A long trek goodnight
Luskan is a seafaring merchant city, home to fierce, proud, and warlike Northmen. This important northern port city is located at the mouth of the unnavigable Mirar River, a swift and icy, cold and rocky, waterway with the Mirar Road paralleling it to Mirabar. The perils of both the coastal High Road and the interior Long Road south from Mirabar relegate most metal trade to ships out of Luskan. Luskans structures are tightly packed, standing two and three stories above ground, and they are delved below ground as well. Although this city of approximately 16,000 humans seeks
merchant trade, visitors are few and feel unwelcome. This has much to do with Luskan being a known harbor for northern pirates, if not an outright sponsor of their activities. Inns serving travelers are rare. Visitors are directed to "Keep to the wall. . .The last lane holds the Cutlass". The Arcane Brotherhood keeps a watch on visitors to the city. If one wants to walk freely without spies in tow, its advisable to enter by the sewers, in the hold of a Luskanite ship, or in magical disguise. The Mirar River divides the city into two major parts. The northern section is a walled enclave, consisting almost entirely of warehouses. The southern half of the city is much older. This heavily fortified section of the city is surrounded by outlying walled caravan compounds. There are three bridges that connect the two halves of the city. They are the Harbor Cross, Dalaths Span, and the Upstream Span. The Harbor Cross is broken into two sections, known as the Short and Long spans. Five major islands crowd the mouth of the Mirar River, and the three closest to the south bank are developed.
Luskan is ruled by five High Captains named Taerl, Baram, Kurth, Suljack, and Rethnor, and each is housed in a suitably large fortress-like dwelling. The true force behind all the power of the city, however, resided in a single structure: the Host Tower of the Arcane on an island at the mouth of the river. The Arcane Brotherhood (housed in the Host Tower of the Arcane) doesn’t welcome visitors to this city. In fact, anyone who doesnt appear to be pure human can expect to be slain on sight. Any humans who do enter the City are distrusted and viewed as thieves or spies. Theyre followed constantly by agents of the Arcane Brotherhood, which assigns the tail to thieves and mages of little power but much ambition. Luskan wages almost constant war against naval powers the High Captains think they can defeat. They’ve been wrong in the past about Mintarn, Orlumbor (supported by Waterdeep and Amn), Gundarlun, and Tuern, and they were slaughtered on the seas by the ships of Lantan. The latter was so humiliating that Luskanites won’t speak of Lantan or even admit that it exists. Persistent talk of the Lantanna is likely to result in an attack from any Luskanite. However, Luskan did crush Ruathym. Only when faced by the combined fleets of the Lords Alliance did Luskan relinquish control of that plundered realm. Luskan vessels have orders to harass any shipping that uses the ports of Neverwinter and Waterdeep, which Luskan regards as its chief trading rivals. They carry on active, armed feuds with the island realm of Ruathym. They trade with Amn, Calimshan, and many other towns that prefer not to be associated with them, but they meet them on the neutral ground of offshore Mintarn. They give ships carrying the coat-of-arms of Amn and Waterdeep a wide berth, though, and have unsuccessfully attempted to raid Lanthanese ships many times. When Luskan is officially at peace, its warships act as unsanctioned pirates and the city sponsors pirates who prey on ships and ports along the Sword Coast. The High Captains supply, aid, and direct them, but they pretend they’re independent freebooters, acting in defiance of the laws of Luskan. The pirate warships try to force all shippers to use Luskanite boats and to use Luskan as their only Sword Coast port of trade. The seafaring merchants of Luskan have always been fierce, proud, and warlike. When patrolling enemies make coastal raids difficult, the warriors of Luskan turn inland, attacking the miners of Mirabar and any Uthgardt barbarians they can find. This is done just to keep their neighbours weak and respectful. The city has a standing army of 300 spearmen and a navy of 19 dragonships, each armed with 70 archers. Luskan’s involved in an ego war with Ruathym. Neither side admits defeat, so clashes continue. Waterdeep has threatened involvement if the two nations refuse to negotiate an end to the conflict, so Luskan is building more dragonships as quickly as possible and has armed hastily in recent years, fearing retaliation from Waterdeep. At this time, there are a new crop of rumors in Luskan, hinting at connections between the Zhentarim and the Host Tower of the Arcane; whether true or not, it pays to be alert and conscious of any and all possible dangers within a city like Luskan.