Neverwinter, also known as the City of Skilled Hands or the Jewel of the North, is a metropolis sitting on the northwestern Sword Coast of Faerûn. Neverwinter is regarded by many, including the erudite travel writer Volo q, as the most cosmopolitan and the most civilized city in all of Faerûn, quite a reputation, considering the breadth and variety of the continent. The city is a member in good standing of the Lords’ Alliance and Lord Nasher has ensured that the city is well defended, both physically and magically, against attacks or infiltration from Luskan, Neverwinter’s warlike rival. Maps of the city, which has a maze of meandering streets, are not distributed, as part of an effort to thwart Luskan spies.
The city of Neverwinter is so named because, even though the town is situated in the cold north of Faerûn, the Neverwinter River that flows through it is heated by fire elementals living under the nearby Mount Hotenow in the Neverwinter Wood. The heat given off from the river creates a permanent warm climate in the immediate area; without the elementals, the river, and subsequently the city’s water supply, would freeze over.
Neverwinter is one of the cities on the trade route, The High Road. Many years ago, the forces of Neverwinter were involved in a battle with the King of Shadows. None of the men sent into combat survived the battle, although the garrison at Fort Locke survived a demonic onslaught.
In 1372 DR the city succumbed to the Wailing Death, a disease that resisted magical healing and killed most of the population of the city. The cure was eventually found but the casualties by that time were catastrophic.
It was soon discovered that the Wailing Death was merely the precursor of war between Neverwinter and its enemy, the city of Luskan. Although it was the Sarrukh Queen Morag who sponsored the war, rather than the Host Tower of the Arcane, the fighting (which ended in a stalemate, thanks to a plucky adventurer known only as the Hero of Neverwinter) soured the relationship between the two cities even more.
Despite this, a shaky relationship between Neverwinter and Luskan was reestablished until an upstart Host Tower mage named Black Garius attempted to raise an undead army to conquer Neverwinter, ostensibly in the name of the King of Shadows. Again, an adventurer put an end to the plans of Black Garius and defeated the King of Shadows once and for all.
Unfortunately the conflict, which came to be known as the Shadow War, left the economy of the Sword Coast North in tatters, and its security was in doubt due to the deaths of so many Greycloaks during the fighting. This made it a great opportunity for an enterprising Samarachan mercantile house led by a woman named Sa’Sani. Under her leadership, and with the assistance of a group of adventurers, the Neverwinter region’s economy was brought back to health by the end of the Year of Lightning Storms.
Neverwinter and other cities north of Waterdeep fared poorly in the years following the Spellplague, and by the Year of the Ageless One both it and Luskan were in utter ruins.
In 1451 DR, a Thayan plot to create a dread ring in Neverwinter Wood resulted in the release of the fire primordial who had been enslaved in ancient times by the Delzoun dwarves of Gauntlgrym to power their forge. The primordial’s awakening resulted in the explosion of Mount Hotenow and unleashed a pyroclastic flow which completely destroyed Neverwinter. By 1461 DR, some settlers had returned to Neverwinter in an attempt to re-establish the city. 7 Work on New Neverwinter started by building a new town around the ruins of the old city, however the dead constantly threaten the work on New Neverwinter.