The locales in Neverwinter provide an immersive experience for running content. Running content mostly supersedes stopping to take in the environmental design. The “From Another View” series features multiple entries focused on the player environment. In our previous entry we covered the IG instance of the Old Dragon’s Lair. This entry covers an inaccessible courtyard in Valindra’s Tower and an aerial view of the tower.
Did you know there’s a fully rendered courtyard that’s inaccessible to players in Valindra’s Tower? By fully rendered I mean that not only is the courtyard itself visible, but subsequent zones beyond the courtyard are also rendered, even though the players will never see those areas. Perhaps this courtyard was an original part of the dungeon that was removed from the flow of progressing through Valindra’s Tower.
From the spawning point (left image below), the courtyard is to the left of the first multi-mob battle area (right image below). You can see the courtyard through the gate on the left side of that image.
Here’s what the courtyard looks like without having to peer through the gate:
Completely out of the players view on the left side of the courtyard is another archway with a treasure chest, which makes me think that originally this may have been another mob fight with minor rewards in the chest, such as healing potions, silver, etc. Beyond that gated archway is a small altar with the familiar wizard figure that appears throughout Valindra’s Tower. Players will never see this altar with the current flow of dungeon content.
To the right of the courtyard there’s an open-air corridor with rocky debris (left image below) that leads to the open-air area where players open three gates after defeating wizards and closing multiple portals (right image below). The original concept may have been that all the gates opened and the players could return down the rocky debris corridor to fight a mob and loot the chest in the now inaccessible courtyard. The flow could have been discarded during playtesting for being unnecessarily circular.
Finally, let’s take a look at Validra’s Tower, which has an open-air courtyard on approach, where you fight through several tiers of opponents:
From the image above you can barely see the top of the tower, which stretches into the sky. Pivoting that view to look downwards, we see the fully rendered cobras at the top of the tower. At this height players would appear as mere specs on the floor below. If players fell from this height they would certainly take the maximum D&D 20d6 falling damage!
If you’d like a closer look at the images above, click on the thumbnails below.