A dark and twisted echo of the World. The final stop for mortal souls before they continue into the unknown, the Shadowfell mirrors the landscape of the Prime; familiar landmarks, peoples, and places are changed, as if born from half-remembered nightmares or perverted by fear and doubt. Light sources are dimmed here and distances seem greater; everything seems grey and wide. Stretched. During the day, the sun is constantly hidden behind clouds or pale and weak. The plane takes a toll in the depression and hopelessness it inspires.

Places where the boundary between the Prime and the Shadowfell are thin are known as shadow crossings. Some intersections are naturally occurring, the result of ancient planar conjunctions or catastrophes. These crossings often occur in low-lying, deeply shadowed spots—forested hollows, mist-blanketed bogs, or the bottoms of caverns and ravines. Other junctions form in places where the forces of death are prevalent—graveyards, battlefields, and other places that bore witness to mass death. When active, shadow crossings permit travelers to shift from the Prime to the corresponding location in the Shadowfell (but not always back again).

Darklands dot the landscape, areas of powerful necrotic affinity where the air is thick with the stench of necromantic seepage which bubbles up from fissures in the ground or out of rifts in the air. The seepage is a thick black fluid, the congealed essence of shadow warped into a corrupting and rotting presence. In liquid form, necromantic seepage is lethal. Living things killed in a darkland reanimate within minutes of death.

Scattered throughout the Plane of Shadow are places hidden behind thick walls of mist, ruled by dark and deeply troubled beings bound to the plane by dreadful curses. These isolated pockets in the Shadowfell are called domains of dread. A creature that passes through the curtain of mist into a domain of dread becomes trapped there—a prisoner of the dark lord who rules the domain. Each domain of dread has a dark lord—a powerful creature with absolute hold over the domain and limited mastery over its shape and disposition. A domain of dread bends to the will of its master, reflecting his or her dark mood in various eerie or disturbing ways. Some domains of dread are quite small, such as a lonely castle on a hill. Others extend for miles.

The Shadowfell’s Underdark is known as the Shadowdark, the primary touchstone of the Far Realm in the planes.


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