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Screenshot of arcanum
Author:Tronyn, PulSaR, PM
Title:Arcanum (5751e9bb2cb07b3560c344ea026f3dfe)
Filesize:18975 Kilobytes
Release date:06.05.2011
Additional Links: Func_Msgboard
Type:Partial conversion
BSP: ✔ • PAK: ✘ • PROGS.DAT: ✘ • Custom Models/Sounds: ✔

Files in the ZIP archive
Files in the ZIP archive:
File Size Date
arcanumreadme.txt4 KB04.05.2011
gfx/env/floodland_bk.tga101 KB30.06.2002
gfx/env/floodland_dn.tga159 KB30.10.2002
gfx/env/floodland_ft.tga394 KB29.06.2002
gfx/env/floodland_lf.tga130 KB29.06.2002
gfx/env/floodland_rt.tga104 KB30.06.2002
gfx/env/floodland_up.tga178 KB30.10.2002
maps/arcanum1.bsp6150 KB07.05.2011
maps/arcanum2.bsp6488 KB07.05.2011
maps/arcanum3.bsp7326 KB07.05.2011
maps/arcanum4.bsp9079 KB07.05.2011
maps/arcanum5.bsp7468 KB07.05.2011
maps/arcstart.bsp1911 KB22.01.2010
maps/arcstart.lit452 KB22.01.2010
sound/music/earth.wav776 KB31.10.2009
sound/music/warp.wav1369 KB30.11.2008
sound/music/warpb.wav2460 KB29.04.2011
sound/music/warpc.wav1743 KB30.11.2008
arcanum_v11.txt1 KB08.05.2011


Single player episode with five huge maps by Tronyn and Pulsar. Epic in style and scale. Tough battles with high numbers of enemies. Many modified and new monsters, weapons and items. Very hard. Includes a start map by distrans.

Note: These maps require Drake and an engine port with increased limits.

Tags: large, episode, medieval, ikblue, epic, hard, monsters, weapons, drake, knave

Editor's Rating: Excellent
User Rating:
4.5/5 with 48 ratings
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Denizrn T. 26 July 2011, 23:03
Very NICE!
jfh Guest 1 July 2013, 10:25


marco.nadal.75 Registered 22 September 2013, 12:01

How do I get the gold key under the pentagram in the first map?

Running in Quake HD Pack\drake\maps\arcanum, "run anyway" with Quake Injector. This means DP client.

Tronyn Guest 24 September 2013, 5:02

Once you get into that room, you go up a ladder, up some stairs, and press a button; this makes a bunch of monsters appear; when you've killed all the monsters (iirc there's a vore or maybe zombies on the pentagram) the pentagram opens and you can drop down and get the key.

Icantthinkofanickname Registered 16 December 2013, 11:41

I feel very conflicted about this. Obviously the scope, scale and technical execution are all extraordinary, and I have read Kinn's gushing praise for this episode, which makes me feel like I really should have loved it too.

But there was one thing that bothered me a lot (because it formed such an integral part of the experience), namely (in my opinion) an over-reliance on the button-finding gameplay mechanic. By the third map it started feeling like all I was doing was moving from button to button to button, and with every door I opened, I was almost immediately told to find another two, three or four buttons. This really broke immersion for me.

Was it just me, or did anyone else have a similar experience with this episode?

MikeTaylor Registered 23 January 2014, 18:19

Seriously? I have to axe a horde of zombies in pitch darkness before I'm even allowed into the castle? Where does that get fun?

Icantthinkofanickname Registered 23 January 2014, 19:01

You mean the zombies at the very beginning? I thought those were fun. Tricky and difficult (to me at least), but novel in the way it forces the player to deal with zombies in a way s/he never would otherwise (or at least I wouldn't). I really enjoyed the first map overall (as I recall; it's been a while) -- it was only later on that I felt it had become very repetitive, despite all the technical impressiveness.

Tronyn Guest 23 January 2014, 20:10

I released the first map by itself as the Arcanum demo, and people liked it. Then when I released the final project, suddenly everyone was complaining about the first map. This was confusing. Anyway, it will be changed in the future to something more conventional.

Icantthinkofanickname Registered 23 January 2014, 20:45

Tronyn: That is weird. I have not played the demo on its own, but to me the first map was the highlight of the pack (but then I do seem to be the odd one out. I seem to be the only one who disliked the dominance of button-searching in the later maps).

Maybe those who later complained about the first map just liked the other maps much more when the full episode was released?

