If you want to mess about with Arcanum's character creation, give the Arcanum Character Planner a try.

What Makes A Character?

Arcanum is a role-playing game, and a good part of the game is centred on creating, evolving and maintaining your in-game avatar, or character. Your character is defined by a great number of things. First of all, there's a slew of statistical information detailing her physical and mental fortitude, how skilled she is in a multitude of different subjects, etc. But most important to your character is how one plays her. You get to define her actions and, to some extent, her opinions in the game.

Here, we'll detail the statistical side of your character.

Your Basic Stats

The most important part of the statistical information available would be your character's basic stats. These define her general strengths and weaknesses and will play a deciding role in how she'll appear and act in the world of Arcanum.

The basic stats are:
  Physical Mental
Power Strength Intelligence
Skill Dexterity Perception
Resistance Constitution Willpower
Appearance Beauty Charisma
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 the bonus listed above [Oh, fine. So it isn't listed because I'm having trouble altering some posts in the database . . . I'll fix it all tomorrow]. 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.

Derived And Game-Acquired Stats

From the Basic Stats that make up the most important statistical aspects of a character, a number of other values are derived. These are Like the Basic Stats, many of these Derived Stats will be changed during the course of your character's travels in Arcanum. Using Character Points can raise some, like Hit and Fatigue Points, others can be altered through Magickal or Technological means. Of course, altering the primary stat will have an effect on any derived stats.

Apart from these values, a character will gain several stats during her travels in Arcanum, the Game-Acquired Stats. The first of these are your character's Resistances. As the name implies, a Resistance enables your character to endure some type of damage, such as Magickal damage, Fire based damage or whatever. Most Resistances are gained by armour, potions or equipment acquired during the game, but some are inherent to certain races or increased by picking a certain backgrounds at character creation or increasing certain stats. The specific resistances are

Other than the Resistances, a character will have several more temporary statistics that are constantly changing and evolving. These Game-Acquired stats are listed below.

The Various Skills, Magick and Technology

Fleshing out your character and key in defining her area of expertise are her Skills. Her Skills will, along with her Basic Stats, decide what course of action she should take to solve a particular problem, be the problem a brutish Ogre blocking a path in the Stone Mountains or dining with the King of Tulla. The Skills are divided into four basic categories; Combat, Social, Thieving and Technology. Each category governs four different skills.

Each Skill, in turn, has a Rank of 0-20. Each character point spent in a skill will increase it by 4 ranks and modifiers from backgrounds, race, divine blessings or whatnot can then modify this up or down. A negative modifier will let your character go below rank 0 in a skill and a positive modifier will let her go above rank 20.

Other than the Skill Rank, your character's proficiency in a Skill is determined by how well trained she is. All Skills startout Untrained and may then be raised to Apprentice, Expert and Master when the Skill Rank is 1, 9, and 18, respectively. Simply spending Character Points won't be enough to increase the Training level; instead your character must seek out a trainer for the Skill she wishes to have trained. This trainer must then be convinced that your character is worthy of attention. When you've found the local Apprentice trainer for a skill this might simply involve a slight donation, after tracking down one of the reclusive Master trainers your character is usually required to complete a difficult and involved task before being granted training. Sometimes two Trainers can be mutually exclusive; a good example of this is Master Dodging and Master Melee. Each of these two Masters has long held a grudge against the other and in order to receive training from one you must end the life of the other.

The benefits gained from training are separate to those gained by raising the Skill Rating. When we know the training benefits, they are listed with the skill in the table below. Listed behind the skill (between the brackets) is the stat the skill is primarily tied to.

Beyond these skills there are specific systems for handling a character's Skill at Magick and Technology, which are detailed in our Magick and Technology sections.

Creating And Maintaining A Character

When you start your journey through Arcanum, you will need to create your character, which can be done in two ways. There's the easy version, which involves picking one of several pre-made characters and simply using this as your avatar throughout the game. Or, you could opt to create your own detailed persona, a fairly straightforward process. First of all, you must choose your character's race from one of the eight available ones. Details on the races can naturally be found in our Races section.

Then comes the first concern when creating a character, namely her background. When creating a character you may pick from a list of available backgrounds, each with specific benefits and specific drawbacks. For example, the "Raised by Snake Handlers" background would give a bonus to your character's Poison Resistance but detract from her Beauty. Although the benefits and drawbacks of a background are always constant, both the name and description can be altered to better suit your specific character; for example, "Raised by Snake Handlers" could become "Raised in the Sewers" for a city-dwelling Half-Orc if the player so wishes. The backgrounds we currently know of can be found here. When you've selected a background and all is well, your character is handed 5 character points for you to spend as you wish on Skills, Stats, Magick Spells and Technological Disciplines before she sets out in the world.