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Arcanum: Of Steamworks and Magick Obscura is a single player computer role-playing game developed by Troika Games and published by Sierra Entertainment. It was the first game developed by Troika games, a company founded by Jason Anderson, Tim Cain and Leonard Boyarsky, who also made the first Fallout game.
The game is set in the continent of Arcanum and its neighbouring islands. The world of Arcanum is your typical high fantasy worlds, with as twist that it is on the edge of the industrial revolution. This is one of the few western CRPGs that fall under the steampunk setting.
In the amazing world of Arcanum, technology and magic are anathema to each other. In cities ruled by technology, magic is shriveled and diminished; while in magical places advanced gadgets and gizmos tend to go haywire and malfunction. All this derives from the notion that magick (that's how they spell it in Arcanum. Hipster assholes) works against the laws of nature and functions on that principle; while technology is highly dependent on it. This causes the industrial revolution to upset the balance of power even more than its counterpart in the real world. The magicless dwarves and humans too lazy to develop their magical talent favor technology. Meanwhile the magically talented elves find their power waning.
Its gameplay is very similar to Fallout. Traveling is done from map point to map point. At each map point the overworld gives way to a detailed isometric map for you to navigate. Combat can be played turnedbased or it can be switched to real time, thus denying yourself the opportunity to abuse the mechanics system.
Character creation is fully featured in all its CRPG goodness. You can select your race, background (which functions similarly to fallout's trait system where it gives a negative and a positive effect) and gender. After that the second menu full of numbers and buttons allows you to modify your stats, magical abilities, technological abilities and other parameters. And just like all the other CRPGs, the game can easily be broken, in either an overpowered or underpowered way. Picking technology or magic as an added effect of changing your "alignment" regarding how you affect your world. As your magical power grows you might get barred from traveling with the train.
The player has a choice between the typical cookie-cutter fantasy races, of course, albeit with victorian portraits. (Imagine a half-orc with mutton chops and a dinner suit). No character classes, although there are subcategories of skills and schools of magic. But your main choice is between magical and mechanical. Or possible neither of those (barbarian scumbag).
To sum up, you can be a gun-toting gear-head (recommending dorf shooter FTW), a cantrip-casting magus (magic bitch) or an anal barbarian bent on hitting things with his axe.
In the main quest line, you will visit an abandoned dwarven fortress. High fantasy dorfs are pretty techy for their time. Imagine what Victorian Dwarves are like. Dem dorfs, man. Oh? What happened this time? No, they didn't dig too deep; elves forced them into exile. A big portion of the story's drama is based on this tragic event.
The killer Rabbit of Caer Bannog can be found in a certain village, with lots of corpses by its side.
Where can I get it?
Troika, the developer, no longer exists, so feel free to pirate it. Or buy it off GOG, if your conscience just can't leave well enough alone. Actually, its on Steam now too! And you can buy it here!