Written by: James S.
A Shadow is an incorporeal, shadowy wraith that appears as a silhouette, vaguely humanoid in shape, with hollow eyes and clawed hands. These undead entities are born from the lingering darkness of departed souls and are often found in places of deep despair or lingering malevolence. When encountering a Shadow in the eerie ambiance of the "Zen Garden - Original Night" Czepeku battlemap, here's what to keep in mind for an engaging encounter:
- Shadows approach from across the water, silently walking across the surface.
- They come at sunset when the darkness is deepest.
- Their priority is to smother light sources in the area: lamps, torches, and magical light.
- They can move swiftly in darkness but cannot tread across sunlit ground.
- They try to strangle and choke players and drain their strength (a scary combination).
Low-level undead get a bad rap as being kind of boring and ineffective. They’re not scary; they’re just fodder. A few measly skeletons in a tomb are basically expected and nothing more than a boring obstacle. Shadows, though, are a different kind of foe.
The setting sun casts long shadows across the islands of a serene garden. They stretch across still waters like fingers reaching for the cool of night. As the sun goes down, a chill settles upon the scene, and shadows deepen. Then, they begin to move.
From across the water come tall, menacing figures, utterly silent, stalking like wolves beyond the firelight. Their passing causes not even a ripple on the water’s surface. Their eyes are hollow orbs, their limbs long and slender. They lope uncannily fast towards any torches or lanterns and snuff them out.
The key to making this encounter memorable is to divide the battlefield up into areas where the sun falls and where it doesn’t. The Shadows cannot move across the sunlit ground; it’s impassable to them. In other light (for example, torches, lanterns, or magical illumination), they suffer all the disadvantages described in the rulebook.
In unlit darkness, however, they should be much more powerful. They should be terrifying and difficult to fight. Double their movement. Give them two actions. Give them an ability akin to a Rug Of Smothering. Combined with their strength-draining attacks, this should be enough to make players really fear engaging them in the dark. Upping the odds like this forces the players to think more creatively about how to solve the problem.
If the players delay, remind them that they have a limited amount of time before the Shadows overwhelm them entirely. They need to figure out a way of beating them before the sun goes down.
The Shadows will act in these ways:
- Firstly, they will find any unattended light sources and extinguish them.
- Their second priority is to apprehend players caught in the shadows.
- In combat, they will grapple, drag, smother, and drain the strength of opponents.
- They will try to surround players who linger in sunlit areas, watching them with dead eyes.
This should be enough to make the players fear going to sleep with the lights off for the rest of their lives.
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