Sunday, June 1, 2008

Starting on Dragon's Heart

Well I'm starting on a new area today called Dragon's Heart. I'm just starting but I wanted to give a rough idea of how things always start out when I do this.

I was thinking to myself over the last couple days... hmm you know, you never get to see Dragon battles in NWN2 much, and it's not because there aren't any Dragons, in fact there's 5 of them. I suspect it's because they are so high of level most modules aren't made for it.

I had been looking through the toolset trying to decide what I wanted for my second add on area. I knew one of them was going to be a Spider filled forest, but for the second one I kept asking myself what is it's theme going to be? It's going to be the place the Sky Pony tribe sends you for clues to the location of Claw Hollow... but... what is it once you get there?

Well putting all that togather I came up with an idea.

It was called Dragon's Heart...

Now obviously it's just starting, so... given the texturing in the pictures of my other stuff you can see how it's going to turn out. I'm, using the same texturing and forest look as in One Stone.

The Sky Pony Tribe calls this place Dragon's Heart, both for the shape of the valley and what lurks there. They tell you one of their trackers was lost there while attempting to track the Lycanthropes to Claw Hollow.

Well do you see all those little valleys? A Black Dragon named Ix'chidgit Monlaesus lets her Wyrmlings loose here to hunt and practice their skills on the local Troll population. Needless to say the Trolls are terrified of them. Now if Trolls weren't so stupid they'd probably ask you for help, but it's doubtful they could even communicate with you let alone ask for help. Besides, they're hungry too and would like nothing better than to have yo for dinner as well. So this Valley is going to be populated by Trolls and the Black Dragon Wyrmlings hunting them. The Wyrmlings will be on little patrol paths around the valley. And you'll most likely run into Trolls as well.

Here's the catch... if you kill too many of the Wyrmlings, Ix'chidgit is going to show up and start hunting YOU. Now, being Chaotic Evil she doesn't really give a damn about the Wyrmlings that much and figures if they aren't strong enough to survive it's their own fault for dying. But if she sniffs some stronger prey in the area... the game is on...

Given that the party will likely be 10th level at most... and that an Adult Black Dragon is 19th level... she's probably going to chew you up and spit you out faster than you can say boo. So if you don't run you're going to die unless you're really really good. It will be a fight you won't soon forget.

But you don't have to beat the Black Dragon to clear the area, all you have to do is make it out alive with the clue that is on the body of the Sky Pony tracker who was on the trail of Claw Hollow.

If you actually succeed though in killing Ix'chidgit, it will open up another area on the map... her lair.


Indira Lightfoot said...

Heh, two things we can count on concerning CRPG dragons.
1) They seem to favour desolate canyons that they have total dominance over.
2) They have complicated, hard-to-pronounce names that they cannot wait to make some unknowing victim utter in a decisively wrong way.

Serously, tho, this is a very nice starting structure for a black dragon area! :)

Phoenixus said...

Lol Thanks Indira,

That said, this canyon won't really be desolate. Singe this portion of the adventure takes place in the Moonwood, everything is forested.

I added screenshot of the texturing I'm using. Basically the top of those cliffs is going to be tree covered as well, and it's kind of like a two tiered forest. I was going to implement climbing rules and allow players to also climb up the middle ones and explore up there too. Unfortunately that may make the Dragon encounters exploitable as the Dragons can't really Fly.

And technically since it's a forest it should be a Green Dragon as Black Dragons live in swamps. But we don't have Green Dragons yet so a Black Dragon is close enough.

Wyrin said...

interesting update - i like seeing the early stages of area creation, and how it develops

you can get tintable dragons without resprting to haks - they're on the vault somewhere if you wanted a green.

I was interested by you putting in an 'unbeatable' challenge. How do you plan on introducing that? with a cutscene and companions suggesting you run? I'm just curious, as in Pen and Paper the DM can give hints and options to run, but many CRPG players won't have that attitude - it's a challenge to be beaten. Not that I don;t think it'll be good - just wondering what the reaction from the computer gamaer rather than roleplayer will be...

Jclef said...

Nice work, as usual!

Phoenixus said...

Thanks Jclef :),

That aside,
Wyrin I can actually tint the Black Dragon, unfortunately the Green Dragon has a fin on the back of it's neck and there's no VFX for the gas breath.

I was going to do just that.

On a side note, The Dragon is being set up akin to the BG2 Dragon encounters. Tough as heck and you may not be able to beat it right away but you can always come back later.

Basically it will spawn in and I'll use a cutscene with the Dragon finding a dead Young and then, in theory it will sniff the air and being moving about the zone on the same walkpaths.

So you could be walking along and poof a Black Dragon comes up behind you, or you walk smack dab into it and go HOLY BALLS!