The Legend Reborn
Waterdeep, also known as the City of Splendors or the Crown of the North, was once the most important and influential city in the North and perhaps in all Faerûn. It was considered part of the Western Heartlands of the Realms, even though it lay 150 miles north of Daggerford on the shores of the Sword Coast. It was ravaged in the Bloodfang Invasion of 2013 by King Steel-eyes and his vast army. They destroyed more than two thirds of the city, killing and enslaving men, women, and children of all races. Its wealth was plundered, and many of the buildings destroyed by brute force and the usage of the Trolls’ fire-sticks. The smoking ruins left behind scarce resembled the once-great city, but the cost to the Trolls was nearly as great, resulting in the destruction of the majority of their forces. King Steel-eyes was driven out of the city by the surviving Spellguard, and slain by his own men as punishment for his failure.
The city of Waterdeep took over a century to recover from its near destruction. As a result, most of the trade that had once been the life-blood of the world’s largest trade city was diverted to the cities of Baldur’s Gate, Neverwinter, and Silverymoon. Waterdeep spent several decades developing its crafting facilities in order to become the major manufacturer for many of the goods throughout Faerun and move trade back to the city. The plans worked, and trade shifted to include Waterdeep, especially since it was home to the largest harbor on the western coast. In actuality, it was the significant trade with Silverymoon that resurrected its commerce, bringing in merchants and craftsmen looking to ship their goods throughout the realms.
Today, Waterdeep is the largest city in the world having an area of 467 square miles, and two sets of walls surrounding the inner and outer sections of the city. It is a city-state whose authority extends a hundred miles from its walls where several million people make their home. Being a coastal trade city, it has its own navy, along with a standing army residing in the military section of the city. A third of the population belongs to the army or the Spellguard. Many merchants have their own guards, while others hire from the Adventurers’ Guild for particularly large caravans.
The city is the hub of manufacturing and trade from the mineral-rich lands to the north, the merchant kingdoms of Amn and Calimshan to the south, the kingdoms of the Inner Sea, Silvermar and Netheril to the east, and the sea kingdoms and traders to the west. Thanks to its significant trade, the city is ruled by a council of six Guildmasters selected by guild representatives and a seventh Master elected by the people to represent their interests. The guild masters of the thieves’ guild and assassins’ guild openly serve on this council and the other four seats are held by the four most powerful guilds in Waterdeep.
Waterdeep was named for its outstanding natural deep water harbor, and the city that grew up at this site was later rebuilt and has become the commercial crossroads of the northern Realms. The city sprawls northward from the sea, spreading along the flanks of Mount Waterdeep, which is the home to the Melairkyn, a mithral-mining dwarven clan. The entire length and great depth of their 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. The unexplored areas located beneath and near the city are a popular target for adventurers, who enjoy the close vicinity of the city’s main taverns and temples where aid can be paid for through donations.