Characters: Arcanum: Of Steamworks & Magick Obscura
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The Main Character
You were one of the passengers aboard the airship HSS Zephyr when it was shot down by Molochean Hand ogres. Amidst the wreckage, you encounter a dying gnome who gives you a strange ring and implores you to "find the boy". Not long after, you learn that you are in fact the reincarnation of the Panarii hero, Nasrudin. So begins a journey that will soon determine the fate of all Arcanum...
Actual Pacifist: One of the hardest self-imposed challenges the game has to offer, but definitely possible. There's enough ways to escape battle or incapacitate enemies without maiming or killing them for the protagonist to be played as such.
Physical God: Arguably after completing the ancient gods’ quest. You’ll receive massive boosts of heath, fatigue and several skills and attributes.
Right Man in the Wrong Place: You start as nobody who by pure luck survived a zeppelin crash. You end up reshaping the political map, pulling rightful kings back onto their thrones, establishing alliances between world powers and cleaning cities from bandits and monsters. Or intentionally screwing that all up beyound repair. And, ultimately, either saving the world or extinguishing all life.
Science Hero: To allow for this is pretty much intrinsic to the idea behind this game.
Sole Survivor: Of the zeppelin crash. Carried to the extreme in the evil ending, where you are left the only living thing in the entire world (including microbes and all), although certainly not for long.
Warrior Poet: You can become knowledgable in dwarven and elven philosophy, and the Cold-Blooded Dream of the Bedokaan through the course of the game, while still administering beatdowns to whoever dares stand in your way.
A young initiate of the Panarii religion, and your first party member. He's the one who tells you about Nasrudin's prophecy and your role in it. Although kind and loyal, there may be more to his past then he's willing to tell...
Dark and Troubled Past: He used to be a thief that ran up a huge debt to the local mafia, who eventually decided they'd forget about the debt...after they killed his brother.
Jack of All Stats: Decent in combat despite his relatively low strength, learns a few magic spells and also becomes decent at picking locks (though other lockpicking characters like Sebastian and Vollinger will eventually surpass him).
Jerkass: Before he found religion and even moreso if the main character takes the evil path.
Necromancer: starts the game with a basic healing spell from the white necromancy college, and learns more healing spells as he grows in power. Once he reaches a high enough level he will branch out into black necromancy as well.
Surrounded by Idiots: Just one idiot in case of dumb PC, but that's more than enough, though Virgil will sincerely try (and comically fail) to cover his irritation.
That Man Is Dead: A bit literal variation. After his resurrection, he is calm and enlightened. He claims that he met his brother on the other side, and was able to free himself from his past, to leave the man he used to be behind.
Sogg Mead Mug
A simple, but friendly half ogre that loves a good ale. He is encountered in Shrouded Hills' tavern, and can be convinced to join the player with a decent charisma. If he joins, he quickly becomes a great fighter and tank.
A young fledgling herbalist that lives in Dernholm. She is struggling to try and help the Dying Town, but feels she is too inexperienced to be of any use. If the player has a high enough technological aptitude, they can offer to let her join so that she can learn what she needs to to be of help.
A literal dog who gets in trouble after stealing someone's dinner in Ashbury. Despite his name, he is definitely worth saving as he is one of the best fighters in a game especially after he becomes Master of Melee by himself.
Charles Atlas Superpower: Dog can tear wooden chests, metal doors, stone golems and fire elementals to pieces in couple of bites. To put this in perspective, he outdamages a human character wielding an electric sword with a strength of 20 (maximum for humans) before he becomes a melee master.
Cutscene Incompetence: When you first see this lightning fast killing machine, he has been kicked unconscious by a weak civilian with absolutely no combat skills. He was evidently very hungry, but if anything that should have made him more determined unless he was near-death.
Epic Fail: Due to game mechanics, Dog critically failing an attack results in him biting his own head off.
Non-Human Sidekick: His prowess actually comes from this. Since he ain't human, his "natural weapon" is much faster and more damaging than fists, and he's got no ways to invest skillpoints beside stats and fighting, meaning he gets to max STR and DEX (huge damage and action point bonuses) very quickly, becoming a real terror.
Shout-Out: He's probably another shout-out to the Fallout series, which has a habit of including killer canine companions.
