With the release of the add-on pack for NWN2, "Mask of the Betrayer", a different Item Enchantment system was introduced to the game. The new system uses three new "conditions" for the essences that can be found rather than the previous four. Previously, there were Faint, Weak, Glowing and Radiant essences, but now there are Volatile, Brilliant and Pristine. (Refer to the previous article in this series for more background on the essence system in general.)
Each label still describes a condition for the four types that can be found (air, earth, fire and water), but the ease of use between the two systems has altered. As I develop the campaign, I hope to look more closely at both of these systems to determine the best use for them and whether to use one system or the other, or even both (which is most likely). Whatever I decide though, I hope to be able to get into the workings of the systems to be able to alter the "ingredients" required for such crafting and supply my own "recipes" in one form or another.
Althéa will have changed in such a dramatic way that working with magic to enchant items will be an art that needs to be mastered once again. Indeed, even being able to design and work with the more intricate arms and armour will require new knowledge to create - even before any new enchantments can be added!
The new era will be one of low magic initially, and one of hardship for all but the most skilled of artisans. A well-crafted weapon, shield, or piece of armour will be a rare item. No longer will merchants be able to knock out items to order (even if given the time), as most will not even know how to make them in the new era! And don't think this will mean such items will gain value because of their scarcity, as this will not be the case in the majority of instances. The problem is, people will be struggling to survive in the changed world, and it will be the basic commodities that demand value as much as anything else.
As time passes, so new items will begin to enter the market place, and maybe a merchant will buy the odd enchanted item as their business improves. Yet, the real power will be with those organisations who take advantage of the few "gifted" artisans and who can support them for their own needs without having to rely on acquiring the basics first.
Such will be the way of things within the new era. The magic of the world will have been dispersed - scattered and fragmented into essences throughout the land. Methods of collecting, working and even manipulating these essences will require new skills and new peoples prepared to learn the new arts demanded of life within the new age. Whether the heroes will choose to be the leaders in gaining such knowledge for the new crafts or simply pay others to do the job for them, only time will tell. Whatever they choose, anything eventually acquired will most likely have been born through blood, sweat and tears!