Forgotten Realms: Splendors & Shadow
News and Gossip
Late Summer in Waterdeep means that the population is at its peak as the merchants prepare their most heavily laden caravans, before the winter snows make the roads much more treacherous. The city prepares for the High Harvest Faire, a great festival, trade-meet, and send-off to the autumn caravans, with weeks of various smaller, ward- or neighborhood-local festivities leading up to the big event.
Various gangs of the southern wards are engaged in a bloody and protracted turf war; with the Watch stretched thin already, due to late summer activities throughout the city, the gangs rule many of the neighborhoods and alleyways of the Dock and South Wards. Merchants wanting to get their goods to or from the hold of a ship often hire private security forces to ensure safe passage.
The Watch is hard-pressed on many fronts, and has taken to forming (or in some cases, hiring) special bands to send on missions for which they can’t spare the manpower (and which would probably be too much for regular watchmen anyway) – in particular, reconnaissance and patrols of the uppermost environs of the dungeons below.
The Church of the Holy Triad suspects that the guilds, noble houses, government, and even the churches of the Ecumenical Council have been massively infiltrated by a number of nefarious groups; they’ve gained the City Council’s leave to institute an Inquisition to root out the corruption. The Order of the Even Hand, severe and humorless Tyrian monks, spearhead the Inquisition, commanding the Clergy, the loyal forces of the House of Hawkwinter, the zealous Knights of St Vigius, and a detachment of Watchmen in the execution of their grim task. The Inquisitorial Tribunals don’t have the power to levy punishments, but those found guilty are then formally charged in the Lords’ Court, where the city’s troubles and the Church’s influence make a speedy conviction likely.
“Dungeon-Plunging” is the current term for the time-honored tradition (among adventurers, mercenaries, and bored young nobles alike) of making trips into Undermountain, specifically from the taproom of the Yawning Portal. Most often, this is a quick sweep of the famous landmarks of the uppermost Dungeon Level, with the hopes of avoiding any serious threats, while still finding some kind of trophy or keepsake to brag over at the tavern – treasures of any real value have long since been removed from the commonly-trodden topmost areas. However, even serious delvers and explorers often begin their careers with a succession of progressively deeper dungeon-plunges, until they can establish a base of operations, or alternate means of entry, deeper within.