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The Lords of Waterdeep were the mysterious and predominantly anonymous ruling council of Waterdeep, having governed the city from the 11th century onwards.[1][2] They oversaw the regional economy,[12][13] maintained security,[14] and held legal jusisdiciton over the city[15] and the surrounding lands for approximately 200 mi (320 km) beyond its walls.[16][17]

Organization[]

A full council comprised 20 Lords, though this number might vary from 16 to 29.[18]

Open Lord[]

Open Lord Piergeiron and a Masked Lord in official garments circa 1372 DR.

The Open Lord of Waterdeep was the sole member of the Lords of Waterdeep whose identity was publicly known.[2] They held a number of additional titles including Warden of Waterdeep, Overmaster of the Guilds, and Commander of the Watch.[19] There was only one Open Lord at any one time, but when the previous one died or stepped down, they were replaced by a new one.[citation needed]

There have been seven Open Lords of Waterdeep to 1489 DR; Ahghairon the Mage, Baeron Silmaeril, Lhestyn the Masked Lady, Piergeiron the Paladinson,[20][2] Caladorn Cassalanter, Dagult Neverember, and Lady Laeral Silverhand.[21]

Activities[]

Ultimate legal authority in Waterdeep fell to the Open and Masked Lords of Waterdeep. The Open Lord and at least two others attended the Lord's Court while it was in session,[22][23] enforcing the city-state's set of rules and laws known as the Code Legal.[15][24] The lords listened to the most severe crimes committed against the city and the Waterdhavian people.[25] They also appeared on occasion when asked to by Waterdhavian lower courts, but always only few in number.[26]

They helped maintain peace and order within the city and beyond,[note 1] by directing the four branches of the Waterdhavian armed forces, namely the City Guard, the City Watch, the Griffon Cavalry, and the city's naval forces. They also held direct command over the actions of Force Grey,[14][27] an elite strike force formed of former adventurers and other mighty individuals.[28]

The Lords also held some power over Waterdeep's economic status, controlling the minting of coinage and trade bars.[12] They also possessed sole authority to grant nobility to Waterdhavians of great wealth and influence that petitioned as such.[13]

They also worked with foreign agents and goverments in build erection of proposed embassies being built within city limits.[29]

Lords' Rule[]

Every Shieldmeet, the Lords' Rule was reaffirmed.[23]

Anonymity[]

While no other Lords were formally named, some individuals became the subject of widespread rumors that could even become a general consensus.[19] The penalty for impersonating a Lord, whether by dressing in a set of their identical clothing or by a false claim, was punishable by the impostor's immediate execution.[2]

At any time the Open Lord could demand the identity of any Masked Lord, under punishment of death.[2]

Base of Operations[]

While the Lords only officially gathered within the Lord's Court, the Open Lord made full use of the Palace of Waterdeep in full view of the city's populace.[22] On occasions when the Lords held discreet meetings to conduct sensitive operations, they utilized the network of sea caves within Mount Waterdeep.[30]

Possessions[]

The Masked Lords each appeared identical to one another, thanks to their magical raiments.

All Masked Lords wore black formless robes and spoke through the Open Lord, in order to keep their identities secret. These magical items—known as the Lord's ensemble or "Lords Effects"—included illusion-enhanced robes, a heavily enchanted helm, the numerous magical Lord's Rings, and the Lord's Amulet.[31][32]

Some powerful spellcasters were capable of piercing through the illusion magic that maintained the Masked Lords' identities.[33]

Relationships[]

The Lords maintained numerous contacts throughout Waterdeep,[34][35][36] even in the less-reputable places, such as the underground city of Skullport. These individuals often aided agents working on behalf of the Lords, or acted as their eyes and ears within the city streets.[37]

Interestingly enough, Waterdeep's system of rule was so iconic throughout the Sword Coast, that it was more or less mimicked by other governing bodies, such as the Council of Guilds in Daggerford.[38][39]

History[]

The first Open Lord Aghairon ascended his role in the Year of the Nightmaidens, 1032 DR, marked by the beginning of the Northreckoning calendar.[27] Declaring that wisdom would reign over the city rather than strength of arms, he founded the Lords of Waterdeep.[3][40]

