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Neverwinter Nights


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Neverwinter Nights (Games)
Neverwinter Nights (Games)
Neverwinter Nights (Games)
Neverwinter Nights (Games)
Neverwinter Nights (Games)
Neverwinter Nights (Games)
Neverwinter Nights (Games)
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Information about Neverwinter Nights

Neverwinter Nights (NWN), produced by BioWare and published by Infogrames (now Atari), is a third-person perspective computer role-playing game that is based on third edition Dungeons & Dragons and Forgotten Realms rules. It was originally to be published by Interplay Entertainment, but the publisher's financial difficulties forced the change. Infogrames released Neverwinter Nights for Windows on Jun. 18, 2002 (18 years ago). BioWare released the freely downloadable Linux (40 walls) Client in Jun. 2003 (17 years ago) (purchase of game still required). MacSoft released a Mac OS X port in Aug. 2003 (17 years ago). Two expansion packs were released in mid and late 2003 (17 years ago), and a third in 2005 (15 years ago). On Oct. 31, 2006 (14 years ago), the sequel Neverwinter Nights 2 was released followed by its first expansion in late 2007 (13 years ago) and its second one at the end of 2008 (12 years ago).

The game was based on the concept of building an internet-like model for a massively multiplayer game, allowing the end users to host the server. The belief was this model would create a potentially infinite massively multiplayer game framework. The game was named after the original Neverwinter Nights online game, the first graphical MMORPG, which ran from 1991 (29 years ago) to 1997 (23 years ago) on AOL.

The core release includes the game engine, a campaign that can be played as single player or multiplayer, and the Aurora toolset (for Windows only) used for creating custom content based on the same engine.

Play centers on the development of a character who becomes the ultimate hero of the story. In the original NWN scenario supplied with the game engine, the player is single-handedly responsible for defeating a powerful cult; collecting the four reagents required for stopping an insatiable plague; thwarting an attack on the city of Neverwinter, and many other side quests.

The first and final chapters of the story in the official campaign deal with the city of Neverwinter itself, but the lengthy mid-story requires the player to venture into the countryside and then northward to the city of Luskan. Neverwinter is a city on the Sword Coast of Faerûn, in the Forgotten Realms campaign setting of Dungeons and Dragons.


The story begins with the player character being sent by Lady Aribeth to recover four monsters needed to make a cure for the Wailing Death, a plague that is sweeping the city of Neverwinter. With the help of Fenthick Moss, Aribeth’s love interest, and Desther, Fenthick’s friend, the player character is able to retrieve the monsters. As he is collecting these monsters, he is attacked by mysterious assassins from the cult that is behind the spreading of the plague.

As the cure is being made, Castle Neverwinter is attacked by Desther’s minions. He takes the completed cure and escapes the castle, with the player character and Fenthick in pursuit. When they catch up to Desther, he surrenders after a short battle. Desther is sentenced to burn at the stake, and Fenthick, despite being unaware of Desther’s true intentions, is sentenced to hang.

Final showdown with Queen Morag. The encounter is complete with dynamic graphical effects.The player character meets up with Aribeth and they begin searching for the cult responsible for the plague and the attack on Neverwinter. With the help of Aarin Gend, Neverwinter's spymaster, the player character retrieves diaries of dead cultists and letters from a person named Maugrim, which convince Aribeth that the cult's headquarters are in Luskan. Aribeth goes ahead to Luskan, and the player character follows after speaking once more to Gend.

After arriving in Luskan, the player character hears rumors that Aribeth is joining with the cultists. These fears are confirmed when he finds her meeting with Maugrim and Morag, Queen of the Old Ones. They seek magical relics called Words of Power.

The player character retrieves all of the Words of Power except for one, held by the cult. He discovers that the words open a portal to a pocket world inside the Source Stone, where Morag and the other Old Ones are. He confronts Aribeth, and depending on how he handles the meeting, she either surrenders to the player character or he is forced to kill her. He then confronts Maugrim for the final word. He uses the words to enter the Source Stone and battle with Morag. After Morag's death, he escapes the stone as the world inside it implodes.

Original plot

A posting at the Neverwinter Nights 2 Vault on Jun. 4, 2008 (12 years ago) contained information from what appeared to be original Neverwinter Nights documentation. At the BioWare forums, Neverwinter Lead Designer Rob Bartel confirmed that the "series of excerpts from the game's design doc" were not a hoax. When asked if the plans were altered due to time constraints, Bartel referenced various legal difficulties that the company was working through.


As in Dungeons & Dragons, the first thing a player must do is create a character. One can choose the character's gender, race, character class, alignment, statistics (strength, dexterity, etc.), abilities (skills, feats, etc.), appearance, and name. There is a great deal of customization involved - one can be, for example, an outdoorsman (Ranger class), healer (Cleric class), and then choose the skills and feats that would help them the most (a Ranger might want the Animal Empathy skill, for example, while a Cleric would choose the Combat Casting feat).

The game is lengthy (original NWN has three CDs, while the expansions each add one CD - Later productions moved the entirety of the game to a single DVD). Following a small prelude, there are four "chapters" in the original game, with each chapter consisting of a general storyline (the first chapter, for example, deals with a mysterious plague in the city of Neverwinter), and within each chapter, there are many quests, subquests, and mini-storylines. Depending on specific quests completed, and specific items kept, some storylines are continued throughout the entire game (such as Henchman or Aribeth's tales). Completing many of the side quests will give your character more experience (and special items), making him/her level up faster and continue to make the game easier as you progress. For example, completing all quests in the first and second chapters will start you in Chapter 3 with a 13th level character, instead of a 10th.

