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-   -   Finished NWN 2 OC (again) (http://www.rpgwatch.com/forums/showthread.php?t=4732)

Prime Junta June 14th, 2008 11:18

Finished NWN 2 OC (again)
 
Nice thing, replayability.

I revisited NWN2 OC, this time doing everything (I could reasonably think of) differently.

I focused on character development instead of story. Specifically, I set myself a challenge, and set out to create the best generalist I could manage… based on a Drow, with its two-level XP handicap.

Belithralylith Ma'for finished the campaign as Rogue/3, Wizard/5, Arcane Trickster/10, Eldritch Knight/1. (In other words, with only a wee bit of grinding in the endgame dungeon, I made it to 21-level equivalent.) The character felt completely playable, and I had no trouble beating the tough solo encounters and missions with him. I passed Light of Heavens's tests easily.

I chose an alignment and tried to stick with it, instead of just doing what I felt the game wanted me to do. Belithralylith chose Chaotic Neutral, and ended up that way, 1/50. I also didn't feel I had to do utterly ridiculous things to keep to that alignment. Also, my keep ended up insanely rich — I over a half a million GP in the treasury by the time the endgame rolled along.

I didn't suck up to Khelgar and Elanee; instead, I got along better with Neeshka, Qara, and even Bishop. Somewhat to my surprise, the endgame turned out quite different (and easier) from my previous play-through.

Spoiler


Finally, the endgame felt like much less of a grind this time around. Perhaps my party was better equipped or better balanced, or perhaps my choices for the final dungeon-crawl were more successful…

Spoiler


…but I had an overall better time of it. The actual ending is still the most idiotic I've seen in any game, though.

Spoiler


All in all, on this second play-through, NWN2 holds up pretty well. It doesn't quite reach the highest peaks of Baldur's Gate 2, but then it doesn't have many of its worst flaws either.

Going to take on MotB with Belithralylith next. I'll see if I can go with somewhat… darker choices this time around; I went all-around paragon the first time. Ought to be interesting.

Remus June 14th, 2008 12:50

How many hours you took to finish the OC?

purpleblob June 14th, 2008 13:31

I'm actually thinking about replaying OC again… I don't quite like MotB that much..

Prime Junta June 14th, 2008 16:48

@Remus: I didn't count. A quite a lot. It's a long game.
@pb: That's surprising; I thought it'd be right up your alley. What don't you like about it?

magerette June 14th, 2008 16:58

Sounds like an interesting build, and also quite a validation of the game's construction that you were able to keep a chaotic neutral alignment all the way through. I had a similar showdown with Bishop at the endgame with my sorc(chaotic good) but Neeshka and I never got along. :)

I'm also thinking of a replay after I finish PS:T; in some ways the games have very similar overtones (Avellone is Avellone, after all.) My idea is to go straight through into MotB in an attempt to actually experience it—I'm leaning toward a cleric variation atm or some other spellcasting fighter mix.

purpleblob June 15th, 2008 10:44

Quote:

Originally Posted by Prime Junta (Post 83035)
@pb: That's surprising; I thought it'd be right up your alley. What don't you like about it?

Mainly the travelling back and forth between real world and shadow plane. And also this… *curse* thing. I keep dying during the sleep or travel. Not to mention I suffer stat decrease and loss of experience whenever I use "satitate".

I find safiya quite interesting but I don't find Gann and Kaelyn very interesting. Okku is my life savior atm. Great tank.

I like the storyline so far though. Just annoying gameplay.

Prime Junta June 15th, 2008 10:52

Quote:

Originally Posted by magerette (Post 83037)
Sounds like an interesting build, and also quite a validation of the game's construction that you were able to keep a chaotic neutral alignment all the way through. I had a similar showdown with Bishop at the endgame with my sorc(chaotic good) but Neeshka and I never got along. :)

It wasn't that hard, actually. I just said mean things to people but didn't actually *do* many really mean things; this kept me near 50 on the good/evil axis, which is somehow surprisingly realistic. And there were plenty of opportunities for chaotic mischief; letting out the imps in Blacklake is worth 10 points, for example.

