Leagues beyond the city of Neverwinter, a thick press of trees shrouds a foreign world in shadows and fear. In places, the land’s brush grows into dense walls, and trespassers must hew through it branch by branch to gain access to the land’s private places. Where the thickets are lighter and natural pathways allow for easier travel, the land’s aura is no less menacing. Overhead, the canopy’s branches and leaves intertwine into wooden fists, blotting out the sun and transforming the idea of “day” into a memory of brighter, safer domains. Travelers who risk entering this looming forest feel baleful eyes tracking their movements. Despite the warm temperature, a coldness creeps inside their clothing, sending shivers down their spines.
While Neverwinter Wood was always dense and somewhat dark, there is no doubt that it has become colder and darker since the Spellplague. In those days, there was a mass migration of fey from the Feywild, and some say that it was the dark fey who took up residence in the Wood who have transformed it. However, travelers insist that there are other dark forces in the Wood — even that there is a full-blown war being fought between armies from the Shadowfell being waged in the forest’s dark recesses.
Before the Spellplague there was a druidic circle in Neverwinter Wood called the Ring of Swords who worked to drive out hobgoblins, gnolls, and bugbears from the woods, as well as protect its ancient sites from treasure seekers. They have not been heard from in some time, though, and most believe they perished long ago. The Wood could certainly use such guardians now.
Volcanic heat and Mount Hotenow’s underground springs ensure that the Neverwinter River is true to its name. From its source on the mountain’s slopes all the way to the sea, the waterway never freezes. It remains warm on all but the coldest days. The river and its tributaries maintain the wood’s balmy temperature, seemingly denying the seasons access to the forest.
Despite their warmth and the prevalence of fish, turtles, and other aquatic life in them, neither the Neverwinter nor three of its four tributaries — the Gibdraw, Berun’s River, and Edals Creek — have spawned tales of river monsters. Only the River Morgur has been associated with such beasts. Such rumors are uncommon, though, and they often differ dramatically in their descriptions.