How Riddles Work in ‘Sea of Thieves’

Jeremy Ray
Games PC Gaming
Games PC Gaming Xbox

Sea of Thieves has given us a few different kinds of quest to complete.

You’ve got your “go capture a chicken in a cage” quests, which usually result in the poor chooks being submerged in the ocean as you swim back to your boat. You’ve got your straight-up combat quests, which involve going to an island and killing a literal skeleton crew.

Even though we’re fans of combat, the lag and clunky mechanics meant we couldn’t take that side of the game too seriously — so our favourite kind in Sea of Thieves is the chest quest. Given how slow and unrewarding PvP hunts can be, riddle quests are also the most lucrative of activities in Sea of Thieves.

This involves one of two things:

  • You receive a map of an island with a number of X marks where you dig for chests, and have to use the shape of the island to know where to sail on the larger map.
  • You receive a riddle, first telling you where to go and then where to dig.

The key to the latter of these two is to take it super literally. There aren’t any tricks here. No “what is in my pocketses.” No “What has eyes but cannot see?” Feel free to follow these riddles exactly to the letter.

Before release, Sea of Thieves senior designer Andy Preston said “We didn’t want all of the steps to be immediately visible to the player, otherwise they’d just be able to skip to the end.”

As such, most of the riddle will be blurred until you reach the island. But getting there is usually not much of a challenge unless you encounter PvP. Look for the island’s name on the map, head there, and when you step ashore you’ll see the rest of your puzzle.

Sea of Thieves riddle page with some lines blurred out

If it’s nighttime, make sure you turn off the lanterns on your ship while you’re searching for your dig spot. Not only do the lights make your boat easier to see, they actually increase the draw distance — meaning oceanic predators can see you from farther away.

At this stage you’ll be looking for a landmark. Something like “the open grave,” or “the drinking enthusiast.”

These are usually very obvious, so you’ll know when you see them. If you’re looking for something like “the pile of skulls” and see a few skulls on the ground nearby, that’s probably not it. You’ll eventually stumble on a very conspicuous, massive pile of around forty skulls.

Some riddle quests will have multiple stages. After getting to the island, you might have to perform some other simple task before seeing the next stage on your parchment. This might include something like shining your lantern on a particular landmark or playing an instrument.

Invariably, these quests will ask you to bring out your compass and walk a few paces in a certain direction before digging for treasure. There’s a neat trick some people don’t know about here.

You can see the direction you’re facing with your compass out, but if you hold the left mouse button (or right trigger on Xbox One), you’ll bring the compass up to your face and start to walk slowly. This is a great way to count the amount of paces to your buried treasure.


Once you’re in the general vicinity, dig away. There’s nothing like hearing that wooden “thunk” sound on your first dig. But if you need to dig a few holes around the area, it’s no real skin off your nose. The chest isn’t going anywhere.

If there’s still no luck, make sure you’ve got the landmark right. You’re definitely on the right island at this point if you can see the full riddle.

Just make sure you have enough ammo and bananas to take on the constantly spawning skeletons!

Jeremy Ray
Managing Editor at FANDOM. Decade-long games critic and esports aficionado. Started in competitive Counter-Strike, then moved into broadcast, online, print and interpretative pantomime. You merely adopted the lag. I was born in it.
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