Shadar-kai were humanoid and usually slightly taller than average humans. They had gray skin and dark eyes. Shadows on their bodies or clothing always seemed to be deeper and darker than shadows elsewhere. Many shadar-kai carried body piercings and tattoos.
Shadar-kai were subject to the "Shadow Curse": When shadar-kai were stunned or knocked unconscious, part of their soul was sent back to the Plane of Shadow. A shadar-kai missing parts of his or her soul was weakened. The curse made shadar-kai bitter and prevented many from staying on the Prime Material Plane. The Shadow Curse could be prevented by a gal-ralan, an iron armband with needles that kept the the shadar-kai's soul and body connected but also caused constant pain.
Because of their belief systems, shadar-kai generally had no fear of death. Most shadar-kai believed that their death was foretold and impossible to change. Shadar-kai were often seen as cold and pitiless to outsiders. They generally detested fey.
Shadar-kai preferred to use their speed and agility in combat. Therefore, they typically wielded light weapons and were particularly known for fighting with spiked chains. Spellcasters typically favored shadow magic and illusion spells. Shadar-kai were skilled at sneak attacks and were often able to hide in plain sight.
According to one origin theory, the shadar-kai were always adept in shadow magic. Long ago, they made a pact with powers in the Plane of Shadow in order to become the supreme race. They failed, however, but became inextricably connected to the Plane of Shadow.
According to another theory, shadar-kai were in fact the result of the Spellplague, which transformed some Netherese or the children they gave birth to into shadelike creatures. Theses creatures were called shadar-kai and were considered a miracle from Shar. Prince Rivalen Tanthul even devised a ritual to change a human into a shadar-kai. 
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- ↑ 1.0 1.1 1.2 1.3 1.4 1.5 Mike Mearls, Stephen Schubert, James Wyatt (June 2008). Monster Manual 4th edition. (Wizards of the Coast), pp. 230–231. ISBN 978-0-7869-4852-9.
- ↑ 2.00 2.01 2.02 2.03 2.04 2.05 2.06 2.07 2.08 2.09 2.10 Eric Cagle, Jesse Decker, James Jacobs, Erik Mona, Matthew Sernett, Chris Thomasson, and James Wyatt (April 2003). Fiend Folio. (Wizards of the Coast), pp. 150–152. ISBN 0-7869-2780-1.
- ↑ 3.0 3.1 Mike Mearls, Stephen Schubert, James Wyatt (June 2008). Monster Manual 4th edition. (Wizards of the Coast), p. 279. ISBN 978-0-7869-4852-9.
- ↑ Bruce R. Cordell, Ed Greenwood, Chris Sims (August 2008). Forgotten Realms Campaign Guide. (Wizards of the Coast), pp. 261–262. ISBN 978-0-7869-4924-3.
- ↑ Bruce R. Cordell, Ed Greenwood, Chris Sims (August 2008). Forgotten Realms Campaign Guide. (Wizards of the Coast), p. 223. ISBN 978-0-7869-4924-3.
- ↑ Eric L. Boyd (2007-04-25). City of Wyrmshadows (Zipped PDF) p. 1. Wizards of the Coast. Retrieved on 2009-10-07.
- ↑ Richard Baker, John Rogers, Robert J. Schwalb, James Wyatt (December 2008). Manual of the Planes 4th edition. (Wizards of the Coast), p. 58. ISBN 978-0-7869-5002-7.