Neverwinter Nights NWN Best Mods Modules

Neverwinter Nights Best Mods Modules

Not just a launchpad for getting into NWN, this post is also a gateway and Index to my in-depth NWN coverage. Bookmark it!

                    I n t r o d u c t i o n                    

The magic of the Neverwinter Nights role-playing game is its Aurora toolset that strikes the perfect balance between flexibility, power and Ease-of-Use. World-builders, writers, coders and artists alike have long since hit the jackpot with Aurora. It's why we players have access to some of the finest role-playing campaigns out there. Masterpieces like Swordflight, Aielund and Kosigan, for example, all of which can contend with commercial RPG offerings in terms of depth, breadth and polish. (As a veteran of Fallout, Baldur's Gate and the Renaissance Era in general, I should know.)

Pen & Paper aside, nothing comes close to the NWN role-playing experience, whether it be past, present or in the foreseeable future. I have been blogging about this game non-stop for three years; I have been playing it on and off since it came out in 2002 - and I have barely scratched the surface of the custom content that has been churned out by the most productive and talented modding community ever to grace the genre.

                    G e n e r a l  S e t u p  T i p s                    

Wait, I don't even have this game! Where can I get it?

• Install to a non-Program Files folder and run the game as Administrator and in compatibility mode for XP SP3; otherwise the exe may crash. This stopped the CTDs for me on Windows 8.1.

• To play in Windowed mode set FullScreen=0 and add the line AllowWindowedMode=1 in nwn.ini. This actually doesn't work for me until I hit Alt-Enter in-game. This is handy because Alt-tabbing out of FS mode sometimes makes my game hang.

• If you're running an AMD chipset and game crashes or framerate is unbearably low, try changing ShinyWater=1 to ShinyWater=0 in nwn.ini. This can be done in-game, too.

• If the intro movies for the official campaigns are not displaying (but you can hear the sound), try changing SafeMovie=0 to SafeMovie=1 in nwn.ini.

• You can disable the logo movies (Atari etc.) by adding Disable Intro Movies=1 under [Display Options] in nwn.ini. Now you don't have to click through them every time you want to play.

• All players should employ the High Resolution Font in Advanced Video Options. If text is still not of readable size, you will either have to lower your resolution or install a UI mod.

Help! My save-game files are disappearing or getting corrupted! Don't run NWN through GoG Galaxy, or turn off cloud saves. 

Help! Cloaks, robes or characters are invisible/not showing up in the game-world. About all you can do is switch to integrated graphics or roll back your AMD/Nvidia drivers.

Help! Even after turning off Shiny Water and reducing graphics settings to their absolute minimum, NWN still runs like a dog! As above, about all you can do is switch to integrated graphics or roll back your AMD/Nvidia drivers.

Help! The game won't run even after setting compatibility mode/run as administrator! What can I do? Try running the Windows troubleshooter in regards to the exe.

Help! My character is stuck on geometry, on top of/inside a wall or a door won't open etc. Call up console mode with DebugMode 1 and hit the + key on your numpad to teleport to wherever you position your mouse cursor. Type DebugMode 0 to exit console mode.

• Players running the retail version may appreciate the ability to bypass the Launcher... simply navigate to your install folder, right-click nwmain.exe and make a short-cut to your desktop.

• Does NWN run under a VirtualBox guest OS? Sort of. The framerate sucked under my XP SP3 guest and the toolset would not load consistently. YMMV.

             P a t c h  y o u r  g a m e  t o  v 1 . 6 9             

First up, make sure your game is patched to v1.69. Even if it's the GoG version I would run this to be sure because some people have had problems getting community content to work, which the patch seemed to fix each time. So, patch your game!

Have you patched your game? :P Ok, let's move on then!

             O v e r v i e w  o f  M o d d i n g  N W N              

First up, this post is concerned with mods not modules. There is a difference. A mod is "a tactics mod", "a UI mod" or "a texture mod" whereas modules are adventures you can play that are sometimes linked together to form a campaign. Savant's award-winning Aielund Saga is a campaign formed by linking several modules together, for example. Readers seeking modules are kindly referred to Best Modules and Core modules.

With that of the way, let's talk about mods! There are three main methods to employ in modifying NWN core resources; namely: overrides, hak paks and patch haks. As read by NWN, the resource priority order is as follows: hak > patch hak > override > official patch 1.69 (CPP) > core resource. So, for example, "override resource x" won't be read if there is a "patch hak resource x" (patch hak takes priority over override). Apply this resource priority order when modding your game to be just the way you like it. 

Overrides are the easiest modding method for new players to employ: you simply place the files into your override folder and NWN loads them "over" the core resources just like in Baldur's Gate.

◦ Pros of this method: It's easy to do and you can choose exactly what to modify.

◦ Cons: You will have hundreds, maybe thousands of files in your override so things can get messy if you go "all out". You see, NWN will not read overrides if you try to organize them into sub-folders; only NWN2 allows for that. So, even if you remember what overrides are in there it can be a nightmare to uninstall a particular override because of the thousands of vaguely-named loose files. Ofc, there is a trick you can employ. Say you have the Creature Override Compilation installed and you want to uninstall it, but you don't know which files are related to it and have thousands of other files in your override that you want to keep. What to do? Simply reinstall COC, overwriting/replacing the current files, which will now be highlighted in Windows Explorer. Now, you can simply right-click and delete them, thereby uninstalling COC while keeping your other files.

