By 1479 DR, due to the Spellplague of 1385 DR, the Shaar had become a vast desert wasteland known as the Shaar Desolation. In the center of the Shaar Desolation lay an enormous area called the Underchasm where huge swathes of land around the Great Rift collapsed into the Underdark. Bordering the Underchasm to the east was a region called the East Rift.
It comprised grassy plains and gently rolling hills, extending over 1500 miles (2400 kilometers) in length from west to east and with an average breath of 250 miles (400 kilometers) from north to south. It was bounded in the west by the eastern edge of the Shining Sea and in the east by the realm of Veldorn. The northern side of the Shaar was bordered by the Firesteap Mountains, part of the Chondalwood, the Uthangol Mountains, and the southern border of Mulhorand. The southern border of the Shaar was made up by the adjoining Channath Vale along the river Channath, the Forest of Amtar, and the Toadsquat Mountains.
The Shaar was divided by the Landrise, a great cliff face, and the Great Rift, a 200-mile-long (320 kilometers) long gouge in the ground. The plains were scattered with isolated forests and a few small groups of hills and crossed by a handful of shallow rivers and streams, though were often transformed into sandy gullies in the dry season.
The Shaar received scant rainfall, so mostly only coarse grass, cacti, and thorny bushes grew on the plains. During daytime, it was incredibly hot, while at nights it grew very cold.
Throughout recorded history, the Shaar was inhabited by nomad tribes of humans, centaurs, loxo, thri-kreen, and wemics, and it remained largely without civilization. They hunted the herd animals and regularly argued over water rights.
Occasionally, other nations laid claim to some parts of the plains or established settlements to aid in trade, but usually only the ruins of these survived into the 14th century DR. Dragons, gnolls, manticores, perytons, and wyverns also challenged the nomads for control of land.
Strewn across the Shaar laid several sites worth mentioning here:
- Azulduth, the Lake of Salt: A shallow, salty lake emptied by the River of Swords in southeastern Mulhorand.
- Channath Vale: Around the River Cannath where it ran west into the River Talar in the southern Shaar.
- Council Hills: An isolated cluster of hills in the middle of Eastern Shaar.
- Great Rift: A wide canyon near the western side of the Eastern Shar, home of the gold dwarves.
- The Landrise: A steep cliff-side marking the border between the Shaar and the Eastern Shaar.
- Lake Lhespen: A salty, mineral-laden body of water.
- Rathgaunt Hills: Rocky crags between Lake Lhespen and the Landrise, overlooking the southern plains.
- Riftwood: A small isolated forest east of the Great Rift and north-northwest of Delzimmer.
- River Shaar: Began in the icy-cold Riftlake in the Great Rift, flowing underground in the Deep Realm.
- Shaarwood: A dry and dusty forest just north of the River Shaar.
- Sharawood: Also called the Drakewood, this forest sat in between Azulduth and the Toadsquat Mountains.
- Uthangol Mountains: A range marking the northern limit of the Shaar.
The majority of human settlements here mainly served as centers for trade and little else. They were close to water sources for their survival. Gold dwarves from the Great Rift built their own cities, some on the surface, most underground, which differed greatly from the trading centers of other races, since they didn't share their ideas readily.
The following cities could be found in the Shaar:
- Blaskaltar: A rumored city said to have once stood in this hot sun-baked area with no written records on it.
- Delzimmer: A small free-trade city, ruled by four powerful merchant families.
- Eartheart: A dwarven metropolis, divided into two sections, one inside the walls, the other on the outside.
- Hammer and Anvil: A small tent-city outside the western walls of Eartheart, filled with workshops.
- Hardcastle: A small town, nothing more than a fortified trading camp.
- Khôltar: A small city, called the Iron City for its unusual iron-covered walls.
- Lhesper: A ruined town on the northern shore of Lake Lhespen in the central Shaar.
- Peleveran: Ruins built into the side of the Landrise.
- Shaarmid: A large free-trade city, which formed a safe haven for merchants because of its stout walls and formidable defense forces.
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- ↑ Ed Greenwood, Sean K. Reynolds, Skip Williams, Rob Heinsoo (June 2001). Forgotten Realms Campaign Setting 3rd edition. (Wizards of the Coast), pp. Fold–out Map. ISBN 0-7869-1836-5.
- ↑ 2.0 2.1 2.2 2.3 2.4 2.5 Thomas Reid (October 2004). Shining South. (Wizards of the Coast), pp. 155, 158. ISBN 0-7869-3492-1.
- ↑ Bruce R. Cordell, Ed Greenwood, Chris Sims (August 2008). Forgotten Realms Campaign Guide. (Wizards of the Coast), pp. Fold–out Map. ISBN 978-0-7869-4924-3.
- ↑ 4.00 4.01 4.02 4.03 4.04 4.05 4.06 4.07 4.08 4.09 4.10 4.11 4.12 Thomas Reid (October 2004). Shining South. (Wizards of the Coast), pp. 156–163. ISBN 0-7869-3492-1.
- ↑ 5.0 5.1 5.2 Thomas Reid (October 2004). Shining South. (Wizards of the Coast), p. 171. ISBN 0-7869-3492-1.
- ↑ 6.0 6.1 6.2 Thomas Reid (October 2004). Shining South. (Wizards of the Coast), pp. 172–173. ISBN 0-7869-3492-1.
- ↑ 7.0 7.1 7.2 7.3 Thomas Reid (October 2004). Shining South. (Wizards of the Coast), p. 174. ISBN 0-7869-3492-1.
- ↑ Eric L. Boyd (1997). Powers and Pantheons. (TSR, Inc), pp. 23–25. ISBN 0-7869-0657-X.