Sharn

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The City of Towers

Score 620

03/09/24

"When you live on the inside low, you never see the sun. People hear “towers,” they think of graceful little spires, the sort of thing you see poking up in the corner of your lord’s keep. We’ve got those, and lots of ’em. But the foundation of the city is the core towers. The walls of these towers are so thick you could fit your lord’s castle in one.

You’ve got your outside districts where you get the open air, built on the bridges and platforms that connect the core towers together. You’ve got the little turrets, built on the core tower walls and the bridges between. You’ve got the folk in the middle, who live and work in the walls themselves. And then you’ve got those of us on the inside, our districts entirely contained in the hollow well of a great tower. When you look up in Callestan, you see twinkling lights, to be sure. But those aren’t stars, and that isn’t the sky. You’re looking up through a mile of bridges and platforms crossing the well, looking up at the districts above you.

You live up high, you can touch the sky. In the middle you can still see the sun. Down on the inside low, all we have is gloom and the constant drip, water and worse descending from the city above us." - A street urchin describing Sharn

 

The City of Towers is the largest City in all of Argones, if not the entirety of Lonn.  Almost a nation in its own right, Sharn is a hub for commerce and intrigue.  Law and chaos dance on a knife's edge here, one never truly gaining advantage over the other.

Sharn is a place of magic, with skycoaches circling mile-high towers and mystic forges toiling endlessly in the bowels. It’s a place of adventure and intrigue. A fallen angel is gathering minions in the ruins below the city; a gang war is gaining strength in Callestan; the corpse of a murdered aristocrat has just been discovered in a floating mansion; a House Cannith Artificer is experimenting with a planar gateway—and something is about to go terribly wrong. All of these adventures and a hundred more are waiting in the City of Towers.

Sharn is the largest city in Argones, with a population of half a million people. Humans make up about a third of that number, and dwarves are a sixth of it; the rest is a blend of every race found across Argones. Halflings, elves, and gnomes all have a significant presence in the city, but even Kalashtar and changelings have communities in Sharn. Beyond the permanent population, tens of thousands of people pass through Sharn every day. Refugees from the Last War still find their way to the city, along with tourists, spies, merchants, and folk hoping to find their fortune in the grandest city on Lonn.

Sharn stands above the Dagger River and its eastern tributary, the Hilt. It’s an important port for anyone dealing with foreign imports/exports. Mountains line the shores of the Dagger, and Sharn can’t spread out. So instead it has grown ever upward.

The city is primarily made up of the following quarters:

  • Central Plateau
  • Dura
  • Menthis Plateau
  • Northedge
  • Tavick's Landing

At the hub of each of these quarters is a cluster of enormous core towers. A web of bridges and platforms connects many of these vast spires, and smaller turrets sprout from the edges of the core towers. The district of Skyway floats above the highest towers, while the tunnels of the Cogs stretch out below the lower city.

In between those extremes, each of the quarters is divided into an upper ward, a middle ward, and a lower ward. Each ward is made up of a number of districts, so that the location of a place in Sharn can be expressed with a combination of a ward name and a district name.

 

After the Last War

Far from the front lines, Sharn never fell under siege during the Last War. Regardless, the war’s impacts affected the city’s citizens and continue to even today.

Physical Damage

Although Sharn was never subjected to a sustained assault, it didn’t avoid damage. On many occasions, commandos and saboteurs launched significant attacks inside Sharn. The most infamous of these was the Aeranian attack that brought down the floating Glass Tower, devastating the district now known as Fallen. In any of the lower or middle wards, you might encounter evidence of the conflict in the form of a shattered bridge, a building collapsed by an arcane explosion, or an area some say is haunted because of the large number of people killed there during the war.

Psychological Scars

There are places in the city that house people who suffered because of the actions of other nations. For example, many of the residents of Dura hold all Aeranians responsible for the destruction of Fallen. In another district, folk could hate the Azinthians for an undead attack that occurred during the war, and a different group could blame Amaillia for the siege of Vathirond. These kinds of sentiments can shape the feelings of an entire district, but in the city as a whole there are far more people who have personal burdens to carry than those who feel resentment toward particular nations. For instance, on an individual level, most members of the Sharn Watch might not care about a Gnoll being seen in a neighborhood, but a guard who fought on the Three Falls front during the war might be out for revenge. Warforged are sometimes also the targets of this sort of prejudice; a person whose friends were killed by warforged soldiers might resent all such creatures.

Shortages

Because the ink is barely dry on the Treaty of Thronehold and relationships between the signatories are still being normalized, Sharn doesn’t currently benefit from a lot of commerce with other nations. Problems could arise from a short supply of any imported goods, whether this manifests as inflated prices, the need for rationing, or certain items being simply unavailable. The factors of supply and demand also play into smuggling and the black market; some desirable goods might be available only through the Boromar Clan.

Refugees and Victims

Verdunian refugees have filled the district of High Walls in Lower Tavick's Landing beyond capacity, and Sharn is also home to a significant number of refugees from elsewhere in Hosuth—people whose homes and villages were destroyed during the war, and who have come to Sharn in search of new lives. The city also has its share of other people harmed during the war, soldiers and civilians with severe physical or psychological injuries. All these folk are most likely to be found in the lower wards. They aren’t just poor; they’re suffering—and they might seek vengeance against those they blame for their pain.

Connections

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