Shadow, Slow

GreyhawkCampaign Setting Logo

Shadow, Slow
Climate/Terrain:Any/Subterranean and ruins
Activity Cycle:Any
Diet:Living beings
Intelligence:Low (5-7)
Alignment:Chaotic evil
No. Appearing:4-16
Armor Class:8
Hit Dice:4
No. of Attacks:1
Special Attacks:Slow, surprise
Special Defenses:+2 or better to hit
Magic Resistance:See below
Size:M (4-6' across)
XP Value:650

Slow shadows are undead creatures that prey upon humans and demihumans. They are similar in many ways to shadows and, like shadows, exist primarily on the Negative Material plane.

Slow shadows appear as pitch-black blobs, with amorphous twistings to their outlines, which make them appear to grow or shrink (from four to six feet across) as they move. Slow shadows are 90% invisible in dusky or moderate light, such as torchlight, and 50% undetectable in full daylight. In darkness slow shadows are invisible to normal vision, but stand out against warm surfaces when seen with infravision.

Combat: Slow shadows impose a -6 penalty to their opponents' surprise rolls. They attach themselves to their victims with a successful attack roll. Attached slow shadows inflict 1d4 points of cold-based damage and slow their victim as per the spell (no saving throw allowed). Every round thereafter, the victim automatically loses another 1d4 points until either the victim dies, the slow shadow dies, or it is driven off. Multiple slow shadows attached to a single victim inflict cumulative damage. The slow effect, however, is not cumulative.

Slow shadows are not affected by cold, lightning, hold, charm, or weapons of less than +2 enchantment. They can be turned by a priest. A single haste spell drives 2d10 slow shadows away, if cast before they attach themselves to their victims.

Humanoids killed by slow shadows become lesser slow shadows within one turn. Lesser slow shadows have all of the abilities of slow shadows but must remain within 40 feet of where they changed or within a 40-foot range of the shadows who slew them. Concentrations of 20 or more lesser slow shadows are very rarely found. The change can be prevented by casting remove curse on the body. Once the change has taken place, recovery is practically impossible.

Slow shadows roam through dungeons and ruins searching for humans and demihumans to transform. They can sense such creatures up to 100 feet away. Once a victim is found, the slow shadows withdraw into the surrounding cracks and corners and wait for the victim to come to them. When the victim passes, by the shadows rush out and attack.

Habitat/Society: Slow shadow bands have no discernible organization. They wander freely throughout the dungeon or ruin they haunt, attacking all humans who come within range. They are violent and aggressive, but they withdraw if confronted by a superior foe.

Slow shadows despise all living creatures; they find the mere presence of living creatures painful. They hate treasure, as it reminds them of the comforts of life, and they destroy or hide all precious items that fall into their hands.

Slow shadows never travel outdoors unless an extended period of time (ten years) goes by without a human entering the dungeon they haunt. Even then, the slow shadows travel only at night, flitting swiftly across the land in search of a new dungeon to wander.

Ecology: Slow shadows, like shadows, are believed to be a race of long-dead people cursed to madness and a split existence on the Prime and Negative Material planes. This curse drives slow shadows to hunt and transform living humanoids and demihumans into slow shadows like themselves.

Sages speculate that shadows and slow shadows, when they lived, were bitter enemies. Their cruel, wicked ways and constant warfare brought down a terrible curse upon both races. Now the two people continue their ancient battle, never dying, cursed to insanity, recruiting new shadows and slow shadows from the living. On rare occasions, battles between shadows and slow shadows have been witnessed and it seems that vanquished slow shadows become shadows and vanquished shadows become slow shadows.

As with shadows, no one has ever successfully removed the curse from a slow shadow. If a way is ever found, however, and a slow shadow can be spoken to, it may be possible to break the curse that created the two races of shadows. Removing this curse would free all shadows from their wanderings and the Prime Material plane from the terror of slow shadows and their shadow kin. It is not known, though, whether removing the curse would grant the shadowkind eternal rest.