Tronyn Guest 23 January 2014, 22:53

I see what you mean, PulSar's map and my Dis Aliter Visum I/II are all very gloomy and mazelike; overlapping routes are probably easier in outdoor maps where you can actually see how the route overlaps, rather than finding "what, I'm in this room again?" in a series of pretty but similarly-designed dark rooms.

Icantthinkofanickname Registered 23 January 2014, 23:24

Maybe that is part of the issue, but what I meant was rather that in order proceed through these maps, you basically need to solve very similar puzzles over and over: you never get very far before you reach a locked door and have to go searching for x number of buttons.

That is of course fine as a gameplay device, as it slows things down and makes level progression about more than just running and shooting, but because it was the same mechanic over and over, it felt very artificial to me after a while -- it was too obvious that I was in a game level, as opposed to a real (albeit otherworldly) place, if that makes sense.

Plus, it got frustrating because I started getting the feeling that I could not really move very far and explore or get lost in the map I was in, because pretty soon I would hit the next locked door, and receive the same instructions.

I am speaking from memory here and would need to replay this episode, but: I seem to remember that this was most pronounced in Dei Iudicium, which I really felt was the kind of setting the player should be able to move through more freely (barring resistance from monsters, of course. Loved the spiders here, by the way).

Sorry for being so wordy and I hope this makes at least some sense. As I said, I am obviously the odd one out, so you probably should not be listening to me, but those are my two (constructive, not negative) cents.

PuLSaR Registered 5 November 2015, 17:21

Why can't I find this with 'pulsar' filter?

Lo Frag Traff Guest 3 December 2018, 7:35

quake injector wouldn't install it.

it lets you play the game without the drake mod, so what would happen if i continued without using the drake mod?

i read the read me file, but i didn't understand it.

i tried to manually add the drake mod to the fresh installation done by the quake injector, but not sure if the folder is correctly titled, or if i have placed it incorrectly.

i would prefer to use the quake injector, as this is supposed to make this easier, as i hate messing about with mods/maps manually, easpecially coming back to it after 6 years.

i have to re-learn all over again!

negke Registered 3 December 2018, 9:22

It doesn't work in the Injector, because there's no DB entry for Drake. I just changed it so that Arcanum now uses Something Wicked as dependency which includes a new version of Drake (downside is a bigger download). This should work, but let us know if you run into any serious errors.

Do not play the maps without Drake, you'd miss out on many monsters, items and weapons.

Lo Frag Traff Guest 3 December 2018, 14:10


first time qi installed 'something wicked', the second time it didn't.

i see the console message arcstart,bsp not found?

incidfentally the unforgiven works off the bat in qi and it uses the drake mod.

i pressed play on the qi and it goes straight into the game.

also, the installation of the drake and arcanum mods in the quake folder are in the reverse to the unforgiven.

the drake contents went into the unforgiven folder, whereas with arcanum, the arcanum folder went into the drake folder?

it all seems a bit arse about face?

the first time

negke Registered 3 December 2018, 16:19

Tbh the QI dependency system here is quite barebone and breaks easily. Try it manually. You need to extract into a folder that already has the Drake stuff (either quake\drake\ or quake\something_wicked) maintaining any directory structure the zip has, e.g. quake\drake\maps\arcanum1.bsp etc). If you use Quakespasm, simply type in the console "game drake" or whatever the mod folder is and it should work.

Lo Frag Traff Guest 3 December 2018, 18:46

yep, that worked, cheers!

that start map is pissing me off something terrible!

brunomiwa Registered 9 January 2019, 0:08


bhlaab Registered 12 July 2019, 4:41

Pretty good maps, although sometimes you're left to wander aimlessly, usually after you get a key.

The additional monsters aren't my favorite, especially the necromancer guys. In particular, the final battle just seemed like a huge clusterfuck rather than any sort of skill challenge.

The new weapons were pretty nice.

olebumma Guest 3 September 2019, 4:14

I used Quakespasm to play this, alongside the version of the Drake mod recommended in the notes, but for whatever reason, if I quit the game and enter it back to resume the game from my savefiles, that's when all the entities get misidentified and get glitchy.

