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  1. #1
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    Question The Shadow & the Seeming....Revealed???



    This post is a bit of debate me and one of my sons once had about how the shadow works and the Seeming worked in the game. The resolution of the situation was that the Shadow Realm (while a negative image of Cerilia) was connected to the negative material plane in some manner. Over the last few years I have wondered how that connection might be best explained in light of the Bloodspawn’s revelations about the nature of the Shadow and The Seeming. We had lacked the book at the time.

    While I have come up with answers of my own that explain the issue, others might have other ideas. If you have any opinion feel free to post it. I am going to put forth my opinion and in that opinion I will also relate a number of monsters that may be directly descended from the Shadow Realms bosom.

    1) The Connection to the Negative Material Plane! While the plane of shadow is now detailed in the Manual of the Planes (3.??), the issues of the powers of the seeming and the apparent ease of undead to issue forth from the Shadow Realms form time to time flies in the face of the statement that (Pg 60 MotP) that the “No Elemental or Energy Traits: Some small regions on the Plane of Shadow have the minor negative-dominant trait”, (called Darkholds), but they don’t seem to fit either. In the Atlas of Cerilia, pg9 “however, is populated with undead creatures; skeletons, and zombies serve as peasants, ghouls run towns, and ghosts control entire kingdoms”. This statement always made me think the realm of shadow was an extension of the negative material plane.

    I do admit thought that the realm of shadow is very much connected to the plane of shadow; complete with the connection to superimposed image of the real world, and its ability to give life to illusion/phantasm. But there is much more to it with the very living nature of the seeming, and it’s ability to alter shadow magic or in the case of Cerilea Illusion. What makes the illusion connection fall on its face it the fact that spells of light will fizzle on the plane of shadow, which clearly some illusions of light generated by the seeming do!! (blur, dancing lights, mirror image are just the slight seeming power. With this reference they seem to put the plane of shadow out of the realm of use for the entire world of Cerilea and its connection to the Shadow Realm.

    Maybe this is “small” in comparison to the plane of shadow, but as big as the world of Cerilea, which would create a significant Darkhold.

    So if it isn’t the plane of shadow, what is the Shadow Realm?? The Atlas of Cerilia says it is a “presumably another dimension”.

    I would say that since they recognize, “the Minor negative Dominant Trait” called the Darkland is part of the plane of shadow; I would extrapolate that the entire Shadow Realm of Cerilea is an extremely large & mutated Darkland that is at once both connected to the plane of light (positive) and darkness (negative) planar power. The ether is connected to the plane of shadow, so this connection is possible. It would also explain the use of those light based illusions as I’m sure that the positive material plane would offer power to the light based magic.

    Furthermore, in the Rulebook from the boxed set it describes the Shadow World as, “A parallel world of cold, eternal twilight that exists when night falls over the land”. This “Twilight” might very well be a symbol of the fight of light & dark that caused the rift that created the shadow world in the first place. Add to that the fact that night weakens the border area (ethereal border) and allows for the rift to occur which can emit undead, and I’m sure you can see my point on the subject.

    2) In the Bloodspawn I quote: “A power that suborneded by an ever greater force; the Seeming an unpredictable force”. The seeming is a force that appear to be alive. Alive in my opinion with the motive power of phantasm, which are a creation of light and dark magic that takes a physical misty form. I have read any number of spells (like phantasmal killer) that imparts a motive force (life energy driven) goals into a phantasm. I see the Shadow Realms of shadow as alive with this illusionary energy because of its battle between light and darkness. If you read up on phantasms they are neither a creation of light or darkness, but appear to have elements of both. And a motive force is imparted by the caster.

    Then who is the creator of the Shadow Realm’s motive force?? Why Azrai of course. And the Cold Rider is an incarnation of his spirit that will abide in the Shadow Realm for all time! It is bore out in a number of parallels. First the shadow realm mirrors events, topography, and creatures on the face of Cerilia. The Cold Rider is the arch bad force in the shadow realm and by extrapolation he should be a shadow incarnation of azrai. I can’t find the reference this second, but it is mentioned that Elves fear the realm to this day. I would say that a lot of your folk being swayed by Azrai in the world of Cerilia, then I think in the evil phantasm forces of the Seeming that the dread of falling under his incarnations power would be a powerful force to fear, whether the elf was for or against Azrai at Deismaar. Remember some of these elves were there. Elves of Cerilia are very very long lived indeed.

