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Character Design Migrate Wizard 2015-11-12 4 years 2 months ago

In previous articles I’ve talked a lot about plot, the use of realism, and started some discussion on the use of puzzles in games (which I intend to come back to with a synthesis of the discussion) but let’s get to the front of writing an RPG – characters.

A Pen & Paper Perspective Migrate Wizard 2015-11-09 4 years 2 months ago

Or: Things a mod designer might wish to think about before opening the toolset...

A Player's NWN2 Teething Pains Migrate Wizard 2015-11-12 4 years 2 months ago

So, Neverwinter Nights 2 has officially been out for 5 days now, and the Bioware forums are full of pleas for help and answers/suggestions as what to do for **. ( Help that has been forthcoming from Obsidian and the community at large) . We are a community of players who have become wizards at our favourite game, Neverwinter Nights, and suddenly with NWN2, we are plunged into the deepest of hells, and fumble around just trying to move in this new incarnation of our game, never mind having to learn a totally new interface. Well, OK, so maybe some of you have not felt like that, I certainly see evidence of it in the forums posts proclaiming "It runs like a dream on my system" Some with lower end systems are also finding no problem with the adjustment, and if anything, that gives me heart; for if this is true, then surely I, an avid lover of NWN and all it is, can learn this new system and play my most favourite game?

A Whole Lot to Say in One Editorial dwinblood 2015-11-09 2 years 2 months ago

Well, I had been planning on trudging into the editorial world to discuss what is evil and playing evil characters as was done last month. You know how it is though I got side tracked by all my Neverwinter Nights projects. Then lo and behold a continuous stream of editorials continues to hit the vault discussing epic levels. It is the entire to be or not to be discussion. So, in this editorial I will touch on those two topics and will also discuss some suggestions for making this game “fun” to play.

ALFA - First Steps Migrate Wizard 2015-11-09 4 years 2 months ago

So today was the launch of ALFA and it was a great excuse to get to do some playing thanks to some press passes from the team. After logging in at their website I was taken to the member's page which had links for their hak pack (80MB) and a large list of addresses for their servers. Taking note of the password, I downloaded the file and started off on the server run by Mandos, ALFA's project administrator which covered Arabel.

Alignment Editorial (Different View) Migrate Wizard 2015-11-09 4 years 2 months ago

Mandos of ALFA recently presented a good view on what he felt the different alignments in AD&D (now just D&D again) meant. However, I felt that much of what he posted were more personal views rather then general rules of thumbs other DMs and players could use for their own information. Therefore, I've taken some time to write this as a "different view" of alignments.

An Uphill Battle Migrate Wizard 2015-11-09 4 years 2 months ago

As an old-time Neverwinter Nights player, it is hard to see how the magic of Neverwinter can be recaptured. Here is a small amount of information on the ‘old Neverwinter’ that may put things in perspective for people who never had the opportunity to play.

Before Final - Module Creation From a Player's Perspective Migrate Wizard 2015-11-09 4 years 2 months ago

I have downloaded and played through quite a few modules now and have observed quite a few common threads, both good and bad, that have appeared in most of the modules. So, in part to aid those module builders out there, here are some things that I think will help you minimize some of the nastier comments I've seen (and made).

Beta Be Prepared! Migrate Wizard 2015-11-09 4 years 2 months ago

Picture a scene familiar to many of us - several oddly-clad folk sitting around a table that's always too small, character sheets blanketing the surface, multi-colored polyhedron dice gleaming like gems abandoned by Snow White's septet of dwarves, all eagerly discussing the transformation of a beloved game into what promises to be one of the most amazing computer games ever created. We talk of the upcoming Beta and all hope to be included, but I am struck by the thought, "Are we really ready for Beta and all that it entails?"

If you're as much of a DnD junkie as my gaming cohorts and I are, your immediate response is an emphatic affirmative. Let's consider, just for a moment, all that the Beta test will require of those lucky enough to be selected by the BioWare crew.

Building a Better Mousetrap - The Villain in Neverwinter Nights Migrate Wizard 2015-11-09 4 years 2 months ago

I recently edited an article written by Michael Barjin at Neverwinter Vault called “The Nature of Villains.” The goal of his article was to describe how a module builder might “create a good villain”. He gave tips on what to think about when creating a villain for Neverwinter Nights: the background (what created the villain); the motivation (what does the villain want); and the play (what to do with your villain).

