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Arcanum Walkthrough: Of Steamworks and Magick Obscura



Flattery will get you everywhere. (-: Heady with the praise from my low-spoiler directory for my Baldur's Gate 2 walkthrough, I've been persuaded to write one for the latest CRPG magnum opus to occupy my hard drive, that being Arcanum. Frustrating to play, this one, but well worth the fifty bucks for the cool gameworld alone, not to mention the vast array of quests and plotlines. So vast, in fact, if you blink you may miss half of it. That's where I come in. This Arcanum walkthrough is intended to provide beginning points rather than end points. My hope is for this walkthrough to be a comprehensive list of every place something cool exists in the game, without spoiling it completely--so that people like me who want to know if we're missing anything can check an area to see if anything else exists there, and if so, investigate it ourselves. Hopefully this walkthrough will help you discover anything you haven't yet found in the gameworld.

I. Crash Site
II. Shrouded Hills
III. Dernholm
IV. Black Root
V. Tarant
VI. The Black Mountain Clan
VII. Ashbury
VIII. Isle of Despair
IX. The Wheel Clan
X. Roseborough and Beyond
XI. Schematics List

The Crash Site

This is a good place to get used to the interface. Start by pressing the "number lock" button. Trust me, you'll thank me. There is no advantage, ever, to moving at 'slow' speed, so you might as well always go 'fast'.

You will start out in a conversation with Virgil, and unless you reject him and/or kill him, he'll come with you. That's a good thing, since he can heal you. Explore this whole map, cautiously (there are some monsters here, and though they're weak, so are you). Pick up all the trash on the ground--it's not useful if you're magickally oriented, but you can always sell it in town, and this is the only part of the game where money is actually going to be tight enough for you to be collecting cans for deposit, as it were.

Specifics on this map:

1) Don't forget to check the bodies of all the other passengers. There's nothing on most of them, but you should come out of this with Preston Radcliffe's things, a letter from Wilhemina, and a camera, at least. Those things are important.

2) You should find the wreckage of the planes that attacked you. There will be clues there, and Virgil will comment on it too.

3) There's a cave in the northern cliff face which you can enter. There you will find the restless spirit of Charles Brehgo, who will give you a quest: The Cursed Ghost.

4) At the south of the map, there is the religious monument Virgil wanted you to see. Read it, talk to him a little, and carry on.

5) Finally, you'll meet an elven townsman. This conversation will go slightly differently depending whether you talk to him yourself or let Virgil do the talking.

Now go a little bit further south, and you can switch to the world map. (Virgil will gently remind you to do this if you forget.) You don't have to--you can manually walk across the entire continent if you like. You can also copy the entire Oxford English Dictionary by hand using a different color pencil for each letter if you like. I recommend using the world map.

If you're doing the Cursed Ghost quest, you'll first want to take a detour to "Arbalah's House" (and, depending on the choices you make there, another destination or two around this immediate area). If you go to Arbalah's house, don't knock yourself out scouring the entire area. You're on the world map now, and you could wander aimlessly for hours without finding anything. Just go to the house (if it's night, wait till morning), deal with Arbalah one way or the other, and go back to the World Map for your next destination. Don't worry, you'll get the hang of this part quickly.

Once you've dealt with Charles and Arbalah's quests--or decided to skip them--make your way to Shrouded Hills.

Shrouded Hills

This sleepy little town will pretty much kiss your butt non-stop if you'll just solve all their problems for them. I had the reactions of every person in town up above 100, man. This place should get you used to the town routine: talk to everyone, ask them if they have any problems or need any odd jobs done, and suspend your disbelief when every single one does and will wait indefinitely for you to do it for them. It's a game, after all. Would you rather have to slog through boring conversations with twelve useless miners for every questgiver?

People are not, incidentally, usually named until after you talk to them. So don't walk through town looking for "Constable Owens". He's probably labeled "guard captain" or "lanky older man" or something. Strike up conversations. The only place this can ever hurt you is in a bar, where sometimes people will attack you or bet you large sums of money on trivia questions you may not know the answer to.

1) Constable Owens, besides giving you plenty of background on the town, will offer you a simple quest: Remove The Bandits.

2) In the bar, besides pumping the bartender for rumors (you don't have to drink to do this, and probably shouldn't, as even one drink seems to get you pretty sauced), you can find Elder Joachim's room to learn some more information and what Virgil wants to do next. There is also a half-orc name of Jacob Bens who will try to involve you in his latest scheme, Rob The Bank. Make your own risk-reward assessment and either try robbing the bank or don't. Sogg Mead Mug is also in there, and you can invite him to join your party if you like and your charisma is sufficient.

3) Jongle Dunne in the magic store has a quest for you, Damn Newfangled Machines. This quest will make you more evil, but it opens up two other, non-evil quests (Jongle Dunne's Errand and Now How Did That Get Broken?) and puts Dernholm on your map, so you may want to do it anyway. Note that Jongle won't sell to you anymore if you piss him off, so you may want to avoid selling him anything you might want back someday.

