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Heart of Winter (HoW) was a primarily player vs. player (PvP) server. It used a server vault and required both expansion packs to play. This server was created by a disgruntled ex-developer from the Dungeon Eternal X server, who redesigned that server's setting to his own tastes, with the result being Heart of Winter. The teams on this server were called "factions", with most factions having a member who was also a Dungeon Master on the server. The server often hosted tournaments. This helped those not in a faction get a better taste of team PvP, while letting those in a faction see how enemy teams operate.

Specifications

Module name: Heart of Winter
Game type: Action
Direct connect: 81.0.213.241:5121
Levels: 1-40
PvP: Full PvP
Homepage: Forum

Player characters are fully healed after completing the level-up process.

Rules

It is forbidden to follow a player character (PC) who does not belong to a faction to a new "CR-type area" and kill that PC again, if that PC is trying to earn character levels. Victims of such behavior should take a screenshot of the combat log and submit it to the server owner via the private messaging system of the HoW forums.

No faction-associated player may enter a PvP zone with a character that does not have the proper "faction tag" present in its name. This restricts these unmarked characters to towns. More detailed rules can be read in the in-game journal.

While fighting another player, it is forbidden to break animations in order to "quick-taunt" or "run-shoot". (Breaking melee attack animations, on the other hand, is promoted rather than prohibited.) When done deliberately or repeatedly, this can result in character deletion.

Subraces

Heart of Winter provides several subrace options for players. These are not, however, obtained through the usual method at character creation. Rather, they are obtained for new characters by visiting the subrace showroom near the starting location.
Note: The subrace modifiers do not include the racial modifiers from character creation.

Aasimar

  • Race: any
  • Appearance: angel wings
  • Ability modifiers: +2 wisdom, +2 charisma, -2 strength, -2 constitution
  • Skill modifiers: +2 listen, +2 spot
  • Other: damage vulnerability to fire (10%) and negative energy (25%)

Arctic dwarf

  • Race: dwarf
  • Ability modifiers: +2 constitution, +2 wisdom, -2 dexterity, -2 intelligence
  • Other: damage resistance to cold (10/-); damage vulnerability to fire (25%); -2 reflex saves

Avariel

  • Race: elf or half-elf
  • Appearance: bird wings
  • Ability modifiers: +2 dexterity, +2 charisma, -2 strength, -2 constitution
  • Skill modifiers: +2 listen, +2 spot
  • Other: damage vulnerability to acid (10%) and fire (25%)

Azer

  • Race: dwarf
  • Appearance: azer (medium)
  • Ability modifiers: +2 strength, +2 charisma, -2 dexterity, -2 wisdom
  • Skill modifiers: -10 hide
  • Other: +2 saving throw bonus vs. fire; damage resistance to fire (20/-), damage vulnerability to cold (25%)

Bugbear

  • Race: half-orc
  • Ability modifiers: +2 constitution, +2 intelligence, -2 dexterity, -2 charisma
  • Other: toughness

Drider

  • Race: elf, half-elf
  • Appearance: drider (large)
  • Ability modifiers: +2 dexterity, +2 intelligence, -4 constitution
  • Other: damage vulnerability to divine (25%)

Drow

  • Race: elf, half-elf
  • Ability modifiers: +2 strength, +2 charisma, -2 constitution, -2 wisdom
  • Skill modifiers: +4 spot
  • Other: hardiness vs. spells; damage vulnerability to positive energy (25%)

Dryad

  • Race: human, elf
  • Gender: female
  • Ability modifiers: +4 charisma, -2 strength, -2 constitution
  • Other: spell focus (enchantment), venom immunity; damage vulnerability to fire (10%)

Duergar

  • Race: dwarf
  • Ability modifiers: +2 strength, +2 constitution, -2 dexterity, -2 intelligence
  • Other: damage vulnerability to electrical damage (25%); -2 reflex saves

Gnoll

  • Race: elf, half-elf
  • Appearance: gnoll (medium)
  • Ability modifiers: +2 strength, +2 constitution, -2 intelligence, -2 charisma
  • Other: damage vulnerability to positive energy (10%); -2 reflex saves

