Sea of Thieves – Black Powder Stashes Guide

BOOM! Your old friend Duke is now offering explosive adventures! Find Duke in any tavern, and you will discover six different Mercenary Voyages in his stock.

The Black Powder Stashes!

You will also find brand new ship decor designed to strike fear into your enemies’ hearts. Why? Well, you’ll need to prove yourself to unlock these beauties by earning their corresponding commendations.

These cosmetics include the Mercenary Figurehead. Showcase your mercenary mettle with a predatory arachnid poised to strike!

Sea of Thieves Mercenary Figurehead

These cosmetics also include The Inevitable Reaper Flag, and The Inevitable Reaper Sails. Fly these to signal your status as a true reaper—one with the guts to dare every pirate on the seas to join them in battles that are sure to set off some fireworks!

The Inevitable Reaper Flag
The Inevitable Reaper Sails

Below we will go over the requirements for earning each of these striking embellishments!

You might also want to collect these cosmetics because they are extensions of the Mercenary and Reaper sets available in previous Mercenary Voyages.

As for these six new Mercenary Voyages, they are part of the Black Powder Stash series. Within these six voyages, there are two types:

  • Four are “Smuggler’s Runs.”
  • Two are “Reaper’s Black Powder Runs.”

Let’s take each type in turn…


The Black Powder Smuggler’s Runs

There are four different Black Powder Smuggler’s Runs because there is one for each region. Once you have successfully completed each region’s voyage, you will unlock a new commendation and some shiny doubloons!

If you’re not too keen on sailing into the Devil’s Roar, be sure to at least complete the three Mercenary Voyages for the original three regions—The Shores of Plenty, The Ancient Isles, and The Wilds. This will unlock the Master Black Powder Smuggler commendation, fill your pockets with 25 doubloons, and allow you to purchase the Mercenary Figurehead shown above.


Black Powder Smuggler’s Run—Chapter 1:

When you vote on a Black Powder Smuggler’s Run Mercenary Voyage, you begin a two chapter voyage. The first chapter will have three different x-marks-the-spot quests. Each of the islands for this chapter will have two to three X’s to find and dig.

The pictures below are examples of three x-marks-the-spot quests you might receive.


What treasure lies buried beneath those X’s? Not chests…

For the first time in the Sea of Thieves, it seems pirates have been hiding away their merchant crates. You will be digging up hidden stashes of valuable trade goods: everything from Rare Teas to Exotic Silks to… stashes of Black Powder!


Black Powder Smuggler’s Run—Chapter 2:

The second and final chapter will have one x-marks-the-spot quest. However, beneath this X you are guaranteed to find a Stronghold Gunpowder Barrel!

Black Powder Smuggler's Run

Sell Your Items Strategically!

Finding merchant items buried in the sand isn’t the only twist that these new voyages bring. Trouble seems to be brewing in these tempestuous seas, and the outpost trading companies are eager to stockpile as many gunpowder barrels as possible.

While the merchant crates will still be accepted only by the Merchant Alliance, the gunpowder barrels you dig up along the way will now be accepted by any of the Outpost companies: Gold Hoarders, Order of Souls, or the Merchant Alliance!

If you are a pirate legend, you can also sell your gunpowder barrels to the mysterious stranger to increase your Athena’s reputation!


With merchant crates buried, might there be someone or something blocking trade routes?


If there is such a threat, is it the reason for this gunpowder barrel arms race?


We truly have no idea, but we’d love to read anything your imaginations concoct in the comments below!


Level Up! Whatever the reason, the happy consequence is that these new Mercenary Voyages will help you level up any of the three Outpost Trading Companies in which you might still be shy of that legendary level 50.

Already a Guardian of Athena’s Fortune? This is the title for being a Pirate Legend who has reached reputation level 10 in Athena’s Fortune.

Congratulations, me hearty! There is still good reason to sell your gunpowder barrels strategically.

There are commendations to unlock—and doubloons to be earned—for selling gunpowder barrels to each of the three Outpost Trading Companies. So, be sure to keep track of your progress as you sell your loot to each.


Black Powder Smuggler’s Runs in the Original 3 Regions

The Black Powder Smuggler’s Run of The Wilds

The Wilds Mercenary Voyage will have you digging up merchant items on islands such as The Crooked Masts, Kraken’s Fall, Marauder’s Arch and Sunken Grove. Completing it will unlock the Black Powder Smuggler of The Wilds commendation for 10 doubloons.


The Black Powder Smuggler’s Run of The Ancient Isles

The Smuggler’s Run in The Ancient Isles will have you digging up merchant items on islands such as Crook’s Hollow, Devil’s Ridge, Snake Island and Shark Bait Cove. After digging up the Stronghold Gunpowder barrel you will unlock the Black Powder Smuggler of The Ancient Isles commendation for 10 doubloons.


