The Shadovar–Thay War was the conflict that resulted during the New Neverwinter movement. Ironically, while the two main participants were Netheril and Thay, the war was actually an all out war between several factions for dominion over Neverwinter. As a result, while all the conflict in the war was undoubtedly centered around the Netherese and Thayans, there were in fact, several factions all at war with each other.


1385 DR:

With the Spellplague well underway, the city of Neverwinter was crumbling. With the upheaval to mask their efforts, the forces of Netheril sent the Shard of Night to Neverwinter and stationed it there until they would need it.

The War StartsEdit

1451 DR:

The city of Neverwinter was finally rebuilding itself during the lordship of Hugo Babris. After receiving reports that Xinlenal could be located somewhere within Neverwinter Wood, the Shadovar decided to go after it on the command of the Princes of Shade. However, already mostly predisposed, the empire of Netheril sent their tiefling warlord Herzgo Alegni to excavate the first enclave.[1] His expedition glowing with success, none in Neverwinter dared move against any shade, especially after Alegni sacked Helm's Hold. Since his objective was in Neverwinter Wood, Alegni allowed Babris rule the city. Summoning Barrabus the Gray, Alegni ordered him to convince Babris to rename the Winged Wyvern Bridge the Herzgo Alegni Bridge. Alegni planned on using Barrabus to deal with elves in Neverwinter Wood and scout out some holes near the excavation site. On the orders of Szass Tam, an upstart, but growing, cult of Ashmadai operated in Neverwinter Wood to trouble the Netherese. For Thay, Dahlia Sin'felle and Valindra Shadowmantle awoke the primordial Maegra who proceeded to destroy Neverwinter to fuel her Dread Ring. This was the first bit of conflict between the Shadovar and the Thayans, as the destruction of Neverwinter effectively negated Alegni his claim on Neverwinter. [2]

The destruction of Neverwinter also tore a giant chasm through the earth of Neverwinter. Reaching the depths of the Underdark, this rift opened wide to an underground sea where the Abolethic Sovereignty was experimenting on the Spellplague and the creatures of Neverwinter. With the Chasm open, Abolethic activity on the surface dramatically increased with more topside monsters being experimented on. They began plaguing sentient beings with hallucinations and nightmares - although this was nothing compared to what the Society planned to enact. Since they were threatened with their operations being exposed, the aboleths bolstered their defenses and sent some of their early experiments to the surface to discourage adventurers traveling down the Chasm.

The War Wanes Edit

1462 DR:

For eleven years, the Netherese expedition for Xinlenal continued - but no longer under Alegni, who had faced severe discipline for his inaction against Thay. With Sylora Salm completing the Dread Ring, Alegni was once again placed in charge of the expedition with the added objective of defeating Sylora Salm. Due to Szass Tam possessing a holy scepter of Asmodeous, the Ashmadai followed the rule of Salm. In Gauntlgrym, the Ashmadai summoned the Pit Fiend Bealtimatuche who killed Thibbledorf Pwent and Bruenor Battlehammer. Despite this, Salm failed to use Maegera.[3] When Valindra Shadowmantle and the Ashmadai attacked the city, Barrabus led the Shadovar against them, marking the first conflict between the two groups. Resuming his identity as Artemis Entreri, Barrabus joined up with Dahlia and helped kill Sylora Salm. Thayan leadership was transferred to Valindra Shadowmantle, whose temporary retreat caused relatively few Ashmadai to remain loyal to Szass Tam.[4]

Due to Sylora's aggression against Netheril and Alegni's operation being close to the Dread Ring, the tiefling was able to seize control and become the lead general of the Shadovar against Szass Tam. Tyrannically taking lordship over Neverwinter, Alegni decided to forge an army to fight Valindra with and created the White Guard, led by Jelvus Grinch, and the Shadow Guard, led by his Netherese lieutenants. Another player had entered the war by this time, the Abolethic Sovereignty. Invadiah had sent Arunika to corrupt the Sovereignty's Brother Anthus, but she had been corrupted instead. Arunika proceeded to work with Thay and seduced Herzgo Alegni. Eventually, Entreri, Do'Urden and Dahlia attacked Alegni, defeating him and forcing him to forfeit Charon's Claw. Arriving at Gauntlgrym once more, the Shadovar started an assault against House Xorlarrin as Entreri destroyed Charon's Claw. There, Dahlia also killed Herzgo Alegni, stalling Shadovar advances, forcing them out of Neverwinter. Brother Anthus later killed Arunika for her relationship with Alegni.[5]

