How to solve the Cryptic Quatrains in Destiny 2

Destiny 2 Cryptic Quatrains treasure site
(Image credit: Bungie)
Strike it big in the Season of Plunder

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(Image credit: Bungie)

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The Destiny 2 Cryptic Quatrains are treasure hunts you can undertake in the Season of Plunder in order to earn yourself the Charge of Light exotic sparrow. Solving riddles and hunting for buried treasure is exactly the sort of buccaneer stuff you'd expect from Destiny 2's pirate season, and you'll be completing a variety of tasks in order to claim your plunder.

Effectively messages in a bottle, these quests require you to unravel a number of riddles in order to find the location of buried loot. Completing them will earn you some map fragments, seasonal armor, but more mysteriously, two parts of a Crude Cipher Fragment which is used in the final Cryptic Quatrain puzzle.

The only real hiccup is that you'll have to grind quite a bit in order to unlock the three Quatrains in the first place, since they have specific rank requirements. Here I'll explain how to get the treasure beacons for each of the Cryptic Quatrains, and the precise quest steps you'll have to follow to complete them and get the sparrow.

Destiny 2 Cryptic Quatrains: How to unlock

(Image credit: Bungie)

In order to unlock the first Cryptic Quatrain quest, you're going to have to hit rank seven with the star map located in the H.E.L.M. The best way to do this is by completing bounties, Ketchcrash, Expedition, and just generally taking part in seasonal activities. Once you hit that rank, you can claim the Small Treasure Beacon from the star map, which will begin the first of three Cryptic Quatrains. 

Note: you'll have to get to rank 16 with the star map in order to collect all three, and once you complete them, earn the Charge of Light sparrow. However, each Cryptic Quatrain follows a pretty similar order in terms of what you need to complete activities-wise, varying from lost sectors, to strikes, to finding the treasure mound location.

Cryptic Quatrain 1

Here's what you need to do for each of Cryptic Quatrain 1's individual quest steps:

  • Head to the moon
  • Complete K1 Revelation Lost Sector in Sorrow's Harbour
  • Finish the Fallen S.A.B.E.R strike in the Cosmodrome
  • Head to the crane in the Eventide Ruins on Europa and dig up the treasure marked with the Fallen sigil

It's quite easy to locate the treasure, as it's on the ground close to the platform hanging from the only crane in the area. The treasure will get you some seasonal armor, five map fragments, and the first Crude Cipher Fragment. 

Cryptic Quatrain 2

Once you reach rank ten you can claim the Medium Treasure Beacon from the star map. Here are the steps for this one: 

  • Head to the Dreaming City
  • Complete the Bay of Drowned Wishes Lost Sector in the Divalian Mists
  • Finish the Lake of Shadows strike in the EDZ
  • Complete an Expedition with a sword equipped
  • Head to the triangular entrance to the Well of Flame in The Cistern on Nessus. Investigate the Fallen sigil just inside the entrance.
  • Go to the area north of the Well of Flame where the Cabal public event happens and look for a treasure mound by the sphere

This will get you a seasonal weapon, more map fragments, and the second Crude Cipher Fragment. 

Cryptic Quatrain 3

The Large Treasure Beacon unlocks at rank 16 in the star map. Here are the quest steps: 

  • Head to the EDZ
  • Complete The Quarry Lost Sector in The Sunken Isles
  • Finish the Exodus Crash strike on Nessus without dying
  • Complete Ketchcrash with an arc subclass and an arc hand cannon equipped
  • Equip the completed Crude Cipher in the Captain's Atlas
  • From left to right, slot in House of Dusk, House of Salvation, and House of Light
  • Go to the Forgotten Shore in the Cosmodrome and head to the ship in the south part of the area by the Veles Labyrinth Lost Sector. Activate the Fallen sigil on its deck.
  • Head to the north end of the Forgotten Shore to find the treasure mound in a cave by three pillars, just below where the Navota strike begins

This will get you some weapons, the Charge of Light sparrow, and complete that Beacon's Guidance seasonal triumph. 

Sean Martin
Guides Writer

Sean's first PC games were Full Throttle and Total Annihilation and his taste has stayed much the same since. When not scouring games for secrets or bashing his head against puzzles, you'll find him revisiting old Total War campaigns, agonizing over his Destiny 2 fit, or still trying to finish the Horus Heresy. Sean has also written for EDGE, Eurogamer, PCGamesN, Wireframe, EGMNOW, and Inverse.