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

doctorbadwolf

Heretic of The Seventh Circle
I think you have misunderstood the cultural context. Small children play games in which there are "goodies" and "baddies". In England, for people growing up in the post-WWII environment (pretty much up to the 1980s) The "goodies" where the British and the "baddies" where the Germans. The only difference between the goodies and the baddies is the goodies always win and the baddies always loose. It has nothing to do with fascism, genocide and real evil - small children are too young to understand that.
Absolutely no one is unaware of any of that cultural context, but your statement about what children understand is simply false. Children understand that the bad guys hurt people and the good guys try to stop them.

If your PCs want to overthrow a stable government where the people are happy and prosperous, maybe they are the baddies - i.e. an evil party.
Nothing to do with evil, but democratic revolutionaries in a “prosperous” society are evil. Lol okay.
 

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Back to the OP, I would look at 3E's Waterdeep: City of Splendors or even the original Waterdeep and the North. Large portions of Waterdeep's nobility are downright evil. Many more are neutral. Few are good. It's right there in the text, indisputable. Additionally, the Open Lord has limited powers. It's a public position, presumably controls the military against external threats, and directs the city watch. Meanwhile, any noble has the ability to accuse a commoner of a crime and their word is taken as law in the courts. In practice, that means any evil noble can make a false accusation of a capital crime and the city will execute the defendant on the noble's behalf -- with no recourse. Does this not sound like a city in need of a little revolution?
 

Urriak Uruk

Gaming is fun, and fun is for everyone
Nothing to do with evil, but democratic revolutionaries in a “prosperous” society are evil. Lol okay.

Nitpicking here, but funny enough many Forgotten Realms moduels are about cults or other groups trying to overthrow and replace the current governments. Default FR (especially 5e) is very pro-status quo. Even the module Into the Abyss doesn't provide much options for overthrowing the very evil governments within the Underdark, and instead wants you to fight the forces that would destroy them (and everyone else, but still).
 


One more thought...most of the noble families control commercial interests. They're merchant princes. That means government and industry are basically a single entity. Typically, that's bad news for the common people. I mean, imagine what would happen to the United States if a guy got elected President who just wanted to make himself, his family, and his business friends rich regardless of what it did to the country?
 


doctorbadwolf

Heretic of The Seventh Circle
Back to the OP, I would look at 3E's Waterdeep: City of Splendors or even the original Waterdeep and the North. Large portions of Waterdeep's nobility are downright evil. Many more are neutral. Few are good. It's right there in the text, indisputable. Additionally, the Open Lord has limited powers. It's a public position, presumably controls the military against external threats, and directs the city watch. Meanwhile, any noble has the ability to accuse a commoner of a crime and their word is taken as law in the courts. In practice, that means any evil noble can make a false accusation of a capital crime and the city will execute the defendant on the noble's behalf -- with no recourse. Does this not sound like a city in need of a little revolution?
Yeah pretty damn good reasons for unrest.
Nitpicking here, but funny enough many Forgotten Realms moduels are about cults or other groups trying to overthrow and replace the current governments. Default FR (especially 5e) is very pro-status quo. Even the module Into the Abyss doesn't provide much options for overthrowing the very evil governments within the Underdark, and instead wants you to fight the forces that would destroy them (and everyone else, but still).
Sure. I figured the OP was clear that the DM was on board with interpreting the situation in a way that allows for less “status quo is good” mindsets in reasonable people, but several people here seem to have not taken that from the OP, so I guess not.
One more thought...most of the noble families control commercial interests. They're merchant princes. That means government and industry are basically a single entity. Typically, that's bad news for the common people. I mean, imagine what would happen to the United States if a guy got elected President who just wanted to make himself, his family, and his business friends rich regardless of what it did to the country?
Yeah but if you break that system everyone will be poor! Lol

Yeah that’s absolutely a big element that I’ll be talking about in character as an issue.
 