The Black Powder Smuggler’s Run of The Shores of Plenty

This Smuggler’s Run will have you digging up merchant items on islands such as Crescent Isle, Cannon Cove, Lone Cove and Mermaid’s Hideaway. On completion you will unlock the Black Powder Smuggler of The Shores of Plenty commendation for 10 doubloons.


The Black Powder Athena’s Smuggler’s Run of The Devil’s Roar

The Black Powder Smuggler’s Run of the Devil’s Roar is a bit unique in that you can only purchase the voyage if you are a Pirate Legend. However, as long as a Pirate Legend places the voyage on the voyage table for you, you can partake in the voyage no matter your pirate status.

If you do manage to complete the voyage, you will unlock the Black Powder Smuggler of The Devil’s Roar commendation for 10 doubloons.

Although the Devil’s Roar awards the same number of doubloons as the other regions, there is more to lure you into those boiling waters.

First, the Pirate Legend Smuggler’s Run voyage within Devil’s Roar offers higher value loot. More of the merchant crates are the higher value “ashen” crates. Plus, there are two Stronghold Gunpowder Barrels on your final map!

Second, while the thought of volcanoes might scare you away from this more challenging Smuggler’s Run, this voyage will steer your ship clear of any forts that are part of the Reaper’s Black Powder Runs.

Black Powder Stashes Stronghold Gunpowder Barrel

The Reaper’s Black Powder Runs

The Reaper’s Black Powder Runs will have you completing a four chapter voyage that takes you to four forts. Yes, forts! For the first time in Adventure mode you and your crew will receive x-marks-the-spot quests that take place on the formidable skeleton forts scattered across the Sea of Thieves.

These are reapers voyages. This means you will need to complete these voyages while flying your reaper’s mark flag!


The Reapers Mark Flag

Not all pirates are well-acquainted with the mischievous little flag aboard their ship. Not to worry! We’ll give you a little rundown. 


What does this Reaper’s Mark flag look like?

Fantastic question! It looks like this:

Reaper's Mark Flag in Sea of Thieves

What does this Reaper’s Mark Flag Do?

The reaper’s mark flag is essentially a means of throwing a gauntlet down—daring every pirate on the seas to meet you in battle!

When your reaper’s mark flag is raised, your ship will be visible to every other ship via their ship’s map table. They’ll see a shadowy ship and the red reaper’s mark flag. On your own map table, your ship will show up like this:

Reaper's Mark Map Table

How Do I equip this Reaper’s Mark Flag?

Climb to the top of your crow’s nest. There you will find your “ship flag box.” Open that box, then find and select the Reaper’s Mark flag shown above. 

You must go to your crow’s nest and equip the Reaper’s Mark flag before you vote on the voyage. You must also keep the flag up at all times during your voyage. Only lower it after you have completed all the chapters of the voyage.

Reaper’s Black Powder Run to the East

For this reaper’s voyage you will be traveling eastward. However, this means you will actually begin in the West!

The Reaper’s Black Powder Run to the East will start at Keel Haul Fort in the North West of the Sea of Thieves and end at The Crow’s Nest Fortress found in the South East.


Reaper’s Black Powder Run to the West

As you’ve likely guessed, for this reaper’s voyage you will be traveling westward—beginning in the East.

The Reaper’s Black Powder Run to the West will start at Shark Fin Camp in the North East of the Sea of Thieves and end at Sailor’s Knot found in the South West.


What do these Voyages Look Like?

For both Reaper’s Black Powder Runs, you will be completing x-marks-the-spot quests. The voyage will consist of four chapters; each chapter will consist of one quest map. For each chapter, you’ll notice that your quest maps will have more X’s than the map before.

  • Chapter 1: 2 X’s
  • Chapter 2: 3 X’s
  • Chapter 3: 4 X’s
  • Chapter 4: 5 X’s

In line with the cryptic underlying lore—like the Smuggler’s Runs—you will be digging up valuable merchant crates and gun powder barrels.




Legendary Eastward Commendations

If you complete the Reaper’s Black Powder Run to the East voyage three times—while flying the Reaper’s Mark—you will unlock the Legendary Eastward Black Powder Reaper commendation. Unlocking this commendation will allow you to purchase The Inevitable Reaper Flag.

The Inevitable Reaper Flag

Legendary Westward Commendations

If you complete the Reaper’s Black Powder Run to the West voyage three times—while flying the Reaper’s Mark—you will unlock the Legendary Westward Black Powder Reaper commendation. Unlocking this commendation will allow you to purchase The Inevitable Reaper Sails.

The Inevitable Reaper Sails
Tell the Tale

There be whispers in the wind—or in the taverns really—from those who claim to have made this very voyage. Perhaps it’s all bluster. Perhaps these pirates only be tellin’ ye tips ye already know. Then again, perhaps these are worth mentioning lest you—or an otherwise seaworthy crewmate—forget a few minor details when gold be on the horizon.


Tell-the-Tale Tip #1: Wait to Raise your Reaper’s Mark Flag—and vote on your voyage—until AFTER you have already sailed to the First Island.

