City of Splendors & Horrors
A gloomy echo of Toril, the Shadowfell is at once ancient and new.
The dark goddess Shar reshaped what was then known as the Plane of Shadow during the years of chaos following the Spellplague. In her craft, she folded in the energy of death that didn’t make the transition to the Elemental Chaos. She renamed her creation the Shadowfell, which became its common name among mortals, though some still refer to it simply as “Shadow.”
The Shadowfell is a dim, eerie place. Where the Feywild reflects the world in breathtaking ways, the Shadowfell reveals a decaying, nightmare landscape of dull colors. A brooding half-light replaces the Feywild’s fanciful twilight, and every feature of the place seems macabre and threatening. Fields of necrotic energy, usually too weak to do more than unnerve the living, wander across the baleful shadowscape.
Travel: Crossing into the Shadowfell is harder than crossing to the Feywild. Merely stumbling into Shadow is fairly uncommon. Still, places within the world connect to the Shadowfell through a thin veil. These portals are easy to spot and are common in the deep Underdark, miles below the surface.
Native creatures stalk travelers here. So do the restless dead, the souls of those who pass into Shadow but refuse to move on. Humanoids of the Shadowfell are at least as bad as fey. Worse still, creatures that serve Shar, Sseth, Talona, and Orcus make their way into the Shadowfell for various nefarious purposes. True safety is hard to come by in these dark lands.
Connections: The Shadowfell connects to the Fugue Plane and the Towers of Night. The dead travel through the Shadowfell on their journey to the afterlife, although some remain in the world or the Shadowfell, afraid or unable to cross into the hereafter.
Territories: Large parts of the Shadowfell are bleak and monster-haunted reflections of the world. Such places are rarely settled, except by ghosts, specters, and other undead. Small communities of dark ones (humans descended from the Netherese of old), shadar-kai, the more social undead, or a mix of these types offer a semblance of shelter. Any such place is only slightly preferable to the Shadowfell’s wilds, however.
Death giants and nightwalkers, some of which serve Shar, control parts of the Shadowfell. Devotees of dark deities and demons set up shrines, temples, and domains within Shadow. Necromancers situate their labs in, or connected to, the Shadowfell to study its part in undeath. Some powerful undead also live within the Shadowfell, taking advantage of the shelter it provides from a hostile world. Those not native to Shadow often maintain a means of passage back to Toril.