Expedition to Wave Echo Cavern
Mount Hotenow stands to the northeast of Neverwinter in the mountain range known as the Crags. Its gaping, fiery maw resembles a vision of the Nine Hells, and its occasional rumblings and sporadic gouts of smoke are ample reminder that the volcano is never entirely at rest. Hot springs and magma flows run beneath its rocky exterior, warming the Neverwinter River and ensuring that its waters never freeze.
Beneath the mountain, within its roots lies the fabled Gauntlgrym, ancestral home of the Delzoun Dwarves. It was within Gauntlgrym that the legendary Bruenor Battlehammer fell after defeating a Pit Fiend, all in an effort to trap once again the Primordial that destroyed Neverwinter a decade before (1452 DR).
The volcano also has a tendency to attract creatures like fire giants and red dragons.
Most Recent Eruption
In the year 1451 DR, about 32 years ago, a portion of Mount Hotenow’s peak exploded with such force that lava and superheated ash poured across Neverwinter like an avalanche. Half of the city’s population died as the eruption blanketed the city, and many buildings were destroyed or incinerated. Survivors fled the smoking ruins that were once the Jewel of the North, leaving Neverwinter mostly abandoned for many years.
Unsurprisingly, Mount Hotenow is the subject of many local legends. Some believe that the volcano sits atop a passage to the Nine Hells. Others say that it is a doorway to the Elemental Chaos. Still others claim that it hides the entrance to an ancient lost city, or is the home of a mighty red dragon. One often-told tale even suggests that anyone who dares to enter the volcano’s caves is cursed to die in fire within the year. With few brave or foolish enough to explore the volcano up close, separating fact from fiction is no easy task.
In the Year of Knowledge Unearthed (1451 DR), a small adventuring party rediscovered the ancient dwarven city of Gauntlgrym beneath the volcano. The party, consisting of Dahlia Sin’felle, Korvin Dor’crae, Valindra Shadowmantle, Athrogate, and Jarlaxle Baenre, made it all the way to the legendary forges. There, the latter two were betrayed by their Thayan allies, with Athrogate hypnotically forced to activate the forge. This briefly awoke the primordial Maegera, who, in a fit of rage, released a burst of energy so powerful that it forced the eruption of the volcano. The resultant earthquake and combination of smoke and lava destroyed much of Neverwinter, killing thousands.