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Character Creation Guide by Appelbaum

Version: 1.1 | Updated: 05/28/2012
Highest Rated Guide

Spoiler-Free Character Creation Guide and Orientation
for Arcanum (PC game, 2001).

By Appelbaum (applebaum     84  at gmail)  (Yes, that is a different spelling)

Version 1.1, May 2012.
This guide is essentially finished, though I may add some sample character 
builds and tidy it up from time to time.

Sites which have permission to post this guide:

Legal amusements:
This guide is copyrighted and may not be reproduced for non-personal use
without authorization from the author, UNLESS Gamefaqs.com should ever become
defunct, in this event ONLY, the guide becomes free to publish non-commercially 
on any website which hosts guides for games or is dedicated to specific game(s)

Version history:  
1.00 Initial version
1.01-1.02 minor corrections to math and formatting.
1.1 Added sample build section, May 2012.

I.	Introduction
II.	Overview of Character system, gender, and race
III.	Explanation of "stats" (STR, DEX, etc.), gender
IV.	Races
V.	Backgrounds
VI.	The Magical and Technical Aptitude system
VII.	Explanation of "skills" like melee and pick pockets and skill trainers
VIII.	Fate Points
IX.	Sample character builds
X.	Zipping around Town and Country : How to use the map effectively
XI.	Notes on combat
XII.	Conclusion

In this guide, my hope is to explain in concise and easy to understand terms,
how one might create a character in the now classic Arcanum game.  This guide 
is meant to be role-playing friendly, as the game is very friendly to many 
character concepts and IMO there is no need for power-gaming the system.  In 
short, you can make your character however you feel you should make her or 
him, and this guide is simply meant as a quick way of coming to terms with the
systems involved in the game.  It is not a  walkthrough nor is it intended as
such, it is merely a guide to help players get off to a good start in this 
now aged game, whose features and systems may seem a bit odd compared to newer
RPG systems.  It can be very confusing due to overlapping systems, and I hope
this guide makes sense of them.

If at some point during the course of the game you are truly stumped or 
frustrated, I suggest using the search function of your browser with 
SWCarter's excellent walkthrough 

If you bought the game on CD, you should patch the game to the final version
to avoid bugs.  I have experienced no issues on windows XP or windows 7 x64.
There is a level 50 bug, which can cause the game to crash upon reaching 
that level (which was supposed to be level cap in the game).  If you have an
abundance of caution, you may wish to find the level 50 fix on the internet.
That being said, I don't remember any issues when I hit the level cap, and 
many players will not hit the level cap at all.  I'm not including links 
because they tend to change and Google should be sufficient.

The game manual itself is worth reading, itself a bit of the game universe,
but is long and not very to point.

II. Character system: 

Like Baldur's Gate and other character rpgs, you may choose the name, portrait,
gender, and race (or species) of your character.   All types of characters 
are possible, and you may make a successful character that is combat-focused,
or that is more eccentric, for example, an Elven super-model, a negotiator or
charlatan, or perhaps a general technologist.  The game itself is surprisingly
balanced, in the sense that characters strong in one area will tend to be weak
in other areas; sometimes fighting your way out of a situation is actually the
most difficult option. 

A side note on the setting: I should add, for the most part, this game universe
has a relative correspondence with the Dungeons and Dragons universes, in terms
of races and what it means to play a character of each one, though this world 
is entering a century of technological innovation and upheaval.  The animosity
if not outright bigotry between races is quite apparent and real.  

The world the game in thrown into is largely dominated by urbanizing humans 
and gnomes, with elves, dwarves, and somewhat backward human kingdoms on the 
periphery of Tarant, the industrial-political hub of a growing empire.  Orcs 
and half-orcs, when they live in cities, are typically a laboring class and 
not very well liked by others in general.  When they live away from humans, 
orcs are portrayed as uncivilized brutes. Some dwarves, elves, and half elves
have settled among the humans as well, outside of their indigenous areas. Half-
Ogres tend to work as bodyguards for the wealthy humans and gnomes.

The race and gender you choose will affect your dialogue options in subtle 
ways.  The game and quests itself are very flexible.  Despite being a pseudo-
19th century world, female player characters seem to exercise a great deal of 
independence and aren't very limited in what they may accomplish.  This it 
seems is balanced by the fact that only a handful of races allow playing as a 
female, due to the rarity or home-boundness of women in those races.

The gender and race you choose will have an effect of the starting attributes
(or "stats") of your character, as well as how people react to your character.
In short, gender is generally not a limiting factor in your character's 
development, but some races' statistics, bonuses, and penalties do favor 
certain occupations and make other occupations harder.  For instance, you can
play a dwarven mage, though he or she will struggle in comparison to elven and
human counterparts due to using double the normal amount of Fatigue to cast

Armor and clothes come in small sizes for small races and large sizes for half
-ogres; since most people in the cities and towns are human, medium armor is 
the most common.  Formal clothing is often gendered (dresses for women and 
suits or smoking jackets for men) but has no affect besides appearance; armor
is not gendered.  Female player-characters may wish to buy the Elegant Dress 
from the game starting vendor, which improves how NPCs see you.  Male player
-characters will have to seek a similar article of clothing later on.

