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City of Tharis

Location Southeast region of the mainland
Government Type Autocracy - Vassal state of the Shadovar Empire
Ruler Lord Balur Black (Representative of the Shadovar Princes)(Player)
Conclave of the Shadowed Hand (Ruling Council) Lady Maenoh Black (Player)
Lady Vanessa Hyacinth
Lady Marianne Lâ'Virenna
Matron Xunthrae Oussana
Lord Garan Tashon
Lord Rodrick Birchfell
Lordesse Pora Black (Player)
Est. Pop. 250,000+
Tier Tier 1

Tharis is a large city with a rich and complex history, situated at the base of a towering mountain range and enveloped by dense, verdant forests. However, the city exists in a state of perpetual darkness, its streets cast in shadow by the Shadovar Capitol Tenebrosa which hovers ominously above it, blotting out the sun's rays. This floating city exercises strict control over Tharis, creating an atmosphere of tension and unease among the city's diverse inhabitants, which include humans and many monstrous races.

Despite the presence of the floating city and its overlords, Tharis remains a hub of illicit activity, harking back to its reputation as the “city of thieves.” The underbelly of the city teems with criminal enterprises, and those who operate within its shadowy confines are constantly at odds with the city's law enforcement agencies, who strive to maintain order in a place where chaos and danger are never far away.

For those who call Tharis home, life is a delicate balancing act, a constant struggle to survive and thrive in a city that is both beautiful and dangerous, both fascinating and deadly. Whether they are seeking adventure, wealth, or simply a place to belong, the citizens of Tharis must tread carefully, lest they fall prey to the many dangers that lurk within its walls.

Political ties: Tharis is the first vassal state of the Shadovar Empire whose Capitol, Tenebrosa, floats above them casting the city in its oppressive shadow. As the trade center for the Shadovar, Tharis serves to funnel coin and goods between the city on high and the rest of the world. Because of this close relationship Tenebrosa has granted Tharis significant access to its advanced arcana and technologies in order to better facilitate their service as well as provided one of their own to rule in the form of Balur Black.

After the publication of The Prophecy of Night and Light in which the Shadovars involvement in the rise of Ashra and the ensuing long night was revealed, the Shadovar have become a source of great fear and hatred by most of the civilized world. The Kingdom of Antioch which suffered greatly at the awakening of Ashra on their very doorstep consider them an enemy state, as does the Kingdom of Torm. Shadow remains neutral out of necessity, the merchants making a great deal of gold off the exotic trade and wishing no conflict with such a powerful foe. Ties with Tonovi have become strained since their nobility were overthrown and while the merchants still trade the new leadership seems to have no love for the Shadovar.

More recently Lord Black made a diplomatic breakthrough with the masters of Darol'Dralych and by extension Juran. It is unknown how such feared and powerful beings were brought into the fold, but it has only served to increase the wariness of the growing power in the south as monsters of all sorts gather within the walls of Tharis and Tenebrosa's ever-present shadow.

Religious ties: Since the arrival of Tenebrosa and subsequent rise of Lord Shadow to godhood, the church of Lord Shadow has dominated the Empire. For a time, within Tenebrosa and by extension Tharis there was only one faith you admitted to being a part of, and that was His. This continued until Springstime 751 SG when the Primordial Darkness was awakened and spilled forth onto the material plane at the gates of Antioch. Upon Ashra's awakening, a new breed of Shadovar began to appear and of those who were handed the reins of Tharis many were dual faithed serving both Lord Shadow and Ashra.

Shortly after the temple of Ashra was erected upon the ruins of what was once the temple of Shar, in the heart of the mountain at the base of the city, not far from the temple of Lord Shadow. Over time Her faith has become nearly as prevalent as His in Tharis as it was revealed that Lord Shadow's own children orchestrated the awakening of Ashra suggesting that it was all by His design. It is commonly spoken that Lord Shadow is the first and most favored of Ashra's children and that he has been tasked with the dominion of Her flock. This has resulted in some of other dark faiths journeying to the city to learn of the Primordial Dark and being drawn into the service of the Shadovar and by extension Lord Shadow. Thus does He remain the preeminent power in the Empire.

In Tharis the faith of Ashra thrives under the leadership of High Priestess Maenoh Black, a Shade and member of the Conclave of the Shadowed Hand. The faith of Lord Shadow is directed by High Priest Theo Martel, a native Tharisian and former member of the House of Lords.

