New Realisations

Discussion in 'Arcanum Discussion' started by Jojobobo, Mar 19, 2015.

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  1. Jojobobo

    Jojobobo Well-Known Member

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    I had an revelation earlier; I always thought that the fact you naturally couldn't get the full intelligence boost from the revitalizer from therapeutics, without using cheap things like essence of intellect on a tech character, was a bit of a design flaw. Let me explain:

    At intelligence 15 in therapeutics you can get mind marvels (+2 to all mental attributes if you didn't know) that will let you hit an intelligence of 17 (and then can invest points in tech at this level, regaining access every time you take a mind marvel which last for a pretty long time). However, in order to get access to the revitalizer (+2 to all attributes) you need to hit an intelligence of 19 - meaning you have you would have to potentially have to invest two points to reach 19 but by then the intelligence benefit you get from the use of a revitalizer is somewhat wasted (intelligence as I'm sure people know is capped at 20, so all you're getting is a +1 boost which - aside from the boost that comes with level 20 intelligence of an extra percentage chance on all skills and an extra spell slot - isn't that useful. In fact, a lot of tech characters probably only want to hit 19 mark so they can spend the extra character point elsewhere). This may seem negligible, but as the whole point of therapeutics is to save it seems pretty counterintuitive.

    So, previously I thought the only way to get full use of a revitalizer is to use an essence of intellect - which is a bit cheap on a purely tech character which the game encourages given the magick-tech divide. Sure maybe you can only use it the once to seed the first revitalizers (so at intelligence 15 quickly use one, level up therapeutics to full then quick as you can build a revitalizer - from then on you can use both mind marvels and the first revitalizer, which last a long time comparatively, to make more), but why would a tech character want to do this given the game's magick vs tech theme? To me, it seemed like an oversight.

    But then I realised, there is a tech work around - in fact I'd wager to say it's a reasonably clever and intentional idea from Trokia. The brain builder schematic (+1 to all mental attributes and -1 to all physical permanently) can be found at the Wheel Clan, however it's opposite the muscle maker (vice versa permanently) is in the Stonecutter Clan where a person in the Wheel Clan directly leads you on a quest. Reading into this it seems like the devs expected a tech character to naturally want to talk to techie dwarves and be lead to this location. It also allows you to hit intelligence 19 by using brain builders (requiring a mind marvel and another ingredient you can commonly buy, using tech manuals to fill out expertise) then once you've built some revitalizers you can normalise yourself with muscle makers (using an elixir of physical prowess from a previous therapeutics level and again a common ingredient, again allowing missing non-therapeutics expertise needed to be filled out with tech manuals) getting the full benefit from the revitalizer which gels nicely with the idea of saving character points like you're supposed to with therapeutics. Maybe this was always obvious to people, but at least for me until now it went way over my head.

    I guess the whole point is this subtlety is one of the many things that drills home in some ways what a well crafted game Arcanum is. Though I may be being presumptuous, it seems like the synchronicity of obtaining the brain builder and muscle maker more or less at the same time and that they are pitched at a point where you are at a reasonable level to appreciate them (I was at 25 in the Wheel Clan with a skill heavy build, so I'd only just hit the requirements for a Brain Builder - characters with a party in tow would be an even lower level) is likely a very clever design choice rather than coincidence. It also bring to mind of other nuggets of cleverness, such as in the plot where...

    You can have Nasrudin and K'an Hua face off if you play your cards right, or have the Bane of Kree ravage the world again after the Void if you give him Kryggird's Falchion and ensure that he lives through the final fight.

    Even though Arcanum has shortcomings, things like this serve as reminders that in some ways its a very complex and well thought out game.

    Building towards my inevitable question - is there any realisations you've had about the game's plot or mechanics you've had recently that have made you on some level appreciate it more?
     
    Last edited: Mar 19, 2015
  2. Ruda

    Ruda Active Member

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    This is very interesting. I've actually never got around to (ab)using therapeutics (except letting Jayna make some elixir of physical prowess in order to create the vivifier in Vendigroth) and this will definitely come in handy as I'm about to try it out right now.

    A few things puzzle me though. Do you really need to use the brain builder? With a natural intelligence 17, you get 19 with mind marvel. Once you've got a few revitalizers you use the muscle maker to lower Intelligence (to a natural 16) to fully utilize as the revitalizers as you say. The brain builder seems unnecessary unless you depend on any of the other mental attributes.

    Also, can you use multiple muscle makers for increased effect? If you can't, I'd say that the vivifier will be wasted anyway.

    Finally, which pharmaceuticals can burst the attribute caps brought on by choice of race & background. Obviously you can't get over 20 Intelligence but can a half ogre use a couple of brain builders to reach the required level. Although, I've played Arcanum quite a few times now I'm still unsure as to how exactly the capped skills/stats work.
     
