Is Shadowfell & Feywild evil? Who lives in those demiplanes?
Can evil beings be found in the Feywild and good ones in the Shadowfell?
The planes of the Feywild or Shadowfell are parallel to the Prime material plane. They are often depicted as the good and the evil planes. The Feywild is often depicted as a magical place with vibrant colors and life. At the same time, the Shadowfell is a dark and depressing place of death and Shadow. However, it doesn’t mean they are inherently good or evil. The TL: DR version states that both evil and good reside in the Feywild.
Many malevolent and often evil creatures call the Feywild home. Hags, werewolves, and goblins are just a few of the many evil creatures that live in the Feywild. The 4e Heroes of the Feywild supplement even states
These villains can be just as evil as devils and demon lords and can wield similar might.
Although there aren’t many details about the Feywild in 5,e, there are:
Seelie and Unseelie Fey.
Seelie, Unseelie are not directly related to good and evil. However, many mortals have made that assumption. Much Seelie fey can be good. While many Unseelie can be evil, they are both common.
The 4e books Manual of the Planes, HotF, and the 5e DMG provide ample evidence to show that the Feywild is not only home to good creatures.
There is less evidence to suggest that the Shadowfell has good things. One quote from 4e’s The Shadowfell-Gloomwrought and Beyond strongly indicates that the Shadowfell may not be filled with evil beings.
Although the Shadowfell isn’t inherently evil, many nasty creatures live there.
Although evil may be plentiful, it is not stated that only flawed beings reside in Shadowfell.
Also, the Manual of the Planes states:
Despite its poor reputation, the Shadowfell has bright spots. It is home to many people who live ordinary lives despite the chill and malaise. Many Shadowfell visitors find that the plane shares more similarities with the natural world than its differences.
Like the natural world, there are good and evil.
Plane of Shadow
The Shadowfell is Also known as the Plane of Shadow. One of the most prominent was. Planes of existence various cosmological models. As new cosmologies were developed, their purpose and characteristics changed. Other names also knew this plane. Shadowland is the Demiplane of Shadow..
It was an analog to the Feywild in that it was a reflection or echo of the Prime Material Plane. It was, however, a lonely, bleak place, full of decay, death, and not like the Feywild.
- It is the toxic realm of power and darkness.
- It is the dark place that detests light.
- It is the frontier to unknown worlds.
- Shadowfell in Great Wheel Model
According to the Great Wheel cosmology in its early versions, the Plane of Shadow was a demi-plane. The proto-matter that flowed around the Ethereal Plane created demiplanes. Each plane has its own Border Ethereal when a critical mass is reached. The largest of these was the Demiplane of Shadow. It was composed of both positive energy and negative energy. The Demiplane of Shadow’s “curtain of vaporous color” was silver for those traveling through the Ethereal plane.
Shadowwalkers could shadow walk to the Shadowfell, and travelers could use this plane to transit many Prime Material kilometers/miles quickly. To travel to this plane, Clerics could use a plane shift spell. It was possible to locate the boundaries of other planes of reality if anyone were brave enough to cross over the Demiplane of Shadow. The Demiplane of Shadow was dark and dismal.
Later and more refined versions of the Great Wheel Cosmology, such as following the Second Sundering, were considered the Shadowfell a parallel plane or an “echo” of the Material Plane. It coexisted with the Feywild.
Shadowfell in World Tree Model
The Plane of Shadow is an infinite plane that coexisted in the World Tree Cosmology model. It touched the Prime Material Plane at all points and had the same basic geography. However, it was only accessible at night or through the shadow walk spell. Natural vortices, which are intermittent portals that appear in areas of heavy shade and darkness, appeared between this plane (and the Material Plane). Vortex entry and exit points were not predictable. They only lasted a few days.
Although the Plane of Shadow was still connected to it, it was no longer associated with the Ethereal Plane. It was still possible to move quickly between points in the Prime by entering the Shadowfell, skirting the edge, and returning into the Prime. However, arriving at a specific destination was more difficult than before. It was possible to reach other universes by navigating the Shadowfell and finding the border with alien worlds like Oerth.
Shadowfell in World Axis Model
The Shadowfell’s desolate landscape.
1385 DR, also known as the Year of Blue Fire (the Year of Blue Fire), Shar was able to engineer the murder of Mystra By Cyric. That plunged the multiverse into years of chaos and upheaval called the Spellplague. Although the Elemental and Energy Planes fell into the Elemental Chaos, Shar could manipulate some of the Negative Energy Plane’s necrotic energies and inject them into the Plane of Shadow. This combination was so powerful that the souls and bodies of the dead were drawn to the altered plane. Shar called her new creation Shadowfell. The parallel plane was a place where necrotic energies and shadow magic were born.
A swamp cabin is located near the Black Rift, Shadow Swamp.
