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A beginner's guide to tech builds (includes would be grenadiers and gunslingers)

Are you new to Arcanum, or maybe new to tech? Do you think that being a Victorian technologist or a wild west gunslinger sounds "cool"? Have you maybe even tried it, only to run out of ammo or break your weapon at the crah site, gotten Virgil killed, and somehow staggered into Shrouded Hills naked, penniless, and scarred into loathsomeness? Have you then decided that Arcanum "sucks" and the game is fundamentally broken? Then dear reader, this guide is for you!

This guide is NOT for you min/max devils who achieve skill mastery at level 5 and kill the final boss at level 7 all in the space of 10 minutes of real time. Yes you have your tricks, how nice for you. So just hold your head up high and walk on by. You get your slow golf clap, but we do not want to hear any more about it.

This guide is also NOT to make you an immediate specialist in your desired field. You will not be bombing or shooting your way out of the crashsite. You have 50 levels to do stuff like that. Pace yourself, and manage your expectations.

What this guide does is to give you a solid base and the room to experiemnt with crafting and technology while pretty much guarenteeing that you will be able to finish the game without hitting a wall. Arcanum does have a lot of early roadblocks that turn people off and even away. Don't let that happen to you! At the end of this guide you will be level 9 or 10, have 4 (or maybe 5) followers, expert training in your desired tech field, and a clear path to mastery. Please also note that this is primarily made for updated versions like Steam, GOG, and general []( This guide might also be applicable to modded versions, but look for differences.

Part 1 - The Set Up

  • Make sure that your game difficulty is set to EASY, and that your combat is set to TURN BASED. You will be playing as a Dwarf, with no significant background. An alternative is to play with the "Beat with an Ugly Stick" background, but that entails a lot of verbal abuse and may not be for everyone. Save that for your next playthrough.
  • Now for your 5 initial points, take DX 8, DX 9, CH 8, melee 1, melee 2. Would be grenediers will substitue throwing 1 and 2 for melee.
  • At the blimp store, sell your suit and buy small robes. For Virgil (your first follower, and you'll meet him soon enough), buy him a fine dagger and a regular dagger as backup. For your self, buy a rapier (or a boomerang for grenediers).
  • "Where's my gun! Where are my bombs! Where is my robot companion!" Patience my dear friend. Patience. We still have 50 levels to go.

Part 2 - The crash site

  • We will dabble here a bit, and then retun later to clean up. The plan is to recuit Virgil right quick, then explore the IMMEDIATE are around the crash without straying too far. We want to examine all of the bodies of our former travelling companion for clues and loot, and to achieve level 2 (but not level 3 yet). Level 2 is when we want our next follower, and he is found elsewhere.
  • Play the cutscens, get the exposition dump from Virgil, and then accept his offer to join. Now give him the daggers, and take his staff as your backup weapon. Equip your rapier or boomerang, and slowly and methodically circle the wreck clockwise. Check any bodies that you see.
  • Deal with wolves (or the occiasionl Kite and Boar) that come to you. But don't go out looking for them. We don't want to push passed level 2 yet. Same with loot on the ground -- pick up stuff in your path, but don't forage out too far. It's ok -- it will still be there when you come back. In the middle of the wreck is a box of goodies. Or junk. Either way, loot it.
  • Have you checked everyone and made it to level 2? If not, then go ahead and kill a few more things. Ask Virgil more questions in between fights to stay rested and to keep your fatigue up. Ask him to heal you if he is slacking off in that department. At level 2, add a point to Charisma for CH 9. We need that to recruit our next follower.
  • OK now head towards the altar in the Southeast corner of the valley. Virgil opines on the scripture, and then we meet a dark individual. We can let Virgil verbally browbeat him until he scampers away, or we can just kill him. Either way we move a bit farther and Virgil suggests a quicker way to Shrouded Hills, out next stop. We will take it -- just click on the town and speed travel!

