Books and Things - Revisited

So rather than doing thread necromancy (it is 3+ Years since anything was posted in Books & Things) I decided to create a new thread. The purpose of this thread is expand on the links given there by adding what I term micro-reviews of the content pointed to. This is so that instead of just links utilising the project title, an actual short description of what is actually linked to is given. Like the original thread, this one will only deal with pre-fabs and pre-fab systems that involve little to no scripting on the part of builder’s using them. Hopefully people will find this useful.

Whilst comments are welcomed, questions will be less so and may well be deemed off-topic and dealt with appropriately. Also welcome are other people joining in and micro-reviewing such prefabs - hint I am not going to micro-review my own stuff - that’s for others to do. In fact I would discourage anyone from micro-reviewing their own stuff.

To give you an idea of what I mean by micro-reviews see the next 2 posts which covers the books linked to in the original Books and Things thread.

TR

3 Likes

Bioware Books Be Gone - remove Bioware books without touching a script by OldManWhistler

Have you created your own world that’s not part of the Forgotten Realms? Looks and plays great then you open a chest or a bookcase and what do you find? Waterdeep!!! That is what this little download is designed to help with. I say help with because these books are not designed to do everything for you. What you get are 31 blank books all named Book. What is left to you is to put each book’s contents in their descriptions. So this is what the page for the name looks like -

Notice that the only field for you to change is the name of the book. If you want these books to override the original Bioware ones you need to leave both the Tag and resref fields alone. Don’t change them. For the actual contents you will need fill in the description fields -

Conclusion. As a no-scripting solution to the FR books in a different milieu problem this is not bad even if it does mean a bit of work. This does go quite a way to solving the jarring, “wrong” random books problem allowing your creativity to shine.

Archive contents - 1 erf, 1 demo module and a readme with more information.

TR

The rest of the books all have actual content. While this list is not exhaustive, as far as I can see there is a lot of duplication of certain content out there. So if you know of any unique content that has been missed please post about it here with links to that content. Thanks. Onto the micro-reviews -

Baldur’s Gate Books by Bioware

52 Book prefabs who’s content is imported from the original Baldur’s Gate games. In spite of what it says on the project page, these are all entitled “History of x” where x is the name of the place/region they deal with.

Archive contents - 1 erf.

Dragon Books by Revenant

10 books which probably contain all you’ll ever want to know about dragons. Each volume details just a single colour of dragon. For those old enough to remember Dragon Magazine used to have a series of articles entitled “The Ecology of x” where the x was the name of the creature dealt with in each article. These books are similar but maybe just a bit more detailed. As such each volume should be extremely rare and correspondingly expensive. I would recommend that they only 1 exists of each should exist in a module and should either be the focus of a quest or be in possession of a sage and/or very powerful wizard.

Archive contents - 1 erf.

Faerun Book Collection by Birdman076 (Original Work by Soul Filcher)

CEP 2.x is required in order to use this collection of 64 books. This would seem to be almost exactly the same collection as the Baldur’s Gate Books with the addition of an extra 12 books.

Archive contents - 1 erf.

Necromantic Lore by Steve Kurtz

Not all books that deal with necromancy are evil but “The Book of Shadows” most certainly is. it is one of six books, based upon information to be found in “The Complete Book of Necromancers”, in this package. Probably of more use in a campaign than a small module.

Archive contents - 1 erf.

Urk’s Greyhawk Library by Too many to list.

Your module is set in Greyhawk and not Faerun? Then this collection of 40+ books is probably for you. These are large, heavy and expensive and worthy of being placed into the rewards for various quests set in this world.

Archive contents - 1 erf.

CTP Jerl Silvershield Adventure Books by West Sea Guild

And last but by no means least. Unlike the other books mentioned here, this series of 40 numbered volumes represents a single work of fiction. As such they are useable in any milieu. My personal thoughts are that these are really good as they give the player something interesting to read and can be spread throughout a large module. Being numbered they give the player something to collect or to be hired a collector in order to find a rare volume needed to complete such a collection. Useful even in smaller modules (I used some volumes in “Hrothgar’s Resting Place”). Heck they are even usable as just something to read as the text of each volume is available individual *.doc files.

