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Elminster Speaks - Part 38

By Ed Greenwood

Life in Delzimmer

I happen to be one of those folk who believe that the seeking of knowledge is its own reward and justification, but there are others who challenge me when I impart news of this or that deed, cabal, or locale of Faerûn with queries of: "That's far away or long ago -- why should I care?"

In the instance of Delzimmer, my reply is that every region of Faerûn has its crossroad places, its centers of trade vital to foreigners trying to acquire things or get things done, and Delzimmer is one such. In its small, dusty-when-'tis-not-damp way, this city is every bit as vital as Waterdeep. In Delzimmer, traders from Dambrath and Luiren meet the wider world, eager to acquire things they can't get or dare not be seen at home making or buying.

Mercenaries, wagons and their drovers, and even small bands of thieves can be had for hire, and almost every building in the city has a street-level shop and dwellings above -- shops usually crammed with a wild and crowded variety of goods new and old, including cargo that came out of (or, as they say, "fell off of") wagons that passed through in the past.

Oxen, draft horses, and riding mounts galore can be bought in plenty in Delzimmer, and more than once their numbers have attracted wemic raids out of the north. (These and bandits and goblins from the Toadsquat Mountains were the original justification for the satrap families assembling private armies.)

Folk of all races rub shoulders in the city, trade is easy, swift, informal, and usually bustling day and night. (Large iron lanterns are hung outside shops that are open for business in the dark hours.) There's always an air of excitement in town.

Competition keeps prices for nonrare goods quite low. Folk with few coins can eat quite well if they dine on quace and other local fruit (pickled quace in winter), skewers of fried snake and lizard, and handpies (known less politely as "rat pies" for the source of most of the ground meat therein, but tasty enough when cooked with chopped wild onion and the hot brown local sauces). Cheeses, jugged fruit jellies, and roast boar from nearby Luiren are always plentiful.

Almost half of all Delzemaer are halflings from nearby Luiren, and they tend to swiftly and cheerfully embrace one get-rich-quick scheme and then turn to the next, playing it all as a big, cheerful game. Even heavy losses don't seem to bother them much, so long as they detect no skullduggery.

Hin love to gamble, in Delzimmer as much as in Luiren, and games of cards and dice and strategy can be found everywhere in the city. For the last decade, new table games -- ye would call them board games -- have swept the city every few months, as avid Delzemaer gamers invent new ones. Some games travel with the caravans to become pastimes o fthe idle rich of other cities, but most are known nowhere else in Faerûn.

Folk of Dambrath are apt to be far less open and cheerful than halfings, but those who come to Delzimmer are generally civil, or even looking for what ye might call "a good time."

In short, Delzimmer is one of those colorful, often-wild places where the world comes to scheme and trade and play. Worth a look, if ye're in the area -- or stumble across the right portal in Voonlar.

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