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Arcanum: Character Building Guide

In the fantastical realm of Arcanum: Of Steamworks and Magick Obscura, a marvel from Troika Games, the labyrinth of character creation and progression is as intricate and puzzling as the game’s own lore-filled lands. Whether you’re a battle-hardened grinder, a tactical thinker, or a narrative chaser, understanding the nitty-gritty of character building can be the edge you need to not just survive but thrive in this steampunk-meets-sorcery epic.

For the uninitiated and the veterans alike, delving into the mechanics of Arcanum’s character system can seem daunting at first glance. Fear not, for this guide will illuminate the path through the murky depths of attributes, skills, and beyond, ensuring you wield the might to bend Arcanum to your will—or at least not perish in the attempt.

Choosing Attributes#

In the world of Arcanum, attributes are the cornerstone of your character, the foundation upon which all prowess and perils rest. Divided into eight primary attributes: Strength, Constitution, Dexterity, Beauty, Intelligence, Willpower, Perception, and Charisma, each plays a pivotal role in shaping your journey.

  • Strength (STR) affects your capacity to deal damage and influences the weight you can carry. Essential for melee brutes and those preferring to intimidate their way through problems.
  • Constitution (CON) is your bastion against death, influencing hit points and resilience. A must-have for front-line fighters and adventurers who prefer to face danger head-on.
  • Dexterity (DEX) governs your agility and reflexes. It impacts your prowess in ranged combat and your ability to dodge blows. A sniper’s dream attribute.
  • Beauty (BEA), often underestimated, affects social interactions. It’s not just for silver-tongued devils; it can also influence certain game outcomes significantly.
  • Intelligence (INT) is the key to arcane knowledge and technological expertise. A high stat here unlocks a plethora of spells and schematics, making it invaluable for mages and tinkerers.
  • Willpower (WP) is your shield against magical assaults and a reservoir for your mana. Essential for those wielding the arcane or opposing those who do.
  • Perception (PER) sharpens your senses, playing a critical role in lockpicking, spotting hidden traps, and landing critical strikes with ranged weapons.
  • Charisma (CHA) is the social lubricant of Arcanum, influencing NPC interactions, haggling prices, and leading a band of followers. A high charisma score can open as many doors as lockpicks or magic.

When assigning points, consider your desired gameplay style. A balanced approach can create a versatile character, but specializing can turn you into a powerhouse in your chosen domain.

Skill Selection#

Skills in Arcanum are your tools and tricks, the practical application of your attributes. They range from combat proficiencies, social maneuvers, to the arcane arts. Each skill enhances specific aspects of gameplay, and unlike attributes, they can be improved upon throughout your adventure by speaking to trainers, reading books, or simply by wielding them in the field.

  • Combat Skills such as Melee, Dodge, and Firearms, define your effectiveness in physical confrontations. Whether you’re cleaving skulls or firing from the shadows, these skills are your bread and butter in conflict.
  • Social Skills like Persuasion and Haggle affect your tongue’s silver sheen. Persuasion can unlock paths less bloody, and Haggle keeps your pockets full.
  • Technological Skills cater to the tinkerers and gadgeteers. From gunsmithing to herbology, these skills allow for the creation of potent consumables and devastating gadgets.
  • Magical Skills govern the casting and creation of spells. Whether harnessing the elemental forces or bending space and time, the arcane paths demand dedication.

The key to skill selection is synergy. Ensure your skills complement your attributes and overall character theme. A nimble thief with high dex might focus on Dodge, Pick Locks, and Backstab, while a charismatic leader might invest in Persuasion and Leadership to amass and command a formidable entourage.

Ideal Builds#

Crafting an ideal build in Arcanum can feel like navigating a minefield blindfolded without proper guidance. To start you off, here are a few archetypes:

  • The Steam Knight: A fusion of brawn and brains, leveraging technology and strength. Focus on high Strength and Constitution with skills in Melee, Smithy, and Gunsmithing. Perfect for those who want to front-line with gadgets galore.
  • The Arcane Savant: A master of magic, relying on Intelligence and Willpower. Prioritize spellcasting skills and consider dabbling in technological skills that don’t contradict your mystical path. A glass cannon capable of reality-bending feats.
  • The Silver-tongued Rogue: Charisma and Dexterity in equal measure, this build uses Persuasion and Pickpocket skills to navigate the world with grace and guile. Combat is an option, but why fight when you can charm or steal your way to victory?

Remember, these are mere templates. Arcanum thrives on customization, encouraging you to mix, match, and experiment with your heart’s content.

Leveling Strategies#

Leveling in Arcanum isn’t just about getting stronger; it’s about refining your character into the force of nature (or technology) they’re meant to be. Each level grants you character points to spend on improving attributes or skills, but choose wisely; not all investments yield equal returns.

  • Early Game: Focus on building a solid foundation. Enhancing key attributes and core skills will make you more resilient and capable in your chosen field. Don’t spread yourself too thin; specialize to maximize your effectiveness.
  • Mid Game: Start branching out. Complement your primary abilities with skills or attributes that cover your weaknesses or enhance your strengths. Consider investing in secondary skills like Lockpicking or Repair to diversify your capabilities.
  • Late Game: By now, your character should be well-defined. Use your levels to perfect your build, maxing out crucial skills and rounding off any rough edges. This is the time to make yourself not just competent but dominant in your role.

Advanced Tactics#

Beyond the basics, Arcanum offers a depth of strategy that can elevate your game:

  • Crafting and Experimentation: Don’t shy away from the crafting systems. Many of the game’s most potent items come from the forge, not the field. Experiment with different schematics and spells; you never know what game-changing item you might discover.
  • Party Synergy: Your companions are not just pack mules. Consider their builds and how they complement yours. A well-rounded party can handle threats more efficiently and allow you to specialize further in your niche.
  • Environmental Awareness: Arcanum’s world is rich and interactive. Use it to your advantage. Traps can be turned against foes, and terrain can be used tactically in combat. Always be on the lookout for an edge.
  • Know Your Enemy: Study your opponents. Understanding their strengths and weaknesses allows you to exploit them effectively, whether through preparation or in the heat of combat.

In conclusion, Arcanum is a masterpiece that allows for a plethora of approaches, from the refined to the chaotic, the noble to the nefarious. With this guide in hand, you’re equipped to carve your path through its wonders and dangers alike. Remember, flexibility and creativity are your allies; in Arcanum, the only limit is your imagination. Forge your character, play your way, and let the gears of destiny turn in your favor.

Arcanum: Character Building Guide
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