The Black Death – Basic Guide

A basic guide for adventuring in Mercia, housing map included.


Welcome to Mercia

Mercia is the name of the lands of The Black Death. You’ll arrive on the coast, near Freeman’s Port. You booked passage to Mercia in order to assist Freeman’s Port with an outbreak of disease. (Note: whether you’re actually an apprentice doctor, student, thief posing as a doctor, or just a lone wolf who took advantage of an opportunity is up to you!)

Once you arrive, you’ll be guided through a basic line of quests. At any point you can skip these quest with F1. The compass at the top of the map should help in determining the next steps, as your objective will be marked on the compass with an ‘!’.

Whether you choose to do the tutorial quest-line or not is entirely up to you; there’s no significant advantage or disadvantage either way. Once you’ve skipped/completed the tutorial, you’re ready for your adventures in Mercia!

Quick FAQ

Do you lose everything when you die?

You lose the gold & inventory that were on your character, as well as any unspent skill points. However, you keep your unlocked skills and property. Additionally, you’ll spawn back at the last bed you slept in.

What do I do in this game?

It’s a PvP sandbox; so mostly you’ll spend time gathering materials and battling other players, bandits, and trying to survive the nasty NPCs spreading the plague. However, the unique setting offers a lot of RP potential as well. There are some unofficial servers out there that focus entirely on the RP elements.

Why are people killing me?

It’s a PvP sandbox; so you can expect to encounter some aggressive players. There are no safe areas or PvP free zones, so you’ll need to ready your weapon, find some friends, or run away and hide until the danger has passed. Alternatively, if free-for-all PvP isn’t your thing, you might try checking out some of the unofficial servers, some of which are more geared towards the PvE survival element and/or RP.

Why is this game so bugged?

It’s early access; the developers are changing things, and sometimes in big ways! Moreover, it’s an incredibly small team of developers and there’s only so much time in the day. Given that, prioritization is key, which means some bugs may stick around for awhile.

I’m stuck / glitched and I’m going to lose everything! How do I /unstuck?!

You cannot. Take care when adventuring in Mercia, and try never to travel with anything too valuable to lose! If you can remember where you were stuck, you can try and return to your body before your loot despawns.

How do I build a house?

Basically, buy a Land Contract from a town Earl, then purchase a plot. See the Housing section of this guide for more specific instructions.

Basic Movement & Mechanics Overview

The Interaction Wheel

New to V0.19 is the “Interaction Wheel.” Pressing the Use key (‘E’ by default) will bring up a dynamic interaction wheel. The options on the wheel change depending on where your cursor is pointing. For example, when pointing at a door, you may have the option to knock, or a separate option to open/close the door.

When not targeting an object, the interaction wheel brings up the default layout:

The Black Death - Basic Guide

Starting at the 1 o’clock position and moving clockwise, the options are:

  • Use Item – this is further broken down into 3 sub-categories of: medical, consumable, and place
  • Equip – broken down further into: weapon, tool, armour
  • Unequip
  • Guild
  • Map
  • Inventory

This allows quick access to vital items, such as food when you’re hungry, or a quick way to equip/unequip weapons & armour without having to scroll through your entire inventory.

Your Health Status

This is your health display. The top left shows your “Sickness” (Healthy, Sick, Very Sick, etc). The top middle shows your “Wellness”, and the top right shows your Hunger/Thirst. The bottom red bar is your health (hit points). Wellness is increased by eating and drinking. The closer your hunger/thirst is to 100%, the higher your wellness (hp regeneration) bonus will be. If you aren’t able to get food, and start to starve or dehydrate, you’ll end up with a negative wellness, and will start to lose hit points. The sickness is a measure of you overall health & plague infection. If you are sick, your maximum hp will be capped; so even with a positive wellness, you will not regenerate hit points. To get healthy again you can drink a plague cure, or you can just keep yourself well fed and hydrated and let the sickness run its course.


When you kill another player, a peaceful NPC, or steal an item from a town, you’ll acquire a bounty. This is shown, in red, in the lower right corner. Once above a threshold, town guards will be hostile towards you on sight. The bounty naturally decreases with time (10 per dawn).

Gathering / Farming

The Black Death - Basic Guide

Items are gathered out in the wilderness. To farm, you must have seeds in your inventory; the higher quality the seed, the higher the chance of getting a similarly high quality crop harvest. Farmland is found throughout Mercia; you can simply find a patch of fertile soil (indicated by the text “Farmland” when you put your cursor over it) and interact to plant seeds. The time varies, but within an in-game day or so, your crops should be ready to harvest. Some crops, such as pumpkins, strawberries, and cotton, do not require any special tools, and can simply be interacted with when they’re fully grown to harvest them. Other crops, such as grains (oats, wheat, etc) require a sickle equipped & wielded to harvest.


Many items can simply be crafted on the go; you simply need to have the required ingredients in your inventory and you can craft away by opening the inventory UI and selecting what you’d like to craft. Depending on your skill and quality of material, you’ll either get a failure message, or you’ll begin crafting the item and will see a timer. You can close the inventory and craft in the background, when you’re complete the item will appear in your inventory. However, you cannot queue items for batch crafting.

