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aka: Shadows Of Undrentide

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The Frozen North: the name given to the stark and unforgiving frontier that lies beyond the High Moor of Faerun... A bleak wilderness where barbarian clans and tribes of giants roam the land and fierce dragons rule the skies.
But amidst the frozen savagery stands a bastion of civilization: the city of Neverwinter, Jewel of the North. Behind the city's high walls those both hardy and brave carve out an existence from this bleak land under the guidance and protection of the legendary hero Lord Nasher Alagondar.
Yet there are some things that all the courage of the world cannot stand against.
Prelude of the main campaign
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Neverwinter Nights was the first RPG by BioWare to be made completely in 3D, and their first game based on the third edition of Dungeons & Dragons. There are several things that NWN is known for. One of them is the official campaign, which takes place in the Forgotten Realms universe, or more precisely the Sword Coast, in and around the titular city of Neverwinter.

When Neverwinter is struck by an unknown plague called the Wailing Death, four Waterdhavian creatures are brought to the Neverwinter Academy in the hopes of extracting components for a cure. Unfortunately, the Academy is suddenly attacked by unknown forces and the creatures are scattered across the city. Lady Aribeth, a paladin of Tyr who has been placed in charge of investigating the source of the plague, enlists the player character to retrieve the cure components and save a city in chaos.

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Unlike Baldur's Gate, Planescape: Torment and Icewind Dale, Neverwinter Nights is a more multiplayer-oriented RPG with more emphasis on online co-op (due to a lack of a traditional party system) and a persistent setting as when players die, the game continues with the player(s) being sent to a temple in the hub town/area with an EXP and monetary loss as punishment unlike story-driven RPGs where the player is simply forced to reload a save.

While the game received mostly positive reviews, the campaign was occasionally criticized as being repetitive and lacking in memorable characters, as well as being a departure from the rich, detailed worlds of the Baldur's Gate series. The area where NWN really found its niche was third-party content: the Aurora Toolset, an unorthodox example of a development kit included in the basic game installation, allowed users to easily create their own modules and campaigns. This gave rise to a vast modding community with ambitious projects.

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Two expansion packs Shadows Of Undrentide and Hordes Of The Underdark stepped away from the original campaign and focused on character development, roleplaying, and the intricate storylines for which BioWare is renowned (although only Hordes was actually made by BioWare; Undrentide was instead developed by the Looking Glass expats from Floodgate Entertainment, led by the LGS founder Paul Neurath). These proved to be more popular with fans.

BioWare additionally released a number of "premium modules" as paid DLC. Short self-contained adventures, many of which were created by community members hired by BioWare, the premium modules became deeper and more complex as designers familiarized themselves with the engine and new tools were developed. The first three, Witch's Wake, Shadowguard and Kingmaker, were compiled into the third expansion, Kingmaker. Three more were made: Pirates of the Sword Coast, Infinite Dungeons and Wyvern Crown of Cormyr. While the modules themselves were well received, they required a constant connection to the Internet as DRM; the modules in Kingmaker do not have this feature. When the premium module initiative ended, several projects were left hanging, though Darkness Over Daggerford and Crimson Tides of Tethyr were released for free later. BioWare stopped selling the premium modules in 2009.

The Aurora graphics engine, which debuted with NWN, proved to be successful and enduring, and various heavily modified descendants of the engine were used throughout the 2000s, most notably the Odyssey engine in the Knights of the Old Republic series and the Electron engine in Neverwinter Nights 2. The main engine with modified graphics was also used in The Witcher, though CD Projekt RED has stated they were less than fond of the engine, claiming it responsible for many of the technical flaws present, leading to them developing their own engine from scratch for the sequel.

The full game, including the premium modules, is available at GOG.com. In 2017, developer Beamdog announced Neverwinter Nights: Enhanced Edition, which was subsequently released on March 27, 2018 and, later the same year, ported both on Android and iOS. The original campaign was retroactively called The Wailing Death in it.

The original AOL MMORPG from 1991 that shared the same name has its own page.


The Wailing Death provides examples of the following tropes:

