Lankhmar: Carnival of Swords
Through the mazy avenues and alleys of the great city of Lankhmar, Night was a-slink, though not yet grown tall enough to whirl her black star-studded cloak across the sky, which still showed pale, towering wraiths of sunset. The hawkers of drugs and strong drinks forbidden by day had not yet taken up their bell-tinklings and thin, enticing cries. The pleasure girls had not lit their red lanterns and sauntered insolently forth. Bravos, desperadoes, procurers, spies, pimps, conmen, and other malfeasors yawned and rubbed drowsy sleep from eyes yet thick-lidded.
-- Fritz Leiber,
"The Two Best Thieves in Lankhmar"

When they woke the next evening, the place turned out to be quite nice inside, the two end-rooms each a thick-carpeted bedroom with highly erotic murals filling the walls. The Mouser puzzled as to whether Duke Danius shared his garden-concubines with a friend or else rushed back and forth between the two bedrooms all by himself…. After a few days Fafhrd discovered a second library, most cunningly concealed, of books dealing with nothing but death, books at complete variance with the other supremely erotic volumes. Fafhrd found them equally educational, while the Gray Mouser amused himself by picturing Duke Danius pausing to scan a few paragraphs about strangulation or Kleshite jungle-poisons while dashing back and forth between his two bedrooms and their two or more girls.
-- Fritz Leiber,
"The Price of Pain-Ease"

The reason that Fafhrd attached himself to Bwadres, rather than to any one of a vast number of livelier holy men with better prospects, was that he had once seen Bwadres pat a deaf-and-dumb child on the head while (so far as Bwadres could have known) no one was looking and the incident (possibly unique in Lankhmar) had stuck in the mind of the barbarian.
-- Fritz Leiber,
"Lean Times in Lankhmar"

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Suggested Characters

Not sure what character to play? Pick from among these many choices. But remember, in Lankhmar there's a good chance that any random person has a secret identity, a hidden agenda, or a mysterious past! Be sure to check the Background Tone page for tips about getting the proper mood and feel for Lankhmar characters.

    Entertainers: Dancers, musicians, actors, jugglers, and other ilk have descended upon Lankhmar for Carnival. Some were hired by wealthy patrons, some perform for donations, and others seem to have no obvious source of income. Rhonda St. Laurent has agreed to coordinate the entertainment activities of the evening, so if you'd like to be an entertainer please e-mail her.

    Peddlars and Vendors: What would Carnival be without merchants hawking their wares? Whether you're a street vendor wandering the city with your goods on a tray or the proprietor of a booth in the Plaza of Dark Delights, you can be assured of lots of potential customers.

    Thieves: Thieves are an integral part of Lankhmar's economy, whether they be burglars, pickpockets, or simple muggers. Of course you must decide whether you're a member of the venerable Thieves' Guild (with all the perks and drawbacks that implies) or a freelance operator (who'd better be very good, as the Guild enforces a strict death sentence on all unauthorized theft).

    Beggars: Though controlled by the Thieves' Guild, Lankhmar's beggars are a class unto themselves and constitute a fairly hefty portion of the population.

    Whores and Courtesans: Note that in Lankhmar prostitutes are considered respectable professionals. Whore Street is a center of thriving business at the heart of the city's market district, while every nobleman and wealthy merchant keeps a courtesan or two on retainer.

    Priests: Though no one worships the gods of Lankhmar, there's a thriving and highly competitive religious industry devoted to the thousands of gods in Lankhmar. Priests vie with one another for bigger and richer congregations, with the hopeful goal of gradually moving up the Street of the Gods and the threat of being pushed down the Street and eventually out the Marsh Gate.

    Nobles: Lankhmar has a host of nobles with a bewildering variety of titles. Most are simply decadent dilletantes living off absentee landlord incomes.

    Merchants: As the center of trade for most of the cilized nations of the world, Lankhmar's merchant traders are usually quite wealthy, though the top of the heap is reserved for the powerful grain merchants who control the output of the country's true wealth.

    Guards and Bodyguards: Combine the impressive wealth and even more impressive crime of Lankhmar and you develop an instant demand for hired guards. Whether you're a loyal retainer or a thug hired out by the hour from the Brotherhood of Slayers, you'll be certain to find work at Carnival.

    Sorcerors, Witches, and Magicians: Nehwon is a fantasy world awash in practitioners of magic. Most of them, however, are charlatans or purveryors of simple charms and nostrums. A few, however, are really onto something and wield subtle yet impressive powers. If you want to be a sorceror, contact me early, as I'll need to design a custom magic system just for you!

    Foreigners: Lankhmar is a comspolitan city, attracting merchants and adventurers from all the lands of Nehwon. Mingol blood slaves, foresters from Kvarch Nar, Ilthmarite rogues, slave traders from Quarmall, and warlocks from the Eastern Lands can all be found in Lankhmar's walls.

In addition to the above categories, here are a few characters from the actual stories which might be of interest:

    Muulsh the Moneylender: One of Lankhmar's wealthiest and heaviest men, until recently Muulsh was noted for being the henpecked husband of his overbearing wife Atya. However, she disappeared a few months ago and now he's making up for lost time among both his female servants and the city's courtesans.

    Duke Danius: One of Lankhmar's eccentric nobles, with an odd obsession regarding death (and Death).

    Bwadres: The dirt-poor and half-senile priest of the god Issek of the Jug, Bwadres has recently arrived at the Marsh Gate and is desperately trying to move his congregation up the Street of the Gods.

    Pulg: Operator of Lankhmar's primary religious extortion ring, which collects protection money along the Street of the Gods.

    Nemia of the Dusk: A female fence, noted for "never completing a transaction of any sort with a member of the opposite sex without first testing them in amorous commerce".

    Hisvin: A grain merchant and possibly the richest man in Lankhmar.

    Hisvet: Hisvin's dainty daughter, granted the title of demoiselle. She is served by Frix, an exotic and supremely competent woman of unkown origin.

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