Shadar-Kai

Shadar-Kai

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Cold of heart and dark of eye, passion burns still within these people of shadow and deep winter.

Racial Traits

Average Height: 5’7”–6’
Average Weight: 110–170 lb.
Ability Scores: +2 Dexterity, +2 Intelligence
Size: Medium
Speed: 6 squares
Vision: Low-light
Languages: Common, choice of one other
Skill Bonuses: +2 Acrobatics, +2 Stealth
Shadow Origin: Your ancestors were native to the Shadowfell, so you are considered a shadow creature for the purpose of effects that relate to creature origin.
Winterkin: Due to your connection to the Raven Queen, you gain a +1 racial bonus to your Fortitude defense. You also gain a +2 racial bonus to death saving throws and saving throws against the unconscious condition.
Racial Powers: You can use Shadow Jaunt or Dark Surprise as an encounter power.

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Long eons in the Shadowfell have shaped the shadar-kai into a fiery and, some say, cruel people. Fighting the apathy pervasive in their home plane, shadar-kai live passionately and fearlessly, if grimly. They see themselves as instruments of death and dissolution, the bringers of the righteous end to complacency, stagnation, and life itself. Theirs is a harsh society of self-interest. Among shadar-kai, the strong of body and mind excel and create legends. The weak molder to dust, passing into eternity unremembered.

Play a shadar-kai if you want …
…to use your shadow origins to enhance your abilities with dark powers.
…to be part of a culture that values great deeds and great power.
…to be a member of a race that favors the avenger, bard, fighter, invoker, ranger, rogue, sorcerer, warlord, and wizard classes.

Physical Qualities

Shadar-kai are humanlike, but the weight of existence in the Shadowfell has shaped them to be slightly shorter and much thinner than their human counterparts. A shadar-kai has a colorless complexion that varies from alabaster to dark gray. Shadar-kai hair is similarly drab or raven black. Pale hair might have a hint of color within the range of human norms. The eyes are lustrous and black, lacking any white or clear pupil. Shadows near a shadar-kai sometimes seem to reach out or deepen, especially when the shadar-kai is angry. Although drab in natural appearance, shadar-kai are quite elaborate and idiosyncratic in personal adornment. They like dark and exotic clothing, jewelry, and weapons, often decorated with swatches of bright color. Hair is similarly ornate and often dyed. All shadar-kai embellish their skin with tattoos, scars, and piercings. A shadar-kai could live longer than any eladrin. Few do, however; the consequences of extreme living keep them from seeing old age. Some simply fade away, disappearing into shadow and death, perhaps leaving behind a wraith as the soul passes into the Raven Queen’s care.

