Author Topic: Adventures in the Forgotten Realms (Baldurs Gate, Neverwinter Nights, etc)  (Read 468 times)

Jubal

  • Megadux
    Executive Officer
  • Posts: 32772
  • Karma: 132
  • Awards Awarded for oustanding services to Exilian!
    • View Profile
    • Awards
So, I've been diving into this world lately with a playthrough of Baldur's Gate 1 EE, which is interesting. Some initial thoughts:

  • Timescaling is amazingly janky: most of the game is completed best rather slowly, with lots of resupply trips and a need to head back. Most quests are not time limited so this is fine, except that a lot of the companion quests are very time limited
  • Getting side characters resurrected, and dying myself, happen a lot: it definitely feels like a game where to have a "smooth" run you need to know what's ahead to an extent that you can't know intuitively, because the range of protections available are so situation-specific (I can for example protect my party from fire, or have good shutdowns on enemy wizards, or protect from evil, or protect from petrification, or have lots of poison removals available, but I can't protect from all possible options at once).
  • I wish I could set it to have a quicksave when I rest. Worst moments have been forgetting to save and then needing to roll way back, or having to push through the end of an area and leave with basically no loot because I'm carrying two dead characters' worth of gear and can't come back later.
  • It's really cool seeing the influence on later games. Pillars of Eternity I guess is the most obvious of games I've played or seen recently, but also Minsc and Boo being referenced via Mass Effect's space hamster was quite a fun realisation.
  • Partly because it's so influential, bits of it feel almost generic, which is a pity but also inevitable.
  • In terms of RP it's a bit limited but nice enough: I guess most stuff has "good options" vs "bad options" with some mercenary/greedy options in there, but some of the other things about how I imagine my character don't come through so well. My Gorion's Ward (main character, that is) is a dwarf cleric called Carduelis, who's I think of as more a 'cleric of the people' type rather than someone especially dedicated to any particular deity, though it's hard to bring that out.
  • I'm running with Khalid (Tank), Jaheira (Combat damage), Neera (Mage), Imoen (Range damage/trap finder), and Branwen (Secondary Tank/Healer). Generally enjoying this as a comp.

Generally I'm enjoying it, anyway - there seems to be a lot of sidequesting around the main plot and I suspect my builds aren't ideal, but it's fun to worth through :)

What're other people's experiences with these D&D RPGs?
The duke, the wanderer, the philosopher, the mariner, the warrior, the strategist, the storyteller, the wizard, the wayfarer...

Pentagathus

  • King of the Wibulnibs
  • Posts: 2608
  • Karma: 19
    • View Profile
    • Awards
Planescape Torment has an absolutely phenomenal story, would definitely recommend it. Haven't really played any other of these style of games, the gameplay itself isn't really interesting for me.

Jubal

  • Megadux
    Executive Officer
  • Posts: 32772
  • Karma: 132
  • Awards Awarded for oustanding services to Exilian!
    • View Profile
    • Awards
Yes, psyanojim has told me to play PT a few times and it's definitely on my list :) And yeah, I sort of like the semi-tactical gameplay but it's definitely a bit, uh, unpolished in some of these older bits of the genre.
The duke, the wanderer, the philosopher, the mariner, the warrior, the strategist, the storyteller, the wizard, the wayfarer...

dubsartur

  • Citizens
    Voting Member
  • Posts: 614
  • Karma: 1
    • View Profile
    • Awards
What operating systems is it available on?

I played Baldur's Gate II through several times, and Neverwinter Nights until I got stuck at a dragon fight.  Good times!  From my memory, core AD&D 2e is not a system where its easy to accidentally build a weak character like GURPS or 3e D&D.

Spritelady

  • Tribounos
    Site Magistrate
  • Posts: 41
  • Karma: 0
    • View Profile
    • Awards
Ooh which dragon fight did you get stuck at in Neverwinter Nights? I remember being very frustrated by one in one of the games, then going back much later and loading with a very advanced character, just so I could absolutely wipe the floor with the dragon in revenge!

I've always loved Neverwinter Nights, my dad and I used to stay up late and play it every summer when I was off school or home from university. Sadly, it's become much harder to do non-local multiplayer now, so that's rather come to a halt.

Where can one acquire Baldur's Gate? I've heard a lot about it but not had a chance to play it yet.

