Campaign of the Month: August 2021
City of Splendors. Dungeon of Madness.
The City of Splendors
On the Western shores of Faerûn lies a great city, a place of commerce for many, opportunity for some, and called home by countless thousands of others.
Built atop a vast plateau along the Sword Coast, Waterdeep is a bustling, crowded, busy mercantile city where coin is king. Waterdhavians live life at a fast pace, and despite their fervent work ethic, they rarely miss an opportunity to celebrate, with festivals often going on all day and all night. In Waterdeep, wealth brings respect, respect earns influence, and influence is power.
For centuries, Waterdeep has been divided into wards—each easily the size of a large town—for the purposes of governance and security.
At the top of the city’s plateau, overlooking the rich farmlands to the east and the Sea of Swords to the west, Hightown hosts the estates and villas of the city’s nobility, the gleaming temples, and the finest inns and shops of the city.
Sea Ward • North Ward
Encircling Mount Waterdeep, the center of the city consists of neat rowhouses with shops on the street level. The Palace and the Market dominate the neighborhoods.
Castle Ward • Trades Ward • City of the Dead
The environs of Waterdeep, and the land beyond the walls patrolled by the Waterdhavian Guard. Half of the population of Waterdeep actually live beyond the walls of the city.
Ardeep • Nightstone • Rassalantar • Amphail • Goldenfields • The Rat Hills
Waterdeep never sleeps, both because its adventuring citizenry are nocturnal, and because its tavern keepers are always searching for one more coin.
Given its size and influence, Waterdeep is a cosmopolitan city with a diverse population of citizens. Humans comprise the majority of its populace, but it is home to large number of moon elves, shield dwarves, halflings, and half-elves and gnomes. Even more exotic races make their home the metropolitan city. Waterdhavians tend to be social, stalwart and outspoken people who maintain a worldly perspective of the cultures throughout the Realms.
A merchant citystate to its core, the city is comprised of a strata of merchants and craftspeople. Commerce pervades every aspect of life in the city:
The Masked Lords run the city.
The Nobility hold positions of privilege.
The Guilds hold a monopoly on the trades.
The Merchants run the shops and caravans.
The Laborers do the unskilled work and serve in households.
The Criminals engage in black market trade.
As a vast cosmopolitan melting pot, Waterdeep has countless societies, guilds, clubs, gangs, and sects scattered throughout the city.
The notable people of the city, and those you’ve met so far.
The history of Waterdeep dates back to the ancient elven kingdom of Illefarn, and the dwarven hold beneath the city, and after their fall, the settlements of men.
Waterdeep is no village led by hidebound hierarchs or petty fiefdom ruled by the whim of a warlord. It is a city of laws molded by the Spirit of Justice. As a rule, you can trust the Watch to do their duty diligently, and you can expect that the city’s Magisters will be fair. If, however, you are found in the wrong, know that the hammer will fall—and it will be wielded with a vengeance.
As should be expected of any city of standing, Waterdeep mints its own coins. All taxes, fines, and guild fees must be paid either in Waterdavian coin or the currency of any member settlement of the Lords’ Alliance. Though no law requires you to pay for goods or services in Waterdavian coin, the drudgery of weighing foreign currency and checking its purity prompts many retailers and operators of swift-exchange businesses—including drays and hire-coaches—not to accept anything but coins minted in Waterdeep.
As the metropolis of Waterdeep is home to all manner of churches, cults, sects, nationalities, and racial groups, almost every calendar day is celebrated by one group or another, and not a tenday goes by without some local festival in one of the smaller neighborhoods of the city.