It is rumored that there are still pockets of resistance hidden among the citizens of Tharis, uttering whispered prayers to gods of light and nature in the hopes of some form of deliverance from the unending darkness of the Shadovar Empire.


Historically, Tharis arose as a logging settlement, long-contested with the wood elves of the region. The human faction maintained its hold and then exceeded its strength by taking the elven citizens as slaves and/or second-rate citizens. The ruling humans took on titles of nobility and appointed a duke as their leader.

The elves were divided into two distinct groups: those who remained in the forests and followed the old ways, fighting the human incursions, and those who took up a tenuous existence within their walls, subject to their rule. The elven slums arose from those who stayed behind, guarding lands and hidden secrets that they still claimed to be theirs: The remains of Daoine'yndaar which are shifted out of the prime material plane but still cause wellsprings of power in the area.

In 714, Tharis saw the rise of the drow house Rilynath in support of the urban wood elves, resulting in an uprising and a previously unknown state of strength for these elves. The wood elves of the city openly embraced their drow cousins and adjusted to their new existence as full-fledged citizens and rulers of Tharis.

Following the rebellion, distrust began to grow between forest wood elves and the urban ones, given the actions of the latter in the uprising and their support of the drow. The human factions of the city began to rebuild and maintained a defensive stance within the city and a tenuous truce with the elves and drow.

In 726 SG, a large floating city emerged above Tharis, pulled from the plane of shadows in a ritual of mythical proportions. The city presented itself as Tenebrosa, Capitol of the Shadovar, and their ruler, Lord Shadow, claimed dominion over Tharis. The divided factions of the city were easily defeated, and most of the wood elves and drow finally gave up and retreated to the woods and surrounding mountains. Thus began the rule of the Shades, as made evident by the still floating city of Tenebrosa that casts Tharis in eternal shadow. The old human nobility reclaimed some of their dignity when the elves left, and the most prominent among them were chosen as proxies of the shade authorities. The various factions of the city scraped by as they attempted to rebuild some of their former glory.

In 737 SG, Lord Shadow rose to godhood after the fall of his previous goddess Shar. His descendants, known as the Seven Princes of Tenebrosa, seized control of both Tharis and Tenebrosa, under Lord Shadow's guidance: A true theocracy had been established. For a time there was only one faith in Tenebrosa and its undercity Tharis, and in the unyielding grasp of that faith, Shadovar power continued to grow.

Following the rise of Ashra in 751 SG, the long night descended on the world and Tharis having long since lived in the shadow of Tenebrosa proved to be exceptionally resilient. While the rest of the world suffered as their crops withered and monsters rose from the depths of the underdark to ravage them, Tenebrosa after its millenia of survival in the Shadowfell shared its resources and knowledge with its vassal state. The people of Tharis remained strong and well protected throughout which drew many starving travelers to its gates seeking escape from the horrors that beset the world. They were greeted warmly by the new leadership.

A shift in theology took hold in Tharis as direct leadership of the city was granted to one of the Shades responsible for the Primordial's ascension: Lord Balur Black, Herald of Nightmares. Under his leadership, the city prospered while the rest of the world was ravaged. Many improvements were made in sectors such as infrastructure, security, and entertainment, to satiate the locals and prove all the more inviting to desperate travelers. The relaxation of the absolute theocracy resulted in a far larger and more diverse collection of tourists though to the chagrin of many of the original residents of the city, they were increasingly non-human.

In 760 SG the mainland shook as massive quakes leveled eastern Tharis resulting in the deaths of many slum dwellers as well as military personal of the Order of the Eclipse. It was later announced by the government that it had been an attack by the Drow House Rilynath which had once conquered half the city. According to the reports they had unleashed a terrible ancient weapon from its imprisonment deep beneath Tharis in an attempt to lay waste to the enemies who had driven them into hiding. The weapon had been turned on its masters thankfully, due to the timely intervention of several of Tharis' most powerful residents and in doing so the Drow compound where they had hidden had been unearthed as well as a tunnel to the eastern coast.

In 762 SG the east side of Tharis is being rebuilt by the impeccable vision of High Priestess Maenoh Black, the collapsed slums being transformed into grand towers, apartments and dark beauty. The sea port is being put to use and a fleet of ships has begun construction as the Shadovar prepare to expand their influence into the sea and beyond. Lord Black declares the dissolution of the House of Lords and addition of the Drow city of Darol'Dralych and its subordinate outpost Juran to the Shadovar Empire which leads to a larger influx of civilized monsters into Tharis. The streets are tense as the various races try to establish a pecking order among themselves while evading the ire of the Shadovar masters who rule from on high.

