Advice for Novice Players
What the Game is About
Neverwinter Nights (NWN) is primarily a Fantasy Role Playing (RP) game with considerable depth and may be as complex as you wish to make it.
The "land" the game is set in is called Edon, and is not directly associated with any existing literature. While you can participate at any level you wish, the overall thrust of the game is that the war between the Underdark and the Surface has dwindled, and a tentative truce has been made, although it is not followed by all, by any means. In the meantime, Edon is threatened by a race of strange demons known as the Scourge, whose apparent purpose is to destroy life in the lands.
The infrastructure to this are the main cities allocated to each faction, some neutral areas, and the rest of the world populated by plants and creatures. The latter may attack you or be hunted to gain experience points, food or various requisites, that in turn can be sold or used to make things you need (using any of the Crafting Skills your character may develop).
The game originated in a pencil and paper game named Dungeons & Dragons, which was played with dice throws. Each throw of the dice gave all players one "round", with the dice amount being applied to the "level" in the game the player's character had reached. The higher the level then the more effective the player's action would be.
Now the game is on computer, it is not at all obvious that you are still playing essentially a dice game. The computer throws the dice and you never see them, but you do get a screen display of the outcome of any actions you and any other players are making. There is therefore a considerable amount of variance in outcomes of doing the same thing several times.
As a result of the above, one main focus of interest in the game is "levelling up". As your character rises to higher levels, he/she obtains more abilities and becomes more effective at what he/she is doing.
You have a lot of means at your disposal, to obtain as much information as you want or need.
- Games On Net NWN Forums - The very active Forums provide a constant flow of questions and answers on practical game playing, as well as disentangling player problems.
- Other Web Sites - There are many NWN information support sites relating to various aspects of the game. These include the official bioware forums, and various community websites:
While you could just buy the game and jump straight on the server, this may give you too much to do and learn at once, and could spoil the experience.
At the start of the main NWN game is a Prelude section (the Academy), which is primarily about training. You might wish to run a couple of different characters through this to become fluid with using the game.
Here you will learn how to move about, the various views, how to select and use weapons and other equipment, use of the radial menus, casting spells, etc.
Understanding the Jargon
As in any computer gaming community, a form of verbal shorthand is used which is quite common. There is one aspect of NWN that you will continually be meeting which at first seems incomprehensible - this is a string of letters and numbers that are your character's current performance rating. These are then modified by the dice throws per round.
Typically the components comprise Armour Class (AC), Hit Points (HP), Strength, Wisdom, etc. These are in fact very important in developing and maintaining characters, but it can be daunting to be in contact with experienced players who trot these strings out as if it were second nature, and their native language - which it now is!
Give this one time. You will steadily learn the significance via the "levelling up" process, and by playing different characters that use different values in the various areas. Without prior understanding of the system, there is no short-cut to this, other than learning by experience.
You will feel a lot more comfortable with what you are doing if you know where you are, and where you can go to do things.
Surface - There are four main cities - Helios, Ziegen, Tobaro and Emrys, along with some smaller towns - Trondor, Icevale and St'rel Landing.
Underdark - There are three "cities" here - Loknar, Chaulssin and Aeturnus.
The areas around the cities can be used by surface dwellers and Underdarkers alike. This is primarily because any Player vs Player combat (PvP) is banned unless desired by both sides, according to the rules found here. This prevents unwanted interference with what individual players want to do, without being continually attacked.
Note that Emrys is considered a "neutral" city and may be used by Surfacers and Underdarkers alike.
You have a number of means at your disposal for moving around the world:
- Walking - Obviously a slow process and you will not cover a great distance, unless you have a lot of time.
- Ships - You can reach the islands by taking a ship, and can often travel between the major cities.
- Teleports - These are located in the main Drow cities and can take you considerable distances instantly.
- Party Portals - These are for the use of players grouped into "parties" (see below) and will take you to the party leader, wherever they may be. Some areas are restricted as "no port zones" (the party portals will not allow characters to (re)join their party leader if the leader is in such a restricted area).
The primary communication is on-screen texting via typing in messages. None of the support infrastructure supports (or requires) IRC or any of the various voice communications. This however does not stop you setting up a voice channel (which will then remain private) between yourself and some mates to act as a team.
There are several options on the game's on-screen texting such as 'Party', 'Tell', 'Talk' and 'Whisper' which essentially do what they imply - 'Party' sends the message to all members in your party - please keep party talk in character, 'Talk' is heard by all in the immediate area, 'Tell' is sent only to the recipient selected, and 'Whisper' is only heard by characters standing very close to you. The 'Shout' channel is disabled for players, but may be used by DMs for server-wide announcements. The 'DM' may be used to get assistance from a DM (if any are available).