III. Stats

The stats used are:

Strength (STR),	 	 Intelligence (INT)
Dexterity (DEX),	 Perception (PER)
Constitution (CON),	 Willpower  (WP)
Beauty,	   	 	 Charisma (CHA)

Values for a human male begin at 8 for all of them, with 5 points spendable at

Female characters lose 1 STR and gain 1 CON vs their male counterparts.  CON 
isn't a bad stat at all, but the adjustment it does make it slightly harder to
play a female melee-oriented warrior.  

TIP: if you want your character to be female and (exceptionally) strong, you
may wish to choose a background that gives such a bonus, such as the Tomboy 
background, which cancels the gender adjustment (8 in all stats for humans).
The same sort of thing goes for races which have a stat penalty of some kind
in a needed stat for your character concept.

The highest you can raise a stat to normally is 20, i.e. 12 points may be
added to the base value (typically 8).  Background and racial bonuses do 
allow you to increase the skill to or beyond 20!  A value of 20 is considered
exceptional or legendary, and gives a special bonus.  If your character has a 
stat penalty (starts at less than 8), whether through racial, background, or 
gender penalties, he or she will not be able to make 20 in that stat.  STR is 
really the only stat with a very powerful bonus over 20.  The rest, while 
interesting, are not game-breaking or overly powerful.

		        Physical Attributes:

Strength (STR) represents the health (hit points) of a character (2 HP per 
added pt of STR).  STR affects how much each character and follower can carry. 
Stronger characters do more damage with melee and throwing weapons (like 
boomerangs and chakras).  A strength value of 20 or greater will double the
damage bonus (listed on the character screen).

      Mechanical Notes (nerd math): The damage bonus is normally STR minus 10
(and doubled if over 19 STR), so a character with 14 STR gets a damage bonus
of 4, whereas a character with 20 STR gets a damage bonus of 20, and an 
overpowered character with 28 STR gets a damage bonus of a whopping 36.  If 
you don't have the necessary STR to wield an sword, etc., you receive no 
damage bonus (but get the full listed damage of the weapon), but have a much
greater chance to miss.

Dexterity (DEX) affects your character's ability to avoid damage and gives a 
bonus to armor class (AC).  It gives a bonus to bow damage and is required for
increasing any combat skills.  20 DEX gives a bonus to speed (primarily useful
in increasing the number of attacks per round).

Constitution (CON) gives Fatigue Points (the blue meter), which are used to 
make extra attacks (in turn combat) or cast spells, and absorb the fatigue 
damage caused by most attacks.  If you run out of fatigue, your character will
collapse until she or he regenerates at least 1 fatigue point.  In such a 
situation, it would be better to run away from foes than collapse under them, 
where they could attack your defenseless character.   

     Constitution also affects resistance to poison, and a value of 20 gives 
poison immunity.  Poison in this world is rather deadly without mass healing 
or antidotes.

     Having a high constitution score can protect you from magic, in the sense
that most attack spells have a chance of doing half damage based on the 
defender's CON score (the old saving throw mechanic, for those familiar with

Beauty affects how people react to the character.  Wearing certain nice clothes
can increase the "Reaction" score a character has and build on or make up for
the bonus from Beauty. In general, it does not affect your conversational 
abilities (but CHA and INT do).

                        Mental Attributes:

Intelligence (INT) reflects how smart and learned your character is.  You need
INT to advance in technological disciplines, and 19 INT to attain doctoral
level in any tech discipline.  At least 4 INT is needed to cast any spell, and
you need 4 INT per maintained spell (e.g. a buff or shield spell that is 

INT also affects how your character can speak, sometimes allowing a
high INT character to say things that only a learned person would say.  
Particularly low intelligence scores (e.g caused by a background or by being a
half-ogre with low INT) can cause you to be limited to very, well, limited
conversations like "Me likes you, Me smash bad man," etc.. 20 INT grants a
+10% success chance to the use of any skill.  INT can be buffed by potions.

Willpower (WP) gives a +1 HP and +1 Fatigue per point.  You need increasing
amounts of WP to be able to advance in schools of magic.  WP also affects your
ability to resist certain kinds of magic, mostly the kind that would charm or
control you, and at 20 WP, you become immune to those kinds of mind-affecting

Perception (PER, PE in the game) affects  the use of ranged weapons,
particularly guns, and would affect how well your character perceives the
world.  In mechanical terms though, it's main use appears to be for better
aim of guns. At 20 PER, your character can see the invisible.

