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Are there instances of zones (artificially or naturally occurring) that Shadow Weave magic won't work in?

I've read quite a bit about dead magic zones but I've not yet come across an instance of a "dead shadow magic zone", other than if Shar essentially choose to cut someone off.

In what forms does this exist?

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Not an answer yet, but I recall a spell that makes holes in the shadow weave exists in 3.x –  Zachiel Dec 21 '13 at 16:36
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2 Answers

up vote 5 down vote accepted

There is no Shadow Weave equivalent of dead magic zones, and to understand why, it's helpful to look at where DMZs came from.

The concept of dead and wild magic is relatively new to the Realms: it dates to the Time of Troubles, when events during the Godswar tore holes in the fabric of the Weave. These holes are dead magic zones; other perturbations in the order of the Weave (inevitable when fabric under tension is damaged) are wild magic zones. In game terms, this was all introduced with the release of AD&D 2nd edition – the Time of Troubles and its events were invented to explain in-fiction the various (relatively small, in hindsight) rules changes in the new edition.

The Shadow Weave never suffered from cataclysm the way the Weave did. It was introduced with D&D 3rd edition, and it was described retroactively as having existed for eons, but mostly unknown and untapped. The sudden rise in the use of shadow magic (caused by the introduction of the Shadow Weave rules) was explained in-world as a response to the damage done to the normal Weave – spellcasters who discovered it found that there was now more incentive to use it, and Shar herself revealed it more often since she saw an opportunity to draw away some of Mystra's adherents and power base. Hence, why no Shadow counterpart to dead and wild magic was ever introduced either in-rules or in-fiction.

So, no, there is no Shadow equivalent of a DMZ. You could certainly add one if you wanted, but to be faithful to the setting it should be caused by something similarly cataclysmic to what caused the terrible damage to the Weave. The damage to the Weave is frightening and upsetting to arcane spellcasters because such scars on the fundamental fabric of the universe speak to the existence of terrifyingly powerful and incomprehensible forces that could cause them at all. If you can come up with something similar for the Shadow Weave, that would be story gold – implementing Shadow DMZs without inventing something cosmically horrible to cause them would be a missed opportunity.

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I presumed this was the answer, but I was wondering if there was something that might artificially create or have created these zones or some mechanic I wasn't accounting for. Well written. –  Bob Dec 20 '13 at 20:03
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+1 for story gold! –  LitheOhm Dec 20 '13 at 20:04
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@Bob I believe there are spells that can temporarily create small or weak dead magic zones (presumably only possible due to the existing damage), and of course wild magic has been studied and harnessed by spellcasters, so some way to create such a temporary/weak shadow-DMZ may be possible! Its invention could be a neat plot point to build an adventure or series of adventures around. –  SevenSidedDie Dec 20 '13 at 20:24
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I don't have my Forgotten Realms books with me, so I can answer only from experience and not the source itself.

My first FR caster opted toward the Shadow Weave because, exclusively, they could cast in DMZ. The DM mentioned it as an option and their first point was "this is how it works." Sold.

As far as I could tell in that game (perhaps it was the DMs doing too) the lack of light-descriptor spells made up for it, as well as forsaking Mystra's Weave. Especially since dead magic is distinct from antimagic, the latter which affects both.

To answer your question

No, I have not encountered any Shadow Weave-specific alternative for dead magic zones. Only Shar's own fickleness as you've mentioned in your question. Other than flavor, in my opinion dead magic zone immunity is the primary reason Shar's mages are worthwhile.

Edit

Thank you, SevenSidedDie, for this reference.

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I rather regretfully downvoted this answer, partially because it's not backed up by any of the mechanics in the relevant books, but mostly because the last paragraph is inaccurate. Shadow Weave Magic has some potent advantages, including increased save DCs for specific schools of magic and resistance to being dispelled (the latter being a fairly big deal). Check the feats and prestige class in the Player's Guide to Faerun. –  Lord_Gareth Dec 20 '13 at 15:37
    
@Lord_Gareth Hey, I opened the answer with "I don't have my [books] with me." Regret nothing, friend. I also said "in my opinion," ie. that was the selling point for me. –  LitheOhm Dec 20 '13 at 15:43
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@Lord_Gareth You disagree with a statement that is qualified with "IMO the primary" (not only)? And in your disagreement you don't even argue that better DCs are actually primary, or that the dispelling difficulty is primary, just that it's "a big deal"? Those are some rather small quibbles about one sentence that's just tangential to what the question is about. –  SevenSidedDie Dec 20 '13 at 16:14
    
@SevenSidedDie I disagree with the statement that's qualified as 'the primary' because the mentioned 'primary reason' is not supported by the mechanics. It's hard to have it as a primary reason if it doesn't work outside of house rules. –  Lord_Gareth Dec 20 '13 at 16:20
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@Lord_Gareth I'm afraid you have the wrong end of the rules and the fluff: the Shadow Weave exists independently of the Weave, and works in DMZs. –  SevenSidedDie Dec 20 '13 at 17:41
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