Shar

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Shar

Symbol of Shar
Title(s) Mistress of the Night
Lady of Loss
Dark Goddess
Power Level Greater Deity
Subservient Deities
Symbol(s) Black disc with deep purple border
Home Plane Plane of Shadow
Alignment Neutral Evil
Portfolio Caverns
Dark
Dungeons
Forgetfulness
Loss
Night
Secrets
The Underdark
Worshipers Anarchists, Assassins, Avengers, Monks (Dark Moon), Nihilists, Rogues, Shadow Adepts, Shadowdancers
Domains Cavern, Darkness, Evil, Knowledge
Favored Weapon {{{favored_weapon}}}
Superior
Primary Allies
Primary Foes

Cleric Alignments

LG NG CG
LN TN CN
LE NE CE
Amia Domains Cavern Charm Darkness Evil Knowledge Trickery [1]
After Lord Ao created the universe, the swirling chaos coalesced to form twin deities, Selûne, a being of light and creation, and Shar (shahr), a power of darkness and destruction. Shar's existence, paradoxically, is tied to the shrouded nothingness that existed prior to Ao's act of creation. Shar reflects the primal dark, the flawless void erased at the beginning of time by a distant, unconcerned overdeity. Her heart longs for a return to the calm of nonexistence, and she schemes from the shadows to tear down establishments, destroy order, and undermine all creation. Religious art depicts Shar as a black sphere outlined in magical purple flames or a beautiful human woman with long, raven-black hair dressed in swirling dark garb. In this guise, her haunting purple eyes have coal black pupils that reflect the primeval void.

Since her earliest battles with Selûne (which continue to this day), Shar has gained dominion over pain hidden but not forgotten, carefully nurtured bitterness, and quiet revenge for old slights. Deeply twisted, the Lady of Loss favors secrets, underhanded dealings, and subterfuge. She uses her mortal worshipers as pawns in a perverse game against everything that has been, is, and will be. Patron of the Shadow Weave, a corrupting magical force based upon nothingness and mad secrets, the Mistress of the Night bolsters her impressive power with temptation and guile.

Shar's love of secrecy serves her clergy well, and most residents of Faerûn know very little about her mysterious cult. All regard her as a dark and vengeful deity, but many seek out her servants in times of grief or bereavement. There is a pervasive belief that her clergy aids those who have been wronged or who have suffered a great loss. Instead of offering release from the pangs of grief, though, Shar's clerics reinforce supplicants' regrets and feelings of betrayal, turning their focus to bitterness and revenge. Good clerics (particularly those of Mystra, Lathander, and of course, Selûne) warn of the dangers of seeking such solace, but desperation often gets in the way of better judgment, and the ranks of Shar's clergy swell with each passing year.

Clerics of Shar pray for their spells at night. Because most of her followers keep their devotion a secret, the religion has but one fixed holiday. During the Festival of the Moon, Sharrans celebrate the Rising of the Dark, when the directors of local cults outline the dark plots of the coming year over the quivering body of a live sacrifice. Once a tenday, followers must engage in an act of wickedness, ideally after a nocturnal dancing and feasting ritual known as a Nightfall. Shar's clerics often multiclass as rogues, with her most debased and accomplished servitors becoming nightcloaks. Those clerics associated with the Cult of the Dragon often multiclass as wearers of purple.

History/Relationships

Shar's ceaseless battles against her bright sister have caused the creation and destruction of several deities throughout history. Though Selûne strikes openly and forcefully against her twin at every opportunity, Shar prefers subversion, using her mortal worshipers to attack Selûne's clergy and those things Selûne holds dear, rather than at the deity herself. Still, she occasionally moves directly against minor enemies. During the Time of Troubles, Shar killed Ibrandul, a lesser deity of caverns, dungeons, and the Underdark, as an act of pure opportunism. She continues to grant spells to clerics in the name of Ibrandul, reveling in the deceit of the entire affair. Shar may attempt to consume Mask as well, for she nurses a cold anger for his dominion over shadow. Shar's love of dark spaces brings her into frequent conflict with deities of light and fire, and her desire to dominate the concept of revenge sets her against the ancient, dwindling power Hoar. Her only frequent ally is Talona, who may eventually serve Shar in return for the Dark Goddess's aid in murdering her hated enemy Loviatar.