A necromancer who has travelled to Ashbury in order to study the large number of zombies that have begun rising in the cemetery. He will hire the PC to investigate the mausoleums to determine what is animating the zombies, and can be convinced to become a party member if the PC is evil or persuasive enough.
A (relatively) young dwarf from Caladon, bent on finding his lost clan. His quest leads him to one particular jewelry trader, where player can meet him and get him join.
Awesome McCoolname: Subtly subverted, in that the name points to Magnus's ignorance of dwarven philosophy.
Meaningful Name: Dwarven philosophy rests on the principles of "Stone" and "Shape." Under that philosophy, Shale and Fist are incompatible (you wouldn't want your fists to be made out of shale, compared to other rocks/minerals).
Awesome Moment of Crowning. His lost clan turns out to be the legendary Iron Clan. He restores it and is proclaimed chief. And later, if Loghaire doesn't return, even the king of all dwarves.
Berserk Button: "NEVER ask a Dwarf the name of his Clan!" Because he doesn't actually know what it is. Shalefist is apparently just his last name made to sound dwarfy.
The Blacksmith: Sort of, he can craft some (rather useful) weapons and gear for you.
But I Read A Book About It: Magnus tries to behave as "true" dwarves do... well, at least as "Ron's Almanac About Dwarves" says they do.
Do Not Call Me Paul: There are hints that Magnus' real name is Malcolm Schulefest, but he will rather cut his beard than admit it.
"The world's smartest orc", who lives in a museum in Tarant, amusing people with his kindergarten-level intelligence. In fact, Garfield Thellonius Remington the Third, intelligent, educated, well-mannered pureblood human who was born with the appearance of pure orc due to some genetic quirk. If you are eloquent enough, you may pull him into a discussion about tea, thus uncovering him, and then he may join.
Spot of Tea: Gar likes Earl Grey, as it is the tea of smart people. He is quite Serious Business about it too, considering he'll blow his cover if you (shock and horror) try to convince him that green tea is better.
The King of all dwarves, who was forced to sentence the entire clan to banishment under the threat of a world war between dwarves and elves (whose woods are now being destroyed with dwarven technology, which was given to human by said clan). Soon after he begun to suspect that he was deceived ( he was indeed, by Dark Elves) and felt himself a traitor. The guilt finally broke him and drove him to exile. However, PC can convince him that it wasn't a treason, while his exile is.
Royals Who Actually Do Something: As the king of the dwarves (one of the world powers), he considers himself responsible for each and every dwarf, the dwarves as a whole, and Arcanum itself.
Sadistic Choice: He was presented with one which turns out to be pivotal to the events of the game: Should he strip the BMC of their honor by allowing the elves to punish them for allowing technology to spread amongst humans, or antagonize the elves and risk plunging Arcanum into a war it might never recover from? He chose the former, and exiled himself from the dwarves to ponder his shame.
Princesses Rule: Justified as her mother retired due to her incredible age, preparing to Ascend to a Higher Plane of Existence and becoming kind of an oracle. It is Raven who now attends to the administrative and ceremonial matters that would usually be the Queen's job.
Rain of Arrows: Just give her a certain magic bow and certain magic gloves and boots, and she will fire 60 arrows per turn (or 15-20 per second). Finding enough arrows for her starts to become the limiting factor.
Royals Who Actually Do Something: When you first meet her, she is busy with some administrative work. She joins the party after learning that the fate of the world is at stake.
A world-wide known adventurer, explorer and hunter, who always seeks for some trouble and will follow you gladly to the island of Thanatos - just to shoot a hundred more of a lethally dangerous beasts.
Master of None: He has one point invested in each of the technological disciplines, allowing him to craft several basic items, but making him less useful than the other technologist followers who each specialise in two disciplines.
Weak, but Skilled: Though game describes him as quite a powerful man, gameplay-wise he is too weak to use his BFG properly... but then he proves surprisingly effective with it.
An ancient warrior from Kree, who lived somewhen at the Age of Legends, but was raised from the dead a millenium later as part of Derian-Ka's Gray Legions to fight The Molochean Hand who rebelled against the order after learning about the horrible deeds of Kerghan, its founder. After their defeat, Torian was among a few survivng Legionaires who returned to the temple of Dearian-Ka. They stayed there for centuries, and eventually their flesh rotted away, reducing them to crumpling skeletons and later to dust...
