Rites Of Passage
Info to come soon
Neverwinter Wood was located in the North, and possessed a sense of magic within it.1
Coming from Mount Hotenow, the Neverwinter River flowed through the woods of Neverwinter.
The Neverwinter Wood had a circle of druids, the Ring of Swords, who worked to drive out hobgoblins, gnolls, and bugbears from the woods, as well as protect its ancient sites from treasure seekers.
The elves originally called Neverwinter Wood the Llewyrrwood and the forest came to be a colony for Illefarn. When Aryvandaar annexed both Illefarn and the Llewyrrwood in -9900 DR, many of the residents fled to Shantel Othreier. Some stayed for a century, living under the yoke of the Vyshantaar until the queen of the Llewyrr, Synnoria, led a large force of her people out of their lands and across the Trackless Sea to the Moonshae Isles where they established the kingdom of Synnoria in her honour.
The Llewyrrwood was occupied once more when the realm of Illefarn was reformed. Circa -1100 DR, the last Coronal of Illefarn, Syglaeth Audark, decided to take his people to Evermeet. Again, some chose to remain in the Llewyrrwood, and formed the realm of Iliyanbruen which persisted until 177 DR when the last of its moon elves travel to Evermeet or Ardeep.
As of 1374 DR, elves still lived in the wood, though they made up one of the largest cells of the Eldreth Veluuthra, with other smaller cells operating in the surrounding area.7
After the Spellplague, Neverwinter Wood experienced a mass migration of fey from the plane of Faerie. Elves were also drawn here in large numbers and they attempted to re-found Iliyanbruen within the forest’s borders. Though they had to defeat a force of dark fey to reclaim their ancestral home, they quickly went about establishing the military outpost of New Sharandar around a portal to Faerie8.
Anyone who goes to Luskan should know about its ruling ships and the Arcane Brotherhood. The Shipsof Luskan have been described as bands of pirates, but that characterization misses how deeply ingrained the ships are to the society of Luskan and the mentality of its citizens. Attack a ship member and you might incur not just the wrath of the ship, but of much of the city as well. As for the Arcane Brotherhood, one member of it may or may not come to another’s aid, but know that each of these egotistical mages is eager to prove his or her magical prowess, and none can afford to show weakness before the folk of Luskan. Luskan, the City of Sails, spans the icy River Mirar, which tumbles from the Spine of the World, races past Mirabar, and then plunges toward the sea. The swift river has cut deep here, and Luskan rests atop two escarpments on either side, with sheer, forty-foot bluffs of gray stone rising above the water. Around the city’s perimeter, thick stone walls with squat towers provide defense. The southern gate, called the Twin Teeth, boasts the most impressive towers, standing twice as tall as the city walls, and bedecked with crenellations and arrow slits enough for numerous defenders, in a show of strength toward the southern approach.
Within the city walls and on the nearby waters, Luskan is ruled by its Ships and their five High Captains:
• First High Captain Beniago Kurth
• Second High Captain Barri Baram
• Third High Captain Dagmaer Suljack
• Fourth High Captain Throa Taerl
• Fifth High Captain Hartouchen Rethnor
Mirabar is the mining center for the Sword Coast, on the continent of Faerûn. The city’s Shield Dwarves live underground to oversee their workshops. The humans above cooperate with the Dwarves to handle the mining, move the ore to market and defend the city against magical threats. The nominal ruler of Mirabar is a hereditary marchion, but the true power is in an assembly called the Council of Sparkling Stones, a Dwarven and Human group that meets once a year to determine target production quotas and whether or not to threaten current clients with reduced output.
The city itself stands on a knoll on the north banks of the river Mirar. It is linked by good roads to its major mines in the Spine of the World mountains. These mines yield up almost all known metals and gemstones so they are guarded against Orc and monster raids by a standing army, the axe of Mirabar. The craftsmen of Mirabar also work the stone and metals taken out of the mines, transporting the stone to Luskan magically (for an exorbitant cost) to be shipped to the south, the worthless stone is crushed to improve the city’s roads. This means that the city is the richest city north of Waterdeep.
Deep below the city of Mirabar, lies Thyrm’s pass. Long ago, the dwarves of Mirabar sealed off this mine due to unstable ground and an ever growing presence of underdark denizens. It is rumored that the ground itself will open up and swallow anyone not careful enough to watch wear they are going. Those who have seen Thyrm’s Pass know that it leads to a large dwarven complex of some kind, but no one has laid eyes upon it in centuries and no one cares to risk their lives to find out what’s down there.
Ice Bone Peaks
Ice Bone Peaks is a small hilltop town that sits 3 days west of Mirabar. It acts as a stop-over for travelers and traders, as well as a refuge from frequent winter snow storms. Recently, the rising dangers from The Rippers have caused the Steward of Ice Bone Peaks to hire a contingent of guards that constantly patrol the the area and guard Ice Bone’s citizens.
