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 What exactly are the Shadovar?
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Sylrae
Learned Scribe

Canada
306 Posts

Posted - 20 Jul 2017 :  11:44:44  Show Profile Send Sylrae a Private Message  Reply with Quote  Delete Topic
Are they just a human ethnicity? Are they mechanically the same as Shadar-kai, but with a different origin?

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TBeholder
Master of Realmslore

1478 Posts

Posted - 20 Jul 2017 :  13:56:14  Show Profile Send TBeholder a Private Message  Reply with Quote
A faction of the Netherese. Kept in isolation for a while and mostly subjected to Shade transformation.

People never wonder How the world goes round -Helloween
And even I make no pretense Of having more than common sense -R.W.Wood
It's not good, Eric. It's a gazebo. -Ed Whitchurch
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Markustay
Realms Explorer extraordinaire

USA
14197 Posts

Posted - 20 Jul 2017 :  17:40:05  Show Profile Send Markustay a Private Message  Reply with Quote
Its weird. When people say 'The Shades' they should be talking about the Shadovari (which shouldn't be confused with the Shadvari... don't ask), which should mean the 'elite' of the Netherese, and in Netherese culture that normally means 'people of (exceptional) magical ability'. So 'Shadovari' should mean all the really good spellcasters of the Returned Netherese.

UNFORTUNATELY, I've seen ALL the Netherese referred to as 'The Shades', which makes that term pretty damn synonymous with 'Netherese', or at least, the Netherese from the Shade Enclave (Thultanthar), which, for all intents and purposes - unless another group of Netherese shows up at some point - means ALL of them in Faerūn. That makes 'Shades' both a 'monster type' (in older editions - I think it was just a lich-like template in 3e) AND a designation for a racial group of humans.

Which, like I said, means its not synonymous with Shadovar, exactly, but in many cases the two terms are interchangeable (since we rarely ever see any non-magical Thultantharites on-screen). 'The Shadovar' are the Shade (city) 'elites', who just happen to be shades (monster type). I don't think there are any non-shade Shadovar in Thultanthar, unless that first guy (Melegaunt) was - he didn't seem as 'shadey' as the rest (although in one scene in the novels we 'see' that the Shades are actually an illusion - they look VERY non-human without that illusion, so who really knows in Melegaunt's case).

Which probably leaves you even more confused.

"I have never in my life learned anything from any man who agreed with me" --- Dudley Field Malone


Edited by - Markustay on 20 Jul 2017 17:40:34
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Wooly Rupert
Master of Mischief
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Posted - 20 Jul 2017 :  18:38:03  Show Profile Send Wooly Rupert a Private Message  Reply with Quote
Don't forget that the city of Shade was pulled into the plane of Shadow by Lord Shadow, and that the Shadow plane was eventually renamed Shadowfell. And Shar was popular with this shadowy bunch, even though the shadow portfolio was held by Mask.

Because there's simply no need to make things clear or consistent.

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Markustay
Realms Explorer extraordinaire

USA
14197 Posts

Posted - 20 Jul 2017 :  19:32:14  Show Profile Send Markustay a Private Message  Reply with Quote
Because not all Shadovari (which AREN'T Shadvari) are shades from Shade, nor are all shades from Shade, nor is everyone from Netheril a Shadvari or shade, nor is everyone who is a shade or Shade from the Shadowfell, or even worships a 'shadowy' god.

I would blame the writers... but I don't want to be throwing them any shade.


I also hear that 'shades' (sunglasses) are becoming very popular with Dark Elves who are now living on the surface... who shouldn't be confused with Drow, because they are merely 'Brown' again, having reverted to Sylvan elves post-Spellplague (although Dark Elves might all be 'black' again in 5e... except for Drizzt... he's like the 'Michael Jackson' of The Realms). And of course, even though all Ilythiiri were Dark Elves and are now Drow, not all drow were from Ilythiir. And although Drow are amongst some of the most 'shadowy' type of villains and live in the Underdark, they have almost nothing to do with Shadows, shades, the shadowfell, Shar, Shadovar, etc, etc... nor do they have anything to do with the Shadar-Kai... which is weird...

"I have never in my life learned anything from any man who agreed with me" --- Dudley Field Malone


Edited by - Markustay on 20 Jul 2017 19:33:41
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Irennan
Great Reader

Italy
2722 Posts

Posted - 20 Jul 2017 :  20:40:22  Show Profile Send Irennan a Private Message  Reply with Quote
Shadovar is the name given to the inhabitants of Thultanthar, which tended to be capable spellcasters. Shades is what they became due to the influence of the Plane of Shadow. Their origin is different from that of the Shadar-kai. The Shades passively adapted, the Shadar-kai bound themselves to the Plane of Shadow (although 4e described them as Shar's blessed among the children born from the Shades).

quote:
Originally posted by Markustay
(although Dark Elves might all be 'black' again in 5e... except for Drizzt... he's like the 'Michael Jackson' of The Realms). [...]