Well-Intentioned Extremist: At the end, he will join Kerghan regardless of PC's choice, as only Kerghan can "free" his undead friends.
An Elven girl who, despite being a Dark Elf, is prone to question the philosophy and the path of Dark Elves. She joins evil/master of persuade Living One to search for answers all around the world and finally concludes that the best she can do is kill Arronax. She is also a powerful mage and a seer, and will tell about visions she has in every city if asked.
Shut Up, Kirk!: If you bring her to Loghaire, he'll try to blame her on everything done by Dark Elves. She'll retaliate by reminding him that Lorec was of the same clan as himself, and it's not race or clan that makes a person evil.
A mysterious man, perhaps a mercenary, who is sent by Willoughsby to "clean" the Boil, the criminal part of Tarant (this means "to kill leaders of both main gangs"). He will appreciate every help and joins if you manage to remove one of the leaders.
A gnome that may join your party in Dernholm and who actually is an agent of the Molochean Hand.
Even Evil Has Standards: A hardened killer he is, he'll be deeply shocked and sickened if you take him to Half-Ogre Isand. Makes sense, as Molochean Hand rebelled when they learned of Derian-Ka's necromantic experiments while what was going on the island is much, much worse.
The Mole:eventually he will try to assassinate you if didn't became friendly with Molochean Hand.
A dwarf who, unlike his kin, wants to study magic. He went to Quintarra, but no elf wanted him as apprentice, until Wrath, a local jerk, agreed to teach him in exchange for life-long servitude. Decades later, Jormund became fed up with the elves and Wrath in particular but still could'nt leave due to his contract. Good news: Wrath has been conviniently murdered. Bad news: Jormund is now accused in his murder.
Ape Shall Never Kill Ape: Why he was a primary suspect. There's still a reason why elves do not kill other elves, though.
Good Bad Bugs: Like Dante, he'll join you regardless of current amount of your followers due to a bug in his dialog script.
Idiot Ball: Signing a life-long contract with someone who can easily outlive you by several centuries doesn't seem a good idea...
Inept Mage: Played with. He's actually quite competent, knowing fully Force and Fire (yes, he even knows Desintegrate spell). But he's a dwarf, meaning each his spell has double mana cost note and Desintegration is too much dangerous/broken to hand it to NPC. He does occasionally smite his foes with fireball or lightning bolt, but more often he turns into a Fire Elemental (a single most mana-draining spell) and drops unconscious in half a minute.
A former head of Cumbrian church, now an exile drinking at Blackroot's tavern after an argument with King Praetor. Despite this, he's still fiercely loyal to the country and the king and seeks the way to regain the latter's favor. He will join if you are on the quest to collect taxes from Blackroot.
A genius inventor of steam engine, the primary cause of Arcanum's industrial revolution, one of the world richest men.Actually, he used dwarven technology, a deed which he deeply regrets and which almost costed Arcanum its existence. He is the mysterious "boy" whom you were instructed to find.
My God, What Have I Done?: He's rather saddened by the revelation that the Black Mountian clan were banished for allowing technology to spread amongst humans, making him responsible for their current predicament.
My Greatest Failure: Blames himself for the disappearance of the Black Mountain Clan. The player can introduce Loghaire Thunder-Stone to him, who puts his guilt to rest.
Noble Bigot: His orcish factory slaves work under conditions that are "almost human!" And as far as he's concerned, he doesn't owe them any more than that. A half-orc PC who sympathizes with the labor movement will get a particularly pointed response from him.
Self-Made Man: Actually not so much, as his invention was an improvement on an already-existing dwarven engine, though most people don't know that. He feels a bit guilty about this. Also, he capitalized the invention with his inheritance from his father.
A legendary elvish hero who fought and banished Arronax the Destroyer long ago. He is revered by the Panarii religion, and the player character is believed to be his reincarnation. However, it eventually turns out that Nasrudin is in fact alive and well, albeit living in seclusion, disillusioned with the things he had done.
He Who Fights Monsters: He saw himself and his Elven Council as the champion protectors of the world and the "lesser races". Once they discovered the power to banish their enemies to the Void, they got extremely trigger-happy with it.
My Greatest Failure: after Arronax's banishment, he became extremely disillusioned with his deeds and resigned from any further public activity.
