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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 with sufficient gold 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.

Though it has stood for hundreds of years, Waterdeep is only now returning to its status of a century and a half ago after the Times of Trouble, the Spellplague, and finally the Second Sundering. Over the course of the period now known as the Era of Upheval, all manner of catastrophes started altering the very nature of the city.

Now, the City of Splendors is on the mend, though recovery has not been without its hiccups. Lord Dagult Neverember, who led much of the economic reform within the city, was ousted as Open Lord in favour of Laeral Silverhand after the discovered misappropriation of around half a million gold.  A plague chased most residents out of the Warrens and Downshadow, and living or digging below the city's surface has been deemed illegal except by those authorized by the lords to do so.

Still, the Navy of Waterdeep has been restored, the City Guard, City Watch, and the famous Griffon Cavalry reformed. The city's economy has stabilized, while the quality of life for the average Waterdhavian has improved.

Geography

Location: Western coast of Faerûn; 500 miles north of Baldur's Gate and 300 miles South of Neverwinter.

Area: The walls of Waterdeep enclose roughly 7 square miles (18 square kilometers) of area. About 5 ½ times as big as Central Park in New York. Waterdeep commands an additional 40 mile stretch of farmland outside the borders of the city proper.

Population: There are approximately 165,000 permanent residents in the city of Waterdeep. This number is nearly doubled by the number of visiting merchants and tourists during non-winter months. The wider area's population stands at ~1.4 million.

Comparative Population Density: Metropolitan population density sits between 9,200 and 16,000 thousand people per square kilometer depending on the season. This is roughly equal to Guadalajara, Mexico at its lowest, Cairo, Egypt at its highest, and New York City at a loose average.


Climate

Waterdeep being a coastal city has a relatively stable climate. Snowfall is extremely uncommon along the coast but rises to about 3” per winter month as you go inland.


Summer
Winter
Coastal
45℉ - 66℉39℉ - 51℉
Inland
54℉ - 81℉ 35℉ - 46℉


Surrounding Region

Prominent terrain of the region include:

Mountains

  • Forlorn Hills. Dwarven ruins and mines dot this rolling landscape.
  • Mt. Illefarn. Named for a ruined elven empire.
  • Rat Hills. Waterdeep's dump. Mountains of disease-ridden filth.
  • Sumber Hills. Rolling hills split by the Dessarin river.
  • Sword Hills. Jagged hills hosting bandit groups preying on Waterdeep travelers coming East.
  • Sword Mountains. Home to powerful Orc tribes.

Rivers

  • Delimbiyr River. Just South of Daggerford. The Delimbiyr marks the Southern extent of the Waterdeep region. An important trade road follows the Northern bank moving travelers and products from Secomber to Daggerford and on to Waterdeep.
  • Dessarin River. Headwaters next to Waterdeep.  The Dessarin runs mostly North to South and is a major trade route through this region.

Wetlands

  • Lizard Marsh. Wetlands and waterways guarded on the Northeastern edge by Cromm’s Hold.
  • The High Moor. Created by elven magic in -10,500 DR, this sprawling moor has numerous ruins.
  • Stump Bog. Named after the rotting stumps that jut above the surface, Stump Bog is rumored to have buried treasure and draws adventurers to its dangerous waters.
  • Mere of Dead Men. Home to a pair of black dragons, and hordes of undead, few willingly travel the Mere.

Islands

  • The Red Rocks. Seastack islands known as a refuge for several prominent pirate groups.
  • The Selpir. Slow-moving water creates a quiet marsh hunted by Merfolk and to a lesser extent Lizardfolk.
  • Lizard Marsh Islands. Large dry patches of land littering the Lizard Marsh. Humanoids of all kinds use this area as a place to hide.

History of the Region

Age of Days of Thunder (-35000 DR to -30000 DR)

The creator races roam the land. The Sarrukh (lizard men) and Aearee (avians) are most active in the area of High Forest. At this time, neither the continents nor the forest had any resemblance to their current appearance.


Age of Dawn (-30000 DR to -24000 DR)

The creator races disappeared from Faerun. Leaving very few artifacts showing they ever existed. Dragons and Giants replaced the creator races and began organizing the humanoids to fight in their armies.


Age of First Flowering (-24000 DR to -12000 DR)

Around -17600 DR the First Sundering is caused by the High Mages of Tel-quessir causing widespread disaster and altering the landscape of Faerun. The landscape of Faerun begins to look much more like it does in current times.


Age of Crown Wars (-12000 DR to -9000 DR)

In -12000 DR the Aryvandaaran Empire attacked Miyeritar. The Elven kingdoms responded and the 3000 years of the Elven Crown Wars begin.


Age of the Proud Peoples (-9000 DR to -3000 DR)

The Crown Wars end and many Elves leave the area.

  • -4420 DR — The Shield Dwarf kingdom of Besilmer is founded in the Dessarin Valley. The dwarves build the Stone Bridge and the Halls of the Hunting Axe.
  • -4160 DR — After the death of the Besilmer King, the Shield Dwarves abandon the Sumber Hills.


Age of Humanity (-3000 DR to 1358 DR)

This period marks the decline of the Elven and Dwarven empires and the rapid ascension of the various Human empires in Faerun.

  • 168 DR — Halaster’s Hold is established in what will become Waterdeep.
  • 893 DR — The Knights of the Silver Horn begin founding strongholds around Tyar-Besil. 
  • 942 DR — The humans around the Sumber Hills are engaged in The Orcfastings War, the First and Second Trollwars and a series of Drow raids. These conflicts essentially drive the humans out of the area.
  • 952 DR — The second Troll War comes to an end and Trolls are driven out of the area for 100 years.
  • 974 DR — Castle Waterdeep is completed.
  • 1000 DR — With the growth of Waterdeep, many human outposts begin to be settled in the area.  Red Larch and Triboar are founded.
  • 1032 DR — Ahghairon overthrows Raurlor to become warlord of Waterdeep.
  • 1037 DR — Hoards of other-planar creatures surge out of Undermountain. The city repulses them and fortifies its magical defenses.
  • 1235 DR — Waterdeep is besieged by the largest orc hoard in history. Ahghairon forms the griffon riders of Waterdeep.
  • 1306 DR — The Yawning portal is opened by Durnan over the ruins of Halastar’s Hold.


Era of Upheaval (1358 DR to current)

  • 1358 DR — The Tablets of Fate were stolen from the gods. In response, Ao forced all gods to walk on Toril in their mortal form. During this time, arcane and divine magic ceased to function normally and chaos and destruction ravaged the land.
  • 1385 DR — The Spellplague struck and arcane magic ceased to function properly. By 1395 DR most of the Spellplague had ended and magic had returned to normal.
  • 1485 DR — Hill Giants in the region begin ransacking the countryside. 



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).

South 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.

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