Living Shade

Shadows dance on the wall, cast by the flickering firelight. One of the shadows suddenly turns in defiance of the person who cast it, reaching its dark hand out from the wall.

Medium fey, neutral

Armor Class 12
Hit Points 18 (4d8)
Speed 40 ft.

6 (-2) 14 (+2) 10 (+0) 9 (-1) 10 (+0) 12 (+1)

Skills Stealth +6
Damage Vulnerabilities radiant
Damage Resistances acid, cold, fire, lightning, thunder; bludgeoning, piercing, and slashing from nonmagical attacks
Damage Immunities necrotic, poison
Condition Immunities exhaustion, frightened, grappled, paralyzed, petrified, poisoned, prone, restrained
Senses darkvision 60 ft., passive Perception 10
Languages understands Common but can’t speak
Challenge 1/4 (100 XP)

Special Traits

  • Amorphous. The living shade can move through a space as narrow as 1 inch wide without squeezing.
  • Shadow Stealth. While in dim light or darkness, the living shade can take the Hide action as a bonus action.
  • Sunlight Sensitivity. While in sunlight, the living shade has disadvantage on attack rolls, as well as on Wisdom (Perception) checks that rely on sight.


  • Shadow Touch. Melee Weapon Attack: +4 to hit, reach 5 ft., one target. Hit: 2 (1d4) cold damage.


Bursts of magic sometimes unexpectedly infuse a person’s shadow, giving rise to a creature known as a living shade. Though similar in many ways to the dreaded undead shadows, these creatures aren’t undead. They are a type of fey spirit infused with the power of the Plane of Shadow.

Conjured Servants. Some spellcasters draw power from shadow magic to deliberately turn their own shadow into a servant and guardian. Created living shades serve much as any other standard familiar spirit. A masterless living shade feels incomplete without a physical being to “cast” it, and it might agree to serve as another spellcaster’s familiar as long as it’s treated well.

Playful Mimics. Not inherently malicious, living shades spend most of their time serving as their master’s shadow, delighting in mirroring gestures and motion. Occasionally, they enjoy toying with unsuspecting viewers by moving out of sync with their master in small, deliberate ways. Even unbound living shades might spend much of their time playing the part of someone’s shadow, “attaching” themselves to a random passerby. Living shades communicate through pantomime.

Living Shade Familiars

Spellcasters might infuse their own shadow with essence from the Plane of Shadow, or an unbound living shade can take a liking to a particular caster. Such living shades have the following trait.

Familiar. The living shade can serve another creature as a familiar, forming a telepathic bond with its willing master. While the two are bonded, the master can sense what the living shade senses as long as they are within 1 mile of each other. While the living shade is within 10 feet of its master, the master shares the living shade’s Shadow Stealth trait.

At any time and for any reason, the living shade can end its service as a familiar, ending the telepathic bond.

Section 15: Copyright Notice

Creature Codex. © 2018 Open Design LLC; Authors Wolfgang Baur, Dan Dillon, Richard Green, James Haeck, Chris Harris, Jeremy Hochhalter, James Introcaso, Chris Lockey, Shawn Merwin, and Jon Sawatsky.