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Plane of Shadow

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This article is about the cosmological plane. For other uses of the term "Shadow",
see Shadow (disambiguation).
Plane of Shadow
Basic information
Type
Transitive Plane,[1] Parallel Plane[2] Formerly:Demiplane[3]
Natives
Nightshades, shadows, shadow mastiffs, shades, ephemeras, darkweavers, shadar-kai,
shadurakul[4]
Traits
Gravity
Normal Gravity[5]
Time
Normal Time[5]
Shape and size
Infinite size[5] Formerly: Finite size[3]
Morphic trait
Magically morphic[6]
Elemental/energy
traits
None, but some minor negative-dominant areas[7]
Alignment trait
Mildly Evil-Aligned[1][note 1]
Magic trait
Enhanced (shadow), Impeded (light and fire)[1][6][8]
Faith trait
None. Mild faith trait within divine realms[1]

The Plane of Shadow was one of the planes of existence in various cosmological
models. Its purpose and characteristics evolved as new cosmologies were formulated.
Other names for this plane included Shadowland,[9] the Demiplane of Shadow,[3] the
Shadowfell,[10] and simply Shadow.[10]
It is the toxic plane of darkness and power.
It is the hidden place that hates the light.
It is the frontier of worlds unknown.[5]
Contents[show]
CosmologiesEdit
Shadow Plane in the Great Wheel ModelEdit

When the Great Wheel cosmology was in vogue, the Plane of Shadow was considered
only a demiplane. Demiplanes formed out of the proto-matter that ebbed and flowed
about the Ethereal Plane, creating a finite plane with its own Border Ethereal
whenever a critical mass was achieved. The largest of these was called the
Demiplane of Shadow, and was made up of both positive and negative energy in equal
measure. For those traveling through the Ethereal Plane, the curtain of vaporous
color for the Demiplane of Shadow was the color silver.[3] Wizards could shadow
walk directly to the edge of the Shadow Plane and travelers could use this plane as
a transitive plane to traverse many Prime Material miles/kilometers very quickly.
Clerics could use the plane shift spell to travel to this plane. If any were brave
enough to cross the Demiplane of Shadow, it was possible to find the borders of
other planes of reality.[11] Very little was known about the Demiplane of Shadow
other than it was a dim and dismal place.[12]
Shadow Plane in the World Tree ModelEdit

When the World Tree cosmology model was introduced, the Plane of Shadow was
upgraded to an infinite plane that coexisted with the Prime Material Planetouching
it at all points and having the same basic geography[6]but only accessible at
night or from shady areas using the shadow walk spell.[13] Naturally occurring
intermittent portals called vortices appeared between this plane and the Material
Plane in seemingly random areas of heavy shade or darkness. The entry and exit
point of a vortex were unpredictable as was their duration, lasting a few days at
most.[5] The Plane of Shadow was no longer connected to the Ethereal Plane, even
though it was coexistent with it.[1][8] Rapid movement between points of the Prime
were still possible by stepping into the Shadow Plane and skirting the edge before
stepping back into the Prime, but arriving at a particular destination was much
less precise than before. Intrepid travelers could still reach other universes by
traversing the Shadow Plane and locating the border with an alien world such as
Oerth for example.[13]
Shadow Plane in the World Axis ModelEdit

Main article: Shadowfell

In 1385 DR, the Year of Blue Fire, Shar succeeded in engineering the murder of
Mystra by Cyric, plunging the multiverse into years of upheaval and chaos called
the Spellplague. The Elemental and Energy Planes collapsed into the Elemental Chaos
but not before Shar managed to manipulate some of the necrotic energies from the
Negative Energy Plane and inject it into the Plane of Shadow.[10] Such was the
power of this combination that the souls of the dead began to be drawn to this
altered plane and had to pass through it before reaching their final judgment on
the Fugue Plane.[14] Shar called her new creation the Shadowfell.
DescriptionEdit
Black Rift

A swamp cabin beside the Black Rift in the Shadow Swamp.