◦ To help newbies out the following few override mods won't change the game-play but will give you a visual overhaul and a few extra features that you should be pretty happy with. Plus, they will play nicely together: • Customize Character Override • Gunner's Body Rebuild/Retexture • Creature Override Compilation • Complete GUI Alterations Package • Reforged Weapons •  Remove Annoying Effects. No mods are essential but these ones are easy to install: you simply extract the archive using 7-zip and then place the contents into your NWN override folder. VoilĂ !

◦ Pro-tip: Back up the contents of your Override folder before you start adding files to it. (Yes, both the DVD and GoG Diamond versions have default files in the override.) That way, you can return to a default override if you need to.

Help! Adventure module x-y-z isn't working or is glitching out/strange things are happening. This is usually caused by files in the override conflicting with the adventure module (9 times out of 10, it's Tony K's Henchman Inventory & Battle AI Mod). Try removing the offending mod or simply return your override to its default state, as per above.

Hak paks are much more involved and time-consuming, requiring use of the Aurora toolset to "bake-in" or "infuse" a module with the desired changes permanently. This method is mainly used by builders (people who make adventure modules and campaigns for us to play) but there are some ruleset haks out there of which hardcore players can avail in order to greatly expand their game and make themselves OP, such as the Player Resource Consortium Pack. In addition - in some cases - haks may be used as overrides by extracting their contents using a special program called NWN Explorer Reborn. Famous haks that are override-friendly are highlighted in this post, such as the Alternate Combat Animations Pack.

But, at the end of the day, most players' experience with haks is going to be limited to simply downloading them and placing them into their hak folder for the purposes of playing adventure modules and campaigns; the modules for which come pre-baked.

◦ Pros: You can expand the options in your game immensely in order to overwhelm yourself and get entirely lost. :P

◦ Cons: Toolset knowledge is required and casual players may have neither the time nor the inclination.

• Patch haks are a lesser known but elegant method of modding NWN: a patchfile pre-loads haks into NWN without the user needing to deal with the toolset. Project Q, covered below, is the quintessential hak resource to apply to this method.

◦ Pros: Everything is neat and tidy and the visual quality is consistently high.

◦ Cons: You lack micro-control of what gets modded and casual players may have neither the time nor the inclination to go through the process outlined below.

                         P r o j e c t  Q  p a t c h  h a k                        
Project Q is a selection of superior art assets put together over the last decade by distinguished members of the NWN community. It's headed up by pstemarie, Niv, Rolo Kipp and Meaglyn, and includes the work of 20 of the best artists to grace the NWN platform.

The following patch hak acts like an all-in-one override that enhances the graphics and sound effects in NWN. That means you won't need many of the overrides listed in this post, such as the above-mentioned Alternate Animations Pack, Gunner's Body Rebuild/Retexture, Creature Override Compilation and Reforged Weapons because Project Q already employs them, or their equivalent. You also won't need the tileset overrides listed later in this post. Remember the NWN resource priority order, too; that is: patch hak > override. However, you can still benefit from overrides for resources that Project Q does not modify.

Now, the Project Q patch hak is not compatible with all adventure modules and campaigns. I can confirm that v2.0 works glitch-free with the Original CampaignShadows of UndrentideHordes of the UnderdarkSwordflight and Snow Hunt. It does not play nicely with Bastard of KosiganCormyrean Nights or Honor Among Thieves (missing geometry). I can't vouch for the compatibility of the newly released Project Q v2.2 with these modules, but its reported incompatibility with Swordflight Chapter Two has apparently been resolved. Note that you don't need the patch hak for Lankhmar Nights because it has been recently updated with PQ (2.2). Of course, you will need to download PQ itself and install it just like any other hak.

These instructions were written for v2.0, before 2.2 was released. The process for 2.2 should be more or less identical. I checked the changelogs for 2.1/2.2 and didn't notice anything that made me go "Wow! Must install 2.2, rewrite my Project Q instructions, and retest for module compatibility!" :P So yeah, kindly give me some feedback on 2.2 compatibility and any override changes that you think are notable and relevant to the single-player game, which is all I'm interested in.

                         S i x - S t e p  P r o j e c t  Q  I n s t a l l a t i o n                        

• Step 1: Download the 7z program from here, and install it.

• Step 2: Download the Project Q combined hak pak (500mb) frohere, it's this one, and extract the archive using 7z.

• Step 3: Create a folder in your main NWN install folder (e.g, C:\NeverwinterNights\NWN) and call it "Patch".

• Step 4: Place the contents of the Project Q hak folder into the Patch folder, except for the !build  & !armoury haks (the former is for builders only and the latter glitches out rings, amulets and shields).

• Step 5: Use a text editor to make yourself a blank ini file and call it nwnpatch.ini. If you can't do that then just download this one and erase what's already in there. (GoG version may already have patch.ini; the retail version may not).

Now, copy-paste this into the ini exactly how I've typed it:



• Step 6Save the file and then place it in your main NWN install folder as well.

That's it! You have just readied Project Q for pre-loading. Enjoy! Don't forget to vote and leave a comment on the Project Q vault page

Special thanks to Project Q pioneer, Pstemarie, from whom I learned how to do this! Credit for thinking out patch haks goes to him.