Playing a Shadar-Kai

The Shadowfell saps living creatures of creativity and the will to live. When shadar-kai moved to the Shadowfell ages ago, they were not immune to this depression. Numerous members of their early society gave in to ennui and simply slipped out of existence, driving the shadar-kai to change their lifestyle, embracing strong emotions and peak experiences. These practices, born out of necessity, became traditions over countless generations. The current culture of the shadar-kai is a study in pushing boundaries. Shadar-kai welcome difficult tasks, as well as physical and emotional extremes, as a way of life. They learn to channel the darkness of the Shadowfell rather than allowing that darkness to consume them. And they accept death as the inevitable end for those who fail to attain the right amount of power or fame. Shadar-kai embrace living with gusto. The limits of pleasure and pain distract them from the wearying melancholy of the Shadowfell. They also strive for personal greatness, so that if they fail to gain the actual ability to live forever, stories of their great deeds will grant a sort of immortality. In this search for personal glory, most shadar-kai ignore banalities such as comfort, morality, and safety. The tattoos, scars, and piercings a shadar-kai wears have more than one purpose. They exist as a testament to the wearer’s ability to withstand pain as well as a means of personal expression and decoration. Each decoration can also be a record of a deed done, an honor gained, or a misdeed declared. These records are important, because personal merit is all a shadar-kai really has. Other signs of personal worth, such as wealth, are but manifestations of success—side effects. Money, for example, can be gained by chance. What matters is an affluent shadar-kai’s ability to protect his or her holdings and the ability to gain more. Although shadar-kai leave the Shadowfell to seek fortune in the world and among the planes, a few needs and wants drive a shadar-kai to return home from time to time. Most shadar-kai feel a basic need to visit the enveloping dimness of the Shadowfell at least intermittently. The plane is unlike even the darkest reaches of other planes. Obtaining new adornments and equipment in the proper style often requires a return to the Shadowfell. Shadar-kai also return to their gloomy settlements to spend time among those who see extreme, weird, or even deviant as normal. And they come home to brag. As a rule, shadar-kai are far from humble about their abilities and accomplishments. Boasting and bravado, called “crowing” among shadar-kai, are common in shadar-kai gathering places. Shadar-kai crow in battle, talking up their successes and speaking doom to their enemies. During birthdays and other celebrations, shadar-kai have what they call “crowing moots,” where boasting is taken to the level of artistic and poetic ritual. In addition to the verbal jousting, moots often include, or degenerate into, physical competitions and duels among the participants. As with other deeds among shadar-kai, the greatest “crower” of a moot gains a token—a physical representation such as a tattoo—to commemorate his or her victory. A few shadar-kai, known as doomspeakers, take this “crowing” custom to a supernatural level, becoming so adept at malediction that they can demoralize and sting their foes with dark threats and bloody predictions. Truth be known, shadar-kai don’t care if their bravado ultimately proves false. Despite their origin, they have no fear of defeat or agonizing death. What they truly dread is to live without having experienced life, fading into nothingness and being forgotten. Death in battle or even execution for a crime is a statement of a life lived. After all, shadar-kai are death’s children. The Raven Queen is a fair mother, if not a loving one. When the shadar-kai called upon her in ancient times, she answered. She still does. While she spares little love, she also never demands the love of her children. Almost all shadar-kai revere the Raven Queen, but each shadar-kai is free to choose his or her destiny and way of life, including religion.

Shadar-kai Characteristics: Ambitious, bloodthirsty, detached, excessive, grim, intrepid, rash, ruthless, sinister, thrill-seeking, unconventional, violent, zealous

Male Names: Albrek, Baden, Codren, Emul, Horiam, Hutahn, Ioan, Lucyan, Mahahn, Niku, Ovid, Petru, Razvahn, Serbahn, Shathys, Teodahr, Vasylay, Zahar
Female Names: Afyn, Anka, Bahnka, Codruta, Doru, Dyon, Floahr, Ghita, Helayna, Ioana, Jenit, Katryn, Lucya, Markella, Nadya, Roduka, Sahyeh, Tabita, Yalda, Zyna

Shadar-Kai Religion

Shadar-kai revere the commandments of the Raven Queen as societal traditions, and they have great places of worship for their favored deity. However, shadar-kai are far from monotheistic. They worship and respect numerous deities, usually among the unaligned gods. Warriors revere Kord, whose edicts of bravery and strength are wholly compatible with those of the Raven Queen. Magicians pay homage to Corellon, seeking macabre beauty and perfection in magic, and Ioun, for a philosophy of mental excellence. Sehanine has a special place in shadar-kai hearts for her teachings of following one’s own destiny, keeping to the shadows, and seeking new experiences. The shadar-kai have a thriving, if anarchic civilization, and its rulers, planners, and citizens pay homage to Erathis. Shadar-kai propitiate Melora for protection in the wilderness and success in the hunt. Few shadar-kai openly worship extreme deities, good or evil. That said, far more evil gods appeal to the typical shadar-kai mindset than good ones. Authority figures among the shadar-kai rarely outlaw any form of deity worship. For that reason, shadar-kai society might be one of the few that actually allows true religious freedom with regard to the gods. Those who worship evil gods must still do so with care, lest their shrines fall to audacious shadar-kai hoping to prove their mettle. Demon worship, especially that of Orcus and his ilk, finds little tolerance even among the permissive shadar-kai.

Racial Feats

Shadar-kai have a number of feats all their own, as well as access to those tied to their Shadowfell origin.

Heroic Tier Feats

These feats are available to any shadar-kai character who meets the prerequisites.

