Higher Ground

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Do you enjoy...

  • Not having to pay money to play a game online?
  • Hack-and-slash gameplay, where you can pay as much or as little attention to the underlying story as you care for?
  • An active and helpful community of players and developers to make your game experience the best it can be?
  • A well-balanced and detailed game world to escape into?
  • Some of the most exotic locales in Forgotten Realms lore such as the Nine Hells, the Abyss, Elysium, and the Far Realm, along with old mainstays of Toril and the Underdark?
  • Being challenged, in both the creation of your character and the manner in which you play it, to risk your characters' lives (in the case of the Hardcore game mode, quite literally) against the deadliest foes the multiverse has to offer?
  • Having some say in how the world, in which you spend countless hours playing, develops and evolves through your feedback and suggestions?

Sound like fun? Head on over to the Getting Started page to get what you need to join the server!

Don't have a copy Neverwinter Nights? Check out the Installation Guide for the resources you need to get the game!


Higher Ground is a highly customized module based on the classic action module, "Path of Ascension", deeply set in Forgotten Realms lore without the restrictions of being tied to a specific geographic location in the Realms. Over the years, the module has grown so much that it could take a novel's worth of words to describe it all, so things will be distilled as best as can be on this page (you can find the novel of words through all of the pages that are linked to from this page). At its core, Higher Ground is a high-powered hack-and-slash module that pushes the envelope of what servers, characters, and players are capable of on a legendary scale of adventure spanning 60 levels and several planes.


But what exactly does Higher Ground have to offer?

Contents

Community

A world is nothing without its populous, and the denizens of Higher Ground are what provide for its continued survival. Higher Ground has always been considered a beta server, with new ideas often finding their way into the module from player suggestions. Worried that server changes might make your character obsolete? We created the Reincarnation system specifically to address this issue and provide players with some flexibility for their characters. There is a banking system for persistent storage, a player-run market with auction and buyout only areas, guild support, and the SIMTools command system to provide chat commands for numerous functions and information requests. This includes the !newbie and !chat commands, which are inter-server communication methods for new or old players to ask questions they may have to anyone that is currently logged in.

Not logged in, but want to know what's going on? Check out the Webdash to see who's online, what they're up to, and what discussions have been going on. The community prides itself on being helpful to players new and old and DMs or Guides are typically always on hand at all hours or reachable through a !dmcall command to answer any questions or help resolve any issues players might have.

There are also other features outside of the game that are geared toward community involvement and interaction. The forums are a cornerstone of the community in providing a place to discuss general topics or changes to the module, plan parties, trade items, or organize events. As an additional resource is HGWiki, a player-edited database of information covering builds, items, areas, subraces, enemies, and much more (as you might find by visiting many of the links on this page).

Story

The current map of Higher Ground
The current map of Higher Ground

An action server this may be, but there is a plot behind all that hack-and-slash if you choose to look for it. All of our canon areas are designed based off of the sourcebooks, intertwining into an ever-developing storyline that expands from where the original Path of Ascension left off--immortality is only the beginning. With over 400 areas in the module and counting, there are plenty of stories to be uncovered as you adventure in the lands surrounding Ascension. Journey to the dying underwater world of Ssithra, venture to the Illithid capital of Penumbra, or delve into the ruined depths of the ancient Axerian Empire to discover a thinning in the fabric of reality that puts other planes within striking distance of your own, a fact that Asmodeus seeks to exploit.

The latest major addition to this story is the realization of the demon lord Orcus' resurrection and the subsequent power struggle it has generated in the Abyss over the shattered fragments of his Wand of Death. All the while in the background, dark forces are at work with aims to bring about the end of all things, as increasing numbers of adventurers return from their travels with tales of glimpsing a proxy of Atropus, an Elder Evil. With such a threat as the Elder Evils to consider, can any adventurer be truly prepared?

Legendary Levels

Home of the Higher Ground Legendary Level System, we have greatly expanded the system to include nearly every facet of the character, from spells to abilities, feats, skills, and more, in order to allow players to progress in power up to level 60.

Spells

There is hardly a spell that has gone untouched as all spells were rebalanced to accommodate for level 60 characters, and those changes were just the beginning. Core casting classes can obtain powerful custom Epic Spells, dozens of spells have been added through the use of Higher Ground Enhanced, and we have implemented the pen-and-paper spellcasting abilities of assassins and blackguards, giving them spellcasting abilities akin to the ranger or paladin, completely integrated into the GUI for users playing with Higher Ground Enhanced!

Classes and Quasiclasses

Far too many changes to discuss here, check out each class' page to see how all of them were edited to make them fun and viable to play, with their power growing as they level. In addition to class changes, several atypical class combinations provide more than half a dozen quasiclasses with specially scripted powers that make them something entirely unique!

Subraces

Featuring a "true" subrace system, with stackable ability bonuses, feats, appearances, immunities, and more, with over 110 possibilities to choose from!

Feat and Skill Changes

We've added a large number of completely new feats, based on pen-and-paper, and altered our custom feat system to make them display on the character sheet. Characters can take weapon feats for any CEP weapon, including new feats such as Greater Weapon Focus, Power Critical, and Superior Critical. We didn't stop there, though.

Characters can now pick up knocked down comrades with the (free) Assist Other feat. We also altered enemy AI so that taunting them will often draw their attacks, while Bluffing will cause them to seek some other target, and that's just a small portion of the changes we've made to skills to make them worth taking in more situations than just conversation!

Truly Random Loot

A favorably randomized item
A favorably randomized item

With over 1600 hand-crafted items ranging in rarity from Common to Beyond_Ultra-Rare, along with several thousand non-random loot drops, the random loot system on Higher Ground goes a step further. For all of those 1600 or more random items, item properties can be added or removed, the quality increased or decreased, and special Augments can be added, including renowned master augments that provide special benefits to particular classes.

If you like slot-machine style loot systems, this is as good as it gets! If that isn't your bag though, you can use the !autorand command to disable the randomization system for loot your party picks up. To decrease wasted playtime picking up loot, we have also added the !autosell command to automatically (and configurably) convert less valuable loot into gold as it is picked up.

Challenge

All of the above points making characters more powerful wouldn't mean much if there weren't foes to match your terribly awesome powers. Leveling can be fast but hardly effortless; you may find yourself running through hordes of lesser hellspawn with minimal tension one week, only to find an Abyssal janitor cursing your remains the next week as he has to clean up the stain you left on the floor after a demon lord obliterated you and your band of adventurers!

No one class performs the best, as player skill and teamwork can weigh more heavily on your success than the ones and zeroes that make up your characters. Players must learn new tricks, advance their skills and tactics, and hone their character builds. To this end there are character building resources and play guides on the Forums and Wiki, catering to both the novice player with effective builds using standard subraces and to the expert player with months or years of experience.

Feel like kicking up the difficulty even more? Try out Hardcore mode, where your first mistake may very well be your last!


Check out this trailer for a glimpse of what the world of Higher Ground is like!

For those entering the world for the first time, this introduction can get you started with the story.

Head on over to the Getting Started page for a guide on getting the files you need, getting onto a server, and getting into the action!

Don't own Neverwinter Nights? Read the Installation Guide to see how you can get it!

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