For those new to the multiplayer (MP) experience in Neverwinter Nights (NWN), it can sometimes be challenging to master the MP interface differences and the roleplay (RP) conventions used in-game. For those more experienced in multiplayer, it can still be useful to have a commonly-understood standard for in-game behavior and practices.
Neverwinter Connections is therefore making this “quick and dirty” guide available as an aid for MP orientation and reference. Please note that different gaming groups may come up with their own “house rules” or in-game conventions. Players are advised to adapt whatever set of standards and practices work best for their particular group and style of play.
1. In-character (IC) vs. out-of-character (OOC) actions: IC actions are the basic principle of roleplay.
• IC: any action taken or dialog spoken in-game that is consistent with the character’s background and personality. Once an adventure begins, everyone is expected to act IC with their characters.
• OOC: any action or dialog that is not IC. Normally once a game has started, this is used only for communicating technical/real-world issues that cannot be avoided, like having to take a quick break from the game. Signal any OOC talk in the chat channels (see below) as such – examples include using double parentheses around the text ((one minute, phone call)), brackets [one minute, phone call], or the prefix “OOC:” before the text.
• OOC Metagaming: Actions taken in-game using OOC knowledge, for whatever goal. This includes demonstrating player knowledge from game manuals, campaign settings, or previous runs of the module about areas or NPCs that could not be known to the character. Example:
PC #1: “There are only five goblins in the next chamber, it shouldn’t be a problem for us.”
PC #2: “How do you know that?”
PC #1: “Uh…I just do.”
• Gray areas: ask a DM if necessary; always think about what your character would do in a situation. Some practices are also dependent on playstyle. One example is walking versus running. For RP games, PCs walk under normal circumstances – either shift+click on the destination, or map the keyboard “drive” keyboard control (“W”) to the walk action – and only run when the situation demands it. If you are playing an Action game rather than an RP-type game, however, it may be normal for your group to run everywhere.
2. Chat channels. These are how PCs talk to each other and the DM. You can change the chat channel you’re in by clicking on its name, to the left of the chatbox at the bottom of your screen. For example, clicking on the default “Talk” will bring up a list of the other channels.
• Talk: default. “Heard” by others in a “normal” voice radius, which is around 20 meters in-game. White text.
• Shout: heard in every area of the module. Yellow text. Usually seen as OOC unless used by the DM for a specific purpose (such as a general announcement), or if all of the players in the module are actually within shouting distance of each other.
• Party: “heard” by everyone in the same party and by the DM, wherever they are. White text. Note: this is not visible to anyone else, including someone not in the party who is standing right next to the person using the channel. Some DMs like players to use this channel for organizational purposes, others don’t.
• Whisper: heard by others at very close range, i.e. when they are adjacent to the PC. Gray text.
• Tell: goes only to the PC or DM you send the Tell to. If you click on the character’s portrait, visible in either the sidebar or in the chat scrollbox, it will automatically put the Tell prefix for them (using his or her player name) in the chat line. Type your message and it will appear as green text to only you and your recipient. To send a Tell to an individual DM, the easiest way is to click on their mini-portrait in the chat window, if they have previously spoken to you.
• DM: used for communication with all DMs currently logged in. Blue text. For DMs, this is effectively a closed group chat channel. If a PC uses the channel, their text will not appear to them after it is sent on the channel, but it will be received by all active DMs. Note that because the PC does not see the text after it is sent, it will not appear in their chat log. Use Tell (see below) if you want to have a logged record.
3. Player/DM interaction
• Player to DM: use DM channel for a broadcast message to all DMs, for example requesting DM assistance with a specific situation. If you only want to speak to a specific DM, use Tell. Also, use Tell if you want a record of the conversation in your chat log (per above).
OOC issues: report bugs or serious violations of roleplaying standards if someone is ruining the game for everyone else.
IC issues: check with a DM for questions about planned or attempted actions, especially if they will require DM feedback to resolve. This can involve things like checking for tracks on the ground, examining objects and people for information beyond their in-game description, or anything else the DM will allow in-game.
• DM to player: “Tells” may be sent to players to share IC information, such as a PC’s individual perceptions or additional descriptions of in-game objects. OOC information can also be provided this way on gameplay or technical issues. DMs can use “Shout” for general announcements.
4. Emotes. These are “flavor” actions done by PC, which are described in the chat channels and normally offset by asterisks. Some examples: *pumps fist in air*, *bends down to check for tracks*, *looks with horror at corpse*
• Used for actions not possible or unwieldy in the NWN interface.
• Actions should usually be limited to affecting ONLY the emoting player. Possible exceptions: a target player accepts the emote or the emote does no harm. Good IC examples of this include tying someone up once they are unconscious or kissing another PC.
• Note that DMFI and some other script systems will automatically have your PC do in-game actions based on emotes (*sit*, *read*, etc.)
5. Interaction with other PCs
• Make sure you know someone’s name IC before using it. Floaty text above a PC doesn’t mean they’ve told you their full name.
• Relations between characters have no connection to relations between players. Liking or disliking a player does not mean you should automatically like or dislike their PC, or vice versa. (What goes on in-game, stays in-game.)
6. Interaction with NPCs and party leadership
• Parties are not obligated to have a leader, but it usually helps to have a primary spokesperson when dealing with NPCs.
• DM-controlled NPCs have a “hand” shown when cursoring over them and will not react if you click on them. Scripted NPCs show the “talk” action cursor and will speak their scripted conversation if clicked.
• Conversations with scripted NPCs: please allow other PCs a chance to react to the conversation, in other words avoid “fast scrolling” of conversation text. The chat channels are NOT disabled during scripted conversations, so party members can talk about important conversation options.
7. Other unique and different MP game mechanics
• Pause: normally this is turned off for players in MP games. Otherwise, individual players could pause the module repeatedly for everyone in-game and in practical terms make it unplayable. (DMs always can use the pause/un-pause action.) This is the biggest single difference to the player experience of the game. Those new to multiplayer should take account of it, as combat is now forcibly real-time without pause. Prepare yourself ahead of time – quickslots become much more important – and be ready to run away when losing a fight. One common MP mistake is repeatedly trying to hit the pause button in combat, to give yourself time to consider the situation – a standard tactic in single-player – which usually has negative results.
• Partying: depending on the module and your game server’s particular rules, all PCs may be set automatically to be in one party, or you may need to party up with other PCs manually via the radial menu option in the MP interface. Belonging to a party will allow everyone else in the party to see a PC’s location by hovering the mouse pointer over their sidebar portrait. Also remember that combat and party-specific XP gains are only gained by those belonging to the receiving PC’s party. For example, if someone is playing in a party but is not actually “partied” with them and lands the killing blow on a monster, only their PC would get the full XP reward and no one else would receive anything.