They were basically all black even in 4e. The number of transformed elves was a few hundreds, scattered all over Faerun, and many of them died. That amounts to essentially nothing (they are even a minority among the followers of Eilistraee--given that she, as a lesser goddess, has at least a few thousands followers, and the ritual only transformed a few hundreds). In 5e, she's still drow after her return--it's only fitting for her--as are most of her followers.

Also, lol

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Edited by - Irennan on 20 Jul 2017 20:41:15
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Ayrik
Great Reader

Canada
6399 Posts

Posted - 21 Jul 2017 :  06:02:16  Show Profile Send Ayrik a Private Message  Reply with Quote
quote:
Originally posted by Wooly Rupert

Don't forget that the city of Shade was pulled into the plane of Shadow by Lord Shadow, and that the Shadow plane was eventually renamed Shadowfell. And Shar was popular with this shadowy bunch, even though the shadow portfolio was held by Mask.

Also don't forget that Lord Shadow invented shadow magics and planar travel (to the Demiplane of Shadow, now called Shadowfell) and indeed the entire notion of just moving magic in a new direction. A brilliant prodigy even among his Netherese archwizard peers. Favoured by Karsus Himself. What a guy!

It makes sense for Lord Shadow to have been the First Shade, the one who invented/discovered how to transform into a shade. And it makes sense for all of his magic-using shadovar to shadify themselves (as an initiation ceremony, or as a graduation ceremony, or merely as a means towards greater power and prestige or shadowy insights or perhaps even a simple requirement for survival).

Interesting to me that Lord Shadow would elect to become a Shade. Not a lich. All the other arcanists (even Karsus Himself) liched themselves.

[/Ayrik]
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Markustay
Realms Explorer extraordinaire

USA
14197 Posts

Posted - 21 Jul 2017 :  06:51:51  Show Profile Send Markustay a Private Message  Reply with Quote
Well, there was that 'reveal' in the novel series, where someone saw the shades in their 'true' form, and it was basically just a pair of eyeballs, a brain, and maybe a couple of atrophied organs floating around (and different ones were in different 'states of decay', so Lord Shadow was probably just a pair of glowing eyes). To me, that indicates some sort of lichdom that comes automatically with being a Shade too long (like how a lich eventually turns into an demilich). So, like a 'Shadow Lich'.

Also, IIRC, the 'decay' wasn't precisely tied to age, so much as it was 'corruption', so the more evil/decadent the person was, the more their human form had sloughed-off. At least, thats the impression i got from all of it - it was just one scene, IIRC, and it was a lot of conjecture even on the part of the character. Of course, the longer (older) someone was a Shade, the longer they've had to wallow in their shadowy/corrupt state, so age is indirectly tied to it.

This is also why I think Melegaunt may have not been 'as far gone' as his brethren. I think he showed restraint when using shadow-magics (which seems to be the major corrupting-factor).

"I have never in my life learned anything from any man who agreed with me" --- Dudley Field Malone


Edited by - Markustay on 21 Jul 2017 06:53:49
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Ayrik
Great Reader

Canada
6399 Posts

Posted - 21 Jul 2017 :  07:38:57  Show Profile Send Ayrik a Private Message  Reply with Quote
To answer the OP's question ...

Shadovar were originally Netherese humans, specifically those who populated Lord Shadow's floating city/enclave (now called Shade). Most of them are shades, certainly all the spellcasters (arcanists/shadowmages/wizards and priests of Shar) and all the warriors and all the prominent/powerful citizens are shades. Shades are a sort of semi-immortal "monstrous" template applied over the base race, first described in 1E, abandoned in 2E, fully described in 3E, they aren't undead (like liches and shadows and ghosts/specters/apparitions/wraiths/etc) but they aren't unliving (like vampires) and they also aren't really alive in the normal sense. They've somehow merged part of their soul with the shadowstuff of the Shadowfell. They have "darkness" within their thoughts and feelings, they don't interact with things the way living humans do, they see everything in the world as a series of balances between light and darkness, they tend to have inhuman ruthlessness and detachment.

A shadow is basically just a recognizable representation of an object seen in outline and defined by the lack of surrounding light within it. I think a shade is basically just a recognizable representation of a person seen in outline and defined by the lack of surrounding soul within it.

The "true form" of a shade couldn't be perceived without the supernatural/extrasensory perceptions of a shade - categorically impossible to see the "substance" of a shadow unless you're attuned to sensing the subtle variations of shadows layered/hidden within shadows (an ability natives of the Shadowfell must all possess to varying degrees). I think the descriptions in the novels might have been illusions or visions, functional metaphors showing what the shades had become instead of what their (insubstantial) physical appearances actually were. Telamont (once Lord Shadow) was seen as simply a pair of malignly-glowing eyes within an impenetrable human-shaped shadow, clearly he'd given (or lost) himself entirely to shadow. Hadhrune and the Princes Shade still had the "brains and floating organs" you describe which I suppose means they still retained some semblance of being anchored to the non-shadowy world of living humans.

