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Tuesday, 13 September 2016

Harp & Chrysanthemum Walkthrough - Part I



   H a r p  &  C h r y s a n t h e m u m   
   I n s t a l l a t i o n   I n s t r u c t i o n s   

Ok, so you want to play Maerduin's Harp & Chrysanthemum (H&C) but where do you download it from and how do you install it? Well, this post should help newbies who have never installed a NWN2 module before.

—First things first, read the general NWN2 set up tips and minor tweaks sections in this post. It may save you a lot of heart-ache down the track.

• Done that? Ok, Harp & Chrysanthemum can be downloaded as one large archive on neverwintervault.org, which I've linked to directly for your convenience:

Download this archive (harp.rar)

• Downloaded it? Ok, use 7-Zip to extract the archive somewhere temporary (ie, NOT in your NWN2 installation folder); the process may take a lil' while because of all the content.
• Done that? Ok, lets go through these one at a time.

• Open the H&C Unzipped Contents folder and place the Harp and Chrysanthemum folder into your NWN2 Campaigns folder (f.e, C:\Users\-\Documents\Neverwinter Nights 2\Campaigns).

• Next, place the drawnswords.mod and backlands.mod files into your NWN2 Modules folder.

• Next, place the harppak.hak file into your NWN2 Hak folder.

• Next, place the harp.tlk file into your NWN2 Tlk folder.

• Lastly, place the three bmu files into your NWN2 Music folder.

That's it! You have just installed Harp & Chrysanthemum. Enjoy! 

—Don't forget to show your appreciation to the author by registering at neverwintervault.org and voting here.

   F a c t s  &  F i g u r e s   

—The author (Maerduin) first uploaded H&C to the IGN Vault on May 12, 2007.
• By 2013 H&C had received an average rating of 9.65 from 522 votes, and 33 pages of mostly positive comments.
Awards received: Hall of Fame, Reviewer's Reward, NWN2 Module of the Year '07, Best Sound/Music Golden Dragon Award '07, Debut Author Award.
• There was going to be a sequel but it never materialized. Its working title was Bron's Daughter.
• Maerduin also authored The Birthday.
• Maerduin once ran a dev blog (mmoonsea.blogspot.com), but it has been pulled.

   T h i n g s  I  l i k e  ( o r  n o t )  a b o u t  H & C   

Custom music & Original artwork. These three tracks won the author a Golden Dragon Award in the Music & Sound category: Drawn Swords, Backlands, and The Dove. I can see why, too. The author employs his own, original banjo (+ vocal accompaniment) and piano pieces that blend well with his picturesque landscapes. The original artwork for the loading and map screens also separates it from being just another generic user-made module.
Sense of height. The hub for the adventure (the hamlet known as Drawn Swords) is unforgettable because it isn't dull and flat like almost every other RPG town I have explored. Instead, it has been built on a crag, which is like a steep, rocky hill. There are three visible tiers to the crag, and if you look down from its summit a river can be seen winding its way through the Sunset Mountains. Impressive. You get a sense of height in quite a few other areas, too.
Writing. Tons of work has gone into writing the dialogue, descriptions and journal entries. The writing is in all cases eloquent and concise. Nothing reads like waffle and nothing is spoon-fed (or over-fed). There is a lovely poem called "The Falcon and the Dove", which is part of the largest side quest in the campaign.
Cutscenes generally suck in RPGs (imho). But H&C employs them pretty well. First of all, most of them are not just there for the sake of having one. For the most part, they genuinely enhance the narrative and atmosphere (in contrast to, say, the ones in Darkness Over Daggerford, which I despised for their gratuity and how they broke my stealth). Second, the dialogue-based cutscenes are skippable (i.e, you can click through them). Third, none of them go for too long. Fourth, what plays out in the cutscene is sometimes synched to custom music, which is nice. Fifth, facial expressions and body language are still quite crude and puppet-like, but actually manage to look natural and realistic on occasion, which is a pleasant surprise when it happens. Just take a look at a few of my pics to see how well they match the dialogue. But overall, I still prefer simple dialogue boxes in almost all situations.

