The Black Death – Starting Guide

This guide is aimed at helping new and returning players navigate the ever changing early access title The Black Death.

Introduction, Beggars First Steps

This guide is based mostly on the Beta Test Branch version of the game. 

To access this simply:

  • Go to steam library
  • Right click the game
  • Go to properties
  • Select the drop down and opt into beta test branch

WARNING: There is no official server for this version of the game so no multiplayer, but in my experience it runs smoother and you don’t have to deal with people leaving settlement blocks, or the game crashing as much.

Alright, so you begin at the end of the docks whether you are beta or not. There is a note at the end of the dock explaining your situation. Homestead is yours and yours alone. Others may be invited to it, at risk of the game crashing, but it is yours to play with. There are tutorial quests in the top right of the screen you can follow for experience otherwise just get busy surviving. 

Immediately you will notice that hunger and thirst are big drainers on your day, seeing as how the days are accelerated as well this makes sense. Once you successfully survive the day you will receive what is called your wages. This is your daily intake of experience and gold for just surviving and it gets better because every day you survive is another bonus added to your daily income. I had not died for 64 days and was capped out at around 500 gold and 400 xp. i recently had the privilege of being killed by a cave full of bandits, so in this picture you will notice my income for gold and experience is significantly reduced back to day 1 which is further represented by the sun at the bottom of the screen with the number on it being the days survived.

As you earn gold you will also notice that by the docks is a vendor known as a cook. There is actually one there and one located within homestead right next to a plague doctor. Both of the shopkeepers have a gold reserve that resets each day along with their inventory. I found myself depending heavily as a beggar on getting bread rolls and porridge from the cooks. For right now do not bother buying medical equipment from the plague doctor since you do not have the plague doctor profession as of yet.

To begin building your settlement go to the burned down village next to the homestead village and claim the town flag. this only costs 35 gold which you should easily have after the first few in game days of wages. It is the cheapest land to claim in TBD. One of the easiest things to construct or find on bandits is the stick club. This is made with a stick and cotton or if you kill some of the bandits around homestead they also carry it. It is my suggestion that you use these stick clubs as your instrument to break down the burned down structures in homestead. The fences specifically tend to give you bonus resources like sticks and wood which is useful for the rest of the homestead building you will be doing. I will not give specifics on what to build first since a majority of it is just what you want your settlement to look like, but the ANVIL is a key piece of any settlement since you can repair all your gear there instead of having to go look for new materials. Repairs cost gold.

Any settlements on the mainland WILL NOT be claimed through the town earl.
This may change, but it has switched so you just go to the land claim site and interact with the flag in the center. Unfortunately many inconsiderate/troll players have wells and other types of settlement unlocks on the land. As of now especially in the PVE server there is no way around them. Essentially unless you host your own server you have to just wait for a wipe. Again it is why I suggest switching to beta test branch and testing the game yourself without the interference of trolls.

Using this basic information you should be able to figure out the beginning of the game fairly easily. I would suggest though if you have chosen to follow my path of playing on the test branch and you don’t care if other players are present. Definitely start your settlement on the mainland ASAP. Reason being that alot of wild materials are currently bugged like cotton, stick piles, berry bushes, wild mushrooms, and small rocks. On the mainland you will be able to travel to Freemans Port where you can get materials from the blacksmith, tailor, cook, plague doctor, master peasant, and master builder. Some even sell pre-built features like the loom, and walls.

Classes, Skills, and Leveling

The current skill tree as of 08/28/2019 is pictured above.

The beggar is what everyone will start as. This allows you to press R, and select the beg option to have NPC’s maybe give you a couple gold coins. It is rough, but come on did you think being a beggar would be easy in this era? Being a beggar does come with its bonus to hunger and thirst though which will help alleviate some of that munchy nom nom stress.

The classes are built based on renown, this is gained by fighting and killing people infected with plague, marked with a red X, and destroying plague carts and other plague infected objects. You’ll know something with renown worth is nearby when the screen starts going white. Ironically if you contract the plague the screen starts going white so be mindful of which one is happening. Anyway having renown allows you to change your career path of choice which comes with its own benefits. As of right now beggar costs 0 renown with zero profession point investments, banditry costs 35 renown with 5 points invested to bandit and all the rest cost between 75 and 175 depending on their importance in society, and benefits to their skills. The very top is nobleman which is the end goal career with a cost of a whopping 1000 renown and at least 10 points invested into each profession.

Leveling is fairly easy early on since all you have to do is survive and you’ll level pretty quickly. Be mindful of what you are leveling your points into since you can’t currently undo them at all or respec your person. Cut and dry. Otherwise you can perform event tasks or if you are a doctor do dissections, although neither of those will likely give you more experience than your daily wages for surviving longer than 5 days or more.

You used to be able to assign points into attributes but as of right now they dont change unless its due to your bonus as a certain career. Any bonuses to attributes can be located in the descriptions of each profession. A picture of the points assignment page for leveling is pictured below.

Crafting, Inventory, and Currently Equipped

To see any of the listed things please press the i key.

Up above is a picture of when I first started my homestead-ish. I have the furnace to the right which is needed for iron ingots and other smelting ore type tasks. Then tot he left is the workbench which will become key in the later building expeditions. WhY?! Wood planks. Yeah. Plus you need it to construct your anvil and many other key components of your settlement.

