Heirs of Waterdeep
City of Neverwinter
Neverwinter, also known as the City of Skilled Hands or the Jewel of the North, was a metropolis sitting on the northwestern Sword Coast of Faerûn. Neverwinter was regarded by many, including the erudite travel writer Volo, as the most cosmopolitan and the most civilized city in all of Faerûn, quite a reputation, considering the breadth and variety of the continent. The city was a member in good standing of the Lords’ Alliance and Lord Nasher ensured that the city was well defended before his death, both physically and magically, against attacks or infiltration from Luskan, Neverwinter’s warlike rival. Maps of the city, which had a maze of meandering streets, were not distributed, as part of an effort to thwart Luskan spies.
The city of Neverwinter was so named because, even though the town is situated in the cold north of Faerûn, the Neverwinter River that flows through it was heated by fire elementals living under the nearby Mount Hotenow in the Neverwinter Wood. The heat given off from the river creates a permanent warm climate in the immediate area; without the elementals, the river, and subsequently the city’s water supply, would freeze over.
The city was ruled fairly and justly by Lord Nasher Alagondar, an aging, veteran adventurer and devout worshiper of Tyr. As such, although Neverwinter was prosperous, its master-craftsmen making lamps of multi-coloured glass, precision water clocks and exquisite jewelry, its Tyrran faith promoted justice and fairness and greed was frowned upon.
Although Lord Nasher died during the Spellplague, he gave rise to a royal line that is believed to have ruled until Mount Hotenow erupted, destroying the majority of the city. Thayans and their Ashmadai allies attacked the city in the wake of the eruption, hoping to cause enough deaths to fuel a Dread Ring but their plans were foiled with the help of adventurers and agents of Netheril. Due to the help given by the netherese, the shadovar attempted a power grab in the city but were driven out when Herzgo Alegni was defeated in combat by Artemis Entreri and Dahlia Sin’felle, which inspired a revolt against Herzgo’s netherese ‘Shadow Guard’. Two decades after the city’s destruction however, Dagult Neverember, Open Lord of Waterdeep, seeing an opportunity to add to his financial empire, would hire artisans and carpenters to help rebuild the city and mercenaries to protect it from monsters; he would eventually create the title of Lord Protector of Neverwinter, held by Neverember himself. However, it is wrong to say that Dagult is the ruler as many factions vie for Neverwinter and the citizens are divided in loyalties.
In addition to having an unnaturally warm climate, Neverwinter is a picturesque city and boasts such sights as its three spectacular, intricately carved bridges: the Dolphin, the Winged Wyvern and the Sleeping Dragon. Under these, the waters of the Neverwinter River cascade over small, gentle waterfalls as they course into the city’s bustling harbour. Neverwinter’s magnificent gardens (the phrase “The City of Skilled Hands” refers to Neverwinter’s accomplished gardeners) ensure the warm winters are colourful and the summers are rich with fresh fruit. The city is replete with beautiful and ingeniously designed buildings, many of which are famous in their own right, such as The House of Knowledge, and Neverwinter’s tall and many-windowed temple of Oghma. In addition, the reputations of such unique taverns as the Moonstone Mask and The Fallen Tower reach far beyond the Neverwinter’s walls and further add to the city’s distinction.
The first settlement in the Savage Frontier was an elven city known as Illefarn. Illefarn would become a bustling nation after the time of the Crown Wars. Illefarn would last long enough to see the founding of Gauntlgrym and the harnessing of Maegera the Inferno beneath its lands. Eventually, Illefarn would be divided into three nations, of which Iliyanbruen was the most prominent.
Ilyanbruen would frequently fight with the city of Illusk, which was a legacy of the Netherese. The Netherese city of Xinlenal would then crash in Ilyanbruen territories where it would remain hidden for thousands of years. Ilyanbruen would be weakened by Orc invasions, which would pave the path to allow for Eigersstor, the first multi-racial settlement in the area, which would later be called Neverwinter.
