In the coming weeks we are going to intensify our coverage on Neverwinter’s upcoming module “The Cloaked Ascendancy” and want to start off today with the introductory quests and overall storyline. Please note that this post contains spoilers and if you want to experience the story yourself, do not read. We’ll be covering all gameplay related changes separately. So you won’t miss out on that front. For the rest: Enjoy the article!
The Cloaked Ascendancy
Module 11 kicks off with a visit to Lord Neverember. He plans to re-open the River District of the city and dedicates the opening ceremony to Makos. The speech of the protector however is disturbed by three mages of the so-called “Cloaked Ascendancy”. Their leader Gyrion claims to be the true heir of the throne. Since he actually owns the crown, Celeste is willing to believe him while the adventurer and Neverember rush to the Hall of Justice Vaults to see if the jewelry is still there. Turns out that was exactly was the pretender wanted. His ally Nostura awaits our heroes and tries to use a control spell on Neverember to make him hand over the crown.
Of course the adventurer sees through the mind tricks and repels her. Back in the Enclave players are being sent to infiltrate the Nasher Headquarters, which teamed up with the Cloack Ascendancy”, and find out more of their actual plans. In a talk with Gyrion and another antagonist named Kabal you learn that they were originally mages of the Cloak Tower and advisors to Lord Nasher Alagondar himself. During the Spellplague the Tower was ripped into the Far Realm, where Gyrion helped them survive the horror. Now that they are back, they feel they are the better option for the city and want to dethrone Neverember.
Investigating a ritual in the Chasm reveals however that their plan of taking over involves opening a portal to the Far Realms. Of course that has to be stopped, which requires a continued daily effort on the new River District map. The Protector additionally reveals he needs the resources of the rich district because he has run out of coin. The heroes eventually prevail and kill Gyrion in an epic battle.
The story is delivered in five chapters from which four are played right at the start. The players then move on grinding the campaign for assumably a good months before getting to the fifth and concluding the initial story. The Spellplague Cavern dungeon is not mentioned however and we believe you fight Kabal and Nosturia in there. So once you can unlock the dungeon there might be another twist. Fittingly you only defeat Gyrion in Chapter 5, so maybe his two minions retreat and hide in the dungeon for a final fight? I guess we’ll find out!
Overall the story looks well done, but far from spectacular. It doesn’t match the storytelling of the Underdark cycle, but it’s good enough to build a module around. There’s a new threat, deal with it, done. I had a little “Oh really?!” moment when Neverember revealed he’s broke. But since that’s not necessary to make the story work (after all you could just fight over resources on the River District to cut off the Cloaked Ascendancy), it might just be meant as funny und unexpected element to the whole thing.
The quests themselves are typical story ones. They offer the option to rush through dialogues or read over additional information, which I think is great. It simply doesn’t enforce a certain playstyle. As always there are some achievements and titles to hunt, so watch out! Most of the quests use recycled maps, but it’s not as much of an issue as the story actually takes place there. It’s not like in Elemental Evil where they used old lairs as complete new locations. Some low item levels might run into trouble against those Nothic Stone-Eyes and Dryad Thornbows, but there’s no challenge to most characters. Mobs are level 73 so if you don’t run into issues in the Well of Dragons, Storm Kings Thunder or Icewind Dale, you’re absolutely good to go.
That’s it for my preview of the introductory quests and storyline. Have you played through the chapters on preview? Let me know what you you think in the comments below or visit the corresponding thread on our message board!
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