Conan Chronicles

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Conan Chronicles

Postby BlueSalamander » Sun Apr 22, 2012 3:39 pm

The Conan Chronicles 1 and 2 are Neverwinter Nights 2 campaigns created by John McA. The 1st campaign includes three modules: Legions of the Dead, Scythian Pits, and the Thing in the Crypt. The 2nd campaign is one large module with two main quests: the haunted house of Yog and Zamora's thieves guilds. Apparently the author took three years to create the 2nd campaign and it shows. Shame that he's not getting any financial reward for doing this.

Download links

Conan Chronicles 1 http://nwvault.ign.com/View.php?view=nwn2modulesenglish.detail&id=319
Conan Chronicles 2 http://nwvault.ign.com/View.php?view=nwn2modulesenglish.Detail&id=483
Scythian Pits alone http://nwvault.ign.com/View.php?view=Nwn2modulesenglish.Detail&id=263

1st module: Legions of the Dead. Starting level 1

In this adventure you start with a teenage Conan in a northern barbarian tribe. The daughter of the jarl has been captured by Hyperboreans and taken to their castle by Queen Haloga, a sorceress. You must free the princess.

I liked this module. It would have been better with much less 'junk' to collect in the castle (a good example of 'less is more'), a slightly smaller castle, and more sense of urgency when you're inside the castle. The sense of urgency could have been achieved by not allowing rest and by setting a certain amount of time after which a massive amount of guards start patrolling the corridors. It's pointless to collect things because you will lose your equipment at the start of the 2nd module.

I didn't like the fact that you can't kill Queen Haloga in the castle no matter how lucky you are. The 'intimidate' skill is not offered where it could logically be useful, like the blacksmith in Haloga castle who says he only sells good weapons to officers.

My rating: 4 stars out of 5.

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2nd module: Scythian Pits. Starting level 4

In this adventure you are captured by Queen Haloga and locked into a dark cell. A slave trader frees you, only to use you as a gladiator in the Scythian Pits and Scythian Arena. You must find a way to freedom, either by becoming the arena champion or through more subtle means.

I liked this module the best, out of the three modules of the 1st campaign. It seems that some of the best adventures are those where you have to re-enact the story of Spartacus: start as a slave gladiator, then fight for your freedom and overthrow the slave masters.

This module has a good replay value, thanks to the many options, and it does require you to think. Be sure to have the Search skill at maximum value to find secret passages. You also need some points in Sleight of Hand and Hide for one of the quests.

There's a good level of combat challenge, at least in the highest-difficulty mode. My most difficult opponents were the berserker dwarf and the eastern monk.

My main complaints are the unnecessary locked rooms and locked containers with junk inside, and the fact that you can't convince the female paladin to join you in your escape (except in one particular set of circumstances), even if you have already become arena champion and found a secret exit.

I also didn't like how my character was constantly referred as a 'rogue' (for example in the arena: 'Challenging today is Conan, the Rogue from Hyboria') even though he only had his 1st level as rogue, and all his other levels as barbarian. Lastly I didn't like that you have to read the official walkthrough to learn some of the things that make the experience more enjoyable, for example the walkthrough explains the effect of the various options for taunting the enemy before an arena fight, while in-game there's no clue about what skills are used if any.

My rating: 5 stars out of 5.

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3rd module: The Thing in the Crypt. Starting level 11 to 13

In this adventure Conan is travelling from Scythia to Zamora through mountains and hills. Seeking refuge from hungry wolves, he enters a hole in the mountain and falls into an ancient crypt. I liked this module the least. Some fights are very difficult and some are very easy. And in some ways the module plays like a bad adventure game. You don't seem to have any of the choices that a RPG normally offers. In the beginning you are trapped in a crypt. The first order of business is to get a source of light; you cannot escape without that. So you have to look for materials to light a fire. The second order of business is to get the weapon that a seated skeleton seems to be holding. When you try to take it, the skeleton awakes and attacks. The only way to defeat that monster is a trick - to get him to walk over your makeshift fire. Later you are stuck in a network of caves. The only clue is a note on a corpse mentioning a ladder. Only, it doesn't say where. I couldn't find it without looking in the official walkthrough. Finally you face a huge stone elemental that cannot die. Again I had to look the walkthrough to learn that you need a source of acid damage to finish it.

The difficulty of the third module is a lot higher than that of the two other modules if you finish the second module at level 11 with a character of strength 18, like I did. It forced me to switch from 'very difficult' to 'easy'. Your single level-11 character without Restoration spells gets to fight crowds of 6-7 ghasts who can stun you and reduce your strength.

My rating: 2 stars out of 5.

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2nd campaign 1st large quest: Haunted house of Yog. Starting level 14 or 15

In the 2nd campaign Conan has reached Zamora, the city of thieves. The overall city design is awesome, it reminds of the city of Athkatla in Baldur's Gate 2. There are a few optional short quests, including a very good one where you destroy the slavers guild.

The first large quest I received was the haunted house of Yog. A fanatical sect, the Yoggites, is kidnapping people to use them in rituals where they are sacrificed. One way to infiltrate this sect is for your character to get kidnapped. You pretend to get dead drunk at one particular bar and then wait for the Yoggites to pick you up in the middle of the night. With the choices I made all my equipment was taken away. You awaken in a huge haunted manor.

