I'm going to be running Waterdeep: Dragon Heist for my group soon. As part of this I would like to work out how long it would take characters to travel around the city on foot, both from top to bottom, and from side to side. In order to do this I need to figure out the scale of the city.

There is a wonderful map provided with the adventure, however it has no scale attached to it, or at least none I can find!

Is there official material which details the size of Waterdeep in geographic terms?

  • 2
    \$\begingroup\$ Wait, is your question "how long will it take to move from one side of the city to the next" or "how large is waterdeep"? Because those are two drastically different questions, unless the player characters can fly, and would depend on the crowds and layouts in the various districts. \$\endgroup\$
    – Theik
    Oct 10, 2018 at 15:52
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    \$\begingroup\$ @Theik My question is "how large is Waterdeep, in units (be those ft or miles)". Once I have that information I am happy to do the conversion myself to "how quick can they travel on foot" (which would depend on how busy it is and time of day) \$\endgroup\$
    – illustro
    Oct 10, 2018 at 15:56
  • \$\begingroup\$ I was delighted to find that the back of my copy of Waterdeep: Dragon Heist contained a pull-out, double-sided map of the city. I don't have it in front of me, so I don't remember if it had a scale. \$\endgroup\$ Oct 11, 2018 at 20:04
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    \$\begingroup\$ @aherocalledFrog it doesn't. That's the map I referenced in the question. \$\endgroup\$
    – illustro
    Oct 11, 2018 at 20:52

2 Answers 2


Waterdeep is approximately 3.8 miles x 1.5 miles

Or ~20,000 feet north/south and ~8,000 feet east/west. Both measurements were done along the greatest straight-line dimension of the city. This measurement is done by measuring the space between the walls of Waterdeep, so it includes the enclosed section of the harbor to the south.

This was derived from the map provided in the 3rd edition book City of Splendors: Waterdeep, which actually includes a scale. A copy of this map can be found here if you would like to make more precise measurements of distances between things.

I checked other sources that relate to Waterdeep, such as Volo's Guide to Waterdeep (2nd Edition), and did not find any contradicting maps. The 2nd Edition adventure titled Waterdeep includes a map, but no scale. The 1st edition sourcebook Waterdeep and the North does the same...map, but no scale.

Thus, with no contradicting evidence, it's probably a fair assumption that the 3rd edition scale of the city is accurate.

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    \$\begingroup\$ As a demographic note, the 3e FRCS notes that the City of Waterdeep's population is approximately 133,000, which would give a population density of about 23,000/square mile or ~90/hectare (which is broadly in line with the population density of large medieval cities in our world). \$\endgroup\$
    – Carcer
    Oct 10, 2018 at 16:11

Dragons of Faerûn states that Ahghairon's dragonward has a 12,800-ft-radius, which "encompassed the city as it existed in Ahghairon's day", then goes on to say: "In newer areas of Waterdeep, the dragonward's effects were less severe or non-existent".

However, the official map of Waterdeep shows that the entire city, plus a large chunk of the surrounding countryside and ocean, fits easily inside that radius, so either the map or the description of the radius are wrong.


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