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Manshaka was a city (a town by Calishite standards) in Calimshan, most well-known for its Blood Arenas and slavery. A home for gamblers and smugglers, such was its disrepute that more euphemistic aliases existed for this city than any other in Calimshan. It was the second-largest gambling center in all Faerûn, next to Calimport.
Geography and LayoutEdit
The minarets of Manshaka were fully glazed and made from red bricks. Local legends claimed that these Red Minarets of Manshaka were once white but had been stained red by the blood of slaves who died there.
The Red Minarets had archers stationed on them, who would often "shoot first and ask questions later" regarding any disturbances in the city below. The external city walls were encrusted with metal and stone shards, making attempts to climb into or out of the city a dangerous task and giving the walls a sparkling effect. The walls also contained a dedicated garrison of soldiers.
For over 50 years, the city was ruled by Pasha Abon Duum, a ruthless despot. This was the Ninth Age of Calimshan, a time when Calimshan was a collection of city states more than a unified nation, and so Pasha Duum had ultimate control. When he vanished suddenly in 1357 DR, power nominally rested for a time in Vizar Artouk Fanzir, but in actuality, decisions were made collectively by a council of twelve—mostly rich businessmen.
During the Darkstalker Wars of the next year, Sultan Pesarkhal abandoned Manshaka for Calimport, to become ruler of the entire unified county of Calimshan and beginning its Tenth Age as syl-pasha. He intentionally left no one on the throne, so that he could control the city from Calimport by means of his agents.
In 1370 DR, the city maintained a defensive force of about 700 amlakkar and an additional 200 sadimmin tasked with guarding the two Arenas of Blood. There was very little law in Manshaka, and the guards were little better than slavers or robbers. Offending the wrong person might get someone executed on the spot or thrown into the Arenas as a slave.
While the town of Keltar was known for its livestock business, in actuality, a greater variety of livestock passed through Manshaka's gates. In addition to common chickens, pigs, sheep, and cattle, Manshaka also dealt in buffalo, camels, deer, and even elephants. These were shipped lived on cargo vessels to other cities along the coast.
Manshaka was an especially busy port in 1357 DR, a common stopping point for sea traders traveling from Memnon to Suldolphor. Surprisingly, they stopped primarily because the city was known as a moneylending center.
After the fall of the Shoon Imperium in 450 DR, Calimshan entered its Seventh Age. Taking advantage of the time of unrest, the mameluks, warrior slaves, rose to power, and from 533 DR to 1018 DR, Manshaka was the new capital of Calimshan. The mameluks abolished slavery and ruled from their palace, the Hall of the Mameluks.
After a rage of dragons ended mameluk rule, the individual cities of Calimshan, including Manshaka, were ruled as separate city states for centuries. In such a time, it was easy for rich and powerful men such as Pasha Abon Duum to wield control by managing information and a system of favors. He ruled for over fifty years. However, Pasha Duum vanished suddenly and mysteriously in the Year of the Prince, 1357 DR. His whereabouts became unknown, though there were many rumors.
For a brief time of less than a year after his disappearance, Vizar Fanzir and his council of twelve controlled Manshaka from the Hall of Mameluks, but in the Year of Shadows, 1358 DR, Sultan Ralan el Pesarkhal orchestrated their deaths. He drugged their wine, and when they were drunk, an argument started. During this time, he arranged for a brazier to "accidentally" be knocked over. The tapestries caught fire, and the Hall of the Mameluks went up in flames, killing all of the counselors. Sultan el Pesarkhal then took the throne. He had greater ambitions than Manshaka, and within a year, he had taken control of Calimport as well and with it all of Calimshan.
The city saw great destruction in the Year of the Gauntlet, 1369 DR when the Drudach Fires raged through much of the city, slaughtering nearly half of its population and burning many of its notable buildings to the ground.
The largest gladiatorial event in Manshaka's history occurred in the month of Hammer in the Year of the Tankard, 1370 DR. Known as the Great Games, the event saw the deaths of over 3,000 gladiators and 5,000 wild animals and monsters. It also saw the escape of a pack of dire wolves into the crowds of onlookers, when an unidentified spellcaster used magic to dissolve a portion of the walls.
Rumors and LegendsEdit
The disappearance of Abon Duum remained an issue of rumor for many years. Some claimed he was murdered by Vajra Valmeyjar, an adventuress and former slave of his. Others believed that something happened when he sought to attain the power of the gods, such that his soul now wanders the planes.
- The Arenas of Blood
- The source of Manshaka's fame, the Arenas of Blood were two identical structures located on opposite sides of the city, one on the north of Drudach Street and the other on the south side. As of 1370 DR, they held five shows a day each.
- Drudach Street
- This road cut the city in half and ran from the gate to the port on the Shining Sea.
- The Hall of the Mameluks
- This was the palace from which the mameluks ruled all of Calimshan during the Seventh Age.
- The Pasha's Palace
- This massive fortress was the size of a drudach and contained a vault of Ralan el Pesarkhal's treasure buried a mile below the surface. It was loaded with magical traps, and el Pesarkhal still had agents lurking there.
