Another Saturday night found us with a small group, just the three of us from last week. That meant a chance to continue our look at Neverwinter Nights 2 and the original campaign that came with the game.
In anticipation of this, I actually ran Sigwerd, my rogue, through the tutorial again to pick up the bits I forgot, like how to use a ranged weapon. It seems as simple as equipping both the weapon AND the ammo, something I somehow missed on the first pass through.
I also went and remapped some of the default keys. I moved PAUSE from the space bar, since my trained reaction in any such game is to hit the space bar to jump, leading to an annoying number of awkwardly timed pauses for everybody in game. I also changed the movement keys so that they were the same for all of the character modes. I am not sure who thought it would be a good plan for them to be different by default.
As the grouping hour approached, the next big test came. Could we resume a saved game as a group. One would assume “yes” I suppose. But NWN2 is really a single player game that your friends can join you in, so Potshot, who was hosting the game, was the one to save it. I wasn’t not completely confident that we could simply carry on from where we left off.
My concerns were unfounded though. Potshot was able to restore the game for himself, and then the two of us were able to join as well (port forwarding continued to work for me). I think the implication here is that other people could join or we could sit out a session. He isn’t dependent on us showing up, though we are dependent on him running the game. We were together again where we left off, at the Inn.
Once there, it was time for some warm ups and then back to the story in progress. All of which appears after the cut because I go on for pages as usual, plus there are some actual spoilers for the campaign. If you choose to continue from this point, you have been warned.
The first thing we did was a bit of practice with skills and spells. Last week was primarily about just getting connected and actually doing something… anything… as a group in NWN2. This time around we wanted to try to do things a bit better. Mrs. Potshot’s druid, whom I will refer to as Peri because the name she chose was long and unspellable, got herself up on heals and buffs.
There is a limitation on buffs enforced by the fact that they go away the moment the caster rests. So barkskin might be good for an hour, but Peri resting kills it immediately.
Meanwhile, I tried some rogue things with Sigwerd.
The odd thing about Sigwerd going stealthy is that only I could see him in his semi-transparent sneak mode. To the rest of the party, I was just walking around slowly, no different than when I was moving slowly to check for traps and the like. Potshot said he thought I was role playing. I have to remember to call out that I am in stealth so we don’t commit the classic “unstealthed characters follow the rogue” blunder.
Once we got ourselves warmed up, it was time to figure out what to do. We were standing around in the Inn. Everything seemed to have been looted. It took us a bit to figure out that we were done and that our next move was just to exit through the front door.
Exiting put us in a dialog with Khelgar, the stereotypical fighting and drinking dwarf, that sets up the reasons he will accompany us. Basically, the story wants him along for the ride, so no matter what you say to him, I do not thing you can rid yourself of him. So the pugnacious dwarf was along for the ride.
We moved to the next location, the area around Fort Locke where it was… daylight.
This was quite a contrast. It was night in the town where we started. The lizardman swamp was in a murky fog. The inn was was likewise in some sort of pea soup atmosphere. And then suddenly it was sunny and green and happy as we ran along the road.
Which was bound to mean trouble.
I had Fraps up and running to take some screen shots, as among the sins of NWN2 is over compression of images, and I accidentally took a video of us running in this new, green area.
And into the wolves, which were indistinguishable from Peri’s pet wolf. (Direct link to the video.)
Almost MMO-like, our movement there. Unfortunately, Fraps doesn’t seem to record my voice on the channel, so you only hear Potshot commenting on the nice scenery.
But it was time to get into the fight. I was able to put my ranged attack theories to the test. I stood back and let fly. Eventually I figured out that if I simply clicked once on an enemy, Sigwerd would continue to shoot arrows until the enemy was dead, keeping clicking to a minimum.
We dispatched the wolves handily, then moved on, running into our first real encounter, Neeshka the nattering nabob of nonsense.
We came upon Neeshka as she was being accosted by guards from Fort Locke. They were accosting her, according to Neeshka’s later account, merely because she was a tiefling, a human/demon mix. The horns just get her on people’s bad side right away she told us.
Our interaction options with the guards made it clear that we were there to rescue Neeshka from the petty tyrant of a patrol leader and his haughty tone. The dialog wouldn’t let us, a group of neutral aligned passers by, avoid it, though we tried, ending up with something along the lines of:
Party: Don’t let us get in the way of your murdering.
Leader: Hah, I wasn’t going to let you hinder us!
Party: Good, we’re glad. Now go enjoy your murder fest while we move along.
Leader: You arrogant swine won’t stop us!
And so we left some more corpses in our wake.
After the fight Neeshka joined our party… again, the dialog allowed no other option… then told us her sad story about how the guards at Fort Locke kill her kind on sight and how she was NOT a damsel in distress. So we had another NPC in tow.
Of course, immediately after that we walked right into Fort Locke, which was about 50 yards down the road, where nobody gave her a glance. I suspect she may have been lying about other details as well. Of course, given the symbol chosen for the garrison, there might have been other reasons.
The enormous amount of red tape in the bush appeared to be keeping the garrison from doing just about anything. That patrol leader we offed mere steps from the front gates appeared to be the only guy with initiative in the whole place. You see where that gets you.
The problem appeared to be the absence of the commander of Fort Locke, who had gone missing. Instead there was Lt. Anton, who seemed absorbed with some missing strawberry ice cream rather than the state of affairs at the Fort. Rather than taking action on his own, he was content to hire us to go look for the missing commander and a few other patrols that had gone missing. There were 200 gold pieces on the table if we succeeded. I tried to negotiate that up to 300, but clearly hadn’t put enough skill points into diplomacy.
Another mission. Another scenery transition.
The world is not seamless in NWN2. You jump from a scene to scene essentially, skipping most of bridges between locations. We were off to find the commander of Fort Locke, the next waypoint in the story. However, the game appeared to have rolled a D6 which came up 1, so we were re-routed to a random encounter. The D&D tradition of wandering monsters for the win.
In this case, we were put into a small area on the road where some brigands had set up a toll booth. They wanted some money to let us pass. Or we could fight them. We chose the latter and beat them into the ground. That will show them!
That done, we move on from what ended up being just a tiny section of road and woods and to our destination.
Good bye sunshine. Hello dark, zombie infested graveyard. That’s more like it.
And at this point I am going to chop this post in half. It is just turning out too long. Plus I have no other posts planned for this week. So welcome to my first two-parter instance group post!
Part two now posted here.