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Shadow demons, also called shadow fiends,[4] were the product of a demon whose essence could not properly reform in the Abyss. Trapped within the form of a living silhouette, these demons were merely shadows of their former selves.[5]


The physical form of a shadow demon was normally vague and undefined as it was often confused with the dark contours of the environment or the shadows of onlookers.[5] Although they resembled wraiths or shadows they were in fact entirely different creatures.[3][5] By shining a light source on shadow demons one could resolve the nearby darkness to reveal their distinct shape.[1] The true form of a shadow demon was that of an angular and macilent, 6 ft (1.8 m) humanoid figure with a pair of bat-like wings, inky talons and a lower half that bled away into nothingness.[1][3][4]


In terms of active behavior, shadow demons were very similar to devils in that they had interest in corrupting mortals and tempting them towards evil. They also reveled in capturing souls as they could be used as currency when dealing with other beings of the Lower Planes like night hags.[3] The key difference between devils and shadow demons was their end goal. Shadow demons were like the undead in that their aim was the complete obliteration of all mortal life, and unlike the devils, they did not acquire souls in a bid for power and status.[2]


Being the shady figures they were, shadow demons preferred to lurk within the darkness where they were practically invisible and some were known to be able to create it themselves.[2] They flickered throughout the shadows with supernatural speed, nimbly gliding without a sound. Ghastly claws tore away not only the flesh but the fabric of the mind, allowing them to consume a targets nightmares, fears, memories, and other negative mental aspects.[1]

Shadow demons could innately use the magic jar spell once every week if provided with a proper gemstone receptacle. If the process failed the shadow demon risked being temporarily stunned by the attempt. Attempts to turn them like undead had limited rates of success.[4]

Being incorporeal, they could phase through walls and other mundane barriers with ease. Their forms were unaffected by mortal ailments, severe temperature, fatigue and were generally hard to injure by all but magic. Fortunately, their weakness laid in their predictable aversion to light, as without darkness to hide in, their true forms were exposed and vulnerable.[1]


Shadow demons carefully stalked their targets and struck them when and where they were least expected to appear.[1]


Shadow demons were unique among the abyssal creatures in that they existed outside its conventional hierarchical structure, as they were not created like most demons. Unlike most current demons, they were not tanar'ri either, and so occupied no place in their personal system.[1]

Shadow demons normally worked under the employ of more powerful agents of evil as spies, assassins, scouts, advisers, and assistants. These beings included evil dragons, wicked mortal rulers, influential demonologists, demon lords, nightwalkers, and other dark powers who the shadow demons served well and effectively. Ancient black dragons in particular were sought out due to some mysterious link between the two, whether social or in some way biological. They prompted these beings towards acts of great and destructive evil, especially the killing of evil mortals, and took their masters' souls when they died whenever possible.[3][4]

Souls were recognized as having value to shadow demons who traded them with greater demons and other inhabitants of the Lower Planes for raw evil magic. Although they often tried to steal the minds of great intellects and wizards of which they could fetch a high price they occasionally ended up with braggarts trapped within their gems.[3][4]


Shadow demons rarely interacted with creatures of equal strength to themselves like tanar'ri or other demons, only doing so when working towards a common goal or when asked to by their masters. Such beings were usually related to darkness and death such as the undead, shadar-kai, or the dark servants of their current master. They were also known to cooperate with the deathpriests of Orcus,[2] and some acted as servants to Kiaransalee, drow goddess of the undead..[6]


Shadow demons lived in villages within the Lower Planes, particularly the Abyss, molding sculptures out of the shadowy substances of their locations. Their shadow sculpting powers only worked within the Lower Planes and could not be used fast or effectively enough to be usable for combat purposes, Most villages contained small, hidden portals to other planes. as well as slowly and meticulously mold sculptures out of darkness.[4][3]

They abounded in the Darkflame neighborhood of Zelatar.[7]


When a demon's body was destroyed on the Material Plane they were often either cast back into the Abyss, eternally destroyed, or reincarnated. Sometimes when a demon was destroyed however, their demonic essence was released, but incapable of reforming for whatever reason. This pure, unfiltered evil was channeled back into the Abyss and given an insubstantial, physical form, birthing the nightmare-inducing shadow demons. Shadow demons could craft evil magic into more of their kind and it was rumored that particular powers of the Lower Planes could command them to do their bidding.[1][2][3][4]


In 14851486 DR, shadow demons were among the demons that walked the streets of Menzoberranzan and were later sent to aid in the (failed) defense of Q'Xorlarrin against the dwarves.[8]



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