The Watchers and the Wardens
Lord Dagult Neverember may be the Open Lord of Waterdeep, and none are supposed to know who the Masked Lords are that help run the city. But even fewer still know about the Crescent Watch. A few years ago the nearly 80 noble families of Waterdeep established the Crescent Watch when the goddess Mystra and some of the other gods began returning.
The shakeup in the pantheon made some among the Masked Lords question if Dagult Neverember was just too pragmatic and secular to be Open Lord. And other voices rose to blaspheme against the gods, blaming their return for the chaos and destruction and unrest across Faerun and beyond. Most of the nobles found both those positions to be a threat to commerce—the lifeblood of Waterdeep. So they decided to act, and they formed the Crescent Watch.
“If the Open Lord and the Masked Lords are the Wardens of Waterdeep,” the members of the Crescent Watch like to say, “then we are the Watchers of the Wardens.” It’s a testament to the chaos and nerves that a lot of the city’s noble houses feel that they believe this is now a time when they need to be looking over the shoulders of the Open Lord and the Masked Lords to be sure they are making decisions that are best for the city (as far as the nobles are concerned).
Commerce and trade make Waterdeep thrive, and many nobles fear that when the world gets chaotic, the city’s leaders may turn inward to become more insular, more defensive, and less welcoming to the outside world. But most of the noble families believe that would be horrible for the commerce of Waterdeep—and if anything is horrible for the commerce of Waterdeep, ultimately it becomes horrible for the nobles in time.
When commerce dies, the commoners quickly start losing jobs. And that begins a very dangerous cycle that the nobles hope desperately to prevent: first the commoners get restless. Then they get angry. Then they get hungry. And then they turn violent. So keep everyone working; keep the gold flowing; keep the cities engines of commerce chugging along—that’s the primary goal of the Crescent Watch, regardless of who may be Open Lord or Masked Lords.