Index of Lilura1

Index of Lilura1 Content Baldur's Gate 2 Neverwinter Nights 2 Jagged Alliance 2 Fallout 2 Icewind Dale 2




Hi there! My name's Lilura and welcome to Lilura1! For its treatment range: The Role-playing Game Renaissance, this blog contains three main forms of content: retrospectives, reviews and walkthroughs. As you may have gathered from the image above, the coverage is mostly for Baldur's Gate and Neverwinter Nights; however, other classic and some current gen role-playing games receive coverage, too, such as Fallout, Jagged Alliance 2 and Underrail. Hell, I even wrote a starting-point for emulating the Amiga.

As for me, I'm a Fallout and Baldur's Gate veteran whose fave RPGs are basically those two and a few others from Black Isle, Troika and Sir-Tech (R.I.P x3). Of course, if we take mods into account then Neverwinter Nights blows everything away though the mainstream RPG community remains largely ignorant of its greatness; in fact, one reason this blog exists is to showcase what modders have churned out over the last decade. My fave NWN campaign is the award-winning Swordflight, a series of traditional adventure modules built by Rogueknight 333 - and inspired by the likes of Baldur's Gate - which can contend with any of the above in terms of depth, breadth and polish. Don't pass over it just because "it's a mod". You have no idea how good it is.

Just so you know, blogs live and die on how many comments they get, mainly because I don't like talking to myself and would run back into the open arms of Diablo 2 Battle.net  👿 if I had no input from readers, many of whom know just as much if not more than me about classic RPGs. So, special thanks to the regular contributors to my comment stream, especially Marco Santaro, Rogueknight 333, Savant, Balkoth and Luspr. And also to vmode and ElDudorino for taking the time to give me extensive feedback on my articles and writing style. It's all appreciated.

Thanks to all my readers for venturing forth with me on this journey through the wonders of Infinity, Aurora and Electron engine content, which is seemingly inexhaustible.

Now, to the content of this blog!

Wait! This Index is too big! I just want to read what you've written onBaldur's Gate • Neverwinter Nights • Neverwinter Nights 2. Click those links for more focused indices!

Mmm... not interested in that. What else have you written about? Go to Old School Cool.

Index of Lilura1, with excerpts


• Baldur's Gate: In-depth Retrospective on the original incarnationThe most effective tanks - who can also melee with the best of 'em - are quite clearly Fighter/Mages; their extremely low ACs (-20s) and access to Mirror Image allowing them to mitigate damage against the most formidable fighters known to Realmslore, such as Sarevok and Drizzt Do'Urden...




Baldur's Gate 2 Retrospective WalkthroughAn undeniable highlight of the campaign is how its second and third chapters offer non-linear exploration of a quest-dense urban hub (Athkatla), but the Prologue aka Chateau Irenicus, Chapter One, and Chapters Four to Seven are comparatively linear affairs, as is the Throne of Bhaal expansion campaign...




• Icewind Dale RetrospectiveFor Icewind Dale the developers eschewed the deep role-playing and reactivity of their own Planescape: Torment, and the non-linear exploration and questing of BioWare's Baldur's Gate, in favor of a campaign focused on dungeon crawling & tactical encounters...




Jagged Alliance 2 Retrospective WalkthroughJA2 features destructible buildings! Can't find the front door? Plant some TNT and blow a fucking hole in the wall. There's your door.




 User Interface Evolution: Baldur's Gate to Neverwinter NightsThe user interface for D&D role-playing games has changed profoundly over time; becoming undeniably more powerful and flexible - but perhaps at the cost of efficiency and ease-of-use. Am I just too oldskool and "stuck in the past" in that I greatly prefer the Infinity Engine interface to the Electron one (for example), or is the former actually superior in its spartan simplicity?




Neverwinter Nights modules by Rogueknight 333

.• Swordflight SeriesSwordflight's strict resting rules means the player has to think carefully about their tactics in battles and overall area strategy, casting spells and using the limited items wisely. That's called resource management, a concept with which many professional game designers are unfamiliar...


