Hordes of the Underdark is the second expansion pack for BioWare's popular Dungeons & Dragons role-playing game, Neverwinter Nights. The original was a combination of a single-player role-playing game, an editing tool to create your own custom adventures, and a multiplayer role-playing client. Sure enough, Hordes makes additions in each of these areas. The expansion's substantial single-player campaign should last most players 15-20 hours, and while it doesn't have many surprises, it does offer some worthwhile new features that Neverwinter Nights fans should enjoy.
Hordes of the Underdark takes place in the perilous depths beneath the Forgotten Realms.
The expansion's single-player campaign picks up the story where the previous expansion pack, Shadows of Undrentide, left off. You're still a lone adventurer, though you're now in the town of Waterdeep--a major city in the Forgotten Realms setting--which is under attack by the titular hordes of the Underdark. You end up descending into these cavernous regions to discover and halt the source of the attacks. Thankfully, you don't have to go it alone; you're rejoined by several traveling companions from both the original Neverwinter Nights and Shadows of Undrentide--including the cackling kobold bard Deekin.
This time around, you can recruit up to two followers to join you (instead of having only one as in the previous games) so that you can actually have some semblance of a well-rounded adventuring party. However, having a larger party can be both a blessing and a curse. Although the extra firepower is welcome in the challenging confines of the Underdark, you still don't have direct control over your followers. This means that, just like in the previous game, they'll occasionally charge after a large group of monsters you may have hoped to avoid or ambush, or they'll sometimes get lost or end up too far away to help. However, a larger party means that you can better compensate for your own character's weaknesses. Additionally, Hordes lets you manipulate your henchmen's inventory, and it lets you direct their paths of advancement. Several of the characters who join you are "multiclass" characters who follow more than one profession, so you can direct them to advance in certain classes in favor of others.
The expansion pack offers some other interesting features, such as all-new professions for your own character to specialize in. Hordes offers several new advanced prestige classes, like the champion of Torm, the weapon master, and the red dragon disciple. (The latter eventually grows a pair of wings and even gains the ability to breath fire.) All classes can benefit from the use of the gatehouse, which is an interdimensional hub area that your character can jump to and from at will. The gatehouse is especially useful because, when used in conjunction with magical rogue stones, it lets your character establish a recall point. This means that you can jump back to the gatehouse to rest and recover from injuries sustained during some difficult exploring. Then you can return to the dungeons with fresh legs. Early in the game, your character also recovers a djinni bottle, which contains a portable merchant. This allows you to quickly and easily sell off all of those heavy magical treasures you'd otherwise be carrying around.