Archive contents - 1 readme, 3 erfs and 40 *.doc files

TR

2 Likes

Note: This is probably the largest micro-review that I will be posting. This is simply due to the number of items it contains.

1600+ Module Items by Sharon Tipton (fixed by Shadooow)

Where to begin with such a vast number of new items? First, these are all inventory items. The original aim of this was so that the creator of these items would not need to use any standard items. Instead, they would only use these custom items in any module they built.

Pros:

Requires no scripting on the user’s part.
The shear amount of new items that have been created using only the toolset.
Many of the new items are recoloured which enhances their “uniqueness”.
Many of these new items are magical in nature without being overly powerful.
One of the best manuals I have seen. There are illustrations throughout. As far as I am aware, it details every single item in this package including the resref and any script used by each item.

Cons:

They use only the visuals that are available to be created in the toolset back in 2006. That means that you only have the standard appearances when they are on the ground. It also means that a lot of the items use the same icon.
The manual while detailing the resref and any script used by an individual item does not detail the tag of any item. This can be an important omission if you are planning to add scripts of your own.

Nit-pick:

Americanisms - example From what I can find on the net, in the rest of the English-speaking world Cider is an alcoholic drink made from fermented apple juice. In the US it is just apple juice and non-alcoholic. This latter definition is used in this package.

Conclusion:

This is well worth downloading. If you only want certain items in your module, load the demo module, find the item you want and create an erf to import into your own module. Be aware, though that you will need to check for scripts that are essential for the item to work properly. This is where the manual is so useful. If the item that you want does need one or more scripts you should include them in the erf.

Voted 9/10.

Archive contents : 1 erf, 1 demo module and a 251-page readme in *.doc format

[Edit]

Here is the Readme file converted to pdf with bookmarks -

1600 Items Readme.7z (2.2 MB)

TR

2 Likes

I see the enormous effort of this package (at last 20 days, estimated), but I doubt on it’s usefulness. There’s nothing, an advanced builder couldn’t do by himself, which is probably less time consuming than to search through a large collection of stuff. Plus: from what I’ve seen, the scripting is not the shiny example of “how to do it” (Thanks to Shadooow who remove the worst bug).

Sorry, but I think there are other things to take care of. So, I exchanged all the books in my mod (see your post #3). By now I’m looking for a collection of one-liners for commoners in the city. (I already found something like this for peasants in a rural environment …). Something against stereotypic lines like “Nice weather, isn’t it”.

True enough but they aren’t the target audience of this thread. It is really aimed at beginner to intermediate users. If there are things that an advanced user could make use of, then great.

TR

Axe Murderer’s Killer Secret Objects v1.0 by Axe Murderer

Archive contents: 1 erf, 1 plain text readme file

This a standalone system that seeks to replace (but not overwrite) and build on the Bioware standard secret object routines. It expands on them in a number of ways. It greatly expands on the number of things that can be hidden even allowing you to specify a custom object to be hidden with the caveat that all such secret objects must be placeables. It also allows you to apply restrictions to the detection. So you can specify that only a given class can detect the object or a PC with a given skill can do the detection (but not both, it’s one or the other). You can further restrict detection to only those carrying a certain (builder specified) object. Lastly you can specify a time period, in hours, when the object is detectable.

Pros:

  • It works as advertised (tested on EE).
  • The custom secret object combined with the various restrictions allows for some interesting scenarios. e.g. "Only a mighty warrior of pure heart (Palladin) may seek my hidden map in deepest night (23:00 to 01:00). First they must quest for “Doddy’s tickling stick of mirth” (feather duster +1). Only with that in their possession will my map to “Penfold’s lost jam butty mine” be revealed.

Cons:

  • The omission of a restriction based on a PC’s alignment is surprising and would in my opinion have been better than restricting by class at least as far as single player modules are concerned.
  • As mentioned, the readme is in just a plain *.txt file. Given the amount of text it would be more readable in a different format (but see at end of this post).

Conclusion:

Even with cons this is worth downloading. Voted 8/10.