Although the war against Thay had been stalled, Draygo Quick and Effron were given the option of continuing it immediately. Instead, due to Effron wanting to leave the Shadovar and Quick being more interested in finding Chosen for Telamont Tanthul, the Netherese were left with no general against Valindra. As such, the war, the Thayans and the Netherese dissipated out of Neverwinter for the time being.[6][7]

Period of Inaction Edit

1467 DR:

Arriving in the city was Dagult Neverember, who on behalf of the Lords of Waterdeep, immediately took control of the situation. Stirring up the New Neverwinter propaganda movement, Neverember took advantage of the damage once caused by the Thayans and Netherese with his hired hands and goons rebuilding the city. Neverember's New Neverwinter movement was pure propaganda to stir up nationalistic feelings within the population. Although Neverember desired to take the crown of Neverwinter, he was aware that simply doing so would cause his support to dry. Desiring to make the people of Neverwinter feel indebted and feel gratitude towards him, Neverember hoped to offer the people new facilities, market opportunities, access to goods, work and safety. He hoped to do this so that when the time was right, the people would beg him to be king.[8]

However, to anyone not critically involved in his planning, Neverember did not disclose his plans for the throne. Aware that if any possible heirs to the throne came forth his chances at becoming king would be ruined, Nevermber kept a reliable network of spies to watch and report on any such heirs. Neverember's savants managed to trace his own lineage back to Vers Never, a bastard son of Nasher Alagondar and give him a direct claim to the throne. Aware though that his word alone would not be enough, Neverember ordered the creation of books to link him to the royal line.[8]

The arrival of Neverember and the accompanying flurry of activity drew the attention of the Sovereignty, with the aboleths coming to see the reconstruction of Neverwinter as a threat to their plans.[9] It also drew the attention of Jarlaxle Baenre, who set loose his spies of Bregan D'aerthe to operate in Neverwinter.

Much power continued to lie beneath the soil of the area around Neverwinter, with only some having had been released when the city was destroyed. Scheming Valindra continued to try and mine it all for her master. Although it had proved impossible for any Dread Ring to be used twice, Valindra's rebuilding crew worked tirelessly to repair the damaged areas of the ring. In her spare time, Valindra studied the nature of the Dread Ring so that she could one day restore it or give it a new purpose. Her studies warranted discovery, as she learned that Neverwinter Wood was the perfect location for a Dread Ring because the land surged with magical energy due to the bones of Lorragauth, an ancient Black Dragon.

Netherese interests around Neverwinter became much more vested after Clariburnus Tanthul himself decided to lead the effort to restore Xinlenal - which Herzgo Alegni failed to do. Although he had a variety of different schemes, all of Clariburnus' plans led back to Xinlenal. Few even knew the Netherese had returned and even fewer knew why, with the Netherese headstrong on restoring the Enclave built by Ioualum. Arriving in Neverwinter Wood, the Netherese were confronted by the Uthgardt Gray Wolf tribe but by playing to tribal traditions managed to convince the barbarians to join up with them.

The Rebellion Starts Edit

1472 DR:

Not all Neverwinter citizens trusted Neverember's beneficent smile, the men and women who refused to abandon the city following its destruction banded up together as the Sons of Alagondar. Swearing loyalty to Neverwinter, despite going up against a much larger cause, the Sons of Alagondar traced their lineage back to Nasher Alagondar's loyalist servants and were content. Leading the Sons of Alagondar was none other than a member of the Harpers known as Cymril. Under Cymril, the Sons of Alagondar's actions were nonviolent but annoying in nature by creating minor sabotages, stealing supplies and embarrassing mercenaries.

War Reignited Edit

1477 DR:

Tensions between the Thayans and the Netherese would once again erupt into war, this time over a squabble in territory on Toril and the Shadowfell. By the time the Netherese had detected the Thayan incursion into the Shadowfell, the forces of Valindra had already established a base in Evernight. Their battling in Neverwinter Wood became so violent that it could only be described as attrition.

