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Shades were humanoids who had merged with the essence of shadowstuff. They grew more powerful in areas of darkness or shadows, including gaining the ability to leap from shadow to shadow, to create shadowy duplicates of themselves, and even to become entirely invisible. They could also decrease the amount of light in an area and could see through darkness, even of the magical variety.[3]

A select few Shadovar, citizens of Thultanthar, were rewarded for their immense loyalty to the city by being made into shades.[4] Shades were first created through the research of Netherese wizards who left Faerûn for the Plane of Shadow for research purposes long before Karsus's Folly. During this journey, it was found that by removing a part of one's soul and replacing it with the essence of shadow, a shade could be produced. This was an extremely complex and painful process, but the result was a being with a prolonged life and a greatly strengthened set of abilities when in the presence of shadows.[citation needed]

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