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Finished my first playthrough (Reviews for Original Campaign and Aribeth's Redemption modules)

xiaoleiwenxiaoleiwen Member Posts: 172
"CHARNAME":

Finished my game at level 25 (Fighter / Paladin / Champion of Torm build)
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The build I followed:
https://www.tapatalk.com/groups/nwnecbguild/divine-warrior-paladin-6-fighter-8-champion-of-tor-t515463.html

To remember my companions in OC:
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To remember my companions in AR:
( I changed the portraits)
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Review for Original Campaign:

Pros:
  • Still recommended for those who love Faerun’s lore as OC allows you to explore and learn more about Neverwinter and Luskan, the two famous cities very close to Sword Coast and Icewind Dales that BG / IWD fans love so much. The main quest also brings out the interesting lore of ancient races that I was totally unaware before. OC is probably better than BG series in term of experiencing the lore, and you will have the chance to find out why Neverwinter is “never winter”.
  • Aribeth is probably the most and the only worth mentioning NPC in OC. Her story may bring out some controversial topics that could be worth discussing, such as whether she is guilty for what has happened, or how her punishment should be.
  • The role-playing part of OC is actually quite good, there are a numbers of options and reactions based on your class, alignment, stats etc. RP part is actually better than many WRPGs.
  • Perhaps not many, but some major side quest are actually quite decent, and I would say some are as good as BG2 side quests.
  • Some NPCs dialogues are quite fun, it makes me think that “in the end OC is still a game written by Bioware” (no matter how many people say it is badly written).
  • I thought the companions are badly written (due to OC's bad reputation), however, it is actually not, as I like some of their personalities and kinda enjoy their backstories. Tomi told you funny stories, and I thought we could only find clumsy elven cleric in Japanese animes, really enjoy seeing how she ruined everything.

Cons:
  • The first main quest to locate four creatures in Chapter 1 is slow and boring, especially if you follow the “official” order (as suggested by Aribeth), because the first one is the worst- long and boring dungeons with endless fights, just for that little bit story, very discouraging.
  • The main and side quests always follow a similar pattern in every chapters, as those quests always need you to visit 3 or 4 different area to complete them. A lot of NPCs also talk in similar pattern, you will ask them same questions and get similar answers.
  • The lore of the story is good, some twists are actually enjoyable, but generally the story is still too predictable. It may not have a bad story that hurts your eyes, but it is banal and nothing really special.
  • No interjections from companions.

Playing time: 97 hours
Story: 6.8
Encounters: 6.5
Areas: 8.5



Review for Aribeth's Redemption:

Pros:
  • There are not many RPGs that you can have adventures with your wife.
  • As a post OC module, the enormous efforts in the word building via detailed and logical NPCs reactions is highly appreciated.
  • You may think a romance module will just focus on romance with your girl, in fact, all NPCs are written with loves and they have interesting backstories. Greatly enhanced the feeling of adventuring through these post-war regions.
  • Aribeth here may not as good as the best written NPC from professionals, but she is well written enough as you can see how she changes gradually and grows as someone who suffered so much previously. Some of the interactions with her are touching and heartwarming. It’s great to see her getting happier daily, and you are playing this module because you want this to happen, aren’t you?
  • Some PID with Aribeth have a ton of role-playing options which bring out a totally different wall of texts, which is a work of love that you can hardly see in most WRPGs.
  • I would rate the quality of Chapter 3 close to 7.5 as the structure and storyline of each major plot are actually quite good (the way the author obscured the real plot, companions’ backstories and their involvements in main plot etc). IMO it just needs some polishing for certain minor parts that do not look too “professionally handled”, and these quests will be comparable to those decent major side quests in professionally written WPRGs.
  • The economy in this game is quite good for an epic level module as there is reason for looting due to the cool upgrades that you can get. Money is more useful compared to the late game of OC.
  • OC actually has a grand plot but it was relatively poorly delivered due to the easy victory against such an epic villain. AR module expands this storyline, while it may not necessarily provide more depth than OC, it has successfully made the enemies more epic. Some of the battles are so epic just looking at who you have to fight.
  • The perfect ending of “The Hero of Neverwinter Saga”.

