Sunday, March 5, 2017

Getting a Head

When starting to work with the NWN2 toolset for the Farlong and Away campaign I quickly found that one of my party members - Duncan Farlong - could not be used with his standard model. In the NWN2 Original Campaign he only appears in an apron and I quickly found that his body could not be used for my purposes, primarily because it was not designed to wear any clothing.  So what I needed to be able to do was to relocate his head onto a suitable half-elf body.  I had no idea what this would require and so I asked the community for help in a forum post on Fortunately a community member was able to provide instructions and another community member had previously released a free tool that I was able to use to alter the Duncan model successfully.

Duncan Farlong

In case this can be useful to others here are the instructions I followed.

My thanks to members Sabranic, cuiilv, and rjshae.

Required: rjshae's Java MDBConfig tool v1.9 available freely both on and on Nexusmods.

Instructions from cuiilv: (I chose to use 114 instead of 101 suggested in the instructions below)

Copy the N_Duncan_Head01.mdb from your Program/Atari/Neverwinter Nights 2/Data/NWN2_Models/NWN2_Models folder to your override folder.

Open the copied file with MDBConfig and change packet names:
N_Duncan_Eye01 to P_EHM_Eye101
N_Duncan_Head01 to P_EHM_Head101
and do the same with the _L01/2 packets.

Save the file as P_EHM_Head101.

Copy N_Duncan_skel01.gr2 from Program/Atari/Neverwinter Nights 2/Data/lod-merged/lod-merged to your override and rename it to P_EHM_skel101.gr2

Open the toolset and Duncan's head should be available as number 101 for half-elf males.

cuiilv suggests that this could also be accomplished by altering the appearance.2da file but I prefer to avoid modifying standard 2da files if possible since community content often overrides them.

A test of Duncan and Daeghun and friend Flinn dressed for adventuring
With the two modified files in the campaign folder Duncan appears correctly in both the toolset and when placed in a game area.

Thursday, February 9, 2017

Map Maker, Map Maker, Make Me a Map

Having decided that the Farlong and Away campaign will take place in the Forgotten Realms it is important that the maps used are appropriate to the time and locale - 3rd edition Cormyr and the Sword Coast prior to the Time of Troubles.  There are a number of maps of Faerun available online and the one I have decided to use as the basis for my world map is this one:

Faerun 3rd edition around 1372 DR (Dale Reckoning)

When developing the King's Festival campaign I learned how to implement a world map and I think that knowledge will serve me well for Farlong and Away as well. While I could use an Overland Map as was done in SoZ, I generally prefer world maps.  Some features I intend to provide in the travel system:

- travel should take time depending on the distance
- area entry points should be determined in part by the direction the party is coming from
- once the party has been to a travel location they should be able to return in case they left something or someone behind or want to explore an area more completely
- there should be some risk of encountering wandering monsters while traveling
- a party member being dead should not prevent travel, that way the party member can be taken to a temple to be resurrected

I intended to implement all of these features in my incomplete Gems of Power campaign and since I had completed most of the travel scripting I think I will be able to adapt it fairly easily to this campaign.

What I really enjoy about using a map though is that it guides your research into areas that the party is likely to be near and in that way helps to anchor the adventure in the Forgotten Realms.  The Grand History of the Realms and Forgotten Realms sourcebooks provide many hooks that can be explored and exploited.  For the Farlong party there should be many opportunities for exploration and questing as they make their way from their home in the heart of the Chondalwood westward through Cormyr and the Western Heartlands to the Sword Coast.

Thursday, February 2, 2017

Literary Sources for Farlong and Away

Having decided that I will develop a NWN2 campaign in the Forgotten Realms to take place in 1345 DR, one of the first things to do to allow some authenticity is to select appropriate literary sources to draw upon.

The initial source of the idea for telling this tale is the NWN2 Official Campaign conversations. They provide some hints and potential backstory, some information (or could it be misinformation?), and establishing a conversational tone for the characters. Both Daeghun and Duncan have enough conversation in the OC to establish their general personality traits and it is reasonable to try to match that as much as possible. Mining the conversations using the NWN2 Toolset is easily done since the Windows version of the game includes both the toolset and all of the game areas can be opened and browsed.

Here are some lines from Daeghun's conversation 11_daeghun in module 1100_West_Harbor:

That shard is one of a pair. Both were found after the battle that destroyed West Harbor long ago.
My half-brother, Duncan, and I asked a mage in Neverwinter to examine the shards for enchantments, but he found nothing except a faint magical aura, a residue of the battle.
And so I kept one shard, and the other I gave to Duncan. Not long after I returned to West Harbor I sealed it away in the ruins. 
So to speak. It would be more appropriate to say that I have a half-brother... Duncan, like Bevil, has many faults that would make it wise not to rely on him or call him kin.
It was  long ago - and it was a battle that did not concern West Harbor, but the village was caught up in it, like many such villages in the Mere of Dead Men. 
We knew little about what had sparked the conflict. Demons were involved, led by a warlock of great power - we only knew him as the King of Shadows.

Perusing the conversations of other NPC's including Amie, Bevil, Tarmas, and of course Flinn and Duncan, provide a wealth of information and provide other mysteries to solve, such as the origin of Amie Fern's parents.