The most striking and immediate impression a visitor to the Plane of Shadow
experienced was the lack of color and light; no sun, moon, or stars adorned the
vault of the inky black sky, and all things looked as if the color had leeched out,
leaving nothing but black and white, which in the dimness were more like "dark
black" and "light black". A light source only illuminated half the distance it
normally would, flames and fires put out less heat,[7][8] and spells that dealt
with light or fire were less predictable and prone to failure, whereas shadow
spells were enhanced.[5][6][8] On the other hand, although it would not illuminate
as far, any light source on the plane could be spotted at a distance of up to ten
times its normal range of illumination, such was the contrast to the constant
gloom, similar to a star in the night sky. Even a light source that only put out
shadowy illumination, like a darkness spell or a lantern burning shadowlight oil,
could be seen up to five times its range of illumination.[8]

Gravity and time were the same on the Shadow Plane as on the Prime,[5] but because
the Shadow Plane was magically morphic (and divinely morphic in the realms of Shar
and Mask)[1] the landscape was a dark, twisted echo of what existed on the Prime.
Upon entering the Plane of Shadow, the local features were usually quite similar:
casting shadow walk in a forest put you in a shadow forest; casting it under water
dropped you in a similar body of water, etc. But from that starting point, the
landscape diverged rapidly away from the familiar, and on subsequent visits from
the same starting point it diverged in different ways, making mapping the Shadow
Plane a useless endeavor.[6][8][15] Landmarks were usually recognizable but altered
in some bizarre way: buildings might be constructed in a different style, built
with different materials, at a different location, and/or in any condition from
dilapidated ruins to its normal appearance, for example, or otherwise strange and
distorted.[7][8] Similar sites were sometimes called "shadow-analogues".[8]

Due to the ever-changing landscape, the Plane of Shadow was subject to relatively
frequent but very small earthquakes (called shadow quakes) that resembled an
earthquake spell in an area about two hundred feet (sixty meters) in diameter. For
those on the ground, damage was equivalent to a Prime earthquake, but shadow quakes
could also disrupt the shadow walk spell and dump unfortunate travelers onto the
Shadow Plane in the middle of the disturbance at a place very likely unknown and
far from their destination.[16]

Some areas on the Plane of Shadow seemed to have an affinity with the Negative
Energy Plane and life-draining undead such as shadows, ghosts, and vampires. These
"darklands" had a minor negative-dominant trait and unprotected visitors
immediately felt the life force being sucked from their bodiesunless they exited
the darkland quickly, all that was left of them was a pile of ash. Someone with
protection from negative energy could stop and admire the utter desolation in an
otherwise forlorn landscape, and perhaps make the acquaintance of the truly
inimical undead. Thankfully, no natural vortices opened into darklands regions,
preventing the unwary from stepping through into almost certain death, and keeping
the creatures that thrived there from having easy access to other planes. Material
Plane locations such as desecrated burial mounds, haunted battlefields, and
necromantic foci frequently had a darkland echo on the Shadow Plane.[7]

Other less dangerous but quite unsettling echoes occurred in areas analogous to
towns and cities in the Prime Material Plane. They were nothing more than mirages,
but familiar faces and places seen through the macabre mirror of the Shadow Plane
could be very demoralizing. Structures might appear altered, dislocated, destroyed,
or replaced entirely by something else. Mirages of the living had visages of
distorted nightmares, but were still recognizable enough to give travelers a jolt
of fear and revulsion.[7]

Air, water, and food existed on this plane, supporting plants, animals, and some
humanoids adapted to the shadow environment. Visitors could survive indefinitely if
they were willing to endure thick, foul-smelling water, food that oozed dark blood,
and a pervasive nip of cold in the air.[17] A visitor could never feel warm, would
often hear or sense the presence of things that weren't there, and could never
shake the feeling of being watched. It was a constantly unsettling place.[8] Over
time, exposure to the Plane of Shadow altered living things, increasing various
traits and abilities but also some vulnerabilities.[17] Emotions and the ability to
experience them seemed to fade over time for those imbued with shadowstuff.[18]

The morphic nature of the Shadow Plane could produce strange effects, mainly in
areas like the Black Rift that were especially morphic,[19] and with events that
had a particular affinity with the plane, like death. For example, in the Black
Rift alone, a pile of bodies caused more skeletons to appear, until there were
thousands.[20] More bizarre were the strange biers upon which dead bodies
spontaneously appeared, apparently drawn from wherever they rested, anywhere in
existence, only to disappear after a few seconds, presumably to wherever they'd
come from.[21] Stalactites in a cave dripped ephemeral shadowstuff, which was
reabsorbed into the plane rather than form a puddle. Even common mushrooms bore
realistic humanoid faces, capable of twitching or blinking.[22] More significantly,
forests of grasping tendrils sprouted from some surfaces and reached for passersby,
similar to the black tentacles spell.[21]
InhabitantsEdit

