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[AC: NWN1]Small Village Woes by BortSonofBort

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Berliad
[AC: NWN1]Small Village Woes by BortSonofBort

The third round of NWN1 Adventure clubbing will feature Small Village Woes by BortSonofBort!

Here are the details:

Game: NWN1

Module Name (and author): Small Village Woes by BortSonofBort

Neverwinter Vault Link: http://neverwintervault.org/project/nwn1/module/small-village-woes

Character starting level, requirements & info: Designed for level 1.  Weaker levels get a bump automagically at the module's start.  Skills that could be used include: Appraise, Buff, Craft Armor, Craft Trap, Craft Weapon, Lore, Perform, Persuade, Use Magic Device.

Estimated hours of play (if available): 5-7

Why submitted: This is an early Hall of Fame module that was recently revised, polished, and updated by the author.  I played a beta, but it has been updated since then.  I think it's a really fun little adventure module with a nice mix of whimsy, horror, and a little bit of depth as well.  I think it would make for a great discussion piece.

 

Feel free to chime in with your thoughts and comments whenever you complete the module!  

  • What did you think were the highlights of the module?
  • What aspects of the module surprised you?  Made you think?
  • How did you find the story overall?
  • What did you think of the atmosphere and ambiance (including visuals, audio, etc)?
  • What did you think of the combat?
  • Did you encounter any bugs?  Or other aspects of the module that could be improved?
  • What class did you play?  How do you think your choice of character impacted your experience in the module?
  • There is an interesting moral quandry in the middle third of the module: what to do about the orc-like barbarians, and how to react to what had been done to them in the past.  How did you and your character react to this?  What choices did you make?
  • The module features a custom shop system.  What did you think of it?  Advantages/disadvantages?

 

Blog | @berliad | Adventurers' Club | Hero's Path Module Lists [NWN1] [NWN2] | FRW Character Creator

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BortSonofBort
BortSonofBort's picture

Greetings All,

Life has been very busy.

I just now saw that you'll be traveling to the Small Village and using the latest upadate (1.30)! Please note there is a stray bug here or there that you might come into, and a few remaining spelling mistakes. I appreciate all feedback to correct bugs/spelling/grammar. Please also note that it has been reported that a ship object was located outside the playing space of an area--which may or may not affect Windows XP users and could potentially cause a game crash--that takes place when transitioning between floors at the Orchard. I have yet to confirm this, however.

And lastly, per the ReadMe file and module download page write-up:

"Skills underutilized: Skills that are not fully taken into consideration in this module are Appraise, Buff, Craft Armor, Craft Trap, Craft Weapon, Lore, Perform, Persuade, Use Magic Device."

...Meaning, the above skills are not especially scripted for in the current Small Village Woes update (1.30). Use the other skills!

And with that--thanks! Special thank you to Berliad for nominating. I very much look forward to reading about your adventures (and in detail if you have the bandwidth)! I think the spirit of Small Village Woes might be 'Halloween-ey' enough for you.

- BortSonofBort

 

Author of Module: Small Village Woes (v1.31)
Hall of Fame

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Hovering Sombrero
Hovering Sombrero's picture
  • What did you think were the highlights of the module?

The town populace that you get to interact with manage to have personality despite how few interactions the module's length allows with them. Extraordinary amounts of description text that is varied enough to be entertaining and informative. And personally I found the challenge to be well balanced. I was playing as a Fighter, which does well at low levels, but even so level 1 is hard to balance around, but I never got caught off guard and (thankfully) never axe-critted in the skull.

  • What aspects of the module surprised you?  Made you think?

The orchard family was well done on both accounts and the town grave digger got me to laugh and also feel a little unsettled. Farmer Fred creeped me out the most, though.  Also... what do the chickens mean? WHAT DO THE CHICKENS MEAN!?

  • How did you find the story overall?

The characters kept it fresh. Even though I could usually guess what was going to happen I was never quite sure how the NPCs would react, which gave the adventure a lot more charm.

  • What did you think of the atmosphere and ambiance (including visuals, audio, etc)?

Visuals and audio were well used. In Willy's shack I really wanted closing the door to stop the wind howling because it was making me feel chilly.

  • What did you think of the combat?

Challenging enough for a Fighter / Rogue. No critical mishaps or insta-deaths which is just perfect for low levels.

  • Did you encounter any bugs?  Or other aspects of the module that could be improved?

A few minor bugs I noticed and a big one.

1. In willy's shack, studded leather armor has a listed price of 100g but was not available with 108 gold.

2. In willy's weapon shack, bag of holding says it costs 50g but takes 25g. I guess that's a good thing?

3. The door behind Stableman Stan's barn still whispers after the house burns down.

4.  After raiding the barbarians and returning to town, there was a stack of bodies outside the previously-ransacked home. Not sure how many there were, the health displays scrolled off the screen. More than 15 bodies all in the same pose causing a lot of lag.

