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Secret Art of Shadow Mastery

by Shawn Stanley

"Now I'm going to do demented rabbit."
- Alec, first circle Shadow Master

With thanks to Bruce Heard for his suggestions and ideas.

This power was first created in the Alphatian Kingdom of Stonewall where it was powers were first laid down by Lothar and Meliande, twins - one of whom is a Magic User and the other a Thief. At this time the secret craft was a single entity as it were but as time went on new powers were created, and original powers were used in such a way that the practitioners used them in competition against each other. The sense of competition is not two-sided*, it is more simply any Master of Shadows for themselves. In this way Masters initiate new members into their craft more so as minions which they might employ against another Master of Shadows rather than fellow seekers of knowledge. But a great number of Shadow Masters do not merely rely on initiates as pawns in their power games, many a slave has been used to undertake less savoury tasks.

(* I'm not intending this to be a thief vs mage sought of competition, the secret craft start with these two factions more so to allow both classes to use the powers in the present. Though of course the nature of competition between two individual Masters of Shadow may involve a thief vs mage aspect.)


The rules for the Secret Art of Shadow Mastery are similar to the rules for the secret crafts of Glantri. Students must learn new powers, and they must find someone to teach them those powers. Attainment of new circles of power also require additional experience points to reflect the learning required for the new powers. The powers gained through this art are natural abilities and do not affect any spell casting powers of the Shadow Master. The cost to acquire new powers is not given to any central body of Shadow Masters, it is usually used by the teaching Shadow Master to further their own studies, costs can also vary widely.

Circle Cycle
Magic User
Level # of Uses
1st 14 500 5 000 10 000 5th 3 a day
2nd 28 1 000 10 000 20 000 7th 2 a day
3rd 42 1 500 20 000 40 000 10th 1 a day
4th 56 2 000 35 000 70 000 15th 1 a week
5th 70 2 500 55 000 110 000 20th 1 a month

Thieves as Shadow Masters

As said above thieves can enter the secret art of Shadow Masters. Those who intend to enter the craft must have a minimum intelligence of 13 or more, this is a restriction based upon the learning required to gain knowledge of the circle powers. As in the table above, thieves also require additional experience points to acquire new circle powers, this is a further restriction based upon the learning required.

Innate Powers

Study in the Art of Shadow Mastery gives the participants certain innate powers which have no cost or restrictions, these powers are gained once two first circle powers have been attained and are learnt merely through constant study and usage of shadows. Shadow Masters gain the ability to see normally within shadowy areas, their sight is not affected by diminished light - although darkness affects them normally. Shadow Masters of the magic user bent gain the ability to Hide in Shadows as a thief of one third, rounded down, their level; Shadow Masters of the thief bent increase their ability to Hide in Shadows as a thief of two levels higher.

Shadow Mastery and Infravision

All of the Shadow Master's powers are described herein in terms of their effects on the visible part of the electromagnetic spectrum - light, but of course there are other parts of the electromagnetic spectrum. There's the near infra-red part of the spectrum that some species have access to, and gain information from. There seems to be no reason why Shadow Mastery should not also be able to affect this part of the electromagnetic spectrum though a Shadow Master wishing to directly affect the infra-red spectrum would conceivably need to have infravision to have a knowledge of what they are affecting.

Known Powers of the Craft

Below are a summary of the most commonly known and utilised of the craft powers, though new powers can, and are created through continuous study and field-usage.

Circle Powers

1st Shadow Puppetry Shadow Ward The Melting
2nd Expel the Shadow Lowering the Shroud Meld Shadow Post
3rd Form Inversion Shadow Hop Shadow Manipulation Substance
4th Infuse Shadow The Harrowing
5th Shadow Forge

1st Circle

Shadow Puppetry

This power allows a certain surface area of shadows to be manoeuvred and played with at the Shadow Master's whim. When utilising this power the Shadow Master needs to concentrate on an area of shadow no greater than 1 square metre per level and they can move the shadows over any surface at will. The Shadow Master can manipulate shadows of a desired degree of darkness and move them into slightly more well lit locations, as long as the shadows maintain a visual connection with the darker area. This power can not be used to move shadows into well lit areas or into areas, any attempt to do so fails. This ability to manipulate shadows lasts for 1 hour or until the Shadow Master looses has their concentration broken.

Recent utilisation of this power has enabled Shadow Master's who have attained the second circle of Shadow Mastery to create a looping shadow effect that lasts for 1 hour without concentration. A single loop of the shadow effect can be no longer than 30 seconds and continues during the duration until magically dispelled or until the area becomes well lit.

Shadow Ward

With the employment of this power the Shadow Master creates a halo of bright light which emanates from the Shadow Master and extends 5 metres away from their person. No shadows, or shadow-like creatures can enter bright halo around the Shadow Master and any that attempt to do so are repelled away. The effect lasts until dispelled, or until the Shadow Master attacks any shadows or shadow-like creatures.

This power has recently been employed by Shadow Masters onto other objects. If the other object is a living being then the power lasts until dispelled, or the warded being attacks any shadows or shadow-like creatures. If the power is invoked upon an object then the power lasts until dispelled.

