The beings known as shrouds are infused with necrotic energy from their time living in the Halls of the Dead. These death-touched individuals are not undead, but they are very familiar with all aspects of death.

Shrouds are pale humanoids with porcelain white skin and sunken eyes that glow with necrotic energy. Shrouds with an excess of necrotic energy in their body lose the skin around their head, leaving behind a skull wreathed in necrotic energy like a flame.

Halls of the Dead

The Halls of the Dead are a dimension of death, but they are not an afterlife. Many creatures live in this realm, and a few have the ability to move between the Halls and the realm of the living.

The Halls of the Dead contain no fields, no trees, no sky, just an endless expanse of halls and rooms. There is a room for every creature that finds itself in the Halls of the Dead. When you enter the Halls, you find yourself in your room.

The Halls of the Dead are infinite, but travel is possible. If you have a destination or person in mind while traversing the Halls, you will shortly find yourself there.

Macabre Home

The Halls of the Dead aren’t particularly dangerous, and there are thriving communities inside. Most of the inhabitants get along peacefully, and there’s rarely any direct conflict. However, there are wild creatures that dwell in the halls, specters and death beasts, that can attack the unwary. The death-touched need sustenance, so they often explore the dangerous edges of the Halls for food: The Barrens.

Friends With Death

Legend says the first shroud was a powerful warrior who made a deal with Death. If they could beat death in a battle, they could remain alive until their next death, or until they died of old age. If they lost, death could keep their soul instead of ushering it into the afterlife. Interested in the prospect, Death agreed to the bargain and was promptly defeated.

The warrior and Death met again many times, and each time Death lost. Eventually the two became close friends, and Death began to enjoy their meetings and battles.

As the warrior aged, Death noticed that the mortal was becoming weaker. They realized that they would soon win a battle and be forced to claim their soul. Death provided a counteroffer to the warrior, allowing them to live in the Halls of the Dead not as a prisoner, but as a friend. The warrior accepted, and thus became the first Shroud.

Shroud Names

Example Names: Mourningwhisper.

Shroud Traits

Shrouds share certain traits as a result of their deathly heritage.

  • Ability Score Increase. You gain a +2 and +1 bonus to two different ability scores of your choice, or +1 to three different ones.
  • Age. Shrouds mature and age at the same rate as humans do.
  • Size. Shrouds are generally built like humans. Your size is Medium.
  • Speed. Your base walking speed is 30 feet.
  • Languages. You can speak, read, and write Common and Celestial.

Major Features

Choose two of the following major features. You can exchange one major feature for two additional minor features.

  • Absorb Life. When you kill a living creature, you gain temporary hit points equal to the creature’s number of hit dice or your Constitution modifier, whichever is higher. These temporary hit points last for up to 1 hour or until depleted. Tiny creatures that don’t have game statistics, like insects, are assumed to have 0 hit dice.
  • Death Magic (Magic). You know the toll the dead cantrip. When you reach 3rd level, you can cast the false life spell as a 2nd level spell once with this trait and regain the ability to do so when you finish a long rest. When you reach 5th level, you can cast the gentle repose spell once with this trait and regain the ability to do so when you finish a long rest. You don’t need material components for these spells. Charisma is your spellcasting ability for these spells.
  • Death Step. You can temporarily move into the realm of the dead and reappear nearby. As a bonus action, you can teleport to an unoccupied space you can see within 60 feet. You can’t use this ability again until you finish a short or long rest.
  • Shadow Invisibility. Cloaking yourself in shadows, you conceal yourself from sight. As an action, you magically turn invisible for up to 1 minute, requiring concentration. The invisibility ends if you make an attack, deal damage, or force someone to make a saving throw. Once you use this feature, you can’t use it again until you finish a short or long rest.

Minor Features

Choose two of the following minor features, or four if you only chose one major feature.

  • Darkvision. You can see in dim light within 60 feet of you as if it were bright light and in darkness as if it were dim light. You can’t discern color in darkness, only shades of gray.
  • Death Cantrip. You know one of the following cantrips; chill touch, spare the dying, toll the dead, or thaumaturgy. Charisma is your spellcasting ability modifier.
  • Face Death. You have advantage on saving throws against being frightened.
  • Fluent. You can speak, read, and write two additional languages of your choice.
  • Halls of the Dead Home. You have a room in the Halls of the Dead, and when you take a long rest you can transport your body there. After an hour of rest, you can choose to transport your body to your room. You leave the plane of existence you were on and enter the Halls of the Dead. You can remain there for up to 10 hours or return early as an action. You can’t leave your room when you enter the Halls of the Dead in this way. Your room always has enough food and water to keep you comfortable.
  • Necrotic Resistance. You have resistance to necrotic damage.
  • Shadow Meld. You have advantage on Dexterity (Stealth) checks when motionless in shadows.
  • Stealthy. You have proficiency in the Stealth skill.
  • Trained Tools. You have proficiency in two tools of your choice.
  • Weapon Training. You are proficient with two weapons of your choice.
Section 15: Copyright Notice

Ancestry Awakened: Copyright 2021, Pirate Gonzalez Games: Author Timothy Gonzalez

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