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    A-K 
  • Abandoned Mine: One is used by a kidnapper as a hideout in Chapter 2 during a sidequest.
  • Aborted Arc: Both Witch's Wake and Shadowguard modules had the ambition to tell longer narratives but due to Executive Meddling they both ended at the respective chapter one.
  • Achilles' Heel: Invoked in Chapter 3. The Creator Ruins are defended by golems that are completely invulnerable to all types of damage. When you use a time sink to travel back in time to the era of their construction, you must ask the slaves building the golems to give them a vulnerability. The slaves agree, but can only give the golems one specific weakness, any other deficiencies and their masters will notice. Thus when you travel back to the present, the golems are invulnerable to all types of damage except the type you asked them be weak to.
  • After-Combat Recovery: If you choose so. You can rest anytime as long as you are far away enough from enemies, so it's possible to fight some monsters, then run to a safe distance, rest, and continue onwards.
  • Ambiguous Situation: The whole dealing with Shaldrissa and Yesgar in Port Llast. The former is the mayor's daughter who likes to con adventurers for their money. She is later kidnapped by Yesgar, a dangerous escaped convict. The mayor had already paid the ransom, but her daughter wasn't returned, so you're tasked with tracking down Yesgar and rescue Shaldrissa. When you finally find Yesgar, he insists that Shaldrissa manipulated him into a phony kidnapping scheme to rob Port Llast of its money. If you intimidate him, he'll admit that he spiked Shaldrissa's drink before asking her to run away with him. When you rescue Shaldrissa, she'll sob and fumble by saying she made a terrible mistake. It's also heavily implied that she was raped by Yesgar. If you kill Yesgar, your alignment will shift towards evil. Should you kill Shaldrissa, you don't get any alignment shift, but the "Real Journal of Shaldrissa" will drop and mention that she's the one who came up with the phony kidnapping. So who's the mastermind behind all this? There are evidences that support both sides.
  • And the Adventure Continues: During a brief conversation after the final battle with Haedraline (who can see through time), she spells out that your legend will continue to grow greater, Morag isn't the worst evil you'll face in your lifetime, and as you grow stronger so will your enemies. However, with her powers weakening already, she lacks the vision to give you specifics.
  • Artificial Stupidity: The game was notorious for the Henchmen's bad AI. Tanks not attacking, spellcasters using the wrong spells, rogues not flanking and the list goes on. It reaches Epic Fail proportions when vampire priests attempt to cast healing magic on themselves when injured.
  • Automaton Horse: Modding options for horses were added in a late patch. None of the campaigns intentionally feature them, but a paladin PC can summon his special mount.
  • Bad-Guy Bar: The Seedy Tavern, located in the thief and pirate-infested Docks District. There are only three ways to get in: wear a Bloodsailor Uniform, present 5 Smuggler's Coins, or steal a key from a locked house and break in through the back. None of these are legally acquired.
  • Bat Out of Hell: There are a lot of evil creatures bearing bat wings (and occasionally some regular bats appearing as low level hostile animals), though the default bat found in the level editor is just a very weak critter which is totally neutral to the player unless being deliberately attacked.
  • Bigger on the Inside: Even more so than Baldur's Gate. Every buildings you enter has larger interiors than outside.
  • Blamed for Being Railroaded: During a sidequest, you need to find an old witch which is reputed for being an expert with animals. Problem is, her lair is filed with hostile servants you have to kill to reach her. When you finally slain everyone and meet her, she calls you out for killing them.
  • Bonus Boss: Klauth, an ancient Red Dragon you encounter in Chapter 3. The game hands you a way to weaken him down to Badly Wounded on-arrival, and he's still considered one of the most difficult bosses; fighting him without weakening him first has you pitted against the toughest enemy in the entire campaign.
  • Boss Tease: Played with. Gradually, through the various "episodes", you get at first hints and then knowledge about "The Ancient Ones" and "The Creator Race" until the final Boss Battle.
  • Boring Yet Practical:
    • Items with Regeneration. Regeneration restores HP every round, equal to the power of the Regeneration enchantment - most items have Regeneration +1 and only restore 1 HP a round. The reason it's so good is that once you clear a room of enemies you're naturally going to loot the room and continue in the dungeon, and over that time you will slowly recover HP. It probably won't heal enough to make the difference in fights, but it'll save you a fortune in healing items by healing you over time between fights.
    • Knock and Find Traps. Level 2 and 3 spells that unlock all locked doors and containers around you, and disarm all traps around you, respectively. You'll cast them a lot right up to the final dungeon.
  • Bringing Back Proof: The player character is offered a quest to become a bounty hunter and track down a gang of criminals who recently staged a prison break, bringing back their ears (which have been branded with their prisoner ID numbers) as proof of the deed. The quest giver assumes you'll kill them to get the ears, but for most of them, you can choose to cut off their ears and let them live if you feel merciful.
  • Chainmail Bikini: If you have opposite-gendered henchmen in the expansions, you can move the same suit of armor between your inventories and watch its icon change to reflect the gender of the person currently holding it — female armor is usually more revealing, and occasionally includes Absolute Cleavage.
  • Chekhov's Gun: Aribeth's ring, which you need to hold onto for the entire game to turn her back to good in the end of the first game. Unless you have a female PC, in which case you can never get the ring and can therefore turn her through dialogue alone.
  • Color-Coded Elements: Fire = red, Electricity = blue, Cold = light blue, Acid = green, Sonic = orange, Magic = purple, Divine = yellow, Negative energy = grey, Positive energy = white.
  • Color-Coded for Your Convenience:
    • Character’s health: Green = uninjured, Yellow = barely injured, Orange = injured, Red = near dead, Grey = dead.
    • Challenge Rating: White = effortless, Green = easy, Blue = moderate, Yellow = challenging, Orange = very difficult, Red = overpowering, Purple = impossible.
    • Characters are color coded when you hover over them with the mouse pointer: White = PC, Green = friendly, Blue = neutral, Red = hostile.
  • Color-Coded Stones: The game has gemstones which all follow the stock-standard colors mentioned in the description.
  • Comic-Book Fantasy Casting: Many NPC portraits were traced from photos of various real-world celebrities, which got the creators in legal trouble when it turned out that some of the original images hadn't been properly licensed.
  • The Computer Is a Cheating Bastard: Whenever a Giant throws a boulder at you, it will always land on you. Even if you try to dodge it, the boulder will change trajectory in mid-flight, home on to you and crush you.
  • Concealed Customization: While there's still plenty of helmet designs to pick and choose from, it still covers your even-more-customized head completely.
  • Continuity Nod: One weapon refers to the Cult of the Unseeing Eye in Amn and the player character meets a relative of Jan Jansen, both in the Baldur's Gate games.
  • Contractual Boss Immunity: Many dungeon bosses have extreme resistance to magic, just to keep from being an Anti-Climax Boss whenever a sorcerer casts Charm Person on them. However, the waves of reptilian Abusive Precursors in the final dungeon of the original campaign seem to be resistant to every freaking spell except some spells that were added in later expansion packs.
  • Day-Old Legend: Averted here, where a weapon or piece of armor made by in-game will have the flavor text describe it being made by the specific blacksmith, in the current year and for the current campaign but in the same style as the "ancient" equipment so it feels like the player is crafting their legend for future adventurers as they play the game. This is played straight in Hordes of The Underdark. The game take place only a few months later and you find the über version of those same items, only they have new backstories.
  • Death Montage: The opening cutscene of Chapter 2 kicks off with the excecution of Desther and Fenthick.
  • Death of a Child: Horribly frequent. Especially in the Charwood.
  • Deceptive Disciple: Desther gives off the appearance of helping to combat the plague, but is secretly the one who's spreading it around.
  • Designated Villain: A rare in-universe example. Seemingly subverted by Fenthick, as it is clearly established that he was not at fault in his unwitting involvement in Desther's plot, and the government only had him executed because it was the only way to quell the riots after the Plague. Then the sequel comes along, and his spirit makes a cameo in an area specifically stated to be populated by the souls of Faerun's worst traitors...
  • Disc-One Final Dungeon: Helm's Hold, a stronghold full of undead that acts as the final dungeon of Chapter 1.
  • Disc-One Nuke:
