Convince me to play Neverwinter Nights

I haven’t played D&D since second edition. I enjoyed it at the time and still like computer RPG’s. The module maker looks to be a fantastic addition into the game; however, I don’t know if the game is going to be very fun. What are the pros and cons of it? Can you edit and put in your own music? How does the multiplayer game function?

I played it quite a bit for a while, mostly online, and then started getting into making modules. The gameplay really varies depending on the module you are playing - the original campaign that comes with it is very combat intensive (so much so they had to lower the XP you get for killing monsters by a factor of 10 to keep you from advancing too fast), though it does have a few more interesting quests with multiple outcomes. You really only have control over one character, though you can issue commands to your henchman (you are only allowed one) or your familiars and other summoned beings. Interface is fairly intuitive once you get the hang of it, and playing online can be a lot of fun. A lot of people run servers that are essentially just arenas for testing your skill against other players, some are just shops, some run episodes of the original campaign as co-operative play, and some run various modules that have been created by the community. This is the greatest thing about NWN.

A lot of the more well known modules have been re-made by devoted fans, and some of these adaptations are quite good. Many people have explored what you can do with the more complex functions of the editor and have made modules that effectively play like a different game - one, for instance, had a rather linear plot where your character discovers you are a lycanthrope while on a quest for revenge against a church that killed your family. There is a pretty good adaptation of the original Ravenloft module, complete with alternate endings and the visions of the past and future. And there is a lot of simple, badly done schlock and places that are essentially chat rooms.

The editor is pretty easy to use. Within an hour of playing with it you should be able to make a single-level dungeon with monsters, treasure, scripted NPCs, various placeables, etc. Then you can go find out on message boards how to do the other stuff you want to do. Over the course of a couple of weeks I made a rather largish module (especially for the time, there are much bigger ones now) which could take a character from level 1 to level 20 in about 6 hours of play (I did not like the toned down experience rewards). It included some game mechanics that were not in the original game, like the bleeding to death rules, and a lot of customized monsters and items. 95% of that I was able to do with just drop down menus and going through various ‘wizards’ (not the D&D kind, the series of menus that walk you through configuring things on your computer), 4% was typing dialogue trees for my NPCs, and 1% of it was anything that resembled actual programming (which in my case was just changing values in the built-in scripts for doing things like changing alignment and stuff). Since then they have added patches to make some things even easier to do - I had to figure out how to set up quests pretty much on my own, now they have a wizard that walks you through one, step by step. I was really impressed with what I was able to do, but I kept running into a creative wall whenever I tried to create a new module and have since lost the discs. If you decide to play the game, please try my module - it’s very weird, it started as a parody of the dungeon crawls my old DM used to run, and a few days into the project my wife announced she was leaving me, so the next level was a very dark (literally) and evil level, and it just kinda evolved from there.

Here’s the link. It got a favorable review (linked to on that page), but this was back in the early days of the NWN mod community, and I didn’t have much competition back then. There are a lot better ones out there (the Penultima series is very slick and professional).

Heh, I was re-reading the readme file for my module, and some of the bug fixes and changes are pretty humorous…

Actually, don’t get Neverwinter Nights. It sucketh! Really, it sucketh so much you have to grab a copy to see how much it sucketh! A chance to laugh how stupid D&D 3rd edition is and how boring Bioware DMs could get with their NPCs and plots…

(I was hoping that reverse-psyhology work…)

The only redeeming point about Neverwinter Nights is its potential - with its capable scripting system there have to be a module (or a series of modules) out there which you will really like. I seriously recommend getting Neverwinter Nights just for the Penulimta and Penultima Rerolled custom modules. Now and then a rare gem of a module popped up which makes you wonder why Bioware didn’t hire those people to do the storyline.

The second redeeming point about Neverwinter Nights is the upcoming expansion - Prestige Classes! And the campagin is now handled by some other company other than Bioware (I can’t remember what the studio’s previous projects were, but somehow the mention of that studio brings assurance. Don’t press me why!).

The third redeeming point is Multi-player. Actually, Neverwinter Nights is to be played Multi-player. A solo-game lacks the tactical precision of Baldur Gates and it’s actually worse than Diablo II 'cos there’s not much fun role-playing with NPCs (a few good modules actually do single-player quite well, but defintely not the official campagin). Best is if you could find DMs who could really DM…

Other than those reasons, and especially if you could meet up with your gaming group once per month, I consider skipping Neverwinter Nights.

My 2 copper piece and a +1 shortsword advice.

NWN was a huge disappointment. Pick up Baldur’s Gate 2 or Planescape: Torment instead. Those game are brilliant.

The module editor is pretty straightforward, but you’ll have to have some experience with programming to put together anything more complex than a string of rooms filled with monsters.

Multiplayer was supposed to be NWN’s big draw, but I felt it fell flat. If you’re into real role-playing, good luck finding anyone to play with. If you’re just into a random hack-fest, you’ll enjoy it.

I’ll hold my breath 'til you play it! :smiley:

I disagree with that. You would be surprised what you could do without writing a line of your own code, and that was with the original release, I understand they’ve added more wizards for walking you through creating the more complex elements of a module since then.

Without any coding you can make a character that addresses the player differently based on their sex, class, and alignment, and that will give a character a quest under a couple of different conditions - say, if the character makes a Charisma check or talked to the man’s wife in town first. The quest could be to kill a certain person, or to deliver an item to someone, or to collect a certain herb, whatever. Then you can make that character give the player a reward when they returned after completing the quest (XP, gold, items, all done with wizards), and set flags on the player that will make other characters in the module address him differently if you so choose. You could also make that NPC cast spells on you, attack you, run away from you, whatever, choosing the conditions for different actions from a series of menus - absolutely no coding. The only things I did in the game that required some programming experience can be done now with the wizards, and just by looking at the scripts created by the wizards I could figure out what values I needed to change to do what I wanted on my own. The stuff like bleeding to death rules I just cut and pasted a script from another module and edited it a bit.

