Main article: Waterdeep
See also: the history of Waterdeep in timeline format

Waterdeep is on the site of an elven settlement called Aelinthaldaar, which was the capital of Illefarn at the time, and dates from around -8500 DR.[1]

Early historyEdit

In -1288 DR, Melairbode was created in the mountain beside and underneath Aelinthaldaar by the dwarven King Melair I, who began mining mithral there.[2] As more and more "Melairkyn" arrived, the dwarves expanded their home to include areas nearer and nearer to the surface, which made the elves uneasy. In exchange for a large amount of mithral being mined by the Melairkyn dwarves, the elves created a magical effect on the plateau on which their city stood. This effect ensured that no matter what occurred below, the surface would remain unaffected and no collapse would occur there.[3]

Aelinthaldaar was razed in -1100 DR after the elves inhabiting the city retreated to Evermeet. It was soon taken over by barbarian tribes who used it as a trade center from -1088 DR, doing business with peoples further south.[1][4] The deep natural harbor on the site made it a particularly good point to hold trademoots because large ships were able to load and unload goods.[5] Eventually, tribes made the area their permanent home rather than revisiting for each trademoot. Conflict was common due to the lucrative trade opportunities, but the area was eventually secured by a tribe of people led by Nimoar, who named the town "Waterdeep," or "Nimoar's Hold."[6] By 52 DR, a permanent farming community of Illuskans had been established.[4][3]

In -750 DR, the Netherese had moved to Melairbode uninvited, and made their home adjacent to the dwarves. The Sargauth Enclave was hewn from the rock by magic spells and then sealed. Over the years, a mantle was raised that served a similar purpose to a mythal. The disruption to the Weave in -339 DR caused the collapse of most of the enclave, but what remains is now known as Skullport.[3]

The drow began to push the Melairkyn dwarves back from -677 DR onwards, claiming more and more of Undermountain for themselves. They would eventually remove all the Melairkyn, but not until 211 DR.[3]


In 168 DR, the wizard Halaster Blackcloak moved to the area and constructed Halaster's Hold a little to the northwest of the farming community. Between 171 DR and 308 DR he conducted Halaster's Hunts which brutally exterminated the drow and duergar from Undermountain, clearing the space for his own purposes.[3] It was used until 307 DR, when the Seven, Halaster's apprentices, moved into the Undermountain and abandoned it. It fell into disrepair at this point.[4] It was not until 493 DR that the drow finally abandoned Undermountain.[3]

Meanwhile, from 302 DR, the waters of the Lizard Marsh rose and forced Tavaray to be abandoned. The human settlements on the future site of Waterdeep became much more isolated, and the lack of prosperity and outside contact caused the populace to split back into tribes.[3]


In 482 DR, a warlord from Tethyr named Ulbaerag Bloodhand came to the area and united the tribes, claiming the settlement as "Bloodhand Hold." It began exporting timber onto ships destined for areas further south that did not benefit from such large trees as could be found in the North. Ulbaerag actively rejected the opportunity to join the Kingdom of Phalorm, known as "the Realm of Three Crowns." It was not until his son came to power that Bloodhand Hold finally joined the Kingdom. Its existence continued until 615 DR when the Horde of the Wastes overran it, destroying Uthtower and leading to the formation of the Mere of Dead Men. The Sword Mountains became infested with orcs but Bloodhand Hold survived.[7]

The collapse of the Realm of Three Crowns led to the formation of the Kingdom of Man, but Bloodhand Hold remained independent. Despite this, it was widely regarded as part of the Kingdom. After no heir existed to take the throne in 697 DR, the kingdom collapsed into civil war, but still Bloodhand Hold remained. Poor harvests in 734 DR caused the Hold's leader, Raulbaera Bloodhand, to establish an outlying settlement named Rowan Hold, which would later become Amphail.[7]


In 882 DR, a tribal leader known as Nimoar the Reaver led his tribe in search of a new place to live after the fall of the elven kingdoms. Nimoar and his tribe came across Bloodhand Hold and had no trouble in seizing it for themselves, renaming it "Nimoar's Hold." It suffered a large pirate attack in 887 DR but held strong, and then two years later, in 889 DR, the Blood Elk tribe set the settlement alight, but again it survived, and was rebuilt before the end of the year.[7]


Main article: Trollwars

Due to massive orc uprisings and population growth in the north, trolls were forced out of their homes and pushed south, into the area now known as the Evermoors, and into conflict with the humans.[6] The first conflict occurred in 932 DR but was ended before the year's end, with the humans purging the moors area of trolls. In 936 DR the Trollwars were punctuated by the Orcfastings War, where the orc armies of Uruth Ukrypt attacked Nimoar's Hold.[7] The second conflict erupted in 940 DR when the trolls began making continual raids on the humans. It lasted until 952 DR, when it was ended decisively by the magic of the 32-year-old mage Ahghairon, but six of the War Lords were killed in the combat.[4] A knight of Tyr named Samular Caradoon was recognised as a hero in the second Trollwar, and went on to form the Holy Order of Samular.[7] Following the conflict, a walled keep was constructed on the slopes of the mountain, and the walls continued to expand as more and more people from the surrounding area came to it for protection. At this time, the "Free City of Waterdeep" was ruled by War Lords.[6]

