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Shar (pronounced: /ˈʃɑːrSHAHR[22][15]), the Mistress of the Night, was the goddess of darkness and the caverns of Faerûn, as well as a neutral evil greater deity. Counterpart to her twin Selûne, she presided over caverns, darkness, dungeons, forgetfulness, loss, night, secrets, and the Underdark.[citation needed] Among her array of twisted powers was the ability to see everything that lay or happened in the dark. Shar's symbol was a black disk with a deep purple border.[7] Shar was also the creator of the Shadow Weave, which was a counterpart and attack upon the Weave, controlled by Mystryl and her successors, before both of the Weaves fell into ruin during the Spellplague.[23]

HistoryEdit

CreationEdit

Shar vs Selune

The goddesses Shar and Selûne locked in their eternal battle of dark and light.

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.[24]) 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 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[13][24][25] and brought order out of the chaos.[17]

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.[13][26][24][25][17] 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.[26][24][25]

The War of Light and DarknessEdit

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.[13][26][24][25] 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.[26][24][25][note 1]

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.[13][26][24][25] Shar was cast into her darkness for centuries, enabling light and warmth to bathe Abeir-Toril and the other worlds.[26]

This is the battle you and I must fight forever, Shar—night devouring the light of the moon, the moon replenishing itself. That is our place in the balance of nature. The fragile, eternal balance Lord Ao has charged us gods to uphold.
— Selûne to Shar during their battle over Waterdeep.[27]

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.[26][25]

The Dawn WarEdit

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.[28][29]

Modern HistoryEdit

The Time of TroublesEdit

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.[30]

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,[31] 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.[27]

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.[32]

Selune v Shar DC Comics

Selûne's light blasting Shar's Rod of Oblivion, during their battle over Waterdeep.

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.[31] 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 balanced restored by her friends. Shar vanished, and Selûne became Luna once more.[27]

Also during the Time of Troubles, Shar's power increased when she killed Ibrandul, though she lost the opportunity to also kill Sharess, whom she had been slowly corrupting.

Recent HistoryEdit

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,[33] 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.[34]

Eleven years later, Mystra was dead at Cyric's hand and Shar combined the Plane of Shadow with the Negative Energy Plane to create the Shadowfell, where she ruled over darkness ever since.[citation needed]

Divine realmEdit

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).[citation needed]

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.[citation needed]

RelationshipsEdit

Selûne vs Shar

Selûne battling Shar, while her Shards swoop overhead.

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.[6]

Those who believed in the Dark Moon heresy believed that Shar and Selûne were two faces of the same goddess.[35]

WorshipersEdit

Sharite holy symbol

The holy symbol of Shar.

Main article: Church of Shar

The clergy of Shar were a secretive organization that pursued subversive tactics rather than direct confrontation with its rivals. In addition to her clerics, Shar maintained an elite order of sorcerer monks who could tap Shar's Shadow Weave. Among her worshipers were the Shadovar of Thultanthar, who fled into the Plane of Shadow before Karsus's Folly. Shar also held power over all who used the Shadow Weave.[citation needed]

AppendixEdit

NotesEdit

  1. 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.
  2. 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.