I'll add to these remarks as I play on...

    H a r p  &  C h r y s a n t h e m u m   
   W a l k t h r o u g h   


Part I | Part II | Part III | Part IV | Part V | Part VI | Part VII | Part VIII | Part IX | Part X  

The story begins in Drawn Swords, a tiny settlement on a crag between the Backlands and Sunset Vale. You had come here with Vroman Horner, an amiable treasure-hunter of about one year’s acquaintance, in order to meet with his brother Manfred; the three of you were to seek adventure together after meeting up. But when Manfred fails to arrive on time, adventure finds you before you can find it. Aided by a stern and lovely paladin of Sune, the good folk of Drawn Swords, and the diffident Vroman, you are soon drawn into a drama of religious conflict, military stakes, and esoteric
mystery... only to find yourself, quite unexpectedly, the drama’s key player.
- DM Maerduin.

Drawn Swords: A hamlet built upon a crag. Swordskeep at its summit.

As with my Subtlety of Thay walkthrough (ongoing), I found this walkthrough somewhere in my drafts. It is based on notes I wrote down years ago. I have decided to touch it up a bit and throw it on my blog, adding to it whenever I feel like it.

Chargen. H&C supports Neutral or Good aligned characters of either gender and of any race and class. Evil alignment is not recommended.
Recommended class/build. I recommend skill-monkeys such as the Bard, Rogue & Ranger.
• Upon starting this adventure your character will be automatically bumped up to fourth level (+6,000 XP) and given a proportionate amount of gold with which to outfit yourself (+5,400 GP). Otherwise, the author advises the use of FRW Character Creator in order to set your character's level and wealth.
• To do this, download FRW from the above link and install it; i.e, just place FRW Character Creator.mod into your NWN2 Modules folder and that's it. To play, click on New Module.
• Once you are in this module speak with Chatter & Burr in the Artist's Refuge to set your level and wealth (note how you only receive +2690 GP). Also, purchase any gear you need from the vendors.
• Now, physically go through the process of leveling your character to fifth; then export the character, start the Harp & Chrysanthemum campaign (New Campaign, NOT New Module), and select your character to play!

A few general tips!
• Set Puppet mode to ON and set Party AI to OFF. This gives you full control of what your companions do in combat.
• Switch to Strategy cam mode and turn ceilings OFF, Marquee select ON and free cam ON. This is really just my preference; play how you like.
• Access your Skill tab and drag the Search icon to your Quickbar. This is how you detect traps and find secret trapdoors and other cool stuff.

Info about the module.
Experience points. XP are awarded for questing and killing foes, for passing social skill checks (Bluff, Diplomacy & Intimidate), for passing Sleight of Hand & Survival checks (which are handled differently in that they are accessed through dialogue), and for passing various other skill checks through dialogue such as Spot, Listen, Lore & Spellcraft. Oddly, they are NOT awarded for bread n butter Rogue skills such as Open Lock & Disable Device. Bonus XP are also given for not resting all the time.
Alignment. This is static rather than dynamic. That is, neither PC nor companion alignments shift in this campaign. If you are Good you will always be good, if you are Lawful you will always be Lawful - regardless of your choices.
Companions. There are three, all of whom are Good-aligned: Vroman Horner (male Human Rogue), Ianth Lavillus (female Paladin of Sune) and  Gossam Thistlefall (male Halfling Cleric). Each have their own personalities, backstories, quests, deities and interjections/banters. From memory, Vroman and Ianth are romanceable. * to be updated.
Death. Death is handled as per the OC. That is, when a combat unit reaches 0 HPs they will fall down and remain immobile until the combat encounter is won (at which point they stand up and you will have to heal them by resting/potions/medkits). If all members of the party fall down, it's game over and you will have to reload to a previous save.
Resting. You can rest whenever you want to but you will receive bonus XP at intervals if you have NOT rested. For example, if you manage to get through the Castle Joyous quest (from the grounds to the portal) without resting, you will receive a rest bonus of 250 XP when the portal has been resealed. It looks like you can rest at the inn without penalty, btw.
Merchants. Be careful when selling valuable items to vendors because they only have so much buying power. For example, Anselm can only pay a max of 200 GP for a single item, Hamfast can pay a max of 3,000, and Oudin, Hezro and Gargothis's max seems to be >10,000 GP.
Bugs! The game may CTD during the dialogue with Ianth on your first visit to The Flame Stone. Just reload.
Oddity. Getting around at nighttime is very difficult due to elevated terrain turning into the starry sky? Compare daytime and nighttime from the watchtower, for example. 
 
