Arcanum Quest: complete playlist

Arcanum Quest was a campaign run by Kim. The goal was to transcribe the video game Arcanum: Of Steamworks and Magick Obscura, into a table top role playing game. Kim tried to faithfully recreate the game, while also streamlining it into something manageable. He placed a lot of focus on the dialogue with some interesting results. The system we used was new world of darkness 1st edition; chosen because most of the players were familiar with it, and it had rules we liked.

Now I’ve got some thoughts from Kim, reflections from after the campaign was completed.

Arcanum Quest was, and still is, one of the most enjoyable role-playing experiences I have had. Whilst I am not an experienced GM, the sensation of bringing a world to life for the players is something that I crave to feel again.
The idea behind Arcanum Quest was to bring the world of the video game Arcanum: Of Steamworks and Magick Obscura, to the table-top role-playing format. I purposefully asked players who were not overly familiar with the original game so that the plot would be fresh for them, and their experience of the world uninfluenced by any preconceptions that the video game might have given them.

The interactions that the players had with the world that I knew so well and loved was intriguing to say the least. My portrayal of the Arcanum world was not as accurate as I had hoped, and the feelings that I gave to the players were only slightly reminiscent of the original game. However, I think that the world which we created together, through my vision and planning, and their character ideas, personalities, and choices, was far more interesting, dynamic, and above all creative.
I often see worlds from video game RPGs that I wish I could interact with without the restrictions of the game. During Arcanum Quest I believe I tried too hard to make the players conform to the structures of the video game; something that video games can do very well by stipulating the way in which players interact with the world, which are far less effective for the table-top format.

The knowledge I have gained from Arcanum Quest warns me against trying to do such things in the future. However, I am not turned off adapting video games to table-top role-playing in the future, far from it. I am now resolved instead to try again with different worlds, but improve the experience for the players and myself by taking the theme of the world, some pivotal characters, and trying to re-create the ‘feel’ of the world, allowing it to ebb and flow and be moulded by the way in which the characters interact with it. Rather than trying to re-crate the game for table-top, take the idea that I love so much and give it a new voice, hopefully a stronger voice; and by doing so instil the same enjoyment and passion that I have for these worlds in my players.

I (Raymond) quite enjoyed the game, despite my frustration at times. I really look forward to more games from Kim in the future.
Farewell from the past, I’m Raymond.

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3 comments

  1. Hey, would you be so kind to share your notes on this? I have been trying to run an Arcanum game myself. I would be using GURPS as the RPG system but I’m very interested in hearing how you took the Video-Game story to the tabletop.

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