For twenty years the orc population of Neverwinter Wood began to rise again, but finally, Obould XVII of the Many-Arrows Kingdom sent his vanguard Vansi Bloodscar to explore operations in the area. Rather than report back to Obould, Bloodscar took over the Cloak Tower and claimed northern Neverwinter for Many-Arrows.

Mounting reprisals against the Sons of Alagondar, Neverember's actions resulted in the death of Cymril. A huge blow against the rebels, a power vacuum was created within the Sons of Alagondar and the disorganization caused internal conflict. Scattered, the Sons of Alagondar movement would have perished had they not found allies in the Dead Rats gang and received funds from the Thayans.

Led by Rsolk, the Dead Rats made a lair in the sewers of the city to further their attempts at a criminal empire. As an end goal, the Dead Rats hoped to usurp the Sons of Alagondar and take control of Neverwinter. The recent events, however, split the Sons of Alagondar into the Nashers and the Graycloaks. To insure Neverember's distraction, Valindra continued to fund the Nashers due to their more violent approach which included assassination, riots and sabotage. Under Arlon Bladeshaper, the Nashers found themselves at odds with the more diplomatic Graycloaks. Skilled at bribery, infiltration and forgery, the Graycloaks wanted to pressure Neverember into relinquishing power to the civilians. The Graycloaks found themselves led by Madame Rosene. Despite being fractured, the Nashers and Graycloaks did continue to communicate with each other.

Taking his role as Lord Protector seriously, Neverember sent his mercenaries to oust the orcs in the River District and the plaguechanged monstrosities at the Wall. Beyond establishing laws and keeping peace, Neverember considered it a goal of his to root out any rebels. Aware that installing forces from Waterdeep would fuel the rebellion, Neverember relied on soldiers from Mintarn led by Sabine. A natural delegator, Neverember left the city's policing, defense and security to Sabine, who ruthlessly quashed disturbances and eradicated leaders. In addition, Neverember installed Soman Galt as the mayor of the city. However, with his power in Neverwinter growing, Neverember ultimately relinquished much power in Waterdeep, visiting the Masked Lords irregularly.[8]

With Cymril's death, the Harpers experienced yet another setback in the region as their relationship with the Sons of Alagondar had become strained. With only around eleven members in the region, of whom only two were agents, the Harpers spent most of their time trying to figure out how to unite the rebels under a single cause once more. Their minor presence meant they too knew nothing of the Thayan or Netherese activities.

To the aboleths, the returning refugees simply proved to be a larger body of people on whom they could experiment. Completely unaware of the work of the Abolethic Sovereignty, Neverember was unaware that the aboleths were sending minions to keep him busy. The most he knew was that the plaguechanged were Spellplague monstrosities. The Sovereignty collected these plaguechanged creatures to join their fledgling Symphony of Madness, with selected members serving as conduits for the Spellplague's energy.[10]

Aware of the implications of finding Gauntlgrym, Neverember began to send scouts out to find the ancient Dwarven homeland.[8] In her desire to restore the Dread Ring, Valindra also began looking for a way to the capital of Delzoun by researching the area around Mount Hotenow and Neverwinter Wood. A colony of illithids, unaware they were being aided by the Abolethic Sovereignty, retook Gauntlgrym's lower levels. Using the Symphony of Madness, the aboleths controlled the illithids' elder brain but their continued control began to mutate the mind flayers. Also present in Gauntlgrym were the duergar, who knew not why there were even there, but enjoyed mining the hellthorn. An even more dangerous faction, the drow of House Xorlarrin, also neared the caverns of Gauntlgrym.

Having not seen their holy scepter in some time, the Ashmadai believed Valindra to have spirited it away - unaware that Szass Tam reclaimed it. Split into two sects, the Ashmadai was divided between those slavishly loyal to Asmodeous and those cared more about acquiring power than paying homage to it. The former group, led by Favria, served Thay as the scepter's holder. The less fanatical branch, led by Mordai Vell, was responisble for the rise of the Ashmadai as a shady, manipulative powerhouse in Neverwinter. The two sects rarely ever interacted, with their members not even aware of each other. Favria and Mordai Vell often met up with each other though to discuss future machinations. It was in this way that the Ashmadai operated under the nose of Valindra Shadowmantle.

