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Nephil's Gambit


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TERROR'S MARTYR

 

This scenario is definitely unique. Combat is top-notch for being a royal pain in the arse. Or at least it was, for my starting party. Then again, it was right on, as my levels progressed (with a bit of desparity, but less than many). The plot was quite interesting at most points, being Machiavellian and all, but it lacked in a few areas. In that haunted/mysterious/demonized mansion place, I had no idea what was going on. Nor did I have any clue what was happening with the demon-in-the-lamp thing. Annoying. It suffered from the classic characters-lose-their-personality-and-become-gods plot hole, especially seeing how there was no good reason for it. The puzzles... They were fairly good, wherever they were. The biggest puzzles were figuring out what in hell I was supposed to do. Thank goodness this scenario had a walkthrough, I'd have been bashing my head for hours figuring out how to advance the plot. Still, this scenario is definitely good, if you take the time to finish it. Do I reccomend this one to you? Yeah. Good

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THURYL

 

Bugs?

 

Can't say I recall any major bugs, myself.

 

Anyway, the scenario has a win/finish distinction, with getting to a point at which you can "complete" the scenario being rather easy, but actually winning the scenario being considerably more difficult (although still entirely achievable). Apart from the main plotline (which was well-thought-out and well-written), there were a few optional quests - some, like stealing Motrax's Eye, fitted in well with the rest of the plot, while others, like the haunted mansion, seemed rather pointless. Another problem I noticed was that items and spells are probably given out a little too liberally for a low-level scenario - by the time I won, my party was around level 10 with Major Haste, Firestorm, Boots of Speed and steel weapons. Still, this is a minor flaw in an otherwise excellent scenario. Good

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BOOTS

 

Good

 

Designers will care more about the few flaws in this scenario than players. Sure there are some cosmetic bugs, few leather-trimmed appointments (slim graphics package, etc.) and little in the way of super-modified, air-cooled, nitro-burning node work, special spells, dual-overhead cam shaft technology or the like. And that makes you realise that even the most cutting-edge scenarios don't come close to realizing the power of the basic Blades engine. Nephil's Gambit is the purest, most concentrated scenario I've played.

 

It is, among other things, the only scenario (heck, include the major Spiderweb games as well) that knows what to do with combat. Battles in Blades have become like songs in musicals: everything stops and you go through the big, mindlessly flashy motions. Here each fight has a plot in its own right: no tedious massacres, nothing perfunctory or mechanical.

 

Strangeland is unique among other high-caliber designers for never over-using a good idea. Town design is taut and supple. There's dense texture to the characters and dialogue. Maybe the plot is a bit ponderous with Big Important Ideas, but it hardly detracts from the fun, and it is maybe the only scenario I've played in which I never felt like a teamster, hauling freight from job to job.

 

Engrossing.

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DRIZZT

 

Just played this one too. The story is top notch, and many characters are well developed, but it still shows some age. Without the walkthrough I would have _never_ come close to finishing, and there are enough bugs, although mostly small and unimportant, to take some of the luster from the scenario. Good

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MAGOICOCHEA

 

Very cool

 

It is a very nice scenario. The plot was very nice and I don't recall any flaws. I really lov the scenario and I don't know why it isn't in the elite.

 

It was so good that I played it twice. The only problem was that the fights were to hard (a beginner party against sliths!!) and that sometimes it was hard to figure out what to do.

 

My score Best

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MILU K

 

Good

 

I started this first with a beginning party, but I realised it was too difficult for me. I found the plot intriguing but there were bugs, as mentioned, and at some point I felt there weren't enough clues to make an important decision and that it was a bit unfair. I consider the walkthrough a bonus. The custom graphics were nice.

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ORGGG

 

The design, plot, characterizations and balance are well done. My only gripes are linearity and combat difficulty.

 

This is a scenario that is adult-themed in the best sense of the word -- the plot does not feature the standard good guys and evil guys, but people working for their own best interests. Unfortunately the player has little impact (but some, especially at the end) as to how things unfold, but it's still well done. The plot is good, if overly linear, though that's part a function of BoE. The atmosphere is very nice as well.

 

I found combat too difficult to be enjoying, having to reload the initial fight any number of times. However, the difficulty level remains consistent, so it is balanced, just to people who like their combat challenging and difficult.

 

I ran across one serious bug -- if you enter Flickering Keep too early you get stuck. More importantly, there's one point where you have no clues as to who to talk to advance the plot -- you can only be saved by talking to _everyone_ or checking the walkthrough.

 

Very nice job.

 

Good

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SIMMIC

 

Nephil’s Gambit has the most intricately balanced combat I have ever encountered, in any scenario. While being incredibly challenging, it is never quite too difficult to be impossible, or need replaying more than once.

