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Neverwinter Nights 2

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Neverwinter Nights 2
Basic Information
Realm year(s) 1374 DR
Developer Obsidian Entertainment
Publisher Atari
Released 2006
Genre Role-playing game
Modes Single player, multiplayer
Ratings ESRB: Teen (13+)
Technical Information
Engine Electron engine
Platform(s) PC (Windows), Macintosh
Media CD, DVD
System requirements 2 GHz CPU, 512 MB RAM, 128 MB video card RAM, 8X CD-ROM drive, DirectX 9.0c, 5.5 GB available hard disk space, Windows XP)

Neverwinter Nights 2 (NWN2) is a computer role-playing game developed by Obsidian Entertainment and published by Atari. It is the sequel to BioWare's Neverwinter Nights (NWN). Where NWN was based on the Dungeons & Dragons 3rd edition rules, NWN2 is based on Dungeons & Dragons 3.5 edition rules (also known as the Revised 3rd Edition), changed to adapt to real-time gameplay. It was released in North America on November 1, 2006. Reviews of Neverwinter Nights 2 have been generally positive.[1] Gamespot[2] and IGN[3] both rated the game favorably.

Official campaignEdit

Comparable to the first NWN, gameplay starts by creating a character. Options include choosing the character's gender, race, class, appearance, and name. The player can also customize statistics and abilities.

The official campaign in NWN2 provides a pool of 12 NPCs who would join the player's party. In addition, the player can now gain or lose influence with party members, which will dictate outcomes to certain quests or even set strife inside the party. The crafting system from the original Neverwinter Nights has been revised, and players can now craft weapons, shields and armor, mix up potions, or create magical items with special "workbenches" scattered in towns and shops. Players will also be able to acquire a stronghold during the course of the campaign.

The game's locations include the city of Neverwinter, a new village named West Harbor, and the Mere of Dead Men. New NPCs include Jalboun of the Two Blades and the King of Shadows; Lord Nasher Alagondar returns from Neverwinter Nights.

The official campaign is set around the city of Neverwinter, although it will not be a continuation of the NWN campaign. It has been stated that a character playing through the official campaigns of NWN and its two expansion packs will have reached around level 30, so there is little that will be a credible 'challenge' to those players. In the NWN2 campaign, players start from level 1, and there is a level 20 maximum and the option to multiclass the player's character up to 4 classes (3 regular classes in addition to 1 prestige class). The official fact sheet says:

Bards sing tales of heroes from ages past, but never have the Forgotten Realms so desperately needed a champion. Years have passed since the war between Luskan and Neverwinter, almost enough time for the wounds of war to heal. But the brief peace the Realms have known may be at an end. Tension growing between the mighty city-states means the Sword Coast again teeters on the edge of open war. Unnoticed, a greater danger stalks the City of Skilled Hands. Unbeknownst to the denizens of the North, deep in the Mere of Dead Men, dark forces from across the Realms have been rallied under the banner of a legendary evil. If left unchallenged, all of the North is doomed to fall under its power.

Even in this darkest hour, hope remains. A mysterious relic is borne to Neverwinter in the hands of a lone hero so that its secrets may be unlocked - secrets that carry the fate of all the North. So begins an epic tale of shattered alliances, noble acts and dark deeds to be told across the Realms for generations to come.

[4]

Plot summaryEdit

NWN2 box This article or section is about elements from the game Neverwinter Nights 2.


PreludeEdit

The main plot of Neverwinter Nights 2 centers around a powerful force of evil named the King of Shadows and an artifact that can ultimately defeat the arch-foe. The protagonist starts out as a resident of the tiny village of West Harbor, which long ago served as a titanic battleground where the King of Shadows was thought defeated by most. The player character's fate is intricately tied to this historical battle, where the character's parents were killed, resulting in the infant character coming under the foster care of the elven ranger Daeghun. As the game begins, these events are long in the past, and the infant has grown to a young adult, never having left West Harbor.