Goblin

  • Race: halfling, gnome
  • Appearance: goblin (small)
  • Ability modifiers: +4 strength, -2 intelligence, -2 charisma
  • Skill modifiers: +2 discipline
  • Other: damage vulnerability to acid (10%); -2 will saves

Kobold

  • Race: halfling, half-elf
  • Appearance: kobold (small)
  • Ability modifiers: +4 dexterity, -2 constitution, -2 intelligence
  • Skill modifiers: -4 discipline
  • Other: strong soul

Orc

  • Race: half-orc
  • Appearance: orc (medium)
  • Ability modifiers: +2 strength, +2 constitution, -2 intelligence, -2 wisdom
  • Other: damage vulnerability to electrical (25%); -2 will saves

Rock gnome

  • Race: gnome
  • Ability modifiers: +2 constitution, +2 intelligence, -2 strength, -2 dexterity
  • Other: damage vulnerability to positive energy (25%); -2 reflex saves

Sahuagin

  • Race: human, half-elf
  • Ability modifiers: +2 constitution, +2 wisdom, -2 intelligence, -2 charisma
  • Other: alertness; damage resistance to cold (5/-); damage vulnerability to fire (25%)

Svirfneblin

  • Race: gnome
  • Ability modifiers: +2 dexterity, +2 charisma, -2 constitution, -2 wisdom
  • Skill modifiers: +2 hide, +2 move silently
  • Other: damage vulnerability to positive energy (10%)

Tiefling

  • Race: any
  • Appearance: devil tail
  • Ability modifiers: +2 dexterity, +2 intelligence, -2 strength, -2 constitution
  • Skill modifiers: +2 hide, +2 move silently
  • Other: damage vulnerability to cold (10%) and positive energy (25%)

Troglodyte

  • Race: human, half-elf
  • Ability modifiers: +2 strength, +2 dexterity, -2 intelligence, -2 charisma
  • Other: damage resistance to acid (5/-); damage vulnerability to fire (25%)

Wild dwarf

  • Race: dwarf
  • Ability modifiers: +2 dexterity, +2 constitution, -2 intelligence, -2 wisdom
  • Skill modifiers: -2 discipline
  • Other: nature sense; trackless step; -2 will saves; damage vulnerability to cold (10%)

Class modifications

Heart of Winter has modified several class abilities, with some additional benefits for what they call "pure" classes — epic characters with only one class. One of these benefits is an increased DC for spells cast by a "pure" primary caster — the bonus is +4 for clerics, sorcerers, and wizards (not casting their specialty school); +8 for druids and specialist wizards casting a spell from their chosen spell school. Furthermore, all alignment requirements for classes have been dropped, and characters with neither paladin nor blackguard levels are free to change their alignment when resting.

Turn undead

  • The duration of turn undead is only 1d6 rounds.
  • A will saving throw is allowed to resist being turned with a DC of 10 + (cleric + paladin + blackguard levels) / 2 + charisma modifier.
  • The sun domain raises the DC of the save by 5.
  • The good domain doubles the range and duration.
  • Targets with 10 or more levels of pale master receive a -2 penalty to armor class, saving throws, and skills as well as 25% spell failure.

Barbarian

  • Mighty rage replaces barbarian rage when acquired, instead of being separately activated.
  • The duration of rages is constitution times 3 rounds.
  • Barbarian rage gives +2 strength, +2 constitution, -2 AC, +1 AB, +1 fortitude and will saves, +1 discipline, and +1 hit point/level. Greater rage doubles these bonuses and has no AC penalty, while greater rage for a "pure" barbarian gives an additional +2AB (after doubling the normal rage bonuses).
  • Mighty rage gives +4 strength, +4 constitution, +1 AB, +2 fortitude and will saves, +2 discipline, and +2 hit points/level (that is, almost the same as greater rage, but with only +1AB), with "pure" barbarians getting twice that — except the ability bonuses, which remain +4 — as well as +1 elemental damage resistance for every 5 levels. (Thus, for a "pure" barbarian, greater rage gives a larger attack bonus, while mighty rage gives larger save, skill, and hit point bonuses — with each of these cases being +2 versus +4.)
  • Thundering rage gives +1 attack bonus and +1d10 sonic damage, doubled for a "pure" barbarian.
  • Terrifying rage fires a pulse every 30 seconds. The DC is barbarian level + intimidate ranks / 4, with the bonus from skill focus added to the ranks. A player with hit dice lower than or equal to the barbarian level will be affected by fear. A player with more hit dice than the barbarian level receives a -2 penalty to attack rolls and saving throws.