Benighted Birthright
Prerequisite: Shadar-kai
Benefit: You gain resist 5 necrotic and a +2 feat bonus to saving throws against ongoing necrotic damage.
Blighting Power
Prerequisite: Shadar-kai; bard, sorcerer, swordmage, warlock, or wizard class
Benefit: You gain a benefit with any of the following attack powers you know:

Booming Blade (swordmage, see Forgotten Realm Player’s Guide, page 27): If the target starts its turn adjacent to you and moves away, the damage dealt is necrotic and thunder damage. This power gains the Necrotic keyword.
Dragonfrost (sorcerer, see Player’s Handbook 2, page 139): If you hit with this power, the damage dealt is cold and necrotic. This power gains the Necrotic keyword.
Hellish Rebuke (warlock, see Player’s Handbook, page 132): If you hit with this power, the damage dealt is fire and necrotic. This power gains the Necrotic keyword.
Ray of Frost (wizard, see Player’s Handbook, page 159): If you hit with this power, the damage dealt is cold and necrotic. This power gains the Necrotic keyword.
Vicious Mockery (bard, see Player’s Handbook 2, page 69): If you hit with this power, the damage dealt is psychic and necrotic. This power gains the Necrotic keyword.


Bloodthirsty Hunter
Prerequisite: Shadar-kai, ranger class, Hunter’s Quarry class feature
Benefit:// If you reduce your quarry to 0 hit points, you can immediately choose a new quarry as a free action. If you hit the new quarry before the start of your next turn, you can apply your Hunter’s Quarry damage even if you already used it this round.
Darkwinter Wild Soul
Prerequisites: shadar-kai, sorcerer class, Wild Magic spell source
Benefit: You can choose to resist cold or necrotic damage instead of rolling a d10 for your Wild Soul class feature.
Deathward Aegis
Prerequisite: shadar-kai, swordmage, Aegis of Shielding class feature
Benefit: When you reduce damage with your Aegis of Shielding class feature, the same target also gains resist necrotic 5 until the end of its next turn. Increase this resistance to resist necrotic 10 at 11th level, and again to resist necrotic 15 at 21st level.
Deathly Disruption
Prerequisite: shadar-kai
Benefit: Your attacks ignore the first 5 points of necrotic resistance. This increases to 10 points at 11th level, and again to 15 points at 21st level.
Devious Jaunt
Prerequisites: Int 13, shadar-kai, shadow jaunt racial power
Benefit: You can add your Intelligence modifier to the distance you teleport with shadow jaunt.
Expert Chainfighter
Prerequisite: Proficient in spiked chain, shadarkai, any martial class
Benefit: You gain a benefit with any of the following exploits you possess.

Deft Strike (rogue, see Player’s Handbook, page 118): You can use a spiked chain with this power. If you are wielding a spiked chain, you can move 2 squares before or after making the attack, and you can treat your Sneak Attack damage as necrotic damage for this attack.
Dual Strike ( fighter, see Martial Power, page 7): If you are wielding a spiked chain, you can treat it as though you are wielding two melee weapons (the spiked chain is considered both your main hand and your off-hand weapon). You can shift 1 square before, between, or after the two attacks.
Brash Assault (warlord, see Martial Power, page 103): If your target hits you with the attack granted by this power and you are wielding a spiked chain, the target takes necrotic damage equal to your Strength modifier.
Twin Strike (ranger, see Player’s Handbook, page 105): If you are wielding a spiked chain, you can treat it as though you are wielding two melee weapons (the spiked chain is considered both your main hand and your off-hand weapon). You can shift 1 square before, between, or after the two attacks.


Life on the Edge
Prerequisites: Shadar-kai
Benefit: Whenever you spend an action point while you are bloodied, you gain a +2 bonus to all rolls you make during the granted extra action.
Reaper’s Touch
Prerequisites: Invoker, sorcerer, warlock, or wizard class
Benefit: You gain a benefit with any of the following attack powers you know.

