughout the seas, this fort slumbers until a pirate activates the isle with a ritual.
Acquiring the essentials for this ritual may take some time, but defeating the fort yields the most valuable stash of treasure yet found on the seas!
You can learn more about this ghostly fort and how to conquer it in the Fort of the Damned guide.
Why are we talking about the Fort of the Damned here?
While this new fort might seemingly draw attention away from Duke, this month’s Mercenary Voyages are very much tied to the Fort of the Damned
Here we focus on one item you will need for the fort-activation ritual: the Ritual Skull.
There are a few ways to acquire a Ritual Skull: (1) Skull Seeker Voyages, (2) Skull Stash Voyages, and (3) Ambient Skeletons.
Of course, in true pirate fashion, you could also steal any Ritual Skulls you happen to find on enemy ships. But, good luck completing the Fort of the Damned while you watch your back from vengeance seeking enemies.
Finding a Ritual Skull with Skull Seeker Voyages
Duke is offering four Mercenary Voyages which will help you locate a Ritual Skull: Skull Seeker Voyages.
All four will have you hunting down Skeleton Captains. Slain Skeleton Captains relinquish treasure maps, leading you to a Ritual Skull.
Why are there four different Ritual Skull Mercenary Voyages?
The four voyages represent the one voyage for each of the three original regions and one legendary voyage.
Accordingly, these voyages are titled: Skull Seeker Voyage of the Shores of Plenty, Skull Seeker Voyage of the Wilds, Skull Seeker Voyage of the Ancient Isles, and the Legendary Skull Seeker Voyage.
First, this allows you to purchase a voyage for whichever region you so happen to be in when you decide you’d like to begin your hunt.
Second, you’ll likely want to complete the Fort of the Damned several times over. So, you’ll need more than a few Ritual Skulls. The legendary voyage offers more than one…
Third, activating the Fort of the Damned is not the only incentive for collecting these ritual skulls. As with previous mercenary voyages, Duke is awarding commendations and doubloons to pirates who complete each voyage.
So how do we get our hands on these Ritual Skulls everyone is so keen about?
Completing the Skull Seeker Voyage
The Skull Seeker voyage will have you hunting down a Skeleton Captain that happens to know the whereabouts of a Ritual Skull.
Step 1: Get your Bounty
Visit Duke in any tavern, and browse his stock. Per Duke’s recent change in policy, you won’t need to pay any doubloons. Simply select the region you plan to sail, or select the legendary voyage. Propose the voyage to your crew, and vote.
Step 2: Hunt Down a Skeleton Captain
Once your crew has voted, you’ll unfurl your scroll to find your bounty.
By that we mean open it from your Map Radial.
This voyage will begin as a traditional Order of Souls voyage. Your quest map will tell you the name of your bounty, and the island on which that Skeleton Captain was last spotted.
Plot your course, and set sail!
You will be greeted by Shadow Skeletons. Scatter their bones to the wind, until you reach the Captain.
Upon suffering defeat, this Skeleton Captain will drop a valuable Villainous Skull. Unlike most Skeleton Captains, next to this skull, you’ll see that this Skeleton Captain has dropped something else: “Skeleton’s Orders.”
Pick up the Skeleton’s Orders and a new quest will be added to your Map Radial—just like when you pick up a message in a bottle.
Step 3: Track Down the Ritual Skull
This new voyage you picked up from the Skeleton Captain will be a x-marks-the-spot quest.
Determine the island depicted on the map and sail on over.
Of course, if you’re having difficulty, you can always use the “Island Finder” tool in your interactive map. Simply scroll through until you spot the island that matches your map.
Orient yourself on the island, to find where that X might be. Then, dig. If you’re right, you’ll feel that satisfying “thunk” and the Ritual Skull will be yours!
Wait! Not so fast!
A glimpse of what you can expect at the Fort of the Damned is waiting to ambush you. The Ritual Skull will be booby trapped by one of the brand new Shadow Skeletons: Shadow of Fate Skeletons!
Shadow of Fate Skeletons are only vulnerable after using a lantern to cast on it the same color light you see glowing in their eyes!
Sunshine has no effect on these Shadow of Fate Skeletons. As if that weren’t enough, these Shadow of Fate Skeletons seem to recover from your light quicker than most shadow skellies.
If you don’t have the Flame of Fate color that matches the Shadow of Fate’s eye color, then it’s best you just grab your Ritual Skull and be on your way.
Finding a Ritual Skull with Skull Stash Voyages
While free is nice, if you are anxious to begin your Fort of the Damned adventure—and you have the coin to spend—you might be interested in the Skull Stash voyages.
For the right price, you can make quick work of finding a Ritual Skull!
Perhaps you’ll remember: during the Dark Relics update, Duke was hoarding Ritual Skulls. Now, he is offering pirates a Black Market Voyage to collect a quick Ritual Skull straight from the Outpost.
These Black Market Voyages can be purchased for either Doubloons or Gold, and there is no limit to how many voyages you can purchase!
If you buy a Skull Stash voyage from Duke’s Black Market, after you’ve voted on it, you will receive an x-marks-the-spot quest in your Map Radial.
The island will always be an Outpost. In our experience, it is often the Outpost closest to you when you vote. If you vote right after you purchase the voyage, you’ll likely receive a map for the Outpost on which you currently stand!
Locate the “X” and dig.
Because these Ritual Skulls are hidden on Outposts, these skulls will not be booby trapped those pesky Shadows of Fate Skeletons. Even better!
Finding a Ritual Skull with Luck: Ambient Skeletons are Giving Orders!
Typically, if you arrive at an island and see a Skeleton Captain, it is safe to assume that either you are actively on an Order of Souls mission, or you have picked up a bounty from a message in a bottle.
Now, you might arrive at an island, see a Skeleton Captain, check your quest wheel and see no bounty quests for that island! Ah, yes… these are the brand new ambient Skeleton Captains.
Upon killing an ambient Skeleton Captain, you will find “Skeleton’s Orders” that could potentially lead you to a Ritual Skull.
This would not be our first option. You can’t be sure you’ll run into an ambient Skeleton Captain, and you can’t be sure what “Skeleton’s Orders” you will receive.
However, if you’re out and about gathering your various Flames of Fate and you stumble upon an ambient Skeleton Captain, kill it!
As tempting as it may be to rely solely on the quicker Skull Stash Voyages, you might want to acquire at least a few Ritual Skulls through the Skull Seeker Voyages. Well, four to be exact.
While most of the commendations you will be earning in this update involve the Fort of the Damned, Duke is awarding commendations and doubloons to those who complete one of each Skull Seeker Voyage.
Ritual Skull Retrieved in The Wilds – Complete a Skull Seeker Voyage in The Wilds. (5 doubloons)
Ritual Skull Retrieved in The Ancient Isles – Complete a Skull Seeker Voyage in The Ancient Isles. (5 doubloons)
Ritual Skull Retrieved in The Shores of Plenty – Complete a Skull Seeker Voyage in The Shores of Plenty. (5 doubloons)
Ritual Skull Retrieved from Across the Sea of Thieves – Complete a Skull Seeker Voyage in each of the main regions. (25 doubloons)
Legendary Ritual Skulls Retrieved – Complete a Legendary Skull Seeker Voyage (10 doubloons)