Roleplaying > Freeform Archive

Nights in Nehwon

(1/11) > >>

"Sundered from us by gulfs of time and stranger dimensions dreams the ancient world of Nehwon with its towers and skulls and jewels, its swords and sorceries. Nehwon's known realms crowd about the Inner Sea: northward the green-forested fierce Land of the Eight Cities, eastward the steppe-dwelling Mingol horsemen and the desert where caravans creep from the rich Eastern Lands and the River Tilth. But southward, linked to the desert only by the Sinking Land and further warded by the Great Dike and the Mountains of Hunger, are the rich grain fields and walled cities of Lankhmar, eldest and chiefest of Nehwon's lands. Dominating the Land of Lankhmar and crouching at the silty mouth of the River Hlal in a secure corner between the grain fields, the Great Salt Marsh, and the Inner Sea is the massive-walled and mazy-alleyed metropolis of Lankhmar, thick with thieves and shaven priests, lean-framed magicians and fat-bellied merchants - Lankhmar the Imperishable, the City of the Black Toga." —From "Induction" by Fritz Lieber

Places of Note:

Lankhmar Lankhmar is richly described as a populous, labyrinthine city rife with corruption; it is decadent and squalid in roughly equal parts and said to be so shrouded by smog that the stars are rarely sighted (the city's alternate name is "The City of Seven Score Thousand Smokes".) Located next to the Inner Sea, Lankhmar is visited by ships from across Nehwon and is the starting point for Fafhrd and the Mouser's many sea voyages.

The city is ostensibly ruled by an Overlord and a nobility. The Thieves' Guild is influential, too, and controls Lankhmar's abundant criminal element, with the notable exceptions of Fafhrd and the Gray Mouser.

Streets in Lankhmar are often evocatively named (the Thieves' Guild is located on Cheap Street near Death's Alley and Murder Alley.) Commonly referenced locations are the Silver Eel Tavern, behind which is Bone Alley, and the Golden Lamprey. The main meeting place is the Plaza of Dark Delights, which is the setting of the popular story The Bazaar of the Bizarre. The religious center of Lankhmar is the Street of the Gods, along which numerous (and often bizarre) cults seek to arrange themselves in order of popularity. The true gods of Lankhmar, however, are feared rather than worshipped; these "Black Bones" (mummified ancestors of the Lankhmarese) occasionally leave their temple to fight threats to the city - or threats to their own position as preeminent religion within the city.

Beneath Lankhmar is an underground city inhabited by sentient rats. At one point the Mouser, suitably reduced in size, infiltrates this world.

Leiber's Lankhmar bears considerable similarity to 16th Century Seville as depicted in Cervantes' classical picaresque tale Rinconete y Cortadillo: a bustling, cosmopolitan maritime city, into whose port galleons sail laden with gold from which only a few benefit, with a thoroughly corrupt civil government and a powerful and well-organised Thieves' Guild - all seen through the eyes of two young adventurers who formed a partnership to guard each other's back in this dangerous milieu. However, Cervantes' protagonists, less daring than Leiber's, do not confront the Thieves' Guild but enter its ranks. -Wikipedia

Rat-infested Ilthmar. Ilthmar is a rival city to Lankhmar, located across the Great Salt Marsh and then the Sinking Land from Lankhmar, on the edge of the Deserts. Its people are known as Ilthmarts, and are known for their gambling, their heartlessness, and their worship of rat and shark gods. The harbor of Ilthmar is kept full of sharks for getting rid of criminals and undesirables. -Wikipedia

Horborixen, "citadel of the King of Kings and city second only to Lankhmar in size, antiquity, and baroque splendor"; the decadent, shrunken, and subtle Empire of Eevamarensee with its hairless inhabitants; the Great Steppes, home of the squat, stolid, black-haired Mingols; the city of Ool Hrusp; the Inner Sea; the Outer Sea; the Sea of the East, joined to the Inner Sea by the narrow Sinking Lands; the Frozen Sea; the secret, shadowy realm of Quarmall; the beggar-city of Tovilyis; the Mountains of the Elder Ones; the Trollstep Mountains or the Mountains of the Giants, peaks include the Ripsaw, the Tusk, White Fang, the great Stardock, Obelisk Polaris, Gran Hanack, and the Hint; the Forbidden City of the Black Idols; long sunken Simorgya; the Bones of the Old Ones, a mountain range; the tropical land of Klesh; the Shadowland; the Poisoned Desert; Kvarch Nar; the village of Earth's End; the Parched Mountains; the City of Ghouls, a bone-proud, invisible-fleshed people; Illik-Ving, "the eighth and smallest metropolis of the Land of the Eight Cities." Also there is Rime Isle, which is last told the home of Fafhrd and the Gray Mouser. -Wikipedia

Best of all, yet vague as hell  []

Fym the Rib had spilt enough of his own blood into the water, he reasoned, as he watched the red liquid pour down his arm and into the brown-green miasma of the canal, enough for the Shark-Lord to grant him favor this night.

Glancing over at his companions, Fym felt both fear and anxiety. As soon as they drank the magical potions, they could begin their foray into Lankhmar's underworld, and find their prize or die trying, rats be d**ned. They were in some dead-end alley, in back of the Golden Lamprey. Fingering the slimed old metal of the sluice-gate, sewage pouring freely through its contours, Fym began yanking the rusted iron bars.

