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5'7" - 6'
130 - 170 lbs
Alabaster to dark gray
Black, platinum blond, faded brown
Agile, carnal, thin, muted, keen mind, sybaritic
Usually up to 300 years; effects of Shadowfell mean few reach this age
The shadar-kai, or shadow fey, are a race of bitter, determined folk whose souls are poisoned by shadow. Grayskinned and dark-eyed, the slender shadar-kai stand slightly taller than average humans, and their soft movements exude grace and uncanny stealth. Shadow follows the shadar-kai wherever they go. Shadows cast by the folds of their clothing seem deeper than those on humanoids, and a shadar-kai can seemingly fade out of sight by simply stepping into any common shadow. The shadar-kai prefer light weapons suited for grace and agility, especially spiked chains. Many shadar-kai favor a variety of piercings and tattoos.
Long ago, the shadar-kai thought to preserve the world from the rising humanoid races. Skilled in shadow magic, the shadar-kai made a pact with a dark power of the Plane of Shadow to cast the world into an endless twilight in which the shadow fey would rule supreme. But the experiment went awry, and the shadar-kai were left bound to the Plane of Shadow, cursed to lose their souls in its dark depths. This shadow curse affects shadar-kai to this day, and every member of the race is engaged in a lifelong struggle to stave off inevitable doom.
The continuous pull of the Plane of Shadow has left the shadar-kai grim and embattled. Few races understand the plight of the shadow fey. Even the temporary solutions the shadar-kai have found leave them struggling with constant pain, making them vicious. Their willingness to commit acts of cruelty and violence has increased with each generation.
Cursed and blessed with a great affinity for the Plane of Shadow, the shadar-kai are subtle and deceptive. They steal without being detected when they can, striking from ambush when necessary. Spellcasters among the shadar-kai favor shadow and illusion magic, and few groups of the shadow fey are without a powerful spellcasting leader. Skilled at stealth and gifted with visual acuity greater than that of most other creatures, the shadar-kai have little trouble making sure that combat occurs on their terms.
The Plane of Shadow exerts a tremendous pull on shadar-kai’s soul, which is only tenuously connected to its mortal body. Any time a shadar-kai is stunned, dazed, staggered, or unconscious (other than from natural sleep), the shadow fey must make a Will save or lose a portion of her soul to the Plane of Shadow. The shadar-kai must also attempt a save any time she removes a gal-ralan, if she has one A shadar-kai with a damaged soul gains one negative level that cannot be removed until she restores her soul completely. If exposed to another event that requires a save against the shadow curse, a shadar-kai may gain additional negative levels. A shadar-kai on the Plane of Shadow can transfix her soul to her body again with a greater restoration spell. A shadar-kai on the Material Plane (or elsewhere) must use a wish or miracle spell to restore her soul. A shadar-kai afflicted with the shadow curse cannot be raised from the dead or resurrected, and cannot gain experience. The touch of the shadow curse galls a shadar-kai, filling her heart with an icy emptiness that eventually drives all but the most determined individuals to capitulate and leave the Material Plane altogether.
A shadar-kai who goes to the Plane of Shadow and remains there ameliorates the effects of the shadow curse and suffers no ill effects. However, if she leaves the Plane of Shadow without restoring her soul, she suffers the effects of the shadow curse until she returns to the Plane of Shadow or restores her soul.
The shadar-kai have developed a predatory society. They have few permanent cities of their own but can often be found in other settlements. The cities built by humans and other intelligent races have little chance of keeping out a determined group of shadar-kai infiltrators because such cities are full of shadows.
The few shadar-kai cities that remain on the Material Plane are concealed by illusions and shadow magic, and well guarded by bands of shadar-kai scouts leading shadow mastiffs. Many shadar-kai have been subsumed into the Plane of Shadow, and even the greatest cities of the shadarkai are desolate, sparsely populated places.
Most shadar-kai realms are magocracies, ruled by powerful illusionists. Shadar-kai hate other fey, and they hunt and kill those fey unlucky enough to cross their path. Occasionally shadar-kai make alliances with other evil fey, usually to deceive or infiltrate a population of good humanoids.
In Faerûn in 4.0Edit
The Spellplague and its reshaping of the cosmos had a strange effect on some Netherese. Their acclimation to centuries in Shadow caused them to transform into or give birth to shadelike beings. Prince Rivalen declared this to be a miracle sent by Shar. He dubbed the changed people shadar-kai, which has become the common term for the race. Shadovar youths entering adolescence sometimes become shadar-kai, though this phenomenon is waning. Shadar-kai breed true with one another, and their unions with humans also produce shadar-kai.
Rivalen has also devised a ritual to turn any human into a shadar-kai, not unlike that used to create a shade.
Netherese shadar-kai have existed for more than three generations. They are a privileged class, not quite as blessed as shades, but given unique training. Shadar-kai agents work schemes to better Netheril’s hold on Faerûn, and gather resources and information from all over. Most of them long to become true shades.
Not all shadar-kai serve Netheril. Many flee the empire to make their own way in the world. Others are offspring of humans who broke with Shade long ago or who refused to cross out of the Shadowfell. Netheril’s shadar-kai usually worship Shar and tend more toward evil behavior than their non-Netherese counterparts. Those of the Shadowfell are given to macabre and thrill-seeking behavior: Many revere Tempus, though a few follow Shar, Cyric, Beshaba, or even Asmodeus. A rare few hold Tymora in highest esteem.