Arcanum: Of Steamworks and Magick Obscura is a computer role-playing game developed by Troika Games and published by Sierra Entertainment in August 2001. It's an RPG with a standard fantasy setting apart from one twist; there's an industrial revolution taking place. This adds many new variables that a normal fantasy RPG wouldn't be able to explore. For example, in many large cities in Arcanum orcs and half-orcs are treated as second class citizens and usually work in sweat shops for very little pay. Also, technology ceases to work in the presence of magic, because tech uses laws of nature while magic bends laws of nature, so mages are outcasts in heavily industrialized cities.

Another great thing about this game is the character creation format. It is the most open-ended system I've seen for creating and leveling a character. There are no classes, just sets of skills, spells, stats, and technological disciplines that you can choose to divert points into when you gain a level. The mod-making system is also superb, and there are many downloadable scenarios available on the Internet.

One downside of Arcanum is the multiplayer capabilities. They are far inferior to what was advertised for the game. Also, the continent of Arcanum is fairly empty, with a few large cities, towns, and caves dotting an otherwise vacant landscape.

Overall I enjoyed this game quite a bit and it is very addictive because of the high number of unique characters you can create. A few of the characters I have had success with are: A human technologist specializing in electricity, an elven debutante mage with high charisma, a halfling assassin, and a gnome gunslinger.

Note: First sentence edited in April 2007 to make it clear that this is the computer game version.