Shadow mastiffs, sometimes known as shadow hounds,[4][5][6] were massive dogs of darkness and doom that stalked through the Plane of Shadow.[1] The sound of a pack of shadow mastiffs baying caused all but the bravest individuals to tremble.[3]


A shadow mastiff had the body of a large dog, standing a bit over 2 feet (0.6 meters) at the shoulder, but their heads were more humanoid in shape but monstrous, with mouths full of vicious teeth. They were around 200 pounds (90 kilograms) in weight.[1][7][8] A shadow mastiff's coat was smooth and all black, making them very hard to see in darkness.[3][1]


In anything less than full daylight, a shadow mastiff could blend in with shadows, making it very hard to see, even practically invisible. Artificial illumination and spells such as light or continual flame were insufficient; only a daylight could reveal the shadow mastiff.[1][7][8]

A shadow mastiff's bark was as bad as its bite. When it barked, bayed, or howled, all beings in 300 feet (91 meters) in a direct line had to hold firm or be panicked for a time. Only evil outsiders and those who'd already heard it in the last day were immune.[1]

With its natural scenting ability, it was a skilled tracker.[1]


Owing to their innate advantages, shadow mastiffs preferred to attack from places of darkness. If a magical source of light was able to dispel the gloom, the cunning shadow beasts would move out of the light or step back and use their terrifying baying to scatter their foes. They would even snatch and carry away items that emanated daylight spells.[1]

A shadow mastiff attacked only with its bite, but was able to wrench and trip a victim to leave it vulnerable.[1]


Shadow mastiffs prowled in the darkness and hunted in the night, hunting down any prey available.[1] They hated light; if bright light was shone upon them, they howled in fury.[7][8]


They hailed from the Plane of Shadow, where they enjoyed eternal darkness.[1] For example, they might be found in the Shadow Swamp. [9]


Shadow mastiffs lived in packs of five to twelve specimens, but were as often found hunting alone or in pairs.[1]

Shadow mastiff whelps had to be kept in constant darkness, as bright light could kill them.[3]

Although a shadow mastiff was unable to speak, it could understand a language such as Common.[1]


Shadow mastiff whelps could be sold for 200–500 gp.[3]


It was believed that shadow mastiffs resulted from dogs that were killed by undead shadows and then transported to the Demiplane of Shadow to be with others of their kind.[3]

Notable Shadow MastiffsEdit

In early Eleint of the Year of Lightning Storms, 1374 DR, a shadow mastiff was kept on guard by Sharran cultists at the Lost Refuge in the Vast Swamp. Its bay quickly alerted the entire base to intruders.[7] They also kept one as a guardian in the Black Rift in the Shadow Swamp in the Plane of Shadow.[8]





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