Neverwinter Nights 2 opens and the internal dialogue begins.
I started with the beginning official campaign and jumped right in to character creation. Since the point of D&D is to be something other than oneself, I immediately grab my favorite fantasy race and go straight for the healer class, because being dead sucks. Therefore I give you Shao Xiawei, Dwarf Cleric of Some Underground Deity.
(I have this thing where most of the dwarves I’ve created recently have a vaguely Asian flair to them. Shao is fairly diplomatic and likes the idea of a stable society, but his darker side will drive him to beat the absolute shit out of someone who picks a fight with him.)
… Whoa whoa whoa. This is an older D&D game. This is 3.5 edition rules. Paradigm recalibration needed. Hang on.
Okay. We’re back. Skip the tutorial?
I can figure this crap out by myself. Holy fuck, we’re just diving right into combat. 3.5 clerics are totally crap at combat. This is coming back to me now. Good thing I have two buddies to bring the hurt. I’ll stand back here and heal –
Fuck. Healing is touch range only. At least I have decent armor. We’re being swarmed by evil dwarves, though. Am I the only decent dwarf in this game? What if I come from an entire race of assholes? Are all the NPCs going to think I’m a scummy cave-dweller?
Heh. I might be okay with that, honestly.
We’ve liberated my house – or the house that my (foster?) dad owns. Out into the dirty swamp village, also being attacked by dwarves from the Asshole Clan. Thus far all my dialogue choices fall into the categories of Pleasant, Diplomatic Neutral, or I’m a Dick/You’re a Moron. I mostly gravitate toward the latter.
Holy balls, is that a githyanki? Well, whoever my DM is, she’s not burying the lead. “Hi, you’re level 1, also here’s a hugely overpowered astral mage/monk thingy that’s going to incinerate your town.”
WHAT THE HELL.
Okay, my DM’s not a feminist. My wizard girl just got mowed down without any hope of saving, apparently to demonstrate that This Shit Is Real Life™. I’m a cleric, dammit. I should be able to rez her. NOPE. I’m too busy being lousy at hitting things with a stick. Jesus.
Sorry, I meant Kelemvor.
Now we get our first side quests – wherein our heroes pause an invasion to grab loot from other people’s houses. And some of these boxes are locked. I knew cleric was the wrong choice. I should have gone rogue. ALWAYS start with a rogue.
Ooo, I can smash the locked boxes open.
Aaaaaaand break the shiny stuff inside into useless junk now. DAMN IT. Fuckers.
Invasion halted! Yay! We’re safe!
Wait, THIS chump is my foster father? He’s a wood elf. An ASSHOLE wood elf. It’s like if Thranduil lived in a bullshit swamp town. Oh my god, they’re not even trying to hide how much of a shit parent this guy has been. And his name is phonetically identical to an Elder Thingy from the Cthulu mythos.
Oh, this won’t EVER come back to bite my hairy dwarven ass.
No, no, I’d be HAPPY to wander off into the lizard-infested swamp with Muscles-for-Brains here to find the OBVIOUSLY EVIL artifact you hid in the ruins YEARS AGO.
Oh look, ruins and lizards and bugs and MORE LOCKED BOXES where I get about three dollars and destroyed magical things that I might have been able to use but now are simply Insult Sprinkles on my Injury Casserole. Shao is fast becoming a cynic.
Yes, dad, I found your shiny shard. Yes, dad, I’ll totally take a dangerous journey to Neverwinter alone. Yes, dad, I’ll go meet my foster uncle who’s probably just as much of a shithead as you are.
First stop is the only inn outside of town. Oh heyyyyyy – it’s another dwarf. Picking a fight and getting hammered. Dwarves like you are the reason for the stereotypes. Khelgar swings a mean axe, though. He’s the first official member of my merry band. Maybe we can start a crime syndicate. The Shadow Dragon Triad, maybe?
Heh heh heh.
Hey, the Subterranean Asshole Clan is back! Khelgar, pound these fuckers into the floorboards. Atta boy. SHIT.
Okay, that was a few more fuckers than we’d anticipated. First total party wipe. Fortunately, I’ve been trigger-happy with the save button. We’ll sweep this inn clean. Oh, and save some civilians … who are willing to pay for the rescue?
Yes PLEASE. Better start practicing my extortionist grin.
Onward to a fort! A stockade, if you will. A fastness, an outpost, a safe haven for wanderers and merchants of all types!
Except tieflings, it seems. But she’s a female, and therefore the bearded patriarchy must adhere to traditional gender duties and save her ass. For great vengeance and misogyny!
OH MY GOD SHE’S A ROGUE WILL YOU PLEASE LIVE WITH US THANK YOU.
Now we just need a caster and the Holy Quartet of RPGs will be complete.
So this fort is – under new management? Or something? Yeah, I’ll do some freelance investigation. First stop is the nearby graveyard.
Skeletons and zombies. Oooooh fuck yes. Let’s see how Turn Undead does against these punks.
HOLY HELL THIS IS THE TITS. RAMPANT MASS DESTRUCTION OF UNDEAD. I’M BOWLING STRIKES BITCHES.
As an aside, diseases suck. My rogue is now fumbling around and can’t disarm a trap to save her soul and our AC is way in the toilet. Back to the fort. We need potions.
Shit, shadow mages? Conversing astrally with the Big Bad? He’s going down. And we found the actual fort commander fellow. Huzzah! Promotions for everyone!
Of course, currently-in-command doesn’t want to step down. It’s a coup! Destabilize the regime! Reinstate the rightful authority! Down with the incumbent!
Dwarven politics at their finest. This looks like the beginning of a beautiful friendship.