The sharns were mysterious aberrations.[6] The sharns were also called shiftshades, blackclaws, shimmershadows, skulkingdeaths, and fhaorn’quessir.[7].

Description[edit | edit source]

Sharns had two physical forms. Their first form was their natural one, the form they were in most often. It was as a slimy, cold pseudo-fluid. With a thought they were capable of assuming their second, more commonly encountered form.[8] This second form was of a large body shaped like a teardrop with amorphous, hairless, and oily black flesh surrounded by a nimbus of purple light. Their massive black and silver bodies were lit by continual magical flares. They each had three huge, eyeless eel-like heads which only consisted of two nostrils and a large mouth with sharp fangs dripping saliva. All three heads were connected to a single 'trunk'.[6]

The main distinguishing physical feature of a sharn was their unique and usual arms. They had three arms, each starting as a solid trunk that ended in a joint. From each joint grew three arms that looked like a humanoids forearm. Each of these forearms were covered in small eyes. Each forearm ended in a hand that also looked humanoid.[5][6]

Combat[edit | edit source]

A sharn could wield up to nine weapons simultaneously. They were naturally skilled in the use of nearly all melee weapons. If lacking a weapon, a sharn attacked an opponent with sharp claws.[9]

Abilities[edit | edit source]

Sharns were capable of naturally creating up to six hexagonal portals at a time.[note 1] They were immune to all charm, enchantment and illusion-based affects and spells.[5] They were also immune to any spell that caused the target to change shape, in fact sharns themselves were unable to shapeshift even if they tried, such as with the polymorph spell.[6] If their minds were linked to that of another creature, they could psionically muddle the other creatures mind, similar to a feeblemind spell.[5]

A sharn attacking through a portal

All sharn were able to cast spells but a small percentage of sharns were very powerful spellcasters. Every sharn could cast both arcane and divine spells. For divine spells, sharns had access to the chaos, death, knowledge, luck, magic, protection, travel and trickery domains. Sharn used magic differently than most creatures. With the sharn, spells were used innately rather than through memorization and did not require the use of foci, material, somatic or verbal components.[9] If a spell cast by a sharn interacted with the phaerimm spells life drain or magic drain, the resulting reaction caused the nearby terrain to become drastically altered.[5][6]

Sharns could both activate and detect earth nodes.[10] Sharn had the ability to slowly regenerate phsyical injuries.[5]

Society[edit | edit source]

The sharns weren't very numerous. Their society housed a lot of political argument and social intrigue, and their power struggles, which were typically based on ideological conflicts, were near-constant. Furthermore, the sharns were noted to spend the majority of their time engaged in internal debates and experiments. Most of the elder sharns had phased out of existence.[6] Sharns communicated with each other using short-range mass telepathy.[5]

Sharns lived in large clans, called pools[11], with each clan ruled by a council. Sharns of the same clan shared a communal consciousness but retained individual intelligence.[11] Each sharn clan worshiped a different deity. Clans have been known to worship elven, human and goblin deities. The clan that inhabited Undermountain worshiped the Drowned Queen, who was believed to be a powerful aboleth.[5]

Sharn clans usually avoided becoming involved in the affairs of other creatures who lived nearby. Sharns loathed the phaerimm.[5]

Habitat[edit | edit source]

Due to their interests in planar travel and manipulating environments with magic, sharns could live anywhere they pleased but were most often encountered in subteranian environments.[3][5] A clan was known to inhabit Undermountain.[12] An area of the Underdark called the Sharnlands was home to a large number of clans.[13]

Ecology[edit | edit source]

Sharns were omnivores and their diet mainly consisted of animals, lichens, roots and plants. Sharns were asexual and reproduced via budding. It was once thought that when a sharn reached a certain age, they created a bud from its own cells, which developed into a young sharn that resembled their parent.[5] The reality was that sharns reproduce via assimilation of a host. An individual, called a symbiote by the sharn, was merged with the sharn and became an individual sharn. The assimilated creature lost all their own individuality and the process was irreversible.[8]

