In -2368 DR, at the adamant insistence of the Terraseer, the Empire of Netheril began earnestly colonizing the Savage Frontier. They established several outposts at which Netherese travelers heading west could get fresh horses and supplies. The Terraseer himself identified a perfect spot for one such outpost to be built north of a mineral-rich mountain range not far east of northern Illefarn. However, the site was infested with owlbears, so the Terraseer had his scouts destroy the 3,000-strong population of beasts in an event known as the Caravan War. The outpost was named "Old Owl Well" after the victory over the owlbears.
Once secured, arcanists arrived and began to drill a hole that eventually dug more than 5 miles below the surface then, with an extensive system of pipes, they established an everlasting water supply that could provide 20 gallons per day. The enclave of Quesseer was built nearby, which served as a trading post for the Netherese and nearby demihuman nations until Quesseer's abandonment in -2095 DR.
Old Owl Well remained a strategically important watering hole. Every group that held any power in the nearby regions since the Netherese left (except the Harpers) claimed ownership of the site. Since 1360 DR, a tribe of orcs held Old Owl Well for at least a decade.
The Neverwinter Greycloaks under the command of Callum of the Neverwinter Nine retook Old Owl Well from the orcs so that a direct trade route to Triboar and Yartar could be re-established in order to bring more money into the coffers of struggling Neverwinter, still recovering from its war with Luskan. Thankfully, the efforts of the Kalach-Cha and the paladin Casavir allowed Neverwinter to keep possession of the site for the foreseeable future.
In approximately 1491 DR,[note 1] Old Owl Well was nothing but a ruined watchtower that had nothing but a few crumbling walls. However, the well still pumped clean, fresh water. During that time, a Red Wizard of Thay named Hamun Kost, who had tattooed himself with necrotic symbols, began searching the area for hidden lore of an ancient time.
In the time of Netheril, Old Owl Well was occupied by a group of warriors who kept the peace and a smaller group of arcanists who used crystal balls to scry on nearby Illefarn, watching for signs of aggression.
Nearly 3 millennia later, the orc occupants of the Well numbered around 600. Unlike previous owners, the orcs did not charge travelers to use the well; instead, they simply attacked passers-by. Adventurers or particularly capable caravaneers occasionally left them beaten, but they never did enough lasting damage to threaten the orcs' survival. Eventually though, the orcs were devoured by the dragon Claugiyliamatar, leaving the Well open to travelers again
- ↑ Pages 30‒31 of Lost Mine of Phandelver describe the eruption of Mount Hotenow (1451 DR) as occurring "30 years ago", which would place the adventure in 1481 DR. However, pages 103 and 179 of Acquisitions Incorporated, a later source, state that the events described in the adventure happen five years after both Lost Mine of Phandelver and Princes of the Apocalypse. Since the latter is explicitly set in 1491 DR, and considering this answer by Ed Greenwood about dating the adventure, this wiki will use 1491 DR for events related to this sourcebook.
- ↑ 1.0 1.1 Obsidian Entertainment (October 2006). Designed by Ferret Baudoin, J.E. Sawyer. Neverwinter Nights 2. Atari.
- ↑ 2.0 2.1 2.2 slade, James Butler (November 1996). Netheril: Empire of Magic (The Winds of Netheril). (TSR, Inc.), p. 8. ISBN 0-7869-0437-2.
- ↑ 3.0 3.1 Richard Baker, Ed Bonny, Travis Stout (February 2005). Lost Empires of Faerûn. (Wizards of the Coast), p. 107. ISBN 0-7869-3654-1.
- ↑ Richard Baker, Ed Bonny, Travis Stout (February 2005). Lost Empires of Faerûn. (Wizards of the Coast), p. 97. ISBN 0-7869-3654-1.
- ↑ 5.0 5.1 Wizards RPG Team (2014). “Lost Mine of Phandelver”. Dungeons & Dragons Starter Set (Wizards of the Coast), p. 29. ISBN 0786965592.
- ↑ 6.0 6.1 slade, Ed Greenwood, Julia Martin, Steven E. Schend, Paul Jaquays, Steve Perrin (April 1996). The North: Guide to the Savage Frontier (The Wilderness). (TSR, Inc), p. 36. ISBN 0-7869-0391-0.