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YMMV / Neverwinter Nights

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  • Awesome Music:
  • Base-Breaking Character: Deekin's fans love him for the uniqueness of his race/class combo as a companion, his utility, his humorous dialogue, and for his adorable personality combined with genuine heroic moments, while people who dislike him find him grating and overly cutesy, or feel his shtick gets old fast.
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  • Best Level Ever: Chapter 3 in Hordes. There are enough characters, plot elements, and unique and creative puzzles to fill an entire game. And then comes the Final Boss...
  • Big-Lipped Alligator Moment: While exploring the Very Definitely Final Dungeon, you come across a doppelganger of Aribeth named Asheera, who seems to come from a parallel world that the villains are also trying to invade. After a brief bit of conversation, she gives you a necklace with bonuses helpful in the upcoming gauntlet of end-game enemies, and then departs. The encounter comes out of nowhere with no foreshadowing, has no impact on the story whatsoever, and is never explained or discussed again.
  • Cliché Storm: The base campaign, in spades. Your hero is the newest graduate from the Academy (which is attacked by goblins) and Neverwinter's only hope to stop the ancient Sealed Evil in a Can from collecting the Plot Coupons that will let her Take Over the World, and your companions include a halfing Rogue, a half-orc Barbarian, and a gnome Sorceror.
  • Designated Evil: The quest "Bounty Hunt" in Chapter 2 plays this several ways with a group of five escaped prisoners the player has to track down.
    • One such escaped prisoner is Wyvern, a ranger who was the son of rangers who lived in the forest. When a group of knights on leave came into the forest and burned it and poached the animals, his parents tried to reason with them; the knights beat his father and strung him up to make him watch while they raped and killed his mother, and then left his father for dead afterward. Wyvern hunted the knights down in a vengeful rage, though taking it too far in that he also killed their families and horses. Despite Wyvern being A Lighter Shade of Grey than the others, which include a child killer and a Black Widow, the game considers it an Evil act to let him go on promise to vanish into the wilderness and become a recluse.
    • The leader of the group is Yesgar, a half-orc, who reveals himself when he kidnaps the daughter of the mayor. When you track them down he claims she seduced him to run away together, but on a Persuade check he admits he got her drunk before taking her away, and when you speak to her afterward she implies he let his full-blood orc minions rape her. If you decide to kill him after hearing his story, the game marks this as an Evil act, but your only other option (which gives no alignment check) is to let an unrepentant murderer walk free. The only way to kill him without a reputation change is to do it without hearing his story, which means you kill him without giving him a chance to explain himself or reason with you even when he makes an attempt to.
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  • Ensemble Dark Horse: Valen Shadowbreath is very popular with fangirls due to being a badass with a tragic backstory and a prehensile tail.
  • Even Better Sequel: The original campaign was generally well received, but had very repetitive quests, fairly simple and two-dimensional characters, and gameplay that could be stilted at times. The expansions had much more creative and engaging quests, very complex and likeable characters, and new gameplay features and tweaks. As a whole, the expansions are more refined and polished than the base game and it shows.
  • Game-Breaker:
    • The game hands you one at the start — the Stone of Recall. It teleports you from your current location to the nearest Temple of Tyr, where there is always a priest on-hand to fully restore your HP, cure all debuffs, and offer shop services. Furthermore the Temple is where your henchman respawns when they die, there's a portal back to where you used the Stone, and the Stone has unlimited charges each day. Any time you start to lose a fight, just use the Stone of Recall to warp away, get full healing, buy any potions you might need, then use the portal in the temple to warp back to the spot you used the Stone and keep fighting. The only downside to this? The portal costs money to use, but it's pennies in a game where Vendor Trash is plentiful. The two expansions, who have their own counterpart warping items, noticeably nerfed them.
    • Knock and Find Traps. They're low level spells so you can carry plenty of charges and get them early in the game. Knock unlocks all locked doors and containers over a large radius around you, Find Traps finds and disarms all traps over a large radius around you, even ones flaggered as unable to be disarmed. You'll never need a Rogue again.
