Shadow mastiffs, sometimes known as shadow hounds,[4][5][6] were massive dogs of darkness and doom that stalked through the Plane of Shadow.[2] The sound of a pack of shadow mastiffs baying caused all but the bravest individuals to tremble.[3]

Description[edit | edit source]

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.[2][7][8] A shadow mastiff's coat was smooth and all black, making them very hard to see in darkness.[3][2]

Personality[edit | edit source]

Shadow mastiffs prowled in the darkness and hunted in the night, hunting down any prey available.[2] They hated light; if bright light was shone upon them, they howled in fury.[7][8]

Abilities[edit | edit source]

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.[2][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.[2]

With its natural scenting ability, it was a skilled tracker.[2]

Combat[edit | edit source]

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.[2]

A shadow mastiff attacked only with its bite, but was able to wrench and trip a victim to leave it vulnerable.[2]

History[edit | edit source]

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]

Ecology[edit | edit source]

Shadow mastiffs lived in packs of five to twelve specimens, but were as often found hunting alone or in pairs.[2] Their whelps had to be kept in constant darkness, as bright light could kill them.[3]

Habitats[edit | edit source]

They hailed from the Plane of Shadow, where they enjoyed eternal darkness.[2] For example, they might be found in the Shadow Swamp. [9]

Languages[edit | edit source]

Although a shadow mastiff was unable to speak, it could understand some languages such as Common.[2]

Usages[edit | edit source]

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

Notable Shadow Mastiffs[edit | edit source]

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]

Appendix[edit | edit source]

Appearances[edit | edit source]

Adventures
Cormyr: The Tearing of the Weave
Novels
Mistress of the NightBloodwalkUnbroken Chain
Board Games
Dungeon Command: Sting of Lolth

References[edit | edit source]

  1. 1.0 1.1 Mike Mearls, et al. (November 2016). Volo's Guide to Monsters. Edited by Jeremy Crawford, et al. (Wizards of the Coast), p. 190. ISBN 978-0786966011.
  2. 2.00 2.01 2.02 2.03 2.04 2.05 2.06 2.07 2.08 2.09 2.10 2.11 2.12 2.13 2.14 2.15 2.16 2.17 2.18 Skip Williams, Jonathan Tweet, Monte Cook (July 2003). Monster Manual v.3.5. (Wizards of the Coast), p. 222. ISBN 0-7869-2893-X.
  3. 3.0 3.1 3.2 3.3 3.4 3.5 Jon Pickens ed. (November 1996). Monstrous Compendium Annual Volume Three. (Wizards of the Coast), p. 79. ISBN 0786904496.
  4. Strategic Simulations, Inc. (1993). Eye of the Beholder III: Assault on Myth Drannor. Strategic Simulations, Inc.
  5. Mike Mearls, Stephen Schubert, James Wyatt (June 2008). Monster Manual 4th edition. (Wizards of the Coast), pp. 160–161. ISBN 978-0-7869-4852-9.
  6. Jaleigh Johnson (July 2010). Unbroken Chain. (Wizards of the Coast). ISBN 0-7869-5760-3.
  7. 7.0 7.1 7.2 7.3 Richard Baker, Bruce R. Cordell, David Noonan, Matthew Sernett, James Wyatt (March 2007). Cormyr: The Tearing of the Weave. Edited by John Thompson. (Wizards of the Coast), pp. 56, 57, 68–69. ISBN 978-0-7869-4119-3.
  8. 8.0 8.1 8.2 8.3 Richard Baker, Bruce R. Cordell, David Noonan, Matthew Sernett, James Wyatt (March 2007). Cormyr: The Tearing of the Weave. Edited by John Thompson. (Wizards of the Coast), pp. 136–137. ISBN 978-0-7869-4119-3.
  9. Richard Baker, Bruce R. Cordell, David Noonan, Matthew Sernett, James Wyatt (March 2007). Cormyr: The Tearing of the Weave. Edited by John Thompson. (Wizards of the Coast), p. 79. ISBN 978-0-7869-4119-3.
Community content is available under CC-BY-SA unless otherwise noted.