A short while ago, Neverwinter was beset by all manner of damage, danger, and gloom. Now, the ores that once menaced the city have moved east to join their brethren
in being crushed by the dwarves. The Chasm that rent the land has been sealed by powerful magic. The High Road has been cleared and rebuilt, and trade has resumed with Waterdeep and realms to the south. What was the blasted, wounded city of Neverwinter just a decade ago is now an exciting, humming place, where folk seem eager to throw off the hardships from which they have emergeq and create a new, brighter future for
their city. Nearly half a century ago, Mount Hotenow (the nearby volcano that perpetually heats the river flowing through the city) violently erupted, destroying much of Neverwinter,
killing thousands, and leaving in its wake a great, gaping chasm that split the city. Neverwinter was in ruins, and external influences- from Netheril to Thay to Lord Dagult Neverember of Waterdeep to the agents of the Hells themselves- sought to exert control over the city. Many folk fought to stem all these dangers, and eventually, a measure of peace fell over Neverwinter. 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 descent. 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 as Lord Protector. He engineered the sealing of the Chasm and the restoration of the High Road, and is seeking other ways to repair and improve the city. Even if he can never prove his descent from Lord Nasher Alagondar, the people of Neverwinter have accepted his leadership.
The hamlet of Longsaddle is little more than a row of buildings on either side of the Long Road, halfway along the lengthy journey from Triboar to Mirabar. A path leaves the road here and winds to the Ivy Mansion, the great house of the wizards of the Harpell family. Since the Harpells founded the town more than four centuries ago, they have brooked little nonsense and less mayhem. Their own behavior sometimes borders on the bizarre and can be disturbing- they once turned two rival sects of Malarites into rabbits for disturbing Longsaddle with their squabbles, leaving them at the mercy of the predators they had honored- but they are one of the most potent gatherings of mages anywhere in the North. The primary business of Longsaddle is ranching, and the lands surrounding the village are dominated by hundreds of ranches and farms of every sort and size, from tiny horse farms to great fi elds of cattle. During those days that livestock are brought in for trading, Longsaddle is a dusty, noise-filled place, with the sounds of the animals competing with the shouts of farmers hoping to sell their goods.
The High Road
The High Road was the inland trade route that stretched from Waterdeep in the south to Luskan in the north. It skirted Thornhold and the eastern edge of the Mere of Dead Men where it passed beneath Iniarv’s Tower before going through Leilon. Shortly afterward it intersected with the western Triboar Cutoff then went through Neverwinter and Port Llast before coming to Luskan. A High Road also connected the trade city of Proskur with the kingdom of Cormyr. It led from Proskur, over the Bridge of Fallen Men into the Storm Horn Mountains, through the hamlet of Old Axe and under Skull Crag then through Eagle Peak until coming to High Horn. It then continued east out of the mountains, going through Tyrluk and Eveningstar (where it connected with the Starwater Road), crossed the Starwater River via a stone bridge and finally ended west of Arabel.
For centuries one of the greatest concentrations of magical might in Faerun, Thay is ruled by the ancient lich, Szass Tam, and the nation’s Council of Zulkirs in a ruthless magocracy. The council’s will is enacted by regional tharchions and bureaucrats, leaving the ruling Red Wizards to focus on magical study and more important arcane matters. For a time, living mages couldn’t hope to advance to prominence in Thay: Szass Tam promoted undeath as a means of existence with boundless possibilities, and held back those who didn’t agree with this philosophy. The recent battles with the demon Eltab, however, have prompted Szass Tam to loosen this stricture- the living now have hope of ascending within the Red Wizards, even if that hope is merely to advance to a high station within the cadre of Tam’s servants.
The nearby volcano that perpetually heats the river flowing through the city) violently erupted, destroying much of Neverwinter, killing thousands, and leaving in its wake a great,
gaping chasm that split the city. Neverwinter was in ruins, and external influences- from Netheril to Thay to Lord Dagult Neverember of Waterdeep to the agents of the Hells themselves- sought to exert control over the city. Many folk fought to stem all these dangers, andeventually, a measure of peace fell over Neverwinter.
The Shadowfell, sometimes simply called Shadow, was a parallel plane from which necrotic energies and shadow magic stemmed. It existed as sort of a counterpart to the Feywild in the sense that it was a reflection or “echo” of the Prime Material Plane except that it was a bleak, desolate place full of decay and death.