    • The henchman items. Provided you know where to go, most of the items needed to complete their quests can be found easy immediately after you leave the Temple of Tyr when you start the game proper, and once you hit level four or five, you can talk to them repeatedly to finish their quest, turn in the item they need, and get a magic item. Particular mention to Boddyknock's Lantanese Ring (Regeneration, +1 Charisma), Daelan's Amulet of the Red Tiger (Immune to Fear, +1 Strength), and Grimnaw's Amulet of the Long Death (+10 Spell Resistance, +1 Constitution); these are all very useful effects to have in the early game and beyond.
    • The blacksmith in the City Core in Chapter 1 can forge you some custom gear with a magical weapon and appropriate corresponding reagent, like holy water, adamantite, ironwood, etc. If you know which quests reward those reagents, and get a little lucky finding a magical weapon to go with it, you can pick up such a custom smithed weapon before you get the first cure reagent. The custom weapons have varying effects, but most have a chance to inflict some sort of debuff on hit or deal some sort of magical damage on hit, as well as retaining their +1 bonus to hit. You'll find yourself holding onto them for most of the chapter once you get them, and probably for a long time in Chapter 2.
  • Does This Remind You of Anything?: In Chapter 3 during the war, a sidequest has you investigating why the Uthgardt Elk Tribe has allied with Luskan when historically they have been enemies. When you speak to the chieftan of the tribe, he reveals that the Neverwinter commander at Fort Ilkard, Damas, infected the tribe with the Wailing Death... by giving them plague-infected blankets. Just to hammer home the Anvilicious parallels, when you confront Damas with his crime, he spouts off a racist rant about how Neverwinter has the strength to take the lands of the Uthgardt, therefore they should and they are right to do so.
  • Evil Laugh: A lot of villains have a lot of very cruel, lengthy laughs. Including one a player voice-set does upon death.
  • Experience Penalty:
    • A Multiclassed character receives a 20% exp penalty if the levels of their individual classes are apart by more than one (for instance, a 3rd-level Wizard/5th-level Rogue).
    • When travelling with companions, experience gains percentages are reduced depending on how many characters are in the party. (This is balanced out by the fact that the game will spawn more enemies, and therefore a higher base exp, for larger parties.
  • Expy: Aribeth share a lot of traits with the previous year's Baldur’s Gate: Dark Alliance's Eldrith. Both are female captain of the guard of their respective cities. Both were Paladins. Both felt betrayed by the city they protected and turned evil, and became blackguards, leading an assault against their respective city, dying in the process.
  • Face–Heel Turn: Aribeth joins Maugrim's cult after the rage she had for Neverwinter for the unjust execution of Fenthick finally takes over her.
  • Fake Faith Healer: When the city of Neverwinter is hit by the Wailing Death plague, several cultists working for the Big Bad infiltrate the city disguised as priests. They hide amongst the priests and healers that are trying to provide legitimate help, and offer "blessings" which they claim will protect people from the plague, but are actually helping to spread it.
  • Fairy Sexy: In-Universe, Dryads, nymphs, sprites, and general fey beings you encounter are always described as hypnotiziling beautiful.
  • Familiar: Wizards and sorcerers can choose a familiar as a permanent summonable companion.
  • Fishing for Mooks: Works great—Hide or Move Silently works against every enemy separately, and mooks who noticed PC pursue on their own, leaving their pals idle. Thus sneaking closer until detected and then luring the pursuers so far away that others will not hear attack and death sounds makes slaughtering them much easier, up to long No-Damage Run.
  • Foreshadowing
    • The Yuan-ti you hunt in Chapter 1 basically directly tells you that the ancient Lizard Folk are rising and are to blame for the plague, but her speech patterns make it easy to dismiss her words as power-mad ramblings. A sidedungeon in Chapter 2 makes it even more clear, with a book directly naming the Big Bad long before anyone else has or before you even see her and know who she is.
    • In Chapter 2, Aribeth tells you the story of how she became a Paladin, and her life story really begins with her pursuing a tribe of orcs out of vengeance for wiping out her village. The player can lampshade that that kind of murderous, vengeful rampage doesn't sound like Aribeth. Come the end of the chapter, when she performs a Face–Heel Turn out of vengeance and grief for Fenthick's execution, it contextualizes both her distant and her recent past in a new light.
    • While there are several Plot Coupons you can collect in Chapter 2 to proceed, one such Coupon involves you receiving a vision from the Spirit of the Neverwinter Wood, showing you just what the cultists were looking for around Port Llast, but in the context of the vision your character doesn't know what it is they're seeing. Chapter 3 will directly explain what it was and how it relates to the story.
  • Fractional Winning Condition: Chapter 2 needs you to retrieve two pieces of evidence to point to where the cultists are based, but three such pieces of evidence exist in the chapter.
  • Friendly Fireproof: Optional.
  • Game Mod: Pretty much the whole point- the game was marketed as a tool for creating and running your own adventures, with the toolset and DM mode major selling points.
  • Gargle Blaster: Scurrd. Not to mention the Dark Elven Tek'eela. Yes, it's a lame pun.
  • Girls with Moustaches: In the The unmodded game, one of the player characters's female Dwarf faces has two medium braids of beard descending from her shin. The Community Expansion Pack mod compilation adds several female Dwarve faces sporting facial hair, which are shorter and lighter than their male counterpart.
  • Grey-and-Gray Morality: The Charwood subquest, full stop. All that is clear is that at some point, the village children were gathered up and killed en masse so Karlet Jhareg could transform himself into a baelnorn. Beyond that each of the involved parties has their own version of events told from their perspective, and their memories are spotty due to the magic that has trapped the castle in limbo. To a degree, all of the culprits bear at least some blame for the crime, but who to finger for the blame above the others is up to you. You then have to decide if you shall keep them all trapped in limbo as prisoners, or if you shall release them rest peacefully but in doing so you will also free Belial the Devil to return to the Hells; there's no way to punish him without condemning the rest of the village.
  • Half-Human Hybrid: Every Half-Elf and Half-Orc, of course; beyond the obvious though, Shadows of the Undrentide's J'Nah is a Half-Sun Elf, Half-Demon, and Hordes of the Underdark's Valen is a Tiefling, a human with Demon heritage.
  • Hard-Coded Hostility: Can be either played straight or averted, due to the advanced faction building system available to module builders. A faction can be made hostile, indifferent or friendly toward any and all other factions, including the "player" faction, independently as required.
  • Hollywood Torches: Torches in Neverwinter Nights can be turned on or off like flashlights and are everlasting.
  • Hub Under Attack:
    • The original campaign starts with a cultist attack against the Temple of Tyr in Neverwinter, which has taken delivery of several magical creatures intended to be ingredients for a cure for the magical plague affecting the city. The creatures escape in the confusion, forcing the PC to spend the first chapter recapturing them. Due to the ongoing plague, the Temple serves as their hub.
    • Hordes of the Underdark starts at an inn in Waterdeep that sits over one of the entrances to Undermountain and acts as the Hub Level for chapter 1. The plot is kicked off when drow from Undermountain attack the inn. The companions from the first campaign dive into Undermountain in pursuit of the surviving raiders, and the PC follows in their wake.
  • "I Know You Are in There Somewhere" Fight: The PC can pull this on Aribeth.
  • In Name Only: The game's version of Obould differs rather from Forgotten Realms canon, and the change is not to his benefit. In the canon Obould is an orc king who is wise and intelligent even for human standards, who envisions a future where orcs break away from being Always Chaotic Evil and become a proper civilization at peace with the other races — and his vision is eventually realized. In this game, he's basically just a big orc who is slightly more articulate than other orcs, and has none of the power or magic attributed to Obould elsewhere.
  • Invisible Bowstring: All bows in the game. Curiously enough, when a bow is enchanted, the magical glow outlines where the string should be.
  • Karma Meter: Based on the Dungeons & Dragons system, with both the Good-Evil and Chaotic-Lawful axes.
  • Kleptomaniac Hero: You can effectively steal from the poor and desperate—in the original game this caused no penalty, in the expansions unlocking the doors and chests of towns shifts your alignment towards Chaotic.
  • Know When to Fold 'Em: Many (sentient) boss-level enemies will stop the fight and chat with you when they get weak, and usually do so to try to negotiate for their lives. One of them twists this into I Surrender, Suckers; it has Regeneration, and just uses the conversation to stall for time while its wounds heal, once it's feeling better it laughs at your naivete and begins the fight again.