A temple and monastery to Lathander was constructed outside the city, and this would later become the Spires of the Morning.[4]


Warlord Raurlor became the Warlord of Waterdeep, and aimed to use the city's wealth to create a vast empire in Northwest Faerûn.[8] Ahghairon voiced strong opposition to this in 1032 DR,[9] and Raurlor ordered that he was to be arrested. When Ahghairon used his magic to prevent his own arrest, Raurlor struck out at him, but Ahghairon turned Raurlor's sword into a snake, which bit him, poisoning and killing him. Ahghairon declared himself the first Lord of Waterdeep, and created the current system of government whereby all Lords but one (initially himself) have hidden identities.[8]

Under Ahghairon, Waterdeep secured the areas to the north for the humans and built new roads to interconnect them, while continuing to grow to five times its size, becoming more and more prosperous. The city developed the nickname "the Crown of the North."[8] Ahghairon restructured the army and navy that Raurlor had built up into the city watch and the city guard (for both navy and army).[9] As crime and deceit began to develop in Waterdeep, Ahghairon ordered the creation of guilds, a trend from cities in the south, to prevent the further spread of problems.[8] It was under Ahghairon that the city began to use its system of wards, which was first introduced in 1035 DR. By 1064 DR, the city had reached 50,000 inhabitants.[9]

In 1037 DR, creatures from another plane appeared in Waterdeep after emerging from the Undermountain. Ahghairon and one of the masked Lords named Kherris turned them back.[9]

1101 DR saw further expansion of the city walls, to include the Spires of the Morning, the temple to Lathandar that had previously been outside the city. In 1150 DR the city was hit by the plague that was travelling the Sword Coast. This was also the year Khelben "Blackstaff" Arunsun (then known as "Khelben the Elder") first arrived in Waterdeep. Maulagrym attacked Khelben's tower in 1179 DR, but they were defeated by Khelben, Elminster, Hamiklar Wands and other Waterdhavian mages.[9]

The city was besieged in 1235 DR by the largest orc horde ever recorded. The siege lasted for nine months, but it was broken when Ahghairon used griffons to fly supplies of food and aid into of the city.[9]

The only incident of betrayal amongst the Lords of Waterdeep occurred in 1246 DR when Kerrigan, a masked Lord, began slaying the other Lords. He murdered three before Ahghairon confronted him in a battle of magic that ended in the Southern Ward, where Kerrigan was killed.[9]

Owing to a lack of space, the individual graves were replaced with tombs, creating the City of the Dead in 1250 DR. By 1252 DR, problems with undead from the area led to the raising of walls to separate it from the rest of the city. In 1255 DR, the Shadow Thieves begin operating in Waterdeep.[9]

Eventually, even Ahghairon's magic could not keep him alive, and he died in 1256 DR. He was buried in his own tower, which was sealed off and protected by magic. It is believed that his resting place has remained undisturbed ever since.[8]


Turmoil followed Ahghairon's death while the merchants of Waterdeep bickered over who would assume power. Nothing was heard from the masked Lords of Waterdeep, either because they could not communicate without revealing their identities now that Ahghairon was gone, or because their identities had already been compromised and they had been murdered.[8] In fact, the only survivors amongst the masked Lords were the woodworker Baeron and the apprentice wizard Shilarn. After two months, power was taken by the Guildmasters who had been appointed by Ahghairon. The following six years were termed "the Guildwars" because of the violence and murder that occurred, often between private armies, ultimately leaving only two surviving Guildmasters.[10]

The surviving guildmasters, gemcutter Ehlemm Zoar and shipwright Lhorar Gildeggh eventually tired of bloodshed and agreed to rule together, as "Lords Magister," in 1262 DR.[11] They did not agree on much else, and continued to argue, leading to continuing tensions within the city.[10] Eleven years later, in 1273 DR,[11] the Lords Magister were visited by Baeron and Shilarn who had concealed themselves underneath cloaks. Shilarn ordered the Lords Magister to leave the city. When they refused, she struck them down with magic, killing them both, and she and Baeron, the two remaining former masked Lords, took power.[10]


The Gildeggh and Zoar houses were banned from Waterdeep. The other noble houses were given the choice either to leave the city, or to obey the new rulers. Baeron publicly revealed his identity, assuming the role of the Open Lord. The original form of government, whereby Waterdeep is led by one Open Lord and a number of Masked Lords, was restored. In order to further prevent the discovery of the identities of the Masked Lords, a group of Magisters named "the Black Robes" were instated as judges and dispensers of the law.[10] In Uktar of 1273 DR, the Shadow Thieves were outlawed in Waterdeep.[11]

