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'Is This All There Is, Or Did I Do Something Wrong?'

A handful of Arcanum quests just do not resolve very well. They can leave you unsure if you've really finished them at all or you've done something wrong somehow, or missed part of it. There are also many quests with more than one ending, and you may want to know what the other alternatives were.

So here are partial spoilers for those quests that may leave you wondering:

Help For Confusing/Unsatisfying Arcanum Quests

Arbalah's Artifact and the Cursed Ghost: These quests give you your first taste of the plot complexity of Arcanum. There are three basic solutions here: you can just go kill Arbalah as promised, freeing Charles (this is an evil path). You can talk to Arbalah and retrieve his artifact by lying to Charles and then either killing, threatening, or lying to Simon (this is a good path). You can even retrieve the artifact and then kill Arbalah, though other than the basic powergaming desire to win both rewards, I can't imagine why anyone would want to do both. What you can't do--at least I don't think you can--is get Arbalah to release Charles from his undeath as you promised if you bring his artifact back. I haven't ruled out the possibility that you could accomplish this if, say, your persuasion was very high, but this early in the game no one's is, and the dialogue is clearly set up to indicate that your "promise" is really a lie, so I suspect it's not possible. Too bad, that. The "Cursed Ghost" quest will not switch to "botched" if you don't kill Arbalah, by the way, and will remain on your to-do list for the rest of the game.

Remove The Bandits: You don't actually have to kill them. You can bribe them, though it's a lot of money you probably can't afford. You can do a task for them in lieu of the money--blowing up some of the townspeople's bridge-building materials (this is an evil quest). You can talk them into leaving if you have the persuasion skill and can convince them you're with the Thieves' Underground; if you do it well enough, they'll pay you. Or, you can kill them. They have good loot for this stage in the game. Either persuading or killing them will net you a fate point in addition to your other rewards.

The Ghost Of Bessie Toone: You have to return the mine to Toone possession to free Bessie, but it doesn't really matter which Toone. It's probably a longer-term solution to go with Sarah, but Percival will pay you more. Percival will not, incidentally, be grateful you've freed his mother if you give the mine to his sister. That's just Percival being spiteful for ya; his quest has been completed successfully whether he likes it or not.

Find Dudley: Dudley is one of the elite bow guards in Dernholm. He is otherwise unidentified. You will have to follow the bow guards around town pestering each one to find him. I ran into him down by Archibald's house, but your mileage may vary. He also won't have much to say to you, but at least you'll be able to report back to Kietzel.

The Missing Inventor: After you find Liam's workshop (it's right next to your arrival spot), do not go wandering around his house in expanding circles looking for more clues. You will waste a ton of time and probably get lost to boot, since you're on the world map and can't easily check your position. Just follow the road, which will twist and turn but eventually take you right to the source of the problem. You should find a note or journal or something from Liam in his house, but if you don't find it (I didn't) you can still finish this quest without difficulty.

Retrieve The Dagger: As with the bandits in Shrouded Hills, you have multiple options for dealing with these thieves. Killing them is the most expedient, but you can also bribe them, steal from them (though you may need to spend a fate point to do it since the lead guy is wielding the dagger), or complete a task for them (killing a local hedge wizard or buying them some poison, both of which will increase your evil alignment).

Tomb Raider: These quests do pose a dilemma for those of us who like fantasy games but have some sensitivity to grave desecration issues. You'll have three choices: 1) talk to the elves whose burial grounds have been looted, side with them, and convince them to let you leave again; 2) talk to the elves, admit Mrs. Pettibone sent you here to steal something, and apologize; 3) tell the elves to bite you and kill them, then loot the tomb some more. Choice #3 gets you experience points, loot, and the completion of this quest. Choice #2 gets you nothing but some interesting comeuppance for Mrs. Pettibone (peruse the back papers when you get back to town to learn about it). Choice #1 gets you nothing at all. It's totally up to you. There is nothing important in the tomb, just some stuff to sell. If you kill the elves, you can use "conjure spirit" to chat up the dead archaeologist a little, if you like; I mention this only because this spell almost never lets me actually talk to anyone.

Siamese Twins: This quest ends in very frustrating fashion. To the best of my knowledge, once you have uncovered the conspiracy, there is nothing you can do about it. Tyson will disappear. De Cesare has nothing more to say to you. The phrenologist is no help; he's a gnome too. If you go to the papers, the editors will simply destroy the evidence. You don't even get the option to discuss the conspiracy with Willoughsby, Bates, or any other influential allies you might have made. There really is nothing you can do. The best I can figure is it's supposed to make you marvel at the depth of the gnomish conspiracy. Personally, I just found it a rather cheap abortive ending to a potentially interesting plot twist. There is nothing else you will ever be able to do with this as far as I know. I settled for killing the gnomes (to add insult to injury, their alignments are both 'good'--this is not a game that takes sexual abuse at all seriously, I'm afraid), the news editors (oddly, the papers continued rolling every day), and every other gnome I could get my hands on until I got bored and stopped playing.