    M-Z 
  • Linear Warriors, Quadratic Wizards: Zigzagged:
    • At lower-to-mid levels this is mostly played straight. When you rest any spells you've used up are recharged, and you can rest anywhere as long as there are no enemies around, even on the third floor of an ancient ruin. The result is that after only a few levels, Wizards becomes much more powerful than Fighters, with area-of-effect magic to take out enemies and powerful status spells to cripple boss-type foes and protect the Wizard, and they only need to stop for a few seconds of real time to sleep and recharge their spells. Their utility Spells Knock and Find Traps are also amazingly useful, virtually elliminating the need for a Rogue skillset by automatically unlocking all locked containers and doors, and detecting and disarming all traps, in a large radius around the Wizard. Finally, there are numerous side quests and extras like crafting magical items that only spellcasting classes can access; by comparison there are no quests exclusive to melee classes.
    • At the very late levels though, it starts to get inverted. There's a limit to how many spells of each level the Wizard can store, and most spells have a hard cap on how strong they can become (the signature Fireball for instance maxes out at 10d6). However, enemies will continue to level scale with you and thus a Wizard will need to devote more and higher-level spells to take out even trash mobs, and need to stop to rest to recharge their spells often. On the other hand, melee classes can keep raising their Strength higher and higher and get increasingly powerful weapons with bonuses to hit and damage along with other special benefits, and they get Feats like Great Cleave, Improved Power Attack, Devestating Critical, and more, that let them tear through enemies like paper. Their inability to cast spells is eventually nullified too — the campaign (and especially the expansions) provide increasingly steady access to magical items that let you cast spells for free, any time you need to cast a spell to advance a quest the game usually hands you a wand or ring for it, and you can just buy and stockpile wands from stores.
  • Load-Bearing Boss: Morag, although her lair IS a pocket dimension held up by her vast magic, being used as a glorified bomb shelter.
  • Load-Bearing Hero: The various modules based on this system love this trope.
  • Loading Screen: With gameplay tips to look at, even!
  • Lost Technology: The magic of the Old Ones is beyond anything known to the mages of the present day, used to create an interdimensional stasis shelter to protect them from an oncoming Ice Age.
  • Lotus-Eater Machine: A rather obvious one, which soon leads to a Battle in the Center of the Mind.
  • Ludicrous Gibs:
    • The spell Destruction destroys most targets with a cloud of blood and imploding gibs, even if it's an object, such as a door or crate. This spell can also be applied (up to level 40) to gloves (punch the enemy/object for gibs), weapons (hit the enemy/object for gibs), and armor (get hit to gib the enemy).
    • The epic-level feat Devastating Critical does the same to anyone hit by said criticals, and keep in mind that NWN rules radically increase the critical hit rate over 3rd Edition rules they're based on (you may get a critical per 1-2 swings). Doing enough damage to destroy an object will smash it into flinders. This gets truly ridiculous when you have say, a halfling barbarian, wielding a dagger, destroying what appears to be an iron-bound chest...
    • It's even easier to get these if you turn the "gore" setting in the options to maximum. Play a cleric or paladin against undead, use your Turn Undead ability, and Hilarity Ensues.
  • Magic Missile Storm: Isaac's Lesser Missile Storm and Greater Missile Storm were homebrewed by BioWare for this game and are essentially an upgraded version of Magic Missile that strikes multiple targets. For a not-quite-magic-missile effect, there's also Flame Arrow.
  • Masculine Girl, Feminine Boy: Fenthick and Aribeth, the "Scales and Sword of Tyr" respectively. Both have cleric levels, but armor-clad Aribeth is the one who engages in melee combat while Fenthick relies on his crossbow.
  • Mood Whiplash: At the beginning of the vanilla campaign, when meeting Aribeth for the first time, the music sounds like an angelic choir. Then immediately the assassins arrive and the battle music starts. Only for the former music to start again once the enemies are dead.
  • My Species Doth Protest Too Much: Haedraline. And Daelan. And Deekin, and arguably Xanos and Dorna, from the first expansion. Bioware likes these. Grimgnaw doesn't have any angst, but is about as far from the stock representation of fantasy dwarves as you can get.
  • No Celebrities Were Harmed: The very first version of the game had several portraits of prominent NPCs based on real-life celebrities and models. Due to likeness rights they had to change them and a patch quietly swapped the portraits out for new ones. Here's a showing of the originals and their replacements.
  • No-Harm Requirement: There's a quest where the quest giver asks you to steal several pieces of art from various nobles in the city. She wants the current owners left scared but alive, so she'll dock your pay if you opt to kill any of them.
  • No Hero Discount: The merchants who you're trying to save will still charge you. Some will charge you a lot.
  • Noodle Implements: The reagents to create a cure for the Wailing Death are the heart of a yuan-ti, the hair of a dryad, the feathers of a cockatrice, and the brain of an intellect devourer. Why these four things create the cure is never explained; when the cure is crafted, assorted NPCs just seem to pray, and the reagents combine to create the cure through divine intervention.
  • Non-Combat EXP: In addition to Quest EXP, Neverwinter Nights and its sequels include a few instances of XP beyond combat. Some conversations have bonus XP nestled in them for "roleplaying" options, there are times where avoiding the combat encounter will grant as much or more XP than fighting through it (if you're over-leveled for the fight). One notable quest involves visiting a brothel. You gain experience points, for, um, sweet-talking a staff representative. If you're a halfling male, you get another opportunity to avenge a staff member's stalker.
  • Not Even Bothering with the Accent: Tomi's backstory is heavily Arabian, with a grand vizier named Sabbalan Vihayed, but his accent is a sort of mutant form of Cockney. This is never explained in any way.
  • Now Which One Was That Voice?: Voice actors were uncredited in the base game, while in the expansions they're all listed in the credits under "Voice Acting", with no further indication. Eventually it was possible, in the course of years, to reconnect some voice actors to their exact roles (and sites such as IMDb are being updated accordingly), but for many characters (especially from the two expansions) the doubt remains.
  • Odd Friendship: Between a clan of dwarves and a group of dryads. They banded together to fight against a common enemy, a white dragon. After you slay the dragon for them, they live happily together.
  • Old Save Bonus: The entire player character, including EXP level and inventory, can be saved at any point of the game, though it also happens automatically at the end of a campaign. It can be later reused for any other campaign.
  • Pardon My Klingon: "Tekasi! Oh, excuse my Elven!"
  • Platonic Prostitution: It's a T-rated game, so Madam Ophelia's women (and men, and Halfling) get to take a break (if that's what you want, anway - you still get the option to rock the establishment). This is given a Hand Wave in-game that what Ophelia is doing is technically not fully legal, so it's a case of plausible deniability. You pay only for the right to enter a private room with a bed to see one of her workers for a short time. What you do during that time is between the two of you and none of Ophelia's business. No one said anything about brothels or courtesans.
  • Please Wake Up: One of the repeating sounds in the city, along with screaming and messages of doom.
  • Plot Coupon: Heaps of them. In the original campaign and the beginnings of the expansions, most of the Chapters boil down to you being set down in a town with the vague direction to pick a compass point, look for a Plot Coupon somewhere in that direction, and bring it back to whoever's in charge.
  • Plot Lock: "The lock on this door is too complex to pick, and is warded against simple spells. You will have to find the proper key."
  • Precursors: The Yuan-ti Ancients in the original game.
  • Protagonist Without a Past: The player character is given no backstory prior to coming to Neverwinter except a generic racial motivation of why you are there. This is in contrast with the sequel (and almost all other Bioware games), in which the protagonist's past is notably significant to the plot.
