The GWJ CRPG Club - Game 6: Arcanum (In Progress)

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For more information on the GWJ CRPG Club, go here.

Arcanum is the GWJ CRPG's Club's sixth winner, edging out Baldur's Gate to get the nod in our first ever category vote. Released in 2001, this isometric view game draws rave reviews for its open world and incredibly diverse character development.

There is only a standard edition of the game and no DLC. The game is playable on Windows. Note that most players strongly recommend using the unofficial patch or Multiverse Patch to fix the many bugs in the original release. See the Helpful Links section for more information.

We'll be playing this game until September 30, 2019 . This thread is for friendly discussion as we play through the game. Share your reflections, successes, defeats, tactics, wishes, impressions, and whatever here! The more conversation the better, so post away.

For BIG spoilers, please use the spoiler tag. (No! I am your father!) Tactics, strategies, general story progression likely won't need them.

Anyone and everyone is welcome to participate, and can start at any time, so join the fun! One quick favor: If you decide to play, make a post here along the lines of "I'm in!" to let us know. If you start and finish the game before the end, you'll level up your GWJ CRPG Membership.

Helpful Links
Steam Ultimate Edition ($5.99)
GOG ($1.49)
How Long to Beat (32-68 hours)
Wikipedia Page
Terra Arcanum Fan Site I
Terra Arcanum Fan Site II
No Achievements available
Metacritic (81 metascore, 8.8 user score)
Walkthru
Arcanum Manual
Arcanum Playing Guide: Getting Started
Skills Guide
Unofficial Patch and Extras
Arcanum Multiverse Edition Installation Guide
Another Installation and Troubleshooting Guide

Members Playing
pyxistyx
Godzilla Blitz
LastSurprise
merphle
tundra
*Legion*
Tanglebones
steinkrug
Sorbicol
Redherring
Clumber
kstress71
funkasaurus_rex
Pinkerton
Alien Love Gardener
tboon
fuzzyslug
Shadout
Hardek
RnRClown
benign1
Running Man
MicrowaveSafe
dpmedeiros

well...i would have PREFERRED to have been playing Baldurs Gate right about now (already started a game in progress) but I guess Arcanum it is.

*don't overlook that speed fix on the multiverse patch link above. It's pretty much essential to get the game running properly on Windows 10.

I think this time, since I always end up playing some sort of artificer type in this game, i'm going to play a radically pro-magic elf with no technology usage at all, and would quite happily see it all burn to the ground...just to keep things interesting.

I'm in!

As part of voting, I wanted to see if I could get the game to run on my Windows 8 machine, so I installed the Steam version yesterday. I used the Multiverse Installation guide, downloaded the 1.6 patch via the Russian torrent site (gulp), and got it all installed. Unfortunately, the game wouldn't run from the Steam launcher. It would crash to desktop every time. I tried a few fixes but failed. On a whim I tried launching directly from the config.exe file, and that worked perfectly. So I have a desktop shortcut enabled for the game, and all appears to be fine.

To fellow GWJ members, if you'd like to skip the whole Torrent deal, I'd be happy to put up the patch in my Google Drive for anyone playing here. Available as is, and not my fault if it eats your hard drive. (Joking aside, everything looked fine with the file.)

There's a meagre list of mods here (it never really caught fire as a moddable game despite having an editor) . Some of the links seem to be dead, but you can find the unofficial patch there, too.

pyxistyx wrote:

There's a meagre list of mods here (it never really caught fire as a moddable game despite having an editor) . Some of the links seem to be dead, but you can find the unofficial patch there, too.

Perfect, thanks! I've added it to the first post.

I tried playing this a couple of times each time ended with a game breaking bug. Has the bugs been ironed out?

Baron Of Hell wrote:

I tried playing this a couple of times each time ended with a game breaking bug. Has the bugs been ironed out?

Based on what I found on the Internets, it seems that the Unofficial Patch or the Multiverse Edition (which contains the unofficial patch + other fixes I think) makes the game playable and eliminates 95% of the bugs. You'll still run into bugs now and then.

Not necessarily related, but here's a 2017 Let's Play...

couple of things right off the bat and not even out of character creation...

traditional gendered stat modifiers. *sucks breath in through teeth* Well...guess we can call it a "product of it's time".

