Character Creation in Arx Fatalis can be very complicated and easy at the same time. It is easy, if you click the auto generate button; then you will have a well balanced character to start with.
If you choose to create the character manually, you can distribute 16 points among the 4 attributes and 18 points among the 9 skills.
When you level up, you get 1 point for raising attributes and 15 points for raising skills.
So you can fix mistakes, you made during character generation later on, but they shouldn’t be too many.
Arx Fatalis is designed in a way, so you can play whatever character you want: A brute warrior, a stealthy thief , a magic user or a mixture of the above.
Still, it is recommended to put some points into strength and dexterity, because in the beginning there are some inevidable fights, where no (useful) magic is available yet.
Magic becomes more and more important later on, since it eases combat a lot, so be sure to keep an eye on magic, unless you want to play totally without it.
In Arx Fatalis, it is not possible to have someone else identify objects, thus it is important to raise Object Knowledge as well if you want to know the nature of things – which you want to because you can’t use the items otherwise.
If you are a player, who wants to know every secret, be sure to raise Technical to be good in picking locks, since there are not keys for all doors in Arx Fatalis.
A not so important skill is Ethereal Link.
You can solve Arx Fatalis, if you play peacefully, which offers the most fun and the way it is designed; but although if you kill everybody, you can still finish the game.
Stealing can be really fun in Arx Fatalis, but if you get caught, you’re in clinch with the whole area. To pick pocket, simply bump into the person you want to steal from, and if your stealth skill is high enough, a purse appears on the left hand side with the items you find, if your skill is very high, you see all the items a person carries…
Combat needs to be trained, not only by our hero, but by you, the player, as well. As long as you don’t have powerful magic, a good tactics is to move back, swing your weapon for the maximum force, move to the opponent, hit him and move back quickly in order to avoid getting hit. Also, be sure to have some healing potons in your inventory, so you can swallow them during combat by pressing the ‘H’ key.
There is also ranged combat with bow and arrow, which is very enjoyable, especially when you are in a good hiding place and the target doesn’t see you.
And then there is magic of course, where the most powerfull spell is Life Drain, which moves life points from all targets in touch to you (even though the spell’s power has been decreased compared to the early game versions); best thing about this is, that the targets can’t cast as long as they are affected by this spell.
By pressing ‘M’ you can swallow mana potions at any time, that is, if you have any in your backpack only of course.
Most weapons and armour can break and when their durability reaches 0, they’re broken beyond repair. You can either repair objects yourself, by using the item on an anvil or you give them to a smith to have them repaired. Unless you are really good in repairing, i.e. have a high Object Knowledge skill, it is recommended to have them repaired, because else the overall durability decreases strongly with each repair.
If equipped items get damaged, they are displayed on the left side of the main screen to warn you, in different colors from green to red, where red means almost broken.
There are even unbreakable artefacts, like the Shield of the Elder, Poxsellis’ Helm or the Ylsides’ Armour, but you can also enchant weapons to make them unbreakable.