I’m just about to start DM’ing Dungeons and Dragons 5th Edition, making a leap over from the Pathfinder universe. We’re hoping to start with the Lost Mines of Phandelver, so the Neverwinter city will be our nearest large city of civilisation. Our motley crew of relatively inexperienced role-players will be new to the Forgotten Realms setting, as will I. To broaden my background knowledge of the city of Neverwinter, I decided to compile some research into this article, Neverwinter facts and features. Below you should also find a short timeline of important key city events.
These facts are for the Neverwinter city based in the Forgotten Realms campaign setting, not to be confused with the computer game, which may or may not share these events and features.
This is a working article, so may change as / when I learn new facts about Neverwinter. If I’ve made any mistakes please drop a comment at the bottom.
The city of Neverwinter
Neverwinter, also know as:
- ‘The City of Skilled Hands‘ due to the unusually large population of trained craftsman and artisans. This was immediately important after the eruption of Mount Hotenow (more below)
- ‘The Jewel of the North‘, as Neverwinter lies as one of the last significant and civilised cities among the savage cold lands of the North
Neverwinter is situated on the Sword Coast, the western edge of the Faerûn continent.
Neverwinter is situated between a nearby mountain (Mount Hotenow), Neverwinter Woods and the Trackless Sea.
The origin of the cities name has 3 possible sources:
- The city’s founder, Lord Never, defended and defeated an attack of orcs. The name, Never’s Winter, changed over the years to simply become Neverwinter.
- The prestigious gardeners can keep the city’s gardens in full bloom, even when a heavy winter hits,
- The Neverwinter River is heated by fire elementals underneath Mount Hotenow. This produces a warmer climate around the city and its surrounding geographical features. The river and Neverwinter Harbour do not freeze over even in Winter
The five sectors of Neverwinter
Here’s a link to a high resolution map of Neverwinter, without any labels etc.
Neverwinter can be split into roughly the five following sectors / areas:
- The Neverwinter River. This river runs through the heart of the city, dividing it into a northern and a southern side. It brings warm water down from Mount Hotenow out to sea. It opens up into the harbour.
- The River District (aka the Tower District). Situated in the North-Eastern sector.
- The Blacklake District. Situated in the North-Western sector of the city.
- Protector’s Enclave. Situated in the South-Western sector of the city. This sector suffered the least damage from the eruption and the earthquakes. It is now the seat of the Lord Protector of Neverwinter, at the Hall of Justice (previously the temple of Tyr). Has the best and richest markets in Neverwinter.
- The Chasm (aka The Rift). Formed by the eruption of Mount Hotenow in 1451 DR. Situated in the South-East sector and magically sealed in 1484 DR. I’m not sure yet what district this is in, unless it’s the Chasm district?
Key Buildings of Neverwinter
- Three bridges connect the southern part of the city to the north: The Dolphin, the Sleeping Dragon and the Winged Wyvern. Only the latter survived the war and the eruption. I believe the former 2 have been rebuilt.
- The Clock Tower.
- The Wall. A long-term ‘temporary’ wall that separates the South-Eastern sector (and the Chasm) from the riches of the South-Western sector, the Protector’s Enclave.
- Castle Never. Situated on the Western side of the city, between the Blacklake District to the north and the Protectors Enclave to the south.
Neverwinter Campaign Settings
A lot of these district details and buildings are written up in huge detail, in the superb Dungeons and Dragons supplement, ‘Neverwinter Campaign Settings‘ book.
If you’re interested in the history or lore of Neverwinter, I’d definitely recommend picking up this D&D supplement.
It also features a lot of Neverwinter’s factions, foes, character themes and plot hooks.
The graphics inside are pretty cool too. I think I must compile a DM inspirational gallery for D&D cities, similar to my gallery of inspiration for winter campaigns.
Grab the hardback version of Neverwinter Campaign Settings on Amazon.
Timeline of Events in Neverwinter
This is a short, very abridged, version of a timeline. It shows some of the major events that have affected Neverwinter. I feel like I’m missing a lot, so please drop me a comment below with key historical events.
Dates are measured in DR (Dale-Reckoning), which I had no idea about before this research.
- 87 DR. City is founded
- 1372 DR. Neverwinter is divided up into regions; only the Blacklake District remains in name.
- 1451 DR. Mount Hotenow erupts and destroys most of city. A great chasm is torn through the south-eastern sector due to the ensuing earthquake.
- 1467 DR. City is taken over by Dagult Neverember, Lord of Waterdeep. He is responsible for the rebuilding of Neverwinter to its former glory.
- 1484 DR. The Chasm was magically sealed; yet almost bankrupts the city
- ~1491 DR. Current Day?
People of Neverwinter! I am here not as a conqueror but as a protector. The soldiers I bring come to bolster the defences you have struggled to maintain, and to stop the lawlessness that threatens all you’ve already accomplished.
Together, we will do more than rebuild.
We will make a New Neverwinter!
– Dagult Neverember, Lord Protector
Inhabitants and Population
The population of Neverwinter is said to be approximately 23,200 [Source: Wikipedia]. Due to the bustling and cosmopolitan feel of Neverwinter, most races are found, even if it’s in small numbers.
The majority of the population is split into the following major races:
The following races are found less often, but are in no way rare or surprising in Neverwinter:
- Half-orcs (Minority but not rare)
As far as I know, all races are accepted in Neverwinter. The one exception might by distrust of Orc breeds, due to the wars with the Orc army.
So this is the research I’ve gleamed from various sources so far.
I need a section on Taverns and maybe the blacksmiths and potion sellers too.
Obviously I’m not trying to compile all of Neverwinters history here, just the key points that can be used to add depth to campaigns.
Plus this is an article I plan to expand with time.
Can you help
What am I missing?
What key buildings crop up time and time again?
Is the political structure or system worth noting?
I definitely need to add some information about religion and maybe a section on laws. What do you think?
Please drop me a comment below