Today we look at sprinkling your Greyhawk games with a dash of the Shadowfell, aka plane of Shadow.
The Shadowfell is that dark mirror of the prime material (normal world) that leaks into it during twilight, and in the dark places of the Underdark. Outcomes are slightly bleaker, the weather is damper and colder, colors are just slightly duller.
Ways to make an area be more like the Shadowfell :
- Arcane magic corrupts the environment, adding the scent of death or draining the colors.
- Recurring dreams become awake time illusions, shadows and whispers taunting you, even pleasant dreams.
- Creatures will try to capture or drain your resources, never just attack in the open.
- Shadows lengthen and darken in response to fear or despair but shrink or fade in response to hope or love.
- Divine magic attracts creatures of opposing alignment to the caster. The more powerful the magic, the bigger zone of attraction.
Shadowfell is great for a short series of areas that your characters want to escape from or defeat the villain of, but longer visits may bring down the mood of the group, thus you may want to throw in some light-hearted moments.
Areas of Greyhawk that can easily be linked to the Shadowfell :
Blood Obelisk of Aerdy – Gull Cliffs – East. (more in From The Ashes). Black dust blown in from the Shadowfell is everywhere in this area. When the shadow of the obelisk touches certain stones a gateway to the Shadowfell is opened.
Cave of Deadly Shadows – Yatils – North West. (more in From The Ashes). Limestone caverns beneath the Yatil mountain ranges. There are several grottos and caves that share time with Greyhawk and the Shadowfell within.
Dim Forest – West of Gran March. Former home to Humanoids, Shadows and worse creatures have prowled its darkened paths recently.
Valley of the Mage – Far west. Long has the master of the valley dabbled in shadow magic. This is a great link to portals, items and creatures from the Shadowfell tied up with affairs on Greyhawk.
Wee Jas cult – Baklunish lands and Nyr Dyv city area. An aspect or guise of the Raven Queen, Wee Jas cult can be liaising with Shadar Kai or others from the Shadowfell, sharing information and aligning goals. There are Orcus cult members out there up to mischief.
If you use Shadar-kai in your games, or just want an edgy shadow touched species in your campaign, having Shadowfell areas can work well.
- Maybe the Shadar-Kai work for the Raven Queen/Wee Jas and need to release some tortured souls from Undead existence so they can pass over to another life?
- Perhaps the Iuz or the Scarlet Brotherhood are trying to recruit your people and you need to investigate events on Greyhawk to see what is real and what is shadows and lies.
- Something escaped from the Shadowfell into Greyhawk. You/Your team has been tasked with getting it back home.
- Perhaps the Shadar Kai were created by the Rain of Colorless Fire, and fled to the Shadowfell, but why have they returned?…
- Lortmil Mountains in the west and the Iron Hills in the east are neat places to start their Greyhawk journeys.
What were Shadar-Kai doing during the Greyhawk Wars?
- Offering the citizens and ruler of the Valley of the Mage a place in the Shadowfell. Alliance and acceptance.
- Acting as spies and couriers, keeping information and people safe from the machinations of the Scarlet Brotherhood.
- Making homes in places where they are tolerated, such as Highfolk and Duchy of Urnst.
For more on Shadar-Kai you can seek out the Mordekainen’s Tome of Foes.
Creatures to place in your Greyhawk-Shadowfell games
- Displacer Beasts 5e / PF Shadow Mastiff
- Grell 5e / PF Nightgaunt
- Invisible Stalker 5e / PF Lamia
- Myconid 5e / PF Fungal Crawler
Mordekainen’s Tome of Foes – Use these creatures… Derro, Meazel, Nightwalker, Skulk, Sorrowsworn, Vampiric Mist.
Pathfinder Class options – Darkness Domain-Clerics, Mooncaller-Druid, Shadow Bloodline-Sorcerers, Shadow Walker-Rogue, Umbral Weaver-Bard.
Shadowfell Items : Boots of Elvenkind, Cloak of Arachidna, Dagger of Venom, Dust of Illusion, Horn of Fog, Potion of Invisibility, Ring of X-Ray Vision, Wand of Fear.