Neverwinter: The Year of Deep Water Drifting
In Neverwinter Wood’s deepest region, where shadows weigh on travellers like wet wool, something malign lurks. The thick forest ends abruptly, its border abutting a circular field of ash.
Animals give wide berth to the site, and the surrounding forest land is blanketed in a chilling, breathless silence. Heavy, stale air – redolent with the tang of disease – resists any breeze, stubbornly squatting over the clearing.
A few hundred feet in from the perimeter, black stones rise from cracked, lifeless soil. Walls, pillars, spindly towers, and gaping gates form an uneven circle of nefarious import. This structure, a combination of ritual focus and functional fortress, is one of Thay’s Dread Rings.
Szass Tam, the Regent of Thay, created the rings for use in a fell ritual in his quest to attain godhood. His efforts were thwarted, however, and this ring is now the centre of Valindra Shadowmantle’s regional efforts.
Despite its stones having been broken, its walls hanging open, and its initial purpose going unfulfilled, the structure still holds more power than any sane person would want Thay to possess.
Adventurers who approach the ring do so without their mounts, since typical beasts step into the circle of ash only if they are forced. Familiars, beast companions, and the like are apt to proceed, snarling or whimpering, if their masters do.
Even within the unnatural oppression of Neverwinter Wood, the ring’s malignity stands out against the surrounding landscape’s. Characters who have training in Arcana automatically sense the magic in the broken walls of the Dread Ring (though they cannot tell its purpose). As their teeth chatter, their palms sweat, and their souls clench, even the most unobservant adventurers can tell this is a warped place.