Oi lubber, watch that mud. Wouldn’t wanna git them fancy boots dirty eh? What brings ye out ta Ol’ Misty anyway? Ye some kinda treasure hunter, or fool adventurer? Well, if yer here to throw yer life away fer a bit o’ gold, there’s somat ye oughta know. This here town, Freeport, this is the only place where yer almost safe. If’n ye stay upwind of The Salty Tap that is. Ol’ Cap’n Smythe’s place ain’t healthy fer most folks. Ye should find ye some work with the companies. Ye got them snooty sods from Waterdeep, Tallstaff and Jameson. Down the road from them ye can sign on with the Luskan firm, but if’n I were to go lookin fer coin, I’d sign on with that group from Amn. That Isabelle can give me orders any day.
If yer thinkin’ to leave Freeport, on some wild goose chase, ye better stock up on bandages and maybe hire someone to cart yer hind end back to town. Out there, the Island’s full o’ things that just wanna eat ya. If’n the wildlife don’ getcha, the orcs will, or them black skinned elves. Ya, we got drow here, but listen here lubber, ye better get some sense if ye go lookin’ fer them. Some of them drow are protected by then woodsy elves. Calls them moon prancers or some such. If ye go after one of them, ye might as well have a good ol’ pine box waitn’ cause them woodsy elves’ll fill yer arse full of arrows.
That’s all just in the woods. If’n ye are thinkin’ of headin’ toward the mountain, ye’ll hafta get through the orcs. They hold the ol’ fort north of here, and got themselves lots of caves and such up on the cliffs. Course, inside the mountain is the dwarves. They’ll deal with ye, but ye better not try and cheat them. They don’t take kindly to that kinda foolishness. It’s yer life lubber, if ye wanna die on this island I’m sure ye’ll get a right fine burial in the sea. Me? I’m headed over to Smythe’s place for a pint and the fights. I hear their gonna throw a pair of gobbos in the cage with a bear. My coin’s on the bear.
These words greet newcomers to the Island of Aldmyst, also known as The Gray Isles, a NWN2 persistant world a group of us decided to start nearly a year ago. Getting close to the year mark is what spurred this little plug/review, but also I think our server is getting to a point in its life where we are ready for more players to bring their unique and fantastic stories to life. Whether you are new to Neverwinter Nights 2, or a veteran looking to get back into the game, this server could be a good fit for you.
Back when we started this project, some of us were desperately looking for a server that offered a good mix of roleplay, story, and dedication to the game we all love. Sadly we could not find a good fit. They were either set in worlds we weren’t interested in, action servers masquerading as roleplay servers, or just plain awful places to play. Don’t get me wrong, there are many good servers out there, that cater to specific types of players, they just weren’t a good fit for us. After talking about it for some time, joking about it, and finally saying ‘what if’, we decided to buckle down and see if we could actually get this thing off the ground.
I guess first, I should give a little basic information to those who aren’t familiar with some of the terms above. If you aren’t a NWN2 player, or even a Dungeons and Dragons player you might look at this post and wonder what the heck I’m talking about. Well, first off Neverwinter Nights 2 is a computer RPG based in the world of Forgotten Realms, a Dungeons and Dragons setting (like a backdrop world for a game.) A persistant world is an online server where players can go, roleplay, and act out the stories of their characters along with other players. It’s sort of like getting together to play Dungeons and Dragons with your friends, but instead of going to someone’s house and sitting around a table, you log onto your computer and see the world, and the actions, right there on your screen.
We believe, what makes us different, as a persistant world, is our philosophy, and our dedication to meeting it. We started with a team of 6 founders, head admins to take on the key roles in server development and make the decisions for the server that would effect everything. This is the first thing that makes us different. Most servers have one or two admins, and sometimes that can lead to a number of issues related to favortism, or biased decisions. We wanted a team of admins that could keep each other in check, make sure that decisions that effect the server and players aren’t based on any bias, and we also believe it has helped us develop a much more vibrant and in-depth environment for our players. Our core staff is now down to 4 for one reason or another, but the premise is the same.
Another thing that makes us different is our adherance to the heart of the game we love and the lore that goes along with it. Myself, being an avid reader, writer, and history buff, I have always been drawn to the lore that goes along with any DnD world. Forgotten Realms has some of the most extensive lore of any of the worlds, and because of that it leads to contradictions, questions, misconceptions, and the like. What many servers are lacking, and what we believe leads to a lot of issues, is a dedicated loremaster. Someone to filter the lore through, to organize it, and to make final decisions on what is accurate and what is not. It helps to keep down arguments between players and staff, and generally offers that broad and detailed lore so that players can create even more elaborate and detailed stories.
We have also dedicated ourselves to the spirit of the game this world is based on. Our first measuring stick is “Is it PnP (pen and paper)?” Basically, does the tabletop game do it, or is it made up as part of NWN2. In every case, if we can make something closer to the tabletop game, we will. There are limitations, but we’ve done a lot of edits, and customization to bring NWN2 on our server more in line with DnD. Some servers have tried this, but many times I’ve seen it fail in very obvious ways, when they deviate from the dedication to the game in order to achieve a false sense of balance. It’s sadly, a myth, that a lot of non-tabletop players have. Staff on many servers have never even played DnD, but come from computer game backgrounds, where things are balanced. Dungeons and Dragons is not a balanced game, and trying to force it to be balanced only leads to problems. We have accepted that the game is not balanced, and instead of spending our time trying to fix that, we have decided our time is better spent making the game fun, and making RP easier and more rewarding.
Those are some of the things that make us different, but what makes Aldmyst different? What sets it apart from all the other Forgotten Realms servers out there? When we first got together we talked about a custom world with our own story and lore. Only drawback to that is it’s harder to get people excited about something they have never heard of. Custom servers struggle to gain and keep players when they start out, and it’s easier on the writing staff if they don’t have to create 100% of the world out of whole cloth. We also wanted the server to feel real. By design a NWN2 server must be limited in size, as far as areas. Instead of building our world and ringing it with ‘end of the world’ maps, we wanted to make it a frontier setting on an island. Give a logical limit that represents the real life limit of the server. As we talked about this we decided, why not both? So, we came up with Aldmyst. An island, in the Forgotten Realms, that isn’t actually part of any published lore. We can present the players with custom content and story that is original, that they haven’t seen anywhere else, against a backdrop of a diverse world that everyone is familiar with.
So, that’s my little review of the server project we have going on over at Gray Isles. If you are a role player without a table, or someone looking for an RP experience that is more involved, interactive and in depth than some MMOs, come check us out. If I’m not mistaken you can get NWN2 pretty cheap on Steam.