The description of the sorcerer subclass "Shadow Magic" (XGtE, p. 50) starts off with the following paragraph (emphasis mine):

You are a creature of shadow, for your innate magic comes from the Shadowfell itself. You might trace your lineage to an entity from that place, or perhaps you were exposed to its fell energy and transformed by it.

Off the top of my head, I can only think of Shadar-Kai (MToF, p. 62). Other than that, I can't think of suitable creatures - Darkmantles or Skull Lords among those not even humanoid, and it's hard to imagine Meazels (MToF, p. 214) or Skulks (MToF, p. 227) having any offspring.

Are there any entities in the Shadowfell known from 5e or previous versions, aside from the Shadar-Kai, that are known to reproduce with other humanoids?
Or does "entity" include an immaculate conception from the Raven Queen? :D


2 Answers 2


In earlier editions (various versions of) Shadowfell used to be known as the Plane (or Demiplane) of Shadow. Throughout the history of the Forgotten Realms this plane played interesting roles. You can find quite detailed information about the plane and its inhabitants at the Forgotten Realms wiki, along with the relevant links to the primary references. Some examples quoted there are: shadows, nightshades and other life-draining undead, shadar-kai, bodaks, malaugryms, occasional animals and monsters that get trapped and eventually take shadow-given abilities, etc.

One significant example of such trapped creatures, which are directly relevant to your question, are shades (also known as Shadovar). Shades are ancient Netherese humans whose flying city was transported to the Plane of Shadow in -339DR and their 1700-year stay there turned them into beings of shadow.

Given that Xanathar is a beholder from Toril (and the 'main' setting of XGtoE is FR), it is quite likely that "the" beings you are interested are these shades. It is also worth noting that "shadow magic", which was actively being used by the shades, was associated with Shar's shadow weave in the earlier editions of D&D.


Vampires can be entities from the Shadowfell and although in the Forgotten Realms they cannot breed with humanoids, it is a common trope and your DM might allow it for your backstory.
I would say an "an immaculate conception from the Raven Queen" would also suffice.

But your parents could also just be from there.
Living there in a town, castle or tower as warlocks, necromancers.
They might be ordinary people really deep in the Underdark, maybe as miners who dug too deep.
They could also have been adventuring there (hunting vampires or a lich) when your mom started to go into labor (surprise pregnancy) and you might be from there.

  • \$\begingroup\$ can you back your statements up with quotes from official books? For example, I don't recall reading anywhere that vampires - which are undead, after all - can procreate in D&D (even though it's a famous trope in other fantasy universes). Aside from that, saying that simply having (e.g. human) parents that lived in the Shadowfell when you were born is, albeit a valid approach, controversial and should be supported by references of some kind, imho. \$\endgroup\$ Jul 22, 2019 at 9:46
  • 1
    \$\begingroup\$ The description of Evernight in the Shadowfell would support the theory of humans living there. "The city’s living residents include mad necromancers, corrupt purveyors of human flesh, worshipers of evil deities, and others who are able to make themselves useful and crazy enough to want to live here." I agree this seems unlikely as a source of power without an extended lineage, aside from necromancers. \$\endgroup\$
    – Blits
    Jul 25, 2019 at 21:03

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