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The Academy for Modding Excellence is pleased to announce the latest Golden Dragon Award winner!

NWN2 Best Storytelling Module of 2010-2011: The Last Days of the Raven by PJ156

The Last Days of the Raven provides a strong and interesting story that includes plot twists, happy and sad moments, and well developed characters both old and new. A sequel to Caravan Club, the action takes place in Thunder Bay, a different setting than previous modules in the series. The combat is fun and complements the story by taking place when it makes sense, rather than as a hack and slash fest.

Last Days of the Raven starts after the eventful Caravan Club, bringing the player back on track after what only seemed a time of rest. Defining elements, such as the finely crafted environments and innovative sense of time, are brought to a height as exciting as the events surrounding Thunder Bay. At the same time, those searching for action are drawn to fights stacked against all odds. It provides an experience that is also backed by a soundtrack bound to sway the bravest adventurer.

The Academy for Modding Excellence is pleased to announce the winner of the NWN2 2009-2011 Most Replayable Module Award!

NWN2 2009-11 Most Replayable Module: Dark Waters by Adam Miller

Dark Waters is a series of three modules set in a customised world made up of a series of islands. The full version released in 2009 includes the third and final chapter of the saga and integrates it with the first two.

Littered with inventive scripting, custom content, interesting side quests and mini games there is plenty to keep the player coming back to this campaign, indeed the side diversions can, at times, keep the player from progressing the modules main story line. The story starts out very linear in construction but soon opens out allowing the player to engage in a more sand box style play. This is particularly the case with the bucaneering system allowing the PC to sail the seas in search of treasure and adventure.

The combination of a strong story, interesting npc’s and an ample serving of in game diversions in the form of mini games, makes this a worthy winner of the award for the most replayable module 2009 - 2011.

Congratulations to Adam for winning the award!

The Academy for Modding Excellence is pleased to announce the winner of the NWN2 2009-2010 Best Roleplaying Module Award!

NWN2 2009-10 Best RPG: The Maimed God’s Saga by Tiberius209

In The Maimed God’s Saga you get the chance to play a cleric of Tyr, the Faerunian god of justice. Answering a call for help from one of the church’s devotees in a remote village, you become involved in a dark and twisted plot that will take you from the most radiant cities to the harshest wilds.

The Maimed God’s Saga includes some unique gameplay additions, such as praying in order to commune with Tyr and spellcasting through conversation. These and other interesting features increase the roleplaying value of the module and make the player feel like he or she is really walking the path of a true divine champion.

Congratulations to Tiberius for winning the award!

NWN1 Fall 2013 Finalists

The Academy for Modding Excellence is pleased to announce new finalists for Neverwinter Nights 1!

NWN1 2010-2011 Best Storytelling Module - Finalists

Prophet - Chapter II - The Century of Sorrow by Baldecaran

The Prophet series features one of the most gripping plots ever written for a NWN module. A mystery thriller set in a fantasy universe, it is the NWN equivalent of a page-turner.

The PC has a strong personal involvement in the story right from the beginning and it’s kept up all through the series, never losing anything of the menace and mystery connected to it. This is conveyed by the convincing and highly polished writing as well as by the use of cutscene and atmospheric scenery, featuring intelligently complex construction and stunning cinematic presentation. Baldecaran makes perfect use of selected custom music and some of the best tilesets available, and he manages to exploit their full potential by careful use of lighting and well thought-out area design. Every new area is a surprising sight, and every conversation is interesting and adds to the plot.

The Relbonian Chronicles - Chapter One by Quillmaster

This is a strong story driven module with a good immersion factor. The attention to detail, area design, well written conversations, cutscenes and last but not least the numerous custom books, were all impressive features of this work. Relbonian Chronicles is not set in the Forgotten Realms but has an original and interesting setting with its own history, pantheon and a mythology that’s exciting to learn about.

FA1 - Halls of the High King by Udasu

This module has a strong story/plot that keeps the player interested. The polish level is very good, and there is lots of background information to be had as the story progresses. It is visually impressive, with lots of attention to detail and a fun romp for low level PC’s. At first glance it may seems more of an hack and slash action module with only basic story and NPC development, but the care towards atmosphere, area design, lighting and music, as well as some hidden side stories and books add greatly to the storytelling experience and drive the player on with curiosity to see what’s next.