Alzrius

The EN World kitten
Back to the OP, I would look at 3E's Waterdeep: City of Splendors or even the original Waterdeep and the North. Large portions of Waterdeep's nobility are downright evil. Many more are neutral. Few are good. It's right there in the text, indisputable.
So, pulling my copy of City of Splendors: Waterdeep (affiliate link) off the shelf, the section on the nobility of Waterdeep (pg. 59-63) lists the following members of several of the most prominent noble families:

House Adarbrent
Alroy Adarbrent (NG)
Ellis Adarbrent (LG)
Royus Adarbrent (LG)
Syllia Adarbrent (CG)

House Amcathra
Mourngrym Amcathra (NG)
Galinda Raventree Amcathra (CG)
Regnet Amcathra (NG)

House Moonstar
Alathene Moonstar (CG)
Feluna Moonstar (NG)
Helve Moonstar (NG)
Vanrak Moonstar (NE)
Wylynd Moonstar (CG)

House Thann
Cassandra Thann (NG)
Danilo Thann (CG)
Erktos Thann II (LG)
Rhammas Thann (LN)
Zelphar Thann (LN)

House Wands
Maskar Wands (LN)
Olanhar Wands (LG)
Scirkhel Wands (CG)

So out of twenty nobles, sixteen are good, three are neutral, and only one is evil.
 

Eltab

Lord of the Hidden Layer
So, pulling my copy of City of Splendors: Waterdeep (affiliate link) off the shelf, the section on the nobility of Waterdeep (pg. 59-63) lists the following members of several of the most prominent noble families:

House Adarbrent
Alroy Adarbrent (NG)
Ellis Adarbrent (LG)
Royus Adarbrent (LG)
Syllia Adarbrent (CG)

House Amcathra
Mourngrym Amcathra (NG)
Galinda Raventree Amcathra (CG)
Regnet Amcathra (NG)

House Moonstar
Alathene Moonstar (CG)
Feluna Moonstar (NG)
Helve Moonstar (NG)
Vanrak Moonstar (NE)
Wylynd Moonstar (CG)

House Thann
Cassandra Thann (NG)
Danilo Thann (CG)
Erktos Thann II (LG)
Rhammas Thann (LN)
Zelphar Thann (LN)

House Wands
Maskar Wands (LN)
Olanhar Wands (LG)
Scirkhel Wands (CG)

So out of twenty nobles, sixteen are good, three are neutral, and only one is evil.
I'd have to get City of Splendors from the Public Library to look, and it's been a while since last I did (so take this with a grain of salt):

There are 70 noble houses in Waterdeep, most of which are not listed?
The 5 you list are presented as the ones a PC could be approached offering quiet help to right a wrong?
That leaves about 65 houses that could be up to something noxious and objectionable.

The Cassalanters in Dragon Heist are a clearly evil house but do not proclaim their evil to the world. Other neutral-to-evil houses may not realize the value of discretion.
 

You know, I don't have my copies of either book handy, but I remember being somewhat shocked at the number of evil nobles and authority figures in Waterdeep. There's a lot of skullduggery and shadiness. My concept of the city is that it's a bastion of civilization in the North, but distinctly includes both its best and worst parts.
 

Alzrius

The EN World kitten
I'd have to get City of Splendors from the Public Library to look, and it's been a while since last I did (so take this with a grain of salt):

There are 70 noble houses in Waterdeep, most of which are not listed?
The 5 you list are presented as the ones a PC could be approached offering quiet help to right a wrong?
That leaves about 65 houses that could be up to something noxious and objectionable.

The Cassalanters in Dragon Heist are a clearly evil house but do not proclaim their evil to the world. Other neutral-to-evil houses may not realize the value of discretion.
So apparently, the 3.5 City of Splendors: Waterdeep book had a web enhancement, one titled, wait for it...Noble Houses of Waterdeep. It lists every noble family in the city, along with a decent amount of salient information, including the predominant alignments.

