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Low-Spoiler Arcanum Area Guide: The Black Mountain Clan

This pretty much has to be the next stop for you after Tarant (technically you could take the train to Ashbury now, but it wouldn't be very wise). It's just a dungeon in here. Arcanum has an extremely innovative gameworld and some creative quests amongst its denizens, but its dungeons, alas, are very boring. No puzzles, secret doors, quests, or anything else requiring thinking; hack and slash some monsters and spend some time navigating the maze, and you'll get some treasure along the way and some exposition at the end.

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A couple of tips for the frustrated:

1) On the first level, there are two clumps of barrels blocking your progress down certain hallways. Don't spend any energy trying to get past these--it's impossible, even with teleportation, even with dynamite. Again, though the programmers spent a lot of time and energy giving you alternative options in the towns and quests, there are none in the dungeons. You have to go down a level and up a different staircase, thus doing the dungeon in the order they intended. You have no choice.

2) Some of the NPCs--Vollinger is one--have scripts instructing them to pick up anything lying on the floor no matter what. (You may have noticed such NPCs stealing your weapon whenever you critical-miss.) In this dungeon, if you don't keep a tight watch on those NPCs, they will get killed, and you will probably be wondering what the hell happened as they suddenly disappear from your roster. Well, what happened is this: they ran off down a different hallway from the rest of the party because there was a piece of ore lying on the floor at the other end. Then they set off a trap. Or tried to run right past an ore golem to grab it. And got creamed. These NPCs aren't very bright. Keep an eye on them and follow after any meanderers.

3) There is a bug in some versions of this program that makes your good-aligned NPCs hate you if you slay a Kite Bowman. This bug has been fixed in recent versions, but check your followers' attitudes towards you after the first time you kill a kite bowman just to be on the safe side. If you do have this bug, either get the patch or just let your NPCs kill the kite bowmen instead of you--it's a bug, the kite bowmen aren't *really* good, so your NPCs won't balk at this task.

4) Several of the monsters down here damage your weapon every time you hit them. This can get VERY annoying very fast. I seriously recommend cheating yourself in five ranks of the repair skill, simply to avoid the mind-numbing inconvenience of having to run your party all the way back through the boring maze out to the blacksmith and back every time, or having to shuffle spare weapons and armor back and forth from all your NPCs' inventories all the time (if you choose the latter, bear in mind that you have to actually take away a weapon or armor from an NPC before he will stop using it--even if it is badly damaged or too heavy for his strength, he will keep trying to wield it and there is no way to tell him not to, so you'll have to make all the damaged items fit in your own backpack somehow). This is roughly as fun to play as writing up your characters' tax returns would be. Cheat; you'll thank yourself for it.

5) When you get to the room with three staircases in it, your sojourn will go most smoothly if you take the right-most one first and then return for the center staircase. It doesn't really matter--in fact, there's nothing useful up the right-hand staircase at all, and you're perfectly safe skipping it. But the payoff part of the dungeon is down a hugely long winding hallway up the center staircase, and once you've reached the end, you will probably want to use a Scroll of Exiting or Teleportation to go straight back to town. Making the long, tedious return journey just to check out the right-hand staircase will be disappointing; if you're the kind of person who likes to leave no stone unturned, visit that staircase first.

6) Don't worry if your NPCs aren't keeping pace with you through the aforementioned long twisty hallway. I kept stopping to let them catch up in hopes that Magnus might have something to say about the dwarf clans when I got to the end. He doesn't. The NPCs don't have very big roles in this game. Let him lag behind if he wants.


The next place on your itinerary is Ashbury, both because Gilbert Bates tells you to and because it's the only place left on the map that you know how to get to yet. Before you leave, you can ask Chukka the Ogre to join your party if you want to. He'll only join if you've been on Gilbert's side, obviously, and if you have a good alignment.

1) Absolutely the first thing to do in Ashbury is to go over and save Dog from the gnome in front of the inn (far southeast corner). If you found a dead dog in the street last time you played, you didn't get there quickly enough. Make a beeline and dispatch the gnome one way or the other, and Dog will join your party in gratitude. Dog is the best fighting NPC in the game. He has no tactical skills and no conversations, but frankly, neither do any of the other NPCs, and Dog doesn't waste a follower slot. Defnitely get him.