NWN1 Special Recognition Award: ‘Coffeebreak Module’ - Finalists

This is a special recognition category covering the whole of the history of NWN1, for development of a short module that can be played “on a coffee break” (typically under an hour).

Celestial Chronicles Part 1 by Madhenchbot

This short module is a very polished and professional-looking work, and an excellent example stylistically of a dramatic NWN module. The writing, scripting, cutscenes, structure, pacing, and attention to detail are all flawless. The area design was well done, the story pulls you in nicely, and all the NPCs had well written believable dialogue.

Science Macabre by Tempered Moon

Science Macabre is a very well written and dialogue-heavy module that packs a great deal of reading into its short, “coffeebreak” format. Designed essentially as a “portfolio work” to showcase the author’s writing skills, it combines well structured dialogue and conversation options with an intriguing “alternate history” setting that does a good job of delivering what the title claims: a combination of science and the macabre.

The Sunken Shrine of Ahmenkatja by Jesse Sky

This is a short and enjoyable mini-mod from 2007 that feels just like a full NWN story, only more compressed. Its forte is the story-telling, drawing you in with just the right amount of background information and well-made cutscenes to get the story across, without requiring lots of reading. But it also features exploration, combat, puzzles and neat scripting ideas. A good recommendation for anyone who wants to learn what NWN is about in less than an hour!

Congratulations to all the finalists!

The Academy for Modding Excellence is pleased to announce the 2009 thru 2011 winners of the NWN2 Debut Author Award!

NWN2 2009 Debut Author: Tsongo (for Serene)

This module, the first of three to date, has you playing the role of the younger sibling of your sister, Serene. The module opens with you following in her footsteps, initiating into the Order of the Moon — a group of monks who, you hope, will give you training, a life outside the small village you live in and a chance to see your sister again. Things don’t turn out the way you hoped, and you soon find yourself embroiled in a tale of deception and revenge — locked on a twisting path that you hope will lead you to your lost sister, before it is too late.

Serene is a strong first module and has been well recieved by the community at large. It is a linear, story led, module which takes you through a number of environments in your quest to find Serene. The areas are well made and the story well thought out, and the pace of the module keeps the player interested all along the way. It has good, well fleshed out NPCs and companions, and a challenging set of enemies to fight along the way. All in all a worthy first module and winner of the 2009 Debut Author award.

NWN2 2010-2011 Debut Author: Shaughn78 (for Risen Hero)

Risen Hero is a story-driven module that carries the protagonist on a journey of self-discovery, from a mysterious beginning to an epic ending against a world-shattering threat. All along the way, the player has the opportunity to recruit an unusually high number of companions, as well as completing quests through stealth, smooth talking, or in many other ways, making this one of the most replayable modules of its year.

Congratulations to the winners!

AME Fall 2012 Review

The AME is pleased to announce the results of our Fall 2012 Quarterly review!

The following Neverwinter Nights 2 Golden Dragon Awards have now entered the finals:

NWN2 2009-2011 Most Replayable Module Award

  • Edinmoor (by Dorateen). As all Dorateen’s modules, Edinmoor features SoZ’s party creation and conversation systems. The author put an effort in providing specific conversation lines for a variety of classes, races and alignments, as well as different quest paths.
  • Lowena (by Jezla9). Lowena is a short module that features a surprisingly amount of story paths and endings in roughly half an hour. Its short duration makes exploring the different options much easier than in other, longer modules.
  • Dark Waters 3 (by Adam Miller). Following the trail led by its predecessor, Dark Waters 3 is a sandbox module with lots of exploration. Aside from a strong plot with multiple endings, it features naval battles with two factions to choose from, and a remarkable number of minigames, such a “Lute Hero” or “Pirate Cards“, which you may find yourself liking as much as the main story.

Congratulations to all finalists!

AME Mid-Summer 2012 Review

The AME is pleased to announce the results of our Mid-Summer 2012 Review!