   S o m e w h e r e  i n  t h e  S u n s e t  M o u n t a i n s  —  1 3 7 4  D R   

• This is a short cutscene showing two priests who have just purged some place of a "foulness"...


• They prepare the pyre in order to burn the bodies...


   D r a w n  S w o r d s :   A  h a m l e t  i n  t h e  B a c k l a n d s  — 1 3 7 4  D R   
   T h e  S w o r d  &  D r a g o n  i n n — C o m m o n  R o o m  

The town of Drawn Swords, a long day's march north of Corm Orp, is one of the several lonely hamlets that dot the Western Heartlands of Faerûn. It is most notable for the high crag on which it is built, and an inn known as the Sword & Dragon.

You arrived here with Vroman Horner, your friend and fellow adventurer, to meet his brother - a young mage named Manfred who wished to join you on your travels.


It has been three days since your arrival, and still there has been no word of him.

• The cam now cuts to the inn at Drawn Swords.. you and Vroman are standing by the bar, wondering where Manfred is, and talking about your recent adventures together.


• Then, the door to the inn slams and a woman walks over to you both.


Main Quest Phase 1: Harp & Chrysanthemum. She introduces herself as Ianth, Knight of the Ruby Rose and protector of Drawn Swords. Then, she proceeds to inform Vroman of Manfred's death at the hands of brigands in the Northdark Wood. Ianth brought his body to Swordskeep. She requests that you meet up with her there, and then takes her leave.


• You now gain control of your character; and also Vroman, your first companion.
Companion: Vroman Horner: Male Human Rogue (4) of Chaotic (0) Good (100) alignment. Vroman is your good friend and traveling companion. He worships Tymora. Vroman comes with a bottle of Elverquisst, which is basically a Cure Moderate Wounds potion. His hat bestows Saving Throw and Rogue skills bonuses.
• There is not much to do in the inn at the moment. You can strike up convos with a few of the patrons but they are strictly flavor-based. You can rest at the inn and also deal with the peddler, Hezro (a Rogue vendor).
• Take your leave of the inn.

   D r a w n  S w o r d s   

Cutscene. You and Vroman are shown ascending the crag to its summit, where Swordskeep stands.
• The music that plays while in this town is quite beautiful, btw: banjo plucking, someone softly hums. Note also the soft colors and lightning.. I have long regarded H&C to be one of the most aesthetically pleasing modules out there.
• Manfred's body is resting on the ground outside the Keep's front door. Brother Anselm and his acolytes stand over the body, awaiting Vroman's arrival.
• At Vroman's request the body is interred for burial; the hamlet footing the bill.


• Head inside to meet up with Ianth.

   S w o r d s k e e p  —  M a i n  L e v e l   

• Inside the Keep you will overhear Ianth Lavillus (Paladin of Sune) and Hamfast Bairnson (smithy and town leader) debating on how to deal with the presence of Zhentarim around Drawn Swords.
• Question Ianth in regard to the circumstances surrounding the death of Manfred. It is revealed that Manfred was likely killed because he stumbled upon a Zhentarim encampment en route to Drawn Swords (DC-12 Diplomacy/Intimidate check, 100 XP).


Ianth offers to join the party in order to escort us to the area and survey it for Zhentarim numbers and provisions. We will have to travel to Northdark Wood in order to continue the Main Quest (Harp & Chrysanthemum). But we're not doing that until Part III of this walkthrough.
Companion: Ianth Lavillus. Female Human Paladin of Sune (4) of Lawful (100) Good (100) alignment.
•  Knight of the Ruby Rose : Ianth may cast Eagle's Splendor once per day. She also comes with a Sunite Shield that bestows Charisma +1. Buy a set of Full Plate for her.
• Hamfast is a warrior vendor whom you may pick-pocket for Fluorspar x2, Malachite x3, Bloodstone x2 (Sleight of Hand:  DC-15, 100 XP).