I'd forgotten there were no options for women small folk (dwarves, halflings, gnomes). I can't remember if there's a lore reason for that or not but congrats, i guess! I'm sure that halving the options for women players cut a lot of development time or....something....

Also I'm super not comfortable with the fact that they explicitly say that half-orcs are usually created through orcs assaulting women. I realise that this has been implied as the common assumption in RPG's since the dawn of time, but it's especially egregious when orcs in this game are basically a persecuted and subjugated minority, used as slave labour and constantly reminder how savage and subhuman they are.

it's fascinating (and, occasionally, horrifying) to look back on some of these older games and realise the little things I used to let slide without even thinking about them...

pyxistyx wrote:

it's fascinating (and, occasionally, horrifying) to look back on some of these older games and realise the little things I used to let slide without even thinking about them...

Arcanum may even have been ahead of it's time, as in, "Wow, look at all the female character options! They must have spent a ton of time making all these extra things."

I remember being surprised that gender was even a selection option in some games. Or they'd be 30 avatars for male characters and 3 for female characters.

Still work to be done, for sure, but it is refreshing to see how far we've come.

On the plus side, I still like games that use an overland map in the style that this game does (see also : Fallout) where you feel like you might stumble across something really cool just by exploring.

It sounds like the decision among magic, melee, and tech is interesting. Magic = super strong, melee = fine, tech = somewhat challenging but incredibly fun with finding schematics and building new toys.

I think I'm going to go with a tech heavy character.

EDIT: The "Getting Started" Guide suggests reading the manual first. The manual is 190 pages. Ha! In any case, I've posted a link to the manual in the Helpful Links section above.

Does that russian multiverse thing work on the GoG version of the game?

tech is probably the best course if it's your first run through the game, since that's kind of the "new" thing that it brings to the table. And yeah the toys are fun to tinker with.

Sorbicol wrote:

Does that russian multiverse thing work on the GoG version of the game?

Yes? I thought I saw references to it working fine with the GoG version when I was mucking about with it yesterday.

EDIT: Seems to be the case, yes.

pyxistyx wrote:

couple of things right off the bat and not even out of character creation...

traditional gendered stat modifiers. *sucks breath in through teeth* Well...guess we can call it a "product of it's time".

I'd forgotten there were no options for women small folk (dwarves, halflings, gnomes). I can't remember if there's a lore reason for that or not but congrats, i guess! I'm sure that halving the options for women players cut a lot of development time or....something....

Also I'm super not comfortable with the fact that they explicitly say that half-orcs are usually created through orcs assaulting women. I realise that this has been implied as the common assumption in RPG's since the dawn of time, but it's especially egregious when orcs in this game are basically a persecuted and subjugated minority, used as slave labour and constantly reminder how savage and subhuman they are.

it's fascinating (and, occasionally, horrifying) to look back on some of these older games and realise the little things I used to let slide without even thinking about them...

Didn't realize the game explicitly said that about half-orcs. That's pretty rough. I once had a DM who refused to allow half-orc characters in his campaign for similar reasons, and I can see that decision making sense in a world where all half-orcs are evil, and none live alongside other races.

From what I've read, there is a lore reason that the player can't be a woman in those races: those races have a much more conservative social dynamic where women don't leave the home unaccompanied. Not great as a limit on player choice, although I think it's (conceptually) interesting that Arcanum chooses to portray a world with a lot of racism and sexism. We'll see how well it pulls that off. There'll be a lot to talk about, I'm sure.

I think I'm going to play a tech heavy character, too. I'm concerned about how reliant this kind of character will be on fiddly inventory management or outright stealing, but I like the idea of leaning into the steampunk aspect, here.

Count me in, though I'll finish DA:O first.

Week of vacation just starting... I’m in.

LET'S DO THIS

Actually I'm grinding through the end of Divinity to try and get in under the buzzer, and then I need to play Dragon Age.

But in a few months I will play this and be SUPER HAPPY

I'm in, it's been a long time since I've played it, and I don't remember if I ever fought through the bugs to get to the actual ending.

LastSurprise, merphle, tundra, *Legion*, Tanglebones - All added to the list! I'm looking forward to hearing how things go.

---

I'm not sure I've played a tech heavy character in an RPG, outside of playing a decker in Dragonfall, so I'm really looking forward to this. I'm also super excited by the reviews that mention this is kind of an isometric Skryim, where you can go anywhere and morph your character into anything.

