Player's Guide: Housing in Waterdeep

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Player's Guide: Housing in Waterdeep

Postby Ian » Sun Jan 28, 2007 1:07 pm

Intro Note wrote:Yes, I finally got this thread not only migrated to the new forums, but updated a bit for Waterdeep after originally writing it for Silverymoon. And there was much rejoicing. Also note: You don't need to actually pay for this stuff; if you don't, it's assumed you're renting something appropriate to your financial resources as chosen by you. (Though if you're a 1st-level monk claiming to live in a Sea Ward mansion, we are going to roll our eyes and laugh at you, then have our PCs call yours a lying liar.)

As a general rule of thumb, if you're making Craft checks, you can live in a place with a monthly cost up to a third of your monthly average result without much difficulty. This rule of thumb becomes less relevant as you gain in adventuring wealth.

There is an almost indescribably large variety of housing options available in Waterdeep, ranging from palatial noble estates down to ramshackle tenements and shantytowns, even down to a portion of the city that lies underground only because the streets were raised and other houses were built on top. Newcomers and long-time residents are both likely to be very interested in their various options, so I've finally gotten around to doing a quick writeup on them (based on the various costs and options presented in Cityscape).

Buildings are generally cheaper than the costs listed in the DMG, as in the city you're usually buying something pre-built, with no extraneous land, much less privacy, and no ability to build the home to your liking; the costs in the DMG probably reflect an average-quality structure freshly built to your specifications.

Housing is divided into three types, by quality:

-- Where can you find it? The vast majority of the city's poor-grade housing can be found near the Docks, particularly on the west side--here is where housing supply tries vainly to keep up with demand, and where many newcomers without much coin find themselves settling. Such housing can also be found less frequently in southern Castle Ward, and even less in Trades Ward and South Ward.

-- What does it look like? There is little to distinguish housing between the races at this level: elves, dwarves, humans, and all the other races live in more or less the same sorts of places, and usually have the same sorts of professions. Shacks, row houses, tenements, and cramped apartments are the norm in this sort of neighborhood: one to three rooms, of cheap construction, with a chamber pot and a bed that amounts to a pallet, a straw mattress and a threadbare blanket.

At the high end, these buildings are in poor condition but relatively clean and safe, while on the lower end they tend to be odorous, stained, infested with vermin, possibly threatening collapse, and dens of scum and villainy (where your own bedroom might involve an EL 2 encounter, and not of the sexy kind).

-- What sorts of businesses/people/entertainment do you find here? The smell of fish (fresh, rotten, fried, and on ice) permeates the docks, while other areas reek of tanneries or other foul-smelling trades, along with the smell of unwashed people. Many shops in these areas are simply stalls or wagons. Leatherworkers, fishmongers, brickmakers, lumberyards, net- and basket-weavers, and livestock yards are common businesses.

Among legal trades, one would also come here to find basic laborers, building or ship painters, street performers, moneylenders, teamsters, limners, porters and runners. Those looking for seedier folk, including fences, toughs, thieves, gamblers, and prostitutes would also be wise to start here.

Most entertainment is through local street performers (acrobats, jugglers, buffoons, and musicians are by far the most common) and bawdy, vaudeville-style performances put on during the evenings. Five coppers gets one into one of the latter performances, though not necessarily a seat. Shraehouses are also common--little hole-in-the-wall taverns that rarely seat more than a dozen, with poor lighting and food/drink of wildly varying quality, many folk come to these places to simply drink their nights away.

-- How much does it cost? Inns of this sort run 2 sp per night. Renting a place of this sort runs 1d4 gp per month, while buying a place of this sort runs 1d4x100 gp. (Specific cost is determined by both quality and size.) People who live here rarely have the money to buy, however--usually they'll choose to rent somewhere else, while slum-lords will buy places here to rent to newcomers.

If you can't rake up even this much cash, this is still the sort of place you probably live, but instead you're sleeping on benches, beneath bridges, or in alleys (where I hope you wake up before the morning emptying of the chamberpots), and eating whatever you can steal from street vendors.

-- Where can you find it? This is the most common type of housing in Waterdeep, reflecting the city's middle class, and can be found more or less everywhere not covered by the poor or fine housing described above and below. The newest structures tend to be found in eastern North Ward, but quality varies by specific neighborhood.

-- What does it look like? The basic sort of housing of this sort is a tall row-house of wood or stone up to five stories high, or a fairly large apartment (usually situated over a shop). Buildings are sturdy and utilitarian, without a great deal of outlandish decoration; in some neighborhoods, while not impoverished, broken fences, cracked cobblestones, and other faint signs of shabbiness show.

