Waterdeep, also known as the "City of Splendors" or the "Crown of the North", is one of the most important and influential cities in all of Faerûn. As a port city situated on the Sword Coast, it serves as a trade hub for neighboring kingdoms such as Amn, Calimshan and those along the Sea of Fallen Stars. The central authority of the city is their highest court, The Lord's Court. Sixteen Lords, who meet in identical robes and masks to hide their identities, handle all of the most severe crimes such as the death, suspicious deaths and rape of notable citizens. In addition, important matters such as the alteration of laws, misuse of magic, and disputes over succession and inheritance. The court's membership is based on how influential a citizen is, and may be recruited from amongst the lords, adventurers and merchants who find great success in the many different districts of the city.
The city of Waterdeep is divided into many unique districts, but our story focuses primarily on the Docks Ward, the Castle Ward and Skullport in the depths of Undermountain. The Castle Ward is the central district, built upon the side of Mount Waterdeep and housing the government. It is so named for Castle Waterdeep, which housed the Open Lord of Waterdeep and key figures of Waterdhavian authority. The ward is also a popular location for the nobility and rich to live, including retired adventurers and legendary figures such as Mirt the Moneylender or Khelben Blackstaff. The Dock Ward is the harbor district and contains the docks, shipbuilding yards and warehouses for the great volume of sea trade traffic. This ward is also home to many commoners, merchants and mercantile. Unlike the majority of the city, it is considerably more dirty, stinky and dangerous. Not to mention the stench of rotting fish.
Waterdeep's population is estimated to be around 2,000,000 people, a density of over 200 per square mile, and all living within the 30 to 40 miles reach of it's high walls. That which is not defended by walls is guarded by the natural defense of the great Mount Waterdeep which houses watchtowers and a fleet of elite griffon riders. The main military force is the City Guard, while the streets are patrolled by the City Watch and justice is delivered by the City Magistrates who wear iconic black robes. In addition, the city also has 8 animated behemoths known as the "Walking Statues of Waterdeep" as a defensive measure against the impossible and devastating evil forces of the world. But the last and arguably most potent defense for the city is the great number of adventurers who gather and train themselves against the Undermountain.
The Undermountain, also known as Halaster's Maze, is the home lair of the mad wizard Halaster Blackcloak and his seven apprentices. It is a twisted and labyrinthine network of caverns underneath Waterdeep that has become a popular location for would-be heroes. From the well in the Yawning Portal, to the catacombs beneath the City of the Dead, or from various holes and portals strewn across the city, one might discover lost mines, Dwarven ruins, or even an entry into the Underdark. The cavern itself is an unnatural, shifting magical construct that produces endless monstrosities and horrors. In the 3rd level of the dungeon, resides a subterranean city known as Skullport.
Skullport, or the Port of Shadows, is the domain of ne'er-do-wells and villains. A ramshackle of rickety buildings and narrow catwalks is constructed in and about caverns, and upon ancient Netherese ruins, forms a lawless city of smugglers, bandits, criminals and other dark races all coexisting with one another. The closest form of government is the fist and authority of the biggest gang known as The Mandible.