    The Seeming could very well be a part of the imprinted nature of Azrai’s chaotic & evil nature that is imprinted on this part of the plane of shadow.


    This is why I play up the connection of the Shadow Realm and the negative material plane. I was playing it as a full blown connection until the (3.?) Manual of the Planes came out. I may not play 3.whatever, but I do convert usable material back into 1st/2nd edition.


    3) I have a short list of creatures that I would like to ascribe to the Shadow Realm, and while some of the stats are from other campaign settings, their connection to a shadow realm can easily be made. The the (3.?) Manual of the Planes it mentions for the plane of shadow the shadow mastiff, the nightshade, the ecalypse, umbral banyan, and darkbeast. See the manual of the planes for the stats.

    a) The Malaugrym: While these shape shifting masters of Faerun may seem incongruous with Cerilia, I would point out this part of the monsters entry, “Malaugrym’s are creatures of pure evil native to some Alien plane”. The Shadow Realm is quite an alien place. I have also read several novels that mentions there master/father being a dweller of the plane of shadow and and illusionist. Where better to hone your skills of illusion than a plane where phantasm creations of the seeming are but a thought away. Maybe he was even a child of Azrai who traveled to Faerun, or was it the other way around.!!!!!

    b) Bastellus: A creature of Ravenloft, this creature could be a very easy addition to the Shadow Realm. The creature inhabit dreams which totally connects with the strengthening of the shadow realm at night also. It would be a threat to any creature sleeping in the Shadow Realm, which I have read can happen from time to time. (The Iron Throne).

    c) Ravenloft Creatures: While I specially mention the Bastellus, the entire plethora of creatures created for Ravenloft could well have a phantasmal parallel in the Shadow Realm. The creatures conversions practically write themselves.

    d) Flying creatures could be quite a threat in the shadow realm. The creatures sweep out of the darkness, snatch the hapless and slip back into the dark. Quite a killer. I would recommend Darkenbeasts to any spell casting undead of the Shadow Realm. Their creation is an evil act, but it just gives the evil magic wielding undead another reason to tramp on the surface of Cerilia to garner the needed components.

    e) And of course there is the listed creatures at the back of Bloodspawn.

    I could list more but I think the post may be too long. We shall see.

    What do you think of the idea of the Shadow Realm being an extension of the plane of shadow, twisted by the battle of positive and negative energies to create a unique Darkhold????

    Later



    Lo there do I see my father,
    Lo there do I see my mother, and my sisters, and my brothers,
    Lo there do I see do I see the line of my people, back to the beginning,
    Lo they do call to me,
    They bid me take my place among them,
    In the Halls of Vahalla
    Where the brave,
    May live,
    Forever

    Randomize it adds spice to a predictable games plot line (especially if they have read it before).

    Have everyone roll their dice before the adventure and tick them off one by one, it helps speed up the game and allows the DM more time to think on his feet.

    Turn them all into rainbow colored mushrooms and drop them from 300’ to the tune of the anvil chorus!! (The Simbul did just that to some nasty Malaugrym!!)

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    Site Moderator kgauck's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by MatanThunder
    What do you think of the idea of the Shadow Realm being an extension of the plane of shadow, twisted by the battle of positive and negative energies to create a unique Darkhold????
    I think its an attempt to reconcile a BR enviroment to standard D&D planes. As such it doesn't really interest me (which is not to say there is anything wrong with it) as I don't play in any other D&D settings.

    I do think that the Shadow World is an integral part of the setting, and I've tried to integrate it as completly as the political/domain rules. Magic is generally a Shadow World effect of one kind or another. This leads to intersting possibilities for witches, who channel the SW directly, rather than mebhaighl, and are corrupted by this power. I think this puts the Five Oaths in interesting perspective, as well as the Rjurik antipathy towards arcanists.

