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Topic: NWN

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Author: NOVA (KINGKOTA666 [at] HOTMAIL [dot] COM)
Date: 12-Apr-16, 00:26:09
Well, in my never-ending quest to keep NWN exciting, I revolve through a short list of modules: Rhun, Allods & Legends, World of Torr, and my own work in progress....The Empyrean World. I'm back around this time to messing with the World of Torr module. Lately I have made some MAJOR changes to the way the entire scripted Secondary Skills system works. Specifically, I have morphed the Secondary Skills to be utterly independent from one another, meaning you gain levels in each of those skills based solely upon the XP you earn performing just that specific skill. All of these XP totals are recorded to a vast persistent database tied to your PC. In effect, all of these secondary skills are thus divorced from your NWN PC character class (fighter, mage, whatever). These secondary skills are additive and more-or-less optional when you're playing, but they will greatly enhance your gaming experience if you play WITH them rather than ignoring them. And now, you will gain more abilities only in those secondary skills you actually USE. No longer can you mine for ore or craft gems/jewelry and use the XP you gain doing so to boost your Weapon crafting skills (which makes NO sense what-so-ever to me).

I'm not quite finished with this conversion, but I'd say I'm about 75% there. That's far enough along to actually play test the changes in-game which I've been doing over this past weekend. So far it's working fantastically and almost entirely as I had hoped it would.

I've run into two main roadblocks which may prove to be far too much work for me to tackle. These are the same road blocks present in the original World of Torr, so this is nothing new created by my alterations. But they are painful road blocks none-the-less.

Here they are:

1) The method for pricing of all items in the game is severely limiting. WoT prices ALL items by bypassing (turning OFF) the NWN stock automatic pricing system and instead costs every item via the "cost adder" item definition field. Unfortunately, this field is limited to a value from 0 to 32,767 gp. As you can imagine, that means the highest priced and most potent magic item in the entire module cannot cost much more than 33,000 gp (the base item cost plus up to 32,767 adder). That immensely limits your total price range. And I don't yet know a way around that limitation. And the lowest price you can have is 1 gp (you can't have fractions of a gp). Well, there is this limitation in all it's glory.

2) WoT's persistent item storage method is to convert every item to a RESREF and simply store that RESREF as a string variable to the campaign database. When the item needs to be retrieved/restored (say to the PC's storage chest or even to a store's inventory) you just have to recall the RESREF and create on the spot a brand new item by spawing an instance of the item palette blueprint. There are two reasons this method is severely limiting: First, it means EVERY single item allowable in the game HAS to have a fully defined item blueprint for it. And the Toolset has a numerical limit to how many of these can exist before the DM client will no longer work and also before the hard limit is reached and NO new items can be defined at all. Thus the second downfall is, it means you cannot customize your items on-the-fly at all, not even by adding local variables to the item which would get stored and also retrieved with that item if it was stored as an item rather than just as the RESREF string. No customizing, not even colors is permissible. And the time it takes to develop EVERY possible combination of all the item crafting possibilities is agonizing, painful and utterly unforgiving. This is the bulk of the missing 25% modifications I have yet to go. It's painful, labor intensive and very uninspiring work. But it has to be done this way until/unless I discover a better solution (which even if I do may require so much work and alteration now that Torr is an existing product as to not be worth the effort). But there you have it. It is what it is. Labor intensive, painful, and limiting.

In spite of those two defects, this newly modified secondary skill (crafting) system is REALLY, REALLY cool. It is a radical departure from the original Torr module and so will require some serious play testing to tweak the variables to re-balance the gaming experience. For that task I could surely use some willing extra eyes and ears. So in addition to pure information, consider this post an official request for assistance (i.e. play testers). If anyone is interested, post here or email me directly kingkota666@hotmail.com.

Thanks for reading all the way to the end. And good gaming to you all.