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All items in the game are linked to the player who last dropped it on the ground, or into a container. For items that can not be picked up, it is the player who finished creating it. This is called item ownership. It does however not mean, that you don't have to take care of it, so that it is not taken or stolen by another player.
Items within 2 tiles away from you that belong to you, can not be picked up by another player on the Freedom Isles PvE servers, and are protected as long as you stay within that proximity, and do not log out of the game. You will have to secure your items otherwise.
Players on your friends list can pick up items that belong to you, though settlement permissions take priority and may disallow you from doing so. Friends can also control, embark, access the inventory, and manage the settings of vehicles you own, if the vehicle permissions permit friends to do so.
Keep this in mind when sending or accepting friend requests.
Friends can open your corpse and butcher it, but not bury it, pick it up, or loot items from it. You will have to be in the same village or alliance for that to work, or use the /release corpse chat command to enable everybody including your friends to loot items from your corpse. If you fail to recover your corpse and it decays after several days, it will drop all items in it as a pile of items that can be taken by everybody.
For collaborative projects, teams are a good way to enable other players to pick up items you have ownership of, they're somewhat like a party in other MMO games. Settlement rules supersede this.
Some items like lamps, bulk storage bins, and signs can be planted. Once planted, they can only be picked up by the player who planted them. Items that are planted will reflect this in an event message when examined with .
Currently, there is no game mechanic that prevents players from adding parts to unfinished items. Houses and settlement roles do not prevent players from adding parts either. If you leave an unfinished item accessible to everybody, a player who attaches the last part to it, will become the owner. This includes, and is not limited to, decoration items that can not be picked up, boats, and carts.
Keep this in mind when leaving unfinished items.
House ownership and permissions are managed through the writ of ownership, that is automatically created when you finalize a wall plan when building a house. A house that has no missing walls protects items theft on the Freedom Isles, even with unlocked doors. On Chaos and the Epic cluster PvP servers, you will need to steal items or destroy a wall. You can not use the stealing skill or destroy house walls on the Freedom Isles servers.
Players on your friends list can be added as guest on the writ of ownership, which gives them permission to pass locked doors and pick up or otherwise manipulate items like loading cargo or pushing, pulling, and turning.
Carts and boats are initially owned by the player who finishes creating it. You can right-click a vehicle and select Manage Vehicle to manage the vehicle permissions and transfer item ownership. For vehicle permissions to be in effect, you need to attach locks to your vehicles.
Some animals like horses can be marked with a branding iron, it will however not stop players from attacking or leading it away if it is not on a settlement, or if a settlement allows such actions. Although they can have the Manage Vehicle option, those permissions are not being applied.
Items on a settlement are protected to the extend that the role management, friends list, and guests on writs of ownership allow. The settlement itself is owned by the mayor in either a dictatorship or democracy.
Read more: Alliance
You can own land if you found a settlement using a deed stake. You have no ownership rights over land outside of your settlements, though many players follow community etiquettes. Enclosures outside of settlements are largely not protected by game mechanics or rules. A good start to solve disputes and conflicts is opening a courteous dialogue.