  • Purely Aesthetic Gender: Mostly played straight. Male or female has no effect on character building and only minor effects on gameplay. One is a minor sidequest concerning a female courtesan which can only be acquired if you're a male. Female characters with high Charisma are catcalled or flirted at by some NPCs. One effect is a bit more important, in that male characters can take Aribeth as a romance option and use The Power of Love to convince her to make a Heel–Face Turn at the end of the game. Female characters can pass a difficult Persuade check to the same end, so being a female does not stop you from doing this, it's just much harder than if you play as a male.
  • Randomly Generated Loot: The game itself doesn't feature it, but it's possible to add in a scripted module. It is actually done in the "Home Town" multiplayer module (running on the Viking Northeast AU server) to imitate the way the Diablo game generates its loot.
  • Recycled Title: Shares the title with a MMORPG from the 1991.
  • Real-Time with Pause: Can be turned off during multiplayer by the DM.
  • Replay Value: The sheer amount of side quests makes it hard to find them all at a first playthrough, only a single henchman's questline can be completed in its entirety (assuming all the objects they're looking for are even found, which is not easy) and the romance option varies accordingly to the player's sex (Aribeth for males and Aarin for females). Some quests can be completed through the use of different skills, others can't be completed at all without the right one, and many quests can have several different outcomes. The player's personality can vary from a Knight In Shining Armour, to a sellsword Only in It for the Money or a downright Villain Protagonist. All this makes room for an huge variety during each playthrough.
  • Retronym: The original campagin of Nevrewinter Nights is indicated as The Wailing Death in the Enhanced Edition.
  • "Save the World" Climax: The campaign begins with the effort to find a cure for the plague ravaging Neverwinter. It ends with Neverwinter fighting a full-scale war, and you trying to prevent the entire Sword Coast from falling back under the dominion of a 30,000-year-old sarrukh queen.
  • Shout-Out:
    • A gnome quest-giver in the original campaign is a member of the turnip-loving Jansen clan.
    • A sidequest in Chapter 2 has the player exploring a dungeon full of enemies and puzzles. The final challenge is a riddle taken straight from The Hobbit: "a box with neither hinges, key, nor lid, yet inside a golden treasure hid." The answer is the same as well: an egg.
  • Statistically Speaking: High Intelligence and Wisdom scores can affect what dialogue options are available, sometimes requiring a certain level to have an option available. Charisma influences your Persaude skill, but otherwise doesn't directly affect dialogue.
  • Temporal Paradox: Discussed and averted in Chapter 3, where you can use a time sink to temporarily travel back in time. The person who gives you the means to do this warns against taking items from the past back to the present and also warns you to try not to leave anything in the past. Not that doing either of these things impacts anything.
  • The Dragon: Maugrim to Morag in the original campaign.
  • The End Is Nigh: This phrase will be permanently engrained in your skull if you run around the Neverwinter City Core with the sound running for too long. On that note, the city seems to have more doomsayers than plague victims.
  • The Pirates Who Don't Do Anything: Aribeth in the original campaign, who despite being a heroic paladin until halfway through, never actually does anything, well, heroic. While she was promoted from a field-work position to a management position, it's still...well. Jarring.
  • That Poor Cat: When passing near a building in Port Llast, you'll hear an unseen cat screeching, repeatedly.
  • Top-Heavy Guy: The Half-Orc characters (male and female) are all built with a very large chest on top of legs which proportionally seem to be a lot thinner. The trope is somewhat downplayed because their arms aren't so muscular compared to the chest.
  • Two-Part Trilogy: The two expansions are written with the assumption that the protagonist is the same character in both, and that they are not the same person who was the hero in the base campaign (since base game and Shadows take place at the same time). You can, however, import your high level character from the OC, making combat in Shadows ridiculously easy.
  • Unidentified Items: The series has the identify spell. You can also make a Lore check or pay a fee to a shopkeeper to identify magic items acquired as dungeon loot.
  • Unwitting Pawn: Poor Fenthick...
  • Useless Useful Non-Combat Abilities: Zigzagged with the Ride skill: the game itself informs you that it is used only in Wyvern Crown of Cormyr, making it useless to invest in on it while playing other official campaigns or modules.
  • Video Game Caring Potential: You can often refuse rewards for quests, and if the questgiver is impoverished or in need, you may have the option to give them some of your own money to help them out. When rescuing someone from a dungeon, you often have the option to offer to escort them to safety, though they typically don't take you up on it. When an enemy surrenders when weak and asks you to let them go, you can agree. Doing these things usually results in an alignment shift to Good. You also frequently have general dialogue options to be patient, compassionate, and understanding, such as asking someone about their wellbeing before delving into plot-relevant topics.
  • Video Game Cruelty Potential: You can threaten people into giving you more money when you finish their quests, and if the quest was retrieving something for them, said threat may involve telling them you'll keep the item. When rescuing someone from a dungeon, you may have the option to refuse to free them, or to kill them once they're freed. When an enemy stops to surrender and asks for mercy, you can refuse and kill them, and may be able to kill them after agreeing to a reward for letting them go. Such actions usually invoke an alignment shift to Evil. You can also deliver bad news to people in harsh, uncaring words, and just generally be a Jerkass.
  • Villain with Good Publicity: A downplayed example: more than a few people accuse Lord Nasher and the guards of doing nothing as the plague spreads over the city, while commenting positively on the Helmites as actually trying to be of help. Too bad the Helmites are really moles working for the Big Bad and are helping to spread the disease.
  • Violation of Common Sense: In the first game you're encouraged to stab yourself in the heart in one place. Sure, the game drops some heavy hints that it will take you to the spirit world, but you're still stabbing yourself in the goddamn heart! This gets particularly bad if you take a close look at the altar. There's a skeleton on it, almost certainly belonging to that crazy dwarf you encounter in there.
  • Warp Whistle: The Stone of Recall in the original campaign, which made hit-and-run tactics possible for any character. Later campaigns gave you limited uses of their respective whistles.
  • We Cannot Go On Without You: The monsters continue to fight your henchmen, though.
  • What the Hell, Player?:
    • Try taking off all your armor and talking to the NPCs in public areas.
    • NPCs also get annoyed if you walk around with your weapon drawn.
  • With This Herring: Despite working for the Lord of Neverwinter to save the city from destruction, and risking your life against all sorts of horrible creatures to do it, you're given little to aid you in your quest except for some equipment at the Academy in the Forced Tutorial. This despite the fact that the shops around town have lots of high-quality gear that would surely be of help to you, and even Aribeth herself has stuff on-hand she'll be happy to sell you instead of letting you have it.
  • Wretched Hive:
    • The city of Neverwinter has become this. What used to be the "Jewel of the North" was completely brought to its knees after months of Wailing death raging in the city. Piles of corpses are found at every corner, some charred, others left forgotten to rotten open-air. The streets are overrun with gangs, zombies, thugs or citizens driven crazy by the epidemic. The city guard can and does little to keep order, and most people are left to fend for themselves. Only Blacklake district and the City core remain relatively safe havens, barricaded and protected from the surrounding devastation.
    • Luskan, a port town ruled by five pirate High Captains, where crime and poverty abounds. By the time the player arrives there, the city is stuck in a civil war, three captains are already dead and most of the city has been abandoned or is closed off. The quest requires you to pick a side in the war between the two remaining High Captains Kurth and Baram, both of whom are absolute bastards.
  • You Have Outlived Your Usefulness: Once the Wailing Death has run its course, Desther is promptly abandoned by Maugrim.
  • You No Take Candle:
    • The kobolds. Actually, being Dungeons & Dragons Kobolds, they're as intelligent as a human, and have a developed, if exceptionally violent, culture. Their poor language stems from their typical genocidal hatred of anything except dragons and other kobolds; they consider Common beneath them and don't bother to learn to speak it properly.
    • There's an Ogre Mage who has a sarcastic retort to a player character who observes that he's very well spoken for an ogre.