The game's actual mechanics are based on the Dungeons & Dragons 3rd edition rule set – most important actions (fighting, persuasion, etc.) are based on a die roll. For example, when a fighter attacks, he would roll a 20-sided die (called a d20 in-game) to determine if he hits the target and then roll another die determined by the type of weapon (an 8-sided die (d8) for longsword, two 6-sided dice (2d6) for greatsword, 10-sided die (d10) for dwarven waraxe etc.) to determine damage dealt. Although nearly all actions are based on a dice roll, the player does not see the dice roll and it is calculated "Behind the scenes".


The robust multiplayer component separates Neverwinter Nights from previous Dungeons & Dragons games, as there are many servers for players to choose from. Each server, depending on hardware and bandwidth, can support up to 75 players on the same server application, additional players can join the same machine, on a different server, on a different port of the machine to give more player capacity, although this reduces game quality on low end machines. NWN game modules run as a variety of separate genres and themes, including persistent worlds (which are similar to MUDs), combat arenas (player versus player modules), whole servers dedicated to sexually oriented roleplay , and simple social gatherings similar to a chat room. The campaign included with the game can be played with friends, for example, or a team of builders can build a virtual world similar in scope and size to commercial MMORPGs. BioWare insists that these persistent worlds be free of charge, primarily for reasons of copyright law.

Many persistent worlds are still actively run with updates and improvements; notable examples include Amia, Antiworld, Avlis, Arelith, Arkaz, Bruehawks, Thain, Layonara, Escaped from Underdark: Archipelago, Stormnexus, and The World of Harry Potter. Servers can also be linked together, allowing the creation of large multi-server worlds. Two early examples include A Land Far Away and Confederation of Planes and Planets.

Because Neverwinter Nights lacks a global chat function aside from the supported Gamespy, players typically join "pickup" games through the game's multiplayer interface, or schedule games in advance with friends. Matchmaking sites, such as Neverwinter Connections, facilitate scheduling of games, and the experience is much like traditional Pen-and-Paper roleplaying games. Persistent worlds do this work for them by inviting players to visit their website and continue to roleplay there.

One important feature of Neverwinter Nights is the 'DM' or 'Dungeon Master' Client, a tool that allows an individual to take the role of the traditional 'Dungeon Master', who guides the players through the story, and has complete control of the server. While not the first game to utilize this feature (one previous example is a more basic version in the game Vampire: The Masquerade – Redemption, based on the printed gamebooks published by White Wolf), Neverwinter Nights had the most evolved version of this feature and thus arguably created one of the most 'immersive' RPG experiences currently available in CRPG gaming. The DM Client allowed players to participate in regular campaigns, while also allowing persistent-world servers to flourish by permitting the Dungeon Masters of those servers to possess NPCs 'on-the-fly' for added realism.


Master Drogan fights off a kobold attack at the start of Shadows of Undrentide.The Shadows of Undrentide (SoU) expansion scenario pack was released in Jun. 2003 (17 years ago). It added 5 prestige classes, 16 new creatures (two of them available as additional familiars), 3 new tilesets, and over 30 new feats and 50 new spells, as well as additional scripting abilities for those who use the Aurora toolkit. It featured a story line concerning a student sent out to recover some stolen magical objects. The story begins in the Silver Marches, eventually moving toward the desert of Anauroch and the old Netherese city of Undrentide.

In dec. 2003 (17 years ago), the Hordes of the Underdark (HotU) release expanded the level-cap to level 40 (epic levels), and added a number of spells and items appropriate to such characters, as well as adding further tilesets, prestige classes, feats, and abilities, and compatibility with the Intel Pentium 4 Processor, which was unsupported in previous versions. The story continued where Shadows of Undrentide ended, with a character of at least 12th level (if you began this expansion with a character below level 12, the game will level you up to 15), and led into the vast subterranean world known as the Underdark. The first chapter of the story took place in the Undermountain dungeon beneath the city of Waterdeep.

In Mar. 2004 (16 years ago), an expansion known as the Community Expansion Pack (CEP) based on community material was released. This freely downloadable expansion was compiled by members of the Neverwinter Nights community. It combines a selection of previously released custom content into one large hakpak. BioWare had no involvement in creating content for the CEP, but provided resources to help promote it. Players must add the CEP to a module with the toolset to use CEP content.

Though not actually expansion packs, Atari released subsequent editions of the game following its first release in 1999 (21 years ago). These editions are: Neverwinter Nights: Gold, which combines the original game with the Shadows of Undrentide expansion pack; Neverwinter Nights: Platinum (in Europe called Neverwinter Nights: Deluxe Edition), which combined all three NWN products and came on a single DVD-ROM or four CD-ROMs; and Neverwinter Nights: Diamond (in Europe called Neverwinter Nights Deluxe: Special Edition), which includes everything in the Platinum edition plus the three additional modules from the Kingmaker Expansion Pack.

As well, in early dec. 2003 (17 years ago), the Players Resource Consortium released the PRC, which is a group of hakpaks combined, which added classes, races, skills, and spells to the game. As of May 20, 2006 (14 years ago), the PRC now has roughly three times the number of prestige classes the original game had. It also adds dozens of epic spells, and many normal spells that make better use of BioWare's Aurora engine. These include: Teleportation, Transposition, Mazes, Summoning Houses and more. As well, psionic powers have been included, which are essentially spells, but done with "power points", akin to the sorcerer class. Much of the PRC pushes the engine in ways that the designers never intended, so caution is advised when making use of the hakpak.


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