Sharn - The City of Towers
Table of Contents

Nature: City
Type: Metropolis
Nation: Breland
Leadership:Lord Mayor Cathan ir'Demell, ●Sharn City Council

Population: 211'850 (33% human, 17% dwarf, 9% hobbit, 9% goblinoid, 8% gnome, 7% elf, 5% khoravar, 4% shifter, 3% changeling, 2% orc & half-orc, 1% warforged, 1% kalashtar, 1% other races)

There has been a major settlement on the Hilt of the Dagger River since before recorded history. The current metropolis, Sharn, has existed since the formation of the original Five Nations, about seven hundred years after humans rose to prominence on the continent. For more than two millennia, the towers of Sharn have grown, rising thousands of feet into the sky. This vertical expansion has given the metropolis its title: The City of Towers.

See also: Wards, Districts, City of the Dead

A riot of architectural styles and designs play through the city’s impressive skyline. From its deepest foundations to its highest spires, Sharn displays the history of the continent for all to see. Heavy, oppressive goblinoid architecture provides the base for much of the city, its stonework reaching back to a time when humans did not exist on this continent. Atop this ancient foundation, the periods of human civilization stack one on top of the other as the city reaches for the clouds.


The City of Towers can be as impressive as it can be oppressive. The same skyscrapers of stone can make one person laugh with excitement and another weep from the size and weight and impossible heights. Whatever emotion the city inspires, the place remains a bustle of activity at all hours of the day and night. With a tremendous array of cultural, culinary, and commercial delights to sample, and its position as the gateway to Xen'drik, Sharn attracts visitors and adventurers from around the world. It is a hotbed of activity, known in equal measures for its wonders, its crime rate, its amazing amount of corruption, and its genuinely exciting atmosphere.

Sharn rises from the cliffs overlooking the Hilt, a wide bay at the mouth of the Dagger River. This inhospitable outcropping of rock allowed the city to grow in only one direction—up. The ports at the base of the cliffs load and unload cargo and passengers from seafaring vessels, raising and lowering goods and travelers alike on massive lifts operated by ropes and pulleys that travel through the neighborhood of Cliffside. This workingclass region is built into and upon the steep cliffs overlooking the river and bay. At the top of the cliffs, the rock walls seamlessly blend into the earliest stonework laid in ancient times. Here, the city and its amazing towers really begin.


Sharn is situated within a "manifest zone" linked to the plane of Syrania, the Azure Sky. The manifest zone primarily enhances spells and magic items that permit levitation and actual flight. Outside the zone, most of these items either grow weaker or lose the ability to function altogether. Without the zone, the city’s great towers and spires would crumble, its transportation systems would collapse, and the neighborhood of Skyway would plummet to the ground.


Sky coaches slowly move from tower to tower, transporting people. Other ways to get around the city include walking (almost every tower can be reached by multiple bridges that connect the platforms and walkways at different levels), lifts that ride up and down and side to side along magical strands of light, and magebred animals trained to carry passengers within the city’s limits.

There’s a popular saying on the elevated streets of Sharn: “If it can be bought, it can be bought here.” Shops and trading stalls abound, usually gathered in trade districts, open-air markets (called “exchanges”), or merchant halls (called “tower markets,” often multileveled) found within many tower and building complexes.

Some shops jut from the sides of walls and bridges, ramshackle structures of wood hastily thrown together or built around a crack in the stone. Others occupy prime space set aside for such purposes and leased from tower landlords. The tower markets present the most elaborate market exchanges, where shops selling different wares sit side by side and one atop the other inside the open cavity of a tower or multistory blockhouse.

Beyond these more or less legitimate business ventures, Sharn boasts a thriving black market where everything from exotic fruits and animals to illegal spell components and stolen goods can be traded. Sharn’s authorities do their best to curtail this activity, if for no other reason than so proper taxes can be collected, but supply and demand make it next to impossible to really control. This leads to another popular saying: “If someone wants it, someone sells it in Sharn.”


Morgrave University, with its glass walls and rough-and-tumble approach to scholarly pursuits, was founded in Sharn and to this day maintains its main campus in the City of Towers. The institute of “learning, relic hunting, and grave robbing,” as it is called by the administrators of the more respected University of Wynarn, provides many opportunities for adventurers new to the craft and calling, and it isn’t hard to get a letter of marque from Morgrave to explore ancient sites. A particularly capable group might also receive sponsorship or patronage from the university.


The City Watch enforces the Galifar Code of Justice throughout Sharn, but in practice, residents are more likely to encounter a law officer among the higher spires than in the lower bowels of the city. Constables conduct regular patrols along the higher bridges, platforms, and walkways, venturing lower only when necessity or prudence warrants. Watch towers can be found in every ward, though there aren’t really enough constables to adequately serve and protect all of Sharn’s populace. The Watch, reluctantly, calls on agents of the King's Citadel (who maintain a presence in the city) when an incident appears to be more then they can handle. More often, however, the Watch turns to adventurers when it needs additional deputies for a short amount of time.

The criminal element thrives in Sharn. It’s all about location, location, location, and the city serves as a crossroads for both legitimate and illicit trade. Indeed, some crime lords run extensive and respected legitimate businesses as cover for their illegal activities. A few of these enjoy the privileges of a high standing in the community and even donate a portion of their wealth to various charities and charitable organizations. If the City Watch knows about their double lives (and many believe that it must), it is content to pretend that the good they do outweighs the evil.

Other than one woefully inadequate attack from the sea that barely scratched the cliff walls rising from the bay, the Last War never reached Sharn — at least not in the sense of marching armies and occupation forces. The City of Towers did have to contend with spies, saboteurs, terrorists, and waves of refugees as the years of bloody conflict dragged on. Perhaps the worst event during those years occurred in 918 YK, when unknown saboteurs (no one ever claimed responsibility for the act) caused the Glass Tower to fall from the sky, killing thousands.



If it becomes important to know how long it takes to get from one place to another, use the following rules of thumb:
Destination On foot By air
In same district 3d6 minutes 1d6 minutes
In same ward 6d6 minutes 2d6 minutes
Adjacent ward 3d6 x5 minutes 1d6 x5 minutes
Farther away 6d6 x5 minutes 2d6 x5 minutes

A group can reduce this time by 1/2 if one character makes a successful DC 15 Knowledge (local) check




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