Shadowcaster (5e Class)

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Shadowcasters are mages who draw upon the powerful forces of the elemental Plane of Shadow, a warped and twisted reflection of our own world.

Late in the night in a pitch black forest, a camp sets about busying itself, loud and bright against the soft black backdrop. An elf, clad in black leather, creeps silently through the darkness, leaving no trail. He comes upon a camp, seeing the creatures relying on light far before they would see him. As he waves his hands, cold black fire bursts forth from the ground in a wall, catching those huddled about the light unaware.

A gnome, eyes glowing faintly black, sees the presence of creatures along the ceiling of the cave above her. She motions for her party to stop as several giant spiders fall from the roof. With a wave of her hand, a great owl appears, a wall between its master and the dangerous creatures. With a word, the great bird flies forward into battle.

A human clad in glistening chain wades into battle. As a great torrent of fire rolls towards him, he waves his hands and his skin darkens. He emerges on the other end of the fire, undeterred. He draws a great-sword, and with a thought it glows black. As it cleaves its target, magical energy bursts forth from the weapon, staggering his target.

The Plane of Shadow[edit]

The Shadowcaster draws its power from the Plane of Shadow, a mirrored reflection of the material plane that weaves into it, as well as many other planes. This reflection is warped, cold and devoid of sunlight, with only muted colors, and areas of frightful deathly energy. The few inhabitants from this plane are either creatures eking out a bleak life, or evil creatures who desire to destroy light.

Reflection and Sympathy[edit]

Shadowcasters weave their strange magics through the Plane of Shadow. They accomplish this by manipulating the shadow of the presence of creatures or even the world around them casts on the Plane of Shadow, through the property of sympathy, that like affects like. The changes that these casters affect on the Plane of Shadow ripple and cause effects on the Material plane and other planes. Because of this, Shadowcasters come to understand the truth that darkness is the ultimate force in the universe. Before the very first star was born, and after the very last one dies, Shadowcasters understand that only darkness exists.

Creating a Shadowcaster[edit]

By Michael Phillippi

When creating a Shadowcaster, think about the source and understanding of your powers. Were they innate, inborn to your character, were they achieved after years of study of the Plane of Shadow, or was your character touched somehow by the influence of a force in the Plane of Shadow, such as some artifact or another shadowcaster? Also consider what your character understands of their powers and magic in general. Do they know they practice a strange and esoteric art, looked down upon or even shunned by other magic users? Or do they not understand where their powers originate, instead believing themselves to be a sorcerer, or perhaps not even understand magic enough to make that assumption?

What caused you to set out to adventure? Were you seeking more power, to hone your magic, or were you instead seeking to understand where your strange power comes from?

Quick Build[edit]

You can make a Shadowcaster quickly by following these suggestions. First, put your highest ability score in Charisma, followed by Dexterity and Constitution. Second, choose the Sage background. Third, choose the Arrow of Dusk, Mystic Reflections, and Umbral Hand fundamentals, and the first level mysteries Steel Shadows and Life Fades.

Class Features

As a Shadowcaster you gain the following class features.

Hit Points

Hit Dice: 1d8 per Shadowcaster level
Hit Points at 1st Level: 8 + Constitution modifier
Hit Points at Higher Levels: 1d8 (or 5) + Constitution modifier per Shadowcaster level after 1st


Armor: Light armor
Weapons: Simple weapons
Tools: None
Saving Throws: Charisma and Wisdom
Skills: Choose two from the following; Arcana, History, Deception, Investigation, Perception, Persuasion, Slight of Hand, and Stealth


You start with the following equipment, in addition to the equipment granted by your background:

  • One simple weapon
  • (a) Dungeoneer's Pack or (b) Explorer's Pack
  • Leather Armor
  • One dagger
  • If you are using starting wealth, you have 3d4 x 10 gold in funds.