Charisma (CHA) represents how well you can speak and act.  It affects your 
maximum number of followers (1 follower per 4 CHA; always allowed at least 1 
follower, and some followers may not count towards the CHA-based limit  -- 
especially anyone who joins you temporarily).  CHA is required if your 
character wants to intimidate, hoodwink, or otherwise persuade NPCs through
the persuasion skill. Reaching 20 CHA essentially allows you to keep your 
followers no matter what happens (in theory).

Finally, you may put your character points directly into HP (4HP per character
point) or Fatigue (again for 4 points).  For the most part, it is better to
simply put the hard points into stats and skills that are needed until you 
reach a point where your major stats are maxed and minor ones are high enough.

By the later parts of the game, you will probably have maxed 2 attributes and
have a decent score in a third if it makes sense for your character.

Points may also be used to learn spells or to learn technological disciplines
which allow you to build technological items like healing salves, plate armor,
and guns, among other things.  You get 1 learned schematic per degree and may
find other schematics in the game, although they come with a required degree
level in their area(s).  Since those spell and tech trees are more long term 
things, I won't really touch on them herein great detail. Suffice to say you 
may learn several schools of magic or several technological disciplines if it
suits you, or simply learn a handful of spells or tech levels just to do a 
few strategic things (like buff STR or make bullets/ healing salves, etc.).  
Being able to reach the final level of a spell college or tech discipline 
requires so much WP or INT that it clearly makes sense from a mechanical
perspective to spend 5 more points on a second school or discipline.

See sample builds section for more detail on building a pure-mage or 
a technologist.

IV. Races and their stats

Most of the information needed on race bonuses and penalties is provided on
the character creation screen.  Here is a short summary of the most 
significant modifiers and what they imply.  Note that "ranks" as used by the 
makers means 4 "ranks" equals the improvement from 1 skill point.  This 
confusing description means that having a "rank" bonus or penalty in background
or race will give a minor bonus or penalty starting out, and if a penalty, will
prevent the character from maxing the skill, since you can only put 5 points 
into each skill.  A penalty will also prevent your character from becoming a 
"master" of that skill.  Note that "Technical Skills" means the 4 skills under
the technical tab (Picklocks, Firearms, Arm/disarm Traps, and Repair).

Humans: no bonuses or penalties to stats, skills, or magical / tech.  The 
baseline race, capable of anything but not particularly strong in anything.

Elves: +15 starting  magical aptitude, penalty to tech skills (2 ranks, or 
half a full skill), +1 DEX / +1 WP / +1 Beauty / -2 CON / -1 STR.  Culturally
disposed to magic and bows; the 15 magical aptitude advantage is more 
significant to hybrid characters than pure mages, who will see their magical 
aptitudes soar over time.

Half Elves: -l rank on all Tech skills, a +1 to Dexterity and Beauty but a -1
to Constitution.

Half-Orcs : minor bonus to Melee and Dodge, +1 STR / +1 CON / -2 Beauty / 
-2 CHA, 10% poison resistance.  Playing a half-orc would be a slight challenge
from a dialogue standpoint due to general dislike and CHA penalties, but could
be fun.  

Dwarves (male only): Minor tech apt. bonus, +1 STR / +1 CON / -1 CHA / -1 DEX.
Natural warriors, it would seem; first of the three small races.  Needs double
the amount of fatigue to cast spells.

Halflings (male only) : +2 DEX, -4 STR; minor bonuses to prowl and dodge; +5% 
chance of a critical hit.  Your stereo-typical pint-sized thief-favoring race.

Gnomes (male only) : +2 WP / -2 CON; minor haggle bonus, and "+10 to any 
negative reaction" (I am assuming this means that a reaction of 40 or less is
raised by 10, but it's not quite clear.  Gnomes aren't always well liked due 
to being financial-industrial overlords and wealthy in general.).

Half-Ogres (male only) +4 STR, -1 Beauty, -4 INT; minor prowling (hiding) 
penalty; +10% damage reduction (powerful, but keep in mind this ability is 
found on most armor too and is a little better than half the damage reduction
on leather armor).  Predisposed to melee, but without an intelligence boost 
half-ogres will have limited conversations.  They need large-sized armors and
clothing.  They are unable to use HANDguns due to large fingers, and possibly
other tech items (but seem okay to use rifles, which are typically more 
powerful than handguns).

The game's cover-story for most of the male-only races is that the women of
those races are either rare or simply don't leave the home without men.

If your chosen race / gender combo gives a penalty to the main skill you wish
to use, it would make sense to choose a background that counters this, as long
you think the background itself makes sense for the character.  If you think 
taking a penalty to your main attribute is a character builder, then that's 
fine too!

V. Backgrounds:  

The many backgrounds can give various bonuses and penalties, some of which can
only be gained (or lost) through backgrounds.  The most typical use of 
background would be to balance or unbalance the character.  It can be 
unbalancing in the sense that it is possible to choose a background with a 
major boost to useful attribute and a major penalty to a stat you might not 
think you'd use, like INT.  While it might be tempting to take a "dump stat"
this way, Arcanum is not an overly difficult game, and having a balanced, 
believable character can be a rewarding experience.