   S w o r d s k e e p  —  C h a p e l  o f  I l m a t e r   


Side Quest: Visitors to the Crypt. Get the key to the crypt from Brother Anselm so that Vroman can visit Manfred's grave. Anselm is a priest vendor. I suggest buying up big on the Healer's Kits that he has to offer (Ianth can heal you of almost 30 HPs at this level, using just one kit.)


   S w o r d s k e e p  —  C r y p t   

• Ok, it's quite dark down here. You can find torches to light the way. Remember to hit the Z-key to highlight "interactable" objects. That way you will find Manfred's grave without too much fuss.
• Click on Manfred's grave to start up a light-hearted three-way banter, one which is suddenly interrupted by the presence of five zombies. Passing a DC-15 Spellcraft check will tell you they were recently summoned, are not native to the crypt, and that an aura of necromancy pervades the area (100 XP). Have Ianth tank them.
• Unlock the gate at the crypt's southern end (DC-15, 100 XP). As a pally Ianth will question your actions but nothing comes of it.
Side Quest: Castle Joyous (Some Verses Found in Swordskeep Crypt). Squish the rats in the next corridor and examine the mysterious door to find verses carved into it.. some sort of riddle. We'll have to look for someone who can give us some info on the poem and door. Note: This is the largest side quest in the game. Also, back in the day many people missed it or were unable to complete it.
• Return to Anselm and inform him of the zombies in the crypt. Agree to look into the matter by paying a visit to acolytes Dunne & Obern, who lodge at the inn. Why suspect them? They are the only other people with keys to the crypt.


• We're done here. Take your leave of Swordskeep and head back to the inn.
Revelian is an elven guard standing outside the inn (Sleight of Hand DC-14, 36 GP, 100 XP).

   T h e  S w o r d  &  D r a g o n  i n n  — C o m m o n  R o o m   

• We are here to find Dunne & Obern. Get the key to the upstairs lodgings from Danmar the innkeeper (Diplomacy, Bluff or Intimidate DC-15, 100 XP). You can also flatter him (Diplomacy DC-13, 100 XP).
Vosovic the Haberdasher. Pay him 50 GP and you can have him make Vroman a new hat (same stats).
Side Quest: Saern's Sharp Swords. Speak with the group of men standing in the middle of the common room. They are Saern's Sharp Swords: Drawn Swords militia volunteers.
• Their leader, Melincourt, will challenge you and Ianth to hunt down and slay the Backlands Boar. When this is done you are to bring them its head as proof of your skills. This quest will be covered in a future post, when we venture into the forest.

   T h e  S w o r d  &  D r a g o n  i n n  — B u n k s   

Empty room. Locked chest (DC-18): Masterwork Club, Studded Leather Armor.
• Sure enough, you will catch up with Dunne & Obern in their room. Dunne is pissed at Obern for summoning zombies that were easily defeated by adventurers and "gave them away" (i.e, as spies). He will announce something along the lines of "Anyway, I found out what I needed to.." (whatever that is), and then betray Obern and teleport out of the room, leaving you to fight Obern and his skeleton warriors.


Obern (101 XP): Obern's Key, Obern's Starched Tunic (AC +1), Thousandheads Flail +1, Light Shield.
Chest (OL DC-18): Empty. Obern's Chest (DD DC-15): Obern's Letter Fragment, Potion of Cure Light Wounds x2, Adventurine, 7 GP.
• Now, loot the key from Obern's corpse. It opens the nearby chest in which you will find a Letter Fragment. All it says is:

"Do not leave Drawn Swords until his arrival."