Table: The Shadowcaster

Level Proficiency
Features Fundamentals
—Spell Slots per Spell Level—
1st 2nd 3rd 4th 5th 6th 7th 8th 9th
1st +2 Primordial, Spellcasting 3 2 2
2nd +2 Archetype, Companion 3 2 3
3rd +2 Sustaining Shadows (1), Umbral Sight (1) 3 4 4 2
4th +2 Ability Score Improvement 3 5 4 3
5th +3 Ability Score Improvement , Evasion 4 6 4 3 2
6th +3 Archetype Feature 4 7 4 3 3
7th +3 Sustaining Shadows (2) 4 8 4 3 3 1
8th +3 Ability Score Improvement 4 9 4 3 3 2
9th +4 Ability Score Improvement 4 10 4 3 3 3 1
10th +4 Archetype Feature 5 11 4 3 3 3 2
11th +4 Umbral Sight (2) 5 12 4 3 3 3 2 1
12th +4 Ability Score Improvement 5 13 4 3 3 3 2 1
13th +5 5 14 4 3 3 3 2 1 1
14th +5 Sustaining Shadows (3) 5 15 4 3 3 3 2 1 1
15th +5 5 16 4 3 3 3 2 1 1 1
16th +5 Ability Score Improvement 5 16 4 3 3 3 2 1 1 1
17th +6 Archetype Feature 6 18 4 3 3 3 2 1 1 1 1
18th +6 Sustaining Shadows(4) 6 19 4 3 3 3 3 1 1 1 1
19th +6 Ability Score Improvement 6 20 4 3 3 3 3 2 1 1 1
20th +6 Shadow Body 6 22 4 3 3 3 3 2 2 1 1


At 1st level, the Shadowcaster gains the ability to speak Primordial, the language of Elementals. This is an instinctual ability due to their connection to the elemental Plane of Shadow.



At 1st level, you know three fundamentals of your choice from the fundamental list. You learn additional fundamentals of your choice at higher levels, as shown in the Fundamentals Known column of the Shadowcaster table. Fundamentals may be cast an unlimited number of times per day.


Mysteries function similarly to spells, but with a few notable differences.

Mysteries are not spells, so function as a spell level higher for the purposes of being counterspelled or dispelled.

A shadowcaster may dismiss any of their mysteries at any time.

Mysteries come in groups of 3 called "Paths". A shadowcaster can learn mysteries in any order. However, if a shadowcaster learns all 3 mysteries in a path those mysteries are strengthened. (The effects will be listed on the page of the spells)

Spell Slots: The Shadowcaster table shows how many spell slots you have to cast your Mysteries of 1st level and higher. To cast one of these mysteries, you must expend a slot of the spell’s level or higher. You regain all expended spell slots when you finish a short or long rest.

Mysteries known and casting Mysteries:

At 1st level, you know two mysteries of your choice from the mystery list. You learn additional mysteries of your choice at higher levels, as shown in the Mysteries Known column of the Shadowcaster table.

Spellcasting Ability: Charisma is your spellcasting ability for your mysteries, drawing on the strength of your connection to the Plane of Shadows. You use your Charisma modifier when setting the saving throw DC for a mystery you cast and when making an attack roll with one.

Mystery save DC = 8 + your proficiency bonus + your Charisma modifier

Mystery attack modifier = your proficiency bonus + your Charisma modifier


At 2nd level, you choose an Archetype showing your specialties as a Shadowcaster. The Archeypes are Shadow Master, Shadow Knight, Shadow Scout, and Shadow Caller, detailed at the end of the class description. Your choice grants you features when you choose it at 2nd level and again at 6th, 10th, and 17th level.


At 2nd level the Shadowcaster gains a familiar as the wizard spell Find Familiar, with the following changes. This creature must be a raven, owl, raccoon, panther cub, or similar dark or nocturnal creature, and is not a celestial, or fiend. The creature gains darkvision equal to that of the Shadowcaster, gains +2 intelligence, +10 base movement speed, and the ability to hide without concealment. Additionally, the familiar has the ability to speak Primordial.

If the companion is killed, another may be summoned through a ritual that takes 1 hour and 20 gold pieces for the arcane focusing agents required to establish the connection to the Plane of Shadow.

Sustaining Shadows[edit]

At 3rd level, you begin to draw sustenance directly from the Plane of Shadow. You now need to eat only one meal per week. Additionally, due to your body now existing fractionally in the Plane of Shadow, you add half of your proficiency bonus to stealth checks. If you are proficient with the stealth skill, instead add one and a half times your proficiency bonus whenever making a stealth check.

At 7th level you draw stamina from the Plane of Shadow, now requiring only one hour of sleep per day.

At 14th level your connection grants you immunity to all disease and poison, and the poisoned condition.

Finally, at 18th level you draw nearly all of your biological needs directly from the Plane of Shadow, eliminating entirely the need to eat, sleep, or breathe.

Umbral Sight[edit]

At 3rd level, you see partially through the reflections of the Plane of Shadow, granting you darkvision 60 feet. If you already posses Darkvision from another source this adds 30 feet onto its range. Additionally, your adeptness at seeing what is hidden allows you to add half of your proficiency bonus to perception checks. If you are proficient with the perception skill, instead add one and a half times your proficiency bonus whenever making a perception check.