Sharn physiology

Unlike most creatures, sharns lacked internal organs, as well as a circulatory and nervous system. Due to a lack of lungs, this allowed the sharn to function normally in airless environments.[8]

History[edit | edit source]

The first sharns were the surviving citizens of the ancient dark elf and wood elf realm known as Miyeritar.[14] Aryvandaaran historians discovered a familial link between the family of their ruler, Coronal Ivósaar Vyshaan, and the Olrythii, the ruling house of Miyeritar. Circa −14,700 DR, the Vyshaanti began negotiating to annex Miyeritar peacefully, but the Miyeritaari resisted. Around −13,200 DR, the powerful sun elf realm Aryvandaar began raiding along Miyeritar’s borders and interfering with its trade routes, and around −12,000 DR Aryvandaar mounted an all-out invasion of Miyeritar, thus beginning the First Crown War. Circa −11,800 DR Aryvandaaran forces had occupied Miyeritar, and by −11,300 DR, while the Second Crown War was raging between Ilythiir, Thearnytaar, Eiellûr, Syòrpiir, and Orishaar, Aryvandaar had conquered Miyeritar, ending the First Crown War.[15]

Dark and wood elf clans in Miyeritar continued to resist Aryvandaar, then called the Vyshaantar Empire, and around −10,500 DR, during the Third Crown War, Vyshaan high mages produced a terrible magical storm called the Dark Disaster, or the Killing Storms, that hung over Miyeritar for months and laid waste to it, turning it into an infertile wasteland that became known as the High Moor. The fell magic proceeded unopposed because of a Vyshaantar assassination campaign that had killed many Miyeritaari high mages in the months before.[15]

Three grand mages of Miyeritar — T’karon, Hamra, and Alunor — who would become known as the Three Watchers, devised the means to become sharns and transformed themselves and some willing citizens of Miyeritar into sharns in order to preserve their civilization in the hopes that it would one day rise again.[16] The sharns from Miyeritar were the three grand mages and about eighty citizens, which included elves, dwarves, humans, and the guards and scouts of Miyeritar, the centaurs. The elves of Uvaeren also later became sharns. In Mirtul of the Year of the Normiir, the members of the Pentad Retreat also became sharns after the traitorous precept, the vampire wizard Palron Kaeth, used the orcs of the Everhorde to attack their hidden enclave.[7] Survivors of other fallen civilizations had also become sharns over the years, notably from such places as Ammarindar, Ascalhorn, Eaerlann, and Netheril.

In the Year of Many Maws, the first recorded clash between the phaerimms and sharns occurred. In the Year of the Closed Scroll, the sharns finally defeated the phaerimms and imprisoned them behind the Sharn Wall beneath Anauroch, in the Buried Realms, which the phaerimms called the Phaerlin.[15]

The sharns collected items of Miyeritar scattered all across Faerûn for a high magic ritual that would restore the high magic city of Faer'tel'miir, an ancient city of Miyeritar that was located on what is now the High Moor. The last time the sharns had acted with such purpose was when they constructed the Sharn Wall around the phaerimms. Usually, magical fields or internal conflicts among their collective mind made them act unpredictably or madly. On the Feast of the Moon in the Year of Lightning Storms, 1374 DR, the malignant magic of the Killing Storms was cleansed from the area (the entire High Moor was gradually being cleansed of the corruptive magic, which would take centuries to conclude[17]), and the Library City of Miyeritar,[18] Faer'tel'miir was restored and renamed Rhymanthiin, the Hidden City of Hope, through a High Magic Ritual.

Khelben and Ualair sacrificed their lives to restore Rhymanthiin, and their spirits went to Arvandor, the elven heaven. Most of the sharns shed their skins, which become a part of the walls of the city, and returned to their original forms.[citation needed]

Some sharns of Miyeritar choose to remain sharns, for they knew that they would become drow if they relinquished their sharn forms (for they were still subject to Corellon's curse laid upon the dark elves). They remained Rhymanthiin’s defenders and worked against corrupt magic in the Realms. They could form from any wall or street of the city to apprehend malefactors due to the sharnstuff woven into the city. All former sharns and those who partook in the ritual were granted a home in the city. The new Rhymanthiin served as a center for magic, knowledge, lore, and the unity of different races, and those with malice in their hearts would not find their way there.[citation needed]

Appendix[edit | edit source]

Notes[edit | edit source]

  1. 2nd edition sources states they could create up to six portals at a time but this was later reduced to three in 3rd edition in Monsters of Faerûn.

