Sharn.   Posted by GM.Group: 0
 GM, 4 posts
Fri 24 Mar 2017
at 17:20
Sharn is a points-of-light setting, all by itself.

Official sources list Sharn has having a population of about 200,000. Unofficial sources give different numbers, but we're going to stick with this.

It's not easy to figure out the intended size of the city, but it can be extrapolated from the cost to take a skycoach between the two most distant districts: 6 miles.

Sharn's towners are thousands of feet high, and very big around. I'll spare us all the math.

The point is that Sharn has quite a low population for how much living space it represents. On average, it's a ghost town.

But that's on average, and the books also say that some areas are crowded. So what gives?

The answer for the purposes of this game is that Sharn is mostly empty at any given time, but that there are also "points of light" that are filled with people. Some are constantly alight and abuzz (the lightning rail station, for instance, and the red light districts), but others (say, a theater, or a market, or a park) flare momentarily with activity now and then, but are usually quiet.

Sharn is, in essence, a smaller points-of-light setting, inside the larger one of Eberron.

This message was last edited by the GM at 13:37, Thu 20 July 2017.

 GM, 5 posts
Fri 24 Mar 2017
at 19:31
What are the implications?

Partly, they're the same as for the overall points-of-light approach: the world is mostly dangerous and frightening, with only a few truly secure areas, and even those sometimes aren't there when you come back to them later. It's not as though scary, exciting things can't plausibly happen even in a place as crowded as New York, but providing more empty space provides more opportunity for more types of situations (and not incidentally makes it easier to run encounters and safer for PCs to blow things up with impunity).

The main takeaway should be that once one leaves a bright, populated part of the city, it's easy to wind up in places where there is no one else to be seen besides those one is with. Most travels, even by vehicle are lonesome affairs.

Well, ideally. There's plenty of danger, because criminal and otherwise dangerous elements are able to thrive in the areas between the points of light. As with a forest road between towns, bandits can set upon someone and then be gone before anyone else, let alone the authorities, can arrive.

Even if there are others nearby, the labyrinthine nature of the city make it so that they might easily be out of sight, or miles of corridor and staircase away. If you see someone being mugged on a bridge far below you, the mugger could be long gone by the time you arrive to help.

Of course, a flight of Daask harpy gangsters or swarm of stirges might not care about distances, and more than a few potential threats aren't hindered by walls....
 GM, 231 posts
Thu 20 Jul 2017
at 14:15
Sharn has close interplanar ties to Syrania, the Azure Sky, a world of clouds and angels. Don't kid yourself: it's not heaven, it's dangerous as all get out. The practical upshot though, is that Sharn benefits from manifestations of aspects of Syrania, in particular the plane's disregard for an overall concept of gravity.

So, in Sharn, flight and similar effects are relatively easy to come by. Most notable are the Lyrandar skycoaches, which tend not to function outside of Sharn and its Syranian manifestation zone. There is also the floating district of Skyway, a playground for the very rich. And of course, Sharn's architecture would not be possible with a little assist in the area of structural stresses.

Fortuitously, the same effects that allow such dizzying heights to be attained, also allow for cheap and easy fall protection. Most people don't leave home without some form of magic or artifice that can allow them to recover from or mitigate the effects of a fall. Rescue tokens are very common; these small wooden disks, embossed with the manufacturer's sigil (usually with a tiny Cannith licensing mark somewhere) will slow one fall to non-lethal velocities. Even if one can't find an intersecting bridge to land on, one at least has time to call for help, or cast a grappling line (another common item in Sharn pockets), or say a few prayers.

Rapscallions of all ages and races are known to use falling and fall protection as a way of getting around quickly. To fall in Sharn is sometimes referred as "to take the Syrania stairs" but this is often meant to refer specifically to someone jumping down to their destination. The authorities frown on this, because accidents do happen, and seeing someone falling, even slowly, can be disruptive if it happens near a crowd.

The very clever can use the effects of the Syrania manifest zone to travel sideways and even upwards. It's usually a sport for the young and daring, but anyone who is willing to look or ask can find spots where the near-constant gusting breezes in Sharn interact curiously with each other and the architecture to create currents that can carry a fully grown person through the air. This is dangerous, but it's fast and hard to follow. The kids love it.