2) The fretful mayor is hanging around in front of town hall worrying about the specifics of a monument he's trying to commission. He'll offer you a quest, Public Speaking 101; you need a decent intelligence to solve this quest and a high intelligence to solve it with flair, so if you haven't got the right stuff, chug a potion of intelligence before going in.

3) In front of the graveyard you can meet a new NPC, Geoffrey Tarellond-Ashe the necromancer, who will give you a quest, Undead Can Dance, if you are reasonably intelligent and choose a witty response to his rudeness. If you are also evil, he will join your party if you ask him to as well.

4) A man hanging around outside 12 Trellis Way will give you a small quest, The Shirt Off My Back.

5) I had the strange experience of a couple of townsfolk on Harbor View Lane attacking me for no apparent reason. I didn't suffer any noticeable repercussions from this, and don't know why exactly it occurred. If anyone had this happen to them or knows why it happened, please enlighten me.

6) The farmer, Theo Brightstart, will offer you two mundane tasks, Pigs Are Your Friends and Lifting Heavy Rocks. The first of these tasks is evil for some inexplicable reason, and any good NPCs you have will get upset with you over it. The second is very annoying.

7) There's a haunted castle on this map, where you can pick up a little extra loot and XP if you like. A few of the monsters in here damage your armor, so if you don't have repair, strip down when you see "Lord's Slaves" coming. Virgil will heal you automatically, but there's no way to fix your armor without a big hassle.

8) The firearms master, Thorndop, will give you the Firearms Mastery Quest if you're ready.

9) There are a few map locations you can learn about from rumors in Ashbury. One, the Ancient Temple, will simply appear on your map. Besides loot and XP, you can find a quest here involving a new location (Dragon's Blood), learn some unnecessary but interesting information about the Molochean Hand, and pick up a new NPC, Torian, if you're evil. A second location, the Ancient Shipwreck, will not appear on your map, but if you just follow the coast north a bit from Ashbury as the rumor suggests, you will find it easily. You may not want to bother, for though it's pretty enough, there's nothing to do there, except fight a few skeletons who come out at night, maybe. No dungeon, no treasure, nothing at all. A third location is not highlighted on your map but you are given coordinates (618W, 528S). You can't get to this third locale without crossing the mountains and will probably want to save it for later.

10) There are also several stores in Ashbury (none of the shopkeepers have anything to say beyond sales pitches), a bar with the usual types in it, and the home of one Kendrick Wales, who you will need again later.

11) Finally, the man you came looking for, Sir Edmund Teach, is on his boat down by the docks. Talk to him and you can move on to the next part of your quest, the Isle of Despair.

The Isle of Despair

I really liked this penal colony, and wished it was larger and there was more to do for some of its inhabitants. Finish everything on the island before leaving, because once you leave you won't be able to come back. Following the road you start on, you will come to the main encampment, where you can meet the inhabitants and get all the island's quests.

1) The main guard, outside the gate, will offer you a reward if you can kill a Sorcerous Beast north of the encampment. It's not hard to track; go northwest across the river, follow the shore a little ways north, and you will find the beast's trail easily.

2) Standing in the road you'll meet Cynthia Boggs, who will give you a quest, The Sexually Harassed Daughter.

3) The man in the house with the still out front has a quest for you, Deliver the Moonshine. If you see this quest through the man on the other end, Maximillian, will give you a second, more meaningful quest, Primogeniture.

4) The man in the house with the gadgets out front has a quest for you, Salvager. You only have to give him one of the items you find on the wreck. It doesn't matter which one; none of them are important (except the schematics if your main character is tech-oriented).

5) The ogre outside the chief's house will tell you his own interesting story in addition to allowing/forbidding you entry. He'd like a copy of the book "The Hand," but as far as I know there's no copy of it anywhere on the island (I scoured it pretty well too), so unless you brought it with you (there's one in a locked barrel in Ashbury, apparently) you can't give him one. It doesn't really matter, because he'll also let you in if you win one pit fight, which is very easy to do. Unfortunately there's no way to help this unjustly treated ogre, though you'll be able to learn more about the tale he told you later.

6) Thorvald Two Stones will tell you where to go next in your Black Mountain Dwarves quest. You can take him with you if you're persuasive (your character must have high persuasion skill, and you must pick the right conversational choices), or he will give you his clan glasses to take with you if your character's not persuasive but you are, or you can get the glasses by illicit methods. Frankly, you don't need his glasses at all, because he tells you exactly how to make another pair and there's a glasses maker right in Ashbury. Unless he comes with you he will ask you to bring word of him to his clan--this shows up on your quest list, but it's hardly much of a quest, since you are going to have to talk to the Wheel Clan regardless and you can choose to mention Thorvald or not as you please. If you do take him with, he won't remain as a party member or anything, just thanking you and leaving as soon as you get there.