• Snow HuntIn Snow Hunt the player assumes the role of a bounty hunter who is picking up the trail of Nam Eslaf, an elusive murderer and robber with 15,000 gold pieces on his head. The quarry has sought refuge in the inhospitable north, but that hasn't stopped the bounty hunter pursuing him there...



Fallout Retrospective: TimeOne of these rarities - in which the passage of time is integral to the campaign - is Interplay's Fallout, the only RPG I unhesitatingly place above all others - and that ranking hasn't changed since it came out in 1997...




Icewind Dale: Enhanced Edition ReviewBy the time the party reached the Heart of Winter expansion, they waded through the hordes with ease using Beamdog's incredibly efficient auto-pilot scripts (on Insane difficulty), with two Bards singing the War Chant of Sith & Skald Song behind them...




Underrail ReviewThe visuals employed in Underrail are commendable; from its spartan interface to its combat animations and backdrops, but this is nowhere near the level of Fallout artistry and graphic design genius that came out of Black Isle a full two decades ago...




Mask of the Betrayer Retrospective WalkthroughNow armed with my newly acquired Spirit-eater abilities, I return to the eastern wing's crematorium and probe the furnace with my new powers, startling the Myrkulite High Priest who had previously ignored me...




Hordes of the Underdark Retrospective Walkthrough: Hordes of the Underdark can hold its own against most mods of the epic, sweeping scope type. It's also got the big budget feel to it which no mods have, not even The Aielund Saga. I'm referring to Gaider's writing, the VOs, the OST, the innovations of the reaper relic, demonic grappling hand, puzzle ring and sensei's amulet; environmental dmg; the peerless design of its dungeons (teleporting, secret doors, puzzles); and the fact that it separately pays homage to Baldur's Gate, Icewind Dale and Planescape: Torment over the course of its three epic acts. So yeah, Hordes of the Underdark is a very impressive, hugely underrated campaign, and I'm really surprised there aren't many people talking about it. Yes, it's fairly easy and that's why the mainstream should be lapping it up. I think I'm the only one to give it extensive treatment in the last few years...



A Retrospective on ProloguesWhile no one can reasonably argue against Fallout 2 holding Top 5 status in the genre, the decision to sully its beginning with the off-putting Temple of Trials is just puzzling as hell...




• Baldur's Gate Adventures for Neverwinter NightsOf interest to veterans of Baldur's Gate is that some campaigns built in the Aurora Toolset are notably inspired by it...




• Neverwinter Nights Retrospective: OCAribeth is the primary quest-giver and anchor of the chapter, suggesting where to go and what to do. The whole idea of Chapter One is to travel to the four districts of Neverwinter and in each find a Waterdhavian creature (or part thereof) which is to be returned to the authorities, who can then hopefully concoct a cure for the Wailing Death, the plague afflicting Neverwinter...





• Dragon Age: Origins - Best Tactics ModsMarquee select, full party control, pausable real-time, overhead view and the conditional tactics framework means Origins has a degree of appeal, but - similar to Sword Coast Stratagems for Baldur's Gate - combat can be greatly improved with a tactics overhaul...




Diablo II: Median XL - UltimativeUltimative game-play is characterized by blistering pace and highly compacted enemy density, diversity and abilities, resulting in total, unbreakable immersion which few mods can match...




• Diablo II RetrospectiveStartled out of his mind by her sudden emergence from that shadowy stairwell, the hapless druid attempts to flee but is poisoned by a crystal sword socketed with six envy jewels. Death is imminent...




• Darkness Over DaggerfordDoD was supposed to be released as a commercial Premium Module but the Prime Evil known as Atari scrapped the program during its development. Not to be discouraged, Ossian completed the module and published it on IGN's Neverwinter Vault, free to download for all members - and the community rejoiced!




• Siege of DragonspearThe gaping hole in the ground was caused by explosive wizardry, soon to be revealed as the result of an arcane duel between Irenicus and archmage Valeriss of Suldanessellar. Guess who lost...




