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(Loosely tied to: Ways to relocate/teleport to improve a ranged fighter mobility and Does relocation/teleportation while hidden requires a new Stealth check )

A build including 4 levels of Shadowdancer to gain access to Shadow Jump seems an interesting prospect for any kind of fighter relying on mobility and/or stealth.

Accounting for a build level 9 (5 to get the prerequisite for the prestige class and 4 for access to the Shadow Jump), I'm looking for ways to layer a battlefield with lasting shadows (magical or not) to bolster the Shadow Jump ability and be self-sufficient.

Any class goes - ranged, close, casting - as long as it is within Paizo official material (with a preference for a class which would benefit from the Shadowdancer features, mainly Hide in Plain Sight and Shadow Jump).
Any gear is fine within the limit of what a 9th level character should own.
Any race is fine, but as it will probably be a feat heavy build, human is probably preferable.

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This answer focuses on gear and is build-agnostic

Non-magical?

Shadowcloy

There is a lantern, or a flask.

Shadowcloy

This thin black liquid is stored in airtight flasks because it evaporates quickly when exposed to air. Its cloying vapors cling to a target, obscuring vision for a short period of time. You can throw a shadowcloy flask as a splash weapon with a range increment of 10 feet. A direct hit means the target treats the ambient light as one category darker than normal, with a creature already in natural darkness treating it as supernatural darkness. This effect lasts for 1 round. A thrown shadowcloy flask has no effect on adjacent creatures or if it misses.


Darklight Lantern

This lantern does not burn oil, but instead burns shadowcloy. When shadowcloy is used as its fuel, this lantern creates a strange, hazy darkness that decreases the light level for 30 feet around it by one step. Unlike when shadowcloy is thrown at a single target, this haze does not decrease natural darkness to supernatural darkness. One flask of shadowcloy fuels a darklight lantern for 1 minute.

Either of these should work in a variety of situations, but if you're looking for magic items, keep reading. And an honorable mention spell.


Magic Items

The big hitter here is Torch of Palelight. Only 250gp a pop.

This torch is made from a dull, gray wood that bears intricate carvings. It burns like a normal torch, but only gives off dim light in a 40-foot radius. In areas of normal light, the torch reduces the light level to dim. The torch has no effect in areas of bright light.

Mantle of the Darkest Night is neat because it lets you throw it. So, if you're in darkness? You can throw the mantle and step to it. If you're not in darkness, you can activate the mantle and step to a nearby darkness. Total defense is a bummer, but still not bad.

Voidlight Lantern is just a fancy version of the darklight lantern that uses shadowcloy. and it's expensive at 30k

Lantern of Dancing Shadows is even MORE expensive at 40k, but seems to be designed for the shadowdancer, as it specifically turns light towards dim light.

Tree Feather Token Creates a tree. Trees create shade. Doesn't specifically say that it causes dim light, but it should work. Talk to your dm.

Dust of Darkness is worth noting, though, I'm not sure if this requires GM buy-in or not. You coat yourself in darkness. That seems like it should work to me, but doesn't directly call out light levels, so your mileage may vary.


Honorable Mention

This spell is a weird one. Completely unreliable. But it's medium range and has a 25% chance to provide dim light on any given round you need it.

Flickering Lights

You cause the illumination in the area to seem to flicker erratically, fluctuating between absolute darkness and blinding brightness.

The level of light in the area changes at the start of each creature’s turn, as determined by rolling a percentile die and consulting the following table.

d% Illumination level 1–10 Supernatural darkness 11–25 Darkness 26–50 Dim light 51–90 Normal light 91–00 Bright light

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  • \$\begingroup\$ Nice find on the Torch of Palelight! This answer could be improved by identifying item(s) (or abilities) that allow you to cast dim light at a range, so OP is able to enter and exit the shadows where they want. (Referencing the question, "layer[ the] battlefield with shadows") \$\endgroup\$ – Ifusaso Jan 8 at 16:52
  • \$\begingroup\$ @Ifusaso Toss the torch(es) ;-) \$\endgroup\$ – goodguy5 Jan 8 at 17:06
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Approaching this from the Class Feature/Racial side, I see a few options:

Rogues (and Shadowdancers) have access to Minor and Major Magic Rogue Talents, as well as Gloom Magic and Greater Gloom Magic.