The Shadow Plane was home to a mysterious form of undead called shadows,[12] other
"shadow" creatures such as the shadow mastiff[23] and shadow dragon,[24] and a race
of humanoids known as shades.[25]

Probably the most dominant race of beings on the Plane of Shadow were the
shadesancestors of ancient Netherese humans who resided on the plane in their
floating city for centuries and acquired many abilities from immersion in shadow
essence.[26] Malaugryms may have been superior to shades, having the advantage of
being shapeshifters and practically immortal unless killed in some fashion; but
their small numbers, fierce independence, and difficulty in mastering interplanar
travel made them much less organized and effective.[27][note 2]

Other creatures that were either native to the plane or attracted to it included
bodaks,[16] cloakers,[16] darkweavers,[28] ephemera of all kinds,[28][29] veserabs,
[30] liches,[6] nightshades,[6][16][31] shadar-kai,[28] shadurakul,[28] spectres,
[6] and wraiths.[6][16] Occasionally, animals and monsters would wander or fall
into a vortex to the Shadow Plane and become trapped there. Those that survived
eventually took on shadow-given abilities, carved out a niche in the ecosystem, and
preyed on whatever attracted their attention. Examples included apes, basilisks,
bears, owlbears, rats, umber hulks, and wolves.[16] Such creatures could give rise
to dark creatures, shadowy counterparts of natural creatures.[32][33]

Shadow demons also inhabited this plane. These fiends were responsible for the
creation of the race known as krinth, having interbred with Netherese slaves.[34]

Shadow sea serpents were not native to the Plane of Shadow but were bred there by
the Shadovar, crossing warm-blooded carnivorous orcas with vile shadow creatures.
These serpents hunted in packs both in the sea and on land.[35]
RealmsEdit

Only two deities were known to have claimed the Plane of Shadow as their home:

Mask, the Master of all Thieves and Lord of Shadows had a realm on this plane
called Shadow Keep. It was made out of shadowstuff and was extremely difficult to
see even when standing right next to it.[28]
Shar, Mistress of the Night and Lady of Loss, once resided in a high tower
called the Palace of Loss. It had no apparent means of entry or exit, but her
followers had no trouble gaining access. She sometimes kept prisoners there so she
could enjoy their suffering.[28] After the Spellplague, she moved her abode to the
Towers of Night and left behind a deep dark hole guarded by evil creatures. This
Foundation of Loss exuded palpable grief and was reported to contain a portal to
her home in the Towers of Night.[10]

HistoryEdit

The earliest known conscious interaction of the peoples of Toril with the Plane of
Shadow was in the time of the Imaskari empire. In the Late period, circa -3500 DR,
the archwizard Madryoch the Ebon Flame was focused on researching the secrets of
the Shadow Plane and plotted to use its dark power to overthrow Lord Artificer
Omanond. His plans were thwarted by a young adept named Hilather.[36] Knowledge of
the existence of the Plane of Shadow was presumably lost with the fall of the
Imaskari empire because it was some three thousand years later, in the Year of
Plentiful Wine, -533 DR, that the Netherese rediscovered it and began their study.
[37]

In 1235 DR, the Black Horde attacked Faern. The Horde defeated Eldrith the
Betrayer, who would go on to betray Baldur's Gate. They killed her and she was
reborn out of hatred. In her soul of hatred, the Onyx Tower was created and tied to
her life. The Onyx Heart was located in the Plane of Shadow and only with its
destruction could the Onyx Tower be destroyed.[38]
An adventurer and their companions were exploring the ruined Netherese city of
Undrentide in the Year of Wild Magic, 1372 DR. In an Arcanist's Tower, they slipped
through portals into its dark reflection on the Shadow Plane, where they
encountered shades. The adventurer later escaped impending doom by traveling back
to the Plane of Shadow using a magic mirror.[39]

Although the souls of the dead did not begin to be drawn to the Shadow Plane until
after the Spellplague and Shar transformed it into the Shadowfell,[14] it was
possible to trap a soul there. Notably, this happened to a king of Damara, Gareth
Dragonsbane, in the Year of Rogue Dragons, 1373 DR, by a cabal of wizards allied to
the lich Sammaster. King Gareth's soul was rescued in the following year by a
phalanx of paladins led by the smoke drake Brimstone.[40]