Appearances[edit | edit source]

The Grand Tour
BlackstaffThe Sorcerer

Further Reading[edit | edit source]

References[edit | edit source]

  1. Brian R. James (March 2009). “Ecology of the Sharn”. In Chris Youngs ed. Dragon #373 (Wizards of the Coast), p. 58.
  2. Bruce R. Cordell, Ed Greenwood, Chris Sims (August 2008). Forgotten Realms Campaign Guide. (Wizards of the Coast), p. 266. ISBN 978-0-7869-4924-3.
  3. 3.0 3.1 3.2 3.3 3.4 James Wyatt and Rob Heinsoo (February 2001). Monster Compendium: Monsters of Faerûn. (Wizards of the Coast), p. 76. ISBN 0-7869-1832-2.
  4. Richard Baker and James Wyatt (2004-03-13). Monster Update (Zipped PDF). Wizards of the Coast. p. 6. Archived from the original on 2016-11-01. Retrieved on 2018-09-10.
  5. 5.00 5.01 5.02 5.03 5.04 5.05 5.06 5.07 5.08 5.09 5.10 5.11 5.12 5.13 5.14 5.15 5.16 Jon Pickens ed. (November 1996). Monstrous Compendium Annual Volume Three. (Wizards of the Coast), p. 94. ISBN 0786904496.
  6. 6.0 6.1 6.2 6.3 6.4 6.5 James Wyatt and Rob Heinsoo (February 2001). Monster Compendium: Monsters of Faerûn. (Wizards of the Coast), p. 77. ISBN 0-7869-1832-2.
  7. 7.0 7.1 Steven E. Schend (July 2006). Blackstaff. (Wizards of the Coast), p. 183. ISBN 978-0786940165.
  8. 8.0 8.1 8.2 Brian R. James (March 2009). “Ecology of the Sharn”. In Chris Youngs ed. Dragon #373 (Wizards of the Coast), p. 55.
  9. 9.0 9.1 Greg A. Vaughan, Skip Williams, Thomas M. Reid (November 2007). Anauroch: The Empire of Shade. (Wizards of the Coast), p. 154. ISBN 0-7869-4362-9.
  10. Brian R. James (March 2009). “Ecology of the Sharn”. In Chris Youngs ed. Dragon #373 (Wizards of the Coast), p. 57.
  11. 11.0 11.1 Brian R. James (March 2009). “Ecology of the Sharn”. In Chris Youngs ed. Dragon #373 (Wizards of the Coast), p. 56.
  12. Ed Greenwood (1991). “Campaign Guide to Undermountain”. In Steven E. Schend ed. The Ruins of Undermountain (TSR, Inc.), p. 126. ISBN 1-5607-6061-3.
  13. Eric L. Boyd (1999). Drizzt Do'Urden's Guide to the Underdark. (TSR, Inc), p. 48. ISBN 0-7869-1509-9.
  14. Steven E. Schend (2006-08-22). Blackstaff: Chapters 18 – 27. Candlekeep Forum. Retrieved on 2008-04-21.
  15. 15.0 15.1 15.2 Richard Baker, Ed Bonny, Travis Stout (February 2005). Lost Empires of Faerûn. (Wizards of the Coast). ISBN 0-7869-3654-1.
  16. Steven E. Schend (2006-12-30). Blackstaff: Chapters 18 – 27. Candlekeep Forum. Retrieved on 2008-04-21.
  17. Steven E. Schend (2006-07-24). Blackstaff: Chapters 28 – 40. Candlekeep Forum. Retrieved on 2008-04-21.
  18. Steven E. Schend (2006-07-21). Blackstaff: Chapters 28 – 40. Candlekeep Forum. Retrieved on 2008-04-21.
Community content is available under CC-BY-SA unless otherwise noted.