Tuesday, 29 April 2008

Shadowfall and Jashemi

Legend has it that the town of Shadowfall was created by the mysterious necromancer Shadleish, who for forty years bestrode the Sword Coast with his three apprentices, causing havoc and destruction wherever he went. Shadleish's power, it is said, came from a god's tear (it is unknown which god), swallowed as an infant during the Time of Troubles, which resided within him all his life without ever dissipating.

It was in Calimshan, in the shadow of a great volcano, that Shadleish, wearied and ancient, announced to his apprentices,

"Whosoever ends my life shall inherit all my power."

That night, the apprentices stole into the necromancer's tent. Fearing each other, they had agreed to strike in unison, and all three knives tore into Shadleish's heart at once.

The old man smiled, and at once the apprentices knew something was wrong: they could feel the tear of the unnamed god, surging into their veins, an immense and uncontrollable power pulsing with agony. It was a power that Shadleish had somehow been able to keep from destroying him, but in their unprepared bodies it would soon wipe them out. It was Morgar, the youngest, who reacted in time; focusing his mind, he began to heal the sorcerer's wounds from within.

For six years, stooped in a patch of shadow where sunlight never fell, the apprentices fought to keep Shadleish alive. But they were unable to recuperate him: it was all they could do to constantly feed the energy of the god's tear back into keeping him alive. As the years passed, however, they found themselves at least able to concentrate their powers elsewhere: Morgar was able to force a nearby trader's ship onto the rocks below the mountain, enslaving the crew and forcing them to construct him a tower to dwell in.

The apprentices' descendants, the Black Crescent Necromancers, still suffer from the Crying Curse: to prevent themselves from coming to a hideous end and- possibly- destroying their town and all of its inhabitants, they must constantly devote a portion of their energy to keeping the withered heart of Shadleish, locked in the depths of Shadowkeep where the sorcerer first fell, beating. Nevertheless, because of the awesome power the curse brings them, the life of a Black Crescent is always perilous: there are plenty of subordinates who long to take their place, and often succeed. And, below, in the melting pot of the Dregs, a thousand petty sorcerers dream of taking Shadleish's curse for themselves...

A few shots of Jashemi, the paladin companion: she claims to be from Mulhorand, though her roots are far more mysterious than that: she has come to Shadowfall on the trail of a past lover, who disappeared, along with many of her belongings, in damned suspicious circumstances. I wanted to try and get the whole Adam Miller's Anera beautiful-white-blonde thing going on. Sadly NWN2 doesn't have the most beautiful faces of any game ever made, but she still looks OK to me. A romance option, for good characters mostly.

Monday, 28 April 2008

Vaxis: Villain of the Piece

These posts will probably thin out sooner or later: at the moment I'm using them as a kind of box-tick for the elements of the mod I've completed/got stuck into. It's actually really handy to make it feel more a genuine work in progress, and definitely not just procrastination (or so I tell myself).

The main villain of Awakened is Archmancer Vaxis (that's not a spoiler, it's affirmed from the start) who I'm planning to give a few cutscenes. It's a tricky choice, 'cause I know it results in the player knowing things that the PC just shouldn't, but how are you meant to give your bad guy a decent character if you never see him until the final battle?

With Vaxis I wanted to make something kinda different- a bad guy who's not so much pure evil as possessed by a single all-conquering emotion, a man who wants to put a certain circumstance right, whatever the cost to him or to the world.

And like so many bad guys, he's bald.


These are some screenshots of today's work, mostly fixing up the Dregs- it's a big effort as the module's central area, and it puts quite a strain on my poor laptop- and the Rusty Anchor's...uh...werebadger phenomenon.

Sunday, 27 April 2008

Septimus and the Dregs

The Dregs are the slavers' markets of Shadowfall, separated from the nobles and mages of Bhaal's Height by a massive arcane gate. Highlights here include the former temple of Bhaal, now called the Necropolis, hang-out for the fashionable undead, and the Gaping Maw tavern.

You can find Septimus in the slavers' market: he's a merchant and an insanely villainous sorcerer. He's also the module's only arcane companion (I couldn't see any Lawful Good wizards surviving long in Shadowfall.)

Char and Eli Andlin

Char's the first companion you'll meet: he's a rogue/assassin halfling with the whole 'loveable Cockney' thing going on. He's more complex than he first appears, however; if you let female companions join your party, he'll try (sometimes desperately) to romance them. I'm also working on a house for his parents in the Dregs at the moment, who believe he's working as a banker rather than as a trained killer.

Here's a few screenshots of Eli Andlin's labs and what you can expect there:


One of the central conceits of Awakened is the use of stasis...that is, that the PC has been trapped and locked into his or her own subconscious for an indeterminate amount of time. The PC's friends and family may have died...and his or her formidable reputation has all but been forgotten.

The opening sequence involves the PC escaping (with the help of a certain halfling assassin) the pocket plane belonging to the semi-deranged Red Wizard Eli Andlin. If he or she has any interest, the PC can also discover some interesting hints about the module's plot.

I had some trouble with the labs, partly because most of the scientific-looking equipment on the toolset's from the Slumbering Coven stuff, which I used almost to excess (see photo). And then there was the temptation to fill it all up with bookshelf upon bookshelf. Sigh...


So I've started this blog, mostly as a way of focusing my efforts on Shadowfall-Awakened, which is about half-complete, and intending to be an epic module.

Hopefully I'll also be able to find one or two people who don't mind beta-ing a probably bug-littered attempt from a first-time modder.

Anyway, Awakened is intended to be the first in a series: it opens with the PC waking up from terrifying nightmares to discover that he/she has been trapped in limbo in a Red Wizard's pocket-plane laboratory. So far, so BGII...the adventure leads the PC into the dark and violent slaver's town of Shadowfall...