The Melting

When invoked this power forces shadows within an area of 20 metres in diameter to disappear. The process manifests itself with the shadows visually falling into themselves and appearing to melt - the power is quite obvious and would be noted by anyone in the area. The effect lasts until dispelled and any objects entering the area of effect also loose their shadows in a similar fashion as above.

Any large objects which cast shadows into the area of effect loose their shadows at the border of the effect, whilst any large objects in the area of effect which cast their shadows outside the area of effect gain shadows at the border of the effect.

2nd Circle

Expel the Shadow

With this ability a Master of Shadows can effectively cause the shadow of the target to disappear, the subject essentially casts no shadow. The subject of this power can be any inanimate object or it may be a living being and to successfully employ the power the Shadow Master must touch the subject - if this power is being used in a combat environment then a successful to-hit roll must be made. Once employed the shadow of the subject disappears instantly as if a source of light existed coming from all directions for the subject, and unless they are observant a living subject might not notice the removal of their shadow. Once a shadow has been expelled from something then the effect remains on the subject regardless of whether the subject moves and the power lasts until dispelled.

This power has been used by practitioners harass superstitious or simple people, and in such circumstances once the person realises - or is made to realise - that they may become quite unsettled. The power has also be used by Shadow Masters to mark particular items or people that are of interest, and it is rumoured that the power was once used to perform a secret aerial attack from an airship once. The power can also be used in lieu of Dispel Magic to expel a shadow being otherwise used by another Shadow Master. If this is the case, then those powers explain further the chance of success and effects of this power - though for any powers created within the campaign this power will tend to have more serious consequences than Dispel Magic is used to affect shadows used or employed by other Shadow Masters.

The size of the item which may be affected is dependant upon the level of the Shadow Master, *

(* I'm not sure what limits to put to this. The power when first gained should be able to be used on most sized people, though I intend at the higher levels 30+ that an enterprising Shadow Master could conceivably expel the shadow from say ... a floating continent, things like airships fit somewhere in between)

Lowering the Shroud

With this power the Shadow Master can divert light from their vicinity. To use this power the Shadow Master concentrates on the desired darkness level they want within 100 meters radius, plus 10 meters per level. The desired level of light is then effected almost as a ripple emanating from the Shadow Master as light is diverted away from the desired area. This power lasts for up to 1 hour, plus 1 turn per level, although no further concentration is required to maintain the power during this time. The area of effect can be adjusted during this time with concentration from the Shadow Master, although any such adjustment reduces the time remaining by 1 turn. This power cannot be used to completely remove the light from an area.


With the use of this power the Shadow Master may meld their body into that of their shadow and to maintain this form for a number of turns equal to their level. Whilst in this form a Shadow Master is aware of things occurring within the vicinity of the shadow although they may only see things in one direction at once. Also whilst melded a Shadow Master may not communicate by normal means with other people, may not cast spells or use abilities that require action on the part of the Master - other abilities which only require thought may be undertaken as normal. Also whilst in this form the Master of Shadows may not move their shadow except through means such as the first circle power Shadow Puppetry.

When this power is employed the Shadow Master can be seen to be drawn into their shadow. Anything that being carried by the Shadow Master is similarly affected by the Shadow Master though if another creature is being grappled when this power is employed that creature may make a successful saving throw vs spells to save from being drawn into the shadow. Another person may successfully dispel a Master whilst they are melded, which requires the surface on which the shadow is appearing to be touched. If a Master of Shadows is drawn back from their shadow in this way they must make a roll on d20 against their constitution to stop from being knocked unconscious for a few minutes by the transfer.

Shadow Post

When instigating this power the Master of Shadows concentrates wholly on a certain shadow that they believe to exist, for example they must have visited the area before, or have seen the area through other means. If a shadow exists in the area when the power is instigated then the Master of Shadows need only to concentrate to re-establish contact with the shadow and begin to hear and see as if they were situated where the shadow was. If the shadow has been removed from when the Shadow Post was first instigated then the power needs to be re-invoked to form another Shadow Post. If the area where the shadow is being used is lit up whilst the Master of Shadows is using it, or the power is dispelled, or if the Master of Shadows is still using the power when it comes to it's natural conclusion, then they are deafened and blinded for a few minutes unless they make a successful d20 roll against their constitution. If the shadow being used is removed via the second circle power Expel the Shadow whilst it is being used then the Shadow Master must make a successful d20 roll against their constitution to save from being knocked unconscious for a few hours due to the sensory assault.

Once a Shadow Post has been instigated then the Master of Shadows can reuse it any number of times within a number hours equal to their level. Any number of Shadow Posts may be maintained at any one time, though of course only one may be used at any one time.

3rd Circle

Form Inversion

This power turns a person into a living two dimensional shadowy version of themselves, or back again if the power is being used on a person who has already been affected. A person in this form can move, see and hear things normal but they can have no physical affect on the world around them. They cannot touch things or communicate verbally with other people. They can also not cast spells requiring the manipulation of physical things, though they can cast spells or use powers that do not have these restrictions. The shadowy version of the person can pass through areas of shadow whilst in this form though. If the person attempts to move through areas of bright light or sunlight, or areas of utter darkness then their movement rate is halved. If light or darkness spells are cast at a person whilst they are in this form they suffer 1d8 points of damage each round whilst in the area of effect, this also occurs if sunlight or bright light is specifically collected and directed at them.

