Neverwinter Nights: The Blades of Netheril Interview

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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!