Waterdeep and the North
With the upcoming releases of Waterdeep: Dragon Heist (next month) and Waterdeep: Dungeon of the Mad Mage (November) what better time to look at one of the original releases for the Forgotten Realms: Waterdeep and the North.
Released in 1987, Waterdeep and the North is more Waterdeep than the North. The first 8 of the supplement’s 64 pages cover the North in a very sparse manner. The information here is good but we’re here for the information on Waterdeep. Historically, Waterdeep was an integral part of Ed Greenwood’s home campaign and the information within these pages shows it.
Waterdeep and the North is a 64-page stapled book with a card, gatefold, cover and a large colour map of the city. The gatefold also has, smaller, maps of the city including the sewers, wards and sample floorplans for random buildings.
The main book is broken down into 9 chapters:
- An introduction to the North
- An introduction to the City of Waterdeep
- The city wards
- Life in the city
- The Guilds and Factions of the City
- Noble families of Waterdeep
- Selected Non-Player Characters of Waterdeep
- Beginning a campaign in Waterdeep
- Adventures in Waterdeep
The best information comes in the middle chapters. The introduction to Waterdeep provides us with some excellent information on the layout of the city and its wards as well as its history. We also get information on the Lords of Waterdeep. Given that the timeline for the Realms has progressed a bit, this is now out of date, but we do get a good insight into the Lords and how they work. Also detailed are the laws (and punishments) of Waterdeep. It’s at this point that the font gets a bit small for the first time (it gets even smaller later though). Still, the information is worth it. After all, there’s always that one character that is determined to upset the apple cart…
The city wards chapter has a nice little section on randomly generating buildings within the wards. It also has a key for all the numbered buildings on the large colour map. This is an excellent addition as 64 pages can’t provide all the details on every building in the city. Here we get a handy run-down that a DM can use as prompt when needed.
The life in the city chapter, again with small font, has selected “usual” prices for goods and services in Waterdeep. Useful to making the city seem alive. Likewise, with the guilds and factions and nobles chapters. To fit all the information in though (and there’s a lot of good information here) the font size can be small. It’s not too hard to read, and if you buy the PDF, you can always zoom in if needed.
Finally, we have the selected NPCs, advice on a campaign in Waterdeep and the adventure ideas. Each are all useful, but I really like the adventure ideas. You could insert any one into an ongoing campaign with ease.
In summary, I’d highly recommend picking up a copy. Print is probably too expensive, but at $4.99 for the PDF you can’t afford not to have this as part of your digital collection. If you’re in the market for a modern take on the map of Waterdeep, Mike Schley is giving away the digital version of his Waterdeep map (created for the Lords of Waterdeep boardgame—which is also very good).
Disclosure of Material Connection: Some of the links in the post above are “affiliate links” so if you make a purchase, I will receive some affiliate credit.