- On Neverwinter Nights
- Next Generation
Character Development Quests
What is a CDQ?
Character Development Quests (CDQs) are especially tailored quests that allow players to further some development of their characters. These quests provide players with extra resources such as GM time and guidance to allow players to affect large-scale character changes and development. CDQs are intended for larger character changes rather than minor things. Groups of players such as guilds, organizations or other groups with some common goal can also request a Group CDQ (GCDQ). If you are not certain whether a CDQ is right for you, read on! If you are still not sure after reading this sticky, the best route is always to ask someone, such as in our Ask A Gamemaster forum.
What are the rules for CDQs?
As of this post, each individual GM will set his or her own policies and guidelines on CDQs, including what sorts of CDQs they will run, how often they'll run a CDQ for a given player or group and so forth. This basic idea is prevalent through the following universal rules:
- In order to have a CDQ, a player must request one from a specific GM using that GM's CDQ thread. Similarly, a group may request a CDQ from a GM in the same manner. There is no time limit or waiting period between CDQs in this policy. Instead, each individual GM will set his or her own limits on requests and the time between them.
- As a universal policy, each player may only have one (1) active CDQ request at a time. An active CDQ request is any CDQ that has been requested from a GM that has not yet been completed. Similarly, a group may only have one (1) active GCDQ request at a time.
- A CDQ should have a valid purpose. This will be enforced by the GM running the quest.
- It is recommended that a character exist in-game for at least two (2) weeks before a CDQ is requested for that character. This includes a CDQ to take a PrC.
- It is required that a character be at least level 8 before requesting a CDQ, except for a character who is approved to take a PrC. A GM may agree to run a CDQ before the character has reached Level 8 at the GM's discretion.
- A CDQ should be completed within 6 in-game quest hours. Additional RP and “wrap up” sessions may occasionally be be run at the GM's discretion, assuming the CDQ has completed (with a pass/fail result, if applicable). Except in cases of extenuating circumstances, a CDQ or GCDQ should be completed in a timely manner. It is recommended to complete CDQs within three (3) weeks of the first session, but the GM may set an alternate completion schedule.
- Quest XP is never awarded on CDQs or GCDQs, either to the main participant or any other invited participants. CDQs carry an emphasis on RP development rather than mechanical advancement through accumulation of XP.
How do I know if I should take a CDQ?
CDQs should always begin from a defined objective or goal. Legitimate objectives and goals include (but are not necessarily limited to):
- Pursuing a secondary (or tertiary) class
- Pursuing a prestige class
- Exploring a deity change
- Joining, forming or gaining rank in an organization
- A cleric or devout character taking action in their church
- Obtaining an RP rank or position
- A mage (or other caster) working toward a specialization of some kind
- Investigating family histories, searching for lost relatives, etc.
- Furthering some other area of character development needing GM mediation and attention.
- Pursuing content from a GM initiated quest.
There are many goals that can be accomplished by CDQ, but some objectives may be either too big for a CDQ (and belong more to a WLDQ quest) or too small to merit a dedicated CDQ, and can be handled through other forms of GM interaction. If you are unsure whether something is attainable, or if it is too large or small for a CDQ, the best policy is to ask.
We do ask that players request a CDQ only if there is a legitimate character need. Our GM team is very busy running quests and working on projects that benefit the entire community, and regrettably GMs do not have time to run private quests for characters (unless the quest is to achieve a legitimate development goal, as above!), nor would this be fair to other players. Therefore, we ask that players look carefully at the calendar and at the diversity of quests offered by our GMs over many different timezones, and instead join a scheduled quest if they do not truly need a CDQ. Rest assured, there are plenty of opportunities to develop your character(s) in the many quests that are run each month.
If you are still uncertain whether your proposed goal merits a CDQ or Group CDQ or would best be handled in some other way, try answering the following questions:
- Is the CDQ based on a specific, valid development objective, such that the outcome of the quest will be meaningful?
- Is the CDQ needed now?
- Does your goal truly require GM involvement, and if so could it be accomplished with a few minutes of in game interaction or through another means?
- Is your objective of an appropriate scope (neither too big nor too small) for a CDQ?
