"Nehwon", the reverse spelling of "No When", alludes to Erewhon.
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 Leiber
Technology in Nehwon varies between the Iron Age and the medieval. Leiber wrote of Lankhmarts: "They may be likened to the Romans or be thought of as, if I may use such a term, southern medievals." About his Eastern Lands, he wrote "think of Saracens, Arabs, Parthians, Assyrians even. They ride the camel and elephant, and use the bow extensively."
The Great Cities
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.
Lankhmar may be the center of Nehwon, and many of the adventures in the stories hold some connection to this place. It is a large and decadent city, ruled by the Overlord Karstak Ovartamortes (at least in theory). Actual rule has been contested by invaders, the Thieves Guild, Wizards, strange cults, and even ultra-intelligent rats.
Lankhmar also hosts many religions, which can be divided into the gods in Lankhmar and the gods of Lankhmar.
Amongst the streets and alleys of Lankhmar are Cheap Street (where the Thieves' Guild has its headquarters, Thieves' House), Whore Street, Gold Street, Cash Street, Plague Court, Bones Alley, the Street of the Silk Merchants, the Street of the Gods, and the Street of the Thinkers (called Atheist's Avenue by the Theologians).
Other places of note
- Cold Waste, separated from the Land of the Eight Cities by the Trollstep Mountains, this vast plateau is the place where Fafhrd came from, when he was a singing Skald in his tribe, the Snow Clan. It is a cold land of hot-blooded white furred snakes, snow leopards, ice-cat, and other things.
- 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 Bleak Shore; Bizarre land far away from all civilization, that seems to have a connection to death itself.
- the Sea of the East, joined to the Inner Sea by the narrow Sinking Lands;
- the Frozen Sea;
- the secret, shadowy realm of Quarmall, ruled by powerful sorcerers. Once a large empire, their cruelty and strange habits prompted a push back that drove them all the way back to their small home territory. Now located almost entirely underground they enthrall travelers who pass by their keep and force them to help run the fans that circulate their air.;
- 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 mountain that killed Fafhrd's father.
- the great Stardock, which is according to legend where the Gods launched the stars into the nightsky, and populated by a race of unseen beings.
- Obelisk Polaris, a mountain Fafhrd often climbed in his youth.
- Gran Hanack,
- the Hint;
- the Forbidden City of the Black Idols; Capital of the Mingol empire.
- long sunken Simorgya; bearing more than a passing resemblance to R'lyeh (Fritz Leiber was a contributor to the Cthulhu Mythos), Simorgya occasionally surfaces and enthralls and entraps those who enter the strange city looking for its rumored treasure.
- 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."
- Rime Isle, which is last told the home of Fafhrd and the Gray Mouser.
- Leiber, Fritz, "Fafhrd and the Mouser Say Their Say," The Dragon #1, 1976.