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Module Mapping 103 - NPCs, Lighting, and Doors


This article is based on the Aurora NWN Toolset Beta version of the toolset released by BioWare in May of 2002.

In Module Mapping 102, we covered terrain placement and finished the Tutorial module. In this tutorial we will add NPCs to the previous module, set the lighting and create a crypt area complete with Area Transition doors.

Opening the Wydraz Tutorial 1 module, you may find that the Start Location on the pier is gone. Due to a minor bug (in the beta only), the Start Location will sink to the bottom of the sea if moved, or if F5 is pressed (the refresh function), or when the file is opened. So let's move the start point onto solid ground for now.

According to our developing story, the PC was brought to this village via the ship docked here. We'll make up the rest of the story later. For now, we need an NPC - the captain of the ship!

Creating an NPC:

From the Wizard menu, choose the Creature Wizard. The wizard steps us through each of the following screens:

  • Monster Type. This includes PC and NPC races. Our captain is a Gnome.
  • Class and Level. There is no sailor class, so we'll make him a 3rd level Commoner (deleting the default Fighter level by clicking on the red "X" button).
  • Appearance and Portrait. We choose a race, gender and portrait.
  • Faction. Since the captain is friendly, he shouldn't be in the default Hostile faction. Let's choose the Commoner Faction.
  • Name. We'll use "Captain Popeye". He is a sailor. Popeye the Sailor Gnome.TM
  • Select Palette Category. Here we choose a category for the NPC to be listed in the right-hand "blueprint" palette. We'll put him in the convenient Tutorial palette for easy access.
  • Review Statistics. A chance to look things over before clicking Next.
Finish. The basic blueprint is about to be added to the palette. Since we want to flesh out this NPC a bit more (and give him a uniform), we click on the box labeled "Launch Creature Properties" and check it. When we click Finish, the Creature Wizard is done and the NPC's blueprint is created, ready for us to place a copy of anywhere in the module.

The Creature Properties screen pops up next, and we can go to the Appearance tab to change heads and add tattoos. We'll pick a head with something that resembles a sailor's hat. A color button is available to change the skin, hair and tattoo colors. We can go to the Statistics tab to alter attributes - Popeye should have a better Strength than your ordinary Gnome.

Click the Inventory button to give the NPC clothing/armor, weapons, and other items. All the captain needs is a uniform, which we will have to create. On the right-hand side of the Inventory Contents screen it a list of categorized items. Click the New button, just below that.

This starts the Item Creation Wizard (which is usually accessed via the main menu under Wizards). It is similar to the Creature Wizard, and takes us through the paces. For the Item Type screen we select Armor - yes, ordinary clothing and armor are considered the same type of item. Next, on the Name screen, we'll type in "Sailor's Uniform". On the Select Palette Category screen, we'll put our uniform in the tutorial category. For the Finish, we click on the box labeled "Launch Item Properties" and check it, since we want to design the sailor's uniform's appearance.

On the Item Properties screen, we go to the Appearance tab to pick out the parts that will make a uniform, from boots to sleeves. A color button is available to change the colors for leather, cloth and metal (two each). Since a sailor's uniform is not armor, we should limit our choices for the Torso section from among the first eight selections (000 - 007). As the selection numbers get higher for the Torso, so does the Armor Class for the entire outfit. We'll chose selection 007, which gives the uniform an Armor Class of 0 (this is shown on the General tab of the Item Properties screen).

Now that the uniform is done, click OK. We are back at the Inventory Contents screen where we were going to give our NPC his uniform. Click and drag the Sailor's Uniform from the Custom Items palette onto the Armor slot in the Standard Equipment tab (left of the item palette). Click OK, and we are done!

Now we can place a copy of the captain on the map. On the Creature palette, click on his name (under the tutorial category) and then click on the ground near the pier.

A Little Terrain Editing

Our module has a cave (on the far west edge of the map), but let's remove that so we can place a crypt and utilize the Crypt tileset later.

Move the view in the Area Display window to the cave. Switch to the Terrain palette and find the Eraser terrain, and click on the cave to delete it. Confirm the deletion of the cave entrance "door" (which was automatically added when the cave was originally placed).

Next, place a Grave and a Mausoleum near the bridge.

Crypt Door:

Place a door in the Mausoleum's doorway, then right-click on it to bring up the Door Properties screen. Enter in the "Tag" field a unique name - such as "CryptDoorOutside". We need to note this for the inside of the crypt, which we will create shortly.