Neverwinter became a centre of civilisation, peace and culture and was widely viewed as a marvel by visitors. This trend lasted, seemingly unbroken since its founding (with the exception of a couple of orc hordes, the violent debacle following the Orcgates Affair and the assassination attempts against the sage Rahalaglingalade), until 1372 DR when a disease known as the Wailing Death laid low most of the city’s inhabitants.
Many years ago, the forces of Neverwinter were involved in a battle with the King of Shadows. None of the men sent into combat survived the battle, although the garrison at Fort Locke survived a demonic onslaught.
In 1372 DR the city succumbed to the Wailing Death, a disease that resisted magical healing and killed most of the population of the city. The cure was eventually found but the casualties by that time were catastrophic.
It was soon discovered that the Wailing Death was merely the precursor of war between Neverwinter and its enemy, the city of Luskan. Although it was the Sarrukh Queen Morag who sponsored the war, rather than the Host Tower of the Arcane, the fighting (which ended in a stalemate, thanks to a plucky adventurer known only as the Hero of Neverwinter) soured the relationship between the two cities even more.
Despite this, a shaky relationship between Neverwinter and Luskan was reestablished until an upstart Host Tower mage named Black Garius attempted to raise an undead army to conquer Neverwinter, ostensibly in the name of the King of Shadows. Again, an adventurer put an end to the plans of Black Garius and defeated the King of Shadows once and for all.
Unfortunately the conflict, which came to be known as the Shadow War, left the economy of the Sword Coast North in tatters, and its security was in doubt due to the deaths of so many Greycloaks during the fighting. This made it a great opportunity for an enterprising Samarachan mercantile house led by a woman named Sa’Sani. Under her leadership, and with the assistance of a group of adventurers, the Neverwinter region’s economy was brought back to health by the end of the Year of Lightning Storms.
Neverwinter and other cities north of Waterdeep fared poorly in the years following the Spellplague, and by the Year of the Ageless One both it and Luskan were in utter ruins.
In 1451 DR, a Thayan plot to create a dread ring in Neverwinter Wood resulted in the release of the fire primordial who had been enslaved in ancient times by the Delzoun dwarves of Gauntlgrym to power their forge. The primordial’s awakening resulted in the explosion of Mount Hotenow which unleashed a pyroclastic flow that left Neverwinter in ruins. By 1461 DR, some settlers had returned to Neverwinter in an attempt to re-establish the city 9. Work on New Neverwinter started by building a new town around the ruins of the old city, however the dead constantly threatened the rebuilding work.
The Shadovar furthered their claim on New Neverwinter when Artemis Entreri, under the alias of “Barrabus the Gray” assisted in defeating the Ashmadai on the Winged Wyvern Bridge. The grateful citizens renamed the bridge in his honour, naming it the Walk of Barrabus. This enraged Entreri’s master, Herzgo Alegni, who demanded the bridge be renamed the Herzgo Alegni Bridge. When the neverwintan citizens agreed, Alegni began making more demands in regard to the city’s restructuring, splitting the town guard into two and declaring himself ‘interim lord’ of the city, using the vestigial threat of Thay and his army to enforce his will. Though most neverwintans saw this thinly veiled establishment of a netherese dictatorship for what it was, they didn’t take immediate action. It was an attempt on the life of Alegni by Artemis Entreri, Dahlia Sin’felle, their ally Drizzt Do’Urden and the forewarning of Arunika, the Forest Sentinel, that allowed the city garrison to prepare for Alegni’s defeat and overpower the suddenly leaderless shadovar.
Neverwinter has a standing army of 400 archers and spearmen. It is their job to guard the city walls and the docks and patrol the High Road from Port Llast to Leilon 100 miles south of the city. During peacetime, 60 of these soldiers are assigned to the city watch, 60 are on leave for R&R and 60 are busy retraining. If the city’s walls are threatened by orcs or Luskan the defenders catapult a veritable hail of explosive missiles down on the attackers. Both missiles and the specially designed catapults were devised by the best ‘skilled hands’ of the city’s namesake. In desperate situations, Lord Nasher can call upon the guild of the Many-Starred Cloak’s wizards.