The Conclave of the Shadowed Hand is established in 763 SG as a replacement for the previously dissolved House of Lords. Chosen by Lord Black from among the most powerful factions in the city, it served to cool some of the more overt discord between these rivals as they were granted real power within the city. Still, whispered treason continued to circulate as deposed Lords saw their own influence stripped and given to inhuman newcomers. Many were exposed by loyalist spies however and the conclave took its first unanimous action on 18 Growingsdays 763, The Night of Weeping Ancestors, so named due to entire original Tharisian bloodlines being put to the sword. The traitors estates were awarded shortly after to lower class loyalists which served as a warning to those who might rebel and inspiration to those with high ambition but low standing.

Factions of note

The Shades

The elite class of the Shadovar Empire, most of whom reside within Tenebrosa itself, the Shades that do dwell in or frequent the city of Tharis are there to ensure that it remains firmly in the Shadovars iron grip. Hand picked by the Princes that rule the Empire, the Shades have been subjected to a dark ritual in order to create an immortal being of shadow so that they may serve eternally. Those so blessed are immediately marked as emissaries of the highest ranks of the Shadovar and are treated with caution and respect by those with any sense of self preservation.

Conclave of the Shadowed Hand

Created on the bones of the dissolved House of Lords, the Conclave was hand picked by Lord Balur Black to oversee various facets of the cities growth and manage the day to days. It is composed of an eclectic variety of the most powerful faction leaders in the city, each with their own agenda. While their official power comes at the mercy of the Shades, each member is highly influential in their own sphere and takes advantage of their position to further their own power.

Shadovar Inquisition

The Shadovar Inquisition is a special division of law within Tharis which answers only to the highest levels of Tenebrosan government. Their focus is ensuring loyalty among the citizens of the Shadovar Empire and especially among the Shades themselves. Over the years they have proven to be exceptionally effective at sniffing out treason and excising it with brutal efficiency.

The Initiative

Shorthand for the “Humans First Initiative”, this organization works for the betterment of humans within the city of Tharis. Their list of members is kept unofficial, but surviving members of the House of Lords are among their benefactors. Its roots are old and dates back to when Tharis was a logging town in conflict with the Tharis elves. The initiative kept a low profile during the Shade invasion. As they saw their human lives improved by the eviction of the elves, they began to openly support Shade leadership. When Tharis suddenly welcomed monster races in 758 SG, many members began to rethink their support of the shades. After the night of weeping ancestors saw many of their most prominent members and supporters massacred, they have grown far less vocal.

Order of Midnight

The Order of Midnight is a dark and fearsome organization of Paladins who enforce the will of Lord Shadow. Clad in black armor and wielding weapons forged of the darkest steel, these knights are a terrifying sight to behold, striking fear into the hearts of all who would dare to oppose them. Known for their ruthless tactics and unwavering loyalty to the church, they will stop at nothing to carry its will, no matter how heinous or cruel. Within the city of Tharis they serve as a military arm of the Empire and pride themselves on being one of its most powerful weapons.

Order of the Eclipse(Tharis)

The Order of the Eclipse of Tharis are a bastardized offshoot of the true order, much to the Initiatives chagrin. The true Order of the Eclipse believes in the purity of humankind and never brings non-humans into their fold while the branch formed by Caledor within Tharis began initiating monsters into its ranks shortly after its inception. The founder went missing shortly after Rilynaths attack on the city and subsequently as they continue to be influenced by Lord Black and the church of Ashra, their actions threaten to undermine the very ideals that the Order of the Eclipse was founded upon. While still focused on the advancement of law over chaos, and being favored by those faithful to Mephasm and Lord Shadow, their focus is being shifted toward a zealous devotion to the Shadovar Empire and enforcement of its directives.

Church of Lord Shadow

The Church of Lord Shadow within the city of Tharis holds significant power over the day to day lives of its citizens, as an extension of the will of the Shadovar by divine mandate. However as the greatest powers within the church live within the confines of the overcity Tenebrosa, and a servant of Ashra was elevated to control of the undercity, they lack absolute authority which frustrates them to no end. High Priest Theo Martel in particular sees the situation as unacceptable as his position on the House of Lords was lost with its dissolution and he was snubbed in the creation of the Conclave.