Within the inventory screen is 3 pages. Far left is your crafting inventory split into tabs based on function. In the middle is your currently equipped where you will drag everything from your inventory to in order to equip things. Also the middle tab is where you can keep track of your attributes and level up to invest points into professions. Also if you click on the current career you have it will take you to the page where you can investigate the different careers. On the far right we have the inventory screen where you can manage your carry weight, gold, and everything else you might pick up.

Within the crafting screen materials are changing frequently, but for the most part early on you want cotton and sticks. Stick clubs will lead you out of poverty. There is alot, but it would be better if you just perused the crafting screen for a bit to understand it. Essentially the concept for anything is materials=item.

Also i know that manure is a common question so I will just let everyone know I have found most manure along the roads near queens crossing. Not so much in the wild. Also cows and chickens on your settlements do not currently produce manure sadly.

Guilds, bounties, and events

Guilds can be looked at using the o key. Pictured below is the current page for managing the guild.

You’ll notice there is a personal heraldry you may customize or randomize and also a message of the day to be displayed. Beyond this I know that guilds will eventually be able to take contracts as a guild, but for now the papers on the city maps throughout the region will be the only contracts. Additionally upon having people in your guild you may promote, kick, or mute them. I would assume that in the future we can look forward to a guild bank similar to gloria victis for managing the repairs and funding war projects like siege engines. Also I would imagine that there will be guild tapestry you can place and customize and other assorted decorations. This is my own speculation and not something I read from anywhere else so it is not certain that is their plan. Points can be earned for your guild by claiming settlements. I imagine guild contracts will one day also contribute to the overall guild points but for now that is the only source. 

Bounties are found throughout Mercia, pinned to the boards, and occasionally found on the ground. When hovered over these can be distinguished as labour or bounty. Typically you are only gonna need one contract since they do hold weight and will take up your inventory should you grab multiple. Also I advise not to pick up multiple until you have a place to store them or until you become used to doing the missions for them since the bounties typically require pretty extensive travel unless you luck out on the one or two that are found in northern Mercia. These bounties reward experience and gold, but in my experience neither have been substantial and should you run into a powerful npc with a bounty on their head, but you do not have the contract? Their head can still be picked up and saved for when you do get that contract, but it will be worth much less if sold to a vendor instead.

Events appear with a really abrupt suspenseful sound. You will notice also because of the exclamation point in the top left corner of your screen along with the title of said event. As it stands with careful planning you can achieve these events alone. The rewards from these other than the rewards from just killing the enemies and looting their camp, are typically a large amount of gold, resources, armor, weapons or food. There is no specific reward as it changes each time. There is a waiting period though so clearing an event doesnt mean you can walk out and just start over spawning could take an in game day to reset, but honestly use that time to store your things, or use them since it will take up a majority of your inventory space.

Traveling, Raids, and Vendors

Travelling is mostly done on foot, but you will learn early on in the game of your ferry man. On the map you will notice the coast of Mercia is at the top/northern part of the map. Aside from assigned respawn points (your bed), travelling to the mainland will almost always take you to one of these docks. Freeman’s port has been the most frequent arrival dock for me, but occasionally it takes me to the dock under queens crossing, and the two docks closest to the black gate. These cannot be specifically chosen as your arrival point at this time so be mindful of which side of the map you may end up if you are overloaded. Travelling between homestead and Mainland is free, but any raid traveling requires gold. Starting from the cheapest at 125 gold to the almost 1500 gold to do the final raid. (Which you most certainly will need a group for unless you just want to punish yourself.)

Raids are high loot, high experience events that require you to travel via ferry to activate. This is not the same as your typical event with the exclamation point on the mainland. I will release a seperate guide or edit this guide when I have gotten the chance to explore these raids.

Vendors are represented with their location which kind of makes you realize through common sense and context clues who is what. On the map of Mercia there is a black circle with a red X. The closer you get this area, the more renown opportunities await. That means bring good weapons and be ready to eradicate plague infestations. Good renown awaits.

You’ll notice the symbols above each small town telling you what kind of vendors can be found in each. The legend to the right will explain those plainly. Vendors have a set amount of gold each in game day and their inventory itself will change as well. Additionally if you have an item you don’t want to sell be careful, because if you sell it there is no buy back system yet. Which im assuming will be updated in the future. As an artisan you could actually set up your own custom vendor and give them stock to sell bringing you gold.

Finally I will just remind everyone that I will be updating my group page, as well as this guide based on what changes in game so keep on the lookout for changes. As of right now with this guide you should be well on your way to building up settlements, your guild, and yourself to eradicating the plague and becoming an esteemed nobleman of Mercia. Who may or may not still die of the plague WE NEVER KNOW.

Helena Stamatina
About Helena Stamatina 3020 Articles
I love two things in life, games and sports. Although sports were my earliest interest, it was video games that got me completely addicted (in a good way). My first game was Crash Bandicoot (PS1) from the legendary studio Naughty Dog back in 1996. I turned my passion for gaming into a job back in 2019 when I transformed my geek blog (Re-actor) into the gaming website it is today.

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