MotB is a bit different, since for some strange reason every use of the Eternal Rest ability pushes alignment 2 points towards Good. That ain't right: I'm not granting them Eternal Rest out of the goodness of my heart, I'm doing it to absorb their spirit energy, dammit!

Quote:

I'm also thinking of a replay after I finish PS:T; in some ways the games have very similar overtones (Avellone is Avellone, after all.) My idea is to go straight through into MotB in an attempt to actually experience it—I'm leaning toward a cleric variation atm or some other spellcasting fighter mix.
Sounds good to me. I'm pretty sure you'll eventually find a way of liking it too.

Prime Junta June 15th, 2008 11:00

Quote:

Originally Posted by purpleblob (Post 83085)
Mainly the travelling back and forth between real world and shadow plane. And also this… *curse* thing. I keep dying during the sleep or travel. Not to mention I suffer stat decrease and loss of experience whenever I use "satitate".

LOL! Now you know how I felt when I was trying to get started with BG2.

The trick to the curse thing is to manage it. There are two ways to go about this:

A. Manage it.

The horizontal bar represents your craving — how fast your spirit energy depletes. If you keep this bar empty, your energy will deplete very slowly. So, you have to find (1) ways of keeping it empty, and (2) ways of "feeding" that don't cause it to rise. For (1), you need to…

Spoiler


And for (2), you'll need to…

Spoiler


B. Indulge it.

This means feed, feed, feed. Specifically, you should

Spoiler


Also, whichever you choose, you do need to manage your resting. I actually really like this mechanic, because without it, gameplay becomes just "walk two steps, fight, rest, walk two steps, fight, rest." Now I have to actually ration my magic a bit, use rings of regeneration to heal up, and so on. Makes the game much more challenging and interesting.

Quote:

I find safiya quite interesting but I don't find Gann and Kaelyn very interesting. Okku is my life savior atm. Great tank.

I like the storyline so far though. Just annoying gameplay.
It's not all that annoying once you get the hang of managing your curse. Talk to Gann and Kaelyn a lot, too; I think they're pretty damn good for NPC's — way better than even the best of the OC. Also, if you do one of the evil things in the spoilers above, you'll get an amazingly cool and utterly scary follower — One of Many.

magerette June 15th, 2008 21:33

One of Many, eh? I'm dealing with a nasty little entity atm called Many as One. :)

I'm seeing (or maybe hallucinating) all kinds of related themes between the two now(PS;T & MotB), like the Dusties for instance using death as a commodity(the Contracts); kind of strikes me as a mirror image reversal of this energy 'hunger' mechanic with life/spirit as a commodity, though not a purely mercenary one. And the protagonist has to resolve it, just like TNO has to resolve his depradations on others to escape the curse of endlessly reliving himself.

Maybe PS:T will be the catalyst for me for MotB. Which reminds me, I've got to go see a man about a rat.

purpleblob June 16th, 2008 00:37

@PJ:

Aaah, thanx for the help. I've already finished crematorium mission and did get the feat you are talking about. I just didn't know what it does and when to use it. Silly me. Also, I'm doing woodman mission right now!

@Magerette:

I see striking resemblance between PS:T and MotB as well. I'd be hate to be in both nameless one and shard-bearer's shoes.

Prime Junta June 16th, 2008 07:47

Yup, read those Spirit-Eater Feat descriptions carefully and try all the ones you get to see how they work. Many are extremely useful, in combat, crafting, and otherwise. They're the key to the whole game; if you ignore them, you will die.

purpleblob June 16th, 2008 09:47

Yep, should have guessed. Until now, my PC was twitching on the ground most of the time due to this *curse* and Okku had to carry her around everywhere… Seriously, by now, Okku probably regretted that he swore her an oath and maybe thinking it would have been better if she have eaten his soul after all.