More complicated crafting requires Utilities, such as a Workbench, Loom, or Furnace.

The Black Death - Basic Guide

Hammerin’ away at a Workbench Utility

To craft these recipes, in addition to gathering the raw materials, you’ll also need to find the appropriate Utility. There are some public ones scattered about, but you can also build them within your own house. Unlike inventory crafting, the end product of Utility crafting will not automatically appear in your inventory, but rather you must “collect” it from the Utility UI after the timer has finished.

Housing Overview

Housing in Mercia works with Land Contracts. These contracts allow you to purchase static parcels of land on which to build and improve your own house in Mercia! There are many of them scattered all throughout the land. While all of them will look the same and have the same options, there may be some places where the plot is located next to desirable resources or in a spot that has a tactical advantage. So, although they’re mostly the same, as they say in real estate, it’s all about location, location, location!

The Black Death - Basic Guide

To begin your ventures into land ownership, one must first purchase a Land Contract (Deed). These contracts can be purchased at town Earls (pictured right), located in various towns (Freeman’s Port, Raven’s Reach, Farleigh Citadel, etc). The prices aren’t always the same, so you can try to “play the market” and wait for a good price.

Note: it’s possible the Earl may have sold out of a certain type of contract and may be out of stock. If this happens, you can check back later or check with an Earl of a different town. They usually restock pretty frequently.

Building Your House

The Black Death - Basic Guide

“It’s not about what you build; it’s about building it.”

Once you’ve purchased a Land Contract, you can find a plot of unclaimed land (pictured above) or you can ransack another players home, destroy it, and claim the spot as your own (Note: you will not retain their built utilities or Tier of house).

When you interact with the House Workbench, you’ll have the option to Claim (if unclaimed) or Destroy (if the plot is owned and you’ve killed all the owner’s peasants/guards). When you claim a plot, you’ll be able to set a 4-digit code that will apply to all the doors you build on that house. Once claimed, you can then open the Houseowners UI:

This interface allows you to track your stored resources, the upgrade level of your house, as well as the nodes you’ve built and what your upkeep for those nodes will be. Some important things to note about this interface:

  • You cannot withdraw resourcse (including gold) from the house storage. If you want to store resources to be used at a later date; then you should put them in a chest.
  • To store items in your house storage, you must have them currently in your inventory. If you don’t, the option to store that type of resource will be greyed out.
  • When building nodes/upgrading, the game will first use resources in your house storage; then will pull resources from your player’s inventory.
  • Currently, when deleting a built node there is a slight delay. BE CAREFUL not to press delete twice, as you’ll end up deleting the node you intended as well as the one below it!

House Nodes

There are several types of Nodes available to build once you’ve purchased a house.

  • Tier 1 Interior Nodes
  • Tier 1 Exterior Nodes
  • Tier 2+ Interior Nodes
  • Tier 2+ Exterior Nodes
  • Guard Nodes

Initially, you’ll have access to the Tier1 Interior/Exterior Nodes, as well as a single Guard Node. As you upgrade, you’ll get additional Tier 2+ nodes and more guard nodes.

Tier 1 Interior Nodes

These are in the initial room of a built house, and allow you to build a bed, chest, or additional house storage space.

Tier 1 Exterior Nodes

These are outside the home and allow you to build a well, farmland, or additional house storage space.

Tier 2+ Interior Nodes

These are inside the 2nd, 3rd, and 4th rooms of houses as you upgrade. These nodes allow you to build additional utilities depending on the level of your house. The higher the level, the more options for utilities you’ll be able to build.

Tier 2+ Exterior Nodes

These are outside around your house, and they allow you to build some exterior utilities, as well as farmland and/or hire a farmer peasant (a great investment!).

Guard Nodes

These are throughout, both inside and outside, and with a Peasant Contract allow you to purchase a guard to defend your house.

The Black Death - Basic Guide

A Tier 4 house, with many amenities & guards

Raiding and Losing Your Home

Times are hard in Mercia. It’s very likely that, at some point, you’ll lose your home to raiders or griefers. But, at the very least, these texts can help you understand the mechanics of housing and house defense.

You home is immediately vulnerable after you’ve claimed it. Anyone can come up and, without even a land contract, destroy your home, taking it from you. To guard against this, the first step a homeowner should take would be to place some doors. This way, before they can take your home, they must first break down a door. As you upgrade, you can upgrade your doors to make that task more daunting, and you can also purchase guards. A home cannot be take while the guards are still alive, so before a would-be arsonist burns your home to the ground, he must first take out the guards. The more guards and the more & better doors, the more tedious a task this will be for the intruder.

Once an intruder kills your guards and has access to your House Workbench; that’s all she wrote. At that point, they can destroy your house, which turns it back into an empty plot of land, and destroys all your built utilities & nodes.

Housing Map

The Black Death - Basic Guide

Professions List

The Black Death - Basic Guide

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