Author Topic: REVIEW: One Neverwinter Night (by Nol Drek)  (Read 192 times)

Offline hans

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REVIEW: One Neverwinter Night (by Nol Drek)
« on: March 14, 2017, 03:20:01 PM »
Another wonderful product of the One-Week Challenge (http://ua.reonis.com/index.php?topic=3429.0),  One Neverwinter Night affords a player the rare chance to play villains...in this case, Drow elves.  Whenever they appeared as antogonists in the GoldBox games, the Drow never failed to get my heart pumping faster.  To have them as Player Characters, here, was no less exciting. 

Although they are villains, the mod treats its pre-made, dark elf protagonists unapologetically.  The point-of-view is straight-on Drow, with no hint of any renegade, rebellious thoughts to challenge their dark philosophies.  Included are nice touches demonstrating their society's matriarchal structure and rampant sexism (against males). 

It is a short mod, taking place on the titular one night.  There is no chance to rest (which would ruin said timeframe).  The party has no healing spells, either, so the combat spells they start out with should be used judiciously. 

There are new items, such as the Tentacle Rods, which are authentic dark elf items, tho not given descriptions within the design, itself.  They can be looked up, online, for those interested.  During gameplay, their uses seem clear enough even for the completely uninitiated. 

There is new art of high quality.  Particularly cool is the "Webs" wallset.     

In all, a truly delightful change-of-pace adventure!   

Thanks, Nol!   ;D

Offline PetrusOctavianus

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Re: REVIEW: One Neverwinter Night (by Nol Drek)
« Reply #1 on: March 22, 2017, 02:46:13 PM »
What hans said.
Very nice little module, and I was pleased to see the Drow not being "Drizztified" and made nice.

My critisism is mostly nitpicking:

I think Nol Drek went a bit overboard with the Drow language (memories of Challenge of the Grey Company there).

I liked the added challenge of not being able to rest or heal, but the combat still was a bit on the easy side. I would have expected Lord Nasher to be somewhat tougher, and maybe have some magic support.

Only bug or oversight I noticed was the main Cleric/Mage PC having a Hand Crossbow and Bolts, but not be able to equip the bolts.

Offline Milos Gulan

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Re: REVIEW: One Neverwinter Night (by Nol Drek)
« Reply #2 on: March 22, 2017, 04:53:11 PM »
One Neverwinter Night
By Nol Drek

Reviewed by Milos Gulan

What can party of drow do in one night?

Str: 16 - Very interesting mod with few good battles.
Dex: 13 - Running trough Neverwinter surely was interesting, maybe there could be few more moments where party dexterity could be tested. One of the more interesting moments was option to avoid and not fight the guards.
Con: 14 - Good and solidly built mod. Very interesting thing is to play game from drow perspective and that was very interesting experience. Neverwinter was a bit small but with very nicely done good NPCs.
Int: 10 - Maybe there could be a bit more to the story, but at least here can be seen what Drow elves are good at.
Wis: 12 - I guess from drow eyes, things are a bit different. On the good side I felt like finaly having opportunity to play Minion like characters from Liddles Eye MECCG (MERP), that are on the side of Sauron. I was a bit disappointed with the end story and was thinking that now there should be a version with good characters playable added.
Cha: 16 - Everything in the module was presented well and art is really very nicely done. Pregen PCs were done great, I especialy like the fact that there is picture for every single one of them.
Lv: 5-6
HP: 28 - Very nice module, with interesting story. Playing Drow party sure is a new thing and I hope it can lead to new adventures, though my opinion is that good should triumph and survival should be win option in adventures like this.
Skills & Powers: Drow PCs were very interesting, they fought very well and using darkness and other spells feels very good. Maybe few more details like skilled and specialized moves trough adventure would make things more interesting.
« Last Edit: March 23, 2017, 02:15:43 AM by Milos Gulan »

Offline ProphetSword

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Re: REVIEW: One Neverwinter Night (by Nol Drek)
« Reply #3 on: March 22, 2017, 07:54:10 PM »
This short adventure was created during the one-week challenge, which only allowed 7 days for the author to complete the module.  Given this limitation, it is understandable that the module is short, to the point, and doesn't have much in the way of exploration or side-quests.

