Nightmares of the Last War
The city now known as Sharn was built upon a foundation that dates back thousands of years, before humans ever settled Khorvaire. During that time, the hobgoblin Dhakaani Empire’s greatest city was carved into the jagged cliffs that Sharn now towers over. This city was called Ja’Shaarat. This metropolis didn’t rise toward the skies, like Sharn does. Instead, the architects of the Dhakaani built a vast number of chambers and tunnels into and under the ground. As the city grew in size, the Dhakaani would eventually build great monolithic buildings on the plateaus above the Dagger River that would later serve as the foundations for Sharn. When the Daelkyr invaded Eberron, the city was devastated, and the hobgoblins never had a chance to restore it to its greater glory.
Thousands of years later, when human settlers from Sarlona began to explore Khorvaire, the Dagger River was stumbled upon. The river led Malleon the Reaver and his explorers to the site where Ja’Shaarat once stood. There, he enslaved what goblins still resided in the ruins and erected a fortress within the ruins. He sealed off the lower wards of the ancient hobgoblin city and named the city Shaarat, as a result of stories told by the goblins he enslaved. For 600 years, Shaarat prospered and grew into a powerful metropolis once again. Breggor, the first ruler of what would become Breland, eventually conquered Shaarat and renamed it Sharn.
Over the course of the next 800 years, Sharn’s towers began to rise and the city developed into something resembling Sharn today. Around this time, the Dragonmarked Houses began to prosper, and this helped cultivate Sharn into economic power. But the Dragonmarked Houses also brought with them the War of the Mark. The leader of those who bore the aberrant dragonmark, Tarkanan, took control of Sharn and turned it into a home for all who wore the destructive marks.
Tarkanan couldn’t hold the city for long, but in the end he used his terrible powers to destroy much of the city. For the next 500 years, the city was looked down upon and the city remained in ruins. Then, when Galifar I took control of the Five Nations, he rebuilt Sharn. The metropolis felt the blessings of Galifar and would eventually develop into the center for trade, diplomacy, and intrigue that it is today.
Sharn is broken into a number of districts;
Sharn, the City of Towers, the jewel of old Galifar — Our glorious metropolis is known by many names, and its legend stretches across the globe. Every day thousands of people pass through Sharn. Merchants from distant lands offer Sarlonan silks, Zil elixirs, dragon turtle meat from the Sea of Rage, and other fantastic goods. Brelish farmers stream down the Old Road bearing the harvest; Sharn has many mouths to feed, and the edge of the Dagger is barren and hard. Ambassadors rub shoulders with aristocrats, and dragonmark heirs trade tales with sages and bold explorers. There is a place for everyone in the city of Sharn, and adventure lies around every corner.
Our great city can overwhelm on a first visit, so the Sharn Inquisitive produced this simple guide. With it, a good map, and a copy of the Sharn Inquisitive to keep you up to date with current events, you’ll be working the lifts as if you were born in the spires! Read on, and welcome to Sharn!
Sharn sprawls between the Dagger and the Hilt. Its fabled towers rise more than a mile into the air. To find your way around the city, you must think both horizontally and vertically. If you were to look down upon the city from above, you would be able to identify five distinct sections or quarters: the Central Plateau, Dura, Menthis Plateau, Northedge, and Tavick’s Landing.
Vertically, these clusters of towers are broken into three distinct levels or wards. Thus a citizen of Sharn may refer to Upper Central, Middle Dura, or Lower Northedge.
Each ward is further divided into three to nine districts. Each district has its own flavor. The Bazaar of Middle Dura is a center for trade; Black Arch in Lower Tavick’s Landing is a garrison district supporting our brave troops and officers of the watch; and Crystal Bridge in Upper Northedge is a purely residential district, home to some of the wealthiest families in Sharn.
In addition to the five quarters, there are other regions of note. If you arrived by boat you will have already seen Cliffside, which rises up from the shores of the Dagger to the ward of Lower Dura. If you’re reading this in Cliffside, we advise you to leave quickly, because that grimy district can be quite dangerous if you don’t know the ways of the city! Looking up, you may catch a glimpse of glittering clouds floating above the tallest spires: this is Skyway, home to the most privileged citizens of Sharn. Deep beneath the city lie the Cogs, our center of industry; like Cliffside, this is a place casual visitors are advised to avoid.
Now that you understand the basic layout of Sharn, let’s discuss the many ways to get where you want to go. You can always rely on your feet but walking from Wroann’s Gate to Hope’s Peak would take hours, and the climb far up into the sky is exhausting. If you wish to relax and you aren’t in a hurry, House Orien maintains a network of mule-wagons that travel established routes throughout the city; a mule-cart takes time to reach your destination but the carts are comfortable and affordable.
