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Arcanum: the Gunslinger


All right, you want yourself a cool character with even cooler guns. The problem is: technology is not that easy in Arcanum. Especially all the different schemes, guns, carrying the bullets, and so on. Would you like to make a backup plan, like throwing or a bow? Or would you just like to grab yourself an axe and whack the enemy when you run out of bullets? Or would you go running and rely on your followers? And are you going to raise INT to 18 to get the "doctorate" schools? Will you get DEX high enough to dodge most blows from enemies who come too close? Too many questions and too less answers... Well, one thing is for sure: you've come to the right place!

  • The statistics of a good gunslinger
  • The Best Races
  • What background to choose?
  • which schematics should I learn, and which not?
  • Various battle strategies
  • Your followers

A fine Revolver Schematic
A fine Revolver Schematic

The statistics of a good Gunslinger

A basic stat ranges from 1 and up, with 20 as the maximum for a normal human character. Reaching 20 in a stat will also give you access to bonus resistances/damage/other modifiers. You can raise your character's stats by using the Character Points she gains during the game, at a rate of one point per level gained. Increasing a stat one step costs one character point. Having a positive racial modifier to a stat will allow your character to exceed the usual cap of 20, something that cannot be done with positive modifiers gained from backgrounds or equipment. However, negative modifiers due to race, background and/or equipment can all prevent you from reaching 20 - so choose carefully.

  • Strength: <= 8
    So, you've made yourself several characters which didn't rely on STR too much. Well, let me assure you: the gunslinger is not really an exception either. Why should you waste CPs on STR when you can 1) take several packmules like Sogg Meat Hogg and 2) won't rely on close-combat damage anyway? (So the STR bonus modifier won't matter). Of course, if you plan on taking a LOT of bullets, potions, armor and bombs with you, and you'll have the backup-close-combat way, don't overlook this one. Otherwise, it's not really worth raising above 8 or so.
  • Dexerity: <= 16
    DEX is the most important stat skill for most characters. Close combat, as well as throwing, bow, dodge, pick pocket, lockpick, and more all rely on this skill. Don't skip it at all! But don't forget either our primary stats are PE and INT. If you don't want to put 2 CPs into electricity to make yourself 2 charged rings, try to keep DEX as high as possible. More speed is nice, and increased AC is also good! You won't need too high speed, but prowling from a distance and shooting more times per round with your sniper is always welcome, isn't it.
  • Constitution: <= 10
    Same as STR, basically. Constitution only increases the health points, which could be nice. But since we DON'T want to get hit, we'll skip this also. Besides, 65 CPs aren't that much. Also, generally even a sneaky thief won't need too much CON either. Strange Geoffrey has 20 CON - this might be a bug of some kind?
  • Beauty: <= 9
    Beauty is a stat I *ALWAYS* skip, simply because there are too much skills in the game with too few points to spend. Why should you be "beautiful" anway, except for better prices in the shops? Besides, haggle depends on charisma and not beauty! And if there's a person who doesn't like us at all, we'll just put a bullet trough their head and they'll shut up, hehe. s
  • Intelligence: <= 19
    Major problem: to reach a school "doctorate" you'll need to have an intelligence of 19 or higher. That means, creating the elephant gun yourself will result in a BUNCH of useless invested points into INT. There are other possibilities, like "Essence of Intellect", the potion. Use it, quickly learn the schematic and assemble your gun befores the potion weres out and you're done. Another alternative is stealing/buying/begging for every single gun in-game. It's your choise... 15 INT is never wasted, but I wouldn't go up too much on this.
  • Perception: <= 20
    The most important stat for the revolver wielding char. Simply because this & firearms gives you increased changes to hit, to damage and range. Plus, you'll need a minimum PE to wield most guns, and prowling requires perception. Theoretically, PE 18 suffices. But 20 is nice, 2 more points and some nice bonus skill unlocked. Not that you'll use it too much, but hey.
  • Willpower: <= 8
    Willpower is only usefull for wizards. Period.
  • Charisma: <= 12
    Charisma is nice because 1) you would like to have 3 followers: Jayna, the healer, Magnus, the co-creator and of course some kind of half-orge meat shield and carrier. And 2) you won't have too many problems haggling and getting all the money you need for your inventions. Also, you will be able to persuade in most conversations, which is quite usefull. Especially the half-orc NPC which you can release from his service. If your CHA is higher than 9 in Shrouded Hills, Sogg will join you. Take him along with you, early in the game you will need one of these!

Ooh, I crafted myself a Nice gun. Teehee!
Ooh, I crafted myself a Nice gun. Teehee!

The Best Races

  • Humans
    Humans are the most common race in the world of Arcanum. They make up the majority of the population in the cities. Humans seem to be able to do well at both technology and magick. Not a first pick, but for pure roleplaying reasongs, the human will just do fine for this guide.
    Statistics: Humans have no statistical bonuses or penalties.
  • Dwarves
    The Dwarves are somewhat similar to Gnomes. Although they don't have the business sense Gnomes have, their love and aptitude for all things technological surpasses that of the Gnomes, like their lifespan, which is about 600 years. Dwarves are even more protective of their women than the Gnomes are. This probably has something to do with the apparent lack of women in Dwarven society... the men seem to outnumber the women by nearly a 2:1 ratio.
    Statistics: Dwarves get +1 to Strength and Constitution, a bonus of two ranks to all the Technological skills and a starting Technological aptitude of 15, but have a -1 to Charisma and Dexterity and pay twice as much Fatigue for spellcasting. As you can see, dwarves make very good gunslingers thanks to their tech bonus, but DEX and CHA negative bonusses aren't very good indeed...
  • Halflings
    The Halflings usually prefer to keep to themselves, staying away from politics. Although most aren't criminal in nature, they seem to have a natural talent for thievery. While Halfling women are treated as equals by their men, they are rarely seen outside the halfling communities. While Halfling men are usually not inclined to go out into the world, Halfling women are an even rarer sight.
    Statistics: Halflings gain +2 to Dexterity, 2 ranks of Prowl and 1 rank of Dodge and +5% to their chance to cause a critical hit, but at the cost of a -4 modifier to Strength. The -4 modifier is crucial; no boms carrying around... But the prowling and DEX skill is nice! They'll do ok, but I prefer dwarves. Nothing keeps you from going the 'sneaky' way!

Ahh, My Good woman. I do have manners, sometimes.
Ahh, My Good woman. I do have manners, sometimes.


Categorized under: Arcanum


I'm Jefklak, a high-level Retro Gamer, and I love the sight of experience points on old and forgotten hardware. I sometimes convince others to join in on the nostalgic grind. Read more about The Codex here.

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