Early in the game, it can take a while to find some Coal, so it is advised not to waste it right away for Coal Torches and Fuel, but rather to save your first findings in order to craft 1-3 Stone Mining Cells from, and to just rely on Moss Torches a bit longer, so you won't have any regrets.
Later on you will be able to craft stronger Power Cells that will enable faster digging without losing durability.
You will also be able to craft TNT-type Explosives and (Basic) Excavators that will help you with digging into the ground or mountains a lot faster. TNT can destroy lots of blocks at once, but will leave Coal Nodes intact for you to see and then extract by using Extractors of any kind. Excavators can remove 7x7x7 blocks and will save half of them in Loot Bags.
Coal is not rare at all on any Creativerse game world, even though it might seem that way in the very beginning. All currently created game worlds are based on 4 well-balanced template worlds with lots of Coal Nodes in them, as well as infinitely creatable Coal Nodes and infinitely spawning Treasure Chests.
How to obtain
For one thing, Coal can be extracted from Coal Nodes.
Coal Nodes are very easy to find all throughout the Fossil layer underground, often visibly embedded in the walls of the many shallow Caves that lead down into the Fossil layer from the surface anywhere in the game world.
Coal Nodes can also be found higher up in the Mountains, where they are occasionally even visibly embedded in Stone on the surface, sometimes hidden under Snow. More rarely Coal Nodes can be seen at recesses near rivers, but they can be found in abundance by digging mine shafts every 3 blocks through the Fossil layer, which requires at least a Stone Mining Cell or better to be equipped.
Some Coal Nodes even reach down into the upper levels of the Stalactite layer too (much more often on older game worlds though).
Obtaining Coal from Creatures
A few pieces of Coal each can often be obtained by killing and looting Keepas of any kind (including Silver Keepas and Golden Keepas), but only rarely from Hot Feet too, either by killing these Creatures, or by harvesting from tamed and well-fed Pet Keepas or Pet Hot Feet.
Obtaining Coal from Treasure Chests
- in Wood Treasure Chests that will randomly appear only at night in unlit areas on solid natural surface blocks in range of view of the player-character (so run around a bit at night if you want more to spawn)
- in Stone Treasure Chests that randomly spawn in dark areas on rocks of the Fossil layer during day and night, sometimes even on Coal Nodes
- in Iron Treasure Chests that randomly spawn in dark areas on rocks of the Stalactite layer during day and night,
- and in Diamond Treasure Chests that randomly spawn in dark areas on Corrupted Blocks like on the Corruption layer during day and night
Extracting Coal from Nodes
Coal as an Ore can be won from Coal Nodes, but only by using an Extractor, an Advanced Extractor or a Super Extractor on a Coal Node. The Coal cannot be "pulled" from the Ore with your Power Cell (gauntlet).
Extractors are single-use items; they will be used up when they have completed their work, and they cannot be removed from the Node before they have finished extracting all of the Ore. The permission setting of Extractors is "just me" by default (different from most other activatable objects and storage containers) and can be changed manually by clicking on the padlock symbol in order to let other players take the Ore as well. Extractors will start their extraction process immediately when placed on a Node, they cannot be wired to be activated at a later time.
It is recommended to craft Advanced Extractors as soon as you can, since it takes much longer to search for more Nodes than to extract twice the amount of Ore from one Node - and faster too.
First, put a stack of Extractors into any slot in your quickbar. Then select this quickslot (preferably by typing its number) and click the right mouse button while pointing at the Coal Node with your cursor in order to place the Extractor so it can extract the Coal from the Node.
- a basic Extractor yields 6 Coal from 1 Coal Node in 1 minute
- an Advanced extractor can extract 12 Coal from 1 Node in 30 seconds
- a Super Extractor will get you 21 Coal from 1 Node in 18 seconds
After placing an Extractor, you can check how long the extraction is going to take by pointing at it with your cursor and either clicking your right mouse button or typing "f" as the default key.
You can take any amount of Coal that has already been processed at that time from the lower slot of the Extractor. You cannot remove the Extractor itself though before it has completed its work.
When the Extractor is done, it will stop "singing" and "fold up" with a lout click. You can take all the (remaining) Ore at once by typing "f" again (as the default key). This will then remove the Node and use up the Extractor too. Sometimes Extractors that still have Ore inside will repeat the clicking sound when players get close as a reminder to collect the remaining Ore.