Now, that's a little awkward, because in many cases this notes quite a few different alignments, many of them quite disparate. Still, if we look at which ones are listed the most (along the good/evil axis), we can get a sense of their overall general disposition (if there's an even split between neutrality and a single other alignment, I've presumed they'll lean at least somewhat toward the latter). The list is as follows:

  1. Adarbrent (LG, NG, CG) - Good
  2. Agundar (CN) - Neutral
  3. Amcathra (LG, NG, CG) - Good
  4. Ammakyl (NG) - Good
  5. Anteos (LN, LE) - Evil
  6. Artemel (CN, N, NE, CE) - Evil
  7. Assumbar (LG, LN) - Good
  8. Belabranta (NG, N) - Good
  9. Bladesemmer (CG, NG, CN) - Good
  10. Brokengulf (CN, N, LN, LG, NE) - Neutral
  11. Brossfeather (N, NG) - Good
  12. Cassalanter (CG, NG, CN, N) - Good
  13. Cragsmere (CG, CN) - Good
  14. Crommor (CG, NG) - Good
  15. Dezlentyr (LN, CG) - Good
  16. Durinbold (CN, N) - Neutral
  17. Eagleshield (CN, CG) - Good
  18. Eirontalar (CG, NG, CN, NE) - Good
  19. Eltorchul (LN, CG, LG, NG, CE) - Good
  20. Emveolstone (LN, N) - Neutral
  21. Estelmer (NG, N) - Good
  22. Gauntyl (LN, LE) - Evil
  23. Gost (NG, CG) - Good
  24. Gralhund (LN, LE) - Evil
  25. Gundwynd (LG) - Good
  26. Hawkwinter (NG, CG, LG) - Good
  27. Helmfast (CG, NG, CN) - Good
  28. Hiilgauntlet (N, CN) - Neutral
  29. Hothemer (CG, CN) - Good
  30. Hunabar (LG, N, CE) - Neutral
  31. Husteem (LN, LE, N, NE) - Evil
  32. Ilitul (N, LN) - Neutral
  33. Ilvastarr (N, CN) - Neutral
  34. Ilzimmer (CE, NE, N, CE, CN) - Evil
  35. Irlingstar (CG, CN, CE) - Neutral
  36. Jardeth (LN) - Neutral
  37. Jhansczil (LN, N CN) - Neutral
  38. Kormallis (LN, LG) - Good
  39. Kothont (LN, LE) - Evil
  40. Lanngolyn (N, CN) - Neutral
  41. Lathkule (N) - Neutral
  42. Maerklos (LG, LN, LE) - Neutral
  43. Majarra (NG, CG, LN) - Good
  44. Manthar (LN, N) - Neutral
  45. Margaster (CN, CG) - Good
  46. Massalan (NE, N) - Evil
  47. Melshimber (NE, LE, N, LN, LG) - Evil
  48. Moonstar (CG) - Good (it notes that the Vanrak lineage specifically is CE, but according to what's in the full book, that lineage is largely out of power now)
  49. Nandar (CN, CE) - Evil
  50. Nesher (CG, CN, CE) - Neutral
  51. Phull (CG, CN) - Good
  52. Phylund (LN, NG, NE) - Neutral
  53. Piiradost (LN, N, CN) - Neutral
  54. Raventree (NG, N, CG) - Good
  55. Roaringhorn (NG, CG, N, CN) - Good
  56. Rosznar (CE, CN, NE, LE) - Evil
  57. Ruldegost (LN, N) - Neutral
  58. Silmerhelve (LN, LG) - Good
  59. Snome (LG, NG, LN) - Good
  60. Stormweather (CN, N, CE) - Neutral
  61. Sultlue (CE, NE, CN) - Evil
  62. Talmost (LN, N, NE) - Neutral
  63. Tarm (NG, CG, CN) - Good
  64. Tchazzam (NG, CG) - Good
  65. Tesper (LG, NG, CG) - Good
  66. Thann (NG, LN, LG, CG) - Good
  67. Thongolir (NG) - Good
  68. Thorp (LN, N) - Neutral
  69. Thunderstaff (LG, NG, N) - Good
  70. Ulbrinter (N) - Neutral
  71. Urmbrusk (LN, N, LE) - Neutral
  72. Wands (NG, LG, CG, LN, N, CN) - Good
  73. Wavesilver (CG, NG, CN) - Good
  74. Zulpair (CN, CE) - Evil
  75. Zun (CN, N, CE, NE) - Evil
So breaking that down, we have the following distribution:

Good: 37 houses.
Neutral: 24 houses.
Evil: 14 houses.