That said, as hinted before, some backgrounds, like Tomboy, can make up for 
racial or gender penalties and should be considered if your character is 
somewhat out of the norm for his or her race or gender.

VI. Magical and technical aptitude system.

The most unique, but also the most confounding aspect of Arcanum is the Magical
and Technical aptitude system.

These aptitudes are reflected in a gauge on the far right side of the character
screen, with the gear representing technology throughout the game, and the blue
symbol representing magic.  If you learn a new spell, your gauge will more 
toward the magic symbol, and if you learn a new tech skill or tech degree, it
will move toward the technology side.

Beyond the numbers, magical aptitude and technological aptitude are supposed 
to represent each character's and NPC's ability in magic or technology.  As 
you may infer, learning both magic and technology related things (skills and
the learned degrees) may cause a fairly neutral aptitude. This isn;t bad, but
not extremely helpful either.

Someone with a high magical aptitude (let's say 40-100) will get more of the 
magic bonus out of varable magic items than someone with a mild magic aptitude
or a neutral aptitude.  (Variable items meaning ones that say "Magic power 
available : xx%." ; the actual percentage varies based on the complexity of 
the item and the character's or NPC's aptitude.).

Spells that deal damage directly tend to increase in power relative to the
character's magical aptitude.

There are a handful of items in the game which will (permanently) raise a
character or NPC's magical aptitude.
The downside of having the high magical aptitude is that technological items 
may literally blow up in a character's hands!  In more practical terms, the
higher one's magical apt., the higher risk of critical failure on 
technological items (the adjustment is listed in a percent on the item; tech 
items all have gears on the icon).  Heavy users of magic should not operate 
heavy machinery or even stand in the vicinity of it, for fear that the innate
energies about them may disrupt smooth operation of such devices!

Someone with a high technological aptitude can make a lot of items or use a
lot of tech skills, but will get no bonus from magical items like enchanted
armors, as if the armor wasn't enchanted at all.

Technical aptitude also acts as a form of spell resistance, in the sense that
it will completely negate x% of spells, where x is equal to your technical 
aptitude.  Note that this spell failure also includes healing spells!!!  Lack
of healing spells is not as huge a penalty as it might seem because you (or 
perhaps a companion) can make healing salves by learning a novice degree (or 
level) in Herbology and collecting two herbs that are commonly found in fields
in every part of Arcanum.  You can buy these herbs in many stores as well for 
pennies, as it were.

In the game world, technology and magic are sort of in a clash, as you will 
find as the story unravels.  Comparatively, there is much more of a benefit 
to having a high magical aptitude than there is to having a high technological
aptitude.  High technical aptitude doesn't really confer any bonus beyond the
effective spell resistance and doesn't appear to help in the use of technolog-
ical items.

That being said, it is mostly a roleplay and gameplay choice, choosing magic 
vs. tech.  Guns, for example, being a highly technological item, are not 
suitable for characters with magical inclinations, but character could still 
use a handful of spells and a gun, as long as their aptitude meter stays close
to technical and the spells they use do not rely on Magical Aptitude (buff 
spells, some temporal spells, etc.). 

Most items can be found in magical, technological, and plain versions.  A 
simple sword, a dress, and a leather armor are neither technological nor 
magical.  Chainmail and plate armor are technological, but enchanted chainmail 
is magical.  This is sort of an exception to the general rule that 
technological and magical items are special versions of common items or 
something altogether new to a typical medieval fantasy universe (like a hand 
grenade or a rifle).


VII.	Skills and skill trainers


Skills are fairly straight forward -- some are passively used and some, like 
melee or firearms, are automatically used in combat whenever you attack with
that kind of weapon.  The skills that are used in a special way are prowling,
pick pocket, repair, and disarm trap, which are all found in the main game 
window by clicking on the key symbol.

Skills are increased by clicking on the key-shield icon and then clicking on 
the button to the right side of the skill.  When you invest in skills, you 
become better at using the skill and will have less chance of critical 

Each skill starts out at 0 (usually useable but at a heavy risk of an 
embarrasing failure) and can be raised up to 5 times.  Each raise has a stat
requirement, and each skill has a stat associated with it.  You need 18 in a
stat to be able to fully max a skill.  

Skill trainers : apprentice, expert, and master: 

By seeking a trainer, you gain insight into a skill that you would have never 
gained on your own.  These three types of training are essentially subtle perks
or bonuses that can be acquired by putting the required points into a skill,
finding a trainer, and paying a price.  There are few experts and even fewer
masters of skills in Arcanum, and they will require more from you than the 
small sum of gold needed to become an apprentice.  You may ask an apprentice
in a skill where you may find an expert, and the same is true of asking an 
expert where you may find the master of the skill. 