Cons:
  • I enjoy the beautifully written dialogues here but it is too verbose for a post OC story as this will remind you that it is an unofficial story. The dialogues are sometime too meandering and lack of coma and full stop.
  • Some vanilla NPCs are slightly out of character initially, however, this gets better very soon as they are lack of characterization in OC actually.
  • This is probably the best punishment for Aribeth, however, too many similar dialogues from different NPCs trying hard to tell you that it is an unanimously accepted fact that Aribeth is not guilty, which I found not so convincing considering how the mob demanded Fenthick’s death previously. Fortunately, there are some NPCs outside the court who strongly disagree with the verdict, which makes me feel better.
  • Some of the author owns interpretation of the religions in Faerun do not look lore friendly enough for me, especially in Chapter 2, but this gets better in Chapter 3.
  • The mentioning of “Italian” in the game is totally fourth wall breaking.

Playing time: 60 hours
Story: 7.2
Encounters: 7.2
Areas: 7.8


OC+AR Overall:

Playing time: 157 hours
Story: 7.5
Encounters: 7.2
Areas: 8.5



TLDR: A great adventure when these two modules are played together.


Post edited by xiaoleiwen on
DarkShinobiIseweinArviaEekanImpJuliusBorisovBelgarathMTHZioGano87

Comments

  • DarkShinobiDarkShinobi Member Posts: 15
    Great review! Got me inspired on trying out playing OC with a Fresh Paladin character. Your portrait is also so good! Awesome choice!

    Did you follow the build on it's entirety or you've changed something along the way to adapt better into your playstyle ?
  • xiaoleiwenxiaoleiwen Member Posts: 172
    edited June 2021
    Great review! Got me inspired on trying out playing OC with a Fresh Paladin character. Your portrait is also so good! Awesome choice!

    Did you follow the build on it's entirety or you've changed something along the way to adapt better into your playstyle ?

    I followed the build entirely (stats, multiclass, feats, skills) as I'm totally new to 3e, trying to think and learn why the others build in this way. I guess I will do so for my first few PC before trying to build something myself.

    I play paladin mainly due to few reasons, I started the game (OC) as a female paladin almost 20 years ago when the game was just released, but I could not get pass chapter 1. I was expecting a BG3 that time. So thinking of finishing it with a paladin.

    AR module is written for lawful good PC, and paladin is highly recommended.

    And for role play reason as well (may see my biography if interested, don't mind by poor English, it is my third language...):
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    One more thing I would like to praise the AR module is, there are few conversations that you can tell Aribeth about your family, and surprisingly, there are various options (really A LOT), and I can tell her something that is very consistent with my biography.

    Anyway, playing a paladin is quite fun in OC, the battle is piece of cake due to many ways to buff up your AC, and the role play options in conversation are enjoyable.
    Post edited by xiaoleiwen on
    DarkShinobiIseweinArviaEekanImp
  • IseweinIsewein Member Posts: 423
    AR really does sound like my cup of tea, but despite your convincing apology in it favour I'm not sure I can mount the time and effort required to go through it all again - would you say AR stands well on its own feet as a module or is it entirely dependent on the OC's story?
    DarkShinobi
  • xiaoleiwenxiaoleiwen Member Posts: 172
    edited June 2021
    Isewein wrote: »
    AR really does sound like my cup of tea, but despite your convincing apology in it favour I'm not sure I can mount the time and effort required to go through it all again - would you say AR stands well on its own feet as a module or is it entirely dependent on the OC's story?

    AR itself is quite good and starts a new adventure with lot of new casts, but it is still a continuation of OC storyline and it is written based on assumption that the pc gained Aribeth’s friendship and a very early stage of romance in OC. The story also starts immediately after OC plot finished. Additionally, there are quite a lot of dialogues in AR especially in Chapter 1 are related to the events in OC, which let you feel the consequences of what happened before.

    OC story may not be consistently good, however, the strong feeling between PC and Aribeth which you will experienced in AR is based on what happened in OC. In my opinion, it is highly recommended to at least know what is happening in OC before starting AR. If you want to try AR without playing OC, you may find some story summary, and see the movies for OC, and perhaps also the video of pc conversations with Aribeth in Chapter 2 and 4.

