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I semi-recently started playing this game on Steam, and I'm looking for advice in regards to what spells I should invest points in. I am currently in the Black Mountain mines, and my character is a level 22 half-elf mage with two character points to spare at the moment. So far I've only invested points into the first three spells in both the conveyance and force colleges, giving me a magickal aptitude of 35. My gut feeling tells me I should use the two character points I have to raise my willpower to 15 so that I can get the Bolt of Lightning and Spacial Distortion spells. But on the other hand, I'm also starting to wonder only knowing spells of two colleges makes for too narrow a build. Should I invest points into other spells before I raise my willpower? And if so, which ones would be of most use to this type of character?
Post edited August 31, 2017 by TheExactSame
This question / problem has been solved by TwoHandedSwordimage
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TheExactSame: I semi-recently started playing this game on Steam, and I'm looking for advice in regards to what spells I should invest points in. I am currently in the Black Mountain mines, and my character is a level 22 half-elf mage with two character points to spare at the moment. So far I've only invested points into the first three spells in both the conveyance and force colleges, giving me a magickal aptitude of 35. My gut feeling tells me I should use the two character points I have to raise my willpower to 15 so that I can get the Bolt of Lightning and Spacial Distortion spells. But on the other hand, I'm also starting to wonder only knowing spells of two colleges makes for too narrow a build. Should I invest points into other spells before I raise my willpower? And if so, which ones would be of most use to this type of character?
I have questions.

Are you playing as a pure mage, with no combat skills? Who do you have as your followers? Do you have an abundance of fatigue potions to restock your spellcasting ability?

Keep in mind that there is no wrong way to build a character. Specializing in two colleges is a valid choice. Taking the first spell of 10 different colleges (if you feel they'd be of use to you) is equally valid. Playing a tank who uses magic to make him/herself unstoppable — admittedly, my own first choice when playing this game — is just as good. So is playing healer/support to a team of fighters who do all the dirty work.

Based only on what you've posted and my own personal experience, I'd possibly recommend taking Harm and Minor Healing, the first spell of Dark and White Necro respectively. As your MA goes up, the amount of power in both of those spells multiplies tremendously. Being able to heal also frees up your inventory from carrying so many healing potions, allowing you to stock up on even more fatigue potions.

Another possibility is to boost your CN (constitution), so that you recover fatigue more quickly. Fatigue recovery per 10 seconds goes up by one when your CN hits 8, 11, and 14, to a maximum of 6 per 10 seconds at a CN of 17. (Sadly, there's no further boost with a CN of 20; merely poison immunity, which is pretty much useless by the time you're strong enough to acquire it.)

Or you could build your DX (dexterity) in order to increase the number of spells you can unleash per round. Unlike with CN, hitting 20 DX gives you a +5 speed boost, which can be incredibly useful as long as you have enough Fatigue to keep up with all your spellcasting. In addition, there are magical gloves you can buy to boost your DX, as well as boots which will boost your speed. You can even cast Agility of Fire, which boosts DX by +4, and stacks with itself!

Ultimately, however, it comes down to your own playing style, and what you envision for your character. Boosting your WP in preparation of better attack spells is also a wise move; especially since I consider Teleportation (which requires 18 WP) to be one of the most useful spells in the game.
Post edited August 31, 2017 by TwoHandedSword
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TwoHandedSword: I have questions.

Are you playing as a pure mage, with no combat skills? Who do you have as your followers? Do you have an abundance of fatigue potions to restock your spellcasting ability?

Keep in mind that there is no wrong way to build a character. Specializing in two colleges is a valid choice. Taking the first spell of 10 different colleges (if you feel they'd be of use to you) is equally valid. Playing a tank who uses magic to make him/herself unstoppable — admittedly, my own first choice when playing this game — is just as good. So is playing healer/support to a team of fighters who do all the dirty work.

Based only on what you've posted and my own personal experience, I'd possibly recommend taking Harm and Minor Healing, the first spell of Dark and White Necro respectively. As your MA goes up, the amount of power in both of those spells multiplies tremendously. Being able to heal also frees up your inventory from carrying so many healing potions, allowing you to stock up on even more fatigue potions.

Another possibility is to boost your CN (constitution), so that you recover fatigue more quickly. Fatigue recovery per 10 seconds goes up by one when your CN hits 8, 11, and 14, to a maximum of 6 per 10 seconds at a CN of 17. (Sadly, there's no further boost with a CN of 20; merely poison immunity, which is pretty much useless by the time you're strong enough to acquire it.)