    The rules for taint (now in Unearthed Arcana as well as other settings) put an interested mechanism on contact with this fell force. The Heros of Horror and Libris Mortis are good sources for Shadow World fun, but need to be approached selectively since they are general works, and BR is a specific setting.

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    Senior Member blitzmacher's Avatar
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    I always played it as though it was the spirit world for cerilia. Meaning that when one died they traveled to the shadow world first. It was there where either they were chosen to go to one of the gods halls, or stay there to be reborn back in cerilia. Deismaar and Azrai's taint changed that. Now if the dead are not chosen by their gods, they become undead in the shadow world, servants of the cold rider.
    Cattle die and kinsmen die,
    thyself too soon must die,
    but one thing never, I ween, will die, --
    fair fame of one who has earned.
    HAVAMAL

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    As such it doesn't really interest me (which is not to say there is anything wrong with it) as I don't play in any other D&D settings.
    And you shouldn't feel compelled to do so. I do this in part to connect the other AD&D game worlds together. They can each be reached by the inner elemental planes, even Dark Sun. Now if you draw a connection between all the campaigns to Birthright, you now set the stage for what I would really like to see "Weenies WOTC" take on.......Impose the BR campaign settings stats on each game world and provide battle information for these world.

    Would that be a kicker, Faerun set up BR style, same with Greyhawk, Planescape, and now lets go off world with it with Spelljammer. Now that would be an Epic game....clashes in space.

    Now some may want to shelter BR in order to protect its special nature....I on the other hand would like to see all Campaigns take on BR stats......and maybe become more epic in their scope of campaigning for those of us who enjoy the campaign.

    or stay there to be reborn back in cerilia. Deismaar and Azrai's taint changed that. Now if the dead are not chosen by their gods, they become undead in the shadow world, servants of the cold rider.
    The idea is great for your campaign....From what I re-read yesterday there are a number connections with the forces of light and darkness that are part of what forced the schism that formed the Shadow Realm.

    Just a question, if the Shadow Realm is your (way stop/transitional realm) in you game, how do you explain what happened to the dead before the schism. Did they all go to heaven/the outer planes?? It is a question that sort of begs an answer to clarify how you run it now. I do see your logic though.

    Later


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    Site Moderator kgauck's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by blitzmacher
    Now if the dead are not chosen by their gods, they become undead in the shadow world, servants of the cold rider.
    I too give a great deal of spirit world quality to the SW, including shaman type classes and feats and lots of spirit activities, from spectral scions to more traditional hauntings.

    I think that the whole reason you have a funeral is to alert the diety in question that they have a spirit to pick up at this location. So you have a cerimony and gather around the body to protect it. The cerimony both acts as a message to the halls of the diety and as a beacon to the entity sent to collect the dead (over here, over here). A body dead without a funeral kind of has to fend for itself in the spirit world. Some spirits of powerful or especially willful people can make the journey themselves. But for most people, if they don't get picked up and assisted in the treacherous journey through the SW to the halls of the gods, they get abducted by powers in the SW can forced to serve.

    As a result of the Sprit World focus, there are SW abilities like detect spirits, rebuke spirits, and so on, just like undead. In fact I regard them as semi-overlapping. Some undead have no spirit (skeletons and zombies) and some spirits are not dead (lots of natural spirits) but there are plenty of spirits that are dead (ghosts, specters, &c) that are both.

    The Book of Priestcraft didn't give priests of Erik the ability to turn undead, so in 3E, when I use clerics of Erik (rather than druids) I give them the ability to rebuke spirits instead.

  6. #6
    Site Moderator geeman's Avatar
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    At 08:14 PM 3/14/2007, MatanThunder wrote:

    >What do you think of the idea of the Shadow Realm being an extension
    >of the plane of shadow, twisted by the battle of positive and
    >negative energies to create a unique Darkhold????