Bard

  • Bard song has been modified to give only half the benefits/penalties to targets other than the singer. In addition, the "team song" affects only the singer's party, rather than all allies.
  • The base bard song (singer only) gives a skill bonus of 4 + (original value − 3) / 2.
  • The duration has been increased to 20 rounds.
  • The lingering song feat has been improved (increasing the duration by 10 rounds), while lasting inspiration has been reduced (only doubling song duration, but applied after lingering song).

Cleric:

  • Divine protection is currently disabled due to relentless complaints. (Most of the playerbase either did not understand what was happening or failed to build teams with high enough will saves to counter this ability.)
  • The duration of battle mastery has been raised to 10 rounds.

Monk:

  • Several spells (earthquake, Balagarn's iron horn, and Bigby's forceful, grasping, and crushing hands) have special effects against those with at least three monk levels, to balance out monk speed.

Paladin:

  • Upon taking this class, the character's alignment will be set to good (making the character vulnerable to smite good), and the usual ways to change alignment will be blocked. The only alignment change available to paladins is through taking a blackguard level.

Assassin

Blackguard

  • Upon taking this class, the character's alignment will be set to evil (making the character vulnerable to smite evil), and the usual ways to change alignment will be blocked. The only alignment change available to blackguards is through taking a paladin level.
  • Bull's strength gives +6 strength and +1 attack bonus for every 10 epic levels, and the strength bonus cannot be dispelled. This strength bonus counts towards the +12 ability cap for crafted gear. An additional +2 attack bonus and +1d6 negative energy damage increase are gained by the target when this feat is used by a blackguard with the epic fiendish servant feat.

Dwarven defender

  • An additional +1 attack bonus and damage is granted for every 5 epic levels.
  • A level 6 dwarven defender gains 10% physical damage immunity, unless the character also has at least 10 pale master levels. This immunity rises by 5% for every additional 4 levels (i.e. at levels 10, 14, 18, 22, 26 and 30).

Harper scout:

  • Using the Harper spell-like abilities of cat's grace and eagle's splendor gives the character +4 dexterity and +4 charisma, which cannot be dispelled, and also gives an additional +1AC/AB and +3 universal saving throws, as well as granting the effects of see invisibility and ultravision. The dexterity and charisma bonuses both count towards the gear crafting caps of +12 per ability.

Pale master:

  • Deathless mastery (immunity to critical hits) has been replaced by immunity to sneak attacks.
  • Having at least 10 levels of pale master brings some disadvantages — reduced effectiveness of epic warding, being subject to turn undead, and negation of the dwarven defender's custom damage immunity.

Purple dragon knight

Red dragon disciple:

  • Red dragon disciples receive 25% cold vulnerability at level 10.

Shadowdancer

Shifter:

  • The shifter class is not supported. Item properties do not merge into shapes.

Skill modifications

Discipline: Discipline checks are used to resist the Bigby spells, in addition to its standard uses.

Pick pocket: The pick pocket check is skill ranks + (sum of rogue, assassin, and shadowdancer levels) + d20 vs. a DC of character level * 3.

Use magic device: The DC of use magic device checks to use scrolls has been increased to 11 times the innate level of the spell, but characters get to add their bard, rogue, and assassin levels, as well as their skill ranks, to the die roll (d20).

Spell modifications

Balagarn's iron horn

  • Only affects monks (level 3+).

Barkskin

  • A pure druid receives an additional +5 AC.

