Starting Arcanum - What to Install and How to Play?

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Crenshinibon
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Starting Arcanum - What to Install and How to Play?

Postby Crenshinibon » Thu Jul 23, 2009 2:58 am

Well, during my last year of high school, I was lucky enough to buy Arcanum (and the manual) in great condition from a friend. When I tried it, I had some difficulty with it and it didn't captivate as much as the Fallout series did (which I got around then as well). Now, after a few years, I'd like to give Arcanum another go and was wondering what patches, official and unofficial should I have?

I'm looking for something along the lines of Wesp's patches for Bloodlines, where they add missing content to the game, effectively shaping it into what "it was meant to be", thus I do not want any player created quests and stuff like that. Just fixes to the game and stuff missing from the original release.

Also, flipping through the manual, I'm finding it to be interesting and flavorful, but not very helpful in terms of educating me on how to play the game. I understand the controls as well as the aptitudes, but am not sure about other things, so here are some questions that I have:

1. Is there a level cap? If so, what level?

2. Do party members of different aptitudes hinder each other?

3. How are additional schematics and spells obtained and learned?

4. I understand that some schematics are recipes to craft items and I believe that you can craft mechanical beings as well. How do they work?

5. Do they have a duration or do they last forever?

6. If they can be destroyed, can I repair one or do I need to remake the creation over?

7. Does the being (or summon for magick users) count as a party member and thus does it count towards the party limit?

8. Do these machines have any method of control or do they act on their own?

9. I recall being able to ron shops when the owner was asleep, is this a bug? If not, is there any consequence (assuming you don't get caught) of doing this?

10. Having played the game, what advice could you give me on my first playthrough?

I appreciate the help from whoever answers these questions.

Thanks in advance.
[font="Times New Roman"]“The world breaks every one and afterward many are strong at the broken places. But those that will not break it kills. It kills the very good and the very gentle and the very brave impartially.”[/font]

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Postby Twista » Thu Jul 23, 2009 5:42 am

Crenshinibon wrote:1. Is there a level cap? If so, what level?
2. Do party members of different aptitudes hinder each other?
3. How are additional schematics and spells obtained and learned?
4. I understand that some schematics are recipes to craft items and I believe that you can craft mechanical beings as well. How do they work?
5. Do they have a duration or do they last forever?
6. If they can be destroyed, can I repair one or do I need to remake the creation over?
7. Does the being (or summon for magick users) count as a party member and thus does it count towards the party limit?
8. Do these machines have any method of control or do they act on their own?
9. I recall being able to ron shops when the owner was asleep, is this a bug? If not, is there any consequence (assuming you don't get caught) of doing this?
10. Having played the game, what advice could you give me on my first playthrough?

1 the level cap is at 50. there are mods that remove the level 50 cap though 50 is enough to overpower anybody and anything if you are playing a fighter or mage
2 tech and magic users are useless with each other as the magic users with heal ( raven and virgil) tend to heal all your party and most of the spells dont work and they loose fatigue
3 as far as i know there are no additional spells
as far as schematics go i think you learn them by using them and then they are added to your schematics menu where you can make things out of them. Some dont require any skills to be used but some require that you have some degree of skill in the disciplin that they are affiliated with. So to make a pistol/rifle from a schematic that you find you will need to have skill in gun smithy. The better the weapon the more skill you need to have.
4 mechanical beings are like companions or summoned creatures. Unfortunately i haven't played as a tech user so i can't offer much info here.
5 mechanical beings last forever or until they are destroyed. I think they are much like the dog you can have in your party and i also think they dont count as a follower
6 i think they can be repaired but they also can be recreated but the requirements to make one are so big that you will probably not be able to make more than 1-2. I know that the automaton requires a small steam engine which is pretty hard to find
7 it does not count towards follower limit but you have a maximum amount of spells that can be active at one time. i think 3 or 4, don't remember. So that's the maximum you can have.
8 as all followers they act on their own script and you can only issue small orders to them, but in combat i think they will do what the want
9 yes you can rob them while they sleep. I haven't encountered any consequence to this action. I encountered some problems that after breaking into their chests they have nothing to sale and if you sell stuff to them stuff goes into their inventory instead of chest. I think you won't need to break into people's chests as you will have loads of money later on. I would advise spending a few points in haggle and becoming an expert as then you will be able to sell anything to anybody, it's annoying selling good stuff to the junk dealer just because nobody else will buy them, or running around with a full inventory.
10 As i said invest in haggle. Also thieving skills like pickpocket and pick locks will give you a few more missions with the thieves guilds which are quite good and will also give you some good bounty. I was able to make a very good fighter/thief within the level50 cap. Invest in melee early on even if you want to be a archer, pistol or magic user. The easiest ways to finish the game is with a fighter or a magic user.