In the Year of Lightning Storms, 1374 DR, Sharran and Cyricist cultists based in
the Shadow Swamp on the Plane of Shadow, plotted to tear apart the Weave from the
Black Rift. Adventurers pursued them through the Dusk Lord's Passage to the Shadow
Swamp and disrupted their efforts, and found the Black Chronology among their
detritus.[8] That same year, a rift to the Shadow Plane was opened in the skies
over Sembia and the city of Ordulin was destroyed when a shadowy tract of land fell
on it.[41]

In 1376 DR, eight brave heroes ventured into the Plane of Shadow and defeated one
of its guardians, Mordoc SeLanmere, and destroyed the Onyx Heart.[42]
Notable LocationsEdit

Chaulssin
Located almost ten miles (sixteen kilometers) below the surface of northwest
Faern, beneath the northernmost peak of the Rauvin Mountains,[43] this was
originally a drow city that was captured by shadow dragons in the Year of Shambling
Shadows, -221 DR. Under the influence of shadow dragons for hundreds of years, the
city was slowly absorbed by the Plane of Shadow[44] until their overthrow in the
Year of the Darkspawn, 634 DR.[45] Abandoned in the Year of the Splendid Stag, 734
DR,[46] the fringe of the Shadow Plane continued to ebb and flow through streets
and buildings filled with dangerous Shadow creatures.[47] Chaulssin was
reestablished in the Year of the Shadowkin Return, 1136 DR, by House Jaezred as a
base for the shadow dragonblooded drow assassins.[48][49]
Chaul'mur'ssin
This city was established on the Plane of Shadow by the inhabitants of
Chaulssin after fleeing an advancing army from Menzoberranzan in 734 DR.[46] The
Chaulssinyr hastily traveled through dangerous caverns until they found the
abandoned lairs of their shadow dragon progenitors and claimed them, eking out an
existence. Eventually the city thrived and became a power that demanded respect.
[47]
Mulsantir
Travel between the Shadow Plane and the Prime Material Plane was possible in
certain places in Mulsantir at certain times of day. Shadow Mulsantir contained a
Temple of Myrkul, in the place where a Shrine to Kelemvor stood on the Prime.
Within this temple was found a portal leading to Kelemvor's domain, the Fugue
Plane.[50]
Shadow Swamp
The Vast Swamp between Cormyr and Sembia had a Shadow Plane counterpart, called
the Shadow Swamp. Although the environment was similar in many ways, it was a great
black swamp, where the water was dark and still and only moved sluggishly through
the channels. Nevertheless, the landscape was different; there seemed to be more
water than in the fast-growing Vast Swamp. Sites in the Vast Swamp had echoes here:
the Lost Refuge in the material world had a counterpart in the so-called Shadow
Citadel, which followed the same plan but was even more ruined. A portal called the
Dusk Lord's Passage linked the two.[8] On the other hand, a flooded fissure that
formed an ordinary lakebed in the Vast Swamp was reflected in an empty canyon in
the Shadow Swamp, known as the Black Rift. Swamp water flowed in on all sides, yet
the water at the bottom never rose and never seemed to drain out, an entirely
unexplained phenomena of the plane. The Black Rift was especially morphicalthough
it remained more-or-less the same shape overall, local changes in terrain were
extreme and bizarre. The interplay between the magical Weave and the Shadow Weave
was especially malleable, a trait which attracted the followers of Shar.[19]
Sphur Upra
Located nine miles (over fourteen kilometers) below the surface of east Faern,
between the surface nations of Mulhorand and Murghm,[51] this city was established
on the Shadow Plane in -2954 DR by five gloaming families seeking security and
community. After almost 3,500 years, they expanded their city by creating portals
to the Material Plane in the Year of the Spitting Viper, 534 DR, and became a major
trading post for goods between the two planes.[52]
Thultanthar (City of Shade)
This floating enclave of Netherese origin entered the Plane of Shadow just
before Karsus's Folly brought down the empire in Year of Sundered Webs, -339 DR.
[53] Over the centuries, its population acclimated to the new environment and
became known as shades. In the Year of Wild Magic, 1372 DR, Thultanthar was brought
back to the Material Plane and became known as the City of Shade.[54][55] The
inhabitants then began the rebuilding of the Netherese empire.[56]