Act IEdit

The plot kicks off with the sudden invasion of West Harbor by extraplanar creatures called Githyanki and their hordes of minions. The Githyanki seem to be searching for something, and through cryptic exposition by the player character's foster father Daeghun, we are given to understand that there is something special about a particular silver shard found years ago at the King of Shadows' defeat, and that this object should not fall into the hands of the planar creatures. Daeghun sends the protagonist away from West Harbor with the silver shard, ostensibly to remove the object of the invaders' search from the village and thus prevent any further invasions. The player character, the "shard-bearer", embarks on a journey from West Harbor towards the city of Neverwinter, where Daeghun's brother possesses a similar silver shard, which might hold the answers as to why these shards are so important.

On the way to Neverwinter, the player character needs to go through a number of minor quests, and during them meets the first three companions -- Khelgar is a dwarven fighter who wants to become a monk, Neeshka is a self-interested tiefling rogue, and Elanee is an elven druid discovering that evil is spreading over the land and destroying her druidic circle. These three will be the player's only (and mandatory) companions until the party reaches Neverwinter, at which time the player gains more control over the party composition.

Ultimately, these early quests are completed to such a point that the party arrives at Neverwinter and talks with Daeghun's brother Duncan, which moves the plot forward by introducing a number of minor plot elements, most importantly the necessity of talking to Aldanon the Sage, who might be able to divine more about the nature of the silver shards. Unfortunately, Aldanon lives in a quarantined district, and in order to gain access, the player has two plot avenues open -- choosing to join the City Watch, or to work with the thieves' guild. Both routes have a number of minor quests before access is gained to Aldanon. During the Watch/Guild quests the party continues to be pursued by the Githyanki and their minions who wish to retrieve the silver shards, and additional NPCs/potential companions are introduced and join the party.

Eventually, the party works their way through to Aldanon, and discovers that a key character to unlocking the secret of the silver shards is one Shandra Jerro, a farm-woman the party met briefly on a minor quest prior to Neverwinter. The Githyanki, however, are one step ahead, kidnapping Shandra and using her as bait to lure in the player character. This sets the stage for the final confrontation of Act I, where the party ventures to the Githyanki lair to save Shandra and defeat the Githyanki once and for all. In this final confrontation it turns out that the silver shards are fragments of a powerful weapon, and it is discovered how the player character is tied to the shards in a very special way. With the Githyanki defeated once and for all, Shandra rescued, and a greater understanding gained of the silver shards and the player's part in them, Act I concludes.

Act IIEdit

Some weeks later, Shandra joins the party, as it has been decided that since she still holds a key to unlocking some further mysteries regarding the shards, she remains in danger, and she will be safer with the party than without them. She becomes a mandatory party member for most of Act II, expanding the party size to five -- the normal party of four, plus Shandra as well.

This act is perhaps the least combat-intensive of the three acts. With the Githyanki threat routed, a new enemy now becomes evident -- a more insidious one, as the Luskan ambassador to Neverwinter, one Torio Claven, frames the player character for the massacre of a Luskan town. By low justice, a commoner accused of such a crime would be extradited to Luskan to face trial in that evil city, but the authorities of Neverwinter concoct a plan for the protagonist to become the squire of a Neverwintan knight, thus becoming subject to high justice and able to hold trial in Neverwinter. A significant part of Act II is taken up by non-combatant investigation as the party gathers evidence to prove the protagonist's innocence, leading up to a very lengthy trial sequence heavy with social skill rolls. The investigation and trial sequences heavily showcase the party member Sand, a sarcastic intellectual elven wizard who for personal reasons takes enjoyment in foiling the Luskan framing plans.

Torio's scheming is ultimately undone, the protagonist is cleared, and the plot moves on to chasing down Torio's master, the evil wizard Black Garius who is in league with the King of Shadows. The party barely manages to interrupt a ceremony where Garius planned to betray the King of Shadows and take the evil entity's power for his own. Garius is thus defeated -- seemingly so, at least -- and the protagonist is awarded Garius' stronghold, Crossroad Keep, by the Neverwintan ruler Lord Nasher, making the player character a landed noble. Continuing with Act II's emphasis on non-combat matters, the protagonist goes on to spend significant time rebuilding the keep and pacifying the lands around it.

