Three combat modes were included in the final release of the game: real-time, turn-based, and a faster version of turn-based. Arcanum's combat design has received some levels of criticism, with reviews usually stating that it is poorly balanced and frantic. The player's combat capabilities are in large part governed by the character's combat skills and weapons. Attacking is performed automatically by clicking on a hostile NPC provided that they are in range of the attack.
Combat skills that the player character can choose from include melee weapons (with an optional back stabbing skill for stealth-oriented players), thrown weapons, archery, firearms, and a large variety of certain damage-inflicting spells from some schools of magic. Deciding whether or not to use violence in some parts of the game sometimes carries consequences for the player's party and its followers. Some AI-controlled followers the player has in the party will find their character's conduct morally objectionable, causing the player to lose reputation with some of the followers who may leave or even attack the player.
, (comma) - head shots . (period) - arm shots / (forward slash) - leg shots