AmTote D&D5E Forgotten Realms
Anyone who goes to Luskan should know about its ruling Ships and the Arcane Brotherhood. The Ships of Luskan have been described as bands of pirates, but that characterization misses how deeply ingrained the Ships are to the society of Luskan and the mentality of its citizens. Attack a Ship member and you might incur not just the wrath of the Ship, but of much of the city as well. As for the Arcane Brotherhood, one member of it may or may not come to another's aid, but know that each of these egotistical mages is eager to prove his or her magical prowess, and none can afford to show weakness before the folk of Luskan. Luskan, the City of Sails, spans the icy River Mirar, which tumbles from the Spine of the World, races past Mirabar, and then plunges toward the sea. The swift river has cut deep here, and Luskan rests atop two escarpments on either side, with sheer, forty-foot bluffs of gray stone rising above the water. Around the city's perimeter, thick stone walls with squat towers provide defense. The southern gate, called the Twin Teeth, boasts the most impressive towers, standing twice as tall as the city walls, and bedecked with crenellations and arrow slits enough for numerous defenders, in a show of strength toward the southern approach.
PEOPLE AND LAWS
Without question, the people of Luskan show their Northlander heritage. They raid ships and coastal settlements, engage in interdiction and piracy, and value strength of arms above most other qualities. During Luskan's long history on the Sword Coast, however, the city has adopted many of the attitudes of mainland folk. Luskar don't kidnap people from other settlements or tribes, and they hold that women have social standing equal to men (two of the High Captains, Suljack and Taerl, are women). They don't distrust magic, as their island brethren do. Slavery is, at least nominally, illegal in Luskan, though a slave taken and sold at sea is usually overlooked by authorities. The law in Luskan is supposed to be upheld by soldiers of the Ships, who are empowered to arrest criminals and bring them before the Magistrates of the city. In practice, arrests are as often made by mobs, but the result is the same: an appearance before the Magistrates. Each of the five Magistrates is chosen by a High Captain, but need not be a member of that captain's Ship. The Magistrates are, at least officially, neutral. Most citizens have their cases decided by a single one of these judges, but a dispute involving a Ship member is heard by all five.
'Justice' is handed out in the form of the Prisoner's Carnival, a public display of torture or humiliation put on mostly for the enjoyment of onlookers. A pickpocket may be put on stage to lose the hand which knicked the coinpurse for example, while a drunken brawler may be put in stockades as a target of the crowds' thrown insults and objects.