10 Variant Shadows
10 Variant Shadows is the continuation of my undead variant series. Although depending on editions Shadows may or may not be undead. In Classic D&D Shadows are not undead, but in AD&D 1E/2E Shadows are undead. Since I started gaming with AD&D I have always considered Shadows to be undead and have included them as part of the undead variant series.
The Shadows presented below are based off the Labyrinth Lord rule set. Since LL is based off B/X D&D the Shadows in this edition are not undead. The main highlights combat wise are Shadows are incorporeal creatures which requires a magic weapon to harm them, they are unaffected by mind-affecting spells, and are sneaky bastards who surprise on a roll 1-5 on D6 roll. The iconic ability is their attack. Shadows do 1d4 points of damage and also drain 1 point of strength. If you are drained of all your strength then your character dies and permanently transforms into a Shadow. Strength that is drained is returned after 8 turns. Also since Shadows in LL are not undead they can't be turned.
As with any adjustment to a creatures abilities you may need to adjust experience.
1. Converging: These Shadows have the ability to converge into a mass of darkness. Once 8HD(typically 4 Shadows) worth of Shadows have converged on one spot they transforms into a Shadow Demon. Once the Shadow Demon is reduced to zero hit points the convergence has ended and the four shadows separate. This ability can only be used once per day. Stats for a Shadow Demon can be found in the AD&D Fiend Folio or Swords & Wizardry Tome of Horrors. Below are the Shadow Demons entry from the S&W SRD.
This creature resembles a living shadow of inky darkness. Large bat-like wings protrude from its form. Shadow demons are the incorporeal form of a demon trapped in the form of a shadow as punishment for some wrongdoing. If anything can release a demon trapped in shadow form, only the dukes, princes, and lords of the Abyss know such secrets. As a result of their new form, shadow demons are especially malign and ill-tempered. In shadows and darkness, a shadow demon surprises foes on a roll of 1-5 on 1d6. Shadow demons are powerless in natural sunlight, and avoid it at all costs. Once per minute, a shadow demon can move at six times its normal speed. Shadow demons can cast darkness, fear and magic jar (1/week).
Shadow Demon: HD 7; AC 4 ; Atk 2 claws (1d6), bite (1d8); Move 15 (flying); Save 9; AL C; CL/XP 12/2000; Special: Incorporeal, spells, immunity to electricity and poison, shadow blend, sunlight powerlessness, telepathy 100 ft.
2. Tenebrous: This Shadow can choose to touch an object instead of inflicting its normal damage and drain. Upon a successful touch attack that object turns into an incorporeal shadow version for 1d4 turns and is not usable for corporeal beings. A Shadow will typically target weapons and armor to reduce the effectiveness of their opponents.
3. Extinguishing: All light sources within 60' is extinguished. Torches and Lanterns cease to function as darkness envelopes them. Magical light is snuff out. Also the touch of this Shadow has the ability to sever infravision. Any time a Shadow successfully attacks an adventurer who possesses infravision they lose that ability for 1 turn.
4. Manipulating: This Shadow can spend its action manipulating its opponents own shadow. The Shadow can use the opponents shadow to deliver an attack. This ability has a range of 60'.
5. Lingering: The draining ability of this Shadow continues to linger for an additional round. If the Shadow successfully attacks you take the normal 1d4 points of damage plus 1 strength drain. On the following round you take an additional point of strength drain as the festering darkness permeates your wounds.
6. Merging: This Shadow has the ability to merge with their foes upon a successful attack. Opponents take the standard damage and drain but also need to make a save vs death. Upon failure the shadow has merged with their opponent and they take on a dark nimbus as their features also become pale. Each round they are merged with the shadow they rapidly lose strength. Merged opponents take 1d4 points of strength drain each round. Opponents can make a death saving each round to break free of its grasp.
7. Devouring: This Shadow gains increased power for each point of damage dealt and strength that is drained. Every point that an opponent loses to the Shadows touch it gains temporary hit point equal to damage inflicted and +1 to attack rolls. The bonuses are cumulative. As the Shadow drains vitality it appearance becomes more menacing. These bonuses last for 1 turn.
8. Bolt: These Shadows have the ability to shoot a bolt of darkness at their foes. This bolt has a range of 60'. On the chart below are various effects the bolt might produce. Randomly roll or pick anyone that suits your needs.
D4 Random Bolt Effects
Bolt of Negative Energy that does 2d4 points of damage
This Bolt of Darkness explodes into shadow webbing. This function like the web spell but any creature stranded in the shadow webbing loses 1 point of strength each round they are entangled.
This bolt drains 1d4 points of strength.
This bolt functions as the slow spell. Attack and movement is reduced by half. Spells can only be cast every other round. Last 3 turns.
9. Vigor: This Shadow doesn't drain strength but actually provides increased vigor to their opponents. For every successful hit their opponent gains 1d4 strength. Muscles and mass quickly expand. Once their opponents strength score becomes twice their base they die as internal organs and bone structure collapses from their rapid growth in mass. If not slain the additional strength gain wears off in 8 turns.
10. Silhouette: This Shadow has the ability to take on the appearance of its opponents shadow. Upon a successful hit foes take the typical damage and drain but also needs to make a death saving throw. Upon failure the opponents own shadow fades away and the Shadow itself takes on the opponents features. All damage done to this Shadow is now split between itself and its opponent.
For more variant undead check out my new monster index. The link is provided below.
New Monster Index