Church of Ashra

The Church of Ashra was founded within the mountains of Tharis, its temple erected on the rubble of Shars. Since Her awakening, the Shadovar Empire has been quick to embrace Her faith, perhaps owing to their long history of devotion to Shar. With the elevation of Ashra's Herald to Lord of the city and with one of Her High Priestesses, Maenoh Black having a seat in the Conclave, the power of the church cannot be ignored. While not nearly as widespread as the faith of Lord Shadow among the humans, with the recent insurgence of non-humans their numbers and influence continue to grow at a steady pace.

The Liberation

Rather than one organization, the Liberation consists of several cells focused on the liberation of Tharis from their Shade Overlords. Their motivation vary. Their oldest roots date back to the elven enslavement, when they worked to free the city from the humans. Currently the Liberation is divided, in that some wish to cast the monster races out of Tharis, while others wish to ally with them to cast out the shades. Due to the constant presence of the Shadovar Inquisition they must remain utterly secretive in order to survive which stifles their progress as finding anyone that can be trusted is growing rarer by the day.

The Icons

Icons for short, the Inconceivables is a relatively new faction that aims to gather the leaders of monster races that settle in Tharis. Operating out of a newly renovated mansion, they “offer sanctuary to individuals of higher intellect than their average brother”, attracting more intelligent individuals tired of the filth and squalor of comparable monster cities. Their leader is the ogre-mage Garan Tashon who was recently elevated to a seat on the Conclave of the Shadowed Hand.

The Masks

Among the more powerful of all thief guilds, the Masks have not only survived destruction, riots and invasions, they have excelled, possibly owing to the corruptive nature of every government, and the former influence of Mask upon the city of thieves. They remain on good terms with the current Lordship and are currently attempting to branch up into Tenebrosa itself. They have no known joint political views, but the guild members hold positions in most other factions throughout the city. The current leader is a mysterious figure known only as Lynx.

The Ebony Coin

Existing for as long as Tharis itself, the Ebony Coin merchants guild was established originally to trade lumber when Tharis was a small logging settlement. Over the decades it has grown significantly off the back of that trade and expanded into an international trade syndicate dealing in a wide range of goods, from tobacco and textiles to spices, precious metals, and even slaves. Although they present a fair and honest face to the outside world, the Ebony Coin's business practices are deeply corrupt. The guild operates on a system of off-the-books arrangements that are considered the norm, with bribes, kickbacks, and other forms of corruption being commonplace. The head of the guild, Lord Rodrick Birchfell sits upon the Conclave of the Shadowed hand ensuring their interests in the political arena.

House Black

House Black is a powerful family that rules over the city of Tharis with an iron fist bound in a velvet glove. The family's patriarch is Lord Balur Black, a Shade who was elevated to nobility by his Shadovar masters and given control over the city. The matriarch, Lady Maenoh Black, is also a Shade and High Priestess of the Church of Ashra. The children of House Black are said to be gathered from across the world, lured away from lives of hardship and suffering into one of excess and depravity. Baptized in blood, the children of Black are staunchly loyal to their family and as they grow they are often subject to dark rites and experimentation, creating new monsters for their Goddess. It is said that the souls of these children have even been used to create the ghoulish marionettes that have been seen in the tunnels beneath the city. Bedtime stories are told in the slums and manors alike, of their twisted, demonic patron and the horrors that lurk within the walls of their subteranean home.

House Oussana

New arrivals to the city of Tharis, House Oussana is the largest and most powerful of the cities drow houses and the defacto leader of the drow faction. Hailing from Darol'Dralych and led by Matron Xunthrae Oussana, they chose to take advantage of the offer made by Balur Black to create a powerful and protected presence on the surface in a place where the sun would never pose them an issue. Since the rise of Ashra and the possibilities realized by the long night the House has fallen into Her faith and its members are often seen within the temple of the Primordial Dark. While they respect and fear the power of Tenebrosa, they have no intention of being subservient any longer than necessary and believe that in time they will have learned enough about the Shadovar to steal their secrets and rise to replace them as the new leaders of the empire. Their Matron has since been elevated to a Conclave seat which she uses to aid her People in establishing their power by leveraging their vast experience of agriculture in sunless environments.

tharis.txt · Last modified: 2024/07/21 02:14 by nath