As a final check, communicate with your preferred GM to make sure the GM is agreeable to running the requested CDQ. As each GM will set CDQ policies according to his/her own preferences, it is important to work with a compatible GM.
If after answering these questions you believe you require a Character Development Quest then please continue reading to learn how to request one.
How can I request a CDQ?
In this forum you will find a number of stickied GM threads. Each GM thread contains information on the times that those GMs are normally available, and any other pertinent information.
1. Read through the different GM threads, or the introduction threads in the Ask A Gamemaster forum, and select a GM.
Your choice should be based on a compatibility between you, your character goals and the policies of the selected GM. Besides these primary factors, keep in mind matters of timezones, GM style and other factors that may interfere with the CDQ process. Whenever you are in doubt, the best course is to speak directly with the GM before the CDQ is run.
2. Make a post in the CDQ thread of your selected GM.
In making your choice of GM, you can request a CDQ by making a post in that GM's stickied thread in this forum. In order to communicate your CDQ goals, you should post or PM the details of your CDQ along with the request itself. Over the next few days, you and your selected GM should exchange information on availability and scheduling, and you should discuss and clarify the details of the request. There is a shared responsibility to the exchange of ideas and information.
3. Communicate with your CDQ GM.
It is the player's responsibility to communicate as clearly and completely as possible with the CDQ GM and to do so in a timely manner. This includes conveying any details relevant to the request, resolving any questions of individual GM policy and basically making sure you and your GM are on the same page by the time your CDQ begins. If something changes, communicate this to your GM, even if it includes the need to change GM for your CDQ.
4. Schedule a date and time to begin your CDQ.
As soon as it is feasible to do so, you and your GM should work out a schedule for beginning your CDQ. The GM will work with you as much as possible to reach a common and agreeable schedule. A GM may set his/her own time frames and policies regarding scheduling, including the order in which the GM runs your CDQ relative to other CDQs the GM may be running.
5. Prepare for your CDQ, and invite others if you wish.
Depending on your goals, the type of CDQ and other factors, you may need to do some preparation before the quest. You may also wish or require the presence of others in order to complete the CDQ. Be sure to invite any other people in plenty of time for them to be able to fit into the agreed schedule. Also, be sure to communicate with your GM regarding who else will be attending. Each GM may have different policies on how many additional people can attend a CDQ, and the GM has the right to deny any additional participants over a given number. Please respect the limits that the GM sets.
6. Enjoy your CDQ!
Sign in before your CDQ time and be ready to quest. Have any other participants do the same. Have fun. Act as your character would. Remember that the purpose of all CDQs is character development. Do the best you can, and enjoy the ride.
What happens after the CDQ is done? When can I take another one?
After the CDQ is done, what happens is partly up to you. As the primary purpose is character development of some sort, even if the stated objective of the CDQ was not met, there was still likely some degree of development. Whether it was a “pass” or a “fail”, work these results into the RP of your character. If you did not meet your objective, you may of course try again with another CDQ request, if that same goal is even still valid when the CDQ is over. If you succeeded in meeting your objective, another CDQ may be desired to continue along the same development path.
Whatever the reason for wanting another CDQ, how soon you may have another CDQ will depend upon the policies of GMs who run CDQs. This is especially true if you choose to stay with the same GM for a long-term development path over multiple CDQs. You may, if appropriate, request another CDQ as soon as one is completed, but the GM has full discretion on when that next CDQ will be run. The GM may wish to impose a waiting period for administrative reasons or for story-related reasons. The GM may also wish to work in someone else's CDQ between your CDQs. Whatever the case, it is important for players and GMs to work together cooperatively on scheduling matters. As a reminder, a player cannot schedule another CDQ with any GM until a requested CDQ has been completed or canceled.
What about CDQs for classes?
All multiclass and Prestige Class requests must be approved by the Character Approvers. Depending on the request, the rarity of the class, supporting RP, and the presence and quality of a Character Development Thread, the Character Approvers may approve the class or may ask the player to submit for a CDQ. Players who are approved without the requirement to take a CDQ may still request one for additional RP development if they wish. Some PrCs are only available through multiple CDQs or a WLDQ. You can read more on the requirements for multiclassing and PrCs in the Character Submission Approval Policies thread.