    • Clerics. Wearing full-plate armor with no magic penalty? Check. Equipping most kinds of weapons by default? Check. Casting the best spells of the game by far, like Harm? Check. Doing so without even having to learn and dislearn spells like the arcane classes? Checkmate.
    • The "Harm" spell in itself was this throughout the game, lowering the hitpoints of any non-undead enemy down to 1 (and anyone with Harm also gets Heal, which can do the same thing to undead as well as healing themselves if needed). It's a sixth-level-spell, meaning you get it at level 11 and will just keep on using it forever all the way to level 40. This particular brokenness was, of course, imported from 3rd edition D&D.
    • In Hordes of the Underdark, take Sorcerer classes until you get all three auto still spells, then 10 levels of Dragon Disciple, then the rest paladin. The result? A killing machine that slaughters its way through a literal army of demons effortlessly. Now add the fact that you an easily get Enserric the longsword to +10, and find an amulet of regeneration early in the game...
    • Five words - Maximized Isaac's Greater Missile Storm. To summarize, IGMS is a Level 6 Wizard/Sorcerer spell that fires magic projectiles, one for each caster level up to 20. They seek out and hit targets in the area of effect and do 2d6 damage each. Enter Maximize Spell, which raises the level of the target spell by three (making IGMS Level 9) and removes the variables from its effect, placing the values at maximum damage. This means that a Maximized IGMS will fire up to 20 projectiles, each doing 12 damage, for a total of 240 damage for one spell. Oh, and if you use this against a lone enemy (ie, a boss), all the projectiles fire at them. Add in the fact that in Hordes in particular you begin the game at Level 15 and keep going so you'll have a lot of spell slots for higher-level spells. To put that damage into perspective, the "Epic Spell" Greater Ruin (that is, one of the top-level spells in the game) does 35d6 damage, to a maximum of 210 damage under optimal conditions—keeping in mind that a Maximized Missle Storm is guaranteed to do 12 damage a missile, while Greater Ruin you still need to rely on the luck of the roll.
    • Traps. You can beat the game before reaching level 10 with them by using a glitch to stack them together and killing storyline-required enemies.
    • As pointed out below, undead bosses often have loads of defenses and immunities as well as fear auras and buffs like stone skin, which makes them very difficult for most character builds...except for paladins who are immune to fear and can cast Lay On Hands which goes right past all of the undead's defenses. While a sword or mace might slowly chip away a hitpoint at a time on Brother Tomas, one casting of Lay On Hands can take a third of his health down.
    • In chapter two of Hordes of the Underdark, The Drow smith Rizolvir will upgrade your weapons for huge amounts of gold. If the player has been careful to save up gold throughout the campaigns they've played they can end up with enough gold to get all of the upgrades on a single weapon. The best possible weapon in the game with the best possible character build can be upgraded to do a maximum of nearly 300 DAMAGE PER ROUND!
    • In Hordes of the Underdark, Enserric the Sword can become more powerful while vampirizing the health of the Player. Wearing the Greater Amulet of Health will make the Player immune in stat drains. This very worthy combination (powerful upgradable sword and amulet immunizing from poison, diseases, and stat drains) is a game breaker. And for added fun, play as a Fighter / Weapon Master (8/7 is a good level split), with your feat choices centering on Greatsword (Weapon Focus, Improved Critical). Tell Enserric you don't need a longsword, but that a greatsword would be a much more useful weapon. Enjoy your health-restoring slab of sarcastic oversized death.
    • Greater Sanctuary (6th level cleric / 7th level sorcerer or wizard spell) makes the caster ethereal and undetectable by hostiles as long as the caster doesn't do anything hostile themselves. Black Blade of Disaster (9th level sorcerer/wizard spell) creates a free-thinking weapon with some very nice bonuses that does all the fighting for you as long as you don't do anything other than move around. If you cast Greater Sancturary, then Black Blade, Greater Sanctuary doesn't lose its effect (summoning spells don't count as hostile actions). The only thing threats end up noticing is the weird-looking black thing about to slice them into easy-to-carry pieces.