Clergy and Temples

Shars' doctrine of vengeful nihilism appeals to those who have suffered great loss or betrayal. Her dominance over darkness and night makes her popular with the blind (especially those accidentally or intentionally blinded due to the actions of others), nocturnal or subterranean humanoids, and creatures who shun the light, including many types of goblinoids. All who favor the dark or who do their businesses by night (such as cutthroats and thieves) curry her favor, as do many whose deranged world views might be interpreted as insanity. The insane seem to have a natural affinity for Shars' teachings, which may be why so many of Selûnes' clerics seek out the mad and attempt to cure or imprison them.

The church is made up of independent cells that have strong authoritan rulers. Few adherents know th real names of others in the local cult, and almost n one knows the name of the leader of the larger regional organization. In areas where Shars’ cult is strong, wars of assassination against Selunites are common. This keeps the church fairly small, since many Sharrans die in these attacks or are put to death by local magistrates shortly afterward. Temples to Shar vary in description but usually double as a place of business or residence. Most feature at least one room bathed in deep darkness, which is used in religious ceremonies and ritual killings.

Shars’ clergy revel in secrets. In civilized lands, they frequently establish exclusive social clubs or false cults to further corrupt the foundations of mannered society. Cultists work to overthrow governments, promote vengeance, organize cabals, and foment unrest through calumny and sedition. Sharrans believe that all that matters is the freedom to live by one's own dictates; the state exists to limit freedoms and is hence an inherently immoral institution that should be crushed. To them everything deserves to perish, and their duty in life is to encourage the process of destruction. The Dark Moon, an elite order of sorcerer-monks, employ the power of the Shadow Weave to further the Dark Goddess's agenda.

Hierarchy

Shar's temples are controlled and administered by the most senior (that is, the most potent) cleric of Shar. Each temple's hierarchy is unique, but regardless of its precise organizational structure it is always arranged in a clearly defined manner. All members of the clergy know their place, and church doctrine forbids attempting to improve one's position...although this rule is conveniently ignored by the ambitious.

Motivation and Goals

The church of Shar exists both to perpetuate itself and to spread the influence of the Dark Deity by converting worshippers to her faith. Shar's worshippers advance these goals by working secretly to undermine and corrupt governments, religions, and persons dedicated to good or tenets that differ from their own. Doing so makes their victims more receptive to Shar's gospel and increases the likelihood that they will turn away from their own faiths and accept hers. While their methods may seem similar to those of other evil organizations, each member of the church of Shar performs these acts not merely for personal gain but from a deep devotion to the Lady of Loss and an unwavering obedience to her wordly representatives.

Any given cell of the church may undertake a variety of clandestine operations, as dictated by its superiors. Often, the members of a cell do not know exactly why they are to murder a particular noble or take over a certain merchant's business. Those who absolutely need to know hold these secrets in trust. Among the clergy, secrets are the coin of the realm. They are the most valuable commodities available to a worshipper of Shar, and they are not distributed casually. Sharrans offering to share information expect a return in kind.

Secrets are also useful for subverting the minds and wills of potential converts. A well-placed secret in the right ear may gain a new soul for Shar much faster and more lastingly than a conversion obtained at swordpoint. A favorite recent example involves a certain notable countess in Sembia, who was ignorant of the fact that her beloved husband was engaged in an affair with her sister...until a priest of Shar whispered the awful secret in her ear. The countess experienced all the emotions that made her receptive to Shar's message - loss, jealousy, and bitterness. The countess's thirst for revenge for this slight drove her right into the waiting arms of the church of Shar. So does the influence of the Dark Deity grow, one soul at a time.

Although the church of Shar normally avoids open conflict with other religions, it is intractably opposed to the agents of good faiths, particularly those of Selune. So bitter is Shar's hatred for her twin that much of her clergy's resources and energy are devoted to bringing as much hurt to the Moonmaiden as possible. A cell suspends all other activities if it learns of an opportunity to combat the forces of Selune.

The church works on occasion with the monks of the Dark Moon, but this is infrequent, since Shar prefers that the monks operate independently.

Dogma

Reveal secrets only to fellow members of the faithful. Never follow hope or turn to promises of success. Quench the light of the moon (agents and items of Selûne) whenever you find it, and hide from it when you cannot prevail. The dark is a time to act, not wait. It is forbidden to strive to better your lot in life or to plan ahead except when directly overseen by the faithful of the Dark Deity. Consorting with the faithful of good deities is a sin except in business dealings or to corrupt them from their beliefs. Obey ranking clergy unless it would result in your own death.

