1354 DR Lords of Waterdeep
The Lords of Waterdeep are the ruling council of Waterdeep, forming the basis of its secretive oligarchy government. Established by the Old Mage of Waterdeep, Ahghairon in 1032 DR as an alternative to the rule of warlords (who tend to default to imperialistic and militaristic definitions of prosperity), the rule of the Lords is not just council-based, but also mostly anonymous. The council is made up of sixteen Lords, fifteen of whom are Masked Lords, and represented by a single Open Lord.
The Open Lord
The Open Lord's role is simple: he is the public face of the Lords of Waterdeep. He is not their leader - his is only voice among many - but it is the nature of the Open Lordship that he fulfills the function of being the publicly accountable and culpable person. In theory, his role is to be that person who can be held publicly accountable for the actions of the Lords, and whose existence prevents the rule of a wholly anonymous, faceless body of potential tyrants. The Open Lords holds a set of distinct legal powers granted him by his position.
- The First Ambassador of Waterdeep: The Open Lord acts as the foremost diplomat for the city of Waterdeep, allowing congress with other nations and city-states who would never be comfortable dealing with a collection of faceless figures in diplomacy. As such, the Palace in the Castle Ward - a beautiful, accessible edifice - is given over to his purposes, where Waterdeep Castle upon the slopes of Mount Waterdeep remains the domain of the Masked Lords. Though he has extensive and comfortable suites within the Castle, it can't truly be called his "home," housing as it does extensive suites for visiting dignitaries, offices of the city bureaucracy and the like.
- Commander of the Watch: The Open Lord also acts as the foremost authority for the city's Watch, although in practical terms, the actual running of the Watch is given over to the Captain of the Watch, who reports to the Open Lord directly.
- Warden of the Guard: The Open Lord also acts as the Warden of the Guard, the supreme commander of Waterdeep's military forces, although as with the Watch, there is a more direct general who answers to Piergeiron.
- Overmaster of the Guilds: The Open Lord also holds the power of authority over the guilds of Waterdeep, with the power to override guild law. In a political world where much is done with subtle manipulations, semantic and creative interpretations of law and the like, the Open Lord is empowered to cut right through and issue absolute decrees.
|Lord Piergeiron Paladinson|
Open Lord of Waterdeep
Piergeiron is the only openly-known Lord of Waterdeep, and speaks for all the Lords. As Overmaster of the Guilds, he has clear authority to override Guild law, and his decree is the only absolute law in this city of interpretation and subtle evasion. As such, he is very safe from Waterdhavians - and his life is threatened by foreign powers, such as Amn, Calimshan, and Luskan, for the same reason: he is so above reproach, and so able in his administration and justice, that the City flourishes. Waterdhavians could not conceive of a better man to fill the offices Piergeiron discharges; those wishing the City ill want to remove him if at all possible.
Piergeiron speaks seldom, and slowly; as a result, he is sometimes snidely known as "the Thickskull," though never to his face. He is not stupid, but often pretends to be, to draw others out into verbal admissions they might otherwise not make. His grander nickname is due to the fact that his father Athar, "The Shining Knight," The Arm of Tyr, was a very famous paladin adventurer of the North.
Daughter of the Open Lord
Though her father's position does not grant her any special title or privilege, Aleena has grown up in the middle of the palace's business and intrigues, and knows how such things work with a thoroughness that many magistrates and nobles frankly envy. She is away from the Palace at the moment, however, as she is apprenticed to the Blackstaff of Waterdeep.
Champion of the Open Lord
Madeiron is the appointed Champion of the Open Lord, an absurdly tall man closer to eight feet in height than seven. He is Piergeiron's personal bodyguard, remaining at the Open Lord's side in the Palace and outside the City. The man is a paladin of Tyr, and wields a Tyrite artifact called the Axe of Heavenly Fire in service to the Open Lord.
The Masked Lords
Fifteen in number, it is almost unheard of for more than seven of them to appear in a Lords' Court. The Masked Lords are not simply masked - their entire heads are hidden beneath the Lords' Helms, and their forms shrouded in the voluminous Lords' Vestments, deep purple sashed robes with heavy cloth gauntlets. It is known that the helms and robes are part of a potent illusion enchantment that hides the Lords from discovery: their voices are simultaneously projected loudly and given a somewhat-hollow baritone by the helms, and the robes practically shimmer with enchantments that serve to conceal any traits that might give away the identity of their wearer: build, movement patterns, sex and even height! Additionally, it is known that these helms (and possibly other regalia) not only protect the Lords' minds from being read or otherwise probed, but reveal to all the Lords in the vicinity any attempt to do so.
Though Piergeiron has a public appearance as being the leader among the Lords, he is in truth their voice. If anything, his word in the decisions of the Lords is given less credence than others, by the traditions of the Lords for one simple reason: as a public figure, he is a target of favor-currying, lobbying and other such attempts. The other Lords, in comparison, are anonymous and in a place to see and understand things that Piergeiron's privilege makes him blind to. Though city tales indicate that other Open Lords have taken this poorly, Piergeiron's humility has made him not just accepting of this dynamic, but supportive of it.
It is the Lords who make new laws, and change or abolish old ones. The Lords are also the heads of the Magistrates of Waterdeep, the body of black-robed legalists and judges who pass judgment on legal troubles. Magistrates are chosen from among the many clerks and other bureaucrats who help run the city, and are always chosen for their understanding of the law and demonstrated wisdom.
Known Masked Lords