Yes, Q Campaigns has already infused the Project Q haks into the official campaign modules, but it was made for an earlier version of NWN, and therefore glitches out on 1.69! It actually breaks the HotU campaign two-thirds through, too, and fixing it isn't easy. Do NOT use Q Campaigns in replacement of this patch hak method. (This is why I did not link to Q Campaigns).

                    C r e a t u r e  C o m p a r i s o n                    

Original (top row), Creature Override Compilation (middle) and Project Q (bottom). Not all creatures are remodeled and reskinned by the override and patch hak; many of the override's are Q-approved, too. These are just a few that are definitely different. Ofc, you have to take into account that Q modifies tilesets, placeables and lots of other things, too; not just monsters.

The undead from the override suck, imo. Too much LotR going on with both modded orcs, too. This is D&D guys! The original werewolf, ogre berserker, ghoul lord and troll shaman employ more interesting color palettes than both modded versions. Not every monster has to be green, black or brown.

More comparisons, just between vanilla and Q. Again, lots of green, black and brown in Q. I prefer the design and coloring of the original mummy lord, minotaur and dryad. I also don't think a Lich should be wearing the same armor as a lowly skeleton warrior, and the incorporeal elementals are a step down (just a flame effect with eyes?), but I love the wererat and mountain giant (what's wrong with their original color scheme, though?) Again, the balor lord looks like the balrog from LotR. And shouldn't the werecat be poised rather than upright when idle? A reader pointed out the inferior dire tiger, too. The original is more like a saber-toothed battle tiger, whereas the Q one looks like it should be in a zoo (pic).

                I n v e n t o r y  I c o n  C o m p a r i s o n                

Ok, let's compare inventory icons! Top row is original; bottom row is Project Q (Project Reforged by The Amethyst Dragon; see Key Overrides section, below). Which one do you prefer?

I prefer the shiny icons of the original; love the pommels, hilts and blades. Basically, I like the original weapon adornments and their gleam. How are the PQ versions not a step down from that? Of note is that Q weapon and shield icons are rendered as per their in-game model whereas the original icons are shinier than the in-game model, which are low poly and pretty much look like crap (the NWN renderer can't handle the sort of shininess depicted in the top row). So really, what the PQ versions have going for them is icon/in-game model consistency. Shields have been improved but Armors remain untouched.

Overall, Project Q does not respect the authenticity of the original art assets as much as I would have liked. This is true of tilesets and placeables, too (everything is darker and recolored; see below). Yes, the texture resolution and poly-count is upped on modded models, but it's not all about that, is it? Still, the Q stuff is consistently high quality and a lot of people aren't nitpicky like me, which is why I've given this famous patch hak the coverage it undoubtedly deserves.

Other patch haks:
◦ Zwerkules' Neverwinter Nights facelift haks: Facelifts placeables and six tilesets, some of which employ ceilings. I don't like some of the recolorings, though (comparison pic). Excepting the city tileset, these haks were recently added to Savant's Aielund Saga (Jan-03-2018).
◦ Vives Facelift Compilation, aka Llyra - Optional Content: Adding to the above, this one facelifts creatures and four more tilesets in addition (comparison pic).

Yep, it seems every patch hak strives to darken the visuals...

          C o m m u n i t y  E x p a n s i o n  P a c k          

Wait! What about the Community Expansion Pack? I've heard so much about it! New players seem to get confused by this so I'm going to try and make this clear: CEP is a massive collection of hak paks consisting of tons of custom content; stuff like monster models, scripted systems, arms & armor etc. However, it is useful only if the module you are going to play actually explicitly employs its content (i.e, the builder has infused their module with CEP at the toolset level). Downloading and installing 900mb of CEP will do absolutely nothing for your game unless you are playing a CEP-based adventure module or campaign, so don't bother with it otherwise [1]. To be crystal clear, you need CEP to play the Aielund Saga because Savant built it with CEP but installing it for Swordflight is a complete waste of time because Rogueknight didn't build it with CEP.

Finally, CEP 2.x series is not backwards compatible with CEP 1.x series, but the latest versions of both series' are backwards compatible with their earlier versions. For example, if an adventure module was built with an earlier version of 1.x, the latest version of 1.x will be backwards compatible, but not 2.x. Update: There has been a recent report by Andarian that 2.6.2 is not wholly compatible with 2.4.

[1] CEP's fame and unparalleled download count stem from its employment in many modules and campaigns. And yes, nothing is stopping you manually infusing CEP into a module and then using the console to add CEP items to your character, but you'd have to be pretty keen to go through the process, and you might also imbalance the campaign you're playing, or even bug it out.

            C o m m u n i t y  P a t c h  P r o j e c t            

Along with Project Q and CEP, Shadooow's Community Patch Project is one of the most valuable contributions to the NWN platform. It's an unofficial patch for NWN that fixes loads of bugs and oversights, adds even more modding potential, and unlocks two Prestige Classes that were hidden in the engine (Shou Disciple & Eye of Gruumsh). Shadooow has worked on CPP for six years and chalked up around 6,000 fixes over that time.

You won't need Issig - Hands for PhenosComplete GUI Alterations Package or Immunity Icons if you install CPP because CPP includes them (or their equivalent). Colorized icons can also be completely removed from CPP with this override.

But how does CPP affect game-play? See here for an encyclopedic write-up.