Avenging Light (invoker, see Player’s Handbook 2, page 103): This power gains a range of Melee touch in addition to its normal range. You can use it as a melee basic attack.
Acid Orb (sorcerer, see Player’s Handbook 2, page 138): This power gains a range of Melee touch in addition to its normal range. You can use it as a melee basic attack.
Dragonfrost (sorcerer, see Player’s Handbook 2, page 139): This power gains a range of Melee touch in addition to its normal range. You can use it as a melee basic attack.
Eldritch Blast (warlock, see Player’s Handbook, page 132): This power gains a range of Melee touch in addition to its normal range. You can use it as a melee basic attack.
Magic Missile (wizard, see Player’s Handbook, page 132): This power gains a range of Melee touch in addition to its normal range. You can use it as a melee basic attack.


Shadar-kai Beast
Prerequisites: Shadar-kai, shadow jaunt racial power, ranger, Beast Mastery class feature
Benefit: Your beast companion gains the shadow origin instead of the natural origin. It gains +2 to death saving throws and saving throws against the unconscious condition, as well as a +2 racial bonus to Stealth. When you use your shadow jaunt racial power, you can teleport beast companion the same distance that you teleport. You choose which one of you is insubstantial at the end of the teleport.
Surprise Step
Prerequisites: Shadar-Kai, 11th Level
Benefit: When you use your Shadow Jaunt racial power to move adjacent to an enemy, you gain combat advantage against that enemy until the end of your next turn.
Winter Favored
Prerequisite: shadar-kai
Benefit: You gain resist 5 cold and a +2 feat bonus to saving throws against ongoing cold damage.

Paragon Tier Feats

These feats are available to any shadar-kai character of 11th level or higher who meets the prerequisites.

Bravura Shroud
Prerequisites: 11th level, shadar-kai, warlord class, Bravura Presence class feature
Benefit: Whenever an ally chooses to benefit from your Bravura Presence class feature, that ally gains concealment until the end of its next turn.
Ghostly Rejuvenation
Prerequisites: 11th level, shadar-kai
Benefit: When you use a power with the Healing keyword on an ally, one target of that power can also become insubstantial until the end of its next turn.
Marked Jaunt
Prerequisites: 11th level, shadar-kai, fighter, Combat Challenge class feature
Benefit: If an enemy you have marked makes an attack that doesn’t include you, you can use shadow jaunt as an immediate interrupt to teleport adjacent to that enemy and then make your Combat Challenge attack, as long as that enemy is within range of shadow jaunt.
Reactive Jaunt
Prerequisites: 11th level, shadar-kai, shadow jaunt racial power
Benefit: You can use shadow jaunt as an immediate reaction, triggered when an enemy damages you.
Sequestering Jaunt
Prerequisites: 11th level, shadar-kai, avenger class
Benefit: When you are adjacent to the target of your oath of enmity and you use your shadow jaunt power, you also teleport your oath of enmity target the same number of squares. Your oath of enmity target must end the teleport adjacent to you.
Shadowed Aegis
Prerequisite: shadar-kai, swordmage, Aegis of Assault class feature
Benefit: When you teleport due to your Aegis of Assault class feature, you also become insubstantial until the end of your next turn.

Paragon Tier Racial Powers

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Epic Tier Feats

These feats are available to any shadar-kai character of 21st level or higher who meets the prerequisites.
Blade of the Raven Queen
Prerequisites: 21st level, shadar-kai, swordmage
Benefit: Your spells that deal cold damage instead deal cold and necrotic damage and gain the Necrotic keyword.
Deathless Warrior
Prerequisites: 21st level, Con 13, shadar-kai
Benefit: If a melee or a close attack would reduce you to 0 or fewer hit points, reduce the damage taken by 5 + your Constitution modifier.
Enmity’s Dark Vigor
Prerequisites: 21st level, shadar-kai, avenger class
Benefit: When your oath of enmity target hits you, you gain temporary hit points equal to your Wisdom modifier.
Spirit Jaunt
Prerequisites: 21st level, shadar-kai, shadow jaunt racial power
Benefit: When you use shadow jaunt, you also gain phasing until the end of your next turn.

