Overview

Sharn, the largest city on the continent of Khorvaire and one of the defining locations of the nation of Breland, looms atop an inhospitable outcropping of rock near the mouth of the Dagger River. The City of Towers rises high into the cloud-filled sky, growing upward within the limited space available on a plateau bounded on the west and south by the Dagger River and its eastern tributary, the Hilt. To the north and east, steep cliffs define the city’s boundaries, while deep chasms formed by volcanic action cut the plateau into five distinct regions: Dura on the west, Tavick’s Landing on the east, Northedge to the north, and the Central Plateau and Menthis Plateau in the center. Along the Dagger River at the western edge of the city, the neighborhood of Cliffside is built upon and into the steep riverside cliffs. Above the highest towers, the neighborhood of Skyway floats over the city. The city also extends underground, into sewers and long-forgotten ruins, and deeper to the furnaces and foundries of The Cogs.

The sheer size of the city, the maze of bridges among the towers, and the bewildering array of goods and services available can quickly overwhelm first-time visitors to Sharn. Adventurers usually come to the city with a specific purpose in mind, to get one thing done. Whether it’s to sell a magic item or spend an enjoyable evening (and a good portion of the loot from their last adventure) out on the town, adventurers in a hurry need to know where to go to get what they need, or they could spend a lot of time wandering the maze that is the City of Towers.

Sharn sits within a manifest zone linked to Syrania, the Azure Sky (see Chapter 5: Magic in the Eberron Campaign Setting). This manifest zone enhances magic related to flying and levitation, which makes many of Sharn’s magical wonders possible. The vast majority of the magic items used within the city to facilitate flight only function because of the manifest zone, and work less well or not at all beyond its boundaries.

Most of Sharn’s neighborhoods are vertically stratified. For example, while Menthis Plateau is known as a center of entertainment, the type and quality of entertainment available varies among the different levels of the towers. The upper levels (usually referred to as “Upper Menthis”) offer high art in the forms of opera, theater, and symphony, as well as housing Morgrave University and a thriving community of writers and other artists. The middle levels (“Middle Menthis”) house a thriving theater district with more affordable shows, a large number of professional minstrels, acrobats, and similar entertainers, and a year-round circus complete with animals. The lower levels (“Lower Menthis”) contain a very different sort of theater district marked by burlesque shows, a red light district, and a great number of taverns for cheap and bawdy entertainment.

What Brings You to Sharn?

The sheer size of the city, the maze of bridges among the towers, and the bewildering array of goods and services available can quickly overwhelm first-time visitors to Sharn. Adventurers usually come to the city with a specific purpose in mind, to get one thing done. Whether it’s to sell a magic item or spend an enjoyable evening (and a good portion of the loot from their last adventure) out on the town, adventurers in a hurry need to know where to go to get what they need, or they could spend a lot of time wandering the maze that is the City of Towers.

Dining

In Sharn, the saying goes, even the poor eat like kings, and good food is usually readily available. With the exception of purely residential districts, nearly every district in Sharn includes some number of dining establishments, usually at least one in a given tower. Nearly a thousand restaurants in all, not counting street vendors and inns that also serve food, offer an almost endless variety of dining options to natives and visitors alike. Among these many locations, Sharn offers a few unique dining experiences.

Striking views enhance a meal, and for that purpose no restaurant can compete with the dozen or so establishments in Skyway. Of those, perhaps the best known is the Celestial Vista Restaurant, a tourist attraction. In-the-know locals celebrate special occasions at the Cloud Dragon or the Azure Gateway, both of which have views as stunning as the Celestial Vista’s, food no less impressive, and generally smaller crowds. All three restaurants in Skyway serve all of their food purified by House Ghallanda.

A very different, but no less striking, view can be had at the Lava Pit, an up-and-coming restaurant in—of all places—Tavick’s Cogs, in the heart of one of the city’s industrial districts. True to its name, the Lava Pit overlooks a gigantic forge powered by molten rock, suffusing the place with lurid red light. The restaurant began as little more than a hole in the wall with an interesting location, serving a variety of barbecued meats in a Shadow Marches style. Its popularity has grown tremendously, allowing the restaurant to improve its facility and expand its menu (though spicy Marches barbecue remains its specialty), making it by far the most upscale establishment of any kind in the Cogs.

For variety of cuisine, no region of the city can match the Menthis Plateau, with its diverse population. Culinary purists argue that the only place to sample halfling cuisine is in Little Plains, and likewise for the other racial neighborhoods in Menthis, but most people agree that the University district in Upper Menthis is the best place to sample the wide variety of cuisines Sharn has to offer. Halfling specialties, gnome delights, elf cuisine, Karr-nathi fare, and even exotic Riedran food are all available in the University district. University students and faculty are fond of dining at the Commons, a large open-air plaza near the top of one of the Morgrave University towers where food vendors bring carts and wagons daily to serve up a smorgasbord of ethnic offerings.

