Player houses can be built almost anywhere. Anywhere that it is physically possible though in some areas you may need a deed (see below) and in some areas npcs may not allow it at all. Not at sea, not in swamp, not close enough to another building to undermine it’s foundations, etc etc. To build a house you need a lot of wood and stone, and for some things the services of an engineer, a building pack and as many helpers as you can get. Building packs can be bought in any city and include such things as locks, hinges, nails – all the things you can’t gather easily but need expert crafting. The more people available to help the faster it can be built – and engineers build a lot faster than unskilled people.
Houses can be built in a variety of styles and sizes. Once built they can be changed inside with regard to floor and walls and can be decorated with a wide variety of items. (Some useful, some purely decorative.) Chests can be put in. Chests can be used to store items and can be locked. Anyone with a key can open a chest and take stuff out or put stuff in. Stuff inside will never expire as items simply dropped on the ground will do.
Anyone with a house key can open the door, and leave the door locked or unlocked. Anyone can open an unlocked door. To some extent a key signifies ownership of a house – though more than one key may be created. 6 keys come with a given housepack. Keys are items that are carried and are dropped on death like anything else, or can be traded to other people.
Being in a house gives logging off a much greater degree of safety but logging off in an ordinary house does not change the rules.
Legality of placement
No nation will permit you to place a house within it’s walls or within 60 feet or so of the walls. Nations will only allow houses to be built in patrolled areas if they have a deed issued by the nation that patrols the area. Beyond that anyone can build. You are still physically able to build such properties in forbidden areas but guards will destroy them in time if they are illegally placed. (Often very quickly.)
A deed to a house may be purchased from any nation by anyone with at least standing zero to that civilization. A deed can be used by any housebuilder not just the purchaser. When starting to build a house the builder can place a deed within the foundations. This gives legal recognition of ownership by that nation to that house when the house is completed. A deed plate will appear on the house outside the front door and just inside it. Ownership can be transferred at the deed plate. The owner can list anyone they wish as a friend of the house on a deed plate or as a co-owner.
Owners and co-owners of the house can change the house locks, invalidating all existing keys. They can create new keys. Only the owner can add people at the deed plate or transfer house ownership. Anyone listed on a deed plate can log off with only a 20 second timer in view of the greater safety now offered.
In addition the nation that issued the deed will not regard anything done by anyone listed on the deed plate as a crime while within the house. If that house is built in an unpatrolled area that includes attacks on people outside the house as long as the residents are within the house. In patrolled areas only actions purely within the house are exempt.
You can purchase a deed from more than one nation for the same house.
Keeps are large fortifications. In some ways similar to houses but on a much larger scale. They cannot be built from scratch but the ruins of old keeps can be repaired by players.
Nations take an interest in the keep spots that they do not in other buildings. A keep spot and it’s immediate local area is considered a patrolled area – though it is generally not actually patrolled. Nonetheless a keep built without a deed may be attacked by soldiers sent out for this purpose.
Houses cannot be built with deeds within the controlled area without deeds issued by the keep owner. Other deeds are not valid for this area. Regular soldiers will not be sent to attack such houses however.
When a keep is built with a deed the owner controls the patrolled area. Which is now in theory patrolled by that guild. Whether it does so is of course up to them. The keep owners may sell, giver or trade house deeds for that area as they wish.
The keep owners now effectively set the law for this area. The nation(s) whose deed(s) were used in the repair of the keep will not regard anything done by the owner, or anyone listed appropriately on the deed plate of the keep, as a criminal act within this area. Equally of course enforcement of the law within this area is down to the owning player and guild.
IMPORTANT NOTE: Hired guards will not do anything that would break the laws of their original nation. (So without a deed they may be of very limited use.)
These buildings can be built by players but they are not really owned by them. Instead they are built after an agreement with a religion or the guild of bankers. Such buildings offer their services to all, not just their builders. But of course clever players may arrange to control access to the buildings in the first place.
It is considered that buildings are being maintained by those who live in them. If nobody – either player or hired npc – has logged off in them for a week then it will start to decay. NPCs are considered to log off in a building at downtime.