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The once great city of Neverwinter has been largely destroyed and pillaged due to a series of unfortunate events beginning 150 years ago, including war, plague, and destruction. Over a century ago the goddess Mystra was killed in her domain of Dweomerheart. (She has since been reborn.) The magical fallout from this event is called “The Spellplague.” Among other catastrophies, this magical cataclysm caused massive earthquakes, which eventually triggered an eruption of the nearby volcano Mount Hotenow. Additionally, a fissure opened up within the city limits out of which ash zombies emerged. Many adults who survived and remained in the city, grew up defending the city from “The Chasm.” Sensing the weakness of the city Orcish invaders pillaged what was left of the city, only leaving when needed as reinforcements for their ongoing war with the dwarves to the east.

The City Today

Many factions work for control of the city but:

*indicates excerpts from the Sword Coast Adventurer’s Guide

*Since Dagult Neverember was deposed as the Open Lord of Waterdeep, he has thrown his full attention and effort into the rebuilding of the city from which he claims decent. Whatever people’s opinions are of his claim to Neverwinter’s throne, he has proven a capable, inspiring leader over these last few years, and the population has embraced him under the new title, Lord Protector. He has engineered the sealing of the Chasm and the restoration of the High Road, and is seeking other ways to improve the city. Even if he can never prove his descent from Lord Nasher Alagondar, the people of Neverwinter have accepted his leadership.

*Neverember’s influence radiates outward from the Protector’s Enclave, centered at the Hall of Justice. With Tyr restored to life and his worship returning to prominence, the Lord Protector has moved into a modest, private villa. This sacrifice- and the renewal of Tyr’s faith in the previous center of this operations- is only further proof to some, that Neverember deserves to rule Neverember. (Paladins may choose the Holy Order of the Samular- Oath of the Crown. Ask the DM for details.) As yet, Castle Never remains a dangerous ruin, but Neverember has plans to reclaim and rebuild it as a symbol of the city’s rejuvenation.

*The faithful of Oghama have arrived in Neverwinter to restore the House of Knowledge to its former glory but beyond that shrines to all manner of gods have been cobbled together in every corner of the city.

*Increasingly, calls come from the citizenry for the enforcers out of Mintarn to be replaced by respectable, local guards who have a personal interest in the defense of Neverwinter. This public sentiment has led to some neighborhoods organizing their own makeshift militias, and the Lord Protector wants to avoid conflict between them and the mercenaries he has hired. As a result, Neverember has slowly been drawing down the number of soldiers from Mintarn, as citizens that grew up defending the makeshift Wall from threats out of the Chasm prove themselves capapble of becoming a proper military force. Both Baldur’s Gate and Waterdeep have offered to help train the new guards but Lord Neverember prefers the assistance of seasoned adventurers to the ignominy of seeking help from his former city.

The Larger Political Structure:

*The Lord’s Alliance isn’t a nation unto itself, but a partnership of the rulers of towns and cities across the North, who have pledged peace with one another and promised to share information and effort against common threats such as orc hordes and Northlander pirates. It is a loose confederation of those settlements and their agents, all of whom owe allegiance first to their homelands, and second to the Lord’s Alliance.

*In the harsh lands of the North, where winters are cold and monsters and human barbarians regularly stream out of the mountains to pillage outlying settlements, large nations are rare indeed, particularly in the current state of the world. Instead, great city-states have emerged enriched by trade and protected by stout city walls and loyal defenders. Such cities- including Baldur’s Gate, Mirabar, Neverwinter, Silverymoon, and Waterdeep- extend their influence into nearby regions often creating or accepting vassal settlements, but in the end these realms are cities, driven to consider their own protection and future before other concerns.

The Region:

This is the largest continent of the world Toril in the Forgotten Realms, is called Faerun. The region the characters are likely most familiar with, is the north-west region the Faerun referred to as the Sword Coast bordering the Sea of Swords. Please see the Map section for Maps.

The Lord’s Alliance is not the only political structure in the region.

There are independent cities in this area, most notably Neverwinter’s rival Luskan, a naval city known best for piracy and privateering. The city was beset by the same misfortunes as Neverwinter and currently provides little threat to the city proper. Its reavers however continue to pillage costal villages and unfortunate ships.

Helm’s Hold is another local independent settlement. It is a town which has grown around the Cathedral of Helm and has its own order the Order of the Gilded Eye which was formed after evil corruption was driven out of the Cathedral. This order is more aggressive about rooting out evil threats to the Order of the Gauntlet. *It is dedicated to protecting the world and good people by rooting out hidden evils and severing connections with other planes. According to their members it’s not enough to fight threats that arise. Many lives can be saved if the signs of evil and those who dabble in darkness are actively sought out and destroyed before they open gateways to larger threats. Since its founding, the Order of the Guilded Eye has grown in number and its capacity to deal with threats, welcoming exorcists, abjurers, and spies as well as paladins and clerics of Helm. (Paladins May Choose the Order of the Gilded Eye- Oath of Devotion or the Oath of Vengance.)

There are also the ancient Dwarfholds of the North which have been seeing a return to strength in their endless battles with the Orcs and the Underdeep denizens. Gauntlygrym is the nearest city to Neverwinter and is going through as similar rebuilding effort having been recently taken back from the Underdeep. It is hoped that a trade agreement with this city will be mutually beneficial in Neverwinter’s effort to arm and armor its city guard.

The island kingdoms trade quite a bit with Neverwinter. Specifically the Mintarns have benefited from Lord Neverember’s employ both in Waterdeep and Neverwinter. A dragon, Hoondarrh – called the Red Rage of Mintarn – tyrannizes these people. The gold Mintarn mercenaries make on the sword coast largely goes to pay tribute to the dragon. However with Waterdeep rebuilding its own navy to replace its Mintarn mercinary ships and Neverwinter cutting back on its soldiers, the island is in danger of its ability to pay the tribute. The Mintarns are desperately hoping the giant hoard the dragon has amassed will entice adventurers to slay it for profit.

The Underdark is the subterranean world where many evil aligned creatures dwell including the Drow (Dark Elves) and other twisted creatures of the dark.

While many elves have integrated into most cities and make up a large portion of the population in some Lord’s Alliance cities such as Silverymoon, many live in the wilds of the High Forest. However many elves left the continent of Faerun for the continent of Evermeet which they raised out of the sea using powerful magic in Ancient times. This caused the first sundering and its ripple throughout time is believed to be the cause of the many calamities which have befallen Toril in the past few thousand years.

Political Factions:

The Harpers, the Order of the Gauntlet, the Emerald Enclave, The Lord’s Alliance, and Zhentarim are all factions which you may choose to be members of. As a group you may all choose to be part of the same faction. This could be one of the things that brings your characters together. If this idea interests you, feel free to discuss it with the other players on the Forum. You do not need to join one of these factions or you could each be from different factions. If you are interested, please let the DM know for more details.

Here is a link to the narrative components of the factions on the D&D website:
Political Factions

Other Backgrounds available:
Found in the Sword Coast Adventurer Guide:

City Watch
Clan Crafter
Cloistered Scholar
Faction Agent
Knight of the Order
Mercenary Vetran
Urban Bounty Hunter
Waterdhavian/Neverwinter Noble

Ask the DM for details.

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Out of the Ashes - EC thesweeg