TL;DR: I allowed a duo Sloop to co-op a fort with me that I was doing solo. They betrayed me after I killed the captain, didn't know I had the key, swam far far away, waited 2-ish hours for them and a Galleon to GTFO, claimed 12.5k in loot to myself.
Story time! Last night, I logged on for what I thought would be a short play session. All I wanted to do was complete a Merchant voyage or two, but when I spawned in, I was right near Crow's Nest Fortress and decided to see if anyone was there. There were no ships in sight, so I decided I'd try to solo it (I've never solo'd one before). After dying a few times, I finally met a couple of pirates on the Ferry who asked me if I was doing the Fort. They said they were on the other side of the map and were wondering why it hadn't been taken down yet (it apparently was up for a while before I joined the server).
After a few more minutes (and a few more deaths), these guys show up in their Sloop (now in party chat) and the cannon towers start shooting at them. They shout "WE'RE FRIENDLY!" multiple times over text chat, and I decide to let them help me (albeit very cautiously). We clear wave after wave with no other ships interrupting us. Finally, the captain spawns and chases me up to one of the upper levels (without the other pirates' knowledge). I corner her against a stare case and slash away until she's finally defeated and drops the key. As soon as I pick it up, I hear a gunpowder barrel explode and I KNEW they were trying to betray me. But they did not know they were messing with the persistent Captain Noble.
As soon as the barrel exploded, I jumped down to the opposite side of the island with the key and began swimming as far as I could. I swam VERY far, all the way to the rock pillars between the fort and Ancient Spire Outpost. They never saw me swim away and they stayed anchored at the fort for quite some time afterwards. After fending off a few sharks, I placed the key on a rock in such a manner that it would not register as being in the water. I hitched a ride back to my ship with via mermaid, and back I sailed.
As luck would have it, I was able to find the key in the midst of the waves and bring it aboard my ship. I sailed around a bit, waited a good long while until the fort appeared to be vacant, and began making my move towards it. There was another Sloop far on the horizon as well as a Galleon, but I was taking my chances. I pull up to the fort and instantly see a mermaid in the water. I hid the key on top of my ship's sails, turn the ship in a safe direction and allow it to sail off as I scout the island. That's when I came across one of the other pirates (unaware of my presence on the island) using his spy glass to watch my ship sail off. I get up close and personal, blunderbuss him in the back point blank (but he doesn't die because why would he?), and a fight ensues. Unfortunately, he was able to thwart me, but I spawned back on my ship with the key in still aboard.
That's when I sailed on over to the Sloop (who was anchored at a shipwreck for a curiously long time). The pirate's friend was on board telling me that "his friend really wanted the skull fort loot so it'd be really nice if he could have it" to which I replied "I have the key hidden, so I really don't think you're in a position to negotiate". I proceed to kill him, sink his ship (and collect his loot including a Captain's chest and 2 villainous skulls) while a Galleon parks itself at the fort.
I assume the pirate at the fort told them that I had the key and they must have killed him after because they waited at the fort for a good 20+ minutes waiting for me to come back with the key. I decided to wait it out on the highest point of Ancient Spire, go to sleep (on top of the key), and scuttle my ship. The Galleon made its way to the outpost and anchored there for another nerve wracking 20+ minutes, but did a very poor job at scouting the island. They finally decided to leave which is when I hid the key on the roof of the tavern and returned to my ship.
It was a long journey across the map to get back to the outpost after that. As I finally made it back to Ancient Spire, the only ship I spotted on the horizon was the Galleon who was waiting for the key. I saw them do an anchor turn at Devil's Ridge, so I rushed to grab the key. I grabbed it, made it back to my ship, and began sailing off in the opposite direction as to not cause suspicion. After anchoring behind the rock pillars where I had originally hidden the key, the Galleon finally gave up and sailed off into the Red Sea. As I watched their silhouette disappear on the horizon, I made my final approach to the fort and FINALLY, after a little over 2 hours of waiting and hiding, was able to claim the loot for myself. Hell of a night! I ended up with 12,500 gold all to me lonesome!
© Post "Was finally able to pull off a Skull Fort heist!" for game Sea of Thieves.
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