Shar (Forgotten Realms)

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This article is about the fictional deity. For other uses, see Shar (disambiguation).
Shar
Game background
Title(s) Mistress of the Night,
Nightsinger, Lady of Loss
Home plane 2E: Palace of Loss (Gray Waste)
3E: Palace of Loss (Plane of Shadow)
4E:Towers of Night
Power level Greater
Alignment Neutral Evil
Portfolio Dark, night, loss, forgetfulness, unrevealed secrets, caverns, dungeons, and the Underdark
Domains Cavern, Darkness, Evil, Knowledge, Envy, Pride, Night
Superior Lord Ao
Design details

Shar (/ˈʃɑr/ SHAHR),[1] also known as Mistress of the Night, Nightsinger, Lady of Loss, or The Darkness, is a fictional deity in the Dungeons & Dragons Forgotten Realms campaign setting. She is the evil counterpart to her twin sister Selûne, and presides over caverns, dark, dungeons, forgetfulness, loss, night, secrets, and the Underdark. Shar is an ancient goddess, formed together with her sister at the beginning of time, out of the empty nothingness that existed before gods or mortals. Among her array of twisted powers is the ability to see everything that lies or happens in the dark.

Shar is a Neutral Evil Greater Power whose symbol is a black disk with a deep purple border. Her divine realm in 2nd edition was the Palace of Loss on the Gray Waste; in 3rd edition the Palace of Loss was in the Plane of Shadow, and in 4th edition her realm is the Towers of Night.

Publication history[edit]

Ed Greenwood created Shar for his home Dungeons & Dragons game, set in Greenwood's Forgotten Realms world.[2]

Advanced Dungeons & Dragons 1st edition (1977-1988)[edit]

Shar first appeared within Dungeons & Dragons as one of the deities featured in Ed Greenwood's article "Down-to-earth Divinity" in Dragon #54 (October 1981). Shar was introduced as Mistress of the Night, The Lady of Loss, goddess of darkness, night, loss, and forgetfulness; she is a neutral evil greater goddess from the plane of Hades. According to this article, Shar "is said to be darkly beautiful. She is often worshipped by those made bitter by the loss of a loved one; in her dark embrace all forget, and although they forever feel loss, they become used to such pain until they consider it the usual and natural state of existence. Shar battles continually with Selune, slaying her often (i.e., every new moon), and is worshipped (or paid lip service by) all surface-dwelling beings who dislike light. Those who make or take disguises worship Leira, but those who seek only to hide or bury something pay homage to Shar." Shar is described as one of “The Dark Gods” of evil alignment: "Shar is allied with Myrkul." Shar is commonly worshipped by neutral evil thieves and clerics.[2]

Shar later officially appeared as one of the major deities for the Forgotten Realms campaign setting, in the Forgotten Realms Campaign Set's "Cyclopedia of the Realms" booklet (1987).[1]

Advanced Dungeons & Dragons 2nd edition (1989-1999)[edit]

Shar was described in the hardback Forgotten Realms Adventures (1990),[3] the revised Forgotten Realms Campaign Setting (1993) in the "Running the Realms" booklet,[4] and Faiths & Avatars (1996).[5] Her clergy was further detailed in Warriors and Priests of the Realms (1996),[6] and Prayers from the Faithful (1997).[7]

Her role in the cosmology of the Planescape campaign setting was described in On Hallowed Ground (1996).[8]

Shar's role in the ancient history of the Realms is described in Netheril: Empire of Magic (1996).

Her relationships with the nonhuman deities in the Forgotten Realms was covered in Demihuman Deities (1998).[9]

Dungeons & Dragons 3.0 edition (2000-2002)[edit]

Shar appears as one of the major deities of the Forgotten Realms setting again, in Forgotten Realms Campaign Setting (2001),[10] and is further detailed in Faiths and Pantheons (2002).[11]

Dungeons & Dragons 4th edition (2008-)[edit]

Shar's story is detailed in the Forgotten Realms Campaign Guide, and her dogma is presented in the Forgotten Realms Player's Guide for this edition. Shar is the instigator of the cataclysmic events that led to the changes between the 3rd and 4th editions in the Forgotten Realms. Shar supplied Cyric with the power to finally slay Mystra in the hopes that both the Weave and the Shadow Weave would come under Shar's control. The plan backfired, as Mystra's death caused 'all' magic in the Realms to go haywire in a cataclysm known as the Spellplague. Though Cyric was imprisoned for his crimes, Shar escaped judgement. Even though the Shadow Weave is no more, Shar retained her power with the return of Netheril. The ancient empire was restored by the Shadovar, and Shar is the only goddess whom the revived Netherese allow to be worshipped in their territory. Shar's archenemy is still her sister, Selune.[12]

Clergy[edit]

The clergy of Shar is a secretive organization that pursues subversive tactics rather than direct confrontation with its rivals. In addition to her clerics, Shar maintains an elite order of sorcerer monks who can tap Shar's Shadow Weave. Among her worshipers are the Shadovar (the citizens of Shade Enclave—a floating city which is home to the survivors of ancient Netheril who fled into the shadow plane before Karsus's folly). Shar holds power over all who use the Shadow Weave, a creation of that has made her the eternal enemy of the goddess of magic Mystra. A terrible war brews between the two powerful deities. Shar's agents work to murder Selune's avatars whenever possible.

Shadow Weave[edit]

An artifact of Shars creation, the Shadow Weave is a polar opposite of the Weave, the source of almost all magic in the Forgotten Realms. Few practitioners are even aware of the Shadow Weaves existence, and fewer still attempt to tap into it as a source of power.

Orders[edit]

  • Shar has a secret order called the "Dark Justicars". In order to gain admittance to the order, a priest of Shar has to have killed a priest of Selûne.
  • Shar's secretive monastic order is referred to as the "Order of the Dark Moon". They tap into the Shadow Weave through their powers of sorcery.
  • The Avatars of Shar, or the "Nightbringers" are the elite Sharran forces. They are spirits that infest hosting bodies, possessing them and using the bodies as puppets. Once one is infected with a Nightbringer, that person fuses to being as one with the Nightbringer gaining the strength and beauty of Shar. Only females are selected as hosts for the Nightbringers. Though their (Nightbringers) numbers were large within the Avatar Wars, their numbers fell to the hundreds in modern day settings of Forgotten Realms campaigns
  • Unusual among other orders in the Church, the "Darkcloaks" were actually a compassionate group of oracles and care-givers who tended to those troubled souls who were emotionally damaged, often bringing the bliss of forgetfulness to soothe their pain. Their work did much to present the church in a positive light to the populace, though too often the reaction was still negative. This order included some of the few non-evil, non-neutral clerics in the Church.[6]:103

Literature and Games[edit]

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