Later this week, the long-awaited Shadowsfall: Shadow Plane Player’s Companion is going to be released via PDF and the print copies will arrives in game stores as soon as they finish up at the printer. In the past we have talked about the deities of Shadowsfall, the races of Shadowsfall, and how the land itself changes. However, we talked very little about the setting itself. So today we are talking about that.
While the Material Plane has a basis in our world, the Plane of Shadow looks and feels quite different. For your character, these differences are summerized in the book thus:
- Natural Light Sources: During the day, the dim sun gives off light that is similarly bright as a full moon. At night, the blood moon illuminates the areas as bright as a cloudy, moonless night. For more information on light sources, see Chapter 7 of the Pathfinder Core Rulebook.
Mundane and Magical Light Sources: All light sources have their ranges cut in half on the Plane of Shadows.
- Shifting Landscape: The Plane of Shadows constantly absorbs parts of other planes that are forgotten. As such, Shadowsfall shifts constantly, making a precise map impossible.
- Spells with the Fire or Light Descriptor: Spells with either the fire or light descriptor require a concentration check (DC 20 + the level of the spell) to successfully cast. A failed check means the spell is lost. A successful check means the spell functions normally.
- Spells with the Shadow Descriptor: Spells with the shadow descriptor are treated as if cast at 2 caster levels higher. Additionally, spells with the shadow descriptor are treated as if 10% more real. For example, disbelieved shadow evocation spells are 30% as strong as normal instead of 20%.
While that helps you operate as a character in the setting that doesn’t tell you much about what the place looks like. The Shadowsfall: Shadow Plane Player’s Companion begins to help answer this question. For example: the sun is very dim here. How dim? Well at noon when the sun is at its height, you can see the stars. It is about as bright is a full moon in our world. Does the moon glow at night? It does but it is a blood red color, similar to a lunar eclipse.
If the sun is so dim, are there trees there? Yes. Most of the trees are leafless and dead. When a forest is forgotten, burned to the ground, swallowed by an earthquake, or uprooted by a tornado on the Material Plane, the forest reappears on the Plane of Shadows. They eventually lose their leaves and never grow them back. Most die; however, a few adapt to this new landscape. Some are sustained by their roots while other feed on living creatures that pass by, draining them of life. These are living trees on Shadowsfall that do not require a bright sun to survive.
If people live on Shadowsfall, what do the buildings look like? Many buildings on Shadowsfall have a basis on the Material Plane. Since many buildings arrive on Shadowsfall the same way a forest might, those living there fix them up to working condition and live there. While they have their basis in the Material Plane, they are quite different. For example, the best way to not be targeted by the roving undead hordes is to not be noticed in the first place. Many are hidden in caves, around blind corners of mountains or rock outcroppings, or otherwise obscured from easy vision.
Do cities exist in Shadowfall? Yes. A number of major cities exist in Shadowsfall. These are mostly not hidden away the way isolated homes are in Shadowsfall. These are giant walled places surrounded by farms, near water and other natural resources. Unlike the Material Plane, these cities are not part of a larger country and generally the protected area around a city (called a stronghold) does not touch a similar area. This means that if the farms have a bad year, there is little in the way of trade to help the people sustain themselves. If a zombie horde begins attacking the stronghold, there is no neighboring country for the people to run to.
This a plane filled with danger, where finding food is a major problem and the monsters that not just survive but thrive in darkness can spell utter ruin. Tomorrow we will be talking more about the cities of the Southern Peninsula.
Preorder your copy of Shadowsfall: Shadow Plane Player’s Companion today. Get more character options, no matter what race you play with Shadowsfall: Favored Class Options. Get a print copy of the Book of Beasts: Monsters of the Shadow Plane and discover their deadly secrets with your free PDF. Live the adventure with a half-vampire fighting to help the living with Shadowsfall Legends: Pawn, Deception, and Sacrifice, by Mur Lafferty. And don’t stop with that story. Read about an umbral kobold in the stronghold of Blackbat in Shadowsfall Legends: The Gem That Caught Fire by Ed Greenwood.