Update:

Given that I was going to test this in a test module, I converted the readme to pdf format. I changed a single word in the table headings, made the tables more visually appealing and added bookmarks so you immediately jump to the section you need. Grab it -

Killer_Secret_Objects_v1.0_Readme.pdf.7z (201.9 KB)

TR

2 Likes

Killer Anti-Magic Zones v1.0 by Axe Murderer

Contents of Archive: 1 erf, 1 plain text readme

Plug and play. Just draw the special trigger and you’re good to go. Tested on EE.

This package has one simple purpose - to create zones in which magic doesn’t work. It doesn’t however stop a spell slot being used up or a potion/wand/etc. from being consumed. While any associated actions will take place the magic simply does nothing. Can be set to work for PC only (a curse?) or every magic user in its area of influence. Works by hooking into something called spellhooking that NwN uses for magic.

Pros:

Works as advertised.

Cons:

May not work where other packages also make use of spellhooking.

Conclusion.

This is a pretty niche project that implements something that has been a part of (A)D&D since second edition. If you have need of such an area, grab this but be aware of the Cons.

Voted 7/10

Manual converted to PDF -

Killer Anti-Magic Zones v1.0 Readme.pdf.7z (153.8 KB)

TR

1 Like

Would someone else with experience of creating mp modules and the Bioware database please do a review of this please.

Killer Town Crier v1.0 by Axe Murderer

Contents of Archive: 2 erf, 1 nss and 1 plain text readme.

Not reviewed as this seems to be tilted in favour of multiplayer as it uses the Bioware database of which I have no experience.

Readme in PDF -

Killer Town Crier Readme.7z (147.5 KB)

TR

1 Like

Level Me NPC v1.0 by Axe Murderer

Archive contents: 1 erf and 1 plain text readme

Plug and play. Just drop the provided custom NPC into an area and you are good to go.

This is a simple idea well executed. The NPC has a conversation which allows you to either raise or lower your PC by one level. Note that if you need to level up/down by more than one level you need to talk to the NPC more than once as they’ll only change your level by one each time.

Pro:

Simple to use.

Con:

Inefficient where the required level change is more than one.
Readme only details installation for 1.69/Diamond.

Conclusion:

Unless you have a specific need to change the PC’s level by one, this is of limited use. You could always hide this guy away in a difficult to get to location as an Easter egg I suppose, otherwise there are better ways to level up multiple levels.

Voted 6/10

Edited readme in PDF with EE installation instructions and bookmarks -

Level Me NPC v1.0 Readme.pdf.7z (128.9 KB)

TR

I had a quick glance:
There is a version of the crier in the package which fits seemingly for sp-modules and doesn’t use the database. I didn’t find a description or script how to feed the crier with lines. Seemingly the crier is aimed to the more experienced builder.

As for the database (1.69), there isn’t much you need know. You store variables as you would store them on objects. Instead of the object reference you pass a string with an individual database name to the command. On a database you may store complex objects (characters, items) with a single command (but no containers with contents).

Port Me NPC v1.1 by Axe Murderer

Archive contents: 1 erf, 1 demo module, 1 plain text readme and 1 plain text addendum to the plain text readme

Simple idea, well executed but… If you use the demo module all seems simple enough until you want to use it in your own module. Unfortunately this will inevitably involve script editing on your part. This is because there is extensive use of Custom tokens in the conversation. This means you have to edit 2 scripts in order to change the text in the script. This is covered on page 96 of The Guide to Building Volume I – The Aurora Toolset Manual. Definitely not for complete beginners.

Pro:

If you know what you are doing, this offers an alternative way of moving a PC around different areas to, for example, a world map. Could also be used for a lift system in a D20:Modern setting.

Cons:

Not for beginners.
Not really Plug and play except for use in the demo module.

Conclusion:

If you have need of such a system and you can edit scripts with confidence, give this a try.

Voted 6/10 (tested on EE)

Combined readme and addendum in a single pdf -

Port Me NPC v1.7z (182.7 KB)

TR

If anyone is allowed to jump into this thread I’d like to contribute a review of this system which I’ve been working on for a while.