In the main menu under Edit, select Area Properties. Click on the Visual tab. Select Exterior Dark to change the area map to a late-night adventure. If you have Use Area Lighting checked (in the main menu under Scene), you will notice it get darker in the Area Display. Now that Mausoleum we placed looks a bit spookier.

In terrain mode, Right-click the Mausoleum tile to access the Tile Properties screen. Select some creepy colors for Main Light 1 and Main Light 2. Much spookier!

Adding to the Story

What good is a crypt without undead? We'll need a menacing undead creature, and a reason to defeat it. An NPC can easily introduce the players to this story.

We'll create a member of the village militia, named Gunther. Using the Creature Wizard, we can quickly click through the Next buttons (after naming him) to generate a first-level Fighter. We can also use the Item Wizard to create Gunther's armor and weapons: a suit of Chainmail, a Large Shield, and a Longsword. We place Gunther on the map by the bridge that is near the Mausoleum.

Now we need Gunther to tell his tale. In the main menu under Tools, select the Conversation Editor. Click on the Add button (at the top of the left row of icons), and input "Strange noises are coming from my great grandfather's crypt. Will you join me to investigate?" as the NPC Greeting and click OK. This greeting now appears in the main window under "root", after the name [OWNER]. Directly below on the lower half of the Conversation Editor is drop-down list labeled "Speaker Tag". Select Gunther as the Speaker Tag, and his name replaces "OWNER".

To allow the player to respond (and end the conversation), Click the Add button, and input "No", and click OK. Click the Add button again, and input "Yes", and click OK. Click the Save As button, and save the conversation. Click Done to exit the Conversation Editor. Right-click on Gunther in the Area Display and select Properties. In the Creature Properties screen, select the saved conversation from the drop-down list labeled "Conversation".

We have just created a very basic conversation. Later when we learn more about henchman scripting, we can have Gunther follow the PCs into the crypt.

Rather than have Gunther standing there in the dark, we can add some light using the Tile Properties screen. Of course, a Lamp Post would make the light more convincing, so let's place a copy of the Lamp Post from the object palette next to the road.

Placeable Object: Lamp Post

The placeable object palette is accessed by clicking on the table icon - just past midway in the second row of icons, in the right palette window area. The Lamp Post is under the Miscellaneous category.


The default state for a Lamp Post is Deactivated. Since it's night time, we want to light it up. Right-click on the placed Lamp Post and click on "Properties" to bring up the Placeable Object Properties screen. On the Advanced tab, select Activated from the drop-down list labeled "Open State". Click OK, and the Lamp is lit!
The Crypt

This is a simple 3x3 area. Using the Floor terrain we create a small 2x3 room. Click on an spot on the floor again to cycle randomly between different combinations of the floor and wall tile until a single built-in tomb appears.


Add a Stairs Up feature in the corner.

Add a door to the Stairs Up entrance, and on the Door Properties screen make the Tag, "CryptDoorInside".

On the Area Transition tab, click on the "Setup Area Transition" button to connect this door to the Mausoleum entrance on the village map.

Change the "Target Area" dropdown to the village area.

Find and select the "CrptDoorOutside" tag in the Available Doors list.

Click OK. That's all there is to it! Now when a player enters the Mausoleum, he will be moved inside the crypt and appear inside this door, and when he exit, he will appear outside the Mausoleum on the village map.

Finally, we will add a skeleton. Since this is a simple adventure for one first-level PC, we will create a skeleton that is less of a challenge than the Skeleton Warrior. Place a Skeleton Warrior on the map from the Standard Creature palette. Right-click to open the Creature Properties screen, and change it's name to Skeleton. Click the Inventory button and remove its Greatsword +1, since that's too powerful a weapon for first-level PCs. Instead, equip our new skeleton with a copy of the same longsword and shield we created for Gunther. On the Classes tab, reduce the skeleton's level to 1. On the Statistics tab, reduce base hit points to 8, and both Strength and Dexterity to 10. Now we have a basic, CR2 Skeleton that can be defeated more reasonably. We can add it to our Custom Creatures palette by right-clicking on the Skeleton.
You can experiment by making the crypt larger and adding more undead, and perhaps a little treasure. You can also use the Encounter Wizard to create an encounter that generates a number of Skeletons based on the size and strength of a group of PCs. We will cover more of the toolset functions in a future tutorial.


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