Sorry for my English but it's not my native language. And also i haven't played the game in the last 3-4 years so i don't remember everything perfectly. Also i would like to add that i have finished the game 3 times and i enjoyed it every time.

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Postby TwoHandedSword » Thu Jul 23, 2009 1:48 pm

There is a patch available, which fixes some game imbalances. Do a Google search on Arcanum Patch and follow the links until you find a live one.

1. As mentioned above, the maximum in-game level is 50. (This gives you a maximum of 64 build points, including the five you got when you created the character; you get an extra point every fifth level.) There does exist a 'Level 127' hack, but it's overkill unless you love to Godmode.

2. The basic conceit of the game is that magic works to hinder technology, and vice versa. And on top of that, certain followers don't get along, for alignment reasons: they either talk down to each other, or refuse to join your party if the other is already there.

2a. You have a maximum number of follower slots, based on your Charisma and your mastery of the Persuasion skill. Dog (the 'worthless mutt' that can be found in Ashbury, being kicked to death by its owner) is a free follower, as are any constructs you make or familiars you summon.

3. Spells and basic tech attributes are learned by spending points on them. Higher-level spells require more Willpower, while higher-level tech needs more Intelligence. Tech schematics can also be found in certain shops, in dungeons, and in a side-quest on an island you will visit. Learn them by dragging them into your hotkey bank (the row of boxes below your inventory) and then clicking on them.

3a. There are no spells or tech items available outside of the game, via patches or anything else. Keep in mind that the nature of the game makes it worthwhile to pursue one branch or the other, but not both.

4. To craft an item, you need the supplies (which might in turn need to be made using another tech skill), either the tech skill or schematic the game requires, and sufficient technical expertise in the given skill(s). Technical expertise is acquired in one of two ways: by taking rank in a tech college, or by purchasing tech manuals at a private shop in the University section of Tarant. (Those tech manuals need to be in your inventory when you attempt to craft the item; and they're heavy, so find a place to store them when you're not using them.)

5. Created items last forever; certain magic items have a fixed number of charges, but their base properties work indefinitely regardless.

6. Taking rank in the Repair skill allows you to fix your own stuff; Mastery of Repair allows you to fix it as good as new. (With any skill, you can purchase Apprenticeship if you have at least one point in the skill; Expertise with three points, and Mastery with five points. Also, every skill has a minimum attribute you must raise to add more points; for Repair, it's Intelligence.)

7. As I mentioned above, it does not. It is considered a 'free' follower.

8. All followers act in accordance with their AI, which often means attacking on their own, even if you were preparing to cast an area spell. You have a limited ability to tell them to 'spread out' or 'back off' for example, using the F2 thru F6 keys. You get a portion of your followers XP when they make the kill, but not as much as you would have on your own. (Which is one of the reasons I personally eschew followers in this game.)

9. If you rob or pickpocket someone successfully, the only negative consequence is a small tick toward 'evil' in your alignment. Your alignment affects which quests you're offered, which followers will join you, and the options available near and at the game's end. It allows for more playability; go through once as a good magic user, for example, then the next time as a thief or an evil scientician.

9a. Get into the habit of autosaving (F7) right before you attempt to rob; if you're caught, pressing F8 will restore the game and let you try again. Also be sure to save (using the Save function on the main menu) every time you've completed an important objective or are done for the day; it's important to have a backup save, just in case.