Neverwinter Nights 2 Best Storytelling Module of 2009

The three finalists in this category were:

The winner of the NWN2 2009 Best Storytelling Module is Sands of Solvheil III: Crusaders of Shalihir by Raith Veldrin. Here are a few thoughts about this module from the AME’s award deliberations:

“I think in Part III the author has finally managed to find the right balance between involving the player in big events and having the story unfold… you can really see the way the themes and ideas shine through the story he’s telling and the world he constructs - and there are some big issues going on here, about religion, science, destiny and free will…

“…my main appreciation for this author’s work springs from his embrace of adventuring as “aggressive archaeology”.  I think there’s a sense often in games that “story” is the thing that happens with all the words.  But what makes SoS really stand out for me is the way story is embedded in the places you visit, often more so than in conversations you have or books you read.  This, to me, is really quality area design and genuinely original story-telling: not just creating a sense of place with the toolset but having the skills also to communicate history, to make a story not just something the player reads but something the player can walk around and look at.”

Neverwinter Nights 2 Debut Author Award of 2009

This category has just completed the nominations phase and has now entered the finals. The finalists are:

Please feel free to discuss the new awards on our AME 2012 Awards Discussion Thread, and Congratulations to all of the Finalists and Winners!

And don’t miss our recent Summer 2012 AME News Update, regarding our NWN1 and NWN2 awards activities!

AME News Update: Summer 2012

NWN2 Awards and Recruiting News

I’m pleased to announce that thanks to a continuing positive response from the community (as well as tireless recruiting efforts from some of our current staff), we have been able to add several new members during the course of 2012. We have about a dozen now supporting the NWN2 awards, and as I suggested in some of my previous announcements, this marks an important milestone for the AME. The reason is that we need a certain “critical mass” of members to clear nominations and awards in an effective and timely manner. A lack of that in recent years has been the cause of our current backlog of NWN2 awards, but it is a threshold that we have now finally once again begun to cross.

As a result, we expect to see a new stream of nominations and awards for those previous years (as well as for some current ones) from the AME in the coming months. That will begin with the results of the 2012 Summer Review to be announced shortly, and should continue with the 2012 Fall Review results to be announced in early October. And of course, if any of you have an interest in joining our NWN2 membership, don’t let this positive development stop you! The more members we have, the better and faster a job we will be able to do of bringing the NWN2 GDA’s up to date.

NWN1 Awards and Recruiting News

There has, conversely, been a reduction in membership and activity on our Neverwinter Nights 1 awards over the last year. I think that’s partly been due to the game’s continued aging (it’s now 10 years old), and the understandable tendency for players to gradually move on to more recent ones. From my contacts in the community, however, it is clear that there is still considerable interest in Neverwinter Nights 1, and that it is not yet time to draw a line under this remarkable game.

Much of this interest is in the custom content community, with ongoing projects like the monthly Custom Content Challenge and the new release of Project Q v1.5. But there are also a number of ongoing module development projects for it, as well as releases since last year of significant new works such as the conclusion of the Prophet series by Baldecaran. Indeed, Prophet Chapters II and III, which currently constitute 2 of the top 4 modules of all time by vote rating on the NWN Vault, may best exemplify our current conundrum. Due to a lack of participation from the NWN1 player community, we have been unable to clear nominations and awards for these and at least several other worthy candidates over the last two years.

In addition to our ongoing award categories (and as described in my last update), we also began a series of “Special Recognition” awards last year. Spanning the entire history of NWN1 rather than only recent years, each Special Recognition Award will focus on a different theme. So whether you still have an active interest in NWN1, or merely had one in the past, the AME has awards activities that you could participate in — and our “do what you can when you can” procedures make this easy to do.

In Memoriam

As many members of the NWN, NWN2 and Dragon Age communities may already know, Spidercat passed away earlier this year after a battle with cancer. In addition to her other activities, she had been an AME member for several years and was Game Leader for the our NWN2 awards. She was a wonderful person and colleague, and she will be sorely missed.

The Academy for Modding Excellence is pleased to announce the Golden Dragon Award winners for the NWN1 2011 AME cycle!

Golden Dragon Award Winners for the NWN1 2011 AME Cycle

This cycle included awards for works released in 2010. Feel free to use the thread below to discuss the nominees and the awards, and congratulations to all the winners!

AME 2011 Cycle GDA Finalists and Winners Discussion thread

Summer 2011 NWN and NWN2 Finalists

The Academy for Modding Excellence is pleased to announce the Summer 2011 finalists for the Golden Dragon Awards for Neverwinter Nights and Neverwinter Nights 2!

