Nocturne (5e Race)

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No, no, I am but shadow of myself: You are deceived, my substance is not here. —Nocturne bard trying to convince a guard he didn't see him

Physical Description

Living breathing shadows, nocturnes dark, almost drow like tones, lack of pupils and the way their skin reacts to the absence of light, sets them apart from the other humanoid races. When in shadow, a nocturnes already dark skin darkens or brightens to match the darkness that obscures them. Their skin tones range from a dusky purple or white to a muddy grey or black. Similarly, their hair and eye colors range from black to a dusty grey or murky white, however, their eyes give off a peculiar luminous glow when in areas of dim light and vanish as the darkness mounts. Though these are the most notable features of nocturnes, other less notable features may include slender builds, long fingers and, a lack of facial and body hair.


When creatures not native to the Shadowfell give birth within its gloomy domain, there is a chance that their souls are marked with the essence of Shadowfell otherwise known as, shadowstuff. While not initially showing it, as they grow they take on the characteristics of the creatures native to the plane. Elves born here are cursed to become new shadar-kai, while other humanoids become nocturnes. Such features include an overall darker complexion, enhanced vision in darkness, and a largely nocturnal lifestyle. These traits make them adapt to the perpetual darkness of the Shadowfell and natural hunters of the night, taking down prey with swift and efficient movements as they move through the shadow like a ripple across an otherwise still lake.

While it is thought the first nocturnes were born this way, few are born so in recent times with the arrival of the Raven Queen making travel to the Shadowfell an even more foreboding venture. They instead are created normally through procreation as they spread through the Shadowfell, generally maintaining a mutual relationship with the cursed shadar-kai and often learning Elvish to better communicate with their fell brethren.


Within the Shadowfell, nocturnes are always awake and do not sleep or experience fatigue while they remain there. However, when outside of the Shadowfell, nocturne experience fatigue as normal and must deal with the brightness of the outside world. Nocture that leave the Shadowfell often come to despise the sun and may even come to loathe those that can walk freely within the light. Most nocturne will sleep through most the day or stay as far from the light as they can manage, only becoming active from about 5 pm until 5 am depending on the season. Nocturnes, while they don't necessarily prefer the colder climates, gravitate to parts of the world where the days are brief, and the nights are drawn out. A traveling group of nocturne may move with the shifting of the season up and down a vast geographical area in a largely migratory fashion.

While the themes of light and dark are prominent within nocturnian culture, so is the theme of ignoring changes. A nocturne is said to be able to ignore things such as waking up in a different place then when one went to sleep. This is due to nocturnes coming from a warped world that is forever morphing and changing in random and unpredictable ways. This very world, being devoid of color, has caused nocturnes themselves to become colorblind. Often, a shout can not be heard from over a dozen feet in the Shadowfell, so nocturnes are usually not individuals of many words and when they do speak it is often soft, quiet, and to the point. Nocturnes that have never been to the Material Plane are often plagued by headaches, lethargy, and sickness, describing their minds as irritated and saying that they are not used to the Material Plane.

Optional Rule: Blessing of the Shadowfell

Optional Rule: Blessing of the Shadowfell
While in the Shadowfell you gain the following additional benefits:

  • You are considered native to the Shadowfell for effects such as Shadowfell Despair[1] or the banishment spell.
  • You are immune to the exhaustion condition.
  • You do not require sleep.

Nocturne Names

Nocturnes commonly have very short names rarely longer than 4 letters, consisting of simple and soft-spoken pronunciations. Sometimes their names are in part based on shadar-kai (Elvish) names due to their interaction and proximity but are far shorter keeping to the typical nocturnian scheme.

Male: Ara, Aust, Bak, Dway, Gal, Jesh, Kav, Lu, Mor, Ne, Nox, Qill, Rean, See, Val

Female: Adri, Alth, Bir, Cra, Dol, Ean, Gwen, Keir, Lail, Lia, Loon, Mel, Sha, Sila, Nyx, Xana

