Originally posted by Minerva:
<STRONG>I second to this.
What kind of game is this, anyway?
If you've played Fallout 1/2, then you have a fair idea of the mechanics in Arcanum. As to the setting, it's a world where magic has existed for ages, while science has only recently taken enormous strides forward. The result is a "Victorian English" surrounding, with Jules Vernian tech (rings that increase dexterity, weapons that deliver energy blasts) and plenty of good old-fashioned spells.
Thing is, the more you study magic or tech, the more you become immune to the effects of the other, both for good and bad. So if you are heavy into tech, it's unlikely anybody can hurt you directly with a spell, but it's also unlikely they can heal you with it.
There are also more than a dozen "colleges" of tech disciplines, and quite a few spell groups, each of which must be learned in a given order--so you can't jump to the final spell in a group of five, but must learn them successively, improving stats that are important for spellusers along the way.
It actually works out a lot simpler than it sounds. But while the game is pretty well balanced, I do think spellusers have less to worry about since they don't have to lug around plenty of heavy inventory items needed to construct salves, guns, rings, etc. They just cast, and take the hit to their fatigue level.
Arcanum is pretty non-linear for quite a while, and like Fallout, you can configure your character in a host of ways; as well as making quest choices that are good or evil. Become renowned enough as either a hero or a villain, and you get a bonus in battle.
Hope that helps.