• The Aielund SagaSavant's award-winning Aielund Saga is an epic high fantasy D&D campaign consisting of four sprawling Acts, with Act IV broken up into three Parts. It is THE flagship heroic adventure for the NWN platform and a great showcase for community custom content...


• The Temple of Elemental EvilTroika's ToEE is a great combat RPG let down by its many bugs, node lag and pathing issues. As I recall, moebius2778 temple.dll was the first bugfix attempt by the community, laying the foundation for what would become the Circle of Eight modpack; however, the infamous lag and pathing issues remained. But now comes the Temple+ overhaul by Grognards from Hell, seeking to address these outstanding issues...




Archery in RPGsMultiple reasons can be given for why archers just devastate. Early in the campaign, your average enemy is made from such lowly stock as 1-2 Hit Dice, so only one or two projectiles are required to drop them. Against such squishy foes, percentile Strength warriors wielding two-handed swords is just overkill; moreover, by the time Minsc has shouted "Go for the eyes, Boo!" and charged in, Kivan has sniped two or three from under his nose, anyway! ...




• Storm of ZehirThe Overland Map is an innovative addition for the Storm of Zehir campaign, but the high frequency of random encounters might frustrate new players. Ideally you want to engage enemies on your terms (ie, farming XP and crafting ingredients) rather than constantly being ambushed by the many roaming mobs...




Installation Instructions: A series of Baby's First installation instructions for various NWN & NWN2 modules.




Best Neverwinter Nights Mods: An updated list of graphics, utility & game-play mods for the NWN platform.




Best Neverwinter Nights 2 Mods: An updated list of graphics, utility & game-play mods for the NWN2 platform.




• Cormyrean NightsServilan's Cormyrean Nights (2004) is a charming, non-linear adventure set in and around Marsember, a port city in the Kingdom of Cormyr. The module is designed for good-aligned characters of eighth to tenth level, and generously rewards those who invest in the Persuade skill...



Alazander's Neverwinter Nights modules

• AL1: Siege of ShadowdaleAfter a brief period of relative peace, the Dalelands once again face a number of terrible threats. Always, the dark presence of the Zhentarim broods in the north. An unsuspected enemy has just arrived to create the Empire of Shadows in the wastes of the great desert Anauroch, north-west of the Dalelands. And, in the great forest of Cormanthor itself, the retreat of the elves to Evermeet far to the west has left the door open to the return of another great foe, one long banished from the region in ages past. - DM Alazander.

AL2: Crimson Tides of TethyrAfter many years of war, Tethyr is finally enjoying a period of relative peace. Despite this, problems still continue to plague the realm. Beasts roam the countryside, pillaging and slaying at random. The Knights of the Black Gauntlet, an order led by the priest Teldorn Darkhope and dedicated to the evil deity Bane continue to plague Tethyr's eastern border. However, the greatest threat of all has arisen recently in the form of the huge monstrous coalition known as the Sythillisian Empire. - DM Alazander.

AL3: Tyrants of the MoonseaIf it’s adventure ye seek, know that the Moonsea has that in abundance. I’ll not deny that those brave or stupid enough to risk the myriad dangers of the region may find great riches. Ask thyself this, though: What use gold, when thy corpse is being fought over by the half-dozen magelings or dark warriors who have come to take those riches for themselves?. - DM Alazander.




• Bastard of Kosigan: Exile of the WestThe player assumes the role of the series' title: a young man who, upon the death of his father, has chosen exile from the County of Kosigan because his uncle Borogar (the Count) is hostile towards him. The bastard is now a sword-for-hire in the German principalities of the 14th century, seeking fame, fortune, women and wine...




Subtlety of ThayThe object here is to interview the people currently standing in a circle around the corpse of Liam. When you're talking to them and digging into their personal affairs it can all seem a lil' complicated and bothersome.. but, technically, all you have to do is question the zookeeper and Lord Gusto & Madam Illaine; then, report to Borgen that you have "something on them". But it's not enough to pin the murder on anyone; and, in fact, no one present is guilty of the crime or involved in any way...



Harp & ChrysanthemumThe hamlet known as Drawn Swords is unforgettable because it isn't dull and flat like almost every other RPG hub I've 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. This sense of height is impressive...




