Shadowcasting (3e Tome of Magic) as a crystal sphere theme

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Big Mac
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Shadowcasting (3e Tome of Magic) as a crystal sphere theme

Post by Big Mac » Mon Jan 07, 2019 11:13 pm

Ashtagon wrote a 3e topic, called [Tome of Magic] Retrospective: The Shadowcaster, where she was suggesting that this variant arcane spellcasting class would work better, if it was used without the traditional wizard types.

I had a look at some information for Tome of Magic: Pact, Shadow, and True Name Magic. It looks like a third of the 285 page book is devoted to Shadowcasters (and new spells, feats, prestige classes, monsters, and magic items that tie into that theme).

Here is a bit from the product blurb that shows how they work:
Tome of Magic: Pact, Shadow, and True Name Magic blurb wrote:Shadow Magic

The Plane of Shadow is a dark, twisted reflection of the real world. The shadowcaster, by understanding the fundamental properties of the plane and unlocking it's magical mysteries, learns to harness and channel its umbral gloom, shaping the darkness to server her whim.
What she was proposing was to make similar types of spellcasting that work with other planes, and I spoke about that over there, but I think it might even be possible to make an entire bespoke crystal sphere that just uses Plane of Shadow themes (including Shadowcasters).

Richard Baker, who put some Spelljammer content into his Blades of the Moonsea novel, Corsair, but he also had a couple of sections that show how the "dark, twisted reflection of the real world" thing can work. In his story the protagonist travelled to a Plane of Shadow version of his hometown, while chasing a foe. Anyhoo, I think that the idea of a crystal sphere, where some locations had Plane of Shadow duplicates could be a lot of fun. (Just imagine if a place like the Rock of Bral, had some sort of group operating from the Plane of Shadow. On that plane, they could be living in Prince Andru's palace and the Lower Market could be a slave market. And nobody would even know they were there!)

Forgotten Realms uses an alternate spellcasting source called the Shadow Weave. There is a WotC article called Class Chronicles: Shadowcasters that explains a bit about how the class might fit into the Forgotten Realms (and used alongside the Shadow Weave). But I'm not totally sure I'd want to steal things that are iconic to Forgotten Realms, when Shadowcasting by itself would have a newness to it.

The Shadowcaster is an interesting concept (that could probably also be retroconverted for 2nd Edition Spelljammer games).

I know that Shades come from the Plane of Shadow.

Can anyone remember any other shadow-themed things that could fit with this idea?
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Re: Shadowcasting (3e Tome of Magic) as a crystal sphere theme

Post by Jaid » Tue Jan 08, 2019 1:59 am

if you want some good shadow world content, you should look into birthright actually ;)

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Re: Shadowcasting (3e Tome of Magic) as a crystal sphere theme

Post by Big Mac » Wed Jan 09, 2019 12:03 pm

Jaid wrote:
Tue Jan 08, 2019 1:59 am
if you want some good shadow world content, you should look into birthright actually ;)
Really?

I wonder if that's where Richard Baker got the idea for the shadow version of a town in the Blades of the Moonsea trilogy. :?

I know very little about Birthright. What books would you recommend and what sort of thing are you talking about?
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Re: Shadowcasting (3e Tome of Magic) as a crystal sphere theme

Post by night_druid » Wed Jan 09, 2019 12:21 pm

Big Mac wrote:
Wed Jan 09, 2019 12:03 pm
Jaid wrote:
Tue Jan 08, 2019 1:59 am
if you want some good shadow world content, you should look into birthright actually ;)
Really?

I wonder if that's where Richard Baker got the idea for the shadow version of a town in the Blades of the Moonsea trilogy. :?

I know very little about Birthright. What books would you recommend and what sort of thing are you talking about?
Rich Baker was overseer of the Birthright line, IIRC. When that line got cancelled, a lot of the concepts they had developed for BR were shoe-horned into FR. The Shadow Weave was lifted wholesale and dumped into the realms, for example. I think most of the "shadow" things in later editions of D&D originated with Birthright (demi-plane of Shadow & related creatures from AD&D exempt, of course).
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Re: Shadowcasting (3e Tome of Magic) as a crystal sphere theme

Post by Jaid » Thu Jan 10, 2019 7:51 am

Big Mac wrote:
Wed Jan 09, 2019 12:03 pm
Jaid wrote:
Tue Jan 08, 2019 1:59 am
if you want some good shadow world content, you should look into birthright actually ;)
Really?

I wonder if that's where Richard Baker got the idea for the shadow version of a town in the Blades of the Moonsea trilogy. :?

I know very little about Birthright. What books would you recommend and what sort of thing are you talking about?
hmmm... well, the variou sbooks had some information on the shadow world, mostly just bits and pieces here and there, but the best source is "Blood Spawn: Creatures of Light and Shadow".

I'm not sure where you would get it... it was released as a free PDF some time ago (of an unfinished book originally intended for 2nd AD&D Birthright, I believe), but I can't find it for download online now. I'm not sure if WotC still have it onlione anywhere, but if they do then I couldn't find it.

that said, in my searching I came across a thread here on the Piazza from a few years back where someone recommended it to you, so maybe you were able to track it down then and by luck you happen to have a copy.

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Re: Shadowcasting (3e Tome of Magic) as a crystal sphere theme

Post by Cromstar » Wed Jan 23, 2019 7:51 pm

Big Mac wrote:
Mon Jan 07, 2019 11:13 pm
The Shadowcaster is an interesting concept (that could probably also be retroconverted for 2nd Edition Spelljammer games).
Really, 2e laid the foundations for such a caster class in the Player's Option: Skills & Powers with the shadow mage (along side the alchemist, song mage, and geometer I believe). Unfortunately, they never added anything new and unique to spell lists for the class, simply compiling existing spells into an available 'school of shadow' from the PHB, ToM, and Complete Wizard. The Wizard's Spell Compendium, in its appendices, included a list of spells for the 'school of shadow' which was the same list from S&P updated with spells from the other sources compiled into the WSC.

S&P did give them some new mechanical stuff (though its a bit bare bones): casting power varies with light levels, shadow mages gain the ability to see in the dark as they level, and (non-player) shadow mages eventually replace their physical form with shadow-stuff from the plane of shadow (though it gives no stats or details on what this actually does). S&P did clearly state the shadow mage has a strong connection to the plane of shadow and that it is important to their powers and abilities.

So back-porting the to 2e probably isn't that hard. Personally, I'd already started work to buff up and make the shadow mage actually live up to its potential since the version presented in S&P was bare-bones. The biggest thing would be providing new spells exclusive for such a class, of which later editions of D&D can be a great source.
I know that Shades come from the Plane of Shadow.

Can anyone remember any other shadow-themed things that could fit with this idea?
There are other things we know come from the Plane of Shadows, if that's what you mean. I'd have to dig into MMs and Planescape stuff to find all of them, but off the top of my head:

Shades
Shadow dragons
Malaugrym
Shadow mastiffs
Shadow symbionts

Others that might be connected to it in some way:
Shadow lurkers
Shadows and greater/ether shadows(technically born from negative energy plane, but may still have ties to the plane of shadow due to their nature)
Shadow demons & shadow hounds (abyssal creatures that may result from the abyss corrupting shadow stuff, both may have ties or the ability to travel freely to the plane)
Just about any undead, but especially vampires and free-willed incorporeal undead seem to like it well enough

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