But evil stirs once more, this time in the fetid depths of the Mere of Dead Men. The swamp lies near West Harbor, the village where you grew up. When you were an infant, the King of Shadows and his legions fought the Neverwinter army there, destroying the town in the process. Your mother died protecting you; all you can remember of the event is a sharp pain in your chest and her anguished screams.
A dark scar in the village green reminds West Harbors inhabitants that their rebuilt homes could someday be under siege again. People whisper that a man named Ammon Jerro was really the King of Shadows. They assume hes now dead, but no one really knows what happened during the battle because none of the combatants survived.
Meanwhile, youre busy preparing for the annual Harvest Festival and assisting your foster parent, the elf Daeghun Farlong, with various tasks. Suddenly, your mundane life is interrupted by an attack: several gaunt, skeletal humanoids known as the Githyanki attack West Harbor. You help the local militia defeat them, but Daeghun knows that this is merely the prelude to a new war. He sends you on a dangerous mission that turns into an epic quest revealing what really happened in West Harbors past.
We added a lot of dastardly deeds and devious twists and turns for evil players in the story.- Tony Evans, game designer
A Classic Tale
Neverwinter Night 2s story is a classic tale of great evil threatening the lands and heroes rising up to conquer that evil, explains game designer Tony Evans. Youll need 50 hours or more to complete the games sprawling narrative, which includes many side quests and other activities. Youll even find your character placed on trial at one point, accused of a horrific crime that he didnt commit, and later youll take command of Crossroad Keep, a fortress serving as your home base for later quests.
During your journey, you recruit up to three non-player characters (NPCs) to help you. The presence of certain ones triggers specific side quests, and your interactions with them dictates their loyalty to you, a status level that makes a major difference when you find the odds against you in a battle. How you treat other characters you meet also nudges the story in certain directions, potentially turning you into a villain, rather than the hero.
I like to play as an evil warlock, confides Evans. We added a lot of dastardly deeds and devious twists and turns for evil players in the story. I highly recommend playing the game through to the end as an evil character. In my opinion, it makes the game even more fun.
Pen-and-paper Dungeons & Dragons requires several people to play, and you can join a digital version of that dynamic in the games multiplayer option. Connect to one of the available online worlds and create a new character, or use one you made for the single-player campaign.
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[The] story is a classic tale of great evil threatening the lands and heroes rising up to conquer that evil- Tony Evans, game designer
(Note that some servers may not allow you to do the latter, or may restrict characters to certain races and/or classes.) Depending on the game worlds settings, you may be able to fight other human-controlled characters as you experience a new adventure.
Welcome to the Sandbox
The Neverwinter Nights 2 story takes place in Faerûn, an area of a D&D world known as the Forgotten Realms. (To learn more about the Realms, please see Building Worlds.) Evans likens the planet to an immense sandbox to play in. Every land within the Realms has its own history, style, background, and memorable characters.
The designer reveals that some of the characters, quests, and themes in Neverwinter Nights 2 borrow elements from Planescape: Torment, a previous role-playing videogame set in another D&D world. Like its digitally-conceived predecessors, Neverwinter Nights 2 uses official D&D rules in this case, the latest version, 3.5. Evans points out: The richness of D&Ds settings and the complexity of its rules set fuel the imaginations of many who either want to tell a fantasy story or take part in one.
In the case of Neverwinter Nights 2, the richness of the Forgotten Realms and the complexity of D&Ds rules come together to inform a story where you must leave no area unexplored, no conversation unuttered, if you want to experience all of its nuances. For an example, take Evans favorite character, Ammon Jerro. Hes a complex man, the designer observes, misunderstood by almost everyone, but he always strives for the greater good, no matter the cost.
Youll need to understand the motivations of Jerro and all the other major NPCs in the game, if you want to steer the Forgotten Realms down a new path in its history, even if that path is a dark one.