Stop Worshipping Me: After emerging from his regenerative shell he briefly returned to the main continent of Arcanum and learned about the Panarii religion and his own role in their beliefs. It was enough to drive him into seclusion on the Isle of Thanatos, where, to his annoyance, the natives started worshipping him as well.
A frighteningly powerful Dark Elf sorcerer that once tried to plunge the world into chaos, but was defeated and sealed in the Void by Nasrudin. His plots to escape drive the plot of the game, or so the party thinks...
Freudian Excuse: His father Nasrudin elevated him to the Elven Council before he was mature enough to appreciate the responsibilities the role carried, and imparted too much of his arrogance to his son without the experience to temper it. Subverted in that Arronax doesn't think his father's mistakes can excuse the atrocities he committed.
Ultimate Evil: In-Universe, the Panarii religion presents him as this; a Satan-figure who's more metaphorical than literal. Which is yet another result of Dark Elves hijacking it.
Kerghan the Terrible
The only human ever to serve on the Elven Council in the Age of Legends. Banished to the Void for unrepentant experiments with necromancy. He, not Arronax, is the true villain of the game.
Affably Evil: He's very polite and cordial when speaking to you.
The Ageless: Only due to the effects of the Void. He has a normal human life span, but hasn't aged in 2000 years.
Death Seeker: Deep inside, he just wants to stay in the afterlife, which, as he discovered, is eternal peace and enlightment, but the fear that one day he will be reincarnated or resurrected subconsiously drives him to prevent that in the only way he can, which he then rationalizes as the mission to end all pain and suffering. If the Living One both points this to him and provides the means of irreversible death, Kerghan will thank them and go out peacefully.
Motive Rant: His impressive description of his study of death to the player.
Necromancer: Although White Necromancy (the healing of spirit and flesh, and ressurection magic) was common magic beforehand, Kerghan discovered the entire school of Black Necromancy (harming spirits and flesh, raising souls against their will, and animating soulless bodies).
Omnicidal Maniac: Or Omnicidal Sane as he has a well-thought-out argument for it.
Unwitting Pawn: He's working for Kerghan, not Arronax, and he doesn't realize it.
Stennar Rock Cutter aka "Preston Radcliffe"
A dying gnome - actually a dwarf posing as one - whom you find in the burning wreckage of "Zephyr" shortly after waking up. Before dying, he gives you a ring and pleads you to tell it's owner that he escaped from mysterious evil ready to destroy everything, thus setting the whole plot in motion.
The blind master of Dodge, who lives in seclusion near Stillwater. He was engaged, but Garrick Stout, who had a crush on the lady too, challenged him on a duel, overpowered him and, when he surrendered, blinded him with a sword. Edkin managed to flee, now all he can think about is revenge. He will teach you Mastery only if you kill Stout and bring the latter's eyes to him.
A Number Two and military leader of the Panarii church, and also direct descendant of St. Mannox, the most respected Panarii prophet and the first First Acolyte. He helps you on your quest to find Nasrudin's tomb.
Church Militant: Due to the tradition started by Mannox, the First Acolyte is also Panarii's military leader. Most of them had only formal training. Alexander willingly put himself through years-long Training from Hell.
I Should Write a Book About This: In the good ending, The Living One and both Nasrudin and Arronax move to Caladon and meet Alexander, by that time the head of Panarii. Nasrudin and Arronax spend with him the last months of Nasrudin's life, and afterwards he writes a new chapter to the Archaeon (Panarii's Bible), describing the story of the game.
Training from Hell: He'd inherited the position of First Acolyte, the military leader of the Panarii religion, which normally means that the Acolyte in question trains with the Caladon guards a bit so he can fight if it comes down to it. Instead, Alexander went to Level Grind in the Vendigrothian Wastes for years before he felt himself ready to take up the role. See Badass Preacher for how it turned out.
Tranquil Fury: You can tell that he's royally pissed at K'an Hua for murdering Mannox and corrupting the church, yet he doesn't even raise his voice.
Foreshadowing: One of his tales is about the Isle of Thanatos, where you'll have to go much later
Offscreen Moment of Awesome: The prisoners' leader assumes that you've been on the prison island long enough for your ship being hijacked and her crew slaughtered. When you rush back to the ship, you find her where you left her, surrounded by corpses. Teach casually explains that those dumbasses thought they could take his ship.