In the case of a CDQ, the outcome of the CDQ will serve as an approval (in the case of success) or denial (in the case of failure). If the character fails his or her CDQ, the character must wait and make another attempt at a CDQ, until a CDQ is passed, or abandon the request. Further attempts are subject to the scheduling preferences of the GM.
What about WLDQs?
A WLDQ or World Leader Development Quest is a specialized type of CDQ and requires a formal application and extra approval. WLDQs are requested when a player wants to try to make their character a World Leader. Only one successful WLDQ will be run during a character's lifetime. All subsequent development quests will be CDQs.
If a character is denied for a WLDQ or fails their WLDQ, they must wait two months before requesting another attempt. Except under exceptional circumstances which will be considered on a case-by-case basis, a character may not request or take a CDQ after being approved for a WLDQ until the WLDQ is completed, and the player must until the end of the WLDQ to request a CDQ.
More information on WLDQs, World Leaders, and requirements for both can be found in the World Leader Development Quests forum.
What are the GM's responsibilities for CDQs?
Besides the obvious role of running the CDQ, the GM's responsibilities touch all parts of the process. As insight into the GM side of things, here are some of the things that GMs do and consider during the CDQ process.
A GM generally puts a good amount of thought and effort into planning the CDQ. Rather than pull some standard off-the-shelf quest to run, a GM usually plans out a CDQ that is uniquely tailored to a single character. Often, there may be things that need approval as well. Sometimes, the GM also takes other participants into account, including relationships between characters, abilities, influences and the like. This is generally a lot to consider, and it only grows when more people are invited to a CDQ. This is one of the main reasons why the player requesting a CDQ needs to be open and communicative with the GM running the quest.
Of course another significant task that a GM must complete before the CDQ is run is setting up a mutually agreeable schedule. This of course is a shared responsibility between GM and player, and often enough the GM is not only juggling one player's schedule but that of multiple players and perhaps multiple quests in addition to the GM's own schedule.
A GM has a very strong responsibility to world lore when running a CDQ. This responsibility is even greater than the responsibility to a player's stated wishes. The GM's job is to make sure that the goals and the manner in which these goals are reached (or not, as the case may be) are in agreement with world lore. This is really of benefit to the player, ultimately, because should the player wish to submit the character in question for World Leader down the road, events and development that do not mesh well with lore can cause problems in such situations.
Many people believe that a CDQ is just a formality and that one will show up, RP for a few hours and succeed in the end. While this may happen, in truth a CDQ should be one of many paths of development for a character, and as such there is usually an element of challenge. A GM is responsible for presenting circumstances on the CDQ whereby it is possible to successfully complete the stated goal(s). The rest is up to the player and any other participants.
When the goals of a character are longer-term in scope, or if there are failures along the way, multiple CDQs will often occur or even be required. Similar to planning a single CDQ, the GM also needs to chart a long-term progression in a way that makes sense in all ways and also in a way that has a schedule that makes sense.
As should be apparent, there's a lot more at work for a GM than just running a quest. In the eyes of most GMs, there is a desire to provide an interesting and challenging experience for the player, and to do that requires a good deal of work. Keep this in mind when working with your GM.
What's all this about GM discretion? Why are there no more waiting periods?
A few years ago, the community was different. It was growing rapidly, and the number of GMs available was insufficient to service an ever-increasing number of CDQ requests. The calendar became packed with more CDQs than open quests, much to the frustration of many. Sensible limits were put in place to combat this and throttle the flow of CDQ requests, requiring people to give some thought to them rather than just requesting a CDQ to get some GM time.
Today, the community has shifted. It is smaller and maintaining itself at a fairly stable level overall. The sum of limits we imposed don't have the same benefit as they did, and the need for them has largely passed. However, rather than return to a sort of free-for-all model for CDQs, we are taking a hybrid approach.
We are breaking from the “one size fits all” concept for CDQ timing, GM acceptance and the like in order to take a more collaborative approach. This approach allows GMs to declare their own limits as to what sorts of CDQs they'll run and so forth. The result, we hope, will enable a better match between players and GMs along a variety of factors.