Neverwinter Nights Part 2: Zombie Snorepocalypse

Previously on Neverwinter Nights…

So, for those who came in late: Plague ravages Neverwinter, a lone gnome is all that stands between this nefarious attack and total conquest of the city. But she’s an illusionist, and therefore is only slightly more effective than a half-orc paladin. Can her powers of illusion deal with the walking dead?

Well, the answer to that question is no. But here’s how it went down…

Onward to Adventure!

Okay, so this slum district? It’s probably a lot better-smelling when it’s not full of shambling zombies. The problem here seems to be that the plague victims spring up as soon as they hit the ground and start wandering about. Also there’s a missing guard, and some bald dwarf running around screaming at everything. Only the latter is my henchman, so I suppose that’s okay. According to the group of watchmen keeping the wandering zombies away from the gates to the city core, there’s some do-gooders at the local tavern, and we should head over there. Except there’s one problem…

Sorry, I can't think of something witty for the alt text.

For the last time: I do not want to donate money to your charitable organisation!

It’s really crowded in here. In fact, it’s zombie city in here. Neverwinter probably shouldn’t have massive graveyard inside the city, or remotely near the city, what with the hordes of necromancers running around the north who who can animate armies of walking dead. Far better to burn all corpses. Assuming they don’t kill you first. Now, a competent wizard would cast fireball and say something cool like “Back, foul hordes of the dead!” but I don’t have useful spells, so I just run around in circles screaming with the zombies shambling after me. Which is an okay plan until you lap the zombies and end up in the middle of them all.

Anyway, we eventually end up at the Shining Serpent where we get told to talk to an undead hunter who is hanging around in a back room. I don’t know about you, but shouldn’t an undead hunter be out there in the streets re-deadening the zombies? What a slacker. Anyway, Drake: The Laziest Undead Hunter says I should go and find some former gang member and then some guy hiding in a house. So basically I am to do in-home care for the local poor folk. It’s a life of adventure, that’s for sure. On the way past the local temple I duck inside, find someone looking for his wizard brother who has wandered off into the streets to kill zombies. Ten to one he’s dead, too.

First stop, dodging my way past zombies to Krestal’s house. He’s a dwarf, and is scared shitless because his former gang want to gank him for some reason. They’re apparently some kind of monsters now. Whatever, that’s pretty normal around these parts. Then it’s off to find this local prat called Jermaine, who is concerned his brother has fallen in with a bad crowd. You know what? Stuff this. I’m in the middle of the biggest zombie horde in EVER and I’m having to fill in for the Neverwinter Social Services. I instead decide to go to the graveyard and fuck some zombies’ shit right up. By which I mean, run around in circles some more. Of course when I get there the gates are locked and there’s a bunch of zombies doing a dance routine outside.

It's some walking corpses milling about. SNORE.

Well this certainly never gets boring.

After disposing of them, I notice a dead wizard. I decide to take his gear back to the temple and turn it over to the grieving brother, on the basis that people tend to hand over money for deeds such as this. I am not disappointed. Of course, rescuing a retainer from the wheelwright’s store doesn’t net me anything other than the feeling of doing a good deed. The halflings who he worked for seem to be rather blasé about the whole undead horde thing, I suppose because human zombies only seem to go after humans and adventurers.

What gets me is, the wagon is supposed to be missing a wheel but it clearly isn't.

Midget Patrol vs. The Zombie Horde.

Okay so I have no leads other than kicking in the door of a local snake cult, or paying a visit to the local gang related warehouse. I opt for the latter, and find it’s full of zombies. Some of them are super zombies. This is totally not fair, considering I’m an illusionist. As my henchdwarf and fairy ally take out the zombies, I grab a chair and sit on it in a sulk. As the battle moves further into the building I pick up the chair every so often and move it, and the sit there contemplating a career change. Of course I’m an illusionist and thus have no practical skills, except possibly as a children’s entertainer. But then how is doing kid’s birthday parties any different to fighting a zombie horde?

Eventually the head evil zombie is killed but not before he hits me a few times with a big metal stick.

The warehouse is full of green mist, too.

Disarm always works for the villains, never for me.

This is why I got into the illusionist business, really. It’s just so great being powerless to stop zombies hitting me with a lamp post. Then I release an incredibly over-dramatic city guard from captivity, and decide that maybe I should go and beat up some snake cultists. At least my powers of illusion will work on them.

Any more effective and the government will have to regulate it.

Fear my powers of illusion! Aaaahahahahaha! Oh stop looking at me like that, how often do I get to say that sort of thing?

Unfortunately the snake cult “estate” is more an average-sized house, and so I’m going to have to trek through some underground tunnels. Gosh, I wonder if there will be more annoyingly illusion-immune undead. Haha, of course not. This time there are giant spiders.

I died repeatedly before finally giving in and summoning a wolf.

THE FUCKING SPIDERS ARE IMMUNE TO ILLUSIONS TOO.

I don’t care what Detect Alignment says, spiders are evil. One near-death experience later I emerge into the graveyard, band of murderous animals and dwarves in tow, and find a horde of zombies waiting. I sort of saw that coming, but am still really annoyed by it. After dealing with these zombies, it’s off into a crypt to find… could it be? Is it possible? More undead?! Hey you know what would have been great? If the paladin sending me out to play fetch had decided to put some bloody effort in herself.

Too many empty graves.

Something missing from this game was comedy headstones. I can’t say I’m actually disappointed by that, though.

As we traverse the crypts I come across someone locked in a cell. He’s a priest of Cyric, who is to gods what stark raving lunatics are to everyone else. This guy locked up by the Yuan-Ti I’m searching for is a little pissed, and is ranting about how he will totally mess her up for stealing his magic zombie making rock. I bet I can piss him off even more.