The Eye of Vood, their quarry, the artefact which Sheelba of the Eyeless Face had geased them to recover, lay somewhere below them, deep beneath the bowels of the City of Seven Score Thousand Smokes. Below the corrugated pipes and sewers, below even the Rat-Lord’s warrens, and below the tombs of the ancient, and often undead, master-thieves of Lankhmar.

This would not be easy. But all knew Sheelba’s geases were unbreakable. There was no choice for them but to descend into Lankhmar’s underworld...

--- Quote ---Character Capsule

Fym the Rib is a thief, hailing originally from Ilthmar, but calling the alleys of Lankhmar home these last few years. Like you, he ran afoul of that notorious sorceress, Sheelba-of-the-Eyeless-Face, and is now geased against his will to find the fabled Eye of Vood, for reasons untold. He pays homage to the Shark-God of the Ilthmart cult, though his faith is negligible at best, a simple result of growing up in foul, cult-infested Ilthmar.

His weapon is a simple steel dirk, and but his crossbow bolts are fitted with poisoned caps. The venom can paralyze a man in seconds, but only temporarily.

Fym the Rib is quicksilver-fast and agile as a monkey of the Eastern Lands, but not a great fighter by any stretch. He is glad that the other members of this suicidal band include a warrior and wizard, beside another thief.
--- End quote ---

Geswald watched the thief - first after he ritually injured himself in some superstitious gesture to some false god.  Then, after they had imbibed the potions, as he tugged at the iron bars of the gate. 

Let him tug, thought Geswald.  He was under no illusions that his scholars' frame could fare  better, he would leave this task to others.  Instead he tried to call to mind his limited inventory of magics.  Unconsciously, one his his hands strayed to his token-bag full of 'magic' odds and ends.  Geswald, the hippocrate, was as superstitious as Fym.  For once, he would be sober on a mission, his supplies of lthmarian wine exhausted as much as his coin.

--- Quote ---Geswald is a magician, skilled when sober, dangerous when not.  Having a small assortment of mostly subtle magics, he has a few more spectacular tricks, but these are nearly as unreliable as he is.  Somewhat frail, Geswald has managed to survive thus far mostly at the whim of luck. 

--- End quote ---

Fym gave up trying to force the sluice gate, and looked upon his companions with a pained expression. Taking out a tiny, bottle-green vial, he began dropping drops of acid along the edges of the corroded bars. A sickly greenish smoke rose up from the rusted metal, and soon even weak-armed Fym could tear off the sluice-gate once and for all.

A musty smell emerged from the opening. Trickles of sewage could be heard echoing somewhere below, the high-pitched shrieks of rats, and other unidentifiable noises.

"This opening, according to Sevyas Jib, leads into the area of the sewers which connects to the lower tunnels. The password for the thieve's guild patrols, if Sevyas can be believed, is "Vermillion". We will have to bypass the rats, bribe some thieves, and eventually we should be able to enter the lower catacombs."

Whispering a prayer to the implacable Shark-God, Fym the Rib slipped into the sewage gate,and proceeded to scout the immmediate tunnel. "Lots of sounds, but i see nothing", he mumbled and looked at his companions, waiting for them to join him.

Hmm, he thought, Geswald looked particularly nauseous. The wizard's red-veined nose was turning scarlet. Geswald was fond of drink. He wondered what the addled mage had done to cross Sheelba, and wondered for the tenth time that day what magics this man was capable of performing. They would need a wizard before all was said and done. Sheelba had spoken of wards and sigils, painted on the walls of the lower levels, magical protections which needed breaking.

"Tell us, wizard", he said to Geswald, as the magician clambored past him into the tunnels, lifting his robes to avoid getting wet, and showing off his scrawny legs. "What is the Eye of Vood? Do ye know? The Eyeless Face spoke longer to you than to me."

As he waited for an answer, Fym examined himself. According to Geswald's earlier explanation, the potions they all had just drank, would turn them to half their original size in a matter of hours. This would help them traverse the rat-tunnels, which were not built for tall men to travel.

--- Quote ---There were other groups after the Eye of Vood. The Slayer's Brotherhood was rumoured to have sent a force into the tunnels recently as well, led by a were-rat thief named "Sog". No one knew what the Eye of Vood was, but it seemed every major player in Lankhmar wanted it. And Sheelba of the Eyeless Face was not one to be disappointed.
--- End quote ---

Hlol relished the musty smell of the stinking sewers; taking a deep breath as the sluice gate came loose, inhaling those fumes. He looked refreshed as everyone else looked on in revolt. Kissing the small foot, possibly that of a child, that he wore around his neck, he ventured forward to peer into the darkness. He loomed near the hole staring into the black entrance, taking in the noises, smells, and tastes of adventure, sewage, and rats. Enjoy it now, he thought, Death awaits. He began to hum softly, a beautiful dirge he has memorized from his little black book, hopefully it would calm everyone's nerves as much as it did his...

--- Quote ---Hlol of Ool Hrusp
A tall and lanky fellow of pale skin and dark robes, Hlol is a Necromancer with a bit more than basic mastery over the forces of life and death and a golden voice. Hlol is always singing, or when that's not appropriate, humming, songs from his prayer book. Others find it eerily comforting. He also wears a Hand of Gakn around his neck, a good luck token made from the foot of a stillborn child, and carries a large bag of religious supplies.
--- End quote ---


[0] Message Index

[#] Next page

Go to full version