Author's Note and Disclaimer

This story is based on the Neverwinter Nights 2 expansion pack Mask of the Betrayer. The basic plotline, locations, and much of the NPC dialog are therefore the work of those that worked on that game. The idea for doing this story was sparked by a fan-made-modification of the Neverwinter Nights 2 Original Campaign that added a romance option, as originally planned by Obsidian Studios, for a male character with Neeshka. I wondered if there was a way for Neeshka to become involved and if this would provide a different perspective on events. The answer to the first seemed yes and the answer to the second seemed maybe. I hope that those of you who have not played the games enjoy this story and those of you that have played it feel that having Neeshka become involved does provide a different enough perspective. In the original plotline for Mask of the Betrayer the Red Wizardess Safiya would have been the romance option for a male character and there would have been the option to ally with Kaelyn the Dove in her Crusade. Neeshka removed both options for the two different reasons.

For those of you who have not played Neverwinter Nights 2 but have played pen-and-paper Dungeons & Dragons (edition 3.5) I will say that although people at the The Order of the Stick forums can be very snarky they are right there are significant differences. The three that occur would be time to cast a spell, material components for spells, and the number of levels a character would have. The first varies in D&D but is always one round, unless Quickened, in NWN 2. Material components are not normally required in NWN 2 as they are in D&D though some people have made modifications to make NWN 2 require that and some Dungeon Masters do drop the requirement from their D&D games. As to levels the NWN 2 original campaign ends with the character at level 20 and Mask of the Betrayer takes this to level 30 so by pen and paper standards these people will seem rather powerful…level 9 spells AND good with a sword?

And for those of you who have played Neverwinter Nights 2 you may notice a few places where someone picks up a weapon and starts swinging despite that they could not have actually done that in the game. Chalk that up to artistic licence, PnP rules where you can use things at a penalty, or that in real life someone can still pick something up and flail around with it even if they don't really know what they are doing. Whichever you prefer.

Of course the differences between NWN 2 and D&D are in some ways minor compared with between them and 'reality' as people are wounded rather than being completely fine until suffering 'critical existence failures' when they reach 0 hitpoints. Saying a spell "continues to do acid damage until the target makes a reflex save or for this many rounds" does seem to translate as "the acid continued to cling and burn at him until he finally managed to shake it off or it was spent" though. The visual effects of some spells did change rather between NWN 1 and NWN 2 and with two exceptions the translations of those, like the story, are based on the latter. One of those spells has also had its effects made like pen-and-paper so that "it does exactly what it says on the tin."

Some thanks go to a "Let's Play" run-through of NWN 2. The creator of that found the evidence of the planned confrontation between Sand and Qara that did not make it into the game and posted design sketches of Zhjave that showed how much prettier she was at that stage. They made her rather more leathery, in common with how they made the Githyanki, but did not change her outfit and this did not suit her as well. Made worse by her always appearing in that outfit rather than her appearance changing with what armour you gave her. That "Let's Play" also mentioned a quest they dropped from MotB where you would have been aiding the Veil Theatre with a new play based on your experiences in the Original Campaign.

Since I wanted Blake to return home sooner the timeline has been fudged so the second expansion pack Storm of Zehir, during which the Knight-Captain was still missing, took place at the same time as Mask of the Betrayer rather than starting about a month after my estimate of the end of this. Blake could have spent that month (plus enough time for the events) travelling or, less tediously for him, found time flowed differently on a different plane and he'd "lost" those weeks. But some elements of Storm of Zehir worked better, in my opinion, if it started more immediately after the Original Campaign and the only way those events affect this story is in the epilogue.

I would also like to say to be careful if you decide that rather than modifying a game fully you will add a character and play through making notes. If even those notes get to be one of the longest stories you have written then you might have been better off with the original idea. This story would have been even longer had I decided to have all the random fights as well as the plot-triggered ones. I suppose taking a page from sagas and epic poems where they just say "…and he slaughtered ten to his left and fifteen to his right as he charged towards his foe, and he did not think it too many…" would have minimised that though.

And finally… Blake is not an arsehole. He very easily got enough influence with a companion that she did not leave in the actual playing of the Original Campaign but I thought her leaving made more sense in story terms. And means that she is still alive for any future appearances.