At 11th level, you see even deeper into the twisted reflections of the Plane of Shadow, adding an additional 30 feet onto your darkvision. Additionally, you can now see in darkness as if it were bright light, including magical darkness.

Ability Score Increase[edit]

When you reach 4th level, 5th, and again at 8th, 9th, 12th, 16th and 19th level, you can increase one ability score of you choice by 2, or you can increase two ability scores of your choice by 1. As normal, you can't increase an ability score above 20 using this feature.


At 5th level, your instinctive agility lets you dodge out of the way of certain area effects, such as a blue dragon's lightning breath or a fireball spell. When you are subjected to an effect that allows you to make a Dexterity saving throw to take only half damage, you instead take no damage if you succeed on the saving throw, and only half damage if you fail.

Shadow Body[edit]

At 20th level your body begins to exist partially in the Plane of Shadow, granting you half cover (+2 to DEX saves and AC) constantly. Additionally, you step partially through the Plane of Shadow when you travel, granting you +10 base land speed, and whenever you take a move or dash action you may step into a shadow large enough to accommodate you and out of another of the same size. The distance between the two points cannot be more than the amount of movement you have remaining when you reach the first point, and you subtract the distance between the two points from your movement total that turn.


Shadow Master[edit]

When you select the Shadow Master Archetype, your familiar turns into a small shadow elemental, keeping its previous stats but gaining the Ability score increase when the Shadowcaster reaches levels 4, 8, 12, 16, and 19, becomes a small creature with half the total hitpoints of the Shadowcaster or its own hitpoints (whichever is higher), and adds +1 to its AC. The familiar may now attack if the Shadowcaster gives up their action.

At level 6 the base damage of the companions primary attack becomes 1d8, it gains the finesse trait, and it may attack without the Shadowcaster giving up their attack.

At level 10 the base damage of the primary attack becomes 1d10, its size becomes medium, It adds an additional +1 to its AC, and its base movement speed increases by an additional 10 feet.

At level 17 the base damage becomes 2d6, the creature becomes large and gains Evasion.

Shadow Knight[edit]

When you select the Shadow Knight archetype at level 2 you gain proficiency with Martial weapons, Medium armor and shields.

At 6th level, you gain the ability to sacrifice any spell slot to augment your current weapon, adding 1d4 Cold or Necrotic damage to your weapon for each spell level sacrificed. This lasts for a number of rounds equal to half your proficiency bonus, rounded down. You may also augment your shield or armor, adding half that spell level sacrificed, rounded down, to its AC for a number of rounds equal to your proficiency bonus. You may only have one defensive item enhanced this way at a time. You may augment an item like this as a bonus action.

At 10th level you adopt a style of fighting as your specialty. Choose one of the following options. You can’t take a Fighting Style option more than once, even if you later get to choose again.


While you are wearing armor, you gain a +1 bonus to AC.


When you are wielding a melee weapon in one hand and no other weapons, you gain a +2 bonus to damage rolls with that weapon.

Great Weapon Fighting

When you roll a 1 or 2 on a damage die for an attack you make with a melee weapon that you are wielding with two hands, you can reroll the die and must use the new roll. The weapon must have the two-handed or versatile property for you to gain this benefit.


When a creature you can see attacks a target other than you that is within 5 feet of you, you can use your reaction to impose disadvantage on the attack roll. You must be wielding a shield.

At 17th level you gain the extra attack class feature

Shadow Scout[edit]

When you select the Shadow Scout Archetype at 2nd level, you become adept at remembering areas you have been. You can draw an accurate map of a general area (either urban or wilderness) after scouting it once, and you can almost always find a trail, path, or street to get from one place to another, so long as you at least know the general direction.

At 6th level, you no longer leave footprints and your footsteps make no noise, causing others to have disadvantage on survival and perception checks for finding you or following your trail, and you add 60 feet to your Darkvision.

At 10th level, your base land speed increases by 10, and enemies gain disadvantage on saving throws against your spells if they are unaware of you.

At 17th level, as an action, for one round you may gain Truesight of the same range as your Darkvision and you become aware of all creatures within the area.

Shadow Caller[edit]

When you select the Shadow Caller archetype at 2nd level, you learn one fundamental from the Shadowcaster fundamental list. Additionally, you may have Arrow of Dusk deal Cold or Necrotic damage instead of Piercing, and may add your spellcasting modifier to the damage roll.

