Chapter 4 â€“ A Sample of Playâ€¦in which We Offer a Revealing Exhibition... 53
Starting a New Game 53
At the Crash Site......... 54
Navigating the Crash Site......... 55
Inside the cave....... 55
Gaining a Level...... 55
Leaving the Crash Site 56
Going to Shrouded Hills........ 56
Chapter 4 â€“ A Sample of Playâ€¦in which We Offer a Revealing Exhibition
In the following chapter, we will demonstrate the game of Arcanum for new players. In essence, you will be taken by the hand and promenaded through the first fifteen to thirty minutes of play. Alas, it is impossible to offer such guidance without spoiling a few surprises for the start of the game: be warned! Spoilers ahoy!
Starting a New Game
Begin the Experience of a Lifetime by selecting "Single Player", as illustrated by Figure 4-1.
The next logical step is to select "New Game" to begin play, as seen in Figure 4-2. We will now go through the character selection process.
To begin the game with all haste, we can choose one of many pre-fabricated persons. To make such a selection, click upon "Pick Character," as shown in Figure 4-3. However, one may also wish to create a Character of oneâ€™s own, by selecting "New character." The process of Character creation has already been explained at great length in Chapter 2.
For now, we shall choose a pre-fabricated Character â€“ one Mr. Merwin Tumblebrook. If the Gentle Player simply canâ€™t bear Merwin, make use of the arrows next to his Character Portrait to select someone else (see Figure 4-4): be aware, however, that you are certain to injure the gentlemanâ€™s feelings. Please do note that Merwin (like all pre-fabricated Characters) makes use of an Auto-leveling Scheme, which means that every time he gains a Level, his Character Points will automatically be distributed to the appropriate Skills, Statistics and other attributes determined by his Scheme. At the bottom of Figure 4-5, one can see the â€œLevel Upâ€? message which one is likely to see when such a Character gains a Level. Note that one is kept thoroughly informed of what decisions the Auto-Leveling Scheme has made.
To proceed, we have only to click on the green arrow at the bottom of the screen, as shown in Figure 4-6. Now we can all sit back, and watch the introduction of our Game, as in Figure 4-7. Should we tire of beholding the wonders of the kineograph, however, we can put an end to any such interlude by hitting any key.
At the Crash Site
When the Introduction is concluded, we will find ourselves automatically engaged in conversation with a human villager by the name of Virgil, as shown by Figure 4-8. Some of the dialogue choices we make will doubtless affect his reaction toward us, as well as our alignment. Later in the game, we may initiate dialogue with anyone or anything that is capable of speech simply by clicking on it.
While it may be a good idea to have Virgil in our party, we are wholly free to leave him and go our own way. We may even do him bodily harm, if that is our choice. If he does join us, however, his Portrait will appear in the upper left corner of the isometric view, as seen in Figure 4-9.
There are various bits of detritus scattered about the crash site--metal plates, steel, large springs, et ceteraâ€”which we can click on to pick up, as seen in Figure 4-10. Do note that the Inventory button at the top of the screen has lit up, because the contents of our inventory have changed. Click on the icon or hit the "I" key to bring up the Inventory screen (see Figure 4-11); this screen was explained in great detail in Chapter 3.
The usefulness of each item depends on the Skills and Schematics to which our Character has access; we may already have them, or we may learn them in the future. If we open the Character Editor screen, as shown in Figure 4-12, we will see that Merwin is wholly ignorant of Technological Schematics; therefore, he is not presently able to use any of the objects at the site to make new items. However, these items can also be sold in town; it might be wise to the keep them for the moment.
It might also be wise to take some notice of bodies of the fallen. Distasteful as one may find the thought of rifling through the pockets of a corpse, one must be practical about such matters; some of the dead will doubtless carry gold or other useful items, as in Figure 4-13. We can drag the items to our own inventory one by one, or click on the "Take All" button, which is illustrated at the top of Figure 4-14. If a body has nothing of use to us, a message will appear saying, "There is nothing to loot."