Creating a Character
To enter ALOE, you must create an online character. You cannot bring a preformed character with you from Single Play, or another server module. So first up you will have to create one.
This character will then be stored in the server vaults, and will be available for you to continue with, and improve on, each visit.
So your first view of the server and world will be the "Create Character" screen. Go ahead and create one. Unless you have done your homework and made plans, it is probably best to choose any simple character as initially you will want to look at the world, start finding your way around and generally "learn the ropes", and it does not matter much what vehicle you use.
First thing to realise is that while Edon is a single world there are two main halves to it – the Surface and the Underdark. Conflict between the two is what ALOE is primarily about.
Which side you join is determined (and then fixed for the new char) when you create the char. So decide where you would like to be.
The Surface side has Guilds, Groups and Gangs you can join but is primarily orientated to individual freedom – you make your own way – as you wish and are able to.
The Underdark is more ‘clannish’ and family support orientated. The Drow House Le’tent for example has new member induction courses, kit support and then further guidance as a player progresses aimed at RP and immediate involvement with other members. Get more information by visiting the Role Playing Groups of Edon thread.
Read the information available on links given and you can be met and introduced to the world by an experienced player.
When first entering Edon you will be faced with a choice of one of the three races. By talking to one of the surfacer, the undead or the drow figures you can read information about the faction or select to become that faction. Once you have chosen your faction, you may step through the doorway, into the entry area of Edon.
Your next screen will be the Gateway which is where you will enter the World. Click on one of the swords and you will be presented with a menu allowing you to be "sent into" the world.
Once you are in the world, the choice of what to do can be overwhelming; see if you can get the attention of another player, and they might help you find your feet. Don't worry if they are rude, just try someone else - there are lots of helpful people on the servers!
Remember that this is a role-playing server; try to play the part of a medieval fantasy hero (or villain), and get "in character" (IC). Out of character (OOC) comments are generally frowned upon, and best restricted to 'Tells' to a particular person, rather than broadcast as a 'Talk' to all within earshot. Also please try to keep party and talk OOC to a minimum for important messages (e.g. //afk 5 mins).
Just remember - it's all about having fun!
Many thanks to Phaedros for this guide!
The Importance of Religion
It is important to remember to choose a god - if you have a god, when you die there is a certain percentage chance (which increases with level) that your deity will intercede and save you from Fugue.
If you forget to do so, or you wish to change your deity in the future, there is a character named Eve, located on Emrys Isle, just inside the main gates, who can perform the required conversion ceremony for you.
Edon has no specific deities, so feel free to choose one that you feel is appropriate for you (within reason). Most people choose from the Forgotten Realms pantheons:
To ensure your god is watching over you, you must pray to them (use your Emote wand, and select "Pray to your Deity"). You will also automatically pray to your Deity when you rest inside a temple. When you do so, you will be informed that you have a certain chance of them interceding in the event of an unexpected death - this percentage is calculated as 1/4 of your level, rounded up. Praying can have other positive effects, which you will be informed of in the same way.
A registered IRC channel has been set up for players to chat among themselves and with the ALOE DMs. You may not always find a DM immediately available but we will be watching the channel. It is probably the best way to get a quick response from us.
- Network: GameSurge
- Channel: #ignnwn
For direct access, click this link: irc://irc.gamesurge.net/ignnwn
Guide to Playing in a Party
ALOE is designed to be enjoyed by playing in a cooperative party with other players. There are areas that can be navigated with a single character, and other places where it is best to take a group.
Finding a Party
Sometimes you may already have a party to play with, but if you don't, there are ways to find others to join a party.
Each major city has a Town Crier, who will send a message to others within 5 levels of your character.
You can also read town message boards to see who else is playing in your faction.
First of all, look at your party make up:
- Are all members within 10 levels of the highest player?
- Yes - Good, you should be able to handle all foes and also get XP for your effort.
- No - The is not a major problem, but may mean that not everyone gets as much XP as they could. Also, some members may be hopelessly outclassed and are likely to die regularly. All party members are expected to participate in combat encounters.
- What are the majority of the characters?
- Mainly fighters - In theses groups where melee fighters outnumber spellcasters, spellcasters should concentrate on direct spells & buffs for the fighters.
- Mainly Spellcasters - In these groups the fighters should hang back and let the spellcasters cast area effect spells.
After combat, treasure (or 'loot') can be found on most corpses. Looting should be arranged so that everyone gets a fair share. Some ways to do this are:
- one person collects all the loot and then shares it around
- take turns or divide corpses between the party. This can work well for smaller groups.
- 'rolling' a dice using the Emote wand to see who gets valuable items found, such as gems, rare items and runes.
This way everyone gets a share, instead of one or two who loot while others are fighting. If the individual looting comes across something that can be used by members, such as enchanted swords, armour or scrolls, they should try to find out who can use (and wants) that item, instead of selling it.
