If you’ve ever taken the time to create a new class, spell, monster, feat, etc., you’re probably well aware of the fact that there’s a lot more that goes into the creation process than ever comes out. Whether it’s because your original concept was flawed, or you came up with a simpler, or better idea, much of the stuff that you come up with during the design process gets junked in favor of something else. On the other hand, there are times when you create something that, while it may not suit your current purposes for whatever you’re designing, is cool enough to stand on its own. The shadowy creature template is one of those ideas.
Now originally, it was my intent to use the shadowy creature template as a substitute for some of the templated creatures listed under summon monster. My original thought was that I would have a class with spell-like abilities that would allow the character to summon a shadowy version of a single, scalable monster, like a spider, or a centipede. However, as I started to design the mechanics for this ability, I realized pretty quickly that not all of these scalable monsters scale all the way up to 9th. As a result, some spell-like abilities would be much more powerful than others, and I would have to create additional monsters in order to make up the difference. Instead of doing that, I ultimately decided to go with something more akin to the shadow conjuration spell. Of course, that decision came after I had already created the shadowy creature template.
Now I know that it’s not the first time that someone has created a template for a creature of shadow. After all, the Manual of the Planes has a shadow template, which essentially fulfills the same function as what I’ve designed here. That said, the Manual of the Planes isn’t Open Gaming License, and since this is a blog dedicated to house rules, I thought I’d create something unique.
Since I was creating this as a new template for summoned monsters, I wanted something simple that DMs and players could keep in their heads. While the shadow template in the Manual of the Planes isn’t too terribly complicated, one of its features is that creatures can choose from a list of spell-like abilities as they advance in Hit Dice. While that may be fine if you have something put together ahead of time, if you’re a player or a DM running a character who hasn’t taken the time to write out stat blocks for every single monster you wish to summon, you don’t want to mess with details like this. That’s why I opted instead for the shadow blend ability. It’s simple, it’s universal for all creatures, and it’s something that’s active all the time.
Now it will probably be a while before I finish the class that I’m working on. However, as soon as I’m done with it, you can be assured that I’ll post it on this blog.