 

You are in an outpost which guards the road leading out of Chimney to the rest of Exile. When the outpost is attacked by Sliths, an explanation is needed — and the threat must be stopped.

 

The plot is brilliant, and dialogue good. Tormod Strangeland has a particular stamp of writing that, as far as I’m aware, has never been used in any other Blades scenario — he uses future tense. However, he uses this rarely, only once or twice in the very beginning.

 

Besides that, the rest of the dialogue is frequently evocative and always well-written. The atmosphere for the scenario, however, is strangely hard to name — the best I can do is impending. However, the atmosphere is not developed to any significant amount.

 

Mental challenges are generally well-balanced, but sometimes are too difficult. At one point, for example, you are told to find someone who knows much about Exile — out of all the towns in Chimney. Not only is there five whole towns, choc full of personalities, in Chimney, when you do find him there is nothing to hint that he is the one.

 

Unfortunately, this scenario does suffer from several major bugs. Mostly, these are found near the beginning. You get to talk to several ‘Unused’ personalities; in some cases, your Captain can die twice; and the first battle is winnable using an unconventional sort of party, thus slightly messing up the beginning of the plot. One last major bug is the possibility of Karolynna being omnipresent; being in Flickering Keep and Myldres at the same time.

 

Despite these, however, the scenario remains singularly brilliant. I highly recommend it to everyone.

 

My score — Good

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S.M. ADVENTURER

 

I just finished this scenario yesterday. It was pretty good, and had a very engaging plotline. it featured some very well done Slith customized graphics and new types of Sliths to keep combat interesting.

 

Combat was a bit hard in some places, as Monsters had obscene amounts of HP to cleave through. Dialogue was very well done. Each NPC had many things to say about the area, and were very fun to talk to. I have to admit, breaking into Mayor Ottar's chambers and stealing that Crimson Ruby or whatever it was was really interesting.

 

They were some pretty interesting noding sequences, like for example in the first Slith cave, the gong that

causes stalagmites to appear around everywhere. Very nicely done. It was also pretty fun to gamble a little at the Milestone Casino. The arena was magnificent.

 

The trip down the Long Stairs to the Slith lands was pretty eventful, with various bugs and other nasties there to stop you. It was cool.

 

They were a few minor bugs, like for example what Bain said about crossing the bridge. They were a few SDF's out of place too. But these are minor bugs and do not really affect the scenario's playability. At least not for me.

 

Overall, I had fun playing this scenario and it certainly was interesting. It had a sweet ending. I enjoyed it.

 

My Rating: Good

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MISTBORN

 

Nephil's Gambit was one of the first few scenarios I played, and it was pretty good. The story was fine, although a few things seemed a bit too obscure to me, and since I wiped out the casino the first time I had to re-load. I needed the walkthrough several times, but apart from needing a nudge in the right direction occasionally, it wasn't too hard.

 

My main complaint is the 'impossible' combat at the beginning. I kept re-trying until I beat them all. Then I had a leisurely chat with the survivors, and, unsure of what else to do, left the town. Suddenly I'm desperately fleeing a massacre. Also, some of the custom terrain was a bit strange-looking. But, apart from these, I encountered only a few minor errors and the scenario was quite enjoyable overall.

 

Average

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Nephil's Gambit is a good scenario with an interesting plot. Rather than a standard battle of good and evil, the characters are all presented in shades of gray. Unfortunately, it had many downsides, such as bugs, poor custom graphics (in my opinion), and it being too hard to find things. I doubt I ever would have beat it without the walkthrough. Still, a very good scenario with challenging fights and an interesting story.

 

Good

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By far the most thoughtfully constructed scenario I've played, and one that I am drawn to replay time and again. The scenario's world is fleshed out with vigor, creativity, and elegant internal consistency -- it even connects to and expands on the world of Exile without chafing or continuity issues, a rare accomplishment. Gameplay, varied and well-balanced; dialogue, superb; plot, twisty and engaging; the ending, surprising and satisfying. There are a few bugs and the combat and custom graphics no longer stand out, although for its time (the first year of BoE) it was top-of-the-line in those regards too.

 

BEST

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In my opinion, one of the very best scenarios around, which challenges the quality of the official Exile games.

 

A great deal of this, IMHO, is due to the way the world of the scenario is set up. A lot of detail is provided on the history, politics and even ecology of the area, making the world alot more immersive and realistic than most.

 

The plot is well thought out and interesting, and more than that, covers areas unusual in BoE scenarios, dealing with politics and intrigue in a fairly complex, but logical way.

 

I did need to use a walkthrough for this scenario, but I seem to need to use those alot more than others. Some of the puzzles are very obscure, requiring a bit of thought, but they make in game sense.

 

Some of the fights can be very difficult...more than once, I had to save, cast multiple web spells around the area I knew the enemy would spawn from last time, and run for it, and this often took a few goes.

 

BEST

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