Or you could build your DX (dexterity) in order to increase the number of spells you can unleash per round. Unlike with CN, hitting 20 DX gives you a +5 speed boost, which can be incredibly useful as long as you have enough Fatigue to keep up with all your spellcasting. In addition, there are magical gloves you can buy to boost your DX, as well as boots which will boost your speed. You can even cast Agility of Fire, which boosts DX by +4, and stacks with itself!

Ultimately, however, it comes down to your own playing style, and what you envision for your character. Boosting your WP in preparation of better attack spells is also a wise move; especially since I consider Teleportation (which requires 18 WP) to be one of the most useful spells in the game.
For combat I'm focusing on melee weapons (I'm currently rank 3 in that skill, in addition to being rank 2 in dodge). My current companions are Virgil and Magnus, and yes, I always have a good number of fatigue potions. I've considered getting the harm and healing spells, but I'm thinking that my jolt spell and melee skills are enough for doing damage, and Virgil has the healing situation covered. Plus I don't really like the other skills in those colleges. If I were to spend my character points on spells, I was thinking I'd spend them on Resist Magick and Disperse Magick. Would you recommend doing this, or do you think I'd be better off just using them for willpower?
Post edited August 31, 2017 by TheExactSame
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TheExactSame: For combat I'm focusing on melee weapons (I'm currently rank 3 in that skill, in addition to being rank 2 in dodge). My current companions are Virgil and Magnus, and yes, I always have a good number of fatigue potions. I've considered getting the harm and healing spells, but I'm thinking that my jolt spell and melee skills are enough for doing damage, and Virgil has the healing situation covered. Plus I don't really like the other skills in those colleges. If I were to spend my character points on spells, I was thinking I'd spend them on Resist Magick and Disperse Magick. Would you recommend doing this, or do you think I'd be better off just using them for willpower?
It wouldn't be my first choice. The number of situations where you'd want or need to disperse a spell can be counted on the fingers of one hand: Entangle (which prevents you from moving around, and reduces your attacks by one per round) and Weaken (which reduces your strength for the duration of the battle). Both of those spells automatically end when the encounter does, anyway. And most monsters either don't use magic at all, or use non-dispersable spells such as Fireflash or Stone Throw.

All that the Resist Magick spell does is augment your MR (magic resistance) which can also be done through certain magic armors, and wearable items such as the Dorian Amulet. A higher MR does somewhat reduce the damage done by magical creatures and traps, but so do more specific resistances such as Fire and Electrical.

In fact, IMO the only advantage at all to taking the Meta college is to take advantage of a glitch which can make magically charmed followers into permanent ones. I won't spoil how here, but if and when you're interested, google "Arcanum meta abuse". (I don't recommend doing it for a first playthrough, in any case.)

If you're a fighter yourself, consider the Temporal college as an alternative. Hasten doubles your PC's speed (and thus your attacks), while Tempus Fugit gives your entire party a +10 speed bonus, while giving your opponents a -10 penalty. Of course, you'll no longer be able to go on trains... but once you have Teleportation or access to a ship, that ceases to be a problem anyway.

As far as Jolt goes, its power doesn't increase with MA to the extent that Harm does. At or near 100% MA, Harm can actually deliver MORE damage, and at half the cost per casting. It's so powerful that it's been described as one of Arcanum's game breakers.

(Later on, you'll have the opportunity to become the master of one spell college; the only prerequisite is that you have to know all five spells in that college, and then pass a test. One of the perks is half-cost to cast the spells of that college. If you do this with the Force college, Jolt becomes as cheap as Harm; but if you do it with Dark Necro, you could pretty much sneeze out Harm spells all day!)
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TwoHandedSword: It wouldn't be my first choice. The number of situations where you'd want or need to disperse a spell can be counted on the fingers of one hand: Entangle (which prevents you from moving around, and reduces your attacks by one per round) and Weaken (which reduces your strength for the duration of the battle). Both of those spells automatically end when the encounter does, anyway. And most monsters either don't use magic at all, or use non-dispersable spells such as Fireflash or Stone Throw.

All that the Resist Magick spell does is augment your MR (magic resistance) which can also be done through certain magic armors, and wearable items such as the Dorian Amulet. A higher MR does somewhat reduce the damage done by magical creatures and traps, but so do more specific resistances such as Fire and Electrical.

In fact, IMO the only advantage at all to taking the Meta college is to take advantage of a glitch which can make magically charmed followers into permanent ones. I won't spoil how here, but if and when you're interested, google "Arcanum meta abuse". (I don't recommend doing it for a first playthrough, in any case.)

