Sharn is know by many names, including The City of Towers, The City of Knives, The City of Lost Souls, The City of a Thousand Eyes, The Gateway to Xen'drik, and The Gateway to Perdition.
The city inspires a range of emotions, from awe to disgust. Its architecture and the pervasive magic of flight, the bustling activity of its towers, the tremendous array of cultural, culinary, and commercial delights it offers, and its proximity to the lost continent of Xen'drik draw pilgrims and adventurers from around the world. Its crime rates, the debauchery offered among its many entertainments, the well-known corruption of its leaders, and the very real threat of ancient monsters lurking beneath its sewers provoke fear and censure from moralists and those of less adventurous spirit.
Sharn is the largest city of Khorvaire, though not the most important in its political or economic life. It is, nevertheless, a hotbed of activity, and one of the defining locations of the nation Breland. It looks atop an inhospitable outcropping of rock near the mouth of the Dagger River. The City of Towers rises high into the cloud-filled sky, growing upward within the limited space available on a plateau bounded on the west and south by the Dagger River and its eastern tributary, the Hilt. to the north and east, steep cliffs define the city's boundaries, while deep chasms formed by volcanic action cut the plateau into five distinct regions: Dura on the west, Tavick's Landing on the east, Northedge to the north, and the Central Plateau and Menthis Plateau in the center. Along the Dagger River at the western edge of the city, the neighborhood of Cliffside is built upon and into the steep riverside cliffs. Above the highest towers, the neighborhood of Skyway floats over the city. The city also extends underground, into the sewers and long-forgotten ruins of The Depths, and deeper into the furnaces and foundries of The Cogs.
Sharn sits within a manifest zone linked to Syrania, the Azure Sky. This manifest zone enhances magic rlated to flying and levitation, which makes many of Sharn's magical wonders possible. The vast majority of magic items used within the city to facilitate flight only function because of the manifest zone, and work less well or not at all beyond its boundaries.
Most of Sharn's neighborhoods are vertically stratified. For example, while Menthis Plateau is known as a center of entertainment, the type and quality of entertainment available varies among the different levels of the towers. The upper levels (usually referred to as "Upper Menthis") offer high art in the forms of opera, theater, and symphony, as well as housing Morgrave University and a thriving community of writers and other artists. The middle levels ("Middle Menthis") house a thriving theater district with more affordable shows, a large number of professional minstrels, acrobats, and similar entertainers, and a year-round circus complete with animals. The lower levels ("Lower Menthis") contain a very different sort of theater district marked by burlesque shows, a red light district, and a great number of taverns for cheap and bawdy entertainment.