10. Decide what type of character you want to play first, and concentrate your build points there. A crappy fighter-mage-thief-scientist-salesman-blacksmith-etc. does nobody any good, and will quickly get you killed.

Above all, have fun. :cool:
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Postby flix » Thu Jul 23, 2009 1:52 pm

[url="http://www.terra-arcanum.com/downloads/"]Terra Arcanum[/url] is your source for what you should install.

Suggested files: Official patch (1.0.7.4), Drog's unofficial patch, high resolution patch, high quality town maps.

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Postby Crenshinibon » Thu Jul 23, 2009 4:55 pm

Thanks to all that answered, your replies were very helpful, though I do have some followup questions:

1. So technically I can have a limitless army of automatons or the like? Does the mechanical creation that heals you have charges or resources it uses? If so, how do I recharge it (magical equipment included as well)

2. When an item or a mechanical being gets damaged, when I use the repair skill on it, does it use any resources?

3. What would you say is the best way to acquire the items you need for crafting items?

4. Is it possible to play the game as a talker, relying on your charisma and intellect rather than brute force?

Once again, thanks to all who replied.
[font="Times New Roman"]“The world breaks every one and afterward many are strong at the broken places. But those that will not break it kills. It kills the very good and the very gentle and the very brave impartially.”[/font]

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Postby TwoHandedSword » Thu Jul 23, 2009 9:27 pm

1. I believe there is some sort of limit to the number of automatons you can have at once; perhaps one (or one of each type) at a time. Beyond that, I'd be speculating, having never built the devices in question.

2. Repair itself doesn't use any resources; but repairing something above a certain number of hit points will permanently lower the maximum HP for that item, unless you have repair mastery.

3. Some components can be found; others must be built from even simpler components. In every city (including a hidden one that you find as part of the main quest) be sure to visit the inventor, herbalist, junk dealer, blacksmith, gunsmith, and tech armoury. (No one town has every single one of these.) If you don't like what you see, walk away at least one full screen and then advance game time by one day; they'll have a different selection available.

4. If you mean being a silver-tongued pacifist: sadly, not completely; there are areas (dungeons and such) that simply need to be cleared out. But if you mean having your followers do all the dirty work: then yes it is; in fact, a speed run of the game that I've seen involves using that very trick. And if you're going to go that route, be absolutely sure to recruit Dog (he's only available the first time you visit Ashbury, and for only an hour of game time, so don't dawdle); even though he can't carry anything, he is the absolute best fighter in the game -- and unlike some weapons you'll find, his teeth never break!
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Postby corwyn77 » Tue Dec 08, 2009 7:21 pm

flix wrote:[url="http://www.terra-arcanum.com/downloads/"]Terra Arcanum[/url] is your source for what you should install.

Suggested files: Official patch (1.0.7.4), Drog's unofficial patch, high resolution patch, high quality town maps.


Hmm, found everything but the town maps. Where are these exactly?

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Postby GawainBS » Wed Dec 09, 2009 2:38 am

For a smooth first playthrough, I'd suggest a Fighter/Mage: Melee & Dodge max, Force Shield, Agility of Fire, Haste, Heal, coupled with Fireball & Destruction for groups/big enemies. Pretty much invulnerable halfway through the game.
However, I find that playing a techie is more fun, with all the schematics and equipment. There is one must-have skill: Electrocharge Rings, which give +2 DEX a piece.

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Postby flix » Wed Dec 09, 2009 6:25 pm

corwyn77 wrote:Hmm, found everything but the town maps. Where are these exactly?


In the link I posted, the first category on the left is "Arcanum" - mousing over that brings up a menu on the right with files, the maps are the 5th one down.

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Postby corwyn77 » Wed Dec 09, 2009 10:23 pm

flix wrote:In the link I posted, the first category on the left is "Arcanum" - mousing over that brings up a menu on the right with files, the maps are the 5th one down.


[slaps forehead]. I was on that page for the uap, obviously. Thanks.

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Postby Crenshinibon » Wed Oct 06, 2010 1:38 pm

Since I started this thread and only now managed to finally get into Arcanum (after several failed attempts), I decided to resurrect it.

Currently my character is a dwarf, specializing in technology, at level 17, having just arrived at Ashbury.

