Sharn: City of Towers

Sharn is the most populous city in all of Khorvaire, and arguably all of Eberron. The city literally towers atop a cliff above the mouth of the Dagger River in southern Breland. Sharn is known as the City of Towers, but has also been called many other names, including The City of Knives, The City of Lost Souls, The City of a Thousand Eyes, the Gateway to Xen'drik, and The Gateway to Perdition.

Chapter One: A Visitor's Guide to Sharn

History

The city now known as Sharn was built upon a foundation that dates back thousands of years before humans ever settled [[Khorvaire]]. During that time, the hobgoblin Dhakaani Empire's greatest city was carved into the jagged cliffs that Sharn now towers over. This city was called Ja'Shaarat. This metropolis didn't rise toward the skies, like Sharn does. Instead, the architects of the Dhakaani built a vast number of chambers and tunnels into and under the ground. As the city grew in size, the Dhakaani eventually would build great monolithic buildings on the plateaus above the Dagger River that would later serve as the foundations for Sharn. When the daelkyr invaded Eberron, the city was devastated, and the hobgoblins never had a chance to restore it to its greater glory.

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Thousands of years later when human settlers from Sarlona began to explore Khorvaire, the Dagger River was stumbled upon. The river led Malleon The Reaver and his explorers to the site where Ja'Shaarat once stood. There he enslaved what goblins still resided in the ruins and erected a fortress within the ruins. He sealed off the lower wards of the ancient hobgoblin city and named the city Shaarat, as a result of stories told by the goblins he enslaved. For 600 years, Shaarat prospered and grew into a powerful metropolis once again. Breggor, the first ruler of what would become Breland, eventually conquered Shaarat and renamed it Sharn.
Over the course of the next 800 years, Sharn's towers began to rise and the city developed into something resembling Sharn today. Around this time, the Dragonmarked Houses began to prosper and this helped cultivate Sharn into economic power. But the Dragonmarked Houses also brought with them the War of the Mark. The leader of those who bore the aberrant dragonmark, Tarkanan, took control of Sharn and turned it into a home for all who wore the destructive marks.
Tarkanan couldn't hold the city for long, but in the end he used his terrible powers to destroy much of the city. For the next 500 years, the city was looked down upon and the city remained in ruins. Then, when Galifar I took control of the Five Nations he rebuilt Sharn. The metropolis felt the blessings of Galifar and would eventually develop into the center for trade, diplomacy, and intrigue that it is today.

Culture

With several hundred thousand people inhabiting Sharn, it's no surprise that the city is one of the most culturally diverse cities in Khorvaire. From the lush red carpets of Upper City theaters to the dank taverns in the lower slums, Sharn's cultural offerings cater to needs of the wealthy to the very poor. Many districts are inhabited by particular races and offer many of the culinary and commercial offerings from nations abroad. Although Sharn may not have as much political or economic clout as Wroat, the capital of Breland, it is indeed one of the most important cities in the country due to its wide array of cultural offerings.

Chapter Two: Life in Sharn

A Vertical City

Sharn-Overview.jpg

Sharn looms atop the cliffs overlooking the Hilt, a bay at the mouth of the Dagger River in southern Breland. The city sits upon the foundation of an ancient hobgoblin city. Below that, a rumored lake of molten lava rests, but its presence can be felt only in the lowest parts of Sharn, the Cogs.
The inhospitable outcropping that Sharn sits on allows the city to grow only in vertical height. This might have been a problem for other cities, but Sharn happens to be located within a manifest zone linked to the plane of Syrania, the Azure Sky. The manifest zone enhances magic that creates flight and levitation. This allows Sharn to have towers that rise nearly a mile in height, transportation flight, and even a section of the city that floats above the highest towers.
Sharn is a vertical city. It is divided up into five distinct plateaus, as well as a district built into the sides of the cliff near the Dagger River. While each plateau divides the city into districts, the city is also stratified vertically and divided into several sections. The lowest wards of the city are called the Cogs, full of ruins and cavernous slums. Above the Cogs are the Lower City, Middle City, and Upper City which all are divided among the plateau wards. Generally, the higher you are in Sharn, the wealthier the citizens are.
The heart of the city is the Central Plateau which includes the city's government in its upper levels, embassies and dragonmarked enclaves in the middle leveles, and inns ad taverns at the lowest reaches. Menthis Plateau is dominated by the University of Wynarn in the upper sections and has an eclectic collection of neighborhoods through to the lowest levels. The northmost plateau in the city holds the districts of Northedge, residential except for the extensive North Market. In comparison, the southwestern plateau of Dura holds some of the oldest and more working-class neighborhoods in Sharn, including the glum warehouses servicing trade on the Dagger River below. Travel into Sharn which is not by boat typically ends in Tavick's Landing and the concerns of merchants and caravans dominate all levels of this plateau. The city also includes Cliffside, a neighborhood perched overlooking the Dagger River with some of the poorest neighborhoods in Sharn. Floating above the highest reaches of Upper Central, additionally, are the fantastic towers of Skyway where the richest people in Sharn (and consequentally all of Khorvaire) live in unbelievable mansions.
Information on all of these places and the districts comprise them can be found in Chapter Two of Sharn: City of Towers.

Festivals and diversions

In addition to the holy days of the Sovereign Host, the people of Sharn celebrate a number of secular annual events. The Tain Gala on the first Far of every month sees the finest of Sharn's nobility and visiting aristocracy. The holiday of Crystalfall (9 Olarune) commemorates the destruction of a neighborhood due to wartime sabotage during the Last War, and the Day of Moruning (20 Olarune) remembers the anniversary of the destruction of Cyre. Thronehold (11 Aryth) commemorates the treaty that ended the Last War, something still fresh and hopeful to most in the city. A truly unique occurence is the Race of the Eight Winds (23 Lharvion), an aerial race through Dura which spawns as much gambling as it does efforts to fix the outcome.

Chapter Three: Power and Politics

Although the Lord Mayor appears to have the most power in the Sharn government, in actuality it's the City Council who appoints the Lord Mayor. The City Council also commands the Sharn Watch, the police force which deals with all internal issues of law and enforcement. The Council of Sharn is made up of a councilor from each ward in the city, though some districts are combined, to a total of 17 councilors. The City Council establishes laws, determines how to use tax money, and also appoints high officers of the city. While the City Council holds the true power, the Lord Mayor does represent considerable influence in Sharn by being in direct contact with the Brelish Crown.

Chapter Four: Guilds and organizations

A number of criminal groups are based in Sharn including the halflings of the Boromar Clan, the monstrous agents of Daask, the spies and assassins of the Tyrants, and the dangerously ambitious House Tarkanan. Several adventurers guilds and wizards circles also occupy the city, creating a well-known rivalry between the Deathsgate adventurers quarter in Middle Tavick's Landing and the Clifftop quarter in Upper Dura. With the added influence of the dragonmarked houses, secret organizations from across Khorvaire, and the interest of every nation in Khorvaire and beyond, it is little wonder that the political landscape of the City of Towers is so complicated.

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