There's a red cloud in the shape of a skull in the skies above the Sea of Thieves. What does it mean? Find out in this guide.

Sea of Thieves: Red Skull Cloud Event Explained

There's a red cloud in the shape of a skull in the skies above the Sea of Thieves. What does it mean? Find out in this guide.

The air above the Sea of Thieves is frequently the signaling ground for world events. Red tornadoes, ships made of clouds, the glowing visage of the evil Captain Flameheart, red skull clouds. All of these signal that one unique world event or another is taking place, though their meanings aren’t always immediately clear.

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The normal white and grey skull cloud tells crews there is a fort with a vault and a small hoard of gold beneath it, ready for the taking should any crew fight through the waves of skeletons to earn the key. The Red Skull cloud is similar, but with some very important differences.

Sea of Thieves: Red Skull Cloud Explained

The floating red cranium indicates an active Fort of Fortune, a sort of Mega Fort that exists separate from other world events. It is a significant occurrence, as two world events can’t normally happen at the same time. You’ll never see a skeleton fleet and a fire tornado at the same time, but you can see any of those and the Red Skull simultaneously.  

The difficulty of the Fort of Fortune is substantially greater than the normal skull fort. A standard skull fort consists of 10 waves of enemies, ending with a battle against one of the three Skeleton Lords. The Fort of Fortune, however, is 18 waves, with groups of Skeleton Captains mixed in a few times along the way.

The 16th wave includes a battle against a Skeleton Lord, just like at the end of a normal Skeleton Fort. The 17th wave includes the remaining two Skeleton Lords, and the 18th wave is a battle versus an Ashen Lord, by far the most powerful foe one can encounter on a standard voyage. A Red Skull event is a test of ability and fortitude that can take a significant time investment to complete.  

The rewards for a Fort of Fortune signaled by a Red Skull event are significant. The Ashen Lord, Skeleton Lords, and Captains all drop valuable skulls, and the vault is filled to the brim with high-level treasure, including the two Kegs of Ancient Black Powder and a Chest of Legends.

Be wary, though: everyone in the sea will see the Red Skull Cloud disappear, and know the loot is now potentially up for grabs. It’s a loot stealing opportunity, so be on your guard. Don’t bother trying to hide the key, either; it is visible on the map to everyone. Instead, start emptying the vault, and be ready to defend your hard-earned loot.

Understanding the perils and potential rewards of the Red Skull Cloud is a great step on your journey to be a true legend of the Sea of Thieves. You can also investigate those odd Green Tornadoes or light up the sky yourself with some fireworks. There’s always something to do in Sea of Thieves, and you can learn more over on our SoT guides hub. Happy Sailing! 

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Justin Koreis
Justin is a married father of two, has too many pets, and is a life-long gamer. When he's not in the virtual world he specializes in live event production, designing events for corporate clients such as Microsoft and Nintendo.