As for compatibility with Tony K's Henchman Inventory & Battle AI Mod:

Tony K will overwrite CPP AI. CPP AI is just upgraded vanilla AI. So while CPP fixes many many bugs in vanilla AI since Tony K is completely different AI so those fixes brings nothing to Tony K users. Tony K has some extra features that CPP doesn't and vice versa. I suggest to try both and decide what you prefer. From what I heard, Tony K is preferred choice for playing singleplayer from many players, while CPP AI is better for PWs. - Shadooow.

That means you can use both and get the unlocked PrCs and bugfixes of CPP but not CPP AI because TK's overwrites it (it's an override whereas CPP is a core resource). There are no conflicts and the AIs of CPP/TK's do not blend together or stack.

I myself have not done a comparison of the two AIs. Put that down to the fact that I'm happy just playing Swordflight over and over, which employs its own custom AI and challenging encounter design. And the fact that I played with TK's a decade ago, and CPP only recently, so I haven't the memory for a comparison. That said, CPP can make some combat scenarios more difficult due to its AI fixes. For example, in contrast to gimped BioWare AI, enemies will actively attempt to use the spells and abilities granted to them, and they will attempt to counter what you do. And enemies have been reported to quaff potions in order to stubbornly stay alive past their expiry date (just like the player :P). On the other hand, there have been reports that TK's can bug out the the official campaigns in some cases, so, if that's the case, I would be more inclined to roll with just CPP. Naturally, the choice is yours.

Update: Ok, I've done a run of HotU with CPP + TK's and I didn't encounter any bugs. So I'm not saying they can't happen but I don't have any evidence to back up the complaints of others.

Lastly, it seems some people don't know how to uninstall CPP: simply re-run 1.69 CR.

                          C a m e r a  E x e  H a c k                          

• NWN SoU+HotU 1.69 camera hack mod: This exe modification gives you more control of the cam and lets you do things like zoom out to birds-eye view and zoom in to first-person perspective.
 Back up your original exe before you replace it with the modded one. Also, some people are just against modifying exes, fullstop. Well, they miss out then don't they.
 Please note that this exe may cause cutscenes to hang in some user-made modules. I have never had any problems, though.
UpdateImproved Camera Mod for NWN HotU 1.69 + Camera Height Control System.

        M u s t - h a v e  M o d u l e:  P G C 3        

• Pretty Good Character Creator / Customizer (PGC3) powered by IGIPE: This mini-module lets you customize many aspects of your character in preparation for an adventure module, including appearance, alignment, experience, equipment and gold. It includes a test arena, playground and sparring dummy that allows you to test out your builds, too. There is also provision to transfer items between characters. To do that, simply place the items you wish to transfer into the storage chest, and pull the nearby lever to save them in the chest. You can then bring in your new character and loot the chest of the items.

The Halls of Advanced Training Deluxe - HotU+SoU Edition: This one is great, too. It lacks some features of PGC3 but it offers a superior battle arena.

            P l a y e r  R e s o u r c e  C o n s o r t i u m             

As if the base array of choices offered by NWN was not enough to keep one busy for years, the Player Resource Consortium adds tons more on top of that; see here to get an idea. That's quite a lot of additional options, isn't it? Pretty overwhelming, in fact. Who needs it? Not me. I consider it to be a classic case of ruleset bloat and think it's in dire need of being broken up into more manageable and easily understandable components that players can select from, but I link to PRC because a lot of people are into this sort of stuff. (Update: Players Resource Consortium LITE + related thread.)

Assuming you downloaded the installer version of PRC, the extraction of files and their installation to your selected modules and campaigns is entirely automated, though be warned that the process can take considerable time, PRC may not be compatible with the module in question, and players with slow PCs may find that it impacts game performance.

            U s e r  I n t e r f a c e  M o d s            

(I kindly refer the reader to my dedicated UI write-up for treatment of other UI mods.)

Enhanced GUI: This mod basically increases the font size in order to make it readable at current gen resolutions, scaling some of the panels accordingly. I haven't tested the 1080p version but the 1366x768 version was a bit glitchy for me. For example, in scripted cutscenes the dialogue panel was sometimes pushed over to the right of my display and cut off by half. Also, some fonts don't really fit all that well, and, on the level-up panel, I wasn't able to see the highlight for the class in which I had chosen to level-up. I tried both medium and small fonts; same issue. But this may not be the case in 1080p; anyone want to confirm? Anyway, this is a noble attempt, the issues are minor, and I don't think modding the NWN UI is all that easy... if it was, we would have a choice between several different UI mods like we do for NWN2 (which is easy to mod thanks to XML).

Note how the journal panel, shown on the right, has not been extended vertically to account for 768px height. Perhaps it, and maybe other panels, gimped as they are by default dimensions, could have added to them the extension bar that you can see at the bottom of the character record panel? It's that lil' down arrow that you see at the very bottom; you can drag it up and down, which I've always thought was cool. And perhaps the examine panel could be extended vertically - or hell, why not horizontally, too? - in order to allow descriptions to be more easily read, without using the scroll bar all the time? I mean, you might as well take advantage of the added display space that we have these days, right? Finally, it would be nice if the examine window was transparent, ala World of Aenea Transparent GUI Overhaul/Upgrade, listed below.

Comparison of medium and small fonts at 1366x768. The character record is somehwhat cut off at the right (can't see stats), but that's not a big issue since I can simply switch the order of the panel display to have the journal cut off and character record centered. Note that I'm in dialogue, too. Finally, I also don't mind the overlap due to the cool transparency of the panels.