    The following plot should be known to player who wants to play AR:
    - starting part of chapter 1 and ending of chapter 1
    - Friendship talks with Aribeth and ending of chapter 2
    - Truth revealed in chapter 3
    - Whole story of chapter 4 (and the “romance” path with Aribeth)
    - All movies

    Chapter 1 of AR module is actually very rewarding to those who remember almost all important npcs in Neverwinter city of OC.
    ArviaDarkShinobiIsewein
  • xiaoleiwenxiaoleiwen Member Posts: 172
    As someone who loves companions and interjections more than many people (can't play IWD before discovering the NPC mods..), I can't believe I have forgotten to mention the following in my review for OC. So, updated.
    Pros:
    I thought the companions are badly written (due to OC's bad reputation), however, it is actually not, as I like some of their personalities and kinda enjoy their backstories. Tomi told you funny stories, and I thought we could only find clumsy elven cleric in Japanese animes, really enjoy seeing how she ruined everything.

    Cons:
    No interjections from companions.
    DarkShinobi
  • DarkShinobiDarkShinobi Member Posts: 15
    marcnivar wrote: »
    As someone who loves companions and interjections more than many people (can't play IWD before discovering the NPC mods..), I can't believe I have forgotten to mention the following in my review for OC. So, updated.
    Pros:
    I thought the companions are badly written (due to OC's bad reputation), however, it is actually not, as I like some of their personalities and kinda enjoy their backstories. Tomi told you funny stories, and I thought we could only find clumsy elven cleric in Japanese animes, really enjoy seeing how she ruined everything.

    Cons:
    No interjections from companions.

    I'm doing a trial run just to play a little with a paladin on the OC, and wow, it's such a strong class for the early game.

    About the companions, did you play with them for a great amount of time during the chapters? I am switching them on small periods like, on Chapter 1 I did each district with a different companion. Gringnaw revealed to be the best one with his two attacks using Flurry of Blows for the beginning.
  • xiaoleiwenxiaoleiwen Member Posts: 172
    edited June 2021
    marcnivar wrote: »
    As someone who loves companions and interjections more than many people (can't play IWD before discovering the NPC mods..), I can't believe I have forgotten to mention the following in my review for OC. So, updated.
    Pros:
    I thought the companions are badly written (due to OC's bad reputation), however, it is actually not, as I like some of their personalities and kinda enjoy their backstories. Tomi told you funny stories, and I thought we could only find clumsy elven cleric in Japanese animes, really enjoy seeing how she ruined everything.

    Cons:
    No interjections from companions.

    I'm doing a trial run just to play a little with a paladin on the OC, and wow, it's such a strong class for the early game.

    About the companions, did you play with them for a great amount of time during the chapters? I am switching them on small periods like, on Chapter 1 I did each district with a different companion. Gringnaw revealed to be the best one with his two attacks using Flurry of Blows for the beginning.

    Paladin has great buffs, in my game he can prebuff easily to get a very high AC and damage.

    I took Sharwyn almost 99% of the time, as I found out that they do not have interjections (in quests / dialgoue with other npc) or location banters etc, so there is no reason for me (story wise) to rotate them. Gameplay wise it could be fun to try different followers, but Sharwyn looks pretty and has good buffs, so I almost never use the others. One of the reason is, I know Sharwyn will appear in the beginning of AR module, who looks like the best choice (story wise) to bring her to the final dungeon in OC.

    ===

    BTW, I'm near the end of SOU now with a new PC, I start to think NWN1 actually has some fun in the gameplay, especially playing with different builds, probably I should write something about my gameplay experiences with different builds... well too lazy for that :p
    DarkShinobi
  • DanielMuthDanielMuth Member Posts: 2
    As the author of the AR series, I just wanted to express my gratitude for the generosity of your review. I guess it's obvious the series was a labor of love and took a ridiculous amount of time (I distinctly remember wasting an entire weekend trying to get the thing to kick you out of the game if you take on the three drunk soldiers in the pub in Chapter 1 - this just to prove some silly point). If I had it to do over again, yes, in addition to clearing up some of the more embarrassing typos, I'd offer a lot fewer walls of text and a lot less clunky dialogue (I was initially too fixated on "how would Aragorn [book, not movie] say it?"). I'd also like to improve my programming skills and have more beta testers - it took forever to get most people to the point of getting through Chapter 3 without encountering game-killing faction issues. Oh, well.

