Shar (pronounced: /ˈʃɑːr/ SHAHR) was the Faerûnian goddess of darkness and night, the malevolent twin counterpart to the goddess of the moon, Selûne. She was also the creator of the Shadow Weave, a dark counterpart and attack upon the Weave of Mystryl and her successors, before both of the Weaves fell into ruin during the Spellplague. The Mistress of the Night's domain was not only that of dark places, including caverns, dungeons, and the Underdark, but of deeds done under darkness, of secrets, loss, hidden pain, and the ability to forget.
Shar was described as a tall, beautiful humanoid with dark black hair. When visiting mortals in dreams, her dark hair would move and swirl regardless of gravity or outside forces, such as wind.
The very existence of Shar was paradoxical; the Nightbringer was brought into existence by the creation of Realmspace, but was the living embodiment of the void, the perfect nothing that existed before she was born. The emptiness that she originally reflected had itself been erased at the start of time, and she longed to return to the ancient calm of nonexistence. By her very nature, Shar was defined by loss, the foolishness of hope, and the basic principle that life was a joke.
The depths of Shar's evil were too extreme to be described by words. She was deeply twisted and perverse, a being of ceaseless, petty hate and envy. She plotted from the shadows to undermine all creation, reveling in the hidden and never to be revealed. Though she was not chaotic herself, like her sister was, Shar nonetheless sought to destroy all order. Even her own devoted worshipers were simply pawns in her overarching scheme against everything there ever was and ever would be.
Although Shar purported to be a healer, soothing the grief-stricken by letting them forget their woes, she was in truth a sadist, and enjoyed inflicting the pain of loss on her worshipers. Her alleged help was not release from that pain, but numbness to it, the acceptance of it as normal and the removal of any expectation otherwise. The Lady of Loss did not truly believe in healing grief, not even her own, but in harnessing it, in nurturing spite, nursing indignity, and reinforcing regret until minor slights, at least in her mind, become transgressions worthy of bitter vengeance.
Among her array of twisted powers was the ability to see everything that lay or happened in the dark.
Shar's realm was originally on the Plane of Shadow and was a tower that had no obvious entrances called the Tower of Loss. She would trap those who enjoyed their freedom inside, savoring their despair at their loss, though she would allow petitioners and visiting worshipers to freely come and go (perhaps to further torture the trapped ones).
When she created the Shadowfell, Shar abandoned the Tower of Loss and created a new realm in the Astral Sea, larger than any of the others there. Among the dark scenery, with its black sand and shadowy natural features, lay the Towers of Night. Her new abode, a more palatial one than her old home, was built atop the tallest mountain of this realm. Access to the Shadowfell was easy from here and she shared the realm with Talona, Sseth, and Zehir.
The creation of the Shadow Weave made Shar the eternal enemy of the goddess of magic, Mystra. This resulted in the brewing of a terrible war between these two powerful deities. By her very nature, however, Shar was opposed to powers of light, the unsecretive Shaundakul, and her own sister, Selûne. Her only frequent ally was Talona.
Shar enjoyed a working relationship with Vhaeraun. Vhaeraun was the drow patron of shadow magic and Shar was the owner of the Shadow Weave. They worked together in projects that concerned this magic, like the School of the Shadow Weave, which had followers of both Vhaeraun and Shar among them. When Vhaeraun died, Shar was also one of the prime choices to whom his followers might convert.
The clergy of Shar were a secretive organization that pursued subversive tactics rather than direct confrontation with its rivals. In many cities where worshiping Shar is barred, these churches and temples are hidden due to their illegal nature. In addition to her clerics, Shar maintained an elite order of sorcerer monks who could tap Shar's Shadow Weave.
According to one of the most ancient myths of the creation of the world and the heavens, after the universe and its crystal sphere were created by Lord Ao, there was naught but the primordial essence, the protoplasmic raw stuff of existence. Described as chaos and timeless nothingness, the sphere was filled with no more than dim misty shadows, neither light nor dark, for such things had not yet separated. (All that moved here were the shadevari, the thirteen lords of shadow, whose origin, whether from elsewhere or from the shadow itself, is unknown.) In time, Shar coalesced from the primordial essence, alongside her twin sister, Selûne. The goddesses were beautiful, identical but polar opposites, raven-haired and silver-haired, one representing the dark, the other the light in the manner of yin and yang. Yet they were so close they saw themselves as one being, known later as the Two-Faced Goddess or the Sisters-Who-Were-One. They complemented each other and brought order out of the chaos.
