The Church Of Shar

SHAR (Greater Goddess)
Mistress of the Night, Lady of Loss, Dark Goddess


Symbol: Black disk with deep purple border
Alignment: Neutral Evil
Portfolio: Dark, night, loss, forgetfulness, unrevealed secrets, caverns, dungeons, the Underdark
Domains: Cavern, Darkness, Evil, Knowledge
Favored Weapon: "The Disk of Night" (chakram)

After Lord Ao created the universe, the swirling chaos coalesced to form twin deities: Selune, a being of light and creation, and Shar (shahr), a power of darkness and destruction. Shar's existence, paradoxically, is tied to the shrouded nothingness that existed prior to Ao's act of creation. Shar reflects the primal dark, the flawless void erased at the beginning of time by a distant, unconcerned overdeity. Her heart longs for a return to the calm of nonexistence, and she schemes from the shadows to tear down the establishments, destroy order, and undermine all creation. Religious art depicts Shar as a black sphere outlined in magical purple flames or a beautiful human woman with long, raven-black hair dressed in swirling dark garb. In this guise, her haunting purple eyes have coal black pupils that reflect the primeval void.

Since her earliest battles with Selune (which continue to this day), Shar has gained dominion over pain hidden but not forgotten, carefully nurtured bitterness, and quiet revenge for old slights. She can see every being, object, and act performed within darkness. Deeply twisted, the Lady of Loss favors secrets, underhanded dealings, and subterfuge. She uses her mortal worshipers as pawns in a game against everything that has been, is , and will be. Matron of the Shadow Weave, a corrupting magical force based upon nothingness and mad secrets, the Mistress of Night bolsters her impressive power with temptation and guile.

Shar's love of secrecy serves her clergy well, and most residents of Faerun know very little about her mysterious cult. All regard her as a dark and vengeful deity, but many seek out her servants in times of grief or bereavement. There is a pervasive belief that her clergy aids those who have been wronged or who have suffered a great loss. Instead of offering release from the pangs of grief, though, Shar's clerics reinforce supplicants' regrets and feelings of betrayal turning their focus to bitterness or revenge. Good clerics (particularly those of Mystra, Lathander, and of course, Selune) warn of the dangers of seeking such solace, but desperation often gets in the way of better judgement, and the ranks of Shar's clergy swell with each passing year. Clerics of Shar pray for their spells at night. Because most of her followers keep their devotion a secret, the religion has but one fixed holiday. During the Festival of the Moon, Sharrans celebrate the Rising of the Dark, when the directors of local cults outline the dark plots of the coming year over the quivering body of a live sacrifice. Once a tenday, followers must engage in an act of wickedness, ideally after a nocturnal dancing feasting ritual known as a Nightfall. Shar's clerics often multiclass as rogues, with her most debased and accomplished servitors becoming nightcloaks. Those clerics associated with the Cult of the Dragon often multiclass as wearers of purple, necromancers, or dragon shamans. The Dark Moon monks are multiclassed sorcerer-monks and the Shadowhand monks (another Sharran sect) are multiclassed sword sage-monks. Shar allows these devoted monastic orders to gain levels freely in these classes without the usual penalties. They have not been known to work together.

The church of Shar is made up of independent cells that have strong, authoritarian leaders. All cells in a particular region are under the purview of a superior priest. Clergy members revel in secrets, using them to tie each other together in loyalty and community. They pursue practical goals of advancing the power of the priesthood and of Shar's worshipers while avoiding direct opposition of other faiths (except that of Selune). The clergy of Shar work to overthrow governments, promote Shar's patronage of avengers, organize secret cabals, and create false cults to further their ends.


History/Relationships: Shar is the dark twin of Selune. She has battled her sister since shortly after their creation. Their primordial feud has resulted in the creation of many other deities. Rather than overtly confronting other deities, Shar seeks to gain power by subverting mortal worshipers to her faith. By her very nature, however, she is opposed to the powers of light, the unsecretive Shaundakul, and her own sister. Her only frequent ally is Talona, who may eventually serve Shar to stave off the predations of Loviatar.

Dogma: Reveal secrets only to fellow members of the faithful. Never follow hope or turn to promises of success. Quench the light of the moon (agents and items of Selune) wherever you find it, and hide from it when you cannot prevail. The dark is a time to act, not wait. It is forbidden to strive to better your lot in life or to plan ahead save when directly overseen by the faithful of the Dark Deity. Consorting with the faithful of good deities is a sin except on business dealings or to corrupt them from their beliefs. Obey ranking clergy unless it would result in your own death.

The Shadovar of Shade Enclave are the most prevalent concentration of Sharran worshipers on the face of Faerun. Worship of the Dark Goddess is the only religion allowed in Thultanthar Enclave. The Shadow Hand Monks are a sect of evil monks devoted to Shar. Starweaver Fembrys and Lady Naedaenya Arthas were clerics of Shar, operating out of the false temple of Mystra in Wheloon. It is believed that Vincent Harkin is a high ranking member of the church or, quite possibly, a skilled mercenary-assassin frequently employed by the church. An arcane spellcaster that had accompanied Vincent when the PCs encountered him in Velprintilar must also be of somewhat higher rank or prestige within the church. His name is unknown but he took the form of Lady Levitas and attempted to kill the PCs. Levitas, unfortunately, fell victim to his vile sorcery. Other enigmatic figures associated with the church include the author of a letter found in the false temple, signed only 'E.G.' and someone referenced in the letter named 'Despayr'. Despayr is now known to be a black dragon operating out of the Vast Swamp.

Illustration by Stephanie Pui-Mun Law

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