7) Oddly, if you exit to the world map and then return to the encampment after speaking to Thorvald, a bunch of bandits will appear and then spontaneously drop dead right at your point of entry. This is something of a bug--you're actually supposed to encounter their dead bodies on your way back to the ship, and the game is responding to your entering the area by putting them there. Do not board the ship to ask Teach about them if you haven't finished your town quests yet, because he will bring you back to Ashbury at the end of the conversation whether you want him to or not. Make sure you're done with the entire island first, and then talk to Teach.

The Wheel Clan

Onward to the next new location on your map, the Wheel Clan. As you learned from Thorvald, you need kathorn glasses to see the entrance. Don't knock yourself out running up and down the coast looking for it, it's in the rock face immediately to the right of your arrival point and you just need to move over a little for it to appear.

This was an extremely annoying location, essentially a town in the form of a multi-level maze. The entry level is a tunnel that eventually leads to three sets of stairs. North to south, they lead to the town level, the throne room level, and the mines level. There is nothing else of any importance on the entry level. The town level has four stores (an innkeeper, a smith, an inventor, and a herbalist) and three people worth talking to, Thrayne, Vegard, and Erick. The mines level has one person worth talking to, Arvid (and some stray monsters and treasure). The throne room level contains only two things of interest: the entrance to the Dredge, and the prince regent Randver. You don't need to spend any time exploring any of the Wheel Clan mazes any further than it takes to find these points of interest.

1) Randver is probably your first stop, and you can have a long, fascinating conversation with him that can take you in several directions. There are two basic outcomes to it: he can admit he knows where his father is and send you to see him directly, or he can refuse to divulge that secret and you'll have to take the long way through the Dredge (a dungeon level full of monsters). If you ask him why his father was ashamed at some point, he will get into dwarven philosophy with you if your intelligence is high enough, and I found this a very interesting digression. You can also tell Randver about Thorvald's fate if you like.

2) Randver's father, Loghaire, has an even more interesting extended conversation with you that is chock full of interesting cultural background and clues about the main plot. It is possible to talk Loghaire into returning to his clan once he's told you your next stop in the Black Mountain Dwarves quest, but to do this you have to either be a dwarf yourself or have a high intelligence and have discussed philosophy with Randver; you need to choose your conversational options carefully; and you may need persuasion skills to boot. You get a fate point if you succeed at this.

3) If you're not rude to him, Thrayne will give you a quest to bring a message to his brother in the Stonecutter Clan, and will mark that on your map for you. This isn't a necessary trip, but it does yield some nice background information about the evil beings you're slowly realizing you're going to be combatting, and there's treasure. It's also small. Much less annoying than the Black Mountain and Wheel clan mazes.

4) Vegard will give you a quest to retrieve his Family Heirloom from the Dredge.

5) Erick will give you a schematic for a key to the Place of Iron and ask you to bring him back the Durin Stone from there. This place won't appear on your map, as Erick doesn't know where it is, so you'll just file it away for later.

6) In the mines, Arvid will ask you to do a simple quest, Help The Miners.


The next location to appear on your map is Stillwater. (The linearity of this game from Tarant on can be irritating, but on the other hand, it makes the game progression easier--it would have been very frustrating to have Stillwater on your map earlier and find all these incompletable quest pieces there.) Go there and talk to the townsfolk.

1) The blacksmith, Richard Leeks, has a quest for you, Check On The Wizard.

2) The innkeeper has the next clue for you from Elder Joachim. Virgil will have a conversation with you about it, though it may take him a few minutes to initiate it.

3) The Geshtianna temple is another little adolescent sex fantasy for you, if you're into such things. Perform the high priestess' quest, Free Love Is Groovy, and she will sleep with you (regardless of your gender) and then invite you to a big party where everyone gets drunk in their underwear and passes out on the floor. Gotta love those aphrodisiac cults.

4) An old halfling named Gildor lives here and will give you a quest, The Sneaky Jewel Thief, if you listen all the way through his long and somewhat rambling story. This quest purports to require prowling skills on your main character's part, but in fact brute force also works just fine. The location will appear on your map, though it may be hard to find at first; it's waaaaaaaay up north, called "Ruby Glade".

