(This is part of my journey playing through Arcanum. You can follow the entire series on the Nostalgia Lanes page.)
I can’t wait to get to all of the imminent elf-punching that must be done in the name of justice, but the rest of Black Root needs to be explored. A woman who is — for reasons completely unknown to me — emitting visible sound waves implores me to find her tinkerer son. Because I like collecting quests like useless junk, I go ahead and say, “yeah, sure, whatever.”
There’s nothing much left to do here, so I leave and decide to go find this lady’s son. His house is nearby and quite obviously deserted. A journal in a dresser tells me of how he’s encountered a demon portal and is trying to create a device to combat it: the Magick Trap.
Well, that’s convenient he made two of them, so I should probably find the other one. I spend a few minutes punching open a locked chest and find the duplicate magick trap as well as a few other goodies and gold.
Getting to the portal proves to be too much for me, however. I’m just level 7 and when I encounter a level 15 void lizard on the path to the portal, it kicks my butt time and again. I guess I’ll put this in the “get back to it later” pile. Sometimes Arcanum feels really unbalanced when it comes to levels and challenges; I don’t quite know where I need to be at my level and I’m worried I’ve accidentally skipped over XP-rich quest areas.
So back to Black Root I go. Might as well deal with the thieves (again). Thieves, rings, and punching, those are a few of Arcanum’s favorite things.
Well, the thief camp in Black Root is pretty easy to spot, but it’s also heavily guarded by mobs in the level 15-21 range. So I guess I got out of my depth really quickly in this game. Was there more I should’ve done back in Shrouded Hills? Perhaps.
One thing I do like about this game is that it places an emphasis on solving quests in a variety of ways. I’m given three choices here: kill all of the thieves, steal from a hedge wizard, or get poison from a local merchant. I’ll… get the poison, I guess. Nothing wrong with turning poison over to thieves, right?
Getting the poison is a cinch. The local poisoner — y’all have one in your community too, right? That’s a normal thing? — sells me some once I tell him that I’m killing Orc-shaped rats. Otherwise known as Orcs. Guess he likes Orcs the way I like Elves.
The elf thief is happy with the poison and gives me not only the ceremonial dagger but all of the extra stuff he plundered from the mayor as well. I jog back to the mayor — man, I hate these maps and the small resolution, it makes travel so annoying — and the guy is barely grateful I did the task. He gives me 100 gold, covering the cost of the poison, and I guess I come out ahead some XP and random stuff. Am I a hero? A villain? A chump? All of the above? I am not so sure.