For most voyages in the Sea of Thieves, you have no way of knowing where you will be heading until you actually vote on the voyage. However, for these reaper’s voyages, you know the island on which each will begin without voting on the voyage.

The Reaper’s Black Powder Run to the East: Keel Haul Fort

The Reaper’s Black Powder Run to the West: Shark Fin Camp

As we mentioned above, you MUST raise your reaper’s flag before you vote on your voyage. However, you do not need to vote on your voyage until you’ve sailed over to your first island.

So, if you would not like to divulge your map position to every pirate on the seas just yet, you might follow these steps:

Step 1: Purchase your reaper’s voyage.

Step 2: Sail to the reaper’s voyage’s starting island.

Step 3: Raise your Reaper’s Mark Flag.

Step 4: Vote on your reaper’s voyage.

Step 5: Start Digging!


Tell-the-Tale Tip #2: Form Alliances Before you Raise your Reaper’s Mark Flag—and never after!

You must have to have your Reaper’s Mark flag up during the entire voyage to get credit for the commendations.

Well, as it turns out, if you try to form an alliance while your Reaper’s Mark flag is up, this will put away your Reaper’s Mark!

So, if you would like to make common cause with other ships at sea, you will want to do so either while you are sailing from the outpost to your first island, or when you first arrive at the island.

Most importantly, be sure that you do not try to make an alliance after your Reaper’s Mark flag has been raised.


Tell-the-Tale Tip #3: Don’t Dig Barrels By Skellies!

Now that you are digging up gunpowder barrels, it will be very important to listen for skellies nearby.

If you are digging up a gunpowder barrel and you hear skellies, stop digging! Lure the skeletons away from your gunpowder barrel, and scatter their bones back into the dirt.

After all, you don’t want one of those pesky skeletons to take a swing at you, miss and hit your beautiful treasure!


Tell-the-Tale Tip #4: Get Gunpowder Barrels Wherever You Can!

Whether you are trying to level up in a particular outpost trading company, or simply trying to get the commendations for selling gunpowder barrels to every outpost trading company, the barrels you sell do not need to be the barrels you dug up!

Gunpowder barrels are strewn throughout the Sea of Thieves! If you are doing the reaper’s voyages, you’re in luck! Skeleton forts have far more gunpowder barrels than other islands.

If you’re not doing the reaper’s voyages, take a look at your map table. If there’s no reaper’s mark ship at a fort, it might be uninhabited. Sail on over! If there are no other ships around, you can take your time pillaging the fort for every last barrel!


Tell-the-Tale Tip #5: Be Wary of Storms.

Many pirates prefer to store their gunpowder barrels in their crow’s nest. Often that is a fine strategy.

After all, if an enemy comes along and shoots your barrels, at least you don’t risk losing your ship.

Plus, if an enemy boards your ship and begins climbing the mast, you have a good bit of time to shoot them. Whereas, if an enemy boards your ship and the barrels are in your hull, swinging swords might just pack a bit more punch!

However, if you sail into a storm, the crow’s nest is a rather volatile place fo your gunpowder barrels. One lightning strike and you could lose them all!

Here are a few possible solutions…

You could avoid sailing in storms.

This might mean taking a longer route. It might also mean keeping a weather eye out to see if a storm might reach your next destination at the same time as your ship.

If you see a storm headed for your next location, you might take a bit of a fishing break, explore a shipwreck, turn in the loot you’ve found thus far, or otherwise pass the time until the storm has moved on.


You could risk having the barrels in your hull.

Of course, this comes with the pitfalls mentioned above. However, if you do not see another ship close on the horizon—or if you think yer yellow-bellied pursuers might not have the guts to put their gunpowder barrels below deck—this risk might just be your best bet.


You could try your luck in a rowboat.

Of course, you would still want to avoid the storm. However, if other ships are a bit too close for you to feel comfortable with that much TNT in your hull, you might have a crewmate discretely row those barrels to safety.


Best of Luck!

Hopefully, with this handy guide you won’t be needing quite as much luck to make the most of your Bilge Rat Adventures. As always, if you have any questions, feel free to comment down below. We’ll do our best to find you some answers. Fair winds, me hearties!

5 thoughts to “Sea of Thieves – Black Powder Stashes Guide”

  1. This is a GREAT guide! Is there a way you could list all the other achievements and rewards as well? Like turning in 20 gems to the Gold Hoarders etc.? I know we can look them up while IN game, but I use this guide when offline too 🙂

  2. This Seems To Me Like A New DLC Is On The Way. Remember How Shark Activity Increased And Merrick Appeared Before The Hungering Deep? Or Wanda Had Those Cursed Cannonballs On Display Before Cursed Sails? Mark My Words Me Hearties, War Is On The Wind.

    1. Joe Neate mentioned in the latest Developer Update video that the next event is on August 14th so I would guess around then?

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