No Scripting quest System by Nereng

Current contents: 1 demo mod with some quests already included, 6/7 lessons covering different types of quest, 1 plain text readme.

As someone whose scripting skills are far from legendary (!) this appealed to me as it offers a way for anyone familiar with the toolset but not confident, or indeed able, to script a way of compiling quests without having to write any scripts.

Nereng has focussed on different types of quest - fetch, kill, escort, healing, courier and rescue. He provides detailed tutorials on each which can be filled in to the demo module. The system will likely not appeal to any competent scripter as it is limited in some ways but nothing major I would argue. For those not keen to script it offers a genuine other way. He bundles the necessary scripts into custom tokens which are then placed into an NPC quest giver’s Inventory. From there the user basically fills in a customised variable screen for the token which organises the quest. The journal is completed separately but is linked to the quest through its tag.

When I first saw this system I thought it looked a lot more work for very little reward as I can ( now) handle the conversation editor properly. However, as I got into the swing of it, it became very intuitive and I found myself gaining confidence pretty quickly. I’m now totally divided on whether I will use this system or not for my next module ( or at least for some of the quests).

Pro:

   *  the system is, despite my initial reaction, simple and works well
   *  there is pretty good documentation to accompany it
   *  it is a really clever idea
   *  a really good coverage of most of the common types of quest
   *  it grows on you, is better than Plot wizard and you could build a decent 
      sized module with it!

Con:

   * if you can script well you don't need this
   * the demo module is massive with too many placeables which slow 
     down loading time
   * I can't immediately see how this system would cope with multiple choice 
     answers in conversations ( although I haven't really tested)
   *  I have no idea if you could build your own custom tokens with it.

Conclusion - If you can script well this will be of no more than passing interest at how cleverly he has built this system. If you are a beginner or if, like me, you can use the toolset quite well but are forever asking for help with scripts then this is well capable of taking the heavy lifting for at least the more straightforward quests. Working your way through the lessons will leave you with a more favourable opinion than you started with. Of that I’m pretty sure.

For me it would be 8/10 (tested on EE). For able scripters probably 6, for new builders or less able scripters 9 or 10.

As a slight additional note, I was so impressed by this system, and so disappointed that the original work by Nereng didn’t even have a comment on it’s page despite the huge amount of time and effort which must have gone into it), I decided I would attempt to make it more accessible for today’s builders as I would have liked to have known about it when I started.

So, I have been working on updating the package and trying to make it look more attractive. NONE of the system or lessons is my own work. It is all Nereng’s, 'though I have spotted one or two errors and corrected them. I intend to put up a new project page in the next week or so which will include:

a link to Nereng’s original page with the demo module
an original erf extracted from the demo module containing all you need to use it in a module of your own
a redone PDF containing all the lessons with corrections in a few places
a series of video tutorials of the lessons created by me ( prob 6 of them ) on YouTube

2 Likes

Spell-Me NPC v1.0 by Axe Murderer

Archive contents: 1 erf, 1 plain text readme

This is a commonly seen trope taken to the next level wherein some random NPC will offer to cast a spell on a PC for a price. Which spells are a available to be bought by a PC can vary by a number of factors which the module builder can set at build-time. At run time it is possible that the PC will not have sufficient GP to purchase certain spells which then means such spells will not be on offer to the PC. All of this is determined by a small number of variables set on the NPC.

As this driven by a conversation you can link both doors and placeables to that conversation and thus not actually use the NPC. So for example you could have a magical artefact in a temple that can offer the service.

The readme/manual is quite good except at one point where it seems to be somewhat garbled.

Pros:

Simple to use. Almost Plug 'n Play.
Good selection of spells available.
No scripting required.

Cons:

While how to reduce the spells available is detailed in the readme/manual, nothing is said about adding additional spells.
One part of the readme/manual dealing with the variables used is seriously garbled.

Conclusion:

If you want such an NPC in your module, seriously consider using this one. In spite of the shortcomings mentioned in the cons, this is actually quite good. The only thing I would suggest is that you use the variables to set the cost to a PC considerably higher as when I tested this with a brand new PC with only 50 gp, they were able to buy any spell the NPC had.