Together, they created from the cosmic ether Abeir-Toril and the other heavenly bodies and infused these worlds with life. In the process, they formed the goddess Chauntea (at that time, the embodiment of all matter in Realmspace, later only of the world of Abeir-Toril), whom they worked with to bless the worlds with life. This universe was darkened by the hair and welcoming embrace of Shar and illuminated by the cool radiant face of Selûne. However, there was no fire or heat on any of these bodies. Desiring to nurture life on the worlds that formed her body and limbs, Chauntea asked the Two-Faced Goddess for warmth. Then, for the first time, Shar and Selûne were divided, being of two minds on whether they should let there be more life on the worlds or not.
The War of Light and Darkness
The two goddesses then fought over the fate of their creations. From the residues of these struggles emerged the original deities of magic, war, disease, murder, death, and others. Seizing an advantage, Selûne reached out of the universe altogether and into a plane of fire and, though it burned her painfully, brought forth a fragment of ever-living flame. She ignited a heavenly body—the Sun—in order to give warmth to Chauntea.[note 1]
But Selûne hurls magic in desperate power.
From two sisters, one child the balance alters—
Mystryl's aid to Selûne ends Shar's dark hour!
This greatly enraged Shar; she renewed her assault on her injured sister and began to blot out all light and warmth in the universe, or the lights of Selûne, gravely weakening her. To protect the early life, Selûne tore out some of her own divine essence, though it nearly killed her, and hurled it at her sister. Selûne's essence tore through Shar, bonding with some of Shar's essence and pulling it loose. This magical energy combined to form the goddess Mystryl, the original goddess of magic. Although Mystryl was composed of both light and dark magic, she initially sided with Selûne, her first mother, giving her the upper hand. Mystryl balanced the conflict and mediated an uneasy truce. Shar was cast into her darkness for centuries, enabling light and warmth to bathe Abeir-Toril and the other worlds.
The battle left Selûne deeply wounded, and thereafter her power would wax and wane with the ages, though she would gain strength from alliances with her daughters and sons, as well as interloper deities from other planes. Meanwhile, Shar, who'd retained much of her might, once again grew strong, and was aided by the shadevari. Consumed with bitterness and loneliness, she vowed revenge and lurked in the darkness until her time to strike. The war between the sisters would go on forever more, but life struggled and flourished on the worlds, watched over by Chauntea.
The Dawn War
When the primordials began to attack the newly born worlds of Realmspace, Shar and Selûne set aside their differences temporarily and moved to defend those worlds against the threat. Other gods were born from the conflict or were summoned from other universes to aid the native gods in their struggles against the primordials and their servants. This conflict was later known as the Dawn War.
The Time of Troubles
During the Time of Troubles of the Year of Shadows, 1358 DR, magic went awry and the gods were forced to dwell in the mortal world. The avatar of Shar came to the city of Waterdeep in the guise of her sister Selûne. One evening, she called the faithful of Selûne to her. The next, she descended from the sky and onto the steps of the House of the Moon temple, greeted the faithful, promised her grace and protection, and encouraged them to proclaim her to be Selûne. Priests and common folk alike did so eagerly. When Luna (the true avatar of Selûne) and Vajra Valmeyjar approached, she called them unbelievers and roused the mob against Vajra while Luna confronted her. The false Selûne called her deluded, and used a sink spell to trap her, but Luna escaped with blink and flew. However, her prismatic spray failed and Shar used the Wand of the Four Moons (given to her by the temple priests) to knock Luna out. The temple guards took Luna prisoner, and Shar declared she would drive her mad before killing her.
Now posing as Selûne, Shar became mistress of the temple and enjoyed its hospitality, residing in high priestess Naneatha Suaril's own quarters. Meanwhile, her true identity unknown, Luna was also kept as a "special guest"—prisoner— for a dozen days. Shar had her completely under her control, using her stolen identity to confuse Luna and make her doubt herself. Shar broke her spirit and bent her to her will. Forgetting who she really was, Luna was reinvented as a faithful servant of "Selûne" and a member of the Lunatics, a fanatic Selûnite order.
Later, a party was held at Castle Waterdeep in honor of the supposed avatar of the goddess Selûne. It was attended by Lord Piergeiron, Khelben Arunsun, Tertius Wands, Mirt and Asper, and Fenn Estelmer and Kyriani, a friend of Luna who came to investigate the avatar. However, a trio of the Dark Army of the Night—ironically, a cult devoted to Shar—crashed the party and attempted to kidnap the avatar, believing she was Selûne.[note 2] She freed herself and caught them with a bind spell before they were arrested by the City Guard. Afterward, Shar retired to the kitchen to compose herself and be alone, but Kyriani confronted her, declaring she would expose her and save Luna. Shar attacked Kyriani with minute meteors, lightning bolt, and magic missiles, while Kyriani fought back with her ring of telekinesis. Lord Piergeiron intervened and, though Kyriani was overcome, she'd revealed the avatar's reckless temper, sowing doubts among the nobility. Piergeiron ordered Kyriani arrested by the City Guard, but later escaped.
