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1. Shadows of Undrentide
2. Hordes of the Underdark

Shadows of Undrentide

Release date: June 2003

Price: around $30 (buy)

Developers: BioWare and FloodGate Entertainment

Goal: Expansion

Plot: In the Forgotten Realms there was once a nation of powerful wizards called Netheril. So great was Netherese magic that they lived in massive cities that would float through the air. Unchecked ambition destroyed their civilization and sent their cities crashing into the ground. Generations later the ruined cities are still filled with powerful magics and fell beasts. Undrentide is one of these cities.

Stinger WarriorThe campaign starts in the Silver Marches, a cold frontier not terribly far from the city of Neverwinter. The hero is drawn into what seems to be a straightforward quest, but eventually discovers that they’ve stumbled into something much larger. Investigation takes our hero into the barren wastes of the Anauroch desert. The Anauroch was a green and verdant land that was long ago home to a race of powerful wizards called the Netheril. A disaster destroyed the Netherese civilization, and turned their land to a desert waste. The ruins of the civilization lie hidden beneath the sand, protected by one of the most hostile environments in the Forgotten Realms.

The story starts in a frontier town called Hilltop in the icy wilderness of the Silver Marches. The player begins the game as the student of a retired adventurer as the end of her apprenticeship approaches. A surprise attack by raiders and some stolen artefacts draw the player into an epic plot that puts the fate of Hilltop and the Silver Marches into her inexperienced hands. As the true extent of the danger is discovered, our hero will find it necessary to journey into the forbidding Anauroch desert in search of an ancient magic.

Number of Chapters/Hours: 3 chapters with 20+ hours of gameplay

Toolset Improvements: New Wizards

New Henchmen: "We’ll also be adding a new selection of potential henchmen to assist our hero. We’re working hard to make these characters even more engaging than in the original campaign. Not all the henchmen will be available from the beginning, for example, some are tied to locations later in the game, and will be able to help players more with advice about their particular location."

One of the significant new additions is the henchmen interface which will be upgraded by allowing the player to access their henchmen’s inventories. There will be a number of tweaks and improvements made to the entire game, including adding scripting commands, tuning basic AI routines, and including the ability for a player to create new items.

Stinger FightNew Monsters: 19 (Asabi, Formians, Basilisks, Stingers, Medusas, Manticores, Cockatrices, Androsphinxes, Gynosphinxes, Female Fire Giants, Female Frost Giants, Gorgons, Wyrmlings, Faerie Dragons, Pseudodragons, Pit Fiends, Hobgoblins...)

New Tilesets: Desert, Ruins and Rural Winter. Also new background tiles for existing tilesets.

New Feats: Over 30 (Blind Fight, Bullheaded, Circle Kick, Dirty Fighting, Divine Might, Expertise, Extra Music, Great Cleave, Greater Spell Penetration, Improved Initiative, Luck of Heroes, Rapid Reload, Resist Disease, Resist Energy, Resist Poison, Spring Attack, Stealthy, Thug, Zen Archery, some prestige class-specific feats...) See more here.

New Spells: Over 50 (whole Bigby's series...) See more here.

New Skills: Appraise, Craft Trap, Tumble

New Prestige Classes: Five (Harper Scout, Arcane Archer, Assassin, Blackguard, Shadowdancer)

New Gear: Boots of Tumbling, Arrows of Petrification, Rod of Wonder, Deck of Hazards, powerful sets of armor and weapons wielded by legendary heroes, Grenade-like weapons

More Info: Official FAQ, Fact Sheet, System Requirements, Screenshots, New placeables in action: #1, #2

Hordes of the Underdark

Release date: November 2003

Price: around $30 (buy)

Developers: BioWare

Goal: Expansion and Game Engine Improvements

Plot: Hordes of the Underdark pits players in a battle to save the embattled city of Waterdeep from an ancient evil buried deep within Undermountain. Waterdeep is under assault by an unorthodox crew of creatures from the Underdark. The army is led by a mysterious and charismatic drow outcast that was somehow able to foster cooperation between the dark elves, duergar, illithids (mind flayers), and beholders. Using the unique abilities of each race, this motley force is on the cusp of crushing Waterdeep. It's up to you to discover the secrets of this unusual coalition and destroy it before Waterdeep falls.

Apparently Lloth, the spider goddess worshipped by the drow, has disappeared. Since many drow priestesses draw power and strength from Lloth, the disappearance has caused a power struggle. One drow rebel is able to command an unusual amount of power, and uses it to create an army of drow, mind flayers, and duergar.