5) Myrth, the only elf in town, is your ticket to Qintarra, but he has a very strange sense of humor and is not inclined to help you, especially if you are a dwarf or a half-orc or you have a low intelligence. You can get him to help you anyway (by ignoring his rudeness and starting the conversation over if the problem is race, or by drinking an intelligence booster if the problem is stupidity), or you can rob or kill him to get the same information in a roundabout way. If you want him to help you, you'll have to play along with his stupid word games and then bring him a Stillwater Giant Pelt. If you just want to kill him, use clues you find on his body to lead you back to someone else who knows Qintarra's location.

6) Stanley Xavier Hippington is living in town searching for the Stillwater Giant. It's worth talking to him just to hear someone actually work the word "cryptozoologist" into casual conversation. You can get a quest from him, Capture The Stillwater Giant, even though it sounds like a cross between a bad frat prank and a Monty Python skit. This quest is sort of tied to the Stillwater Giant Pelt one--you can't get the Capture quest until/unless you've been assigned the Pelt one. However, once you've finished the Pelt quest you can't do the Capture quest anymore, so if you want to do both, first finish the Capture quest completely and then do the Pelt quest. If you get clever and try to palm a fake pelt off on the elf as soon as Stanley makes it clear you won't be getting a real one, it will work, but Stanley's quest will be aborted and he will just sit there saying nothing if you bring the beast back to him as agreed, which will be annoying.

7) Adkin Chambers lives in Stillwater, and he is the Dodge Master and can give you the Dodge Master Quest (though it's more satisfying, and makes more sense, if you do the Melee Master Quest first.


Why is there no "u" in this word, given that Raven and everyone else in the game consistently pronounces it "Quintarra"? Who knows? It's probably the most attractive-looking city in the game, though, and one of the best-thought-out. To enter you have to click on the guard at the base of the stairs, not the stairs themselves.

Qintarra specifics:

1) The elf in the red bikini, Swyft, has a quest for you, Bright Lights, Big City. If you take her up on this quest you must leave on it pretty much immediately, or, like all NPCs who join the party for one specific quest, she will get angry and leave in a huff.

2) Another elf on this main platform, Winde, will offer you the Missing Hunter quest, an interesting quest with a few different solutions..

3) Visiting the only dwarf in town, Jormund, you can get embroiled in an Elven Murder Mystery. This is one of the coolest quests in the game and has two different satisfying endings, though you have to be very careful about how you question one elf named Ivory or you'll be locked out of one of them (save before questioning her--she's inside a hut and, like Swyft, wearing a bikini).

4) The elven merchant in town wants some mithril ore. I suppose this could be construed as a quest, but since it's impossible to reach Qintarra without already having visited the Wheel Clan and collected the mithril, it's a strange one.

5) Fawn is not only the town healer, but also the Healing Master. You don't have to do a quest for her, she'll just promote you out of the niceness of her heart. And give you a good necklace, too.

6) Whysper will give you a present just for talking to her, and she'll also give you a little quest, Wisp Essence.

7) Finally, you can meet Raven, who is rather haughty but still a pretty cool NPC. She has a really nice voice, so you may want her to join your party (especially if you're male and good-aligned, since she will then develop the hots for you). First you'll have to do her quest, though, Falcon's Ache. Another nifty elven quest with a couple of different solutions. Killing the miscreants is not one of them (Raven was not kidding about the curse, and if you shed blood or let your followers shed blood, you will all be slain by the vengeful spirits, so don't do it.) Once you're done, Raven will let you in to talk to the Silver Lady, who will give you the next stage in your really long Black Mountain Dwarves quest. Then, once you've done what she told you to, Raven will join up if you like. (So, for that matter, will Thorvald, if you go back to tell him what's been happening.)