This manor reminded me of the old D&D module Castle Amber (the two following pics are from Castle Amber)

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Many rooms feature weird sequences like floating musical instruments, floating swords that attack you, a walled-up section with a corpse of the architect, a lady's bedroom with a female spectre who thinks she's still among the living, and a dining room where ghosts bring you food. The manor is chock-full of secret passages so you definitely need Search skill at the maximum, and of course Open Lock and Disable Device. Since I started without my gear I had to use makeshift equipment such as a rusted piece of armour, and a wooden door that could be used as heavy shield.

My main complaint is that there are too many empty rooms. These could have been filled with enemies.
My 2nd complaint is that the battles are too easy for a barbarian character, even without the normal gear.

My rating: 5 stars out of 5.

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2nd campaign 2nd large quest: Zamora's thieves guilds. Starting level 14 or 15

This is the campaign's main quest. A wizard has cast a spell on Conan to force him to do his bidding. He wants Conan to recover a magic scroll from the leader of the most powerful thieves guild of Zamora. One way of doing this is to join that guild and complete a number of missions for them.

The missions include the destruction of several rival thieves guilds, the slaying of a necromancer and the theft of a holy chalice from the temple of the snake-god Set. There's also a poker game within the game. My strategy there is to fold immediately if I'm not dealt a pair or better, and bet the maximum if I received at least a pair.

I have two main complaints concerning the second campaign:

1) There's too much money from selling loot. Conan shouldn't be so rich in his 'rogue' days. The solution is to not drop loot when killing enemies, or else not allow selling that loot to the merchants. Once you've done that, don't force the player to accumulate zillions of gold to buy good weapons like Mitra's morningstar, instead give these weapons to the player as reward for completing quests.

2) There is almost no combat challenge because a very high AC can be gained from items. It's too easy to reach an Armour Class of 35+. By the end of the game I had an AC of 38, and I could have 39 with a ring of dexterity. Once you reach that level of AC it's very difficult for enemies to touch you. For example a level 10 fighter with Strength 20 would have an Attack bonus of 10 (BAB) + 5 (Strength) = 15. To reach an AC of 35 they would need to roll 20: 20+15=35. That's not good. Barbarians already get a nice damage reduction and lots of Hit Points, they don't also need a super high AC. What is the solution? well AC does not increase with levels (excluding the tumble AC bonus), it can only be gained from items. So the solution is to ban natural armour amulets, ban items that provide a deflection bonus, ban most magic shields and magic armour, and don't allow medium armour to offer as much AC as heavy armour. With a more reasonable AC of 25 or less, lower-level enemies will at least have a chance to hit you, even if you can kill them in one hit or two.

Conan Chronicles 2 would also have been better with more ambushes and more areas where you can't rest. Once you have an armour class of 35+, a strength of 28 and a +3 weapon, nothing can resist and you can only die if a caster manages two or three 'disintegrate' or 'harm' in a row. The final fight with the rogue guildmaster is really underwhelming, I don't think he did any damage to my character. He should be stronger and have a lot more elite guards around him.

I experienced a few bugs:
- After joining the panthers in the quest to steal the chalice, there's an invisible object that the panther leader wants to attack, preventing completion of the quest as an ally of the panthers.
- The hidden compartment containing the true horn of plenty did not appear in my game
- I don't remember ever seeing an option to tell my complete story to the key character Rodriguez, so basically I was forced to play as an ally of the Black Wolves guild instead.
- I was supposed to find a lost boy at the Crimson Hand guild, but I didn't.

My rating: 4 stars out of 5.

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Some random Likes concerning all the modules

-Liked the well written dialogues, often humourous

-Liked the well scripted scenes and interesting situations

-Liked very much the use of CD music, it creates just the right atmosphere. Wonderful soundtrack.

-Liked the faithful recreation of the Conan universe

-Liked the unique enemies like the wolf with cold breath weapon, the green slime that dissolves weapons and the grey ooze that dissolves armour.

-Liked the use of 'smart traps': pits that you can climb down or leap over.

-Quite liked how the Search skill has become useful.

Some random regrets

-Only three skills are essential: open lock, disarm device and search, while the rest are no good, including the social skills like diplomacy, intimidate and bluff.

-It's too bad we don't get to meet and ally with Belit, the corsair queen of the Black Coast, or with Red Sonja, the redhead sword master. Also too bad we can't steal something from the city's high priest, with whatever dire consequences (crackdown on all guilds, Rodriguez executed maybe?), and too bad we can't re-enact the scene where Conan storms out of a courtroom after killing the judge and his guards, or some other scene where we can challenge an overzealous authority figure.

My character in the first campaign

When creating my character I selected human because I didn't notice that you could actually choose a race like Cimmerian, Aesir and whatnot. Because the option for that is at the end of the list after the traditional stuff like Dwarf Elf Human...

Starting abilities (Human, Rogue 1/Barbarian x)

Strength 18
Dexterity 14
Constitution 12
Wisdom 10
Intelligence 10
Charisma 10

My feats

Luck of heroes
Able learner
Dodge
Toughness
Greater resiliency

Skills I focused on

open lock (always maxed)
tumble (always maxed)
search (I should have maxed that)
disable device (very useful)
lore (very useful)
sleight of hand
hide
move silently
appraise
heal

My character in the second campaign

Starting abilities (Cimmerian, Rogue 1/Barbarian x)

Strength 20
Dexterity 14 (put 15 if you want two-weapon fighting)
Constitution 12
Wisdom 10
Intelligence 10
Charisma 10

My feats

Able learner
Power attack
Cleave (very useful)
Toughness
Greater resiliency
Weapon focus Longsword
Weapon focus Morningstar

Skills I focused on

Open Lock
Disable Device
Search
Tumble
Lore
'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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Conan Chronicles

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