Shadar-kai Origin

Shadar-kai were once humans, native to the world. They were all members of an extended tribe who called themselves Shadar-Kai. These early humans had seen the abuses Nerull, once god of death, perpetrated on the souls who passed into his power. They also feared the unknowable reaches of death into which most souls pass even now. When the Raven Queen slew Nerull and ascended to godhood, in an
age now largely forgotten, the Shadar-Kai struck a deal with her. They promised to serve as her mortal agents, and in exchange, she gave them incredibly long life and freedom from frailty. The shadar-kai believe that, through their pact, they became the chosen people of death and winter. The Shadar-Kai moved to the Shadowfell, setting up their communities on the borders of Letherna, the Raven Queen’s domain. Life in shadow changed the humans, reshaping them and altering their appearance. Eventually, they were so different from humans that they became a distinct species. As they expanded their territory in the Shadowfell and began interacting again with the mortal world, the tribal name became the name for their race. Through their pact with the Raven Queen, each shadar-kai is an instrument of death and fate. The
Raven Queen doesn’t demand worship from the shadar-kai, although she receives it in abundance. She demands only that they observe the pact by keeping her commandments regardless of other beliefs. So most shadar-kai hold no pity for the dying and try to punish those who defy fate. But shadar-kai also believe that nobody truly knows what fate holds. Individual shadar-kai, therefore, seek to make the best of all possible fates. A shadar-kai lives in extreme ways not only to throw off the apathy of the Shadowfell but also to test fate and ensure that he or she has a great destiny. All shadar-kai hope for some sort of immortality, whether as a lasting legend, a sorrowsworn servant of the Raven Queen, or something else entirely. These beliefs lead shadar-kai to great deeds, and they work to weed out the unfit. As a result, the shadar-kai people are very active and successful across all of creation, expanding their influence on the fate of all.

Paragon Paths

The following paragon paths play on shadar-kai tradition and culture.

Abiding Reaper

“You’ve evaded death long enough. Now it has found you.”
Prerequisites: Shadar-kai
Regardless of your religious bent, the traditions of your people run strong in your veins. Those veins have spilled your own dark blood for fated deeds; and those deeds have, in turn, moved you along the road to fulfilling the dream almost every shadar-kai holds in mind and heart. The natural course of your life seems to be to fulfill your people’s ancient pact against all those who stand in opposition to departing
creation. Whether through your intentional strengthening of your shadar-kai nature or by happy chance, your body has grown strong in death. You are drawn to those who defy death and fate, especially creatures that have immortality—natural or otherwise. To such ones you deliver the sweet freedom of death, sending them into the arms they sought to avoid. Their resistance is for naught. You are a representative of the inevitable. In your terrifying strength you abide— perhaps one day in immortality justly granted, but certainly in legend.

Abiding Reaper Path Features
Deathly Action (11th level): When you spend an action point to make an attack, that attack ignores all resistances and insubstantial and shuts down the target’s regeneration (if any) until the end of your next turn.
Blood Calling (11th level): Whenever you bloody a target, that target grants you combat advantage until it is no longer bloodied.
Hardened Spirit (16th level): Whenever a creature makes an attack against your Fortitude or Will and misses, you gain temporary hit points equal to 1/2 your level + your Constitution modifier.

Abiding Reaper Powers
When you choose the Abiding Reaper paragon path, you choose the ability score on which you base your melee attack and damage rolls. The chosen ability score should match that of your primary class, such as Strength for a fighter. When an Abiding Reaper power refers to a “chosen ability,” use the ability score you chose and its modifier.

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Doomspeaker

“The end of your days is here, for the strongest enemy you have ever faced stands before you. Your doom lives within me.
Prerequisites: Shadar-kai
The crowing moot of the shadar-kai is your playground, where your myth is in the making. Your accomplishments are known among your peers and written indelibly on your body. Words have you woven before your equals and lessers, telling the story of what you have done and where you have gone. Ever have you emerged undefeated. Doubt you’ve rebuffed with proof, perhaps even a gory show of strength. In the face of your enemies, you speak of their last moments and your inevitable victory. Maybe you even learn all you can about your greatest foes, telling them how the twisted path of history has led them into your reach and, ultimately, to doom. You have mastered the art of crowing to the level of the mystical. Oaths and boasts you make carry with them the fearsome shadow of fate. Adversaries quail before your bold speech, and your allies know what you say is a promise, not a hope. You’re proof that bragging isn’t really bragging if what you say is true.

