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NwN/SoU/HotU - the HeX coda 01 Mod Review

Discussion in 'Mod Reviews' started by olimikrig, Apr 7, 2006.

  1. olimikrig

    olimikrig Cavalier of War Distinguished Member ★ SPS Account Holder Resourceful Veteran Pillars of Eternity SP Immortalizer (for helping immortalize Sorcerer's Place in the game!) Torment: Tides of Numenera SP Immortalizer (for helping immortalize Sorcerer's Place in the game!) BoM XenForo Migration Contributor [2015] (for helping support the migration to new forum software!)

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    the HeX coda 01
    Creator: Stefan Gagne
    Scope: Part of a series
    Sequel: "the HeX coda 02" (Incomplete Yet Finished Release)
    Requires: NWN SoU/HotU v. 1.66
    Players: 1
    Review first posted on: 07/04 - 06
    Last updated on: 03/10 - 08
    Download location: http://nwvault.ign.com/View.php?view=modules.Detail&id=4078

    Index
    • Content
    • Gameplay
    • NPC's
    • Visuals
    • Summary

    Content

    "Forget everything you thought you knew about RPG's!" would be a semi-fitting, though maybe a wee over-dramatic way of introducing the essence of "the HeX coda 01". But what *is* "the HeX coda 01" all about, then? A fair question, I'd say! And one I'll do my best to answer satisfactorily...
    However, in order to best show you what it is, I'll start by telling you what it's not (cliché? anyone?). It's not your standard streamlined kind of RPG. Though it touches this story-type; it goes over, beyond and through at the same time, all along! Confused yet? Oh you will be!

    Roughly put, "the HeX coda 01" is a sci-fi/fantasy-RPG; though not in the way one might imagine, when thinking sci-fi/fantasy in general. Rather than being a Sci-fi game incorporating the D&D rules, it's more of a grand mixture of classical D&D, futuristic and mind-blowing innovation, and then the real (boring?) world.
    The scene in which you are set (read: world) evolves entirely around security. Sarcastically enough, this world is often referred to as "Asylum". In spite of the striking name, it's not such a bad world, really. "Civilized" life spins around a multi-national "company" known as the "Cathedral Corporation" (the means of the security mentioned above).
    Magic is outlawed and strictly controlled by the Cathedral Corp., and only authorized employees of the Cathedral are allowed access to, and to work with(!), magic. The reasons as to why are all history, and I mean that in a quite literal sense! It's not as much single cases in history as it is the marks magic has put on history itself - as a whole. There have been three major periods in time, which are defined as "tries". As you enter the story, the calendars are currently reading the 3rd (and hopefully last - some say) try. As mentioned above, two tries have happened before this third. Those two tries both nearly ended in the destruction of the world, resulting from (or so it is believed) power-hungry wizards' quest for even more power (I did start this section by stating that it's roughly put, didn't I? :p ). Not much is known about the first try, and it is generally believed that it ended in a massive chain of earthquakes that almost killed everyone. Contrary to the first try, a lot is known about the second try. It is known that civilization was highly evolved, maybe even more so than it is in the present time (the third try), and life spun around wielding and using powerful magic. They used it to evolve and control the world around them; and most importantly, it allowed for the weaker races, such as humans and elves, to hold the feared monster-races such as orcs at bay... Ironically enough, magic ended up being the bane of their lives, as it was the means through which they allowed it to begin with. The third try ended in a gigantic world-war, where eventually a powerful weapon of mass destruction was constructed, killing all but a few lucky people.
    A small group of these few survivors decided that they wouldn't allow for such a thing to happen again - ever! So together they formed what is now known as the Cathedral Corporation, and swore to each other that the third try wouldn't be a try at all; that the third try would be the final "try".
    Though reluctant to allow people to wield and use magic, magic and technology are the bricks upon which the "Asylum" is built. A lot of modern-day wonders are accessible by all, such as medical care, the aethernet (think internet) and techno music! Things you won't see in your regular RPG...


    And so you begin your adventure as a newly assigned rookie in the "rebel" group known as the "hex coders". As opposed to your regular rebels, these guys are not that rebellious at all. Their leader, a gnome named Dayvid, doesn't believe in war; but he DOES believe in open and free magic, and as such he has created the coders, whose sole purpose is to offer an alternative rune-system and detailed guides to compiling your own spells. As opposed to the Cathedral, these are released in the coders' own newspaper, free of copyright... it's an open-source system that everyone interested can access and use as they see fit! Marvellous, no?