I’m working on a Persistent World for Neverwinter now, and it will be ready soon. Multiplayer is definitely the best way to go- and I have to back up Badtz’s and LostCause’s points about multiplayer modules and good DMs.

I’m always looking for more players, and in about 2 weeks I’ll have something ready to go for old-time D&D players- the NWN version of the Temple of Elemental Evil, starting with the Village of Hommlet.

A selfish reason, but I’m sure you’ll have a good time if you play. The biggest plus in playing NWN over PnP games is that the DM doesn’t have to watch players like a hawk with respect to used potions, spells used, hit points, encumbrance, etc…

How does one get onto the multiplayer track here? Also, does one have to pay for it?

You don’t have to pay. You go to multiplayer, and bring up a list of servers, which tells what module they are running, the name of the server, and how many players are on right now. You choose a server and jump on. The modules are designed in a way so that for most of them you don’t have to download anything to play them, it downloads automatically when you connect to a server running that module. Some servers will require you to create a new character that they will store on that server, while others allow you to bring outside characters in. If you have a character you like on one of the persistent world servers you can always save a copy of that character to your computer and use it in other mods.

It’s also easy to host a server, choose a module (one you downloaded or created), set the number of players you will allow (unless you have a high-speed connection I recomend keeping that figure low, though back when I had a cable modem I had no problem hosting a game with a dozen or so players on at once), and start it up. You can join your own server as a player, or you can be the dungeon master, which allows you to possess monsters or NPCs, create new items, give experience to players, etc. I used to load up my module and just let it run, and come check in on it every now and then (which is part of the reason why I made the monsters respawn, otherwise people would log on to my server and find a bunch of empty rooms), sometimes possessing a monster and having it curse at a player before attacking it, or lead the player into a trap, or something like that.

OOO! Tell me more about hosting your own server? It woud be nice to have a perpetual world such as the one Steelerphan mentions above but I don’t know if I want to go through all the trouble of creating one. But let’s say for example, I do create one, in theory I could host it off my own PC, and play it with a group of friends (assuming you can password protect the game so only those you want can join)?

I’ve hosted on a slow computer, and the big problem was lag- a Pentium 500 and 56k is not a recommended configuration for hosting. That explains my delay- I’m waiting for my tax rebate so that I can get a faster machine.

It’s easy to set up a server, and the good thing about NWN is that once you buy the game you have access to the GameSpy server to find other games and to list your own. You can list as open or password-protected, and if you don’t want someone just wandering in a password is recommended.

There is no trouble in creating a server other than a few steps to set it up. You can run your game a preset times, or set your server up to run the game all the time- a persistent World- but be ready to go in and repopulate or you have to set up your module to respawn creatures.

As a DM, you can create monsters and NPCs at a whim, heal or kill players, take control of monsters (and have them do more than just attack,) create items as needed, change the time of day, take things from players, give magic and XP to players… the list is long.

The weaknesses? Everything is not converted yet. No frogs, snakes, ability to fly, ability to go underwater- in fact, almost everything is on a flat plane (with minor elevation changes only.) The tileset is limited and the scaling is also restricted, leaving building interiors much too large in respect to the interior. But these can be worked around.

Can you also play in first person view? If not are there mods available that can change it to first person view? That was my main gripe about Shadowbane and many of the other computer rpgs out there.

Not quite first-person view; I think they just ignored the sky. You can get chase-car, top-down, and normal camera options; you can also zoom in but there is no way to look up. I think they would have to use a different engine for a FPS view; you do not have much choice along the Z-axis.

DMing can be a lot of fun, especially if you are a fast typer and can make up a story on the run. I never actually did this, but it would be insanely easy to just make a map and some non-scripted NPCs, and follow the party around making up the adventure as you went for them - possess a guy in the inn and have them tell about some goblins outside of town, and when the adventurers go out there spawn a bunch of goblins there. I actually enjoyed constructing dialogue trees, though, so my module ran itself with no DM intervention, and that’s the way a good 90% of them are.

Hosting a server can be fun because you can make up an NPC and possess them, and accompany the party through the dungeon, and they won’t know you’re not a player - I did this sometimes so I could help them out if they couldn’t figure out some of the puzzles. Listen in on what they are expecting, and use your DM interface to hide things they want in chests and stuff.

I actually never played anything D&D before NWN, but I’m sure I’ve wasted many many hours on the game since I bought it. I agree that multiplayer is the way to go because the NPC’s are a bit lacking in the original game. A lot of the modules available on GameSpy are very good and run on excellent servers. If you wanted to run your own game with just you and your friends, all you have to do is password protect it and let them know what it is.

Another neat little thing the server can do when setting up the game is remove the level restrictions for all the items. I prefer to play just with the armor and weaponry my character can handle, but it’s fun sometimes to use insanely good stuff (like a level 62 short sword :)).

I highly recommend the game. Have fun! :stuck_out_tongue:

Well, I discovered that there are a lot of “hak paks” out there and one supposedly had a camera angle/first person view" made into it; however, it was disabled for this current version. I had played the game when it first came out but the original lack of first person view made it very frustrating. I downloaded the hakpak and found that the adjustments to the camera make the game pretty playable even without the first person view supported. I hope the guy who made the hakpak goes back and finds out what the bug causing problem was and fixes it. Then the game will be immensely immersive and quite fun.