A New Look at Infrequently Used Spells -- Shadow Spells
Did you ever notice just how many spells are in the Player's Handbook? Roughly a third of the book is dedicated to describing the hundreds of spells available for clerics, sorcerers, wizards, and other spellcasters. A couple of dozen spells, often blatantly offensive or defensive in nature, tend to fall into the "no-brainer" list for all but the most specialized of spellcasters, such as magic missile, fireball, mage armor, cure spells, and protection from energy (and for you power players out there, miracle and wish). Beyond this immediate list, however, are spells that may not always get the recognition that they deserve -- for both the player and the DM.
This series focuses on several spells that do not get frequent use in play, but are nonetheless interesting and effective when used in the proper manner. What's more, we'll be giving a nod to the DMs out there, hopefully inspiring them to use these spells as a way to keep the characters on their toes, or perhaps even start an entire campaign simply by the casting of one . . . little . . . spell.
Shadow spells are illusions that draw on the strange power of the Plane of Shadows. Although the effects produced are only a fraction of what the real spells can muster, shadow spells are extremely versatile since they can mimic certain conjuration or evocation spells of a specific level or below.
ShadowConjuration and Shadow Evocation
Other than the difference in level, shadow conjuration and shadow evocation work in much the same way. These types of spells require victims to make Will saves to disbelieve the effect. If you're considering becoming a master in the use of shadow spells, choosing the Spell Focus and Greater Spell Focus feats are a great way to maximize the impact of these spells.
Shadow Conjuration and Shadow Evocation -- For the DM
If you want to create a wonderfully creepy villain, have him be a master of shadow spells. He can conjure vague shapes and summon energies from the Plane of Shadow to make eerie effects.
Shadow walk offers an interesting way for your character to travel from place to place. By taking a jaunt into the border of the Plane of Shadow your character can move at up to 50 miles per hour in relative safety. Here are some ideas on how to use this spell and things to keep in mind when you cast it.
Shadow Walk -- For the DM
Shadow walk allows swift travel, but it has several built-in hazards that can make it an interesting spell to include in your campaign. Here are few ways to make use of shadow walk:
About the Author
Eric Cagle cut his teeth at Wizards of the Coast, but now lives the extravagant freelancer lifestyle. Look for his name on D&D, d20 Modern, and Star Wars books. Recent credits include d20 Apocalypse, Monster Manual IV, and the Tome of Corruption from Green Ronin Publishing. He is also a contributor to the Game Mechanics, Dragon Magazine, and this lovely website. Eric lives in Seattle where the coffee is dark and bitter like his goddesses.
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