    Shadows of Undrentide 
  • Ancient Order of Protectors: The Harpers, a secretive organization out to fight evil throughout the Realms. The Player Character's mentor, the venerable wizard/cleric Drogan Droganson, turns out to be a member. Another agent, Ayala, is swiftly on the scene after Drogan is poisoned in the raid on Hilltop, and she directs the player's efforts to find a cure and recover the stolen artifacts while she works on treating Drogan as best she can.
  • And Man Grew Proud: The ancient wizards of Netheril destroyed their empire when they sought to claim the power of the goddess of magic for themselves. Instead, they caused all magic in the world to fail for one brief moment — long enough for their empire in the clouds to come crashing violently to earth. Magic returned to Toril, but the vast powers of the Netherese were lost to the ages.
  • Big Bad: Heurodis, a medusa wizard who served as an apprentice to the lich Belpheron — a survivor of the Fall of Netheril, whose power Heurodis seeks to reclaim for herself. She's the one who hired J'Nah to kill Drogan and steal the artifacts — in particular the tower statue, recovered from the ruins of the Netherese city of Undrentide and instrumental in her Evil Plan to raise the city back into the sky.
  • Collapsing Lair: Twice; during the Interlude, the party is led into a trap and have a Netherese ruin come falling down on their heads. Drogan gives his life to save you and your companion. In the finale, Undrentide once again falls from the sky once Heurodis is defeated, with the player forced to flee into a portal to the Plane of Shadows.
  • Cutscene Incompetence: You and your henchman inevitably get petrified by a medusa at the end of the Interlude between the campaign's two chapters; Heurodis, the Big Bad of the expansion. Normal game rules would allow you to attempt a Fortitude save to resist, but in this case you aren't even given a chance to try.
  • Evil Sorceress: J'Nah is the wicked sorceress hired to sack Hilltop, steal the four artifacts, and assassinate Drogan. Her employer is revealed to be Heurodis, a far more powerful wizard who once apprenticed under one of the few survivors of ancient Netheril and now seeks to reclaim its lost glory.
  • Fantasy Counterpart Culture: The Bedine are fantasy Bedouins, nomadic tribes who ride camels, wield scimitars, wear veils, and live in tents in the desert. As is common in the Forgotten Realms setting, the sourcebooks say they were actual Bedouins, transported from Earth to Faerun thousands of years ago — through one of Toril's many portals, where they intermingled with the survivors of the fallen empire of Netheril and eventually came to worship their gods.
  • Floating Continent: The ancient empire of Netheril once floated in the sky through their mastery of magic, but crashed to the ground millennia ago. The finale sees the Big Bad raise a portion of the ruins back into the sky as the first step in her plot to Take Over the World.
  • Freudian Trio:
    • Superego: Dorna — Calm, tries to work things through logically
    • Ego: The Player — Reins in the excesses of his/her teammates (hopefully)
    • Id: Xanos — Boisterous, grandiose, a bit of a braggart
  • Hero of Another Story: Drogan is implied to have had a hand in defeating the lich Belpheron in his youth, but that's left as Another Story for Another Time.
  • Karma Meter: While the original campaign rarely gave or took notice of your alignment (unless you went out of your way to do evil things), alignment in this and Hordes is treated like this. Subverting the law (usually by going back on your word or by stealing things) shifts your alignment to Chaotic, while upholding it (keep your word) shifts to Lawful. Good and Evil meanwhile shift depending on if you're good and evil, naturally.
  • Lost Technology: The forgotten magic of the ancient fallen empire of Netheril is far beyond the greatest spells known to modern Faerun. Preventing the Big Bad from reclaiming them is the object of Chapter Two.
  • The Man Behind the Man: Elven sorceress J'Nah orders the attack on Drogan's tower and serves as the mastermind of the events of Chapter One. Once you track her down, she reveals herself to be The Dragon to a mysterious superior later revealed as the ancient medusa wizard Heurodis, whose Evil Plan is to reclaim the ancient magic of Netheril and Take Over the World.
  • Made a Slave: Briefly — the merchant/treasure hunter Ashtara forces the heroes to help him by clamping a Slave Collar around their necks, but frees you after you destroy the golems guarding the ruins.
  • Medusa: One which inflicts an inescapable case of petrification on the heroes. The Big Bad of the campaign is a medusa who served as an apprentice to the Netherese lich Belpheron, one of the few mages to survive the Fall. She intends to reclaim the empire's power, raise its ruins back into the skies, and Take Over the World. She later becomes a lich herself.
  • Mentor Occupational Hazard: Drogan Droganson is poisoned by the kobolds sent by J'Nah at the very beginning of the expansion, and a good portion of Chapter One is spent searching for the antidote. Double Subverted — Drogan recovers from the poison, only to die in a Heroic Sacrifice during the Interlude, creating a magical shield that holds up the crumbling ruins long enough for the hero and their companion to escape while Drogan stays behind.
  • The Namesake: Undrentide is the name of the ancient Netherese city which Heurodis seeks to raise.
  • Our Kobolds Are Different: Standard D&D kobolds — small, yapping reptilian humanoids, weak, cowardly, and not particularly bright, but deceptively skilled with traps and ambushes. They attack Hilltop at the beginning of the campaign, poisoning your mentor and setting the plot into motion by stealing four artifacts left in his keeping. They serve a young, unusually friendly white dragon named Tymofarrar — and one member of the tribe, the kobold bard Deekin Scalesinger, is even a potential party member. Dealing with the kobolds forms one part of the main quest for Chapter One.
  • Our Liches Are Different: The Netherese scholar Belpheron survived the ages since the Fall of Netheril by becoming a lich, but was apparently defeated by the Harpers, with his mummified hand being one of the artifacts stolen from Hilltop. The hand is a Red Herring, but Belpheron's onetime apprentice Heurodis becomes a lich herself as part of her ascension.
  • Player Character: You take on the role of a 1st-level adventurer-in-training, one of four pupils of the dwarven wizard, cleric, and veteran adventurer Drogan Droganson. Whether you set out to cure your master or simply to claim the artifacts' power for yourself is left up to the player.
  • Precursors: The Netherese, an ancient magocracy who lived in floating cities high above the clouds and destroyed themselves in a magical catastrophe thousands of years ago.
  • Reptiles Are Abhorrent: Zigzagged. Many of the antagonists for the expansion are reptiles, including a tribe of kobolds, their master the white dragon Tymofarrar, a medusa who is the expansion's Big Bad, Heurodis, and the slave-taking asabi merchant Ashtara. The kobolds, however, are mostly Played for Laughs, Tymofarrar is surprisingly friendly, Ashtara eventually lets you go, and one of your companions is a good-hearted, loyal, only moderately annoying kobold bard, Deekin Scalesinger, who was popular enough to return in Hordes of the Underdark and again for a cameo in the sequel.
  • Ruins for Ruins' Sake: The latter half of the campaign is spent in the scattered ruins of Netheril.
  • Shifting Sand Land: The Interlude between the campaign's two chapters takes place in the Anauroch Desert, also known as the Great Sand Sea, an unusually northerly desert created when the ancient empire of Netheril fell from the skies and shattered the land below. Magical radiation makes it extremely difficult for most normal plants and animals to survive there.
  • Schmuck Bait: One section of the kobold caves includes a treasure room with prominent red arrows pointing to it and four lowered gates around it, which might as well have a sign reading “OBVIOUS TRAP” above it. When you open the chest and just find a note from the kobolds laughing at your foolishness, you're probably sighing and nodding in agreement as the gates spring up around you.
  • Shout-Out: As an Easter Egg, the expansion includes an NPC named Torias, after one of the more active moderators on the Bioware forums at the time.
  • Suspicious Video-Game Generosity: Desert's Fury is an enchanted weapon — the exact type of weapon is determined by your class — engulfed in flames and with bonuses against undead. Undead become extremely common in the dungeon to follow.
  • Taken for Granite: The heroes are petrified by a Medusa during the Interlude. That medusa is Heurodis, the Big Bad. Chapter Two begins with the curse being lifted by the reptilian merchant Ashtara, but not before shackling the Player Character and your companion with a Slave Collar.
  • Talking the Monster to Death: Tymofarrar is, unusually for a white dragon, not particularly hostile or malevolent to begin with, quite intelligent, and rather eccentric by any standard. It's fairly easy to talk your way through his lair without fighting him or his kobold minions. Even without the phylactery which J'Nah was planning on using to kill him, there are a number of ways to negotiate with him, not the least of which being striking up a friendship with the kobold he trained as a bard — Deekin, who eventually becomes a companion option.
  • Two-Part Trilogy: The two expansions are written with the assumption that the protagonist is the same character in both, and that they are not the same person who was the hero in the base campaign (since the base game and Shadows take place at the same time). You can, however, import your high-level character from the OC, making combat in Shadows ridiculously easy.

