Welcome to Faerun, 2077 DR
Almost 700 years ago, the goddess of magic, Mystra, was assassinated by her fellow deities, Cyric and Shar. The planet of Toril was thrown into upheaval as the Weave, source of all magic, convulsed and vanished. With arcane magic cut off, the people of Toril naturally turned to divine magic, only to discover something even more alarming: the destruction of the Weave had severed the Prime Material Plane from the other planes. The gods were inaccessible.
The Wailing Century that followed saw great upheaval, both politically and culturally, as the world struggled to adapt to existence without magic. Many of the more magically depended species died out. After several of the more prominent dragons were slain for their treasures, the remainder hid themselves away and entered hibernation rather than face the hordes without their magic. On the whole, though, the world did adapt, and technology thrived and flourished.
In 2012 DR, the connection to the planes returned. From the Astral Sea, the god Gond had reached out to the Elemental Chaos and contacted the elemental lord Bazim-Gorag. Between them, they forged a bridge, restoring the connection between the realms. Upheaval returned to Toril, as organisations such as Thay Industries and, ironically, the Followers of Gond struggled to readjust to magic’s equal footing with technology.
Through it all, the city of Waterdeep has grown and prospered. The second largest city in the United Sword Coast States behind Baldur’s Gate, Waterdeep is arguably still the more important of the two. Where Baldur’s Gate is the greatest commerce hub in the west, Waterdeep is where the deals are made and money changes hands. It’s also a city of murky boundaries, where cultures from all over Toril meet and blend, where “organised crime” is distinguished between public and private sector, and the loyalty of the Watch is based on who is paying highest this week.