The absence of light and color struck visitors to the Plane of Shadow. There was no sun, moon, or star in the sky. Everything looked black and white. The distance that a light source illuminates is half of what it would typically shine. Flames and fires emit less heat, and spells dealing with light and Shadow are less reliable. Even a source of shadowy illumination such as a dark spell or lantern burning shadow light oil could be visible at five times the distance.
- The Shadowfell had the same gravity and time as the Prime. However, the Shadowfell was magically and divinely morphic. That meant that the landscape was dark and twisted in comparison to the Prime. The local features of the Plane of Shadow were often very similar. Casting a shadow walk in a forest would place you in a shadow forest, casting it underwater would drop you into a similar body of waters, etc. The landscape quickly changed from its original starting point and diverged from it on subsequent visits. It made mapping the Shadowfell impossible. The landmarks could be recognized but modified in strange ways. For example, buildings could be built differently or with different materials in other places. Sometimes, similar sites were called “shadow-analogs.”
Which creatures and monsters live in ShadowFell?
|Balhannoth||Dusk beast||Krinth||Shadow beast||Sorrowsworn|
|Blazing skeleton||Forgewraith||Meazel||Shadow elemental||Tenebrous worm|
|Corpse vampire||Ghost||Nighthaunt||Shadow sea serpent||Tomb spider|
|Dark creature||Gloomwing moth||Nightshade||Shadow slime||Vampire muse|
|Death giant||Khayal||Shadar-kai||Skull lord||Zar’ithra|
Which creatures and monsters live in Feywild?
|Giant Owl (and other giant beasts)||Cockactrices||Oni|
|Ettercap||Strange Plants and Fungi||Pseudodragon|
Positive & Negative energy planes
The ever-changing landscape made the Plane of Shadow subject to small but frequent earthquakes (called shadow quakes). They were about two hundred feet in diameter (sixty meters) and sounded a lot like an earthquake spell. Suppose the damage to the ground was comparable to a Prime earthquake for those who were there. Shadow quakes could disrupt the shadow walk spell and throw unfortunate travelers onto Shadowfell at the center of the disturbance, which would be far away from their destination.
The Plane of Shadow had some areas that we’re able to connect with the Negative Energy Plane, the undead life-draining undead, such as ghosts, shadows, and even vampires. Unprotected visitors to these “dark lands” immediately felt the life force being sucked out of their bodies.
Unless they left the dark land quickly, all that was left was ash. A person with protection against negative energy could look at the barren landscape and make acquaintances with the truly hostile undead. There were no natural vortices that opened into the dark lands, which prevented the unwary from entering into certain death and preventing those who thrived there from easy access to other planes. Material Plane locations like haunted battlefields and desecrated burial mounds often had a shadowland echo on Shadowfell.
Some echoes were also heard in locations similar to those of towns and cities on the Prime Material Plane, but they were less alarming. These were not real mirages. However, familiar faces and places could be seen through the shadowfell’s macabre mirror. Structures may appear to be altered, dislocated or destroyed, or even entirely replaced by another. The faces of mirages of the living were distorted nightmares. However, they could still be recognized enough to cause fear and hate in travelers.
This plane had water, air, and food. Some humanoids and animals adapted to the dark environment. Visitors could survive indefinitely if they were prepared to endure stagnant, foul-smelling water and food that oozed darkened blood. Visitors could not feel warm and would sometimes sense or hear the presence of other things. They also felt constantly watched. It was an unsettling place. Exposure to the Plane of Shadow over time altered living beings. It resulted in increasing their abilities and vulnerabilities, and various traits. Shadow stuff users were able to experience emotions and feelings, but they seemed to diminish over time.
Morphic nature of Shadowfell
The morphic nature of Shadowfell could cause strange effects. Especially in areas such as the Black Rift, which are particularly morphic and have events that have a particular affinity with the plane, like death. For example, in the Black Rift, many bodies caused more skeletons, to the point where they reached thousands. Stranger still was the bizarre biers on which dead bodies appeared spontaneously, seemingly drawn from any place they rest or anywhere else in existence. They then disappeared after a few seconds, possibly to their source. Stalactites found in caves dripped ephemeral dark stuff, absorbed into the plane and not a puddle. Common mushrooms even had humanoid-like faces that could blink or twitch. Unlike the black tentacles spell, trees of grasping tendrils grew from surfaces and reached out to passersby.
The material is known as “shadow stuff” could be used to manipulate the Shadowfell into semi-real monsters or quasi-real evocations. These were still very effective, even if the target believed the illusion.
Shadow well spells are another tool used by illusionists. They can transform a creature’s Shadow into a temporary portal into the Shadowfell. If the spell was successful, the victim was taken into the Shadowfell by their Shadow. The victim then spent a few minutes in a small demi-plane attached to the Shadowfell and terrorized by dark ghostsms. This spell did not cause any physical harm. Still, it could have caused mental and emotional trauma that resulted in fear responses.
