Ver. 1.0, March 2000
I. Introduction
II. Contents
III. Magic and Technology
IV. Character Creation
Are there character classes in Arcanum?
What stats influence fatigue? How important are those stats to a mage?
How do I add my own custom portrait to the player characters?
Is there a way to implement both small and large sizes of the portrait images into the game to avoid picture distortion?
V. Non-Player Characters, Followers, and Dialog
VI. Multiplayer
VII. Combat
VIII. General
IX. World Editor

Q: Are there character classes in Arcanum?

A: The development of character abilities in Arcanum is heavily skill based. In common with the traditional D&D approach, we also have stats, but classes, per se, are completely absent.

As your character gains experience you will have the option of increasing primary stats, secondary stats, basic skills, technological skills, and magical skills. All of these categories will be available to you regardless of how you set up your character at the start or how you have already applied your experience. Previous decisions will impact how far you can advance particular skills and stats -- you can't achieve the degree of Engineer in any tech discipline without first becoming a Technician in that discipline.

Further, there are no mutually exclusive skills. You are perfectly free to build a character who is skilled in both necromancy and healing, or to study both tech and magic -- though in the latter example you can't be as good at either as a specialist. And of course, every one these stats and skills has been carefully crafted to have a direct effect on gameplay.

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Q: What stats influence fatigue?  How important are those stats to a mage?

A: The stats that form the basis of your Fatigue score are Constitution and Willpower. You can also spend points directly into Fatigue, which is cheaper than raising a stat.

Since Fatigue is what powers most spells, both stats are fairly important, though you can raise Fatigue directly to save points as stated above. Wisdom also helps a character resist detrimental spell effects, and Constitution determines how quickly you regain Fatigue and Hit Points, as well as your poison resistance and some other factors.

Since Arcanum is not a "Class-Based" system, anyone can buy these stats up, and in fact they have benefits for non spell-casters as well. For instance, Warriors want to have a good Fatigue as well, so that they can fight longer (though for Warriors, other stats, such as Strength and Dexterity are even more important). Mages would likely want to raise Intelligence, Constitution and Wisdom.

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Q: The appearance of player characters in Arcanum are represented by portraits. I would like to add my own custom portrait to the game. How do I do this?

A: Adding a custom portrait is possible in both the demo and full versions of Arcanum. The following instructions are intended for advanced users only.

User portraits are indexed from a message file called data\portrait\userport.mes that begins with message 1. Each portrait is a 256 color BMP file that is 64 x 64 pixels. It's name should have a three letter prefix which is 2 letters for race and one letter for gender. This prefix defines which race-gender combination of a PC or NPC can use this portrait.

The race prefixes are:
HU - human
DW - dwarf
EL - elf
HE - half elf
GN - gnome
HA - halfling
HO - half orc
HG - half ogre

The gender prefixes are
M - male
F - female

Special prefixes
NPC - this portrait is useable only by NPC's, regardless of race or gender
ANY - anyone (PC or NPC of any race or gender) can use this portrait

{1}{ELM1} means there ! is a portrait named data/portrait/ELM1.bmp which is only available to elf males
{2}{ANYpretty} means there is a portrait named data/portrait/ANYpretty.bmp which is useable by anyone
{3}{NPCbob} means there is a portrait named data/portrait/NPCbob.bmp that is available to any NPC but not to PC's

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Q: My portrait looks good in the small 64 x 64 portrait size, but the large 128 x 128 pixel portrait in the character generation screen looks stretched out and blurry. Is there a way to implement images of both sizes into the game to avoid this problem?

A: Yes, you can create a 128x128 BMP and append "_b" to its name. So if you have a regular portrait file called


you can create another called


to be used for the bigger portrait.

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This pages was edited on March 18, 2018, 12:31 am.
This site was restored and is maintained by ArcanumAlive project.