An imposing fixture of Neverwinter’s western end, Castle Never stands as a monument to the city’s former glory. The cataclysm struck it hard, toppling towers, collapsing walls, and starting fires that burned throughout the structure. The entire royal family is thought to have perished, and the remaining servants sealed the vaults, crypts, and grounds with the hope that a worthy heir to Neverwinter would arrive one day to take his or her rightful place on the throne. On that day, it is said, the magic treasures and other resources of the castle will serve the new ruler.
In the interim, Castle Never has become a war zone. Several factions vie for dominance over the empty castle and its throne. In particular, Valindra Shadowmantle of Thay seeks to plunder one resource the castle offers: the corpses of rulers past and the legendary Neverwinter Nine, bodyguards to the kings of the city.
To the uninformed eye, Castle Never looks like a big, hulking ruin. Half its towers fell in the cataclysm, and the wall on its seaward side crumbled to rubble. Chunks of stone and fallen statues litter the windswept courtyard. Inside, the stone corridors stink of ash and dust, which swirls up around the feet of intruders. Even in their emptiness, the corridors never seem vacant. The spirits of the hundreds who died here linger on.
The castle was built on a strong foundation, however, and if the structure were purged of monsters, it could be refurbished. Many of the interior rooms collapsed, but others stand eerily intact. The least damaged parts of the castle are also the best fortified: the firmly locked armory, the great hall, and the Neverneath dungeon.
Ghosts of Castle Never
Having died in the cataclysm that killed their city, the heirs of Alagondar and their closest servants still dwell in their palatial home, bound to its crumbling foundation. Some wail like banshees or weep helplessly at their current existence, but others seem to have accepted their fate and offer encouragement or cryptic secrets to visitors. The ghosts are as likely to ignore intruders as attack them. Few ghosts are willing to provide hints to the location of treasure hidden in the castle, and they respond violently to perceived thieves. The ghosts might or might not know the location of the Crown of Neverwinter, and those who do are unlikely to give straight answers.
Valindra Shadowmantle has yet to find a way to control these undead vestiges of the Alagondars and their servants. If she ever succeeds, their ghostly abilities and royal secrets will greatly aid her cause.
When confronted with ghosts, the characters’ first instincts might be hostile, but the remnants of Castle Never could be a boon rather than a hindrance. Many of the ghosts are the spirits of the deceased royal family, offering reconciliation with an unknown past (for a Neverwinter noble character) and a rare opportunity to chronicle the last days of Neverwinter (for an Oghma’s faithful character). However, the ghosts speak in riddles, both because it amuses them and because the strain of undeath wreaks havoc on their sanity. Other adventurers can be tied to the spirits as well. One ghost might bear a similar brand to that of a devil’s pawn character—in life, that ghost took part in the rituals of Asmodeus and can provide insight as to the meaning and purpose of the brand. One of the Alagondar heirs might have married an elf who perished in the castle and now holds secrets of value to an Iliyanbruen guardian. A spellscarred harbinger character might terrify the ghosts, who see the character’s potential even if he or she does not.
Crown of Neverwinter
According to stories circulating in the city, the Crown of Neverwinter—enchanted to shield the wearer from the extremes of heat and cold—marks the true heir of Neverwinter, and all others who don the crown find themselves burned by frost and fire. The crown lies hidden somewhere in the ruins of the city. Place it to meet the needs of your game. Finding the crown would be an important victory in the overarching quest of a Neverwinter noble character, or it might serve to help Lord Neverember validate his leadership of the city.