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Waterdeep

Rising from the shores of its deep harbor to ring the great mountain standing tall out of the Sea of Swords is Waterdeep, the City of Splendors and the Crown of the North. To all of Faerûn, this great metropolis stands as the pinnacle of what a great city might be, in wealth, influence, and stability. Here, the citizens work, the nobles sneer, and the great masked lords plot and scheme, all while merchants dance between them to collect their coins and continue profiting as best they can. Waterdeep’s shops and merchants offer goods of every sort from every corner of Toril, and even the rarest of items can be procured, given sufficient coin and patience. Adventurers lacking one or the other can very easily find all manner of employment, from simple escorting of caravans, to guarding nobility, to investigating a ruin or rumor of monsters anywhere in the North.     Perhaps most surprising of the newest developments is the return of Laeral Silverhand to Waterdeep. Long thought dead, she reemerged only recently, and swiftly rallied the masked lords to support her supplanting of Dagult Neverember as Open Lord of Waterdeep. Very few remember Lady Laeral from her previous time in the city, but those elves who have been living in there for the last century claim she is more reserved than she once was. The new Open Lord doesn’t speak of her family — any mention of her children, her late husband (the fabled Blackstaff, Khelben Arunsun), or any of her famed sisters is cause for her to cut short whatever conversation may be in progress at the time. Her relationship with the current Blackstaff, Vajra Safahr, is cordial, but the two are seldom seen in one-on-one conversation, and most think that Lady Laeral has little to learn from a mage who isn’t nearly her equal.     As always, the Open Lord is selected and supported by several masked lords, who bear masks, robes, and amulets to disguise themselves when publicly sitting in judgment or council, and who make policies for Waterdeep. Every Waterdhavian has suspicions as to whether this or that influential citizen is or isn’t a lord of the city, and some are willing to make their beliefs public, but few who are confronted in such a way have ever claimed to be a lord, and none of those have also produced proof of that assertion.     Not hidden at all are the other lords of the city — the nobles of Waterdeep, whose high-nosed behavior and heavy-handed spending establish fashion in the city, which in turn creates trends all across the North for clothing, weaponry, favored trinkets, music, and any other preference that can be changed at a whim by those with enough coin to afford the expense. More than seventy-five noble families call Waterdeep home, representing between them all manner of business interests, rivalries, and internal strife.     Being a noble carries with it a great deal of advantage. Operating from one’s place at the head of the economic and social hierarchy, a noble can easily lift a mediocre craftperson out of obscurity, dash the hopes of a wealthy merchant of ever securing another contract within the city, or provide the backing an ambitious adventuring band needs to find fame and great wealth. The only true competition nobles face is from one another. Such rivalries are the source of much gossip and intrigue as the nobles of Waterdeep always try to maintain at least a veneer of civility in their squabbles.     Although they seldom agree on much, one matter that all the noble houses see the same way is that their status should not be tainted by newcomers, and certainly not by anyone so brightcoin as to purchase one’s way to a noble title. When during Lord Neverember’s tenure it became legal for impoverished houses to sell their titles, and thus allow others to become noble, many leaders of the old-blood houses were apoplectic, particularly after some purchasers lost all their coin and sold their titles again within a season or two. Open Lord Laeral Silverhand has, to the relief of those leaders, seen the folly of this decision, and gathered enough support among the Lords of Waterdeep to not only reverse it, but to restore titles and lands to noble families who lost them through folly. The change has won her much support among the nobles. Now Zhents and Thayans and Baldurian merchants have coin enough to buy property within the city, if they choose, but that is no reason to award them noble titles and legal rights, instead of merely a mansion, for doing so.    

Wards of Waterdeep

  Waterdeep has long been divided into several large regions called wards. To locals these are essential to Waterdeep, but outsiders often lose track of which ward they’re in or what a ward’s name signifies. The names of the wards suggest the contents of the buildings and the character of the activity in each one, but no laws exist that restrict a given activity or class of people to any specific ward.  

Castle Ward

As the name indicates, Castle Ward contains Castle Waterdeep, Piergeiron’s Palace, and many other public buildings of the city. This ward is home to mainly the wealthy or influential who can’t count themselves among the nobility. Other structures are taken up by educational or religious concerns that primarily serve the city at large, not the residents of the ward.  

Dock Ward

Most of the city’s harbor area is located in Dock Ward, as are the businesses and warehouses that depend on the city’s newly restored harbor. It’s a crowded neighborhood of many winding streets, where folk are comfortable making deals that might in other places provoke the displeasure of the law.  

Field Ward

Of relatively recent vintage, the Field Ward stands between the inner and outer north walls of the city (an area formerly used as a caravan grounds). This ward grew up in a messy, unregulated fashion and is home to many of the poorest residents of the city.  

North Ward

Home to many noble villas, townhouses, and a great many inns, North Ward is the neighborhood of the respectably wealthy.  

Sea Ward

Those whose fortunes are on the rise build their homes in Sea Ward, and they join many long-established noble families in residence. This area in the northwest of the city is home to much of the city’s wealth, the location of the grandest villas of the city’s noble families (except for those in North Ward).  

Southern Ward

Stables, warehouses, and shops related to overland trade dominate Southern Ward. Most residents are hardworking folk that load and unload caravan carts, and otherwise perform low-paying work.  

Trades Ward

A narrow slice of land between the Castle Ward and the City of the Dead, Trades Ward is the center of commerce for the city, with most of the smaller transactions and respectable trade taking place here.  

City of the Dead

The city’s walled cemetery, the City of the Dead is the only place in Waterdeep where it is legal to bury the deceased. It is used by many citizens as a public park during the day, a lovely green space of pretty mausoleums and grand statues in which to escape the city’s hustle and bustle.  

Undercliff

While not considered by many to be a ward of the city, the little villages and many farms that sprawl across the land east of the city were lawfully incorporated into Waterdeep when it moved a barracks and training facility to the area.

Demographics

Humans 64%
Dwarves 10%
Elves 10%
Halflings 5%
Half-elves 5%
Gnomes 3%
Half-orcs 2%
Others 1%

Government

Gov't type: Oligarchical city-state Open Lord: Laeral Silverhand Legislative: The Lords of Waterdeep Judicial: The Magisters of Waterdeep

Assets

Imports Grain, livestock, leather, ore, timber, and exotic goods from other lands   Exports Ale, arms, cloth, fish, furnishings, leather goods, pottery, refined metals, and all other sorts of finished goods
Alternative Name(s)
City of Splendors, Crown of the North
Type
Large city
Population
Around 2,000,000
Inhabitant Demonym
Waterdavians
Location under
Characters in Location

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