Heroes of the New Day
Once called the “Jewel of the North”, the city of Neverwinter has had a tough time ever since the eruption of Mt. Hotenow about 50 years ago. Now, it is half a city, with a rift full of strange monsters and many factions around the city with often-conflicting aims.
This northern area of the continent has always been known as the “Savage North”, and it is said that even at the height of Arkhosia there were few dragonborn who would make long-term settlements there. The dwarves and elves had each lost large settlements to the savages of the region (see below), too. So around 700 AC, when several tribes of Northmen, centered around a charismatic Shaman named Eigerstorr, founded a settlement on the banks of a curiously warm river, nobody really noticed. Then, a few years later, a military leader named Halueth Never was retreating with his expeditionary force, chased by orcs, and trying to protect a group of wealthy Erathan pilgrims who’d gotten it into their heads that they could “civilize” the Savage North. They made their last stand on the bank opposite of the village of Eigerstorr, and the barbarians joined them, together beating the orcish hordes and forging bonds that would not be broken between them. Halueth Never used his armed forces to build large walls around both sides of the river, and soon after the city of Neverwinter became a reality.
In its heyday, Neverwinter was known as the “City of Skilled Hands”, for the craftsmen in it were known experts. Specifically they made the first accurate clocks, and the phrase “by Neverwinter’s clocks” is often spoken throughout the land when someone means to say that something was done incredibly exactly and with great care.
Neverwinter used to have a royal family, and a special magic crown that determined who the ultimate ruler of the city was. However, (it is believed that) the eruption of Mt. Hotenow killed the entire royal family, and nobody knows what happened to the (now) Lost Crown of Neverwinter.
The city itself is currently in chaos. The recent arrival of Lord Dagault Neverember, a former lord of Waterdeep, with his massive, well-paid mercenary army has brought the first order to the city in 50 years. While there is is still a large contingent waiting to have an heir of the ruling family show up with the crown (called the "Sons of Alagondar, after the last king of the city, Lord Alagondar Never), Neverember is about as good as it’s likely to get for a good long while.
There are many, many things to be wary of in the Neverwinter region, including…
Cultists: Whenever chaos reigns (as it has since Mt. Hotenow erupted), cults will spring up as folks grasp at any power that might help them survive. There are many cults in this area, including the Ashmadai (demon cults), Elemental Eye cults, and the Cult of the Dragon.
Monsters: Yep, there are lots of them. Not just the societal ones like orcs & goblins, either. Wyverns, dire beasts, bulettes, earth elementals, hydras, undead, and even a few dragons are all not unheard-of reasons for a loved one’s disappearance in this region.
Piracy: While there was wealth to be stolen, there were quite a lot of pirates in the seas around Neverwinter. Nowadays, they only show up when someone wealthy comes to town to try and “fix” things (like, for example, Lord Dagault Neverember, with all his Waterdeep money).
The Rift: The gash that the eruption left in the city likely has lava way at its bottom, but it also has a fairly consistent stream of spellplagued monsters and elemental horrors coming out of it.
The Spellplague: The warping magics set off by the Great Cataclysm for some reason are more frequent in this region, and have been even more frequent since the eruption of Mt. Hotenow. Even common citizens may go to bed fine one night, then wake up with a bizarre magical deformity the next day.
Thay: The Red Wizards are doing “something” in the region… nobody knows what that is, but it’s no doubt something bad.
The Crags: A vast region of hills, mountains, & cliffs to the northeast of Mt. Hotenow, this region is rife with goblins, ogres, hill giants, and other less-civilized critters.
Gauntlgrym: A lost Dwarven city/fortress somewhere in the mountains near Neverwinter, it is unknown what happened to cause this city to fall (though if they accidentally dug into a lava vein, one can use one’s imagination). There are many rumored treasures to be found by any who discover this lost location, but tales of lost treasures are as common as rubble in the city of Neverwinter.
Luskan: Perhaps 80 miles south of Neverwinter, this port city was made famous by shipbuilders, and gained the name “The City of Sails”. However, that was almost 100 years ago, and nowadays the city is a cesspool of pirates & thieves. It is, however, the nearest civilized settlement to Neverwinter, and these days it’s a toss-up as to which place is worse. I mean, sure, you’ll get robbed and stabbed in Luskan… but at least there aren’t spellplagued monsters leaping out of a lava fissure.
The Mere of Dead Men: Located 5 miles southeast of Luskan, this huge salt marsh has consumed numerous castles, manors, villages, and anything else that’s tried to stay permanently above it. However, that means it’s also full of treasure, so there is never a shortage of foolish entrepreneurs ready to try building something new on some just-discovered “safe” spot of land in the middle of the mere. Also a favorite dumping ground for murdered bodies from Luskan, there are most definitely unquiet dead in these realms.
Morgur’s Mound: Ancient Northman barbarian legends say that their greatest hero, Uthgart, defeated a Storm Giant god here. Uthgart’s brother, Morgur, buried his brother’s body here, and went out to slay many storm beasts to use their bones in constructing a cairn around the hero’s body. Morgur was struck by lightning as he laid the last bone into place on his brother’s shrine, and the site gained his name because it was, literally, his life’s work. However, that was before the Great Cataclysm, and now that orcs and other hordelings roam that region, it is likely that the grave has been robbed and anything of value taken. Still, the hill has a constant storm above it, a fact that often attracts orcish storm shaman elders.
Mount Hotenow: NE of Neverwinter. A mountain that turned out to be a volcano, this was what ruined the city 50ish years ago. It is likely vents from Hotenow that heat Neverwinter River, which is warm year-round.
Neverwinter Wood: Located NW of Mt. Hotenow, these woods are full of orcs, as well as the occasional barbarian tribe that doesn’t go buy the “benefits” that civilization offers.
Sharandar Woods: East of Mt. Hotenow. The Elven kingdom of Illiyanbruen once thrived in these woods, and “Sharandar” was the name of the capital of that kingdom. It is believed that the Great Cataclysm and trouble in the feywild had something to do with the fall of this kingdom, though a few Eladrin families did create a “New Sharandar” in one of their safer Feywild realms. Now it’s mostly overgrown, very wild woods, though if you know where to look you might still find relics from this ancient civilization.
Back to LOCATIONS