The artwork is fantastic.  Let's get that out of the way immediately.  Nol Drek successfully selected a group of artwork that hearkens back to the glory days of the Gold-Box games.  The frame (which I believe was from "Pools of Darkness") filled me with nostalgia the moment the game started. 

The game requires the use of a pregenerated party.  Sadly, we don't get to know the characters as well as I'd like, but that's primarily due to the shortness of the module.  Given the time to fully flesh out the adventure, we might have had the opportunity to find out more about their motivations. I can't really fault the author for this, given the limitations of the challenge.

The story is pretty direct (I don't want to spoil it here).  The action and all that follows is a direct result of the main plot, so there is never a question as to what the party is doing, nor does the player ever become confused about what their goal should be.

The few combats serve the story, but don't provide a massive challenge.  The hardest part was trying to figure out what each of the pregenerated characters were capable of doing.  There were a couple of new spells in the mix (not sure if Nol Drek made those or if they were available in the community prior to this module) that added some interesting fun and something new to play with.

Overall, the module took me less than an hour to complete.  If you're looking for something quick to play that is highly polished, this module comes highly recommended.
 
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Offline Olivier Leroux

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Re: REVIEW: One Neverwinter Night (by Nol Drek)
« Reply #4 on: March 25, 2017, 06:57:48 PM »
I've played through it now as well and liked it very much. I was curious to see how it would work out to have the player control an evil drow party, and I think Nol did a very good job of neither gloryfying their deeds nor making me feel too uncomfortable with them. To be honest, seeing that I don't like Neverwinter, Aribeth and Lord Nasher very much, it was actually kind of a guilty pleasure for me to be able to finally defeat them once and for all! But more importantly, Nol presented the events in such a way that they were completely logical from the drow's point of view. I really loved those encounter events that had your party try and understand the surfacers' intentions, or give up on it and just fight them. That was the most memorable and (to a degree) funny thing about the design. I also liked the custom graphics a lot.

I'd agree that a bit of the drow language parts could have been cut from the game, as I didn't read them myself, but I didn't really mind it either, and I assume it was Nol's guilty pleasure to write in that language, and as a language buff myself I can relate to that, so why not. The combat was easy, but since there was no chance to rest and heal and I didn't really know how many fights to expect, I welcomed it and thought the difficulty was just right to enjoy the game without any frustration or stress, while still requiring me to think tactically. *MILD SPOILER (highlight to read): I half expected some kind of twist at the end and was looking forward to it, but even without it, I enjoyed the story. Pretty great, all in all, and a real success for the One Week Challenge!  :)

Offline Ray

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Re: REVIEW: One Neverwinter Night (by Nol Drek)
« Reply #5 on: March 28, 2017, 03:42:34 PM »

What would it look like if the Empire's stormtroopers were allowed to be awesome as they're supposed to be?

One Neverwinter Night by Nol Drek is everything I've come to expect from playing an adventure by Nol Drek.  It is fast-paced, exciting, incredibly tense, full of good story as well as balanced combat, and very, very fun.

I have a real bias against the way drow are used in the "canon" Gold Box games.  They come by the score, and they all seem to be high-level.  The 1E and 2E sources make it pretty clear that the first part is accurate, and that the second is, pretty much, not.  Drow don't get to be powerful, because of their culture and their deity.  But there are a ton of them, and they are innately tough.  By jacking up their levels in the Gold Box games, I always felt that the authors detracted from the fun of fighting them.  I have never enjoyed casting a fireball and watching one drow save for half damage, while all the rest stand there, unfazed and all of them casting hold person back at me.

At the tabletop, I've always loved drow.  Their story, their plotting and machinations, their culture, and even those same abilities that drive me nuts in the Gold Box games.  I love their special gear, and their magic resistance, and their innate abilities...they are some of the richest NPCs in the game.  But at the tabletop, I've never experienced a room full of supercharged drow lords...

With all that preamble, it was really, really cool to get to play a group of actual drow lo--ladies, and their retinue.  I loved the "communication divide" as much as the combats.  I realized early on that I would have to take care of my resources, and I started out waaaay too conservatively.  I lost a character in the second fight, though to a familiar face (and anyone would consider it an honor to be killed by him), and started to play a little wiser.  Being an elf down, of course, made the rest of the game even more challenging...

