About the Shadow Realm

It is the space between things that are and things that are not yet.  It is the shadows in your bedroom, the spaces behind your mirror, the movement in the corner of your eye.

It is the shadow plane, and one day we all must go.


The Shadow Realm

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The Shadow Realm (sometimes referred to as “Hades” or the “Khert Neter” by the religious) is the first stop of the departing soul in its journey to the afterlife.  Most souls never catch more than a glimpse of it on their way.

Rarely, a soul may become “stuck” on the Shadow Plane, unable to proceed to its final destination or return to life.  This may be due to magical influence or unfinished business in life that pulls the soul back towards life. Only by finishing the business (or removing the magical influence) will allow the soul to complete its journey.

Visitors will find the Shadow Plane difficult to explore.  While outdoors, both sights and sounds fade quickly beyond their visibility into a dark haze:

  • No augmentation: 10 feet.
  • Low-light vision: 20 feet.
  • Darkvision: 30 feet.
  • With Light spell or equivalent: double the above.
  • With Daylight spell or equivalent: triple the above.

These effects seem to vanish while inside a building, and adventurers are able to see freely to the limits of the structure.


The Shadow Plane in the Great Wheel

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Unlike traditional Dungeons and Dragons cosmologies, the Shadow Plane of Iqador also replaces both the Ethereal Plane and the Astral Plane, becoming the only other plane coexistent with the Material Plane.  It is the space-between-spaces, and all travel outside the Material Plane passes through it at some point (including spells like BlinkEthereal Jaunt, or Dimension Door).

Shadow Traits:

For those with ranks in Knowledge (The Planes) or a curiosity for such matters…

  • Normal Gravity
  • Normal Time
  • Infinite Size
  • Highly Morphic
    The Shadow Plane is constantly changing, and keeping a particular area stable is difficult.  A given area, unless stabilized, can react to specific spells, sentient thought, or the force of will.  Left alone, it continually changes.
  • No Other Special Traits (Elemental, Energy, Alignment, Magic, etc.)

The Shadow Plane is a highly morphic plane, defined by the human mind as much as it is experienced by it.  This explains why it can be both a literal and a figurative representation of the material plane.  However, it rarely changes when directly observed, and never when observed by two or more people.  The material of the Shadow Plane is fundamentally unstable, representing the constantly-shifting subconscious minds of its visitors.  However, observation brings it into stark (if momentary) rigidity.

Adventurers who have traveled to the Shadow Plane and back will realize that while it is contiguous to the Material plane, it is also an exact mirror image of it.  In other words, the mirrors that serve as portals also show an accurate view of the other side.  (If this seems at first confusing, it helps to visualize two mirrored pages stuck face-to-face against each.)

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This mirror effect applies to all persons and objects on the Shadow Plane, even if they don’t realize it at first.  Visitors might suddenly notice that they are now holding their swords in their left hands, or that they are now reading books from right-to-left. However, no functions are impaired, and this interesting fact is usually dismissed.


Through the Looking Glass

Fantasmas-en-los-espejos

A soul who has become “stuck” in the Shadow Plane can freely move between the Shadow Plane and the Material Plane.  To do so, however, requires finding a reflective objective that is present in the same spot on both the material plane and the Shadow Plane (such as a wall mirror).  Moving between planes requires a full Movement Action (plus a possible Transparency Check, explained below).  This Action does not take into account any movement needed to approach the mirror first.

Opacity of the reflective object is also taken into consideration.  A typical mirror is considered to be 100% transparent (for bookkeeping ease), but items like pocket watches, gas lanterns, brass door knobs, and even spectacles can be subjects for transfer (assuming both occupy exactly the same place on both planes).  In these cases, the player performs an Transparency Check–he rolls percentile against the opacity (and therefore the failure chance) of the object.  If he fails, the Movement Action is used up.

Example: A soul is attempting to move through a mounted ceremonial sword blade that hasn’t been polished in some time.  The DM determines that the blade is 40% opaque, or only 60% transparent.  The player will need to roll a percentile roll of 60 or less.

If the soul is possessing a host when attempting to move between planes, only the soul makes the journey.  Flesh-and-blood bodies need magical assistance to move across planes.


The Shadow Realm vs. the Material PlaneMirror_terror

Adventurers who frequent both the Shadow Realm and the Material Realm will notice different skills coming into play for each realm.

In the Shadow Realm, a restless spirit is as “corporal” as he was before death. Encounters in the shadow realm often favor combat, with a sparser use of physical-skill-based challenges.  (This is not to say, however, that all combat can be solved with straight damage.  Adventurers may have to think their way through encounters as much as fight through them.)

Ghosts on the Material Plane, however, are “out of their element.”  Here, stealth, infiltration, and information-gathering is a lot more key, along with a smattering of mental-skill challenges.  (Still, there will be opportunities to face-smash unlikable people.)

This disparity between the planes allows players to choose their own approach to solve a given problem.

Example:  The adventuring party discovers a young girl who is besieged at night by night terrors.  They might choose to spend their time in the waking world, sifting through her home and family relationships to identify the source of her fears.  Or, instead, they may choose to confront her fears physically, traveling to the Shadow Realm to face them in combat.