In other words, nobles houses with a predominantly good alignment make up almost half of Waterdeep's nobility, those which are neutral are just shy of one-third, and those of a decidedly evil bent are a tad bit over one-sixth.
 


vincegetorix

Jewel of the North
So apparently, the 3.5 City of Splendors: Waterdeep book had a web enhancement, one titled, wait for it...Noble Houses of Waterdeep. It lists every noble family in the city, along with a decent amount of salient information, including the predominant alignments.

Now, that's a little awkward, because in many cases this notes quite a few different alignments, many of them quite disparate. Still, if we look at which ones are listed the most (along the good/evil axis), we can get a sense of their overall general disposition (if there's an even split between neutrality and a single other alignment, I've presumed they'll lean at least somewhat toward the latter). The list is as follows:

  1. Adarbrent (LG, NG, CG) - Good
  2. Agundar (CN) - Neutral
  3. Amcathra (LG, NG, CG) - Good
  4. Ammakyl (NG) - Good
  5. Anteos (LN, LE) - Evil
  6. Artemel (CN, N, NE, CE) - Evil
  7. Assumbar (LG, LN) - Good
  8. Belabranta (NG, N) - Good
  9. Bladesemmer (CG, NG, CN) - Good
  10. Brokengulf (CN, N, LN, LG, NE) - Neutral
  11. Brossfeather (N, NG) - Good
  12. Cassalanter (CG, NG, CN, N) - Good
  13. Cragsmere (CG, CN) - Good
  14. Crommor (CG, NG) - Good
  15. Dezlentyr (LN, CG) - Good
  16. Durinbold (CN, N) - Neutral
  17. Eagleshield (CN, CG) - Good
  18. Eirontalar (CG, NG, CN, NE) - Good
  19. Eltorchul (LN, CG, LG, NG, CE) - Good
  20. Emveolstone (LN, N) - Neutral
  21. Estelmer (NG, N) - Good
  22. Gauntyl (LN, LE) - Evil
  23. Gost (NG, CG) - Good
  24. Gralhund (LN, LE) - Evil
  25. Gundwynd (LG) - Good
  26. Hawkwinter (NG, CG, LG) - Good
  27. Helmfast (CG, NG, CN) - Good
  28. Hiilgauntlet (N, CN) - Neutral
  29. Hothemer (CG, CN) - Good
  30. Hunabar (LG, N, CE) - Neutral
  31. Husteem (LN, LE, N, NE) - Evil
  32. Ilitul (N, LN) - Neutral
  33. Ilvastarr (N, CN) - Neutral
  34. Ilzimmer (CE, NE, N, CE, CN) - Evil
  35. Irlingstar (CG, CN, CE) - Neutral
  36. Jardeth (LN) - Neutral
  37. Jhansczil (LN, N CN) - Neutral
  38. Kormallis (LN, LG) - Good
  39. Kothont (LN, LE) - Evil
  40. Lanngolyn (N, CN) - Neutral
  41. Lathkule (N) - Neutral
  42. Maerklos (LG, LN, LE) - Neutral
  43. Majarra (NG, CG, LN) - Good
  44. Manthar (LN, N) - Neutral
  45. Margaster (CN, CG) - Good
  46. Massalan (NE, N) - Evil
  47. Melshimber (NE, LE, N, LN, LG) - Evil
  48. Moonstar (CG) - Good (it notes that the Vanrak lineage specifically is CE, but according to what's in the full book, that lineage is largely out of power now)
  49. Nandar (CN, CE) - Evil
  50. Nesher (CG, CN, CE) - Neutral
  51. Phull (CG, CN) - Good
  52. Phylund (LN, NG, NE) - Neutral
  53. Piiradost (LN, N, CN) - Neutral
  54. Raventree (NG, N, CG) - Good
  55. Roaringhorn (NG, CG, N, CN) - Good
  56. Rosznar (CE, CN, NE, LE) - Evil
  57. Ruldegost (LN, N) - Neutral
  58. Silmerhelve (LN, LG) - Good
  59. Snome (LG, NG, LN) - Good
  60. Stormweather (CN, N, CE) - Neutral
  61. Sultlue (CE, NE, CN) - Evil
  62. Talmost (LN, N, NE) - Neutral
  63. Tarm (NG, CG, CN) - Good
  64. Tchazzam (NG, CG) - Good
  65. Tesper (LG, NG, CG) - Good
  66. Thann (NG, LN, LG, CG) - Good
  67. Thongolir (NG) - Good
  68. Thorp (LN, N) - Neutral
  69. Thunderstaff (LG, NG, N) - Good
  70. Ulbrinter (N) - Neutral
  71. Urmbrusk (LN, N, LE) - Neutral
  72. Wands (NG, LG, CG, LN, N, CN) - Good
  73. Wavesilver (CG, NG, CN) - Good
  74. Zulpair (CN, CE) - Evil
  75. Zun (CN, N, CE, NE) - Evil
So breaking that down, we have the following distribution:

Good: 37 houses.
Neutral: 24 houses.
Evil: 14 houses.

In other words, nobles houses with a predominantly good alignment make up almost half of Waterdeep's nobility, those which are neutral are just shy of one-third, and those of a decidedly evil bent are a tad bit over one-sixth.

Arent the Cassalanters pretty much an evil family in Dragon Heist?

oh, and there's the aerial hunting noble aficionados from Waterdeep's griffon cavalry that have been infiltrated by the Cult of Elemental Evil.
 

Eltab

Lord of the Hidden Layer
So apparently, the 3.5 City of Splendors: Waterdeep book had a web enhancement, one titled, wait for it...Noble Houses of Waterdeep. It lists every noble family in the city, along with a decent amount of salient information, including the predominant alignments.

Now, that's a little awkward, because in many cases this notes quite a few different alignments, many of them quite disparate. Still, if we look at which ones are listed the most (along the good/evil axis), we can get a sense of their overall general disposition (if there's an even split between neutrality and a single other alignment, I've presumed they'll lean at least somewhat toward the latter). The list is as follows:

  1. Adarbrent (LG, NG, CG) - Good
  2. Agundar (CN) - Neutral
  3. Amcathra (LG, NG, CG) - Good
  4. Ammakyl (NG) - Good
  5. Anteos (LN, LE) - Evil
  6. Artemel (CN, N, NE, CE) - Evil
  7. Assumbar (LG, LN) - Good
  8. Belabranta (NG, N) - Good
  9. Bladesemmer (CG, NG, CN) - Good
  10. Brokengulf (CN, N, LN, LG, NE) - Neutral
  11. Brossfeather (N, NG) - Good
  12. Cassalanter (CG, NG, CN, N) - Good
  13. Cragsmere (CG, CN) - Good
  14. Crommor (CG, NG) - Good
  15. Dezlentyr (LN, CG) - Good
  16. Durinbold (CN, N) - Neutral
  17. Eagleshield (CN, CG) - Good
  18. Eirontalar (CG, NG, CN, NE) - Good
  19. Eltorchul (LN, CG, LG, NG, CE) - Good
  20. Emveolstone (LN, N) - Neutral
  21. Estelmer (NG, N) - Good
  22. Gauntyl (LN, LE) - Evil
  23. Gost (NG, CG) - Good
  24. Gralhund (LN, LE) - Evil
  25. Gundwynd (LG) - Good
  26. Hawkwinter (NG, CG, LG) - Good
  27. Helmfast (CG, NG, CN) - Good
  28. Hiilgauntlet (N, CN) - Neutral
  29. Hothemer (CG, CN) - Good
  30. Hunabar (LG, N, CE) - Neutral
  31. Husteem (LN, LE, N, NE) - Evil
  32. Ilitul (N, LN) - Neutral
  33. Ilvastarr (N, CN) - Neutral
  34. Ilzimmer (CE, NE, N, CE, CN) - Evil
  35. Irlingstar (CG, CN, CE) - Neutral
  36. Jardeth (LN) - Neutral
  37. Jhansczil (LN, N CN) - Neutral
  38. Kormallis (LN, LG) - Good
  39. Kothont (LN, LE) - Evil
  40. Lanngolyn (N, CN) - Neutral
  41. Lathkule (N) - Neutral
  42. Maerklos (LG, LN, LE) - Neutral
  43. Majarra (NG, CG, LN) - Good
  44. Manthar (LN, N) - Neutral
  45. Margaster (CN, CG) - Good
  46. Massalan (NE, N) - Evil
  47. Melshimber (NE, LE, N, LN, LG) - Evil
  48. Moonstar (CG) - Good (it notes that the Vanrak lineage specifically is CE, but according to what's in the full book, that lineage is largely out of power now)
  49. Nandar (CN, CE) - Evil