    Hordes of the Underdark 
  • Absurdly High Level Cap: Installing this expansion makes it possible to reach level 40, but even if you complete every last sidequest and kill every last enemy, you should expect to finish somewhere between levels 25-30. The rest is left up to community modules to make up the difference.
  • Adam Smith Hates Your Guts:
    • Inverted with normal merchants. The game doesn't tell you is that there's a cap to how much merchants will pay for any item no matter how valuable, and the more you progress in the game the more the cap raises. This means that merchants in Chapter 3 will be willing to pay tends of thousands of gold for items where merchants in Chapter 1 would have only offered a couple thousand gold for the same item.
    • Played straight with the djinn merchant Volkarion, however. He horribly rips you off on the items you sell to him, and if you comparison shop with other merchants you can usually get one and a half times what he offers for the same item, if not much more.note  The fine print is that you can summon Volkarion and use his services anywhere, any time — that sort of convenience has to have some sort of drawback.
  • Bag of Spilling: You wake up to find a drow assassin stealing all your stuff. In-game dialogue allows the PC to hang a lampshade on it by repeatedly claiming you "only want [your] stuff back!" Which you eventually can get back, mostly, provided you remember to loot one of the drow encampments. But by then you've probably found better counterparts for many of the items anyway.
  • Big Bad Wannabe: An upstart drow matriarch calling herself the Valsharess ("Empress" in Drow) has made a decent start at Taking Over The World, conquering much of the Underdark and extending her attacks even to the surface — something almost unheard of for the subterranean drow. Naturally, she's presented as the Big Bad, and the game also makes a point to stress how exceptional she is. She probably should have seen her replacement coming, however, considering she was gaining her power from a bound devil, no less than the archdevil Mephistopheles, lord of the eighth layer of Hell, and the second-biggest Chessmaster in a place whose level of scheming makes even the endemic Chronic Backstabbing Disorder of drow society look like a picnic. Inevitably, Mephistopheles manipulates her to bring in the Player Character to kill her and let him free, leaving him to lead a much more credible bid at conquering the world in the final chapters.
  • Boss Arena Idiocy: A tribe of vampires in the second chapter litter their lair with breakable wooden objects, including wooden treasure chests next to each of their coffins. Naturally, you kill them until they flee to regenerate, then break something wooden nearby so you can finish them off with your makeshift stake.
  • Bottomless Bladder: Lampshaded. There are two conversations where Deekin talks about how he needs to go.
  • But Thou Must!: Invoked in the most non-subtle way possible. After the first chapter, the mage you freed in the final battle places you under a geas that forces you to track down and kill the Valsharess, or die. Of course, the mage is the notoriously Ax-Crazy Halaster Blackcloak.
  • Chainmail Bikini: The Valsharess' armor, black and spidery, deliberately made to resemble a dominatrix outfit made of metal — she even uses a whip as her Weapon of Choice. If you pause the game right when she dies, you actually have a small window of opportunity to loot the Valsharess' armor. Interestingly, if equipped by male PC or your companion Valen it STILL looks like a spiky bikini.
  • Chekhov's Gun: The Relic of the Reaper, which is present as being the equivalent of the Stone of Recall for Hordes of the Underdark, and ends up being used to trap you in Cania and release an arch-devil to the mortal planes.
  • Clingy MacGuffin: The Relic of the Reaper cannot be sold or discarded. The item description specifically mentions that when you tried to get rid of it in the past it somehow always turned up among your things again.
  • Cloning Blues: After the player kills the drow keeping Halaster captive, another Halaster teleports in, and informs you that you ruined his brilliant plan to trap the Big Bad using a clone. The two Halasters then begin to bicker about who is the original, and who is the clone — all the while rhyming. The funny part is that normally it's done via simulacrum and that in canon Halaster used to have multiple semi-autonomous body replicas all over the Undermountain and control them more or less at will.
  • Contrived Coincidence: The Sensei's Amulet has a few nonsensical properties that just happen to be the only things that can get you through needlessly complicated areas of Cania. Finding the Severed Deamon Hand counts, too.
  • Cutscene Incompetence: At one point, you have the option to take out a large number of drow holding a formian hive in slavery, or just sneak by. If you agree to save the formians, you're treated to a cutscene of your character storming through the gates and shouting to call the enemies' attention to themselves. Not very fun if you're playing say a rogue or some other character who was hoping to rely on stealth, tactics, and maybe not taking on every enemy in the area at once.
  • Deadpan Snarker: Numerous NPCs and henchmen, especially Enserric. The player has the option to be one too, of course.
    Mephistopheles: Last I knew, I thought I had trapped you for all eternity in an icy little place called Cania.
    Player Character: Sorry, Hell froze over.
    Mephistopheles: How very witty.
  • Did You Just Punch Out Cthulhu?: The final boss, Mephistopheles, the second most powerful Devil in the multiverse. Compare to Baldur's Gate, where in TOB you get to punch out the multiverse's number one Demon as a Bonus Boss. On top of that, Mephistopheles lacks immunity to instant-death magic. This means that even though he has very high saves, you have at least a 5% chance to kill him with a single spell like Finger of Death.
  • Disc-One Final Dungeon: When storm the Valsharess's temple. It's not end of the game yet.
  • Doomy Dooms of Doom: Deekin sings this trope.
  • Dracolich: You'll face Vix'thra, the draonic lich who rules the undead faction in the Underdark. You can destroy his Soul Jar and quickly end the battle, providing you can overcome the many traps protecting it. Or if you're feeling lucky, you can destroy him, wait for him to resurrect and kill again up. You can do this up to four times.
  • The Dragon: Mephistopheles is set up as this to the Valsharess, but thanks to The Plan he becomes a Dragon Ascendant.
  • Dropped a Bridge on Him: The four Neverwinter companions. Not only can none of them can accompany you past the first chapter, but they're killed off in the upper levels of the Undermountain for good measure.
  • Dysfunction Junction: Your allies consist of a drow assassin out to redeem herself from past crimes and suffering from a severe case of guilt, a tiefling mercenary with rage issues who feels he has to bury his emotions as deep as possible to avoid exploding, an unjustly executed fallen paladin brought Back from the Dead, and a kobold bard who's writing up your adventures who spent most of his life as the Butt-Monkey of a kobold clan ruled by a dragon.
  • Escaped from Hell: The entire third act consists of the player trying to escape from the Eighth Circle of Hell after being killed by Mephistopheles.
  • Face–Heel Turn: Mephistopheles attempts to invoke this against your allies, with the results depending on how nice you were to them.
  • Face–Heel Revolving Door: Aribeth again, though the severity depends on what you do. Between the original game and Hordes of the Underdark, Aribeth can be a Paladin who turns evil, turns back to good, seemingly turns evil again in Cania (Hell), turns good again, then sides with Mephistopheles in the final battle until you use her True Name to sway her back to your side.
  • Fractional Winning Condition: Chapter 2 ends after you complete four out of five main quests presented at the start, though it is possible to complete all of them, since the final stage triggers when you speak to the seer and you don't have to return to her before you have beaten everything. Which quests you completed affects what characters appear during the ending battle.
  • Freudian Trio:
    • Superego: Nathyrra/Valen — Both work to remain calm and detached, and to rise above their base instincts
    • Ego: The Player — Reins in the excesses of his/her teammates (hopefully)
    • Id: Deekin/Aribeth — Both are ruled by instinct and emotion over logic
  • Geas: As a way of avoiding the But Thou Must! faux-choice, the player character gets a geas to kill the evil sorceress Valsharess.
  • Goshdang It To Heck: The guardian of the quarry, Gru'ul, tells you to "pike off", and comes up with "Coal-black pimple on a glabrezu!".
  • Hailfire Peaks: The deepest areas of Cania include lava rivers flowing down solid glacial ice.
  • Hotter and Sexier: Aside from the addition of romance sidequests, there are numerous succubi and fairy characters with curvaceous character models, the game's initial Big Bad, the Valsharess, attempts to sexually seduce you in a confrontation, and the character descriptions for most any female character are sure to mention how beautiful they are.
  • I Know Your True Name: The climax centers on this concept. If you pay enough money, you can skip the final boss by learning his true name, which can be used to command him.
  • Joke Item: The Pearl of Bashing's only use is to make a joke only coders will understand: by plugging it into the bridge controls in the beholder cave, it delivers a message in BASH shell format/Scripting Languagenote . PERL is another programming language.
  • Klingon Promotion: Zesyyr of House Maeviir intends to assassinate her mother, Myrune, to take her place as Matron Mother, and will request the PC help. It's really a simple example of a wider web of intrigues, plots and double games that are the norm in the ruthless drow society.
  • Lampshade Hanging: Deekin sure likes to do this. Among other things he wonders why dragons have wings if they can't fly, and comments that Aribeth's armour isn't practical at all.
  • To Hell and Back: There's even a line for it in the endgame - "I've been to the hells and back, Durnan..."
  • Love Redeems: You can use your love for Nathyrra and Aribeth or Valen to convince them to side with you over the final boss.
  • Love Triangle: Hoo boy.
    • You can make one between yourself, Nathyrra and Aribeth. You can flirt shamelessly with both of them if you take them as your henchmen, and at one point when they stop to talk to each other the conversation briefly switches to their feelings for you. The endings for the two actually don't conflict at all if you try to get both of them to fall in love with you, which would seem to imply you end up with both of them. A particularly racy dialogue option with both of them in the party actually has you trying to convince them to "share" you...and potentially succeeding!
    • If you have a female character, you can also do the same between you, Valen and the Sleeping Man. If you got your character to be those two men's true love from the Knower of Names, you're pretty much set that all 3 of you will fight Mephistopheles side by side in the final battle.
