As the Book of Beasts: Monsters of the Shadow Plane is hitting store shelves, I would like to talk about what kind of adventures you can expect from the Shadowsfall setting. The bulk of the Free RPG Day adventure, Shadowsfall: Temple of Orcus, was finished over the weekend, and I’m now about to move onto the main part of Shadowsfall: Player’s Guide to the Shadow Plane and I want to talk about what I expect to put in that book.
First and formost as a character you will find options. These options include class archetypes, traits, feats spells and of course new races. Shadowsfall prominently features four races: fetchling, dhampir, umbral kobold and wanderer. Traditional races such as elves and dwarves are present as well, but we wanted to highlight these newer races that have not received as much detail as their standard fantasy brethren.
The fetchling is the Plane of Shadows equivilent of human. Humans living on the Plane of Shadows were twisted over the course of generations and turned into outsiders native to Shadowsfall.
The half-vampiric race called dhampir is also a highlighted race in the book. With all the interaction between the living and the undead, half-dead scions were bound to spring up. And with undead creatures so much more prominent here than on most published campaign settings, their offspring are also more common. The basic racial descriptions for these can be found in Paizo’s Bestiary 2 as well as the upcoming Advanced Race Guide.
Two new races will also be described within: the umbral kobold and the wanderer. The umbral kobold is simply a kobold that we feel is balanced with the standard races from the Pathfinder Core Rulebook. Now a player can play their favorite draconic race without feeling behind the curve of others in the party.
The wanderer is an entirely new race. The inspiration for this originally came from the hellbred race from the Fiendish Codex II. That race was someone that was evil in their former life and with their last dying breath recanted. These beings were returned to life but had the taint of evil on them. A race like that spoke to me as being full of role playing opportunities and character development. I wanted a race that was equally as evocative in my campaign. The core concept of the wander is: the character was once an angel (or an archon or some other good-aligned celestial) that wound up being good, but not good enough. They choose the lesser good over the greater good. Or they requested to live a mortal life. Or some other event happened that allowed them to leave without being twisted into a devil/demon/daemon/etc. Over time, these former celestial beings found their way to the Plane of Shadows where they now wander in darkness. Some settle into cities but most choose to wander the wastelands of the Shadow Plane searching out whatever is lost or forgotten in your favorite campaign setting.
I’m not quite ready to talk about the other character options yet but the other big part of the player’s guide contains spoiler free information on the Plane of Shadows. This is all material a character could obtain with a low Knowledge (planes) roll so it is ideal for a campaign where you start off in your favorite campaign setting and then move to Shadowsfall. Plus there is information there on daily life on the Plane of Shadows, allowing a character born and raised there to know how life differs from their Material Plane brethren. Plus there will be lots of hooks that you can build a character on. Hooks like the roving bands of survivalists that evade the undead hordes when they can and fight when they must; citizens of protected cities who defend an area just large enough to sustain the people in the city; and monestaries and other places that are not easily noticed and whose people excel at stealth. All these hooks make it perfect for someone looking to run an entire campaign on the Plane of Shadows.
That’s all I can share today. I’ll be detailing the design process more as time goes.
Dale C. McCoy Jr. is President on Jon Brazer Enterprises. Read Shadowsfall Legends: Pawn, Deception and Sacrifice – Valdia’s Tale, the first story taking place in Shadowsfall, written by Mur Lafferty.