Part 3 - Shrouded Hills

  • Virgil directs us to the Inn, which doubles as a tavern. At the bar we will see a large, drunk, and belligerant Half-Ogre named Sogg. But fear not - after a drink or two we can recruit him and he will fight for us forever! Unless better weapons have been found, give Sogg the staff.
  • At the end of hall we find Jaochim's room, sans Jaochim. However we do find a few more clues. And a chest where we can store our excess gear for now. So back to the bar and we pump the bartender for all of the town gossip. That leads us to Doc Roberts. We also meet a gnome on the way. DO NOT give him the ring. Either ignore him, or verbally fence with him until you make him trip up on his lies and he goes away.
  • Doc wants our help to prevent a bank robbery. He offers to pay us based upon our apptitude. We will tell him that we walk the middle ground, because that will give us the best reward. He leads us to the bank,where together we put down the robbery with ease. Don't forget to loot all of the bodies. Now we find Doc again and he gives us a nice axe for Sogg to use. Let's use that to raid the old temple. There is more loot in there, and some rats that are becoming much easier to kill. There are also several chests, so let's start sorting items.
  • We will be keeping the following items for crafting, so keep them in one chest

Kadura Stems, Ginka Roots, Coca Leaves, Tobacco Leaves

Copper Rings, Capacitors

Iron Ore(5), Steel(5), Fine Hilt and Guard(5)

Migraine Cure(1), Thermometer(1)

  • We will be keeping the following items for quests and future followers, so keep them in a second chest

Railroad Spikes (3), all notes and documents, dynamite, grenades, healing items, camera, at least one Molochean Hand Amulet. Second best human armor/clothes, second best weapon, etc

  • We will be sellig the rest. Collect that in the third container
  • Now is a good time to get in a good habit. Whenever you get into town, learn where every garbage bin is. And go dumpster diving once a day, as that is how often that they replenish. You earn decent coin for loot, and you can get good crafting items for future stuff. Shrouded Hills has 4 trash bins, one of them is hidden in a barn.
  • Also another good habit is to search the edge of cities, and the interior of villages for plants and herbs. These will be our literal lifeblood for the first part of the game. Unless you get injured (see your logbook), never pay money for healing items. That money goes for gear for you and your followers.
  • OK so we have ransacked Shrouded Hills for all of its free goodies. Now is a good time for a sell-off. Experiemnt to see who buys what. If you still have items that no one will buy, then take those back to the Inn and store them in Joachim's chest. They may come in handy later.
  • With all of our new money it is time It is time for apprentice training in either melee or throwing. Also Fine Hilt and Guards are hard to find so buy one of those each time that you can until you get 5 total. Also buy one themometer if you have not found one yet.
  • Ok to questing. Talk to Constable Owens until he has nothing new to say. We accept his quest to clear the bridge, but sit on it for now. Instead talk next to Ristezze the junk dealer (err "importer"). Same drill -- we talk him out, and accept his quest for a new item. But DO NOT sell him the ring. Now on to Lloyd the blacksmith, Same-same, and take his quest. Move on to percival Toone. We take his quest to investigate the ghost in the mine. To the north of the mine are 3 wolves -- go ahead and kill those. It's getting easier now, eh? Now go into the mine and just methodically clear it out, and we loot everything that we can. First West, and then East is probably best. Click on the ghost for a quick chat.
  • Now reverse order -- talk to Percival, and get him to mention Dernholm. Next, if you found PURE ORE then bonus -- give it to Lloyd. If not then no big deal, we can get some later. Last go to Ristezze and give him the boot that we found. Now offer to barter and immediately buy it back. There will be a better buyer later. Now go back to the temple and we re-sort our loot. Finally head north and slightly West to take on 3 stronger wolves. This should build your confidence a bit.
  • Once we are fully healed it is time for the bridge. First we swing back by the temple and get three railroad spikes, and any health and fatigue items. Then we have our followers wait a bit away and drop the spikes by Lukan and his goons. Save the game before hand. The idea is for each bad guy to pick up one spike. And the idea THERE is that spike damage is way less then bare handed damage for these freaks. OK so we go get our followers and start to chat with Lukan. He is funny at first, but he wears thin fast. When the fight breaks out you should do well, though it may be a bit touch and go. Use your healing potions as necessary, especially if Virgil won't heal. Take out the brigands one at a time, ganging up on whomever you followers targeted. Loot the bodies and we upgrade our follower's armor. Explore the area for herbs while you heal up a bit. When you are recovered then go through the gate for one last scuffle. Find that gnome again, and kill him. DO NOT give him the ring (see the trend?). Again loot the body, and give Virgil his sword. Sell the rest of the loot and get your reward from Owens. Nice!
  • You should have hit level 3 by now. If so, then put your new point it into persuation, and go find Jongle Dunne for apprentice training. He will also offer you a quest to destroy the steam engine in the temple. It involves killing the engineer taking care of it, so just skip. And skip all future quests that require killing people with good aligment. Your next several followers won't like it, and may even leave you. So just get in that habit now.
  • Now we return to the crashsite! Gather up any remaining health gear (though we most likely won't need it) and away we go!