NWN1 2010 Community Contribution Award

  • The Neverwinter Nights Podcast — The only podcast devoted to the Neverwinter Nights roleplaying games, it does absolutely invaluable work in creating a sense of a community that is still thriving, still producing things, and still worth getting excited about.
  • NWNCQ by Chico400 — This amazing piece of work completely revamps most of the default Bioware tilesets. An essentially “drop-in” update, it allows modders to quickly, easily, and radically update and improve the look of areas built using them the default game resources.
  • The Custom Content Challenge — This outstanding contribution has breathed new life into the NWN community, inspiring and encouraging both CC veterans and beginners alike to produce custom content on a regular, nearly monthly basis for themed compilations of brand new, high quality work.

NWN1 2010 Veteran Author Award: Modules

  • Baldecaran — Author of the highly acclaimed Hall of Fame modules “The Cave of Songs” and “Honor Among Thieves”, he’s been providing the community with quality modules since 2003. His chef-d’oeuvre, the continueing “Prophet” series, features one of the most clever and intriguing plots ever seen in a NWN module, the equivalent of a perfect page-turner.
  • Fabien Cerutti — His genuinely original and extensive series about “The Bastard of Kosigan” (translated from French by Ginni Swanton) steeps in a real knowledge of and appreciation for European history, with lots of complex ideas, roleplaying opportunities and witty dialogue. He’s seriously committed to the series and his enthusiasm and dedication shine through in all of his work.
  • Andarian — “Sanctum of the Archmage” is an ambitious story with a rich setting that’s heavy on character interaction and believable romance, and another of its prominent features is the ongoing support and high level of polish. Andarian has regularly upgraded and completely overhauled the available chapters over the years, which now include some of the community’s best available custom content.

NWN1 2010 Veteran Author Award: Custom Content

  • Lord of Worms – is widely recognized in the NWN community as one of the finest CC builders in its long and illustrious history. He’s a three time GDA finalist for Undersea Tiles in 2006, Seasonal Forest in 2007, LOW’s Creature Pack in 2008, and winner of the NWN 2007 Best Tileset GDA for his legendary Seasonal Forest tileset.
  • Six_Six_Six – Gavin “Sixes Thrice” Jones is in the forefront of excellence of tileset building in NWN. He works tirelessly and diligently to produce the finest work in NWN and is the author of Wildwoods, Wildlands & Wildlands Winter, Undead Redux 2, Dwarven Chasms / Catecombs / Dwarven Lands / Deep Dungeon / Undercity Sewers, and Colossal Arena / Spectral Woods / Rural Interior.
  • Helvene – Helvene has shared her work with the NWN community since 2006 - a lot of it tileset-related (original, reskins, merges and fixes) but also placeables with very nice texture work. Her 2006 reskins of (and additions to) BioWare’s Castle Interior tileset include White Marble Castle and Arcanum Castle. Her Maze (2006) is a limited set with few tiles, but with beautiful mosaic textured walls, and a mini map version of empty squares that prevents the players from cheating their way out. She is the author of the famous Wood Elven Interiors tileset (2006/07) that’s also part of CEP 2 now, as well as the Suspended City (2008/09) tileset.

NWN1 2010 Best Tileset Award (by Andarian)

  • Wild Woods by Sixesthrice — This is a truly extraordinary NWN tileset, both in terms of visual quality and creative use of effects. Wild Woods is gorgeous, effective, and has an efficient design that doesn’t try to be everything — allowing for greater depth to the design as a result.
  • Senemenelas’ Underdark Tileset — This tileset package brings Terror back to BioWare’s tamed Underdark, along with both claustrophobia and agoraphobia. Vast halls and caverns or deep dungeons, large or narrow staircases, well of souls and irradiating mushrooms - Senemenelas’ tileset finally offers us a convincing impression of what the Underdark really must feel like.
  • Roman City Tileset by Zwerkules — Part of the November 2010 Custom Content Challenge, this tileset looks good and has a number of original features in it. Zwerkules tilesets excel not just in how they look, though, but how well they play. Form and Function are well linked in his work.