  50. Nesher (CG, CN, CE) - Neutral
  51. Phull (CG, CN) - Good
  52. Phylund (LN, NG, NE) - Neutral
  53. Piiradost (LN, N, CN) - Neutral
  54. Raventree (NG, N, CG) - Good
  55. Roaringhorn (NG, CG, N, CN) - Good
  56. Rosznar (CE, CN, NE, LE) - Evil
  57. Ruldegost (LN, N) - Neutral
  58. Silmerhelve (LN, LG) - Good
  59. Snome (LG, NG, LN) - Good
  60. Stormweather (CN, N, CE) - Neutral
  61. Sultlue (CE, NE, CN) - Evil
  62. Talmost (LN, N, NE) - Neutral
  63. Tarm (NG, CG, CN) - Good
  64. Tchazzam (NG, CG) - Good
  65. Tesper (LG, NG, CG) - Good
  66. Thann (NG, LN, LG, CG) - Good
  67. Thongolir (NG) - Good
  68. Thorp (LN, N) - Neutral
  69. Thunderstaff (LG, NG, N) - Good
  70. Ulbrinter (N) - Neutral
  71. Urmbrusk (LN, N, LE) - Neutral
  72. Wands (NG, LG, CG, LN, N, CN) - Good
  73. Wavesilver (CG, NG, CN) - Good
  74. Zulpair (CN, CE) - Evil
  75. Zun (CN, N, CE, NE) - Evil
So breaking that down, we have the following distribution:

Good: 37 houses.
Neutral: 24 houses.
Evil: 14 houses.

In other words, nobles houses with a predominantly good alignment make up almost half of Waterdeep's nobility, those which are neutral are just shy of one-third, and those of a decidedly evil bent are a tad bit over one-sixth.
i had not heard of that supplement until now. Interesting !
 

Eltab

Lord of the Hidden Layer
Arent the Cassalanters pretty much an evil family in Dragon Heist?

oh, and there's the aerial hunting noble aficionados from Waterdeep's griffon cavalry that have been infiltrated by the Cult of Elemental Evil.
There are several generations' worth of time between the in-world "publishing dates" of City of Splendors and Dragon Heist.
So WotC can mix-and-match.
 

doctorbadwolf

Heretic of The Seventh Circle
"Let us suppose, then, that we could provide proof that the majority of these masked lords are goodly folk, like you or I. What then? Shall we return to our homes and smile to our families, safe in the knowledge that only some of the people who rule over us make deals with devils and worse, Zhents?

Of course not! If you know that your neighbor is a killer, and you do nothing, shall we throw you a parade because you are not a killer?

Of course not! Neverember let the criminals and those owned by criminals into the city's government, but that government had no recourse to stop him! And now, how long as The Good Lady ruled, and how many masked lords have been removed? None! If the scion of a noble house abuses you, what recourse do you have? None! Our sweat and blood rebuilds this city every time it is shaken by calamity, and what voice do we have in our city's governance? None!"

-excerpt from one of Kid's wordier articles published in a sympathetic paper under a nom de plum.

But seriously, the masked lords could be 98% Good (unlikely in the extreme but hey maybe magic is at work) and the institution itself would still be absolutely bonkers, and every lord of Waterdeep is partly responsible for it's shortcomings.
 

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