Once known as the City of Skilled Hands and the Jewel of the North, Neverwinter sits on the northern Sword Coast between Waterdeep and Luskan. The legendary traveler and storyteller Volo described Neverwinter as the most cosmopolitan and the most civilized city in all of Faerûn, but that was a long time ago. Neverwinter weathered the Spellplague reasonably well, but the eruption of Mount Hotenow in the Year of Knowledge Unearthed (419 NR, 1451 DR) was cataclysmic for the city.
Five years ago, in the Year of the Fourth Circle (442 NR, 1474 DR), Dagult Neverember, the Open Lord of Waterdeep, came to the city with a small army of mercenaries from Mintarn and massive funding from Waterdeep to help rebuild the city. While some see him as a savior, others — the Sons of Alagondar chief among them — see him as an imperialist intent on annexing the city.
Though once a large, cosmopolitan city, Neverwinter today has more the feel of a frontier town sitting in the middle of a monster-infested ruin. The roads into and out of Neverwinter have fallen into disuse, making the only safe route to the city by sea, though pirates from Luskan can make that a dangerous journey as well. Most of Neverwinter’s population became refugees nearly a generation ago. Those who remained faced decades of hard work rebuilding their homes while erecting defenses like the Wall and fighting off the monsters that nested in the ruins. Those who have come to Neverwinter since have braved long, dangerous journeys to reach a place with no promise of an easy or safe life, only the opportunity to build something new. It would be best to assume that anyone you meet living in Neverwinter today has their own stories of heroism, or at least adventure.
Before the Luskan invasion, Neverwinter was made up of four districts built around the city core. The core was primarily made up of the Hall of Justice and Castle Never, with the three famous, intricately carved bridges — the Sleeping Dragon, the Winged Wyvern, and the Dolphin. The old Peninsula District used to extend from this core out to the coast, covering the “peninsula” formed by the Sea of Swords and the Neverwinter River. The southeast quarter of the city was the Beggar’s Nest, the poorest part of the city, extending east from Neverdeath. The northern quarter of the city was the Blacklake District, built around Blacklake, where the city’s rich and powerful made their homes. To its south and west, the Docks were a seedy and sometimes dangerous area that nonetheless provided Neverwinter with most of its trade and wealth.
The Luskan invasion in the Year of Wild Magic (340 NR, 1372 DR) destroyed much of the city. The Peninsula District and the Beggar’s Nest were completely destroyed. The Peninsula District was never rebuilt, while the Beggar’s Nest became a much more affluent community after the war.
Neverwinter weathered the Spellplague relatively well. They found few enemies that were not intimidated by Waterdeep to the south or the pirates from Luskan to the north, so the city also feared little from foreign invasion. This made it a safe haven for many in the tumultuous years following the Year of Blue Fire (353 NR, 1385 DR). The city expanded eastward along the river, including the new River District, which became home to the city’s burgeoning merchant class.
Unfortunately, the city proved less well-defended against infiltration than it did against invasion. By the time of Nasher Alagondar’s great-grandson, Hugo Babris, a Netherese expedition had gained control of the city in all but name, and one enterprising tiefling captain named Herzgo Alegni pressed even that line, having the Winged Wyvern briefly renamed after him.
The eruption of Mount Hotenow in the Year of Knowledge Unearthed (419 NR, 1451 DR) changed the city again. The area where the Beggar’s Nest had once been and the city’s eastward expansions south of the river opened up into the Chasm, while the new River District became a monster-infested ruin. The Blacklake District endured, as both the solid construction and the magical wards put in place by the city’s elite helped them survive much of the cataclysm’s destruction. Much of the city’s surviving native population descends from the rich and powerful in Blacklake, which has since become the center for resistance to Dagult Neverember. The old city core suffered the least destruction in the cataclysm, and so became the seat of Neverember’s power. It is now called the Protector’s Enclave in his honor.