Amn, also known as the Merchant's Domain, is a tremendously wealthy nation in West Faerûn. Prior to the Spellplague and the continent's disappearance, Amn held colonies far away in Maztica. Today, it still controls important trade routes to Calimshan and Baldur's Gate as well as colonial ports in the Moonshaes and Chult. Its population, mostly human with a large minority population of halflings, has historically been in the range of 3 million. The country's natural resources and wealth, combined with its mercantile nature has led Amn to become one of the most important and influential trading centers throughout Faerun. The crowning jewel of this powerful state is the capital city of Athkatla, founded in 100 DR or 0 AR in official documents and often known as the "City of Coin."
GeographyGeographically, Amn is a fairly small state, though its size is impressive compared with its neighbor and frequent rival, Baldur's Gate. Historically, Amn held several colonies in Maztica but during the Spellplague these disappeared from Toril along with the rest of the continent. However, Amn remains a colonial power today, primarily through its fortified ports in both Chult and the Moonshae Isles, as well as the Mhair Archipelago.
ClimateThe weather is pleasant almost all the year round in Amn. At Lake Esmel, the temperature is warmer due to the hot springs. A diverse selection of crops grow very well in Amn, making for a surplus which is traded with other nations. Amn's rainy season is from Uktar to early Tarsakh. The winters are mild with minor freezes and a little snow all across the nation with the exception of Esmeltaran on Lake Esmel. Although the rivers freeze over during Hammer, they do not harden enough to make crossing the ice safe. Due to blizzards in the Cloud Peaks over the winter, Nashkel can often become isolated from Athkatla.
Towns and cities
HistoryAmn, one of Faerûn's youngest nations but also one of its richest, has a brief but crowded history. By the time of the Spellplague, Amn had expanded further than any other Faerûnian power yet, reaching its influence to the shores of the fabled continent of Maztica across the Trackless Sea. There, it remained a local power until, during the cataclysmic events of the Year of Blue Fire the entire continent disappeared, along with all of its inhabitants. Even so, Amn's status as a colonial power is hardly broken and in the absence of its old colonies, the ambitious rulers of the Merchant's Domain have instead opened up colonies in the more local arenas of Chult, the Mhair Archipelago, and the Moonshae Isles.
EconomyMoney flows in and out of Amn like no other country. It receives a lot of goods from Calimshan and Tethyr to the south, on their way to the Heartlands in the north. It is rivals with Waterdeep and Sembia. While most often drawing merchants and buisnessmen, it also attracts adventurers from many lands, even from outside Faerûn. Thanks to its vast wealth and the amount of important that is placed upon smooth and efficient trade, merchant companies, often run by wealthy families or "houses," hold a great deal of the power in Amn, so much so that they can compete with more traditional political forces in the country.
In the past, stone was imported from Mirabar via Luskan for use in construction, having been magically transported. This is an expensive process. Since Luskan's demise, however, this particular route has been cut off. While trade is definitely profitable in Amn the nation's lifeline of commerce is constantly under threat from the savage land of Muranndin directly to the south.
GovernmentSince its unification under Thayze Selemchant Amn was ruled by the Council of Six, who resided in Athkatla. Their main duties were to maintain trade within and outside of Amn, controlling nearly every aspect regarding the economy of the nation. Separate from their economic concerns, the council also coordinated the militaristic defense of the nation, a task in which each individual member had a particular role. These positions were anonymously held.
Since the Spellplague however, things have changed. The number of seats on the Council was reduced from six to five. Amn remains an oligarchy but has since abandoned all pretenses of being anything else and the positions on the Council are now openly held by the rulers of five noble houses: Alibakkar, Dannihyr, Nashivaar, Ophal, and Selemchant.
However, despite all appearances to the contrary, many other forces continue to hold a great deal of power in the country, despite the efforts of the Council to contain them. Directly beneath the Council in power are the head merchant families, who often wield considerable political power as it is from among their ranks in which new council members are elected. While families who don't have a member on the council have little direct governmental power, their influence and authority among the town or cities in which they reside is still considerable. In any given city of Amn there are between ten and thirty heavily influential families, with Athkatla having forty-two families that control the nation's trading houses.
Next down in the power scheme of Amn are its mercantile houses, companies formed by the consolidation of two or more lesser merchants' or merchant families' wealth. Both the Council and the Shadow Thieves support these consortia, investing small shares in order to keep an eye on the economic interests of the guilds and lesser families. The success of a house might make or break the influence and power of its investors.
Standing beside the merchant houses in power are the Cowled Wizards, the Emerald Cabal, and the Shadow Thieves, each of whom possess an enormous degree of unofficial power from behind the scenes. The Cowled Wizards are themselves the only legal arcane institution in Amn, all others banned by decree of the Council, and are controlled by the powerful Selemchants, who they serve most often as underhanded agents or mercenaries. Opposing the Cowled Wizards are the secretive Emerald Cabal, a league of illegal mage opposed to the entire Amnian system and who are unafraid to use violent means to achieve their ends. Like the Emeral Cabal, Shadow Thieves' power is substantially illegal but in spite of this they hold a considerable amount of power comparable with the merchant houses of Cowled Wizards, heading a criminal network that flows between their lair in Crimmor, the rest of Amn, and the nations of the Sword Coast to the north.
