Shade (3.5e Monster)

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Author: ThunderGod Cid (talk)
Date Created: May 13, 2015
Status: Complete
Editing: Clarity edits only please
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Size/Type: Medium Aberration (Shapechanger)
Hit Dice: 3d8+6 (20 hp)
Initiative: +6
Speed: 30 ft. (6 squares)
Armor Class: 15 (+2 Dex, +3 natural), touch 12, flat-footed 13
Base Attack/Grapple: +2/+4
Attack: Slam +4 melee (1d8+2)
Full Attack: Slam +4 melee (1d8+2)
Space/Reach: 5 ft./5 ft.
Special Attacks: Copy
Special Qualities: Low-light vision, shape, stalk
Saves: Fort +3, Ref +5, Will +3
Abilities: Str 14, Dex 14, Con 14, Int 14, Wis 14, Cha 14
Skills: Hide +7, Listen +6, Spot +6
Feats: Adaptable Technique, Improved Initiative
Environment: Any
Organization: Solitary
Challenge Rating: 3
Treasure: Standard
Alignment: Usually chaotic neutral
Advancement: -
Level Adjustment: -

It's not the dark we fear. It's the things that lurk within.

A humanoid figure steps—with what seems to be great reluctance—into the light, which is absorbed by its pitch black form. It has no face, seemingly no defining features at all, but still braves the light to jump at you with undoubtedly deadly intentions.

Shadows as they exist in the SRD are a problematic creature. They don’t make a terrible amount of sense as undead, given that they are really just bunches of shadowstuff given form. More applicably, incorporeal undead at low Challenge Ratings before players have access to the appropriate gear/abilities for fighting them can result in nasty TKO’s that are not fun for a game.

So we changed the shadow (hereafter referred to as a "shade") significantly, and not just by giving it a new name. For one, it’s no longer an undead, but rather an aberration. While an alien and malleable creature, it’s very much alive.

A shade does not speak of its own accord; the only words it ever utters are in imitation of another creature, a guttural and hoarse version of the original creature’s voice that manifests when it uses the Copy ability (see below). Just as it lacks a voice, so too does it lack a face or identity, and as a result a shade tends to meander without purpose until someone particularly flamboyant and interesting happens along its path. Another possibility is that it actively seeks out such people, cobbling together its own persona from fragments of others.

Whatever the case, the shade will often trail that person until it becomes bored or the target being followed meets their doom. Whether the shade is encountered as an enemy or ally could potentially hinge on that distinction, since they may be inclined to help the interesting person to prolong the learning experience.


A shade makes maximum use of its ability to conceal itself before attacking, and is generally passive throughout the first stages of battle. A jealous creature, the shade lacks any particularly defining abilities of its own, instead waiting for other combat participants to use useful skills that the shade can replicate.

Copy: Once per round, a shade can replicate a spell, extraordinary ability, supernatural ability, or spell-like ability used by an opponent or ally in the current or previous round, provided the target has a CR less than or equal to that of the shade (thus determining whether the shade could use the ability or not). Using these abilities takes the same action that it required for the original source, but any level-dependent variables or save DC’s are calculated using the shade’s vital statistics, rather than those of the original source.

Shape (Ex): When in darkness, a shade automatically gains concealment. Daylight or a similar light-producing effect negates this concealment. When in the area of such an effect, the shade cannot hide or gain concealment (any attempts to do so whilst still in the light automatically fail).

Stalk (Ex): A shadow can partially alter the structure of its body as a swift action, changing from its default size of Medium to Small or Large size (and gaining all benefits and drawbacks thereof).

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