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D&D General Any Realms-Heads Know About The Politics of The Sword Coast?

Alzrius

The EN World kitten
Waunkeen is literally the Goddess of Capitalism, so you could have the characters caught up in conflict between her church and Ilmater that drifts into open war in the streets because of the manipulations of an evil God like Cyric (whose church teaches a kind of darker libertarianism), who wants to steal Wealth/Capitalism from neutral power Waunkeen.
The one who'd be more likely to do that is the demon lord Graz'zt, since he previously imprisoned Waukeen and tried to steal her portfolio (not for himself, since he doesn't want to be saddled with the responsibilities of godhood, but for one of his children), until she was eventually rescued in For Duty & Deity (affiliate link).

That's actually a pretty easy setup to work with even after she's restored to power, since Dragon #355 revealed that there's a heretical sect of her church which believes she's sold off most of her divinity to Graz'zt already.
 

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vincegetorix

Jewel of the North
Your confusing the Swordcoast with all the Forgotten Realms and forgotten that the current time period in FR is right after the Sundering where there was tons of open warfare with some nations crumbling or others rising.
I'd just like to point that I was speaking of the Realms-as-presented in 5e, aka the Sword Coast + North + Silver Marches, since it is the location desired by the OP.

Others may be in open war in the lore somewhere, but we havent heard from a lot of those nations. That's why I loved the 4e lore: at least it shook things up a little (by little I mean in a heavy-handed manner :p ).
 

vincegetorix

Jewel of the North
The old Realms of Magic anthology has two short stories about the use of smoke powder in the Realms. One, as I recall, makes it clear the stuff is considered to be contraband in Waterdeep (though I could see the Church of Gond having a waiver there, albeit a small one).
I seem to recall that in the lore of Dragon Heist, the smoke powder was still banned by a divine edict from Gond and rigidly controlled by the Church, but the Xanathar has a huge store of it in its lair and Jarlaxle troups feature gunslinger with the same stuff!

So yeah, its pretty much illegal.
 

Parmandur

Book-Friend
I'd just like to point that I was speaking of the Realms-as-presented in 5e, aka the Sword Coast + North + Silver Marches, since it is the location desired by the OP.

Others may be in open war in the lore somewhere, but we havent heard from a lot of those nations. That's why I loved the 4e lore: at least it shook things up a little (by little I mean in a heavy-handed manner :p ).
It shook things up, but not on the Sword Coast so much. Which was already, and remains, a PoL sub-Setting.
 

doctorbadwolf

Heretic of The Seventh Circle
If you'd prefer to look through some sourcebooks on these topics, I recommend City of Splendors: Waterdeep and Power of Faerûn. Both are for D&D 3.5, and are excellent products.

Please note my use of affiliate links in this post.
Thanks, I'll check those out.
Waterdeep is not created to be a fertile field for a social-change adventure. Rather, it is the refuge Adventurers go to when they need to replenish supplies and research / purchase a McGuffin to defeat their upcoming BBEG.

However, nothing prevents the campaign from being set in the nearby towns and villages where "the city folk" (mostly nobles and agents thereof) are seen as outsiders, snobs, exploiters, and generally non-contributors to society. Those folks might be ready to tell a few Lord Full OfThemselves'es to take a hike.
Nothing stops the town itself from seeing resentment toward the rich and powerful grow into the seeds of rebellion, either.
 

Urriak Uruk

Gaming is fun, and fun is for everyone
I'm late to this, but as others say, the Masked Lords are an anonymous council of government. That alone will make people not trust them, regardless of their actual morality or competence.

The Open Lord, Laeral Silverhand, is beloved. That said, she is like hundreds of years old, so probably represents the "status-quo" to some extent. I'm sure she's not pushing for radical government reforms to the benefit of the poor, though she is probably very good at keeping the peace and tamping down rebellious factions.

Additionally, Dragon Heist provides a lot of context that some members of the Masked Lords are corrupt, or at least vulnerable to corruption. One of Manshoon's goals is to seize control of Waterdeep, largely by learning the secrets of Masked Lords and either replacing them, or bending them to his will though blackmail.

