Shade, Variant (5e Race)

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This content deviates from 5e standards. Its use could dramatically alter campaigns, take extreme care. DesignDisclaimer.png
Caution - Here there be monsters!
This content intends to provide a different experience, or goes beyond the scope of the anticipated subjects and situations, than the 5e rules were intended to handle. Some portions of the content below may not be what you expect from traditional game content. When implementing this content, DMs and Players should read over all the information carefully, and consider the following specific notes of interest:
This playable race is functionally immortal. Players using this race have significantly less risk of death than they otherwise would, but can still be killed.


Madness burned in his maroon eyes, the madness of one who enjoys power and finds himself in the position to use it.
—Eragon:The Inheritance Cycle

Physical Description[edit]

A shade will closely resemble whatever race they were prior to their transformation, with a few key differences. They become thin and pale, to the point where they may be mistaken as a vampire, and their eyes and hair take on the color of blood. Some have skin that can even be nigh translucent. The build of their bodies varies from that of a lithe runner to something less compact, though they are never too boney. The hue of this red coloration can vary from orange to a darker maroon-like wine. Their body emanates something like that of an unnatural existence. Seeing a shade, one would be surprised they are not actually ill. Their pallor and sunken eyes and cheeks belie a well of strength and magical prowess.

Shades are usually humanoid, as the ones they are born from are usually human or similar hosts. Their bodies can age but do so at a different rate than they normally should. For example, a shade who appears like a teenager will probably stay like that for fifty years or more. Their height growth might be drawn out, even. In general, their metabolism slows, as does their aging. However, there have been ancient-looking shades seen before. The age that a shade appears at often does not correlate to their true strength, and they are notoriously hard to kill.


Shades are rare instances in history where taboos are committed, often by amateur casters who overestimate their abilities. In a world where spirits can be manipulated to perform deeds by sorcerers, one has to be wary of what they use and call a tool. Spirits that are far too powerful to wield will overwhelm their caster and possibly kill them. Those unfortunate enough to survive are subsequently possessed in body and mind by the spirits and changed into a shade.

Two other methods to create shades are known. One can bargain with spirits, exchanging their souls for power and nigh immortality. The second method is where sorcerers attempt to change people into shades to serve their whims. Through a dark and horrific ritual, an unwilling subject, not necessarily humanoid, can be forced to take on a deluge of spirits into their bodies, turning them into a shade. Most non-humanoid shades are unstable and self-destruct within moments of their ritual. Even among humanoid shades, retention of one's sanity and existence is rare.

Attitudes and Beliefs[edit]

Due to the nature of how a shade is born, few are characterized as sane. At the very least, shades are changed people. The spirits which overwhelm a person are rarely even neutral. Most of these are malevolent. As such, a shade is almost always some shade of evil. There are some exceptions, but they are so rare that they may as well not exist. These are usually hermits who withdraw from the world, rather than saints who go around parading with flowers and goodies. Most shades desire destruction and suffering for the living. They gravitate towards sources of power and corruption. It is therefore not uncommon to find shades in the service of evil warlords and corrupt empires. When fighting, shades will often prefer to inflict grievous wounds that deal a lot of pain to someone, akin to torture. Normal beauty does not hold a candle to the sight of suffering in their eyes.

Shade Names[edit]

It is well documented that shades do not keep the names they originally had. Possession usually results in the formation of a new persona entirely, though it is unclear if this is a warped personality of the original or one of the aggregate spirits. Whoever it is has a new name usually, ignoring gender.

Shade Names: Durza, Varaug, Edrae, Silva

Shade Traits[edit]

People possessed by spirits turned mad
Ability Score Increase. You may increase one physical ability score (Strength, Constitution, or Dexterity) and one mental ability score (Wisdom, Intelligence, or Charisma) of your choice by 2. As normal, you can't increase an ability score above 20 using this feature.
Age. Shades are created, not born, and are assumed to be mature at the time of creation. They do not suffer the effects of old age, and will carry on until they are killed.
Alignment. Shades generally care little for any being other than themselves. As such, they tend more toward evil, though exceptions may occur.
Size. Shades are generally tall and thin, though the specifics depend on their race of origin. Your size is Medium.
Speed. Your base walking speed is 30 feet.
Darkvision. You can see in dim light within 60 feet of you as if it were bright light, and in darkness as if it were dim light. You can't discern color in darkness, only shades of gray.
Soulbound. If you are reduced to 0 hit points by any means other than a critical hit and you fail your death saving throws, your body withers and turns to ash, leaving all your belongings and equipment behind. You remain incorporeal for 1 week, after which you regenerate in a secure location of your choosing on the same plane of existence, as though affected by raise dead. If, however, you are reduced to 0 hit points by means of a critical hit, you die instantly. Your body dissolves into ash and smoke, and you cannot be resurrected by any means short of a wish spell
Languages. You speak Common and one other language of your choice, according to your original race.

Random Height and Weight[edit]

5′ 5'' +1d12 inches 90 lb. × (2d12 lb) lb.

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

(5 votes)

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