Bigby's crushing, forceful, and grasping hands

  • Discipline check: discipline + d20 vs. caster level / 2 + caster ability modifier + spell level + evocation spell focuses + d20.
  • Monks with 3 or more monk levels receive a -1 penalty per monk level for these checks.
  • Pure caster DC bonus counts towards the d20 roll.

Bigby's interposing hand

  • Attack decrease changed to 1d10.

Camouflage and mass camouflage

  • Does not stack.

Death armor

  • Does not stack with elemental shield and Mestil's acid sheath.

Divine favor

  • Attack and damage bonus +1 every 6 levels of caster (max +3).
  • An epic paladin receives an additional +2 to attack and damage bonus.

Divine power

  • Concentration bonus: caster level / 4
  • A character with 21 or higher strength receives an additional +1 attack bonus and damage (bludgeoning) for every 10 caster levels.

Earthquake (druid version)

  • Monks (level 3+) must make a strength check opposed by caster level + d20 or be knocked prone for 1 round.

Elemental shield

  • Does not stack with death armor and Mestil's acid sheath.
  • Damage: 1d6 + caster level / 4
  • Damage type: cold

Endure elements, resist elements, protection from elements, energy buffer

  • Druids absorb double amount of damage.

Fear

  • Duration reduced to 1 turn.

Harm

  • Damage is 2d4 x caster level

Heal, mass heal, greater restoration

  • Healed amount is 50 + 2d4 x caster level

Holy sword

  • Dispel on-hit removed. Plans have been mentioned to reintroduce this effect eventually under a functioning scale-to-level basis so that paladins with 21+ paladin levels will have strong dispelling ability.
  • Damage bonus: 1d6 (divine).

Horrid wilting

  • Damage changed to acid.

Ice storm

  • Added reflex saving throw.
  • Can not be evaded.

Isaac's greater missile storm

  • One missile for every 4 caster levels.
  • 2d6 damage per missile (sonic).

Knock

  • Adds caster level to open lock skill.

Mestil's acid sheath

  • Does not stack with death armor and elemental shield.
  • Damage: 1d6 + caster level / 2

Sanctuary / greater sanctuary

  • Will save added.

Shield of faith

  • A pure caster receives an additional +5 AC.
  • Does not stack with divine shield.

Silence

  • Target receives a -50 penalty to the hide skill. The silence aura can be removed if Gust of Wind is cast nearby. This measure was taken as a working prevention of 'hit and run' style players interfering in team PvP.

Tasha's hideous laughter

  • Knockdown duration reduced to 1 round. Daze effect added.

Timestop

  • Will save added. Timestop has a wide range that seems to stretch as far as character sight, and the spell bypasses spell mantles.

True seeing

  • True seeing provides ultravision, see invisibility and +20 spot.

Weird

  • Fear effect if will save failed, death if fortitude save failed.
  • Fear duration: 1 turn.

Word of faith

  • Will save added.

Epic spells

Epic warding

  • Provides 40/+6 damage reduction.
  • Damage reduction is halved (20/+6) when cast by a character with 10+ levels of pale master.

Greater Ruin

  • Saving throw removed.

Hellball

  • Saving throw removed.
  • Knockdown effect is 2 rounds on caster.

Crafting

The server uses a custom crafting system that does not use the craft armor and craft weapon skills. This system imposes the following limitations on item properties that can be crafted.

  • Armor class: +5
  • Ability: +8
  • Saving throw: +5
  • Skill bonus: +4
  • Enhancement bonus: +5
  • Damage bonus: +2d6 (with a maximum of two such properties, aside from gloves which can have three)
  • Massive critical damage: +2d6

In addition, the only miscellaneous property that can be crafted is haste.

The maximum "item level" that can be crafted is dependent on the town where the crafting takes place, as follows.

  • Loftenwood: 5
  • Ridgetown: 10
  • Tanglebrook: 15
  • Duvanbawer: 20
  • Mythara: 22 (max equipment).

Leveling

Even though this is a PvP server, there are still monsters to kill for the purpose of gaining levels. There is a small chance (about 5%) that any given monster will spawn as a champion of its kind (hasted, with ghostly visage and stat increases). These champions give double experience points and gold, and they drop a few gems when defeated. There are also a good number of boss monsters designed to take on a party. Unique items acquired from bosses tend to be extremely rare, but not overpowered.

