|Black disc with a border|
|Divine Rank||Greater Goddess|
|Portfolio||Darkness, Secrets, Loss, Caverns, Night|
|Domains||3E: Cavern, Darkness, Evil, Knowledge
4E: Darkness, Knowledge, Undeath
5E: Death, Trickery
|Home Plane||Great Wheel: Palace of Loss (Hades)
World Tree: Tower of Loss (Plane of Shadow)
World Axis: Towers of Night (Astral Sea)
|Worshippers||Assassins, Monks, Rogues, Anarchists, Nihilists, anyone who uses the Shadow Weave.|
|Favoured Weapon||Disk of Night (Chakram)|
Shar is the goddess of darkness in the Forgotten Realms campaign setting.
Being the opposite of light, she is invariably an evil deity and one of the major players of the Realms. Sure, Bane and Cyric get more screen time and are generally seen to be more diabolical, but Shar is quietly competent and probably succeeds in being the true BBEG of the setting with the subtler, long term plans.
Shar was created by Ao at the dawning of the material universe. In the beginning there was only Shar and her sister Selûne, who represented two opposing cosmic forces. However, since not much was going on in the empty universe and since both were fairly innocent at the time there wasn't much animosity between them.
However, Ao was a deadbeat dad who never spent any time with his kids, Shar and Selûne decided to entertain themselves by combining their forces to make things and set about crafting everything material.
They crafted the earth and called her Chauntea then went about filling it with all sorts of forces and creatures which necessitated making more gods for them to play with. Unfortunately this was when disagreements began to start about how the universe should look like, and while gods of goodness and creation came into being as part of their works, gods of tragedy and destruction also found their place in the new world.
So, like any God, when they had completed their work they decided to rest and have some brewskis.
It was only when Chauntea reckoned she was a bit cold that the sisters came into major conflict. Selûne ignited a star and called it Amaunator, bringing light and warmth into the universe. Unfortunately Shar was nursing such a terrible hangover from celebrating the universe's ribbon cutting that she couldn't tolerate the light and got into a mighty bad mood and demanded Selûne turn it off.
When Selûne responded that one simply doesn't turn Amaunator off, Shar got mad and started pulling the blinds over the universe in an attempt to keep the light out. Selûne had had enough of that shit and exclaimed "you dont like the light? Have some of this!" And proceeded to tear a piece of herself off and throw it at Shar (she's hardcore like that) wounding Shar but leaving Selûne badly diminished, reducing her from "Greater" goddess level down to "Intermediate".
However, the chunks of light that were ripped off commingled with the opposing forces of dark and created something entirely new: Mystryl: Goddess of magic, who looked down at her broken parent with pity, and proceeded whoop the ass of Shar seven ways to Sunday.
Shar retreated into the darkness of the night to brood, as is her prerogative, while the other gods got on with the business of running the universe.
The Shadow Weave
When faced with this new unexpected force called "Magic" that was utterly under the control of her belligerent daughter Mystryl; Shar set about doing her own version that she could control.
She succeeded in manufacturing a second magical weave, imaginatively called the "Shadow Weave".
Shars new weave allows Arcane and Divine spellcasting in much the same way as the normal one, but enhances casting Enchantment, Illusion and Necromancy spells as well as anything with the [Darkness] descriptor, providing +1 to save DCs and caster checks. Unfortunately it is unwieldy for creating matter and energy, so it diminishes Evocation and Transmutation spells by a whole caster level. It is also utterly useless for casting any spell with the [Light] descriptor. (note: this form of casting has nothing to do with the Shadowcaster class, which is an all new mechanic, but is probably thematically correct)
Learning the secrets of the Shadow Weave drops the Wisdom of its user by 2 points. However this drop can be negated if the user receives an Atonement spell from a worshipper of Shar. This way the Goddess of Darkness can keep a tight reign on who uses it, rather than advertising it for everyone.
It might seem that there are few benefits from using the Shadow Weave over the normal one and too many penalties. However, the Shadow Weave works reliably pretty much anywhere; there are no wild magic or dead magic zones in the Shadow Weave, where Mystra's weave steadily became worse and worse as editions went by.
Shadow Weave Magic can also be harder to identify and counter spell, though specific feats are required for that. Also, using the Shadow Weave is a requirement for entering certain prestige classes (see below)
While the first unique class associated with Shar technically doesn't have anything to do with her at all, any discussion of her other followers would not be complete without exploring the Shadow Adept. While any "normal" caster can use the Shadow Weave and leave it there, this class represents someone who makes it their career to explore the mysteries of Shadow-weave magic and get the most out of it.