- Keep your party together - if someone is lagging behind wait for them.
- After a hard battle, find out if anyone needs to sleep and organise sleeping orders if required.
- Have an agreed-to system for handling deaths and resurections.
- Don't go into a new area if the majority of the party wants to head back.
Have some sort of strategy planned - a haphazard attack plan usually leaves someone high and dry, or dead.
If you don't want one person collecting all the loot to share, take turns looting or try a strategy from the above suggestions.
To avoid your party being split up between maps:
- Wait for all party members at the transition points before proceeding through
- Once through the transition point, wait for all members to appear on the map before moving on. (This is because some computers load the maps faster than others.)
We have a different system for saving your character as when you just log out it sometimes does not save, or even corrupts your character.
To safely save your character, use the Emote wand that comes with your character's starting inventory and choose Other, Save Character. You can also save at the party portals.
The server also saves your character for you :
- Every 10 minutes
- On Death
- On Resurrection
- On Rest
- When you Level Up
- On choosing "Record" from the emote wand.
- On choosing "Retire" from the emote wand.
- On DM reloading the module
- On DM Choosing "Save all Characters"
DM Interaction and DM Quests
The DMs have a variety of ways they may interact with players and the environment. They have many powers in the game; and common interactions can include:
- NPC Conversation
- Object placements (treasure, natural objects, etc)
- Other activities such as PvP & Guild events
- Alignment shifts (due to your characters actions)
- Triggers (traps, creatures, etc)
- Sounds, weather & effects
- DM Quests
This type of quest is a mission organised by a DM. Reasons that a DM will run a quest include:
- Response to your roleplay
- Pre-conceived DM ideas
- Player requests and input
DM quests can vary in their length and type. Sometimes a DM quest may only take a few minutes; others are run on set nights over a number of weeks, or even months. DMs may use a 'Shout' to alert players that a quest is beginning, or may simply begin a quest with an existing group of players.
After a DM quest, XP and gold (or items) are often rewarded, but not always. We try to reward according to effort, length of quest and character level, but please do not 'ooc' complain if the outcome is not as expected (eg. a smaller reward than anticipated), as this reward is at the DMs' discretion. Roleplay XP and gold may also be rewarded at any time by a DM in response to your roleplay as well as the awarding of Edon Cookies.
ALOE has an ongoing setting of war between the Surface and the Underdark (Drow and Undead). This is the focus of many roleplay and character stories, with drow looking for ways to remove the rivvil (Surfacers) and good surfacers seeking to destroy the Underdark. However, in recent times, a truce has been called between the factions as they fight a common enemy; namely the Demon Scourge. Some other recent themes include:
- Drow reforming new alliances
- Banite resurgency on the Surface
- Protecting the lands from monster uprisings
- Scourge Demon invasion
The are a couple of changes that can be made to the NWN ini files to enable some extra functionality. As always, when editing configuration files, always make a backup, and make sure you follow the instructions to the letter! Only make these changes if you are confident that you know what you are doing - we accept no responsability for subsequent issues.
Running in Windowed Mode
If you would like to be able to run Neverwinter Nights in "windowed mode", make the following change to your
NWN.INI file. In the
[Display Options] section, set the following values:
With these options enabled, pressing
<Alt>-<Enter> will switch between full-screen and windowed mode.
Skipping the Intro Movie
If you would like to skip the intro movie at startup, make the following change to your
NWN.INI file.In the
[Display Options] section, set the following value:
Disable Intro Movies=1
This will ensure you skip straight to the menu screen after the splash screen, for quicker access to Edon.
If you wish to log your valuable RP sessions, there is an option in the
NWNPLAYER.INI file. Look for this line in the
[Game Options] section, and make sure it is set to 1 (it defaults to 0 for a normal installation).
Adding the following line will exclude combat information from your logs.
After making the change, the contents of your chat window will also be written to a file named
nwClientLog1.txt in the
logs directory of your NWN install. This file will be overwritten every time you run NWN, so remember to save important logs at the end of your session. If you wish to automatically save the log files for each session labled by date, then see the Clobber program. Copy Clobber to a folder somewhere in your NWN directory for reference, then create a shortcut to it and run that to start the game.
Lost your Party Invite popup?
If you find that you are no longer receiving party invitations, you may have accidentally clicked on the "Don't show this message again" checkbox on the popup window. To re-enable it, look in your
NWNPLAYER.INI file, and ensure the following line is set to 0.
Display Frames per Second
The following is not a configuration file tweak, but some may find it useful and/or interesting. You can display the current FPS on screen by opening the "console" (press
~) and typing the following:
WARNING: Editing config files incorrectly can result in problems, so be very careful, and always make a backup first! Never edit either
NWN.INI while the game is actually running.