Jubal

  • Megadux
    Executive Officer
  • Posts: 32772
  • Karma: 132
  • Awards Awarded for oustanding services to Exilian!
    • View Profile
    • Awards
The enhanced edition is on GOG for not too much money, I guess it's likely on Steam too :)

I've now finished Baldur's Gate! Though the game runs directly on to the in-between-that-and-BG2 campaign, Siege of Dragonspear, which I'm now playing through. The end of the main campaign was... a bit what you'd expect, I guess, you get a big old classic villain showdown boss fight thingy. Boss fights are tricky to balance well in this sort of game setup, because if the boss does have an obvious weakness it can make them feel anticlimactic, and if the boss doesn't, then it can end up being very "who got their spells off more successfully in the opening rounds and managed to shut the others' casters down effectively" - it's definitely the sort of game where if you start doing badly in combat, there's a harsh spiral effect. Generally I felt the campaign did build to the end though, and Siege of Dragonspear feels like it's going to have more voicing & character writing than the main game did which I like (though I have to be minus most of the companions I had in the main game apparently which is frustrating).
The duke, the wanderer, the philosopher, the mariner, the warrior, the strategist, the storyteller, the wizard, the wayfarer...

Jubal

  • Megadux
    Executive Officer
  • Posts: 32772
  • Karma: 132
  • Awards Awarded for oustanding services to Exilian!
    • View Profile
    • Awards
And I've now finished Siege of Dragonspear and run straight on to BG2, which since SoD is a bridging campaign and it all happens in the same game engine really doesn't feel like there was any gap in the story.

Thoughts on SoD: I really liked it, there are definitely some janky quest design bugs which I'm surprised weren't fixed and things like that, but the characters are really nice, I enjoyed M'Khiin the goblin shaman a lot as a companion. The ending of the main quest feels good, too, it makes for a narratively satisfying conclusion without anything feeling unearned. The post-ending which creates the BG2 segue is... a bit contrived, I guess, and compared to the start of BG2 the things the Hooded Man manages to do at SoD make him seem way more omnipotent than he broadly seems to turn out.

I did have to use a walkthrough for more bits of it than I'd have liked because things weren't always obvious and the game does have a tendency to penalise failure rather heavily if only by making you re-fight certain battles again and again until you get right or lucky. Generally D&D isn't a system that's well built around evenly matched adventuring parties taking chunks out of one another: it's a system built around preparation and working out how to use the tools at your disposal, so a group that has all the tools you have often just comes down to who rolls better right at the start of a fight and manages to e.g. shut the enemy casters down first. I did sort of enjoy it sometimes when I did really hit on a "right answer" to a battle, that said. One of the longest fights was a 1v1 you have to do during the siege itself which given I was a support caster basically meant slapping all the protection potions I owned onto myself then sitting there waiting until the enemy burned through her entire spell list - and then casting my own buffs and starting to do damage, after about five to ten mins of real-world time (I think that duel in-game probably took the characters most of an afternoon!)



So now I'm on BG2. I did NOT EXPECT the
Spoiler (click to show/hide)
and was quite sad about them.

Other than that, I'm enjoying it so far though I miss all the nice kit I'd got stored up in the previous game. I just did the Chapter One dungeon so far, and the Circus Tent quest that's very near to where you start. I get that the Chapter One dungeon needs to be kind of easy, but it does feel like SoD really over-egged the power of the Hooded Man at the moment. Like, he's meant to be this "threatening the devils themselves for power and evil" level guy, and then his home security is five squads of goblins, a few golems, and a couple of squads of duergar? Even considering the assassins have tripped or disabled a bunch of stuff, it's a really lame setup. Like, he clearly has a case of the Xykons in that he expects his own power to do all the work, but even Xykon goes and builds an extraplanar fortress when he really wants something protected. And doesn't let himself get arrested, for that matter.

That said, I thought it was otherwise a good starting run, I like having more djinn around, I really enjoyed the circus tent quest though I'm sure I missed some content, and generally I'm looking forward to exploring Amn more, I think this is going to be pretty fun.
The duke, the wanderer, the philosopher, the mariner, the warrior, the strategist, the storyteller, the wizard, the wayfarer...

dubsartur

  • Citizens
    Voting Member
  • Posts: 614
  • Karma: 1
    • View Profile
    • Awards
Ooh which dragon fight did you get stuck at in Neverwinter Nights? I remember being very frustrated by one in one of the games, then going back much later and loading with a very advanced character, just so I could absolutely wipe the floor with the dragon in revenge!
I think it was the fight with the red dragon on the "dragon level."  There is an option to pick an unnecessary fight with a smaller dragon instead, but that goes against my principles.  No unnecessary draconicide!

I liked the idea of the 'level builder' in Neverwinter Nights although I never played with it.

luplay

  • Posts: 2
  • Karma: 0
    • View Profile
    • Awards
Looks good. Thanks for your sharing.