Nocturne Traits

Humanoids of the Shadowfell, infused with shadowstuff.
Ability Score Increase. Your Dexterity score increases by 2, and your Charisma score increases by 1.
Age. Nocturnes age slowly compared to other humanoids, reflecting the static nature of the Shadowfell and reach physical maturity at 25. Generally living to about 200 years old before perishing as quietly as they came.
Alignment. Nocturnes are normally neutral in alignment, tending towards lawfulness or chaos due to personal circumstances rather than nature.
Size. Ranging from 5 to 6 feet tall, nocturnes are rarely are ever greater than 6 foot or less than 5. Ordinarily slim in build and nimble in their movements, they weigh less than they seem. Your size is Medium.
Speed. Your base walking speed is 30 feet.
Fellvision. You can't discern color, only shades of gray, and are effectively colorblind. However, you can see in dim light and darkness within 120 feet of you as if it were bright light.
Gloom. For many, stealth is a skill, learned, practiced and then mastered. For a nocturne, whose skin clouds and blends with whatever darkness is available, it is a natural ability. You are proficient in the Stealth skill.
Shadow Movement. When you move through an area of darkness, you can move an additional foot for every foot of darkness you travel through, to a maximum additional distance traveled equal to half your base walking speed. When you move this way, to any creature that sees you, you appear as a formless mass that moves through the shadow.
Shadowfell Metabolism. You, like the Shadowfell are slow to change with your long drawn out metabolism. You can go without food and drink for twice as long as a normal Medium-sized creature and when affected by a potion or poison, the effects take twice as long to leave your system, doubling the duration.
Sunlight Sensitivity. Being so accustomed and attuned to the darkness of the Shadowfell has its drawbacks. You have disadvantage on attack rolls and on Wisdom (Perception) checks that rely on sight when you, the target of your attack, or whatever you are trying to perceive is in direct sunlight.
Languages. You can speak, read and write Common and Elvish. You can also communicate and understand Noct. Noct can be compared to Thieves' Cant, a nonverbal, simple method of communication involving body language and gestures. Most nocturnes and occasionally shadar-kai learn this language in response to how their home plane suppresses sound. Nocturnes speak in soft whispers, that are quick and to the point. To others, it may come off as haughty, rude or simply weird to be so verbally direct while speaking so softly but over long periods of time a nocturne adjusts to the less potentially offensive language of the creatures they interact with the most.

Random Height and Weight

4′ 6'' +3d4 85 lb. × (1d4) lb.

*Height = base height + height modifier
**Weight = base weight + (height modifier × weight modifier)

Racial Feats

This supplement introduces additional feats that allow you to explore your character’s race further. These feats are each associated with the nocturne race as seen in the previous section. As with the feats found in Xanathar’s Guide to Everything, using these racial feats means that your connection with your race’s culture has deepened or something more dramatic has happened, such as a physical transformation through age, powerful magic, or a spectacular event in your campaign.

Fell Body

Prerequisite: Nocturne or elf (shadar-kai)

You've learned to merge with the shadows around you. You gain the following benefits:

  • Your Charisma score increases by 1, to a maximum of 20.
  • You can see in magical darkness as if it was non-magical.
  • You are resistant to necrotic damage.
  • You do not require sleep.

Shadow Walker

Prerequisite: Nocturne

Fell magic runs strong in you, unlocking a resilience possess by other Shadowfell denizens while enhancing your nocturnian qualities. You gain the following benefits:

  • You can use your Shadow Movement trait to move a maximum additional distance equal to your base walking speed instead of half.
  • As an action, while within 5 feet of another creature, you can step into that creature's shadow and remain there. While in a creature's shadow you occupy the same space as the creature, are considered invisible and cannot affect your surroundings. As an action or if you take any damage leave that creature's shadow, appearing in an unoccupied space within 5 feet.

Nocturnian Trinkets

d8 Trinket
1 A navy compass that points toward the nearest portal to the Shadowfell within 10 miles
2 A silver marble that turns a luminescent gold when the sun is up and turns back to normal when it sets
3 The feather of a raven
4 A white translucent form in a bottle
5 A letter addressed that is clearly written in the Elvish script; it doesn't make sense when read in Elvish
6 A small notebook that can only be written to or read in darkness
7 A black crystal that doesn't seem to refract light
8 A broken silver pocket watch

Nocturne Adventure Hooks

d8 Hook
1 You were born to the Material Plane in a cloister of your fellow nocturne and left to see the world
2 All your life, you were terrified by the creatures of the Shadowfell and the unnerving elves that seemed to lurk around every corner. The first chance you got, you fled. Now people mistake you for some other variety of elf but at least you've found a group of friends
3 A raven brought you a cryptic message
4 An adventurer won your heart but became trapped in the Fortress of Memories. If you earn the Raven Queen's favor, perhaps you can win her freedom
5 You accidentally stepped through a portal to the Material Plane. Trapped in this bright, loud and painful world you seek a way to return to your homeland
6 You caught a glimpse of the Material Plane when you were young and out of curiosity you ventured through a portal to this strange foreign world
7 You fell in love with a shadar-kai and followed them to the Material Plane only to lose them in transit. You wish to reunite with them once more
8 You stole a memory from a shadar-kai and fled the Shadowfell out of fear that the Raven Queen will want it back


  1. Dungeon Masters Guide p.52

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