There is not a lot of variety in different Waterdhavian racial enclaves--everyone more or less lives in the same sort of housing, though dwarves and gnomes tend to prefer cellar dwellings or the Warrens, a part of the city that is partially underground and has been built over as the city expanded.

-- What sorts of businesses/people/entertainment do you find here? As with housing, the widest variety of people and businesses can be found in this sort of neighborhood, but a few sorts are more common than others. Bakers, butchers, blacksmiths, dairies, grocers, potters, stables, wainwrights, tailors, and other "staple" businesses are often found among the middle-class neighborhoods. And among the wide variety of people, one would head here to locate physicians, undertakers, fortune tellers, guides, barbers, auctioneers, and artists.

Small theaters for dramatic works can be found scattered throughout Waterdeep's middle-class neighborhoods, where for 3 sp you can sit down and enjoy a performance in relative comfort. Many taverns in these neighborhoods offer live music during the evenings as well, though some may charge a token admission price (particularly when popular performers are in). Street performers appear here as well, though they tend to be cleaner and more competent than in the poor neighborhoods, as well as more exotic (dancers, sword-swallowers, storytellers and fortune tellers, among others, join the musicians and acrobats of the busking world here).

-- How much does it cost? Inns of this sort run about 5 sp a night. Renting a place of this sort runs about 1d4x10 gp per month, while buying one runs 1d4x1,000 gp. Higher-quality housing runs closer to the top end of that scale.

-- Where can you find it? The Sea Ward, where the vast majority of the city's upper class (nobles, merchants, government officials, and clergy) can be found, is the primary location of Waterdeep's fine housing. A few places in North, Castle, and even Trades Wards might fit this description as well--primarily as more wealthy merchants, finding no room with the true nobility in Sea Ward, buy up property elsewhere and build it up with their personal fortunes.

-- What does it look like? In areas outside Sea Ward, the primary representative of this sort of housing is a luxurious townhouse or small mansion, usually fenced off and guarded, with extensive cellars (usually connected to the sewers). In Sea Ward, meanwhile, opulent mansions are the norm, with wrought-iron fences, statues, fountains, carriages, and private guards. Almost every such structure in Sea Ward is a unique and distinctive structure built as much for show as for use.

A few of these houses even have enough space for decently-sized grounds: hedge mazes, open lawns, etc. These are without fail only for the absolute wealthiest; space within the walls is at too much of a premium for even the nobles to all have large green spaces. Many noble families have estates beyond the city walls.

-- What sorts of businesses/people/entertainment do you find here? Quiet, clean, and safe, liberally sprinkled with groves of trees and glass-plated buildings, this is the sort of area you go to for fine shops and well-trained folk. Shops are well-built and ornately decorated, often carrying a light scent of perfume or flowers, and among common trades like antiques, fine tailors, jewelers, silversmiths, and vintners, one would also start here for more exotic fare (such as alchemists, art dealers, costume shops, magic item shops, spice merchants, and pet stores).

Apothecaries, architects, barristers (at least good ones), cartographers, dentists, engravers, illuminators, moneychangers, sages, scribes, and tutors are the most common people one would find in this area, as well as spellcasters for hire and the best representatives of the other trades mentioned previously (i.e., this is the type of neighborhood you seek out for masterwork items).

High-scale street performers are found here, as in all neighborhoods, though here they are more likely to be hired to play in a shop or plaza. Evening entertainment is often presented in the form of operas, orchestral works and dance performances in lavish concert halls, or balls and parties thrown by various well-to-do members of the city's nobility or merchants. Admission to performances usually starts at 1 gp, and attendees are a veritable who's who of the Waterdhavian elite.

-- How much does it cost? Inns of this sort run at least 2 gp per night, and much higher for the best places. Renting a place of this sort runs 2d8x10 gp per month, while buying one runs 2d8x1,000 gp. In a mirror image of how poor housing is run, people rarely rent here--the housing is too limited for those who have the money to own a place here not to live there themselves.
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Re: Housing in Waterdeep

Postby Seekerthefallen » Wed Jul 30, 2014 2:09 am

This should be Bumped, then Moved to References, Game Guide section.
"Even if you silence me, My silence will still defy you"-Me

"It's not Lying...It's Neglecting the important parts"-Me

"I'm Not stealing.. I'm borrowing with the intention of not returning."-Me
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