Foreign relationsSome of the southern settlements in Amn have split loyalties, with some preferring to join Tethyr to the south, because of its recent prosperity. Currently the border between Amn and Tethyr is formed by the Tethir Road, although some dispute this, claiming it to be the Tejarn Hills. To the east, Amn's extend is marked by the Shilmista Forest, and to the west, by the Sea of Swords. Muranndin, the "monster kingdom," poses a significant threat to Amnian trade from the south and during the 1370s waged a destructive war on Amn that resulted in the slavery of thousands of Amnians, whose unfortunate descendants continue to suffer under foreign rule. To Amn, a country known for its sparse values but which has banned open, outright slavery, this is a festering wound.
In the north, Amn extends to the northern edge of the Cloud Peaks and Nashkel. Historically, Amn has had a strong rivalry with Baldur's Gate, which nearly resulted in war during the Iron Crisis of the 1360s. However, more recently Amn's attentions have turned to Waterdeep, Amn's chief rival for international trade.
Generally speaking, Amn has few friends, and even Tethyr, ostensibly Amn's ally, views its neighbor's activities with deep concern.
DemographicsAround a sixth of the population of Amn lives within its cities and major towns, with the rest living in villages and rural farmlands. Two thirds of the population lives west of Lake Esmel. Around the Year of Wild Magic roughly 84% of inhabitants are human and 15% halfling. The latter number, however, has grown substantially over the past century due in large part to the destruction of Luiren, the ancestral home of the halfling race. The native humans of Amn are primarily descended from Calishites and Tethyrians. A very small proportion of Amn's inhabitants are shield dwarves (in the mountainous areas) and wild elves (in Shilmista or Snakewood), and fewer still from these races decide to inhabit the cities. Gnomes are a rare sight in the cities and arouse interest. Except for Purskul, whose labour force is more than 20% half-orc, this race and half-elves are rare. Half-orcs are looked down upon as second-class citizens.
The establishment of a Shou Town is on the way at Athkatla ( source)
HalflingsIn Amnian society, humans treat halflings as equals thanks to their business skills. Although human businesses tend to have a strict hierarchy and leadership, halflings tend to rely more on teamwork, with no one individual having sole responsibility. Few halflings live west of Esmeltaran, preferring to live in segregation in this city or in Riatavin, because these settlements are near the lost halfling realm of Meiritin
LanguagesAlthough most languages are spoken in Amn due to the large number of traders from all across the Realms, Thorass is used for official documents and speeches. This is despite Common being used exclusively for this purpose in other neighbouring lands. A regional language sometimes referred to as Amnian common is spoken by the rural inhabitants of Amn, and this is made up of a dialect of Common with certain words in Thorass. There are a number of phrases in common usage in Amn which are unique to the nation. See Amnian phrases.
ReligionThere is no state religion in Amn. Any religious practice is tolerated provided it does not interfere with the Council of Six (the government). All religions are represented in Amn, and religious freedom is important to its inhabitants. Some deities are more favoured than others due to their portfolios in relation to the day-to-day affairs of the people.
StatusMoney is the key to status in Amn. A successful person is measured by the amount of wealth they display in material possessions, to the extent thatit is possible to buy nobility, at the right price. Lavish parties are common in recognition of events such as a business success, and these are often expensive, but act to further demonstrate the wealthy status of the host. Status can also be demonstrated by giving expensive gifts or gratuities.
Status can be measured in terms of the location of a person's property, although not so much importance is placed on the amount of land owned. Athkatla is the most coveted of places for a residence, and the Gem District is the best area in the city. As a merchant family rises in status, it is expected to acquire more than one property, and estates around Lake Esmel are the finest of these.
Another form of demonstrating status is one's attire. Women often wear turbans, with more elaborate and ornate examples showing off higher status, such as gold, silver or platinum threaded embroidery. Metal-embroidered silk garments are popular amongst all classes and both genders. Vests or cloaks of fur from the North are in fashion, despite the temperate climate. Jewellery can be another show of status. Gem-inlaid precious metal rings are common, and pearls (especially black pearls) are in high demand. Dressing in ornate or fancy garments and jewellery is frowned upon amongst the wealthiest Amnian families, who wear simpler clothing, resorting to the other displays of status instead.
Status is measured using a scale of precious metals, from "ore" at the bottom, to "mithral" at the top. Lower ranks are often used as insults, while a higher rank can be used to compliment something or someone. These ranks are as follows:
EtiquetteIn general, the richest inhabitants command the less wealthy. A recent show of wealth such as a large purchase or high bid can immediately raise a person's status, even above those who are wealthier overall. More emphasis is put on proper business conduct than racial stereotypes, so as long as a potential customer adheres to these rules, it does not matter who they are or where they are from. Even so, Amnians are wary of potential threats to business, so the more wealthy are often accompanied by at least two guards.
Behind the scenesAmn bears many similarities to sixteenth-century Spain.