The Blades of Netheril - All News
Thursday - May 11, 2023
The Blades of Netheril - About Luke Scull @ PC Gamer
Henriquejr spotted an arcticle about Luke Scull on PC Gamer:
This fantasy author can't stop making mods for the 21-year-old D&D videogame that first disappointed him, and then 'helped shape' his life
Like many, Luke Scull didn't gel with Neverwinter Nights' official campaign. Now he's working on a 60+ hour unofficial sequel.
Luke Scull, author of The Grim Company series of fantasy novels and a developer at RPG studio Ossian, did not initially have a high opinion of the game that would change his life: he excitedly purchased what fans expected to be the successor to BioWare's seminal Baldur's Gate series, then found himself devoting his summer to Warcraft 3 instead of the game he thought he'd be "falling in love with." Today, however, he credits Neverwinter Nights as the catalyst for his writing career, and is still creating custom modules for it more than 20 years later.
The main campaign of BioWare's follow-up to Baldur's Gate has a mixed reputation even among diehard fans—it's not "the greatest example of what can be achieved" with Neverwinter Nights' toolset, Scull thinks. The campaign was simultaneously rigid and never ending—after a strong first act, you're just chopping through a ceaseless slog of content, and none of it all that interesting or all that open-ended for role playing.
Before BioWare managed to return to form with NwN's more dynamic and inventive expansions, the game had already been saved by its modding community. Thanks to a robust, yet beginner-friendly toolset, modders like Scull began producing new, exciting adventures or "modules" (borrowing the term from tabletop) with BioWare's engine. Something radically changed for Scull when he first started playing with the Aurora Toolset. "That lit something inside of me," he said, "some kind of creative bug that I'd always had."
Sunday - July 18, 2021
The Blades of Netheril - Interview @ GameBanshee
GameBanshee has interviewed Luke Scull about The Blades of Netheril an unofficial sequel to Neverwinter Nights:
Neverwinter Nights: The Blades of Netheril Interview
The ending cinematic for the original Neverwinter Nights campaign promises new adventures for our Heroes of Neverwinter, but then the game's expansions completely forget all about them, except for the occasional passing mention.
Enter Luke Scull, who you may know as the lead designer and writer for Ossian Studios, the team responsible for a number of highly-rated Neverwinter Nights and Neverwinter Nights 2 expansions and premium modules, including Mysteries of Westgate and Darkness over Daggerford. Alternatively, you may know him as the author behind The Grim Company series of novels.
And on top of all that, he's now announced The Blades of Netheril, a brand-new Neverwinter Nights campaign that aims to provide a satisfying conclusion for the Hero of Neverwinter over the course of three content-rich chapters.
And if you wouldn't mind knowing more about this unexpected continuation of a 20-year-old story, and the man responsible for it, you should read our interview with Luke Scull below:
GameBanshee: To get things started, please tell us a bit about yourself and what you do.
Luke Scull: I’m a British author and videogame designer clinging on to my 30s by my fingertips. I’ve published three novels in eight languages (The Grim Company trilogy) and a short story set in the same world. I’m currently working on a second short story as well as various novels, the most advanced of which is a standalone book set in the world of the Grim Company. On the videogame front, I’ve been lead designer and writer for Ossian Studios since 2006. Our games include NWN2: Mysteries of Westgate, The Shadow Sun, NWN1EE: Darkness over Daggerford, and NWN1EE: Tyrants of the Moonsea. We’re in the process of developing at least one exciting RPG I can’t talk about. Being both an author and game designer is creatively challenging, but there’s no other job I’d rather do. The Ossian folk are not only colleagues, they’re friends, and after 15 years we’ve formed an incredibly strong core team who understand each other extremely well.
GB: I'm guessing you're one of the very few people who've managed to turn creating custom Neverwinter Nights modules into somewhat of a career. How did that happen?
LS: In 2005, I was fortunate enough to be approached by Neverwinter Nights lead designer Rob Bartel, who had played my Hall of Fame module Crimson Tides of Tethyr. He offered me the opportunity to create a premium module for Bioware. As many people know, Atari cancelled the premium module programme before any of them save Wyvern’s Crown of Cormyr could be released commercially. Ossian and I both released our prospective efforts free to the community. Shortly after, Alan Miranda of Ossian Studios e-mailed me and mentioned Atari had contacted him about Ossian producing a Neverwinter Nights 2 campaign. He asked if I would I like to be lead designer on the project. Fortunately for all who rightly consider Mysteries of Westgate to be the underappreciated gem of the NWN franchise, I said yes.