    I certainly get your concern about fourth-wall breaking. I tried to limit it solely to the in-jokes used for the Waterdeep and desert puzzles: the "Italian" and "Vin's Shield Viper" puns were particularly egregious in this regard. But let's face it, the latter at least was funny. I meant to include the fang of a serpent that attacks unruly children called a "Whippersnapper Viper", which would also have been a fourth-wall breaker so I guess it's as well it didn't get in. There were potentially similar issues, of course, with Wilson the Bureaucrat, but his little tete-a-tete with the dragon in Lord Buil's basement was just way too much fun to write, as was the spellcasting of the hobbit sorcerer in Chapter 2.

    I'm glad the growth of Aribeth as a character came across. As you note, that's kind of the whole point. I emphasized in an interview I did on the series that the idea was really for Aribeth to be the main character with your PC as more of a Sam Gamgee to her Frodo. All good marriages are going to have at least some of that to them. When you marry, you have to stop being the main - or at least the only - character in your life. I rated it for teens, because I figured they could get what was going on, not necessarily because I thought they would understand the nuances. The comments I've received have thus far proven me right about that.

    I also get your comment about the appropriateness of the punishment of Aribeth. Yeah, she could be executed a la HotU and we could have a lovely visit to the hells or wherever, but I feel very strongly that upon the death of Morag, the collective madness that resulted in Fenthick's unjust execution would recede and there would be less inclination to condemn Aribeth, at least among those who understand what was happening. I regret if this didn't come out clearly throughout. In some of the comments in the original vault, I had people taking me to task for treating Aribeth as completely innocent. But she's found guilty, for cripes' sake, and that for a potentially capital offense. What more do these people want? At least one wanted me to write an entire parallel module in which we do the afore-mentioned sojourn to the hells. Uh, no.

    Some things I thought I had to do (and not just the obvious stuff like the Tolkienesque dialogue or giving all the Sunites Bond-girl names). My handling of religion, at least initially, was purely a matter of conscience, as well as a lack of imagination: I simply have no idea how a truly polytheist society would work. I have my doubts that it would look like The Realms, but that may be a personal prejudice. I'm pleased with how some of the dialogues turned out, particularly some involving Aribeth and the first with Sharwyn in Chapter 3. I thought it important to give the player someone your PC can't help but Aribeth can. Heavy-handed, I guess, but it shows her growth.

    That's as it may be. Once again, I really enjoyed writing the thing (even if it's been a decade since I finished) and appreciate your kind comments on it. Much thanks and best regards - DWM
    xiaoleiwenZioGano87IseweinNaitaix
  • ZioGano87ZioGano87 Member Posts: 2
    Not sure it's the right thread but i need some help with AR chapter 1. I can't finish the Mountor Spike quest; i'm already through the whole Ilmateri dungeons but the quest is still on, i've probably missed the weapon/item somewhere, can't seem to find it, maybe i've skipped it.
  • DanielMuthDanielMuth Member Posts: 2
    "ZioGano87" - It's used by the Undead Fire Giant Queen. You can't finish the dungeon without getting past her and you should have looted the weapon from her body. You then need to take it back to the Dwarfs at the nearby farm. They will reward you and the quest will close. Cheers - DWM
  • ZioGano87ZioGano87 Member Posts: 2
    DanielMuth wrote: »
    "ZioGano87" - It's used by the Undead Fire Giant Queen. You can't finish the dungeon without getting past her and you should have looted the weapon from her body. You then need to take it back to the Dwarfs at the nearby farm. They will reward you and the quest will close. Cheers - DWM

    tyvm, found it laying on the floor, forgot to pick it up
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