I'm now using the most recent version of the Drake mod, which is the following:

so far, all those issues that I've encountered with the previous version seem to have been solved. my savegames work just fine now.

whirlstr Registered 1 January 2020, 21:22

As expected of Tronyn work, the maps in this set are pretty, large, and chock-full of monsters to kill. There are some new monsters and extra weapons in the Drake mod. The new monsters are all fun to fight, except for the shielded necromancer who can be annoying. Besides the chainsaw the new weapons felt pretty unnecessary, but nothing is replaced so that's no problem. The levels are mostly very well-designed & fun, with the exception of the final boss fight. There's 4 wizards and they teleport around, summon shields, and inflict status effects so frequently that it just feels like an incoherent mess.

Normally I play on hard but I dropped it to medium for this set, expecting some hardcore difficulty; however, it was actually a bit too easy on medium due to an abundance of megahealth and red armor, so I would recommend jumping into skill 2 if you're half-decent at Quake.

gormless.player Registered 4 January 2020, 1:57

The first time I tried Arcanum I also had the problem of the entities being mucked up between saves. I saw negke’s comment so I thought I’d retry it by installing into my “Something Wicked” folder as described in his comment on the 3rd December 2018. It worked and I didn’t experience the entities being mucked up. By installing into Wicked I also got the enhanced Super Shot Gun and Super Nail Gun which are good though the downside is I often ended gibbing ogres so was not able to collect their rockets. Though this was not such a problem by time I’d got to episode 3.

Episode 1 I thought this a bit tedious having to axe your way through hordes of zombies. It also has very annoying background music you can't turn off.

Episode 2 Large underground library(?) with an abyss in places. There’s not much health (or not enough for my limited combat skills), consequentially I was frequently below 50% and I ran out of shotgun shells several times as well. The episode has good rewards for finding secrets. I try to play economically with my ammo i.e. don't pickup a box of 50 nails if I’ve got a lot more than 150. There weren’t many short cuts so if some pickup was missed because it was not needed at the time it can be a bit of a trek to go back and get it. The Warlocks are really tough to beat and there was little opportunity for infighting as there were not many attacks of with differing enemies.

Episode 3 A large IK blue cathedral of nice construction and good secrets. However, one secret involves a blood pool which once entered seems to be impossible to jump out of and I couldn’t find another way out, I had to fly. There were tough enemies but fortunately I’d found the Ice Arrows and in one instance a quad damage with rockets was pretty handy too. There’s plenty of ammo and mega healths as one progresses. The best bit was using the wand from a safe distance to push some fiends into blood pool where they drowned, that saved a lot of ammo.

The lack of short cuts but is not really criticism because map comes from era where that mechanism is less expected.

Episode 4 A huge IK blue library. If you can keep out of way them, the ogres raining grenades from upper levels was useful for killing other enemies though time consuming while waiting around for this to happen. There are good supplies of ammo and power-ups. Later on the ogres on high passageways are replaced by Vores making progress difficult for a while though at least there’s enough cover and you should have the rocket launcher at that point for rocket sniping. There was one place where I had to pick up an unneeded item to operate a switch. I also found I got stuck at the top of the last ladder and had to run up it not to get stuck. This episode has short cuts so its much easier to go back and gather items forgone because they weren’t needed at the time. Plenty of health, ammo and armour. Good secrets with useful items too. The Ice arrows really helped at end to defeat the last Shambler and Minotaurs.

Episode 5 I fell off Shub-Niggurath in wrong place and got stuck. I tried again and fell off in another place and still got stuck. A ridiculously hard (again for my limited combat skills) “kill everything to progress” type of episode. I got bored with it in the end and didn’t bother finishing it.

Episodes 3 and 4 were my favourites parts and merit a 4 at least.

I like Tronyn’s maps. It’s a pity he doesn’t seem to be making them any more.

Gioyo3aa Registered 31 January 2020, 14:13

Both parts of Dis Aliter Visum reminded me of Tronyn's In A Forest of Flesh, they would have come together nicely in an episode.

I had a rough start with this episode because the "axe-zombies-in-the-dark" opening was too tough for me. I tried my best but in the end finished the last three of them in God mode because it simply was too frustrating, especially given that some of them are standing on tombs and therefore quite hard to kill before they deal damage (oh, and don't forget the damn dogs).

Except for that part, the rest was quite enjoyable. I found some problems here and there, especially with the entities when reloading a saved game (which is why I can't finish the last map), so I'll try playing it using Something Wicked instead of Drake.

In Dis Aliter Visum I, I'm told that I've found a secret artifact in a central pool of blood but nothing shows up. Worse, I can't exit the pool afterwards without noclipping. And in the same level, there's a big door which won't open, giving a "Not Yet ..." message. I was curious to see if I had missed some big secret, so I noclipped, but there's nothing behind it. Too bad.