The BirthdayToday is a festive day in the small village called Schafberg. A talented foundling, raised by a shepherd and his wife on a nearby farm, has come of age, and now the young paragon's adoptive parents have brought their ward to town to speak to the Matron. Before Schafberg can rightly celebrate the birthday, a coming-of-age tradition known as "the birthday errand" must be honored, and it is the Matron's duty to decide the nature of the task. - DM Maerduin.




Shrouded SunThe adventure at times features brutal encounter design, pitting you against custom umber hulks, mindflayers, cave trolls, beholders, Drow and other deadly denizens of the Underdark, all of which don't hold back in unleashing their full repertoire. Be prepared for your (initially) under-equipped, thirteenth level party to be wiped a few times as you get used to Shrouded Sun's unforgiving nature...



• The Shadowdancer's VaultJolly Jenkins' The Shadowdancer's Vault (SDV) (2008) is the sequel to Shrouded Sun. It is a no-nonsense Underdark adventure designed for fifteenth level characters who must be of Underdark race; ie., Drow (dark elves), Half-drow, Gray Dwarf (duergar) or Deep Gnome (svirfneblin). You can expect to gain two levels over its course, which is the same as in SS...



• SoZ "Holiday" Expansion ProjectSoZ "Holiday" Expansion Project is a collaborative community mod for Storm of Zehir headed up by Chaos Wielder. The mod adds twelve new locations to the Overland Map (OLM): six to Samarach and six to the Sword Coast. These areas need to be discovered just like any other; i.e, by means of exploration of the OLM...



BedineA characteristic of Kamal's Neverwinter Nights 2 releases - from his Inn of Hidden Tales to Crimmor to Path of Evil to the current release of Bedine - is the attention to area design and aesthetics; specifically, placeable density, detailed urban zones, realistic sculpted terrains, and commendable employment of light, shade and texture...



TyrannyAs a result of Kyros' Conquest blood cascades from the eye sockets of the ancient Weeping Mother statue that towers above the ruins...





• Torment: Tides of Numenera: Pre-rendered backdrops, sprites, VFX and animations are nothing to write home about. Basically, they are on par with Pillars of Eternity and Tyranny levels of quality, neither of which broke new ground...




Planescape: Torment - Enhanced EditionIn the end I'll always favor the original but it will be interesting to see what comes of this. I hope Beamdog can cash-in big because there is a chance, ever so slight, that a Neverwinter Nights Enhanced Edition might see the light of day (Trent Oster has talked about it before). Also, I'm assuming this is the free game people will be getting as compensation for waiting so long for their Siege of Dragonspear Collector's Edition. That should make them happy...




Poll Madness!
Glad to see Interplay and pre-IE Black Isle perform solidly. Again, the reverence for these games is long-standing and unlikely to change (my recent Fallout post was pretty popular). Imo, these games deserve more attention than the IEs because they more closely reflect tabletop gaming...
What do you think about farming in RPGs?  
Now, sometimes this sort of repetition facilitates highly efficient power progression gains, whether they be statistical, material, or both. By statistical is meant not just the traditional stats but the levels and experience points, as well. And by material is meant gold, items; in fact, any commodity that "drops". For simplicity's sake I'm not differentiating between grinding and farming; I've just lumped them together under the head of farming... 
Who is your fave EVIL companion in the Baldur's Gate series?
Who is your fave GOOD companion in the Baldur's Gate series?
Who is your fave NEUTRAL companion in the Baldur's Gate series?



Aesthetic Appreciation of Baldur's Gate 2: High resolution map extractions: districts, outskirts, far-flung regions, and dungeons..