              N W S h a d e r               

NWShader is a wrapper [*] that gives you options for depth of field, motion blur, normal maps, Bloom/HDR, SSAO etc. You can also increase the draw distance by disabling the fog (but not for actors/placeables). This is more for builders who wish to use it with specific textures; it's of little benefit to players.
[*] To put it crudely, that is, a piece of software that wraps around existing software in order to give you more options. 
You write that NWshader is of little benefit to players. I would say that it can make any module look a lot nicer with bloom etc. and if a builder has actively used nwshader it can make a huge difference, using shaders ex. to distort the world while in the Abyss etc. You'll never know if you don't have nwshader installed :-) /Paphjort Ed: Example pics by Paphjort.  

Basic instructions to get this going: Download this file (chronepsis_0.2.2.3) and extract it. Then, place the contents of the extracted archive into your NWN root folder, so that the dlls share the same path as the exe. Now, run NWShader GUI.exe to tweak the settings, or simply edit the ini the usual way, with a text editor such as Notepad ++.

I couldn't get the patch going, and the app seemed a lil' temperamental. I tried this years ago, so YMMV.

                   K e y  O v e r r i d e s                    

Ok, the following overrides are listed in what I consider to be their general order of importance and usefulness.

• Henchman Inventory & Battle AI Mod (source code): Gives you more control over your companions and buffs the AI. Everyone knows this one. See CPP section above for more info. There is also a version of TK's for PRC, which is also covered above.

• Remove Annoying Effects: A character buffed with Barkskin or Stoneskin looks like a turd. This override fixes that. Incompatible with Project Q patch hak. Note that CPP includes higher resolution textures for these effects.
◦ To remove the transparent effect of Ghostly VisageEthereal VisageInvisibility and Improved Invisibility (these last two share the same entry), just load the 2DA into NWN_2daEditor (text editor is a lil' messy) and change the Prog_FXDuration values to "no data" (****); then overwrite. Yay, I modded something myself! Whee!

• NWN Alignment Manager: Throw the files in the 1.69 folder into your override folder and spawn the item with dm_spawnitem gnam_1. Activate the special ability of the item and change your alignment any time you like. This can be helpful in some modules that shift your alignment when they shouldn't (HotU has a few alignment bugs, f.e).

• Customize Character Override HAK (CCOH 4.1): Lets you change your character's appearance in-game, from the crafting menu. It's one of the all-time popular mods.

• Alternate Combat Animations Pack (ACP v4.0): This override-friendly hak lets you change your character's fighting style animation in-game, also from the crafting menu. Very, very cool; but you'll need to use NWN Explorer Reborn to extract the contents of the two haks (ACPv40.hak & ACPv4_convo.hak) and then place the 1000+ files into your override folder. Don't worry, it's worth it! If you use ACP in conjunction with CCOH (see above) then you'll also need to copy this file over the ACP equivalent in your override.

Gunner's Body Rebuild/Retexture: It's like Better Bodies for that other RPG you might have heard of. Not needed if using Project Q patch hak.

• Creature Override Compilation: Greatly improves the models and textures of creatures. A must-have for new players who don't want to install the Project Q patch hak.

Reforged WeaponsChainChoppingSmashingReach,  UnusualRangedLight & Heavy Blades: Don't ask me why they're not combined into one file called "Reforged Weapons" - I guess that would be too convenient..? Included in Project Q patch hak.

Quick note on the Reforged weapons: There have been projects over the years that have been started by people, but never completed/released to the community. I didn't want that to happen with Project Reforged. They were released in sections as they were completed, since I didn't want the community to miss out on what I'd done if I couldn't complete the project for some reason. The entire project ended up being 8 releases over the year and a half it took to complete.
- The Amethyst Dragon [site]

• Complete GUI Alterations Package (Transparent and Colorized): I think this is confusing because I'm used to recognizing the original symbols, but new players won't care and it's colorful! CPP version is less colorful.

• Immunity Icons: Gives you portrait icons for immunities. This is not needed if you use CPP.

• Issig - Hands for Phenos: Changes your character's hands from the "fists of doom" to the "claws of doom". Still, it's an improvement! This is not needed if you use CPP, Gunner's, or the Project Q patch hak.

• NEW Ravenloft POTM Blood override & Hyper-Gore (Revised Edition): For the bloody-thirsty types.

NEW Familiars & Animal Companions Pack: Adds five pets to choose from. The pets are Skeletal Devourer (familiar), Blink Dog (familiar or AC), Dire Tiger (AC), Shadow Mastiff (AC) and Malar Panther (familiar). Back up your dialog.tlk before overwriting it!

NEW Goon's Insanely Mind-Boggling Darkness Hak: Makes the border of the Darkness AoE clearer.

NEW Savant's Real Skies: A generous collection of high-definition skyboxes, from the Aielund Saga: Enhanced Edition, which can be thrown into your override folder for use in other adventures and campaigns. Beautiful work, Savant! See also: Artful Skies.

• NEW Social Skills are Class Skills for All Classes: Simple override that modifies Bluff, Intimidate and Persuade to be class skills for all classes (instead of cross-class skills for some).

               T i l e s e t  O v e r r i d e s               

• Toro's Rural Override (this one) & Toro's Winter Rural Override: Makeover for grass and other rural flora; softens color (desaturation) for a more natural look. Makes a big difference. May cause tileset anomalies in older modules, such as The Cave of Songs.