Even though English is not Michael’s first language, his article did make me think about the opportunity that we will have as creators with Neverwinter Nights. In literature and especially in movies, the reader or moviegoer connects with the villain in various ways. This connection creates an emotional attachment for the viewer (or reader). When done well, the antagonist can raise the level of the work involved to a higher level.

One of the greatest draws of Neverwinter Nights is the opportunity for game designers or Dungeon Masters to create stories that others can play through and enjoy. One of the greatest challenges with Neverwinter Nights will be to create villains that will stir the hearts of our players. What follows is an attempt to address this challenge, and it will be presented in three parts

Customize Me! Migrate Wizard 2015-11-09 4 years 2 months ago

One of the things I'm looking forward to in NWN is the ability to create adventures for my friends. Off-the-shelf adventures can be fun, but it's so much more fun to tailor a game to the things you and your friends enjoy most. I want a game where the tools are provided and I can use my own creativity, my knowledge of my friends' interests and even inside jokes to make an awesome adventure.

Dark Century PW Visit Migrate Wizard 2015-11-09 4 years 2 months ago

The module starts you in the town, and what a town it is. It takes you several minutes to walk across once you know your way around. The maps have been fully explored for you, so you don't have to walk to every corner to see the full town. No area breaches a 256 tile limit, so load times are kept to a minimum. Dark Century also makes use of a Linked Server system. This coupled with a new journal system allow more players to play the game at a time.

Dear Strumpet - Aligned With Evil? Migrate Wizard 2015-11-09 4 years 3 months ago

Dear Strumpet,

I need your help. I’m afraid my life’s devotion is going to go unfulfilled simply because the unwashed masses refuse to recognize a major threat to their collective existence without said threat having a fancy name. It’s as if the populace is under some spell of a marketing genius and won’t give you the time of day unless you’ve got a banner or a slogan attached to your identity.

Dear Strumpet - Barbarian Thong Migrate Wizard 2015-11-09 4 years 3 months ago

Dear Strumpet,

For the last five years I’ve been traveling throughout the countryside plying my trade as an adventurer. I’m a barbarian by birth, but my mother always encouraged me to expand my horizons so whenever possible I’ve taken the time to educate myself with reading or conversing with the local bard on ancient lore. Now I’m used to adversity, as a female warrior I am accustomed to the uphill battle in making a name for myself and earning respect. As time went on however, I eventually got some regular work defending small villages from marauders and thwarting an evil warlord or too.

Dear Strumpet - I'm Not An Ogre Migrate Wizard 2015-11-09 4 years 3 months ago

Dear Strumpet,

I’m an alchemist running a small shop outside of Luskin and have run into a bit of a snag. While experimenting with two elixirs, I apparently distilled the wrong mixture of herbs and, well, now I’m an ogre. Just so you know, I’m not normally an ogre. Ask anyone! Well, anyone except my ex-wife, she’ll tell you a different story, but I digress.

Dear Strumpet - Racial Profiling Migrate Wizard 2015-11-09 4 years 3 months ago

Dear Strumpet,

Hopefully you can be of some help, since I’m all out of ideas. Most people would call me a Zombie. While it’s true that I’m undead, although the enlightened among us like to be called “metabolically different”, the term “zombie” is quite derogatory and has been twisted by popular culture. This racial profiling is getting quite out of control and I’m not sure what to do. It’s been months since I’ve walked down the streets at night without people running away screaming “Help!! The zombie will eat our brains!”

Dear Strumpet - Vampire Victim Bites Back Migrate Wizard 2015-11-09 4 years 3 months ago

Dear Strumpet,

I’ve been around for the past 200 years and this is the first time something like this has happened to me, and I’m at a loss as to what to do. I’m a vampire that is very active on the social scenes. I’m often invited to town events due to my natural charms but something happened at this last social event that has me flustered. Now contrary to popular belief, I don’t bite every young wench I see. I tend to be very selective, and even more selective with those that I choose to sire.