Of course, sometimes the need for quality overshadows spectacular views and culinary variety. A few of the generally acknowledged best restaurants in Sharn include Sannid’s in the Platinum Heights district of Upper Central, known for its extensive wine collection; Galdin’s Garden in the Seventh Tower district of Upper Menthis, surrounded by a towertop garden featuring roses and orchids; The Oaks in the Shae Lias district of Upper Northedge, serving elf and Brelish cuisine in an elaborate open-air pavilion surrounded by oak trees; and Olladra’s Arms in the Hope’s Peak district of Upper Dura, notable for its banquet-style seating and generous portions.

Finally, as in many cities across Khorvaire, House Ghallanda offers heroes’ feasts in the city as often as demand allows. Ghallanda does not have a major presence in the city. Unlike in some eastern cities where such feasts occur weekly, in Sharn they usually occur no more than once a month, in rotating locations—in the House enclave in Dragon Towers (in Middle Central), in the huge Ghallanda Hall Inn in the Underlook district of Middle Dura, and in the open-air market in Little Plains (in Middle Menthis).

Dining Prices

Dinner Quality (Example) Cost per Person
Outstanding (Celestial Vista) 75 sp; includes fine wine
Excellent (Sannid’s) 40 sp; includes good wine
Good (Besimir’s Folly) 35 cp; includes common wine or ale
Common (The Commons) 19 cp; includes ale
Poor (street vendor) 12 cp; includes watered ale

Find Someone

A city as large as Sharn offers plenty of places to hide. Consequently, it also supports a sizable number of inquisitives who specialize in finding people who might prefer not to be found, or just people who don’t know someone might be looking for them. There is no single district where inquisitives tend to set up shop; any given district can only support so many. Middle-class districts of a certain flavor are the most likely areas to find an inquisitive – places such as Underlook in Middle Dura, Deathsgate in Middle Tavick’s Landing, and Warden Towers in Middle Menthis. The best inquisitives—particularly when it comes to finding what’s lost – are those associated with the Finders’ Guild of House Tharashk. Four Tharashk inquisitives with the lesser Mark of Finding head agencies in different parts of the city: Kurt Karr’Aashta’s Investigations in Deathsgate, Information Acquisition in Underlook, Thuranne Velderan’s Investigative Services in Warden Towers, and Globe Information Agency in Dragon Towers. The dragonmarked heads of these agencies generally work only on the most important or difficult cases, but their staffs are among the best inquisitives in the business.

Do-it-yourself types who don’t want to (or can’t) pay an inquisitive have other alternatives, ranging from amateur sleuthing to powerful magic. Gather Information might work to find a specific individual. However, it is usually only possible to learn the whereabouts of a person within a single district—asking around Highest Towers trying to find someone hiding in Precarious is doomed to failure. Naturally, spells such as locate creature and know location are the most effective means of finding people.

Hiring an Inquisitive

An inquisitive’s rates vary from person to person. In general, they range from 10 sp to 20 sp per day, plus expenses. (This is comparable to the results of a Profession check.) For exceptionally difficult or dangerous cases, inquisitives usually increase their rates by as much as 100% and insist on receiving an advance for several days’ work.

An inquisitive who brings magical resources to bear in the course of a case charges typical rates for spellcasting:

Spell Minimum Cost
Clairaudience/clairvoyance 60 gp
Discern location 1,200 gp
Locate creature 280 gp
Locate object 60 gp
Scrying 280 gp

The minimum cost assumes the lowest caster level that allows casting the spell. Higher-level casters produce better results and charge correspondingly more.

Guides

As the gateway to Xen’drik, Sharn has a number of residents who sell their services to adventurers and prospectors planning expeditions to that mysterious continent. As with investigators, House Tharashk dominates this field, making use of their magical dragonmark abilities (know direction and find the path) as well as their extensive, if more mundane, skills and experiences. The House’s grand hall in Dragon Towers is its most prominent public face, but better deals and sometimes better guides can be found in their enclave in Clifftop (in Upper Dura).

Sometimes visitors to Sharn need guides within the city itself. City guides are easy to find: they usually cluster around arriving Orien lightning rail coaches, airships, and river vessels, hoping to solicit business from newly arrived visitors. These guides—often very young individuals – are inexpensive and tend to highlight the great tourist attractions of the city, which is sufficient for many visitors’ purposes.

City guides of a different caliber can be found in Ambassador Towers. Most of the escort services in this district emphasize companions who are knowledgeable about the city and its attractions as well as being enjoyable company in other ways.

Overview

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