The masters of each skill tend to have a reputation, won't train just anyone 
(you have to have 5 skill points invested), and would typically expect some 
payment other than gold (a quest).  Experts need 3 skill points (and a goodly
sum of gold) and apprentice training needs only 1 skill point invested (and a
modest sum of gold).

The individual skills:

I've given a breakdown of skills, grouped by the stats you need to raise them.
I listed the benefits of apprentice, expert, and master training only in cases
where the effect is unusual or unexpected.  For the purpose of roleplay, I 
find it better left as a mystery than to know the exact mechanic training 
boosts, and the actual effects are in the manual anyway.  With the exception
of a few noted skills, skill training causes a subtle overall improvement to 
the use of the skill rather than causing you to use the skill in a completely 
different way.

DEX is needed to raise Dodge, Melee, Bow, Throwing (grenades, boomerangs, and
anything you choose to throw), Backstab, Pick-pockets, pick locks.  Most of
these skills are self-explanatory; you need a lock pick to pick a lock (drag
it into your hotbar).  You need to be using a dagger to backstab and be hiding,
though with expert training in  Backstab, your character may use swords and
axes too.  Of all these, dodge is a skill most characters will desire, as it
gives a passive chance to evade attacks independent of AC.

INT is needed for Heal (this skill uses bandages for healing and can be used
regardless of any tech / magic aptitudes.  Again, you want to put bandages 
into your hotbar or give them to the follower with the heal skill.), Repair,
and Gambling.  

On Repair: Repair is a difficult skill to master because without good trainers,
an item will permanently lose max. durability from a less than perfect repair.
Unless your character is extremely self-sufficient, it would make more sense 
to seek out an expert or master repair-person, especially if the item is 
irreplaceable.  If you go to a small town blacksmith, don't be surprised if 
your item loses a fair amount of its maximum durability after being fixed.  
Only a master can repair without durability loss and only a master can repair
broken items -- so stop using weapons and armors before they break!  Experts
do an good job and are common enough in the cities.

Gambling works by wagering gold against an NPC's item, dragging that item into
the gamble icon in the trade window.  If you win, you win the NPC's item; if 
you lose, you lose the gold.  Extra training allows you to gamble things the 
NPCs wear or wouldn't want to gamble.

PER is needed for Prowling (this is a hide and move silently type skill), Spot
Traps, Disarm Traps (also used for laying traps AFAIK), and Firearms.  Expert
Training in firearms allows easier "called shots" to the head, arms, or legs 
when using firearms.  Called shots are made respectively with the , (comma),  
 .  (period),  and / (forward-slash) keys.  While you can perform "called 
shots" with any weapon, there is a heavy chance to hit penalty applied. Master
 training in firearms allows the PC to shoot from any valid distance with no 
range penalty, making you a sharp shooter.

WP is needed for Haggle, a skill that passively lowers prices.

CHA is needed for Persuasion, a dialogue based skill.  Obviously the more 
points in persuasion you have, the more you can expect your character to be 
able to attempt or even succeed at manipulating others or telling lies as fact.
Of course, some NPCs are more easily persuaded than others, so it isn't a 
simple case of just improving your skill.  You are the speaker for your party 
typically, so this is going to be an extremely useful skill if you have it.  

Expert training allows +1 max. follower and Master perk allows follows to join
regardless of their alignment.

A note on hedging or balance: It would not be unreasonable to have 2-3 
skills/magic/techs invested in and 2-3 stats invested at creation, and keep 
working on them as you level.  Some of the stock NPCs are leveled like this,
and do okay.  Hybrid type characters are reasonable, and there is not strictly
defined class system just for this reason of customization.  That said, I 
think an average character can only do maybe 4 things well by the middle of 
the game, and might have to settle on doing 2 things pretty well (like dodge
and melee) and 2 areas at only basic level (lets say a few points into 
persuasion and a small smattering of defensive magic).  

You can truly focus your character on only one aspect and pour the extra points
in the end into HP or fatigue, but you will probably have more options if you
make a character that is balanced, in the sense of having combat and dialogue 
skills.  In the end, there are many many ways of playing this game, and it's 
up to you to decide how.  Do keep in mind that as the leader of your party,
you are responsible for buying, selling, and communicating.


VIII : Fate points

Fate points are handed out to the player as a bonus for doing something 
exceptional, ingenious, or otherwise statistically unlikely.  You will see the
number available in the upper left side of the screen (you get 00 to start).  
They may be spent on a number of unique one-time bonuses, which can change 
your fortunes or make the nearly impossible, assured to succeed.  They are 
probably best spent on doing something which would otherwise be near 
impossible, like stealing a powerful worn item from an NPC.

IX : Sample character builds

Many of these have bland races and backgrounds, using them as sort of a bench-
mark or baseline for how long they take to complete.  Some races and background
choices would speed up the process.  And obviously the more point intensive
characters (namely technologists and rogues) benefit from good background
choices.  It's up to you to come up with your own character, so these are just
simple templates for you to build on and tweak.

