A long trek goodnight
The City of Skilled Hands is a beautiful, relaxed place. It’s a walled city of 17,000 folk, mainly humans and halfelves. Craftsmen love the beauty of Neverwinter, and they enjoy living among other craftsmen in the City of Skilled Hands. They constantly try to outdo each other in striving for ever-increasing efficiency and beauty of design. The city is famous across Faerûn for its water clocks, which set the standard for precision in the Realms. Hence, the phrase by the clocks of Neverwinter is used when one is swearing at niggling perfectionism or solemnly swearing by ones own honesty. The city is also famous for its multicolored lamps of blended glass that changes hue across its surface. Such lamps sometimes have tinted, sliding glass shutters of several shades. In some cases, the shutters are enchanted so as to change position by themselves, altering the color of the light. Neverwinter has also given its name to the Neverwinter knife. This is a tiny, jewelled dagger made to be concealed in a hair comb, belt buckle, or bracelet. Neverwinter is ruled by Lord Nasher Alagondar, an amiable and balding warrior who keeps his city firmly in the Lords Alliance. Lord Nasher has laid many intrigues and magical preparations against attacks from Neverwinters warlike rival town, Luskan. Nasher doesnt allow maps of the city to be made (hence the lack of one in these pages). This is to keep the spies of Luskan busy and add a minor measure of difficulty to any Luskanite invasion plans. The royal badge of the city is a white swirl-a sideways “M”, with points to the right. It connects three white snowflakes; each flake is different, but all are encircled by silver and blue haloes. Lord Nasher is always accompanied by his bodyguard, the Neverwinter Nine. They have many magical items Nasher accumulated over a very successful decade of adventuring. Many Harpers dwell in Neverwinter, as do a few skilled dwarven craftspeople of note. Many goodaligned mages also make Neverwinter their home, including the Many-Starred Cloak, a band of wizards who are the real power in the city. They support Lord Nashers rule with their spells. They also make blastglobes for the 400-strong city militia. Females and males serve as equals in this mounted force armed with spears, long swords, longbows, boot daggers, and hand crossbows. Neverwintans tend to be quiet, mannered, literate, efficient, and hard-working folk. Deadlines and precision are important in all they do. They respect not only the property of others, but whatever interests another person holds important for personal happiness. Following ones weird is a Neverwintan saying for odd or reckless behavior. Everyone native to this city understands the need to do such. All in all, Neverwinter is perhaps the most cosmopolitan city in Faerûn, escaping Waterdeeps slums and grasping competitiveness, and Silverymoon’s harsher climate and heavier need for defence against orcs and other evils. Cities in Amn and Calimshan commonly claim to be more civilized, but merchants who trade there all say that Neverwinter truly is civilized, unlike some showier rivals who, as the sage Mellomir once put it, have achieved decadence without the need for passing through civilization first. Neverwinter controls much mining trade from dwarves and gnomes that come up from the Underdark by various hidden ways to surface in various warehouses of this city. The city also has a large fishing economy, both from the banks and offshore. The warm waters make this fertile ground for all forms of shellfish and finned fish alike. Neverwinter also does good trade in logging from the Neverwinter Wood. The key to Neverwinter’s survival is its importance as a center of craftwork, learning, and magical innovation. Amid all the weird-following tolerance and variety in the city, there is a respect for peacefulness, law, and order. This seems to be necessary security for the artists and craft folk to concentrate on their own designs.
This city is a delight for the eyes. Everywhere are buildings that would be noteworthy anywhere else for the grace or ingenuity of their design. The meandering streets make fast travel across the city nigh unto impossible, and leave visitors in grave risk of becoming lost whenever they venture out of their lodgings, especially at night. On warm summer nights, street parties are common, and the rest of the time, the lanes are thankfully uncrowded. Street vendors are unheard of in Neverwinter, but many professionals make house calls. They may be summoned by the ever-present street runners (small children making 1 cp per message taken). The citys nickname City of Skilled Hands actually comes from its gardeners, who are skilled enough to keep flowers blooming in windows and spell-sheltered arbors throughout the city even in the coldest winter months. Neverwinter is a city of trees, gardens, winding streets, and beautiful buildings. The Neverwinter River cascades over small falls and is spanned by many small, arched, ornate bridges as it runs through the city. The waters are so warm that the harbor never freezes. Neverwinter is laid out roughly in the shape of an eye. The long axis runs roughly east and west along the Neverwinter River. One end of the city is the harbor, and the other end is the Upland Rise, a wooded hill left as a natural park. To the east is Neverwinter Wood. The walls of the city are pierced by northwestern, northeastern, southwestern and southeastern gates. The militia has small fortress keeps at both of the eastern gates. The craftsmen of Neverwinter have three emblems to be particularly proud of. The three main bridges in Neverwinter are the Dolphin Bridge, the Winged Wyvern Bridge, and the Sleeping Dragon Bridge. Each is intricately and passionately carved in the likeness of its namesake. The Wyvern is readily recognizable for the spread wings that serve as a perch to seagulls and other birds in the warmer months, and as a place to dive into the river for bolder youths. All three bridges are assets to the City of Skilled Hands. The Sleeping Dragon Bridge leads from Castle Never to the Hall of Justice, a powerful temple of Tyr. Reverend Judge Oleff Uskar presides over Lord Nashers civil court here. This is low justice; nobles, those accused of murder or other serious crimes, and noncitizens can all apply to the high justice of the lord himself. Uskar is assisted by Prior Hlam, who takes charge of training the devout in what justice is and how to mete it out or defend it. This includes drills in disciplined weapons training. One of the most impressive buildings in Neverwinter is located at one end of the Dolphin Bridge. Its the arch-roofed House of Knowledge, the tall, many-windowed temple to Oghma. Here, Chief Priest Watger Brighthair and Elder Reader Salyndra Shaern lead worship to Oghma in the form of free teaching sessions to all who would learn. The Neverwinter River bends sharply south and then north again in a smooth curve just before it empties into the Sea of Swords in the Bay of Mists, Neverwinters natural harbor. In this bend sits Castle Never, the old, proud keep of the Lord Never, the home and court of the ruling lord of the city. Somewhere in its depths is said to be the tomb of Lord Halueth Never, an elven warrior who battled Illusk in olden days. Lord Never is laid to rest, local tavern tales swear, on a huge slab of stone encircled by a ring of naked swords laid with their points radiating outward. These magical blades do not rust and animate to attack all intruders if the precise instructions graven in cryptic verses on the flagstones are not followed. From the circular walk around Castle Never, the three ornate bridges radiate out across the river, reaching toward buildings on the south bank. At the spot where the Neverwinter River flows into the city stands the Cloaktower. This is the meeting place and citadel of the Many-Starred Cloak. Among the treasures known to reside within this warded and trapped seat of power is a wondrous magical device found in a Netherese ruin: Halavars Universal Pantograph. It reputedly can make two coins from one, or two swords where there was only one before!