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Black Powder


Rules Questions


3 people marked this as FAQ candidate. 1 person marked this as a favorite.

Is there a DC for the creation of Black Powder?

I've got the Inner sea world guide where they discuss black powder weapon, and black powder, but they don't assign it a DC to create that I've found


It doesn't appear to have a DC, similar to enchanting magic items.
It does require a feat.

Gunsmithing wrote:

You know the secrets of repairing and restoring firearms.

Benefit: If you have access to a gunsmith's kit, you can create and restore firearms, craft bullets, and mix black powder for all types of firearms. You do not need to make a Craft check to create firearms and ammunition or to restore firearms.

Crafting Firearms: You can craft any early firearm for a cost in raw materials equal to half the price of the firearm. At your GM's discretion, you can craft advanced firearms for a cost in raw materials equal to half the price of the firearm. Crafting a firearm in this way takes 1 day of work for every 1,000 gp of the firearm's price (minimum 1 day).

Crafting Ammunition: You can craft bullets, pellets, and black powder for a cost in raw materials equal to 10% of the price. If you have at least 1 rank in Craft (alchemy), you can craft alchemical cartridges for a cost in raw materials equal to half the price of the cartridge. At your GM's discretion, you can craft metal cartridges for a cost in raw materials equal to half the cost of the cartridge. Crafting bullets, black powder, or cartridges takes 1 day of work for every 1,000 gp of ammunition (minimum 1 day).

Restoring a Broken Firearm: Each day, with an hour's worth of work, you can use this feat to repair a single firearm with the broken condition. You can take time during a rest period to restore a broken firearm with this feat.

Special: If you are a gunslinger, this feat grants the following additional benefit. You can use this feat to repair and restore your initial, battered weapon. It costs 300 gp and 1 day of work to upgrade it to a masterwork firearm of its type.

RPG Superstar 2009 Top 32

Archaeik wrote:

It doesn't appear to have a DC, similar to enchanting magic items.

It does require a feat.

Ummm ...

Crafting Magic Items does require skill checks. See Pathfinder RPG Core Rulebook pp.550-553.


Hmm, I guess the group I play with just ignores that...

Anyway, is there a DC list for Gunsmithing in general??
What would it be keyed off of?
(Black powder could be Craft(alchemy) sure, but that doesn't cover the whole feat)

It's clear Guns and their Ammo don't use mundane crafting rules by the existence of this feat.
It's not unreasonable to assign some DC based on whatever skill, but barring further clarification, I don't think any of these items carry a DC to craft. (It's extraordinary enough that they exist at all.)

I'll go ahead and hit FAQ.


Archaeik wrote:

It doesn't appear to have a DC, similar to enchanting magic items.

It does require a feat.

Gunsmithing wrote:

You know the secrets of repairing and restoring firearms.

Benefit: If you have access to a gunsmith's kit, you can create and restore firearms, craft bullets, and mix black powder for all types of firearms. You do not need to make a Craft check to create firearms and ammunition or to restore firearms.

Crafting Firearms: You can craft any early firearm for a cost in raw materials equal to half the price of the firearm. At your GM's discretion, you can craft advanced firearms for a cost in raw materials equal to half the price of the firearm. Crafting a firearm in this way takes 1 day of work for every 1,000 gp of the firearm's price (minimum 1 day).

Crafting Ammunition: You can craft bullets, pellets, and black powder for a cost in raw materials equal to 10% of the price. If you have at least 1 rank in Craft (alchemy), you can craft alchemical cartridges for a cost in raw materials equal to half the price of the cartridge. At your GM's discretion, you can craft metal cartridges for a cost in raw materials equal to half the cost of the cartridge. Crafting bullets, black powder, or cartridges takes 1 day of work for every 1,000 gp of ammunition (minimum 1 day).

Restoring a Broken Firearm: Each day, with an hour's worth of work, you can use this feat to repair a single firearm with the broken condition. You can take time during a rest period to restore a broken firearm with this feat.

Special: If you are a gunslinger, this feat grants the following additional benefit. You can use this feat to repair and restore your initial, battered weapon. It costs 300 gp and 1 day of work to upgrade it to a masterwork firearm of its type.

The bit I italicized seems to say Craft Alchemy allows you to create cartridges but you wouldn't be able to create the black powder to go into them, then I guess. @.@


Archaeik wrote:
Black powder could be Craft(alchemy) sure, but that doesn't cover the whole feat

Oddly, the section on Emerging Guns says "Adventurers who want to use guns must take the Craft Firearms feat just to make them feasible weapons."

But there is no Craft Firearms feat. Do they mean Gunsmithing?

Speaking of Gunsmithing, it says "You do not need to make a Craft check to create firearms and ammunition or to restore firearms."