4) Lloyd Gurloes the blacksmith has a rather silly quest for you, Find Some Ore.

5) Near Ristezze's shop, a gnome will accost you, introduce himself as William Radcliffe, and ask for Preston's ring. You can give it to him or not, depending on how you like him. Either way you'll meet him again soon, never fear.

6) If you tell Ristezze your story and are nice enough to him he'll give you some money. Ristezze can also tell you where to find Schuyler and Sons (you'd think you could puzzle this out on your own, but you actually need him to tell you for the One Ring quest to advance any more). In exchange, though, you'll need to either give him your camera or something of Bessie Toone's which you find in the mine. If you have good persuasion skills you may be able to get the information out of him for free, or you could also kill him and cast "conjure spirit" on him.

7) Doc Roberts has another quest for you, Lawman. The combat will start when and only when you talk to Doc in front of the bank. You can wander around for three weeks and the holdup still won't happen till you talk to Doc in front of the bank. So don't worry about the timing at all.

8) Gaylin the herbalist will offer a reward for the return of the amulet N'Tala. It'll be a while before you run into this, but he doesn't mind.

9) Percival Toone, who lives in a small house just south of the mine, wants you to lay the Ghost of Bessie Toone to rest.

10) There isn't much in the mine itself, just a few monsters, traps, and treasures. (You will quickly learn that the best defense against traps is simply an NPC healer in your party.) Bessie Toone's ghost doesn't have much to say, but Percival will be a little more forthcoming with information after you've spoken to her and give you the next step in your quest (though he won't tell you how to get there, infuriatingly. Jongle Dunne can if you haven't made him angry, or a few of the random walkers on the street can too.)

Once you dispatch the bandits, you'll be able to leave town for either Dernholm or Tarant (provided you've had both marked on your map by helpful townspeople, that is).

Dernholm

This decaying little feudal town has a really nice feel to it. Get all the rumors, either from the bartender or from walking people, to find out what the grapevine has to say about King Praetor, and make sure to pick up the newspaper lying on the ground to get a bit of the bigger picture. Charles Dolan and Sarah Toone live here, and are useful for quests originating elsewhere.

1) Lianna Del Par gives you some information and will be of more use later on.

2) An old lady named Gladys will beg you to help her with a quest, Retrieve The Ring. You can kill Archibald for the ring, or steal it from him, but if you talk to his son Bernard instead, you can learn the true story. Go back to talk to Archibald again, and you can eventually set things right between the two lonely old birds.

3) Sir Garrick Stout is standing in front of the guard station. You'll need him later if you want either melee or dodge mastery, so don't kill him even though he's annoying. (You probably won't be able to yet anyway.) Once you have enough melee expertise, you can get the Melee Mastery quest from him, though it's most interesting if you talk to the Dodge Master as well.

4) Jayna Stiles also lives here and will join your party if you have a high tech rating and are nice to her.

5) Finally, you can go into the castle and talk to King Praetor. Remember, he's a wee bit paranoid, so be careful how you talk to him. He and his guards are way out of your league. He'll give you a quest if you're polite enough, Taxman, which will also have the effect of putting Black Root on your map.

Black Root

From Black Root, you can catch a train to Tarant or Ashbury even if you haven't found a reason to go to either city yet. You get a really funny series of questions about your magic use, but this early in the game you should at least be able to ride in the mage's caboose. Once you have a lot of powerful magic or the Dog, you can't take the train anymore. You can also get boats here, but not until you know where you want to go.

1) The blacksmith will give you some free gauntlets if you're nice to him. Doesn't take persuasion or cleverness, just the basic social skill of expressing sympathy when he says his master passed away.

2) The innkeeper will give you a little quest, The Strongbox, if you ask him for a discount on his rooms. But you have to ask.

3) There are two people in the bar who will ask you for quests if you talk to them politely: Kietzel Pierce will ask you to Find Dudley, an annoying task at best, and Clarissa Salmo will give you the Throwing Mastery quest if you have enough throwing expertise.

4) There's a second bar on the boardwalk, called the Sour Barnacle. In here is the NPC Dante, who will join you if you are good and don't insult his king.

5) On the south side of town is Lydia Cameron, who will give you a quest to find her son, The Missing Inventor.

6) You'll need to see the mayor, in the far southeast of town, for the quest that brought you to Black Root in the first place, but before he will fork over the taxes, he'll require his own quest of you, The Stolen Dagger. There are several ways to solve this one.

7) Finally, there are some wizened halflings hiding along the coast who will ask you riddles and give you a prize if you win. The first halfling is just southeast of the mayor's house, and will give you directions to the second one, who will give you directions to the third. Make sure you save before approaching this third halfling! Usually there is nothing easier than multiple-choice riddles, but the third one is not a very good riddle, and two or three of the choices could partially apply. If you're wrong, you'll have a bitch of a fight on your hands. If you're right, you might as well sell your prize. It summons a very powerful halfling wizard, who immediately summons a demon. Unfortunately, your NPCs will attack the demon, and then the halfling and demon will kill you. Not a good gift item.

Continue on to Tarant!

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