Shade (3.5e Race)

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Adopter: Spanambula (talk)
Original Author: Anonymous (talk)
Date Created: 24-10-2014
Date Adopted: 15 January 2015
Status: Shady
Editing: Clarity edits only please
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Shades are the shadowy souls of the slain, warped by failed attempts to resurrection them. The soul is not returned to it's original body, nor allowed to travel on to their afterlife, so the shade materializes, born full-sized into an unhappy half-life. No one knows for sure how or why a soul becomes a shade when resurrection magic fails. Shades are neither truly living nor dead, though they have characteristics of both.


Shades aren't the happiest of races. A shade is created knowing that it was once a living creature, but having no memory of its previous life except for brief, disorienting flashes. All shades have the reincarnated misfortune flaw, but gain no bonus feat from it. Many shades keep to themselves and seek the greatest isolation possible, lashing out violently at those who would intrude on their misery and solitude. Some seek out a life on the plane of shadow, where at least they feel less like anathema, while others retreat far underground, away from the light of the sun. Some shades seek new purpose in their new existence, often finding work among the criminal element. Few shades attempt to rejoin civilization, and those that do have a difficult time. However, most shades who do so have a surprisingly positive outlook and seek out new skills to master, new adventures and new experiences to replace the ones they know they have lost.

Physical Description[edit]

A shade has a vague physical resemblance to the race and gender it had in it's previous life, though all shades are of medium size and roughly humanoid in shape. A shade appears to have been dipped in black paint: their skin has a velvet look to it, reflecting just enough light for others to distinguish their individual features. A shade's black eyes have an oily sheen, and possess no visible corona or pupil. A shade's body is partially composed of material from the plane of shadow, which makes them weigh very little. A shade's body produces no heat, so is either cold or room temperature. All clothes, armor, weapons, and other items they carry begin losing their color within several minutes of being held until the items are a dark charcoal gray. These items return to normal coloration after being removed from the shade. This is an extraordinary effect, and cannot be hidden or changed by illusions (such as prestidigitation) unless the caster level is greater than the shade's HD.

Shades do not accrue aging penalties, but they are not quite immortal. As a shade reaches its maximum age it begins to fade away over the course of a few days, then reappears on the plane of shadow. From that point on, the shade can never travel to another plane, any attempt to do so will destroy it utterly. Shades in the plane of shadow do eventually disappear, though what happens to them when they do so is unknown. Shades believe (or fervently hope) that when they disappear for good, their souls finally travel on to the afterlife they were denied when they became shades and regain all their lost memories. Shades who are slain end up on an outer plane that best suits the outlook/alignment/religious convictions they have chosen as a shade.


Oddly, shades garner quite a bit of sympathy and understanding from most adventuring classes. Adventurers view shades as a soldier might view a disabled veteran; acknowledging that the shade's fate is but one of many unpleasant fates that might someday befall them. Even paladins and clerics understand that the shade did not choose to be what it is, and treat shades with more leniency than they would other creatures of dark and shadowy natures. However, given a shade's tendency to associate with less lawful elements, most civilized people view shades with mistrust and suspicion.


Shades can be of any alignment, though very few are good or lawful. Chaotic evil shades tend to be maddened loners, while neutral evil shades can often be found in the employ of other evil creatures or criminal organizations. Neutral shades may often be found living among other races (albeit usually very carefully), while chaotic neutral and neutral good shades are the ones who most frequently associate with other adventurers.


Outside of the plane of shadow, shades have no lands of their own. Those who seek to lawfully coexist with other races in civilized areas often employ magic disguises to better fit in (if they can afford them). Those who seek out new fortunes as adventurers usually do the same. Shades who live among civilized races in a less than lawful manner tend to take up residence in undesirable places, such as sewers, dungeons, or forgotten places. Such shades often use their incorporeal step to enter and exit their dwelling places, boarding up and sealing all other entrances. If a shade remains in one dwelling for a period of more than a few months, the objects in the shade's dwelling become leeched of their color as well.


Often shades take on religion with whatever organizations will accept them, not out of personal conviction but for the protection that belonging entails. Other shades scorn religions belief, angry at the gods for their fate. While no two shades are exactly alike in belief, those who chose to devote themselves to a deity usually choose those gods and goddesses associated with darkness, shadow, chaos and undeath.


Shades have vague memories of the languages they spoke in their previous life, but remembering how to speak, read, and write is difficult for them. Shades begin with no languages known, and must spend a skill point in order to learn (or re-learn) a language, even Common. Fortunately, speak language is always considered a class skill for a shade.


Shades cannot remember their names from their previous lives. They usually choose new names for themselves, which can be anything from an object they see, to a name dimly remembered but bereft of former significance, to a string of nonsense syllables.

