Note: This information is not common knowledge on the surface of Negaria.
- 1 General Information
- 2 Sharis Districts
- 3 Laws and Government
- 4 Local Political Figures
- 5 Local Organizations
The city of Sharis is the main bastion of power for the evil Demonlord Sharistracterus. It is located deep beneath the surface of Negaria underneath what is known as the nation of Tyedu. The population is made up largely of Adomkuro and Kharakuro although there are large contingents of evil fey, demon races, and the occasional Spawn of Alifanitax.
Sharis is bounded on two sides by winding tunnels. To the east, the tunnels are thought to lead to the surface, eventually reaching an old abandoned dwarven mining complex and another route heading towards an ancient lava tube from a long extinct volcano. Recent reports declare that the lava tube has recently caved in and is not accessible. The southern tunnels leading out of the city contain numerous agrarian settlements that supply the population with food. Farmers in these winding tunnels are experts in cultivating edible mosses, rothe, and other underdark crops. Beyond these settlements, the tunnels are thought to venture even deeper into the planet, and onward toward other Demon Lord settlements.
To the west, the city is bounded by Lake Bogul, a large subterranean lake that contains many settlements of Adomkuro and Kharakuro along its banks that trade with Sharis. Part of the reason for Sharis' economic success lies in it strategic position for controlling the flow of goods to Negaria's northwestern Underdark.
Within the city there is little religious conviction, although two temples serve what little needs there are. The larger of the two is dedicated to Sharistracterus, and it serves as the world headquarters for his priests. The smaller temple is dedicated to Maleki. Although there is often tension between these two organizations, it rarely results in open war because threats from outside are constant.
Most outside threats come from other Demon Lords. Though Kuthos and Kimonictinus are located in far off lands, and are thus unable to mount regular attacks, numerous smaller Demon Lords, such as Lord Tru’av’kazh aka Lord Trocar. (A trocar is a nasty gnomish blade which consists of a sharp point and a large hollow opening to retain to the tissue it extracts.)
Since the entire city is located underground, there is no day/night cycle in Sharis. However, time is kept by the natural physiological cycle of a phosphorescent moss that grows on the ceiling of the cavern. The moss glows for 12 hours and then goes dark for 12 hours. Though the light of the moss is not enough to see by, it can easily be seen when looking up. Generally, the city streets are dark all the time except for magical stone pillars set at long intervals along the road that glow with Continual Light spells. The day/night cycle is the only time recorded. There are no seasons to speak of. The cavern is at a constant temperature year round, slightly cool but not cool enough to take any measures against it.
Due to the slow descent of water from the snows on the surface, plenty of filtered water makes it into the city. Most of it falls into a large stream that in turn flows into Lake Bogul. However, throughout the settlement, small drops of water occasionally fall from the cavern roof. It is commonly believed among the locals that a typical lifespan in Sharis is equal to the time it takes to be hit randomly by a falling drop of water from the ceiling one hundred times. Much of the social conversation contains phrases surrounding this superstition, and as one may expect, every resident of the city knows his or her "splash count". Being hit by a drop of water is a bittersweet experience: a right of passage with a reminder of mortality. "I've still got a few drops of water to go" is a common phrase.
There are three main access points to Sharis. To the east are two gates that come from a single branching tunnel. It is though that somewhere along this tunnel is a vein of ore and abandoned mine shafts that lead to the surface of an ancient dwarven outpost. Another opening to the surface was an ancient lava tube from a long extinct volcanoe, but this path has recently been closed according to new reports. Sharis' southern gate stands watch over the city's agrarian complex, which takes the form of intertwining tunnels used to grow edible mosses and raise rothe and other Underdark food staples. Beyond these winding tunnels is a path that leads to other settlements that lie even deeper. On its western edge, Sharis is bounded by a large underground lake known as Lake Bogul. Several settlements of Kharakuro, Adomkuro, and other races live on the banks of this lake and trade frequently with Sharis.
Laws and Government
The Demonlord Sharistracterus's powers are surpassed only by the deities of the surface world. Though other Demonlords of his stature, such as Kimonictinus and Kuthos could challenge him with some success if they tried, their settlements lie far away through the dangerous routes of the Underdark. Because of this, all beings within the cavern occupied by Sharis pay homage to Sharistracterus.
Though there are few written laws in the city, a liveried group of thugs known as the Night Watch patrols the streets regularly. This group is empowered by Sharistracterus to keep order in the streets. However, whatever happens out of view is generally known to be allowed. A large portion of the commerce and trade in the city is regulated by a number of Thieve's Guilds that compete for resources and are either overlooked or openly supported by the Night Watch. Kharakuro and adomkuro Lords that have risen to power and carved out holdings for themselves all understand the necessity of dealing with these organizations, and work to ensure their usefulness to them.
Local Political Figures
The slippery Adomkuro leader of the Crimson Stalagmite Guild has a shady past. Rumor has it that he was once a member of another Adomkuro Lord's household in a settlement run by the Demon Lord Therazgul who faked his own death in order to leave the service of his Lord. After wandering the Underdark from settlement to settlement, he eventually made his way to the City of Sharis and began to ply his trade. With his success came power, and the courtship of many of the Adomkuro Lords who craved his services for their own. He had a different idea, however, and eventually connived and killed his way to the top of the Crimson Stalagmite Guild, where Adomkuro Lords now crave membership in his organization.
This kharakuro merchant is famous for his blood fury crystal supply, which he keeps a closely guarded secret. It is known that blood fury crystals have no source in this part of the Underdark and theorized that Dash's source must come from the surface. With his riches from this lucrative trade, Dash runs a luxurious house within the city and has a series of contacts that form his supply chain. Naturally, some of his main customers derive from multiple thieves' guilds, including The Alley Reapers and Crimson Stalagmites.