AppearancesEdit

Novels
Comics

ReferencesEdit

  1. 1.0 1.1 1.2 1.3 Kim Mohan ed. (2015). Sword Coast Adventurer's Guide. (Wizards of the Coast), pp. 21,36–37. ISBN 978-0786965809.
  2. 2.0 2.1 2.2 Jeff Grubb, Ed Greenwood and Karen S. Martin (1987). Forgotten Realms Campaign Set (Cyclopedia of the Realms). (TSR, Inc), p. 14. ISBN 0-8803-8472-7.
  3. 3.0 3.1 3.2 Jeff Grubb and Ed Greenwood (1990). Forgotten Realms Adventures. (TSR, Inc), p. 30. ISBN 0-8803-8828-5.
  4. 4.0 4.1 4.2 4.3 Julia Martin, Eric L. Boyd (March 1996). Faiths & Avatars. (TSR, Inc), p. 138. ISBN 978-0786903849.
  5. 5.0 5.1 5.2 Ed Greenwood, Sean K. Reynolds, Skip Williams, Rob Heinsoo (June 2001). Forgotten Realms Campaign Setting 3rd edition. (Wizards of the Coast), p. 249. ISBN 0-7869-1836-5.
  6. 6.0 6.1 6.2 6.3 Eric L. Boyd, Erik Mona (May 2002). Faiths and Pantheons. (Wizards of the Coast), p. 58. ISBN 0-7869-2759-3.
  7. 7.0 7.1 Bruce R. Cordell, Ed Greenwood, Chris Sims (August 2008). Forgotten Realms Campaign Guide. (Wizards of the Coast), p. 76. ISBN 978-0-7869-4924-3.
  8. 8.0 8.1 Colin McComb (1996). On Hallowed Ground. (TSR, Inc), p. 170. ISBN 0-7869-0430-5.
  9. Eric L. Boyd, Erik Mona (May 2002). Faiths and Pantheons. (Wizards of the Coast), p. 109. ISBN 0-7869-2759-3.
  10. Reynolds, Forbeck, Jacobs, Boyd (March 2003). Races of Faerûn. (Wizards of the Coast), p. 106. ISBN 0-7869-2875-1.
  11. Julia Martin, Eric L. Boyd (March 1996). Faiths & Avatars. (TSR, Inc), pp. 138–141. ISBN 978-0786903849.
  12. Ed Greenwood, Julia Martin, Jeff Grubb (1993). Forgotten Realms Campaign Setting 2nd edition (revised), Running the Realms. (TSR, Inc), p. 48. ISBN 1-5607-6617-4.
  13. 13.0 13.1 13.2 13.3 13.4 Ed Greenwood, Sean K. Reynolds, Skip Williams, Rob Heinsoo (June 2001). Forgotten Realms Campaign Setting 3rd edition. (Wizards of the Coast), pp. 249–250. ISBN 0-7869-1836-5.
  14. Richard Baker, James Wyatt (March 2004). Player's Guide to Faerûn. (Wizards of the Coast), p. 163. ISBN 0-7869-3134-5.
  15. 15.0 15.1 Eric L. Boyd, Erik Mona (May 2002). Faiths and Pantheons. (Wizards of the Coast), pp. 58–59. ISBN 0-7869-2759-3.
  16. Hal Maclean (September 2004). “Seven Deadly Domains”. In Matthew Sernett ed. Dragon #323 (Paizo Publishing, LLC), p. 65.
  17. 17.0 17.1 17.2 Bruce R. Cordell, Ed Greenwood, Chris Sims (August 2008). Forgotten Realms Campaign Guide. (Wizards of the Coast), pp. 80, 240. ISBN 978-0-7869-4924-3.
  18. Rob Heinsoo, Logan Bonner, Robert J. Schwalb (September 2008). Forgotten Realms Player's Guide. (Wizards of the Coast), p. 152. ISBN 978-0-7869-4929-8.
  19. Logan Bonner (August, 2009). “Domains in Eberron and the Forgotten Realms”. In Chris Youngs ed. Dragon #378 (Wizards of the Coast), p. 32.
  20. Mike Mearls, Jeremy Crawford (2014). Player's Handbook 5th edition. (Wizards of the Coast), pp. 62–63,294. ISBN 978-0-7869-6560-1.
  21. Mike Mearls, Jeremy Crawford, Christopher Perkins, James Wyatt (2014). Dungeon Master's Guide 5th edition. (Wizards of the Coast), pp. 96–97. ISBN 978-0786965622.
  22. Ed Greenwood, Sean K. Reynolds, Skip Williams, Rob Heinsoo (June 2001). Forgotten Realms Campaign Setting 3rd edition. (Wizards of the Coast), p. 249. ISBN 0-7869-1836-5.
  23. Bruce R. Cordell, Ed Greenwood, Chris Sims (August 2008). Forgotten Realms Campaign Guide. (Wizards of the Coast), p. 50. ISBN 978-0-7869-4924-3.
  24. 24.0 24.1 24.2 24.3 24.4 24.5 24.6 Julia Martin, Eric L. Boyd (March 1996). Faiths & Avatars. (TSR, Inc), p. 141. ISBN 978-0786903849.
  25. 25.0 25.1 25.2 25.3 25.4 25.5 25.6 Ed Greenwood, Sean K. Reynolds, Skip Williams, Rob Heinsoo (June 2001). Forgotten Realms Campaign Setting 3rd edition. (Wizards of the Coast), p. 260. ISBN 0-7869-1836-5.
  26. 26.0 26.1 26.2 26.3 26.4 26.5 26.6 Eric L. Boyd, Erik Mona (May 2002). Faiths and Pantheons. (Wizards of the Coast), p. 56. ISBN 0-7869-2759-3.
  27. 27.0 27.1 27.2 Dan Mishkin (September 1990). “Total Eclipse”. Advanced Dungeons & Dragons #22 (DC Comics).
  28. Bruce R. Cordell, Ed Greenwood, Chris Sims (August 2008). Forgotten Realms Campaign Guide. (Wizards of the Coast), p. 42. ISBN 978-0-7869-4924-3.
  29. Richard Baker, Robert J. Schwalb (February, 2012). Heroes of the Elemental Chaos. (Wizards of the Coast), p. 32. ISBN 78-0-7869-5981-5.
  30. Dan Mishkin (June 1990). “Selune Rising”. Advanced Dungeons & Dragons #19 (DC Comics).
  31. 31.0 31.1 Dan Mishkin (August 1990). “Lunatics”. Advanced Dungeons & Dragons #21 (DC Comics).
  32. Dan Mishkin (July 1990). “Dark of the Moon”. Advanced Dungeons & Dragons #20 (DC Comics).
  33. Paul S. Kemp (Dec 2, 2008). Shadowrealm (Kindle ed.). (Wizards of the Coast), loc. 3548. ISBN 9780786948635.
  34. Paul S. Kemp (Dec 2, 2008). Shadowrealm (Kindle ed.). (Wizards of the Coast), loc. 3143. ISBN 9780786948635.
  35. Ed Greenwood, Eric L. Boyd (March 2006). Power of Faerûn. (Wizards of the Coast), p. 47. ISBN 0-7869-3910-9.

