The minstrels of Athas are entertainers. Singers, acrobats, poets, dancers, and storytellers, minstrels tour the cities of Athas in troupes or individually, making a living with their wits and talents. The civilized peoples of Athas have long celebrated minstrels, and by tradition all but the poorest or most suspicious of hosts are proud to open their doors to traveling performers. Hosting a minstrel or sponsoring a troupe’s performance reflects well on the host, and most Athasians are eager to forget their troubles with a few hours of song and dance. Nobles often send troupes of minstrels to one another as gifts; it is seen as a great insult to refuse such a gift.
The most skilled or fortunate minstrels are highly paid companions to nobility. They become trusted advisors or agents who enjoy the most intimate confidences of their patrons. Minstrels are often retained by noble houses to tutor young nobles or teach them about the world. They might serve as bodyguards as well. Minstrels who belong to a troupe don’t enjoy the comforts bestowed upon kept minstrels, but they are better networked for greater personal gain at a greater risk. The poorest and most humble minstrels perform for their supper from night to night.