Shedim (pronounced: /ˈʃɛduː/ SHEH-doo or: /ˈʃeɪduː/ SHAY-doo or: /ˈʃiduː/ SHEE-doo or: /ʃɛˈduː/ sheh-DOO or: /ʃeɪˈduː/ shay-DOO or: /ʃiˈduː/ shee-DOO, plural also seen as shedu) were intelligent and wise, noble and orderly beings related to lammasus, whom lawful good clerics of the Realms sought for guidance or aid or for the protection of their temples.
A shedu had a body of a muscular bull or equine; strong, short-feathered wings; and a humanoid head, which was somewhat dwarf-like. Their head hair was long, bristly, and tightly curled. Males had intricate, braided beards and mustaches.
Shedim always wore headbands or regal crowns upon their heads. The headbands were made of braided cloth or rope and contained a metal stone at the front. The stone indicated the rank of the shedu within its society, with silver being the lowest rank and diamond indicating the highest. Most lesser shedim did not attain a rank beyond platinum, and greater shedim were rarely ornamented with less than a sapphire. Some speculated that those with crowns were once kings of nations on the Material Plane, but they never spoke of the reason for their crowns.
Shedim had the innate ability to project themselves into the Astral Plane or shift into the Ethereal. Some had clairaudience and clairvoyance and could see invisible things. Greater shedim could turn invisible.
A shedu was exceptionally intelligent with an uncanny analytical and rational brain, making it immune to any form of mind-control. However, a shedu was in turn able to psionically control the minds of others using a power very similar to the dominate person spell. Greater shedim also had an assortment of other powerful psionic abilities.
Shedim could usually speak in Common, Celestial, Draconic and the language of lammasus. They had their own language as well, but they preferred to speak telepathically. Greater shedim could even communicate with plants to a limited degree.
A typical shedu was stoic and somber, but the race as a whole was dedicated to instructing mortals in the ways of law and virtue and to protecting the innocent.
A shedu, while powerful in other ways, was not known for its physical prowess. While it could trample smaller foes and was next to impossible to knock over, a shedu preferred to stay airborne from where it could control its foes mentally.
Shedim preferred warm and dry climates, but could be found anywhere. They roamed the planes of existence and freely traveled the Material, Ethereal, and Astral planes, spreading their message and helping those in need. They sometimes formed a "synod", grouping themselves with a few lamassu, who shared their moral outlook closely. Shedu herds of six or more shedim were ruled by more powerful variations of their kind known as greater shedim.
There was a population of shedu living on Mount Celestia, and they sometimes visited neighboring Arcadia. Those living on Mount Celestia often joined the Order of Planes-Militant. In the city of Sigil, there were shedim who were members of the Fraternity of Order, the Harmonium, and the Mercy-killers.
After the mind flayers and the githzerai, the shedim were the most-hated enemies of the githyanki. When in the Astral, shedim were sometimes preyed upon by the githyanki, and the shedim in turn had destroyed entire settlements of githyanki in their crusades against evil.
- In the real world, statues of shedu/lamassu guarding gates had five legs for an artistic reason: the shedu would look like it was standing guard from the front, because one leg would be fully eclipsed. From the side, the shedu would look instead like it was walking, because another leg would be fully eclipsed. The creature was not supposed to actually have five legs in real-world mythology, and only 3rd edition added this feature.
- Dragon #128's article "Welcome to Waterdeep" states that Monster Manual II's "cold, civilized forest" table is representative of what can be found in Ardeep forest.
- Eric Cagle, Jesse Decker, James Jacobs, Erik Mona, Matthew Sernett, Chris Thomasson, and James Wyatt (April 2003). Fiend Folio. (Wizards of the Coast), pp. 153–154. ISBN 0-7869-2780-1.
- Doug Stewart (June 1993). Monstrous Manual. (TSR, Inc), p. 313. ISBN 1-5607-6619-0.
- Gary Gygax (December 1977). Monster Manual, 1st edition. (TSR, Inc), p. 87. ISBN 0-935696-00-8.
- Jeff Grubb (July 1987). Manual of the Planes 1st edition. (TSR), pp. 86, 88. ISBN 0880383992.
- Gary Gygax (August 1983). Monster Manual II 1st edition. (TSR, Inc), p. 109. ISBN 0-88038-031-4.
- Frank Mentzer (January 1985). “Ay pronunseeAYshun gyd”. In Kim Mohan ed. Dragon #93 (TSR, Inc.), p. 28.
- Monte Cook (January 1996). A Guide to the Astral Plane. Edited by Miranda Horner. (TSR, Inc.), p. 76. ISBN 0-7869-0438-0.
- John Terra (February 1996). Warriors and Priests of the Realms. Edited by Steven E. Schend. (TSR, Inc), p. 126. ISBN 0-7869-0368-6.
- Gary Gygax (August 1983). Monster Manual II 1st edition. (TSR, Inc), p. 135. ISBN 0-88038-031-4.
- Ed Greenwood (December 1987). “Welcome to Waterdeep”. In Roger E. Moore ed. Dragon #128 (TSR, Inc.), p. 8.
- Monte Cook (January 1996). A Guide to the Astral Plane. Edited by Miranda Horner. (TSR, Inc.), p. 56. ISBN 0-7869-0438-0.