The Waterdhavian nobility was first recognized by Aghairon and the Lords in the Year of the Cockatrice, 1248 DR.[41] This decree proved extremely successful for the Lords and their relationship with the growing number of wealthy merchants in the city and surrounding farmlands.[42] In the years that followed, the two power groups were often at odds with one another, but ultimately the Lords prevented the guilds from gaining too much influence.[43]

The Lords regained governance over the city in the Year of the Wagon, 1273 DR, and over the course of three years added an additional 14 members to their ranks.[44][27] Baeron Silmaeril ascended as the Open Lord and the Zoar and Gildeggh noble families were exiled from the city.[45]

Years of peace in Waterdeep ended in the Year of the Harp, 1355 DR, when two masked Lords were slain by Amril Zoar, favored son of the outcast Zoar family.[44]

The Lords of Waterdeep collectively exiled the Shadow Thieves from the city in the Year of the Starfall, 1300 DR, and took action to limit the power of any criminal organization within the city in the decades that followed.[46] The troublesome thieves' guild subsequently relocated to Amn in the south.[47]

After the Netherese enclave of Thultanthar returned to Faerûn in the Year of the Unstrung Harp, 1371 DR, the Lords of Waterdeep began negotiations with Prince Aglarel Tanthul. The negotiations went poorly and the burgeoning alliance that was to be formed between the two cities was immediately halted.[33][48]

In the Year of Lost Ships, 1400 DR, the Lords issued the 'Tarnsmoke Proclamation' effectively legalizing bounty hunting within the city and surrounding lands.[49]

When the Cult of the Dragon reemerged as a threat to the Realms in the 1480s DR, the City of Splendors hosted several Councils of Waterdeep to deal with the threat. During the meetings, the Lords were represented first by Open Lord Dagult Neverember, then by his successor Laeral Silverhand.[50]

Members[]

Throughout the council's history, there had been between 50 and 80 Lords, four of whom reigned as Open Lord.[20] The Lords came from all walks of life and while they were predominantly human, they had had members of various races from throughout the Realms.[2]

Rumored Lords[]

On occasion some individuals garnered suspicion that they were one of Waterdeep's Masked Lords, while in fact they were not. Such was the case with the mercenary fighter Daria the Hammer.[51]

Known Lords of Waterdeep[]

Early Lords[]

Some of the known Lords during the governing body's first three centuries included:

14th Century[]

Circa 1370 DR and the following three decades, known Lords included:

15th Century[]

The two Open Lords of the late 15th century DR were Dagult Neverember, 1479 DR to ~1489 DR, and Laeral Silverhand, 1489 DR and onwards.

Known Masked Lords during their tenures included:

In 1491 DR, the following twelve Masked Lords were killed within a short time of one another: Ammasker Gwelt,[70][71] Avner Ravelmark,[72] Barkheld Haelinghorse,[73][74], Belgantur Haelhand,[75]Braethan Cazondur,[75] Dathanscza Meiril,[76][77] Nammandus Gorlar[72] Ieirmeera Stravandar,[78][79] Khaliira Arhond,[80][81] Landarmyn Voskur, [75][82] Ondreth Tolvur,[70] Oszbur Malankar[75][83]

An additional six Lords had their identities revealed, after which their status of Lordship remained uncertain. Among these lords were: Gruthgar Hrimmrel, Lammakh Heirlarpost, Kassalra Maremthur,[75] Sarathue Serendragon,[84][85] Zereth Keltaerond, and Halark Tarncrown.[citation needed]

The four Lords chosen immediately to replace some of the murdered Lords included:[80][86] Daerrask Querreth, Zuzeena Qeldur, Cadraethe Haulhenarr, and Vaelra Kallo.[85]

Appendix[]

Notes[]

  1. The Lords of Waterdeep cannot be held responsible for the flogging, banishment, incarceration, or execution of adventurers who violate the Code Legal, nor are the Lords responsible for the actions of beholder crime lords, unscrupulous nobles, drow swashbucklers, and evil clones.

Appearances[]

Novels
Tymora's LuckThe SiegeDeath Masks
Video Games
Lords of Waterdeep (mobile game)
Referenced only
Baldur's Gate
Board Games
Lords of Waterdeep (board game)

References[]

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