One night, Luna's friends Timoth Eyesbright and Onyx the Invincible infiltrated the temple and eavesdropped on the false avatar speaking with Naneatha and assuaging her doubts and concerns, before they were surprised by the Lunatics. Vajra and Kyriani came to their rescue, caught Luna thinking she was Shar, and unmasked her, shocked to find Luna. Luna continued to fight until Vajra tackled her and convinced her of the truth. Meanwhile, Naneatha also began to question the false Selûne, who soon revealed her murderous intent. Learning that Luna was truly Selûne and that the false avatar was in fact Shar, Naneatha defiantly shoved her off the temple balcony, falling over herself. However, both were saved by Shar's featherfall spell. Shar took out her rage on Naneatha, hurling a meteor swarm; Naneatha somehow diverted the spell, but not before both were knocked unconscious. Her near self-sacrifice bought time for Luna and her friends to escape. Armed with the Rod of Oblivion, Shar went ahead and destroyed Luna's inn, the Selûne's Smile, and ambushed the returning adventurers. Shar was determined to revenge herself on the heroes for ruining her scheme to break Selûne's spirit and to finally slay Selûne herself. Powerless, Luna fell victim to the rod. Kyriani pleaded with Shar to leave Luna alone, and hurled an ice storm at the goddess when she could not, but Shar deflected it with a wall of force. Kyriani valiantly held Shar off while Timoth, Vajra, and Onyx struggled to open the dimensional doorway to Luna's inner room, where her godly power was stored, and released Selûne's godly power to Luna. She transformed into the true avatar of Selûne and with her light blasted away Shar's darkness and Rod of Oblivion, reminding her of their unceasing battle and the balance they must uphold, a balance restored by her friends. Shar vanished, and Selûne became Luna once more.
Nevertheless, in the wake of the Godswar, Shar was revitalized in a way she hadn't been before and began actively subverting Selûne and the new goddess of magic Mystra. Shar eventually made allies of Bane and a patsy of Cyric in 1374 DR. Together, their followers attempted to conquer Myth Drannor while the Church of Shar attempted to wrest control of magic away from Mystra through various means.
Shar's plots were defeated but she did absorb most of the divinity of her son Mask, but not before he managed to secret a portion of this power to his Chosen, Erevis Cale, using the Black Chalice. This portion was, however, absorbed not only by Erevis but also by Rivalen Tanthul and Drasek Riven.
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- Faiths & Avatars page 141 has Selûne create the Sun after the beginning of the war with Shar, while Faiths & Pantheons page 56 has this as the trigger for the war with Shar.
- The irony of the Dark Army kidnapping their own goddess is unmentioned in the comic, but it is possible this was a ruse to lend credence to Shar's disguise as Selûne and draw attention elsewhere. Khelben is briefly more inclined to accept she is Selûne, while the heroes are convinced other opponents are really Shar. This is supported by the Dark Army only kidnapping, not trying to kill, Shar.
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Azuth • Bane • Bhaal • Chauntea • Cyric • Gond • Helm • Ilmater • Kelemvor • Kossuth • Lathander • Loviatar • Mask • Mielikki • Myrkul • Mystra (Midnight) • Oghma • Selûne • Shar • Shaundakul • Silvanus • Sune • Talos • Tempus • Torm • Tymora • Tyr • Umberlee • Waukeen
Akadi • Auril • Beshaba • Deneir • Eldath • Finder Wyvernspur • Garagos • Gargauth • Grumbar • Gwaeron Windstrom • Hoar • Istishia • Iyachtu Xvim • Jergal • Lliira • Lurue • Malar • Milil • Nobanion • The Red Knight • Savras • Sharess • Shiallia • Siamorphe • Talona • Tiamat • Ubtao • Ulutiu • Valkur • Velsharoon