Prime Junta June 17th, 2008 09:56

Update on Belithralylith the Morally Ambiguous Drow ("To Chaotic Evil And Back In Less Than Three Days"): I've taken somewhat darker choices than in my original play-through; in particular, I swallowed my qualms and did the really evil thing in Wells of Lurue, although I've been paying a bit of penance since then. My party is Safiya, Gann, and One of Many — I've left that goody-two-shoes Kaelyn hanging out at the Veil.

And damn, this is *interesting*. One of Many is definitely the most *useful* NPC in just about any game… and one of the most interesting. Many encounters have played out with a completely different flavor with "them" hovering in the wings, and

(minor)
Spoiler


…is seriously powerful. I just finished the Sunken City quests, so I'm more than halfway through by now.

Oh, and Belithralylith is really coming into his own on these epic levels. His defensive abilities are insane — unbuffed AC around 50, Parry skill around 40, and access to Premonition, Stoneskin, Shadow Armor, etc. at will; his melee abilities are not quite at "straight" fighter level, but with Weapon Finesse, Improved Critical (Rapier), and his 6d6 backstab bonus they're not that far behind, and he casts spells with the best of them. *And* he has pretty damn high Diplomacy and Bluff skills too. He could even open just about any lock in the game (with the right tools), but with One of Many around that's not even necessary.

Robbing the Death God's Vault was never as easy as this — nor was whacking that annoying Paragon Snow Leopard. (Hint: it doesn't have that many hit points, but it regenerates like a dynamo, meaning you can't whittle him down: hit him with all your massive-damage attacks on a single round, and he should go down pretty easily.)

The only problem I have is that I've gotten a bit carried away by that devouring thing: my Craving is rather high, and my party is too damn strong to take any damage I can heal to bring it down. I might have to go the "indulge it" way after all.

If I wanted to solo through MotB, I'd do it with a character like this one.

magerette June 17th, 2008 20:25

Love the new avatar, Prime J. Much more in character.

Definitely another plus for the game that playing evil is also viable—I mean in terms of posing challenges and problems as complex as the alternatives, which it sounds like it's doing. Too often it seems to be a shallow cakewalk.

Let us know how the endgame works out for you. I'm curious to see if/how you are punished/rewarded for your choices.

Prime Junta June 19th, 2008 14:19

Quote:

Originally Posted by magerette (Post 83388)
Love the new avatar, Prime J. Much more in character.

Definitely another plus for the game that playing evil is also viable—I mean in terms of posing challenges and problems as complex as the alternatives, which it sounds like it's doing. Too often it seems to be a shallow cakewalk.

Let us know how the endgame works out for you. I'm curious to see if/how you are punished/rewarded for your choices.

Actually, I was impressed. The punishments and rewards take the form of your typical post-game slideshow, explaining "what happened then." I'll try to make this general enough that you won't get spoiled:

On my previous play-through, I had missed one crucial bit that would have given me the key to the really-truly-good ending, and the resolution was sort of… bittersweet. I sacrificed my freedom so the world could live, that sort of thing.

On this one, I had all the pieces for the really-truly-good ending, and I chose the opposite track for my endgame. This time, I would have gotten a "happy ending" …except that one major choice I made very early in the game caused it to be snatched away even as I saw it. Instead of eternal bliss I had to settle for vengeance and love lost.

AFAIK, there is no way to get *everything* you want in the endgame — you have to make choices, and they affect how it all turns out. Going by the comments, some people are seriously upset by this — we are very focused on, and used to, "winning," and MotB only allows partial or flawed victories at best. Which is, like, really cool, in my book.

Re the avatar: thanks. That's actually our dog's brother; he appears to have a talent for crazed expressions. This is our dog:


blatantninja June 19th, 2008 14:45

PJ, can you explain a little more on the endings in a spoiler tab? I'm curious what this means: "I had missed one crucial bit that would have given me the key to the really-truly-good ending,"

My ending was so-so, and I'm wondering what I missed! I've heard the evil ending is really good, but I just have such a hard time playing the evil characters!

