Alt-Magic Campaign Lore: Waterdeep

Waterdeep may be the heart and soul of the Forgotten Realms D&D Setting, but we have taken it upon ourselves to port it into Enochia. Here is how it fits into our continuity —

Waterdeep, or the City of Splendors, is the most important and influential city in the in all of Albatheos, let alone the Kingdom of Vispania where the marvel sits inside its borders. The roads to Waterdeep are well paved and well patrolled. The city serves as a trading hub, tying together the mineral-rich Kingdom of Stahlkrahe to the north, the merchant kingdom of Crescentia to the south, Kingdoms such as Angor-Jin, Etrustivale, and Hammer Hall that lie to the east, and Drakkarsys to the west.

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Waterdeep is named for its outstanding natural deepwater harbor, which has made the city a commercial crossroads. The population of the city is listed as approximately 130,000, with more than one million Waterdhavians making their home within the city’s territorial area. The city sprawls northward from the sea, spreading along the flanks of Mount Waterdeep, a solitary mountain. Mt. Waterdeep was once, long, long ago home to a kingdom of dwarves, Durinskin, and the entire length and great depth of the mountain is riddled with passages and tunnels, most of which are still occupied by deadly creatures whose presence in the mountain pre-dates the founding of the city itself.

Despite its size, the inhabitants of Waterdeep are described as largely benevolent and ethically good-natured people. This is due to the efforts of a group called the Masked Lords, the patrols of the Waterdeep City Watch, and the close proximity of Skullhaven, which draws those prone to unlawful or unethical behavior towards it and away from Waterdeep. Skullhaven is located directly below Waterdeep in the Upper Underdark—a region of extensive caverns and tunnels beneath Albatheos.

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Waterdeep was not so much built as reborn from the ashes of a far more ancient city, Ventakorum, the Jewel of the Korum Empire, which lorded over Albatheos two millennia before under the leadership of King Robrent IV, though many believed the true power resided in the court mage, Malhavok Mordae Gul.When Korum fell, in the aftermath of the Old Ones Rise, Albatheos was plunged into a dark age of savagery.

All that changed when local clans began to once more find a commonality. It was not long after that the old city began to tempt the more ambitious. Once the ruins were cleared of the more dangerous inhabitants, reconstruction began in earnest and a new era bloomed. The city grew rapidly, encompassing all of the former glory of Ventakorum as well as the Blackstone lands until it swelled to the slopes of Mt. Waterdeep itself.

The city was initially ruled by a local warchief, until the merchant guilds became powerful enough to assume leadership. This resulted, however, in what was called The Guildwars which threatened to tear the entire region apart. From this turmoil arose a Man of Faith, Hasrick the Steel-eyed, who tamed the city and the surrounding lands, establishing the Kingdom of Vispania. He made a pact with a group of Masked Lords and turned the city over to them and he established a capital in the center of his knew won kingdom.

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Waterdeep continued to grow and prosper. Humankind and other races came from all parts of Albatheos to engage in business in the City of Splendors. Over the years these successful merchants set up guilds and they themselves became nobility, supporting the secretive Masked Lords who policed the city fairly, by means of the well-trained city guard (soldiers), city watch (police), and over 20 black-robed magistrates. As a result, Waterdeep is now described as a place tolerant of different races, religions, and lifestyles. This in turn has encouraged commerce, and Waterdeep has grown into a huge, eclectic city.

LordsOfWaterdeepWaterdeep is ruled by a council whose membership is largely secret. These hidden Lords of Waterdeep maintain their identities behind magical masks; while they rule in public, none know the true identities of most of them. The subject of who the Lords are is a common topic of noble conversation, and some consider it a game to discover their identity, a game made more confusing by the fact the Lords themselves set their own rumors afloat. It is a known fact that Piergeiron the Paladinson, Warden of Waterdeep and Commander of the Watch, whose golden-spired palace dominates the center of the city, is a member of the Lords. He is the Unmasked Lord (in some references, the Open Lord), and wears no mask over either his face or his heart.

The Lords appear in public only in the Lords’ Court, hearing all cases of murder, treason, misuse of magic, and appeals from lower courts. On such occasions there are always at least four Lords present, but sometimes six or seven are seen, and rarely as many as nine. Piergeiron chairs the Court and asks all questions, for the Lords speak through him. In chambers the Lords all appear similarly masked and robed, their robes formless and black, with black capes, and their masks completely covering the head and face. These masks have featureless faces, with mirrored crystals over the eyes, save for Piergeironís. He has had his face covering separated from his helm, and lets those who appear before the Court see his face.

Notable locations include:

Castle Ward —This central ward encompassed Mount Waterdeep and much of the government of the city. Here was located Castle Waterdeep, the place of government, as well as the Palace of Waterdeep (also known as Piergeiron’s Palace), Lord Piergeiron’s private residence, and Blackstaff Tower, the residence of the Archmage of Waterdeep. This ward was also a common place for retired adventurers such as Mirt the Moneylender to make their homes.

City of the Dead — This park-like area was surrounded by high walls. Before the Spellplague, it was often visited during the day by wanderers and the odd picnicker; at night, the gates of the City of the Dead were closed, for it was Waterdeep’s graveyard. However, after the Spellplague, it fell into disrepair. The more important personages had their own personal graves or family shrines, while others were confined to larger crypts. The reason for the guards was not to protect the graves, but rather to protect the city from the occasional restless undead creature that did not appreciate its accommodations.

Dock Ward — As one might assume, the Dock Ward was situated hard on the Great Harbor of Waterdeep and held the docks, shipbuilding yards, and warehouses for the sea trade. The harbor was inhabited by merfolk who kept the peace within their own aquatic city.

Downshadow — Actually the uppermost level of Undermountain, Downshadow was the new “undercity”.

Field Ward — Field Ward was the ward between North Trollwall and new city walls. It was home to many demihumans.

Mistshore — Not strictly a ward, Mistshore was the ruined naval harbor. The area was home to outcasts and criminals who lived along the shoreline or on wrecked ships half-sunk in the harbor.

Mountainside — Mountainside was developed on the north and northeastern slopes of Mount Waterdeep after the Second Pestilars as rich nobles and those of rising fortunes fled to cleaner air.

North Ward — Tucked in the northeastern portion of the city, North Ward was the home of the nobility and their villas. The moneyed classes made their homes here, far removed from the hustle and bustle of the lower classes by the docks and in Southern Ward.

Sea Ward — The wealthiest of the wards, Sea Ward contained many of the temples of Waterdeep, along with a good helping of the newer noble families and retired adventurers who could afford the odd villa or two. The Field of Triumph, Waterdeep’s arena, was located here.

South Ward — Officially known as the Southern Ward (but only nonnatives referred to it as such), the South Ward was a place of caravan masters and traders, for it was close to the South Gate, the opening to the Trade.

Trades Ward — Waterdeep’s commercial section.

Undercliff — The latest ward, formed at the base of the eastern cliffs. It was connected to the rest of the city through subterranean tunnels

Skullhaven — Skullhaven is a city that lies more than a mile beneath Waterdeep. Skullhaven is a lawless place of slave traders, pirates, and demi-humans, where illithids, drow, beholders and other less savory creatures traffic with merchants and buccaneers from the surface.

Undermountain — Underneath a rise in the western part of the city is an extensive complex of tunnels and chambers known as the Undermountain.

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