While the conversations are a primary source, I do not intend to take everything every character said at face value. In particular these lines of Daeghun about Esmerelle are going to be reinterpreted somewhat:

Your mother was spun of a different silk, and maintained her vitality in spite of loss. When I settled in West Harbor with my Shayla - she would visit us from time to time.
A heart can heal over time - I had become content. One day when Esmerelle returned she was thick with child - you. Those were... good times.
Before you ask - she never mentioned any details about your father. And in my homeland, we respect such silence.

Esmerelle returning to West Harbor "thick with child" means that Esmerelle's race and the race of the OC Knight Captain are biologically linked. If the Knight Captain is a full elf or dwarf or halfling or gnome then Esmerelle must be the same. If the Knight Captain is human or of mixed race - half-elf or half-orc - then Esmerelle must or could be human. Since I have a reasonable and interesting back-story for Esmerelle's origin based on other Forgotten Realms sources, and that origin requires her to be human, I am going to say that for reasons known only to himself Daeghun is hiding the truth and that Esmerelle came back carrying a child, rather than pregnant with one. Considering Daeghun's personality, that he lies to his foster child is not that hard to believe anyway.

Other sources I am using to construct this campaign are several of the Dungeons & Dragons sourcebooks.  The primary sourcebooks I am using are:

The Grand History of the Realms by Brian R. James and Ed Greenwood. This is a wonderful text for following key events and characters through the thousands of years of Faerun history from -35000 DR to 1385 DR when the Weave collapsed ushering in the 4th edition ruleset.

Elminster's Forgotten Realms by Ed Greenwood. This tome supposedly written by the famous Harper wizard Elminster Aumar details the lifestyles of the inhabitants of the realms as well as providing information about languages, religious worship, clothing, food and drink, and much more.

The Forgotten Realms Campaign Guide 4th edition, is a game supplement that provides some information about the areas, cities, and people who survived the world-changing events of 1385 DR.

A number of other official D&D sourcebooks will likely be used as references, including:

  • Lands of Intrigue
  • Cormyr
  • Volo's Guide to Cormyr
  • Volo's Guide to the Sword Coast
  • City of Splendors: Waterdeep
  • Volo's Guide to Waterdeep
  • Skullport
  • Lords of Darkness

The Forgotten Realm wiki at is a useful online source of realm lore. The information in it is intended to be canon as it is taken from the published sourcebooks.

Another online source is which has several compendiums mostly about Faerun between the start of the Time of Troubles and the collapse of the Weave. These are not canon, but provide some useful information.

Sunday, January 29, 2017

Farlong and Away - A New Campaign for NWN2 Being Developed

I have begun the development of a new NWN2 campaign. This campaign will be set in the year 1345 DR and allow the player to be the fifth member of the original "Party of Five" which consisted of: Daeghun Farlong - the foster father of the NWN2 OC/MotB protagonist "Knight Captain", Duncan Farlong - Daeghun's half-brother, Flinn - a future ship captain, and Esmerelle - according to Daeghun and Duncan, the mother of the "Knight Captain". The NWN2 OC conversations provide only teases about the adventures they had along the Sword Coast, so this campaign seeks to flesh out their adventures in a fashion that is informative and entertaining, compatible (well, mostly) with the NWN2 content, and compatible with Faerun 3rd Edition history (as documented in the Grand History of the Realms).

There are a number of questions that this campaign will provide answers for:

What adventures did the Party of Five have?
Why do Daeghan and his wife Shayla live in West Harbor? Have little money? Have a halfling deity amulet?
Why didn't Daeghun go to Evermeet as part of The Retreat in 1344?
Who was Esmerelle and why was she on the run all the time?
What "mutual necessity" (so Daeghun says) was there for Daeghun and Esmerelle to adventure together?
How are Daeghun and Duncan half-brothers but so different in temperament?  How was Daeghun raised by wild elves but not Duncan?
What is Daeghun and Duncan's parentage and what meaning is there to the name “Farlong”?
How could Duncan afford to purchase the Sunken Flagon in Neverwinter?
How could Flinn afford to purchase a ship?
Why is Edwin Odesseiron, a Red Wizard of Thay, in the area of Nashkel in 1369 DR as depicted in the game Baldur's Gate?
Who were Amie Fern's parents and how did they come to live in the village of West Harbor?

Because the player is acting as the fifth member of an established company of adventurers whose classes are for the most part already determined, there will not be complete flexibility in choosing party companions, but the party editor will be supported and the player will not be restricted in their own selection of starting class or race. We know Daeghun is a ranger specializing in the longbow. Duncan is a fighter. Flinn, with slight alteration, can reasonably be a cleric of Valkur. And Esmerelle by default will be a bard, although I hope to provide a means of altering her starting class to be wizard, sorcerer, warlock, or rogue if the player desires.

The geographic areas that will be covered will extend from Westgate on the Sea of Fallen Stars to the Sword Coast cities of Waterdeep and Athkatla. I intend to include areas and cities that have been well covered in other games only as required. The travel choices will not be completely free as the party has specific goals that will need to be met. Since external area building is not my strength I intend to make use of 3rd party content and repurposed modified OC areas, which should also speed up progress.

I will be using this blog to document my progress.

I have decided initially to use the skeleton of my Gems of Power campaign as a starting point, as I believe there is much I can salvage from that as yet unfinished campaign.  This means that most of the technical solutions implemented in the OC Makeover, MotB Makeover, and King's Festival campaigns will be utilized as well, including the party editor, SoZ crafting, and my customizable rest/death systems.

I have no idea how long this will take but I am excited about the subject matter and I think it covers new ground.

The Neverwinter Vault forum announcement is here.