HoW also has quests to find and complete, some of them extremely difficult and expensive to complete. Quest challenges range from epic boss battles to the quest being a friendly quest, while rewards include bonus feats and siege equipment.

Factions

There are four factions of players on Heart of Winter, each officially at war with all other three. There used to be a system where a group of players could gather a member roster and some gold to create a faction and have a castle built, but this led to small and inactive factions. So mergers were encouraged to improve PvP. Some members of factions allow their rivals to level in peace, as a mutual kindness, while some will engage an enemy whenever and wherever. A few players will go to great lengths to hunt their rivals while they are earning levels, particularly rivals who are notorious in battle. This system often provokes factions to assemble their warteams and fight. Unfactioned players are sometimes the victims of 'lowbie hunting', and this encourages them to align themselves (officially or just as a friend) with faction members for protection and payback.

Every two weeks, a winner is declared for two scores — the castle score and the keep score. Castles are the fortresses of factions, different in location, appearance, and layout. The castle score is based on holding enemy castle artifacts inside one's home castle, with the winner being the one who held them for the longest time during the two weeks of competition. Raiding a castle involves skill and build selection, because each faction must ultimately be defeated within its lair, where it has a powerful boss NPC (a level 60 druid with enormous hit points, high resistances, and a powerful melee presence once it exhausts its spells). Raiding has a script-enforced "fair numbers policy", whereby raiders can bring +2 verses defenders (e.g. 4 vs. 2). This is because the faction bosses are formidable, and defenders can teleport directly into their castle. This makes build selection and playstyle very important for castle fights. Only members of "guilds" are allowed to enter faction castles.

Keeps are strongholds that exist throughout the server. Once captured, members of a faction can teleport to it, providing access to different areas. Keeps can be captured by an unfactioned player. The keep score accumulates gradually over time for each of the seven keeps that is held. An important distinction from castles is that keep battles are not governed by any "fair numbers policy". These battles are often fast and frantic, attracting all four factions into the fight. These skirmishes also attract stealth attackers, so spot and listen become important. At the end of each two week cycle, the reward for both the castle artifact wars and the keep wars is 780,000 experience points (enough to reach level 40). The victorious faction general may keep these or give them to subordinates as desired.

Common builds

Building, gameplay, and teamwork are required to win battles on Heart of Winter. There are some character builds that have gained widespread use and are proven to be effective. The following types of builds are often discussed on the Heart of Winter forums. Regardless of class choices, most characters will require high fortitude saves and discipline skill for survivability. Typical goals for these attributes are 50-52 fortitude saves (to accommodate DC 54 devastating criticals) and 80 discipline.

  • Strength-based:
    • 23 paladin / 2 bard / 15 red dragon disciple, using divine shield and devastating critical
    • 8 bard / 22 blackguard / 10 red dragon disciple, using divine shield and devastating critical
  • Dexterity-based:
    • 10 fighter / 25 weapon master / 5 Harper scout, using improved knockdown
    • 12 fighter / 23 blackguard / 5 Harper scout, using improved knockdown
    • 8 fighter / 19 weapon master / 13 shadowdancer, with epic dodge

The gear used by a level 40 strength-based tank with divine shield typically includes the following:

  • weapon with +5 enchantment bonus, +2d6 bonus damage in two elements, keen, +2d6 massive criticals, and +4 discipline;
  • shield with +5 AC (shield bonus) and +8 strength;
  • armor with +5 AC (armor bonus) and +8 constitution;
  • helmet with +5 AC (deflection bonus), +4 strength, and +4 constitution;
  • boots with +5 AC (dodge bonus), +8 charisma, and haste;
  • amulet with +5 AC (natural bonus), +4 charisma, and +4 dexterity;
  • belt with +5 fortitude saving throw;
  • cloak with +5 fortitude saving throw;
  • bracers with +5 fortitude saving throw; and
  • two rings, each with +4 discipline.

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