Pirate: Never proved, and he's honest enough for Bates repeatedly hiring him, but his reputation is not perfectly clean.
Sea Stories: He will tell you about his most outstanding voyages if you ask.
A factory owner in Caladon, the inventor of a zeppelin, an airplane, and a machine gun. Unfortunately, his factory was robbed and trashed, planes were stolen (and crashed after being used to shoot down the zeppelin), and the worst, he's going to have his funding cut unless he finds a proof that his heavier-than-air-machines actually flew.
Disproportionate Reward: Downplayed: From Maxim's point, it's even too little help to give a healer robot to the one who saved the work of his life, assemble him a powerful gun and teach him Mastery, but that's all he can do. From the Living One's point, it's slightly disproportionate because the PC only has to keep that broken camera from crash site with him.
Once he was a cowardly man, but one day an ancient scroll containing powerful spell of transformation fell in his hands. The man killed Arcanum's last dragon with a poisoned cow, took his blood and used it with the spell to transform into a monster. He took the name Kraka-Tur and "avenged" the world for his fears for ten years, but finally was confronted and banished by the Elven Council.
Cowardly Lion: He's a Master of Melee and Dodge and yet he is too scared to actually fight the Living One.
Scare 'Em Straight: A single threat is enough to deflate him. Moreover, even if you bring him back from the Void he will never cause any harm again.
The most cruel, ruthless and Ax-Crazy pirate of all times, feared all over Arcanum. He died more than two centuries ago, but rumors are that his spirit still sails the seas, punishing anyone who plays with his name...
Arson, Murder, and Jaywalking: Pete's most horrible sins are: sadistic murder of an innocent for his silver bootstrap buckles, breaking a pirate oath by slaughtering his fellow pirates under control of an Evil Weapon, and peeing on the altar stone. It was the altar of a Greater God, however.
The captain of the guard of Dernholm, a close confidant of the king of Cumbria, and the mastery trainer for the Melee skill. On the surface, he is an arrogant, elitist snob, but he does his job of keeping the peace well. In reality, however, he's a depraved psychopath who uses his position to stalk a noblewoman and remove her fiancee from the equation...by any means necessary.
Combat Pragmatist: He carries a vial of the game's most potent poison on him, which he will almost certainly use as his opening move if you fight him.
Karmic Death: He ruined the planned marriage between the woman he's stalking and her fiancee (who happens to be the Dodge master) by using a special poison to destroy the fiancee's eyesight. The good-aligned ending for the Melee Mastery quest has you defeating him by using poison. Poison made by the vengeful woman, in fact.
The son of Loghaire Thunder Stone and the King-in-Waiting of the Dwarves during his father's exile. He feels unworthy of and unready for the responsibilities that his father thrust upon him.
The Good King: If King Loghaire returns to the throne, then dies in the final battle, Randver will be able to rule over the dwarves without a civil war. He is at least as good a ruler as his father would have been.
Reasonable Authority Figure: A subversion. He tries to be this, but due to his inexperience, is prone to making bad decisions. He also can be somewhat unhelpful when the PC asks him to help them find his father; there's a tunnel leading to his father's exile, but unless persuaded, he won't reveal it.
Unfit for Greatness: Randver is very intelligent, but he doesn't have the steel needed to be a strong king, and if his father doesn't return to the throne, a civil war will break out among the Dwarves because of his inexperience.
The Wise Prince: He understands the Dwarven way of life better than anyone else (including, quite possibly, his father). The tragedy comes from having too much responsibility put on his shoulders, too soon; while he has the potential to grow into The Good King, he isn't there yet.
The master trainer for the Firearms skill. Formerly a bandit, he now lives the simple life of a hermit on the outskirts of Ashbury.
Heel-Faith Turn: The Order of Halcyon helped him atone when he decided to leave his old life behind him.
My God, What Have I Done?: His decision to leave the bandit life behind him came after he shot a young man in cold blood because the young man wanted to challenge him to a gunfight in order to prove his worth.
Retired Gunfighter: Formerly Arcanum's finest marksman, now he never wants to hold a gun again.
What the Hell, Hero?: To get him to train you as a Firearms Master, you must force him to break the oath of non-violence he took when he joined the Halcyon order. If you're a good-aligned character, he'll try to make you feel terrible about this.