Neverwinter Nights

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Neverwinter Nights is a series of video games based on the Dungeons & Dragons setting of the Forgotten Realms. There was the OG MMORPG, but what most people remember are the two games BioWare and Obsidian respectively released.

Neverwinter Nights 1991 Coverart.png

The Original[edit]

Neverwinter Nights, published in 1991 by Strategic Simulations and developed by Stormfront Studios, was a multiplayer online role-playing game, with gameplay similar to the Gold Box games, that ran on AOL from 1991 to 1997. Coincidentally, it was also the first to display graphics instead of being fully text-based like MUDs. It had guilds, events, and a hell of a dedicated fanbase: as they remade it in Neverwinter Nights and kept it running until 2012. Also in 2012, some autist dedicated grognard released a singeplayer version of it for the Forgotten Realms Unlimited Adventures, which is essentially a RPG construction kit. Find it here.

Near the end of it's run, it had about 115,000 players with around 2000 of them active at the same time. It's success was what drove BioWare to acquire the rights to the Neverwinter Nights name, which became the game's most people know and love today.

There's a great archive here

Bioware's Neverwinter Nights[edit]

Neverwinter Nights 1 cover.jpg

For most, the first in good, and moddable, RPG series. For others, their first introduction to sex mods and online ERP. Most surviving online servers are the ERP ones. Not just that, but the sex mods are some of the only ones still actively developed. For example, an actual sex animation framework was released in 2017, before that it was all fade-to-black.

Released in 2002, the gameplay is based on 3e, albeit with some changes to accommodate the fact it's a video game and not a pen-and-paper game. Differing from the engine Baldur's Gate used, the game was no longer isometric. Also gone was the party, instead you have "henchmen" that you boss around. Or you could actually play the official campaigns in LAN or online multiplayer, and it was fucking kickass. Online servers, however, were a nightmare to manage as a DM: while 3D DnD was amazing, it was terrible if you had to improvise something on the fly and, because video game, it's impossible for players to have real freedom to fuck around and ruin fucking everything (but that's actually a bonus, no?).

The main draw of the game, however, wasn't that it had an amazing story (it wasn't), it was the modules. Like Morrowind, BioWare released a tool to create mods to the game, called the Aurora Toolset. One could make all kinds of mods with it: campaign modules, new items, modders resources like models and effects, There were even premium modules, usually made by members of the community known for their excellent quality, that were sold by BioWare. One example is the group DLA, of which some members actually got hired by BioWare.

A few base-game things are, if you don't play community-made modules, unused. You can input a subrace (not a selector, a text input), but the base game doesn't make use of it (only a single premium module does, and some community modules). For that reason it's advisable to focus more on combat than, say, the Ride skill (which is only used in a single premium module and a few community modules).

The plot of the main game is simple (spoiler warning): The Wailing Plague is sweeping the city of Neverwinter, and there are four creatures who are needed to create a cure. Luckily for you, they already have those creatures. You, a simple dude or dudette in Neverwinter's academy for adventurers (I'm not even kidding). Except just as you complete your training and they're making the cure, Desther, a cleric working at the academy turns out to be an agent of a cult, attacks the academy causing the four Waterdhavian creatures scatter into the city! Oh no! Lady Aribeth, a half-elven paladin of Tyr, one of your instructors and wielder of the mighty boob-plate, then sends you on a mission to recover the creatures, and fuck up Desther. Obviously, you recover the creatures and kill the traitor (and get his assistant Fenthick, who was trying to redeem him and also Aribeth's lover, hanged). Then, you and Aribeth start investigating the cult, which happens to be responsible for the plague. While you're doing that, Aribeth's joins the cult: because of her desire for revenge for hanging Fenthick unjustly, the cult's leader Morag (a sarrukh) appears to her in a dream and convinces her to fall (making her a blackguard). The cult leads a full blown assault on the city, and you either kill Aribeth or convince her to surrender (which, in a later expansion, was explained to her being executed as well). Then the cure for the plague is actually made and distributed. Fin.

WIP: Expansions, premium modules, and popular community modules.

Obsidian's Neverwinter Nights 2[edit]

Neverwinter: the MMORPG[edit]

There's a new MMORPG of it now. It's okay, playable, but nothing special. TotalBiscuit made a video on it during it's beta.