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Arcanum: Magick VS Tech

First things first: you are not reading this wrong, it’s magick and not magic. In the world of Arcanum, that is. There’s also no such thing as mana or spellbooks. Every single spell you learn comes trough {+SPs+) (Skill Points) which you’ll have to invest into several magickal realms. A little bit like Diablo 2, except the fact that once you’ve put 1 point into it, you can’t raise it further to increase the power. If you know Spell #1 in the Meta realm, you’ll be able to “purchase” spell #2 from the same realm, if 1) you have a CP 2) your INT is at a minimum level to cast and 3) your WP is sufficient (each level differs).

Magick: advantages & realms

A complete spell list/guide can be found on Terra Arcanum. There are 16 spell realms in total: Earth, Fire, Water, Air, Force, Mental, Black & White necromancy; Divination, Meta, Morphing, Nature, Phantasm, Summoning and Temporal. Each realm has its advantages and disadvantages: some realms focus on damage dealing spells, others to influence humanoids, or to summon undead. White necromancy is for example used mainly for healing purposes (by the NPCs Virgil and Dante). Of course you won’t be able to select more than 4 realms, simply because you won’t have enough CPs. Every level you’ll earn 1 and every 5 levels 1 extra. That’s 65 at the maximum level of 50… If you want all level #5 spells - the most powerful ones - you also need a very high WP, 18 or so. It’s best to concentrate on two realms and use scrolls / item activations for other things. Yes indeed, some weapons/armor will unleash a certain spell.

Magick Usage in Arcanum
Magick Usage in Arcanum

Every single character throughout the whole game has a Magick/Tech Meter. If you invest points into schematics, which are technology, you’ll align yourself more with all technological people by the values of the meter. If you can cast a lot of different spells, you’ll have a magick meter. This way, a magick user with a high meter (usually a powerful creature) won’t be able to use any technological items, and vice versa. So, another advantage of magick-aligned users: you’ll be able to wear magickal Armor/weapons!

Technology: advantages & schematics

When your meter is fully tech-aligned, you’ll encounter little problems which are quite annoying. Some examples: Virgil, the magickal aligned NPC which casts heal, will not be able to heal you anymore since those spells don’t affect you at all. Very nice armor e.d. which have greatly increased AC for magickal users, will be as good as useless to you. Magickal smiths won’t sell anything to you anymore. Not bad you think, you won’t be able to use his stuff anyway? Wrong; you’ll encounter a lot of magickal platemails which are useless but you NEED money and magickal smiths are the only ones who actually buy that stuff. Conclusion: tech makes the game more difficult throughout 1) equipment and 2) money. The Third thing is damage. Yes indeed, damage. There aren’t many technological weapons, and if there are any good ones, they won’t be enchanted because enchanting is magick. So, the only option you’ll have left are guns. And that means carrying a LOT of bullets which cost a LOT of money and not being able to damage a lot per round in combat.

An intelligence booster Schematic
An intelligence booster Schematic

Enough disadvantages, why do you want to be technological aligned anyway? Aha! Because 1) it makes the game much more challenging 2) it’s way more fun! And the most important part - “crafting” in Arcanum is done trough schematics. You’ll find a lot of them in-game without investing SPs (but you also can). You will actually be able to make your own “uber” armor (healing jacket)! Isn’t that cool? Selling those things won’t give you that much profit, but it’s so much fun! Troughout the whole game, ingredients are scattered. Example: herbs which are combined to healing ‘pills’ (<> potions).


Magick users

  • 16 Different Magickal realms » 5 Spells each
  • Able to use Better weapons & armor
  • Healing trough potions & scrolls
  • Too easy gameplay, even including patches
  • Most NPCs are magick-aligned, which is good
  • Use scrolls for other spells
  • Magick Screenshots
  • The Teleportation Spell - example
  • Some kind of fire spell unleashed

Tech users

  • 8 Different Tech schools » 7 Schematics each
  • Best weapons & armor are self-made trough schematics
  • Healing trough ‘herbology’ school
  • Challenging gameplay
  • Some NPCs are tech-aligned, others neutral.
  • Find & use hidden schematics troughout the game!
  • Tech Screenshots
  • Mechanized Anarchid Scheme
  • The best gun: Looking Glass Rifle
  • Gunsmithy Examination
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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