  • Harsher in Hindsight: In the main game, the massacre at the academy in the beginning of the game can become this after several massacres and mass shootings at schools, particularly the Beslan school siege, the Peshawar school attacks, and the Columbine massacre.
  • Magnificent Bastard: Mepistopheles is the Archduke of the Eighth Hell Cania who has been roped into the service of an ambitious drow sorceress, the Valsharess. Wishing to free himself, Mephistopheles subtly draws the Player Character into conflict with the Valsharess, as they own a relic of his that binds them to Mephistopheles. When the Valsharess tries to order the Devil to strike the player down, Mephistopheles is able to break their covenant and turn on her. Banishing the player to Cania in his place, Mephistopheles begins his conquest of Toril with the intent to turn it into the Tenth Hell, lowering it below the Ninth Hell ruled by Asmodeus so Mephistopheles may be the most powerful Devil in the planes. Witty, charismatic, diabolical, and always staying one step ahead of everyone else in his schemes, Mephistopheles is the very definition of a Devil.
  • Most Annoying Sound: The quiet tinkling sound of the fairy companion that threatens your sanity.
  • Narm: Some of the art for equipment can be quite cringe worthy:
    • Leather armor +1 are colored bright red and studded leather armor +1 are bright blue. These are usually worn by rogues and rangers who try to blend in the shadows while these armors make them more conspicuous.
    • Wizards can wear magic circlets that look like a fighter's helms, which fully conceal their faces. This completely mismatch with the rest of their wizards' robes.
  • One-Scene Wonder: For an otherwise unremarkable and unnotable NPC, the hilarious Insane Troll Logic of the Guardian golem in Shadows makes it a very memorable encounter.
  • Scrappy Mechanic:
    • Aura of Fear. Many high-level boss-type enemies, particularly Mummies and Dragons, have Auras of Fear around them that inflict the Frighten status on anyone who comes inside the aura. Characters under Fear become entirely uncontrollable and wander around aimlessly, suffering a -2 penalty to all saving throws. You need equipment to prevent Fear or a high enough Will to make your saving throw against it, and even then as long as you remain within the aura you will need to continue to roll to save against the Aura of Fear. And your henchmen? Forget them, they will pretty much always fall victim to it. Getting hit with Frightened is pretty much a death sentence any time it happens, and can make otherwise unremarkable foes into a Goddamned Boss. It also makes Potions of Clarity one of the most unexpectedly useful buffing potions in the game.
    • Whenever you enter conversation mode, the camera will always pan and zoom to a certain angle, leading to many Camera Screw situations.
  • Take That, Scrappy!: Bioware poke fun at Deekin in the Kingmaker premium module:
    Calibast: What I like about these kobolds is that they aren't singin'. Nothin' more irritatin' than a singin' kobold.
  • That One Boss:
    • The first chapter of the original campaign has the Intellect Devourer. It is highly resistant to physical attacks and has mind-affecting spells. Luckily, this can be remedied early on by equipping gear that provides mind-affecting spell immunity or drinking a Clarity potion beforehand.
    • Shadows of Undrentide has a Blackguard Skeleton appear in a mid-level dungeon. It does not sound so bad, but it is an extreme Damage-Sponge Boss (with lots of regular damage sponge skeletons acting as bodyguards) whose undead status makes it immune to anything besides straight-up damage. They will surround you, and you will die again, and again, and again. At least Fighters can walk around in the Blackguard's fancy armor afterwards. Thankfully, you can always retreat to safety through a secret door nearby. (Unless you Failed a Spot Check) Cheap, but effective.
    • In Hordes of the Underdark there's Vixthra the dracolich of Drearing's Deep. He can revive himself as many times as long as his phylactery remains intact, which is guarded by 2 skeleton golems. Vixthra himself has a huge amount of hit points and his breath weapon can do insane amounts of damage. Tank characters can take more punishment but lighter classes can have a hard time due to small amount of HP. And even though there's a shortcut door to the phylactery, the golems can gang up on you and Vixthra can even fly to your location to defend it. At least Vixthra is undead, so you can always use "Lay on Hands" as an attack if you're a Paladin/Champion of Torm - just make sure you have enough charisma to inflict all that damage... and make sure that the phylactery is broken first.