Even more fortuitously, I managed to leverage the experience I had gained writing for Neverwinter Nights into a novel, which sold in 2012 for several six-figure advances. I haven’t yet quite achieved the literary success of Naomi Novik (who worked on Shadows of Undrentide), and with my penchant for monstrously ambitious side projects that pay little to nothing I might never, but I’ve lived the dream nonetheless.
GB: And now, you're working on The Blades of Netheril - a direct continuation of the original NWN campaign. Can you give us your elevator pitch for this new module?
LS: The Blades of Netheril is an unofficial sequel to the original NWN campaign that tells the untold story of the Hero of Neverwinter and what befell them after the events of the Wailing Death. The story picks up several months after the hero left the City of Skilled Hands on acrimonious terms. You awaken in a dingy cell in Skullport, your equipment and your recent memories gone. You recall heading to Waterdeep to answer the call for adventurers after the drow began pouring forth from the Underdark - but everything after that is a blur. What happened to you? Who could have done this? Your only lead is the rumour of a strange, masked lady and the uncomfortable feeling she has stolen something very valuable from you...
The campaign will be split into three parts, each around 20 hours in the length. The first part will take place in Skullport, a thriving hive of villainy far below Waterdeep. There you will uncover myriad tangled webs of intrigue and a plot to return an ancient evil to the Realms. Familiar faces will return alongside new characters and famous (or infamous) characters from the setting’s vast lore.
The campaign is designed for characters that finished the OC, meaning it is a high-level campaign (16-19). Before anyone asks, yes there is an item strip at the start - but you will get your gear back before the end of the first chapter!
Wednesday - July 14, 2021
The Blades of Netheril - Unofficial Sequel to Neverwinter Nights announced
Fantasy author and Ossian Studios lead designer Luke Scull continues the story of Neverwinter Nights with The Blades of Netheril:
Announcing The Blades of Netheril – an unofficial sequel to the Neverwinter Nights original campaign
Fantasy author and Ossian Studios lead designer Luke Scull is thrilled to announce The Blades of Netheril, an unofficial sequel to the Neverwinter Nights original campaign! The story is a direct continuation of the Wailing Death storyline. Cast out in disgrace and erased from Neverwinter’s history, the hero is thrust into a struggle between ancient powers that could ultimately rewrite the fate of Faerûn. Familiar faces will return alongside new allies and enemies as the player embarks on an epic quest that is both world-changing and deeply personal.
The Blades of Netheril will be split into three chapters each approaching an expansion in scope. Each chapter will include:
- 20+ hours of gameplay
- A fully narrated intro cinematic
- Deadly new monsters to fight
- New portraits and a gorgeous world map
- New music
- The level of quality one would expect from an official campaign or premium module
The first chapter begins in Skullport, also known as the Port of Shadows—a city of slavers, monsters and villains festering far below Waterdeep. Waking up in a dark cell with no memory of they how they came to be there, the hero will discover a dark conspiracy that spans the breadth of the Forgotten Realms.
As well as acting as a direct sequel to the original campaign, The Blades of Netheril will serve as a sequel to Shadows of Undrentide, Hordes of the Underdark, and Luke’s previous AL series of modules.
The first chapter of the Blades of Netheril is targeting a release date of June 18th, 2022—exactly 20 years after Neverwinter Nights was originally released on Microsoft Windows. Subsequent chapters will follow six to 12 months later.
The Blades of Netheril is currently planned to be available free for owners of Neverwinter Nights Enhanced Edition on Windows/Mac OS X, while other versions may follow later. Multiplayer is planned but may be added post-release.
For regular updates on The Blades of Netheril, subscribe to Luke Scull’s Patreon. You can also visit his website at www.lukescull.com and follow him on twitter @Luke_Scull.
About Luke Scull:
Luke Scull was the lead designer and writer of NWNEE: Tyrants of the Moonsea, NWN2: Mysteries of Westgate, The Shadow Sun, and the Gemmell award nominated The Grim Company trilogy of novels. He also created the classic NWN Hall of Fame modules Siege of Shadowdale and Crimson Tides of Tethyr and is a veritable depository of Forgotten Realms lore. The Blades of Netheril is his personal project and has no affiliation with Ossian Studios.