To use the items weâ€™ve found, go to the Inventory screen and drag the item onto the "use" icon, as in Figure 4-15. Not all items can be used, naturally, so it might be advisable to experiment; now is as good a time as any to examine the items weâ€™ve collected.
The crash site is by no means safe and secure; ailing wolves are wandering about, and they will cheerfully kill us on sight. When in combat, the mouse cursor turns into a sword icon; one can also initiate Combat by clicking on the shield icon at the bottom interface menu, or by hitting the "R" key. Should one wish to initiate "Turn-Based" Combat, it is as easy as striking the space bar; one can also turn it on in the "Options" screen.
If one is engaged in Turn-Based Combat, a bar of Action Points will appear above the hot key bank, as shown in Figure 4-16. Otherwise, Real-Time Combat will occur, with both sides taking action simultaneously. We will gain experience for dealing damage to monsters, and when our Character or his Followers kill it. For detailed information on both Combat and Experience, see Chapter 3.
Navigating the Crash Site
The Crash Site will be mapped out as Merwin wanders through it, as in Figure 4-17. To see where we currently stand and where we have already been, click on the Map icon or hit the "W" key. The red crosshairs on the map indicate the current location of Merwin and his party members. Use the arrow keys to see more of the map; alas, only those areas that oneâ€™s Character has already traversed will be unveiled.
One would be very wise to explore the entire crash site thoroughly for items, wolves to kill, and whatever clues are available as to why the blimp crashed. There is also a cave to the east of the starting point; to cross the threshold (or indeed, pass through any portal), simply highlight the cave entrance and click, as seen in Figure 4-18.
Inside the cave
More enemies are to be found inside the cave, and Merwin will be forced to take a firm hand with them. Be sure to check the barrels against the wall, as well. When a container shows us a highlight, as shown in Figure 4-19, we can click upon it to examine what's insideâ€”unless, of course, it happens to be locked. When accessing a container, one can take the items one by one, or click on the "Take All" button.
Proceed further into the cave and we will encounter a restless spirit. Click on him to speak with him, discover that the poor devil has been cursed (see Figure 4-20). During this conversation with the spirit of Charles Brehgo, one can choose whether or not one wishes to help himâ€”if the player is willing to shoulder this responsibility, Merwin can accept his first quest.
To leave the cave, click on the exit when it highlights.
Gaining a Level
When our Character has gained enough Experience to â€œLevel Upâ€?, whether through Combat or completing a Quest, the Character Editor icon will highlight. If one is using an Auto-Leveling Scheme, the message window at the bottom will tell us what Skill the scheme has bought for Merwin. Otherwise, we will need to go into the Character Editor and choose where to the new Character Points are to be spent.
If we wish to turn off the Auto-Leveling Scheme, we have only to go to the Character Editor screen and click on the Auto-Level Scheme button to the right. Here we select "No Scheme", and the deed is done! As we can in Figure 4-21, the Auto-Leveling Scheme can be changed at any time; we can activate and de-activate Auto-Leveling Scheme for a Character at our own discretion.
Leaving the Crash Site
After Merwin exits the cave at the Crash Site, the best course of action is to continue until he comes across an altar stone, as seen in Figure 4-22. This may be a good time to peruse all the information he has gathered so far. Click on the Logbook icon, or hit the "L" key, to review his notes. For more information on the uses of the Logbook, see Chapter 3.
Further along an elf will approach us. After we finish conversing with him, we will be able to continue onward to Shrouded Hills. When the Map icon turns blue, as seen in Figure 4-23, it means we have access to travel via the World Map.
Going to Shrouded Hills
When we are viewing the World Map, we can toggle waypoints to automatically travel to another location, as seen in Figure 4-24. Use the "Toggle Walking Waypoint" action button to quickly get from the Crash Site to the Shrouded Hills, as in Figure 4-25.
The Game will return to the isometric view if we encounter an enemy, or when Merwin reaches his destination. If we do suffer some sort of random encounter, we will need to reset the waypoint and walk the path again. Finally, Figure 4-26 shows Our Hero arriving at the Shrouded Hills. Merwin is at liberty to explore the town: the adventure has just begun!