    • In the Isle of the Maker in Hordes of the Underdark, there's a room in that animates your weapons and turns them against you. It's even more devastating for those who dual-wield weapons and you're forced to use the spare weapons scattered on the floor or from your inventory. The game warns you about this, but it can also be countered by equipping a weak weapon BEFORE entering this room's floor, which the weapon spirit will detect. Reequip your weapon after entrance to the floor.
    • The Valsharess is a high-level spellcaster, and you have to leave your allies behind to fight her one-on-one. Due to spell resistances, if you're a spellcaster class yourself prepare for a long, drawn-out battle, unless you can cast a spell lowering spell resistance like Mordekainen's Disjunction before firing off your damage spells.
  • That One Sidequest: The henchmen quests. Completing them requires talking to your henchmen about themselves in stages, culminating with them telling you they could use a particular rare item — that item can be found in the current chapter and given to them for a magic item (in Chapter 1 they give you the item, in Chapters 2 and 3 they upgrade the previous item they gave you). The catch is that getting them to complete their stories cannot be done until you get at a high enough level, the items they need are easily overlooked if you don't know what they are and that a henchman needs them (which is very possible), you usually don't get any hints as to how to find the item they need, the quests cannot be continued if you lost the magic item they gave you previously, and if you forgot to do a henchman's quest in the past chapter, you cannot do their quest in subsequent chapters. This can overall result in players being unable to continue a henchman quest because their henchman won't talk to them any more about their personal story, and for it they'll miss out on good magic items and romance options.
    • Particular mention to Daelan Red-Tiger's quest in Chapter 2. The item he needs is a notched axe, but it's found on a corpse in an area you can't revisit. The game will have certain plot-critical items, including the items needed for the henchmen quests, retained in the pool in the Temple of Tyr for you to retrieve, but it only retains items left on the ground; since the axe is found on a corpse, it will not appear in the pool, and once you leave the area you cannot return to get it later. Coupled with the fact that the axe is an unremarkable weapon aside from its unique description and players are likely to ignore the axe and not think too much of it, especially if Daelan hasn't told them already that he's looking for a notched axe. Fortunately console commands offer ways to fix their error.
  • They Wasted a Perfectly Good Plot:
    • The city of Luskan has a rich history in the Forgotten Realms setting, a high-class Wretched Hive that it is ruled by five High Captains who constantly make power plays against each other. Despite all the potential for a setting like this, by the time the player gets to Luskan it's caught up in a war between the High Captains, three of which have already been killed off, and most of the city has been abandoned or is closed off. The result is that the player only gets to explore a small area of Luskan and only do a few small sidequests in it, making Luskan basically a pit stop before moving on the Host Tower for the final leg of the chapter. As for the High Captains, not only are three of them dead by the time you arrive, making it a simple one-on-one war, but the developers made sure to make both Kurth and Baram slimy remorseless bastards who go back on their deals with you and have no impact on the story later, so there's no reason to side with one over the other either way for any reason, you may as well flip a coin.
    • Chapter 4 as a whole is basically just filler before the final dungeon. It sees you return to Where It All Began, with you returning to Neverwinter as it is under seige. However, instead of being able to explore the entire city in the midst of the battle, you're restricted to the City Core and a single "War Zone" area which is entirely new. Your ability to take part in the siege is limited to destroying a handful of wizards and catapults, too, instead of allowing for a Big Badass Battle Sequence.
  • The Un-Twist: You mean, the Jerkass who has been ridiculing efforts to find a cure for the plague and his priests who cast "blessings" that have the appearance and sound effect of a Negative Energy spell, are actually evil? Ya don't say!
  • What Do You Mean, It's Not Political?: The Shadowguard premium module is this full spades. The Sarakhan empire is threaten by a mage named the Crimson Prophet. Promotional material show him wielding a staff with a crescent moon on top of it. The game was released in 2004, 3 years after 9/11 and 1 year after the war in Iraq. Think about that.
  • Woobie: Deekin, if the PC is mean to him.

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