• Bioware's City Interior 1 Retexture (this one): Again, instantly noticeable. I prefer the original aesthetic, but many don't.

• NWNCQ Project: The attraction of this override is that is adds ceilings to your interiors. Unfortunately, it does not adhere to the original aesthetic of NWN, so it's definitely not for everyone. I mean, it looks ok in this screenshot but it just doesn't suit all interiors.

               M o r e  O v e r r i d e s  &  M i s c               

• OHS Henchman System: Create your own characters and use them as companions. Incompatible with Henchman Inventory & Battle AI Mod.

NEW All Henchmen for Original Campaign: This mod has just come out and hasn't been thoroughly tested. It allows you to adventure with all of the companions in the Original Campaign. I would like to think NWN native spawn-scaling kicks in while playing this.

• Grand Override Compilation of the Ages: Someone's idea of how your override should look. I prefer to tailor it myself, but you might like to try it out.

• No Restriction 2DAs: This removes all the requirements of Prestige Classes.

• My henchman stops fighting bugfix: You won't need this if you use the CPP.

• Shifter Limits Removed

• 3.5 D&D Rules (HotU Version), by Tigermouth: An attempt to replace the D&D 3.0 ruleset with the 3.5 one. Use the toolset to add the hak, tlk and erf to each and every module in which you wish it to be active.

• Rod of Fast Buffing  (Revised): Removes the real-life tedium involved in buffing characters.

• NWN Restoration: Restores the original title screen, load screen, portraits, music etc.

Below left: The one everyone has.
Below right: Restored to the original.

• Enhanced Magic System (EMS): This hak was famously employed by The Aielund Saga. Quote from Arqon: Let's keep this simple. EMS is a massive collection of bugfixes for NWN, focused on spells and spell-like abilities.

You can extract the scripts from the hak with NWN Explorer Reborn, which I assume could then be thrown into your Override folder, for use in other adventure modules. Haven't tried it myself, though.

            T o o l s  &  E x t e r n a l  A p p s            

• Leto 1.69: A character editor, self-explanatory. 

• NWN Font Maker: Lets you use a variety of fonts and make them larger for dialogue. See also Baldur's Gate + 42 New Fonts for NWN.

• Neverwinter Nights Mod Installer Tool - NIT: Helps you install, uninstall and manage your NWN mods. It sounds good, but I have had no personal experience with it. See also: NWVault Metadata Viewer.

• NWN Lexicon 1.69: Handy off-line reference app; the online version is the NWN Lexicon wiki.

• NWN Omnibus: Massive resource, mainly for builders. 57,862 files for reference purposes...


Well, I hope you guys found this write-up useful. Post in the comments section below if you know of any other mods that I should add. Thanks, and enjoy!



  1. Thanks for all your hard work! This is a really nice guide on what's optimal for enjoying Neverwinter.

  2. You're welcome, Joe! I'm glad it was of use to you.

  3. Thank you very much for this summary on NWN graphic mods and tools!

  4. This was really helpful. Thanks a lot!

  5. It's my pleasure, guys!

    I will update it whenever I come across new content.

  6. Many thanks! Replaying NWN after a longish time so these were quite useful.

  7. Thanks. I just picked up NWN for free from GOG and was looking for something like this.

    1. You're welcome, Fred. It was a kind gesture by GoG to offer it for free over 48 hours. The NWN community is in dire need of more players. There is so much great content out there that isn't even being played, let alone receiving commentary.

    2. I'm sorry to hear that. I hope this gives a boost to its community. I will try out a player made module alongside the OC.

      When I think about it now, NWN has been in a somewhat odd place for more than a decade since its release (I can't believe it's been that long). It's neither been that popular or that unknown even at its launch. It just has had relatively light player response in comparison to other similar games but I am glad to see people are still making stuff for it and playing the multiplayer still.

      I remember I tried playing it shortly after it launched but hated the beginning area that was really just a overblown tutorial but funnily enough I find myself enjoying the whole game now after so many years and have already sunk a few hours into it.

      I hope now I can provide some support to the community by reviewing some of the player made modules sometime soon in the future.

  8. Geez you've put a lot of useful stuff all in one place. Is there any way to expand your meta? I only mention it because using goog and other searches seldom point me to your Blogs. Of course, I use basic keywords, often not sure of the exact terms, but I watch my spell(cast)ing closely. In any case, it's exceptionally well-organized and comprehensive proving you must be an avid longtime fan, eh?

  9. Thanks for posting the extra installation tips I mentioned on your index page. Anything helps. ;)

    Have you ever heard of the following working to launch an unlaunchable game session of NWN1...?

    I've seen some users rename "nwnmain.exe" (yes, the actual executable in the game folder, not a shortcut) to something benign like "launchnwn" without any extension and they claim it works perfectly and that it works to run most of the older games on the newer WinOS that would not start otherwise. I am interested in finding out WHY (it seems a dangerous practice to me, but hey, if it starts the game...). I can only guess that it bypasses something in the registry that is preventing the normal execution but that's a stab in the dark on my part.

    Do you or anyone else have any idea why/how the renaming business works? Before recommending something like this to a troubled soul fumbling to get their installation working I'd need to feel comfortable about the dynamics first.