This power has been used by powerful Shadow Masters to affect the minions of rival Shadow Masters, or as a unique form of torture. They also use the power on their own minions to make instant spies.

Shadow Hop

When invoked the Shadow Master can hop from a shadow that they are inhabiting to another shadow within 500 meters. The Shadow Master thinks of a location that they want to hop to within a 100 metre radius and then they are teleported to the nearest shadow to the desired location. When the power is invoked the Shadow Master has 5 "hops" which they can use within the period of 1 hour, if all the "hops" are not used within this time they are lost.

Shadow Manipulation

This power is an extension of the first circle power Shadow Puppetry, though with this power the shadows being affected are perceived to be three-dimensional. The volume of shadow being affected can be up to 1 cubic metre per level of the Shadow Master, the power is otherwise similar to Shadow Puppetry - above.


Without this power the shadows dissipate naturally in sunlight, bright light or utter darkness, but with the activation a Master of Shadows can lend an area of shadows a degree of substance so that they can exist even in the brightest sunlight or the pitchest darkness. To activate this power the Shadow Master picks out a given area (or volume if this power is being used in conjunction with the third circle power Shadow Manipulation) of shadow within in area of 20 metres diameter, the specific area of shadow is then immune to dissipation through sunlight or darkness or other natural means for a number of turns equal to the Shadow Master's level. Once an area of shadow has been given substance the Shadow Master can manipulate or otherwise use the shadow for whatever purpose without affecting it's substance.

4th Circle

Infuse Shadow

This power allows the Shadow Master to imbue an area of shadow with a limited degree of intelligence, the shadowy area also has a number of hit points equal to the level of the Shadow Master employing it. The shadow which has been infused is under the absolute control of the Shadow Master creating it and it can follow simple orders given to it. The Shadow Master can communicate telepathically with the shadow, and issue it commands telepathically, and can choose to see and hear through the shadow as the second circle power Shadow Post.

The infused shadow has a movement rate of 90'(30') and can only travel through areas shadow. The shadowy area can be dispelled normally and if light or darkness spells are cast on it, it suffers 1d8 hit points of damage whilst in the area of effect; similar damage is suffered if sunlight or bright light is concentrated and aimed at the shadow. The shadowy area cannot be armed in any other way. If the shadowy area is killed or dispelled the Shadow Master creating it suffers a loss of hit points equal to their level (equal to the hit points which the shadowy area itself had).

The shadow area remains sentient for a number of hours equal to the level of the Shadow Master, at the end of this time the shadowy area looses it's sentience though the Shadow Master suffers no hit point loss due to this.

The Harrowing

This is a particularly nasty power that has been used to drive other people mad, or cause their deaths through increasing their unease. When used the Shadow Master locks a particular shadowy effect onto an individual. The effect follows the targeted individual constantly and haunts them whilst awake and in their dreams. The person affected believes that they are being haunted by evil creatures or dark forces that are either just in the corner of their vision, or lurking in a nearby shadow. The individual sees manifestations of three- dimensional shadows groping towards them out of darkness, or even attacking them at times whilst they are being harrowed.

To invoke the power the Master of Shadows has to have concentrated on a set of guidelines for the exact effects of the harrowing to affect the individual, the effects can be as general or specific as the Master of Shadows desires but they must consider the effects of the harrowing for a little while before using the power. The harrowing of the individual continues until it is lifted by the Shadow Master who called it or until it is dispelled. Use of light spells or other powers such as Expel the Shadow have no real effect on the harassing effects, such powers may remove particularly visible effects of the harrowing but the effects just outside the corner of the eye still continue. The person who is being harassed by this power must make an horror rating check* at level 5 when this power is first invoked against them and then every week thereafter that the power is still affecting them at a +1 increased level.

(* the whole horror rating thing is part of Geoff Gander's rules on horror and insanity in Mystara. He should be making the rules available for everyone shortly)

5th Circle

Shadow Forge

Once invoked the Master of Shadows can use this power to create objects made out of solid shadows. These objects once made are permanent and exist until dispelled, or until a light or darkness spell is cast directly upon them though the objects exist even in sunlight. The objects made look like pale ghostly imitations of real objects and are obviously not natural, they also cast no shadows in and of themselves.

The power can only be invoked if the Shadow Master is in a shadowy area, and it lasts for as long as the Shadow Master stays at the task of shadow-forging and only whilst they stay in an area of lighting present when the power is invoked - therefore a significant change of lighting discontinues the ability to mould shadows, as does activity requiring a significant degree of concentration, and sleep.

When the power is being used the Master of Shadows can create 1000 cn worth of shadow matter per hour of forging. There is no limit to the size of object that can be made with this power, the only constraints exist in the amount of time needed to be spent on the object. An object not finished with one use of this power has a 50% chance of dissipating when used. The objects created by this power function exactly as normal objects would.