Prime Junta June 19th, 2008 14:50

Quote:

Originally Posted by blatantninja (Post 83627)
PJ, can you explain a little more on the endings in a spoiler tab? I'm curious what this means: "I had missed one crucial bit that would have given me the key to the really-truly-good ending,"

Spoiler


Quote:

My ending was so-so, and I'm wondering what I missed! I've heard the evil ending is really good, but I just have such a hard time playing the evil characters!
I did try a reload and an ethical U-turn for the endgame once, but obviously I hadn't played evil through-and-through. It was an interesting ending and resolution too, and followed quite logically from my choices, but I don't know that it was better in any meaningful way than the good(ish) ones I got otherwise.

Still, it is clear that the endgame resolutions are much more profoundly tied to your choices during the entire campaign than in most games — no KOTOR-style change-your-mind-at-the-last-minute stuff here. If you've done Bad Things(tm) early on, you can't fully undo the damage at the last minute — at best, you can make amends. Or vice versa: if you've played the paragon of goodness through the game and go absolutely berserk for the final moments, you won't get all the benefits of being evil — you'll just lose the benefits of being good.

magerette June 19th, 2008 16:42

Well it's obvious I'm going to have to play this. There's nothing you can compare these types of complex ethical consequences with except Witcher and PS:T. Also, with the new expansion coming out, a replay will fit in nicely.

I'm thinking either Bard/Red Dragon Disciple or some sort of cleric/paladin configuration—I want to be able to face a little mano-a-mano combat this time, plus build a different party. Anybody played any of the cleric advanced builds?

Nice dog—not a breed I'm familiar with but reminds me of a terrier I once had. I'm very partial to terriers in the small dogs and big furry breeds in the large ones. :)

Prime Junta June 20th, 2008 09:30

Quote:

Originally Posted by magerette (Post 83638)
Well it's obvious I'm going to have to play this. There's nothing you can compare these types of complex ethical consequences with except Witcher and PS:T. Also, with the new expansion coming out, a replay will fit in nicely.

Those are pretty good comparisons in this specific respect, yes. PS:T does it better, though; don't expect the, um, transcendental experience of the PS:T resolution.

Quote:

I'm thinking either Bard/Red Dragon Disciple or some sort of cleric/paladin configuration—I want to be able to face a little mano-a-mano combat this time, plus build a different party. Anybody played any of the cleric advanced builds?
Bard/RDD is an extremely workable build; I tried it and it was a lot of fun. The biggest challenge is that since they lack the high-level arcane defense spells, you have to make up for them either by crafting/very carefully selecting items that give you similar buffs, or by getting Safiya to scribe you scrolls. (The latter feels like a bit of a cheat, even.)

Clerics are less interesting in MotB IMO since you'll always have a badass divine spellcaster in your party — either Kaelyn or Gann.

Quote:

Nice dog—not a breed I'm familiar with but reminds me of a terrier I once had. I'm very partial to terriers in the small dogs and big furry breeds in the large ones. :)
It's a border terrier.

magerette June 20th, 2008 20:19

Quote:

Originally Posted by Prime Junta (Post 83707)
Those are pretty good comparisons in this specific respect, yes. PS:T does it better, though; don't expect the, um, transcendental experience of the PS:T resolution..

As long as there are lines like "Stop lookin' at me tail, you….skull!" I'll be happy. :)

Quote:

Bard/RDD is an extremely workable build; I tried it and it was a lot of fun. The biggest challenge is that since they lack the high-level arcane defense spells, you have to make up for them either by crafting/very carefully selecting items that give you similar buffs, or by getting Safiya to scribe you scrolls. (The latter feels like a bit of a cheat, even.)

Clerics are less interesting in MotB IMO since you'll always have a badass divine spellcaster in your party — either Kaelyn or Gann..
I've played a little with Deekin in that config(Bard/RDD) in NWN expansions and liked it at the time. I used to habitually play a cleric, as I started out being more interested in buffs and defensive spellcasting but haven't played that build in years and I'm hampered with paladins because I find lawful good oppressively choice-limiting. Looks like it will be one of those 'start over til it fits' sessions.

Quote:

It's a border terrier.
Ahh. I have one of these (but no scanned pics so this is from the JRTC site collection):

Ninja Jack Russell


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