  3. Jojobobo

    Jojobobo Well-Known Member

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    I'm glad someone finally thought so, only took half a year! I thought it was a pretty neat use of therapeutics, and likely intentional rather than a random fluke on the devs' side.

    This might work, but only if you weren't bothered about your other mental attributes taking the muscle maker hit - or if you even appreciate +1 to all your physical attributes which intelligent social characters may not necessarily.

    For example, if you wanted to max charisma by the end of the game, would you also increase it to 17 just so it would be on the same level as intelligence as the muscle maker? It's not as clear cut as you may think, but if you only cared about just intelligence hitting the 20 mark this would be useful.

    Yes you can, and likewise with mind marvels. Stacking is very useful for making companions hit stat maximums (e.g. dexterity) that they might not ordinarily, or for example with characters like Payne you can buff his strength (can carry more ammo and use higher minimum strength required guns) and dex with muscle makers and then offset the drop in perception with a goggled helmet on the proviso you can make all of them. You can also use it to permanently drop the willpower of high level spell casters so they can't cast anymore (if you use several), or become susceptible to certain spells again when their WP drops below 20 - plus use of therapeutics doesn't count as a hostile act.

    I know that, for some reason (possibly a minor bug), half-ogres with Rare Half-Ogre Birth can surpass their cap with mind marvels and revitalizers (so your hard capped in terms of character points at 18, however you can reach 19 and 20 with therapeutics). Weirdly, I'm also pretty sure strength is not capped in this example, allowing you to dump 13 characters points into it for some strange reason (this is from memory, I haven't tested it recently).

    I think other caps may be "hard" regardless of therapeutics (e.g. dwarves dex being capped naturally at 19). It might be that having a background that meddles with a stat upsets whether therapeutics can be used to surpass the cap when character points can't (e.g. the half-ogre example) - now my laptop's working again I might give it a try at some point.
     
    Last edited: Oct 5, 2015
  4. Jojobobo

    Jojobobo Well-Known Member

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    Did that bit of testing and thought it was interesting enough to bump the thread. It would appear that any race can use any stat boosting item to hit 20 in a stat. So Dwarves can use a Charged Ring, the Mysterious Dwarvern Gauntlets or therapeutics to hit a dexterity of 20 - even though on a base dwarf it is capped in terms of character points at 19. Likewise a halfling can use two of the +2 strength boosting therapeutics to get a strength of 20 from 16 or 17 (with the cap being at 17). Maybe this was known about, but I thought it was interesting when you consider therapeutics as they allow you to boost stats that you wouldn't normally be able to (for example hitting 20 intelligence on a half-ogre like I previously mentioned).

    Further, you can permanently exceed racial caps with the muscle maker and presumably brain builder though I didn't test the latter (it's more of a pain to get, having to update the story state to the right place and get inside the Wheel Clan) - this was tested with a halfling who hit a permanent 20 strength. This would presumably allow for the easy creation of 20 intelligence half-ogres, whose resultant stat drops in strength and dex from a brain builder can easily be offset with items.

    Lastly I can confirm that for whatever reason you can always level a half-ogres strength to 24 with character points, strength dropping backgrounds do not seem to introduce a lower cap as they do for other races.
     
  5. TheDavisChanger

    TheDavisChanger Well-Known Member

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    it seems like a 'roided out Halfling would stand out in the Arcanum world.
     
  6. Zanza

    Zanza Well-Known Member

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    I See them in the Cross-Fit gym down the road all the time.
     
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  7. Ruda

    Ruda Active Member

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    I actually had plans on making either a halfling or a miracle operation halfogre for my first therapeutics character. Also considered making an extremely weak miracle operation halfling (since you'll still have decent dexterity) and focus entirely on mental attributes (using copious amounts of brainbuilder) using guns and grenades for combat. Many guns are quite heavy though.
     
  8. Jojobobo

    Jojobobo Well-Known Member

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    The Sharpshooter's Pistol on the gun seller in Tarant is a light and fast weapon with a decent TH modifier, I've used it on weak social characters before.

    Something else I realised playing recently is that Thorvald Two Stones might well be a reference to Arthur Two Sheds Jackson, though it could be a complete coincidence.
     
  9. papa_dog_1999

    papa_dog_1999 Well-Known Member

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    Please fill in the missing info.
    I just can't remember

    Sharpshooter's Pistol

    Statistics: 3-12 HD, 3-9 FT, 15 TH, 20 RNG, 1 A, 12 SP, 45 WE, 80 QU

    HD=Health Damage
    FT=Fatigue Damage
    TH=To Hit
    RNG=Range
    A=Ammo used per shot
    SP=Speed

    WE=??? (Weight Encumbrance?)
    QU=??? (no clue)
     
  10. Jojobobo

    Jojobobo Well-Known Member

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    Weight Encumbrance is probably correct, it's definitely weight. I had a quick search for what QU was, and DE mentioned it's quality - i.e. item him points before it breaks.
     
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