Voted 8/10. Tested on EE.

Readme/Manual converted to PDF format. Includes a separate 1 page PDF which has a simplified explanation for the garbled section in the readme/manual -

Spell Me NPC v1.0 Readme.7z (417.4 KB)

TR

Killer Walk Waypoints v2.1 by Axe Murderer

Archive contents : 1 erf, 1 hak, 1 demo module, 3 plain text documentation files and 1 html tutorial

Plug and Play

This package is a non-overwriting replacement for the standard Bioware walk-waypoints system. Amongst many other things this package makes it possible for the NPC walking the waypoints to walk a continuous circuit instead of reaching the end, turning around and walking in the opposite direction. It also includes a debugging system for when things don’t go according to plan. This entire system is mainly controlled by variables. The only time a module builder needs to add scripts is when they need to modify the behaviour of this extensive system. Due to the fact that the unmodified system has variables for the module object, the way-walking NPC and the waypoints themselves it gives the initial impression of being a complicated system. This is not necessarily true. It depends on how complicated you want the way-walking to be. Going through the included tutorial will illustrate this.

The included erf and hak are just alternative ways of installing this; you wouldn’t use both in a module. The documentation consists of a readme, 2 “cheat sheets” and a user guide which includes the tutorial for this system. Also, the tutorial makes use of the demo module and illustrates different things by getting you to edit that module. One word of warning regarding the documentation. It appears that the tutorial (in html) was originally stand-alone documentation for this system. The information it contains duplicates a lot of the information to be found in the other 3 documents. As this means that you don’t get to the actual tutorial until you are half-way through this file, I would suggest that it would have been no great loss to remove the duplicated information from the User’s guide.

One little oddity. While following along with the instructions, you are told to make a simple edit to 2 of the four Post waypoint’s variables. Doing so had a strange effect in game. The change was to ensure that the NPCs assigned to each waypoint faced in the correct direction. This appeared to work but after a short while both of them appear to repeatedly try to change their facing for a short period of time. The odd thing is that this only appeared to happen when no other animations were set on them. As this was tested on EE, I wonder if this is an EE only problem. Other than that, this system appears to work flawlessly.

One word on the project page itself. The wording used suggests that version 2.1 is the first version to have CEP 2 compatibility. If, for some reason, you don’t wish this you would probably go looking on the Rolovault page for an earlier version. Even on there you get the impression that version 2.0 does not have CEP 2 compatibility. This would be a mistake as it does in fact have CEP 2 compatibility, just an earlier version. Given that the version linked to above has extra bug-fixes and that the CEP is not essential in order to use this, download the version linked to above.

Pros :

Extensive documentation.
Greatly extends the walk-waypoint system.
Mostly simple to use.

Cons :

Confusing project page.
Bloated User guide.
Odd glitch when using the set-facing feature alone.
May be too complex for pure beginners.

Conclusion :

If you want to overcome the limitations of the Bioware walk-waypoint system grab this but be prepared for a lot of reading in order to understand how to use its features.

Voted 9/10 in spite of the cons. Tested on EE.

Documentation converted to pdf. Prettified but text not edited.

nwn_killer_walk_waypoints_v2.1_pdfs.7z (889.0 KB)

TR

1 Like

Many Shapes v1.1 by Axe Murderer

Archive contains : 1 erf, 1 nss file and 3 plain text documents

Plug and Play.

This introduces a new unique item that allows the PC to polymorph into any creature from the default polymorph.2da from 1.69. Once the item is in the PC’s possession, it is activated by use of its unique power. This brings up a conversation which allows the player to choose which creature to change into. While this works as advertised, I struggle to think who would use it. While it might have been of use to a DM, it would need editing to make it so because it affects the PC that uses it. Again with editing, to limit which creatures are available, it might have use in a module. But as it stands, the only use would be as a novelty as far as I can see.

Pros
Easy to use
Large number of available creatures to change to.

Cons
Too many creatures without editing.
Limited use.

Voted 5/10 (because it actually works). Tested on EE.

Readme only converted to pdf. The other 2 documents are code.

