Neverwinter Nights 2: A Primer

There's quite a hullabaloo surrounding Neverwinter Nights 2. The prospect of a sequel to the popular Dungeon & Dragons game with slick gameplay and graphic improvements alongside a superior single player campaign has a lot of people very excited. But what if you missed out on the first game? What if the complexities of the D&D ruleset are as foreign to you as the complexities of an electric razor are to a D&D player? Fret not! We'll get you up to speed, filling you in on everything you need in order to enjoy Neverwinter Nights 2.

How Dice Come Into Play

The first thing you should know is that in Dungeons & Dragons, absolutely everything is decided by rolling dice. A twenty sided die is the standard, though there are exotic variations with anywhere up to one hundred sides. There is even a one-sided die that is used in rare circumstances, such as when a Dungeon Master rolls to determine whether or not he can get up to get a snack.

In a regular tabletop game, with each step your character takes must pass a roll of the dice in order to determine whether you have successfully taken a step or have slipped, tripped, or died of a brain aneurysm. You can imagine how long it would take just to walk into an olde inn and take a seat, or to tapdance for ale! This is why most D&D players are dedicated groups who meet every week for years and rarely make it past level 6.

How does this curious mechanic translate to Neverwinter Nights 2? Thanks to the magic of microprocessors, every time your character takes a step the computer automatically rolls the dice for you. It's all handled under the hood, freeing you up to manually roll for your character's more important actions, such as breathing and chewing.

Armor

All games based on Dungeons & Dragons use an armor system called THAC0. This may seem complicated at first, but it's really quite simple. See, THAC0 stands for "THAC zero". So there you have it.

Dialogue

Forget the simplistic Good, Neutral and Evil dialogue branches found in games like Knights of the Old Republic. When talking to an NPC in Neverwinter Nights 2, it's very rare that your character to be presented with anything less than five possible responses. The way other characters respond to you can vary as well, depending on your chosen background.

For example, a standard fighter with no chosen background will see this:

"Ah! You've recovered my slice of bread from the bugbear cave! My sandwich can now be completed. I thank you for your assistance in this matter."

While the same character with "Ladies' Man" as their background will see this:

"Ah! You've recovered my slice of bread from the bugbear cave! My sandwich can now be completed. I thank you, you ladies' man, for your assistance in this matter."

The same character with "Troublemaker" as their background will see this:

"Ah! You've recovered my slice of bread from the bugbear cave! My sandwich can now be completed. I thank you, you Troublemaker, for your assistance in this matter."

And the same character with "Farmer" as their background will see this:

"Oh, fuck off."

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– Dennis "Corin Tucker's Stalker" Farrell

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