Act II then races towards a conclusion, with Garius and his minions Torio and Lorne all defeated. Shandra's subplot now picks up, as the party heads to a hidden stronghold of Shandra's ancestor Ammon Jerro, where Shandra's blood should theoretically open the way into the haven, where answers could be found regarding the silver shards. In a way, this indeed works, however upon entrance into the haven, Shandra is separated from the rest of the party, and discovers the haven to contain a number of trapped demons.

This climactic sequence features Shandra, guided by the suspiciously altruistic demons, discovering her ability to teleport within the haven, and trying to learn to control it. At the same time, the party races against time to try to make their way to Shandra before the demons get what they want out of her and the proverbial shoe drops. Alas, the party instead runs into the master of the haven -- Shandra's ancestor Ammon Jerro, whom the party may assume to be working for the King of Shadows. The confrontation turns volatile, with the party fighting Ammon, who is at the peak of his power within the haven. He is about to slay the party, when Shandra chooses to free the demons who were Ammon's power source. Bereft of vast power, Ammon becomes vulnerable, flees from the party, and slays Shandra in retribution, only realizing that she is his descendant when she is already irrevocably dying. Act II concludes with Shandra's death scene at Ammon's hands, and Ammon subsequently surrendering to the party once he realizes what he's done.

Act IIIEdit

Act III picks up with the party's composition finalized. Many party members are in shock from Shandra's death, and some desire vengeance upon Ammon Jerro, however this cannot be fulfilled as Ammon has completed a ritual which makes his presence mandatory if the King of Shadows is to be defeated. Thus, Ammon takes Shandra's place as a party member despite most peoples' loathing for him.

The main antagonist of this act is the King of Shadows himself. A darkness is spreading across the land, undead minions rise, forming a growing threat, and this final act consists of recruiting help against the King of Shadows. Improving Crossroad Keep, finding allies and convincing them to join arms against the King of Shadows are the main thrusts of Act III. Ultimately, after enough power-gathering quests have been done, the enemy lays siege upon Crossroad Keep and has to be rebuffed. With the siege defeated and the enemy's army on the run, it is finally time to take the battle to the King of Shadows himself.

Armed with the reforged Silver Sword of Gith, the protagonist and the entire party invade the dark stronghold of the King of Shadows, where the entity is finally confronted. Some ill-treated party members might be enticed by the King's offers of power and might turn on the party during the final battle, and even the protagonist himself or herself may be tempted to join up forces with the darkness. Whether light or darkness ultimately prevails, depends on the protagonist's choices in this last encounter.

Races and subracesEdit

The following races and subraces appear in the official campaign:

Human 
The most common D&D race in existence. There are no human subraces in Neverwinter Nights 2.
Planetouched 
Planetouched races were originally sorted as human subraces (such as in Icewind Dale 2), but are now considered their own race. There are two Planetouched subraces: Aasimar and tiefling.
Elf 
There are four subraces of elf available: Dark elf (drow), moon elf, sun elf, and wood elf.
Dwarf 
There are three subraces of dwarf available: Shield dwarf, gold dwarf, and gray dwarf (duergar)
Gnome 
There are two subraces of gnome available: Deep gnome (svirfneblin) and rock gnome
Halfling
There are two subraces of halfling available: Lightfoot halfling and strongheart halfling
Half-elf
Half-orc

CompanionsEdit

Companions are listed in the order in which they join the party.

FeaturesEdit

Game clientEdit

As with the original NWN, NWN2 supports multiple players. Players are able to control parties with up to 3 non-player characters. The party system has been revised to include 'companions' rather than 'henchmen'.

Claims for character creation include advanced character customization, scaling of characters and monster, and deeper equipment customization. The game supports subraces in addition to the primary races. Static 2D portraits have been replaced with 3D avatars.

All of the base classes from NWN are present, and the Warlock base class has been added. Characters can choose up to four classes, up from the three supported in NWN. One of the four classes is reserved for a prestige class. All prestige classes from NWN are present in NWN2 except for the Shifter. New prestige classes include Arcane Trickster, Neverwinter Nine, Shadow Thief of Amn, Warpriest, Duelist, and Frenzied Berserker. More closely following Forgotten Realms terminology, Champion of Torm has been renamed Divine Champion and Harper Scout is now Harper Agent.

