North of Neverwinter along the Sword Coast at the mouth of the River Mirar lies Luskan, the City of Sails. Luskan sits near the ruins of ancient Illusk, an ancient city that figures prominently in the history of the North. Previously ruled by the Arcane Brotherhood through the High Captains, Luskan had a long history of piracy and naval war against Ruathym and Neverwinter. In the Year of the Bent Blade (344 NR, 1376 DR), Captain Deudermont led a mercenary army backed by Waterdeep to defeat the Arcane Brotherhood. Unfortunately, Luskan proved more difficult to rule than to conquer, and by the end of the year Governor Deudermont was dead as the remaining High Captains vied for territory.
By the Year of the Ageless One (447 NR, 1479 DR), Luskan had fallen into ruin. Rulership had changed from hand to claw to hand so many times in the century since the Spellplague that it would be nigh impossible to document them in any kind of detail. The result was a mockery of a true city. Most buildings were ruined and murderers and demon-worshipers roamed the streets freely, plying their trade in broad daylight. Wretched tribes of goblins and kobolds skulked in the shadows and the fetid bog that was once the estuary of the River Mirar was infested with aquatic horrors. The place became a haven for escaped criminals who would nonetheless likely die on the end of a psychopath’s blade or a monster’s claw.
Places in Luskan
Host Tower of the Arcane: The Host Tower of the Arcane was the site of real power in the city before the Spellplague. The tower itself resembled a tree with with four “limbs” (spires) and exuded a magical aura that many residents found so uncomfortable that they purposely avoid looking at it.
Ruins of Illusk: Some of the ruins of the city that Luskan was built atop of still exist, namely on the western side of the South Bank not far from the Host Tower of the Arcane. Most folks stayed away from the ruins as wandering undead, restless spirits of Illusk, were known to prey on the drunks and adventurers who got too close to the hidden passageways to the old city. Crumbled walls and moss-grown statues remain.
The Cutlass: The Cutlass was one of the busiest taverns in the city, a haven for the crews of the pirate ships that docked in the harbor as well as the escorts whom they spend their share of the booty on. It was located close to the Dragon Beach.
One-Eye Jax: This inn an tavern on the northern bank is owned and protected by Ship Kurth, and named for Jarlaxle of the Bregan D’aerthe. It is one of the most reliable inns for foreigners, although it is often populated with drow. The barkeep is young woman named Serena, known to be Jarlaxle’s lover.
The Drowned Rat: This decrepit tavern is the headquarters of the Dead Rats gang.
The Jagged Dagger: The Jagged Dagger was built in the Year of Wild Magic (340 NR, 1372 DR). Many of the patrons are adventures looking for work, so the Red Dragon Trading Post relied on it often to recruit new employees. One noticeable patron was Gertrude Messer, who later took the tavern’s name and used it in her own company in Neverwinter, called the Jagged Daggers.
The Clearlight: This run-down temple to Tymora takes its name from the large stained glass window in the roof, the only know glass window remaining in Luskan. The temple is the headquarters of the Coin Spinners gang. They have reinforced the complex so heavily that it now resembles a fortress more than a place of worship. Most of the statuary has been removed but the idol of Tymora near the altar has remained more or less intact, along with the coin-shaped altar.
Red Dragon Trading Post: The most successful overland trading company is situated on the north bank of the city. Although not as aggressive as Luskan’s pirates, Red Dragon employees are always alert and well-armed. Due to staff shortages they are usually looking to hire, at a rate of four gold pieces per day, with food, water and one potion of healing supplied per trip.
Lylorn Emporium: The most well-known of the Dusk Ports in Returned Abeir is Lylorn, boasting the most far-reaching trade network and the most aggressive sailors. In the Year of the Mages in Amber (434 NR, 1466 DR), Lylorn sailors reached Luskan and established a trade house here. They bring goods from all across Returned Abeir to trade in Luskan, and take back goods from all across Faerûn in return. Since then, Tarmalune, Lylorn’s greatest rival, has established its own trading house with Luskan’s greatest rival, Neverwinter.
The Cliffside Cranny: The Cliffside Cranny is a hole in Luskan’s wall created by an earthquake that occurred in the Year of the Malachite Shadows (428 NR, 1460 DR). The cranny was assessable by foot or boat and served as an unofficial city gate.