You've been wanting to go to Caladon ever since the beginning of the game when you found that flying ship, but it just never showed up on your map. Once you finish tracking down the Silver Lady's clues, you will get your chance. Caladon contains several interesting quests, but unfortunately it's a terribly-designed city and very difficult to navigate. For the most part, this game does a really good job avoiding the "lots of useless hard-to-get-around areas add to the realism somehow" trap many CRPGs fall into, but Caladon is a regression of epic proportions. Less than half the areas in Caladon are actually of any use at all. There is nothing in any of the large park areas or the zoo or the museum, so you can just avoid them. The many empty houses are similarly useless and don't warrant any exploration, with the exception of the one house between Adam Maxwell's and Daniel MacPherson's on Dragon's Turnabout, which contains a clue. You can't do anything at the temple yet, so don't waste your time loading that area. The inn is pointlessly big and there's nothing worth seeing or doing in it until such time as a quest sends you to one of its rooms. And be warned, because something about Caladon's narrow streets and doorways causes you to get stuck behind your NPCs more often than usual. I had to use Spatial Distortion at least three times each time I visited this stupid city just to get out from behind NPCs. Make sure you have that spell in your repertoire, or leave your NPCs at the bridge (for everything but the graveyard, where you'll want Virgil and Magnus along).

Caladon specifics:

1) There are two buildings of value on the outskirts of town, across the bridge from the main city. One is the house of David and Cynthia Wit, and they have a quest for you, Wabbit Season. (Cynthia's fiance is, to the best of my knowledge, a red herring; you won't find him in the city, and you don't need to leave the farm to solve their quest.) The other is the factory of Hieronymous Maxim, and he has a quest for you too, Heavier Than Air.

2) Heading across the river, down the main drag to the palace, you will pass one building of note: the Sobbing Onion bar, prominently labeled. (The bar attached to the inn is useless, but pick up the newspaper lying in front.) Outside the Sobbing Onion is a Thieves Underground contact, and inside is the Caladon black market and an unpleasant dandy named Ryan Sanders who has an evil quest Kill My Dad if you want it. (There's no way I found to turn him in to either the police or his father, so if you don't want to do the hit, you needn't bother accepting the quest). Also in this bar is a Master you may have been tracking down for one of your Mastery quests.

3) Behind the Sobbing Onion is Mr. Misk's house. Go in and talk to Mrs. Misk for a quest (The Leaky Servant) and the information you need for the next stage in your main quest. (You can also steal her 'Durin' book if you're on the Iron Clan quest-- once you've got the map location you can just put it right back if you want to.) She should direct you to the graveyard, behind her house, where you can dig up the next map location, Roseborough. While you're in this graveyard, both Virgil and Magnus will have character bits-- Virgil will take off on his own to visit one of the graves, and Magnus will have an interaction with the gravedigger if you chat him up about his name. The one grave with something hidden in it is also the one that is clickable on, though, so don't waste your time exploring all the other graves, which are just there as further decoration.

4) If you continue down Kings' Way and go into the castle itself you can get a quest, The Missing Princess. You can also get this quest from the King of Dernholm, if by some odd twist of fate you should wind up in Dernholm before you arrive in Caladon but after it shows up on your map. I kind of liked the way King Praetor assigned this one, so you may want to wait on entering the castle till you go back to Dernholm. Up to you.

5) Turning right onto Temple Way from the palace, take a left on the first cross street to reach the police station (where you can get the interesting Jack The Ripper quest ). Right next door are the newspaper and telegraph offices, which you may want later.

6) By the sign for Shoreline park are a couple of squabbling old business partners. You can buy (or steal) their magic beans from them if you like. They're not important for any quest or anything like that, they're basically just resurrection spells.

7) Do an about face and go up Temple Street, past the police station, to Dragon's Turnabout. This is a particularly annoying road because the whole loop is called "Dragon's Turnabout" and it can be hard to know where you are and what houses you've looked in already. There are five: one is a murder site, which you'll need the inspector's permission to enter. One is Arthur Tyron's house; you are probably already on the lookout for him for Matt de Cesare. Two belong to Masters, Adam Maxwell and Daniel McPherson, so you can get the Pick Locks and Spot Traps Mastery Quests here. The last is empty but has a clue in it. (I don't mean to give anything away, but personally found scouring through all the useless buildings in this town for that one clue frustrating at best.)

8) Like Tarant, Caladon has old sewers and new sewers. You won't be able to get into the old sewers until you get to a certain point in a quest. You can go in the new sewers whenever you want, but there's nothing particularly worthwhile down there.

9) Now it's time to go to Roseborough, but finishing loose ends from some of your existing quests will lead you to Tarant again, where there are actually a couple of new quests and NPCs waiting for you in front of Willoughsby's house. You can get Clean Up The Boil and the Persuasion Mastery Quest from Willoughsby, and his associates Perriman Smythe and Sebastian will join you if you still need a hand.

From here, go on to the Roseborough.

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