• Old Good STALKER Evolution (OGSE): Exploring the jungle of STALKER mods can be grueling, especially with the Russian language barrier that makes it difficult to find solutions to bugs, such as those found in the legendary AMK overhaul. But then I found OGSE for Shadow of Chernobyl, another Russian uber-mod featuring rock solid stability and high survival challenge for advanced players; a sort of evolution on AMK...
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• How to Install the WinUAE Amiga Emulator: In the tradition of 16 bit gaming the Amiga was most famous for its shoot 'em ups and platformers that pushed its custom chipset to the limit and allowed it to contend with the Genesis and SNES consoles - even towards the end of its lifetime. It was its copper and its blitter, its hardware scrolling and its sampled sounds that enabled it to stand the test of time in the highly competitive arena of 16 bit gaming. But the Amiga also hosted its fair share of great RPGs that a lot of people haven't played or even heard of. Some of these were exclusive to it, whereas others offered an extended color palette and superior sound and music over their PC counterparts.
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WiP: more stuff to add when I get around to it. Back to top of post.





EoP

23 comments:

  1. I like your blog and have a good time when reading through it, as i have played most of the games in your blog.
    Just to let you know there is someone appreciate your work. ^ ^

    ReplyDelete
  2. Hi, Vecho! It's good to receive feedback. Thank you. :)

    ReplyDelete
  3. Thank you for posting all those wonderful pages. It really helped me, especially with the The Aielund Saga. Keep up the good work!

    ReplyDelete
  4. AnonymousJune 26, 2016

    Echoing what others have said, really appreciate all the stuff you post here.

    After I'm done with Swordflight I'm probably going to move on to NWN2, and I've already checked all the cool NWN2 mods you've posted.

    Thanks for all of your hard work.

    ReplyDelete
  5. You're most welcome, whoever you are. :P It's been fun writing all this stuff up!

    ReplyDelete
  6. Hallo!

    Your website is magnificent and very elucidating and informative - I'm writing currently on the history of fantasy RPG tabletop and e-gaming
    since 1974 and searched the net for Bioware games and dragons. I've played since the 1990s flight simulations and discovered in the 2000s the RPG-genre.
    I finished recently Dragon Age: Inquisition on an aging PS3 as a knight in 200h, fiddling around with Dragon Age: Origins on an XB360 standing as knight in Ozammar and wanted to know how all that happened finishing recently the excellent RPG of Amalur, too. Your UI Evolution of Bioware's top RPG games
    BG and NWN helped a lot to understand the developement of RPGs on Computers.
    Now I have to close regrettingly - Dark Souls Prepare to Die is awaiting!

    Nice greetings from Munich and have a nice day/night!

    YK

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Hey, sorry for not replying to you for so long: good luck with your history book!

      Delete
  7. It's my favorite thing to stumble across people who still play old games regularly and with great enthusiasm. Thanks for helping to introduce me to the world of Neverwinter Nights community modules (in 2017, 15 years after release!). I've just started the Aielund Saga as a dwarven ranger. Keep up the good work Lilura!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Hi, Ben! I hope you get as much enjoyment out of the Saga as I did. Be sure to try out the Swordflight Series when you're done!

      Delete
  8. I'm not sure exactly where to post this comment, but this seems to be relatively high level so I'll just take the chance. Deal? ;)

    I was wondering, since you've provided installation instructions for several of the modules/series and a tutorial about modding, would it be at all possible to compile a list of suggested fixes and/or accommodations needed for both new owners and veteran owners who have transitioned over to Win10?

    My bias is towards successful installation and operation of NWN1, the original version, but could be extended to other games, especially if they share the same sorts of issues that Win10 has been causing. After all, THAT is the first step before any of this wonderful expose' has relevance, right?

    My main reason for bringing up the possibility is due to how well your blogs have been organized... everything just a click a way. I think the NWN1 community in particular has been scrambling to provide a "go to" venue ever since the dismantling of the Bioware forums (and now the BSN forums as well). The NWNVault forums are mainly dedicated to resolving modding type issues rather than providing solutions for users who have been forced into an unsympathetic, new and shiny OS. So there is a void with no centralized repository of such information.

    Even with all the NWN-related Facebook, Reddit and other venues that evolved, it's really tough for prospective players to get assistance any better organized than a random suggestion by posters trying to make their best guess as to the cure of their woes. I'm not sure if you've already made the "leap" into Win10 but, if so, may be in a position to compile the possible issues (and there seem to be many more than ever before) and suggest remedies either by hyperlink or descriptive text. I would myself but, TBH, am scared to death of Win10's changing the integrity of how I interact with my software.

