Wednesday, March 3, 2010

Get your Evil here (Path of Evil external testing)
(updated version of the first module, March 13, fixes 50 bugs specific to Neverwinter, adds "flavor" text and other improvements that were only in later modules.)
(fixes a gamebreaking bug with the first area after leaving Neverwinter, leaving players stuck and unable to progress...)

Bugreporting wiki:

I've made a thread for feedback here: and tried to anticipate questions people might have. You can always PM me on the official forums and I'll send you my email address if you prefer to give feedback that way.

PoE is "complete" and needs fresh brains for food.... I mean feedback... (Complete except for a few minor things, the stronghold town and the endgame, those two areas are still alpha/beta quality.)

I wouldn't worry about things to do ingame though, there's plenty of stealin', intimidatin', muahaha-in' and paladin smackin' to go round.

Testers reward: choose either a gravestone with an epithet of your choice (a Bioware tradition), or be a purchaseable slave for the stronghold (with barkstring/convo of your choice).

If anyone does decide to help playtest, my current testers are playing a mage and a priest. Since the initial ten quests (a few hours of game time) of the campaign are completely different depending on your class, I would request you try a melee type or rogue for the part set in Neverwinter, but anything you want is fine, the more testers the better. I've been through the paths enough that my eyes glaze over, the two testers have already pointed out several logical errors that I missed because as the builder I "just know".

Since I figure this blog is probably read more by builders than players I'll lay things out from a builder perspective:

How one handles plot for a villainous pc is the experimental part of the campaign. Your typical heroes are told where to go and what to do, generally in very specific terms. "I seen the necromancer threatening the town and some zombies coming out of the cemetary!" Bam, there's a quest. As a player, you know you need to head to the cemetary, and the necromancer is going to try to kill you. Motivations are built in, players are expected to be good and to help those in need. "Evil" is typically restricted to demanding money to do the task. At best the evil player is given an alternate route that accomplishes the same task (working for the Thieves in the OC). Any larger quest, such as defeating the OC villain, is broken down into a neat series of subquests that are all direct and specific.

Path of Evil sets up a large quest goal for the player (without spoilers, this is nothing groundbreaking, just an item accumulation quest). However, it tries to leave as much as possible up to the player in how they want to accomplish the quest. They are not told directly where to go to find the items or what to do. One companion will make a suggestion on where to go to find out more information. Even if they go there the information they wind up getting is vague. The player might figure out that what they are looking for is in a city. And the item is there.... somewhere. The towns of Path of Evil have main quest lines, but these can be unrelated to what the player is looking for. The item might turn up in what you thought was a sidequest. It might even be unexpectedly easy to reach.

Basically, the pc is on the path to being the villain of traditional modules. Except we're seeing the villain before he/she has achieved power. The villain is still questing to achieve power, not yet wielding it to try to smite the forces of good. The questing villain has to operate quietly, they can't go about asking for help; good won't help, and evil would use the knowledge against our villanous player.

So Path of Evil winds up very much a sandbox. The player will find that plot, as normal modules handle it, is almost non-existant. Not that there aren't quests to do (there are plenty, around 150), dungeons to explore, etc. But direction is something the player will have to find and decide for themselves.

Handling evil players also means having to plan for them doing things that would be unexpected in most modules. Evil players can be in character while trying to doublecross a questgiver, ransoming an item for more money than was agreed upon, lying,  etc. This means I'm looking for lots of feedback on alternate ways to complete quests.


  1. Hi Kamal,

    I am downloading your module now, and if I get some spare time would like to try some testing for you. In your opinion, about how many hours of play is there? Will it be obvious when I am nearing the "end"?


  2. Hi Kamal,

    I just read your post in the Tavern's forums, so I have the answer to my question now.

    I also added the website to my blog as I too am more into MP modules than SP ones, hence my latest blog entry.


  3. Playtime will vary highly. An absolute minimum path playthrough will likely be 10 hours, cover roughly 20% of areas and 10-15% of quests. That would also assume you knew exactly where all the items to accumulate for the plot were and the fastest way to get them.

    Take your time/do everything/go everywhere and I could see 60+ hours easily.

    Whether it's obvious you are nearing the end of not depends on whether you follow a companion's advice on where to go for more information. If you don't, you won't know how many items there are to be accumulated or what to do with them once you have them. The companion's suggestion does stay in your journal though in case you decide to wander freely and later want to take it.

    Thanks for testing, and remember trying to complete quests in some evil way is encouraged. In some cases you can ransom items you are supposed to return for reward, lie, doublecross etc. If you think you should be able to complete a quest in some manner, let me know and I will add it if possible.

    For instance, in the first module if you are a thief you are asked to craft a trap. However, since the questgiver would be unable to tell the difference between one you made and one you bought.... you can give her one you bought and successfully complete the "craft a trap" quest.

    Also I should add that the player can almost always turn down quests, saying they find something distasteful. Being evil doesn't mean you approve of every dastardly thing. So you can turn down say quests to recruit slaves, saying you may be evil but don't believe in slavery.

  4. Hi Kamal,

    I have DL both files, but after a quick look could not find a tlk file. Will I be needing one, or is it hidden somewhere?

    Hopefully, I will take a look at this later, but thought I'd mention this as you mention a tlk file in your post.


  5. There should be a tlk file in the "other" 7zip. It's only used for the custom load hints (which are generic faerun lore), so it's not truly necessary.

  6. Hi Kamal,

    I am obviously going blind as it was staring me in the face when I checked this time. Doh!



  7. Hi Kamal,

    I hope you don't mind me posting here instead of the forum for the time being. There are a couple of things I want to ask:-

    1) I did *not* rename the campaign directory for the time being, as it looks like you saved the campaign as the folder name you shipped anyway.

    2) I did have to rename your kamalpoe1.hak to kamalpoe.hak, as it would not work otherwise.

    It appears to load OK now. :)


  8. Someone else reported having to rename the hak. I'll put up a consolidated list of reported bugs at the forum page

  9. Hey man where are the damn escaped slaves in murran?

    1. Please let me know if a post is uneeded.

    2. They are in a house in the section of Murann farthest away from the ogre mage.