This page will be continuously updated until release. New information will be highlighted as it becomes available.
1. Which rules edition will SoZ utilize?
Soz will use 3.5 edition rules, although some 4th edition content may be retrofitted to the game
2. When does the adventure in SoZ occur?
1374 DR, slightly before the Spellplague occurs in 1385 DR.
3. Where is Soz set?
Exploration will take players from well-known locations, such as Crossroad Keep, Neverwinter and West Harbor. Each map has been extensively updated, and is now much more detailed than the original versions. In Neverwinter, you return to the Blacklake District. The main area in front of the castle has been completely rebuilt after the battles the community endured in the previous games. The Thayan Academy and Temple of Waukeen have constructed new building headquarters located here. Also, the castle wall has a new viewing stand to see the rest of the cityscape. From there you will travel to more exotic areas, such as the xenophobic jungle nation of Samarach. Groups of highwaymen and monsters populate the Overland Map and the farther from civilization the player roams, the more difficult the encounters become.
4. Does the game continue the story of the Knight Captain?
In a way. The game is set in the aftermath of the defeat of the King of Shadows, and the Sword Coast is in the midst of an uneasy economic recovery. The players’ party will wade into this uncertain environment; in order to increase their own fortunes, they can either ally with a syndicate to create a trade empire, or cut their own path through Faerûn by preying upon caravans and selling the goods on the black market. The events of Storm of Zehir take place approximately concurrently with Mask of the Betrayer. It begins an entirely new story line that is consistent with, but independent of, the previous Neverwinter Nights 2 stories.
In SoZ, you explore the fate of the Sword Coast (and other regions) following the disappearance of the Knight-Captain. The game begins with the party taking a sea voyage to the land of Samarach. While sailing on the ship The Vigilant, the party has the opportunity to chat with Volo, an author and eventual chronicler of the party's adventures. Before you can find out too much about your situation, a storm breaks and the party is asked to get below decks. One act of mysterious sabotage later, the ship is wrecked on a nearby beach and the party is scrambling to survive alongside the ship's other still-living passengers. The biggest immediate threat comes from the Batiri, a group of jungle goblins who have kidnapped the captain and a few members of the crew.
While Volo heads off to negotiate with them, the party has an opportunity to explore some of the new conversation options. Since you're in charge of a four-person party now, you can use each member to access different dialogues. The fighter in our party, for instance, intimidated a soldier into giving up his sword, while our rogue used diplomacy to convince another survivor to hand over her bow. This is all part of the developers' efforts to make your characters' skills more meaningful throughout the game. Another extension of that thinking is the ability of craft-trained characters to create weapons out of the wreckage that has washed ashore.
Given the way that Volo's negotiations are going with the Batiri, you'll want to have as many weapons ready as possible. Within a few seconds of heading over, a fight breaks out and Volo runs off just as the Batiri launch an attack on the shipwreck victims. After winning this first battle, the players will have to set off to uncover the rest of the story behind this latest expansion.
5. What level adventure is this?
Storm of Zehir is intended to be played with a new party of low level characters who start off at level 4, (adjust down for ECL). Storm of Zehir has the same level cap as Mask of the Betrayer – 30. With its open-ended exploration gameplay, you can certainly reach epic levels in SoZ, but it’s also possible to “win” the game earlier than that.
6. Can the game be played in multiplayer?
Yes. On the Overland Map, the party is required to stick together. Whoever is the leader gets control of where the party goes. Multiple parties will NOT be able to be active simultaneously on the overland map.
7. How many hours of gameplay are there?
According to the developers, the average gameplay length of Storm of Zehir weighs in at over 30 hours
8. When will the game be released?
According to the latest info, release date is November 18, 2008.
9. How much will it cost?
1. Will any NPCs from the OC and MotB make appearances?
Yes, you will come across some familiar characters. One new, yet familiar character, is Volo, the famous Forgotten Realms explorer and chronologer.
2. Can I design my own companions or will there be pre-determined companions available?
BOTH! You have the option to design your own party (ala IWD) OR enlist the aid of companions (now known as cohorts) that you encounter throughout your travels. Using the available companions may have added benefits for the player via the new Teamwork Benefit System, and powerful party feats.
3. How large a party can I create?
You can build a party of up to FOUR who adventure together and develop a reputation throughout the Realms. First you must either create or import a "main character" (which must remain with the party always) then you start the game. Imported characters are NOT stripped of their gear. After that, you create additional characters or select from a group of pre-made characters if character creation isn't your thing. If these characters aren't working out, you have the option to swap them out and replace them.