The Shadow Adept is an caster of level 3 Arcane or Divine spells; who has the Shadow Weave feat; and at least one other Metamagic feat. So it's easy to qualify for.
Straight away this class continues with full spellcasting progression and immediately unlocks all of the basic Shadow Weave Metamagic feats (Insidious, Pernicious and Tenacious magic) so you don't need to earn them through normal levelling and makes your magic more difficult to identify and dispel, and easier to overcome Weave-users' magic with. They also gain another Metamagic feat of their own choice midway through the class.
Their main draw should be that they also gain up to +3 bonuses to their spell DCs, caster level checks and saves against Necromancy, Illusion and Enchantment spells, making their casting even better with their primary spell schools.
So far we've just been talking about numerical advantages and no actual unique abilities that provide flavour. Well, you level up you gain low light vision and darkvision, because no class of "Shadow" would be complete without it and also the Shadow Walk spell was thrown in there for good measure.
They can also create a purple disc of Shadow that acts like the Shield spell, but also provides a 30% miss chance on incoming attacks and later provides up to Spell Resistance 22, so low level casters fighting them might as well go home.
The ultimate ability of the class is to create a shadow copy of yourself that can act in your stead for a short period of time. It's not quite a full simulacrum or a clone and needs to be mentally controlled, but it has your statistics and can act as the originator for the spells you cast, so you can use it to fool your opponent's into believing you are somewhere else.
Shar's actual unique prestige class is the Nightcloak and is her specialist divine casting class intended for Clerics, but you could probably qualify with Druid or Ranger if you really tried, though you'd have a hard time convincing your GM that Shar accepts nature worshippers in her ranks.
It's got quite stringent requirements for qualifying too: Shadow Weave Magic, Iron Will, Spell Focus (in one of the Shadow Weave schools), and one of the Shadow Weave Metamagic feats. It requires a bunch of skills that aren't typically associated with the Cleric class, such as Hide, Bluff and Perform, so multiclassing might be an option. It also requires you to be Neutral Evil and if you do have Cleric levels you must have access to the Darkness domain.
When you get into the class you continue with a full spellcasting progression, but you don't gain the raw numerical power of the Shadow Adept class listed above, instead you gain more special abilities as you level up, though it's a bit of an unfocussed mish-mash of combat, stealth and social abilities.
At the beginning, the Darkness domain spells are added to your normal divine spellcasting list, this can be of benefit if your start out class wasn't cleric, such as Favored Soul or Archivist. You also gain Darkvision (of course) but with the ability to see through magical darkness and you cannot ever be magically blinded.
You get better with Shar's chosen weapon: the Chakram, so you're pretty much being forced to use it. They automatically get a +2 enhancement and the Returning quality when wielded by you, and can later be imbued with the Unholy quality.
Once per tenday they can summon a small army of Shadow undead creatures. One per level for a number of rounds equal to their level. (so maxing at ten shadows for ten rounds) These Shadows can create more shadows with their drain ability, and any new ones fall under the control of the Nightcloak until the duration ends.
- So at high level you can pretty much lay waste to small sections of battlefields by generating a cascading wave of incorporeal undead.
- Even against hardass, high level, creature this ability will fuck them up because although shadows only gave a BAB of +1, they automatically drain D6 points of strength on a touch attack, so armour, shields of natural AC doesn't apply, so being mobbed by ten at once can seriously cause their strength to diminish FAST.
They can also mess with minds; gaining the ability to communicate silently with other worshippers of Shar. Later they can modify memories as per the spell; they add their own Intelligence modifier to their saving throws; and in the end they can use Dominate Monster with their voice like some evil Bene Gesserit witch.
|The deities of 5th edition Forgotten Realms|
|Good|| Ilmater - Nobanion
Torm - Tyr
| Chauntea - Deneir - Eldath - Enlil
Gwaeron Windstrom - Lathander
Mielikki - Milil - Mystra - Shiallia
| Lliira - Lurue - Selûne - Sharess |
Sune - Tymora - Valkur
|Neutral|| Azuth - Helm - Hoar
Jergal - Kelemvor
Red Knight - Savras
Siamorphe - Ulutiu
| Akadi - Ao - Auppenser - Gond
Grumbar - Istishia - Karsus
Kossuth - Oghma - Silvanus
Tempus - Ubtao - Waukeen
| Finder Wyvernspur - Ibrandul - Leira |
Mask - Shaundakul - Uthgar
|Evil|| Asmodeus - Bane
Gargauth - Gilgeam
| Auril - Bhaal - Myrkul
Shar - Velsharoon
| Beshaba - Cyric - Garagos |
Malar - Moander - Talona
Talos - Umberlee