Wednesday, August 13, 2014

Humble Beginnings and Lowena

Wait, the goblins took what?
The first Neverwinter Nights 2 module featured by the Adventurer's Club at The Vault was actually a pair of modules by Jezla: Humble Beginnings and Lowena.

Humble Beginnings, by the author's description, is more of a sidequest than an actual adventure.  You happen upon a girl in the woods who has recently been accosted by goblins.  Assuming that you are willing to help her, you plunge into the caves in pursuit.  Lowena, on the other hand, is a bit larger in scope.  After accepting a caravan job, you quickly find yourself stuck in the middle of a distressing political conflict that threatens to destabilize an entire region.

Both modules ultimately bring the player to a critical, often challenging choice.  In my mind, there was no clear "good" vs. "evil" choice available in either case, which I liked a lot.  I was inspired to play a Lawful Good monk in this module after running across one of the Broken Ones as an NPC while playing Saleron's Gambit 3 the night before.  He was a follower of Ilmater, and therefore was dedicated to not only fighting evil, but taking on the pain of the masses for the betterment of the greater good.  It was this latter principle that I used to guide my decisions.

The areas were beautifully rendered, with a number of little touches to bring the world to life.  For example, a little housecat roams about in a bar, and seagulls fly overhead as you approach a sheer cliffside.  Musical choices were also superb, with several stirring pieces that I don't normally hear in modules.  I also really liked the setting: you are living in the remains of a toppled empire, with small fiefdoms (city-states?) representing the only meaningful government in the region.  It reminded me a bit of the Nentir Vale, although with far less danger of the monstrous sort...and more of the political sort.  It has a ton of potential.

Breathtaking cliffs...and I love the seagull
If I had criticisms, it was mostly just that the modules were so short!  There was pretty minimal combat, and as such a lot of the module just seemed to involve running back and forth between NPC's across areas (lots of running involved!  Thank goodness for the monk's speed boost).  This was intentional in terms of the author's vision for the module, but I still would have enjoyed something more.  I also found some of the NPC's actions to be a little forced... but it wasn't that big of a problem, and probably necessary for the story to work.

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