1276 DR saw the birth of Lhestyn (later known as "the Masked Lady"), daughter to Baeron and Shilarn. The North Ward and the Sea Ward were introduced in this year, and the Lords of Waterdeep increased their number to sixteen. In 1298 DR, Lhestyn infiltrated the Shadow Thieves and exposed them in Waterdeep. They were killed or chased out of the city.[11]

Baeron died of a fever in 1308 DR, and his wife Shilarn threw herself onto his funeral pyre.[11]

Lhestyn and PiergeironEdit

Lhestyn took over as Open Lord after Baeron, but only until her death in 1314 DR. She was succeeded by Piergeiron the Paladinson who ruled as Open Lord relatively peacefully. In the early winter of 1345 DR, during the Night of the Temple Fires, religious disorder between the churches of Lathander, Selûne, Shar and Tempus caused the Spires of the Morning and the House of Heroes to be burned to the ground. Both were rebuilt within a year.[11]

During the Time of Troubles in 1358 DR, Myrkul attacked Waterdeep causing huge fires and widespread destruction, mostly in the Castle, Dock and Southern Wards. Many inhabitants of the city hear the voice of Ao, and Cyric and Midnight ascend as new gods.[11]

The summer of 1364 DR brought droughts and increased monster activity to the city. Shieldmeet at the Field of Triumph is disrupted by a green dragon. The next year, in 1365 DR, limited trade is established with Zakhara and Maztica, but the sea journeys are highly dangerous.[11]


In present-day Waterdeep (circa 1374 DR), the only remnants of the long-razed Aelinthaldaar are crypts beneath the Pantheon Temple of the Seldarine, and the magic that prevents the plateau from collapsing.[1]

Cloud Giant VisitEdit

Some time after the War of the Silver Marches, the cloud giant castle of Count Nimbolo and Countess Mulara emerged from the clouds overhead and loomed above the city for a time, its ominous shadow causing widespread panic. Laeral Silverhand dispatched heralds to calm the people and assure them that no harm would befall the city. The giants meant no harm to Waterdeep, and planned to meet with the city's leaders to learn more about Waterdeep's history and determine whether any remnants of Ostoria survived to that day.[12]


  1. 1.0 1.1 1.2 Eric L. Boyd (June 2005). City of Splendors: Waterdeep. (Wizards of the Coast), p. 6. ISBN 0-7869-3693-2.
  2. Joseph C. Wolf (1999). Skullport. (TSR, Inc), p. 5. ISBN 0-7869-1348-7.
  3. 3.0 3.1 3.2 3.3 3.4 3.5 3.6 Eric L. Boyd (June 2005). City of Splendors: Waterdeep. (Wizards of the Coast), p. 7. ISBN 0-7869-3693-2.
  4. 4.0 4.1 4.2 4.3 4.4 Ed Greenwood and Steven E. Schend (July 1994). “Campaign Guide”. City of Splendors (TSR, Inc), p. 29. ISBN 0-5607-6868-1.
  5. Ed Greenwood and Steven E. Schend (July 1994). “Campaign Guide”. City of Splendors (TSR, Inc), p. 25. ISBN 0-5607-6868-1.
  6. 6.0 6.1 6.2 Ed Greenwood and Steven E. Schend (July 1994). “Campaign Guide”. City of Splendors (TSR, Inc), p. 26. ISBN 0-5607-6868-1.
  7. 7.0 7.1 7.2 7.3 7.4 Eric L. Boyd (June 2005). City of Splendors: Waterdeep. (Wizards of the Coast), p. 8. ISBN 0-7869-3693-2.
  8. 8.0 8.1 8.2 8.3 8.4 8.5 Ed Greenwood and Steven E. Schend (July 1994). “Campaign Guide”. City of Splendors (TSR, Inc), p. 27. ISBN 0-5607-6868-1.
  9. 9.0 9.1 9.2 9.3 9.4 9.5 9.6 9.7 Ed Greenwood and Steven E. Schend (July 1994). “Campaign Guide”. City of Splendors (TSR, Inc), p. 30. ISBN 0-5607-6868-1.
  10. 10.0 10.1 10.2 10.3 Ed Greenwood and Steven E. Schend (July 1994). “Campaign Guide”. City of Splendors (TSR, Inc), p. 28. ISBN 0-5607-6868-1.
  11. 11.0 11.1 11.2 11.3 11.4 11.5 11.6 11.7 Ed Greenwood and Steven E. Schend (July 1994). “Campaign Guide”. City of Splendors (TSR, Inc), p. 31. ISBN 0-5607-6868-1.
  12. Christopher Perkins (September 6, 2016). Storm King's Thunder. In Kim Mohan, Michele Carter eds. (Wizards of the Coast), pp. 112–113. ISBN 978-0786966004.