5. It is possible to claim the reward from Farmer Fred's first quest repeatedly.

  • What class did you play?  How do you think your choice of character impacted your experience in the module?

I went with a Fighter/Rogue 3:1 mix. Everything went smoothly with judicious application of healing items.

  • There is an interesting moral quandary in the middle third of the module: what to do about the orc-like barbarians, and how to react to what had been done to them in the past.  How did you and your character react to this?  What choices did you make?

I'm not sure what alternate routes there were, but I was playing a mercenary character and tended to go with the first job offered, not afraid to get my weapon bloody, but not out to take innocent lives. Orcs be dead, yo.

  • The module features a custom shop system.  What did you think of it?  Advantages/disadvantages?

I think the conversation system is better than the standard merchant interface. A bit more like old-timey general stores where you could haggle instead of the super-market-esque NWN interface. I think it would have been perfect if the menu was a little more in character and you could haggle the price down with Appraise. However, I know how much work making even the smallest functional conversation takes, so I'm glad I don't have to touch it.

Gently waving in the air above the meadow / Softly floating in the sky outside the window

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BortSonofBort
BortSonofBort's picture

I'll respond to all of the feedback in this thread with greater detail once more round-ups come in. But that being said, thank you to everyone in advance for helping make Small Village Woes a richer experience by giving me notes to chew on. 

Hovering Sombrero,

The Chicken Mystery and other village factoids and secrets can be more easily uncovered by playing as a class that can speak to animals.  

With MagicalMaster's help, also came the same suggestion about using Appraise in the merchant dialogue. I started to script the option in Willy's Weapon Hut, but realized it was going to take a wee bit more time than I had. I'm hoping to get to completing the additional Appraise function for Willy's Hut by November.

Many thanks,

BortSonOfBort

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BortSonofBort
BortSonofBort's picture

Hi All,

I just wanted to say that I'm currently correcting the loose bugs found in the latest Small Village Woes (1.30). I've hammered out 95% of the bugs that have been expressed to me since the module's re-release in the beginning of September. Once again, I'll be closing the chapter on Small Village Woes updates soon, so if there's any of you adventurers out there still experiencing what this Small Village has to offer, hopefully you'll be able to provide me with some feedback about your experience sooner than later.

Happy Halloween, everyone!

More soon,
BortSonofBort

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BortSonofBort
BortSonofBort's picture

Hovering Sombrero:

1. In willy's shack, studded leather armor has a listed price of 100g but was not available with 108 gold.

2. In willy's weapon shack, bag of holding says it costs 50g but takes 25g. I guess that's a good thing?

3. The door behind Stableman Stan's barn still whispers after the house burns down.

4.  After raiding the barbarians and returning to town, there was a stack of bodies outside the previously-ransacked home. Not sure how many there were, the health displays scrolled off the screen. More than 15 bodies all in the same pose causing a lot of lag.

5. It is possible to claim the reward from Farmer Fred's first quest repeatedly.


Hi Hovering Sombrero,

1. Fixed.

2. Fixed.

3. Fixed.

4. Were the bodies of zombies or villagers? Can you be more specific about the ransacked house where you found the bodies outside? Were the bodies outside on the ground in the Small Village area? (Thanks!)

5. Fixed.

Other notes from you (in italics):

"In Willy's shack I really wanted closing the door to stop the wind howling because it was making me feel chilly."

- Nice find! It's an area where the wind ambiant sound should have been lowered and wasn't. It should now be less chilly (quieter storm sounds) in Willy's Weapon Hut when the storms pick up.

"The characters kept it fresh. Even though I could usually guess what was going to happen I was never quite sure how the NPCs would react, which gave the adventure a lot more charm."

- I'm glad to hear of players having experiences like this. That was the intent. The hopefully entertaining cliche B-movie zombie module that is Small Village Woes would have a story that doesn't try to be entirely unique, in my mind. It was play off of retro/classic tropes. The interest would come from the world's personality and details. I'm glad that they worked for you!

"I think the conversation system is better than the standard merchant interface."

- I'm so glad you think so! A lot of time has gone into making it. It still has a lot of customization potential, too.

Thanks for your bug feedback, Hovering Sombrero! Feel free to ask me any questions you might have about your experience, as well.

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BortSonofBort
BortSonofBort's picture

Small Village Woes - 1.31 has been released.

It contains various bug fixes, spelling corrections, and other miscellaneous updates.

Thanks,
BortSonofBort

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Berliad
Well, I'm a bit late to the party, but I thought I'd toss in my thoughts! 
 
 
What did you think were the highlights of the module?
 
