Arcanum: Of Steamworks and Magick Obscura Wiki

Here is a one stop approach for a fun and safe build for a newcomer. Basically a simplified version of the Human Bard (Melee and Charisma).

This is because the paradox (or dilemma) of Arcanum is that it is so broad. The choices are endless. Basically if you look at it on a grid, you have four "classes" along the top that you can work -- Melee, Ranged, Thief, and Diplomat. And along the side you have three approaches to choose from -- Magick, Technology, and Neutral. So right off the bat you'd need Twelve "basic" guides, and that's putting it mildly. Each "class" can specialize, and so it goes!

So to keep things simple the first time, the beginners build and tutorial might be for you!  :)

Starting the Game[]

  • Make sure that you are patched to Official or are using the Steam or GoG version of the game.
  • Make sure that your user setting options are set for Turn Based Combat and Easy.
  • Start as a baseline (no background) Human and take 1 point of Dexterity, 1 point of Charisma, 1 point of Persuasion, and 2 points of Melee.
  • Sell your suit/dress at the blimp store, and buy a rapier, robes, and boots for yourself, and a fine dagger and regular dagger for Virgil.

The Crash Site[]

  • Take Virgil's staff as your backup weapon, and give him both daggers.
  • Now fight your way out of the crash site, looting every body and container that you can find. Rest between battles if you need to. Prompt Virgil for healing if you need that as well.
  • Pick up everything on the ground, including plants.
  • Do the quests there if you wish, and finally get to Shrouded Hills. As you level up, add 1 point to Dodge. Save the rest of your points for now.

Shrouded Hills[]

  • In Shrouded Hills recruit Sogg Mead Mug at the Tavern.
  • Sell most of your loot (except any plants) and get apprentice training in Melee, Dodge, and Persuasion. Also buy some better gear if you wish for yourself and your followers.
  • Do all of the quests, and find and sell as much loot as you can.
  • When you are ready to leave, take out the bridge bandits. If for some reason you cannot beat them in a fight, then you can talk them into leaving.
  • As you level up in Shrouded Hills you will have a decision to make about your character points.

Next Steps - If you want a Magick or Neutral Build[]

  • If you might go magick or neutral, then go to Dernholm for more quests and to get the taxes quest from the King. Then return to Shrouded Hills to finish any other quests.
  • Now go to Tarant
    • Do the easy quests in Tarant. MAKE SURE that you do the Garringsburg Painting quest BEFORE doing the Crystal Ball quest.
    • The Cystal Ball Quest will take you to Charisma 10. Add two more points, and recruit Gar ay level 9.
    • As you get to level 11, add 2 points to Persuasion. Find Madam Lil and get expert Training from her for Persuasion. This lets you recruit a free follower.
    • Now go to Black Root.
    • Find and recruit Dante. If you decide to finish the Dernholm Taxes Quest, then make him wait outside of the palace when you deliver the taxes to the king so that you do not lose him as a follower.

Next Steps - If you want a Tech Build[]

  • If instead you want to try tech, then go to Dernholm for more quests
    • Add 2 points early to the Electric Discipline and 3 more points into Charisma to recruit Jayna Stiles in Dernholm. Finish the quests there and Then return to Shrouded Hills to finish any other quests.
    • Then go to Tarant and add 1 more point to Persuasion. Then have Jayne make an Elixir of Persuasion. Find Madam Lil, drink the potion, and get expert Training from her for Persuasion. This lets you recruit a free follower.
    • At level 7 Find Magnus and recruit him.
    • Think about disbanding Virgil and recruiting Gar at level 9. Gar is a better fighter, and Virgil will have trouble with his healing magic in a party of techies.

Moving to the Middle Game[]

  • Now the overall goal of the middle game is to kit your followers out with the best gear possible.
    • If you are magick then put your extra points into Willpower and spells that you might like to try.
    • If you are tech then let Magnus make your team weapons and Jayna make healing consumables. Make electric rings for your team. Put your excess character points into crafting or tech skills.
    • If you are neutral (or a hybrid) then also look at Dex/Melee/Dodge as a fighter, or Intelligence/Charisma/Persuasion as a diplomat.

Final Thoughts[]

  • So now with this setup you are good to go for the rest of the game. You can do all of the early quests and cruise towards level 15 to 20. Then your team (plus maybe DOG from Ashbury) will easily take you through the Black Mountain Mines and beyond. What this means is that you can save and spend character points as you see fit without breaking anything.
  • This should get you to a safe place in the game, learning the mechanics and basics, and all without too much frustration. It also gives you breathing room to experiment and explore. Make as many save games as you like if you want to go back to branch off and try something different. You have a lot to play with :)