Shadowdancer Lore

You have questions? We may have answers.

Moderators: Active DMs, Forum Moderators

Post Reply
User avatar
Aren
Posts: 339
Joined: Fri Jul 07, 2017 10:27 pm

Shadowdancer Lore

Post by Aren » Sat Jun 06, 2020 4:30 pm

So, the information about the shadows that shadowdancers summon, is scarce.
So I am asking here: What is the official stance on the origins of this outsider being that seems tethered to a player character? Why do most people accept this particular type of outsider, when fiends and undead are not accepted?

(I am not trying to stir anything up, I am genuinely curious.)
Jack Oat: ".. the other number that isn't 18."

User avatar
The Rambling Midget
Arelith Supporter
Arelith Supporter
Posts: 2979
Joined: Mon Sep 08, 2014 2:02 am
Location: Wandering Aimlessly in the Wiki

Re: Shadowdancer Lore

Post by The Rambling Midget » Sat Jun 06, 2020 4:42 pm

Most people accept it because of how it's RPed. Anyone is absolutely within their rights to say "What You See Is What You Get", and that shadow right there is an Evil Outsider, but since the majority of SDs I've seen RP as manipulating their own shadow, Peter Pan style, there isn't very much IC public support for those who complain about it.

That flexibility doesn't extend to Undead and Fiends, because there's absolutely no plausible way to RP around having summoned or created those evil and socially unacceptable creatures.

So, to answer your question, that particular type of "Outsider" is accepted, because the general playerbase RP consensus is that it's not an Outsider.
The Beginner's Guide to Factions
New to Arelith? Read this!
This is not a single player game. -Mithreas
You have enemies? Good. That means you've stood up for something, sometime in your life. -Winston Churchill

User avatar
Aren
Posts: 339
Joined: Fri Jul 07, 2017 10:27 pm

Re: Shadowdancer Lore

Post by Aren » Sat Jun 06, 2020 4:50 pm

Thanks for the feedback TRM!
But your post confirmed my suspicions. There seems to be no consensus about these beings, other than they are “benign”, and people can RP them as they like.

I would love some official input about the origins of these outsiders.
Jack Oat: ".. the other number that isn't 18."

Drowboy
Posts: 203
Joined: Mon Mar 16, 2020 8:30 am

Re: Shadowdancer Lore

Post by Drowboy » Sat Jun 06, 2020 5:14 pm

Pretty sure the outsider is either neutral or matches the SDs alignment, actually. Specifically changed from vanilla type thing. Also they're pretty explicitly, more so with epic shadowlord, an out and out magic copy of the SD, so you'd run into some logic problems there with the 'it's a demon equivalent' thing.
Archnon wrote: I like the idea of slaves and slavery.

User avatar
Aren
Posts: 339
Joined: Fri Jul 07, 2017 10:27 pm

Re: Shadowdancer Lore

Post by Aren » Sat Jun 06, 2020 5:21 pm

Drowboy wrote:
Sat Jun 06, 2020 5:14 pm
Pretty sure the outsider is either neutral or matches the SDs alignment, actually. Specifically changed from vanilla type thing. Also they're pretty explicitly, more so with epic shadowlord, an out and out magic copy of the SD, so you'd run into some logic problems there with the 'it's a demon equivalent' thing.
I’m not trying to pass it if as such. I’m just wondering what the origins of the shadow is? What is the plane of existence from which it is summoned? And *what* is it?
The Peter Pan analogy seems far fetched to me.
Jack Oat: ".. the other number that isn't 18."

Aelryn Bloodmoon
Arelith Supporter
Arelith Supporter
Posts: 1754
Joined: Thu Sep 11, 2014 4:57 pm

Re: Shadowdancer Lore

Post by Aelryn Bloodmoon » Sat Jun 06, 2020 5:28 pm

Do you want an Arelith lore reason, or a table-top RAW lore reason?

On Arelith, if you examine a shadowdancer's shadow, the description specifies that it's not your average undead shade. That's the Arelith reason.

