Setting Overview

You are a group of professional adventurers bound together by common financial goals as well as interpersonal relationships. All loot is divided equally with an extra share set aside for the group's holdings, which is used for group purchases and the like. All adventuring decisions require a majority vote. Your base of operations is located in a suite of rooms on the second floor of the Yawning Portal Inn, which is also where you have your lodgings. Possible missions primarily come through Durnan, the proprietor of the inn and your main contact and agent for intel, as well as through visitors to the inn. Emil Toranescu works as a bartender and is also a source of information.

What is the name of your group? Keep in mind this is your “business” name as well.

Waterdeep (Large Map:

Rising from the shores of its deep harbor to ring the great mountain standing tall out of the Sea of Swords is Waterdeep, the City of Splendors and the Crown of the North. To all of Faerun, this great metropolis stands as the pinnacle of what a great city might be, in wealth, influence, and stability. Here, the citizens work, the nobles sneer, and the great masked lords plot and scheme, all while merchants dance between them to collect their coins and continue profiting as best they can. Waterdeep's shops and merchants offer goods of every sort from every corner of the world, and even the rarest of items can be procured, given sufficient coin and patience. Adventurers lacking one or the other can very easily find all manner of employment, from simple escorting of caravans, to guarding nobility, to investigating a ruin or rumor of monsters anywhere in the North.

Wards (Map:

Waterdeep has long been divided into several large regions called wards. To locals these are essential to Waterdeep, but outsiders often lose track of which ward they're in or what a ward's name signifies. The names of the wards suggest the contents of the buildings and the character of the activity in each one, but no laws exist that restrict a given activity or class of people to any specific ward.

  • Castle Ward: As the name indicates, Castle Ward contains Castle Waterdeep, Piergeiron's Palace, and many other public buildings of the city. This ward is home to mainly the wealthy or influential who can't count themselves among the nobility. Other structures are taken up by educational or religious concerns that primarily serve the city at large, not the residents of the ward.
  • Dock Ward: Most of the city's harbor area is located in Dock Ward, as are the businesses and warehouses that depend on the city's harbor. It's a crowded neighborhood of many winding streets, where folk are comfortable making deals that might in other places provoke the displeasure of the law.
  • North Ward: Home to many noble villas, townhouses, and a great many inns, North Ward is the neighborhood of the respectably wealthy.
  • Sea Ward: Those whose fortunes are on the rise build their homes in Sea Ward, and they join many long-established noble families in residence. This area in the northwest of the city is home to much of the city's wealth, the location of the grandest villas of the city's noble families (except for those in North Ward).
  • South Ward: Stables, warehouses, and shops related to overland trade dominate South Ward. Most residents are hardworking folk that load and unload caravan carts, and otherwise perform low-paying work.
  • Trades Ward: A narrow slice of land between the Castle Ward and the City of the Dead, Trades Ward is the center of commerce for the city, with most of the smaller transactions and respectable trade taking place here.
  • City of the Dead: The city's walled cemetery, the City of the Dead is the only place in Waterdeep where it is legal to bury the deceased. It is used by many citizens as a public park during the day, a lovely green space of pretty mausoleums and grand statues in which to escape the city's hustle and bustle.

Yawning Portal

Located on Rainrun Street in Waterdeep’s Castle Ward, between Waterdeep Castle and Snail Street.

Amid the bustle of Waterdeep, within the Castle Ward where barristers, nobles, and emissaries battle with word and contract, stands an inn not quite like any other. Before there was a Castle Ward or even what could be recognized as an ancestor of the City of Splendors, there was a dungeon, and in that dungeon begins the tale of the Yawning Portal. In ages past, the mighty wizard Halaster built his tower at the foot of Mount Waterdeep and delved deep into tunnels first built by dwarves and drow in search of ever greater magical power. Halaster and his apprentices expanded the tunnels they found, worming out new lairs under the surface for reasons of their own. In time, their excavations grew into the vast labyrinth known today as Undermountain, the largest dungeon in all of the Forgotten Realms. Halaster eventually disappeared, as have all his apprentices, but the massive complex he built remains to this day. For untold years, the secrets of Undermountain remained hidden from the surface world. Everyone who entered its halls failed to return. Its reputation as a death trap grew to the point that criminals in Waterdeep who were sentenced to die were forcibly escorted into the dungeon and left to fend for themselves.

All of that changed with the arrival of two men, a warrior named Durnan and a ne'er-do-well named Mirt. The duo were the first adventurers to return from Undermountain, laden with riches and magic treasures. While Mirt used his wealth to buy a mansion, Durnan had different plans. Durnan retired from adventuring and purchased the land on which sat the deep, broad well that was the only known entrance to the dungeon. Around this well he built a tavern and inn that caters to adventurers and those who seek their services, and he called it the Yawning Portal.

Some of the magic Durnan looted on his successful foray into Undermountain granted him a life span that exceeds even that of an elf. And for decades Durnan left delving into Undermountain to younger folk. Yet one day, something drew him back. Days of waiting for his triumphant return from the dungeon turned to months and then years. For nearly a century, citizens ofWaterdeep thought him dead. But one night, a voice called up from the well. Few at first believed it could be Durnan, but folk as long-lived as he vouched it so. The Yawning Portal had passed into the hands of his ancestors, but Durnan returned with enough riches for them to quietly retire. Durnan took his customary place behind the bar, raised a toast to his own safe return, and then began serving customers as if he'd never left.

Adventurers from across Faerun, and even from elsewhere in the great span of the multiverse, visit the Yawning Portal to exchange knowledge about Undermountain and other dungeons. Most visitors are content to swap stories by the hearth, but sometimes a group driven by greed, ambition, or desperation pays the toll for entry and descends the well. Most don't survive to make the return trip, but enough come back with riches and tales of adventure to tempt other groups into trying their luck.