		Starting with melee-focused builds:

_______________________Joe Average fighter____________________________________

Joe starts out as a statistically average human with above average fighting
capability; he is persuasive to a degree but won't be running for political 

Male human, no background
Level 1 points into : Melee, dodge, dex, melee, dodge, persuasion
At level 10 : 2 ranks persuasion, 2 melee, 2 dodge, 12 STR, 13 dex, 9 CHA
At level 17 : 3 ranks persuasion, 3 melee, 3 dodge, 12 STR, 15 dex, 12 CHA
At level 25 : 5 ranks melee, 5 ranks dodge, 15 STR, 18 dex, rest the same
At level 30 : 20 STR, 18 dex, everything else the same.  Character is
essentially finished and can now learn some techs or magic, or boost CON,
and later HP.

_______________________Stupidly powerful Half-ogre.___________________________

Our nameless half-ogre is a fine specimen of physical prowess, but doublessly
lacks in mental capacity and will not be offering fine words of wisdom in

half-ogre, ran away with the circus ( +6 STR / -- INT, -- WP, - PER)
Level 1 points into : melee, dodge, STR, STR (that's 20 STR at level 1!), dex.
Boost dex to 18 and add CHA for a reasonable amount of followers; add
persuasion if desired.  Will finish earlier than Joe Average above.

_______________________Jane Average fighter-mage._____________________________

Jane, like Joe, is a human warrior. Unlike Joe, she augments her warrior skills
with a handful of well-selected spells, such as

Protective shield (Force 1) (taken early on)
Strength of earth (Earth 1) (taken early on)
Minor healing (White Necromantic 1) (taken after level 20, or sooner if sole 
healer in party)

Human female, Tomboy (+1 STR, -1 CON)

Starting points go into melee, dodge, dex, melee, and a spell of choice.
By level 5, she adds 1 rank of persuasion and 1 CHA + combat stats/skills
By level 10, she adds a second spell and a second rank in persuasion
By level 13, she is expert in Melee and dodge(3 ranks per), has 12 STR / 12 dex
By level 20, she has 4 ranks in Melee and dodge, 15 dex, 3 ranks persuasion
	and 12 CHA.
By level 31, 20 STR, 5 Melee/Dodge, 18 dex, essentially finished, may continue
with adding spells, or maxing dex, con, etc. etc.

Ranged Characters

_______________________Basic Thieving Gunslinger._____________________________

A gun-focused character with thieving abilities sufficient for sleeping victims
and generous dungeoneering.  Why make a gun when you can steal one?

Race and gender of choice (Raised as a monk (+1 PER) isn't a bad background 
since there won't be much of use to buy at the beginning and you will soon 
steal much.)

18 dex, 18 perception, 5 firearms, 5 dodge, 3-5 pick locks, 1-3 pick pockets,
with at least 12 CHA and 3 ranks persuasion. At least 1 Melee (finding a good 
gun and making/buying ammo will take time). 1 explosives if you want to make
bullets yourself (recommended; need to buy Bullets schematic from a vendor).

Finishes at level 36 with human male and no background; you may want to learn a
spell or two to balance the aptitude so you can be healed.  Level 40 might be
more realistic without racial / background bonuses.  May want to max prowling
in order to shoot and then hide; while neat, this merely directs the enemies
to your followers.

Optional: 1-2 Throwing if you end up making a lot of molotov cocktails; 1
in herbology for making healing salves.

In terms of play-style, getting a rifle and using real-time combat will allow
you to get more shots before enemies close in on you and your followers, esp.
late in the game. Range grows in importance over time as your ability to hit
distant enemies improves.  The best gun in the game is, IMHO, the Clarington 
Rifle, for speed and range. YMMV.

_______________________Basic Bow Character____________________________________

An example of how a bow character could be made. Any race or gender with 
decent DEX and PER is viable.  Arrows are very common but relatively heavy.

Elf, gender of choice.
20 DEX (raises main skills, gives damage boost), 18 PER (affects chance to hit)
5 bow, 5 dodge.  May take a smattering of magic to improve the aptitude,
or learn a few techs if technical armor / bows are preferred.
Plenty of left over points for anything else.

			Pure mage

For a mage in arcanum, you are going to want to have about 3 schools completed,
at least 12 INT for 3 maintained spells,and maxed dodge.
(assuming a human character)
by level 30: 2 schools completed, 18 WP, 18 DEX, 5 dodge, 12 INT, 1 free point
by level 35: 3 schools complete, 2 free points.  At this point, you can
probably start hedging, adding spells or INT, etc..

If you want the usual persuasion / charisma, it will set you back a few levels
vs. the levels given.

You don't have to focus on specific schools, but should master at least 1

It's very helpful (time-saving) to have the Teleport spell.

As far as spell schools go, Black Necromantic and Force have many damage
dealing spells and the most useful of them.  Harm is probably the most useful
spell in the game in this regard.  Disintegrate is very tempting, but should 
probably only be used on monsters that have no loot, since it destroys the
corpse.  Quench life is a decent substitute, though typically you would
cast it once, and then cast harm repeatedly.