Part 4 - Crashsite revisted, and rerevisted

  • It's time for some fun. Kill anything that moves. Hunt it down if you see it in the distance. Drag it downs if it runs. Check every chest, pick everyting up that isn't nailed down. This is different from the last time that we were here! Now find the cave to the East. Same drill -- kill and loot. Find and talk to a new ghost, pump it for info, and we promise to avenge him!. He will mark our map, and that is our next destination.
  • On your way out of the valley, don't use the world map just yet. There is more killing and exp to be gained. Just follow the valley and we slaughter wolves along the way. Rest in between fights if you need to. Use a health potion or two during fights if a wolf gets in a critical hit, or if Virgil is slacking off on healing duties. When we run out of things to kill, then we use the world map to Arbalah's House.
  • If we arrive at night, then just sleep until morning. We then chat with the priest, get his side of the story, and accept his quest. That will take us back to the crashsite (again). Again chat with the ghost and get him to rat out where his "friend" is hiding. Then we laugh at him and leave.
  • Use the world map to find Fahrkus' Shack. It does't matter if it is night or day when we get there -- just attack him on sight and loot his corpse. Now with the artifact in hand return to Arbalah and we get our reward! And from there it is back to Shrouded Hills.

Part 5 - Finishing up (level 5 and 6)

  • By this time you should be level 4 and close to level 5. Level 4 and 5 are more Charisma. Our next follower is in Dernholm, so we'll need CH 12 to recruit her. So go to the Shrouded Hills temple and grab the equipment that we've been saving for her. Also grab 2 each of Kadura Stem, Ginka Root, Coca Leaves, Tobacco Leaves. We'll be practicing some crafting! Also also, grab those grenades and any remaining health potions. We'll be making a quick detour to get leveled up. If you are not yet level 5 then we will stop on the way to Dernholm. If you are level 5 then we'll save that detour for right after Dernholm. If Dernholm is not marked on your world map, then ask some of the townsfolk. They will know.
  • Your level-up detour is the Wolf Cave. It is unmarked on your world map, but you had a sacred vision one night that it was located at coordinates 1230W 1530S. Lucky you! The West side of the cave has some rats. Clear those out and see if that gets you to level 5. If not, then heal up and head to the East side CAREFULLY. In the first round of combat let the wolves swarm you and your group. Then on the next round, throw the explosive grenade at your feet. It will kill most of the wolves, but leave you and your followers untouched. If there are still too many wolves though then use a stun grenade or two and finish them off. If that does not get you to level 5, then wander around a bit for random encouters. When you reach level 5 then head to Dernholm. Don't level up past 6 though.

Part 6 - Dernholm

  • Make a bee-line to Jayna's house in the South-East corner of town. Chat her up and she jumps at the chance to join our team! She's so adorable.
  • Talk to everyone else in town. Gladys wants us to find her ring. If done correctly, we also get her a boyfriend. So save the game before talking to her suitor Archibald. It may take a few tries to get the dialogue right, especially as he is a total jerk. But the needle can be threaded.
  • Next, the King is a bit of a jerk as well. But he offers some nice quests so it is best to grovel a bit for now. We will take his Taxes quest but save it for later.
  • If you are a thrower and have hit level 6, then put that point in throwing (for 3 ranks) and get expert training from Lianna. It is expensibe (500 gp) but well worth it.
  • Also we learn a new twist about taverns. Always save before going into one. Some of the patrons within are high stakes gamblers, so don't lose to them (but do try to win). The barkeep is also always good for town gossip. Finally we will eventually meet our first of potentially many assassins lurking in them, and early on they can be tough. Also bar brawls can get messy, pulling in citizens and guards and starting off a chain reaction and a trail of bodies. But hey . . .