Joint NWN1/NWN2 2009 Best Sound/Music Award

  • Christopher Escalante (author body of work nomination) - Christopher often works variations on a common theme. From a modder’s perspective that’s actually incredibly helpful because it allows choosing an underlying theme for some aspect of your mod, and then using different variations on it in different situations and circumstances as appropriate (much as one would do in scoring a movie). From the light guitar to the more serious piano, heroic, call to arms and sad themes, Christopher delivers a wide range of musical themes that provoke the listener to lean forwards in anticipation!
  • “Outcast” by J ‘Wildfire’ Town (individual composition nomination) - “This conjured images in my head immediately. At first I thought of Faeries, then as the piece went on, I pictured walking through a forest. The pictures fit together, which is a sure indication that the music has no jarring qualities.” Simply beautiful, soft and unobtrusive but still memorable, creating great atmosphere - soothing, sad or strange. Great music like this just serves to remind us how poor the engine is for allowing us to properly choreograph game play.
  • Travis “Darklord Snafe” Richards (author body of work nomination) - Mr. Richards has been an active musical contributor to the NWN community for a long time, and has continued that tradition through 2009. Always experimenting and striving to improve on his works, Travis’ compositions range from the battle theme, lullaby’s, triumph, remorse, love, sadness and much more. There is something for every scenario and his creative flow is constant.

NWN2 2009 Veteran Author Award

  • Azenn – Azenn won the AME’s Debut Author Award in 2009 for Asphyxia. He’s now earned a Veteran Author nomination as well for his 2009 module, Live Forever — a story based module with thought-provoking ideas and entertaining characters.
  • John McA — John McA released the module Hyborean Hack in 2009. A prolific “crossover” author from NWN1, his Conan Chronicles modules were notable for their excellent storytelling and sense of drama.
  • Markus “Wayne” Schlegel — A prolific author of both NWN1 and NWN2 modules, Markus released the NWN2 module Lolthanchwi in 2009. He has also been recognized for his excellent NWN2 work in the past with the 2007 GDA for Most Replayable module for Pool of Radiance Remastered.

NWN2 2009 Best Storytelling Module Award

  • Dark Waters III - Dark Waters presents a complex story set in a custom world with an extensive history, and a quest to save the world by solving an ancient mystery from another time. It has many many unique and innovative gameplay elements, but at its core is an ambitious tale that helped to set a new storytelling standard for NWN2 modding.
  • Sands of Solvheil III: Crusaders of Shalihir -  that my main appreciation for this author’s work springs from his embrace of adventuring as “aggressive archaeology”.  There’s often a sense in games that “story” is the thing that happens with all the words. What makes this module stand out is the way the story is embedded in the places you visit, often more so than in conversations you have or books you read - to make a story not just something the player reads, but something the player can walk around and look at.
  • Serene - One of the longest NWN2 modules out there, and a pure storytelling one — with a great story as its main focus, plot twists and lots of characters with well developed personalities.

NWN2 2009-2010 Best Roleplaying Module Award

  • Dark Waters 3 - The conclusion to Adam Miller’s epic NWN2 saga, Dark Waters 3 has many many unique and innovative gameplay elements, including strong roleplay options.
  • Trinity - Trinity has a strong “old-school” feel reminiscent of a P&P game. It features different quest paths, custom abilities like jumping and climbing, lovely music, awesome custom loadscreens, wonderful looking areas, a nice story & interesting companions.
  • The Maimed God Saga - “This is a module for Clerics of Tyr. It has a great story and dialogues, but roleplaying is also great because it makes you feel like a real Cleric, not just a buffed up warrior with some spells. You have to pray in altars, you can use spells in conversations and use them to advance or complete quests, there are many skill checks, and also important moral decisions about what is just and what isn’t.”

Congratulations to all of the finalists! In the coming days and weeks we’ll be posting the rest of the finalists for those awards, new categories as they are identified, and, of course, the winners.

The Academy for Modding Excellence is actively recruiting for new members to help us in our mission to give recognition to the content creators who keep this great community alive. Thanks to those of you who have already answered our Call for Volunteers! If you are an avid NWN1 player, modder or reviewer, and think you might be interested in helping with the AME’s mission, then please feel free to contact me (andarian at ame-gda dot net) about joining or learning more about the AME panel.


About AME

The AME (Academy for Modding Excellence) is a group... for Neverwinter Nights.