Population: 132,661
Demographics: Humans (64%), Dwarves (10%), Elves (10%), Halflings (5%), Half-elves (5%), Gnomes (3%), Half-orcs (2%), Others (1%)
Religion : Deneir, Mystra, Oghma, Tempus.
Government : Oligarchical city-state
Open Lord: Dagult Neverember
Legislative Branch: The Lords of Waterdeep
Judicial Branch: The Magisters of Waterdeep

Waterdeep was built on the site of the ancient elven settlement of Aelinthaldaar, which gave way to a farming community of humans that developed into Bloodhand Hold. This was conquered and renamed Nimoar’s Hold before the name “Waterdeep” caught on. Waterdeep was the most common name used by the sea captains docking to trade at the port.


Waterdeep was used as a trading site for trade activities between northern tribesmen and southern merchants from -1088 DR onwards. By 52 DR, permanent farms had sprung up in the area. The name “Waterdeep” (not as a city, but as a town) was used by the ship captains docking to trade at the port, and it was slowly adopted into common use. The city was truly established by 1032 DR, the year Ahghairon became the first Lord of Waterdeep, and the date from which Northreckoning is counted.

The city grew spectacularly, such that by 1248 DR both the City of the Dead and the guilds had been developed. The guild masters seized control soon afterwards, ushering in a period of unrest and bitter conflict known as the Guild wars. The Guild wars ended only when the two surviving guild masters brought in their own period of misrule. It was only in 1273 DR that the present system of government was instituted. This was the year that the Magisters were established and the secret Lords of Waterdeep were firmly reestablished. Since that time, the city has continued to grow and prosper.

Humankind and other races came from all over the Realms to earn hard coin in the City of Splendors.[citation needed] Over the years these successful merchants set up guilds and themselves became nobility, supporting the secretive Lords of Waterdeep who policed the city fairly, yet with a light hand, by means of the superb City Guard (soldiers), City Watch (police)5 and over 20 black-robed magistrates. As a result, Waterdeep was a place tolerant of different races, religions, and lifestyles. This in turn encouraged commerce and Waterdeep grew into a huge, eclectic city.


Waterdeep was ruled by a council whose membership was largely secret. These hidden Lords of Waterdeep maintained their identities behind magical masks, called helms and while they ruled in public, none knew the true identities of most of them. The subject of who the Lords were became a common topic of noble conversation, and some considered it a game to discover the Lords’ identities, a game made more confusing by the fact the Lords themselves set their own rumors afloat.


As of around 1370 DR, stone was imported from Mirabar via Luskan for use in construction, having been magically transported. This was an expensive process.

Around 1374 DR, during the late autumn time, wagons and cart overcrowded the markets as foreign vendors attempted to sell as much as possible before returning home for the winter. This was a practice ignored by the Guard, the Watch and the guilds.

Waterdeep was the start of several trade routes:

The Long Road, the inland trade route to the north.
The High Road, the coastal trade route to the north.
The Trade Way, the trade route to the south.

Defense and Justice

Waterdeep maintained two separate armed forces, the Guard and the Watch. The City Guard served as Waterdeep’s soldiery and its members staffed garrisons, road patrols, and watchposts, and served as bodyguards and gate guards. The Watch was the local police force and in addition to capturing criminals, its members settled petty disputes, gave directions, summoned medical and priestly aid, generally performing duties that promoted the idea that Waterdeep was a city open to all who know how to behave themselves.

Waterdeep had strong walls on its landward sides and was protected in part by Mount Waterdeep on the seaward side. Mount Waterdeep was studded with watch towers and defensive positions, and patrolled by special guard units on flights of hippogriffs. Aside from this Waterdeep also benefited from a large native population of the adventuring classes (including powerful mages, priests, and warriors) who were more than willing to deal with any and all miscreants who threatened their home city, and did so in the past. This often proved the City of Splendors most potent defense.[citation needed]

Waterdhavian justice was dispatched by the Magisters, who directed the common courts of the city. These Black Robes, as they were often called, were empowered to pass sentences. They were always accompanied by six members of the guard.[citation needed] Any individuals found guilty could appeal to the Lord’s Court, ruled over by the masked Lords of Waterdeep, where serious cases were usually heard. Individuals bringing frivolous cases to the Lord’s Court usually faced stiffer fines than if they accepted a magister’s ruling.

Wards of Waterdeep

Since 1035 DR Waterdeep was roughly divided into wards. The wards originally all had guards and walls in the manner of Procampur and other ancient cities, but the press of progress toppled or bored through most of the walls. Only the walls and guards around the City of the Dead are still maintained. The wards of Waterdeep were:

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,7 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. 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. 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 mermen who kept the peace within their own aquatic city.


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

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 refer to it as such, 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.


Hoard of the Dragon Queen Archongamer