Shades are to the Shadowfell what tieflings are to Hell. Sort of. Legend says that at one point these creatures were humans, or maybe elves, but prolonged exposure to the demi-plane of shadows has transformed them into something else. With greyish skin and muted features, it’s very easy not to notice a Shade… and that’s how they like it.

You see, centuries of living and breeding in and near the Shadowfell have ensured that no shade will ever have bright hair, or vibrant features, or an air of joy about them. Sure, they can be happy, but not in the way that a gnome or halfling is happy. Though there are a few Shade villages within the Shadowfell itself, most Shade families will live in the dark allies and under-used sections of human cities, going largely unnoticed by those who aren’t looking for them. When they work jobs, it is in roles that can be ignored… the waiter, the street sweeper, the drawbridge operator, the farm laborer, the miner…. never as bosses, only as peons. Shades also tend to avoid daylight hours.

For their sacrifices, the Shades have avoided the sort of witch hunts and hatreds that tieflings, half-orcs, and minotaurs have suffered. There have even been Shade families known to reside near these other unpopular races, providing aid and comfort where they can. Seldom is their message “I’ll make everything all better.” More often it’s “We all suffer, but it’s not as bad as it might be.”

And Shades certainly have seen how bad it might be. With their ties to the Shadowfell, which is tied to every dark desire of creatures on the material plane, Shades have seen things lurking in the darkness that should never have names… ideas that should never manifest into reality. They have also known the intense sorrow of the world, which is reflected upon the Shadowfell. They are the stoic witnesses who see suffering that others do not. While there is no overall racial agenda among Shades, those who adventure seem to be driven by that darkness they’ve seen… either by fighting against it and trying to reduce the world’s suffering, or by embracing it and a nihilistic mentality because “it’s already pretty bad. Not like I’ll make it that much worse.”

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Heroes of the New Day joelastowski joelastowski