Although they still payed lip service to Thay, under Mordai Vell, the Ashmadai advanced their own plots. Favria's branch were little more than thugs. Either as daylight leaders or through secret intimidation, Vell desired to control Neverwinter. Lacking numbers, Vell was aware he could not operate openly in the city and thus devised a pod system. Becoming more aggressive, Vell instructed his followers to mark shellacked buildings and corpses with the symbol of Asmodeous, hoping to cull the population in quiescence. Despite Favria's personal opinions, Vell's plans worked like a charm.

The Ashmadai made huge overtures to Neverember, which he in large mostly accepted. Since he knew little about the Ashmadai though, Neverember did not reveal much to them. Grossly underestimating their power, Neverember believed he could use them. Inversely, the Ashmadai began to turn Neverember's own people to their cause - controlling most of the mercenaries guarding the Chasm and wooing a handful of Neverember's close retainers. The Ashmadai's effort to seduce Neverember's allies went all the way to the top, with Mordai Vell personally pursuing Sabine. Ultimately, Vell hoped to induct Neverember himself. Although Vell did allow other cults, including the Glasyans, to operate in the city - he made sure that none of them could become powers.

One of of Valindra's many sanctums lay beneath the Castle Never where she and her servants prepared the bodies of the Neverwinter Nine for a special sort of animation. Around this time, Valindra battled a Beholder, Talgath, at Castle Never which damaged a portion of the castle's staterooms. At Neverdeath, Valindra animated dozens of bodies at a time. Using a special ritual, the Thayans marched the undead through the Shadowfell. From there, the undead would either go join the labor force at the Dread Ring or battle the Netherese in the Shadowfell or at Thay's borders. Using the center of Neverdeath as a means to travel to the Shadowfell via a shadow crossing, Valindra created a teleportation circle for this very purpose. Desiring to dig up the remains of Lorragauth, Valindra forced the Cult of the Dragon, led by Adimond Kroskas, to aid her in her efforts at creating a Dracolich. However, since the ritual to create a Dracolich could only be done on living dragons, Valindra hoped that a restored Dread Ring would supercharge her and allow her to raise Lorragauth.

After hearing reports that the Thayans had returned to the city, Neverember sent out a probe to investigate the reports. However, no definitive answer came back and Neverember remained ignorant to the Thayan presence - much to Valindra's liking.[8] Her alliance with the Nashers also supplied Valindra with valuable information of the events in Neverwinter. To further the information gain from Neverwinter, the Thayans sent a Red Wizard, Dhafiyand, to infiltrate Neverember's operation - which he did so succesfully, becoming Neverember's spymaster.

Completely ignorant of Netherese interests in the region, Neverember had unwittingly hired several Shadovar agents to conduct discrete assassinations. Neverember's ignorance was so much that he was entirely unaware that hundreds of Shades, Shadar-kai, humans, undead and constructs were at work under Prince Clariburnus to unearth Xinlenal and restore it. This was mostly due to the fact that few ventured as far into Neverwinter Wood as Xinlenal was buried. As the mythallar of Xinlenal was broken, Netherese spellcasters began to rebuild it using raw residuum. Scouring the region for the tools needed by the Shadovar, Clariburnus sought several powerful magical items from which he could get residuum. Sacking the ruins of Sharandar, the Netherese were able to keep the Fey off guard and easily killed any Eladrin that got in their way. With his hunt for magical items keeping him occupied, Clariburnus placed Orthinos Eln in charge of the excavation. Some Shadovar believed Iolaum to still be alive and began to seek him out. Using the Shard of Night, the Shadovar fueled a teleportation ring in the tower to travel to and from the site of Xinlenal.

Heart of the War Edit

1478 DR:

With conflict having reached the borders of Thay, Valindra began to send hordes of undead against the Netherese as much as she could. Paranoid, Valindra saw the Netherese threat as most immediate threat to her plans. More than anything, she wished them obliterated. Clariburnus had already begun to plunder magical items from Thayan and Ashmadai forces. Becoming the largest ongoing military conflict in the northern Sword Coast, ironically, the citizens of Neverwinter were oblivious to the giant war between Thay and Netheril being waged around them.