“So,” I ask, “What’s it like being priest of a god whose only major artefact is associated with the word ‘fiasco’?”

A stream of abuse comes out of the cell. It’s so easy to wind up priests of Cyric. I shoot him in the head with a spell called Crossbow Bolt at Point Blank Range. I love that spell. After some more wandering around and grabbing of whatever was left lying about in this crypt – why people do this I’ll never know – I find the Yuan-Ti. Her name is Gulnan and she’s very, very angry. But I think that’s normal for her people. So I kill her. Or rather, Grimgnaw kills her and I cast some illusions that don’t accomplish anything.

Floating runes, the sure sign of a spell invented by an ostentatious wizard.

I bet that spell would be easier to cast if it didn’t include the floating runes.

One trip back to the city core with a spell component and I’m paid for my troubles.

“Here you go, Aribeth!” I say, handing over a bloody heart torn from the chest of my foe.

“Well thank you,” she says with gritted teeth. “You certainly went all out for this! After all, I did say ‘just one scale from the Yuan-Ti’ but I suppose a bloody heart is fine.”

I blink up at her, as I stand there in my blood-soaked robes. A droplet forms on the cuff of my sleeve, and then falls down to the exquisite carpet in the temple of Tyr, and joins its friends in the spreading stain.

“So, uh, I don’t need to carve out interesting parts?” I ask innocently.

“No, just a tiny piece of any easily and non-lethally removed part of the creatures will do just fine.”

“So are you going to pay me? That’s the deal, right? I mean, you are lawful, right?”

“Here is a bag with some gold in it,” she says, while trying to maintain an encouraging smile. “Now perhaps you might want to go and find the next two creatures.”

“Okay. Hey, it’s lucky I didn’t go find the Dryad first, isn’t it?”

Aribeth smiles, but I think it’s not a proper, Paladinly smile. I leave the temple and head off to the next place that sounds interesting. Blacklake, home of the monied tossers who think they’re better than everyone else. Except there’s a problem. Between the central district and Blacklake is a typically nice enough area where all the put upon servants live. Apparently they’ve gone mad with the plague, but I suspect they’re just taking a chance to cut loose and make a mess. As I enter someone standing around by the gate who isn’t mad with plague – see? – tells me there’s some evil criminal in here who has killed his family. Whatever.

I trek through the burning neighbourhood, casting illusions and generally cleaning up the rioting thugs, until we find a tower. Towers, for those who don’t know, are usually home to wizards, but since this one is a bit damaged it might be home to a dead wizard and some loot lying around. In we go…

…oh right Loxar the Nasty is in there. Well, he’s not immune to illusions either. I decide that people tend to reward me for delivering pieces of troublemakers, so I saw his head off and take it back to the peasant moping by the gates. He’s quite pleased to have it, but gives me no reward. The bastard. Anyway, off to Blacklake! But not before Grimgnaw gives me a reward for finding some trinket he’d been looking for. That’s nice, an amulet of a gruesome skull. Now I can fit in with the necromancers.

In Blacklake we wander about, and eventually find the local tavern brawling club called the Gauntlet, which I win easily. Er, okay actually Grimgnaw wins easily while I watch. I win the tavern for my troubles.

Of course this fight club closes down if you win.

Given that I had a henchman, a familiar, a summoned wolf, and a crossbow, this was grossly unfair.

Next I blunder into a secret passage behind a bookcase in someone’s home – look, I work for the city, I’m allowed to be in there – and find some horrible magic swords. Which are also immune to illusions. You know, its really not fair, is it? Well fuck fair, that’s why I’ve been carrying all these potions of Make People Immune to Stab around.

Four frantically flailing flying falchions! Ah ah ah!

Why yes, I did bravely stand to one side and do nothing.

You know what? Despite the horrible flying swords, Blacklake really is more fun than the other suburbs. This becomes apparent while I’m wandering around and find an Elven woman asking for someone to step up and take down a person called Meldanen.

Quite why she's wearing necromancer robes, I do not know.

How conservative. I suppose she thinks gnomes and half-elves getting it on is unnatural too. Sigh.

“Who’s that, then?”

“Why he’s a fantastically wealthy wiz-”

“Kill a wizard and take his stuff? I’m in!”

To be continued…

Look, it’s time we had a little chat about something: illusions are rubbish in computer games. The entire principle of these spells is that they’re the most open-ended of all the magic in D&D. There’s guides for adjudicating the damn things, for pity’s sake. This is presumably why an illusionist is a fun character to play. But in a computer game where the effects are limited by the game engine there’s not much utility there. Okay so Shadow Conjuration has some pre-set effects that simulate some useful spells, but there’s not a lot you can do with everything else. Admittedly, having a spell that makes you immune to normal weapons is tremendous. But this is why my gnome is now resorting to conjuration, which seems like the natural go-to since conjuring things out of a hat is another entertainment skill set. It’s a shame there isn’t a children’s birthday party performer feat.

Oh and a largeish section full of undead seems to be mandatory in every act. I assume because this means the players who run Clerics would sulk otherwise. Well, tough for them! There’s no fun in it when it’s crowbarred in everywhere. If you think being an illusionist is miserable when doing a compulsory undead section, imagine being a necromancer. Never again.

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2 Responses to Neverwinter Nights Part 2: Zombie Snorepocalypse

  1. Pingback: Neverwinter Nights | Seven Fourteen Seven

  2. Pingback: Neverwinter Nights Part 3: Share the Wealth or Else | Seven Fourteen Seven

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