The RAW reason is a little different.
At 3rd level, a shadowdancer can summon a shadow, an undead shade. Unlike a normal shadow, this shadow’s alignment matches that of the shadowdancer, and the creature cannot create spawn. The summoned shadow cannot be turned, rebuked, or commanded by any third party. This shadow serves as a companion to the shadowdancer and can communicate intelligibly with the shadowdancer. Every third level gained by the shadowdancer adds +2 HD (and the requisite base attack and base save bonus increases) to her shadow companion.
Bolded and underlined, the RAW says these shadows are not automatically evil, and that they don't create spawn. You could argue that it's a pretty niche difference, and that it's still undead to most uninformed characters. I'd agree with you, especially if you're playing, say, a druid. Most characters would normally have no way to distinguish between them, and some that can ought to not care (druids can lose their powers the same way a paladin can for not upholding their oaths, and part of those oaths is the destruction/non-condoning of undead).

These shadows are actually still supposed to be undead, with most of their immunities and drawbacks (not being able to enter a place warded against undead without penalties, not being able to take healing spells, etc), but on Arelith, they are clearly labelled outsiders on examine - so mostly, you have freely accessible Arelith information overriding the lore, in this case, and that's why.

They're probably outsiders to grant the turning immunity they're supposed to get.
Bane's tyranny is known throughout the continent, and his is the image most seen as the face of evil.
-Faiths and Pantheons (c)2002

User avatar
The Rambling Midget
Arelith Supporter
Arelith Supporter
Posts: 2979
Joined: Mon Sep 08, 2014 2:02 am
Location: Wandering Aimlessly in the Wiki

Re: Shadowdancer Lore

Post by The Rambling Midget » Sat Jun 06, 2020 6:25 pm

Aren wrote:
Sat Jun 06, 2020 5:21 pm
I’m not trying to pass it if as such. I’m just wondering what the origins of the shadow is? What is the plane of existence from which it is summoned? And *what* is it?
It's starting to feel like you're searching for a single absolute by which to judge others' RP around the SD shadow.

As far as I'm aware, there's been no ruling about it, and SDs have been pretty free to RP within the bounds of good taste. It might help us provide a more satisfying answer if we understood why you're asking.
The Beginner's Guide to Factions
New to Arelith? Read this!
This is not a single player game. -Mithreas
You have enemies? Good. That means you've stood up for something, sometime in your life. -Winston Churchill

Drowboy
Posts: 203
Joined: Mon Mar 16, 2020 8:30 am

Re: Shadowdancer Lore

Post by Drowboy » Sat Jun 06, 2020 6:38 pm

Barring, say, 'warlocks evil and on purpose' and 'hexblade evil and on purpose' we've never really gotten definitive lore for any Arelith mechanics that I can think of.
Archnon wrote: I like the idea of slaves and slavery.

Hinty
Posts: 137
Joined: Wed Aug 08, 2018 1:03 am

Re: Shadowdancer Lore

Post by Hinty » Sat Jun 06, 2020 6:40 pm

A Shadow Dancers Shadow on Arelith is not undead. It has none of the ability drain abilities, and it does not create new Shadows. So it is not a Shadow in the sense of the monstrous manual creature. (Of course, most of the Shadows in the Arelith Forest are also not Undead, but I think that is an oversight from the creator)

It would be either an illusion of the shadow subtype, and thus not actually a creature at all, or ... well to be honest in FR Lore that would be what makes the most sense. If not then it is an Arelith created planar creature from the plane of shadows.

Summoning outsiders is not something that is inherently evil nor a source of ostracism. Remember, those Archons and Celestials the Good aligned characters summon are Outsiders, as are Slaadi. Theoretically so are the animals summoned by the summon creature spells, if I recall correctly the spell pulls a creature of the appropriate challenge rating from a plane similarly aligned to the summoner.

The Plane of Shadow is a Neutral aligned plane. It has areas that are infused with negative energy that draw undead creatures, and of course, its lack of light is appealing to a number of less savory evil types, (I am sure more than a few Vampires have opted to build lairs there because of that) but the plane itself is not evil, nor does it in any way affect its inhabitants to shift them towards an evil alignment, so there are plenty of neutral native creatures, and good aligned inhabitants are entirely possible.