    • And then there's the fact that the name of your true love, and the name of the Sleeping Man's true love, are both chosen at random when you ask the Knower of Names who they are. There's the possibility that your henchman (or henchwomen, if you're a male with the two females) is in love with you and you with them, but the Knower of names reveals your true love to be someone else, and this same person is also the true love of the Sleeping Man, who is loved by the Knower of Places. The Knower of Names herself could also be someone's true love and she's in love with Mephistopheles. Ultimately, almost every conceivable permutation of Triang Relations can be achieved by some combination of characters, or even multiple combinations at once, all thanks to the Random Number God.
  • Mirror Match: Literally. Early on, you find a mirror. It spawns a duplicate of you, sans your weapon. And a second one, if you destroy it.
  • Modular Epilogue: Hordes of the Underdark has one of these explaining where each of your companions and many people you met ended up. Not really a surprise given the amount of cross-pollination between BioWare and Obsidian.
  • Mr. Fanservice: Valen Shadowbreath, the Tiefling warrior and weapon master. It's even lampshaded in-game, when he gets catcalled by Drow priestesses asking about his tail.
  • Mundane Utility: In the final chapter you can learn the True Names of many characters, which allows you to command them to do anything and they must obey. Aside from the Big Bad, who you can command to die on the spot or to swear servitude to you, most of the potential speech options are uninteresting. However, forcing people to do things they may not want to do is obvious Video Game Cruelty Potential, and the options already available are as well, which may be why you're limited to two or three commands.
  • My Species Doth Protest Too Much: Nathyrra and all the other Eilistraee-worshiping drow. Also Deekin.
  • Nice Job Breaking It, Hero: To deal with the Illithid, the Seer suggests a diplomatic strategy, and tasks the player with finding away to persuade the Elder Brain of Zorvak'mur into leading the whole Illithid to withdraw their support to the Valsharess. The Elder Brain will request the Shattered Mirror in exchange, so that they can use it to protect themselves from the Valsharess. Nothing prevents you from disregard the diplomatic approach altogether and raze to the ground Zorvak'mur, but in doing that the Illithid will be only barely weakened and still participate in the invasion of Lith My'athar. However the Modular Epilogue completely suberts this: if you ignored Zorvak'mur, it will grow powerful enough to infiltrate the surface of Toril; if you handed over the Shattered Mirror, they will use it to dominate their region of the Underdark. If you chose to destroy Zorvak'mur, the Illithid there will be so weakened to succumb to their former Drow allies and become their slaves.
  • No Hero Discount: Lampshaded twice:
    • You can ask a merchant why he doesn't just give you free pick from his inventory since you're fighting to save his life, but he notes if you fail and the siege goes poorly he'll just teleport to safety, so your success or failure is of no consequence to him.
    • White Thesta she still charges you, but she says she's lowering her prices to only cover the base cost of the items since you are fighting to save the city. They're still pretty pricey though.
  • Obvious Rule Patch: In the original campaign there were numerous exploits to get lots of money and exp by talking to someone to complete a quest objective, then clicking on them without exiting conversation to start the conversation over and get credit for completing the objective again. This game allows you to do the same, but only the first attempt gets you rewards.
  • Old Save Bonus: Canonically the protagonist of Hordes is the same of Shadows, so you could use the previous character for the sake of continuity. Of course this is not mandatory: nothing prevents you from using a new one or any other preset character you didn't played with in Shadows.
  • Polyamory: A male character can romance both Nathyrra and Aribeth, and if you declare your love for the former and get the latter named as your true love, this can result in a conversation where the two of them decide to share you, Nathyrra directly saying "there's room for both of us in his bed". Normally a glitch prevents Aribeth from being flagged as a candidate for your true love and thus prevents this from happening, but ten seconds poking into the source code for the campaign to change a single digit in the coding makes it accessible again.
  • The Power of Love: If you take them as a romance option, Nathyrra, Valen and Aribeth can be convinced to resist the Big Bad's attempts to sway them to his side by reminding them of your love.
  • Precursors: The pre-devil Baatezu.
  • Prefers the Illusion: At one point the illithid Elder Brain may force you into a Lotus-Eater Machine illusion. You can break out, or you can choose to stay for a Non Standard Game Over of your body tolling away as a mindless slave.
  • "Save the World" Climax: Hordes of the Underdark begins with drow raids on Waterdeep, and ends with a goddamn archdevil trying to take over Faerun.
  • Schrodinger's Gun: When you recruit Aribeth as a henchman, you can either turn her good or evil. If you turn her good she's loyal to you right up to the end and will try to resist the final boss's attempts to convince her to betray you. If you turn her evil, she'll betray you on her own and claim they had planned it this way all along. Rather inconsequential though, since you can still turn her back to your side with a Persuade check.
  • Sealed Badass in a Can: You, after Mephistopheles banishes you to Cania.
  • Self-Deprecation:
    • Bioware became aware that fans were disappointed with the original campaign and had Deekin and the PC conserved about it:
    Deekin: Deekin finish his great epic story about boss, too, just like Deekin say he would! Did you sees it? Did you likes it?
    Protagonist: It was better than this book I read about the plague in Neverwinter.
    Deekin: Deekin read that! It not gots kobolds, though, so Deekin think it very boring. Dumb elven lady no substitute for good kobold.
    • Later, Sharwyn and Deekin have a similar conversation about the two "books." Sharwyn says she liked the start of Deekin's, but thought the second chapter was a bit rushed. Deekin counters by offering to point out the problems with Sharwyn's book, and she grows indignant, sniffing there are no problems with her book.
  • Slave Market: The illithid (Cthulhumanoid monsters with Psychic Powers which they use to enslave members of other races) run slave auctions at a trade outpost called Zorvak'mur. If you participate in the auction and win, you can choose to give your new slave her freedom, or send her to the gladiator pit to fight other slaves for the illithid's amusement.
  • Shmuck Bait: That golden armor trap in Shadows of Undrentide returns. With even more skeletons surrounding it.
  • Talking the Monster to Death: If you learn the Final Boss' True Name, you can order him to die on the spot.
  • Teeth-Clenched Teamwork: Between the Eilistraee-worshipping drow led by the Seer and House Maeviir, the original residents of Lith My'athar. Although the latter were forced to flee the Underdark cities because of the Valsharess, they have ideologically nothing in common with the Eilistraee followers and never miss the opportunity to mock them as cowards and weaks. Shouldn't come as a surprise that Matron Mother Myrune of Maeviir intends to pull a Face–Heel Turn against the Seer.
  • This Looks Like a Job for Aquaman: In Chapter II you explore a dungeon chock-full of various golems and other constructs, that respawn thanks to a patrolling NPC that revives them. As your hench(wo)man takes the time to explain at the entrance, golems are not pleasant enemies to fight. Fortunately in the ground floor rooms you can find a few weapons that have bonuses to hit and damage against constructs. With them the golems will fall in a few attacks and go from annoyingly strong to annoyingly persistent.
  • Title Drop:
    • The opening cutscene closes with one:
    Narrator: And in their darkest hour, the Lords of Waterdeep have issued a call for a hero... someone who can defeat the hordes from the Underdark
    • In a dialogue with Deekin, he mentions that he's going to be writing a book about your adventures, and asks you to give it a name. Naturally, one of the options is Hordes of the Underdark. Or "Anything but Hordes of the Underdark", prompting some scribbling on Deekin's part.
  • Two-Part Trilogy: The two expansions are written with the assumption that the protagonist is the same character in both, and that they are not the same person who was the hero in the base campaign (since base game and Shadows took place at the same time).
  • Unwitting Pawn: Both the Valsharess and the player character.
  • Video Game Cruelty Potential: After raising the adventuring companions from the dead, you can decide you're bored with them and kill them again. They will even lampshade the absurdity of it. Then you can raise them again and kill them again. This is a quick easy way to shift to an evil alignment if you wish.
  • We Can Rule Together: Play your cards right, and you can use the True Name of Mephistopheles to bind him to your command, and choose to either rule the Eighth Circle of Hell together, or you rule it yourself with him as your lackey.
  • Wham Line:
    Mephistopheles: I shall *not* do as you desire, great Valsharess.
  • What Happened to the Mouse?: Of the six henchmen from the original campaign, Boddyknock Glinckle is never seen, mentioned or heard from. He may have gone back home to Lantan.
  • White Hair, Black Heart: The Drow are a race of white-haired, dark-skinned Always Chaotic Evil elves. The worshipers of Eilistraee, like The Seer and Nathyrra, are an inversion, as they try to abandon the evil and warmongering customs of most drow.
  • With This Herring: Downplayed, compared to the original game. At the beginning of the game you have your items and equipment stolen by a thief, but since you're there to take up a job the innkeeper posted, he gives you free access to the inn's armory to re-equip yourself before you set out. The stuff in there isn't high-quality but that's to be expected given he's just an innkeeper, and at the least he has a fairly wide variety of gear stored, so almost any class will be able to at least suit up properly. As well, though you sadly don't get to collect on it in-game, the reward he put up for the quest you signed on for is 100,000 gold pieces - a huge fortune for anyone but an epic-level adventurer spending all his cash on high-level magic items.
  • The Worf Effect: In Chapter 1, you bump into four companions from the original campaign: Tomi, Daelan, Linu and Sharwyn. Since this takes place after the Wailing Death, they're all high-level adventurers. Which makes it all the more disturbing when they're picked off one by one after charging into the Undermountain together, Tomi making it furthest and barely getting halfway through. You can resurrect them though, and are given a free means to do so before entering Undermountain.

Alternative Title(s): Shadows Of Undrentide, Hordes Of The Underdark

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