DMing a Successful Persistent Online World Migrate Wizard 2015-11-09 4 years 2 months ago

Dungeon Mastering is an art, and to be a successful artist you have to know how to weave an intriguing story, make believable, realistic characters, and keep combat exciting for many more people than you would in a pen and paper campaign. Online DMs find themselves not having to take care of dice rolls or the character acting that is the trademark of a good PnP DM, making life a bit easier. Yet at the same time they lack the same environment that is having 6 people in the same room, sharing the energy, and having the body language to make their whole story believable. Online DMs also have a set world, with a set history and set rules in which they have to work with- the story and mechanics are not entirely up to them. PnP and Online games are far from alike, this is clear.

Gamers or Whiners? ("Gamers - The Fall of the Gaming Market") Migrate Wizard 2015-11-09 4 years 2 months ago

So I go to one of my local computer store and purchase a copy of Pool of Radiance (PoR).

Getting Alignments Straight Migrate Wizard 2015-11-11 4 years 2 months ago

I have a uniquely skewed vision of alignments which I hope some will find useful for creating characters (esp villains) of greater complexity and depth.

Gnome for the Holidays Migrate Wizard 2015-11-11 4 years 3 months ago

Since I am a creature of spontaneity rather than habit, I figured I would add my thoughts on the little fellows since Trent Oster seems to be such a fan and because of the recent issue of Dragon that extolled the benefits of playing a Gnome character.

How To Continue Getting Free Content Migrate Wizard 2015-11-11 4 years 2 months ago

Earlier last month, Rome decided to remove her modules, Tales of Celts because she felt that the only people commenting were those who didn't appreciate the work she had put in. Thankfully Steve Savicki saved the day by bringing it to my attention and I was able to get her to change mind and the modules are back. However I need your help so it doesn't happen again. Here are some things you can do to make sure that you can always enjoy free content.

In Baseball They Call it Timely Hitting - Robinson Workshop Aims for the Fences With NWN2 Content Migrate Wizard 2015-11-12 4 years 3 months ago

Every now and then I am going to write an article about my observations as site manager of the Neverwinter Vault. While we have many types of spotlights and entries that are requested by community members, these articles will be based solely by my feelings, observations, and slightly askew perspective. Because of this, take them at face value. Articles about Pale Masters are not slights against clerics or people who love to play them, they are merely articles about Pale Masters. Articles about NWN2 are not slights against NWN1, they are simply NWN2 articles.

Judging NWN Migrate Wizard 2015-11-11 4 years 2 months ago

After reading the interesting comments to the review post we made earlier I thought I would expand on it a bit. It may seem that one can review NWN on it's own, but my standing is that the game *is* the community. Let me give you the analogy that I am basing this on.

Linael Shepard krighaur 2018-01-30 2 years 4 weeks ago

I am back to modding NWN 2.

Matrix Thoughts Migrate Wizard 2015-11-11 4 years 2 months ago

Last night I saw Matrix Revolutions for the second time and wanted to share my thoughts on it.

Modules for the Masses - Headaches for the Designers Migrate Wizard 2015-11-11 4 years 2 months ago

After NWN hits the store shelves, there are going to be three basic types of adventures created by fans: modules for downloading and playing, campaigns designed by a DM for a specific group of players, and persistent online worlds. The purpose of the following summaries is to highlight the advantages and disadvantages of each type, as I see it.

Neverwinter Connections DM Class Migrate Wizard 2015-11-11 4 years 2 months ago

At 11:55 I received a message from Neverwinter Connections with the password to the DM class scheduled tonight. Jumping into my DM client, I used the direct connect button in the Lan section to get to their server and arrived in a small tiled room with seven chairs forming a circle. Handling the class was Clangeddin Silverbeard, the DM and staff member of Neverwinter Connections.

Neverwinter Nights - The Diamond That Awaits Every RPG Gamer Migrate Wizard 2015-11-11 4 years 2 months ago

I wrote this article after realising just how misunderstood Neverwinter Nights was and continues to be but the fact remained that many many players would find a nirvana in this package if only they know the possibilities that await them two and a half years after release. So I hope you find this short essay informative and a door to new horizons.

