Faerûnian Prestige Class : Shadow Adept

Some spellcasters who discover the existence of the Shadow Weave are cautious about using it, altering their magic slowly to take advantage of its effects. Others are more reckless, hurling themselves into the abyss of the Shadow Weave immediately to acquire all the gifts available to the casual student and discover secrets unavailable to all but the most dedicated. These latter spellcasters are the shadow adepts, who make great sacrifices with respect to some aspects of the Art in order to reap greater benefits elsewhere.

Most shadow adepts were previously sorcerers or wizards, and these are the ones who stand to gain the greatest power from adopting this path. Any spellcaster can tap the Shadow Weave, however, and a few bards, druids, and rangers have also been known to make this choice. Among clerics, only the followers of Shar are common in the ranks of the shadow adepts.


To qualify to become a Shadow Adept, a character must fulfill all the following criteria:

Class Skills

The shadow adept's class skills are Bluff, Concentration, Craft, Disguise, Hide, Knowledge (all skills taken individually), Profession, and SpellCraft.

Skill Points at Each Level: 2 + Int modifier.

Class Features

All the following are Class Features of the shadow adept prestige class.

Weapon and Armor Proficiency: Shadow adepts gain no proficiency with any weapon, armor, or shield. Armor check penalties for armor heavier than leather apply to the skills Balance, Climb, Escape Artist, Hide, Jump, Move Silently, Sleight of Hand, and Tumble, and double the normal armor check penalty applies to Swim checks.

Spells per Day/Spells Known: When a new shadow adept level is gained, the character gains new spells per day (and spells known, if applicable) as if he had also gained a level in whatever spellcasting class granted him access to 3rd-level spells before he added the prestige class. He does not, however, gain any other benefit a character of that class would have gained (bonus metamagic or item creation feats, improved chance of turning or rebuking undead, and so on), except for an increased effective level of spellcasting. This essentially means that he adds the level of shadow adept to the level of whatever other spellcasting class granted him access to 3rd-level spells, then determines spells per day, spells known, and caster level accordingly.

If a character had more than one spellcasting class that granted access to 3rd-level spells before he became a shadow adept, he must decide to which class he adds each level of shadow adept for the purpose of determining spells per day and spells known.

Shadow Feats: At 1st level, a shadow adept gains Insidious Magic, Pernicious Magic, and Tenacious Magic as bonus feats if he doesn't already have them.

Low-Light Vision (Ex): At 2nd level, a shadow adept gains low-light vision if he doesn't already have it.

Shadow Defense (Ex): At 3rd level, a shadow adept gains resistance to the kinds of spells that are favored by the Shadow Weave. He gains a +1 profane bonus on saving throws against spells from the schools of enchantment, illusion, and necromancy, as well as spells with the darkness descriptor. This bonus increases to +2 at 6th level and to +3 at 9th level.

Shield of Shadows (Su): A shadow adept of at least 4th level can surround himself with a globe of purple-black force as a standard action. This shield of shadows functions like a shield spell, granting him a +4 shield bonus to AC and absorbing m.agic missiles cast at him. In addition, the shield of shadows provides concealment (20% miss chance) against melee and ranged attacks. The shadow adept can see and reach through the shield, so it does not provide cover or concealment to opponents.

The shadow adept may use a shield of shadows for up to 1 round per caster level per day. This duration need not be consecutive - the shadow adept may break it up into increments as small as 1 round if he so desires. Creating or dismissing the shield of shadows is a standard action. When the shadow adept reaches 8th level, the shield also grants him spell resistance equal to 12 + his shadow adept level, as if he were under the effect of a spell resistance spell.

Darkvision (Su): At 7th level, a shadow adept can see in the dark as though he were permanently affected by a darkvision spell.

Shadow Walk (Sp): A shadow adept of at least 7th level can use shadow walk once per day (caster level equals shadow adept level).