    1. I've heard of that trick but have never tried it because I've never needed to. Try asking on Vault, GoG and reddit.

      VirtualBox doesn't run NWN smoothly but you can use it to run many older games flawlessly (Win XP SP3, ftw). I only throw that out there for ppl like you who might be trying to get other, older games to work; and also, it's just something to keep in mind in case VirtualBox ever actually gets robust 3d support.

    2. Actually, it's not for me. All works well enough on my latest Win7Pro machine. Had to apply the DirectDraw fix to a few of the titles, though.

      Mainly, the interest is for exactly those sites you've mentioned where replies are stabs in the dark most times. Requesters don't provide full hardware/OS disclosure like they did at Bioware so it is always a slow process gleaning the necessaries.

      NWVault really doesn't address these OS-related sort of issues. I've never heard of VirtualBox before so I may try that for some of the REAL old discs I have laying there collecting dust... just for giggle value.

    3. That's why I prefer a virtual guest Win XP SP3 for Infinity Engine RPGs like IWD and PS:T. You don't need to apply any fixes. You can just Run -> type dxdiag and completely disable Direct3D and DirectDraw. The games then run just like in the old days, with no glitches or slowdowns. Same with Fallout and Fallout 2. There are quite a few games I was never able to get to work in Win7 or later; namely, TIE Fighter and Warblade. It's pretty cool when you just mount the original ISO and play these oldies.

  10. Hi Lilura,
    Quick questions- Is the Project Q pack compatible with the CEPs? In the instructions it says that it isn't, or I may be misreading it. Second, your installation instructions are very different than the read-me's, there it says to copy the unzipped folders to the NWN directory and overwrite any folders. Is your "patch" instructions basically doing the same thing? Sorry for the noob questions, I'm still learning the modding process with NWN. I've installed pretty much all of the visual enhancements and CEPs you recommend. I was interested in Project Q, but not sure if it's even worth it due to all of the other visual overrides I've installed, such as the creature overrides, weapons, grass, etc (as posted above). Plus it sounds like it may not play nice with other modules. Thanks!

    1. Hi Cody, and thanks for your queries.

      - I have never tried the Project Q patch hak with a CEP-based module; sorry, you will have to experiment for yourself on that one (or ask on the Vault where the gurus hang out).
      - Yes, for installation of Project Q there is no difference between unzipping to the folders and just copy-pasting them in there.
      - Also, please note that the latest version of Project Q (2.2) may cause more issues in some modules than the previous one (2.0), which is the only one I've tested out.
      - Just to be clear, you don't need to install many of the visual overrides if you are going to use Project Q (See the first important note in the PQ section, above).

      Cheers, and good luck!

  11. Hi Lilura
    First, really nice blog, with a good summary of important mods/overrides.
    You write that NWshader is of little benefit to players. I would say that it can make any module look a lot nicer with bloom etc. and if a builder has actively used nwshader it can make a huge difference, using shaders ex. to distort the world while in the Abyss etc.
    You'll never know if you don't have nwshader installed :-)

    1. Hi Paphjort, and thanks! I've added your comment into the body of the post. Hope you don't mind. Let me know if you do and I'll remove it. Also, if you could be assed taking a screenshot showing it in effect, I'll post it in there and credit you. Cheers!

  12. Sure, no problem. How can I send the screenshots to you?

    1. Here they are on Imgur :-)
      To activate a shader is a single line of script. I either script it, or as a DM make an item target a player and toggle the shaders. Many uses. Get poisoned/bitten by a zombie? Turn you world green! Cursed? everything gets red and distorted etc. Don't overdo it of course, or players will get tired of it
      I think I'll make a post on the vault with examples of scripts and how to set it up.

    2. Nice pics, Pap! Added one into the body of the post and linked to your imgur page. An example posted on the Vault would ofc be very welcome, too. Cheers to you.

  13. Quick note on the Reforged weapons: There have been projects over the years that have been started by people, but never completed/released to the community. I didn't want that to happen with Project Reforged. They were released in sections as they were completed, since I didn't want the community to miss out on what I'd done if I couldn't complete the project for some reason. The entire project ended up being 8 releases over the a year and a half it took to complete.
    -The Amethyst Dragon

    1. Hi Amethyst, and thanks for the explanation! I've pasted your comment into the body of the post, as I've just discovered that I can't link to comments on blog pages (only posts.) Hope you don't mind, but let me know if you do and I'll remove it.

  14. Quick note on Progect Q - it has ridiculously bad replacer for Dire tiger. New tiger looks too slim and its back legs just look really broken... Thats mostly a problem for shifter, but still. Also elementals absolutely change their style to less "material" one, making them somewhat harder to spot in spellthrowing crowd(also I find old elemental style a bit more adorable xD)

    Other then that Project Q is really cool

  15. HEre is one more nice executable mod:
    together with Community patch version 172_R2(doesn't work with lower version) it gives you ability to persist combat mads(like in nwn2) so you can turn it on once and it wont be turned off when you run around. Additionally it let you to use monk additional flurry attack in the first round. Nice stuff xD

  16. Thanks for the very useful guide!
    I had to opt out of Tony K's AI completely though because of either major bug or very annoying feature: every time I hit henchmen with harmful area effects they betray me and never stop attacking until either of us are dead.
    And they don't even care if those fireballs deal 0 damage.
    Also there is apparently no way to instruct your familiar(which is not the case with animal companion!) until HotU and this means mighty panther will run away from the lowest of goblins in OC and SoU.
    Which is shame because other than these two issues Tony's AI is a definite improvement over vanilla, but something tells me it's not really meant for arcane casters...