- The Red Minarets of Manshaka
- These blood-colored minarets stood out for their red bricks and were symbolic of the state of oppression felt by the many slaves.
Few mages lived in Manshaka relative to the rest of Calimshan; the majority who lived there frowned on the use of magic.
As elsewhere in Calimshan, many nobles in the city would retire to estates in the southern foothills of the Marching Mountains during the hot summer months, particularly in the vicinity of the headwaters of the River of Ice.
In 1370 DR, notable persons who called Manshaka home included:
- Vizar Mohad el Fisar, the "slave-lord" of Manshaka.
- Jhalarn, one of only two escaped slaves of the Blood Arenas in the history of the city, (the other being Vajra Valmeyjar).
- Pasha Jhiavor the Ripper, the syl-pasha's main agent.
- Khamas yn Nur el Kahmir, leader of the Manshakan thieves guild.
- Pasha Ladan el Viscek, puppet leader of slaving operations for Vizar el Fisar.
- ↑ According to census-taker Vizar Achmed el Imnt of Calimport, this figure was "altered ridiculously". It included all slaves and dependent rural families, whereas other population figures recorded here do not. (See: Empires of the Shining Sea page 99.)
- ↑ 1.00 1.01 1.02 1.03 1.04 1.05 1.06 1.07 1.08 1.09 1.10 1.11 1.12 1.13 Steven E. Schend and Dale Donovan (September 1998). Empires of the Shining Sea. (TSR, Inc), p. 110. ISBN 978-0786912377.
- ↑ Monte Cook, Jonathan Tweet, Skip Williams (July 2003). Dungeon Master's Guide 3.5 edition. (Wizards of the Coast), p. 137. ISBN 0-7869-2889-1.
- ↑ 3.00 3.01 3.02 3.03 3.04 3.05 3.06 3.07 3.08 3.09 3.10 3.11 3.12 Steven E. Schend and Dale Donovan (September 1998). Empires of the Shining Sea. (TSR, Inc), p. 111. ISBN 978-0786912377.
- ↑ Steven E. Schend and Dale Donovan (September 1998). Empires of the Shining Sea. (TSR, Inc), p. 71. ISBN 978-0786912377.
- ↑ 5.0 5.1 5.2 5.3 5.4 5.5 5.6 Scott Haring (1988). Empires of the Sands. (TSR, Inc), p. 56. ISBN 0-8803-8539-1.
- ↑ Ed Greenwood, Sean K. Reynolds, Skip Williams, Rob Heinsoo (June 2001). Forgotten Realms Campaign Setting 3rd edition. (Wizards of the Coast), p. 155. ISBN 0-7869-1836-5.
- ↑ 7.0 7.1 Steven E. Schend and Dale Donovan (September 1998). Empires of the Shining Sea. (TSR, Inc), p. 14. ISBN 978-0786912377.
- ↑ 8.0 8.1 Steven E. Schend and Dale Donovan (September 1998). Empires of the Shining Sea. (TSR, Inc), p. 35–36. ISBN 978-0786912377.
- ↑ 9.0 9.1 9.2 9.3 Steven E. Schend and Dale Donovan (September 1998). Empires of the Shining Sea. (TSR, Inc), p. 36–37. ISBN 978-0786912377.
- ↑ Steven E. Schend and Dale Donovan (September 1998). Empires of the Shining Sea. (TSR, Inc), p. 186. ISBN 978-0786912377.
- ↑ Steven E. Schend and Dale Donovan (September 1998). Empires of the Shining Sea. (TSR, Inc), p. 41. ISBN 978-0786912377.
- ↑ Steven E. Schend (October 1998). Calimport. (TSR, Inc), p. 16. ISBN 0-7869-1238-3.
- ↑ Brian R. James and Ed Greenwood (September, 2007). The Grand History of the Realms. (Wizards of the Coast), p. 41. ISBN 978-0-7869-4731-7.
- ↑ Steven E. Schend and Dale Donovan (September 1998). Empires of the Shining Sea. (TSR, Inc), p. 42. ISBN 978-0786912377.
- ↑ 15.0 15.1 Steven E. Schend and Dale Donovan (September 1998). Empires of the Shining Sea. (TSR, Inc), pp. 33, 44. ISBN 978-0786912377.
- ↑ 16.0 16.1 16.2 Steven E. Schend and Dale Donovan (September 1998). Empires of the Shining Sea. (TSR, Inc), p. 112. ISBN 978-0786912377.
- ↑ Steven E. Schend and Dale Donovan (September 1998). Empires of the Shining Sea. (TSR, Inc), p. 45. ISBN 978-0786912377.
- ↑ Craig Barrett (March/April 1992). “On Wings of Darkness”. Dungeon #34 (TSR, Inc.), p. 54.
- ↑ Steven E. Schend and Dale Donovan (September 1998). Empires of the Shining Sea. (TSR, Inc), p. 72. ISBN 978-0786912377.