My current question pertains to the manuals that can be purchased at the university of Tarant. From what I understand, they increase my "skill" in a certain discipline. I'm not too sure as to what that means though. As in, if I have the manual on Gun Smithy, and I have no points in it, will it let me use the first schematic or are the manuals only useful for trying to craft found schematics, where I need can just hoard these manuals and save myself some points? By that I mean if I have no points in Smithy, or Explosives, can I create a Pyrotechnic Axe my just buying a manual from each discipline path?

In theory, a mage could be able to use schematics without investing any points in the tech field, and one wouldn't need to invest in intelligence since one could proceed with their discipline path by consuming the Essence of Intellect at the time of point distribution.

Also, just out curiosity, for my next playthrough I'd like to try a mage. What summoning spells would be recommended? I've been hearing stories of a Vorpal Bunny summon from certain forums. Can anyone comment? On the other hand, isn't using summons counterproductive since you don't get the experience from the enemy? Or at least, since the summons hit the enemy and not you, your main character is denied that experience per hit.

One more thing - are there items that let me regenerate fatigue overtime, permanently or can a high enough willpower do this for me? Do people think it's worth it investing points directly into fatigue?

Finally how can I train my followers in certain skills, like if I want someone to become an Expert in guns?

Thanks in advance to those that take the time to respond to my questions!
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Postby GawainBS » Wed Oct 06, 2010 1:55 pm

I'll try to answer some of your questions.

1. Those manuals enhance your skill, which is useful for found schematics. Either you aren't a techie and want to make one of those, or you found a schematic that requires an aptitude in a field you haven't chosen, or you haven't good enough points in. So yes, you can create that axe with manuals.

2. Yes, temporary stat boosts help you during point distribution.

3. Vorpal Bunny doesn't exists, IIRC. Never played summoners, always went Warrior-Mage.

4. Not worth it to invest directly in Fatigue. Levels and Willpower will do what has to be done. Constitution can be handy to increase Fatigue regen, however. 8 is enough, IIRC. 12 as a Dwarf is easy.

5. You can't, without mods, at least. I don't know of any on the top off my head.

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Postby galraen » Wed Oct 06, 2010 2:06 pm

By that I mean if I have no points in Smithy, or Explosives, can I create a Pyrotechnic Axe my just buying a manual from each discipline path?
No

The manuals boost your skill in the relevant field, they don't grant you any skill if you don't have it as I recall. However they are often the only way to create items from some of the higher found technological schematics. They will again as I recall, allow you to use the simplest of found schematics without investing in the skill, lemon battery thing and maybe bullets, but not anything actually worth having. Definitely not the Pyrotechnic Axe you need top of the range skill plus manual for that.

What summoning spells would be recommended?


In my honest opinion, none, all summonings do is get in the way and steal your experience points. Best to have the fewest followers you can get away with, and as an Arcane Warrior (which is what a mage is in this game) that means none. Mages rule, true in most 'RPG's but especially true in this game.

One more thing - are there items that let me regenerate fatigue overtime, permanently or can a high enough willpower do this for me?


I can't recall the answer to the first part of the question, but basically the key is willpower, constitution and intelligence. Intel allows the maintenance of duration spells such as vitality of air, strength of earth and agility of fire, and of course the indispensable, if incredibly cheesy, shield of protection.
So the answer to the first part is any item that boosts you constitution is very useful for offsetting fatigue. Rarely had problems with fatigue personally to be honest, fights just don't usually last long enough.
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Postby GawainBS » Wed Oct 06, 2010 2:21 pm

I'm very sure I managed to make the Axe while only having two points in Smithy, thanks to the manuals.

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Postby Crenshinibon » Wed Oct 06, 2010 3:48 pm

Thanks for your quick replies.

I looked on Terra Arcanum and their forums, and from what they say, each manual grants an amount of skill points equal to your character's intelligence, so at ten intelligence, each manual would grant ten points, or so I understand.

Supposedly, the Vorpal Bunny summon is supposed to appear from Succour Beast (of the Nature College), when cast at a hundred Magick.

