NWN2 Mask of the Betrayer

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NWN2 Mask of the Betrayer

Postby BlueSalamander » Sun Mar 11, 2012 5:06 pm

Neverwinter Nights 2 Mask of the Betrayer

In MOTB, you start the adventure with a level-17 character suffering from the curse of the Spirit Eater. The curse creates a craving in your character for the souls of your defeated enemies. If this craving is suppressed your character gets weaker and weaker. So all along this adventure your main motivation is to find a cure for the curse.

There are three main quests: the wood man, the coven of hags, and the city of the dead. Both the wood man and the hags are said to have information about the curse, while the city of the dead is said to hold the key to breaking the curse.

For this expansion I've created a female halfling, a Lawful Good cleric of Tyr with the domain powers Air and Fire. She's a strongheart halfling so it's almost the same as a human in that she gets a free feat at level 1. Her initial stats were: str 14 dex 12 con 14 int 12 wis 16 cha 08. A halfling is not a bad choice for a cleric focused on offensive casting since she doesn't need a very high strength and she benefits from a AC bonus from her small size.

Flaws

All of the quests are well designed and interesting. Unfortunately there are fatal flaws:

1) The absence of combat challenge. The whole game is a cakewalk, at least with a cleric character. I’ve played it at the highest difficulty and I’ve only had to reload two times – once against a lich king and once against the final boss. Both times, I was surprised and unprepared. Most battles are over in 10 seconds. Why don’t we ever get to fight a big group of high-level clerics, wizards and fighters together? Why are we given so many items that provide immunities?

2) The wordiness. The game loves to use many words to say very little. Many times you get told that you are not yourself, but a spirit-eater, or that you are not yourself, but Akachi the Betrayer, or that you just don’t know your true nature. What does it matter? The game rambles on about the nature of dreams, the nature of souls, the shadow world… Most of the time, dialogues appear in a small box in the top-left corner (why so small) and the view does not scroll to the NPC who’s talking.

3) The 3D view. It's not fun having to constantly rotate the camera to get a good view. The camera options are needlessly confusing. There is no explanation about the difference between Strategy View and Exploration View (apparently the strategy mode is the one intended to be closest to a top-down 2D view with free movement of the camera, while the exploration mode is another top-down view but one that is centered on the main character and allows camera rotation rather than panning). Some of the view options do not work. Others are completely superfluous, for example you can specify that the mouse will highlight different things depending on the view. What good is that to the player? Who cares about inverting mouse up/down in character mode but not in the other modes?

Choices

Concerning the storyline there are two main choices to make. The first choice is how you handle the Spirit Eater curse. Being Lawful Good my character never swallowed any soul. She used Supress all the time. Once, she had to use Satiate, meaning that she fed the craving using her own soul at the cost of experience points.

The other choice is your attitude to the Wall of the Faithless, in the city of the dead. The Wall is made up of the souls of all creatures who died without any devotion for any god. When they die, their souls are painfully dissolved into the wall regardless of the creature’s alignment. As you will visit the city of the dead, you must decide whether the wall is unjust and should be taken down.

One of the characters in your party, the Neutral Good cleric of Ilmater Kaelyn, often claims that the Wall is unjust. Personally I don’t see the Wall as evil. In the game world, gods clearly do exist and it is not a secret that those without faith will go to the Wall. So the creatures who are most likely to go to the Wall are ignorant brutes or Neutral Evil wizards who thought that they could become an immortal lich. For a character to choose to be faithless is like putting your hand in the fire. When you put your hand in the fire, you get burnt. That doesn’t mean fire is evil.

Contradictions

Playing as Lawful Good I noticed some contradictions:

* Good clerics shouldn’t have access to spells with the evil descriptor, like Vampiric Feast.
* LG cleric is unlikely to discuss with a devil the terms of a contract it signed with a man. The cleric would just smash the devil in question.
* LG cleric would never hand over two souls to devils in exchange for a key. The cleric would just smash the devils. And yet, to progress in MOTB you have to do this trade (I think that’s the most stupid quest in the game).
* NG cleric would not ally herself with a blue dragon and a lich – both evil creatures.
* NG cleric would not help said lich become a god. The evil created by this would probably exceed any amount of good that would come from destroying the Wall of the Faithless.
* NG cleric would not seek revenge on the Player Character after her plans were thwarted. That’s what a Neutral Evil character would do.

Conclusion

A good game despite the disappointing combat.

Tips on editing your character's cleric domains and voice set

To change the cleric domain: download NWN2Editor. Click NWN2Editor.jar to launch. Click file, open save character. Look for your save folder and then click playerlist.nfo. Click the 'class' Tab (Not feats) and there, select the right domains. Save.

To change the voice set: download gffeditor. In the editor, open the folder C:\Users\(your user name)\Documents\Neverwinter Nights 2\Saves\ and select the save folder you want to modify. Then open playerlist.ifo. Click '+' and look for 'soundset file'. The number corresponds to the voice set. To find the right number you can create a new character with the right voice, save it and open the corresponding playerlist.ifo file in gffeditor, it will contain the correct number.

Useful spells

Divine Power
Purge Invisibility
Greater Restoration
Harm
Heal (With Still Metamagic, you can cast Heal as a level-7 spell as well as level 6)
Mass Heal
Resurrect
Interposing Hand
Forceful Hand
Sunburst
Energy Drain
Vampiric Feast (overpowered)

I’ve given the Craft Magic Arms feat to my character so that the main crafting character (Safiya) did not have to learn extra spells just for crafting.

Related links

Neverwinter Nights 2 review
Storm of Zehir review

Screenshots from the beginning to the end

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'Say there is a chunk of meat. Pirates will have a banquet and eat it! But heroes will share it with other people. I want all the meat!!' - Luffy in One Piece
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BlueSalamander
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NWN2 Mask of the Betrayer

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