Wednesday, 24 September 2014

How I learned to disregard the canon and enjoy the game; Neverwinter edition (V)

[copy-paste intro]
It is no secret that I am not that into Dungeons and Dragons. So much so, that I considered it quite an achievement when I was able to let go some of my biases and thoroughly enjoy a game set in  D&D-verse. (Watching some webseries that feature paper-and-pen-folk in action has also somewhat softened my cold, joyless heart. Notable culprits include "Tales from The Table" and "Dorkness Rising".) And now, Neverwinter Nights 2. 

The whole load of playthrough notes turned out too voluminous to wrestle all at once, so I'm dividing it into a series of shorter posts instead. This was Part Four.

Now, shall we?

(Clicking the images should display them in full glory.)

Part Five. When a plan comes together(-ish). 

There's the satisfaction of expertly preparing your gamepieces for the upcoming challenge and addressing it with a perfect precision-strike solution. And then there's the satisfaction only "wrong" gameplay can bring. I am a complete sucker for the latter.

Nearly all my game-runs include a heavy dose of "peripheral meandering" before I even attempt addressing the central storylines. When I finally do, I often find myself hilariously clueless still, because "beating around the bush" does not necessarily equal "relevant preparations". In NWN2 that process reached its first peak when, after a glorious string of successful speech checks at the trial, they told me I'd have to single combat a dude who weighed about as much as my party combined. Going against Lorne by myself (while still rather unsure of myself in character-building as well as gameplay mastery) I discovered that while others of my crew were far stronger and more capable in many respects, the specific concoction of my odd character choices actually proved the most useful for solving the situation.

Bind-run-burn-bind-run (add wolf for extra diversion!)

There were also loads of satisfying smartassing-successes on the way (I took plenty of talky-competence early on as it is the path to exposing more information). 

Diplomacy at its finest.
I sent Khelgar home so that I could smartass without repercussions.
My natural talents weren't enough to pull this off - so I took some drugs.
I think we can work together.
Yup, everything you value is doomed, DOOMED! You should totally listen to me instead.
Always a pleasure to do business with these two.
Surprise, motherfucker!

Another thing I get an extra kick out of is [successfully] navigating resource-limiting scenarios, often applying survival aspects and resource management logic picked up from other games. This kind of play climaxed in Sunken City where I found the limitations to my different systems interlock in ways that really made me pull together my wits (while still clearly remaining above the "fuck it, let's reload" niveau). 

To quote my mid-game laments once more:

The labyrinth crawl before facing the coven was the only time in game I actually saw the spirit-o-meter "naturally" go as low. That put me in a challenging (not necessarily unpleasant) predicament: 1) I had yet to learn that using suppress in the presence of many elementals = pure profit; 2) I had depleted the spirit-o-actions before entering the maze and couldn't use them unless I rested but, 3) I had yet to learn how to operate rest and hunger together. As a result I was too paranoid to attempt rest, meaning not only were my spirit-o-actions offline, everyone's spells were also almost depleted. And at that point I entered the "audience" dream sequence.
I saw immediately that I was not even remotely equipped to deal with the situation but decided to postpone reloading and just try staying alive for as long as I could, utilizing all the resources I had.
("Resources" being various unused wands, booster potions, spell scrolls; also a Bag of Holding full of miscellaneous exotic weaponry.) 

Going into battle: half-empty spellbook and half-full bladder.
They resist all damage, we grab next blade from magic pocket!
A thousand tiny cuts later, taking turns to regain bits of health.

When we actually made it after the long laborious hours (I think I saw the HUD's sun-icon rise twice in that time), the whole thing felt like an accomplishment of epic proportions.

Pictured: "holy shit, we actually did it!"

And that's where the this playthrough write-up comes to an end. Here are a few final screenshots that I didn't find a good place for.


  1. Well done! Kickass screenies, too.

    1. They'd better be kickass - tons of NPCs and wildlife were harmed to deliver these!
      Also, thanks :)