    I realize that this topic may not align perfectly with your original intent but figured I'd at least plant the idea. Can't hurt to ask, right?

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Hi Iconclast. It's an interesting idea you have there, but:

      -I'm unlikely to transition from 8.1 to 10 anytime soon.
      -Hardware and OS isn't really the focus of my blog. I really think this is best left to GoG, NWVault and reddit. (The assumption I put on readers is that they are old enough and ugly enough to know how to set up their systems, anyway.)
      -Issues change with the times and are hard to keep up with. There are tons of potential problems people can run into and most of the time it's just user error. I've read extensive install guides written for certain games, and you know what? A year or two later they are redundant.

      That said, I've added a couple of lines at the start of this post. Who knows, it may grow. :)

      Delete
  9. Hey,
    Any chance you'd cover NWN's Persistent World servers here on the blog? I think it's rather interesting subject (and pretty unique - at least, never managed to find anything close to it). Despite the game's age, there are still some worth trying out (like Prisoners of the Mists), with stable playerbase, active dungeon masters and things going on. I think they should get some more coverage, because still feel like fairly obscure thing that more people into RPG's should know about. If not from a playerside, I'd be interested in your opinion from a more technical point of view - as the PW's are fairly complex modules.
    Cheers.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Hi Imre V.

      Thanks for the suggestion.

      I'm 90% a single-player gamer, and have only limited experience with PWs and multi-player (haven't clocked up more than a few hours in all these years), so I don't think my write-ups would be all that insightful. I can certainly see how PWs and DM'd multi-player would represent some of the very best the NWN platform has to offer; it's just no my forte.

      Delete
  10. Hey Lilura1 - found your blog randomly but really glad that I did. Love your commentary and your style. Your focus on the games that I consider best of all time is much appreciated. Can't believe that we are still playing JA2 and BG but we are. I'm exclusively using a Mac now. GOG and Beamdog have brought a lot of classic games that run on Mac, but do you have any thoughts on other sources of similar good Mac games? Thanks and keep it up!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Hi FlaSlacker, and thanks for commenting. Sorry, but I have no idea about Mac gaming. Good luck finding all the classics you want to play, though!

      Delete
  11. i dont understand rules of neverwinter nights but i will try to play mask of betrayer cause you named it as one of the best rpgs. what do you think of dark souls it looks great all those monsters and stuff.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Played Dark Souls PvP for 3 months solid, back when it first came out. Played SP several times until burn out. Good game, got my fill, but I'm not interested in the sequels. Enjoy MotB.

      Delete
  12. Olsen PotterSeptember 16, 2017

    Hi! I love your blog! I was up reading it until about 5:00 am this morning because it's exactly what I've been looking for for the past 5 years! I obviously need to play the first 2 Fallout games since you hold them in such high regard.

    I was just wondering if you have played any of the Divinity games and what you thought of them.

    Keep the blogs coming. You're amazing.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thanks for the kind words, Olsen. I have played the two older Divinities but I've only dabbled in the two new ones. I'm not a fan of Larian so I won't be covering their RPGs. My blog is mainly for BG and NWN, anyway. Cheers! - and I hope you enjoy Fallout.

      Delete
  13. I just wanted to break my usual habit of being a lurker and tell you how much I appreciate browsing through this blog from time to time. It has given me plenty of inspiration on (re)plays of some wonderful RPGs and drawn my attention to many a missed detail where I thought I had combed out each and every corner. That aside, it's also pleasant to see someone comment on games in a balanced and thoughtful manner, as well as a concise writing style. Thank you!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thanks for your kind words, Isabelle. And you're welcome. If you notice any errors or omissions in my write-ups, please let me know.

      Delete
  14. Avernum 1 escape from pit. This second remake of exile includes battle disciplines from avernum 5 & 6. This game is greatest rpg ever made.
    Cya.

    ReplyDelete

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