Imagine a place of wonder, where magick and technology hold equal sway, and an adventurer might just as easily wield a flintlock pistol as a flaming sword. A place where great industrial cities house castle keeps and factories, home to Dwarves, Humans, Orcs and Elves alike. A place of ancient runes and steamworks, of magic and machines, of sorcery and science.
Arcanum is the first game to come from the development house Troika Games, LLC, started by former Fallout team members Tim Cain, Leonard Boyarsky, and Jason Anderson. This team takes the depth of gameplay and world-building in role-playing games to entirely new levels of realism and excitement.
Arcanum creates a compelling new world where magic and technology coexist in an uneasy balance. As Arcanum opens, the mechanical age has only recently arrived in this ancient land where Humans, Elves, Dwarves, Orcs and other races have learned to survive in the new sprawling industrialized cities. But this radical shift from magic to technology has created a potentially explosive situation. As the townspeople and other thinkers begin mass production of light bulbs, batteries, eyeglasses and guns, the Mages grow leery. This tightly wound setting is the starting point from which the character must set out on his quest.
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Arcanum, subtitled Of Steamworks and Magick Obscura, released in 2001, was Troika Games' first RPG. A novel aspect of the game was its game world, which unlike the usual fantasy/scifi dichotomy, offered a mixture of the two, in a compelling mixture of high fantasy and steampunk.
Arcanum is the name of the continent on which the game takes place - a Tolkienesque realm of humans, elves, dwarves, orcs, gnomes, ogres and halflings, in the midst of an industrial revolution reminiscent of 19th century Europe. The technological revolution is led by humans and gnomes, while elves cling to the traditional ways of magick. The rivalry is deeper than mere traditionalism, though, as magick and technology are mutually exclusive. Powerful magicks cause a machinery to fail, while a novice mage will find their spells backfiring around powerful steam engines.
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