Content of the article: "Neverwinter DM Guide | Lore & Urban Encounters for DoIP & LMoP"
This post is based on a video below (and a supplement linked in the comments) if you prefer to watch/listen 🙂
Neverwinter DM Guide video: https://youtu.be/bISK_77hbt4
Neverwinter: This city was badly damaged when Mount Hotenow erupted some fifty years ago. Now, the City of Skilled Hands works to rebuild under the watchful eye of its Lord Protector, Dagult Neverember, who rules in the absence of an heir to Neverwinter’s crown. At present, no legitimate heirs to the old Alagondar royal line are known to exist, and many believe that the line is ended. Lord Neverember, taking no chances, quietly pays off or disposes of anyone claiming a connection to the rulers of old." – Dragon of Icespire Peak
Neverwinter sounds pretty cool, huh? Too bad that’s the only information about it in DoIP and LMoP even though it’s on the Sword Coast maps for both of these adventures! So in this post we explore this city using Urban Encounters for Neverwinter:
- 1 page guide to the city
- Full page hand-drawn city map
- 50 names for random NPCs,
- 20 thematic encounters to entertain your party!
A Brief History
The City of Skilled Hands lies in northwest Faerun where the High Road crosses the mouth of the Neverwinter River. The city’s nickname praises the gardeners of Neverwinter who are known to keep their crops green all year round with the help of the river’s warm waters. Heated by elemental forces beneath the nearby volcano, Mount Hotenow, the river rarely ices over in winter. The formal name, Neverwinter, is thought to come from a Chondathan translation of its old Illuskan name, Eigersstor, or from an Iliyanbruen (ill-ee-yan-brew-en) sun elf military leader, Halueth Never, said to have called the place “Never’s Winter” in a desperate battle centuries ago. Neverwinter flourished under Lord Nasher Alagondar and his descendants (between crises such as the Wailing Death and the Spellplague) until the entire royal family was killed during the Hotenow eruption of 1451 DR. Also called “the Ruining,” this eruption devastated the Jewel of the North; killing thousands, forming a massive canyon, and laying waste to smaller settlements in the region. In 1467 DR Lord Dagult Neverember of Waterdeep proclaimed himself an Alagondar heir and started the New Neverwinter movement to rebuild the city with his own fortune. After Neverember was exiled from Waterdeep, the self-titled Lord Protector of Neverwinter centralized his power through high taxes on the nobility and heavy regulation on guilds. The modern city of Neverwinter is protected by stone walls and an army of Mintarn mercenaries. At the people’s request these soldiers are gradually being replaced by locals often trained by adventurers, as Neverember refuses to hire officials from Baldur’s Gate or Waterdeep. Hardened by destruction, Neverwintans are determined to protect their city, and many worship Tyr the Even-Handed, but the overall diverse population has temples dedicated to many deities.
The city is roughly circular and bisected by the Neverwinter River as it runs east to west into the Sea of Swords. The southwest quarter, or the Protector’s Enclave, is the political center. It contains the Neverdeath Graveyard, the cathedral-like temple of Oghma called the House of Knowledge, and the Hall of Justice, which serves both as the primary public office and the temple of Tyr. The Protector’s Enclave shares the river docks and Neverwinter’s three bridges (the Dolphin, the Winged Wyvern, and the Sleeping Dragon) with the northwest Blacklake District. This quarter contains the mostly empty Castle Never, and it was named after the Blacklake within, though the lake was recently renamed Bluelake as part of Neverember’s rebuilding. The Chasm dominates the southeast quarter, and the northeast quarter is known as the River or Tower District… Popular inns of Neverwinter include the Driftwood Tavern, the Beached Leviathan, the Moonstone Mask, the Shining Serpent Inn, and the Fallen Tower.
Neverwintan Society & Adventure Ideas
With all that sweet lore in mind, we know that Neverwinter and the river are always a little bit warm for the season. So there should be lots of flowers, and fruit trees in this city, maybe including some citrus or other subtropical fruits that are able to grow here in the warm air and rich volcanic soils. The people of Neverwinter should still hold reverence for the long-gone Alagondar family, and if any of your characters got the Dragonslayer sword from the Dragon Barrow in Dragon of Icespire Peak, which is the tomb of Lady Tanamere Alagondar, perhaps a historian or noble person will recognize the blade and inquire about how the character obtained it!