You can use your imagination as far as the spells and schools go.  If you go a
summoning route it will obviously help to have higher INT, and in general,
higher INT means more buffs for your party.  A simple spell like shield of 
protection is very powerful and can easily double the defensive rating of a 
party member.

You could probably start putting points in Bow by the late levels, however by
then you would have no need for a weapon and have plenty of fatigue.

In lower levels, putting points into Melee or Bow might help when you lack
the fatigue to cast damage dealing spells.  

     Charlatans, debutantes, super-models, and other charismatic creatures

In Arcanum, it is possible to play a character who gets by on nothing but
her wits and good looks.  Doing so, she or he may have many followers to do
the grunt work, and has easy access to maxed persuasion.

It is possible to do this with or without (boosted) intelligence, and is a role
-playing decision.  If you have a high INT, then together with the persuasion,
you will have great options in dialogue, but lose out on a chance to play a
charismatic but brain-shallow character.  Maybe it feels so right to say all 
the wrong things and get away with it?

The character could be a dumb but pretty and charismatic elf super model.

Or a beautiful and charismatic and intelligent half-elf, with enough willpower
to cast some spells, maybe even all the mind-affecting spells. A.J.L. suggested
the debutante background for this character - she takes a combat penalty but
is okay because she relies on magic and up to EIGHT! followers and 
summons (some of the followers being "free").

These characters are easy to build since they really only need points
in charisma and persuasion; everything else is icing on the cake, as it were.

Obviously combat will be difficult without mass followers, and you are going
to want to at least appear neutral in alignment, at least until you have 20 CHA
and master level persuasion (which might be really late in the game).

    			 Basic Rogue / Thief

You don't have to put points in thief skills to play a thief in the game. None-
theless, one can play rogueish characters.  A rogue in a D&D
sense isn't really possible due to lack of skill points; therefore
subclasses emerge - the Backstabber, the dungeoneer (lots of spot traps early
on), the social rogue (haggle, gambling, and let's say melee); basically any
combo that makes sense to you and has a social and combat component.

Firearms seem universally handy because they don't require much in the way of
STR and Perception is needed for various rogueish skills.

_______________________The Monied Rogue_______________________________________
3 haggle, 5 gamble, 5 pick locks, 3-5 pick pockets,  rest into dodge and a
combat skill.  

With so much money, you should be able to win friends and influence people, so
why don't we add 18 CHA and 5 Persuasion while we're at it, making this 
character become a variant of the "Charlatan" class previously

_______________________The Dungeoneer_________________________________________

This character knows their way around caves, ruins, and any other place where
treasure and monsters lurk.

5 spot traps (more useful than some would admit!!), 5 fire-arms, 5 pick-locks, 
5 dodge.  Finishes at level 30 (human, no background) with no persuasion /
CHA boost, and 1 unspent point.  

_______________________The Backstabber________________________________________

This is a sneaky-type character, one of the hardest to make due to needing so
many skills and 3 stats.  Choosing halfling gives this character the full
"stab stab" effect, while something like a human or a half orc might produce
more damage due to higher base STR.

5 prowl, 5 backstab, 5 melee, 3 dodge* (maybe not needed if you're really good
with hiding, but for early mid game, probably going to need dodge).
Needs 18 Perception, 18 dex, and as much STR as possible.

Finished with core skills / stats at level 29 as halfling and can start boost
of STR / finish dodge / boost CHA if you haven't planned for it.

With some charisma and persuasion, it will probably take to about level 40 to
be mostly finished.

|				Technologists  				      |

Technologists are probably the hardest characters to play.  You need to collect
schematics, learn schematics by spending points, collect all sorts of ingredia-
nts to make things, and live with the fact that some of the things you make are
commercially availible, and some can be made by followers.

Many found / bought schematics require expertise in MULTIPLE tech areas.  
You may buy tech manuals from Tarant University, the place where all
your mail order degrees (and learned schematics) come from.  Yes indeed, as 
adventurers don't have time to sit in lecture halls and laboratories.  These 
books to increase your expertise in areas, temporarily, but only help for found
or NPC bought schematics.

In my estimation, the first few learned schmatics are useful and can provide
useful item(s) early on in the game that normally would not be found so soon.

It's really the middle and end schematics that are hard to justify, because
many are availible in the game world, 19 INT is hard to come by, and some of
the schematics may not be useful to you.  It may be more useful to max one tech
area and dabble in a few others, rather than simply maxing two tech areas, like
some NPCs do.

That being said, it can be kind of fun to have a character that makes
his or her own armor and maybe can even repair it.

Odd tip (you'll thank me later!):  If you find a camera at the opening scene,
KEEP IT (do not sell or trade) if you intend to be good at repairing stuff.

