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by Rodger Burns

A shadeling is a small demihuman, the size of a large human child or young teenager. The most distinctive feature about them is blotches of shadowstuff - concentrated on the face, hands and arms, but present across the entire body - that cover and take the place of skin, slowly shifting in a feral and ominous manner. A shadeling can concentrate and smooth his body's shadowstuff out into something with a texture and appearance (if not color) approaching that of normal humanoid skin, but cannot maintain such control forever. Shadelings never have hair, though shadowstuff along the scalp can be shaped to take the appearance of hair if desired.

Shadelings are secretive, cryptic, and often grim and driven - their appearance causes many humans to instinctively distrust them, and they return this lack of trust with a determination to only rely on their own resources and talents. When among their own, shadelings can let down their guard and carouse with great intensity, but only if they are sure the future holds no special dangers to prepare for.

Shadelings, out of necessity, have learned to live anywhere - and are often found along the edge of deserts, in blighted moors, or other locations that humans are unfond of. Their industry, forethought, dextrous hands and skill with magic combine to insure that such places become livable; this of course causes superstitious human neighbors to suggest devil-pacts or other wickedness as the reason why shadelings can survive where others prefer not to go. Shadelings may only advance to 8th level; this limitation is balanced by their thieving abilities and magic.

Class Details

Prime Requisite: A shadeling has two prime requisites: Intelligence and Dexterity. If either of these ability scores is 13 or greater, the character gains a 5% bonus to experience points earned in every adventure. If both of these scores are 13 or greater, the bonus is 10%.
Minimum Scores: A shadeling must have a score of 9 or greater in both Intelligence and Constitution.
Hit Dice: Roll a 4-sided die (1d4) to determine a shadeling's hit points. A shadeling starts with 1d4 (1-4) hit points (plus Constitution bonus, if any) and gains 1d4 more hit points (plus bonus) with each level of experience.
Armor: A shadeling may wear leather, scale, or chain mail armor, and may use a shield. A shadeling's thieving skills and spellcasting are not restricted by armor.
Weapons: A shadeling may use any Small melee weapon, and may wield Medium melee weapons if held in two hands. Shadelings may use short bows and light crossbows.

Shadeling Experience Table

      Thief Skills       Spells/Level      
Level XP Atk Rnk OL FT PP SG 1 2 3 4
1 0   15 10 20 40 1 - - -
2 2,500   20 15 25 43 2 - - -
3 5,000   25 20 30 45 2 1 - -
4 10,000   30 25 35 47 3 2 - -
5 20,000   35 30 40 49 3 3 1 -
6 40,000   40 35 45 51 4 3 2 -
7 80,000   45 40 50 53 4 3 3 1
8 150,000 A 50 45 55 55 5 4 3 2
  375,000 B 58 54 65 58        
  600,000* C 66 62 75 61        
  825,000 D 72 70 85 64        
  1,050,000 E 78 76 95 67        
  1,275,000 F 84 83 105 70        
  1,500,000^ G 88 89 115 72        
  1,725,000 H 92 94 125 74        
  1,950,000 I 96 98 135 76        
  2,175,000 J 100 100 145 78        
  2,400,000** K 104 102 155 80        

Special Abilities

Special Attacks: A shadeling may use the Set Spear vs. Charge maneuver. They are too small to utilize the Lance Attack maneuver, however.
Fighter Combat Options: When the character's experience point total reaches 650,000, the character receives access to most of the Fighter Combat Options. For the multiple attacks option, two attacks are possible at 600,000 experience points, and three attacks at 2,400,000 experience points. The shadeling may use the smash and parry options as described, but cannot use the disarm option effectively against a giant-sized opponent.
Special Defenses: An experienced shadeling gains special resistance to spell attacks, as a dwarf. This ability is gained at 1,500,000 experience points.
Spells: Shadelings can use magic-user spells just as magic-users can, though they receive fewer and lower-level spells. Shadelings do not use spellbooks or spell scrolls; they choose spells to memorize each day from a specific list. All spells of a given spell level are available to memorize. Spells not on this list may not be cast - even from spell scrolls or similar. Shadelings can use miscellaneous magic items normally only usable by magic-users, but not wands or staffs.

Shadeling Magical Spells List

First Level Second Level Third Level Fourth Level
Charm Person Detect Invisible Clairvoyance Charm Monster
Detect Magic Invisibility Dispel Magic Confusion
Hold Portal Levitate Hold Person* Conjure Nightmare Elemental
Light* Mirror Image Invisibility 10' Radius Dimension Door
Protection From Evil Phantasmal Force Protection From Evil 10' Radius Remove Curse*
Ventriloquism Wizard Lock Shadow Bolt Wizard Eye

- Shadow Bolt: This spell creates a bolt of shadowy, life-draining energy. It does no damage to undead, half damage to constructs, full damage to all other creature types. In all other respects it functions as the lightning bolt spell.
- Conjure Nightmare Elemental: This spell is similar to the 5th-level magic-user spell, but transforms normal elemental material into Nightmare matter - either terro (Nightmare earth), blackflame (Nightmare fire), vischor (Nightmare water) or miasma (Nightmare air) - and then conjures an elemental of that type. The elemental has only 12 HD (AC 0, Dmg 2d8) and will take 2d4 damage each round of its summoning due to the hostile conditions of the Normal Dimension. In all other respects this functions as conjure elemental.
Thief Skills: A shadeling can open locks, pick pockets, and find traps, as a human thief. Shadelings do not possess any special skill in disarming traps - if a shadeling finds a trap, he must figure out how to avoid it or harmlessly trigger it using cunning or magic. A shadeling also possesses the ability of shadow glamer - using natural talent and inborn magic to pass unnoticed in a crowd or other busy and chaotic environment. This ability functions similar to hide in shadows, but requires no shadows or other concealment - just a group of people or animals to blend in among.

Shadeling Saving Throws Table

Levels 1-3 4-6 7-8
Death Ray/Poison 9 6 3
Magic Wands 10 7 4
Paralysis/Turn to Stone 11 7 3
Breath Attack 12 8 4
Rod/Staff/Spell 13 8 3

Higher Experience Levels

A shadeling who reaches 8th level is known as an ascended shadeling. He may build a stronghold in any location, but may face significant local opposition if the stronghold is built in human territory or close to civilized lands. Even after the stronghold is built, other shadeling clans will observe from afar for a period of six months to a year, waiting to see if the new stronghold is able to withstand challenges from monsters and suspicious human neighbors. If the shadeling manages to overcome the first threats to his independence, other shadelings will begin to settle in the area. They will bring with them builders and spellcasters able to enhance the stronghold with subtle defensive works - ones that distort space, disorient attacking enemies with shadows and illusions, and many more arcane tricks.