As a well-known adomkuro sage in Sharis, Garix enjoys some degree of protection from the many warring factions within the city. It is also thought that his brother is a prominent Night Watchman who doubles as a leader in the Crimson Stalagmite guild. His areas of expertise are in ancient languages, History of The Underdark, and specialized poisons native to the Underdark.
Lord Alvar Demachek
Demachek is a vassal to Lord Kimler Vasuth, another adomkuro Lord of higher stature. He possesses a moderately sized keep on the north side of Sharis, and his household has dealings with many of the local organizations, such as the Alley Reaper Guild, but he is not a direct member. Demacheck spends a lot of his time amassing and maintaining his army in order to serve the wishes of his Lord. Like most others of his kind, the makeup of his household is diverse. Various kharakuro fortune-seekers and other lesser adomkuro form the body of his small army which is frequently put to use for missions directed by Vasuth. Demachek also has a reputation for taking in adventurers as potential household members and employing them on missions to test their ability and capacity for loyalty. Many such individuals have risen to places of favor in his household.
Lord Kimler Vasuth
Vasuth is a powerful adomkuro Lord in the city of Sharis that answers directly to Sharistracterus. In local affairs, he is one of the many arms of the Demon Lord's will, and is known to swiftly enact orders passed down from his liege. Vasuth's household is quite large, and has several sub-households as vassals, such as Lord Alvar Demachek's group. It is also known that Vasuth is a powerful devotee to the deity Qinoxitl, and is often seen studying the texts and pouring over the deeper meanings purportedly passed down from her teachings. This point has often been a source of strife for Vasuth, who is sometimes accused of having divided loyalties. As a direct servant of Sharistracterus, he is expected to follow all orders, but as a worshiper of another deity, he is seen as a wildcard in situations where the two agendas may conflict.
Kirith-Fa is an adomkuro Sergeant in the army of Sharis tasked by Sharistracterus himself to bring back a valuable magical artifact known as the Hammer of Creation from the surface barrens of Tyedu. When Kirith-Fa and his army failed to retrieve the artifact, Sharistracterus sent out a second force led by a kharakuro named Captain Djiuntkris to dispatch Kirith-Fa for his failure and retrieve the artifact. Upon hearing the news, Kirith-Fa fled and his whereabouts are unknown. Rumors persist that he has been sighted back in Sharis, but the foolhearty nature of this rumor makes it hard to believe. He is also thought to have something to do with the recent appearance of a strange kind of Runic Magic.
As the leader of the upstart Alley Reaper Guild, Sertich is a dangerous urban sprite with amazing luck. Of course, being able to turn invisible at will helps, both with his thieving abilities and his escaping arts. This comes in handy, because the wild success of his new guild has inflamed the anger of the more established Crimson Stalagmite Guild and traffic from would-be assassins is frequent. To date, none of these attempts has succeeded and Sertich continues to grow his guild by enlisting support from Adomkuro Lords and kharakuro thugs.
The Demon Lord Sharistracterus makes his home in a multi-layered compound built into the crescent-shaped stalactite palace in the middle of the city. The rock structure penetrates from ceiling to floor where it merges with a stalagmite of equal size. It is thought that this mass has a network of tunnels inside that penetrate even more deeply into the Underdark. At the base of the structure and outside of it is a gigantic gatehouse that employs all manner of unknown magical protections and wards which only the immediate servants of Sharistracterus know how to enter. From this impenetrable location, the Demon Lord governs his realm and administers to the organized chaos of households, organizations, temples, guilds, and other entities that pay allegiance.
The Night Watch
Whatever semblance of order there is in Sharis is kept by the Night Watchmen. They are generally known as uniformed thugs in crimson and black uniforms that wear the livery of Sharistracterus and perpetuate crimes in his name. However, all of this is done in the guise of "keeping the peace". More often than not, each member of this organization doubles as an agent for one of the many other secret organizations in the city, such as the Crimson Stalagmite or Alley Reaper guilds. To make matters worse, several small and medium-sized adomkuro Lords are members of this organization, which according to the laws of Sharis society automatically makes their household members loyal operators of the Night Watch. This complicates matters when household members try to impose their will against other members of the Night Watch that do not belong to households outside of the police force.
The Crimson Stalagmite
The Crimson Stalagmite is considered a "full service" Rogue's Guild. Its operations range from petty theft and training of street urchins to grand larceny, grand theft, and manipulation of trade. Its membership is mainly made up of Adomkuro and Kharakuro, though there are several other races represented. Naturally, whenever its territory is threatened, there are consequences, whether it is a lone violator or another organization. The leader of this guild is thought to be a slippery Adomkuro named Alforth, who is thought to be a Night Watchman and brother of Garix in his spare time.
The Alley Reapers
Where there are riches, there are multiple treasure hunters. The Alley Reapers is another so-called "full service" Rogue's Guild, though its membership primarily consists of urban sprites and other evil fey races. Adomkuro and other larger humanoids usually find positions as muscle and enforcers in this guild, because most fey are small sized. A portly yet ruthless urban sprite named Sertich Bladefinger is the undisputed leader of the guild these days. All attempts to catch him to date have failed.
The Violet Order of The Skull
Though its influence is not strong at the upper levels of government, the Violet Order of the Skull has contingents roaming the streets of Sharis, looking for opportunity. The order is loosely directed by a shadowy figure named "Wolf, The Master" who lives in another faraway settlement, but control is not direct, nor is it to any great degree.