April 28, 2021

Master of Shadows Redux

Roguish Archetype
Comments from the Finger: The triumphant return of one first rogue subclasses we ever wrote (and still one of the most unique we've ever touched upon). This has always been an extremely interesting subclass, mechanically, since it involves granting you a minion which can let you proc Sneak Attack for free -- hopefully we got the balance perfect this time!

Shadow Master

Rogues that wish to gain membership in the furtive Order of Shadow Masters must perform twelve trials, train relentlessly, and undergo the Umbral Rite, a ritual of profound darkness that severs their shadow from their heels. In return, they grow pale and gaunt with empty holes for eyes, but can manipulate the shadows as one does a marionette. They can summon inky blackness and see through impenetrable night, while their shadows skulk about the walls and floors, doing their every bidding.

Abyssal Eyes
When you choose this archetype at 3rd level, your eyes change to an inky black, granting you darkvision out to a range of 60 feet. If you already have darkvision, its range increases by 60 feet.

Release Shadow
Starting at 3rd level, you can use a bonus action to magically detach your shadow from your body, allowing it to move independently. Your shadow is a flat, perfectly black silhouette of you that crawls along the walls and floor. It has AC 10, 1 hit point, and immunity to all conditions. If it has to make a saving throw, it uses your saving throw bonus for the roll. It is the same size as you, albeit perfectly flat, and can occupy the same space as other creatures, and vice versa.
In combat, your shadow acts on your turns and follows your commands. You can command your shadow on each of your turns to move up to 30 feet along the ground or floor (no action required). Your shadow counts as an ally for the purposes of Sneak Attack. 
Your shadow vanishes if it drops to 0 hit points, if it is within the area of light created by a spell of 1st level or higher, or if it is ever more than 60 feet from you. Once it vanishes, your shadow reappears at your heels at the end of your next turn.
If your shadow enters a heavily obscured area or one of magical darkness, it is effectively invisible. Your shadow can appear to be the shadow of other creatures and act convincingly using your Charisma (Performance) or Charisma (Deception) skill.

Gloaming Black
At 9th level, you can cast the spell darkness without using a spell slot or spell components. When you use this feature, you can see through the darkness created by this spell. Additionally, when your shadow enters this area of darkness, you can choose for it to grow to fill the entire area.
Once you use this ability, you can’t use it again until you finish a short or long rest.

Shadow Puppet
Starting at 13th level, your shadow can reach out to the shadows of other creatures, interacting with them as if they were physical. If your shadow is within 5 feet of the shadow of another creature, you can use your bonus action to command it to use one of the following abilities: 
  • Your shadow makes an attack against the shadow of another creature. Your shadow uses Dexterity for its attack rolls and has proficiency with its shadowy weapons. On a hit against the creature's AC, the target takes 2d6 damage. This damage counts as magical and its type matches the weapon you are carrying if it deals bludgeoning, piercing, or slashing damage, or deals bludgeoning damage otherwise. 
  • Your shadow grapples the shadow of another creature. Your shadow can use your Dexterity (Acrobatics) check for its grapple check and the target makes its grapple check as normal. If your shadow succeeds, the creature is grappled until the end of its next turn. 
  • Your shadow hooks onto the heels of another creature, becoming its second shadow until the end of its next turn. If you see the creature make an attack while your shadow is on its heels, you can use your reaction to cause the shadow to leap in the way, becoming the target of the attack.
By 17th level, your body has absorbed much of the shadowstuff that prevails in the darkest planes of existence, allowing you to mingle with your shadow as if you were a creature of its kind. You can use your bonus action to swap places with your shadow, both of you teleporting in a dim haze. Once you use this ability, you can use it once more before the end of your turn without using a bonus action. If you teleport into an area of dim light or darkness, you have advantage on the first melee attack you make before the end of the turn while you are in that area.

5/5/21: Gloaming Black: Wording update
Shadow Puppet: Creature statistics clarified, shadow damage is magical
Shadowdance: Only one free additional use per turn


  1. Can you only see through your own Darkness spell, or any Darkness spell?

    As for Shadow Puppet- first of all, AWESOME. That's one of the coolest abilities I've ever seen.
    Second, it sadly doesn't work in darkness (since other creatures would have no shadows).
    Does the shadow add the Dex to damage? (RAW no)
    What's the AC (or athletics/acrobatics) of another creature's shadow? Does it have the same resistances/immunities?
    Does the shadow's attack count as magical?

    Shadowdance , RAW, allows unlimited uses on the turn? Is that right? Not that it seems to break anything, just wondering.

    1. Good questions all around. I've tightened up the wording on Gloaming Dark so this ambiguity is clear (only the spell when cast using this feature) and I've gone through and specified which stats to use for Shadow Puppet. The shadow doesn't add Dex to damage, but I don't think that needs to be clarified further. I've also made its damage type magical.

      Lastly, Shadowdance should be one additional time per turn, allowing you to get in and get out with one bonus action. Thanks for your help, Idan!

    2. Always happy to nitpick :)

  2. Ooh, ever yet more reduxes! Will the Alchemist be getting a Final version too, like the Craftsman?

    1. I don't *think* so. We're doing a few tweaks in the background on the alchemist that we'll show off sometime soonish, but nothing major. The craftsman is just such a complicated machine that it needed several passes to get right. By contrast, the alchemist is mostly the bomb mechanic -- once that is balanced and feels good, the whole class just works.

  3. Once the shadow disappears do you need to use another bonus action to detach it again? It isn't clearly stated.

    Also in the second ability I'm confused on the "when your shadow enters this area of darkness, you can choose for it to grow to fill the entire area." does the shadow grow and is considered filling the entire area or does the darkness spell itself grow?

    1. When your shadow reappears, it's on your heels -- you need to detach it again.

      I don't actually think the wording on the latter is ambiguous, but I'm open to being challenged on that. It's: "when your shadow enters this area of darkness, you can choose for it (the shadow) to grow to fill the entire area (of darkness)."

  4. The shadow doesn't seem very useful at lower levels. It provides an ally, but rogues tend to have an ally nearby when attacking anyway. It might be more useful if you could attack through it similar to the echo knight, allowing your rogue to attack from a safer location.