PhenomenaEdit

Known as "shadowstuff",[57] the material of the Shadow Plane could be manipulated


by illusionists to form semi-real monsters[58] and quasi-real evocations[59] that
were still effective (to a lesser degree) even if the target successfully
disbelieved the illusion.[58][59]

Another tool of illusionists was the shadow well spell, which could turn a
creature's shadow into a temporary gateway into the Shadow Plane. If successful,
the victim was sucked into the Shadow Plane through his or her shadow and spent a
few moments in a pocket realm (a very tiny demiplane attached to the Shadow Plane)
being terrorized by dark phantasms. No physical harm resulted from this spell, but
mental and emotional trauma resulting in a fear response was possible.[60]

An unsuccessful attempt to build a gate to the Shadow Plane could result in what
was termed a failed Shadow Gate. A being that stepped through one was taken only
momentarily to the Plane of Shadow, but in that moment a "seed of shadow" was
implanted in their flesh. This could cause their flesh to be subsumed by shadow,
and they would see it mist away into darkness. Many died, reduced to bare
skeletons, but those who survived acquired the powers of a dark creature.[61]
Rumors and LegendsEdit

The special and unique nature of this plane caused not only cosmologists to
speculate about its origins, but visitors and planar travelers as well. Some
believed the Plane of Shadow had spontaneously formed as a demiplane out of the
Ethereal Plane.[3] Others believed that it was created by the primordials as an
echo of the Prime Material Plane.[citation needed]

However, most cosmologists and planeswalkers with a sense of adventure liked to


talk about the legend of the Shining Citadel. Briefly, the legend postulated that
the Plane of Shadow was once bright and colorful like the Material Plane, but at
some point in the distant past a mysterious group who worshiped the plane's creator
took all of the light, color, and most of the life-force from the rest of the plane
and concentrated it into a mighty citadel. One would think that a structure
containing most of the energy from an entire plane of existence would be hard to
miss, but no one has ever found the Shining Citadel, except perhaps, as the legend
states, those who venture into the deepest parts of the Plane of Shadows and never
return.[16]
A theory bandied about among sages stated that the Underdark was bottomless because
it eventually became the Plane of Shadow. The only evidence supporting this
hypothesis was that permanent portals to the Shadow Plane were increasingly common
the deeper one delved.[62]
AppendixEdit
AppearancesEdit

Novels

The Shadow Stone

Adventures

Cormyr: The Tearing of the Weave

Video games

Baldur's Gate: Dark Alliance


Baldur's Gate: Dark Alliance II
Neverwinter Nights: Shadows of Undrentide
Neverwinter Nights 2: Mask of the Betrayer

GalleryEdit
Neverwinter Nights 2 - Plane of Shadow 4
A part of the village of Mulsantir in the Shadow Plane in Neverwinter Nights 2:
Mask of the Betrayer.
Neverwinter Nights 2 - Plane of Shadow 3
A part of the village of Mulsantir with a dark grove to the right and the temple to
Myrkul in the distance.
Neverwinter Nights 2 - Plane of Shadow 2
A part of the village of Mulsantir with the temple to Myrkul in the distance.
Neverwinter Nights 2 - Plane of Shadow
A theater in Mulsantir.

Add a photo to this gallery


NotesEdit

? In 3rd edition, the Forgotten Realms Shadow Plane had the Mildly Evil-Aligned
trait, whereas the core D&D Shadow Plane was Mildly Neutral-Aligned. However, the
Realms-set Cormyr: The Tearing of the Weave adventure also makes the Shadow Plane
Mildly Neutral-Aligned, perhaps erroneously following the core version.
? The Player's Guide to Faern states on page 165 that the malaugryms are
actually native to a small demiplane attached to the Plane of Shadow.

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0-7869-1836-5.
? Snowblind Studios (2001). Chris Avellone, Ezra Dreisbach, Ryan Geithman.
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? Floodgate Entertainment, BioWare (2003). Trent Oster, Paul Neurath, Brent
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? Brian R. James and Ed Greenwood (September, 2007). The Grand History of the
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? Obsidian Entertainment (2007). Kevin D. Saunders. Neverwinter Nights 2: Mask
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Underdark. (Wizards of the Coast), p. 177. ISBN 0-7869-3053-5.
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? Brian R. James and Ed Greenwood (September, 2007). The Grand History of the
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0-7869-1836-5.
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8694-119-7.
? Bruce R. Cordell, Gwendolyn F.M. Kestrel, Jeff Quick (October 2003).
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