Akadi | Amaunator | Asmodeus | Auril | Azuth | Bane | Beshaba | Bhaal | Chauntea | Cyric | Deneir | Eldath | Gond | Grumbar | Gwaeron | Helm | Hoar | Ilmater | Istishia | Jergal | Kelemvor | Kossuth | Lathander | Leira | Lliira | Loviatar | Malar | Mask | Mielikki | Milil | Myrkul | Mystra | Oghma | Red Knight | Savras | Selûne | Shar | Silvanus | Sune | Talona | Talos | Tempus | Torm | Tymora | Tyr | Umberlee | Valkur | Waukeen
Abbathor | Berronar Truesilver | Clangeddin Silverbeard | Deep Duerra | Dugmaren Brightmantle | Dumathoin | Gorm Gulthyn | Haela Brightaxe | Laduguer | Marthammor Duin | Moradin | Sharindlar | Vergadain
Aerdrie Faenya | Angharradh | Corellon | Deep Sashelas | Erevan | Fenmarel Mestarine | Hanali Celanil | Labelas Enoreth | Rillifane Rallathil | Sehanine Moonbow | Shevarash | Solonor Thelandira
The Dark Seldarine
Eilistraee | Kiaransalee | Lolth | Selvetarm | Vhaeraun
Arvoreen | Brandobaris | Cyrrollalee | Sheela Peryroyl | Urogalan | Yondalla
Lords of the Golden Hills
Baervan Wildwanderer | Baravar Cloakshadow | Callarduran Smoothhands | Flandal Steelskin | Gaerdal Ironhand | Garl Glittergold | Nebelun | Segojan Earthcaller | Urdlen
Bahgtru | Gruumsh | Ilneval | Luthic | Shargaas | Yurtrus
Anhur | Bast | Geb | Hathor | Horus | Isis | Nephthys | Osiris | Re | Sebek | Set | Thoth
Other gods of Faerûn
Bahamut | Enlil | Finder Wyvernspur | Ghaunadaur | Gilgeam | Lurue | Moander | Nobanion | Raven Queen | Tiamat
Greater Gods of Faerûn
Amaunator | Asmodeus | Bane | Chauntea | Corellon | Cyric | Ghaunadaur | Gruumsh | Kelemvor | Lolth | Moradin | Oghma | Selûne | Shar | Silvanus | Sune | Tempus | Torm
Gods of Faerûn
Angharradh | Auril | Bahamut | Berronar Truesilver | Beshaba | Garl Glittergold | Gond | Ilmater | Loviatar | Luthic | Malar | Mielikki | Sheela Peryroyl | Sseth | Talona | Tiamat | Tymora | Umberlee | Waukeen | Zehir
Exarchs of Faerûn
Abbathor | Arvoreen | Baervan Wildwanderer | Bahgtru | Baravar Cloakshadow | Brandobaris | Callarduran Smoothhands | Clangeddin Silverbeard | Cyrrollalee | Deep Sashelas | Dugmaren Brightmantle | Erevan Ilesere | Fenmarel Mestarine | Fzoul Chembryl | Garagos | Hoar | Hruggek | Jergal | Labelas Enoreth | Lliira | Maglubiyet | Malar | Marthammor Duin | Milil | Obould | Red Knight | Sharess | Shargaas | Shevarash | Shiallia | Siamorphe | Solonor Thelandira | Thard Harr | Uthgar | Valkur | Vaprak | Vergadain
Greater Deities of Faerûn
Angharradh | Bane | Chauntea | Corellon Larethian | Cyric | Garl Glittergold | Gruumsh | Horus-Re | Kelemvor | Lathander | Moradin | Mystra | Oghma | Shar | Silvanus | Sune | Talos | Tempus | Tyr | Yondalla
Intermediate Deities of Faerûn
Abbathor | Arvoreen | Baervan Wildwanderer | Berronar Truesilver | Beshaba | Callarduran Smoothhands | Clangeddin Silverbeard | Cyrrollalee | Deep Duerra | Deep Sashelas | Dumathoin | Erevan Ilesere | Flandal Steelskin | Gond | Hanali Celanil | Helm | Ilmater | Isis | Labelas Enoreth | Laduguer | Lolth | Mask | Mielikki | Nephthys | Osiris | Rillifane Rallathil | Sehanine Moonbow | Segojan Earthcaller | Selûne | Set | Sharindlar | Sheela Peryroyl | Solonor Thelandira | Thoth | Tymora | Umberlee | Urdlen | Vergadain
Major Deities of Faerûn
Angharradh | Bane | Bhaal | Chauntea | Corellon Larethian | Garl Glittergold | Gruumsh | Horus-Re | Lathander | Moradin | Myrkul | Mystra | Oghma | Shar | Silvanus | Sune | Talos | Tempus | Tyr | Yondalla
Other Deities of Faerûn
Auppenser | Abbathor | Arvoreen | Auril | Baervan Wildwanderer | Berronar Truesilver | Beshaba | Callarduran Smoothhands | Clangeddin Silverbeard | Cyrrollalee | Deep Duerra | Deep Sashelas | Dumathoin | Erevan Ilesere | Flandal Steelskin | Gond | Hanali Celanil | Helm | Ilmater | Isis | Labelas Enoreth | Laduguer | Lolth | Mask | Mielikki | Nephthys | Osiris | Rillifane Rallathil | Sehanine Moonbow | Segojan Earthcaller | Selûne | Set | Sharindlar | Sheela Peryroyl | Solonor Thelandira | Thoth | Tymora | Umberlee | Urdlen | Vergadain