Shadow Double (Su): Once per day, a 10th-level shadow adept can use a standard action to create a double of himself woven from shadowstuff. The double has the ability scores, base AC, hit points, saves, and attack bonuses of its creator, but no equipment. (Any apparent clothing or equipment is nonfunctional.) Since it can use anything its creator can, the double can attack the creator's enemies if given a weapon or item with which to do so. Alternatively, it can function as the target of a project image spell, duplicating the creator's actions and functioning as the origin of the creator's spells when it is within his direct line of sight. Mentally commanding the double is a free action. Using it as the originator of a spell counts as an action of the sort needed to cast the spell for both the creator and the double. Causing either the creator or the double to leave the plane they share dismisses the double.

The double lasts 1 round per caster level. The death of the double does not affect the shadow adept or vice versa. If its creator dies, the shadow double still lasts until its duration expires.

Shadow AdeptHit Dice: d4
CLBABFortRefWillSpecialSpells per Day
1st+0+0+0+2Shadow feats+1 level of existing spellcasting class
2nd+1+0+0+3Low-light vision+1 level of existing spellcasting class
3rd+1+1+1+3Shadow defense +1+1 level of existing spellcasting class
4th+2+1+1+4Shield of shadows+1 level of existing spellcasting class
5th+2+1+1+4 - +1 level of existing spellcasting class
6th+3+2+2+5Shadow defense +2+1 level of existing spellcasting class
7th+3+2+2+5Shadow walk, darkvision+1 level of existing spellcasting class
8th+4+2+2+6Greater shield of shadows+1 level of existing spellcasting class
9th+4+3+3+6Shadow defense +3+1 level of existing spellcasting class
10th+5+3+3+7Shadow double+1 level of existing spellcasting class

Epic Shadow Adept

The benefits of the Shadow Weave are as potent as they are tempting. A rare few who follow this path attain epic levels, and those who know their names dare mention them only in whispers - and even then only in bright daylight.

As a spellcaster, an epic shadow adept should focus on gaining feats that bolster his spellcasting power, such as the ever-popular Improved Spell Capacity. Epic Spell Focus, particularly in enchantment, illusion, or necromancy, also serves him well. Improved Low-Light Vision boosts the epic shadow adept's visual acuity in the shadowy conditions he loves.

An epic shadow adept who is satisfied with his spellcasting prowess might consider picking up feats that accentuate his other abilities. If he has the prerequisites, Self-Concealment fits in well with the shadow adept's motif. Spectral Strike is another interesting choice for shadow adepts who were clerics before embracing the Shadow Weave.

As with any epic spellcaster, an epic shadow adept should improve the ability score that controls his spellcasting. Other than that, Dexterity is a good choice, particularly if he typically goes without armor.

Skill Points at Each Additional Level: 2 + Int modifier.

Spells: The epic shadow adept's caster level increases by 1 for every level higher than 10th. His spells per day and spells known do not increase after 10th level.

Shadow Defense: The epic shadow adept's profane bonus on saves against spells from the schools of enchantment, illusion, and necromancy, as well as spells with the darkness descriptor, increases by 1 for every three levels higher than 9th (to +4 at 12th level, +5 at 15th level, and +6 at 18th level).

Bonus Feats: The epic shadow adept gains a bonus feat (selected from the list below) for every four levels higher than 10th. He must meet any prerequisites for a feat in order to select it.

Epic Shadow Adept Bonus Feat List: Automatic Quicken Spell, Automatic Silent Spell, Automatic Still Spell, Enhance Spell, Epic Spell Focus, Epic Spell Penetration, Epic spellcasting, Ignore Material Components, Improved Combat Casting, Improved Heighten Spell, Improved Low-Light Vision, Improved Metamagic, Improved Spell Capacity, Intensify Spell, Multispell, Permanent Emanation, Spectral Strike, Spell Knowledge, Spell Opportunity, Spontaneous Spell, Tenacious Magic.

Epic Shadow AdeptHit Dice: d4
12thShadow defense +4
14thBonus feat
15thShadow defense +5
18thBonus feat, shadow defense +6

Source: Forgotten Realms Campaign Setting
Player's Guide to Faerûn

Realms Prestige Classes