More RPGs that Brought Something New to the Table

Felipe Pepe has pennedĀ yet another Gamasutra article on little-known but innovative RPGs. This time the Phantasie series, Hillsfar, Super Deformed Snatcher (the RPG version of Hideo Kojima's adventure game), Shadowlands and the Maimed God's Saga mod for Neverwinter Nights 2 all get a mention.

A few words on how Russ Davis' mod bucks many of the trends in Dungeons & Dragons videogames and isĀ stronger for it:

The Maimed God's Saga (2010)

This brilliant Neverwinter Nights 2 mod more than deserve its place here, for it's a master class on how to do role-playing in a computer game and how to go beyond the usual tropes and cliches.

The module's creator, Russ Davis (who also worked on NWN2's Mysteries of Westgate), went in a bold direction: while NWN 2 is know for its extensive implementation of the D&D ruleset, with dozens of classes and prestige classes, the module is solely devoted to Clerics of Tyr.

Your quest begins simple, as a woman writes to the church of Tyr begging for help, saying her family is cursed. You are then dispatched to the remote town where she lives to investigate the curse.

The twist is in how the game plays, not as a dungeon crawl or a epic power fantasy, but almost as a adventure game, controlled by your stats and choices.

It makes full use of the Cleric, in various was. For example, unlike other D&D CRPGs, your spells won't return when you sleep. You are required to find an altar and pray to Tyr. And sometimes Tyr will reply, showing you visions or warnings. However, when you first arrive at the village, you will naturally go after an altar to pray, and finding it in ruins you'll seek the means to rebuild it & purify it.

Similarly, your daily choice of spells will affect more than just combat. For example, the Bless spells give a +1 morale bonus on attack rolls and on saving throws against fear effects. That's all we see in RPGs, but this module reminds us that it's a blessing from a cleric in name of a God - it carries Tyr's power, it can be used to purify, to cleanse.