If Alexander Hamilton somehow appeared in Waterdeep, he probably wouldn't love the system of government. The Masked Lords are essentially an anonymous House of Lords (not the House of Commons) and the Open Lord may be nominated by the lords (and as far as I know, doesn't have a term-limit), but as a near-immortal elf is kind-of like a Queen. He'd probably pass around a few broadsheets questioning the Masked Lords motives.
 

doctorbadwolf

Heretic of The Seventh Circle
I'm late to this, but as others say, the Masked Lords are an anonymous council of government. That alone will make people not trust them, regardless of their actual morality or competence.

The Open Lord, Laeral Silverhand, is beloved. That said, she is like hundreds of years old, so probably represents the "status-quo" to some extent. I'm sure she's not pushing for radical government reforms to the benefit of the poor, though she is probably very good at keeping the peace and tamping down rebellious factions.

Additionally, Dragon Heist provides a lot of context that some members of the Masked Lords are corrupt, or at least vulnerable to corruption. One of Manshoon's goals is to seize control of Waterdeep, largely by learning the secrets of Masked Lords and either replacing them, or bending them to his will though blackmail.

If Alexander Hamilton somehow appeared in Waterdeep, he probably wouldn't love the system of government. The Masked Lords are essentially an anonymous House of Lords (not the House of Commons) and the Open Lord may be nominated by the lords (and as far as I know, doesn't have a term-limit), but as a near-immortal elf is kind-of like a Queen. He'd probably pass around a few broadsheets questioning the Masked Lords motives.
Hell yeah. Tho, to be fair, he didn’t think term limits were necessary, and instead favored lifetime appointments and fairly simple and easy impeachment with a broadly defined set of justifications to get rid of someone.

But, the people have to recourse in Waterdeep. A system that is only non-dystopian because the current rulers aren’t evil or foolish is not a sustainable system.
 



aco175

Legend
Waterdeep has influence over a lot of land around it and along the coast, but I recall that they do not govern it. Most of the small town align with them and have protection from them, making them glorified noble estates, but can generally govern themselves. This tends to include the Undercliff collection of farms and villages directly outside the city walls. There is a city guard training center there even though they do not formally patrol this area.

I'm sure orcs attacking the villages outside the city walls would bring soldiers though.
 

Parmandur

Book-Friend
Not really, unless we get pedantic about wording.
No system no matter how well structured, will work if every stakeholder is corrupt. More stakeholders means fewer failure points, but the Waterdeep system is based off of one of the more historically sustainable systems, the Merchant Republic.
 

doctorbadwolf

Heretic of The Seventh Circle
No system no matter how well structured, will work if every stakeholder is corrupt. More stakeholders means fewer failure points, but the Waterdeep system is based off of one of the more historically sustainable systems, the Merchant Republic.
Dude, this is getting pedantic about wording.

I also don’t care.
 




doctorbadwolf

Heretic of The Seventh Circle
A good historical study, that Waterdeep and similar fantasy cities are directly based on, is the remarkably stable 1100-year Most Serene Republic of Venice, which ended through outside force and the people tried to restore through revolution for decades after Napolean oversteer the system:

Oh, did Venice have an immortal demigod ruling it alongside an entirely anonymous council based primarily on nepotism?
 


Parmandur

Book-Friend
Look, I get that my last response was a bit harsh, but I made a thread asking about what political elements of the setting could fuel a Waterdhavian to revolution, not to be harangued about how my goals are wrong.
Not wrong, but extremely complicated if stiking to canon. As I said earlier, if I was DM and a player had this concept, I'd change canon. I was trying to think within the parameters set in the OP, which makes for a steep climb.
 

doctorbadwolf

Heretic of The Seventh Circle
Not wrong, but extremely complicated if stiking to canon. As I said earlier, if I was DM and a player had this concept, I'd change canon. I was trying to think within the parameters set in the OP, which makes for a steep climb.
I don’t want to continue arguing about this. I respect your perspective, I just disagree with it. I think a place like Waterdeep would already have deep political divisions and socio-political resentment, as written.

Regardless, I’ve identified several things I can present to my DM to begin the discussion about how the people talk about their leaders.
 

I think Waterdeap was deliberately designed to be a stable "good guy" city, for heroic players to defend from largely external threats. It's the United Federation of Planets of the Forgotten Realms. Baldur's Gate, Neverwinter, and especially Lusken are less stable.
 

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