Racial Traits[edit]

  • +2 Dexterity, -2 Constitution, +2 Intelligence or +2 Wisdom or +2 Charisma: Shades are quick and intense of spirit, though their bodies, suffused with shadow essence, are more frail than most.
  • Humanoid (Planetouched): Shades are strongly affiliated with the plane of shadow. 
  • Medium: As a Medium creature, a shade has no special bonuses or penalties due to its size.
  • Shade base land speed is 30 feet.  
  • Shadowbodied (Ex): While not an outsider, a shade's body and soul is much more closely bound than normal natives of the material plane. When a shade is killed, the body fades away into nothingness in a number of hours equal to it's hit dice, leaving all it's gear behind. However, a shade can be raised and resurrected using any medium-sized patch of shadow instead of the body if the original body has already faded away. Shades sleep, but do not eat or breathe, drawing sustenance from the plane of shadow. Spells with the [Darkness] descriptor that deal hit point damage instead heal shades for half the amount of damage dealt. 
  • Half-Living (Ex): Shades are not fully alive, but they are not undead either. They take half healing from all positive and half damage from all negative energy effects. Shades can be detected by spells and effects that detect both living creatures and undead. Turn or Rebuke Undead attempts can affect them: a successful attempt gives a shade a -2 penalty to attacks, saves, and skill checks for 1 minute. If the turn attempt would normally destroy or command a shade, the shade is instead dazed for 1d4 rounds. Mindless undead will ignore a shade unless the shade commits a hostile act. Shades are immune to any effects which would affect the soul, including abilities which would remove or trap the soul, immune to non-magical disease and have cold resistance equal to their HD. 
  • Light Vulnerability (Ex): In areas of direct sunlight (or spells that create the equivalent of sunlight), shades become dazzled. They also take a -1 penalty to saves against spells or effects with the [light] descriptor. 
  • Shadow Sight (Ex): Shades can see perfectly in darkness, even magical darkness, just as though it was full daylight (technically they see better, since actual daylight dazzles them. But you know what I mean). They cannot, however, see through fog or other similar effects that obscure vision. 
  • Incorporeal Step (Su): Shades are not incorporeal, but they can become so for brief periods. While moving, a shade can become incorporeal, gaining a hover speed equal to his base land speed for the duration of his move. This allows him to pass through solid objects, though a shade must begin and end his movement in an otherwise empty square, and occupied squares count as difficult terrain. When the shade ends his movement, the incorporeality ends as well. If a shade would end his movement in an illegal square, he is shunted backwards into the closest available square, falling prone and taking 1d6 damage for each occupied square he was forced back through. A shade can move vertically as well, but must end his movement on solid ground or the shade will fall. Falling and other involuntary movement (such as being pushed backwards by a bull rush) does not trigger the shade's incorporeal state. A shade can use Incorporeal Step with a double move or even a run action, but once the movement has ended the shade cannot use this ability again for 1d4 rounds. Upon gaining 10 HD, the shade can use this ability every other round, and gains a 10-foot increase to his base land speed while incorporeal. At 15 HD the shade can use this ability at-will, and no longer treats occupied squares as difficult terrain. 
  • Skills (Ex): Shades receive a +4 bonus to hide checks, which increases to +8 in areas of shadowy illumination. Upon reaching 8HD, a shade may make a hide check even while being observed so long as the shade is in some sort of shadow (a shade cannot hide in its own shadow). Being extraordinarily light weight, they receive a +2 racial bonus on all climb checks, and may use their Dexterity modifier instead of their Strength modifier. 
  • Saves (Ex): Shades receive a +2 racial bonus to saves against mind-affecting spells, spell-like abilities and effects.
  • Automatic Languages: none
  • Bonus Languages: none
  • Favored Class: Rogue
  • Level Adjustment: +1
  • Effective Character Level: 2

Vital Statistics[edit]

Table: Shade Random Starting Ages
Adulthood Simple Moderate Complex
-- years +1d3 +1d6 +3d4
Table: Shade Aging Effects
Middle Age1 Old2 Venerable3 Maximum Age
50 years 90 years 130 years +3d10 years
  1. At middle age, −1 to Str, Dex, and Con; +1 to Int, Wis, and Cha.
  2. At old age, −2 to Str, Dex, and Con; +1 to Int, Wis, and Cha.
  3. At venerable age, −3 to Str, Dex, and Con; +1 to Int, Wis, and Cha.
Table: Shade Random Height and Weight
Gender Base Height Height Modifier Base Weight Weight Modifier
Male 5' 0" +3d6 65 lb. × (2d10) lb.
Female 4' 9" +3d6 55 lb. × (2d8) lb.

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Facts about "Shade (3.5e Race)"
AdopterSpanambula +
AuthorAnonymous +
Effective Character Level2 +
Favored ClassRogue +
Identifier3.5e Race +
Level Adjustment1 +
Racial Ability Adjustments+2 Dexterity +, -2 Constitution + and +2 Intelligence or +2 Wisdom or +2 Charisma +
RatingUnrated +
SizeMedium +
SubtypePlanetouched +
SummaryShades are the shadowy souls of the slain, warped by failed attempts to resurrection them. The soul is not returned to it's original body, nor allowed to travel on to their afterlife, so the shade materializes, born full-sized into an unhappy half-life. +
TitleShade +
TypeHumanoid +