Since no definitive answer is given you are free to RP it as you will. A Creature of independent will summoned from the Plane of Shadow that takes on the summoners form because it lacks an understanding of physicality or life on the Prime perhaps, or an Illusion made of material conjured from the Plane of Shadow entirely controlled by the will of the Dancer are the two options that make the most sense. (RPing it as an actual Shadow as in the undead creature from the MM makes less sense, since it lacks the mechanical label and thus has not vulnerability to any items spells or abilities that specifically target undead.)

User avatar
Aren
Posts: 339
Joined: Fri Jul 07, 2017 10:27 pm

Re: Shadowdancer Lore

Post by Aren » Sat Jun 06, 2020 7:28 pm

Hinty wrote:
Sat Jun 06, 2020 6:40 pm
A Shadow Dancers Shadow on Arelith is not undead. It has none of the ability drain abilities, and it does not create new Shadows. So it is not a Shadow in the sense of the monstrous manual creature. (Of course, most of the Shadows in the Arelith Forest are also not Undead, but I think that is an oversight from the creator)

It would be either an illusion of the shadow subtype, and thus not actually a creature at all, or ... well to be honest in FR Lore that would be what makes the most sense. If not then it is an Arelith created planar creature from the plane of shadows.

Summoning outsiders is not something that is inherently evil nor a source of ostracism. Remember, those Archons and Celestials the Good aligned characters summon are Outsiders, as are Slaadi. Theoretically so are the animals summoned by the summon creature spells, if I recall correctly the spell pulls a creature of the appropriate challenge rating from a plane similarly aligned to the summoner.

The Plane of Shadow is a Neutral aligned plane. It has areas that are infused with negative energy that draw undead creatures, and of course, its lack of light is appealing to a number of less savory evil types, (I am sure more than a few Vampires have opted to build lairs there because of that) but the plane itself is not evil, nor does it in any way affect its inhabitants to shift them towards an evil alignment, so there are plenty of neutral native creatures, and good aligned inhabitants are entirely possible.

Since no definitive answer is given you are free to RP it as you will. A Creature of independent will summoned from the Plane of Shadow that takes on the summoners form because it lacks an understanding of physicality or life on the Prime perhaps, or an Illusion made of material conjured from the Plane of Shadow entirely controlled by the will of the Dancer are the two options that make the most sense. (RPing it as an actual Shadow as in the undead creature from the MM makes less sense, since it lacks the mechanical label and thus has not vulnerability to any items spells or abilities that specifically target undead.)
I’ll accept this. Thank you for the elaboration Hinty!
Jack Oat: ".. the other number that isn't 18."

User avatar
Aren
Posts: 339
Joined: Fri Jul 07, 2017 10:27 pm

Re: Shadowdancer Lore

Post by Aren » Sat Jun 06, 2020 7:34 pm

The Rambling Midget wrote:
Sat Jun 06, 2020 6:25 pm
Aren wrote:
Sat Jun 06, 2020 5:21 pm
I’m not trying to pass it if as such. I’m just wondering what the origins of the shadow is? What is the plane of existence from which it is summoned? And *what* is it?
It's starting to feel like you're searching for a single absolute by which to judge others' RP around the SD shadow.
That’s mildly aggressive - trying to make me look like I’m acting in bad faith, when in fact all I’m trying to achieve, is to gain an understanding of the shadow entity that shadowdancers summon. I’m not here to judge anyone’s RP, or to argue that all shadowdancers must adhere to some golden standard of their shadows origin.
It just struck me, that there was surprisingly little information about them.
Jack Oat: ".. the other number that isn't 18."

Wuthering
Posts: 260
Joined: Mon Aug 27, 2018 8:19 pm

Re: Shadowdancer Lore

Post by Wuthering » Sat Jun 06, 2020 7:57 pm

Just to add.. I think Arelith's version of the Shadow Plane is pretty home-brew at this point and it's probably far more developed in-game than you'll find in lore. There's some crossover with the Shadow Plane and Shadow Weave/Sharran faith which may not be strictly rulebook as well ("Shadow" being a vague term used for wholly different things) and this can be confusing as despite their in-game synergy with each other on Arelith (at least on paper, if not in actual practice) Shadowmages and Shadowdancers don't have to have anything to do with each other at all.