If you have coin to spare, the swiftest method of travel is one of the wonders of Sharn: the skycoach. Magical energy flows through the very air surrounding our city, allowing these vessels to soar through the sky with the ease of a Lyrandar airship. The City Council has fixed the price of transport at one silver per mile; don’t let a cunning coachman charge more than he should!
Things to See
Whether you’re here for business or pleasure, Sharn has much to offer.* Shopping — Our open markets are famous throughout the region and will serve you well whether you’re buying or selling. If money is in short supply, you would be advised to go to the Bazaar of Middle Dura. You may hear rumors that the Bazaar is a hotbed of criminal activity; these are blown out of proportion (but it’s always wise to watch your purse). Tavick’s Market and North Market provide security and a greater range of goods, while Tradefair in Middle Central offers an impressive selection of the finest goods from across the land. Beyond the open markets are hundreds of specialized shops and services spread throughout the city; sadly, we cannot present them all in this limited space. * Worship — The district of Sovereign Towers is home to two of the largest temples in Breland: the Pavilion of the Host and the Cathedral of the Cleansing Flame. On festivals and holy days, Sovereign Towers is a center of celebration and devotion. Among the many shrines spread throughout the city are a few sacred sites that bring pilgrims from across Khorvaire: the Great Hall of Aureon, the Korranath, and deep below the city, the Pool of Onatar’s Tears. * Entertainment — From the theaters of Tavick’s Landing to the aerial sports of Dura, Sharn hosts many splendid events to sample. You can watch the windchasers from the spires of Hareth’s Folly, enjoy a night of bawdy comedy in Torchfire or a traditional concert in Kavarrah, or venture to Cornerstone to watch a deadly hrazhak match. From drama and athletics to intimate companionship, Sharn has entertainments to please even the most jaded palates. * Dining — Speaking of palates, culinary marvels can be found on every corner. A few are truly worthy of mention. For those with plenty of coin, nothing can compare to a meal at the Celestial Vista, gazing down at the towers from the clouds of Skyway. The Oaks in Shae Lias serves both Brelish and Aereni cuisine, and the master chef has spent centuries perfecting her skills. If money is limited, Olladra’s Arms in High Hope specializes in banquet-style dining, serving generous portions to anyone who can find a seat around one of the long tables.
This is but a taste of what Sharn has to offer. Floating orchards, dream parlors, and greater wonders await you. You might mingle with heirs and ambassadors in Central Plateau, enroll at Morgrave University, or find loyal comrades in one of the many guilds of the city. Should you possess the skills and backing, you might try your luck in the Race of Eight Winds. The opportunities in Sharn could fill a book: go forth and explore!
What to Avoid
Every city has its darker side, and Sharn is no exception. Clifftop, Lower Dura, the Cogs — all of these places can be dangerous for a wandering tourist, especially one laden with gold. If possible, avoid these areas completely; under no circumstances should you allow anyone to take you to the goblinoid settlements of Dura or the subterranean district known as Khyber’s Gate. While these places have never been safe, there has been a considerable increase in violence over the last few years; our investigations suggest that a group of immigrants from Droaam have upset the balance of power in the criminal underworld, and this violence often spills into the lower wards.
These beasts are not the only source of violence. In the wake of the Last War, our Lord Mayor graciously allowed many refugees to take residence in the lower wards, and old wounds sometimes rise to the surface, causing riot and bloodshed.
Many tourists are intrigued by the idea of seeing the wreckage of the Glass Tower but we must advise against it. The district of Godsgate was in decline before the disaster, and after the Glass Tower fell in 918 YK, Godsgate was left in ruins. Today it is known as Fallen, and it is a place best left alone.
Some adventuresome souls are intrigued by tales of ancient goblin ruins deep beneath the city, rumored to reach all the way into Khyber. Do not seek out the past! These ruins were sealed off long ago to prevent the unwise from releasing buried horrors or triggering ancient traps. While they still draw foolhardy adventurers and treasure hunters, we hope that you will be wise enough to avoid this glittering lure.
Finally, we urge you to turn away anyone who encourages the use of dreamlily, absentia, dragon’s blood, or other mysterious substances. Aside from the obvious dangers of dealing with criminals, these elixirs and others of their ilk can have dangerous effects on those who partake. The wise traveler will keep his hands clean and his head clear.
A Final Word
We have spoken of the many wonders and dangers of Sharn. In both instances, we have barely scratched the surface of what awaits you. Sharn is filled with beauty but, just as a rose has its thorns, the city holds hidden threats for the unwary. Enjoy yourself but exercise caution. Don’t trust too easily, and be careful whom you anger; even the most innocent-seeming person may have powerful allies. A casual insult could result in a swift trip to the bottom of the Dagger.
Now, call for a skycoach and make your way into the clouds. Treat yourself to a meal at the Celestial Vista, then catch the latest show at the Grand Stage. Sharn awaits!