Wednesday, September 8, 2010

What has Ol' Kamal been up to?

So what do you do after you module is 100% complete but you don't want to release to testers just yet? Why you add evil ^H^H^H^ I mean you add depth. :-)

I've gone back through all the dialogs adding more race/class/diety specific conversation options. For instance one merchant will give you a discount and has a completely seperate dialog if you are the same race as him. Another npc will only speak his language and refuse to speak common if you're the same race as him (translated with subtitles, see below). Going individually through all the dialogs also turned up some typos and coloring mistakes (if an action is described via conersation, I highlight it with color tags). Even 2 or 3 actual quest bugs turned up, where conversations didn't advance a quest, or accepting it in a certain way didn't start it. It also identified all the merchants where one companion did not have the option to steal from them, there were a fair number of those.

Translation with subtitles. In one place, you can be disguised and among a population that does not speak common. I've used an online source to translate that entire section (probably 1-2 hours of gameplay). So players get the "original", with a common translation below. It's a detail that will hopefully delight players.

More custom items. There are some in every town now. The fanciest one gives the player faux psionics via a "psionic focuser" item that allows them to cast some illusion school spells once or twice a day. They can train with the npc that grants the focuser to achieve new "abilities". However this has a non-monetary evil cost, innocent npcs will die, and unlocking the full power requires the death of important ally npc's including player minions. I don't know how many people will find this during a game though since the player must do a number of things to get this. While there is a logical chain to get it, you have to do about 5-6 different things to get it over the course of probably 5-6 levels for the player, you're not told you are going to get it, and it's not offered to you, you have to ask. I'll probably put info on it in a walkthrough for the campaign. Anyway the "psionic focuser" item allows the player to be one of the many villain stereotypes.

Reworking on things I was not happy with. The player stronghold I had felt was underdeveloped. Now you can receive emmisaries (who depends on what you do elsewhere, it's possible to receive none), it has several ways to do research on the overarching game goal, and you can have minions carry out some orders. In fact, with a sargent to lead them, you can now have your minions do the entire item collecting main plot. Yes you read that right, you can have your minions carry out 80% of the entire plot without you. After all, once you have a stronghold, you are an evil overlord, so now you can act like one and have minions carry out your wishes. You can now have your soldiers standing guard and patrolling the local area. Lastly, you can now buy slaves for the stronghold, they don't serve any game purpose but just provide fluff detail. I also changed the location of a few things in the stronghold module to be more logical. There's a bit left to do here to flesh out the stronghold module, but nothing major.

Feat buying. You can now pay to receive various feats. For example, you can pay a blacksmith to temporarily shut down his shop and train you. In return you receive Skill Focus: Armor Crafting or Skill Focus: Weapon Crafting, depending on which you paid him for. I know this makes a character illegal to use elsewhere, since they will have too many feats, but the villain of the story is always exceptional, and Path of Evil has you as the "villain". Some more exotic feats can be aquired, including racial feats, which of course have exotic ways of getting them. You can also buy feats for your companions. I put in checks to make sure the player/companions have the normal prereqs if the feat has them, so no buying "Craft Wonderous Items" for fighters. Not all feats can be aquired (of course not, there are more than a thousand), and not all can be purchased for gold.

"Holy poop Kamal, that all sounds awesome!" I think so too :-) I can hardly wait to make the official call for testers.

There's not much left to add, just a few feat trainers and a bit more detail in the stronghold module. Then to test the new stuff. Don't want to ask for testers with anything not having received at least some testing. The official call for testers will probably go out sometime in the next two weeks.


  1. That does sound quite an impressive list of things you have done and added. I always find it interesting to read how other builders approach their module. For instance, the thought of going back over conversations to add more depth would make me break into a cold sweat - even though I do understand where you come from. It's just that I know how easy it can be to break a conversation that has plenty already going on it it.

    Every aspect you mention as additions did sound exciting though. It will be interesting to see how they play.


  2. Where I added to conversations I only did it for flavor, giving the player different things they could say. I didn't give the player different ways to do things that weren't already there. So if I added a way to do something via a skillcheck, there were already other ways to do something via check. I also tried to work in more race/diety/class references, but those don't affect anything.

    I also found some places where I could make logical additions to conversations. For instance a player might want to ask a vampire to make the pc into one.

    Translating was not as difficult as I expected. The online translator I found was surprisingly complete and most dialog only needed minor adjustments to get a complete translation of a line. I only had to substitute things in a few cases, where I couldn't find a synonym so went with a similar concept.

    The "psionic focuser" item is just a magic item that allows someone carrying it to use different spells from the illusion school, plus the story behind it to make the concept that you can do "psionics" when you have it work. It swaps out with a different item with the same name but more powers as the player trains. Nevertheless, it's quite different from having a sword that's say +1 +3 versus giants with some story as to why it's better against giants. I've got some of those type items as well.

    It turns out that feat buying is quite simple, since there are built in scripts for checking if a player has a feat, and granting them the feat. Feat buying can be a simple transation, check if the player has enough money, grant the feat (ga_give_feat iirc) if they don't already have it. All I'm doing is a fade out/fade in to represent the time/process required. You'd want to advance the game time as appropriate as well, though I'm not making time an important aspect of my campaign so I'm not bothering advancing it.

    I felt it would be logical that if the player finds an expert in a given thing, they might be able to get them to train the player. So the expert blacksmith would give crafting feats. Similarly, maybe a grizzled soldier who was known for his skill with a particular weapon could give a weapon feat for that weapon. A wizard might be able to teach you enough to grant a spell focus feat if you do some task in return.

    It's a bit of Morrowind/Oblivion influence. Those games had trainers for all the skills. Of course NWN2 has over 1000 possible feats, so there's no way to put them all in. I tried to keep them logical to the npc and story. There's maybe 15-20 you can get so far.

    In terms of granting racial feats and keeping them logical inside a story, racial feats can be given via "Moradin has granted you the boon of dwarven darksight to reflect your bond with the dwarves of the dwarven outpost!", or on the evil side via grafting of body parts or some other evil way. Researching for the campaign, grafting actually has about 1/2 a sourcebook worth of official info spread among several sourcebooks. There are several grafting based Prestige Classes (evil ones obviously) out there.

    No custom feats though. I decided against making custom feats since I wanted to make sure I am compatible with Kaedrin's pack. Getting back to the vampire request above, I would have had to make a vampire feat. Perfectly possible, but I decided not to. So the vampire will refuse the player's request for a logical reason.

  3. it must be great to be at the point in building that you are now. where you can really add features without worry (I hope I get there sme day)
    and its great for us that still are working on our stuff. so we can steal shamelessly :)

    I really really like the language "barrier" options you have added its gonna add a lot of athmosphere. and having feat trainers sounds awesome. this was waht I was thinking about stealing (well for skills anyways :P )

    as always great work! I gotta make sure to clear the weekend you release this mod. so I can get away from the overly altruistic, goody two shoes module that forces me to ahve a insulin shot ready at all time :P

  4. the translation thing... it is a GREAT idea!
    (one of the many you had, to be fair!)