Destroying Coal Nodes
After the Extractors are done with their work with a noticable "klick" and have been emptied by you (activate them in the game world by right-clicking on them or typing "f" as the default key), the Nodes will vanish together with the Extractors that have been used up.
However, Coal Nodes can alternatively be transformed into Diamond Nodes. Still, it is not advisable to do so with naturally generated Coal Nodes, but rather with Coal Nodes made from Tar instead, since this will be much more economical.
As for Excavators: these can help you with digging into the Fossil layer and Stone of Mountains faster by removing 7x7x7 rocks, and will leave Coal Nodes intact for you to see - and then to extract the Coal by using Extractors of any kind.
Excavators should not be mistaken with Extractors. If you use basic Excavators on or next to Coal Nodes, then they will remove all surrounding natural and crafted blocks, rocks and items up to the hardness of Bedrock and Limestone in a range of 7x7x7 blocks; but they will leave Nodes with all Ore inside intact. Different from TNT, Excavators will save half of the removed rocks, items and blocks in Loot Bags.
Excavators might be uneconomic to use, especially early in the game; because they require Iron Bars to be crafted. Advanced Excavators and Super Excavators can remove (and collect half of) even harder rocks and materials; but will also leave Coal Nodes unscathed. They require even rarer crafting ingredients though.
TNT of any kind used on or close to Coal Nodes will not destroy the Nodes nor will they remove any Coal. Take a distance after placing and activating TNT of any kind, as it can also damage player characters and push them away.
Basic TNT will damage the surrounding though and will remove a certain amount of blocks up to the hardness of Bedrock and Limestone plus any crafted objects and items in the proximity of the explosion center - except for objects that can store other items inside. However, TNT can also destroy valuable Magnetite and blocks of Fossils.
Even though Coal is a commonly used Fuel, Coal Nodes themselves cannot be set on fire by any open fire like torches or liquid Lava; and even throwing Fire Bombs will not burn Coal Nodes away, but will transform them instead. Coal Nodes cannot be frozen or transformed by cold, they cannot be poisoned nor corrupted either.
Crafting with Coal
Different from many other types of Fuel, only 1 piece of Coal is required for each forging process. Coal is a level 2 Fuel, similar to Hardened Lava and Sulfur. It burns faster than any common Wooden and organic blocks, materials and objects, but slower than level 3 Fuel (Corrupted Wood as well as Corrupted Leaves of all types) and level 10 Fuel (Tar Bread, Tar Soup and Tar Sandwich).
Since update R41 on May 1st, 2017, Coal can now be processed into Gunpowder when being put into the Processor. 1 Piece of Coal can be made into 1 unit of Gunpowder each. No crafting recipe is required for this.
Coal is useful enough as an abundant Fuel for the Forge, but is also required to craft Stone Mining Cells, Coal Torches, Cooking Stations, Wood Burning Lamps, Gas Lamps, all kinds of Beacons, Colored Lamps, and several other items in the crafting menu (to be opened by pressing "q" as the default key).
Coal on older game worlds
Template worlds RW1-4 are said to feature a smaller number of all Ore Nodes than RW5-8, but in turn Coal Nodes can be found more often on the Stalactite layer on these older worlds, just like on even older game worlds that had no special Biomes (Canyons, Savannahs, Jungles, Swamplands, Tundras, Taigas etc.).
If you want to know more about template worlds, please check the official Creativerse forums: http://steamcommunity.com/sharedfiles/filedetails/?id=634088783
Creating Coal Nodes
Pre-generated Coal Nodes being more rare on newer game worlds is not really an issue though, because Coal Nodes can be produced in an infinite amount anyways from Tar.
See: Making Coal
Coal cannot be placed into the game world, cannot be put into any quickslot and cannot be displayed on/in display containers like Placemats, Stone Wall Shelves, Hidden Temple Altars, Wood Planters, Flower Pots or Galactic Grav-Chambers.
Even though Coal is a commonly used Fuel, Coal Nodes themselves cannot be set on fire by any open fire like torches; and even throwing Fire Bombs will not burn Coal Nodes away, but will transform them instead.
For spoilers about how to make Diamond from Coal Nodes, see: