A Dance With Rogues

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A famed (or infamous) Neverwinter Nights two part module that won module of the year in 2006.

A Dance with Rogues is based around the Neverwinter Nights rogue class. It's notable for being Darker and Edgier as well as as Hotter and Sexier than the original Neverwinter Nights campaign, with an original storyline that has been highly praised. The module is epic in scope, taking a character from 1st level to 17th-19th level.

The story starts with a war between the Kingdom of Betancuria and the nation of Dhorn. The player character is the princess of Betancuria, and in the opening scene her family is slaughtered, her mother commits suicide, she herself is raped, and her kingdom is conquered.

The now ex-princess is "adopted" by a thieves' guild, and to survive she must now learn how to be a rogue, from picking locks to using her sexuality as a weapon. As she works her way up the ranks of the guild and becomes settled in her new life, the princess soon becomes entangled in a shadow war for control over Betancuria's criminal underworld.

The module requires Neverwinter Nights with both expansions. It should be noted that Valine continually and periodically updates or outright changes the module from time to time, meaning that a person who played the adventure in 2006 and a person who played it in 2010 are not playing the same game.


Tropes used in A Dance With Rogues include:
  • Absolute Cleavage
  • Absurdly Spacious Sewer: Part of the Princess' lessons is survive traversing through the multi-part sewers. In fact, the Sewer Area Rapid Transit (SART) is the best way to travel across the sections of Betancuria in the least time possible.
  • Action Girl: The Princess. Actually a lot less so than most player characters, though - you really have to earn it, at the beginning a non-maxed-for-combat character (like the standard one provided) could easily be chewed up by rats (or molested by anyone, a recurring theme), and even as you gain combat proficiency, fighting is still often either a more difficult option or doable only due to your other companions' support. It's even actively discouraged by giving negligible experience for opponents vanquished and much more for using rogue skills. Still, there's no denying the character grows into this. It's even lampshaded.
  • A Date with Rosie Palms: The Princess can do this, and it even counts as practice for her "special skill."
  • Affably Evil: Hyath. There's no doubt that he's evil, but a lot of what he does benefits you in some way, even when he cuts off your head.
  • All Men Are Perverts: Played extremely straight with very few exceptions (one being Anden). The wiki lampshades this by suggesting that in one quest, the Princess "learns not to trust any man who doesn't want to sleep with her."
  • All Men Are Rapists
  • And Now You Must Marry Me: Arto to the Princess.
  • Anything That Moves: It's possible to play the Princess this way. If not, she may feel she's a little too pretty.
  • Arbitrary Headcount Limit: Beautifully inverted the norm of more henchmen means less experience. Since killing enemies give minimal experience from the start, you come to appreciate every single ally who joins your party for the extra firepower. Besides, the bulk of your XP comes from rogue skills and remains unchanged even if your party increases or employ summoned creatures. The second half of the game highlights this with the sheer number of allies you have in your party, and Up to Eleven if you choose to lead the assault to the orcs invading Delberg Castle.
    • The game even encourages the player to keep all henchmen alive by having a 1000 XP penalty if any of them gets killed. This XP loss cannot be recovered unless the killed party member is revived.
  • Author Avatar: Maren, a succubus. Somehow, this seems appropriate.
  • Battle Couple: The Princess and her lover.
  • Beta Couple: Anden and Norah. The former acts all shy and reluctant to get with the Princess, but has no qualms about leaping into bed with the latter.
  • Better to Die Than Be Killed: The Princess' mother.
  • Beauty Is Never Tarnished: The Princess is raped, molested, injured and tortured throughout the course of the story, but doesn't affect how she is the subject of lust from a lot of male characters she encounters.
  • Bittersweet Ending: All of the endings are this at best. In each one of them, despite how far she's come, the Princess's future is very uncertain, she can never return to Betancuria, and she's still on the run from the Dhorn, most likely for the rest of her life.
  • Black Knight / Blood Knight: Vico
  • Bodyguard Crush: The Princess with Private Perry, if she so chooses.
  • Break the Cutie: The Princess, multiple times.
  • Brother-Sister Team: Bran and Norah.
  • Broken Bird: The Princess can be interpreted this way, with Vico's insistence on calling her 'birdie' certainly bringing this trope to mind.
  • Broken Bridge: Several instances of this, two of which are literal.
  • But You Screw One Goat!: In one of the Seven Lessons, the Princess encounters a mastiff who shows great interest in her private parts.
    • In order to infiltrate a demon cult in the later half of the game, the Princess must undertake an initiation. She is first required to strip, then can drink an aphrodisiac, and enter a cage to "offer herself" among FOUR massive demon dogs. However, if she declines to drink the aphrodisiac and doesn't say anything to offend the high priest, she'll instead be forced to watch another girl get sexually assaulted by the dogs.
  • Chainmail Bikini: Most heavy armors are crafted like plated metal bra and thongs. Inferior chainmail are in the form of nipple chains.
  • Character Alignment: Has little bearing on gameplay in itself, though the Princess's alignment is affected by her choices and actions. However, given the context of the story, it's very difficult to maintain a "Lawful" or "Good" alignment.
  • Chivalrous Pervert: Bran
  • Chronic Backstabbing Disorder: The "Old Man" from the Planes, and Hyath... but of course, they are demons.
  • City Guards: They're everywhere, and they reprimand you for breaking minor laws (like carrying an unsheathed weapon in public) and kill you for major offenses (like stealing within their line of sight). Don't bother attacking them, as they are vastly more powerful than you.
  • Civil War: One at the end part of each module, mainly True Companions falling into a schism due to the Princess' identity. One side will desire to sell her to the Dhorn, while the other will defend her to the death. Chaos ensues.
  • Crapsack World: Particularly with the earlier versions of the module.
  • Covert Pervert: Anden. He can't help but peer on the Princess' bottom whenever she bends forward.
  • Crazy Prepared: You have a huge and diverse arsenal of clothes, tools, potions, jewelry, weapons and whatnot buyable or otherwise obtainable from day one. Having right mix of equipment is typically much more significant in your success chances than your character's stats or class levels.
  • Cutscene: A lot of them are long and unskippable, with the Princess' ordeal in the Underdark as the most memorable example.
  • Darkskinned Blonde: Rizzen, as usual to the Drow civilization.
  • De-Power: Towards the end of Part 2, all your gear loses all its magic properties, with no warning, making you suddenly a heck of a lot weaker than you were five minutes ago.
  • Defiled Forever: The Princess's rape by Vico at the beginning, and the loss of her virginity is somewhat treated like this.
  • Dirty Old Man: Baron Ravenstower. It's implied that this is because he wants to change the fact that he has no children.
  • Damsel in Distress: Pia
  • Downer Ending: The ending where the Princess breaks down and agrees to marry Arto Benthur, and the module comes to a close with their wedding cermony. And the one where she feigns agreement, then commits suicide at the ceremony in order to unleash a deadly plague on Dhorn.
  • Earn Your Happy Ending: After the Family rescues the Princess from the Dhorn, she is given a number of choices on how she will decide her fate, which also affects the Family, Betancuria, and of Delberg.
  • Enemy Mine
  • Enemy Civil War: One of the missions will involve you helping a Dhorn general in raiding the Betancuria Castle treasury due to a technicality on the ownership of the king's hoard. The said general (a son of the Dhorn emperor himself) does not trust the way of the Dhorn in power over Betancuria.
  • Everything's Better with Princesses
  • Face Heel Turn: Played with Anden and Norah, which was also unknown on their part. Arto recruited them under the guise of "for the princess' own good", but when both of them learn of Arto's real motive, they quickly do a Heel Face Turn and join with Nathan.
  • Fallen Princess
  • Fragile Speedster: The Princess. While the game has leeway in choosing character classes, the module was mainly built for creating a rogue/shadowdancer character, making the Princess a stealthy force to be reckoned with.
  • Gay Option: Pia.
  • Gender Bender: Christano. Whether he survives or dies during his quest in Part 1, he is turned into a succubus in the later half of Part 2. The Princess can sacrifice 10% of her total XP in order to have him resurrected and freed from Hyath; however, he doesn't get his old body back, and is permanently stuck being a woman.
  • Girl-On-Girl Is Hot: When Norah jokingly flirts with the Princess, Vico quips that if the girls would then make out, he will die a happy man.
  • Grey and Grey Morality: The Dhorn attack on the kingdom of Betancuria was provoked when the Dhorn Emperor realized your father was planning to marry you off to a noble who had been deposed by the Dhorn empire... Thus giving Betancuria a legitimate reason to attack Dhorn.
  • The Guards Must Be Crazy: The way to evade the City Guards' vengeance is just to run a short distance and they'll forget about you.
  • Heroic Sacrifice: The Princess can choose to sacrifice herself in order to destroy the Dhorn, in one of the endings.
  • Hopeless Boss Fight: There are two fights in the Underdark which are designed to wipe out your party, triggering your capture and eventual slavery to the drow. The first is an ambush from dark elves and the other is a battle with an endless army of skeletons and a skeletal dragon. Winning both though will earn you hefty XP rewards, high-grade loot from the drow corpses and massive bragging rights.
  • How the Mighty Have Fallen: The premise of the entire story.
  • Hypercompetent Sidekick: In Christano's sidequest, you're a hireling. You've also got a lot more brains in your head than Christano and his girlfriend together, and they're holding you responsible for the success of the mission and for each other's safety. Fortunately, they do know how to take orders (or at least to stay back while you scout ahead in stealth mode and disarm traps) and can fight effectively enough.
  • I Fought the Law and the Law Won: You are not going to be defeating the City Guards. You can break into their barracks and rob them blind, though.
  • I Have You Now, My Pretty: Used many, many times throughout the story. Even during the prologue.
  • I'm a Man, I Can't Help It: So very much...
  • Immodest Orgasm: Completely and totally played straight to the maximum.
  • Ironic Hell: During "The Golden Chalice" quest, Christano (who comes off as a massive Jerkass throughout the entire venture) attempts to force the Princess to have sex with him when the party stops to rest in the tombs. If she kills him herself, or allows Hyath to kill him, Hyath imprisons his soul. Much later in the story, she will meet him again in hell, only to find that he has been transformed into a succubus, a fitting punishment for his ill treatment of women in life.
  • Jiggle Physics
  • Kick the Son of a Bitch / The Dog Bites Back: Considering how Christano treats you, the option to let a demon kill him is enormously satisfying.
    • Also, in Part 2, it's possible to kill Vico. Twice.
    • Pretty much everyone who manhandles the Princess, be it a human molester or a drow inquisitor will be killed by the Princess later, usually as part of a quest.
  • Killed Off for Real: Tony Blake. Caron Davis. Gemli.
  • Kleptomaniac Hero: Playing this way will quickly send you plunging to the Chaotic end of the Order Versus Chaos meter.
  • Knight Templar: Arto Benthur (and the Dhorn in general, really). Even the Betancurian King himself, who is only interested in employing more and more soldiers for his endless wars.
  • La Résistance: The Family, a thieves guild founded by an alliance of merchants, criminals and smugglers in Betancuria who control crime by leading it. While they are careful not to tread against the Betancurian king, the Dhorn invasion made things worse for the Dhorn themselves are also interested to seize control of the criminal underworld after the collapse of Castle Betancuria.
  • Lawful Good: Anden. Note that it's excessively difficult for the Princess to stay at this alignment. Ironically, the player can choose this alignment and become a paladin, and become immune to all STD and feel free to have sex with anyone.
    • Christano, canonically.
  • Law of Inverse Fertility: A rather brutal subversion. If the Princess gets together with Vico, she ends up getting pregnant with his baby. Naturally, given the tremendously difficult situation they're presently in, everyone fears for the complications this could cause. Later on, however, she's infected with a demonic plague, becomes violently ill and miscarries the child.
  • Les Yay: Aside from a possible relationship with Pia, the Princess can have a sexual encounter with 2 female Non Player Characters in Part 2.
  • Lesbian Option: Pia.
  • Lovable Sex Maniac: Caron.
  • Love Redeems: Vico's dark and icy personality changes immensely after he and the princess "officially" begin a relationship. At least, his attitude towards her changes completely, and he becomes a hell of a lot softer and warmer towards her, always speaking to her very respectfully and tenderly.
  • Made a Slave: The Princess, Bran, Pia and Vico after being captured in the Underdark.
  • Male Gaze: Almost all male citizens (and guards) will have a special interest on the Princess' prominent bust and bottom.
  • Making Love in All the Wrong Places: If the Princess and Vico are in a relationship. In fact, the Princess herself can ask Vico for a "session" almost about anywhere when he tags along. Other relationships can only have chaste kisses every now and then, and the intimate moments are done in secluded areas.
    • The most glaring example is when Vico asks the Princess to make love to him after they win almost a nigh endless battle with the undead and a dracolich. They actually have sex on the stone-cold open grounds of the Underdark. And they do it in front of Anden and Pia, who both react in disgust.
  • A Man Is Not a Virgin
  • Meaningful Name: Anden Goodmanner.
    • Jacia Colds, despite being of True Neutral alignment, will send the princess in cold-blooded and sinister assassinations.
  • Multiple Endings: Lots and lots of them. Many which result from the Princess making a bad decision and getting herself killed.
  • Nintendo Hard
  • Noble Demon: Simon Lyonson.
  • No-Gear Level: The number of times your equipment gets taken away is amazing. Including all your clothing.
  • No Periods, Period: Averted.
  • Not Screened for Critics: The author requested that people not review or critique the module in any way. Of course, it has been reviewed and critiqued.
  • Not Quite Dead: Handwaved in-universe. The Princess is sent to assassinate a certain Dhorn noble, only to find him alive and well and working with him the next time they meet. It is then explained that the Resurrect spell can revive anyone as long as the physical body is not mutilated.
  • The Oldest Profession: The Nightingale, Mayor's Mansion and Whore sidequests.
  • Optional Sexual Encounter: Extensive use of this trope.
  • Porn with Plot: For a premise where the female lead has to use her sexuality for infiltration and espionage, it is to be expected. Majority of the plot requires characters to be wearing little to no clothing at all.
  • Post-Rape Taunt: Vico's attitude over what he did to the Princess, raping her and taking her virginity. Later on, if they fall in love, he does express remorse and promises that he will never allow such a thing to happen to her again.
  • Rape as Drama: Extensive use of this trope. There are a ton of bad situations that the Princess can get herself into that result in her being abused and sexually assaulted.
    • As stated by the lesson with Pia regarding seduction and having "to play along" in her missions, the Princess gets better chances to survive if she beds that mission's specific character. Choosing not to usually gets her in an Unwinnable pursuit of guards or a powerful character. It is rather a Sadistic Choice, and the Princess brings up afterwards how traumatized she was, with the Moonville infiltration as the best example.
  • Rape Is a Special Kind of Evil: Oh so very much.
  • Rape, Pillage and Burn: The Dhorn Empire attempted to Avert this through harsh penalties to rapists among their soldiers. Unfortunately, this only means they slaughter 'everyone' instead.
  • Romance Sidequest: 5 possible suitors.
  • Save the Princess: Inverted. The princess is the Action Girl, who often ends up saving other characters, including Pia repeatedly.
  • Screw You, Elves: The Princess and her companions feel a lot of this when they are captured, imprisoned and enslaved by the very nasty and unpleasant Dark Elves during their venture through the Underdark.
  • Secret Test of Character: Twice during the Seven Lessons quest.
  • Sex Face Turn: The Princess having sex with Vico in the Dwarven Inn is a turnpoint event of starting their relationship, where he will treat the Princess much better from then onward.
  • Shameful Strip: Every time the Princess gets captured, she is stripped naked from all her clothes and items.
  • Ship Sinking: Despite some joke-like flirting, the Princess gets shot down if she pursues Norah.
  • Shout-Out: This isn't the first time a human barbarian and a drow outcast really got along well together, even when both can develop feelings for the princess. To push things even more, employing the said drow along with the black-hearted knight instead will have animosity for their dominance over the princess, much like the rivalry of a certain drow ranger and human assassin in R.A. Salvatore's series.
    • The comic relief dwarf you can employ is named Gemli.
    • Tony the Tiger. In fact, in earlier versions of the game, Tony Blake can also be a literal tiger.
  • Sibling Yin-Yang: Bran and Norah. Both are quite good-natured, but Bran who wields the Frost greatsword is more cool-headed, while Norah who wields the Heat greataxe is more extroverted.
  • Smug Snake: Arto Benthur
  • So Beautiful It's a Curse: The Princess. Seriously, the males in the game that don't leer at her, hit on her, or try to have sex with her can probably be counted on one hand.
  • Stalker with a Crush: Arto Bethur towards the Princess. He spends the entirety of Part 2 hunting her down like a madman and murdering countless people along the way, relentlessly pursuing her even through the depths of the Underdark, utterly obsessed and determined to marry her.
  • Stalker with a Test Tube: It's implied that Baron Ravenstower keeps Pia and the Princess prisoner, and tries to force them to have sex with him, because he badly wants to conceive a biological heir by them.
  • STD Immunity: Averted. You can indeed catch STDs from whoring around with sailors. On the other hand, it can be played straight if you're a paladin or otherwise immune to disease.
  • Stealth Hi Bye: Hide in Plain Sight is the best hit-and-run tactic a shadowdancer Princess can take advantage of.
  • Strip Poker: The Princess can play a strip dice game in order to get a set of armor needed to break into a castle.
  • Stripperiffic: Most of the outfits the Princess and the other women in the party wear. Unusual as the author is female.
  • Surprise Pregnancy: The Princess. It only happens if she took Vico along for the remainder of the game.
  • There Is Only One Bed: The Princess and Pia.
  • Took a Level in Badass: Particularly with the shadowdancer or assassin prestige classes.
    • A Rogue/Assassin/Blackguard build is optimal for an evil princess, being able to equip any armor or shield and almost all basic weaponry. The highlight is that the sneak attacks from both Rogue and Blackguard as well as the Assassin death attacks add up for malevolent combined damage.
  • Taking You with Me: One of the Princess's options at the end is to commit suicide, and at the same time take down a looot of people in Dhorn as well...
  • Third-Person Seductress: The princess sure knows to flaunt her stuff.
  • Ungrateful Bastard: The people whom the Princess aids during the story all show very, very little gratitude for her help. One such moment that stands out is when she actually brings Baron Ravenstower back from the dead after he was murdered by his court wizard.
  • Useless Useful Stealth: Averted; very little XP is given for killing enemies, while a very generous amount is given for progressing the story, finishing quests, and disarming and unlocking traps and locks.
  • Victim Falls For Rapist: If the Princess romances Vico.
  • What Does She See in Him?: Nobody states or asks this outright, but it's very clear that many other characters are squicked out and repulsed by Vico's and the Princess's relationship.
  • What the Hell, Hero?: While your party members have (hilariously) various reactions on the Princess walking around naked, or in lingerie, never do so in the eyes of the Dhorn or the common people, nor sheath out your weapons in public.
  • Wig, Dress, Accent: Averted
  • Yank the Dog's Chain: The Princess finds a great love interest potential in Tony Blake, to the point they are engaged halfway through his sidequest. Until the Sargozan smugglers double-cross Tony during the night, brutally killing him and his household, burning his mansion and leaving the Princess for dead.
  • You Would Make a Great Model: A man on the streets of Betancuria offers to pay the Princess to pose for a nude painting. Should you accept, Dhorn soldiers show up and confiscate the painting, forcing you to sneak into their administration building to retrieve it.