I also imagine the city to be sharply divided between gentrified areas that have been rebuilt in the last several years, and poorer neighborhoods that have been neglected since the eruption and formation of the chasm, where many working class people have been hurt by Neverember’s harsh policies on guilds. However, I also think of Neverwinter as this somewhat isolated northern city that not many people pass through or migrate into, so the people of Neverwinter, rich or poor, have been here for generations and are strongly devoted to their city, which is why they accept Lord Protector Dagult Neverember: for all his flaws and questionable methods, he’s successfully rebuilding their home, and, his own home!
The Sword Coast Adventurer's Guide, which I used to research the city, says that “Castle Never remains a dangerous ruin,” BUT the final adventure of Beyond Icespire Peak provides an update! In this module, Divine Contention, your party is actually sent to Neverwinter to ask Lord Neverember for more soldiers in Leilon, and they meet him in a red-carpeted throne room in Castle Never. And that’s all the description they give, but according to the Forgotten Realms Wiki page this Castle makes for a great quest location!
- There’s the Vault of the Nine: a magically sealed crypt beneath the castle where the bodyguards of the original royal family are interred.
- There’s the Neverneath, aka the “Endless Maze”: more magically sealed catacombs containing the corrupted spirit of Lord Halueth Never who reshapes the corridors at will into an infinite deadly labyrinth.
- And there are legends that the Alagondar crown is hidden somewhere in a secret vault which can only be opened by a true heir of the royal bloodline.
Unfortunately, I didn’t know any of that when I wrote this supplement, but let’s be honest– that clearly deserves its own module, so it’s on my to-do list! Now, let’s check out a few encounters from the supplement!
- Graffiti Puzzle
An odd work of graffiti catches your eye. It just doesn’t look like… anything! Maybe it’s too abstract for your taste.
This painting can be identified as a word with a DC 15 Intelligence (Investigation) skill check, but the character needs proficiency in Giant to identify the script and read the word, “left.” There are three more of these strange artworks in the city: “right” in Draconic, “up” in Common, and “down” in Undercommon. From a bird’s-eye-view or map of the city, these four paintings form an X with the centerpoint indicating the location of a Zhentarim hideout in the Tower district.
- Make Way!
“Make way! Move it!–Hey, watch it!–Ow!” a series of voices grow louder down the street as a muscled halfling weaves through the crowd with two guards chasing behind.
Everyday officer Bogrel takes an apple from Farley’s cart without paying, and today the halfling freely offered the guard a carved, painted, and polished onion. Bogrel did not find it funny.
- Donation Request
“Excuse me, dear traveller. Have you heard the good word of Oghma?” asks a robed elf with a gleaming smile, “Please, small donations go a long way to support our mission.
Waylen has been a priest of Oghma the Lord of Knowledge for many years. Their church’s mission is to enrich Neverwintan youth with historical and religious education. Supporting this mission can affect the party’s reputation however you see fit!
- Public Punishment
A griseled dwarf stands chained to a post in a plaza ahead as a nearby guard reads their crimes to a small crowd. Some of the onlookers are eagerly waiting with baskets of rotten food.
Grand larceny, tax evasion, inciting assembly, and other exaggerated crimes incurred while attempting to establish a guild for sewer workers. You can determine how the accused and the guard will react to interruptions. For darker themes, the crimes could be more severe and/or the onlookers could be waiting with stones.
- Field Trip
“Alright everyone, stay together! Aldus, get back with your field buddy!” A mostly orderly group of about 20 children are being herded down the street by a few teachers and chaperones.
This class is headed to the Grand Garden Park in the Protector’s Enclave to study birds, but they could be on their way to a market, theater, museum, or other fun and educational site.
- Theater Show Announcement
“A night you’ll never forget!” proclaims a well-dressed human announcer passing out flyers for the downtown Blacklake Theater.
The God’s Father, The Wizard Of Ooze, Silence Of The Lamias, 1002 A Planar Odyssey, etc. Choose a story to transform, and be sure to throw a phantom in this opera!
You can see more encounters in the preview on DMs Guild (linked below). Thank you for reading 😀
- I wrote myself into a corner with my final boss (DoIP), unsure of what to do? (Spoilers for Icespire sequel content)
- I’m using Dragon of Icespire Peak as a segue between Lost Mine of Phandelver and Rise of Tiamat, neee some help planning and foreshadowing it
- I’m using Dragon of Icespire Peak as a segue between Lost Mine of Phandelver and Rise of Tiamat, please help me plan and foreshadow it
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