Many Shapes v1.1 Readme pdf.7z (179.7 KB)

TR

TOD Encounter Triggers v1.0 by Axe Murderer

Archive Contents : 1 erf and 2 plain text files

Plug and Play

This is a system that allows you to restrict encounters to 4 periods of time - dawn, day dusk and night - in any combination. To simplify things there are 16 pre-defined custom triggers that cover the most commonly required time periods.

The way this system works is that you first draw a normal encounter trigger and place its encounter spawn point where you want the creatures to spawn. You then draw your time of day trigger so that it encloses the encounter trigger, leaving a bit of a gap between them. That is the TOD trigger entirely surrounds the encounter trigger. There are 2 small things you need to do as well. First you need to ensure that the TOD trigger is part of the same faction as the encounter. The other thing is you need to connect the TOD trigger to the encounter trigger. You do this by giving them both the same tag and then inserting “TOD_” to the start of the TOD trigger’s tag. So if you have given the encounter trigger the tag “Fred” the TOD trigger’s tag would be “TOD_Fred”.

If you are comfortable with scripting it should be relatively easy to add a check for the PC carrying a certain item in addition to the time restrictions. That would allow for the PC to be ambushed by bandits that want that item and have set-up the PC to be there at a certain time of day.

Pros :

The ability to restrict when an encounter occurs could be very useful.
Easy to use with the pre-defined TOD triggers.

Cons :

Non-Standard TOD triggers require some scripting.

Conclusion :

Does exactly what it says on the tin. Could be very useful for making certain encounters (such as vampires and werewolves only appearing after dark) only occur at possibly more appropriate times and not others.

Voted 8/10. Tested on EE.

Readme converted to pdf -

NWN_TOD_Encounter_Trigger_v1_0_Readme_pdf.7z (198.6 KB)

TR

Fully Functional Well by Vince aka Anthroplayer

Archive contains : 1 erf, 1 plain text Readme

Doesn’t work with EE. Needs a script to go in the OnUsed slot of the well in order to initiate the conversation.

Didn’t vote and removed link from Books and Things.

TR

Hourly Bells v1.0 by Ayath The Loafer

Archive contents : 1 erf

Faulty, at least on EE. The bell operates on a 12 hour cycle. At 13:00 as per the time displayed when you hover the mouse-pointer over the compass, it correctly rings once. However, at 14:00 instead of 2 rings you get 2 double rings - sort-of ding-ing ding-ing.

Pros :

None.

Cons :

NO README!!!

Conclusion :

Avoid. No instructions on how to use or where to find it amongst the blueprints. It needs work doing to get it working properly.

Didn’t vote. Removed from the list on the original Books and Things. Tested on EE.

TR

BOG Fully Flexible Teleport System by Baron of Gateford

Archive Contents : 1 demo module, 1 script in plain text file

This is a versatile, single script that manages PC + party (if desired) teleportation for you. It allows you to specify a number of ways in which the actual teleportation works, all by the use of variables. This system covers teleportation via conversation, trigger or placeable. You can teleport with or without companions and in mp with or without the other players. There is a choice of 6 visual effects (including no vfx) to fire at teleport time. The PC can be made to say a one liner floaty text. Finally, a message can be sent to the players chat bar when the PC teleports.

No real problems with this but there were a few minor annoyances. There is no real readme with it. Instead the instructions and description are included in the actual script. Also, when used there is a noticable 2 second delay built-in between calling this script and the teleportation happening. This is fine when there is a vfx to display but when there isn’t it’s just plain annoying. Finally, there is no erf with the script in it. This could however be down to the age of this script (released 2004). I think erf files may not have been part of NwN until later. All relatively easy to fix.

Pros :

Does what it says on the tin
No scripting necessary
(For scripters only) Relatively easy to expand.

Cons :

No erf
No Readme
Annoying built-in delays

Conclusion :

Perfectly usable. If you want a no-additional-scripting-required script that expands on the standard Bioware scripts give this a try.

Voted 8/10

Readme constructed from the information in the script itself, in pdf format for readability -

BOGteleportsystem Readme.7z (244.6 KB)

TR

1 Like