Despite a recent, amazing release on the races of Shadow, the core Pathfinder Roleplaying Game has yet to delve deep into the possibilities of the Shadow Plane as a source of magical potential beyond a few select spells scattered throughout the various books released on magic. Some groups may wish to increase the presence of the Shadow Plane and its magic and today we present a road-map of classes from third-party publishers that do just that:
Shadow Plane as a Source
Some time ago we explored the possibilities of defining Source in your Pathfinder Roleplaying Game campaigns. Given both the highly mutable quasi-reality of the plane and the affiliation with the Negative Energy Plane we have come to consider Shadow Plane derived energies as part of the larger Entropic Source but it can as easily be defined as its own.
While it may make sense to “simplify” a game by representing only three sources (Arcane, Psychic and Divine) the strong thematics and similarities between most Shadow-sourced classes can create a strong short-hand for encapsulating shared characteristics, strengths and limits that lumping the Shadow-based classes with other sources like Arcane or Psychic actually muddy and dilute. If you prefer to keep Source mechanics simple in your game we recommend you consider it a Psychic source.
Attributes of Shadow-Derived Power:
- Mutability: No one type of Shadow-sourced power user has only a single expression. Rather from spells to feats to class features, each practicioner varies as wildly as flameborn shades dancing around a campfire.
- Force of Will: Most powers drawn on by Shadow-users are primary Will-resisted. Some attribute this to the nature of Negative Energy influence on the Plane. Most effects that go beyond the most basic of attacks allow the target to fend off part of the attack.
- Quasi-Reality: A heavy affiliation of Shadow-sourced power is that of partial reality. Effects that are resisted by Will tend to become only part real and lose effectiveness.
- Power Heightened-Reality: Greater or more specific power brings a greater reality reduces the chances that its quasi-reality is something that can be resisted.
Third Party Options for Shadow
Here is an inclusive though not exhaustive list of Shadow-based character classes that will also receive support in Book of Beyond: Liminal Power in addition to Astral (psionic) and Ethereal (psychic) power-users.
- Shadow Warrior – Shadow style warriors with a mutable variety of powers and skills available to them. Direct expressions that suffer a minimum of quasi-reality.
- Edgeblade – Residuum collecting antipodal warriors that build shards of light and dark as they battle.
- Shadow Assassin – Shadow style using assassins with suites of dark power that can make even the smallest weapons seeth with killing potential.
- Nightblade – Unpredictable masters of pathways in shadow their abilities and spells are as varied as their origins.
- Echo – Mimic that can create shadow-fueled echoes of their opponents spells and attacks. Specializes in armed combat, spell repitition or deeper mysteries.
- Edgewalker – Master of dark and light able to walk the edge of twilight to grow ever more dangerous.
- Antipodist – Focused user of shadow, light and dark to a degree even archmages struggle to grasp.
- Fey Adept – Sphere using master of fey shadows, able to mark those they fight with corruptive dark that weakens the will and summon quasi-reality into being.
A host of Shadow-using classes stands ready to invade your games. Add to this the possible re-Sourcing of casting classes like Sorcerer or Arcanist with great Shadow Magic (like this one from Rite Publishing) and your work may yet be willing to host the Indefinite Masters of Twilight that Shadow offers it.
For more info on Shadow Plane Sourced mechanics look for Book of Beyond: Liminal Power later this summer or get it as part of the Book of Beyond WIP Subcription. Echo (our liminal power user) and our other products are available on d20pfsrd.com, drivethruRPG, paizo and RPGNow.