At the moment I'm looking for some alternate character portraits. Looks like there was an Arcanum pack around at some point, but Internet fail so far.

I’m going to give it a shot. Downloaded but having messed about with any patches yet.

I had this on disc back in the day but I don’t think I got all that far. I’ll be interested to see if anything seems familiar.

Godzilla Blitz wrote:

LastSurprise, merphle, tundra, *Legion*, Tanglebones - All added to the list! I'm looking forward to hearing how things go.

---

I'm not sure I've played a tech heavy character in an RPG, outside of playing a decker in Dragonfall, so I'm really looking forward to this. I'm also super excited by the reviews that mention this is kind of an isometric Skryim, where you can go anywhere and morph your character into anything.

At the moment I'm looking for some alternate character portraits. Looks like there was an Arcanum pack around at some point, but Internet fail so far.

It's a bit fiddly but do-able. The process of adding custom portraits is here (scroll down under the current in-game portraits for instructions).

Oh sorry in case it wasn't clear - I'm in too

*Legion* wrote:

LET'S DO THIS

Actually I'm grinding through the end of Divinity to try and get in under the buzzer, and then I need to play Dragon Age.

But in a few months I will play this and be SUPER HAPPY

A few MONTHS? Feeling a little bait and switch here!

Godzilla Blitz wrote:

LastSurprise, merphle, tundra, *Legion*, Tanglebones - All added to the list! I'm looking forward to hearing how things go.

---

I'm not sure I've played a tech heavy character in an RPG, outside of playing a decker in Dragonfall, so I'm really looking forward to this. I'm also super excited by the reviews that mention this is kind of an isometric Skryim, where you can go anywhere and morph your character into anything.

At the moment I'm looking for some alternate character portraits. Looks like there was an Arcanum pack around at some point, but Internet fail so far.

I almost never play tech heavy characters either. I tend to play some type of physical warrior. Even in Shadowrun Returns, when given the chance to be a decker, I chose a martial adept instead.

I’m in. Will have to go shopping first, I threw my CD copy away years ago. I’ve started this a couple of times but never really got anywhere.

Redherring wrote:

I’m in. Will have to go shopping first, I threw my CD copy away years ago. I’ve started this a couple of times but never really got anywhere.

It’s currently about $2 in the GoG spring sale.

steinkrug, Sorbicol, Redherring - I've added you, glad you'll be playing!

pyxistyx wrote:

It's a bit fiddly but do-able. The process of adding custom portraits is here (scroll down under the current in-game portraits for instructions).

Thank you! I was hoping to find one of the old portrait packs that apparently were available a decade or so ago. None of the links I tracked down worked though, and I gave up after a half hour and just started.

I've started my adventure as Salgad Bonemaster, a male dwarf raised by monks. I started reading some of those character guides which give all sorts of advice on what not to do, but then just decided I just want to play without advance knowledge and see how things go. I've put my five initial points in Dexterity, Intelligence, Firearms (2), and Healing.

IMAGE(https://i.imgur.com/PEqr5YN.jpg)

(Pardon the angle, screenshots aren't working for me yet.)

At the moment I'm just exploring the crash site, and have made my first kill--some sort of dog or something.

I have to figure out how to toggle the turn-based combat mode on, but other than that things are going well. The game appears to run fine.

Nothing to see here.

I want an investigation into how Arcanum could possibly win.
Dont know if I'll get around to play it anytime soon. But it is worth a try.

I've made it to Level 2 and Shrouded Hills, the first town.

Combat is entertaining when you have no skill. I only had 12 bullets to start with, so I mainly went with a knife. Without any melee skill, I kept dropping the knife and stabbing myself in combat around the crash site. Good humor. Thankfully my mysterious buddy was a bit more useful than I was.

Spoiler:

I went into the nearby cave and promptly got killed by four sewer rats. How humiliating...

The graphics are certainly old, but I'm enjoying things so far. Even only a half hour or so in, the diversity of character building is clear. You can go in so many directions.

I want to keep making progress in Dragon Age: Origins, so I'm just going to try to just play a bit of this every day until I'm done with that game.

Purchased, should get around to starting a game in the next day or two. Is it a freudian slip that the link you posted for the Wikipedia page brings you to Dragon Age: Origins?

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