A failed attempt to build a Shadowfell gate could lead to what is known as a “failed Shadow Gate.” One was only temporarily opened to the Plane of Shadow by a being who stepped through it. However, a “seed of Shadow” was placed in their flesh at that time. Their meat could be subsumed into Shadow and would then see the darkness engulfing them. Many of them died with only skeletons left, but the survivors were granted the abilities of dark creatures.
In the Imaskari empire, the earliest recorded conscious interaction between Toril and the Plane of Shadow occurred. The Late period, around -3500 DR, saw Madryoch, an archwizard, focussed on the Shadowfell’s secrets and plotted to take over Lord Artificer Omanond using its dark power. Heather, a young adept, thwarted his plans. The Netherese lost knowledge of the existence of Plane of Shadow after the fall of Imaskari. It was only three thousand years later in the Year of Plentiful Wine -533 DR that they rediscovered it.
- The Black Horde attacked Faerun in 1235 DR. The Horde defeated Eldritch, the Betrayer who would betray Baldur’s Gate. They killed her, and she was reborn from hatred. The Onyx Tower was born from her soul of hate and is tied to her entire life. The Onyx Heart was found in the Plane of Shadow. Only by its destruction could the Onyx tower be destroyed.
- A group of adventurers explored Undrentide, a Netherese city in the Year of Wild Magic 1372 DR. They entered the Shadowfell through portals in an Arcanist’s Tower. There they met shades. Later, the adventurer escaped imminent doom using a magic mirror and traveled back to The Plane of Shadow.
- The Shadow Plane could not attract the souls of the deceased until the Spellplague, Shar, and the transformation into the Shadowfell. However, it was possible to trap one soul there. That happened to Gareth Dragonsbane (king of Damara) in the Year of Rogue Dragons 1373 DR by a group of wizards allied with the lich Sammaster. A phalanx led by the smoke-drake Brimstone of paladins saved King Gareth’s soul in the next year.
- 1374 DR. Sharran and Lyricist cultists based on the Plane of Shadow in the Shadow Swamp plotted to destroy the Weave from Black Rift. Adventurers followed them through the Dusk Lord’s Passage to Shadow Swamp. They disrupted their efforts and discovered the Black Chronology among their debris. In the same year, a rift was created to the Shadowfell in the skies above Sembia. A dark tract of land also destroyed the city of Ordulin.
- In 1376 DR, eight brave men ventured into The Plane of Shadow to defeat one of its guardians, Modoc SeLanmere, and destroy the Onyx Heart.
- In 1385 DR, the Plane of Shadow was affected by a significant change. Shar, who had successfully orchestrated Mystra’s demise, linked the energies of The Negative Energy Plane to the plane. The plane was renamed the Shadowfell. It serves as a place of power for Shar. And it was a temporary home for the dead on their way to the Fugue Plane.
- The Shadowfell was no longer a point of entry for souls of the deceased on their way to Fugue plane after the Second Sundering. However, it is still known as the Shadowfell by most people.
Legends and rumors
This plane’s unique and unusual nature prompted cosmologists and planar travelers to speculate about its origins. Many believed that the Plane of Shadow was a spontaneously formed demiplane from the Ethereal Plane.
Most cosmologists and planeswalkers have a sense of adventure. They enjoyed talking about the Shining Citadel legend. The legend states that the Plane Of Shadow was once brighter than the Material Plane and had many life forces. However, a group of mysterious worshippers of the plane’s creator took all the light, color, and life force and concentrated it into a mighty citadel. It would seem that an energy-rich structure would be difficult to miss. However, no one has ever discovered the Shining Citadel. That is except those who have ventured into the Plane of Shadows’ most profound areas and have never returned.
One theory was that the Underdark was infinitely deep because it became the Plane of Shadow. This hypothesis was supported by the fact that permanent portals to Shadowfell became more familiar with each deeper dive.
Shadowfell is good, and the Feywild has its evil.
- In reality, all intelligent races of the Shadowfell, including Shadar Kai and Dark Ones, are capable of doing good and evil. In 3e, Shadar-Kai were usually evil. However, they are now unaligned in 4e. Cold, pitiless, but not evil. Dark Ones are not murderers but thieves and chaotic neutral.
- The Feywild is simple. In recent years, the game has turned to older folk tales as inspiration. Not Alice in Wonderland and Disney. Hags and such are flat-out evil, and other monsters fall between Chaotic Neutral, Evil, and occasionally sound. Most 5e stuff is composed of neutral or evil fey creatures. The majority of creatures are Hags.
- The Sidhe are more human-like intelligent than the Feywild princes and princesses. They can be compared to medieval versions of aliens. Different intelligence, but some similarities. Often sinister, sometimes benign, sometimes benevolent, but different.
- We can’t know if 5e will receive more, but it is almost sure that 5e will receive both.
- The Feywild is not associated with goodness. It’s associated instead with the Positive energy plane in old traditions.
- The Shadowfell is not evil. It’s just associated with the Negative energy plane. Positive energy is life until it overwhelms you and makes you explode. Negative energy is death. Good or bad?