Labor Dispute: There are three things you can do when you get to the orcish factory: help the evil management slaughter the striking orcs, help the striking orcs start a big riot and cause lots of mayhem, or force the two to the bargaining table. The third route is definitely the most interesting, though you'll need high persuasion skills to make it stick--talk to the hand-wringing gnomish council-member outside the factory.

Stillwater Giant Pelt and Capture The Stillwater Giant: It occurred to me right away to palm Parnell's fake-o giant pelt off on the irritating elf. You can do this, but it will hose the second quest. If you finish the second quest, you can always go get the fake pelt afterwards anyway, either by stealing it, buying it, or conning it off of Parnell. Alternatively, though, it is possible to give Myrth the *real* pelt, since the real Stillwater Giant will show up and try to kill you if you wander around the Stillwater countryside long enough after capturing the bunny from the cave. (Maybe they were a mated pair or something.) You could also, of course, opt to skip the whole thing by either stealing Myrth's amulet or killing him for it, then bringing it all the way back to Shrouded Hills to the healer there, and there's nothing stopping you from doing this after completing one or both of these other quests, either.

The Missing Hunter: You have several options for rescuing the elf from the lizardmen. First, of course, you can just kill the lizardmen. (If you do this, you'll have to get a rope from one of them to lower to the imprisoned elf.) Otherwise you can talk to the lizard chieftain. Once he tells you poachers have been skinning his people, you can agree to go kill the poachers for him. (The poachers will offer to kill the lizards for you if you tell them their location, but this is a ridiculous option for anyone, given that the poachers are obnoxious to you, their equipment is excellent, and you don't need their help killing the lizardmen anyway.) Finally, though, if you reject killing the poachers but are persuasive enough, you can talk him into peace anyway, and be rewarded by Waromon as a companion. This takes some doing, so save before talking to him if you're going to try it.

Elven Murder Mystery: There's a lot of interesting cultural information in here. You will get most of it in one swoop if after Wrath's murder you talk to the guard, to Jormund, to Ivory, to the guard again, snoop around Ivory's house at night, talk to Ivory again in the morning, and then finally report to the guard. This way requires extreme care in your first conversation with Ivory, however. You must not question her too aggressively, and when she says she's too disturbed to talk any more, you have to choose the 'goodbye' option. If at the end of the conversation she won't talk to you any more (just saying in text-over "I told you to leave me alone"), you have botched the interrogation. All is not lost, though--you can still take the evidence from her house back to the guard, and get a different, also interesting conclusion. I suspect the conclusion you draw from the second conversation with Ivory is meant to be the correct one--really, it doesn't make a ton of sense why Sharpe, who had won the girl, would want to kill Wrath, but it makes a lot of sense the other way around. Still, the alternate ending if you bring the evidence to the guard instead is also plausible and interesting. If you've already done this one way, I recommend trying the other.

Falcon's Ache: You can't kill the loggers; the glade spirits will instantly kill you if you do any damage to them. There are two ways around this: if you have persuasion skills, offer to persuade them before saying anything about the elves, and concoct a plausibly intimidating lie. Alternatively, you can exploit a loophole in the curse by getting the humans to attack you. However, if you take this route, you must be very careful to 1) leave your NPCs waiting where they won't notice the combat and shed some blood, and 2) take off any EQ you might have on that damages anyone who hits you (check your shield and jewelry for this trait). It is not possible to find and kill head of the logging company, though this would presumably also solve the problem.

What's Eating Vollinger: Okay, if you keep Vollinger with you the whole game, he should defect and try to kill you after the dark elf city. This conversation is bugged, though, and may not trigger. Even if it does, it's pretty stupid. Vollinger will ask you to meet him alone, then say he belongs to the Molochean Hand and attack. Since he never had a personality or even a voice, it isn't a very affecting betrayal, and since he is by far the weakest NPC, he never has a chance against your main character mano-a-mano, so it's a pretty anticlimactic ending. But that's what it is, if you're having trouble accessing it or are just wondering whether it's worth dragging his worthless carcass around Arcanum to see.

Found Schematics: So many people have written to me asking about the found schematics in Arcanum (i.e. the ones that are not listed in the manual) that I have dedicated a special section to this: Arcanum schematics. Be warned that there are spoilers contained in this section (though I've kept them to a minimum).

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