Number of Chapters/Hours: 20+ hours of gameplay

SoU Compatibility: Shadows of Undrentide is not necessary for people to play Hordes of the Underdark. The two expansions are independent from each other, but epic features for the prestige classes that appeared in Shadows will be included in Hordes, so those that own both expansion packs get an extra boost in features.

Number of Henchmen: You can now take along two henchmen. One of the major complaints of Shadows of Undrentide was a lack of diverse henchmen. Of the three companions you could choose from, none were an ideal complement for physically weaker classes like mages and rogues. BioWare is addressing this problem and promises more henchmen, with more diverse classes, this time around. Best of all, there will be romance scripts to make henchmen interaction more interesting.

Several of the companions from the original NWN (Daelan, Linu, Tomi, Sharwyn) and one from SoU (Deekin) will return to assist you. Details:

- Daelan Red Tiger: pure-class Barbarian
- Linu La'neral: pure-class Cleric
- Tomi Undergallows: Rogue/Shadowdancer (may be switched to either)
- Sharwyn: Bard/Fighter (may be switched to either)
- Deekin Scalesinger: Bard/Dragon Disciple (may be switched to either)

Main Features: Campaign designed for high-level characters (level 15+) and set amidst the famous city of Waterdeep from the Forgotten Realms campaign setting. Underdark will introduce Epic Level gameplay. Epic Levels (based on the rules published by Wizards of the Coast in the Epic Level Handbook) will be available for characters that have reached level 20 and allow them to advance as far as level 40. Also; cool new spells, some significant improvements to the henchmen system, as well as a bunch of new prestige classes, plus tons of new skills and feats. It will also contain a multitude of new weapons and spells designed solely for Epic Level characters.

There will also be 6 new voice sets and 20 new character portraits. Composer Jeremy Soule will contribute 17 tracks.

The game's character generator can start you off with a buff level 15 character, but you can also import a character from the original Neverwinter Nights or Shadows of Undrentide.

The expansion will allow for increased polygon counts and improved textures, which will result in more-detailed characters and environments, as well as an improved camera that can zoom in very closely onto the action onscreen. Also included will be skyboxes, which will finally enable skies in the game.

New Magic Items: "There are quite a few new magic items we are integrating into Hordes of the Underdark. We’re upgrading all the current weapons and items to have attack bonuses ranging from +5 to +20, and adding a Djinni Bottle which contains a store so the player can buy and sell items as long as he has the bottle and gives it a rub once in a while. We are also adding an intelligent weapon the player can find. This black blade gives the player great attack bonuses, and it has a terrifically sour disposition. I guess I would too after being stuck in the hands of a skeleton for centuries."

New Monsters: 16 (Azers, Spider Demons, Drow, Harpies, Duergar, Mind Flayers, Dracoliches, Driders, Beholders, Mithral Golems, Adamantine & Demonflesh Golems, Demiliches, Eyeballs, Gelatinous Cubes, Deep Rothe, Prismatic Dragons, Shadow Dragons, White & Black Slaad...)

New Tilesets: 4 new Underdark tilesets (Exterior Underdark, Drow Interior, Mind Flayer Tunnels, Beholder Tunnels) + Frozen Wastes

New Feats: Over 50 (Wildshape (Dragon), Scribe Scroll, Brew Potion, Energy Resistance, Epic Prowess, Epic Reflexes, Epic Reputation, Epic Spell Focus, Epic Skill Focus, Epic Mage Armor, Epic Damage Reduction I & II, Epic Fortitude, Lasting Impression, Overwhelming Critical, Armor Skin, Great Char, Con, Dex, Int, Str or Wis, Improved Whirlwind Attack, Improved Spell Resistance, Mighty Rage, Perfect Health, Great Smite, Superior Initiative, Improved Sneak Attack, Improved Combat Casting, Self-Concealment 10%, Epic Dodge, Epic Weapon Specialization, Improved Stunning Fist, Improved Ki Strike +4 & +5, Bane of Enemies, Epic Will... Class-specific: bard's Curse Song, Lasting Inspiration...) See more here.

New Spells: Over 40 (Epic: Dragon Knight, Greater Ruin, Hellball, Mummy Dust. Other: Flame Weapon, Undead to Death, Keen Edge, Ball Lightning, Crumble, Iron Guts, Glyph of Warding, Mestil's Acid Sheath, Healing Sting, Infestation of Maggots, Monstrous Regeneration, Scintillating Sphere
...) See more here.

New Skills: Craft Weapon, Craft Armour

New Prestige Classes: 6 (Shifter, Weapon Master, Dwarven Defender, Red Dragon Disciple, Champion of Torm, Pale Master)

New Gear: Robes, Whips, Dwarven Waraxes, Intelligent Sword...

More Info: System Requirements, Screenshots, Deekin's Big Adventure

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