Yesterday, Akkei announced that he is working on a NWN2 module. A long-time community member and well-regarded builder, Akkei published three important and highly original modules for NWN1. You can read his announcement to find out about his upcoming module, but I thought I'd reflect back a bit on his past contributions. Below, I link to each of his three English NWN1 modules, and post an excerpt of my comments:
Orcs 1 - The Awakening of the Arak-Hur (my comments posted 3/30/05)
"Orcs" had been on my playlist for a long time, and I finally have had the opportunity to give it a go. It was everything I’d heard it to be. You begin as the adopted child of an orc, having just come of age to serve your orc clan, the Arak-Hur. Your clan was driven into the caves in the mountains 30 years prior by human invaders into your lands. They have bought their time, grown their forces, and now are prepared to strike back at the humans. Since you are not an orc, they ask you to go do some reconnaissance on the human populations to help them identify weaknesses in their defenses.Orcs 2 - Return to Al-Dha (my comments posted 4/5/05)
So begins a very open ended game. Once you leave the Orc confines, you have your choices of a large variety of quests which all can be accomplished in any order you choose. Quests are varied and interesting, and many of them are mutually exclusive—if you agree to cooperate with one faction, quests from other factions will become impossible. There are numerous opportunities to roleplay characters that range from lawful neutral to chaotic evil. The best accomplishment of this module is that it allows you to very easily slip into the role of an orc. Throughout most of the module (exception—see below in spoilers), I felt absolutely no regrets about spying on the humans, discovering their weaknesses, and reporting them to my superiors. After all, these are the corrupt bastards that conquered your clan’s homelands for nothing more than financial gain.
Orcs 2 is a worthy sequel to the original Orcs module by Akkei, and is the 2nd in this unfinished series. You begin shortly after the events in Orcs 1, having been promoted to Arms Master, a very prestigious title in your clan. Having defeated the humans responsible for your clans' exile, your chief has decided it is time to return by sea to the homeland of the orcs. You are assigned the helm of one of three galleons used in that transport. But things don’t go quite as planned…The Breach
So begins this very open-ended module. There are few modules that give you as much choice in the way the story goes than Orcs 2. There are three different plot lines here. I only sampled one of them, but the nice thing is that even though the stories are the same, you get to see most of the module playing through each one of them. This was a good, important design decision—it allowed there to be a decent amount of detail in the world and a lot of side quests, even though the world can be experienced through the three storylines.
There was a lot of thought that went into the gameworld. The module creates three very distinct orc cultures, each of which is different from the other (largely along the lawful-neutral-chaotic axis), and also distinct from the player's home clan. They are locked in what seems to be a long political struggle that has a very uneasy peace. Further, they have a long history that is only alluded to, but includes an interesting tale involving elves. I really enjoyed the setting of this module.
As it turns out, I never posted comments on this one, though I did play it for an evening or two. I found the setting and concept to be absolutely fantastic. Amazingly creative, fun, and exciting. The opportunity to play undead characters is something that has never been done as well, before or after this module was released. The cutscenes that start this module are to die for (heh), and the experience of navigating a dark undead keep while rooting out pesky good-doers was delightful.
Nevertheless, I found the combat to be far too over-the-top for my enjoyment. I tried to play the sorcerer, as well as the fighter, and in both cases the repeated and constant spawning in some of the town areas just became tedious. Nevertheless, this module is worth a look, if for no other reason than to experience the first hour or so of gameplay. I'd love to see someone try to do something like this for NWN2, just with less over-the-top combat. :)