For that matter a shadowdancer doesn't have to have anything to do with the Shadow Plane, either, if you have some other concept. Your shadow can be undead, or it can be a "shadow elemental", or it can be a manifestation of illusion magic, or it can even be something like an ancestor spirit (or at least, your character can believe this is the case.) It's really wide open as is the interpretation of what "shadow" itself even entails.

User avatar
R0GUE
Arelith Platinum Supporter
Arelith Platinum Supporter
Posts: 395
Joined: Tue Apr 03, 2018 3:10 pm
Location: Washington, DC
Contact:

Re: Shadowdancer Lore

Post by R0GUE » Thu Jun 25, 2020 12:50 am

I play a CG character with a few levels of SD. Without out going into too many specifics, which I'll leave FOIG, I consider my shadow to be a feylike being. I'm taking some inspiration from Patrick Rothfuss' "A Wise Man's Fear" in which the protagonist has a shadow cloak from the feycalled a 'shead'.

BHR55
Contributor
Contributor
Posts: 197
Joined: Thu Jan 17, 2019 5:18 pm

Re: Shadowdancer Lore

Post by BHR55 » Thu Jun 25, 2020 2:03 am

Hinty wrote:
Sat Jun 06, 2020 6:40 pm
A Shadow Dancers Shadow on Arelith is not undead. It has none of the ability drain abilities, and it does not create new Shadows. So it is not a Shadow in the sense of the monstrous manual creature. (Of course, most of the Shadows in the Arelith Forest are also not Undead, but I think that is an oversight from the creator)
...
Summoning outsiders is not something that is inherently evil nor a source of ostracism. Remember, those Archons and Celestials the Good aligned characters summon are Outsiders, as are Slaadi. Theoretically so are the animals summoned by the summon creature spells, if I recall correctly the spell pulls a creature of the appropriate challenge rating from a plane similarly aligned to the summoner.
...
The Plane of Shadow is a Neutral aligned plane. It has areas that are infused with negative energy that draw undead creatures, and of course, its lack of light is appealing to a number of less savory evil types, (I am sure more than a few Vampires have opted to build lairs there because of that) but the plane itself is not evil, nor does it in any way affect its inhabitants to shift them towards an evil alignment, so there are plenty of neutral native creatures, and good aligned inhabitants are entirely possible.
I just wanted to elaborate on a few things, not really dispute this well written response.

in 3e while the Plane of Shadows is neutral, it's inhabitants are tend to be evil aligned. Between the,
Malaugrym, Nightwalkers, wraiths, undead, shadows, it has a pretty obvious leaning. The shadovar, both the human ones, and the actual shades are technically neutral. However consider that they tortured the seraph of Cyric to convert to Shar, as well as melting the high ice to change the weather on the sword coast, setting free the phearim, putting the entire city of Evereska in a Shadow bubble to let it die off, banished Elminster to Hell, not to mention what they did to Tilverton. So technically neutral, but not really good people. . .

As for shadows themselves they are always Undead, but not all undead are shadows, in the case of nwn they are undead with Outsider levels. Here on Arelith they have been made an Outsider with class levels in Outsider probably to nice up the RP to be more accessible. A shadow dancers shadow takes the shadow dancers alignment, so in the stock setting it could be an undead of neutral alignment and is ultimately bound to the shadow dancers will. The original feat for Epic shadowlord even specifies that it is undead. I am pretty sure it also causes Str drain as an onhit ability like actual shadows would. Raising you as a shadow on death, is just not applied to creatures in NwN I expect for practical reasons.

So on Arelith it's a bit more open ended with how you treat the creature. In PnP it would be an extra planar, ethereal undead. Why our shadows are treated differently isn't a question I have an answer for.

AstralUniverse
Posts: 614
Joined: Sun Dec 15, 2019 2:54 pm

Re: Shadowdancer Lore

Post by AstralUniverse » Thu Jun 25, 2020 8:19 am

In past threads about this we've eventually covered that the shadow is not evil, not an undead and can be RPed in multiple legitimate ways which dont necessarily tie the summoner to evil doings right away. Are they evil on the character sheet? I dont remember anymore. I do like those who RP the shadow as their evil or more selfish part of them that affects their decisions when it's 'out' and independent but that's just one way.
Former Characters: Kirk Senner, Lorian Darkmoon, Rayne Mashavelle, Arkin Abellan, Ryth Ellaniar, Storm Kel Abu'adir, Edros Mashavelle.

