The City of Splendors is a bustling city on the Sword Coast. A rider from Red Larch can reach Waterdeep in seven days, three if he or she changes horses often and dares to ride by night. Some merchants have termed Waterdeep “the best supply center in the world,” with the largest collection of superb craft workers, experts, useful contacts, and potential hirelings to be found anywhere. Others warn that it represents a huge army of potential enemies for those who aren’t careful-and everyone agrees that its busy streets are full of spies.
Waterhavian noble families and guilds hold tremendous political and economic sway up and down the Sword Coast, but within the city itself, true power lies with the Masked Lords of Waterdeep individuals who convene secretly and whose identities are largely unknown. The public face of this ruling body is the Open Lord of Waterdeep. The current Open Lord, Laeral Silverhand, has held the position for only a few months, and many of the city’s nobles and guild masters are vying for her attention and conspiring to wrest power away from her office, while taking advantage of the transition to dispose of unwanted rivals. This kind of political chaos is “business as usual” for most city residents.