• Whose arrival? We don't know, we'll have to wait and see. For now, all you can do is return to the chapel, inform Anselm of the to-do you had with Obern, and show him the letter fragment. He will be troubled by the news of there being spies in this peaceful lil' hamlet. Oddly, there is no reaction from the leader of the hamlet (Hamfist) that spies posing as acolytes were walking past him every day of the week for the last three months. Yes, I know Anselm lets Hamfast know immediately but a lil' recognition from the leader would not have gone amiss. Not just thanks but perhaps a discount on his weapons & armor, since everything is so expensive and we are investigating the Zhentarim, who are a threat to his hamlet? Anyway, your reward from Anselm is decent: 150 GP, 200 XP and Potion of Cure Minor Wounds x2. This quest (Visitors to the Crypt) hangs for now.. to be continued later in the story.

—Now, there are three other buildings in the hamlet but only two of these can be accessed at the moment: Hamfast's home and the Antique shop (the other house is Anselm's but it's off-limits for now).

   H a m f a s t  B a i r n s o n ' s  H o m e   

• Not much to do in here... there is a chest you can loot but, in addition to the DC-22 Open Lock check, it requires you pass a DC-16 Move Silently one. Otherwise, Hamfast's wife catches you in the act and throws you out of the house. Not a good look, but nothing comes of it. The chest is holding a Masterwork Light Hammer.

   A s t e r c h o r d ' s  A n t i q u a r i a n  P r o v i s i o n s  


Oudin Asterchord is a lil' halfling loremaster. Ask him about the poem and door in the Swordskeep crypt and he will tell you that it leads to the tomb of Ludos, who was the robber-knight who built Swordskeep. Oudin will mark the location of Castle Joyous on your map, which is the setting for the poem "The Falcon and the Dove". This quest will be continued in Part II, coming up.
Oudin is a magical item vendor. He sells all sorts of interesting and powerful wares that you probably can't afford at the moment.. most notably, the Ace of Coins, a lucky charm that can be used in a card game to increase the odds in your favor. But more on that later.
Sleight of Hand (DC-18 Brooch of Polished Coral). Flog this to the fence at the inn for a pretty penny. I got 1827 GP for it.
Companion: Gossam Thistlefall. Male Lightfoot Halfling Cleric (4) of Neutral (50) Good (100) alignment. Gossam is the nephew of Oudin and follower of Sheela Peryroyl. Baldur's Gate fans will be familiar with his home: Gullykin. Gossam's cape grants him a bonus to his Hide skill and Ghostly Visage (3) once per day.
Side Quest: Gossam Green Thumb. Gossam is after several plant specimens that are found in the Northdark Wood & Backlands. They are listed in your journal. I guess we will have to keep an eye out for them.


• Ok! We have done as much as we can within the town itself. Make sure you stock up on Healer's Kits and have everyone in the party equipped properly before you hit the world map. For example, packing ten Healer's Kits? That's not enough. Got one quiver packed with 100 arrows? That's also not enough. Basically, you don't want to be deep down in some dungeon and run out of such things - so stock up!
.

Continued in Part II..

6 comments:

  1. Wow I've read so many good things on this module.
    I'm probably going to try it soon, I'm a bit nostalgic of NWN 2.
    The Subtlety of Thay and Path of Evil were two others modules I intended to play, but this one also looks interesting and immersive.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I'll be returning to SoT at a later date. The mindflayers in the Underdark are just really annoying, so I'm taking a break.

      Delete
    2. Don't worry, take your time, mindflayers are always bad! I don't know why but when I tried to download SoT it gave me 1 hour of time while H&C was downloaded immediately so I've just started it.

      So far this is the best NWN2 mod I played

      Delete
    3. It's the Stun from psionic cone attack that I didn't have any protection against - aside from making the DC-17 save. They inflict non-trivial magic dmg, too. So yeah, after a few party wipes I needed a break. Part X of that walkthrough is 50% done and I think I'm right at the end of that first chapter, too.. hence, the difficulty.

      I'm pretty sure you'll like H&C. Along with SoT it's one of my faves.

      Delete
  2. Hi, Maerduin here! I still get Google alerts for the phrase "Harp & Chrysanthemum," and that led me to this great walkthrough. So glad you're doing it -- thanks for playing the game.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Hi Maerduin, and thanks for building this wonderful module!

      If I miss something, or the point of something, pls let me know.

      Delete

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