You can create each character, set the name and motto of your party and even include some biographical information if you like. Additionally, up to TWO cohorts can be added. Update: Obsidian decided to allow the party to have more than 2 cohorts. Now you can replace any player created party member with a cohort, except for the one you started the campaign with. So you could have up to 5 cohorts in the party (with the Leadership feat - 4 without).
4. Will there be other party members available that are not created by the player?
Storm of Zehir includes several cohorts, interesting characters that the party can meet and recruit in their travels throughout Samarach and the Sword Coast. Some of them must be hired or coerced into joining the party. Others will become available after completing a major quest. Cohorts are different from companions. For one thing, there are several more cohorts in Storm of Zehir than there were companions in previous games. Also, companions often have minds of their own and will frequently “hijack” conversations and other game events. One example of this is when Ganniyev confronts the Slumbering Coven in Neverwinter Nights 2: Mask of the Betrayer. Without giving away any spoilers, it is a gripping scene, and great storytelling, but the only player interaction involved is to click “Continue” until Ganniyev and the Coven are finished talking.
Cohorts can be customized on level-up just like any other party member. They each have their own unique packages so if you don't want to hassle with leveling up all of your cohorts, you can just choose the "Recommend" options.
5. What types of cohorts will be available?
There will be a total of 11 available cohorts with some details on five cohorts known so far: Ribsmasher (a monk) from the OC; Septimund, (a cleric and Doomguide of Kelemvor); Belueth, (a rogue), Inshula the hunter (ranger?), and Umoja the druid. "Belueth couldn't care less what kind of super-important mission you're on... but Inshula .... welcomes the challenges that your party faces without much need for coin to motivate her." According to Tony Evans, "there are several more cohorts in Storm of Zehir than there were companions in previous games."
The cohort Septimund, a Doomguide of Kelemvor, joins your party to help confront an undead scourge. When the party reaches the source of the problem, they find that it is Septimund’s long, lost lover who, through madness and grief, has turned to necromancy. The player can choose to have Septimund convince her to stop or strike her down with his bastard sword to be judged by Kelemvor. Another option is to have Septimund not say anything at all. In this case, Septimund’s silence has even more of an impact on the crazed necromancer, causing her to become more and more distraught the longer he goes without speaking to her.
6. Are the cohorts romanceable?
No. There will be no romances available.
7. How does the New Teamwork system work?
Teamwork Benefits in SoZ will be similar to how they work in D&D as described in Player's Handbook 2. Basically, these are "feats" that benefit an entire party but have to be earned. We felt this addition from the D&D rules would be very applicable to our emphasis on party-based gameplay.
1. Will there be any new monsters?
Yes. Latest reports indicate that there will be ~ 12 new monsters. Yuan-ti (Purebloods, Abominations and Holy Guardians),Batiri (jungle goblins), Wights,Drowned Undead, Clockroaches (no that is NOT a typo) and Dinosaurs (see screenshots below - click on small images to open a full size image in a separate window) including the Deinonychus and Megaraptor have been confirmed so far. Dragons will also be added as a new animal companion. In case you thought the yuan-ti or the megaraptors are the scariest things in the jungle... beware One of Many. It has come a long way from Rashemen, and it is starving!
Yes. One new base class is the Swashbuckler, a dexterity-focused fighter. The swashbuckler is more than just a regular fighter with weapon finesse however. He or she also comes equipped with some new abilities like Insightful Strike that lets them add their intelligence bonus to damage rolls. Doomguide of Kelemvor, a specialist in fighting the undead, is one new prestige class accessible thru the cleric base class. It's perfect for anyone who harbors a particular hatred for skeletons, and they're handy to have in your party when you come across a necromancer's crypt. Hellfire warlock, a warlock who has mastered hellfire, a dangerous energy found only in the Nine Hells is a second new prestige class.
4. Will there be new spells?
Yes approximately 40 new spells. The new spell Stabilize (2nd level Divine spell for Clerics and Paladins) which does an area heal effect for 1 hitpoint, stops any of your characters from bleeding to death. Also included are Orb spells (Orb of Fire, Orb of Acid), which are ranged touch attack elemental spells that have status effects on hit as they level up. Update: Symbol spells will not be included.
5. Will there be new feats?
Yes. There will be over 90 new feats. There are new Background feats, as well as new Heritage feats, such as the new Fiendish and Fey Heritage Feats. These feats define your “lineage” so the first feat in the series can only be taken at level one. This leads to such future feats as Fiendish Power which increases your caster level for evil spells and warlock invocations by 1 and is great feat if you plan on trying to master the new Hellfire Warlock class. Fey Heritage requires non-lawful alignment, and Fiendish Heritage requires non-good. So in theory, your character could be like a Feyri (Fey blood and demonblood both). But the lineage has to be started at level 1.