The Red Wizards
The most infamous group of wizards in the Realms are the Red Wizards of Thay. Garbed in their distinctive red robes, the Red Wizards have sought to expand their power and to extend Thay’s influence across the Realms, particularly in lands in the East. They shave their heads and wear complex tattoos reflecting their ambitions and achievements and their favored school of magic. In Thay, the Red Wizards have ultimate power, although they give governance of day-to-day affairs to those without skill in the Art. Every Red Wizard devotes study to one of the eight schools of magic and serves that school’s zulkir, the leader and ultimate master of that style of magic. The zulkirs and their underlings constantly vie with one another for power and influence, and this competition frequently sends Red Wizards far from Thay to seek new spells, recover lost artifacts, and create wealth that can flow back to Thay. The power the Red Wizards hold in Thay gives them a measure of diplomatic legitimacy in the lands of the Sword Coast and the North, but their presence is rarely welcome and is universally viewed with suspicion.
These soldiers acted as defenders of thayan enclaves all over Faerûn, and personal bodyguards to Red Wizards. They were knights only by name, as they did not have any code of conduct. The only rule which they adhered to was that their life was of no importance, compared to the safety of the Red Wizards, whom they were sworn to protect.
The Arcane Brotherhood
In the last decade or so, two great changes have come over Luskan. The first was the plague that crippled the gangs that had controlled the city, allowing the High Captains to reclaim the power they had long held in Luskan.
Luskan. The other, far more sudden, was the return of the Arcane Brotherhood and its five-spired tower. A few years ago, the ruined Hosttower of the Arcane began
regenerating its damaged stone, climbing into the sky once more. Shortly thereafter, mages of the Arcane Brotherhood emerged, almost immediately began cleansing the Luskar ruins of undead, and fought off a dragon menacing the city. Cheered by the citizens, they swore to keep themselves out of the politics of the High Captains and the city at large, but the notion that powerful wizards closely aligned with one another can truly remain neutral is laughable to anyone fa miliar with such things. Now, the Arcane Brotherhood again wa lks the streets of Luskan, marked by the distinctive colors and patterns of their cloaks. From a distance, these cloaks all bear the same cut and silhouette, but each wizard of the Hosttower chooses a color or a design, and a moniker to match it. The leadership of the Arcane Brotherhood is the archmage and the four overwizards of the other spires of the Hosttower:
• Cashaan the Red, Archmage Arcane
• Zelenn the White, Overwizard of the West
• Jendrick the Blue, Overwizard of the South
• Teyva the Gray, Overwizard of the East
• Druette the Raven, Overwizard of the North
Other notable members of the Brotherhood include Vaelish the Brown and Maccath the Crimson.
The mighty Elven outpost of New Sharandar lays hidden in the depths of the Neverwinter Wood. Those few that have been allowed to lay eyes upon its walls are never allowed roam freely. The elves constructed this outpost to protect a very powerful portal that is
connected to the Faerie. No one but the elves themselves have any knowledge of the portal, how powerful it is, or if it even works at all.
The elves of New Sharandar are not as xenophobic as some of the more reclusive tribes around The Sword Coast, however they are hesitant to allow travellers behind its walls. Trade can be difficult here, but is possible if an adventurer is charasmatic enough or has earned the trust of the elves themselves. For the most part, New Sharandar is a military outpost with the defense of the portal the highest priority.
The cold and mysterious Lurkwood serves as the home of numerous groups of goblinoids that have banded together into one tribe called the Chill. Unlike most of their kind, the Chill refrains from raiding the people of the North and maintains relatively good relations so that they can hire themselves out as warriors. Few citystates in the North are willing to field an army alongside the Chill, but several are happy to quietly pay the Chill to battle the Uthgardt, ores, trolls of the Evermoors, and other threats to civilization.
Recently there have been increased attacks from ogres and trolls from the east side of the Crag mountains. At first, the people of Mirabar and Longsaddle did not worry…. considering the considerable distance from their walls, however over time the attacks have gotten more frequent and more brazen. Long distance scouts have spotted ogres with the markings of a black clawed hand tatooed upon their chest. This group of ogres and trolls that have been terrorizing the crags have been dubbed “The Rippers” by the nearby human and dwarven kingdoms.
The Dark Moon
A monastic order devoted to Shar, the Dark Moon works openly in lands where her worship is accepted and in secret wilderness and underground hideaways where it isn’t. Its followers seek “knowledge and conversation with the shadow,” believing true wisdom is found in
darkness and loss, both literally and spiritually. Its adherents are trained in the secretive arts, using guile and the shadows to deadly affect. Sitting a few miles north of Mirabar, lies an isolated snow covered temple. Few go there and less have been known to leave. Rumors have it that a dangerous and powerful order of assassins is trained within its dark walls. Those who have been curious enough to look for themselves meet untimely ends, thus ending any further investigation. The humans and dwarves of Mirabar are happy to leave well enough alone.