Nothing to see here, folks... Proleric 2014-01-28 5 years 2 months ago

Just moved a few old files across from the old Vault for safe keeping today.

NWN Economies Migrate Wizard 2015-11-11 4 years 2 months ago

One of my particular concerns in persistent world gaming is economics. Most games of the ilk have trade skills and a monetary system coupled with the sale and purchase of items with scripted game characters (vendors and store keeps). All these systems share something in common with the failed systems of collectivist economies like Soviet Russia or Nazi Germany, to whit; they are centrally directed and controlled.

NWN1 Class Packages & Their Descriptions In-Game FantasyObsessedRPGer 2014-07-06 5 years 2 months ago

A list of all NWN1 class packages as the game provides them, separated by class. In case anyone is curious to know what all of them are.

from-the-bioware-development-site Original Bioware Format Documentation Collection MetaPhaze 2014-04-10 5 years 2 months ago

These are the documentation files for third party tool developers released by bioware.

Persistent Misconceptions Migrate Wizard 2015-11-11 4 years 2 months ago

It seems that everybody and their brother has hopped aboard the rabid, bouncing badger of persistent world-creation in order to have their chance at righting all the perceived wrongs of games such as Asheron's Call, Everquest, Dark Age of Camelot and Ultima Online. What I keep hearing from these worlds is that although they plan to throw in a few modules, most are going to be carbon copies of the above MMORPGs, standing out only because they are following a different ruleset..

Players - What Makes Them Tick? Migrate Wizard 2015-11-11 4 years 2 months ago

Everyone loves a good story. It's what great DM's eat for breakfast. The stories we write, in a way, reveal to our audience (ie, our players) who we are and what we stand for in this life. The critical path of great stories is the development of empathy, and understanding, of the story's central participants and their varied circumstances. A good story takes us out of our own lives and puts us in someone elses' lives and allows us to come away with a greater understanding of ourselves in the process. But everyone finds their own meaning differently through the myriad of characters portrayed therein, and not always necessarily from the Protagonist, ie: "good guy." We sometimes like a movie, or a book, because of the bad guy. The bad guy helps us to define more clearly why we--for the most part--continue to stay and be good, for he is one more example of what we must never become. (Or, if you're bad yourself, the bad guy allows you to relate to someone.)

Project Dialogue Migrate Wizard 2015-11-11 4 years 2 months ago

A few weeks ago, I was trying to think about how the official campaign could have been improved upon, and I realized there's something that has been lost in the evolution of RPG games as far as BioWare handles it. I'm speaking of the dialogue between NPC characters and the more I think about it, the more I'm beginning to dislike the dialogue box. Yes it works very well, and the conversation editor in the toolset makes it really quite easy, but it's the closed system aspect of it that I think bothers me the most. By that I mean, the limited number of choices steering you through a set path.

Raising the Stakes - Tension is a Good Thing Migrate Wizard 2015-11-11 4 years 2 months ago

"Drama is life with the dull bits cut out." -Alfred Hitchcock

Everyone loves a good story, and in a roleplaying game, players get to be part of the story. Good stories, whether on film, in a book, in life or in games, need dramatic tension. By dramatic tension I mean anything that makes our hearts beat faster, and I’d argue that love and sex may do this in life, it rarely works that way in RPGs! So I think dramatic tension comes from having something at stake. When you care about something happening, and it might not go the way you want, you experience dramatic tension.

Rating System Editorials - Bayesian Method Migrate Wizard 2015-11-11 4 years 2 months ago

In short, the Bayesian method takes into account both the average score a module has received, and the total number of votes counted. Specifically, the more votes a module receives, the more "reliable" we may consider that average score to be (since more people agree on that score).

This doesn't mean that more votes always translates into a higher placement, however: if two mods have the same score and it is a low score, then the mod which has more votes will actually be placed lower in the rankings.

The technical details behind the Bayesian method are at the end of this article, but first let me address the pros and cons of the method.

Rating System Editorials - No System Change Migrate Wizard 2015-11-11 4 years 2 months ago

The voting system change being proposed by M.O.L.M. (Movement Of the Loud Minority) has rightly received a great deal of attention. I will start my article with why I am qualified to speak on this topic

Rating System Editorials - Trimmed Mean Migrate Wizard 2015-11-11 4 years 2 months ago

Trimmed Average or Trimmed Mean:

(From my old Statistics book) : Trimmed Mean is a comprimise between (True) Average and Median.