If you're a fighter yourself, consider the Temporal college as an alternative. Hasten doubles your PC's speed (and thus your attacks), while Tempus Fugit gives your entire party a +10 speed bonus, while giving your opponents a -10 penalty. Of course, you'll no longer be able to go on trains... but once you have Teleportation or access to a ship, that ceases to be a problem anyway.

As far as Jolt goes, its power doesn't increase with MA to the extent that Harm does. At or near 100% MA, Harm can actually deliver MORE damage, and at half the cost per casting. It's so powerful that it's been described as one of Arcanum's game breakers.

(Later on, you'll have the opportunity to become the master of one spell college; the only prerequisite is that you have to know all five spells in that college, and then pass a test. One of the perks is half-cost to cast the spells of that college. If you do this with the Force college, Jolt becomes as cheap as Harm; but if you do it with Dark Necro, you could pretty much sneeze out Harm spells all day!)
Good to know about the meta spells. And as far as harm goes, it does sound good but that's actually another one of the reasons why I didn't really want it, because it seemed like it would make the game too easy. The temporal college does sound somewhat interesting, although I do question how useful magelock would be. I think for now, I'm just going to use the points to raise my willpower and go from there once I level up again, unless you think really think I'd be better off doing something else.
Post edited September 01, 2017 by TheExactSame
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TheExactSame: Good to know about the meta spells. And as far as harm goes, it does sound good but that's actually another one of the reasons why I didn't really want it, because it seemed like it would make the game too easy. The temporal college does sound somewhat interesting, although I do question how useful magelock would be. I think for now, I'm just going to use the points to raise my willpower and go from there once I level up again, unless you think really think I'd be better off doing something else.
Understood about Harm. Personally, I agree with you; but you asked for options, so I shared what I had.

Magelock is pretty much useless to you, except perhaps as a way to keep a shopkeeper from attacking you while you raid his treasure chest. It exists so that certain doors can be mage-locked against you, necessitating either brute force or the Unlocking Cantrip (which you already have).

As for what you're better off doing, that's easy: whatever you want. Again, there's no wrong way to play this game. I've been known to save up points, even mid-game, until I have enough to do whatever I have planned. Then I "level up" all at once, or fully save the game to create a restore point while I try out different options.

One of the benefits of Arcanum is its replayability. Sure, the main quest won't change; but people's reactions to you, the available side quests, and the difficulty/ease of certain parts of it can differ tremendously based on your choices. You can be a technologist, a thief, or even a dumb brute. You even have the ultimate option: to choose the path of evil over that of good, and wind up becoming the Big Bad instead of taking him down.


(By the way, if you feel that I've adequately answered your questions, I'd appreciate it if you'd mark the thread as Solved. Thank you in advance.)
Post edited September 01, 2017 by TwoHandedSword
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TwoHandedSword: Understood about Harm. Personally, I agree with you; but you asked for options, so I shared what I had.

Magelock is pretty much useless to you, except perhaps as a way to keep a shopkeeper from attacking you while you raid his treasure chest. It exists so that certain doors can be mage-locked against you, necessitating either brute force or the Unlocking Cantrip (which you already have).

As for what you're better off doing, that's easy: whatever you want. Again, there's no wrong way to play this game. I've been known to save up points, even mid-game, until I have enough to do whatever I have planned. Then I "level up" all at once, or fully save the game to create a restore point while I try out different options.

One of the benefits of Arcanum is its replayability. Sure, the main quest won't change; but people's reactions to you, the available side quests, and the difficulty/ease of certain parts of it can differ tremendously based on your choices. You can be a technologist, a thief, or even a dumb brute. You even have the ultimate option: to choose the path of evil over that of good, and wind up becoming the Big Bad instead of taking him down.

(By the way, if you feel that I've adequately answered your questions, I'd appreciate it if you'd mark the thread as Solved. Thank you in advance.)
No problem. You've been a big help for me in this thread, and I think I can safely say that my issue has been completely resolved thanks to you, which I very much appreciate. Take care, friend.
It was my pleasure. And if you have any further questions, feel free to ask them here, or in another thread. I'm certainly not the only one around here who loves this game, and who may have answers for you.
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TheExactSame: So far I've only invested points into the first three spells in both the conveyance and force colleges...
I'm late to the party here, but my first Arcanum character was a Force specialist, and it was very fun.

Disintegrate is a useful spell even outside of combat. You can use it to destroy objects including doors and windows. Almost anything you can highlight with the cursor can be disintegrated.

Mastering Force and Conveyance will give you everything you need for a successful game.

TwoHandedSword is right though - you can choose whatever feels right for your character and still win.