    Because the SW is a mirror image of the daylight world of Aebrynis it
    differs quite a bit from the standard D&D concept of a shadow
    plane. It literally is a breakaway aspect of the "real" world. I
    don`t personally mind connecting up BR to the "normal" D&D cosmology,
    and the SW might be some sort of connection through the Plane of
    Shadow. In fact, I like the idea for various reasons having to do
    with how/why magic works the way it does in BR. However, one
    particular thing should be kept in mind: the separation is profound
    and very, very difficult to breach. That`s why there are only a few
    BR gods. That`s why most arcane magic is so difficult to cast (and
    requires some sort of divine/spiritual connection to employ.) That
    separation is why Azrai was able to become so powerful. IMO, it
    should go something like this, though:

    Material plane that houses Aebrynis --> Shadow World --> Plane of
    Shadow --> All the rest of the planes of existence.

    The SW should be a barrier between Aebrynis and all other D&D planes
    of existence.

    >I think that the whole reason you have a funeral is to alert the
    >diety in question that they have a spirit to pick up at this
    >location. So you have a cerimony and gather around the body to
    >protect it. The cerimony both acts as a message to the halls of the
    >diety and as a beacon to the entity sent to collect the dead (over
    >here, over here). A body dead without a funeral kind of has to fend
    >for itself in the spirit world. Some spirits of powerful or
    >especially willful people can make the journey themselves. But for
    >most people, if they don`t get picked up and assisted in the
    >treacherous journey through the SW to the halls of the gods, they
    >get abducted by powers in the SW can forced to serve.

    I have that whole "Death the Final Adventure" essay written up for BR
    in which souls from the land of light must traverse the SW in order
    to get to their final resting places in the rest of D&D`s cosmology.

    Gary

  7. #7
    Site Moderator Sorontar's Avatar
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    I like to think of the SW as resembling the Shadow Worlds in Zelazny's Amber series. The BR SW is malleable and changeable. Different sections have "rules" and "norms" according to those who live there and manipulate them. But it can easily look like something familiar to those people who live in Cerilia.

    Of course, the fact that the undead like the BR SW and shadows help provide a big link between Cerilia and the SW is a big difference IIRC to Amber's world. I really should read that series again....

    Sorontar

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    Site Moderator kgauck's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Sorontar
    The BR SW is malleable and changeable. Different sections have "rules" and "norms" according to those who live there and manipulate them.
    Under the rubric of Shadow World, I have done stuff in the world of dreams, the spirit world, a dark mirror of Cerilia (to include evil versions of the PC's), the land of undead, and the Seelie faeries.

    In fact, I think the home of the Fae is the Shadow World, and creatures with the fae descriptor are outsiders. For instance, the nymph doesn't dwell in her little pond, the pond is her gate from the DW to this world. Likewise the dryad and her tree. Its not that the dryad is "mystically bound to a single, enormous oak tree," but rather that she was able to pass from the SW to the daylight world through thos tree and because of the ability she excercises or the magic she uses to do this is teathered to her gate, and can't "stray more than 300 yards" without breaking her teather to her home plane and her source of life.

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    Site Moderator AndrewTall's Avatar
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    I see the Shadow World as still partly the Spirit World it was before it was corrupted by Azrai. Now some areas are corrupted, some have become 'lighter' as the evil aspects migrate towards the corrupt areas, some remain a dull echo of Cerilia, some seethe with the seeming and change to suit the whim of nearby events and beings, etc.

    So in elven realms and other places with high source ratings you can find links to the Shadow Realm which either link to 'fey' areas (if an area full of life) or to 'corrupt' areas if a fell area. More neutral areas of Cerilia link to the old 'empty' sort of shadow world or to 'wild' zones where the seeming changes rapidly.

    I don't use gods, but if I did then their realms would connect to Cerilia via the Shadow World. As is those people with particularly strong spirits might manifest in the shadow World after they do, those who die there likely rise as undead, etc.

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    Senior Member blitzmacher's Avatar
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    {Just a question, if the Shadow Realm is your (way stop/transitional realm) in you game, how do you explain what happened to the dead before the schism. Did they all go to heaven/the outer planes?? It is a question that sort of begs an answer to clarify how you run it now. I do see your logic though.}


    The same as after the schism, as the shadow world and BR world was the same, constantely changing. Meaning they went to the halls of their gods, or their spirit roamed the natural world. The only one who may really know would be the Seelie Queen.
    Cattle die and kinsmen die,
    thyself too soon must die,
    but one thing never, I ween, will die, --
    fair fame of one who has earned.
    HAVAMAL

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