Doomspeaker Path Features
Rattling Action (11th level): Whenever you spend an action point to make an extra attack, the attack power you use is considered to have the Rattling keyword (see Doomspeaker Powers).
Fearmonger (11th level): Whenever you make an attack with a power that has the Rattling keyword, the target still suffers the Rattling effect even if your attack misses.
Thrive on Fear (16th level): When you use a power that has the Rattling keyword and reduce the target to 0 hit points, you can immediately spend a healing surge as a free action.

Doomspeaker Powers
The doomspeaker’s powers make use of the following keyword, which appears in Martial Power and Player’s Handbook 2.

Rattling:
If you are trained in Intimidate and you deal damage with an attack that has this keyword, the target takes a –2 penalty to attack rolls until the end of your next turn. A creature immune to fear is not subject to this penalty.
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Epic Destiny

The following epic destiny is the ultimate fate for which countless shadar-kai vie:

Raven Consort

All your oaths are fulfilled, and your destiny is sealed with your legendary deeds. Death now loves you more than any other.
Prerequisites: 21st-level, shadar-kai, must worship the Raven Queen
Your journeys have seen you conquer uncountable dangers as a paragon of the shadar-kai people. You have traveled the planes as a committed representative of the pact that shapes shadar-kai traditions. In your way, you’ve shown death the respect it deserves and your deific matron true devotion, never shrinking from your duty. Through obedience to shadar-kai “convention,” you’ve brought down foes few could imagine, much less face. Still you stand. Beings across the cosmos know and fear you as an envoy of fickle fortune. Even those who don’t know you sense that you are beloved by death herself, now on the brink of the greatest reward all shadar-kai could hope for.
Immortality
Unwavering in your fidelity to your goddess and the creed she set before your people, you have become the greatest among your kind. Your name shall be a dark reminder to all shadar-kai who aspire to greatness for ages to come. Perhaps you have even warmed the bleak heart of winter and risen above those who must merely join the ranks of the sorrowsworn.

The Queen’s Right Hand:
Your final doom is done, and you have emerged whole and gloriously alive. Death has not fled from you, but she has instead pulled you close under her black wings. Although even gods can die, you are all but eternal in body and in fable. Now is the time to go before your beloved queen and receive your greatest rewards. To you might be added dominion over the borders of Letherna and command over the Raven Knights, sorrowsworn nobles who watch those lands. If this is the preordained time, exarch of Letherna, perhaps you’ll marshal the Raven Queen’s forces to bring death to all of her remaining enemies. Whatever the case, you stand proudly beside the deity of your people as an icon of what others can achieve. You serve her as advisor, confidant, and perhaps even lover. What will you do now that you alone have the most influence with your goddess? Might you intercede for your people? The dead? Those great ones, heroes and villains who stride the cosmos still … in your shadow? Does the thirst for power still burn within you, overriding your ardor in the end? You know as well as the Raven Queen, who herself slew an elder god of the dead, that death can die. Could the very throne of your goddess one day be yours?

Raven Consort Features
Quickened Corpus (21st level): You gain a +2 bonus to Constitution and gain a number of additional hit points equal to your new Constitution modifier. You don’t take the death penalty when the Raise Dead ritual is used to return you to life.
Cycle of Life (24th level): Whenever you make a death saving throw, you gain a cumulative +2 bonus to saving throws and all defenses until the end of the encounter. Each time you make a death saving throw, the bonus stacks with any existing bonus from previous
death saving throws. Additionally, if you get a result of 20 or higher on a death save, you do not spend a healing surge but still regain hit points equal to your surge value.
Death’s Companions (30th level): Whenever you kill a creature, a lich vestige (see Monster Manual, page 176) forms from that creature’s corpse. Until the end of the encounter, you treat the lich vestige as if you have it dominated. At the end of the encounter, any lich vestiges that rose to serve you during the encounter are immediately destroyed.

Raven Consort Power

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