Arcanum: Of Steamworks and Magick Obscura Wiki
Arcanum Wolf Combat fromwikipedia

A dwarf player character with his follower Virgil fighting an Ailing Wolf at the Crash Site. Note that the combat mode is set on Turn Based or Faster Turn Based.

Three combat modes were included in the final release of the game: real-time, turn-based, and a faster version of turn-based. Arcanum's combat design has received some levels of criticism, with reviews usually stating that it is poorly balanced and frantic. The player's combat capabilities are in large part governed by the character's combat skills and weapons. Attacking is performed automatically by clicking on a hostile NPC provided that they are in range of the attack.

Combat skills that the player character can choose from include melee weapons (with an optional back stabbing skill for stealth-oriented players), thrown weapons, archery, firearms, and a large variety of certain damage-inflicting spells from some schools of magic. Deciding whether or not to use violence in some parts of the game sometimes carries consequences for the player's party and its followers. Some AI-controlled followers the player has in the party will find their character's conduct morally objectionable, causing the player to lose reputation with some of the followers who may leave or even attack the player.

Action Points[]

In turn-based mode, the number of action points per turn is equal your speed stat. Speed is primarily affected by your dexterity score adjusted by your current level of encumbrance. Other effects such as haste spells/potions can increase this, as well as items such Enchanted War Boots.

Attacking with a weapon consumes action points based on its weapon speed. This is different for each weapon and can be increased with apprentice training in the relevant skill. The list below shows how many action points an attack will use based on the weapon speed:

Weapon Speed Action Points
1 8
2 8
3 7
4 7
5 7
6 6
7 6
8 6
9 5
10 5
11 5
12 4
13 4
14 4
15 3
16 3
17 3
18 2
19 2
20 2
21 2
22 2
23 2
24 2
25+ 1

Critical hits[]

Critical hits can occur in combat with a particularly successful hit, and provide either additional damage or debilitating effects to the enemy. This includes stun, disarm, crippling, etc. Progressively higher skill level, certain races, backgrounds, and some items can increase the chance of a critical hit.

Critical misses[]

Critical misses are basically the opposite of a critical hit. Or to be more precise, it is basically a critical hit that gets turned back onto the attacker. This occurs either on a critical failure on the attack, or in certain cases if a defender has Dodge training. Some items and backgrounds can increase the chance of a critical failure, as well as having progressively lower skill level.

Critical misses can injure or outright kill a player. Injuries can be found in the logbook, and cured by The Heal Skill, the Major Heal Spell, and by Herbalists. Critical misses can also damage and destroy equipment, or cause characters to become disarmed and/or stunned during combat.

Magick-Tech Effects[]

When a magical or tech item is used by someone on a target, it has a chance to simply fail to operate due to magic/tech interaction.

If a mage tries to use a tech item on another mage, the chance of failure is equal to the magical aptitude of the targeted mage. If a mage uses a magical item on someone with technological aptitude, the chance of failure is based on the two people’s aptitudes. The higher the mage’s aptitude,the lower the chance of failure. The higher the tech’s aptitude, the higher the chance of failure. The following table lists a few sample chances of failure.

Magick Apt. 10 25 50 75 90 100 75 25 10 10
Tech Apt. 10 25 50 75 90 100 25 75 90 100
Chance of Failure (%) 9 19 25 19 9 0 6 55 81 90

This chance of failure is independent of the chance of skill failure. So a mage using a gun may fail because of this chance, or he may fail to hit because he has a low Firearms skill. This is why mages should stay away from guns, and techies from magical items.

Called shots[]

By holding down one of these buttons while attacking, you can perform a called shot: an attack with a lesser chance to hit, but a greater chance of causing a critical hit and thus doing additional damage or causing various penalties to the enemy (e.g. a crippled arm, a crippled leg, unconsciousness). Remember that some enemies do not have some body parts. Check the bestiary for such data.

, (comma) - head shots 
. (period) - arm shots 
/ (forward slash) - leg shots