Black Powder is probably considered ammunition.

Without Gunsmithing, it's probably alchemy.
Black Powder: "Black powder is the key explosive component within a firearm that enables it to function, but in larger amounts this alchemical material can be quite destructive"


The way I read Gunsmithing, you can't craft cartridges withOUT the feat. It tells you what you can do, not "what you can do normally".

It's if you have this feat AND 1 rank in Craft(alchemy)...

@Grick, I'm confident they mean Gunsmithing in place of "Craft Firearms"

In terms of translating Black Powder to a mundane Craft(alchemy) check (in place of this feat), you're looking at a house rule. And I'd say the DC would be at least 25, if not 30+.
Alchemy is not Chemistry afterall.

RPG Superstar 2009 Top 32

My sense is that this part of the rules was poorly thought out in general. :(


I find it amusing that in the Jade Regent adventure path, you can own a significant number of fireworks, and have a craft (alchemy) of +10 (1 rank, +3 class skill, +2 racial gnome bonus, +4 Int)and still not be able to recreate even the lowliest firework you've gotten your hands on.

Liberty's Edge

Concerning the craft dc for blackpowder and cartridges, would it be possible for one of the game creators to make a ruling on this? The RAW seem to be very contradictory and incomplete. While I realize that firearms don't play that large of a role in most sword and sorcery games, as someone who wants to include them, it would be greatly appreciated.

Liberty's Edge

Pathfinder Comics Subscriber

I am interested in an answer.

What is the DC for alchemy to craft black powder?

A lone Gunslinger from Alkenstar traveling in Taldor is running out of powder. Could he create it himself with craft alchemy?

Liberty's Edge

Pathfinder Comics Subscriber

Next Try


You pay 10% of black powders cost and can make up to 1000gp a day worth.


According to the feat, there is no DC because there is no check; you autopass for the required cost.

Gunsmithing wrote:

You know the secrets of repairing and restoring firearms.

Benefit: If you have access to a gunsmith's kit, you can create and restore firearms, craft bullets, and mix black powder for all types of firearms. You do not need to make a Craft check to create firearms and ammunition or to restore firearms.

Crafting Firearms: You can craft any early firearm for a cost in raw materials equal to half the price of the firearm. At your GM's discretion, you can craft advanced firearms for a cost in raw materials equal to half the price of the firearm. Crafting a firearm in this way takes 1 day of work for every 1,000 gp of the firearm's price (minimum 1 day).

Crafting Ammunition: You can craft bullets, pellets, and black powder for a cost in raw materials equal to 10% of the price. If you have at least 1 rank in Craft (alchemy), you can craft alchemical cartridges for a cost in raw materials equal to half the price of the cartridge. At your GM's discretion, you can craft metal cartridges for a cost in raw materials equal to half the cost of the cartridge. Crafting bullets, black powder, or cartridges takes 1 day of work for every 1,000 gp of ammunition (minimum 1 day).

Restoring a Broken Firearm: Each day, with an hour's worth of work, you can use this feat to repair a single firearm with the broken condition. You can take time during a rest period to restore a broken firearm with this feat.

Special: If you are a gunslinger, this feat grants the following additional benefit. You can use this feat to repair and restore your initial, battered weapon. It costs 300 gp and 1 day of work to upgrade it to a masterwork firearm of its type.


Just eyeballing it, it seems they wanted to keep black powder out of 'normal' hands, but make it available to those who actually would need it most (like, say, gunslingers). Thus, you must have the feat (free for gunslingers, for some reason), but don't have to worry about a check to be able to perform your main function.

Arrows and bolts, while part of a Craft (bow) check, generally aren't rare or even mysterious to the 'average' person; you can probably find a fletcher in most civilised, and even quite a few uncivilised, areas. Learning the secrets of how fire can unmake stone requires even more specialised training (and possibly indoctrination from those providing it!), hence the feat cost.

Liberty's Edge

Pathfinder Comics Subscriber

now I get it
thanks a lot


Qaianna wrote:

Just eyeballing it, it seems they wanted to keep black powder out of 'normal' hands, but make it available to those who actually would need it most (like, say, gunslingers).

If that is the case, then that would be one of the infuriatingly stupid "video-gamey" poor design decisions that I instantly house-rule the hell out of my game before they sheer idiocy of them deal me irreparable Int damage.

Chinese alchemists were messing around w/ gunpowder long before we had anything resembling "guns", let alone a profession resembling "gunslingers", and they accidentally stumbled upon it while trying to create the elixir of life, of all things (take a moment to meditate on the grand, cosmic irony of that :D ).

