Relics of the North
Jewel of the North
A once-bustling metropolis, the northern city of Neverwinter lies mostly in ruins after a century of turmoil that culminated in a great cataclysms nearly thirty years ago. Fires, earthquakes and evil portents destroyed or chased away most of the populace, but even the waking of an ancient primordial could not kill the city completely. Some stubborn natives remained, carrying on in spite of countless hardships. Because of them – and because of the reconstruction efforts of the last decade – Neverwinter still stands, despite its tragedies. Today, the city is a center of trade, warfare both open and secret, and – above all – adventure.
After so much abuse and neglect, much of the city’s architecture is damaged or lies in rubble. Recent repair efforts have given Neverwinter a pathwork appearance; slums are juxtaposed with new construction, all resting on the shattered remnants of old buildings. Certain districts are more intact than others, and former citizens have returned to such areas, thanks to the efforts of the city’s Lord Protector: Dagult Neverember, Open Lord of Waterdeep.
Neverwinter residents look with fond patriotism upon the life and reign of Nasher Alagondar, a former adventurer who ascended to rule the city over 150 years ago. One remarkable story tells that he refused the title of king for much if not all of his reign; today, natives of Neverwinter still debate whether he was truly a king or merely a shepherd of his people. Regardless, Alagondar guided the city with a fair hand through his faith in Tyr, at that time the god of justice, and his chosen bodyguards and boon companions, the legendary Neverwinter Nine.
Many details of Alagondar’s life have been forgotten in the wake of the Spellplague and the cataclysm, but it is known that he gave rise to a line of kings who ruled long and well. An ostensibly unbroken line of succession traces from Alagondar to the last king and queen of Never winter, who vanished twenty-seven years ago in the cataclysm that claimed the city.
That catastrophe drastically depleted Neverwinter’s population. A few dozen holdouts remained, refusing to leave their ancestral homes. Unfortunately for them, much of the southeastern quadrant of the city collapsed into a yawning pit, known as the Chasm, that continually spawned plaguechanged horrors. Holdouts of martial bent built a wall to keep back the monsters, and in time their patrols became a sacred duty.
Over the past decade, Dagult Neverember has made progress in restoring the devastated city. Seeing an opportunity to add to his mercantile empire, Lord Neverember employed an army of artisans and carpenters to rebuild, and he hired mercenaries from Mintarn to keep monsters at bay and maintain order. Five years ago, Neverember established the Protector’s Enclave from his base in the Hall of Justice, and declared that section of the city safe for occupation once more. Since then, he has worked to tame the wild streets, rebuild the ruins, and coax the refugees to return to their homes.
People who did not abandon the city after the cataclysm are slow to accept the Lord Protector’s control of what some call “New Neverwinter.” In particular, a rebel group called the Sons of Alagondar united to throw out the man they call the Pretender through a campaign of public agitation, sabotage, and theft. Behind the rebels, the steady hand of the northern Harpers offered guidance, seeking to prevent another would-be tyrant’s rise in the fragile region. However, in the wake of their leader’s recent murder, the Sons have struck out on their own; the Harpers now despair of reclaiming the city for good and freedom.
But Lord Neverember’s police state extends only so far. Beyond the Protector’s Enclave as many monsters as natives roam the streets, laying claim to whole quarters of the city. The northeastern portion is ruled by orcs from the Kingdom of Many-Arrows. In the northwest, the neighborhood of Blacklake roils with tension from both secret and overt opposition to Lord Neverember. The southeastern area of the city lies in ruins surrounding the massive Chasm. Neverwinter’s poorly policed streets and tenuous political situation make it a likely target for all manner of villains. Never have heroes been more needed in the Savage North.