Major Magic allows you to select Dancing Darkness (usable 1/day per 2 levels) as a SLA. Already, you have the ability to select a destination to move to or center them on yourself for a jumping point a moderate amount of times per day.

Additionally, you can then purchase spellcasting services (or ask a friendly party member) to make your effect permanent with Permanency for 2,500g (+450g for a 9th CL casting of a 5th level spell, if you don't have the benefit of an ally with it). Have them tie the spell to an object you keep on your person, and potentially find a way to 'put away' your orbs when not in use.

Gloom Magic simply allows you to cast Darkness 2/day.
Greater Gloom Magic allows you to cast Deeper Darkness 1/day. Neither of these abilities impair your own vision.

Your hired spellcaster may have additional ways to help you.

Purchasing castings of Continual Flame modified by the Eclipsed Spell metamagic allows you to have objects that:

  1. are easily stowed
  2. are potentially throwable
  3. overpower many forms of magical lighting

This method is reasonably priced, but be prepared to provide access to the Metamagic you seek.

  • Spellcasting, Continual Flame = 110g
  • Rod of Eclipsed Spell, lesser = 1,500g (provide your own) or potentially 150g per spell (treating it as a "focus component (other than a divine focus)"

This is similar to the Palelight Torch in goodguy5's answer. Pro/Cons, your Eclipsed Continual Flame can be put on any object including ones that are easy to deploy such as a Durable arrows or Chakram, but is dispellable.

Tieflings gain Darkness as a SLA.

If you choose to be a Tiefling, you can use Darkness 1/day on an object you are holding. This allows for an easily stowable jumping point, and provides a base of Darkvision to pierce your own concealment that is improved by Shadowdancer. The Feat Fiendish Darkness improves your uses to 3/day, if you have a feat to spare.


Access to spellcasting obviously accomplishes all of this handily. A Shadowcaster Wizard could have gain excellent flair with Shadow Jump; unfortunately, you would be cutting your spellcasting off at a certain level to access Shadowdancer so it would be difficult to take advantage of your freedom.

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    \$\begingroup\$ Since you already talk about getting someone to cast something, it might be worth noting getting an Eclipsed Continual Flame cast - that'd be a 2nd-level spell by a CL 3 caster, plus 50 gp for the expensive material component. Cast it on some throwing weapons and you've got easily-stowable permanent pockets of darkness on the cheap. Prefer real throwing weapons since they don't break like ammunition (Chakram in particular have a 30' range increment and won't break - since throwing into a square is generally AC 5 the penalty is less relevant than the range giving you 150' to throw) \$\endgroup\$ – Delioth Jan 8 at 19:27
  • \$\begingroup\$ Oh, I didn't think about metamagic. It's worth noting that it could be exceptionally hard to find if your GM doesn't work with you (NPC's are assumed to not have the metamagic you want, and it's unlikely that you can convince your ally to take that one just for you). Related. But this remains a viable option, even if it means buying a Rod of Eclipse yourself. \$\endgroup\$ – Ifusaso Jan 8 at 20:13
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First off, a clarification of the ability that other people seem to miss. Shadow Jump requires an area of dim light as both entry and exit points. Not just dark area, but dim light specifically, so anything that creates darkness is of no use for you.

For the wondrous items, it leaves you with just the Torch of Palelight and Darklight Lantern. Both of these options are consumable and not exactly cheap even for the 9th level character, so are more of Plan B items.

A better option would be an ability to magically alter the light levels yourself. The pair of Dancing Lights and Dancing Darkness spells should do the trick. You can either get these as appropriate rogue talents (Minor Magic for light and Major Magic for darkness) or a dip in a spellcaster class. Sorcerer or Bard would probably be the best because of their synergy with your Charisma.

Note that the Dancing Darkness motes only reduce the ambient light by one level and don't stack with themselves, so are not usable in the areas of bright light.


As an aside, there is a very nice wondrous item called a Shawl of Shadowy Disguise. It gives you +5 to Stealth everywhere but the areas of bright light for the good HiPS synergy, and prevents anyone from discerning your exact actions in the areas of dim light and below with no save allowed.


As a Shadowdancer you will be dealing with light and darkness a lot, both magical and otherwise. I recommend you read this blog post as it provides an excellent explanation of how the light and darkness work in Pathfinder. And probably give it to your GM as well, it will save you a lot of time in the future. https://paizo.com/community/blog/v5748dyo5lhfm?Illuminating-Darkness

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