So Constitution provides me with Fatigue regeneration? The reason I'm asking is because I would like to have several sustained spells running, such as Agility of Fire, a summon, Hasten and Temporal Rift.

I know that there is an optional trait (Educator) that says that it allows you teach party members. Is it broken? If not, can I still teach my followers but to a lesser degree?

Also, it should be known that I'm playing with the unofficial patch (since I heard this game did have it's share of bugs, such as permanent followers and no APs taken when using thrown weapons).
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Postby TwoHandedSword » Wed Oct 06, 2010 7:51 pm

1) And if you down a potion of Intelligence (which temporarily adds +10 to IN, up to a max of 20) just before purchasing those same manuals, you'll reap the benefits of your improved IQ by having to purchase fewer manuals! Just be sure to do so quickly, or else have several potions handy.

2) Please let us know if that works.

3) Yes, CN boosts both your max Fatigue, and how quickly it regenerates. You generate 2 fatigue points per round (10 seconds) at a minimum CN of 5, +1 for every 3 Constitution points thereafter. I believe the maximum is 6 per round, reached with a CN of 17; IIRC, you don't go up any more than that (even with a CN of 20 or 21).

So if your spells are draining you to the tune of 5 points (or fewer) per round, then eventually you'll be able to keep them running forever -- if you're willing to sit around and wait for your Fatigue bar to fill back up. Otherwise, keep yourself well-stocked in Fatigue Potions: my favorite is Morgana's Tears; it's expensive, but it heals HPs and poison as well as 120 points of Fatigue.

4) The Educator background is nearly worthless. In order to teach a follower, you have to have at least Expert rank in the same trait that they do; other than Melee, Dodge and possibly Picking Locks, this doesn't happen very often. And Dog eventually becomes a master at Melee anyway, even without your intervention.

5) Patches are good. Bugs are bad. Need I say more? ;)
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Postby galraen » Wed Oct 06, 2010 8:28 pm

The Educator background isn't broken, but as Twohandedsword points out it's fairly useless unless you want your followers to do a lot of fighting.

It's been a long time since I played this game, and whilst I don't recall running into any major bugs, the unofficial patch is worth having. I only recall making the Pyrotechnic Axe once, and threw it away in disgust and went back to using the weapon I was already using; damned if I can remember what the weapon was, probably Drog's Warbringer or whatever it's called. No point in going tech if you aren't going to use guns is it? At least it didn't seem so to me. Also if you're going tech, then the melee weapon you use doesn't really matter, any weapon will do when the target is paralyzed! Chemical warfare rules if you're going tech.
[QUOTE=Darth Gavinius;1096098]Distrbution of games, is becoming a little like Democracy (all about money and control) - in the end choice is an illusion and you have to choose your lesser evil.

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Postby Crenshinibon » Wed Oct 06, 2010 9:00 pm

1.) I bought a few manuals, but am having Sogg carry them until I find a Small Steam Engine. I do have a few Essences of Intelligence on hand, but have not used them yet as I'm not sure if I should invest in a discipline, max out my firearms skill (I currently have Master in it) or put points into Dexterity for more APs, since the Elephant Gun that I'm using is a tad slow.

2.) As soon as I get to that playthrough, I'll post it here. :D

3.) Thanks for the clarification on that. I'm not yet sure if I'll have sustained summons as a pure mage or if I'm going to play a hybrid. I've been toying with the idea of a half-ogre mage, attempting to max out strength and dexterity with the first fire and earth spells.

4.) Currently my followers are: Virgil, Sogg and the dog, though all of them rush into melee. Do you think it's worth crafting a gun for Sogg or is he better off with a melee weapon?

5.) I looked at the GB Equipment Database, and it seems to be a very damaging weapon, doing physical damage and 30-50 fire damage (which I think damages armor too, unless that only applies to elementals). Why did you (galrean) dislike it?

6.) What kind of chemical items do you use? I've quired a few grenades, molotovs and smoke bombs, but I haven't been in a fight when my trusty gun couldn't handle the situation.

