Commerce along the Trade Way and other caravan routes binds the city-states of the Sword Coast. The coast itself is treacherous, featuring undersea reefs, rocky outcroppings, and a soft, mucky bottom that extends for miles in many areas. True ports are few and far between, a fact that makes the sheltered bay at the foot of Mount Waterdeep so precious. Its natural harbor has permitted Waterdeep, the City of Splendors, to grow into one of the shining jewels of the Sword Coast. Port cities north of Waterdeep didn’t fare well in the years after the Spellplague; both Neverwinter adn Luskan are now in utter ruin. Baldur’s Gate, on the other hand, survived the last century relatively unscathed and has swelled to become the most populous city in Faerun. Candlekeep remains a bastion of learning, though the crag it rests upon now stands at least 100 feet off the coast.
You all have come from many different regions and areas, seeking many different things. But in the end, the same idea of coin, power, fame or all three have brought you to this region. The tales of old and new tell of many opportunities and prospects opening up weekly it seems, with adventuring companies and mercenary armies ruling the Trade Way the way of the coin seems to be in full effect. No matter where you go in the Sword Coast, there are always jobs to be had, information to be gleened and people to deal with.
The Cloakwood to the south of Baldur’s Gate is said to hold the doorways to infinite wealth and power while the Werewood is rumored to have a city built by the Werewolf King Valarken which is supposed to hold the Gateway to the Feywild. The Trollbark Forest to the north is home to the Warlock’s Crypt; a vast network of catacombs holding the arcane suppositories of untold cabals of magi, not to mention the sheer cliffs and tunnels that are in the Troll Hills and shoreline holding all the unaccounted for treasure and items of power not given to the royal lines of Baldur’s Gate. And last, but surely not least, is the city-state of Baldur’s Gate. A city run by two people openly and a third somewhat in the background. Grand Duke Portyr is a well liked duke, though not quite loved, by the citizens. Portyr is easily manipulated by power blocs inside and outside the parliament. His inability to side wholly with anyone on anything keeps the city stable, however. High Priest Faenor the other open ruler of Baldur’s Gate, though more on the religious and arcane side of things. Faenor is a servant of Oghma, presiding over the High House of Wonders, a temple once exclusively devoted to Gond. Faenor sees himself as the true stabilizing force of Baldur’s Gate, and his rhetoric stops just short of calling for the institution of an Oghmanyte theocracy. The third and more hidden influence of Baldur’s Gate is Nine-Fingers, the head of the city wide theives guild. Nine-Fingers Keene is one of the most powerful inhabitants of Baldur’s Gate. She has a candidate of her own in mind to succeed Portyr and it is openly known.
All of these options and more are open to everyone and anyone able to pick up a sword and shield, wield the arcane might of old, be a testament to the faiths or quick enough to go unseen through out the land. In the Sword Coast, damn near anything is available to you, you just have to go out and risk your neck for it. Don’t worry, there will be plenty of creatures and other things eagerly awaiting to separate you from your good nature and looks.