Point is, there's no reason why your garden-variety alchemist (not the capital-A "Alchemist class) can make fantasy doodads like "liquid blades", but not mix real-life stuff like black powder (and yes, they they're no more "untrained" at their art then fletchers are at making arrows, since all Craft skills are "trained only").

The designers really didn't think this through. What if we just want to make black powder (for w/e purpose) but not guns? Maybe none of them are gunslingers, but they want to pull off black-powder plot to overthrow the local nobles? Maybe I as a GM want my bad guys to be making black powder deep in their evil lairs to re-enact the Allahu-Orcbar scene from the Battle of Helms Deep?

This is like when Star Wars manual writers laze out & write "HerpDerp, not for sale" on an Imperial vehicle or w/e. Yeah, yeah, not through official channels maybe - but our Rebel characters are likely working via the black market.

Everything has a price. Everything has a Craft DC.

Not putting it in your game manual w/ the excuse of
"well, we high-&-mighty devs think we know better than you plebe gamers" is simply lazy writing & gets a grade of "incomplete, F for making your customers do your homework for you."

But yeah, a DC 25 seems about right, since it's a tier above things like Alchemist's Fire (Greek Fire) & Flash Powder (a more primitive version of black powder).


1 person marked this as a favorite.
Voin_AFOL wrote:
Qaianna wrote:

Just eyeballing it, it seems they wanted to keep black powder out of 'normal' hands, but make it available to those who actually would need it most (like, say, gunslingers).

If that is the case, then that would be one of the infuriatingly stupid "video-gamey" poor design decisions that I instantly house-rule the hell out of my game before they sheer idiocy of them deal me irreparable Int damage.

Why necro a 3 year old post just to call someone's point stupid?

Silver Crusade

Pathfinder Adventure Path, Campaign Setting, Companion, Modules, Roleplaying Game, Starfinder Adventure Path, Starfinder Roleplaying Game, Starfinder Society Roleplaying Guild, Tales Subscriber; Pathfinder Comics Subscriber

*opens mouth* ... *closes it*

This isn't the only thread they've necroed (some of the others are over a decade dead...)

The Exchange

If you want to make 'black powder'-based weapons without the Gunsmithing Feat (for cultural realism reasons or whatever) then just craft fuse grenades, pellet grenades and fireworks with Craft (alchemy). If you want to churn out kegs of black powder 'cos they're cheaper, gold per die, than a wand of fireballs, then take the Gunsmithing Feat (and the spark cantrip...).


Well Golarian is special. You have your basic foot soldiers, but the big guns in battle are likely spellcasters which are more precise and potentially more damaging than gunpowder. Or maybe alchemists with their own concoctions.

The Mana Wastes are special because of the lack of magic. They were reliant on low magic tech which made gunpowder more important. As it was their only weapon, they therefore developed it as much as possible, explaining the gap.


How is this for explaining the gap: If I can make 1000gp of black powder for 100 gp how much would it cost me to hire a mage (much less more than one) to cast fire balls for my up coming battle?

The argument you are making is that it is more effective to simply have mages cast spells for you. I argue that it only seems this way since mages are PC classes and thus we get a lot of exposure to them. However to be able to create explosives which even some half-wit orc with a torch can blow up becomes a tactical advantage which simply can not be over looked.

Yes yes, when only looking at an adventuring party of dungeon runners the mage works fine, but when looking at the economics and demographics of world design the destructive power of black powder simply can not be hand waved given its low cost of production.

Keep something else in mind the cost of creating and stock piling black powder vs the number of spells a mage can cast in a day, and what that mage would charge to cast those spells on your behalf while defending your castle / town from attack. "But mages can create magic items" yes, but again look at the cost of black powder vs the cost of said magic item creation.

The value of your typical fireball spell (which I'm using as the bench mark here for "explosive power" vs black powder) can be put into very small areas such as wands, scrolls, staves, etc but at great cost. Black powder is insanely easy to make (according to RAW) and basically take one skill and a feat but no skill check, and there is no limit to how many barrels of the stuff I can stock pile and later shoot at my enemies via catapults (as a bomb) or cannons.

As for Voin_AFOL's suggestion of a DC 25 skill check, I personally find this a bit low given the world changing implications of this cat getting out of the bag. I would likely put the DC somewhere closer to 30 and may add additional restrictions of it such as the conditions under which it could be created, etc.


Voin_AFOL wrote:
Qaianna wrote:


Point is, there's no reason why your garden-variety alchemist (not the capital-A "Alchemist class) can make fantasy doodads like "liquid blades", but not mix real-life stuff like black powder (and yes, they they're no more "untrained" at their art then fletchers are at making arrows, since all Craft skills are "trained only").

Craft can be done untrained

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