User avatar
Kuma
Arelith Supporter
Arelith Supporter
Posts: 1560
Joined: Mon Sep 15, 2014 5:05 pm
Location: Melbourne

Re: Shadowdancer Lore

Post by Kuma » Thu Jun 25, 2020 9:51 am

BHR55 wrote:
Thu Jun 25, 2020 2:03 am
[...] banished Elminster to Hell [...]
this is a public service

BHR55
Contributor
Contributor
Posts: 197
Joined: Thu Jan 17, 2019 5:18 pm

Re: Shadowdancer Lore

Post by BHR55 » Tue Jun 30, 2020 12:51 pm

AstralUniverse wrote:
Thu Jun 25, 2020 8:19 am
In past threads about this we've eventually covered that the shadow is not evil, not an undead and can be RPed in multiple legitimate ways which dont necessarily tie the summoner to evil doings right away. Are they evil on the character sheet? I dont remember anymore. I do like those who RP the shadow as their evil or more selfish part of them that affects their decisions when it's 'out' and independent but that's just one way.
Even by official lore, the undead would not necessarily be evil since it takes on the alignment of its summoner. Again I was just adding some of the lore and flavor text from the books, the contrast where Arelith appears to diverge from the source here.

And banishing Elminster to Hell was indeed a public service, but you know he comes back eventually. :(

AstralUniverse
Posts: 614
Joined: Sun Dec 15, 2019 2:54 pm

Re: Shadowdancer Lore

Post by AstralUniverse » Tue Jun 30, 2020 12:56 pm

BHR55 wrote:
Tue Jun 30, 2020 12:51 pm
the undead would not necessarily be evil since it takes on the alignment of its summoner
We dont play like that here.

Undead = evil.

Read their descriptions. There's not a single undead summon that isnt angry or suffering or really mean looking. moral-animating, jergalite animating, and all sorts of none-evil undead simply arent supported by nwn and dont exist on arelith. I've even personally made a suggestion at some point to make it possible for a follower of jergal to summon something ELSE that looks more like a warrior than a zombie/mummy/vamp and isnt evil but that's not yet the case and not supported In Game.
Former Characters: Kirk Senner, Lorian Darkmoon, Rayne Mashavelle, Arkin Abellan, Ryth Ellaniar, Storm Kel Abu'adir, Edros Mashavelle.

BHR55
Contributor
Contributor
Posts: 197
Joined: Thu Jan 17, 2019 5:18 pm

Re: Shadowdancer Lore

Post by BHR55 » Tue Jun 30, 2020 1:02 pm

AstralUniverse wrote:
Tue Jun 30, 2020 12:56 pm
BHR55 wrote:
Tue Jun 30, 2020 12:51 pm
the undead would not necessarily be evil since it takes on the alignment of its summoner
We dont play like that here.

Undead = evil.

Read their descriptions. There's not a single undead summon that isnt angry or suffering or really mean looking. moral-animating, jergalite animating, and all sorts of none-evil undead simply arent supported by nwn and dont exist on arelith. I've even personally made a suggestion at some point to make it possible for a follower of jergal to summon something ELSE that looks more like a warrior than a zombie/mummy/vamp and isnt evil but that's not yet the case and not supported In Game.
Again, this is the source material. which clearly diverges from how it is on Arelith, which I thought I made clear. Especially since they are not undead on Arelith either. Nor would their alignment being neutral really assuages the concerns of your average joe commoner if they see one.

I am well aware undead are evil here. . .

AstralUniverse
Posts: 614
Joined: Sun Dec 15, 2019 2:54 pm

Re: Shadowdancer Lore

Post by AstralUniverse » Tue Jun 30, 2020 1:42 pm

Yeah shadows arent undead on arelith and either take the master's alignment or are just always true neutral. If that was your ultimate point then, yes.
Former Characters: Kirk Senner, Lorian Darkmoon, Rayne Mashavelle, Arkin Abellan, Ryth Ellaniar, Storm Kel Abu'adir, Edros Mashavelle.

Post Reply