If you’re going to have a Plane of Shadow, you need shadow creatures. Open the Bestiary 4, add shadow template, and voila—you’re done! Right?
So what’s interesting about shadow creatures isn’t in their stats; it’s in the fluff—the suggestion that aggregations of shadow creatures manage to somehow carry the gloom of the Shadow Plane with them into the Material. And the new shadow lord template doubles down on that suggestion, with a cloying doom blast, a variety of shadow-related magic (including shadow conjurations), and planar thinning—the ability to smudge the borders between the planes so much that the shadow lord creates a temporary gate. Given that creatures as low as 5 Hit Dice (typically intelligent humanoids) can be shadow lords, and you have creatures who can potentially wreak havoc on a grand scale.
With that in mind, here are some adventure seeds that try to take advantage of this suggestion of shadow creatures being not just Shadow Plane inhabitants, but also as dark and dire colonists…
Fleeing orcs on the warpath, adventurers are offered escape by shadow gnomes who guide them to the Plane of Shadow. Once there, the mystifying shadow gnomes seem to recognize little difference between the Material Plane and Shadow Planes, and ignore any entreaties from the party to return them home. They consider their part of the bargain fulfilled, and consider further discussion of the matter—or refusal of prompt payment in gold—as an invitation to violence.
The Shadow Plane that borders the world of Agard isn’t just a dark reflection—it’s alive. The walls appear to have pores. The plants seem to breathe. Furniture scuttles in one’s peripheral vision. Mighty trees on Agard reach out like assassin vines in Shadow Agard. And in Shadow Agard’s darkest caverns, stalagmites are reborn as hungry shadow ropers, drawing victims from both worlds into their toothy umbral mouths.
Some crystal spheres are more crystal than others. The brilliant sphere of Diamondheart replaces the black of space with blinding white in all directions—the light from three central suns reflected back by the geode-like sphere’s glittering interior. Fleeing a mu spore incursion on their homeworld, the first settlers to reach Diamondheart thought they would go mad…until a delegation of shadow lords appeared literally out of nowhere and offered a solution. Only now, decades later, do the First Hearts realize the darkness in the souls of their saviors…and the cost of the crushing caste system they have been living under, where shadow lords control light, dark, and life throughout an entire solar system with iron fists.
—Pathfinder Bestiary 4 238–239
Posting early because Otakon! #tumblrgrammar
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