Trouble in the North
Neverwinter, also known as the City of Skilled Hands or the Jewel of the North, is a metropolis sitting on the northwestern Sword Coast of Faerûn. Neverwinter is 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 is 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, are not distributed, as part of an effort to thwart Luskan spies.
The city of Neverwinter is so named because, even though the town is situated in the cold north of Faerûn, the Neverwinter River that flows through it is 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.
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, hired artisans and carpenters to help rebuild the city and mercenaries to protect it from monsters; he eventually created the title of Lord Protector of Neverwinter, held by Neverember himself. However, it is questioned whether Dagult is the rightful 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.