The sharns were mysterious aberrations of transformed humanoids. They were best known as those responsible for imprisoning the malevolent phaerimm under the sands of the Anauroch desert. The sharns were also called by these lesser known names: shiftshades, blackclaws, shimmershadows, skulkingdeaths, and fhaorn’quessir,[4] which was Elvish for “changed/altered/transformed people.”[5]

The sharns were adept and monstrous sorcerers who served the alliance of deities known as the Pentad — the elven deities Corellon Larethian and Sehanine Moonbow, the dwarven god Dumathoin, and the human deities Mystra and Oghma. The sharn were composed of a variety of different races, including elves, dwarves, humans, and centaurs from fallen civilizations that willingly underwent magical transformations to turn themselves into sharn so that they could better preserve their civilizations’ lore.[4] The sharn also prevented abuses of magic and fought against corruptions of the Weave.[6]

All sharns shared a single group mind; they were one being with many souls and sensed what other sharns sensed and thought what other sharns thought. Rarely, the sharn mind did fragment back into the individual minds of its composite beings. Sharns could meld and flow together, forming black pools of liquid.[4] There were black pools of sharnstuff in caverns in the upper reaches of the Underdark, particularly the Northdark, where the sharns made their homes.[7] The sharns split off from these pools of themselves, and when they completed their missions, they melded back into them.

The sharns had the ability to create small portals through the ethereal and could broach nearly any protections or barriers with them.[4] Each portal was a small translucent hexagonal window of purple light three feet in diameter that coalesced out of a swirl of purple motes, and each sharn could maintain up to three of them at once within about twenty feet (6.1 m) of their bodies. Although the sharns couldn't move completely through these portals, they could use them as windows into the areas they connected to and were able to cast spells through them as well as extend limbs through to claw or bite at their opponents. Sharns also frequently cast spells upon themselves which greatly increased their speed and agility. They didn't need material components or focuses for their spells, whether those spells were arcane or divine in nature.[8]

The sharns weren't very numerous. According to one source, 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. The same source also stated that most of the elder sharns had phased out of existence, though this point seemed to have been refuted in another book. Furthermore, the sharns were noted to spend the majority of their time engaged in internal debates and experiments.[8]

Physical Description Edit


Illustration from Monster Compendium: Monsters of Faerûn.

Sharns had large bodies shaped like teardrops with amorphous, hairless, and oily black flesh surrounded by a nimbus of purple light. Their massive three thousand-pound (1,360 kg) black and silver bodies were lit by continual magical flares, and they were between twelve and fifteen feet (366–457 cm) tall. 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'.[8]

Sharns had three large arm-trunks that each ended in three hands. Two arm-trunks were located at the sides of their bodies, and another was attached to their backs,[8] although the ones that appeared in Blackstaff only had two arm-trunks. Each hand had three clawed digits,[8] whereas in Blackstaff, each had four.

Sharns didn't have legs or feet, just a thick tail, and they seemed to prefer to float or fly in the air rather than slither on the ground.[8] Each of their nine hands had multiple eyes that each saw normally with darkvision. In the novel The Sorcerer, each hand had a single eye in the center of its palm.[9][page needed] In Blackstaff, their skin could move and shift, with small eyes, fingers, and mouths forming and disappearing at will anywhere on their bodies. They could also regenerate lost limbs within seconds.[10] The sharns could track creatures by scent and by magic.[4][page needed]

Sharns could make a noise that sounded like a cross between a mountain lynx and a wounded hare.[11]

History Edit

The first sharns were the surviving citizens of the ancient dark elf and wood elf realm known as Miyeritar.[12] 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.[13]

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.[13]

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.[14] 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.[4] 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.[13]

Modern Events Edit

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[15]), and the Library City of Miyeritar,[16] Faer'tel'miir was restored and renamed Rhymanthiin, the Hidden City of Hope, through a High Magic Ritual.

Among the notable participants in the ritual were the three grand mages, many other sharns and the following:

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.

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.[4]


Appearances Edit

External LinksEdit

Further Reading Edit


  1. The sharns were incorrectly listed as having a chaotic evil alignment in the Forgotten Realms Campaign Guide. This was corrected in an errata for that book and explained in Dragon #373.

References Edit

  1. Bruce R. Cordell, Ed Greenwood, Chris Sims (August 2008). Forgotten Realms Campaign Guide. (Wizards of the Coast). ISBN 978-0-7869-4924-3.
  2. 2.0 2.1 James Wyatt and Rob Heinsoo (February 2001). Monster Compendium: Monsters of Faerûn. (Wizards of the Coast), p. 76. ISBN 0-7869-1832-2.
  3. 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.
  4. 4.0 4.1 4.2 4.3 4.4 4.5 4.6 Steven E. Schend (July 2006). Blackstaff. (Wizards of the Coast). ISBN 978-0786940165.
  5. Steven Sypa (2006-08-01). Here Is a Compilation of Canon Forgotten Realms® Elven Words. Archived from the original on 2007-05-26. Retrieved on 2008-04-21.
  6. Steven E. Schend (2006-11-29). Blackstaff: Chapters 18 – 27. Candlekeep Forum. Retrieved on 2008-04-21.
  7. Eric L. Boyd (1999). Drizzt Do'Urden's Guide to the Underdark. (TSR, Inc). ISBN 0-7869-1509-9.
  8. 8.0 8.1 8.2 8.3 8.4 8.5 James Wyatt and Rob Heinsoo (February 2001). Monster Compendium: Monsters of Faerûn. (Wizards of the Coast). ISBN 0-7869-1832-2.
  9. Troy Denning (Nov 2002). The Sorcerer. (Wizards of the Coast). ISBN 0-7869-2795-X.
  10. Steven E. Schend (July 2006). Blackstaff. (Wizards of the Coast), p. 95. ISBN 978-0786940165.
  11. Steven E. Schend (July 2006). Blackstaff. (Wizards of the Coast), p. 94. ISBN 978-0786940165.
  12. Steven E. Schend (2006-08-22). Blackstaff: Chapters 18 – 27. Candlekeep Forum. Retrieved on 2008-04-21.
  13. 13.0 13.1 13.2 Richard Baker, Ed Bonny, Travis Stout (February 2005). Lost Empires of Faerûn. (Wizards of the Coast). ISBN 0-7869-3654-1.
  14. Steven E. Schend (2006-12-30). Blackstaff: Chapters 18 – 27. Candlekeep Forum. Retrieved on 2008-04-21.
  15. Steven E. Schend (2006-07-24). Blackstaff: Chapters 28 – 40. Candlekeep Forum. Retrieved on 2008-04-21.
  16. Steven E. Schend (2006-07-21). Blackstaff: Chapters 28 – 40. Candlekeep Forum. Retrieved on 2008-04-21.
  17. Steven E. Schend (September 2008). Blackstaff Tower. (Wizards of the Coast), p. 253. ISBN 0-7869-4913-9.
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