To the citizens of Neverwinter, Thay was little more than a bedtime story, even though sightings of the Red Wizards of Thay began to increase in number. One of Neverember's spies, Seldra Tylmarande, created a fake crown of Neverwinter. Ordered by Neverember to destroy the Nashers, Dhafiyand did so by hiring Rucas Sarfael and telling him to infiltrate the rebels. The Red Wizard Tolivast attempted to steal Seldra's fake crown but failed. Creating the Lost Heir persona, Seldra began to try and take control of the city.

The Nashers later formally announced their alliance with the Dead Rats and the Lost Heir. Tolivast's meddling with the crown nonetheless caused Seldra to lose her sanity. After the Lost Heir saved people from plaguewrought abominations, Sabine hired adventurers to look into the figure. After fighting the Dead Rats, the heroes were given audience with Bladeshaper, they fought the Lost Heir and exposed her as Seldra. The heroes then defeated a White Dragon that was awoken by Seldra.

When the Nashers attempted to get the Crown of Neverwinter, they were attacked by a Red Wizard, whom Rucas Sarfael realized to be Dhafiyand. When the Red Wizard attacked Neverember, it announced Valindra's first public attack against Neverwinter in years. Sarfael was subsequently made the leader of the Black Blades and Neverember became more open to the idea that Thay was active in Neverwinter.[11]

In 1478 DR, Tam Zawad, Aubrin Crownsilver, Mehen, Farideh and Havilar arrived in Neverwinter. Arunika's sister, Rohini, was also sent by Invadiah to infiltrate the House of Knowledge and capture an aboleth. To do this, she killed Anthus, seduced Brother Vartan but was angered to discover Farideh in her city. In the conflict that ensued, the Ashmadai slaughtered Glaysans, Farideh and Havilar killed one of Mordai Vell's top lieutenants, Yvon Claven and Vartan used the Hex Locus to convert Rohini into an agent of the Aboleths - just like her sister had been made one years ago. Rohini was attacked directly by Invadiah but after losing the battle retreated into the Chasm.

Resurfacing, Rohini sought out and converted Soman Galt and made him an agent of the Aboleths. With Galt firmly under their control, the aboleths determined that any emerging threats from the way of Neverember would be easy to stamp out. The aboleths hated the Ashmadai, but were content to let Mordai Vell operate and did not consider him a serious threat. The aboleths also began to siphon as much information as they could on Valindra - hoping to convert her. However, the aboleths were delicate not to make themselves known when dealing with Valindra or any Shadovar, for even they feared the powers of Szass Tam and Telamont Tanthul. Valindra was vaguely aware of the aboleths' presence and was enraged that she knew so little about so powerful a faction, but despite her best attempts was able to find out little. Clariburnus on the other hand was aware of an unnatural presence, but did not care enough to even confirm that it was the Abolethic Sovereignty.

Her primary purpose being none other than the stewardship of the Hex Locus, Rohini moved to Helm's Hold to ensure that it would not be detected. Becoming the Prophet of Helm's Hold, those who lived at the cathedral worshiped Rohini as a goddess. Collecting test subjects for the Symphony of Madness, Rohini also used the cathedral as a base of operations. Becoming a figure of power, the aboleths used her as a mouthpiece through whom they sent out "prophecies" to influence the region. Rohini's biggest capture came when none of Sabine's men were able to slay the Green Dragon Chartilifax; catching the dragon in the thrall of her beauty, Rohini bestowed a kiss on him, forced her sorcerers to alter his form and placed the mighty beast in her crypts. With the Abolethic Sovereignty making overtures to Vansi Bloodscar's orcs, Rohini beguiled the orc commander into accepting her blessing - a spellscar with which she hoped to control them with.

Feigning interest in Helm's Hold, the Netherese began to use their Uthgardt allies to infiltrate the cathedral so that if they were ever exposed, the investigation would lead away from Xinlenal. Jurden Splitlip headed this effort and was responsible for several murders within the cathedral and even more kidnappings. Using information from their prisoners, the Gray Wolves created covers for themselves within Helm's Hold and worked to create unrest so that Clariburnus could eventually sack the cathedral. While Clariburnus saw no need to directly pit himself against Neverember until he was ready to sack the city, the Shadovar did send spies to keep an eye on events.