7.) Does anyone have any thoughts on bows? I have recently encountered some skeleton archers and was amazed at their firing speed. I'm thinking that a master archer with twenty dexterity, haste and Temporal Rift is a very scary character.

Once again, thanks for all your replies!
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Postby TwoHandedSword » Thu Oct 07, 2010 2:38 am

1) You can solve both issues by exploring Tarant. Sogg won't have to drag the manuals everywhere, if you head to the seedier side of town (no, not the Boil) and find a halfling with a rat-infested warehouse. Once you clear out the rodent squatters, you'll have a place where you can safely store anything you want.

And the inventor in the middle of the city has what you need... sometimes. If not that day, then wander at least a full screen away and 'sleep' for 24 hours.

2) I'll be waiting. :)

3) Keep in mind that if you're planning to have more than one or two ongoing spells, one of the disadvantages of playing a half-ogre is the IN hit you take up front; you can only maintain one spell for every 4 points, and I believe you need a minimum of 5 IN to cast any spells at all.

4) According to his predetermined build scheme, Sogg wouldn't know a firearm from firewater; if you handed him one, he'd shoot holes in the air until he ran out of bullets, then run forward and use it as a club anyway.

5) Not directed at me, but IMO the Pyro Axe is a decent enough melee weapon, though there are better: the Katana is a lot faster; and if you're leaning towards magic, the Arcane Axe comes to mind.

6) N/A.

7) To me, bows have the same major disadvantage as guns; you need to buy and restock ammo. I loves me a good throwing weapon instead, like a serrated or mystical chakram, or better yet...

[SPOILER]...Azram's Star, available as a quest item from the throwing master in Black Root. If you turn it over to her, then use a Fate point to pickpocket it back, you'll have the best of both worlds: throwing mastery, AND the best weapon this side of the Void.[/SPOILER]

And despite what the walkthroughs may tell you, PE (perception) is pretty much a dump stat when it comes to bows and thrown weapons; all it does is increase how far your view can scroll, which translates into how far away your PCs can see off-screen.
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Postby galraen » Thu Oct 07, 2010 5:57 am

Half-Ogres can't use firearms, period.

The Arcane Great Sword blows away any other melee weapon in the game IMO, especially if you're an Arcane Warrior. Which reminds me, there are weapons in the game which contain mana which you use first when casting spells, or maintaining them, and the AGS is one of them. there are staves, and daggers that do it as well mind.

Also bear in mind that weapons that reduce viatlity are very effective. Thre's a staff you can get erly on I recall that I think is better than most other melee weapons you can get at the time. It doesn't do much health damage, but 'knocks out' opponents quickly. My memory could be faulty on when the staff is available though.

PS the first time through though I took the followers, and once tried the evil route and picked up the evil NPCs. One should play the game as intgended at least once.

As for the Pyro Axe, you'll be amazed at how often you come across opponents that seem to be immune to fire, especially late in the game.
What kind of chemical items do you use?
Paralyzers, don't leave home without them, definitely don't go to Cree without a bag full of them. Nothing stops annoying [expletive deleted] dodging like a paralyzer! You also need good Chemistry plus Therapeutics (another key discipline) to get the best permanent ability boost in the game.

My view on the game is warped by the fact that, like in all games, the first thing I do is get rid of the level cap. Which means I have a very jaundiced view of followers, to me they are just XP leeches.

Virgil's an annoying whiny git, I can't stand the jerk. Magnus is a self righteous prig and what's worse his disciplines capped at a low a level making him virtually useless as a tech assistant. The worst part though is the way any one who isn't evil (apart from Virgil and Sogg) will betray you if anyone starts a fight with you in a pub!

PS The first time through I did take the followers, and later tried the evil path with the evil NPCs, one should play the game as intended at least once. They are also useful as bagmen I always tell them to back off as soon as the fighting starts though. Worthless Mutt is also very useful at opening locked chests, he can bite his way through any lock!

PPS By far the best walk through is this one by our very own SW Carter.
[QUOTE=Darth Gavinius;1096098]Distrbution of games, is becoming a little like Democracy (all about money and control) - in the end choice is an illusion and you have to choose your lesser evil.

And everything is hidden in the fine print.[/QUOTE]