Order of the Dark Moon

Monks of the Dark Moon are members of a sect of sorcerer-monks who have dedicated themselves wholly (mind, body and soul) to Shar, the Lady of Loss. Through diverse training, skills, and absolute devotion to their Lady, they serve as her assassins, enforcers, and shadowy agents. The organization's leaders have direct contact with Shar, and are not subject to the authority or will of her clergy. The Order of the Dark Moon is a completely independent organization, which gives Shar an incredible range of talents to call upon in times of need. This status gives them the freedom they need to train in their particular skills, to focus on their devotion to Shar, and to ready themselves for the instant she calls them into action.

Monks of the Dark Moon serve the Mistress of the Night by carrying out tasks she prefers not to assign to her ordinary clergy. They strike at Shar's enemies with lightning swiftness and terrifying lethality. The Lady of Loss can be sure that her monastic disciples undertake any order she may give them with extraordinary zeal, whether her whim be sabotage, espionage, or murder. Her monks have proven time and again to be Shar's "ace in the hole," most particularly against her hated sister, Selune, and her rival, Loviatar.

Throughout the past 10 years, Loviatar has been making inroads into part of Shar's traditional territory (that being the domain of Suffering). Due to Shar's normal clergy's apparent lack of success in stopping these incursions, she decided she required a different type of fighting force for special missions. Shar conceived a disciplined and loyal monastic order which would serve as her elite task force when her needs included subtlety, infiltration, or assassination.

The Monks of the Dark moon began their existence in the city of Parskul, in an imposing, grim monolith of stone, built by commission from Shar's most trusted mortal servant, Alorgoth, the Bringer of Doom. Alorgoth searched the lands far and wide to find individuals perfectly suited for Shar's purposes in the forming of this new monastic order, picking from among young adults who had manifested sorcerous power or potential, who had not yet been ordained as part of Shar's clergy. As for the shrine itself, its existence is known to all, but what goes on within its walls is one of the most guarded secrets of the order. There are only two options for those who enter the shrine to train: become a faithful servant of the Lady of Loss, or end up serving as a living training dummy for those within. The shrine's deadly reputation is well-known particularly within the ranks of Shar's clergy, most of whom refuse to enter it at all.

Since the founding of the original monastery, the Monks of the Dark Moon have spread across Faerun, establishing shrines and safe havens wherever they go. A shrine beneath the northwestern foothills of the Sword Mountains serves as a base of operations for order members operating in the northern Sword Coast. Dark Moon monks in Cormanthor and the Moonsea operate out of a desecrated shrine to Selune on the southern edge of Cormanthor. A mountain base at the summit of one of the Thunder Peaks, which is guarded by a clan of manticores who have been converted to the Sharran faith, serves as a recruiting post for Sembian and Cormyrian aspirants to the order. The most stoic and doughty of the monks of the Dark Moon hail from a monastery hidden deep in the Calim Desert in a buried series of tunnels scoured out of a hill by the blasting sands of this tormented land; only individuals of extraordinary constitution and willpower are even able to reach it.

Like the church of Shar, the monks of the Dark Moon follow and obey a strict heirarchy. Failure to follow the orders of a superior is grounds for execution. Most of the monks of the Dark Moon are human, but others include a few half-orcs, drow, tieflings, and a shade or two.

The "common" monks refer to each other as Dark Brother or Dark Sister. Senior monks are called Dark Father or Dark Mother, and are primarily responsible for the rigorous physical and mental training of the lower-ranked monks, as well as their preliminary religious indoctrination. The senior-most monk in any monastery is referred to as Dark Father Abbot, or Dark Mother Abbess. They lead the monasteries, and are the hearts and souls of the order, receiving their orders directly from Shar, though never undertaking missions personally unless Shar commands it. The Abbots and Abbesses convene once each year at the Temple of Old Night in Calimport to meet with the ranking clerics of the deity.

Perhaps the greatest strength of the order is its unity of purpose. The sole purpose of the existence of the monks of the Dark Moon is to serve Shar. They are more fanatical than members of her clergy, and strive to emulate the important tenets of Shar's dogma in all things. Being hopeless and remorse as individuals, they find spiritual fulfillment in acting as a weapon in the hand of the Lady of Loss. Striving for perfection according to their religious beliefs is their only interest, aside from following out the Mistress of the Night's orders as passed down through their superiors. Betrayal of the order is unthinkable to the men and women who have taken the order's dark vows.

