The Guilds of Waterdeep have been a mainstay in the city for centuries and they have always had a major influence on the city at large. Their management and their skilled control of commerce brought Waterdeep to its great prominence as a center of trade for the Sword Coast. Their avarice, ruthlessness, and greed nearly destroyed Waterdeep in the past.
The Guilds are not one whole power group, but are distinct and different groups of people, each dedicated to upholding the craft and service (and related political agendas) of their own choosing. Some guilds work more closely with the Lords, their activities integral to the city’s welfare, while others are specialty guilds that only wield influence in the Market. Each guild’s trade naturally determines its importance and influence upon the city, some often deceiving in their perceived power: while a lowly dungsweeper appears to wield no power, a strike by the Dungsweepers’ Guild is one of serious impact on the city!
Each of the guilds of the city has a guild hall. The guild hall acts as a showcase of the guild’s trade or products, a meeting place for guild members, the central clearinghouse for guild business, and the offices of the officers of the guild. On top of all that, guild halls are often places of business run by the guild, with that business’ profits benefiting the guild master. However, even though it is relatively simple to find the guild halls themselves, getting in contact with a guild master is rare, and customers are often shuttled through the channels to do business.