Monday, May 25, 2009

Snippet: Keening

Aeryl was an elven wizard who sought to investigate deadly creatures to see if their powers could be used to the benefit of people instead of harming them. Her experiments with banshees were her first attempt at dealing with undead, and she was woefully under-prepared.

The wail of banshee is so fearful that the terrible noise has caused many to die of fright. Fortunately for Aeryl, the first banshee she encountered gave a wail so loud that it made her deaf. With its most dangerous weapon rendered useless, the banshee struggled to harm the elf. Aeryl took advantage of this to bind the creature with magic so she could study it at her leisure.

Aeryl was eventually able to use the banshee to create this mace, imbuing it with a portion of its terrible wail. Unfortunately for her, the research left her with almost no hearing, so this weapon and many other of her subsequent creations were stolen by thieves who took advantage of her weakness.

Monday, May 18, 2009

Snippet: Soul Collector

The scythe named Soul Collector almost emanates darkness, as though it seeks to suck out light and life wherever it can be found. Its blade is deadly sharp, and even looking at it seems to inflict the sharp pain of a cutting wound.

This weapon has only ever been associated with the most evil and dangerous of beings, for its magic is such that others are reviled by its magic. Its first known owner, and supposed creator, was the evil warlock Xarxoz, who used the weapon as fuel for his arts. The weapon allowed him to gather souls of the dead and the living to increase his power, sucking their life away with its fearful magic.

Thus the scythe became known as Soul Collector, in memory of those consumed by it. However, no sooner had the scythe been named than it fell from Xarxoz's possession, for he was tracked and killed by a group of adventurers whose families has been killed by the warlock. From there, the scythe has changed hands frequently, each time being held for only a short time before its owner is killed. Some now wonder whether the weapon collects its souls from its victims, or from its owners.

Sunday, May 17, 2009

News: It's award season

I'm a bit late, but a few days back, the 2008 Module of the Year awards on were announced! In a close fought race for NWN2, two modules tied for first and two tied for second. I was privileged enough to share second place with dirtywick's Subtlety of Thay - Chapter 2. Dark Waters 2 from veteran modder Adam Miller came first, with A Hunt Through the Dark Remastered by Markus "Wayne" Schlegel also sharing the honours.

Congratulations to all the builders who participated, for a few votes either way would have seen very different results. So I'd also like to deliver a very special thank you to all the people who gave Fate of a City their vote.

It would also be remiss of me to neglect the deserving NWN1 modules that also gained recognition. Not to mention the release of the Academy for Modding Excellence has just released a video (produced by the fabulous Qkrch) for the finalists for its Golden Dragon awards for NWN1. It's an exciting time for all NWN1 and NWN2 authors, and I'm sure players will look forward to seeing more content from all module makers!

Tuesday, May 12, 2009

Snippet: The Price of Power

When compared to the great Netherese empire, our current knowledge of magic appears to be insignificant. Yet, as was proven by their downfall, there comes a time when too much knowledge can actually prove dangerous. There are some streams of magic that we should not attempt to harness, for the effects of doing so are unknown. while we must strive to push the boundaries of our understanding, there are some pieces of lore that are sometimes better left undisturbed.

This even applies to some magic that we already possess. Some of the most powerful relics known possess immense power, but power that comes at a great cost. The number of people that have been corrupted by or slain by magical artifacts in their possession is not small. So we must be careful in our investigations of magic and the information that we have been left. There are lessons that are better left unlearned, and treasures that are wiser to leave buried or forgotten. Do we dare tempt an event like Karsus' Folly again in our search for ever more powerful magic?

- Excerpt from "A Treatise on Magic", by Khelben "Blackstaff" Arunsun

Monday, May 11, 2009

Snippet: The Change of Ages

The ages that have passed within the realms have been defined not only through the happenings within them, but those major events that see us move from one "age" to the next. Upheavals in the order of our world and those of the Gods are continual, but there are periods that define history to such a great extent that we consider that the future will be vastly different from past.

In dealing with these shifts of power, which are frequently defined as catastrophes or incredible boons depending upon the individual providing the account of events, we must be mindful of the ramifications that they present for the future. Just as history has been filled with cataclysms causing tremendous upheavals in the balance of power across Toril, we can expect that the future will hold comparable occurrences.

