The Guildwars were a series of conflicts within the city of Waterdeep, between the years 1256 DR and 1262 DR. These years would see the deaths of all the known Lords of the city, and the emergence of the Council of Guildmasters rise to power, which lasted until 1273.
Beginning with the death of the death of Open Lord Ahghairon, and the disappearance of Khelben "Blackstaff" Arunsun from the city, the Guildwars left a small vacuum of power within Waterdeep of which the guildmasters sought to take advantage.
The guildmasters had discovered the identities of all but two of the Lords, and had them killed in secret. Following this mass assassination, they were left to argue about how to share power but ended up turning on one another. The heads of the city's various guilds hired additional assassins to kill one another and pitted their mercenary armies against one another in the city, leading to the deaths of members of several mercantile families. After the initial two months of strife, it was agreed the Council of Guildmasters would rule as a single governing body. The fueds between various guilds were temporarily set aside, but not forgotten.
With an unsteady truce, the fighting and selfish bickering continued for six years of shared rule. However, in 1262 DR, the troubles brewing beneath the surface came to a boil in the form of total bloodshed. All but two of the guildmasters were killed; only Ehlemm Zoar of the Gemcutters guild and Lhorar Gildeggh of the Shipwrights guild were left alive. Exhausted from years of backstabbing, violence and death, the two remaining guildmasters agreed to rule together as Lords Magister, albeit with continued bickering.
- Eric L. Boyd (June 2005). City of Splendors: Waterdeep. (Wizards of the Coast), p. 10. ISBN 0-7869-3693-2.
- Ed Greenwood and Steven E. Schend (July 1994). “Campaign Guide”. City of Splendors (TSR, Inc), p. 28. ISBN 0-5607-6868-1.
- Eric L. Boyd (June 2005). City of Splendors: Waterdeep. (Wizards of the Coast), p. 11. ISBN 0-7869-3693-2.