This large paved courtyard adjoining the Palace paddocks and stables is the staging area for any mounted contingent of the guard before they head our of the city for outlying patrols. It has also become an impromptu concert area for practicing bards, who prefer it to their chilly quarters at New Olamn.
The largest open space in the city is an open market surrounded by stone buildings (many moneylenders and pawnshops among them) that enclose the maze of temporary stalls and cards that appear here day and night. The Market is the best place to haggle for the lowest prices on almost any trade good imaginable, though there's no guarantee of finding any specific item.
The mountain on which the city is built is a bald, rough crag with a peak some 1,500 feet above sea level. On its seaward flanks are emplaced eleven gigantic triple-catapults for hurling loads of rock and burning material out to sea against attacking ships. Several sea caves pierce the base of its western flank, connecting it to Undermountain and various points under the city by tunnels of great antiquity (once used for smuggling).
In just a few short years, New Olamn has become a prominent center of education and bardcraft in Waterdeep and up and down the Sword Coast. It can be reached by means of the Cliffride, a steep treacherous gravel track that runs along the western edge of Mount Waterdeep's northern spur and is constantly exposed to the sea winds and spray of the ocean below. A more pleasant path passes through Mount Melody Walk, a continual flame-lit tunnel dug through Mount Waterdeep's northern spur and staffed by a four-person contingent of the Guard at all times.
This small stone tower rises as a slim stone pinnacle with a conical roof and few windows, four stories from the street. Extensive magical protections lie about the tower, keeping intruders out. Some have speculated that it might be possible to bypass the wards with secret tokens of recognition or pass-phrases, but if such things exist, no one has admitted knowledge of them. Recently (in the Year of the Ageless One, 1479 DR), a wizard known as Khondar "Ten Rings" Naomal apparently tried to enter the Tower. His skeletal remains fly around the tower, trapped inside spell barriers, chased by two spectral wolves who teared the skeleton in two. The shapes reform and the chase resumes, forever trapped in an endless cycle, a warning to those who seek to abuse Waterdeep's magic.
The tower was built by the Year of the Blazing Call (947 DR) by the archmage Ahghairon of Waterdeep.
Blackstaff Tower appears to be a simple, three-story, black stone tower surrounded by a curtain wall with a wrought-iron gate. It is rumored that the inside is vastly larger and more complex, but few enter the Tower. Some claim the Tower itself is sentient. The current Archmage of Waterdeep and Mistress of Blackstaff Tower is Vajra Safhar, a thin, small dusky-skinned tethyrian. She lives alone in Blackstaff Tower. City legend is that if Blackstaff Tower ever falls, so goes the City. Past Blackstaffs took apprentices but Vajra has not yet openly done so.
The white marble Palace of Waterdeep still stands as a shining symbol of the Lords' Rule, unblemished by corruption. The Palace is the main office location for many city officials, the majority of which are dedicated to the administration of city services, such as the Watch, the Guard, city clerks, and the Loyal Order of Street Laborers. The Lords' Court meets ina large chamber on the second floor, just up the grand staircase from the echoing, open entry hall.
Waterdeep's great fortress is a thick-walled stronghold that broods over Castle Ward from the flanks of Mount Waterdeep. Pennants and banners are often hung and flown from its battlements to signal the arrival of diplomats or the commencement of ceremonies. The great height of the castle walls makes such signs readil visible in the suther half of the city. The castle's walls average sixty feet thick, with rooms and passages tunneled out of their great bulk.
The castle can house approximately three thousand medium-sized creatures in comfort, and three times that number if every corner is used for accomodation and storage. The normal garrison is fourteen hndred city guards. Dungeon levels beneath the city hold ninety cells in total, each capable of holding up to six prisoners. By edict of the Lords, the castle's larder must contain an emergency food supply large enough to fee fifty thousand people for a tenday. The castle courtyard is used for training members of the Guard and the Watch. The main stables, containing seventy or so fully trained and equipped warhorses, are located in the ground-level interior of the castle's south wall.
Signal beacons, horns, and mighty catapults capable of commanding the entire harbor of Waterdeep as far as Deepwater Isle and the Torchtowers are kept ready on the battlements. A garrison unit of at least thirty armed soldiers of the Guard always stands watch. The castle gates and all stations of the walls are always guarded, and just within the gates is the duty guardroom where a strike squad of twenty crossbowmen and two wizards can reinforce the guards at the gate in seconds, and anywhere else in or under the castle in minutes.
Castle Waterdeep is linked to extensive dungeons beneath the castle and in the mountain to the west, used as armories, food-stores, and to hold Waterdeep's secrets. Beneath the castle's dungeons lies the Citadel of the Bloody Hand, now a dangerous, festering sore on the castle's integrity.