    As the story begins, you'll find yourself at the countryside next to a guy named Lester. Lester is the co-founder of the coders, and you're on a mission to obtain an artefact from the grasp of the hated Cathedral! Quite simple, you may think. And indeed it is, so we won't dwell any longer on that.
    As Lester and yourself return to the HQ you'll face a quite peculiar sight! In walks Dayvid through a back-door, and on the floor lies a purple-dressed wizard, in a comatose-like state. After a short briefing you are asked to gather the team (which is quite small for a rebel group, I dare say!), so that Dayvid has some backup, if the purple mage proves dangerous when "resurrected".
    As the wizard awakes, he is quite confused, and nothing meaningful can really be deciphered from his "rambling". In a blink of an eye, he disappears, as he came, out of thin air. However, further conversation reveals that Dayvid had once upon his travels stumbled upon a lady sealed in some magic device, wearing robes similar to those the wizard wore. And so you set off on a journey, which will prove to be mind-blowing indeed! Marvel as the story takes you on a travel through time and space, on your quest for answers! Though you will soon come to learn that this quest generates more questions than answers...

    An adventure of a life-time awaits you, my brothers and sisters!


    Gameplay

    How the in-game future unfolds is very dependant on your actions through the course of playing. There are three skills it's advised that you give special attention to, and those are as follows: Bluff, Intimidate and Persuade. There will be a lot of conversations in which you'll need to make either a bluff, intimidate or persuade check (and beat it, of course) in order to achieve something. Now, I'm not saying that you can't beat the game without any ranks in these skills, but for smoother game-play and faster interjections, I'd advise that you place some ranks in at least one of them (though in my experience, bluff is the most used).

    The gameplay ran smoothly overall, and in fact I didn't find one single bug during play. Nope, your eyes aren't deceiving you... not one single bug (note that this doesn't mean that there aren't any, just that I haven't stumbled upon one).

    Difficulty-wise I didn't find "the HeX coda 01" had much to offer (I play on core rules). But neither did I really miss any challenges, as I personally don't think that the fighting is the appeal in this module. No, it is its complexity, and how well crafted it is in every aspect of gameplay. In everything from the complexity of the story-line to the extremely well-written (and generally quite humorous) dialogue.

    There's not much more to say about the gameplay, really.

    NPC's

    "the HeX coda 01" brings NPC interaction to a new level (especially if you've only played the official campaigns)! As with the official campaigns you can speak with the NPC's, and perhaps learn a little more about their background, so as to make them more rounded as persons. However (yes, there's a dreaded 'however' here too! ;) ), how you react upon what they tell you has a HUGE impact on your game! "HeX coda" uses a relationship tracker to see how you stand with each of the four different rebels. You'll start at zero, and depending on what your responses in the conversation you'll have with them are, this number will raise or fall. During gameplay your henchmen will sometimes stop and ask to have a word with you, and it's imperative that you're nice (though I'd warn against telling them what you think they want to hear, as that may have a negative outcome) if you want to be on good terms with the given NPC. If your relationship with a certain NPC is too bad, you never know if they'd be willing to follow you around the next corner, or into the next battle. So think before you act, not the other way around ;) .

    Moreover you can give the NPC's gifts. Throughout the course of the module you will come across various objects marked as gift items (stated in the description). Each of the NPC's then have some different interests, which match a set of gift items (though equipment can also be given to your henchmen this way). Whenever you give a NPC a gift, you will earn some relationship points, so don't hesitate to check the NPC's now and then to see if you have anything to offer which they may be interested in!
    You can offer the NPC's gifts by talking to them, and telling them that you've got a gift for them.


    Visuals

    One thing that struck me as I ventured through the world of Asylum was that "the HeX coda 01" is strikingly beautiful! It's definitely one of the prettier modules I've played. Instead of telling you how beautiful I thought it was, I've gathered a couple of screenshots below which you can browse and judge for yourself!


    Now, as far as I could see, the module didn't really introduce more than a few new visual components. But when I say beautiful I'm more thinking about the great job the creators did constructing the various maps. The variation, and creative use of combining different design styles makes up for a module you can only respect! Great work there :thumb: .


    Summary

    And now we have come to the end of this long, but hopefully interesting review... I sincerely hope that I've convinced you to give "the HeX coda 01" a try, because I personally loved it thoroughly!
    There's not really much to summarize upon, as I think I've made it pretty clear how fond I am of the module.
    If I were to rate it, it'd give it 5 out of 6 possible stars. the sixth star is missing due to the music pack, which I didn't find to be all that good. However, as you can see if you follow the download link at the top of the review, the music pack is optional, and not mandatory. But since my "job" is to review the thing as a whole, I took it under consideration here.

    Have fun playing!


    For more info about the world of Asylum, and "the Hex coda" 01 and 02, visit the module's webpage at:

    http://pixelscapes.com/hexcoda/

     
    Last edited: Oct 3, 2008
  2. Brallrock Gems: 23/31
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    Very nice review Olimikrig. Tells me everything I need to know about wether or not I want. Thank you for your hard work! :banana:
     

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