Engaged in a turf war with the aboleths, the Ashmadai wanted the Chasm closed. Hampering the Sovereignty's efforts, the Ashmadai took special effort to act out the aboleths. In his efforts to convert Soman Galt, Vell became suspicious of the mayor but wanted more evidence before he marked the mayor for death. Vell's pursuit of Sabine had begun to bear fruit as she visited his estate often. Even Neverember found Vell's presence to be enjoyable, the two spending much time together. The Ashmadai wished to outmaneuver Thay and recover the holy scepter. Desiring Valindra's phylactery, the Ashmadai wanted to kick the Thayans out and end the war with Netheril. To add further to their betrayal of Valindra, the Ashmadai often dealt with the Netherese in secret. Ultimately, Valindra continued to view the Ashmadai as tools or cannon fodder despite being aware they had their own ambitions. Clariburnus too saw the Ashmadai as Valindra's tools, but Orthinos Eln believed they may have had their own aspirations and had dispatched a force to find out.

Eventually, the activities of the Ashmadai began to ramp up after they initiated Elden Vargas into their ranks. Convincing Vargas to send his insane wife, Karis Vargas, to Helm's Hold, Mordai Vell then called in favors with Rohini to prevent him from seeing her. Turning on Vell, Vargas began to go by the Tormentor and began to mind control victims and brand them with the symbol of Asmodeous, so as to implicate Vell's Ashmadai. Making it to Helm's Hold, Vargas defeated the Prophet Rohini and placed Chartilifax under his control. At the top of Helm's Hold, Chartilifax, Vargas and Karis were confronted by heroes who defeated the Tormentor.

Valindra also had some quarrels with the orc forces of Vansi Bloodscar. Instead of viewing them as an immediate threat though, Valindra saw them as an irritation as only Obould XVII raising his levies would warrant her attention.

The war with Thay had delayed Netheril's efforts to recover Xinlenal, with Valindra sending her forces out into Neverwinter Wood to kill Clariburnus' soldiers. In return, the Prince of Shade attacked and damaged the Dread Ring. None of the Netherese attacks at the Dread Ring actually penetrated the fortress, but still slowed Thayan counterattacks. Clariburnus desired to shut down the Thayan portal to Shadowfell and keep the Thayans reeling and unable to strike back. Using the Gray Wolves as front line soldiers against the Thayans, the barbarian lycanthropes began to suffer heavy losses and started mistrusting Clariburnus. Some of the Gray Wolves attempted a mutiny, but were easily quashed by Clariburnus. Escaping, these oathbreakers became known as the Forsworn and establishing a camp near Xinlenal, began to work against Netheril.

Taking advantage of the attacks he ordered on the Dread Ring, Clariburnus sent the floating citadel Kolthrunal to the skies on the edge of the Thayan plateau. From there, the Netherese, led by Antethriss, rained death on the fortified city of Surcross. Believing that if Surcross could fall, Clariburnus knew he could take the Thayan end of Shadowfell Road.

The War Fades Edit

1484 DR:

Eventually, several aspects of the war had settled down. Bregan D'aerthe had stopped operating in the city and was split between Luskan and Menzoberranzan for the Darkening, which had also resulted in the cessation of interest in Neverwinter of the Many-Arrows orcs. Primarily, the Netherese interests had shifted elsewhere and they used their forces of Sembia to capture Archendale. With the deaths of Rivalen Tanthul and Brennus Tanthul, it could be assumed that on the Netherese end, the war began to dissipate. In 1487 DR, the mind of Aglarel Tanthul was shattered, Vattick Tanthul was killed and Clariburnus had been recalled to Thultanthar. With Telamont Tanthul being assassinated and Netheril falling into disarray, the Netherese had been taken out of the war by outside circumstances. It was unknown if Clariburnus survived the fall of Thultanthar, but if he did, was likely recuperating. In any case, Clariburnus would never be able to renew his activities in Neverwinter Wood as his nieces and Arcanist Gwelt had seized of Netheril as the Court of Three.[12]

Aftermath Edit

1489 DR:

As a result of most of the factions being forced out of Neverwinter, the war between the Shadovar and the Thayans was won by Neverwinter, as Neverember managed to keep holding the city despite losing his grip on Waterdeep.[13]

Significant LeadersEdit

During the entire war, several leaders have arisen:



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