It takes an expert hand to dole out the encounters in such a way that the player can feel the vise getting tighter and tighter.  It was clear that success was not guaranteed, and there was that constant question in the back of my head, "Even if I win...will Nol let me...win?

The answer to that question can't be answered here, but I can say that this is a tour of Neverwinter from a clear master of drow lore, but written at a level that even someone with my passing understanding from reading lots of old hardback monster manuals and fiend folios--and the back covers of a bunch of Forgotten Realms novels over the years--could follow without difficulty.

I was a little nervous playing the bad guys, but, like at least a couple other folks who have already reviewed One Neverwinter Night, I came away happy.  Well done, Nol!

Offline Jadefang

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Re: REVIEW: One Neverwinter Night (by Nol Drek)
« Reply #6 on: April 01, 2017, 03:38:43 AM »
Fun, uniquely written mod. I like how you get just enough info to know about every member of the premade party's backgrounds at the start.

The fact that you aren't given any chance to rest is the biggest challenge. It makes the value of avoiding combat real, which leads to the next point.

The featured conversation system is particularly interesting, which harkens back to the old Gold Box games, but with a twist. It is like a minigame that makes your life easier if you choose correctly.

I found a bit of a design flaw that makes every battle completely trivial, namely the Piwafwi cloaks granting invisibility. Since the whole party comes equipped with one, every combat can be won simply by Guarding/Ending turn continuously until the game gets tired of nobody doing anything for awhile and awards a free win.

Also a bit odd if you loaf until morning, there aren't actually any consequences of running around in the daylight, despite the story suggesting otherwise.

Offline Nol Drek

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Re: REVIEW: One Neverwinter Night (by Nol Drek)
« Reply #7 on: April 01, 2017, 01:00:23 PM »
Also a bit odd if you loaf until morning, there aren't actually any consequences of running around in the daylight, despite the story suggesting otherwise.

Did you try entering and then leaving a building?

I consider this a bug. I didn't want to have a transfer module event at every location, but I will have to come up with a fix, most likely using step events. I might consider changing the SpecAb of the Piwafwi cloaks from invisibility to displacement.
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Offline Kaz-Keith

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Re: REVIEW: One Neverwinter Night (by Nol Drek)
« Reply #8 on: April 10, 2017, 03:18:25 PM »
 Playing Nol's 1-week challenge submission highlighted 2 things about Nol that I found to be very affirming:

 1- Nol's love of all things Drowish translated very very well to lend the dark elf perspective ... given that I was fronting a party of them aside, I found the actuals of play to reinforce the dark elf perspective excellently.  From the weird underworld weaponry and spells to the drowish-way-of-thinking in the unique and highly-underrated (aherm) means of controlling encounters, I thoroughly enjoyed being a dark elf for a few hours :)

2 - Nol made (not sure if you are still working with Neverwinter Nights community projects Nol!) some really great NWN (2002) module conversions and of course being able to have his personal perspectives on those, his appreciations for drow and the underdark, and being able to confront the npcs of that original game (NWN 2000) was something I was not prepared for.  This must have been a catharsis to build much less execute!

  Play-wise, I was only confused for a brief bit of time at what certain items did or conferred or what certain spells/powers accomplished.  Experimenting was half the fun!  Also, the gist of our mission in-game was readily apparent and conveyed, but for the wrap-up I had no idea what to do... eventually I made my way to where the conclusion happened, but I did wander through each and every location until that did occur.

 Wars of attrition are nothing new, but what was new for me was deciding how to use my various supplies (hit points, healing, spells) for the best impact.  This invariably led me to replaying the game so that I could concentrate more fully on curtailing certain encounters before any combat took place, leaving me fully-stocked to face the endgame.  This, in retrospect, was devious and fun and I certainly hope this inspires other FRUAites to attempt the same!

 All in all, a fantastic addition that was just-right in the short-play category, and a home-run in the setting.  Thank you for showing us your drow perspective, Nol.  I won't forget this experience anytime soon.  Aluve!