Red Sunsets, and Other Portents
Welcome to Waterdeep! It is currently Tarsakh 13, the year 1381 DR, Year of the Starving. An unusually widespread and early cold snap just before Highharvestide of 1380 has led to widespread food shortages and hunger throughout all of Faerun. Though Waterdeep has not escaped the effects of the food shortage (in part due to its own nine year drought), the cities streets have seen a significant influx of the poor and down-on-their-luck come to the City of Splendors in search of hope and, more importantly, bread. Crime is up, and everyone whispers that the Shadow Thieves of Amn are once again gaining a foothold in the cities underbelly; those of the longer-lived races have some few elders who remember the last time the Shadow Thieves held power, and shudder as they hear the rumor. In short, times are not pleasant for the City of Splendors— a fact exacerbated by constant tales of growing orc and giant hordes to the north, trolls to the northeast, and recent memories of a sahuagin invasion.
Though you were all born in different parts of the Waterdeep in 1358 (The Year of Shadows), you all found your way to the school of Esharl Everfist, a most unusual elf who (if rumors could be trusted), had an entirely new discipline that seemingly mingled sword and tome in a way no one had before imagined. Though Esharl is himself not a caster, the Blackstaff Tower, has quickly grasped the value of the teaching, and for the last five years has accepted in its ranks the wizard Esharl has ranked highest; most recently, the Tower even accepted a non-wizard, a young woman named Ingress who is the same age as all of you.