Tales from the Sword Coast
Population: 122,000 (during prime trade season this rises to 500,000+)
Government: Governed by the Lords of Waterdeep, men and women from all walks of life who rule fairly, yet remain unknown by the people of the city.
Waterdeep,“Gem of the North,” is the largest and most important city in the Savage Frontier (and perhaps in all of Faerun). Anything one could want can be found in this mighty seaport•if the price is right. The sprawling walled city contains folk of all races (including evil) and all professions. Most religions have shrines here and many have large temples.
There is a saying that says"As goes Waterdeep, so goes the North." The City of Splendors controls most of the trade in the North; almost everything grown, mined, or made in the Savage Frontier is taken to Waterdeep before finding its way farther south•few southern merchants are willing to travel the wilds, even for the chance of tremendous profit. Employers who seek adventurers’ aid look to Waterdeep first and if one must spend a winter in the North, Waterdeep is the warmest, though not necessarily the safest, place to do it. Deep winter rarely lasts longer than two-and-a-half months here (much shorter than the rest of the North).
Waterdeep is guarded by a great wall with high towers, and by sheer 100-foot cliffs. Four gates pierce the wall: South Gate, River Gate, Northgate and Westgate. Sprawling Waterdeep fills its walls, except where construction is banned by the Lords’ edict (such as the City of the Dead or the public streets).
The city is built upon rock and rubble mined from the innards of Mount Waterdeep in ancient days. It is divided into seven districts or wards. They are Castle Ward, which contains Lord Piergeiron’s palace, army barracks, and the homes of the wealthy; Sea Ward, along the seacoast, which contains most temples and the homes of nobility; North Ward, a nice district where the best inns can be found; The City of the Dead, a great walled cemetery where none may live (or even spend the night); Trades Ward, the commercial area of the city• home of the well-to-do merchant class; Southern Ward, a poor but honest district where most trading companies and caravan masters have their offices; and Dock Ward, a rough district which encompasses the city’s vital trade commerce and its shadier population.
At least three networks of underground passages are known to exist beneath Waterdeep’s busy streets. Undermountain, a•deep, many-leveled former dwarfhold and mine of great antiquity that, as its name implies, lies largely beneath Mount Waterdeep, is the largest and most famous. The Dungeon of the Crypt (so named for its entrance in the City of the Dead) lies under North Ward, and is less spoken of. The third labyrinth is the city sewers, which links much of the city with its vast, damp and smelly conduits.
The city’s navy patrols its huge, walled harbor and mermen guard the underwater areas. Many of these armored ships sail the Sea of Swords to keep pirates (mostly Luskan pirates) at bay.
Economy: Trade, services, manufacture of all manner of goods, shipbuilding.
Militia: Thought to be 1,200 Guard (soldiers•heavily trained, fully armored men-at-arms) and 1,600 Watch (policemen• lightly armored). The Watch may search any person, place, or container in Waterdeep without hindrance or warning.