ConnectionsEdit

The Faerûnian Pantheon
Major Deities
AzuthBaneBhaalChaunteaCyricGondHelmIlmaterKelemvorKossuthLathanderLoviatarMaskMielikkiMyrkulMystra (Midnight) • OghmaSelûneSharShaundakulSilvanusSuneTalosTempusTormTymoraTyrUmberleeWaukeen
Other Members
AkadiAurilBeshabaDeneirEldathFinder WyvernspurGaragosGargauthGrumbarGwaeron WindstromHoarIstishiaIyachtu XvimJergalLliiraLurueMalarMililNobanionThe Red KnightSavrasSharessShialliaSiamorpheTalonaTiamatUbtaoUlutiuValkurVelsharoon
The Netherese Pantheon
AmaunatorJannathJergalKozahMoanderMystrylSelûneSharSuneTargusTyche

Deities of the Post-Second Sundering Era
Ao the Overgod
Faerûnian Pantheon
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
The Morndinsamman
Abbathor | Berronar Truesilver | Clangeddin Silverbeard | Deep Duerra | Dugmaren Brightmantle | Dumathoin | Gorm Gulthyn | Haela Brightaxe | Laduguer | Marthammor Duin | Moradin | Sharindlar | Vergadain
The Seldarine
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
Yondalla's Children
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
Orc Pantheon
Bahgtru | Gruumsh | Ilneval | Luthic | Shargaas | Yurtrus
Mulhorandi pantheon
Anhur | Bast | Geb | Hathor | Horus | Isis | Nephthys | Osiris | Re | Sebek | Set | Thoth
Other gods of Faerûn
Bahamut | Enlil | Finder Wyvernspur | Gilgeam | Lurue | Moander | Nobanion | Tiamat