The novels attempted to construct an interplay between light (Lathander) and darkness (Shar) and shadow (Mask), even positing that Mask was (explicitly) a servant of Shar and (implicitly) an ally of Lathander. I feel that Mask was superbly and memorably characterized (really loved that alley scene!) but Lathander and Shar (or at least their primary minion-proxies in the novels) were rather bland and superficial placeholders going through the motions, so the interrelationships between them were decidedly flawed and lopsided.

Shadar-kai are basically fey-based "elven" shades. Created by popular demand more than by in-setting logic and purpose, lol, a new flavour of elf even darker and kewler than drow or daemonfey/fey'ri. They've got nothing to do with Netheril or Lord Shadow or Shade, they're apparently just "native" to the Shadowfell. Non-Shadovar human-based shades (and nonhuman-based shades) also exist, apparently also just "native" to the Shadowfell.

[/Ayrik]

Edited by - Ayrik on 21 Jul 2017 09:40:58
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Markustay
Realms Explorer extraordinaire

USA
14197 Posts

Posted - 22 Jul 2017 :  18:14:18  Show Profile Send Markustay a Private Message  Reply with Quote
So if a drow mated with a winged demon, and then their progeny became a shade... would that be a Shadar-Draemonfey?

And if you make him a Ninja pirate... with a monkey... well, it just doesn't get much Kewler than that.

Ohhhh... and riding a dinosaur. How could I forget that?

"I have never in my life learned anything from any man who agreed with me" --- Dudley Field Malone

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Wooly Rupert
Master of Mischief
Moderator

USA
30295 Posts

Posted - 22 Jul 2017 :  20:27:55  Show Profile Send Wooly Rupert a Private Message  Reply with Quote
quote:
Originally posted by Markustay

So if a drow mated with a winged demon, and then their progeny became a shade... would that be a Shadar-Draemonfey?

And if you make him a Ninja pirate... with a monkey... well, it just doesn't get much Kewler than that.

Ohhhh... and riding a dinosaur. How could I forget that?



Make him a cyborg, too.

And instead of being male, go for the stereotypical female who wears unrealistically skimpy attire and has an overly pronounced mammalian heritage.

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Edited by - Wooly Rupert on 22 Jul 2017 20:32:21
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Markustay
Realms Explorer extraordinaire

USA
14197 Posts

Posted - 22 Jul 2017 :  22:25:53  Show Profile Send Markustay a Private Message  Reply with Quote
A scantily-clad, bat-winged, female half-demon shadow Ninja Pirate Cyborg, duel-wielding a whip and steampunk sword-pistol, riding an armored, undead dino-raptor... with a parrot-winged, flying monkey familiar, wearing a fez and playing a pair of symbols...

On a surfboard.

In space.

"I have never in my life learned anything from any man who agreed with me" --- Dudley Field Malone

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George Krashos
Master of Realmslore

Australia
4909 Posts

Posted - 23 Jul 2017 :  01:04:42  Show Profile Send George Krashos a Private Message  Reply with Quote
Sounds like you guys have been to too many "Spin a Yarn" seminars at Gen-Con.

-- George Krashos

"Because only we, contrary to the barbarians, never count the enemy in battle." -- Aeschylus
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Aldrick
Senior Scribe

909 Posts

Posted - 23 Jul 2017 :  01:26:31  Show Profile Send Aldrick a Private Message  Reply with Quote
quote:
Originally posted by Markustay

A scantily-clad, bat-winged, female half-demon shadow Ninja Pirate Cyborg, duel-wielding a whip and steampunk sword-pistol, riding an armored, undead dino-raptor... with a parrot-winged, flying monkey familiar, wearing a fez and playing a pair of symbols...

On a surfboard.

In space.





OMG! Stop!! Stop! WotC is taking notes!
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Irennan
Great Reader

Italy
2722 Posts

Posted - 23 Jul 2017 :  01:59:51  Show Profile Send Irennan a Private Message  Reply with Quote
Lol. This is only missing lasers being shot from the dino-raptor eyes

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Wooly Rupert
Master of Mischief
Moderator

USA
30295 Posts

Posted - 23 Jul 2017 :  02:12:24  Show Profile Send Wooly Rupert a Private Message  Reply with Quote
And she's wearing either boob plate armor or a battle bikini.

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Ayrik
Great Reader

Canada
6399 Posts

Posted - 23 Jul 2017 :  03:12:20  Show Profile Send Ayrik a Private Message  Reply with Quote
So ... you're basically just describing 3.5E with a few d20 rulebooks?

[/Ayrik]
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Sylrae
Learned Scribe

Canada
306 Posts

Posted - 24 Jul 2017 :  01:15:31  Show Profile Send Sylrae a Private Message  Reply with Quote
Okay, followup:

Are there untransformed Netherese in Thultanthar? Some that are still human? Is there anywhere that details what the non-shade Thultantharites are like? Are they transformed by the plane of shadow in some way that isn't being a Shade?

I was under the impression that Thultanthar had two groups, the shades, and something else (I thought the other group was the shadovar, but evidently not.)

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