City of Splendors & Horrors
City of the Dead: This graveyard sits along the eastern edge of Trades Ward is the general cemetery for the City of Splendors, and its size nearly makes it a ward in and of itself. Many citizens visit the City of the Dead’s parklike green lawns and white marble tombs during the day, for it is one of the few places dominated by greenery that the citizens of Waterdeep can share within the city walls. The grounds are off-limits after dusk, and the gates are locked.
Mountainside: Waterdeep’s wealthy merchants (including many dwarves) are slowly building new streets and homes on the northern and northeastern slopes of Mount Waterdeep, creating the neighborhood of Mountainside above the streets of Castle Ward.
A street known as the Rise climbs north out of Fetlock Court and switchbacks as it ascends the mountain. The Rise is lined by tall, narrow, many balconied houses that typically have four or five floors. Because it costs so much to build on the windswept rock of the mountain, only wealthy folk build their stylish houses here, which is one of the reasons Mountainside hasn’t grown faster.
Events stemming from the Spellplague left a statue lying on its side on Mount Waterdeep, alongside the first doubling back of the Ride. A row of five luxurious stone manors, complete with balconies and hanging gardens (locally known as Downgiant Row), were built up out of the statue.
The Mistshore: Over the last century, Deepwater Harbor has become badly polluted, its waters brown and stinking. The north shore of the former Naval Harbor became a beaching ground (and then a scuttling yard) for damaged or age-rotted ships. Over the years, these hulks piled up one atop another, spreading out from the shore at the foot of Coin Alley for a long way into the harbor to form the Mistshore. This area is a permanent slum of sagging, ramshackle woodwork atop the heap of sunken ships, where the most disfigured, diseased, spellscarred, and monstrous of Waterdeep’s inhabitants dwell.
The Mistshore is the darkest and wildest neighborhood in Waterdeep, where open violence and lawlessness is frequent and the Watch patrols seldom (and then only at double strength or more). Drunken and beaten-up inhabitants can often be seen sprawled or draped over the rotting riggings that line the winding “streets.”
Sewers: Waterdeep’s sewers and waterways run beneath much of the city, forming a subterranean layer between the surface and the depths of Undermountain. The uppermost portions of the sewers are in fairly good repair, thanks to the efforts of the Cellarers’ & Plumbers’ Guild.
The primary source of fresh water comes from several subterranean cisterns scattered through the tunnels under the city. The cisterns are filled by plentiful rain, and supplemented by pumps crafted by ancient dwarves to tap the extensive network of natural springs found beneath the city.
Undercliff: Undercliff is by far the largest and most open new part of Waterdeep. It sprawls over the meadows east of the plateau occupied by the old city, under the cliff that still forms its eastern edge. Undercliff is large, rather lawless, and still growing; it’s home to every sort of new arrival (for the last fifty years or so). Undercliff is the most fluid neighborhood of Waterdeep, where people move frequently, shanties often collapse or are torn down or torched, and change rules.
Increasingly, dwarves dwelling in Field Ward who have made enough coin are seeking to buy houses in Mountainside, and on the cliff face above Undercliff, so they can tunnel out larger abodes at will. Their diggings have already breached some sewers and cellars in the city. Their activities are beginning to attract the attention of the Masked Lords, who are now sending down hired adventurers to patrol the uppermost levels of Undermountain to stop the illicit delvings.
The Warrens: This district underlies a portion of northern Dock Ward and a large part of Castle Ward. It consists of 5-foot-ceilinged rooms and suites opening off a few winding street tunnels. Home to many gnomes and halflings, the area is seeing an increasing number of dwarves (though any who can’t get along with gnomes and halflings are firmly expelled). The district is in the process of expanding to the east, under the City of the Dead, to come out on the face of the cliff and into buildings there. Several of the new tunnels leading east from the present area of the district have collapsed and fallen down into Undercliff as a result, though none have done so recently.
These new tunnels of the Warrens have disturbed some of the oldest burial sites in the City of the Dead. Despite the diggers taking care to return a breached tomb to its former state, some say the tunnels have become haunted. Indeed, many report eerie whispered words, apparitions, and noncorporeal images of all sorts. At first this was assumed to be the talk of “uppity gnomes” until such images began manifesting to several creatures at once. Most such encounters are merely frightening or spooky rather than physically dangerous. Then again, persistent rumors speak of halflings, gnomes, and even dwarves losing time, sometimes just hours, but other times whole days. According to one old gnome, the disturbed spirits are possessing the memory-challenged victims, and goading them into actions intended to avenge long-ago slights or accomplished long-unfinished business. While this assertion seems like the height of hysterical hand-waving to the majority, a few halfling traders have started to walk the Warrens alone, seeking just such apparitions, hoping to question them in order to learn the misdeeds, secrets, and past peccadilloes of eminent Waterdhavian families, to see if this can be turned to some advantage.