At 6th Level, you learn two additional Mysteries at 3rd level or lower, and you may designate a number of creatures equal to your Charisma modifier to not be affected by any mystery you cast as you cast them.

At 10th level, you learn two additional Mysteries at 5th level or lower, and you may change any instance of Cold, Necrotic, or Piercing damage in a mystery you cast to either of the other two damage types as you cast them.

At 17th level, you learn two additional Mysteries at 7th level or lower, and you are considered to have Mastery with those paths for casting those mysteries, though not any other mysteries in the Path.


Shadowcaster Mystery List[edit]


Arrow of Dusk (5e Spell)

Black Candle (5e Spell)

Caul of Shadow (5e Spell)

Liquid Night (5e Spell)

Mystic Reflections (5e Spell)

Shadow Hood (5e Spell)

Umbral Hand (5e Spell)

Apprentice Paths[edit]

Coldness Of Night

1:Drain Warmth (5e Spell)

2:Frigid Darkness (5e Spell)

3:Black Blizzard (5e Spell)

Cloak Of Shadows

1:Steel Shadows (5e Spell)

2:Sight Eclipsed (5e Spell)

3:Sharp Shadows (5e Spell)

Dark Terrain

1:Carpet of Shadow (5e Spell)

2:Black Fire (5e Spell)

3:Clinging Darkness (5e Spell)

Ebon Whispers

1:Voice of Shadow (5e Spell)

2:Congress of Shadows (5e Spell)

3:Flicker (5e Spell)

Eyes of Darkness

1:Bend Perspective (5e Spell)

2:Piercing Sight (5e Spell)

3:Killing Shadows (5e Spell)

Shutters and Clouds

1:Dusk and Dawn (5e Spell)

2:Shadow Skin (5e Spell)

3:Dancing Shadows (5e Spell)

Touch of Twilight

1:Life Fades (5e Spell)

2:Flesh Fails (5e Spell)

3:Umbral Touch (5e Spell)

Umbral Mind

1:Mesmerising Shade (5e Spell)

2:Thoughts of Shadow (5e Spell)

3:Afraid of the dark (5e Spell)

Initiate Path Mysteries[edit]

Black Magic

4:Warp Spell (5e Spell)

5:Echo Spell (5e Spell)

6:Flood of Shadow (5e Spell)

Body and Soul

4:Bolster (5e Spell)

5:Languor (5e Spell)

6:Shadow Investiture (5e Spell)

Rising Shadows

4:Reflections of Things that Were (5e Spell)

5:Feign Life (5e Spell)

6:Investiture of Darkness (5e Spell)

Ebon Road

4:Step into Shadow (5e Spell)

5:Pass into Shadow (5e Spell)

6:Voyage into Shadow (5e Spell)

Elemental Shadows

4:Aura of Shade (5e Spell)

5:Dark Air or Water (5e Spell)

6:Shadow Storm (5e Spell)

Unbinding Shade

4:Shadows Fade (5e Spell)

5:Unravel Dweomer (5e Spell)

6:Reflection of Magic (5e Spell)

Veil of Shadows

4:Obfuscation (5e Spell)

5:Curtain of Shadow (5e Spell)

6:Unveil (5e Spell)

Master Paths[edit]

Breath of Twilight

7:Mass Life Fades (5e Spell)

8:Mass Flesh Fails (5e Spell)

9:Ephemeral Storm (5e Spell)

Dark Metamorphosis

7:Ephemeral Image (5e Spell)

8:Umbral Body (5e Spell)

9:Shadow Time (5e Spell)

Ebon Walls

7:Prison of Night (5e Spell)

8:Tomb of Night (5e Spell)

9:Consume Essence (5e Spell)

Eyes of the Night Sky

7:Truth Revealed (5e Spell)

8:Far Sight (5e Spell)

9:Reflections of Things to Come (5e Spell)

Heart and Soul

7:Dark Soul (5e Spell)

8:Soul Puppet (5e Spell)

9:Shadow Surge (5e Spell)

Shadow Calling

7:Summon Umbral Servant (5e Spell)

8:Shadow Plague (5e Spell)

9:Call Shadow (5e Spell)


Prerequisites. To qualify for multiclassing into the Shadowcaster class, you must meet these prerequisites: CHA 13

Proficiencies. When you multiclass into the Shadowcaster class, you gain the following proficiencies: Light armor, simple weapons

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