While True Average uses all data points (votes on our case) to determine a representative value for the set of data, Median excludes all values but the 1 to 2 "middle" values and uses this value(s) to determine the representative value. Trimmed Average of a data set excludes the highest and lowest X% of the data points and takes the average of the remainder.

Rating System Editorials - True Average Migrate Wizard 2015-11-11 4 years 2 months ago

True Means or All We Are Saying, Is Give Means A Chance

Scooterpb vs. Bioware - Initial Thoughts Migrate Wizard 2015-11-11 4 years 2 months ago

First off - let me say this: scooter did an amazing job.

Script, Schmipt! Let's Concentrate on the Story Migrate Wizard 2015-11-11 4 years 3 months ago

It seems everyone is getting into the NWN script, hoping to be able to add that little tweak to the existing category of critters and items shipped with the initial release. Neverwinter Vault and others are offering scripting courses and people are lining up, from the cursory DM who's looking to make his world just a little different to the hardcore programmers hellbent on mastering the script to really knock down the barriers of the initial game.

Datacenter Picture Server Hosting for NWN / NWN2 Servers. Baaleos 2013-06-20 5 years 2 months ago

Do you want to start running a Real Persistent World Server - with a 24/7 Uptime, hosted in a DataCenter with super fast connection,

Some Thoughts on Alignment Migrate Wizard 2015-11-11 4 years 2 months ago

An important part of your roleplaying experience is alignment. While a player should never feel pressure to pick a certain alignment; they should be held to their choice and to the logical ramifications of that choice. The biggest challenge facing players and DMs in terms of alignment is confusion over definitions. If you as a player have a very different standard of Lawful Good than I do as DM there will be problems.

Tales of Games Gone By.... Migrate Wizard 2015-11-11 4 years 2 months ago

I may be dating myself here, but I am one of those old pencil and paper D&D gamers that can remember when the game came with chits (little paper cutouts with numbers on them) that you would use to determine hits and damages. These would later be replaced with the various multisided dice. Those dice have been subsequently replaced by PCs. Editions of both regular D&D and AD&D have come and gone and slowly they have made the transition from the "tabletop" to the "desktop".

That Old Black Magic Migrate Wizard 2015-11-11 4 years 3 months ago

My gaming group and I have been playing in a very different campaign world, experiencing a very different sort of campaign. Whereas we are normally in a high-magic world where magic items are not that hard to come by, we are a group without much punch in the magic department. In fact, aside from our cleric, the only magic-using cohort is a sorcerous NPC. As I have reflected over the campaign, I have been thinking about the concept of magic in modules and persistent world settings.

Adventurer's Club Newsletter title The Adventurer's Club - A Call to Arms (AC0) Sir Adril 2014-07-20 5 years 2 months ago
The Amateur Designers Point of View - Or the Flip Side of the Coin Migrate Wizard 2015-11-11 4 years 2 months ago

As a novice/amateur module designer (Uluvin: Trouble in the Hills, and a follow-up currently in the testing stage), I read Vic Kappel's editorial with great interest. It was a very insightful and detailed read, with a lot of excellent suggestions for budding mod designers. However, in reading the editorial, it brought a few thoughts to mind. So to offer some suggestions to the player from the viewpoint of a designer, I offer the following, as sort of a reverse-rebuttal to Mr. Kappel's fine comments.

The Economy of a Virtual World - Thoughts From Behind the DM Screen Migrate Wizard 2015-11-11 4 years 2 months ago

Before I start down the road, I want to first make a few statements of clarification. There is another editorial on NWVault, by Mandos (AKA Major Bill Marcellino, USMC) titled NWN Economies. This is a great editorial, but it deals with persistent world economies and not static world economies, which is the focus of my editorial. The following analysis is almost exclusively relevant to static module design, not persistent worlds. While there has certainly been a boom in the Persistent World "market" (so to speak), I am not a fan of the MMORPG and I have never been. I leave such discussions to people with expertise in that area, like Mandos. On with the show...