Dismal Luskan festers on the northern shores of the Sword Coast. Its days of glory and prominence far behind it, Luskan has sharply declined over the last few decades as ambitious gangs, ruthless pirates, and horrid monsters have laid claim to the city at one time or another. No group rules for long, but each one leaves an indelible stamp on the shattered cesspool that this once vibrant and active city has become.
LUSKAN REGIONAL BENEFIT
You add Stealth and Thievery to your class skill list, and you gain a +1 bonus to Stealth checks and Thievery checks.
A mire of despair, Luskan is a city of rotting buildings and filth-choked streets. Corpses lie where they fall, and packs of starving dogs prey on the living and the dead. For too long, aggressive villains have exploited the chaos of the city, enforcing their whims and taking what they wanted from its feeble population, while abominations from the great wilderness made slaves of the survivors. However, no one rules Luskan for long. The vile citizens always rise up from the slop to pull down anyone who reaches too far, preferring the squalor of their existence to the faint shred of hope promised by yet another feckless lord.
More than half a century ago, Luskan was a thriving city, a powerful commercial center. Home to more than 10,000 souls within its walls and twice that number in the fields and hamlets beyond, it stood as a shining example of strength in the North. But those days are long gone. The struggles of city leaders, the corruption of arcane cultists, and the failures of those who followed brought ruination to Luskan. Today, fewer than 4,000 people wallow in the grimy remains of this decomposing den of vice.
Mirar River: The Mirar River is a stinking bog, choked with the old hulks of partly sunken ships and topped with a layer of rubbish, waste, and worse. No one crosses the river if he can help it; dire things lurk in the water, and the bridges that spanned it are long since smashed, their remains still protruding from the murk. The odor is so profound that few can stand to walk its shores for long before fleeing for the relatively cleaner air of the city.
North Bank: A former thriving merchant district, the North Bank has become a favored haunt
of vile gangs and twitching bands of undead. Here, a necromancer reclaimed an old water tower called the Throat to serve as a laboratory.
South Bank: Sprawling out from the southern side of the Mirar River is the great slum known as the South Bank. Once the lifeblood of Luskan, it now is a graveyard of old dreams and bold ambitions. Between the rotting buildings, narrow streets twist through the shadows cast by the burned-out and collapsed structures on all sides. Gangs and pirates control much of the South Bank, but reports of more monstrous masters occasionally filter out from the city.
Blood Island: Aptly named, Blood Island holds the forces of a Shou criminal syndicate headed by a mysterious leader known to his cronies as the Dragon. From the ruined garrison, the gangsters traffic in slavery, drugs, and other unsavory commodities.
People of Luskan
Luskan is one of the most wretched cities in all of Faerûn. A magnet for freaks, castoffs, and fugitives, Luskan replenishes its dying population with a steady stream of exiles fleeing justice or persecution. People who have nowhere else to go can find a haven of sorts in this ruined city, living alongside despicable humans, goblin and kobold tribes, and the occasional horror that emerges from the sewers. Those who come to Luskan might find freedom from the gibbet, but many of them instead suffer an agonizing death from one of the dozen diseases sweeping through the community at any particular time. Murderers stalk the rubbish mounds, hunting for flesh to prick with their sharpened knives, while demon-worshipers round up sacrifices for ceremonies to honor the dark powers they serve.
Most people who end up in Luskan soon look for a way out, a chance to escape a pointless death at the hands of madmen, fiends, or worse. Some initially embrace the life that Luskan offers only to find that they can’t abide the stench and sorrow pervading the place. Others make the mistake of drifting too close and are swallowed by this city of sin. Outside of the few who exult in the horrible atmosphere, nearly all people struggle to find a fate better than the one in store for them here.
Purported to have been the home of a powerful cabal of wizards over a century ago, Cutlass Island today has a grim reputation as a place infested with undead. The island sits in the Mirar River, and the lure of lost magic and ancient power sometimes draws incautious explorers. But most avoid the place, lest they find themselves added to the ranks of the rotting servants.