Characters are limited to 20th level.

NWN2 provides some form of support for many of the deities based on characters alignment, race and class.

NWN2 has a more complete crafting system based on appropriate skills than NWN. This system can be used to customize the visual appearance of weapons and armor, but only when the item is created.

ExclusionsEdit

The following features are not in the initial release. It remains possible that some or all of these features may be added in future expansion packs.

  • Epic levels, epic feats and epic abilities that are available in Neverwinter Nights: Hordes of the Underdark are not available for NWN2 (though epic feats do exist in the game code and can be taken when used with the givefeat command). Epic levels return with the expansion pack Mask of the Betrayer.
  • The Shifter prestige class has been removed.
  • The Mystic Theurge and Sacred Fist prestige classes were planned, but later cut out due to time constraints. Sacred fist was subsequently implemented in Mask of the Betrayer.
  • Psionics are not implemented, although Illithid NPCs will have psionic-like powers. This was considered a design decision; psionic abilities would require the addition of a separate ruleset.
  • Riding will not be implemented in the initial release, although non-rideable horses may be included. As with psionics, above, mounted combat would require an additional ruleset, as well as a major re-balancing of game mechanics. However, some game boxes and marketing materials mistakenly list mounted combat as a game feature.
  • Skills such as sense motive, climb, swim, and jump are not included.
  • Flight and levitation are not included.
  • Familiars have been reduced from fantasy creatures to real life animals that serve minimal purpose compared to the first game.
  • The persuade skill has been removed and replaced with diplomacy.

Production Team Edit

ExpansionsEdit

  • An expansion pack for NWN2 was announced on 12th April 2007 and released September 27th of the same year. It was called Mask of the Betrayer. It continues the story of the protagonist from the original game after they are kidnapped from the King of Shadows' stronghold and wake up in a cave, soon revealed to be located in far off Rashemen. This expansion introduces epic levels and a new item crafting system among other things.
  • The first Premium module for NWN2 called Mysteries of Westgate was announced shortly after Mask of the Betrayer had been released, being developed by 3rd party team Ossian Studios who had made Darkness over Daggerford, a mod originally intended to be a premium module for the original Neverwinter Nights that proved incredibly popular with fans when it was released for free. The module is set nearly entirely inside the city of Westgate and involves a plot revolving around a cursed treasure and the Night Masks organization. The mod was delayed due to Atari's opinion that it lacked proper copy protection, which caused an outcry amongst fans, and its release has been slid back into 2009.[6]
  • A second expansion pack named Storm of Zehir was revealed to be in development at E3 2008. The game's selling points are supposed to be going back to the Baldur's Gate and Icewind Dale features of a fully customizable party, non-linear plotline and overland map. The plotline involves traveling to Samarach by ship with Volo, when a severe storm hits the ship is destroyed and your party, with Volo are washed up on a beach and attacked by Batiri. Volo lives up to his reputation and you eventually come into conflict with a particularly militaristic group of Yuan-ti. The expansion was released on November 18, 2008 in North America, and December 4, 2008 in Australia.[7]

ReferencesEdit

  1. Rotten Tomatoes. Retrieved on 2007-01-17.: 100% positive reviews, average rating 8.5/10, 6 reviews considered. Metacritic. Retrieved on 2007-01-17.: average rating 82/100, 39 reviews considered. Game Rankings. Retrieved on 2007-01-17.: average rating 82/100, 45 reviews considered.
  2. "Neverwinter Nights 2" at GameSpot (2006-11-01). Retrieved on 2006-11-17.: 8.6/10, "Great".
  3. "Neverwinter Nights 2 Review" at IGN (2006-11-03). Retrieved on 2006-11-17.: 8.6/10, "Great".
  4. ToTheGame - Neverwinter Nights 2 (PC) - Previews, Reviews, Interviews, Screenshots, Cheats, Release Date. Retrieved on 2006-03-17.
  5. Nwvault article
  6. [1]
  7. [2]

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