    1. Not sure about the Familiar issues you're having, but to stop companions attacking you as a result of friendly fire, you should be able to simply right-click on them and tell them to "stand their ground". From memory, this is not a Tony K's issue.

    2. Thanks. Unfortunately this works only for stand the ground\follow and I mostly use guard mode, I even recorded that behavior with test sorcerer:
      ...Now that I think about it more, I recall henchies retaliating only in guard mode.

      Also this image below is the very problem with familiars, left dialogue window is from OC\SoU, right one is HotU:
      ...apparently there is no way to tweak anything other than follow distance in OC\SoU and if I understand it correctly Tony's familiars have their base cautiousness(?) set to "run away from everything" so they won't aid in combat on their own.

      Really sorry for bothering with these. I searched internet in hopes to find people with similar problem, I hope that my mishaps will help people who would browse this page or google things later, maybe some solutions will be found too. There aren't many active places about nwn nowadays it seems.

    3. Thank you for going to all that trouble. It does seem a bit silly that Familiars are scripted to flee, when they can be quite useful at tanking/DpR. Not being a modder, I do not know how to correct the issues you are having, I'm afraid. And most people that frequent this blog are gamers. Thus, I would suggest also posting this on where the active modders hang out. Good luck!

  17. Lilura you mentioned in your 'Project Q Hak' section that Q can possibly break HoTU 2/3 through? I feel like I am experiencing this break. Upon entering chapter 3 my character has turned invisible and I am no longer able to remove party members from my party leaving me unable to get Aribeth. You mention that this is fixable (although difficult to do so), do you have a link to a resource that details how to fix it?


    1. Hi Daniel,

      That footnote about the bug relates only to Q Campaigns, not Project Q.

      Q campaigns is Project Q already infused/hard-baked into campaign modules whereas Project Q patch hak pre-loads Project Q assets to simply override default assets.

      All you need is Project Q patch hak. Q campaigns is bugged because it was made for an older version of NWN.

      Thus, you shouldn't be experiencing the bug if you only have the Project Q patch hak installed.

      At any rate, a possible solution:

      Try loading the nwm file for Chapter 3 into the toolset. Once loaded, go to edit module properties and check to see how the module is named.

      If it is named something like "HOTU_warlock_3", then change it to "Chapter 3" (to be consistent with other Chapter names). You may need to change the module tag to "x0_module3", too.

      Save the module when done. You may have to reload your save-game to pre-Chapter 3 in order for the fix to take place. Hope that helps.

      Intermittent/perma invisibility is usually a symptom of graphics chipset/driver incompatibility. You may find a solution in the troubleshooting section at the top of this post.

    2. Thank you, no luck so far. I'm starting to think that there might be something wrong with my nwn.ini. Windowed mode works fine but I'm unable to see hotu chapter 3 in the toolset (because I haven't beaten the expansion on this computer) so I went to add CODEWORD XP2=barkeater to nwn.ini to gain access to chapter 3, only to find that my nwn.ini doesn't have a [Game Options] heading. Even after adding the heading and the CODEWORD for all three expansions I'm unable to see any of them in the toolset, nor load them in the game itself.

      I did reload a chapter 2 save and progress back to chapter 3. My character is no longer intangible (possibly better word than invisible, I can open doors and such but cannot seem to take damage or right click myself) but I still cannot remove a party member once they've joined my party.

      Any suggestions are appreciated, otherwise I will keep playing around.

    3. Are you running Diamond/Platinum, patched to 1.69, and installed to a non-Program Files folder?

      It might be worth backing up your save-games, uninstalling, deleting any leftovers, reinstalling and repatching to 1.69 (even if you have GoG Diamond).

      Regardless of ini setting, you should be able to locate Chapter 3 nwm in Windows Explorer, right-click-open it, and tell it to open using NWN toolset.

    4. I backed up the saves and uninstalled nwn diamond (GoG). I then reinstalled and repatched it to 1.69 and moved the saves back over. Chapter 3 is saved in nwm as 'XP2_Chapter3' not 'HOTU_warlock_3'.

      Unfortunately when I reloaded my save I was still incorporeal and unable to remove companions. When I reloaded my save at the Valsharess and reentered chapter 3 I was corporeal but unable to remove companions once they joined my party. Finally, when I reloaded a save at the start of Chapter 2 I was able to add and remove companions at will.

      Am i simply misremembering and you can't change your companions in chapter 3? Because this was a completely fresh start and I'm not sure what the issue could be from here.

    5. Unfortunately, I haven't played HotU since I wrote my walkthrough (a few years ago), and so I can't remember.

      I know there is a bug by which, if you don't remove Deekin from the party at least once in Chapter 1 or 2, he will not be recruitable in Chapter 3. I also seem to recall that you have to go through a few different dialogues at the beginning of Chapter 3, before you can recruit the summoned companions?

      I can't remember. I also have no idea why your ini would not be showing all available options, but the invisibility thing is usually a graphics chipset/driver incompatability issue, as I said.

    6. It is also possible that Project Q 2.2 is causing issues (I only tested HotU with v2.0), but I assume your new install is currently without it.

    7. I have no idea what fixed it but after about a week away I reinstalled everything and the game is working perfectly now. If I was a betting man I would say it had something to do with Q because I don't think I installed it properly the first time. Thank you for all your help.


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