 
I thought it was a nice blend of whimsical, classic low-level adventure with some surprising twists and turns. I love modules this length. Long enough to tell a nice story, not so long that I can't finish in a few sessions. 
 
 
What aspects of the module surprised you? Made you think? 
 
 
See below! But also, I really enjoyed some of the combat, especially as the module progressed. 
 
 
How did you find the story overall?
 
 
Enjoyed, and appreciated that there were some twists. Most were not entirely unforeshadowed, but they weren't exactly expected either. 
 
 
What did you think of the atmosphere and ambiance (including visuals, audio, etc)?
 
 
 
Good attention to lighting and sound throughout kept me immersed! 
 
 
What did you think of the combat? 
 
 
Seemed just about right for my druid. I played in an earlier version, however, that started druids at level 2. Given the power of the druid's animal companion in NWN1, I think this was a bit too generous, and it has since been changed. 
 
 
Did you encounter any bugs? Or other aspects of the module that could be improved? 
 
 
I reported these a few months back, and I think all have been addressed! 
 
 
What class did you play? How do you think your choice of character impacted your experience in the module?
 
 
 
There were a few aspects of my druid that entered into play, though I missed some of the special quests that are apparently easier with a druid-type. I don't think it impacted my game very much, save for being able to use barkskin to AC my way through some encounters. 
 
 
There is an interesting moral quandry in the middle third of the module: what to do about the orc-like barbarians, and how to react to what had been done to them in the past. How did you and your character react to this? What choices did you make? 
 
 
I brought this up because I really liked this part of the module. The foreign barbarians seemed to have a point about the prejudice and even genocide they experienced from the humans of the village.  I liked how this was introduced, because it had me raising my eyebrow very early on, from the first villagers I met, before it was clear the author intended to raise the point.  But at the same time, these were still bad dudes. Their encampments were filled with the dismembered and tortured remains of the humans from the village, and presumably passing caravans as well. This was not a civilized, misunderstood group. It's interesting to wonder about whether how much of that, however, might stem from the way they had been treated in the past! 
 
 
Whether it's intentional or not, I think there's some interesting commentary on the role of religion (or, at least, religious leaders) in this module as well.  I didn't expect that at the beginning of the mod.
 
 
The module features a custom shop system. What did you think of it? Advantages/disadvantages? 
 
 
I enjoyed it, and found it very handy and easy to use. As I said to the author before, I can't imagine how long that took to set up. But it sure is a nice system to work with as executed. I really didn't miss the normal shop, though I don't think I'd be willing to invest the time it took to make it work right were I writing my own module.
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Olivier Leroux

I'm even later and not sure whether this club is still alive and whether it's okay to just jump in without invitation and give feedback on a game that was on the menu several months ago, but it just so happens that after a hiatus of several years in which I hardly touched NWN, I was looking for a module to play and stumbled across The Adventurer's Club and its recommendation for Small Village Woes, and so I just played through it. I hope it's alright to post my impressions of it here.

  • What did you think were the highlights of the module?

I think I liked the beginning best. It was exciting to enter the village and discover that I could examine all kinds of things for a detailed and atmospheric description that encouraged me to get into the game, to try and find out what's going on. I loved how the townspeople reacted to me, shooting me nervous glances when I started examining the corpses, commenting on my looting etc. The scene in the orchard house, the first encounter with the Brei, was very thrilling due to well created atmosphere.

  • What aspects of the module surprised you?  Made you think?

The same as above, mainly attention to detail, and the villagers questioning the ethics of the looting habits that NWN usually encourages, without making fun of the players or stirring them in a specific direction. I also liked the concept that the players' replies weren't fixed phrases but general reactions that you could fill with your own imagination.

  • How did you find the story overall?

The plot wasn't the most exciting and original; a mad priest raising the dead and summoning demons, the heroes being sent away from the village only to find it burning on their return, a misunderstood and wronged tribe of humanoids etc. - been there, done that, standard fantasy fare. That being said, one has to take into consideration how old the module is, and the story-telling was still quite good in several parts, with some interesting and likable characters.

  • What did you think of the atmosphere and ambiance (including visuals, audio, etc)

Given that it was a "vanilla" module using only the default resources and no haks, the atmosphere was pretty good; especially use of sounds was very impressive and I think it even featured sounds that I've hardly ever heard in other modules, which is quite an accomplishment, since I've played hundreds of them, almost exclusively during 2009-2012 or so. The latter is also the reason why I'm not particularly fond of the music anymore - I was never a great fan of the NWN soundtrack to begin with, it's a bit too dramatic for my taste, and hearing it over and over again through the years did not make it grow on me. But that's not the fault of the author, of course. I might be mistaken, but I was under the impression that some areas used combat music not just in dramatic situations but for the whole area, and I didn't like it that much, but the default NWN doesn't offer any good alternatives either, and it wasn't too distracting, so that's okay. I guess it's just me being a bit bored with unhacked NWN, and with that in mind, I still think the author did a great job to keep my interest in this unhacked module via good sound placements and atmospheric descriptions. The lighting was good, too, even though it wasn't that consistent and seemed to change every few steps (probably due to NWN's complicated lighting system).