Technologies that produce mass items tend to be useful over the long term,
while technologies that produce a single item tend to be only useful once
(unless farmed to sell to NPCs).  Though it is a great source of accomplishment
to build a special armor or weapon.

Here is an example character:

_______________________Dwarven Blacksmith_____________________________________
Dwarf, background of choice, for example : Apprenticed to a Blacksmith 
( ++ repair, +1 STR, -2 dex; is a fair trade-off) or Book worm (+1 INT / -1 PE)

Melee, dodge, 19 INT, 18 dex, 21+ STR
9 degrees into Smithy, 2 degrees into electrical (charged ring)
5 points into repair (4 if blacksmith apprentice).

With bookworm, finishes the above, plus 12 CHA, at level 45,
but that calculation doesn't include wearing the charged ring(s) or any other
equipment that may boost your stats.

Being able to repair your party's gear is kind of icing on the cake for this
very difficult to make character.  

Keep "leather armor" in the correct size to use for crafting armors, healing 
jackets, etc..  For example if you have a half-ogre in the party, you need to 
find a "Large Leather Armor" to craft it into a better large-sized armor. A 
simpler version would only learn the first few schematics and focus on melee
skills instead.

A gun smith could be made with any race, and miracle operation (boosts to INT
and PE at a cost of other stats) as background may help (or hurt).  The 
Elephant Gun is good weapon to make, though I typically would use a 
Clarington Rifle (roughly double the speed of the Elephant gun, but less
overall damage.)

Finally, any tech oriented character may have 1 point into herbology to make
the basic healing salve.  With a high technical aptitude, healing spells will
be useless and these salves with probably be the only way for you to heal.
Unless an NPC makes the salves.

Finally, if you try magic spells to try to limit the techical aptitude,
you may find that summoning spells and buff spells make good use of the high
INT the character has.  

One should read Gizmocat's Schematic guide here
It will make sense of all the schematics in the game.


X. : The map system : and getting around.

Some people might expect to click everywhere to get around, but Arcanum isn't 
that kind of game.  In Arcanum, it isn't efficient to manually walk through the
relatively small screen that is fixed and zoomed in, especially when you are 
new to a town and don't know the way around.  There are high resolution hacks,
but these have the bad side effect of making your character, party, and
enemies seem tiny, and making the interface tiny as well.  The best way to
manage is probably to play the game at the intended resolution (800x600 if I
am not mistaken) and use the map system to get around towns and semi-cleared 
dungeons.  There's no real point in seeing half the town if your characters 
look like ants.

If you press the W-key and reach the local map, you can click anywhere and it
will produce a red waypoint on the map.  You can also scroll the cursor to the
edge of the map and the map will go in that direction, sometimes a great
distance.  The question-marks on the map can be hovered-over, and will tell 
you the name of shops.  You can make multiple waypoints, and when you are done,
hit the big green button in the lower right to make your characters run along
the paths to your destination.  In this way, you can go from one end of a town
to the other end without having to click so much.

The W-key, when you reach the world map areas, acts as you would expect a 
world map to.  You do, of course, need to plot waypoints over bridges to cross
rivers, and you do need to find a pass to cross over mountain ranges.


XI.	Notes on combat.

Combat is begun by being attacked or by pressing the attack button (shield or
keyboard R).  Combat also ensues if an NPC's Reaction reaches 0, which may 
happen if you have  a bad reputation or have simply said the wrong thing(s). 

Combat may be shifted from turn-based to real time and back using spacebar.
The main difference between the two is that in turn based mode, you have a 
limited number of action points available for attacking, casting, or moving,
and may exceed them at the cost of fatigue.  Those action points are displayed
 in a bar of circles -- green circles being unused points, orange being points
to be used if the mouse is clicked, and red if the action requires fatigue 
points.  Clicking the green arrow ends your turn. In real time, you simply 
click on an enemy to fire.

As mentioned before, attacks generally do health and fatigue damage.  If you 
just want to incapacitate someone, it is possible (but difficult) to use a 
blunt object or fists to render them unconscious.

Save often!  You may find yourself launched into combat at the oddest times,
and even if you survive, killing an NPC may have negative consequences.


XII. Conclusion:  Thank you for reading my guide; I hope it helps.  

Addendum:. The only system I haven't mentioned is the alignment system, which
adjusts automatically based on quests you finish as well as by killing good-
aligned NPCs.  Starting out, a character typically has no alignment score,
so it's up to the player to choose where the character is headed.  Its main
effect is limiting which characters will follow the player.  Reputations, 
which develop over the course of the game, have a bigger impact than 
alignment, but that is something for you to discover...

Credits: The original Arcanum manual, jsaving's spell damage FAQ(on GameFAQs),
Troika for making the game, and Terra-Arcanum for hosting patches, mods, and 
documentation all these years.  And of course SWCarter's walkthrough, which
aided my first few times through this game many many moons ago.

Any tips sent in will be credited in-line, in the body of the guide, rather 
than in this section.

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