Like all campaign settings, Neverwinter brings us new allies, enemies and monsters. In our fourth day of extensive Neverwinter coverage here at Diehard GameFAN, I thought I would give you all a look at five characters/creatures and their stats that you are sure to run into if your characters are using this setting. Note that this is not a top whatever list, but rather a representative from each of the five major factions vying for power in Neverwinter.
Neverwinter is an interesting region as the factions are neither black and white nor shades of grey. Instead it’s more shades of black with no real side that could be considering upstanding, good or moral. The one possible exception to this is the Open Lord of Waterdeep, Lord Dagult Neverember, who is trying to protect the remains of the City of Neverwinter, but also to claim the crown for himself. Right now, Neverember is trying to balance ruling Waterdeep with Neverwinter and considering the amount of intrigue in just one of those cities would stretch any rule to their limit, you can only imagine what Neverember is going through. The Neverwinter Campaign Setting gives you options for playing Neverember as either a face or a heel. The former should be the way to go if you want SOME faction in the area to be good-aligned while the latter is best if you really want to put your players into a constant test of ethics, morals and personal ethos. As you can see from Lord Neverember’s level, he’s not especially powerful, which surprises me since the Lords of Waterdeep tended to be high level NPCs in previous editions of D&D, but Neverwinter is primarily geared for heroic characters (level 1-10) and so many of the NPCs are nerfed. One thing that is not nerfed are the core stats of Nevermber’s. Level 7 and nothing below a 15? That’s powerful.
First introduced in a series of novels by Bruce Cordell, the Abolethic Sovereignty are a clutch of aberrants brought to Toril by the Spellplague. These Lovecraftian like abominations have taken an interested in Neverwinter due to a primordial creature in the area that they wise to awaken from its eternal slumber. Sound familiar to fans of say, a Chaosium RPG line? For this faction, I’ve decided to show the stats of a Grell Strangler. This is because I’ve always found the Grell to be one of the weirdest and least frightening looking creatures in D&D. It’s basically a jellyfish with a bird’s beak and levitation abilities. It’s not something that would make you quake in your booties from its appearance. However, once you fight one, it’s a whole other story. The Grell Strangler, highlighted here, differs from a normal Grell in that it prefers to strangle its prey instead of injecting them with a paralyzing venom. The Strangler values stealth over direct combat. This makes for an interesting adversary, especially since most aberrant rely on direct assaults, be they physical or mental.
The Ashmandi are an interesting faction in that they are actually two in one. While both factions are active worshippers on the devil Asmodeus, each has their own particular goals, outlook and leader. One sect, led by the tiefling Mordai Vell. This sect believes they are using Asmodeus instead of working for him. Mordai’s sect believes the way to power is through fear and manipulation and their end goal is outright public control of Neverwinter. The other sect, led by the dwarven assassin Favria, truly worship Asmodeus as their god instead of a means to an end and are far less subtle with their manipulations, lacking the patience for politicking.
For this faction we’re looking at a Seared Devil, which is a low level devil creature for your player characters to encounter. Think of it as a mid-boss for an introduction to the Ashmandi. A Seared Devil’s powers are fire based but it has no specific weakness to cold. Its appearance as a horribly burned humanoid creature should startle PCs, and could even be used as bait in a trap. Perhaps there is a burning building and your good aligned characters hear cries for help. They enter as risk to themselves, only to find it’s a clutch of Seared Devils lying in wait for them. These Devils aren’t super powerful, but they make from fine low level enemies.
I love Thay. I loved it when it was a Magocracy back in the previous three editions of AD&D and I love it now that my favorite Zulkir, Szass Tam has risen up, committed a massive genocide and turned the empire into a Necromantic dictatorship where the people have been replaced by the undead, both sentient and otherwise.
We’re looking at Valindra Shadowmantle here. She is Tam’s right hand in the Neverwinter region and my favorite NPC in the entire campaign setting. Unfortunately, the book gives little to no information on her and I’m left to wonder (as are all of you) about an undead Lich Eladrin and how that came to be. Ever more disappointing are Valindra’s stats. Perhaps it’s the old editions of D&D prejudicing my mind here, but it’s hard to accept a Lich at only Level 9. Yeah, Level 9. Valindra has a lot of hit points (188) but not much in the ways of magic or any real special attacks. I really think she needed to be a higher level (even in the face of nothing over Level 10 in the campaign setting) and have far more abilities. Even her most powerful attack wouldn’t be enough to kill a Level 1 character in a single hit. SHE’S A LICH. Come on!
I’m mainly posting Valindra’s stats due to my disappointment in the lost potential here. She really should be far more powerful, especially is Szass Tam (who is Level 30!) trusts her enough with control of operations in an entire region.
The race of Sorcerer-Kings that once rules the Realms Forgotten before recorded time returned from the Shadowfell with the release of 4th Edition and although they have lost much of their power over the years, Neverwinter is the place to reclaim it. The first flying city, Xinlenal, has its remains somewhere in the area of Neverwinter. The Netherese have found it and are restoring it. Should this happen, Netheril will grow in power exponentially and even the Thayans will have reason to tremble. This is a great long term plot point for your characters and could even be the main focus of the campaign.
One of the twelve Princes of Shade, Clariburnus Tanthul is in charge of Netherese activities here and he is the more powerful NPC in the entire Neverwinter Campaign Setting. Sure that means he’s only level 10, but I, like all of you, just have to remind myself that Neverwinter is meant as a lower level/introductory campaign setting.
As we look at Tanthul, we see he can be trouble for your PCs, regardless of where they are on the “Heroic Tier.” With the ability to regenerate 15 hit points per turn coupled with attacks like By Night Consumed (which is the equivalent of a one hit KO), Tanthul can plague your gaming troupe throughout many a gaming session. Like Valindra, I would have loved to see a little more history and background written out for Tanthul personally, but at least this way, you can make him into whatever type of antagonist…or god forbid an ally, that your PCs require.
There are several other factions within the Neverwinter region, but they aren’t touched on with any real depth or detail compared to the “big five.” These include the Dead Rats (collection of Wererat thieves), The Sons of Alagondar (who want to depose Neverember by any means necessary), The reformed Harpers (good aligned covert agents), the Many Arrows Orcs (orc tribe), The Bregan D’Aerthe (outcast Drow mercs), The Uthgardt barbarian tribe, the Iliyanbruen Fey, The Cult of the Dragon and the many races that scour the remains of Gauntlgrym such as the Drow, Mind Flayers, Druegar and Corbies. Several of these minor factions, and even some of the major factions, act as Character Themes in Neverwinter that you can choose for your PC. We did an entire piece on those yesterday, so if you missed it, click here to take a look at all thirteen Character Themes.
The Neverwinter Campaign Setting contains dozens of monsters, NPCs, encounter tables and locations to really make your time in Neverwinter come to life. To see all of them, you’ll have to pick up the Neverwinter Campaign Setting at your local brick and mortar store, or at Amazon.com.