Knowing this, we must be cautious when we become involved in matters of significance, for it is not unheard of for actions to have consequences far beyond those that are initially foreseen. As the long-lived, elves have a duty to be more cautious than short-lived races, so as to prevent hasty decisions that could have catastrophic effects. This is our duty to ourselves and to all those upon Faerun.

This is the reason we must safeguard ourselves against any decline that might see us dwindle or leave this land. The exodus cannot continue indefinitely, for if trouble goes unchecked for long enough, it could threaten all of Toril, extending to safe havens many consider impregnable bastions. Though our relations with other races and nations are strained at times, we must strive to maintain them, for even the elves cannot stand alone against all the evils of the world.

- Excerpt from 'The Destiny of the Elves', by Alustriel Silverhand

Saturday, May 9, 2009

Snippet: Control

For as long as we have existed, humans have attempted to control our surroundings and master our own destinies. We seek to master our future, to bend nature to our will and protect ourselves from those elements which attempt to harm us most. Over time, we have come to succeed, at least to a degree. But even as we master the nature of the land, we have come to see that some of the greatest threats come from within the nature of our own being.

The desire to maintain control extends to desiring dominion over our fellows, seeking to exercise the same power over them as we have of the land. We seek to impose an order on one another, and the natural ambition inherent in so many means that there is a thin line between imposing order and balance and imposing one's own will.

It is only if we consider that the Gods have their own struggles where we are their pawns, that we can begin to comprehend the true difficulty of our chosen task. Seeking to maintain a balance that is ever threatened by human nature as well as those of the immortal beings that govern us is a daunting task, but one that we as Harpers have vowed to achieve.

- "The Nature of Balance", by Storm Silverhand

Friday, May 8, 2009

Snippet: The Exile's Fate

"Who then, truly, was to blame for The Exile's fall? Did he choose his own fate, by turning his back on his kin and attempting to take the power of the Tree of Life for his own? Were we to blame for casting him out and rejecting him?

I have thought long and hard on the events as they unfolded, and the intricate plots that unravelled as a result. The influence of the Bhaalspawn drew The Exile back to us, and forced the confrontation that nearly destroyed both of them and my city. When I now read the words of Alaundo, I sometimes wonder if those events had already been ordained by The Gods. Was The Exile merely the means to allow the Bhaalspawn to be elevated to their true destiny?"

- Queen Ellesime, ruler of Suldanessellar

Wednesday, May 6, 2009

Snippet: Where are the Wendersnaven?

"So I asked where do the Wendersnaven come from if not from our hopes and dreams? We cannot see them yet we know they are there. It is as much as mystery to me as it was to a kobold being hit by a flying invisible cabbage when launched it from my shield-mounted spring vegetable launcher. So I began thinking about where such thoughts and mysteries come from?

As I've searched for stories, I have forgotten many others I learned, which is such a disappointment, because then I have far fewer tales to tell people. While I've tried to write my stories and songs down, some things never seem to stay in my mind long enough for me to scribe them. Where do those thoughts go, and what becomes of them? Is there some place we could go to find all these lost thoughts, or would it be filled with so many strange things that we would never return? Perhaps that is what happened to the Wendersnaven?"

- Grobnar Gnomehands, Wendersnaven conference, 1373DR

Sunday, May 3, 2009

News: MotY, MoW and HoF!

Yes, it's a triple acronym title for today's post.

The module of the year contest at the NWVault has opened recently and Fate of a City is one of the 2008 modules up for consideration along with a number of other excellent submissions. I'd urge all players to voice their support of module authors by casting their vote in the poll. Players are what keeps module builders going, and as long as you're still keen to play of new material, builders will still keep working to produce it. So if you haven't already done so, head over to the vault and make the very difficult choice of voting for the best module of 2008!

I'd also like to take this opportunity to urge people to go out and get Mysteries of Westgate if they haven't already done so. I've read some opposition to it due to the DRM that Atari has chosen to use for this adventure pack, but not supporting MoW only hurts the NWN2 community, not to mention all the fabulous people at Ossian Studios. The price of the expansion is more than warranted by the quality of the product that Ossian has created, and if you add in the fact that you're supporting a deserving studio and a great gaming community, I'd say that any decision not to buy MoW would be a great tragedy.

In a final note, I've been fortunate enough for Fate of a City to be inducted into the NWN2 Hall of Fame this month! I'm happy to see that many players have enjoyed it as a gaming experience!