Though the Order of the Dark Moon and the church of Shar share the same goal, the monks' methods are less obvious and more selective. If the church is engaged in a long-term plan to overthrow a city government, the monks might slip into that city's chief government building, kidnapping or killing a designated target. The clergy might hire a thieves' guild to undermine a city's social order and turn followers of good deities toward Shar, while a squad of Dark Moon monks ambush a cleric of Selune in the same city, murder him, and leave his body for scavenging animals to dispose of.

For recruiting, the monasteries are highly selective, placing more value on quality than quantity. Recruits must meet a certain set of criteria in order to be considered. First, they must be a young adult. Second, they must be among the strongest in their faith, but cannot have taken an oath of priesthood. Third, and most importantly, recruits must have shown the potential to develop sorcerous abilities.

Monks of the Dark Moon do not accept any members who do not undergo their year-long training. Hopefuls are drawn from among those who are already indoctrinated into Shar's mysteries, but only those who show incredible devotion to Shar's ideals are ever admitted. The rigourous training and vile acts one must perform when recruited weed out most of the orders enemies, along with the weak and faint of heart. This training does not always produce powerful members, with some graduates not having yet mastered their martial or arcane abilities ebough to harness them on any given level. A member of Shar's faithful who was already a monk or sorcerer could be invited to join as long as they fulfill the three principals, and their training would focus on the type of skills they lacked.

Shar's allies are the monks' allies, and the decrees of the Lady of Loss motivate and drive the monks of the Dark Moon. They don't make alliances or enemies except as directed by Shar herself, and then only for her evil to be able to flourish. Even so, the leaders of local monasteries to not allow purposeful alienation of the common folk who live near their monasteries. The work of the Dark Moon is best carried out under the cloak of secrecy, and blatant or obvious maltreatment of commoners merely attracts the attention of self-righteous do-gooders, who must be eliminated before they endanger the security of the order. Some Dark Moon strongholds work to convince nearby settlements and communities that their members are just a group of peaceful ascetics. Cultivating friendly relations with the local populace often provides a level of camouflage otherwise unattainable, even through magical means.

Shar's enemies are the monks' enemies, and the Dark Brothers and Sisters strike when and where commanded, not dwelling on ethics or morals outside Shar's dogma. The Dark Moon monks harbor special hatred for followers and servants of Selune, Shar's sister. Their discipline permits them to resist the temptation to seek out personal vendettas or any other type of activity not expressly ordered by their superiors. When sent out on a mission, as long as a monk of the Dark Moon is still alive, they will contiue to attempt to carry out their orders, and will not stop until the task is complete, or the monk has died in the attempt.

Sharran Faction on Amia

If you're interested in joining the Sharran faction, contact Khylaria via PM on the forums. The faction is always open to new members joining, though it may be difficult to contact or even find current members in-game.

Also, the faction has been banned from the city of Cordor. Any faction member wanting to enter the city will need DM oversight in order to do so.

  • Past security measures of the faction:

Because potential traitors and spies are likely to be players who can't or won't agree to be permakilled, and because that would be the normal method of dealing with information leaks, the Sharrans use an RP security system. On receiving a faction insignia, a divine geas is placed on the character. If any attempt is made by that character to betray the Sharrans, all memory of their involvement in the faction will be permanently erased.

Alternately, the player may opt for another method. The geas can be ignored if they agree to allow for perma-deathing a character who betrays the Sharrans. They may choose this method up-front. If this is chosen, but they decide against it later on, the assumption will be that they are under the geas.

All would-be Sharran players are told of this system in character, and have a chance to object. Those who do not agree will be denied entry into the faction. There are no exceptions.

Bottomline: Sharran characters are RPly prevented from betraying their faction. This is for both the consideration of other players who wish their identities kept private, but also to provide a RP explanation why the Sharrans don't simply kill you for good.

  • Note about Rhode's key to the temple:

If anyone is in possession of this key, it will no longer work RPly. The locks are changed. However, to spare me the effort of changing the keytags of all 20 doors and the scripts, please notify a DM to have it removed or switched with a non-working key.