Waterdeep is the most important and influential city in the North and perhaps in all Faerûn. It lies 150 miles north of Daggerford on the shores of the Sword Coast. The road to Waterdeep is well paved and well patrolled. The city is the hub of trading from the mineral-rich lands to the north, the merchant kingdoms of Amn and Calimshan to the south, the kingdoms of the Inner Sea to the east, and the sea kingdoms and traders to the west. Waterdeep’s authority extends between thirty to forty miles from its walls.
Waterdeep, the City of Splendors, is a bustling city on the Sword Coast. A rider from Red Larch can reach Waterdeep in 7 days, 3 if he or she changes horses often and dares to ride by night. Some merchants have termed Waterdeep “the best supply center in the world,” with the largest collection of superb craft workers, experts, useful contacts, and potential hirelings to be found anywhere. Others warn that it represents a huge army of potential enemies for those who aren’t careful – and everyone agrees that its busy streets are full of spies.
Waterdhavian noble families and guilds hold tremendous political and economic sway up and down the Sword Coast, but within the city itself, true power lies with the Masked Lords of Waterdeep. Waterdeep is ruled by this council whose membership is largely secret. The council convenes secretly and individuals maintain their identities behind magical masks. While the council rules, no one knows their true identities. The public face of this ruling council is the Open Lord of Waterdeep, a member whose identity is publicly known. There is only one Open Lord at any one time; when the previous one dies or steps down, he or she is replaced by a new one.
The current Open Lord, Laeral Silverhand, has held the position for only a few months, and many of the city’s nobles and guildmasters are vying for her attention and conspiring to wrest power away from her office, while taking advantage of the transition to dispose of unwanted rivals. This kind of political chaos is “business as usual” for most city residents.
Waterdeep was named for its outstanding natural deep water harbor, and the city that grew up at this site became the commercial crossroads of the northern Realms. More than 100,000 people made their home in Waterdeep.
The city sprawled northward from the sea, spreading along the flanks of Mount Waterdeep, which used to be home to the Melairkyn, a mithral-mining dwarven clan, and the entire length and great depth of the mountain was riddled with passages and tunnels, most of which were occupied by deadly creatures whose presence in the mountain pre-dated the founding of the city itself. The halls of Undermountain located beneath the city were a popular target for adventurers, who enjoyed the close vicinity of the city’s main taverns and temples where aid could be purchased through donations.
After the Spellplague, it lost its title of Faerûn’s most important and influential city to [[Baldur’s Gate]], which not only grew larger than Waterdeep in population but also doubled its area.
City Wards (Sections)
Since 1035 DR Waterdeep was roughly divided into wards. The wards originally all had guards and walls in the manner of Procampur and other ancient cities, but the press of progress toppled or bored through most of the walls. Only the walls and guards around the City of the Dead are still maintained. The wards of Waterdeep are:
This central ward encompasses Mount Waterdeep and much of the government of the city.
City of the Dead
This park-like area is surrounded by high walls. It’s often visited during the day by wanderers and the odd picnicker. At night, the gates of the City of the Dead are closed, for it’s also Waterdeep’s graveyard and home to the occasional restless undead.
Holds the docks, shipbuilding yards and warehouses for the sea trade. The harbor is inhabited by Merfolk.
Not strictly a ward, Mistshore is the derelict old naval harbor.
Home of the nobility and their villas.
The wealthiest of the wards, Sea Ward contains many of the temples of Waterdeep, along with a good helping of the newer noble families and retired adventurers who can afford the odd villa or two.
A place of caravan masters and traders.
Waterdeep’s commercial section.