SOZ also has added Teamwork Benefit feats. These are bonuses that the entire party gains for training and working together. They are acquired through various quests given to you by the new Adventurer's Guild in Crossroad Keep. For example, Team Rush allows your party to move at the rate of the fastest party member; Missile Volley, which your party of archers can used to pincushion unfortunate enemies; and Improved Camp Routine, which reduces the chance of monsters ambushing you while resting on the Overland Map. There is a small quest associated with each of them that you have to complete before you get the feat.
There will be over 25 new class and racial abilities, such as the Bond of Fatal Touch for the Doomguide. There are also new Divine power feats such as Extra turning II and III which allow for additional turn undead attempts.
6. Are there many more tilesets, textures, models, and VFX for builders to utilize?
Storm of Zehir will feature five new tile texture sets; one of which is a fusion of Indonesian and Moroccan architecture. There will be new custom terrain textures specifically created for the Overland Map, as well as mini placeables for ruins, towns, shrines, inns, etc., about a dozen new creature models, and new VFX as well. There are 40 new weapon models as well but there will be no new weapons.
7. Will there be ridable mounts? Psionics?
No and no.
1.What's the new Overland Map all about?
You travel the Sword Coast and Samarach using the open ended exploration of the new Overland Map. Using skills like Spot and Survival while on the Overland Map will help you avoid ambushes and even find hidden locales and lost artifacts. Your characters movement rate makes a big difference in terms of evading encounters so having a monk represent your party has it's advantages as well.
Overland travel takes place in a full 3D environment that lets players roam in real time through a sort of miniaturized version of the world. Cities, forests, roaming monsters, merchant caravans and all the other expected elements will be present on the overland map, giving players the chance to explore a variety of options.
There will be a full Sword Coast overland map in the expansion pack. The overland map feature will NOT be applied retroactively to the OC or MotB.
2. What types of encounters are on the Overland Map?
Overland encounters are a mix of varied groups of different hostiles, neutral NPCs that are not hostile (unless you attack them), and special encounters. There is a great deal of variety and you will be seeing new encounters appearing as you travel across the land, or even as you stand still.
Adventure areas (caves, dungeons, etc.) will generally remain cleared out once you have gone through them, but there will be plenty of new adventure areas to discover throughout the game.
None of our adventure areas are randomized, but some of them can only be found if the party accomplishes something that unlocks the area, or if the party leader has certain skills needed to discover the area.
3. Will the Main character have to have the Spot and Survival skills?
No. Currently, you can select which character represents your party on the overland map. So as long as you have at least one character with the necessary skills, you'll be good to go.
4. Do encounters scale?
NO! It's more than possible to wander into an area where the local "inhabitants" will totally outclass your party. If you happen to encounter "baby" monsters, they may very well flee from you. On the flip side, a stronger group may decide to pursue you and hunt you down.
5. How are "death" and "resting" handled?
The "current" plan is to do away with the immediate resurrection of fallen party members after an encounter. Once your character falls to zero hit points he becomes unconscious. Once his hitpoints fall to - 1/2 his maximum HPs (rounded down), he's dead. Once dead, party members can be brought back to life with a raise dead or resurrect spell, or with a coin of life, a special item purchased from temples of Waukeen, goddess of wealth. If you don't have any of these handy, then you can take your fallen party member to a temple to have their life restored.
Resting is more meaningful as well, because now you must either pay to rent a room at an inn, or brave making camp on the Overland map, where you are likely to be ambushed while you sleep.
6. Does the local economy react to what my party does?
Yes. Through trading and quests, you can expand your merchant company into a massive trading empire. Some quests tie directly into the trading system, but how much you want to partake in it is up to you. The core of the trading system in Storm of Zehir is to buy low, sell high, and pay attention to trends and events that impact the economy. There are different trading factions whose goals you can choose to support (or oppose). Ultimately, SoZ is a role-playing game, not an economic sim. The trading system's role in that regard is to add to the world's reactivity, with your trading endeavors potentially opening up new options and impacting story events. It also felt like a natural extension of the Overland Map gameplay. One cool thing is the ability to create caravans to travel between nearby cities where you have built trading posts. The caravans travel along the Overland map in real time and can occasionally get waylaid by bandits if you are not there to protect them. When a caravan takes too much damage, it can no longer move and requires repairs. You can bring the materials needed to repair the caravan to get it back on the road again. You can also upgrade your caravans so that they stand a better chance against bandits.