ICARO Guest 5 March 2020, 22:49

One of the best quake´s experience ever!

The Silent Registered 13 March 2020, 1:32

Got back to Arcanum after letting it marinate for some 9 years, and I gotta say that , as with ARWOP, I enjoyed it much more this time around. Still does not work with the Injector, had to manually create a shortcut and play from there. I do have both Drake and Something Wicked installed, but starting from Injector keeps popping up the "can't find arcstart.bsp" (all the maps are inside Quake/Drake/Maps). And there's still that ugly secret that you can't get out of in Arcanum 3. 5 stars.

Escalate_krsk Registered 13 October 2020, 17:36

Immensely enjoyed this mission pack. 5 levels with great combat (challenge + balance), Tronyn's fine work. As usual in his mods, the mages are present... after Coven of Ebony and Soul of Evil, they feel almost like vanilla Quake enemies already). Gameplay feels slightly different from SoE... more like classic Id maps, but with usual Tronyn combat.

  • Drake mod changes are great! Powered-up shotgun, faster chaingun, uber-Mjolnir... Better gibbing and decapitation.
  • New guns... the crossbow is basically railgun/BFG of the mod. Chainsaw is as great as in other mods it appears in. The Wand is my favourite... it's adapted Heretic weapon (Elven Wand), looks and works similar, but has a charge-up attack.
  • SPOILERS... Final boss(es) were great. Four archmages I read about here in the comments turned out to be... different, each one! Great stuff)) With the re-appearing armor and health they were too easy (but I played on normal). The new Shub-Niggurath-like beast and its death made the ending very climactic.
  • Maps. All of them, including ones not made but Tronyn, were superb and felt very... Id!

All in all, a mod worth playing! 5/5.

huanlopan 1 January 2021, 12:52

Arcanum4 is absolutely hellish for nightmare/shotgun start. Holy shit. Great episode.

[This comment had to be restored. See this thread for context. This means that there might be problems with its formatting or content missing. The information if the user posted while being logged in was not restored. -Spirit]

Frost Guest 15 August 2021, 16:45

SPOILER (Nightmare + Hell location)

Kind of late here, but just in case someone is having trouble finding the 2 secret skill levels (one of which isn't even mentioned in the readme, afaik).

For nightmare: go to the "hard" skill room and, after the pillar goes down, stay on top of it and wait until it goes back up. Then, jump to the other side of the portal/gate and enter the tunnel. Swim down and keep going until you find the Nightmare portal.

For the "Hell" skill, repeat the process in front of the Nightmare portal (pillar goes down, stay on top of it, etc etc). Not sure about all the differences, but enemies respawn in "Hell" skill. No good for a first run, lol

Frost Guest 15 August 2021, 16:47

Forgot to mention (about the "hell" skill): enter the nightmare portal from the back

Jehannum Registered 16 July 2022, 22:04

As I am with most of Tronyn's work, I'm in awe of this episode. The Drake mod is icing on the cake and really makes it all work. The maps are beautiful, ornate, and detailed with interesting brushwork.

I played this on skill 1, which was probably all I wanted at times, especially the end battle which is much more than the usual. I'll probably go back so time and try it on skill 2 just to see.

Arcanum goes to my top ten Quake episodes. Thanks and I really do hope to see some new work from the author!

Gioyo3aa Registered 16 July 2022, 23:57

Frost: thanks for the tips! But does Hell mode work on your setup? Right before ending arcstart, I can see that the skill level has been changed to 4, but by the time the first actual map starts it's been changed back to 3.

Jehannum Registered 18 July 2022, 0:38

Ha! I did manage to successfully finish the episode on skill 2. I had one ice bolt left at the end and it had no visible effect on any of the end bosses.

What fun this was!

ComfyByTheFire Registered 1 August 2022, 1:56

This has been one of the most fun episodes I've played in a long while, basically more contract revoked knave stuff with the best representation of drake shenanigans that I've seen so far.

Alex Ros Registered 25 January 2023, 16:27

Some maps felt better to me personally, some worse, but in general it was pretty solid dark fantasy experience. I am not a fan of hordish battles when you just boringly running in circles - such encounters are perhaps my one & only complaint. Otherwise I liked mood style atmosphere... environmental storytelling. Kudos!

Michael Guest 22 May 2023, 1:39

yeah based i am enjoying this

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