  • What did you think of the combat?

Combat was a mixed bag. Coming back to NWN after so many years and playing a fighter class in this module made me realize how unengaging NWN's combat system can be (especially compared to more tactical turn-based RPGs like Shadowrun Dragonfall which I recently played through, or brawler/shooter action RPGs in which your skill really makes a difference). Most of the times you just click on your opponents and then watch for half or minute or longer while your characters hit or miss, without the player really taking an influence. With this in mind, I thought there were too much trash mobs. Fighting the undead or the demons was really rather boring, since there were so many of them and they didn't really pose a tactical challenge. The Brei were a little more interesting, since they also had ranged fighters and mages, and they didn't respawn as much as the undead in the forest, but I could have done with a little less of them, too. I liked the three Brei boss battles since they were more special and tougher requiring me to use at least a bit more tactics, like quaffing Strength, Barkskin and Haste potions, which also gave me a reason to care about loot and money, so I could afford more potions (usually I just hoard them and don't make use of them unless I get in serious trouble, so I appreciated that the game forced me to care about them in the boss battles).

  • What class did you play?  How do you think your choice of character impacted your experience in the module?

I played a ranger, which, like I mentioned above, made combat a little boring compared to a spellcaster, but after reading the other comments here, I realize that my class was probably the reason why I could also talk to the animals in the game, so in hindsight it wasn't such a bad choice. :)

It also gave me a good motivation to hunt for a bow and arrows and to find a short sword in order to profit of my Weapon Finesse.

  • There is an interesting moral quandry in the middle third of the module: what to do about the orc-like barbarians, and how to react to what had been done to them in the past.  How did you and your character react to this?  What choices did you make?

If I had any choice in this matter apart from abandoning the adventure, it seems I missed it. Even when I questioned my motivations in attacking the Brei, they would still try to slaughter me, so that I had to kill them in self-defense. The only moral dilemma with a choice I encountered was killing the younglings vs. disrespecting their wish to stand up for their tribe. But since I chose to let them fight me , I don't know what would have happened if I had denied them their wish in order to spare their lives. Maybe they would have attacked me anyway, like the bosses? I thought it was interesting though that despite questioning the humans' motivations and offering a different perspective, the module didn't resort to the "noble savage" cliché by idealizing the Brei. They had better reasons for their cruelty than just "being evil" but they were still a cruel bunch.

  • The module features a custom shop system.  What did you think of it?  Advantages/disadvantages?

It was alright and servicable but a bit roundabout. I didn't mind it that much, but I sometimes I wished I could just drag and drop again instead of clicking through the menus. A disadvantage of it was that you could not see what you were selling (unless you simultaneously opened your inventory maybe), so there's a risk of selling something you wanted to keep. I sold a dagger once and afterwards noticed that all three of my daggers were gone. Not sure how that happened. And you need to pay better attention to what stuff you can actually use before you buy something. I bought a full plate without considering that I didn't have Heavy Armor Proficiency; in the default shop, just hovering over the item wold have told me that I can't use it. In some menus I could choose to buy another copy of the same thing I just bought, but in others I first needed to go through all the menus again and select it a second time. I guess the system could be improved in this regard, if the option to buy another was made more consistent so that it appeared in all menus, or better yet, if you could choose a quantity directly, e.g. "How many potions of Barkskin do you want to buy? - 1,2,3,4,5". If I'm not mistaken, the shop dialogue also didn't tell me how much money I still had left to spend. The advantage of the system is probably just a greater control for the mod author and less chances of abuse.

  • Did you encounter any bugs?  Or other aspects of the module that could be improved?

No bugs, just a few glitches that might not have anything to do with the module at all, e.g. a shield in my inventory that I could neither move nor equip anymore, so I had to sell it. Aspects in which the module could be improved are partially listed above, with a refinement of the shop system. Other than that, I would have preferred less trash mobs. Especially the long corridors in the crypt were a bit boring, and in part also the zombie forest. Maybe things could be spiced up by adding more flavor content in these tedious sections, more things to discover in between the fights, something to better reward exlploration. Or a bit more variety in those opponents, not just average melee fighters. Or more options to vary the combat, like tricks and traps you can use against your opponents, bombs and caltrops etc. (Or could these be bought in the shop under Traps? I might have overlooked them.)

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